There is an unsaid belief, upgraded as a myth and downgraded as a silly joke by some funky chaps, that our pets are, in reality, secret agents who fight/win/end battles and run against time, all the time, to save our planet. Wow!
Our furry, feathery, fierce, cutie-pie, moody friends follow a code covertly so as to fool the humans, carrying on with their tasks, living as undercover agents, pretending to be hungry all the time.
Calling for a cuddle, they plan their next move in the arena, darting love-rays through eyes, they confuse us, excited for a walk, they patrol the region thoroughly.
Legend has it that a pet platypus, called Perry the Platypus (Agent P), holds a record for defeating his nemesis – an evil scientist – and saving the day, every day. Ha-ha!
So much so that an animated series, Phineas and Ferb, showcases this legends’ legendary acts.
Hmm! This makes our dear pets more awesome; they are our lovely cool-cool peace keepers who know top-secret stuff, wear stylish hats and win battles usually before it even begins.
Meet the evil scientist, Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz and see Perry, I mean Agent P, in action –
Enjoy Agent P’s theme song, the extended version –
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.
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.
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…
“The time scheme of the epic is somewhat puzzling to us who are habituated to a mere horizontal sequence of events. Valmiki composed (Ramayana) as if he had a past tale to tell, and yet it was broadcast to the world by Kusa and Lava, the sons of Rama, who heard it directly from the author.
One has to set aside all one’s habitual notions of movement and get used to a narrative going backwards and forwards and sideways.
When we take into consideration the fact that a king ruled for sixty thousand or more years, enjoying an appropriate longevity, it seems quite feasible that the character whose past or middle period is being written about continues to live and turns up to have a word with the historian.”
An excerpt from R.K Narayan’s book ‘Gods, Demons and Others’, Chapter 3, Valmiki
The myths, the legends, the folktales, the epic victories and defeats, the deaths and rebirths simplify the reality of the extraordinary spirit – confounded and weakened often by tribulations or lulled by indolence – that resides within us all.
These stories take myriad routes, journeying from the world of Gods to the world of Demons, concluding on a high and happy note, introducing one to the game of life, entrusting with the secrets to winning.
Every emotion makes an appearance here; ego clashes until it shatters to accept change; Gods create obstacles almost breaking one’s spirit, but blesses the resilient one in the end with immortality and splendour.
These unfathomable, and at times a bit ridiculous, tales are the means to measure the unfathomable, ridiculous reality we live in; these tales, the bases of our culture, our rituals and an amalgamation of past societies, lead us.
Splendidly well-adjusted to change, it accepts deletions, additions, revisions without much hullaballoo. It revels in various versions and shades read throughout the country. Same gods-goddesses, demons, sages, avatars… often playing different roles, but embarking on similar journeys.
Written in a playful and ambitious tone these valued legends, retold by storytellers in every generation, are our inheritance; it holds a secret for every tenacious individual.
It is not a particular theme that is the moral of the story here but the journey, the journey with its endless possibilities and absurdities, twists crafted by the capricious fate and the supremacy of time that gives us insight into our understanding of life.
And such has been the role of the myths, legends and epics and of course, the storytellers and it continues.
The renowned author R. K Narayan’s Gods, Demons and Others is an interesting and engaging read, one that opens the gate to Indian mythology for one and all.
Arched perfectly in peaceful white/
Talking rarely via windows and hanging lights/
With those who look up.
A storyteller, following the ancient tradition of cave chroniclers, standing in vrikshasana (the tree pose) on a hill top (it is sunny, but windy), breathing in and out stories (relishing it all, but at times overwhelmed), declares animatedly that she will continue to – tell stories, share rare story gems, and connect with the pacy universe while also keeping the website ad-free.
Big thanks to my readers. Stay tuned!
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Chiming Stories (formerly Home Chimes)
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