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All our ageless proverbs are here to forewarn us about people and their attitudes. ” A leopard can’t change its spots,” one of them say.
But we chose to ignore and go ahead with our actions.

We believe we can bring about a change with our new modern thoughts.
We want to set an example. Change the spots to colorful stripes. Be the hero of a new dawn. We strive.

But that doesn’t happen. The basic instinct of man is to manipulate. We get manipulated and fail miserably. The worst part is not knowing that we are manipulated. And when we wake up to that knowledge, much water has flown under the bridge. Our colors fade, their spots remain.

There is always another proverb ready to pacify us. May be haunt us.
“Experience is the best teacher,” it says.

Alli nodalu Rama
illi nodalu Rama
Yellalli nodidaru alli Shri Rama

Ravanana moolabala kandu kapisene
Aavagale bedari odidavu
EeveLe naranagi irabaradendenisi
Deva Ramachandira jagavella tanada ( Alli nodalu)

Avanige iva Rama, ivanige ava Rama
Avaniyoleepari rupavunte
Lavamatradi asura durullellaru
Avaravar hodedadi hataragi hodaru ( Alli nodalu)

Hanumadadi sadhu janaru appikondu
Kunikunidadidaru harushadinda
Kshanadalli Purandara Vittalarayanu
Konekodeyanu tanoppanagi ninta* ( Alli nodalu)


Most of my days begin with dasara padagalu. I am moved easily by his intricate play of words, vivid imagination and devotion. It requires a total surrender to become a dasa. He was dasa of Purandara, I am dasa of Purandaradasa.

In this composition, (scroll down to listen to the video) Purandara effortlessly takes us across eons to visualize the unseen final battleground scene in Ramayana.

After days of fighting, Ravana’s army is still strong. Rama’s kapi sene, shocked at the growing strength of the asuras, runaway in fear from the battlefield.To win this fight, Rama realizes that he can no longer don the garb of a human and takes up his divine form.

The battle field transforms.
Everyone looks like Rama, the kapis, the asuras, the chieftains, the warriors…everyone is Rama.

You look there, you see Rama, ( Alli nodalu Rama)
You look here, next to you, you see Rama, ( Illi nodalu Rama )
Wherever you look, there you find Sri Rama. ( Yellalli nodidaru alli Shri Rama )

Those who love Rama, see their neighbor as Rama, hug each other.
Those who dislike Him, the asuras kill each other.
The army of Ravana is destroyed and
The Hanuman sene celebrate the victory.
All because Purandara Vitala
for a moment stood,
One in all, all in one, in the battlefield.

A flower that did not fruit in the hands of time

A boy from our neighborhood met with untimely death today. He drowned in a lake while he was on a trip with his friends to one of these getaway lakes on the outskirts of Bangalore.

I have been upset all afternoon wondering how swiftly a life was lost in the fateful hands of time. Life will never be the same for his parents. What words can one say to console them?

This is not the first time I have heard of a life lost by drowning. In most of the cases, drowning victims know how to swim but they either swim too far, suffer a cramp or hit a unseen boulder when they dive. This boy also knew swimming.

On our trip to Badrinath many years back, my maternal grandmother slipped and fell into the Ganges. Her weak legs gave way to the strong currents of Ganga and was pulled into the water. I was standing next to her and immediately caught hold of the pallu while the swift currents pushed her away from me. A few other travelers who were close by helped and we got her back to the banks. In a matter of five minutes, she had breathed in water and was breathless for a while.
Rivers are generous but ruthless when they take away life.

I remember a story where in a sage blesses a family thus, “Let things happen in order” None around him understood the meaning of the blessing and ask him for an explanation. The sage tells them that as long as parents pass away in front of their children’s eyes, life is in harmony. That is the expected norm of life. When it is broken, when children pass away while parents are alive, the equilibrium in life is lost.

It is sorrowful for parents to suffer the loss of a child,
born from them, their blood, turn to ashes, before they do.

Unshared notes written while we painted our home.

##We whitewashed our home with colors. In the process of cleaning and clearing, throwing away and retaining, watching the old fade into the new, I understood the joy of trees in spring. After a long winter it is a verdure celebration, their many shades of green.

##Dozens of boxes in the attic. Which memories do I need? What to discard? I love cleaning as long as I don’t settle down like dust with the past.

##Dear husband is confined to a room, and like a jailed bird is singing songs on love. Amour!

##I photographed the old colors on the wall. On one of them were pencil markings in feet and inches, how much my kid grew every passing year. And in brackets, the date, year and emoticons of happiness. I try to photograph it but cannot zoom out enough to capture the entire wall. The markings are unclear. I then divide the wall into three parts and take a close up. Later in the day, the markings are covered by the new misty green and I watch it through a mist of tears remembering the many joys a child and a mother had years back.

##Painting is a holistic process. We wanted colors to refresh the mind, rejuvenate the soul. We chose to sleep in ocean blue and wake up to misty green. My mother’s room was coated with wild yellow, the color of valleys in spring. We wanted our hallway to reflect the earthly red of love and sands of time. We also wanted fun. Chocolate and lavender welcome us when we enter home.

##The painters laughed in Bhojpuri. We, in Kannada. We spoke to each other in charades.

##My house help could not call the painter by his name. Dina Singh, was a tongue twister for her rustic tongue. She addressed him as Desingu raja. He laughed every time he heard his new name.

##I sit with my notebook near the window, watch the street and supervise the paint work. Summer hasn’t yet arrived, but it is hot in the afternoons. A grandfather walks his grandson home, nodding to the stories. A youngster animatedly talks to someone on his mobile. Must be a close friend. The auto driver sleeps in his vehicle under the tree. The painters talk non stop while working. Everyone of us has a story to share.

##At least one window in the house should open to a tree.

##Its 5.30 in the morning. A cup of hot coffee and silence give me company. A spider spinning a web on the window grill,
leaves erasing stars with the cool breeze,
buds opening to a new world,
and this pen that strokes the paper with love,
are the few noises I hear.

##Another day, says the sun.

Relation—unship

When they are in the hands of bad time,
those whom we hold close to our hearts,
will tell us stories and cry about their pitiful life.
A wife about her insincere husband.
A husband about his nagging wife and
both about troublesome children.

When they do well and turn the tide,
they will forget us for unknown reasons.
They will not call us, tell us their good stories.
Our words which consoled and gave them hope,
Now tastes twisted and bitter.
Such is this world, Oh human!
Learn to ignore them.

And then there are those,
who will cry, any time, any occasion, any day.
They want to tell us that life is forever in dismay.

Very few take life in one’s stride.
They learn along the way, stay stoic come what may.

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