Secret

A Diary Meets a Secret at Mohenjo-Daro’s ‘Great Bath’

Next stop – Mohenjo-Daro!
[Source – Wikipedia]

Along the great rivers – Tigris, Euphrates, Nile, Indus, Yellow, Yangtze, coastal Peru rivers, Coatzacoalcos – rose the world’s oldest great civilisations – Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Indus Valley, Chinese, Caral-Supe, Mesoamerican. Rivers sustained these agricultural civilisations, providing food, fertile soil and better access to build trade relations with the rest of the world.

Archaeological findings provide us with a map that take us closer to these ancient civilisations, yet mysteries remain, as in the case of the Indus Valley civilisation, also known as the Harappan civilisation.

Major sites and extent of the Indus Valley Civilisation.
[Source – Wikipedia]

Although bigger than Egyptian or Mesopotamian (spread across northwest India, Pakistan and northeast Afghanistan, more than 1500 sites being found), the Harappan society boasts no monumental marvels like the pyramids or a deciphered writing like the cuneiform, nor even a ruling class, a military, weapons of war and not even distinctive burial sites.

The historians found no evidence of violence either and therefore, a tectonic shift that dried up the river or a terribly great flood is seen as the main reason behind the Indus Valley civilisation’s final collapse.

Nevertheless, what was discovered makes Mohenjo-Daro and Dholavira – the main Indus Valley cities amongst others – world heritage sites of immense importance. Indus Valley people lived in a very well-planned city that was most likely cosmopolitan-natured.

With its naturally ventilated and uniformly baked clay brick houses, well connected grid-patterned streets, an elaborate drainage system (some of these 4,500-year-old drains still perfectly operational), public washrooms, dustbins, around 700 freshwater wells, a massive granary, a citadel, uniformly made artefacts, seals and weights – Mohenjo-Daro was one of the twin capital towns, along with Harappa, of the Indus Valley civilisation.

The most important structure excavated here is not a palace or a temple, but a public bath – known as the Great Bath – also called the “earliest public water tank of the ancient world”.

Tightly fitted bricks and a layer of bitumen (waterproof tar) made the floor of the bath watertight; it was a large building with several rooms, one of which also had a freshwater well.

The ruins of what was once a large multi-storied building – now termed as the House of Priests – right across the street of the Great Bath, reinforces the idea that the bath had a sacred purpose.

Most scholars agree that this tank would have been used for special religious functions where water was used to purify and renew the well-being of the bathers. This indicates the importance attached to ceremonial bathing in sacred tanks, pools and rivers since time immemorial.

J. M. Kenoyer
“The Priest-King”, a seated stone sculpture at the National Museum, Karachi. [Source – Wikipedia]

A single soapstone seated structure termed as “Priest-King” by the archaeologists does not suggest that a monarchy or a priest ruled the city of Mohenjo-Daro, yet the remarkable urban planning and meticulous construction focusing on public welfare hints at probably a council of elders and a community that worked together.


A Mohenjo-Daro’s citizen’s Diary

Seal with two-horned bull and inscription; 2010 BC; steatite; overall: 3.2 x 3.2 cm; Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland, Ohio, US).
[Source – Wikipedia]

Day – Sunny

Got up. Slipped from broken stairs. Mended. Water’s fresh, took bath, drank plenty.

Seals made – water buffaloes, elephants, bulls, rhinoceros. Ha!

Day – Sunny, Clouds Playing

At The Great Bath. Slipped from slippery stairs. Cleaned. Cleaned more. Got fresh water from the well. Poured. Poured more. Thanked noble Indus.

Day – Too Rainy

Group work. Mending limestone slabs. Mended. Dry granary functions. Ate well. Didn’t slip. Healed.

Day – Raining

At The Great Bath. Mending roof. Unfinished. Slipped. Fell into the Bath. Resurrected. Ha!


Reclining mouflon; 2600–1900 BC; marble; length: 28 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City).
[Source – Wikipedia]

Blogger’s Note –

Only ten percent of Mohenjo-Daro has been excavated so far and yet it shows how grand the city must have been, its citizens living a simple life, nurturing good daily-living-practices; either celebrating special occasions at the Great Bath or just storing water, humbly accepting what the Indus River brought.

Spiritually awakened or not, religiously enlightened or not, fiercely ambitious or not, the Indus Valley folks definitely, without any doubt, slept well. And that’s their secret, if there is any. They rested and digested fantastically and so they functioned wonderfully. Maybe they slept for 12-14 hours, working from dawn, with a calming break around noon time, to early evening. Not rushing or worrying when at work.

And so, well rested, they loved water – fresh, salty, rainy (and were also aware about floods; they constantly rebuilt their buildings in cities like Mohenjo-Daro), and fire – for they loved baking bricks, and music and art – for ahm…The Dancing Girl, the ornaments and toys. They loved to work.

Every task was a joint venture, everything done together with nothing but the Sunny/Rainy/Cloudy day in front of them. And then the starry and peaceful night, when the wind played a lullaby and one with nature, they slept.

Good sleep made them bright and happy.

The Pashupati seal, showing a seated figure surrounded by animals.
[Source – Wikipedia]

Read further –

Rediscovering the magic of Mohenjo-Daro

Indus Valley Civilisation, Mohenjo-Daro and the Cradle of Civilisation

Watch to learn –
At the Great Bath, Bollywood style… enjoy –

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The Child, The Feminine, The God

Poems

Phases: A Collection of Poetry

A phase is defined as any stage in a series of events or a process of development; while we all go through different phases in life, at times we either forget to notice or simply become fearful of transitions, inadvertently being ignorant about the fact that this phenomenon is universal. In this short poetry collection, the blogger has attempted to capture this subtle yet powerful phenomenon – phases that are observable in every journey undertaken.

Here are three more poems from this collection –

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La-laa-la li-la!
[Source- Pixabay]

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The Child

Running to catch her friends,

Spirited till the day ends,

Happy seeing things just as they are,

Yay, the tuck shop’s not that far;

Folded paper boats and paper planes

Resting in the bag after ruling the lanes;

Little joys and big victories,

Defeats, bad score and sad faces,

The child knows life only too well,

The child lives life only too well.

*

Alas! Childhood is but a phase, golden,

Precious, sublime, magical and fun,

Closer to the truth, the reality,

A sweetened blissful individuality.


Here and beyond…
[Source – Pixabay]

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The Feminine

Femininity and infinity, two soul sisters,

One departed to build the worlds,

The other, to build the universe,

Through waves in the space

They saw the birth and death of their creations,

Jostling joyfully the drama to expand further,

One becomes the seed of sentient life,

The other, creator of spinning galaxies.

Inexplicable at times, they shone

In red, blue, yellow and its many tones.

*

Femininity –infinity’s one good phase – usurps

The Time, for the time being

As the secret mystical message lurks,

Invisible, for now, to the living.


“And that’s that”, said the god.
[Source – Pixabay]

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The God

Placing the pyramids perfectly still,

Turning the holy text holy,

The will to power or power to will,

The rise of God could not be a folly.

Mythology – a social construct, a tool, a goal

To make this lonely planet a home,

But that this God could launch a missile

And break the back of the buried poor

And let the child die a brutal death

Who failed to understand the ties of wealth…

*

This God could be a phase that may disappear

Or grow bigger and bigger and bigger,

Finally engulfing stars, galaxies and all…

Letting some rise, letting some fall.

*


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A Telltale Heart’s Secret

Short Review
Secret keeper’s lantern.
[Source – Pixabay]

True! – NERVOUS – very, very dreadfully nervous I had been – and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses – not destroyed – not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! And observe how healthily – how calmly I can tell you the whole story.

– The opening paragraph of The Tell-Tale Heart, a short story by Edgar Allan Poe

A secret that punctures a heart, a heart that still beats, alive, yet unsure how, in a delirium reveals the secret to all. In Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, The Tell-Tale Heart, such a secret is shared with us.

Such a secret troubles the main character in the story and he begins simply by narrating it, gripping us first by raising our curiosity and later by force.

That is, a psychological force… for we are always free to get up and leave the old man’s dark room, but oh, we don’t. We hear and fear it as scene after scene unfolds.

Tension rises, our noble heart beats, not only because we suspect something horrible, truly tragic, but also because we recognise it…

We recognise the inexplicable rage, the feverish mind, the parched bond and the morbid thought that although residing in the backdrop knows well how to make itself heard.

Edgar Allan Poe’s poetry and prose often create a fantastical mysterious world where distinctly, incessantly the human mind tries to rein in something, something… where failure leads to a twist and success to a debacle.

His characters mock the world and oneself with equal fervour, pretending nothing at all, confessing the truth blatantly and leaving the readers with a secret.


I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! One of his eyes resembled that of a vulture – a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees – very gradually – I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye for ever.

An excerpt from The Tell-Tale Heart, a short story by Edgar Allan Poe.

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The Moon’s Job

Our Moon Connection.
[Image by 愚木混株 Cdd20 from Pixabay]

The Moon’s not shy,

Your winking eye

Knows a secret.

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The Moon’s not singing

Your composition

In a bar.

*

The Moon’s not dreaming

Your lovely dream

In the dream-world.

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The Moon’s always only listening

To your stories,

Patiently till the end,

Passing messages at times,

Giving hints

To the storyteller

And the painter…

Messages and hints of love…


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More posts for Moon Lovers –

To The Moon And Back

Moon Colour

Crescent Moon Lights

In Slo-mo Towards the Moon

The Moon is Moving


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The Broken Nest and Other Stories by Rabindranath Tagore

Coverage

A painting by Rabindranath Tagore.
[Source- V&A Museum]

The Broken Nest  

Charu and Amal didn’t understand their heart’s secret, but how could it be that their own heart hid something from them, well it did. Maybe, Charu’s binoculars didn’t work properly.

And Mr. Bhupati, a lost editor, busy sketching the details of a busy world, had no time for keeping secrets.

Why did they give their secrets to Time for safekeeping?

Time always travels light, thus, it naturally left their secrets behind, visible for them all to see, casting a spell. The spell didn’t kill, it broke hearts.  


The Ghat’s Tale  

Vasant… Grishm… Varsha… Sharad… Hemant… Shishir…   Six seasons talked to the Ghat near the Ganga River. The seasons brought green moss at times and dry leaves at others, dipping the Ghat into sunlight and rain shower with love, the seasons spoke less, but heard sincerely.

What did the Ghat tell them? It shared stories… yours and mine.  


Notebook  

Let her be, why torment her, why read her notebook without her consent? She is little, just a girl, a child bride, she has left her world behind, she has carried some in her notebook.  


Postmaster  

Love is all-powerful and yet it blooms slowly in every soul, taking time for the realisation to sink in and sync with it completely.

A shade of love wrote a letter to the Postmaster who, tricked by mind, read it too late. Oh! That feeling…  


A happy poet.
[Source- Poetry Foundation]

The Broken Nest is a novella, while the other three are short stories; each one holds a complete universe and touches you deeply.

Rabindranath Tagore beautifully writes in the language of love, his characters always express something which stays usually hidden within a heart, sidelined by the talkative world.

Every story of his is like a time machine, it unfolds the past keeping it alive and magical at the same time.

The birds sing sweetest of songs in his stories, the earth dances the best to his tunes, the colour red blushes flamboyantly in his paintings and tears take time to dry up when he narrates.

Know his work and you will know.


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Ellinikí Glóssa

Flash Fiction
Cherubic bookmark.
[Source – Pixabay]

A crumpled piece of paper, resting in an old library book, smoothened by time.

Intrigued by it, Bakul quickly rushed to a corner. She read the words loud and clear ‘Ellinikí Glóssa’.

Unsure of what it means, she fabricated a story– it is a secret message meant for someone. Yes! Beaming like a sunflower beams on seeing the sun, Bakul crossed the corridor, then the stairs. Students saw her and thought, ‘ye to gayi firse’ (she has lost it again).

Bakul looked at you, yes you, the reader and said with dreamy eyes and a wide smile – “Let us find out what the secret message is.

A turn and Bakul bumped into her teacher.

“Sorry Sir”, “Bakul! Be careful girl! And what’s in your hand, what are you up to this time?”, “Sir, Rekha Ma’am is looking for you”, “Quiet Bakul, show me… eh… Ellinikí Glóssa… so now you’re interested in Greek language, hm?”, “Sirrrrr… this is in Greek?”, “Don’t waste your time and submit your assignment by Monday, okay?”

Bakul nodded. Sir turned to leave, then stopped, “Where did you say Rekha Ma’am is… in the staff room?” “Hee-hee-hee”, “Bakul, wait, you silly girl!”

Alone in the corridor, she looked again at you, yes you, the reader (don’t you remember?) and said with starry and mischievous eyes– “Am I interested in Greek Language?” She then winked at you.


Well, she must have found out the answer to this question by now. What do you think?

Anyway, peace out!


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Today with the Clouds

I say the clouds by nature are very funky and awe-inspiring. I enjoy watching them pass; just a simple hello or a nod is appreciated. They swirl and sway, move in waves and dance every single time, yet they maintain their uniqueness. I mean something which can be counted as a routine, an unchanging event, is actually a very grand and beautiful journey.

Only time might be able to answer how many eyes have dreamt and seen their secret mysteries getting a platform on the clouds – a bunch of flowers, a giraffe eating tree leaves, a cute rabbit, a candy bar, a bicycle, a boat, a pretty face, a simple smile – everything floating silently, invisible to others but clear to those happy eyes.

I say the clouds are a blessing in disguise. They are what freedom might look if given a form. I often try to paint them, to capture them, to be like them… a far-fetched dream. I am trying and I’ll continue.

I tell you there is some sort of sublime never-ending party that is going on up there. I have a proof… I didn’t believe it until I shared it and got to know that many, many, many people know about it too. Some of them have, like me, heard the clouds laugh… not just giggle but burst into laughter.

Others talk about the clouds as singers, dancers, good listeners, painters; a well-known scientist had said once that the clouds have the coolest particles, meaning that by nature they are funny and calm. Clouds also like to play. But more than anything, they are profound… I mean they have depth.

Wise people say that all the answers become clear in the end… it is now believed that ‘all the answers become clear’ because they are hidden in the clear looking clouds. So I guess one should not wait till the end and just keep looking. I am going on the hill top today… let’s see if I get any answers… nevertheless, I’ll have a good reason to burst into laughter.

Cheers love!
[Image – Pixabay]

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Two Photographs

Granny’s smile has lots of secrets and lots of memories in it. She is always smiling, beaming; we can also count her wrinkles rising from her cheeks to her closed eyes; eyes shining with childlike brightness, watery eyes speaking the language of love.

It is early morning and everyone in the house is running hither and thither. Mummy is cooking food and packing the tiffin-boxes. The children are late once again and Daddy is going to give them a lift to the school. But Daddy himself cannot find his tie and the green file and somehow Mummy is managing everything right from the kitchen.

In this daily drama we see Granny sitting in the balcony, she is combing her grand-daughter’s plaits; Granny talks about her late grandmother who use to tie her plaits, to which her little granddaughter giggles up and says, ‘Granny you also had a Granny?’

Mummy shouts from the kitchen as the clock declares it is 8. Everyone is late!

In this relay race, this cute family is asked to stop and pose for a photograph. Daddy says no but the children agree and Mummy is caught between them; while everyone else hesitates only to agree in the end, the granddaughter brings Granny inside and both of them settle comfortably on the sofa for the photograph.

Say Cheese! Click!

Daddy is awkwardly smiling with a bad tie-shirt combination making him look funny; Mummy is smiling nicely and is hiding her apron behind her; the children are looking full of life and sleepy at the same time; the granddaughter is hugging her Granny and saying cheese loudly; Granny is smiling peacefully.


Daddy, Mummy and the children wish Granny a good-bye, she waves back at them from the balcony. They leave in their car and get mixed with the ‘bhroom-honk-honk-bhroom’ crowd on the road.

When Granny is asked about the brightness in her eyes and the secret behind her smile, she laughs musically and says, ‘thank you very much’.

Enjoying the scene from her gallery she seems to be waiting for somebody. She walks slowly to the kitchen like there is no need to hurry, this is how blessed she is, maybe this the reason behind her smile.

When we are about to leave the house, she calls us and asks us to meet her friend. Back in the gallery, Granny is feeding a stale roti to a crow with extreme joy in her eyes.

She indicates us to take her photograph with the crow. She is already saying cheese. Click!


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