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
that which keep our minds
help our purity
Words are curse
you bind us and free us
afterall they are means
to keep us true.
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.
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.
“‘Tanti’ in the ancient Pali language, is imagined as a thread going beyond time; and ‘Dhatri’ is the woman who holds it.”
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.
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.
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.
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.