Tuesday, February 24, 2009


There is a running serial in a regional language TV channel on the story of Shiva and Parvathi. The last episode had Shiva burning Kama Deva to ashes with the laser in his third eye, for having used his flower arrow to stir the mind of a meditating Shiva, to create in him a desire to consort with Parvathi.

The new episode carried a conversation between Indra and Narada, in which Narada alludes to Indra's escapades saying that he must be finding life difficult in the absense of Kama.

Kama Deva is the Hindu equivalent of cupid, only that he is more "mature". Kama literally means desire, or rather, lust.

What is this life without lust? That seems to be Indra's predicament.
In fact I was also thinking about lust and life in Delhi, with people having so little time to themselves or with their families.

And then the newspapers came out with stories of high profile "call" centres and influential madams.

Perhaps there is more underlying than I have been able to see?

Modern and Traditional

The traditional and the modern. The co-existence of these seemingly contradictory characteristics is so common in India that we seldom notice it or think about it.

I see so many of our youngsters, college going girls and boys, as well as the young people working in the new techno and marketing companies. Well dressed, branded wear, hip, expensive mobile phones, gelled hair, deodorant, accented talk.
But many of them also have those coloured threads on their wrists, the threads that have some kind of religious significance.

Writing this brings to mind a thought that has been nagging me for a while.

I grew up in an atmosphere super charged with prayer and faith and religion. From the time I was around four until I was fifteen or so. I would pray and have goose pimples all over, my eyes would overflow with emotion and the feeling of being "touched" b y the divine.

And then "liberation" set in. The rebellion and independent thoughts of young adulthood. The pendulum of faith swung to the other extreme. I lost "faith", because faith, by definition, is belief without a foundation - unfounded belief.
Over the years I have vascillated between faith and doubt, and even after so many years and so many experiences I do not know where I stand.

I describe myself as a seeker, someone willing to believe, but yet on the lookout for what to believe in.

And that has led me to a question regarding parenting.
We have brought up our son without any strong spiritual or religious beliefs, without faith. My argument was that, in time, he would find his own reasons and explanations and beliefs.
But there have been times when I have doubts if we did right by him. Faith is a strong support to hold on to in difficult times, when friend, relatives and the world in general seem insufficient or unable to provide us the kind of support we are looking for. "God", by whatever name called, is the ultimate source of strength.
By not providing him with the opportunity to draw on this source of support, haven't we deprived our son of something very valuable?

Size Plus!

Moving through Delhi has been a pleasant surprise.
It is always a pleasure to see so many "abundant" women.
I have deliberately used the word abundant, because abundance is a state we welcome and desire.
There are so many of these size plus women on the metro circuit, all dressed up and decked up, and seeming to be unconcerned about how they look among all those skinny straight girls trying to starve themselves into "beauty".

My sense of a beautiful woman has always been more in line with the classical form that we have seen on our temple sculptures.

Not that I am too concerned about looks when it comes to people I know, irrespective of whether they are people I like them or dislike them.

Because, in the case of people you know, most often we do not see them as a "body" but rather as an idea - which includes much more than the body, a collection of memories and experiences, expectations and disappointments, a totally that can not be explained just by the way a person appears to a stranger.

When I think of my wife, it is a collective idea of the shared life and experiences of so many years together.

Back to the Plus women of Delhi.

I appreciate their spirit.

I am writing about this today because one person who met me on business today described someone else as " a big woman, just like me". She was not being apologetic about her size, and I was glad she was feeling comfortable about her body.