Saturday, 25 February 2017

Truth be told

They asked me for two lamps. Because a pair is more auspicious than one. But light is light. One lamp or two – how many are there in the Sun? 

They thought a while and considered. Beat, they smiled and surrendered. But logic is stark and doctrine is dark – fact became as fiction rendered. 

Scriptures preach to set us free. Believe. And you won’t be forsaken. But freedom comes from fearlessness – or are the bonded yet to awaken? 

Ask and you’ll receive say the Good. If charity were free I probably would. Here all things that count, come at a price – so, you do what you can and I’ll do what I should. 

Action counts more than words. That’s a simple truth to keep. Learnings from life don’t come without sight – yet the blind will drive us into deep. 

Look within, you’ll find your fate. Believe your instincts, you’ll never hate. Faith and freedom beget one another – beyond the church, or temple, or caliphate. 

‘It’s a wonderful world’, sang the blind bard. Still, those with eyes fail to see it. Creation was free, until we had it trussed – bonsaied and stunted, by decree albeit. 

The saint calls for love. Yet the cleric will not sway. Wound tight in instruction, loose robes will never give away that humanity is love and its shrine lies within – maybe it’s too simple, such philosophical foray.  

Heaven embark, your time has come. Or is it your will to appease? Truth stands convicted upon the Earth – speak now or forever hold your peace. 

Thursday, 23 February 2017

The Whole Nine Yards - 2

Once Upon a Pallu

 A trusty little black dress works its magic at a high-stakes gala and all goes as planned until heads turn to pay due respects to a swooshing six-yarder making its haute entry. Quite clear in her mandate and assured in her stance, this real-life cat-woman wears her cape on her arm.  She is well-heeled, suitably accessorised and, despite a racy neckline, she is utterly graceful. And because she is technically ‘traditionally’ dressed, she is also appropriately attired to address an unexpected boardroom debacle directly after. Back home, when a conservative elder meets her at the door, a firm tug of the pallu over her shoulders serves her just fine. For the benefit of a stricter doctrine, she simply drapes it over her head. Yes, she plays it well. Dignified, contemporary, complete and confident in her ethnicity, she is our sampoorna bharatiya nari, the epitome of elegance.  

True to its cultural roots, very few apparels lend themselves to such versatility and grace as the sari does. And when it comes to the ‘sentiment’ that the sari is, we are trekking down time lines that date back to the birth of crude looms and cruder yarn. Then, we had muslin that famously ran miles through a ring. Now, our Kancheepuram silk gives any ring a run for its money. Every nook of India brings out treasures that drape our ladies in yarns and styles that lend them a distinctiveness which is sometimes earthy, sometimes opulent, every fibre, always, inspiring deep sentiments in all who surround them.

We are rarely aware of it and there is no written rule to this effect anywhere, but there is always a story lying there in those folds which bear different names, each carrying a significance, all of its own. If the ghoonghat is demure incarnate, a bride’s jewel, a solemn lineage and sanctifies Indian deference, a mother’s aanchal* is the go-to panacea for all ail. It is an impenetrable fortress for the terrified ragamuffin hiding from impending danger, be it wicket-walloping off cricketing streets or a high volume domestic flare-up. This matchless power of a screen of fabric is deeply ingrained in every childhood memory in a generation that saw mothers as the first and last resort to anything. This palliative pallu fanned every heat away. It wiped all the tears. It was the antidote to every wound. And when a little girl decided, one day, to act all grown up, “just like ma”, she wound her mum’s sari around her little self and let the world know.

That’s the sari for you. An enduring identity. An essence of security. A paean to ethereal poise. And a quiet contentment that unites times. It was never just a drape. Sentiments are never so simple.

Also see: The Whole Nine Yards  and Six Yards of Simmering Svelte
Come back for more on this.