I

I know. I know. I know.

I really do.

I care. I care. I care.

I do honestly.

I want to. I just want to. I do.

I mean every word I say. I do. I did. I always did.

I mean. I actually mean. I mean it, really.

I love. I love. I love.

I just do. I really do. I sincerely do.

But

You see

Oh! you don’t see

I can’t even if I want. I really can’t.

You can’t get it. You really can’t. You could never get it.

I knew you would never see. You couldn’t see. You never did.

So, I never said. I never did. I never ……

You see

oh! you don’t see.

You can never see…

Ah! whatever!!!

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His story

I was a weak student, mam. In school I was made to sit in the first bench. I was sitting next to a bright student and the teacher always discriminated against me.

I felt bad. I felt discriminated against. I grew up feeling inadequate and not smart.

Today when I stand here and I am able to speak. I feel good.

He spoke in a soft searching tone and when he stopped speaking, the class applauded his honesty in sharing.

  • Sorrows diminish in sharing. Share, speak up, spread the word. You will meet a kindred soul somewhere.

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Jithu had lost all his confidence.

He is a special child, you see, he needs a little more love and affection than others and a lot of patience.

When the teacher constantly filled his sheets with red corrections and wrote big zeroes on his answer script, the brightness in his eyes dimmed, he looked tormented as if he had failed somehow.

I was afraid of antagonizing the teacher and the management who always welcomed me with open arms, so I kept quiet initially. But soon, I broached up some courage and approached them with my problem.

The management came up with a solution, they said,’Why don’t you prepare a question paper based on what you teach your son? Give it to us and we will print it out without letting him know. He will be tested on this.’ I was thrilled. I knew Jithu will now turn around. So we both worked really hard.

So this exam was different. I had set the paper and we had done a lot of practice. Infact, Jithu rocked it. He is slowly regaining his confidence. I am glad I spoke to the teachers. Soon I will join his school and I will be able to support him and others like him.

These are the words of a cancer survivor, a young mother of a special child, most importantly a feisty woman who has faced the challenges of life boldly. We laughed over a few jokes and she said, ‘when can we meet?’ ‘Soon,’ said I. Friendships like these need to be nurtured. We both have agreed to do just that.

  • Express. Express. Express. Articulate your problem, more often than not the other person is willing to help.

*********************************************************************

Where is the facility for sports? Who cares for young people like me who love to play? Why are we always asked to study?

Who do I talk to? No body understands me. The young man vent out his frustration.

Life is tough, he said sagely. However, I have learned to provide for myself and my cricket coaching, isn’t that amazing?

I hope my father feels proud of my achievements and witnesses my success. I am working towards it.

  • Keep up the hope and keep up the efforts. The road to success is carved by steady and consistent hard work.

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I am not able to go out with them. Nor can I spend money that easily. I have a lot of limitations. Sometimes my academics also suffers, but when they stopped talking to me, it hurt me a lot, the young boy spoke softly. Friendships matter a lot to me.

I guess it is time to look for new friends. I hope there are others who I can get along with.

He kept on talking and then he said, I have started writing these days and it is helping me.

It is ok. I can live with it. I am strong.

  • Move away from negativity. Choose people and places which are positive. Give and get courage.

***********************************************************************

Different people, different settings, yet similar stories of disillusion, disenchantment and the effort to live on boldly.

A little love, care and understanding towards fellow human beings will make this world a better place for all of us.

Towards a better tomorrow!

Towards more pleasant stories, his and hers!

Towards more sharing and more listening!

Cheers!!!

Feline Friends

Every since my kitten deserted us in search of better world, we have been rather lonely. We talk of her ways and her many tantrums and her moods but our efforts to locate her has been futile so far.

On a Sunday a few months back when I was busy doing my cleaning chores kind of trying to make the house a home sort of I had a little visitor who came in and hid beneath the cot.

She wanted food and water and was pukish. After feeding her I returned to work and found her missing. But then she started visiting me in the mornings every day with a few of her other friends for food and water and some times milk.

Mornings are now time for some hectic mewing with three cats asking for equal attention and food.

Perhaps this is how its is meant to be. Not ours, yet ours in some way, is it how everything is rather?

Maybe, maybe not!

Am I flying or failing? A to Z Challenge

Not flying nor failing

coz I am determined to bounce back

though late

hanging on to the last letter

pouring thoughts in random order

a heart crying out for the world we live in

a voice calling out to all sentient beings

ha! universe, you didn’t deserve what you got from us

how have we failed you! how!

how have we strangulated the proud lions

the ferocious tigers

the magnificent leopards

the wise elephants

the busy bee

the flying splendors

the sagacious trees spreading shade

the waters which cannot now wash our sins

as we rush to make amends

we are pulled into the swamp of our own dirt

yet we try, we try

so pardon, pardon our poor ignorant deeds

for the great man said

‘O! judgement, thou art fled to the brutish beasts’

but have we failed to learn from the wisdom of the world

the knowledge of the tribes

the voice of the ancients

the cry of the skies

the roar of the mountains

the silent whispers of the land

the anger of the seas

pardon! pardon!

we owe you much

help us redeem our pledge to make good

what can be made good

http://time.com/5331205/rhino-poachers-killed-lions-south-africa/

https://www.thedodo.com/in-the-wild/bornean-orangutan-guards-home-deforestation

Not brutish beasts!


Shakuni – The Master of the Dice

History will judge me differently

but I have my course to run

the absolute destruction of the Kurus

even through those of my own.

Years ago the princes of Gandhara

were imprisoned and tortured

made to beg for food making me

Saubala, the 100th son of Subala

strong and invincible

with a festering wound that cries vengeance

My strength is my thoughts

like the patterns of the dice

I know the terrain of the human mind

I let them wander in the maze of their own head

I pit them against each other

Son to father

brother to brother

friend to friend.

The villain of mistrust

wipes out even the strongest

except of course me and my sister, Gandhari

she who married the blind king

to blind herself there after

tragic to say the least.

Virtue will be the death of Pandavas

arrogance that of Duryodhana’s and his clan

It’s the king makers who rule not the king!

 

 

Rishyasringa- The coveted yogi

Many young men would love to be in the shoes of Rishyasringa, I mean, the ‘padukas’, if he wore one!

Rishyasringa was the son of a maharishi named Vibhandaka, who lived by the side of a river in a quaint little ashram. Because he was brought up under the sole guardianship of his father, Rishyasringa had no contact with any other human being. His world was limited to what he was exposed to in the simple living at the ashram. Needless to say, he was naive and curious at the same time.

It so happened that a nearby kingdom called, Anga suffered from severe famine and the King of Anga, desperate to quench the thirst of his land, consulted many learned men and women to find a solution to the problem. It was suggested that only the visit of a pure ascetic soul like Rishyasringa could bring rains to the land. The king at once set to work.

He ordered female courtesans to visit Rishyasringa and lure him to Anga. So, accordingly well prepared, the beautiful ladies set out in search of the young man and safely anchored the boat and stepped into the ashram at a time when the father was not around.

When the girl addressed Rishyasringa in her sweet voice, the young ascetic was surprised to see such a beautiful creature.He obviously thought that the person was just another being like him and immediately took to her. She lavished him with attention and tasty gifts which she had brought with her. After some time, she took leave of the young boy who did not want to be parted from her sweet company.

When the sage arrived, he was shocked to see the ashram dirtied and his son, all gloomy and sad. When his son described the visitor, the sage advised him not to fall prey to the lure of the material world and to be on his guard, but of course, the young boy was eager to meet his sweet friend again.

A few days later, the visitor came again and this time coaxed the young ascetic to board her vehicle and travel to her country. The boy agreed readily and off they went.As soon as the lad stepped into the country of Anga, it rained heavily. The King pleased by this happy occurrence, gave his daughter in marriage to Rishyasringa and made him his heir. Rishyasringa enjoyed the attention and the lavish life at the palace, while his father was anxious for his lost son.

When the rishi came to know of the devious means by which his son has been lured away from the ashram, he set out in anger to punish the king. The king was wiser and had planted his courtiers all along the way so that they would sing paeans to young Rishyasringa as the rishi passed by them. Though the rishi was angry at the abduction of his son, he was pleased to hear such glory being sung for his beloved boy and when he reached the palace, he was even more delighted to see his son seated on the throne meant for kings in all glory.

This is the story of Rishyasringa, the ascetic who became the king.

Purochana’s Monologue

Was it that what I heard

or did I hear what was not told

was there something more to say

was it that I was misled, nay

oh! noble master, why

have you chosen me

for a task that taints me

my name, my hard earned fame

yes, I know there is nothing to be done

there is nothing to be undone.

I am just a conduit for what is to happen

what happens, happens.

Did Vidura whisper something

or did I just imagine that

Are their eyes tinted with suspicion

Did Bheema’s eyes linger longer

on my hands when he slapped them hard

They look happy ,though, Yudhistira is grave

his manners are not holiday-like,

does he know what lies ahead?

My workers have done it well

the palaces of fumes and fire is ready

it shall consume his enemies, Duryodhana’s

not mine, what is there for me

I might just be killed either ways

by my master or his enemies

not all perfumed waters of Arabia

will cleanse my hands of the ashes, the ashes of the dead

the powerful, the most loved of the people

the Pandavas?

My duties are bound

so are my morals,sadly

his word is my command

By fire shall they die, the Pandavas

in the palace that I built for them

one of such exquisite beauty

I wish it to be seen and admired

it’s going  to be a sight to watch

those trapped voices

and the palace that burns down.

 

PS: Purochana is the architect of the wax palace that was intended to kill Pandavas.

 

 

One Grain of Rice

Trust the wicked Duryodhana to create trouble for the Pandavas even when they were struggling during their years of exile in the forest. Once Duryodhana invited a sage infamous for his lack of anger management and his tendency to curse left right and centre to his abode. The venerable sage whose very name sent shivers down the spine of many was none other than Durvassavu.

So, Durvassavu along with his ten thousand disciples was invited to the palace in Hastinapur and a very sumptuous meal just to suit the taste and need of the sage and his disciples was arranged by Duryodhana and his brothers. The sage, of course, was mighty pleased with host. He was even more thrilled when Duryodhana suggested that the Pandavas now in exile should not be deprived of playing host to the learned sage and that he should visit them too. The cunning Duryodhana did not forget to mention a particular time of the day by when he knew that the frugal kitchen of Draupadi would be empty of food as the ideal time for the sage to visit them. Not one to let go of an opportunity to test anyone the sage agreed enthusiastically and promptly landed at the doorstep of the hapless Draupadi when she had just had food and even cleaned the vessels after feeding all at home.

At the beginning of the exile,Yudhistira was blessed with a vessel called Akshayapatra, by the Sun god, which could feed as many people as his family wanted and only after the last person, in this case, Draupadi finished having her food would it go empty. When the sage Durvassa came for lunch with his ten thousand disciples, the akshaya patra was empty as even Draupadi had had her food. The sage, however, informed the Pandavas that he and his disciples would come for lunch soon after the customary bath at the river.

A vexed Draupadi looked around in concern as she was very well aware of nature of her short-tempered guest. Just then,Krishna appeared before her saying , “I am very hungry, give me some thing to eat immediately”. Draupadi looked at Krishna helplessly and said, “Why do you do this to me? I have nothing to give you now. Even the akshaya patra cannot help me.”

Krishna went to pick up the said vessel and looked at it closely. Around its rim was a single grain of rice and some bits of vegetables. He picked each bit and ate them with relish as if he was having the food of his life. While Draupadi stood ashamed at not having cleaned the vessels properly, Krishna asked Bheema to go and inform the Sage that food was ready for them.

Accordingly, Bheema went to the river to inform the sage to come home for food when his disciples said that they already felt satiated and full and cannot have any more food. Sage Durvassa who could divine what had transpired confirmed to Bheema that they were going to proceed on their journey without further delay.

Some times even what is left over or little in quantity can fill the heart and soul of someone if served with love. Could it be that what Krishna wanted Draupadi to remember?

 

Narada

Growing up on a steady diet of ‘Amar Chithra Katha’ and ‘Chandamama’, I was always intrigued by the character of Narada, his buttery eloquence, his perpetual nosing into others affairs, his insatiable curiosity,his gossip mongering, his devotion to Lord Vishnu and his ability to travel to all the three worlds at the speed of  ‘mano vega’ ,’the speed of thought’.

The agony laced anticipation of his hosts who could never turn him away, considering his scholarly achievements and his closeness to the higher ups- the trinity of Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma and their unhappy hosting of narada is fun to read about.

Narada, however desrves some credit for being the first journalist ever ‘yours truly, reporting from all the three worlds viz The Swarga Loka, the heavens, The Earth and the Patala Loka or the nether world’. He is also an expert in communication and management and has with his timely intervention and sage counsel benefited many.

Here’s a story of Narada advising the king Barvis, an adaptation from Cherkil Govindankutty Nair’s Kuttikalude Shreemad Bhagavatham.

Once upon a time there was a king by name Puranjan who had a friend, who neither had any name nor any identity. The king did not bother about this friend as he was in search of a better life and managed to reach a city. Amidst the city, he saw a beautiful palace and in the garden of that beautiful palace was a beautiful woman who welcomed the king endearingly. Intoxicated by her beauty, the king inquired who she was. The woman said that she did not know who she was but was waiting for a true lover and has found the same in the king. The king was elated and he led a happy life in the palace with his wife now called Puranjani.The beautiful palace in which they lived had 9 doors, 2 below and 7 above. The palace was guarded by a fierce five-hooded serpent called Prajagaran.

Puranjan got what he wanted but in the process of seeking pleasures he was enslaved by them and lost what was dear to him, his identity, his personality, he was a mere slave to his wife.The couple led a blissful life and often went out for trips and tours on their chariot which had 5 horses(representing the 5 senses), thus making their lives more pleasurable.

Once when the king returned home after hunting in the wild, he was shocked to see his palace enveloped in a pall of gloom. He asked for his wife and was told that she has retired to the anger room where she was lying on the floor with her hair astray and devoid of any ornaments.

The worried king rushed to his wife,embraced her, consoled her and promised never to leave her alone. The couple lived for 100 years and had 1100 sons and 110 daughters who were married off at an appropriate time.

While living in such prosperity, their palace was attacked by a Gandharva called Chandavegan. Though the five-hooded serpent,Prajagaran tried his best, a lady called Kala Kanyaka along with her siblings burnt the entire city of Puranjan to ashes. Puranjan died craving for his wife. Even when he was dying he could not think of his friend,the one who had no name or identity.

In his next birth Puranjan was born as a princess, Vaidharbi. Vaidharbi  grew up to be married to a man of values and morals called Malayadwajan. They had 2 children and having completed the duties of grihasthashrama the couple decided to retire to a forest for a more peaceful life. Malayadwajan, however did not live long and upon his death, consumed by sorrow, the lady, Vaidharbhi too wanted to kill herself. When she was about to jump into the funeral pyre, a brahmana, stopped her crying,’ Hey, remember you are neither man nor woman. In your last birth you never remembered me but in this birth you have lived an austere life and hence you can join me in heaven.’

Narada further explained the characters of this strange story. Puranjan is nothing but ‘life’, his friend being the ‘supreme power or almighty’. The serpent guarding the life is ‘prana’ or ‘life breath’. The palace with nine doors is the human body and the lady Puranjani is ‘intelligence’. In the pursuit of pleasures the true friend who has neither , name nor identity, ‘the supreme power’ was forgotten. The gandharva called ‘Chandavegan’ is time and his friends are the days. The attack of the gandharva represents old age. The lady called ‘kala kanyaka’ stans for the ills of old age. Her siblings are the fears and diseases associated with it. When time and old age attacks, the body guarded by serpent of prana crumbles and puranjan i.e life ends. Puranjan is able to meet the lotus feet of god only when he pursues the path of dharma in his next birth as Vaidharbi.

Impressed by Narada’s sage counsel, the king Barvis puts an end to his futile search for glory through the many sacrifices and decides to go the forest for penance.

Thus ends the rather long story as told by Sage Narada, the naughty, some times wise and some times cunning sage.a2z-h-small

The Learned Ashtavakra

Here is the beautiful story of a scholar called Ashtavakra as told by Lamosa to the Pandavas during their exile.

Kagola was a disciple of sage Uddalaka. Though Kagola was not the brightest of his students, the guru was quite pleased with his devotion and sincerity in performing his duties. In recognition of this, the sage married off his daughter, Sujata to Kagola.

In some time, Sujata conceived and would sit along with Kagola when he recited the vedas. As he was not adept at Vedas, Kagola often made mistakes and the child in Sujatha’s womb twisted and turned in agony at this. When the child was born it had eight twists or turns in its body and was hence given the name named Ashtavakra.

Ashtavakra taking after his grandfather had a penchant for learning and was even as a child very well versed in the Vedas. He, however, had to grow up in the absence of his beloved father, Kagola because Kagola had foolishly challenged a learned scholar named Vandi who had kept the condition that  those who lost the debate to him should drown themselves in the ocean. This was told to Ashtavakra by his mother, Sujatha.

So, when Ashtavakra heard of a debate or ‘Tharka’ that was being organized in the kingdom called Mithila by the king Janaka he set out to participate with his uncle, Swetaketu.

Upon reaching the palace of the king, the boy was asked to move aside by the palace guards who were preparing the way for the king. Ashtavakra questioned the palace guards and informed them that even kings were supposed to make way for women, children, the learned, the old or the disabled. The King who was approaching the palace heard this and asked the guards to allow the boy inside. The next challenge to his participation came when another guard stopped Ashtavakra from entering the hall of the debate as he was a mere boy who had not enough years nor knowledge in him. Again Ashtavakra argued that wisdom cannot be measured by birth, appearance or age. The King once again came to the rescue of the boy  but tried to dissuade Ashtavakra from the debate by reminding him of the enormity of the task and the reputation of his opponent.

Ashtavakra was least impressed and he assured the king that there is nothing to fear for him and that he had come to participate in the debate to win it and redeem his father’s honor.

Finally the debate began in which initially the two scholars seemed to be equals  but soon Ashtavakra weighed heavily over the famous Vandi and went on to win the contest of wits.

Ashtavakra informed Vandi that he was son of Kagola who had to sacrifice his life for the sake of the false pride and honor of Vandi.

Vandi had to now let go of his own life trapped as he was in his own words. Ashtavakra came to be renowned as a great scholar and was even credited for authoring the Ashtavakra Gita.

It is said that Kagola’s soul now liberated and relieved reminded men that it is not right to judge a man by his appearance, his lineage or the position of his family at the time of his birth, each person has the potential and the ability to surprise and impress anyone.

And here ends the story of the learned scholar, Ashtavakra.a2z-h-small