Friday, December 27, 2013

The prayer wheel

Milarepa tucked his saffron shawl closer, as he whirled his prayer wheel. The wind was brutal today. His narrow eyes were even more slanted, his flat nose wrinkled up and his ruby lips parched. His agile 14 year old frame shivered.
Even his woolen cap (woven of thick yak wool) could hardly protect his bald head from the chill.

The roads of Leh were deserted. It was past 7'o clock and the tourists had already started moving back to their rooms. Milarepa quickened his pace. If only the lama hadn't come down with fever, he would never be allowed to come out at this hour.
The sky was inky. Writers had myriad of terms to describe it's hues. But to Milarepa, it had always appeared inky. Like the very bottom of those Chelpark bottles at the monastery.

Inky seemed appropriate because it's color spilled everywhere at night.
This same street glittered in the mornings. Happy tourists, excited kids, loud guides and eager shopkeepers. The cosy little cafes would be filled to bursting, the momo stalls abuzz with customers. The little quaint curio shops, the woolen stores, travel agencies and adventure sports stalls vibrated with life.

And as the ink started dripping, everything would close. The wind from the mountains brought it's chill, it's mist and it's stillness with it. Just as it had done for centuries past.

Milarepa stopped whirling the prayer wheel, as he realized that he had almost missed his turn.
He hurried to the medical store. The guy was stowing away boxes, clearly packing up for the day.
"Para...ceta...ceta ....mol", he fumbled deep inside his robes as his teeth chattered of their own accord.
"Wait. Wait. I just packed it up"

"Arjun, come here. Enough I said!, a panicked voice came from nowhere.
Milarepa raised his head and looked around. For a moment, for the tiniest fraction of a moment, he had actually dared to imagine ...

The voice came closer as a family of three approached the store. The mother was still glaring at the kid.
"You have any cough drops? He has been coughing like mad", the little kid let out a heart-wrenching cough (almost on cue)
"Ji madam. One minute. Aye lama bhaiya .. your paracetamol tablet"

Milarepa handed the crumpled ten rupee note and left. Almost ran, as fast as his legs would carry him up the steep slope of the mountain.
The image of the family was stuck in his head. Arjun was someone he knew. Someone with long curly hair and a cheeky little grin. Incidentally, a lot like the kid he had just seen.
He remembered very little though. Just flashes of memory. Like those stains which won't go away no matter how roughly you scrub the cloth.
He remembered Arjun's docile, tiny mother ... he remembered poverty .. hunger .. cuddling with her bony frame on cold nights ..he remembered the fight she and her new husband had.. and the way Arjun had screamed at the monastery gates.

Milarepa's breathing became shallow. He stopped, bent forward and put his hands on his knees. To struggle against the untamed mountain winds on an uphill slope, was no easy task.
He did not tug his robe closer. He wished Arjun's mother was there to tuck it in. Was there to hold his hand and brace him against the winds. Was there to pat his head on that hard monastery bed. Was there to pour cough drops when he was sick.

As he absent mindedly clutched his robe, he recoiled in horror. There was something wrong with his them. A dark spot had appeared on the saffron folds.
Ink. That was what it was. Ink had not only dripped on him, it had managed to seep in.

Malirepa squeezed his eyes shut in fear, shook his head and forced his legs to walk again. He chanted "Om mani Padme Hum" as loudly as he could. His prayer wheel was rotating in his hand.

If only someone could see the young monk, they would know how bravely his prayer wheel kept whirling against the force of the winds that night.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Chand Munda Saga - I

This story is from the fifth chapter of 'Durga Saptshati'. I have tried to translate the original work to the best of my abilities.
All the brilliance is Hers. All faults are mine.

Indra paced in his room. His brows were knit together, fists clenched and you could hear the clouds rumbling as he gritted his teeth.
The asuras had done it again. After the slaying of Mahishasura, He had hoped that they would have learnt their lesson. Hoped that they would lie low and not create chaos. But no, they raised their heads again and again.
Each new one would be more proud, vain, haughty and cruel that the last one. And this time, there were two of them. Shumbh and Nishumbh. These sons of Kasyapa and Danu, had indeed crossed all limits.

Indra looked all around Him. What used to be the royal court, was now a ruin. Surya, Chandra, Vayu, Kubera, Varuna and even the mighty Yama! They had all been stripped of their powers and disposed off.
There was no other way now. They must call upon the One.
She had given her word that she would appear, whenever called upon. She would stand by the Devas in times of calamity. It was time for the vow to be fulfilled.

                                                            *          *            *
The winds raged on Himavat, the lord of the mountains. There was an eerie calm up here, the silence that usually precedes the storm. You could see the Devas standing near the waters of Ganga. Their heads were bowed, arms raised in salutation and eye glittered with hope.
And as their united voice echoed in the valleys of Himavat, the entire world stood still. The Devas sang to Aparajita ( The undefeatable one).

"We prostrate before the one who is the most loving and the most terrible.
We bow to you, you who support the entire world.
You are the very essence of volition, O Devi.
You are the one named Vishnumaya.
 You abide in all beings as the consciousness, intelligence, sleep, hunger, reflection, power, thirst and forgiveness.
You are what forms caste, modesty, peace, faith, beauty, destiny, energy, memory, comapassion and contentment.
You are the Divine Mother, the error ( for truth and error are both forms of the Goddess), you watch over all the three elements.
Oh Isavari, we call upon you. You the one who brings all things auspicious. Come and free us of our hardships"

The echoes of their words had not even died out, when they heard the tinkling of anklets. As they turned around, they saw the figure of Parvati approaching Ganges. She raised those exquisite brows of hers and asked,
" O Devas, who is it that you pray to? with such intensity and devotion"

As if in reply to her question, there sprang from a light from her body. Before the very eyes of the awestruck Devas, the ray carved itself into the figure of Ambika.
"They are addressing the prayer to none other than me. For Shumbh and Nishumbh have threatened the entire world with their atrocities"
This form of the Ambika had been born of Parvati's physical body (Kosa), and would be remembered as Kausiki.
As Kausiki spoke these words and the Devas prostrated in front of Her .. Parvati herself had turned dark . This darkened Parvati would be called Kalika and forever reside on Mount Himalaya forever.

However, the Devas were not the only ones adoring Ambika. From behind the mountains, two pairs of Asura eyes looked down upon the entire group assembled there.
Chand and Munda turned to each other and grinned. This was something that both the masters (Shumbh and Nishumbha )would be very interested in.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Empty eyes (A short story)

Bidisha latched the door from inside and jerked it twice just to be sure. The room was a complete mess. The old wooden bed was laden with unwashed clothes and bedsheets. The same old black-n-white television in the corner, the flickering tubelight and the images of Kali on the wall.

The room stank too, actually. Bidisha knew the smell well. It was the rains. The dreaded Kolkata rains that washed over the very spirit of the city. They had manged to creep into ever nook and corner of the room. 
They established their reign over the skies and the sun. And they lashed out with fury against everything that moved. For some people, rains were romantic. For Shonagachi, there was nought but ruin.

The streets flooded, sewers got choked and rubbish floated everywhere. The mosquitoes bred as quickly as the dogs. Clothes wouldn't dry and their moisture would soak the insides of the room as much as the water dripping from the walls.
Load shedding was a part and parcel of life, so were food poisoning and diarrhea. Customers and clients were few and the inflow of cash dwindled. 

Bidisha could hear Moni didi singing "Jabe rimiki jhimiki jhare bhadarer dhara". It was as if Moni could read her mind.
" On rainy days
When it rains in pattering sounds
I cannot tell how I feel
So bewildered is my mind."

Bidisha almost tore off the cloth that covered her old trunk. Beneath that old threadbare cover, lay her treasure. She threw open the lid and the edges creaked with the effort.
Right on top of her pile of clothes, lay the small notebook. Brown, rough cover and adorned with three simple lines. The kid of notebook you would find in any school bag. But, it was in Bidisha's trunk.

Bidisha turned over the pages swiftly. Scared to look at her old sketches. Afraid that their memory might erase the new one from her mind. As one of her hands flipped the pages, the other one's bangles jingled as she sought her pencil.
She threw the notebook on the bed and jumped, pencil in hand. The dark room, the sodden air, the creaking fan, the pitterpatter of rain and the sound of maashi screaming ..all disappeared. 

The arms first, lean and muscled. The kind these rickshaw pullers have. Maybe he was one. The right one had a black 'taweez' tied to it. The left one had a mole near the elbow. Not too hairy though, although the armpits were hairy. Yes!
Hands? Rough. Very rough. Smelling of bidi? Or was it hash? No. Bidi. The nails were uncut. Dirt beneath three of them. The right hand was relatively cleaner. She could still feel the grip on both her breasts. And on her thighs. 
The legs? Both muscular and hairy. He hadn't given her time to observe those. If only she had been on her knees, she could have observed better. All the legs impressions were from the five minutes he spent panting on top of her, once he was done.
The stomach? Flat, almost concave, a trail of hair in the middle. The nipples were tiny, the hair on the chest were sparse and very rough. Flat and bony. Not like those pot-bellied alcohol addicts.
And the face? The face! She screwed her eyes tight.
Thin lips, thick greying moustache, two of the side teeth were broken and all of them were stained yellow. The nose was prominent, hawk like and sprouting hair. Hollow cheeks, bearded and pock marked. The hair were gone from the centre. Flat on his head, probably due to the rain. And smelled of fumes. 
The eyes? Big, not very heavily lidded and round in shape. Popping out and staring. Like those men who had a swelling in their necks. And empty. Empty eyes she liked. They did not scare her.
It was the pained eyes that tortured her, the lusty ones that made her recoil and the angry ones that bit. Thankfully, empty eyes this one had. 

"Aaaaaayyyyyyeeeee Bidisha!! " , Maashi knocked hard on the door. Another customer? 
She threw the pencil back into the trunk and banged the lid shut. Jumped over to the mirror and plastered her lips with lipstick. One quick effort to straighten her dress and she bolted out the door.

The notebook lay on the bed. It's pages fluttering, each containing a different figure. Each capturing a different set of eyes. Moni didi was now humming softly somewhere,
"Kee phul jhorilo bipul ondhokare"
(A bud waned in the endless dark
Her fragrance like an unfinished cue
Penetrated my slumber)

Friday, November 1, 2013

The slaying of Madhu and Kaitabha

The story has been taken from the first chapter of Devi Mahatmaya.
When King Suratha asks Rishi Markendeya, as to what is the "Nature and origin of Mahamaya". The rishi tells this tale to him.
I have tried to translate the original texts, to the best of my abilities. All the faults are mine, all the brilliance is hers.

'tvam svāhā tvam svadhā tvam hi vasat-kārah svara-ātmikā
sudhā tvam akasare nitye trithāmātra-ātmikā sthitā'

The entire Kalpa had come to an end. Water was everywhere. The seas had swallowed whatever land they could find. The mighty waves had established their reign over the three worlds.
Lord Vishnu was asleep. He had taken to his mystic slumber (Yoganindra) upon the sesa-naga. And as everything appeared calm and at peace, there emerged something from his ears.

Madhu and Kaitabha sprang to life, born of Vishnu's ear wax. Both of them looked at each other and laughed maliciously.
"What must we do, brother?", one of the them asked (for they were indistinguishable from each other)
"Come! We must take advantage of Vishnu's slumber. Let us go slay someone. someone mighty and powerful."
"Why not Brahma then? he shall be the easiest one to overtake. We could pounce and Him and finish Him off forever"

And they patted each other on the back. Delighted at having reached a mutual agreement, they sauntered off to finish the newly appointed enemy.

Brahma sat on the lotus that had emerged from Vishnu's navel. Lost in meditation and contemplation of the world, he stirred from his deep trance.
He could feel them coming. The shift in energy was palpable, so was the invincible force.
Brahma closed his eyes again and the entire scene passed before Him. They had been born of Vishnu, the preserver himself. And only He could destroy them.

To rouse Hari from His deep eternal slumber ...Brahma focused his prayer on the great Yoganidra residing in His eyes.
His deep, sonorous voice resonated as He extolled Her virtues,

"You are Svaha, and Swadha. You are the Vasatkara (the vedic Yajna) and the embodiment of Svara (you the sacrifice and the Heaven that can be attained through it). You are the nectar.
You are the emobidment of the threefold mantra ( A,U,M). You are half a matra, though eternal. You are Savitri (referrign to the Savitri hymn in Rigveda) and the Supreme Mother of the Gods.

You are the One who has created this world, you sustain it and you are the one who shall preside over it's destruction.
You enclose the creative, preserving and destructive forces within you. And you change them at will. Whenever you deem it necessary to do so.
You are the great knowledge (Mahavidya), the great delusion (Mahamaya) , the great intellect( Mahamedha) , the great contemplation (Mahasmriti), Mahadevi and also the great Asuri.

You are the primiordial force that gives life. You are the dark nights of dissolution. You are the Goddess  of good fortune, the ruler, modesty, intelligence, satisfaction, tranquaillity and patience. Armed with gleaming mighty weapons ... you are terrible and yet beautiful.
Your beauty is beyond compare, O great Isvari.

You are the soul of everything. The inner force that pulsates inside all things real and imaginary. How much more can i praise thee?
Even the One who created and sustaisn and devours the world, is put to sleep (by you). Who can praise and describe you, O Devi?
You, who have formed all three of us ...Brahma, Vishnu and Siva.
Emerge! O Mighty One. Release Vishnu from his slumber. And let Him slay these two demons who are wrecking havoc"

And from the pores of Vishnu's body, emerged a blinding light. A force of such magnitude that his eyes, mouth, nostrils, arms, heart and breast ....glowed with it.
She extracted herself completely and appeared in front of Brahma. And as Brahma bowed before her, Vishnu finally opened His eyes.

And then followed the war. For five thousand years, Vishnu fought with the two asuras. Using nothing but his bare hands, He clashed with them again and again. The dance of death continued over the mighty ocean.

The Mahamaya had already cast Her influence upon them. Deluded by Her, they looked Vishnu in the eye and asked him, "You may ask us a boon"

ShriBahgavan smiled at their question and secretly bowed to Mahamaya. He then answered, "If the two of you are satisfied with my skill in battle ... give me the humble boon of killing you both"

Both Madhu and Kaitabha looked all around and smiled inwards.
"You may slay us. But you can do so only in a dry place. Find a spot where the Earth isn't submerged beneath water. And we shall hand ourselves over to you"

Then the Kamalnayan smiled, and patted his thighs. And upon his loins he laid both their heads.
Then He picked up the divine Sudarshan-Chakra, the very force of which could turn universe to dust. And slayed their heads.

And therein lies the glory of Mahamaya. The wielder of the great Maya, that binds us all.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Give the boy a doll

Why not? Give it.
Along with the GI joe, racing cars, machine guns and bat-ball ...give him a doll too. Don't tell him it's girly, don't tell him it's not something boys should not play with.
Just give it to the kiddo like any other toy.

He may pick it up and toss it aside himself (and you would breathe a sigh of relief. First test of 'man'liness passed.)
In that case, the matter will be over. OR he might start taking an interest in it. Pick it up and try pulling apart it's limbs, tearing it's hair and banging it on the floor.
He might be very interested in what lies beneath the skirt (you MAY try to stop him. Although you will breathe another sigh of relief. Manliness reconfirmed)
It's nothing dirty. Let him examine it if he wants to. It's basic innocent childish curiosity.

Le's turn to more dreadful prospects. Shall we?
He might start playing with it. Maybe brush it's hair or sleep next to it. He might give it a cute name and dress it up occasionally. He might make a house for it and put little makeup on it.
You will fight your impulse to snatch the doll back. good. fight.
He might like setting it's hair and end up being the best hair designer in the country. He might like dressing it up, and become an artist or a designer in life.

Hell! Let's assume the 'worst'. He might like dolls because he is gay. Well then, you can always blame the doll in the future. Blame the doll and reduce his inner burden of guilt.

It might be his 'crime fighting partner'. It might be a queen, and he'll be the knight. It might be his Cindrella, Goldilock, Sleeping Beauty or Rapunzel. It might become the sister he wants. It might become a best friend or a girlfriend. It might be his first crush.

It will teach him to be delicate, to handle things with care.
If  he whispers secrets in her ears, it might make him more open to women. It might teach him to trust. It might teach him respect for women.
He will build the same house for a girl later on. He will hold another girl close to him, in the future. Only this time, he will know how to hug her without hurting her.
It will make him more emotional and more deep within. It will teach him not to eye a woman with lust alone. It will make those hands more tender.

The XY chromosomes will come into action. He will become the man he is meant to be. Nothing can prevent that from happening. It has been coded into his genes. Hormones will take care of it.
All you can do is, help him become a good human being.

So, give the boy a doll. He will definitely be a better man. And a real doll will love him back, for it

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Bhalobashi (short story)

The last train zoomed to a stop, the announcement said "Auteuil" . A lone Indian man got out, and almost tripped over in hurry. Tall, wrapped in an overcoat, woolen cap over head, water bottle in one hand and laptop in the other. Someone you wouldn't really notice in a crowd.

Sarvanan took off his glasses, and wiped the lenses with his handkerchief. Coming out of the tube was irritating at times.
He looked around and saw that the station was deserted. He was accustomed to seeing a few regulars every night. The old lady in a scarf, with a tiny little dog. Two or three IT professionals who worked in an office near his, and some housewives out for daily shopping.
He talked to none of them, however. It wasn't just the language problem. He had been attending  tutorials at work, and could speak passable french.
Coming from a tiny little town near Nagercoil, he had been speaking tamizh forever. It was difficult for him to express himself freely in english. French was like a whole new barrier.

Sarvanan almost raced up the station staircase. He was late by an hour . Damn the stupid Paris traffic! The roads were almost deserted now, the mist was creeping in. His shoes scrunched against the gravel, silence magnifying the eerie sound.
Usually he loved this walk. He would walk leisurely and absorb all the sights and sounds. Call up amma and talk about the day, complain about missing her idiyappam and coffee. Maybe call one or two of his friends (they all lived so far away that he could visit them only on weekends).

Today, he did none of these things. His laptop bag weighed down his shoulder and the box of packed sandwiches rattled inside. He stepped over a puddle of water, and icy cold drops splashed over his trousers.
He didn't care. He was late for his singer.
                                             *                    *                  *
It had started a few months back, on an evening like this. He had been at peace, walking at his own pace and talking to amma.
He had actually just moved in, the monster of loneliness had not enveloped him then. He was in Paris, eating delicious packaged food and living on his own. He felt at the top of the world.
He had just reached home and taken off his shirt, when the voice came. He had no idea where had it wafted in from.
The words were incomprehensible, but he could recognize that it was bangla. He sat down on the bed, spellbound. She sang for about half-an-hour, and then there was silence again.
for many more nights to come, he had been hooked.

It became his medicine, his pleasure, his addiction and his nirvana. He could not understand a word of it, true. But all of them were so full of pathos, they truly reflected his life.
He would shut off his lights, close his eyes and lose himself. In that dreary, lonely, work obsessed Parisian struggle ... they were his connection to home.

He had finally seen her in the shopping complex one day. Thin, big round eyes, a huge red pottu over the forehead and carrying a child in a crib.
He had thought about going and introducing himself. But he had no idea if she would understand english. Also, she might find it creepy that he waited for her songs everyday.
So he kept himself to himself, everytime he saw her. She was his only friend, in that small suburb of Paris.

There was nothing to do most nights. After spending a day in front of his computer, opening up his laptop was the last thing on his mind. He would listen to her, eat his food and drift off to sleep. Next morning was another grueling day.
                                        *            *               *

Sarvanan unlocked his door, and threw the laptop bag on the bed. It was way too late, though she was still awake.
She lived in the apartment upsatirs, and the lights were still on. He considered going there and saying sorry, apologizing for missing her kutcheri.
Then he realized how absurd it sounded. The work tension, the loneliness, the aching feeling of missing home and the night's disappointment...all weighed down upon him.

He pressed his face deep into the sogging pillow and sobbed a little. And from a land far far away, someone joined in his sorrow
'Bhalobashi Bhalobashi
Ei Sure Kachhe Dure ......'

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Birth of Mahishaura-Mardhini

*The following has been taken from the second chapter of 'Durga Saptashati'. I have tried to translate the original texts, to the best of my abilities. All faults are mine, all brilliance is Hers*
जयन्ती मङ्गला काली भद्रकाली कपालिनी ।
दुर्गा शिवा क्षमा धात्री स्वाहा स्वधा नमोऽस्तु ते ॥

The war had lasted a hundred years. Hundred years of bloodshed, destruction and rampage. The Devas had fought valiantly, and lost a great many of their numbers. The Asuras (led by Mahishasura) however, had held their ground.
And as the end of the war drew nearer, Devas had to admit their defeat. Indra and other Gods were banished from the Heavens.
With no other option in sight, they (accompanied by Brahma himself) went to ask Siva and Vishnu for guidance.
                   *                               *                                   *                                    *             
Indra bowed low before the Trinity. 
"We have been wronged. O Lord Of The Lords! I come before the three of you, to ask for justice. For hundred years, we have locked horns with the demon  Mahishasura. 
He has crushed us to the ground. He has taken over the realm of Surya, Agni, Vayu, Chadra, Yama and Varuna. We have been forced to roam the Earth, like mere mortals.
And he sits there, lording over the world and spreading injustice and cruelty. Help us get rid of Him! Help us save the Universe from his atrocities" , Indira almost screamed in despair.
He gasped for air, unable to control his emotions. All around, there prevailed a deadly silence. The kind of silence that ruffles up winds and announces the storm. 

All the Gods present were filled with anger and a desire for revenge. The faces of Siva and Vishnu were contracted with rage. 
And as the silence deepened, a light issued forth from both their bodies. The same rays emerged from all the other Gods. It merged, it collided, it united to form an avalanche of pulsating energy.
The energy filled every direction, nook and corner of the universe.

And as the Gods stared in wonder, the light from Siva transformed into a face. A face so divine and radiant that they had seen none of it's like.
Yamaraj's energy bestowed Her the crown of dark, lustrous, long hair. Her arms emerged from Lord Vishnu's aura.

Chandra carved Her breasts, Indra formed Her abdomen. From Varuna came her shanks, from Earth her hips, from Brahma her feet and from Surya Her toes.
Vasus's light gave her fingers, Kubera's 'tej' formed her nose. Prajapati gifted her perfect teeth, and Agni's magnificence blossomed into her three eyes.
 The light of the two Sandhyas became her eye-brows, the light of the Vayu her ears. 

And as the Devas looked upon her, they bowed their head in reverence. She was poetry in motion, the epitome of womanhood and the spirit of the Shakti.
But, the work had just begun.

Siva drew a trident from His own, and presented it to Her. Vishnu followed in His footsteps, and presented His chakra. Varua gave Her a conch, Agni bestowed Her with power and Vayu shaped two quivers full of arrows.
Indra duplicated his own Vajra and a bell from his elephant, Airavata. Yama gave Her a staff of death, Varuna a noose and a string of beads and 'kamandal' came from Brahma.
The rays of Surya shone throne her skin, and Kala ( the Time) drew forth a spotless sword and shield.

The Mlik-Ocean presented her with an exquisite necklace, timeless garments and bedecked her in ornaments. Vishwakarma gave Her a brilliant axe, and an impenetrable armour. The Ocean produced a garland of unfading lotuses, and a beautiful lotus for her hand. 

The mountain Himavata, brought forward magnificent beast of a lion for Her. Kubera gave her a cup of wine that would never empty. Sesa, the lord the snakes, carved a serpent-necklace adorned with jewels. 

She stood there, a vision beyond compare. She laughed out aloud, as her lion roared. Her laughter rang with pride, power and defiance. 
She might look resplendent, but the weapons enhanced her beauty to another level. She was a force to be reckoned with, ruthless and lusting for blood. 
The seas trembled, the Earth shook and the skies tore open. As she ventured forth into the battlefield, the Devas roared
"Victory to You !"

She had been born of all their energies, and She surpassed them all. She was Durga. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Slaying Of Mahishasura

*The story has been taken from third chapter of 'Durga Saptshati'. I have tried to translate and reinterpret the original sanskrit texts, to the best of my abilities. The brilliance is all Hers, the faults are all mine*

जयन्ती मङ्गला काली भद्रकाली कपालिनी ।
दुर्गा शिवा क्षमा धात्री स्वाहा स्वधा नमोऽस्तु ते ॥

Mahishasura bellowed in anger. He raised his bloodshot eyes and looked all around the field. Arms lay twitching, countless severed heads and blown out eyes were staring at the sky. Some heads were muttering, others spewing blood on the sodden ground.
The sky itself has turned blood red, as if mirroring the emotions of the battle. Blood curling screams, raucous war cries and claps of thunder roared.  His centre of attention however, were none of these.

She stood in the centre of the field, indistinguishable from the war around her. She WAS the war, unstoppable and ruthless. She battled hundreds at a time, her weapons raining down death upon all those unlucky enough to come near her.
"Once I win this war, She and the Gods shall pay for it dearly", he swore to himself, and he counted his losses.

Ciksura, his great general had been the only one who had manged to harm Her. She had slain him with her pike, the force of the attack blasting the general into a thousand pieces.
His blood and gore had not even settled to the ground, when that ferocious lion of Hers had pounced upon Camara. That had been a valiant battle, until the beast had soared high into the sky and slashed off Camara's head with his brutal claws.
Each of her weapons were deadly, but she was the deadliest of them all. Her arrows tore apart Durmukha, she beheaded Bidala with her sword. That trident of hers had claimed Mahamanu.
She had relentlessly poundedUddhata to death, with her club. If that was not enough, Karala had been torn to pieces by her mere hands and teeth

She was a dangerous, vicious, merciless and blood lusting enemy! Well, if war was what She wanted, Mahishasura will give her war!

                                                              *                *                   *

Mahishasura transformed himself to his buffalo form. The great beast stood like a mountain, his horns gleaming with crusted blood. Each of his muscles bulged, his arteries pulsated, his nostrils puffed great bouts of air, his hooves shook the earth and his eyes spelled Death.

He charged, and the army of the Devi fell to pieces. his muzzle tossed soldiers in the air, his hooves crushed and pounded them. His sheer speed, his bellowing, his wheeling movements and his deadly breath. He was a machine of war, an army in himself.
And turned his attention to the other beast roaring in front of him. The very elements of nature seemed to be shivering with fear. The Earth gave way, under his terrible hooves. The great seas parted, by the flick of his tail and his horns tore apart the clouds high above!
As he advanced towards Her, he finally caught a close glimpse.

She was covered in blood, filth and gore. Each of her wepaons glimmered with the spoils of battle. Her eyes were bloodshot ,drunk and red. Her muscles were poised, her mouth smiling in happiness.
The great Asura could not control his wonder, even in moments of such rage. She had looked eternally beautiful when She had walked in. But now, in this insane maniac form, she surpassed beauty. This was her, in all her glorious splendour. No amount of 'sringaar' could have given her the aura that 'sanghaar' gave her!

The two titans collided, and the world waited with bated breath. He was brute force, She was contained dynamism. He was rage untamed, She was strength fortified.
They clashed and clashed again. As She bound the great buffalo with a noose, He was forced to take the form of a lion. Before he could pounce, his head had been slashed off with Her sword.
The man She fell with a thunder of arrows, the elephant's trunk was chopped off too.  He was forced to return to his buffalo form, and he bellowed with anger!

The Devi's eyes burned red, She had had enough of this. She launched a hail of arrows at the mountains he had thrown at her . She raised her glass to her mouth and laughed,
"Roar, Roar! You fool! Once I finish this wine, the Devas shall roar in this place after I've slain you"

She leaped, twirled in the air and gracefully landed on the great asura! He was so taken aback, He did not have time to retreat.
He struggled under her foot, unable to comprehend the power of this woman. He was the great Asura, immune to all men and defeater of Devas! The more he roared, the more she pressed him down!

Frustated, he emerged as his human form. Raised his head from the neck of the great buffalo. His war cry rang with insanity. It was the final call of the Great Asura, his shock and shame at having been subjugated by a woman!
The Devi slashed off his head with a single swipe of her sword. The blood issued forth from His neck, bathing Her in an iridescent glow.

She stood still, clothes torn to pieces, hair disheveled and eyes glowing with naked bloodlust. She stood there with her Lion by the side, slayer of a million and wielder of deadly astras.
She stood there, and there was none as beautiful as She.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Of Evil and Sin

The concept is 'made clear' to you, since the time you are able to understand the world. 
When you are still in your half-pants and frocks, you are taught 'paap' and 'punyam'. The difference between God and Asura is described in detail. You are made to understand (over a number of years), what (certain) things are 'forbidden'.
As you grow older, you venture out into the world. You come across people, form opinions and absorb experiences .Your childhood definition of Evil changes .You modify it to suit your own needs.
You understand that lying is not 'Evil', it is necessary. Stealing is also okay to some extent, and so is 'talking bad' about people. Most of us stop here, and turn out to be 'civilized people’.
Some other unfortunate ones go ahead and become murderers , terrorists and rapists. 
The point being, Evil is a relative term ! It changes it's boundaries and definitions (much like it's propagators, the form changing jinns and rakshasaas)

Who decides as to whether you committed a sin ? Who do you look up to , for relieving your burden of guilt ? 

Here's a secret , no one . Your priest, your inspirational writer, your guru ,your parents and your friends are all on the same level as you.
All of them get confused and scratch their heads at some point or the other .They all rely on the same instrument as you (eventually) do , the omnipresent 'conscience' .

That inner instinct that beeps every time you step out of line .For it carries the wisdom of ages within it .It remembers all that you have been ,since the beginning of time.
And sometimes ( when it suits us) , we choose to mute it completely.

The definition of evil has changed its forms, from the mythical demons to Hitler and Osama. Evil has changed uniforms and methods. But, what has remained constant is the firm belief in 'Evil' 
What if I told you that there existed no Evil. That it is just a fragment of your imagination. In the end , it's your conscience that decides what is evil . You; and you alone decide if your actions and thoughts are 'sinful' or not.
You would explode; all of us would. It's a great power, to be free of the burden of judgement. To be able to do anything, as long as your mind claimed that it was okay.
Ponder over it, and reflect . Maybe that's why all religions lay down a million definitions of Evil. They are scared of making man realize his inner power. They bind  man with fear, guilt and shame.
And rightly so, for man is weak and unstable .If left untamed, we shall stop at nothing.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Fat ,short ,bald and dark

Yes , this is what I call the 'BDSF' syndrome .If a tiny part of you cringed inside ( while reading the title ) ,you are probably a patient too.

It begins at the very outset of life . Right when you jump out of your amniotic sac ,and are handed over to the hawk-like nani/dadi .
Then begins the long list of comparisons,
"Colour went after mom"
"Eyes went after papa"
"Eyebrows were photocopied from the distant mausiji"
"Lips took a flying ticket from that ancestor's phenotype"

And once the wheels have been set in motion, the exercise never stops. The color is kept a watch upon , any minor variations are immediately reported to the head of genetics ( some ancient know-it-all amma ).

Fat baby, short baby, tall baby, cranky baby, skinny baby, stubborn baby. Blah blah blah ! They do it, until the importance of physical appearance has been drilled deep into your cerebrum.

Yes , I know what you feel like.
Trust me, no one knows better than I do .
In all the 'well fed' households ( add to that , well rounded house members ), you get over stuffed . You grow into a cute little adolescent with round thighs , rounder face and roundest belly.
You start going to school ,finding out that you can't run .Let's not go into the painful world of childhood pranks and sarcastic comments . Let's just say that the 'baby fat' melts away before you reach college.
Or else , it will be a long series of hiding your body in photos . Also , pulling in your tummy and throwing away 'M' and 'S' clothes.
Oh ! and the dear old omnipresent guilt.

"Arre , you have grown so tall !" , Pammi aunty pinches your chubby cheeks and smiles.
It's like a competition , who's kid has gained how many inches ! Hanging by the bars , drinking 'complan' and other ingenious new methods are put in practice.

Thank God genetics steps in , and saves you from taking all the blame . 
But it haunts you nevertheless . Be it the front row of the class photograph ,or the high heels cutting your foot . 
If you are a woman, it's excused . The inner pain of a man who cannot find a wife shorter than him, is exquisite.
Well, you keep standing on your heels , and try to look a little higher and higher 

You roll up in your bed , cuddling with the soft lumpy pillow . And open your eyes to the mass of fallen hair on your bed . You sit right up ,stare in horror and wave them off with your hand ( like some 80's murderer wiping off finger prints ).
The story repeats over and over again . On your towel , on your table , in the sink and on your coat . The more you worry over it , the more they abandon you.
You try herbal treatment, allopathy, tantra , hair products and God knows what not .
You cover them up with dupattas and caps . You let them grow longer , just to hide that bald patch .
And when nothing works ,you go bald ( or the new age miracle of 'hair transplant' )

But most of us , keep tearing our hair over it !

Ah ! If only Krishna bhagwan was alive , he would probably be advertising 'Fair and Handsome' !
Childhood cruel names , laments of your granny and giggles of your fairer siblings come in a package . You rub 'Fair and lovely' , 'ubtan' , 'malai' , 'face washes' and every other product you can lay your hands upon.

The groom wants a fair wife , the future mom-in-law wants a fair grandchild . No matter if the bride is uncouth , ugly ,rude or bitchy .The bleach of fairness outshines it all.

And there we stand , wrapped in our own miseries and 'inferiority complexes'.
Talents , personalities and morals come second . The sculpture outside ,is always the most prominent . 
If you are strong enough , you end up as a 'normal' ,well adjusted person . If you aren't , dear old society shall make you as bitter and unsatisfied as itself .

Wash them away . It shall take years to do so . But do it ! 
Do it for yourself , do it b'coz your childhood suffered under it . Do it because your youth is still struggling with it . Do it so that your old age isn't sad.
Recognize and value yourself for who you TRULY are . Surround yourself with people who do the same.

Do it for the piece of Him , that lies within you . You are beautiful , eternally beautiful. Forever and ever.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Vish Kanya - II

Tarini lifted the palaquin curtains and put her veil over her face . Through the sheer silk over her eyes , she could see the soldiers gazing at all six of them.
They averted their eyes , from time to time .After all ,it wasn't polite to stare at a woman in public . Even if she was there for the purpose they thought she was here .

She did not look back at her sisters . Each of them was led into tents at the centre of the camp . She noted the number of soldiers posted around each one of them .
Two at the front gates , two near the back  . The flags of their king fluttered gently over the tops . The area of clearing around each ,made it even more evident . These tents clearly belonged to some important generals.

As she entered the tent , her guide bowed and left . The interior was well lit .A simple wooden table was piled high with papers , a bed in the centre , a basin of water and an assortment of weapons glittered in the corner.
The man she was supposed to entertain , was not here yet . She threw off the veil , her ears ( sharpened by years of blindfold sword fighting ) alert for the sound of any approaching footsteps

The papers on the table were all in sanskrit . She ruffled through them , as fast as she could . The information she needed would be much more cryptic than that .
Finally at the very bottom of the pile , she chanced upon the random incomprehensible symbols . Incomprehensible to the uneducated eyes . She had been trained in the delicate vidya of codes and encryption  ,by the very masters themselves .
She read it as fast as she could . It was indeed impossible to decipher it all , in such short a time . But she managed to gather enough information . There was no doubt about it . These men were planning to plant their own spies inside the city's walls.
Chanakya gurudev was right , yet again . Nothing escaped that twisted old brahman's notice.

She was so engrossed in it all , that she almost missed the approaching footsteps . As fast she could , Tarini readjusted her veil and rushed to the side of the bed .
The timing had been near perfection ! No sooner had she bowed her head , and lowered her eyes down that the flaps parted .

She could hear the dull clunk of the armour , the heavy military boots . It was an unwritten code of respect that she could not look at him , until he lifted the veil.

She could see his bulging muscles , the rough hardened hands of a warrior . He threw off the silk veil gently , almost delicately . And lifted her chin , staring directly into those eyes .

Tarini stood rooted to the spot . Whatever and whoever she had been expecting .This was not him , no .
He must have been in his early twenties ,with a chiseled face and deep probing eyes .
His high nose , the broad forehead and the handlebar moustache combined to give him the aura of a kshatriya demigod .

She could feel herself blushing red . As his hands travelled up and down her arms , she shuddered . All her life men had touched her to train her , to slash swords with her .
This , this was different . She could see the anticipation in his eyes . The touch of those gentle ,warm hands and the intoxicating odour of his breath upon her face .
What if she was not worth him ? What if he came to know that Tarini was but an inexperienced virgin . She felt so powerless ,as he lovingly pushed her on the bed .
Her heart was hammering inside her chest . He threw off his heavy armour . Glittering in the flickering light of the torch , he gently pulled her lips towards him.
Tarini responded with a passion so deep , it surprised her .Their lips locked , and those tongues intermingled with each other . .He pulled her even closer , hugging her in an embrace

Suddenly she felt his grip loosen ,almost trying to pull away . Those eyes full of fire , dilated with fear and confusion . His hand closed upon her wrist tightly !
Before she knew ,the flames were gone . Those pupils became pin points , the body slackened.
 And , he was dead .

Tarini was so shocked , she let him slide to the ground and drew back.
She stared in horror , aghast at her own naivety . What had she expected ? Years of training had been  forgotten in a moment of passion ?
She was nought but a vessel , filled to the brim with venom . Oh ! Love and embraces were not meant for her .She wiped her mouth ,almost as if wiping his death off her .
Damn it ! She wheeled around in anger . Years of rage against the injustice of the world ,was screaming within her.

She could already hear commotion inside . Some of her sisters must have started the onslaught . She dragged out the dagger hidden in her skirt.
Almost as if on the cue ,four of the soldiers barged inside .

She threw the dagger at the nearest one . Catching him in the throat , right where the biggest artery pulsated . Without waiting to see if the dagger had hit it's mark ,she lunged at the other one . He  was holding his hands wide apart , ready to strike .
Bloody fool ! she walked right into his embrace . A kiss of death on his lips ,as she grabbed his sword at struck at the other two .

She grabbed a sword in one hand , and a dagger in the other . The moemnt she slithered out of the tent ,she coudl see that the massacre had already begun.
With a war cry of her own , she jumped in the fray . With her deadly skills and the rage pulsating within , it was almost too easy . Almost a pleasure.

Each of her sisters were striking down the puny soldiers . With the generals dead ,these were dyed-in-the-wool military minions. Most of them were confused , and almost all of them underestimated their enemy . By the time they realized how vicoius the enemy really was , it was too late.

The advantage of having a dagger and a sword was , the enemy never knew which one was coming . She severed arteries , poked through eyes , pierced abdomens and flailed chests .
They kept coming , and she kept striking . Each of those six women , worked like an animal in heat  . Ruthless ,inexhaustable , blood thirsty animals.

Where the metal failed , the kisses , bites and scratches worked . Even the blood that was splashed on the soldiers;'face , was enough to blind or cripple them to death.

The battle finshed quickly enough  . At the end ,there were only six women left standing.
Tarini stood rooted to the ground , unsure of how many had she chopped off . Her hair was matted with gore . Her nails had pieces of flesh and ripped skin stuck in them  . Her mouth tasted of salt  ,sweat and blood.
Her heart raced wildly ,her pulse was thundering and her muscles were still straining . She looked at her sisters , all of them mirroring her thoughts.

The amount of fury that they had unleashed that night had shocked them too . But what was more shocking ,was the mad surge of power they felt within.
In that tiny little camp , amidst bodies of their their first victims . The 'vish kanyas' were truly born.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Vish Kanya

The paalki came to a halt . Tarini parted the curtains and peeped outside . They were almost at the entrance of the camp . She could see the torch flames flickering . Maybe , 20 or 25 tiny little tents ,fluttering in the wind .

It was not a typical army camp . The vaastu was inauspicious to begin with ( and they were soon going to realize how very inauspicious it was going to be ) .
The barricades were too fragile , almost a formality .  And the number of guards at the entry ( and the few lookout posts they had passed ) , were sparse and too relaxed .

She turned her head to the other side . Behind her , five other paalkis had come to a halt . She could see the silhouettes of her sisters in each of them . The night was silent , almost eerily quiet . Warm dusty wind blew against her face . 
It was the kind of silence that gave you goosebumps . The silence that preceded the storm .

And , the moon ! The bright full moon hanging in the sky . Full moon nights made her uneasy . She put her head inside the palki again , and closed her eyes  . Such vividly painful memories they were .

                                                                       *         *            *        *
It was a full moon night ,in that tiny hamlet on Uttarapatha . Bharini was barely six years of age . Her eyes dilated with fear ,and tears welled up in them. 
She looked back at the fading images of her parents ,standing at the boundary of their tiny hut . Their eyes brimming with tears , yet their chests so full of pride .

Little Bharini didn't understand it then . Tarini knew better , it wasn't everyday that the prime minister Chanakya came over and asked for your daughter .
 And when he did , you gave her in  . With the sacrifice , came the immense honour of being the father of a Mauryan soldier .

And from there ,the journey had begun. In an enclosed ashram , two days away from Takshila .. Bharini died . In her place , Tarini was born . 
The childhood memories were blurred  .They were a mixture of body aches , blinding head aches ,dehydration , vomiting ,stomach cramps ,unconsciousness and struggles for breath . 

She was not alone . There were many other girls around ,suffering the same fate . 
They were taken care of , bathed , dressed and fed every day . With the food came a small portion of that vile potion . Then they retched , and broke in sweats ,some actually cried aloud and begged for death .
The lucky ones , were indeed embraced by Yama himself .

By the time she was ten , Tarini knew she was the unlucky one . She , and a couple of others ,survived the ordeals .
Their bodies had finally grown accustomed to the daily doses of posion .
Every day they drank , venom extracted from cobras , kraits , scorpions , mysterious sea fishes ,toads spiders and plants .

Chanakya had them imported from unknown corners of the world . Exotic snakes , monstrous spiders , multi hued toads and crushed plants . Each of these were tested and mixed by scientists and vaidyas ,sworn to secrecy .
And they brewed new concoctions everyday . Concoctions that she and her friends gulped down , each morning . 

And if they thought that their struggles had ended . They couldn't have been more mistaken .
 From the time she was ten , Tarini could not remember being free . The day started with 'Astra vidya' .Swords , daggers , whips , arrows ,spears and martial arts . Each one of the maidens as drilled till they could barely stand.
From famed army generals , to Egyptian assassins ,with no shortage of trainers . They ducked , sprang , stabbed and shielded . Bruises and welts were a part of existence back then .

From time to time , Chanakya would come and watch . And bring newer opponents every time . Watch them struggle ,get beaten and ( after a long time ) crush each of his fighters . 

The evenings were a trial in themselves . From natya to sangeet to kaamvidya , they were instructed by the finest in each field . They danced till their feel bled . The sword wielding muscles forming those delicate mudras .
The throats that echoed with battle cries , would strain to catch a particular elaborate raaga . The practised the postions of pleasure , read vedas and recited mantras late into the night .

By the time Tarini was eighteen , she was unrecognizable .Her long eyelashes , large soft eyes , full lips and a delicate looking nose had emerged victorious from the clutches of puberty . The slim waist , vessel like hips and heavy bosom added to the charm .

Oh , and she breathed poison . Poion that blended with her very blood and fluids . It pulsed within her , growing stronger with every cup she drank . 
One scratch of those nails ,was enough to make a man stop dead in his tracks . Literally . One swipe of he tongue on the lips , and he would be struggling for breath . And a full blown kiss on the lips , would be the death sentence.

And finally , the evening before , Chanakya had summoned her and her sisters . Finally , laid out ....

                                                                          *                 *                 *                   *

The paalki started moving , pulling her back to reality . The moon shone brightly through the silk veils . She could see the soldiers trying to catch a glimpse of the damsels inside .
What they didn't know was that , there sat vicious monsters behind those veils


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Stipper no.21

Anita parted the curtains with her hands . The dull multicoloured lights flashing on the stage , Prince's 'She's always in my hair' was playing softly over the speakers .

She took a deep breath ,and walked forward . Hair let loose around the shoulders , a lock of hair placed seductively over the right eye .
Red pumps ,a short glittering dress barely covering her thighs . Custom made , so that it could be pulled off with a swipe of her hand . The number 21 dangling from the side of the Lycra thong underneath .

Anita had no illusions about how she looked . She had no illusions about most things in life . Short , barely 5'5" , full lips , heavily lidded eyes , a mole of her  cheek .
Ass size ,38 and breast size , 34 . Add a chiseled abdomen to that , and she knew why she was so popular in here .

She strutted seductively across the floor ,halting at the very edge . Turned a full 360 , to give them a once 'look over' of everything . The applause always came .

She then proceeded to take off the dress , one shoulder at a time . Gyrating to the music ,her hands running over her body . Ruffling the hair ,circling the lips , and pausing seductively over those breasts.
She slithered to the ground , threw her head back , breathing heavily .Making sure that they could see her erect nipples pumping up and down ,through the dress . Her legs crossed over , as if trying to block them from seeing what was in there.
There was nothing men loved , more than a woman trying to cover herself up provocatively.

And ,she finally unzipped the dress and threw it off her back . There was no applause , just the silent anticipation . The kind of silence that screams of chaos .

She knew that the teasing was over ,it was time . AS as the Lycra covered waist moved to the slow tunes of an Arabic number ,all your could hear was the slow steady sounds of breathing .
Give them a half-naked ,olive skinned stripper no.21 , belly dancing across the floor .And , they were yours. Completely.

She now observed them all . This was the moment of power . The moment which why she knew why she would never leave her job .

There was the guilty stare , the 'wife loving' guy . Sitting and trying his best to evade his eyes , but lust would keep pulling him back.
The 'animal' , glaring ,probing unabashedly . It hardly mattered that she was almost naked . These ones could strip you down to the bones .
The 'gentleman' , with a scotch in hand . His eyes admiring ,gentle and what's the word , 'sympathetic' ?
The 'depressed one' , wasted and uninterested . The poetic soul , who was finding emptiness and grief even here .
The regulars , the business officials , the bachelors , the 'underage kids' , the perverts . It was a veritable bazaar of manliness .
Not a bazaar actually , it was their natural habitat . They were all here for the same , there was no need to pretend or hide anything in here .


She gyrated her ass over his lap slowly . Just the slightest touch , one that would arouse him enough to make him go insane . HE slid his hands in the thongs , along with the crisp 200$.
'There , Aditya can have his new laptop' .
As she wrapped her hands around his head ,drawing his face closer to those scented mounds . Her mind travelled back to home , to a far off planet near Haridwar.

"Do you have no shame ? What will the neighbours say" ,amma had cried the first time she had told her.
The omnipresent fear of neighbours , coming to know about a tiny strip joint in Las Vegas.
The crying had stopped , so had the curses ,abuses and threats . Money had a way of hushing up everything.

Why had she told her ? She knew how hurt amma would be . Amma , in her white cotton sari . Amma ,walking down the ghats of Ganga every morning with her pooja thaali.

In the end , she knew why . Because she was not ashamed of it . There was no cheating here , no lying , no pretensions , no corruption , no office politics.
You had it ,you sold it . Face to face . There was no guilt , no remorse . It was the most honest work she could find , with her capabilities.

Anita slipped her tongue in his ears , and bit the earlobes . Gently . The music was blaring , lights were shimmering . The audience was now busy looking at stripper no.24