Ascent


“Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?”
(Frida Kahlo)

Balance… Balance is not symmetry. For everything in this journey of life we are on, there is a right wing and a left wing: for the wing of love, there is anger; for the wing of destiny, there is fear; for the wing of pain, there is healing; for the wing of hurt, there is forgiveness; for the wing of pride, there is humility; for the wing of giving, there is taking; for the wing of tears, there is joy; for the wing of rejection, there is acceptance; for the wing of judgment, there is grace; for the wing of honour, there is shame; for the wing of letting go, there is the wing of keeping. We can only fly with two wings, and two wings can only stay in the air if there is a balance.

Having two desired wings is perfection. And perfection is not balance. Nature seeks balance. You cannot have two coveted wings at the same time, nor can you equilibrate with just one wing. A bird with one wing is imperfect; an angel with one wing is unblessed; a butterfly with one wing is dead. Life is a balanced system of learning and evolution. Whether pleasure or pain, every situation in your life serves a purpose. So there could be no joy on this planet without an equal weight of pain to balance it out on some unknown scale.

In each of us lie good and bad, light and dark, art and pain, choice and regret, cruelty and sacrifice. We’re each of us our own chiaroscuro, our own bit of illusion fighting to emerge into something solid, something real. This verse is one such moment of discovery of the self from a shackled state of inactivity to a long-desired flight.

Continue reading

Advertisements

The Light with a Soul


Anticlockwise from top right: Young Tagore on stage as an actor; With his son Rathindranath Tagore, and daughters Madhurilata Devi (Bela), Mira Devi & Renuka Devi; At Albert Einstein’s Berlin home (1926); Tagore with Tasher Desh drama group; Visiting Helen Keller in New York (1930) and reciting, “Aami chini go chini tomare, ogo Bideshini.”; Kabiguru in Shantiniketan; Spending time with Mahatma Gandhi; Last Journey from Shantiniketan.


“The song I came to sing 

remains unsung to this day. 
I have spent my days in stringing 
and in unstringing my instrument.”

From ‘Gitanjali’ (গীতাঞ্জলি)

Reading Tagore is seeing life more clearly, hearing life more sweetly, living life more completely.

His songs enable us to be more creative in our thinking and doing, to be more compassionate in our feelings and dealings.

And more at peace with ourselves, and the world.

Continue reading

A Ray Beyond Oblivion


Clockwise from top left: Pather Panchali (1955); Nayak (1966); Jalsaghar (1958); Charulata (1964); Sonar Kella (1974); Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne (1968); Joi Baba Felunath (1979); Ghare Baire (1984); Shatranj Ke Khilari (1977); Devi (1960); Apur Sansar (1959); Hirak Rajar Deshe (1980).


Not to have seen the cinema of Ray
means existing in the world
without seeing the sun
or the moon.”
(Akira Kurosawa)

1929. An eight year old kid, was visiting Santiniketan with his mother. Hidden inside his pocket was a newly bought autograph book. Gliding gently to where Rabindranath Tagore was seated, he mustered some courage and whispered into his ears: “Will you please write something for me?” and then presented a blank page from the autograph book. Tagore smiled, and told him, “Leave it here with me. Come and take it tomorrow.”

Continue reading