Curtains Open!

And for the umpteenth time…. I am so so so so sorry!!

I know I know…even the semblance of readers that may have been hanging around have now finally retired.  I can almost see the cobwebs gathered on this page.  The website has become so dormant that Sajid Khan’s movies have started to seem more dynamic and innovative! And it is solely my cross to bear!  And I am sure that you have all (I mean the spiders, non-existent readers, bored I-dunno-how-I-got-here-internet-junkies) by now either known or stopped caring about the reasons (did I hear someone say excuses?) for my absence.

Well, there are aplenty. Not that I haven’t been writing! (Gosh! I almost feel like a cheater!) It’s just that my arena of writing was shifted to other areas – what with the articles to Hindu becoming a regular feature (Did you visit the collection of my articles here?)  I am also extremely happy that I have been able to contribute to my language through the means of translations. I contributed a couple of translations of portions of works by famous and renowned Kannada Authors, which would be published in the Sahitya Akademi Journal.  YogaKshema Rehabilitation & Wellness Center, that I am a part of, started its publishing activities and I was also involved in translating some of the handbooks into Kannada and also creating a new handbook in English.  All of these, apart from the usual work-life ensured that inspite of my best efforts, I just did not get around to publishing anything new here.

That doesn’t mean that I was completely oblivious to the environment here. I cannot confess on the number of drafts that have been left incomplete.  The happenings in the past few months have strongly prompted me to write, and write I did.  I never got around to completing them and now am wondering if I should publish them at all. While I am in dilemma over the issues, their relevance cannot be denied.  I may have to still rework on it and publish it. Having said that, lemme not promise that I will be more regular.  However, I’ll definitely try to be more consistent. 🙂 The key, me dearies, is to set the expectation so low, that anything better would always seem a welcome output! 😉

My Fav Musicals from Hollywood

Music – that enchanting and captivating melody that has encompassed every form of art and transformed them within and without.  I cannot conceive of anything around me which isn’t touched by sound – the sound of music. Movies are the one form of medium where the role of music had rendered itself essential even during the days preceding the talkies!  Even when talkies came, they were more of ‘sing’ies than ‘talk’ies really!  In India, there were movies done with nearly 72 songs!  Even if it were a couplet or a sentence, it wasn’t worth conveying unless it was through crooning.  Hollywood could certainly not have been left out of its grasp!  They may mock the Indian cinema for its sheer number of songs and the camera work, but Hollywood itself had its own bout of The Sound of Musicexperimentation with the musicals that has now spanned several decades! This post is an exploration of some of my favorite musicals from Hollywood. 🙂  I am not limiting them on the numbers (no top 10, no top 25, no tops! 😉 ) and the order of their listing certainly doesn’t mean that one is better than the other.  It’s just an unraveling of my memory – a travel since my childhood that exposed me to ‘The Sound Of Music’.

The Sound of Music: The Mountains, the woods, the lakes, and the beautiful Salzburg scenery – Julie Andrews as a boyish wannabe nun, 7 kids and a handsome Christopher Plummer.  There hasn’t been a magic similar to this that has been woven since!  The songs of this wonder have been etched in my memory since well over 25 years now!  And this, when I can’t even remember what I was doing during those days! The most endearing aspect of the songs in this movie was its sheer simplicity.  Some of these songs could’ve easily passed on to become children’s rhymes! “Do Re Mi Fa..”, “I am sixteen going on seventeen”, “Edelweiss”, “The Hills are Alive”, “These are a few of my favorite things”, “The lonely goatherd (Yodley-hoo)”, “Climb every mountain”, “So long, farewell” – these were but a few songs that I had religiously memorized with more vigor than my multiplication tables! Inspiring Gulzar’s “Parichay”, this movie has continued to remain one of the most favorite and evergreen movies since well over 4 decades now!

Mary Poppins: Julie Andrews’ debut movie produced by Walt Disney Pictures, is a must watch for every child!  TheMary Poppins picture of Mary Poppins flying with her umbrella has been endlessly used down the generations in various avatars!  This movie was sufficient in itself to make me want to have the Poppins peppermints every time I had a chance to! For some reason, it was my firm belief that, that was how I could get Mary Poppins to visit me!  For some unknown reason, I also believed that it was manufactured by her! Eeenyways, we’ve grown since, but never grown enough to not jump up for joy when something “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” happens!  Many “a spoonful of sugar” has made the medicines of life go down my throat, and the “Chim Chim-ney Cheree”  has brought a smile to me even when I was feeling like the bottom-most rung of a ladder! The laughter of “I love to laugh”, the desire to have “a perfect Nanny”, the playful “Jolly Holiday” – oh every song of this movie makes me wanna go back to my childhood!

Singing in the Rain:  No matter how much Hollywood may revel in its technologically superior movies and brazen Singing In the Rainplot lines of the recent years, the movies that have survived the erosion of time are the ones that have a heart warming plot line and when it is a musical, “Singing In the Rain” is one movie that will always feature amongst the best.  The film featured the talented Gene Kelly as a silent movie star coming to terms with the popularity of “Talkies” and the travails he encounters making a talkie movie with his lead female star with a horrendous voice (played by Jean Hagen) ! He falls in love with another struggling stage artist (the pretty Debbie Reynolds) and eventually after a whole lot of hilarious sequences, they come together and their talkie movie becomes a grand success.  “Singing In the Rain” is a sensational musical – making one want to literally dance and sing; rain or no rain! 😉 The title track, “All I do is dream of you” (Why can’t they keep this,  as a rhyme for kids!!!!), “You are my lucky star”, “Good morning”, “You were meant for me”, “Beautiful girl”, are some of my favorite songs from this movie.  The tap dance sequences used to make me wanna do that all the way through the singing – one thing that has stuck through with me all these years. The fun of wearing a new pair of shoes and tapping away… ah! simple joys. Isn’t it? 😉 Oh if you haven’t watched this movie.. watch it! For its sheer simplicity, humor and liveliness!! 🙂

My Fair Lady:  I cannot think of anyone who’d not wanna go down on their knees for this flower girl who eventually My Fair Ladyturned out to be such a Fair lady, that even the Buckingham palace was fooled to believing that she was a duchess! And it was Audrey Hepburn who carried it off with much aplomb! Based on George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion”, this is an evergreen movie for more than one reason. Peppered with humor, irony, sarcasm, and brilliant acting, this movie won rave reviews.  In certain scenarios the setup is almost like a theater play – with people freezing to create a picture of London’s daily life. Interestingly enough the role of Eliza Dolittle was essayed by Julie Andrews in the Broadway version. But because Julie Andrews wasn’t an established star (she hadn’t started her film career by then) Jack Warner didn’t want to risk casting her in the main role, and instead it was Audrey Hepburn who received it.  The movie won 7 Academy awards including best picture, best costume, best original score, best actor and best director. However, Audrey didn’t win the best actress award as the songs were sung by Marni Nixon.  The movie ofcourse has a whole treasure of unforgettable songs including the heart warming – “All I want is a room somewhere”, “Rain in Spain”, “Am just an ordinary man”, “I could’ve danced all night”.  Songs such as “Why can’t the English learn to speak”, “Just you wait ‘enry ‘iggins” are funny and littered with sarcasm! With rich costumes and camera work (the scene of the flower market with arrays of fresh blossoms has been my favorite aspect of this movie) the movie was a visual treat!

Gigi:  Another memorable Leslie Caron musical, this movie was about Gilberte (known shortly as Gigi; and what a Gigitricky pronunciation!!) who is an unassuming lass being groomed to become a courtesan by her aunt Alicia. Gigi’s fumbling during her training and her relationship with the handsome Gaston (played by Louis Jourdan) form the crux of what is indeed a must-watch funny and warm musical.  Incidentally the theatrical version of the movie (The movie was itself based on a novel by Colette which was adapted to stage first, before being made into a movie) was the debut for Audrey Hepburn on stage!  She had played the lead role of Gigi but however she wasn’t cast in the movie.  An interesting thing about the songs in this movie was was that they were all first recorded in the original voices of the actors along with the piano accompaniment and later on dubbed by the actual singers.  One of the chief aspects of movies like Gigi and My Fair Lady was costume and indeed this movie too won an Academy award in that category as well as in others including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Score.  The songs include some memorable ones like “Say a Prayer for me tonight”, “The Night they invented Champagne”,  “I’m glad am not young anymore”, “Gigi”,  “Thank heaven for little girls”, and “I remember it well”.

All that Jazz:  Wichita State University had a small but a wonderful collection of movies in its library.  It was in there that I discovered this wonderful movie. It was smart, touching,AllThatJazz poignant, musically brilliant and a very thought provoking movie. An outstanding example of Bob Fosse’s brilliance, this semi-autobiographical movie has been amongst my most favorite movies for very many years now. The movie is about workaholic director Joe Gideon (played brilliantly by Roy Scheider) who due to his vagabond life is at the brink of death.  The entire movie turns into a reflection of his own self, and his fascinations. It’s a journey through his life and his mind – his hallucination wherein he conceives of death has a beautiful lady (played by the brilliant Jessica Lange) he flirts with.  Even in his death, he imagines a magnificent show put up to bid “Bye Bye (to) Life”.   The movie had what seemed a very rich and jazzy (true to its name) setting and some memorable musical numbers. “Bye Bye Life”, “A Perfect Day”, “After You’ve Gone”, “Sing sing sing”, “Some of these days” are some of the regular features on my playlist.

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers: Remember “Satte pe satta”? Amitabh Bachan and Hema Malini with their Seven_brides_seven_brotherstroupe of 7 brothers falling for 7 girls and the hullabaloo that it all leads to?  Voila! This is the original version for you! Unlike the bollywood version which had a couple of croonable songs, this movie has been ever listed amongst the top musicals over several decades.  The songs not only taught us the basics of dating and wooing, but many basic dance steps too! The movie had beautiful scores like “Wonderful Wonderful day”, “June Bride”, “When you’re in Love”, funny ones like “Goin’ courting”, & “Bless your beautiful hide” and some foot tapping numbers too.  The songs by June Powell are particularly very memorable as also was the song “Lonesome polecat” the tune of which lingered on for many days in my head.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: Much before the time of “Tarzan” cars, and Fast and Furious four wheeler, there was a Chitty chitty Bang Bangsweet car that could communicate, fly and float too!!! This was a car that was made for children! It was one of my most memorable movies as a kid! This was the movie that opened me to the world of Roald Dahl which ofcourse led me to the chocolate factory of my dream! The story is about an eccentric scientist, his children, a sweet upper class lady and ofcourse the wonderful refurbished Grand Prix car – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! The adventure they embark upon in the imaginative land of “Vulgaria” fighting the evil Baroness and the Baron was a fantasy that was relived many times in my mind.  Then ofcourse there were the songs – “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”, “Hushabye Mountain”, “Choo-chee face”, “Doll on a music box”, “Toot Sweets” – all of which are absolute fun.  It certainly has a strange comic feeling to be seeing people talking one moment and instantly break into a song in the same breathe!

Most of these movies listed so far (and more yet to come) had a very simple story – one that touched the chords of our heart, or the fantasies that we had as children.  There wasn’t too much of technological spell that was cast with giant autobots nor were there sexy babes in swanky cars totting guns at everything.  And yet, its these simple movies that have sustained in my mind for all these years! Maybe its because of their connections with my childhood and school days, or maybe it’s just me! I dunno.. nor do I care.. as long as the happiness they give me, and the memories they bring are cherished.

The Wizard of Oz:  There used to be a children’s magazine called “Misha” (published from Russia) that my father Wizard-of-Ozhad subscribed for me.  This was the greatest highlight of my school days from 3rd to 5th standard. I was so much in love with this magazine, that I’d religiously save every copy of it and send my paintings/drawings to them hoping they’d publish it someday! Anyways, that never happened. But what did happen was I came to know of a quaint little place called Kansas in the USA, where tornadoes blew so hard, that people got transported to fairy lands – the land of Oz for example!  And so it was that I first read about the Wizard of Oz!  And after a few years, when I realized that there is also a movie done on this story, the only logical thing to do was to watch it! The rest as they say, is history.  The beautiful Judy Garland singing “Somewhere over the rainbow”, the funny little munchkins (the song “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead”), the unforgettable “Precious” remark by the wicked Witch (decades before Gollum!)…Oh!! I can watch this movie (and I have) hundred times and over! Those were the days I had made up my mind to name my first dog Toto (never happened) and embark on a journey to Oz myself! Oz didn’t happen either, but Kansas certainly did! 😛 The sheer brilliance of the camerawork, the rich settings and a story that every person could relate to, this movie has singularly been amongst the most spectacular movies of the last century!

P.S: When I first decided to write about this topic, I thought I could cover it all up in one post. As I began listing out the movies, I realized what a mistake that assumption was!  So the list shall continue on to a second part too, where I’d want to talk of the movies that set my heart racing as a teenager! Movies such as Grease, West Side Story, Cabaret, and many more all the way into this year.  But all of that for the next post! ;)

Videos courtesy: Youtube and Posters: Several sources!

Jayakka and Govindamma…

“Had I seen those two <bleep> guys, I would have taken my slippers and beaten them black and blue for doing this to you! Since you were a child, I’ve seen you grow in front of my eyes! Look how they’ve hurt you! I curse them! Oh how much badly did you suffer my child!”  Govindamma held my face and did a small gesture symbolizing the removal of any evil eyes that were presumably cast on me!  She had come yesterday evening on her usual rounds to give flowers.

Govindamma is our florist. She has been giving flowers to our house ever since I remember moving to Padmanabhanagar.  She has indeed seen me grow from a lad of 14 years to the mammoth I am now!  As she held her squinted eye brimming with tears, I could sense the unadulterated concern she had about my accident.  I remember her suffering a fracture and how mom had helped her with some finances time and again.  Even a couple of hundred rupees, given to her, would elicit long lasting gratitude.  There have been countless evenings when she’d finish distributing flowers to all the houses and finally come to our house and spend some time with mom – exchanging stories (mainly complaining about her worthless son but loving daughter-in-law).  Invariably mom would complain about how far strung the flowers are, and she’d fake an angry remark, saying, that she had preserved the best only for our house!  I’d either be sitting near my mom or between them, playing with her huge round bamboo basket.

It seems to me that she had already reached her maximum age, and couldn’t get any older!  Govindamma, has remained the same, perhaps a tad thinner now, but it seems as though her age has a pause button!  She now brings the flowers in a plastic bag, instead of the huge basket.  “I can’t carry it like I used to my boy!” she quips, if I ask about it.  Apparently its been passed on to the third generation – her grandson uses it now! On the days that Govindamma doesn’t show up, its her grandson who delivers the flowers to us.  Her grey hair is the only testimony for her age, for she doesn’t know how old she really is!  I smiled at her concern, and gave her the money that was due.  She received and asked mom if she needed flowers for the day – “It’s fresh jasmine and I’ve saved the best for you!” she yelled from the gate. Mom replied that she didn’t want it that day. “What a woman! It’s friday evening, ask her to wear the flowers! It’s always auspicious for a sumangali” she told me as she cut a length of the strung jasmine flowers and handed it to me.  I asked how much it costs and she said, “I am giving it! It’s evening time, ask your mom to wear it! I don’t need money for this!’ and once again asking me to be careful she went her way.

When people talk about how the globalization kills the local vendors and brings in a destructive competition that the local vendors can’t match up to, I am always reminded of people like Govindamma. Her association with people wasn’t merely commercial.  She went beyond and established a personal contact and relationship with her ‘clients’.  Though it wasn’t about sharing personal issues or concerns, there was an inherent trust that was built and sustained through out.  Govindamma may probably be amongst the few vendors who are not mere vendors but an aspect of a social relationship that is built in an economic environment that is governed by humane values instead of the monetary profits alone.

Some of my most fond memories of childhood are related to being with Jayakka.  Jayakka was our maid, cum my aaya, cum my playmate cum my ‘transport co-ordinator’! 😉  She was incharge of getting me to the school and back.  Jayakka was basically a tamilian but spoke fluent kannada, & telugu like most of the maids in Bangalore.  Her chores in our house began with finishing some basic cleaning, and then dropping me off to the school.  She’d pick me up and bring me back and later on continue with some other chores.  After her afternoon meals and a cup of strong coffee, she’d then return to her house.  On certain days she would be accompanied by her daughter Jyothi, and those were the best, because I used to get a playmate!  I remember an incident where I happened to slip into a drum filled with water while trying some gymnastic moves in the backyard of the house.  Thankfully, Jayakka who was washing the clothes nearby rushed and pulled me out, giving an already wet child a complete water down! When she got angry, her decibels could make the loudspeaker run for cover!  I was ever guarded after that! Jayakka probably dropped me to school and brought me back till the time that I got to 3rd standard.  What was impressive was that, all through that time, she used to always carry me!  I cannot figure out the amount of strength her figure may have had.  The cynosure of her eyes was her son Igesan.  He was a resourceful lad.  He was always against his mom working as a maid but since there was no other way to sustain the familiy, he had resigned to the inevitable – atleast for the time being. With a sole purpose of enabling himself to earn enough, he pursued his studies very well and eventually was able to land a good job.  The most happiest moment in Jayakka’s life was when Igesan landed a well paying job as a medical representative. She came to our new house in Padmanabhanagar with sweets, and informed that she doesn’t have to do work as a maid anymore as her son is taking care of the family now.  Jayakka had to part ways from our family when we moved to our new house.  What was endearing was that, till the time that mom was able to find a new maid, Jayakka used to travel all the way from Rajajinagar to Padmanabhanagar to help mom with the chores.  And one thing I can never forget  was the fact that she used to bring a “kiss me” toffee bar whenever she used to visit us.  She’d lovingly sit me on her lap (even as I squirmed awkwardly) and give me the chocolate watching the happy glow on my face.  It was Jayakka who had bought me my first kite (she got scolded by mom so much for pampering me! 😛 ).

Jayakka and Govindamma together represent a class of vendors/service providers that are a vanishing race in the present times.  Their motive went beyond monetary interests.  They knew that the benefit of money is assured once they establish the trust with their customers.  And trust was something that was built over a period of time by rendering timely and quality service.  Both Govindamma and Jayakka were watchful of their quality.  Irrespective of how much my mom may contend with them, she would always remark that they were amongst the best florists and maids she had.  Her faithfulness with Govindamma is so strong that on those days when Govindamma may not come on her rounds, my mom goes to the place where she sits and buys the flowers from her.  When Jayakka wouldn’t come home due to sickness, I remember mom sending me to check on her health!  This mutual bonding of a service beneficiary and a provider is getting severely dented as financial benefits super cede the humane qualities required to underline the connection.  With a change in the economic currents, appreciating values of every commodity from vegetables to real estate, the agonies of the serving class is only mounting leading them to take on more than they can handle.  This clearly impacts the quality of work which in turn leads to a strained relationship between the households and the serving communities.  Unless there is a balance that can be developed between the financial benefits and the quality of service, there’ll be a persistent tug of war.  Probably its to their advantage that Govindamma and Jayakka represent a class of people who are having to experience this change of air towards the end of their lives.  But what’s tragic to me is that some of us, who had experienced the best, may have to resign ourselves to the mediocrity that may be served in the coming days.

The Great Indian Nautanki – Part 2

The verdict is finally out for Karnataka.  On the positive side, there is a clear mandate given for a single party which means there won’t be any scope for the multiparty fiasco as well as poaching and horse-trading.  The winners as well as the losers now need to do a lot of soul searching and tap into the nerve of this verdict to truly benefit from this.  Congress does not really have many reasons to celebrate because this mandate isn’t so much for Congress as it is against corruption and instability.  If one can protract this sentiment to the National level, the UPA regime has some serious miracles to perform in the few months left before the Loksabha elections.  There in again, if Congress loses, BJP also would need to understand that the verdict was mostly against corruption and inefficiency than it was pro-BJP.

I have during the course of viewing the upcoming elections and options before us, expressed my opinion on the many factors that are being portrayed by the parties vying for National attention.  In this final part, I would like to explore if we really do have any options to look for and vote for the best amongst the worst. But before that some more thoughts:

Misplaced calculations:  Every major party, infact the whole nation at large, has been talking for change.  From the  deflated hysteria for Anna Hazare to Kejriwal’s histrionics – the focal point for the country in the past 2 years has been a makeover.  For Congress, this seems to have given a different message.  While the grand old party partially understood the importance of roping in the youth and making them inclusive, it seems to have gone all out to the extreme and showcasing a novice such as Rahul Gandhi as the candidate for the top post.  The only point of grouse for me is that he has only a negligible involvement at the National level.  Rahul may have rightly decided to focus on understanding and connecting with people at grassroots level and that is a noteworthy decision, but somehow, everyone in the Gandhi family seem to succumb to the pressures of having to act as “saviors”.  I couldn’t understand what stopped him from stepping up and stopping this whole razzle-dazzle around his name and say clearly that he still needs experience.  Why not take a cabinet rank? So far, apart from the name, there is nothing to his credit that deserves any semblance of attention!  With sycophants like Digvijay Singh, they’re veritably heading for their doom.

BJP has turned out to be just a spoilt-brat crying over missed opportunities and political seclusion.  Every opportunity that they could’ve utilized to grill the ruling party in the parliament over the many many scams that were unearthed, they lost blatantly due to their obstructionist behavior.  This current parliament session has probably been the most useless one, with more disruptions in its register.  The limited number of sessions they had was squandered with the legislators hindering the proceedings of the house.  Rather than actively involve the ruling party in a debate and tear down their defense, and thus appear more capable of administering, they’ve often essayed the role of a sour kid hell bent on spoiling the whole game for everyone.  This may work out for their advantage, but it has cost the nation a huge price.  Unfortunately, that is not a concern for them.

Media:  Amongst the biggest threats that are currently seething right here on Indian soil, one worthy of mentioning is our media.  While on one hand we have home grown terrorists, on the other, we have home grown elegant opportunists who use verbiage, videos, vitriolic and loud remarks to stir emotions like never before.  Is it truly the common man’s good that underlies this imagery? I beg to differ.  Whether it was the anti-corruption movement, or the heinous crimes on women, or the scams, they were all just feeders for them to boost their TRPs.  The lightning speed with which every story that is more than 2 weeks old is thrown out of the window and a new sensation created is baffling to say the least.  We have a media that cries foul about the crimes on women on one hand and on the other, showcases ads to restore virginity to retain the spark in the marriage.  The women in the serials are stereotyped suhaagans kowtowing to their pati-parameshwars or vamps who stop at nothing to destroy the peace of the household.  If one has to see a chameleon in action right in the comfort of one’s home, please do look at Indian media!  From Barkha Dutt to Arnab Goswami, we have the nadirs of journalism feeding and ruling the minds of the people.

Nowhere is this true than in the way these channels and their presenters work with the political establishment.  Given that many of these are owned by political families, the stories are wonderfully crafted and tailored to showcase only certain aspects of the issue, rather than provide an unbiased and objective journalistic information.  But then, such an information would barely attract any viewership!  How many of us really watch DD News?!  With millions of Indians having a mindset that would rather be fed, not many would really dig deep into exploring all facets of a story that is being discussed on the media.  They’d rather be TOLD what to believe, than be allowed to interpret by themselves.  Media, has hence, taken the role of being the matron of the society.

So, does all this sound like we are in deep s#**?

It’s Us!: It’s Me! It’s you! It’s all of us.  The first basic tenet of democracy is that, it requires active and effective participation of the people, for it to be a success.  And what defines effectiveness? When the collective good overcomes personal betterment, we’d have achieved a huge milestone in terms of being effective citizens of a  democratic country.  This is in my opinion, an essential benchmark, no matter what we may be involved in as citizens.  From a mundane act of driving to work, to the all important – casting the ballot, if we pause to think whether the act being committed would further the collective good or harm it, I am sure that a lot of the problems we are in currently would be effectively addressed at the grassroots level.  This community cannot be based on religious, political, social, economic or gender based classification.  It has to be the collective betterment of humanity.   In simplistic terms, it is about making – knowledgeable choices.  I am not talking about educated choices, but instead, choosing through the right knowledge. And there’s a huge difference between the two.  Surely, I may be sounding utopic in my thoughts, but even if 20% of the country would work bearing this in mind, it may offset the 80% of indifference.  Currently, the indifference of the 20% of knowledgeable and efficient individuals has put the country in dire straits by handing the reins over to the 80% who really don’t give a damn!  And it is not about a momentary flash of awakening that I am referring to, but a consistent, determined and focused action.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be on a magnum scale, but even small contributions – cleaning our surroundings, educating adults and children, supporting social causes, standing up for the environment, effective garbage disposal, rejecting vote-bank politics, creating social and health awareness, working towards harmony and efficiency in every aspect of our individual and collective lives – if we start moving towards this, there will be a turn around eventually.  The good of the collective cannot be forever submerged under the auspices of a few!  We learnt this lesson during our freedom struggle! The collective good of India, couldn’t be suppressed by the interests of a few British administrators.  It was comparatively easy to fight them, since we had the alien factor.  But what we are pitched against today, is ourselves!

Look Out!  How is an individual supposed to make a difference? Would it really matter if one person does not vote for a corrupt politician, who however will win – thanks to his dubious methods and means? Do we have to see scams amounting to multi-crore rupees before the people shall become enraged?  How ironic is it that we don’t mind giving few hundreds of rupees as bribe to get away from a fine for violating the rules but fume when we hear of politicians receiving kickbacks amounting to lakhs of rupees?!  Is it that, while we feel our cause is genuine, they don’t really need that moolah?  Why do we break the traffic rules? Why do we skip the queues or try to put others down? Why do we take advantage of the innocence or simplicity of another person?  How different is this than what our political establishments do to us? Just because the magnitude varies, it doesn’t make it any lesser of an evil! Does it?

How many of us can confidently vouch that we tried to atleast find out some credentials about the candidates we voted for?  Have we tried to use the available resources to see the developmental work carried out by a candidate, before deciding whether he needs our votes? What interests us more? Which species of dog Siddharth Malhotra owns, or voicing our opinion about the anti-rape law to be formed?  Why do we hesitate to opt for the option to not vote any candidate, if we feel that none are good enough?! Have we really gained enough knowledge on our own democratic system and set up? The biggest obstacle to the development of this country is thus, ourselves!  We conveniently elect representatives who we feel will further our community, our religion, our sect or our group, even if it’s at the cost of the whole nation.  But we forget that they are infact a mirror of our own selves! Hence they will obviously try to forward their own group, family, community or establishment! When Gandhi said, be the change you want to see in others, he gave one of the most essential mantra for an effective democracy.  If every citizen of this country tries to be the sort of person he wants his politicians to be, then,  we’ll see the curtains falling on our Great Indian Nautanki. Till then… well the show’s on.. and popcorn is tasty!

The Great Indian Nautanki – Part 1

Finally its here! The time for which every democracy waits with bated breathe! When the errors of the previous choices are given a chance to be repeated! When history goes in for a makeover, and comes out just the same – apparently there is no way we can mess with imperfections! And that in short is what we call Elections!  When the people of the largest democracy will vote to power newer set of people with old agendas to mismanage the country’s administration (once again) for the next 4 years!

What has made the current election exciting is the fact that while the stage is being set at National level, Karnataka is all set to go in for its assembly elections in May and it certainly seems like there is a change in the air – both at the State and National levels.  For many, the results of Karnataka may seem a precursor to what may unfold at New Delhi. From the guys smoking at the street corner kaka-shop to the political pundits braying their throats out on various channels, from astrologers to tarot and parrot readers, everyone is busy predicting the outcome for various National and Regional parties as well as their satraps.

But there possibly hasn’t been a nadir that Indian political scenario had reached earlier, than when it is today!  The nation is at the brink of having to choose between the devil and the deep sea.  I wonder if ever there was such a dearth for leadership as what is facing the Indian democracy during the upcoming elections – both at Karnataka as well as National levels.

India in Election mode

India in Election mode

Too Many Cooks (Coalitions):  When the coalition government was initiated at the National level, it was heralded as a new dawn in the political sphere.  National parties could no longer claim majority, and they needed regional parties to support them – thus it was argued, the states would benefit and the concerns of the state administration would be addressed very well.  After two decades we are probably far from being anywhere close to that assumption.  A platform that was meant to be a launchpad for effective administration by a collaborative State and National involvement has been reduced to shambles with internal bickering and political gun trotting. Unfortunately, after the virus has spread, there is no way to quarantine it!  The National Parliament proceedings have been held hostage by several regional parties disrupting its functioning time and again.  While there is absolutely no need for such maneuverings, the elected representatives just don’t seem to know of any other method! The NDA as well as the UPA regimes have been held at point blank range by pesky partners who only proved to be the proverbial spanner to the wheel – TMC, AIADMK, DMK, SP, BSP and CPI(M) to quote a few examples.  Personal agenda and vendetta has always super ceded National interests.  A third front alternative is as good as the dead dodo, and even if forged would only add to the mayhem.  Unless there is a clear mandate given to one party, there would be no end to such chaos.  Unfortunately, there is none deserving of this attention currently.

The sole savior – Hero worshipping: The two major National parties are now giving us options to choose from! On one ‘hand’ we have a wet ear, and on the other we have a potty mouth! That the oldest National Party has steeped itself into a state of dynastic politics and dependency was a forgone conclusion.  But what is surprising is that they seem to have misplaced their commonsense along with it too!  They have clearly dug out a grave for themselves by positioning an absolute green horn such as Rahul Gandhi as a prime ministerial candidate.  A person who has barely taken any stand-worthy position (except during the Nuclear Non-proliferation treaty) is going to be handed the reins for running the country.  What is ironical with this move, is the fact that Congress has blatantly misjudged the call for change by the nation and neglected several well experienced, nuanced, and mature candidates who have a good track record.  Instead the change they want to give (in terms of representing younger generation) is to field a immature and inexperienced candidate to lead the Nation which they have now held  hostage with their sycophancy and immaturity.   Surely, running a country requires lot more than rhetoric and name! Unfortunately, recognizing this isn’t one of the strengths of Congress.

The BJP hasn’t turned out to be a real knight in the shining armor either!  In the past 4 years, BJP has come to resemble a party with absolutely no direction, let alone a leadership.  Every issue of National interest that they’ve tried to cash in on, has back fired implicating members of their own party.  Their (mis)administration in Karnataka has been fraught with internal bickering, scams, crime and volatility.  While this represented the failed leadership at the National level, it also gave an open ground for Narendra Modi to carve out for himself a niche despite his dubious records and questionable mannerisms.  For a person who has a panache for cheap-talk, it would be a scare to have him and his despotic attitude at the helm of National Affairs. I am not someone who says that there can be no redemption at all.  If Narendra Modi really admired Swami Vivekananda, he would’ve recognized that Swamiji was the epitome of leadership and that too of the concept (which has been wonderfully put forward by Asim Chaudhari) as Servant-leadership.  Servant-leadership is a model where the leader lays claim to the position by his attitude of ‘service’ and perception of himself being an eminent servant of the masses.  But then for Narendra Modi it symbolizes him being the master of slaves.  With sheer word power and hot air, while neglecting the core issues, he has positioned himself at a vantage point.  But clearly, empty words, and hot gas.. are just that!

Finger Pointing:  If one has to really find a field where every person is a criminal for everyone else, politics would

Various Party Symbols

Various Party Symbols

be the right starting point.  The reign of the UPA-2 regime if anything has been the most foolish in the recent decade.  In the wake of winning the mandate twice, they seemed to have let down their guard on several matters, and it rightfully boomeranged.  From ministers like Shinde who can barely watch their mouths (or should it be foot?!!) to a prime minister who inspite of being a remarkable statesman has sadly chosen to be a silent spectator, this was a rule that had ‘doom’ written all over it. With the exit of Pranab Mukherjee, things only got worse!  With scams after scams hitting the ruling coalition on their face, most of the critical administrative efforts were spent in dodging the attacks than attending to matters of prime importance – economy being one.  From a foreign policy that was miserable, to faltering on important issues of National significance like corruption, security and border control, the administration has depicted itself as being a lazy behemoth, that is a hopeless representation of the vibrant and young India that is now emerging.

What may have turned out to be a clear vantage point for BJP nevertheless fizzled out – thanks to its debacle in Karnataka and its own National Party President being embroiled in scams!  The pet peeve of Congress and other ‘secular’ parties has been the infamous riots of Gujrat, but it would be sane for Congress to also remember the riots that followed Smt. Indira Gandhi’s assassination.  In remark to this, Rajiv Gandhi had famously quipped – “When a huge tree falls, there is bound to be some disturbance!”.  This certainly is no absolution argument for Narendra Modi.  But alarmingly his remorseless attitude is no comfort either.  Not only supporting a person like Amit Shah, but the coolness with which his Government gave the go ahead for the maximum prosecution for his own ex-minister Ms. Kodnani, goes to show, how at the opportune moment, every person just turns out to be a pawn in the hands of those in power!  If Narendra Modi is serious about leading a country, he should first have an attitude of grace and gratitude.  Unfortunately, there is no leader in BJP other than Sri. Atal Behari Vajpayee, who had such self-respect and grandeur as to naturally elicit admiration and respect.  Instead of making personal remarks and vitriolic comments on a person’s character or personality, he’d do better to focus on issues of National interest than behave like a cheap low-class entertainer.  For a person who had got an earful on Raaj-dharam by none other than Atal Behari Vajpayee, Modi surely has learnt very less!

‘Secular’ are we?  The biggest debacle this election may lead to would be with the so called “secular” parties teaming up to keep another Right-wing party out of power.  Unless ofcourse the BJP gets a thundering mandate to shut everyone up! But in case of a hung verdict, it’d lead to all the so called “secular” parties coming together and retaining power.  Now, this idea of secularism  has a very weird connotation with respect to Indian politics.  The dictionary defines secular as something that does not belong to any particular religion or religious congregation.  In our context, it has turned out to be appeasement of certain sections of religion over the others.  The minority community appeasement has taken the form of secularism in Indian democracy.  And this has led to every party feeding like leeches either into the inherent mistrust or frustration of one community over another.  Leaders are elected based on the vote banks available from one community, governments are formed and elections are won based on boot licking either the leaders of the religious communities or their respective religious institutions.  Crores of rupees were given as funds or grants to religious institutions belonging to various communities by the BJP Government in Karnataka.  This is a disgusting precedent this government has set, to which every successor Government shall abide by, in order to stay in the good books of the religious king-makers.  Narendra Modi is only too happy to be fraternizing with the likes of Baba Ramdev who are worse than clowns with a pathetic sense of humor.  They are so serious about the crap they speak that, one cannot even consider them to be jokes!

Congress on the other hand, has been adept at using discreet strategies.  The way Salman Khurshid was seen tapping to the emotions of his community members was puke-worthy! It has long set a trend of calling for reservations without taking concrete steps to addressing the needs of providing qualitative education and empowerment to any of the communities.  And now they set their eyes on the premier institutions of India to carve out reservation seats.  To this circus we have the SP, BSP duo  and our occasional Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav and his brigade who are amongst the low brow of politicians cashing in on ‘backward’ tags.  To talk about their goondagiri, hooliganism and corruption would require a separate blog by itself! What is strange is everyone seems to be turning a blind eye to one fact – true benefit for any community – majority or minority comes from development – educational, social, economic and environmental development of the region and in turn its residents.  Education, Housing, Food, affordable living – these are the basic tenets of life in any country.  And the BJP Government in Karnataka as well as the UPA regime in the center have both failed miserably on these aspects.

Whither from hither?!!! – The Great Indian Nautanki – Part 2.

ಅಕ್ಕನ ಕಾಡಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಸ್ವಗತ…..

ಚಿಲಿಮಿಲಿ ಎಂದೋದುವ ಗಿಳಿಗಳನ್ನು, ಸ್ವರವೆತ್ತಿ ಪಾಡುವ ಕೋಗಿಲೆಗಳನ್ನು, ಎರಗಿ ಬಂದು ಆಡುವ ದುಂಬಿಗಳನ್ನು – “ನೀವು ಕಾಣಿರೇ? ನೀವು ಕಾಣಿರೇ?” ಎಂದು ಬೇಡುತ್ತ, ನಿನ್ನ ಗಂಡನಾದ ಚೆನ್ನಮಲ್ಲಿಕಾರ್ಜುನನನ್ನು ಅರಸಿ ಹೊರಟವಳು ಅಲ್ಲವೆ ನೀನು? ಎಲ್ಲಿಯ ಉಡುತಡಿ, ಎಲ್ಲಿಯ ಶ್ರೀಶೈಲ!  ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನಿಂದ ೫೦೦ ಕಿ.ಮಿ ಕ್ರಮಿಸುವುದರಲ್ಲಿ ಹದಗೆಟ್ಟ ನಮ್ಮ ಸ್ಥಿತಿ ಎಲ್ಲಿ? ೮೦೦ ವರ್ಷಗಳ ಹಿಂದೆ, ನೀನು ಕ್ರಮಿಸಿದ ಈ ಹಾದಿ ಎಲ್ಲಿ?  ನೀನು ನಿಜವಾಗಿಯೂ ಮಾನವ ಮಾತ್ರಳೇ? ಅಲ್ಲಮನ ಎದುರಿಗೆ, ಅಷ್ಟು ಶರಣರ ಸಮ್ಮುಖದಲ್ಲಿ ದಿಟ್ಟವಾಗಿ ಉತ್ತರಿಸಿ, ನಿನ್ನ ವೈರಾಗ್ಯದ ಅನಿಮಿತ ಪರಿಧಿಯ ದರ್ಶನ ಮಾತ್ರವನ್ನು ಮಾಡಿಸಿದೆಯಲ್ಲವೆ ನೀನು? “ನಮ್ಮ ಗುಹೇಶ್ವರ ಲಿಂಗದಲ್ಲಿ ಸಂದಿಲ್ಲದಿಪ್ಪ ಮಹಾದೇವಿಯಕ್ಕನ ಶ್ರೀಪಾದಕ್ಕೆ ನಮೋ ನಮೋ ಎಂಬೆನು” ಎಂದೆನಿಸಿದೆ – ಅಲ್ಲಮನಿಂದ! ಅಲ್ಲಮನ ವೈರಾಗ್ಯ, ಬಸವಣ್ಣನ ಭಕ್ತಿ – ಸ್ತ್ರೀ ರೂಪದಲ್ಲಿ ಏಕೀಭವಿಸಿ ಉದಿಸಿದ ಮೂರ್ತಿ ನೀನಲ್ಲವೆ?

ಅದನ್ನು ತೋರ್ಪಡಿಸಲೆಂದೇ ಅಲ್ಲಮನು ಏನೆಲ್ಲ ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆಗಳನ್ನು ಹಾಕಿದ! ಏಕೆ? ರಾಜನ ಹಂಗನ್ನು ತೊರೆದು, ಸಮಾಜದ ಮರ್ಯಾದೆಯ ಕಟ್ಟಳೆಗಳನ್ನು ಮೀರಿ, ಉಟ್ಟ ವಸ್ತ್ರವನ್ನೇ ತೊರೆದು, ನಡೆದ ನಿನ್ನ ಪರಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ವೈರಾಗ್ಯ ತಾನೇತಾನಾಗಿ ಕಾಣಲಿಲ್ಲವೆ?  ಅದರಲ್ಲಿ ಛಲವಿರ ಬಹುದೆಂಬ ಗುಮಾನಿಯೆ ಅಲ್ಲಮನಿಗೆ?  ಛಲವಿರದ ಭಕ್ತಿಯುಂಟೆ ಅಕ್ಕ? ನೀನು ನಡೆದ ಆ ಹಾದಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಈಗಿನ ಐಷಾರಾಮಿನ ಸವಾರಿಯಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಅಲ್ಲವೆ? ನಾವು ದೋಣಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಕುಳಿತು, ಸರಾಗವಾಗಿ ಬಂದು ಕದಳಿಯ ಬನ ಸೇರಿದ ರೀತಿ, ನೀನು ಬರಲಿಲ್ಲ.  

ಅಕ್ಕ ಮಹಾದೇವಿ

ಅಕ್ಕ ಮಹಾದೇವಿ

ಆ ಕಾಲ ಘಟ್ಟದಲ್ಲಿ, ನಿನ್ನ ಚೆನ್ನಮಲ್ಲಿಕಾರ್ಜುನನ ಇರವು, ಈಗಿನಂತಿರಲಿಕ್ಕಿಲ್ಲ.  ಇಲ್ಲಿನ ಅದಾವ ಗುಹೆಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ನೀನು ಅವನನ್ನು ಅರಸಿ, ಕಡೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಅವನರಸಿಯಾದೆಯೊ!  ಕಂಡವರಾರು?!! ಅಂಗ ಲಿಂಗ ಸಂಗವನನುಭವಿಸಿದವಳು ನೀನಲ್ಲವೆ? ಸೂರ್ಯನ ಕಂಡ ಕಣ್ಣು ಮಿಂಚುಹುಳುವಿಗೆ ಮಾರು ಹೋಗುವುದೆ?  ಭವನನ್ನು ಕಂಡ ನಿನಗೆ, ಭವಿಗಳ ಸಂಗವೇಕೆ ಬೇಕಿತ್ತು? ಬಹುಶಃ ಅದಕ್ಕೆಂದೇ, ಇಷ್ಟು ಕಠಿಣವಾದ ಹಾದಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಬಂದು, ನಿಬಿಡವಾದ ಅರಣ್ಯದಲ್ಲಿ ನೆಲೆಸಿ, ನಿನ್ನ ಮಲ್ಲಿಕಾರ್ಜುನನ ಜೊತೆ ಲೀನಳಾದೆ. ನಿನ್ನ ಆ ಅಗಾಧವಾದ ಭಕ್ತಿಯ ತುಣುಕೊಂದನ್ನು ನನಗೆ ದಯಪಾಲಿಸುವೆಯಾ?  ಈಗಿನ ದಿನಗಳಲ್ಲಿ, ಅಷ್ಟು ಮಾತ್ರದ ಭಕ್ತಿಯನ್ನು ನಿಭಾಯಿಸುವುದೂ ಒಂದು ಮಹತ್ಕಾರ್ಯವೇ ಸರಿ.  ನಿನ್ನ ಶ್ರೀಶೈಲವನ್ನು ನೀನು ಈಗ ಕಂಡಿರಬೇಕಿತ್ತು.  ಕದಳಿಯನ್ನು ಬಿಟ್ಟು ಇನ್ನೆಲ್ಲಿಗೆ ಹೋಗುತ್ತಿದ್ದೆಯೊ ಯಾರಿಗೆ ಗೊತ್ತು!

ನೀನು ಕಂಡ ಕಾಡು ಈಗ ಇಲ್ಲಿಲ್ಲ! ನಮ್ಮ ಸ್ವಾರ್ಥಕ್ಕೆ, ದೇವರನ್ನೇ ಮಾರುವ ನಾವು ಕಾಡನ್ನು ಕಾಪಾಡುತ್ತೇವೆಯೆ?  ಆದರೆ ನಿನ್ನ ಮಹಿಮೆಯಿಂದ ದುಡ್ಡು ಸಂಪಾದಿಸಲು ಮಾತ್ರ ಬೇಕಾಗುವಷ್ಟನ್ನು ಉಳಿಸಿಕೊಂಡಿದ್ದೇವೆ! ಅದಕ್ಕೆಂದೇ, ಈಗ ದೋಣಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಎಷ್ಟೋ ಜನರನ್ನು, ನೀನು ತಪಸ್ಸು ಗೈದಿರಬಹುದಾದ ಗುಹೆಗೆ ಕರೆದುಕೊಂಡು ಹೋಗುತ್ತೇವೆ!  ಅವರಲ್ಲಿ ಎಷ್ಟು ಜನರಿಗೆ ನಿನ್ನ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ತಿಳಿದಿರಬಹುದು ಎಂಬುದು ಸಲ್ಲದ ವಿಚಾರ.  ಅದರ ಗೊಡವೆ ಏಕೆ? ತಿಳಿದಿರದಿದ್ದರೂ, ಗುಹೆಗಳನ್ನು ನೋಡಿ ಆನಂದಿಸಬಹುದಲ್ಲವೆ?

“ಯಾರೋ ಇಲ್ಲಿ ತಪಸ್ಸು ಮಾಡಿದರಂತೆ” 

“ಯಾರಂತೆ?” “ಯಾಕಂತೆ?”

“ಯಾವೋನಿಗ್ಗೊತ್ತು! ಯಾವ್ದೋ ಭಕ್ತೆನಂತೆ!”

“ಎಲ್ಲ ಬಿಟ್ಟು ಇಲ್ಲಿಗೆ ಬಂದು ಮಾಡಿದ್ಳಂತ?!! ಸರಿ ಹೋಯ್ತು!”

ಇವರನ್ನ ರಮಿಸಲು ನಿನ್ನ ಕಥೆಯನ್ನ ಹೇಳಿದರೆ ಏನು ಪ್ರಯೋಜನ? ಅದಕ್ಕೇ, ಇವರಿಗೆ ಅಂತಲೆ, ನಾವು “ಶೀಲ ಕೀ ಜವಾನಿ” ಹಾಡನ್ನ ಹಾಕಿ ನೀನು ತಪಸ್ಸು ಮಾಡಿದ ಜಾಗಕ್ಕೆ, ಕರೆದು ಕೊಂಡು ಹೋಗುವುದು. ಕಿವಿ ಗಡಚಿಕ್ಕುವ ಈ ಹಾಡಿನ ಮಧ್ಯೆ, ನಿನ್ನ ಗಿಳಿಗಳು ಮೌನವಾಗಿ ಬಹಳ ವರುಷಗಳೇ ಕಳೆದಿವೆ.  ಅಲ್ಲಿಗೆ ಹೋಗಿ ಪಿಕ್ ನಿಕ್ ಜಾಗದಂತೆ, ತಿಂದು, ಉಂಡು, ಮೋಜು ಮಾಡಿ ಅದರ ನೆನಪಿಗಾಗಿ ಈಗಾಗಲೆ, ಬಹಳ ಪ್ಲಾಸ್ಟಿಕ್ ಕವರ್ ಗಳನ್ನು, ಬಾಟಲ್ ಗಳನ್ನು ನೀನು ನೋಡಬಹುದು.  ಯಾವುದಾದರೂ ಪುಣ್ಯ ಕ್ಷೇತ್ರಕ್ಕೆ ಹೋದರೆ, ಏನಾದರೂ ಬಿಟ್ಟು ಬರಬೇಕೆಂಬ ವಾಡಿಕೆಯಂತೆ. ನಮ್ಮಲ್ಲಿ ವೈರಾಗ್ಯದ ಭಾವ ಸ್ವಲ್ಪವಾದರೂ ಇರಲಿ ಅಂತ ಈ ಒಡಂಬಡಿಕೆ. ಅದಕ್ಕಂತಲೇ ನಾವು ಅವನ್ನೆಲ್ಲ ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಬಿಟ್ಟು ಬರುವುದು! ಇನ್ನು ನಿನ್ನ ಹಾಗೆ ಅರಮನೆಯ ರಾಣಿಯ ಪಟ್ಟ, ಐಷಾರಾಮಿನ ಜೀವನವನ್ನು ಬಿಡುವ ಜಂಜಡ ನಮಗಿಲ್ಲ!  ಇದು ನಮ್ಮ ವೈರಾಗ್ಯದ ಪರಿಧಿ – ಇನ್ನೊಂದು ಅರ್ಥದಲ್ಲಿ – ಆ ಕ್ಷೇತ್ರದ ಪಾಪದ ಪರಿಧಿ.  ಎಲ್ಲಿ ’ಪುಣ್ಯ’ ಎಂಬುದು ಇದೆಯೊ ಅಲ್ಲಿಗೆ ಹೋಗಿ, ಅದನ್ನು ತೆಗೆದುಕೊಂಡು, ನಮ್ಮ ಪಾಪದ ಕಂತೆ ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಬಿಟ್ಟುಬರುವುದು ನಮಗೆ ಜನ್ಮತಃ ಬಂದ ಗುಣ.

ಅದಕ್ಕೆಂದೇ, ನಿನ್ನ ಮಲ್ಲಿಕಾರ್ಜುನನ ದರ್ಶನಕ್ಕೂ ನಾವು ಸಾರಾಸಗಟಾಗಿ, ಲಂಚ ನೀಡಿ ಹೋಗುವುದು.  ಅವನನ್ನು ಮುಟ್ಟುವುದಕ್ಕೆಂದೇ,  ಎಲ್ಲ ನ್ಯಾಯ ನೀತಿಯ ಕಟ್ಟಳೆಗಳನ್ನು ಮೀರಿ, ಮೋಸದಿಂದಲಾದರೂ ಮೊದಲು ನುಗ್ಗುವುದು.  ನೀನು ನಿನ್ನ ಮಲ್ಲಿನಾಥನಿಗಾಗಿ ಏನೇನು ಬಿಡಲಿಲ್ಲ?!!! ಅದೇ  ಹಾದಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಹೋಗಬೇಕೆಂದಿರುವವರು ನಾವು! ಅದಕ್ಕೆ – ಸಹನೆ, ಭಕ್ತಿ, ನಾಚಿಕೆ, ನ್ಯಾಯ, ಇವುಗಳನ್ನು ಬಿಟ್ಟಿದ್ದೇವೆ!  ಇನ್ನು ಮೋಕ್ಷಕ್ಕೆ ಮೂರೇ ಗೇಣು! 🙂  ಇದೇ ದರ್ಶನಕ್ಕಾಗಿ ಯಾರೋ ಹುಚ್ಚು ಜನರು ಮಧ್ಯ್ರರಾತ್ರಿಯಿಂದಲೂ ಬಂದು ಕಾದಿದ್ದರಂತೆ! ಬುದ್ಧಿ ಇಲ್ಲದವರು!  ನಾವು ದರ್ಶನಕ್ಕೆ ಸರಿಯಾದ ಸಮಯಕ್ಕೆ ಬಂದು, ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಹಣ ಸುರಿದು – ಹಣವೇ ಇಲ್ಲದವನ ದರ್ಶನವನ್ನು ಪಡೆದೆವು!  ಮೋಕ್ಷ ಇನ್ನು ನಮಗೆ ಮಾತ್ರ ಸಾಧ್ಯವಲ್ಲವೆ?  ಶ್ರೀಶೈಲದ ಶಿಖರವನ್ನು ನೋಡಿದರೆ ಪುನರ್ಜನ್ಮವಿಲ್ಲವಂತೆ – ಇನ್ನು ಲಂಚ ಕೊಟ್ಟು ದರ್ಶನ ಪಡೆದು, ದೇವರನ್ನು ಸ್ಪರ್ಶಿಸಿದವರು ನಾವು! ನಮಗೆ ’ಬಯಲು’ ಕಟ್ಟಿಟ್ಟ ಬುತ್ತಿ!

ನೀನು ಈಗ ಇರಬೇಕಿತ್ತು ಅಕ್ಕ! ಅಷ್ಟು ದೂರ ಕ್ರಮಿಸುವ ಅಗತ್ಯವಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ!  ಅಲ್ಲಮನೇನಾದರೂ ಪ್ರಶ್ನಿಸಿದ್ದರೆ – ಕಿರುಕುಳ ನೀಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದನೆಂದು ಸೆರೆಮನೆಗೆ ಕಳುಹಿಸಬಹುದಿತ್ತು!  ಜಮ್ಮನೆ ವಾಹನದಲ್ಲಿ ಬಂದು, ಲಂಚ ಕೊಟ್ಟು ನಿನ್ನ ಮಲ್ಲಿಕಾರ್ಜುನನನ್ನು ನೋಡಬಹುದಿತ್ತು!  ನೀನು ಈಗ ಇರಬೇಕಿತ್ತು!  ನಿನ್ನ ಭಕ್ತಿಯ ಹುಚ್ಚು, ಅದರ ಕಿಚ್ಚು – ಇವನ್ನು ಈಗ ನೋಡಬೇಕಿತ್ತು!  ನಿನ್ನ ಶ್ರೀಶೈಲವನ್ನು ನೀನು ಈಗ ನೋಡಬೇಕಿತ್ತು!  ಅಲ್ಲಿ ನಿನ್ನ ಗಿಳಿಗಳಿಲ್ಲ, ಮರಗಳಿಲ್ಲ, ಕದಳಿಯಿಲ್ಲ, ಎಲ್ಲಕ್ಕಿಂತ ಮಿಗಿಲಾಗಿ – ಅಲ್ಲಿ ನಿನ್ನ ಚೆನ್ನಮಲ್ಲಿಕಾರ್ಜುನನಿಲ್ಲ!  ನೀನು ಅವನನ್ನು ಹುಡುಕಿಕೊಂಡು ಬಂದ ಹಾಗೆ – ಅವನು ಈಗ ನಿನ್ನನ್ನು ಹುಡುಕಿಕೊಂಡು ಎಲ್ಲೆಲ್ಲಿ ಅಲೆಯುತ್ತಿರುವನೋ……… ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಈಗ ಅವನಿಲ್ಲ….. ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಈಗ ನೀನೂ ಇಲ್ಲ………….