Thursday, 26 September 2013

The Legend of Nohkalikai............ Meghalaya, India

*    This folktale is a heart-rending story of a Khasi woman.

*      In the village of Rangjyrteh, upstream the falls, lived a woman called Ka Likai. Ka (prefix 'ka' means feminine gender.). Her husband was a porter who made his livelihood carrying iron to Sylhet. On one of the trips, he died leaving Ka Likai with a baby girl to take care of. She had to take up the job of porter herself, like many Khasi women, and ferry iron from Rangjyrteh to Mawmluh village, leaving her baby in the care of others. 

*      After sometime a few women persuaded her to find another man to take care of her and her child. So, Ka Likai remarried. Her new husband was jealous of the attention Ka Likai gave to her baby girl and hence hated the baby. One day when Ka Likai was out on her job, her husband killed the girl, chopped the baby into pieces and cooked the flesh. He threw away the head and bones, but forgot the fingers in the kwai (paan)basket. 

*     A tired and hungry Likai returned to her house to find none at home. She presumed that perhaps, her baby was with her new father or neighbours. The hunger and smell of the meat led her to satiate her hunger before going in search of her child. Anyway, the child had been safe in the care of others till then. The meat was tasty but left her clueless as to what meat it was. As usual after a meal she picked up the kwai basket to help herself to a kwai. Shocked, she found severed fingers of a child in the basket. 

*      The horror  that she had eaten her own beloved child, struck her like a lightning. Ka Likai became mad with anger and desperation. She ran screaming in dismay, brandishing a 'wait' - a chopper - at anyone who tried to stop her. She ran and ran till the edge where the cascade fell off the precipice and threw herself over the edge. 

*       'Noh' in Khasi means to jump. Thus the waterfall was named Noh - Ka - Likai (Nohkalikai).  

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Literature.......who inspired whom ?

*    We all love reading literature of different countries and different cultures. And often we wonder, who were the inspirations behind those excellent authors who wrote such lovely books that continue to inspire generations.

*     All modern authors ought to have got inspiration from one of the great writers of the ancient or medieval world.

*   Charles Dickens (1812-1870) and Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) were greatly inspired by their countryman, Shakespeare.

*   William Shakespeare (1564-1616),   English literature's greatest icon and arguably the giant of the western world literature, was  inspired by Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400).

*    Geoffrey Chaucer, another great seemed to be inspired by Virgil (70 – 19 BC).

*      Virgil, a Roman drew inspiration from Greek author, Homer (8th century BC).

*        Homer, the first poet of the West, remains to this the greatest. His two great poems, The Iliad and the Odyssey, are the first masterpieces of Western World literature and even after 3,000 years their power, vibrancy , influence and allure have not diminished.  Today they rank second only to the Bible among the western literary classics.

*     Hold on ! Before you arrive at the judgment, read this.  

*    And the greatest epic wasn't written in the western world but in the ancient India by Ved Vyas, a sage, who wrote 'the Mahabharta' between the 8th and 9th century BC. The Mahabharata is the longest Sanskrit epic, which consists of over 100,000 shloka or over 200,000 individual verse lines (each shloka is a couplet), and long prose passages. About 1.8 million words in total, the Mahabharata is roughly ten times the length of the Iliad and the Odyssey combined, or about four times the length of another epic 'the Ramayana'.

*   Surprised ! well we ought to be. East or West. The Mahabharta and the Ramayan remain the greatest epics in any literature and their appeal universal.

*   So, the greatest writer of all times and all cultures remains 'Ved Vyas'. Sadly the West, obsessed with their superiority in everything, often fail to accept this fact.

Sunday, 15 September 2013 it a Hindu ritual !

*       Is Yoga a Hindu ritual? 

*       This question since long has been troubling the Non-Hindus
         across the world. Some Churches have told their followers
         not to practice yoga as it is anti-Christian. Most people
         suffer from lack of knowledge about Yoga.

*       Yoga is a commonly known generic term for the physical,
         mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which
         originated in ancient India with a view to attain a state of
         permanent peace. Vivekananda brought yoga to the West
         in the late 19th century. In the 1980s, Yoga became
         popular as a system of physical exercises across the
         Western world. 
*         It would be wise for Non-Hindus not to fear Yoga,
         because it is just a form of physical exercises and
         it does not involve chanting of any mantras. 

Friday, 6 September 2013

The Second Step........


In my first post, 'One Small Step' I had mentioned about  writing a story or painting a picture. Six months ago, inspired by my daughter, I had thought of painting. It was Mar and I, with some hesitation, picked up the canvas, brush and paint. And after a hard labour and wasting a lot of paints, I painted this.

*        My second effort was.......

*      My subsequent works...........

*    My latest painting............

*    The beauty of painting is that I still don't know a lot of things about this art, like painting shadows, creating ripples in water, etc. I'm still learning. Someday I'll be able to do both and many other things that, at the moment, I find so difficult.

*    And this process of learning gives me immense joy.....
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