Kitchen Work

Short Feature
“Is it ready yet, is it ready now?”
[Source – Pixabay]

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Like a quick meal that you make yourself, yes, yourself, standing in the kitchen, looking for items, finding none, finding some, maybe it is not something you regularly do or maybe you do it regularly but always in a rush, you add a pinch of salt after applying butter or vice-versa, the heat is too much or too low, you fix it, but after slightly burning your fingertips, and when this meal makes you wait, oh, for howsoever quick it is, it still needs time, you think of brewing a hot cup of tea or coffee, hustle and bustle, tin-tin-tinaa-tuk-tun-tunaa, and the quick meal along with a hot beverage when tasted and sipped, you feel full and good, it is a buttery sweet moment.

You suddenly also start to feel confident about life in general.


Oh, but when you return to the kitchen after finishing the meal, the anxious shelf, the sticky stubborn utensils and crumbles all over the place stare at you in cold anticipation – now or later, late evening or tomorrow morning, my turn or roommate’s turn, or, or, or the maid’s?

You suddenly feel late, like it is only the washing dishes and cleaning shelf bit that stands between you and the attainment of your dream.


I guess, the dish is ready, dear Rabbit. Bon appétit!
No, I won’t join, I am fasting today. Goodbye!
[Source – Pixabay]

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If you very often do the cleaning part too, not just as a chore, your cooking abilities will bloom, like a wild vine that climbs and trails wondrously without worry, much more than it does when you stick to a rough routine like a straight, pruned plant in a plastic pot.

While a plant even in a plastic pot is rich, full of warmth and it rules, we tend to limit ourselves to a routine too easily, especially if it is comfortably dull.

Kitchen work is all about exuberance, love, patience and meditation that serves best when mixed with prudence.

Cooking and cleaning is a complex task; your kitchen is no less than a PhD student’s lab, yet truly welcoming, forgiving and accepting.

Anyone’s progress happens only gradually and is incomplete without the cleaning part.

Steadily, if you keep going, you’ll learn when to add a pinch of salt, before or after applying the butter, without burning your fingertips.

And you’ll get used to the tricky teasing waiting part, you’ll know it adds great value, and you’ll see, when it’s time, how grandly patience prepares a rich dish.


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The Poet, The Sound

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 the last two poems from this collection –

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The Muse knows…
[Source – Pixabay]

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The Poet

From the pious to the picturesque,

From the lovelorn to the metaphysical,

The passionate poet enquires about life,

Stock-still like a quiet monument, but alive;

Merging this, that, and all the worlds

Into a rhythmic thought, the words

Together nudge, jerk, rise and fall,

Carrying the mythic, mystic, epic god,

Pulling to and forth and churning

The ink seas; the poet believes in creating.

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Linking the myriad life phases,

The poet sovereign readies

Pen, paper, season and riddles

To record the ever-evanescent time.

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The celebration called life!
[Source – Pixabay]

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The Sound

The trickling, babbling, rippling river,

The chirping, twittering, singing bird,

The whispering, chiming, gliding wind,

The swaying, circling, smiling dancer,

The silken, beaming, talking sun rays,

The messenger moon’s lovestruck sweet bays,

The melodious, mesmerising music composition,

The honied, light, bright hymn’s completion,

The mother’s lullaby and the father’s delight,

The sound softens the silent universe’s might.

*

This Sound travels leisurely than Light,

Fading, often breaking on the way;

We are in a phase of celebration and life

Is speaking fervently, for now it is here to stay.


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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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The Sun, The Moon, The Earth

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 the next three poems –

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All hail the majestic fiery sun! Hail, hail!
[Source – Pixabay]

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The Sun

Glorious in this self-sacrificial act,

The sun spins silently on its spot

With an eye open and an eye closed,

Partly seeing the planetary drama and

Partly observing its blind burning core,

Loving-living the old eclipsing folklore.

Never out of tune or shying away

From that routine rotating pathway

As if in meditation and at peace,

Granting us our lives at lease.

*

We assume Time is standing still

Because of our sun’s steady will.

It is but a phase like the earlier ones

Where life played a different game and had won.


Moon-lover one, waiting for moon lover two.
[Source – Pixabay]

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The Moon

Like a wave gushing its way through

The barriers and entering our hearts,

The Moon loves playing the darts,

Winking, listening and inspiring like a true

Poet in practice, moonlight as ink

Together the moon-lovers drink.

Such is the friendship between the seekers

And the moon; safekeeping promises and secrets,

Along with a lonely soul’s rising hope

Of fulfilling a decorated dream and Co.

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And this personification of moon into a friend

And a secret keeper, holding hands till the end

Is another phase, another image of the moon;

Quiet, calm, disciplined, it’s coming out soon.


The awesome dancers, all hail the trio! Hail, hail!
[Source – Pixabay]

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The Earth

On a great grand gargantuan pilgrimage,

Orbiting its way, the same old and unique,

Transforming, adjusting with every coming phase,

Our Earth, our only home, this blue-green maze,

Gravitationally inclined, time-space bound,

Nurtures with freedom the beings found

Inhabiting its being, its vision, its dream;

Rhythmically revolving, rising, but never asleep,

Timed its timing with Time, the Earth

Listens earnestly, abiding by the unknown.

*

How forgetful are we, who are just a phase,

A passing reality on the way to its pilgrimage…

We appear to be short sighted and too eager

To conquer the unconquerable, our planet, our nurturer.

*


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Stories

Poem

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’s the first poem –

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The LIBRARY!
[Source – Pixabay]

Stories

Once upon a time began a story,

One that preceded the old granny’s,

Kind of majestic, kind of silly…

The story glanced at the human tale

And built the drama of our coming-of-age;

Cultural riches, potions, a legacy in storage

That led the imaginative heart’s dream

To fly high until detained by authority,

That questioned before listening

And answered before knowing.

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Stories adorn with garlands these phases

Of mankind, the world and the universe’s,

Weaving powerful parallel universes

In stories after stories after stories.

*


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Begin and End Like a Raag

Commentary
A Lady Playing the Tanpura, ca. 1735 Rajasthan, India.
[Source – Wikipedia]

A raag in Indian classical music becomes Time when orchestrated. Glorious instruments, colourful songs and performances, although, when glimpsed at, mute, await patiently for the right Time, right raag.

For a different season, a different raag – Malkauns, Puriya Dhaneshree for autumn and fall, Megh and Miyan ki Malhar for the monsoons, Brindavani Sarang for summer – that captures the weather in wavelengths, letting it communicate ever so freely.

Raag as Time presents itself in a harmonious clock, naturally. Dawn breaks with raag Ahir Bhairav, Lalit, Bilaval… afternoon visits with raag Bhimpalasi, evening with raag Yaman Kalyan and night with raag Chandrakauns, Darbari, Hameer

Moulding live Time into a majestic melody, into resplendent raags – they sit still. Who all, exactly? Both raag and Time – raag as Time, Time as raag. They sit still, now bursting into true joy, now as fragrant as love, they await, never losing the discipline of being one.

Yes, here comes the structured, palpable, countable, direct, strict form of the raags – notations. Tied to notations, raags sincerely obey the rules set by the masters, always free to improvise and ameliorate the notations. Raags aim for clarity of ever vibrant awareness, presence that transcends.

And who do the masters, gurus, legends and myths obey? Well, life is cyclical – they obey, observe, listen to, be mindful of the raags.

*

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So, the strictness, the structure of notations attempts to keep the raags’ soul alive, while firmly certain that raags’ soul is eternal. And carrying this paradox rhapsodically, the artists move rather uniquely, theirs is a different gait, rich in colours, in fast-forward or rewind mode.

Ti-ha-yi i.e. tihayi, a technique used in Indian classical music mostly to complete a piece.

“Tihais are sometimes used to distort the listeners’ perception of time, only to reveal the consistent underlying cycle at the sam.”

Music Contexts: A Concise Dictionary of Hindustani Music by Ashok Damodar Ranade

Sam is the ending point/ beat.

Listeners’ perception of time… very true, after all it is done for the listeners, the stage is set for the viewers, the raags become Time for the audience.

Why? So that the sublime connection between the world around and the world within doesn’t break, so that the cyclical journey goes on and on… for no mortal being knows the final destination.


Akbar watching as Tansen receives a lesson from Swami Haridas. Imaginary situation depicted in Mughal miniature painting (Rajasthani style, c. 1750 AD).
[Source – Wikimedia Commons]

Raag comes from a Sanskrit word that means ‘dyeing’ or ‘a colour, tint, hue’, and so when the right note – beautifully beaded, richly fresh – is played, it touches the heart and soul of the listener, affecting and colouring the thoughts, urging one to act well, arresting one’s hurtful quietness, liberating one from the heavy shackles, boosting one’s spirited self.

An ecstasy when experienced so, in general the raags take a traditional ritual’s shape that often gets dull under the burden of untouchable rules… untouchable for they are pious.

And oh, be careful of rupturing the impeccable quaint charming world.

But they forget the raag becomes Time here, when orchestrated well and as Time it evolves, evolving others along.

Who has captured Time in this ephemeral space? And that too in a sweet honeyed way that in captivity it turns melodious – Time becomes raag…?

An eternal tug of war between the thoughtful and careful, a wave rising and falling, union and separation, spoken and unspoken – there is a raag for every shade, every mood, every subtle change, every sky and every earth.

Together why not we take a dive into this ocean of raag… why not we learn to be as patient as a still raag as if we have been sculpted out of stones, while the atoms within hum steadily the right tune… why not we become in action that ecstatic joy like the raag Malhar, causing the clouds of bleakness to rain, in-turn nurturing our roots… why not each one of us create a unique tihayi that uncovers the similarities at the sam…

Why not we begin and end like a raag…


Some supreme performances by the legends –

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Let’s Take The Final Curtain Call Together

Flash Fiction
A lovely dancing tree.
[Source – Pixabay]

Standing next to the giant old tree, its static presence made Saami sombre, more and more.

He cried, “Saami is now one with the rigid, rough and-and dead, yes, dead and gruesome tree bark, Saami has turned into this tree bark… O, but why?”

Resting against the tree now, now hugging the tree and mumbling, Saami stared into nothingness blankly, quietly. He opened his fist – a flint stone chip, equally dead he thought – and started ripping off the bark once again.

“Saami sees it all, Saami knows the limits, Saami’s dungeon is different from theirs, but… it’s all the same”, he announced in pain.

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Sombre Saami’s imagination.
[Source – Pixabay]

The twittering yellow bird, the prancing butterflies, a distant lullaby, the pesky kung-fu crickets’ funny civil war and the red flowers’ bold stance, Saami turned a blind eye to it all.

Even the crickets stopped their civil war to enjoy the rain and the rainbow that day, but not Saami.

“Fools! Saami knows the pattern, Saami knows hope and destiny are always stuck in a traffic jam, and love…”, said Saami two hours ago.

“Love… love coloured Saami’s world black… black is the absence of all colours… black reflects no light… Saami lives in darkness”, he completed the sentence just when the fireflies lit the jungle.

Some rested on his head and hands, but Saami refused to greet them.

With a dry look, sullen eyes and tired limbs, Saami spoke for the last time, “dead, static tallness, this soulless tree bark hates Saami, this is the death penalty, and the most terrible because Saami is not tied, Saami can move, Saami knows, but not anymore, for Saami has become one with this giant numb stubborn treeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…”


Saami spoke for the last time because the lovely, joyous and calm tree’s branch took hold of Saami’s tired body and pulled him up-up-up… in a gushing blast of speed, suddenly music broke Saami’s heart-heart-heart… ta-rum-pup-pup-paa came the sound and immediately replaced it with a musical hub-dub sensation of a heart.

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The lead singer-cum-dancer-cum-poser.
[Image by Roy N from Pixabay]

From the top-most branch of the tall lovely tree, Saami could see melodic colours and no darkness, nothing was static for the entire jungle and the river and the wind and the sky and the stars and the moon and the sun (together) danced to the twee peppy tune – and equally soothing, thought Saami – that the animal orchestra was playing.

Every animal – jamming freely – sitting on the top of some tree just like Saami… Saami who started clapping, swaying along and tip-tap-toeing in the air.

The tall lovely tree finally spoke, “Saami, yoi-knowi-da-cosmic-i-dance-sO-‘ell”; Saami was seen blushing brightly before the curtain was drawn.

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Cosmic-i-dance!
[Source – Pixabay]

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Ever Since

Haiku
An absolute wonder!
[Image by gdizerega from Pixabay]

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Between two equinoxes and solstices

Dear sun burns thy earth not – rather

churns energy for thy lot.

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Listen to this soulful track while you sit back and gaze at the image and wonder –

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मंत्र नंबर 205 / Mantra Number 205

गद्य काव्य/ Prose Poem
जल  ही  जीवन  है/ Water is life.
[Source – Unsplash]

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देर हो गई इतनी, मैं सोचूँ तो बोलू इतनी कितनी?

कई मंत्र जप्पे थे, कई जाने थे, अब आई बात समझ जाकर नंबर 205 पर।

उमर होगी मेरी 88-90, बोलो फिर कहाँ पाले मैंने इतने मंत्र?

हाँ तो मैंने फिर जाना की माना इस्कूल में पढ़ाया था जल ही जीवन है,

मैं गई भूल, अब आई बात समझ जाकर नंबर 205 पर।

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अब खा लूँ मैं जल, पी लूँ मैं जल, करलूं सफाई जीवन भर,

जल ही औषधि, जल ही प्राण और मैं राख,

जल नाले-नदी -झरने -समंदर में, जल मेरी मटकी में और मटकी मेरे सर पर,

मटकी टूटी तो जल ज़मीन-बीज-पौधे-पांच-साल-में-पेड़ पर, और मैं पेड़ की डाली पर।

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झोंपड़ी सी है मेरी, छत डालियों की बुन्नी थी कभी, अब छेद वाली है… फिर…

फिर इस बार अम्बर का पानी मेरी झोंपड़ी में और मैं मुईं झोंपड़ी की छत्त पर,

मुंगी भौंक उठी उस दिन मुझ पर, या मुईं छत्त पर… बिजली चमकी अचानक

और मैं गई कूद, गिरी सीधे चार-पाई पे, अब लगे मेरा बिस्तर फर्श पर।

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बड़े मटके में बड़ा, छोटे में छोटा बन जाये ये जल

और जब जाए मेरे भीतर तो बन जाए मुझ बुढ़िया सा कुबड़ा।

मूयें कुबड़े होंगे तुम सब, मैं कोई न होनी…

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फिर जल कभी मेरा खाना, कभी मुंगी का, जो वो न खाए तो चिड़िया का।

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जल आकाश, जल समंदर, और ये माटी के पहाड़ जैसे मेरी मटकी,

रिस-रिस के पानी, अंदर इस भू को जल दे जाए प्राण और ठंडक…

क्यों? पृथ्वी घूमे है तो थके न क्या? जल तो मांगे है…

फिर जल से कौन बचा, जो डूब गई वो भी किश्ती थी, जो तैरती रही वो एक किस्सा,

तुमने सुनाऔर मुझ बुढ़िया ने भी जाना, माना  माना, नहीं माना नहीं माना।

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बचपन में आई एक बार बाढ़, सब जगह जल ही जल और सत्यानाश,

मैं बच गई… काहे चौंके?

*

देर हो गई, देर हो गई इतनी, मैं सोचूँ, तो बोलू इतनी कितनी?

देर नहीं होनी कोई, तुम्हारी घडी भागे दिमाग से तीन कदम पीछे।

सुनलो, जल पीना चौकड़ी मार के जैसे है कोई अमृत ये, तब ऊपर के निचे के

दांत झड़ेंगे पहले और तुम मरोगे बाद में, बिन बतीसी के

बुड्ढे खुसठ 100 पार छलांग लगा कर।

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हाँ, याद रखना, मुझ बुढ़िया की बात, मैं जल देवी कहलाउंगी इसके बाद।

हं… हं… हाँ तो…

कई मंत्र जप्पे थे, कई जाने थे, अब आई बात समझ जाकर नंबर 205 पर। 


मटकी जाने है एक राज़, हम न जाने क्या/ Clay pot knows a secret that we know not.
[Source – Pixabay]

English Translation –

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I understood quite late, but then I wondered how late is quite late?

I chanted many mantras, knew many more, but mantra number 205 enlightened me.

Am around 88-90, so will you say I have gone overboard with chanting mantras?

Hmm, so as I was saying I know we were taught in school that water is life,

But I simply forgot about it, but now mantra number 205 enlightened me.

*

These days I eat water, I drink water, and I say keep it all spick and span forever,

Water is medicine, water is life-force and I am dust,

Water in the stream-river-cascade-ocean, water in my earthen jar and the earthen jar on my head,

The earthen jar broke, water seeped in the earth-seed-plant-and-in-five-years-the-tree and am now sitting on the tree’s branch.

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I live in a small shack, with an old thatched roof that now has a hole in it… then…

Then, recently, it rained heavily, water entered my bloody shack, I climbed the thatched roof then

Mungi barked at me or was she barking at the bloody roof… Lightning struck suddenly,

I jumped and landed on my cot, as a consequence of which now I sleep on the floor.

*

Big in a big jar, small in a small one, water takes any shape

And when I drink water, it takes the shape of a hunchbacked oldie…

Oh, you all must be hunchbacked, because I surely am not.

*

Hmm… I often have water for lunch, sometimes I share it with Mungi and if she rejects it, the birds feast on it.

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Water is sky, water is ocean and these mountains made of earth are like my earthen jar,

Slowly seeping inside, water gives life-force and coolness to the earth…

Why not? The earth rotates so don’t you think it gets tired? It too asks for water…

Water is very powerful… the one that sinks is a ship and the one that doesn’t is a legend,

You have heard such tales, this oldie has also known some, if you believe in it, you do and if you don’t, you don’t.

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Once, in my childhood, a great flood caused catastrophic destruction,

I survived… you look surprised, why so?

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Quite late, quite late, but then I wondered how late is quite late?

You’re not quite late, your watch runs three times slower than your brain.

Listen, sit down cross-legged whenever you drink water as if it is an elixir, then your lower and upper

Teeth will fall before you die and you will die toothless

Grumpy and senile, only after crossing 100.

*

Okay! Remember what this oldie has shared, maybe from now onwards I’ll be known as the ‘Water Goddess’.

Hmm… hmm… like I said…

I chanted many mantras, knew many more, but mantra number 205 enlightened me.


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Morning Sunlight Carrier

Poem

Shiki zokuze ku ku zokuze shiki.”

“Form is emptiness, emptiness is form itself.”

– Heart Sutra, Shingon Buddhism

Karate-do Kyohan – the Master Text by Gichin Funakoshi

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Dawn… an old answer.
(Image by Joe from Pixabay)

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Morning Sunlight Carrier

When the road is lonely, sans the dirt, the thorns, the lightning and

Sans even the enemy’s fiery glare, the roaring army and

The check-mate, in such a land how do you walk without falling

Twice, thrice as if you are papier mache made, a smattering

Of vague profoundness, uniqueness, an idea of truth,

But unsure yet conforming like an uncouth.

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Then, at last, thank god, it becomes foggy, and you stop

Keen-eyed you look, broadening the vision, reaching atop

A cliff overlooking a valley, smoky where it rests.

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This journey afresh, towards a calling, arrests

Your mind and soul; finally, meeting the master, humbly you bow,

And that is lesson one, just so you know.

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Practise patiently, practise patience, and o warrior

Gently turn your karate hands into morning sunlight carrier,

For those who live in the dark wake up late

With a grudge against the sun and zero tolerance to wait

For an old answer.


Gichin Funakoshi, founder of the Shotokan style of Karate, presented a martial arts philosophy that focused on perfecting the character of an individual. He believed that the karate practitioner should –

“purge oneself of selfish and evil thoughts… for only with a clear mind and conscience can the practitioner understand the knowledge which he receives. Funakoshi did not consider it unusual for a devotee to use Karate in a real physical confrontation no more than perhaps once in a lifetime. He stated that Karate practitioners must never be easily drawn into a fight.”

Karate-do Kyohan – The Master Text by Gichin Funakoshi

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Karate then is a fine practice to live by, a practice that gives us clarity to turn the lost papier mache mind into a strong sunlight carrier.


Read more about our magical sun in the following short posts –

Sun – A Flambeau Hi-Fi

Amla Pickle


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