Monday, July 30, 2007

Lessons with a twist in Sanskrit

When people talk about Sanskrit, they usually attach a sense of grave seriousness to it. True, composition in Sanskrit is no child's play... you have take care all the meters, alankaras and what not!! Amidst all that poets have found way to get the lesson through with clever remarks to let it stay in your mind for long. Just look at the following verse from the beginning of Neeti Shataka from Bhartruhari.

As the story goes, Bhartruhari was a very wise king. One day a yogi came to his court and presented him with a fruit. He said whoever eats this, will become immortal. Perhaps, the real goal of the yogi was to enlighten the king about the realities of this mortal life. Bhartruhari, being a noble person thought - there is no use of me living for ever, if my wife is not going to be with me. So let her have the fruit. He gave it to the queen. The queen was secretly in love with some one else. She also thought on the same lines of the King and gave the fruit to her lover. He, on the other hand gave it to some other lady... finally it came back to Bhartruhari himself. That is when he seems to have composed this. He renounced his kingdom and became a yogi himself.

Bhartruhari could have explained the futility of the eternal cycles of desires and disappointments in plain words. However, when he gives such a twist, the lesson lasts longer in the minds of the reader.

Update: references to humor removed... on second thoughts there is less humor and more grief in this.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

amma (ಅಮ್ಮ)

Mother. In Kannada we call her 'Amma'. There are tons and tons of literature on this topic on the INTERNET spreading across all genres (fiction, faction, fantasy, even science fiction), all eras, all languages, all religions, all civilizations... all what-not. All of them concur on one thing - there is no form of pure love other than that of a mother towards her child.

Usually I don't state the obvious. But in this regard, I shall make an exception. Here's my story.

I was about ten years old. Fifth standard. I used to take final exams really seriously those days. Coming second would cause unbearable grief. (At least I assumed it was unbearable at that time). My amma knew about this (in some ways she was the cause for such a belief). As luck would have it, days before the final exams, the viral bug caught me. I was running serious fever and a leaky nose. Some how, disease gets you into a heightened awareness of your conscience. I still don't know what came over me - because I insisted on studying harder. Reciting poems with my eyes closed. and so on... My mother would stay by my side always - rubbing my chest every time I coughed. One evening, I was lying with my head on her lap. She must have thought I was asleep. I clearly heard her pray that if God wanted, he could give her the fever... in exchange to my well-being.

Next morning, I was all OK... jumping up and down getting ready for the kannada exam - singing 'BArisu kannada dim-dimava'. While my amma had a very tired look on her face. She could still come till the end of our road, and send me off to school with a smile. She clearly had the fever.

I know... I know its just all a coincidence that my fever had done its time and her fever was just beginning. But I still like to believe that my amma brought it on herself because of the deal with GOD.

Anybody else doing it for me is simply unimaginable.

Why do I remember this now?
Earlier this week, I was sick. Down with fever and cold. This combination medically has to last for 7 days. Medicine can only help you counter the side-effects. But the virus itself can not be conquered. But, I was up and running in 2 days itself - fresh as a daisy. I wonder if my amma has again offered the deal to the almighty. I will be damned if the all powerful cruel GOD takes the deal and goes through with it.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Rickshaw poetry

Is it just me or do you also find the auto-rickshaw drivers being more romantic now a days?

Below is what I can recollect from a couplet behind KA-01 A-9551... The driver would not tell me his name... I guess he wants to remain anonymous.

Hazrath hi bus tujhe paane ki, tumhe muskurate dekhne ki
Aur koi khwaish nahi hi is deewane ki
Gila tujh se nahi hi, Gila to hi us khuda se hi...
Kya zaroorat thi tumhe itna khoobsoorat banane ki...

Thursday, July 05, 2007

MCP: Missed Call Protocol

I was not in Bangalore yesterday. I was surrounded by strangers (far-off relatives) and was exchanging pleasantries in far off Mangalore. Every now and then my mobile would buzz me just for one ring. When it happened quite frequently, an uncle of mine asked me what was the matter... I evaded his intriguing question by dismissing it as pranks perpetrated by my colleagues. But, I very well knew that they were "Missed Calls" from her, my FGF ;-) This method of telling "I am missing you" started about an year ago... Back then, she used to call me and often, I used to be eager to hear her voice... So I used to pick the call and wait. Only then, would both of us realize that there was nothing to speak. Any thing she would tell me, I already knew - and vice-versa. Silence was perfectly OK too... Now-a-days, I let the phone ring for at least three rings before picking up. If she meant to tell me that she missed me, she would realize that I already knew that and cut it before three rings. That's how, silent wordless calls got converted to 'missed calls'.

It was all fine until a couple of months ago, when she made a startling discovery that while my mobile was flooded with 20-30 missed calls a day, her mobile got none. One fine evening half way through her Frappe Hazzlenut, she asked me Don't I ever miss her? There is no right answer to such a question... and 99% of them are definitely wrong. I tried my luck. I explained:

"Every moment dear. Every moment you are not with me I miss you. Watching you walk away is the hardest thing for me to do every day. But I don't believe in technology to tell you I miss you. Do I even have to tell? When ever I think about you, I pray to God to make you smile :-) Look, like right now!! There it is - the smile (She practically smiles all the time ;-). Next time, you smile and not know why... its me just thinking about you. If you feel ticklish and want to giggle, go ahead... that's when you know I am missing you like hell."

I think she bought it. She sat there thinking about what I had just said for twenty minutes without speaking any word (the usual). She finished the cold coffee, and took a Rick home. I continued on my cappuccino and "Its not about the bike" for some more time. That book is simply a 'Must Read'.

Yesterday night, by the time I came home, I had four SMSs filled with smileys... Evidently, I am missing her much more than I had thought.