To pray

How prayer is hard
I did not realise
till last night. I made a note
a small poetry of five lines
just before lying down

That is why we have words
mantras, prayers
that which keep our minds
help our purity
stay appear

Words are curse
and blessings
you bind us and free us
afterall they are means
gift
to keep us true.

shatters

Why do people see things negatively – or positively?
Either way it seems wrong – not wrong, but not right either –
In a way I have lost my faith in language,
Not because of how it is, but because of how it is taken,
Which is actually a part of its nature.
Whatever I have come up with in this chaos,
Is like an oddly shape idol made of mirror,
Reflecting and multiplying the light into shatters.

*

I feel home when I come back to Kerala.
I once wished to be so, and I once wished not to.
I have many homes, and yet none of them are my home.
Home is such a funny concept that I would refuse to understand,
But somehow the sense comes naturally and mutually.
Perhaps being a foreigner or a minority is a part of my identity,
Although I belong to the earth anywhere.
There is a particular smell in each place that makes me feel home.
After some time I do not smell it any more, and I feel stranger.
Then I am ready to travel.
Ever. Again.

Tantidhatri 2016

For people around Bangalore and other parts of India (as well as the world); please check the website and find out about Tantidhatri 2016, the international women’s performing arts festival in Bangalore.

http://ekatharakalari.org/

“‘Tanti’ in the ancient Pali language, is imagined as a thread going beyond time; and ‘Dhatri’ is the woman who holds it.”

 仏教の言語でもあるパーリ語で、ターンティは糸のこと、ダートリは「持つ女」を意味し、ターンティ・ダートリには「時と空間を縫う糸を持ち伝える女性」のイメージが込められている。

 この祭典の第一回は2012年にポンディチェリーで開催されていて、その総括の本に昨年から関わっていた。編集の過程の端っこに参加させていただいたという程度ではあるんだけど、その時はぼんやりとしか分からなかったことが、今年の準備に関わりながらより胸に刺さるようになってきている。

 芸術や芸能と、社会――政治までも包括的に含んだ、社会について、この関わりはあまりにも明瞭でありながらも、あまりにも極端かつ様々に捉えられているという点において、とてもややこしい。

 ターンティ・ダートリは、世代や国境、文化を越えた共感と交流の場なのだけど、もっと基本的には女性であることの祝福である。ただそれだけのことでありながら、この開放的な空気に溢れ、文化への受容性に溢れたバンガロールという街でも、ただそれだけのことに、理解できる人とできない人の大きな溝がある。

 たぶん、根本のところでは日本も大して変わらないという気がする――それは、女性が、とか男性が、とか言うよりは、どれだけ社会的な縛りに自覚的・あるいは自由であるかという点で。

 違う意見の人と議論をするのは、もどかしいしどこかで痛みを伴う――だから好きではないし、意見を言うよりは、全く違う道を探りたい。それでも、目を逸らすこともできないのだと思い出させられることが、いくつかあった。そして、痛みを感じること自体、傲慢を含むのだということも。

 この祭典は、そんなものをずっと超越したものになるだろうと思う。だけどその前夜の時期である今、そんなことを私は思っている。

Solitary

Only very recently I am learning that people do actually take others’ words with extra implications, assuming some ill intentions to be behind them. I remember around when I was ten years old, I suddenly realized that some people are friends to each other on the surface but speaking badly about each other behind. My reaction then was, “That is so smart!” I had never even imagined things like that, and it was almost a revelation for me.

Lately there have been a couple of occasions, when I say something very simple, and was taken as an offence- or criticism or whatever that is with ill feelings. It is just that I had never noticed before, and it must have been always like this. Sometimes they get hurt. Each time I get surprised confused, and while thinking about it, the scene moves to the next.

For some time I thought it was about facing my own faults- that I need to observe and be mindful of my own words; to face the arrogant projection of my own ego. It is like a boyfriend and a girlfriend, where the girl says something to the boy just to share the experience, while the boy thinks he is asked for an advice and says something, which upsets the girl. I have a generally anti-masculine stand, while myself being rather bold at times, so that may be another thing I was made to think about.

Yet now, I am feeling differently. It is not so much about faults and defects, though they do take some part of it; but it is about my sense of obligation to respond to others. If at all anything is fault, that is what it is. When people are around or talking to me, there is almost an obligatory urge for me to respond to them in some way or another. But I don’t have to. I do not have to respond to them. I can just be myself, just sitting there. I can even walk away. I have the choice to be present and absent at the same time.

I fall sick after spending a few days with certain others for a long time. I simply get exhausted, and it seems also that I get agitation of those who have unsettled emotions inside. I am wondering and hoping, that by working on not to feel the necessity to respond, I would become easier in this.

I wanted to become a tree

As a Japanese child, “What would you like to be in your next life?” is one of the common questions to get asked. I used to answer, “I want to become a tree, a tree that can grow big”. I will still answer the same.

One of the problems I had was the Indian cosmology and senses being so human-centred; you may say it is like that everywhere, but I feel it is as human-centred as the cultures based on the Abrahamic religions. There is a clear hierarchy that sets humans the supreme among creatures… I won’t go into this too much for now. What I can say is that, purely in terms of worldview, I get more drawn to cultures such as the nomadic Mongoloid cultures of Central Asia.

But that must have been why I came to India through Kerala. For some years I was never interested in North India, and even when I lived there having a job, I did not step out of Kerala for almost two years.

In Kerala, you can feel some connection to South-East Asia, and the sea culture that would eventually lead you to the pacific; I am talking about the traditional culture here. Look at Padayani, Theyyam, Pulluvan Pattu … even Koodiyattam has some primeval and shamanistic taste in it. The Naga and Bhagavati worship too. Just being there, you can feel the spirits from the forest.

So I had to come through Kerala, to meet the Baul of Bengal. I do not think I would have become interested in yoga at all, if it was not through Baul. I had to come through this path, to realise and accept that I like human beings, and I chose to be born as one.

To be a child

People say that children have purer heart, which I agree, but I also think that that makes only half the statement. I think they are so pure that they reflect the adults around them too innocently. They can be much more cruel and lying than adults who have learned either to tame or hide the violent side of their nature. For me, to be in children’s society was very hard. I hated adults, but at the same time I feared peer children.

painting

My painting guru says that painters of colour are born southern than certain point. And I believe in it. I feel that my colour comes from Australia. I was not born there, but I spent three years of my childhood, from four years’ old to seven years’ old, and that means a lot.

However, interestingly, my style has some Nanga taste (or, well, that’s how I feel); Nanga is Southern school of Chinese painting which became the trend in Japan during Edo period (let’s say, 17th-18th century). I never intentionally learned or followed the style, but somehow it happened that way. My painting guru is a painter in oils, but he also recalled once that somebody told him his paintings are like Nanga.

Somehow… my life is now centering around art. Singing has dominated me for the past couple of years, but now dance has entered, and even painting has come back. I am not working at all in the sense of hourly labourhood. Somehow I am still able to live, somehow I am still surviving, rather happily.

I am starting to experience my life in this way, and hoping that this path will continue, towards the light.