Camping in the Clouds

There is no more sagacious animal than the Icelandic horse. He is stopped by neither snow, nor storm, nor impassable roads, nor rocks, glaciers, or anything. He is courageous, sober, and surefooted. He never makes a false step, never shies. If there is a river or fjord to cross (and we shall meet with many) you will see him plunge in at once, just as if he were amphibious, and gain the opposite bank – Jules Verne

The Green Trail

Trail from Kasol to Grahan. Dogs and Mules are not on speaking terms on this trail. Although they co-exist peacefully. And please note – You always give way to Mules. Coz it’s either that or you tumbling down the valley.

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

– Robert Frost

Lockdown #68

2 AM in the morning. Or late evening, may be. Crickets are on their daily duty and bats have gone to sleep. When I was a kid, someone told me that the sound of chirping of crickets is actually the sound of twinkling of stars. I guess that is why I still find this sound very pleasant.

68 days since I have left my building. Time has moved from being blocks to a continuous wave. Sleep cycles have shortened and sleep sessions have increased. There is no breakfast, lunch or dinner. It is sort of 1 meal every 6 hours.

I am reading a book titled ‘The Things that Nobody Knows”. Many interesting facts in there, but I am more curious about the title. It should have been “The Things that Very few people Know”. Anyways, this book confirmed my long time suspicion against the belief that almost all polar bears are left-handed.

Humans have moved out of Wadala House. And all other creatures have moved to Mango tree. Pollution has gone down so much that I can actually see bats hanging on my ceiling fan (yes, ceiling fan, not table fan. Bats cannot hang on a table fan. Or can they?).

P.S. Also, there is no confirmed evidence why the neck of giraffes evolved the way they did.

THEY ARE WATCHING YOU. सावधान रहें सतर्क रहें।

Full Moon

I looked at the full moon from the flight’s window.

The moonlight was shimmering all over the clouds.

The pilot made an announcement about the turbulence.

A turbulence which was temporary. I hope all the turbulences are.

Even the one in my head, which I have been trying to fend away for a long time now.

My thoughts have always revolved around her.

Even now they do. Not romantically. Not with a longing to come back together.

I don’t know how to explain this. I think of her. The old incidents. And trying to make out if she was what everyone thinks of her.

Or what I used to think of her.

But I always had the bias for the ones I loved.

I will keep this one fruit hanging as of now.

It’s not that ripe. Let’s give it some more time.

Till then I would just look at the full moon.

And the light all around me.

Life is good. Or is it? You tell me.

Asura

Why do we burn effigies of Kumbhakaran and Meghnad during Dussehra?

We grew up celebrating festival of Dussehra, with the images of three statues burning across the country. I never really questioned what actions of Kumbhkaran & Meghnad lead to them being tagged as ‘evil’ – Just because they were Asura (or Rakshasha)?

With time, as I read a little more, this question kept surfacing. Apart form being a part of the final war, where both Kumbhkaran and Meghnad were fighting for their country (Kul-dharma), were there any specific evil actions that warranted them this status.

  1. Meghnad was the one and only warrior who possessed the three ultimate weapons of Trimurti, i.e. Brahmandastra, Vaishnavastra and Pashupatastra. Using his power and intellect, he overthrew Indra and ruled heaven (hence, he was called Indrajit). He was arrogant and proud of his powers and believed in expanding his area of influence. While these are not ‘ideal’ qualities, he was one of the many people in history who could be labeled the same. Also, Indra was not exactly an ‘ideal’ figure himself (tricking Karna to part with his armor, to get his son Arjun unfair advantage in war, was one of the many acts of treachery)

  2. I found this line of thought to be most prevalent – They were fighting on the side of evil (Ravana), hence, they must be tagged as ‘evil’.

Is it? If the leader is evil, does that mean entire army fighting for him is evil? We do not need to go to Dwapar or Treta yuga to find examples of armies fighting for a wrong cause. Last century in Kali yug is full of such instances. What is the definition of Dharma? What was the Dharma for these warriors when an army invaded their country (although for correct reasons)?

Listen to this dialogue between Kumbhkaran and Vibhishan, where Kumbhkaran answers all the questions and allegations raised by his brother.

 

3. So they did fight for their country. But why did they not convince Ravana to stop war and the killings that came with it?

They did, actually. At some point during the war. Do listen to following conversations with two brothers, and father-son.

 

 

And talking about not following the codes of war (Meghnad was accused of using ‘Maya’ or illusion)- Remember the episode of Ram and Bali. It would be little hypocritical to say Meghnad’s treachery was bad, but Ram’s treachery was good (as it was a wrong done to correct another wrong) – I do not agree with this line of thought.

Of course, their effigies can be seen as a portrayal of evil, and can be taken as a metaphor. I do not find anything more to this.

Please let me know if there is an episode that I have missed, and that portrays the deeds which justified vilifying these two characters.