Divinity

divinity 1

You lie in the flutter of the leaves

In the smoky voice of the evening breeze

My soul lies here in the wilderness

In a world where beauty is blessed

In the vicinity of the divine

Try and steal a prayer from my lips

Sometimes at the end of a hard day

You even bless my forehead with a kiss

I curse Your voice inside me

Becoming my unknown conscience

I hate You when I am in pain

With a resounding break in countenance

You exist and then You don’t

You come with a question

Almost never with an answer

You are my heart’s blissful creation

I don’t remember You in my darkness

This heart has no requests

You merely dwell in the smile

That comes at the end of each conquest

divinity

Shiva

I walk down from heavens
To take stock of hell
I walk down to give hope
To souls who in purgatory do dwell
I am not their savior
They are their own
I will not save them
From what they do not know
At length a time will pass
When the waters of the ancient lore
Will reflect to them like glass
The truth about their naked gore
And those who perish
Here tonight will die in true hope
Yet they will pass on a story
Too tragic to cope
Will he wake up
And see his sins
Or will he lay bare
His tears among his kins
Those who can’t find
Their love shouldn’t cry
They aren’t gone forever
They didn’t die
They merely walk
With me here
They stride across the mountains
On the shores of the river
I didn’t take what’s yours
What I did to you
You do unto yourself!

In Victus

Out of the days that unearth me,
Bright and white from pole to pole,
I curse whatever gods may be
For my gullible soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have winced, I have cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody and bowed.
Beyond this place of skies so clear
Looms but the Horror of the jade,
And yet the so-called joy of the years
Finds and shall forever find me afraid.
It matters not how the gate is built,
How empty is my punishment scroll,
I am a slave to my guilt:
I am lost to my soul.

P.S: The true rendition of the William Ernest Henley Poem “Invictus”

God’s own country?

 Harigovindan is a Paudwal, no he has no relation to the famed bollywood singer, he, rather belongs to a caste of drummers and is featured in last Sunday’s episode of the Dewarists. I have never seen or heard his music but I know of his instrument, the Edakka, a beautiful percussion instrument from Kerala that the West and even our own country knows little about. 
Edakka: Drums with emotions
 What is important is however, how close my own family’s story is to Hari’s. Welcome to the picturesque God’s own country, only the dark truths is so far away from fiction that to a typical Keralite born and brought up outside, who spent her summer months trying to understand the mystical land of her forefathers, the fiction sometimes breaks down into harsh realities.
I was born into the more privileged parts of the ancient Kerala caste system, we are the Kshatriya equivalent of the Vedic culture. But the Dravidian system, more ancient than the Aryan one, was one of matriarchal societies. Now to most of the women I have met in my lifetime, this brought a huge amount of respect, but people do not realize how strict the real system was. Brahmins built the matriarchal society essentially to keep a lot of wives from other castes like mistresses and essentially not give their children the same right a true Brahmin child got. Thus, thanks to a crazy social system my father (a Kshatriya) couldn’t be present for his own father’s funeral. 
The matriarchal system is the white washed face of a state with the highest cases of domestic violence reported in the country. It is the irony in a state that boasts of literacy and lacks education.
Hari’s story is similar; he attempted to sing his music at the Angadipuram temple and wasn’t allowed to because it was meant for a higher caste of musicians. Those who believe the caste system is dead and gone only need a brief visit to Guruvayoor, where the family of the Samarinds (Cochin’s royal family) is given special entry privileges or even at the temple in my village where we view the annual festivities on a raised platform and the rest of the “common” village is on the ground. 
The punishments of our ancient history eventually caught up with us, with reservations and hard work helping the lower castes achieve so much more than our families. Nowadays, all movies and serials show Thampurans (our caste) as the big bad wolves of the caste system. Little do people know that it was a system of tyranny and ours was but one small part in the century old traditional systems. 
 
Hari went on to build a temple for his father’s Edakka, world’s only temple dedicated to percussion instruments, no labourers came forth to build as it was against the caste system, no government funding as he isn’t exactly a “backward caste”. This is the current state in “God’s own country”, god left the country long time ago when a son was shunned from lighting his own father’s funeral pyre.
This week’s Dewarists Episode:

Eat. Pray. Love.

This is not a review, but just an observation. I was watching Eat Pray Love (which is a great watch until you realize Indians NEVER take an year off). But what I noticed most obviously as Indians always do, is how the west perceives us. And the movie and the book is perhaps the best representation of the country’s spirit I have seen or read in the recent times. For a person from the west, and I intend no racism here, it must seem like this land of loud noises and chaos. I remember someone being told by a German, how they just do not honk in their country.  I suppose even the exchange students from Europe must find us unimaginably loud!
Having never really traveled abroad, I have nothing really to compare my country with. But this I find to be true. We are in our own world so chaotic that we manage to find some lame sense of joy in our chaos. We laugh at a lot sillier things than most people foreign to this country do, and for the most part we just laugh because inherently we all seek joy and never really lose track of what we are seeking. 
I look at the lack of political stability or the rising prices and the frustration of the people and wonder when a class struggle would break out in our world but the truth is it won’t. Even the poor and the desperately hungry smile in India, and I wonder why is it that they do so with nothing in their hands, no agenda for the day, no dreams, except to just last the night. 
We might not take year long trips to a guru or a medicine man in Bali, but we find our true selves in a different way. We all have our moments of silence even at the edge of chaos. We find peace in crowded trains of Mumbai, and are just as loud in our spirituality. As I write this, the temple in my campus tolls its bells to remind us of some sense of conscience, the mosque not too far away reminds people to finish their five prayers of the day and somewhere on a Sunday church, the priest says the same things in three different languages for people to understand.Understand what I wonder?
God is important to us; even the atheists in India believe in the lack of him and thus, religiously, avoid temples and churches. We are called secular for a reason, a majority of us believe in the existence of different paths to god, we just sometimes think the path we take is more important than someone else’s. 
 We are proud because sometimes we welcome ruin. “Ruin is good” says Elizabeth Gilbert in the book. It helps you transform and that’s what we have done, for centuries even before the west found us. We transformed and each of us takes deep pride in the history they are a part of. We don’t need an year round trip, we eat, we pray, we love, all in the same country.