Tandabam – Dance of Destruction


DANCE OF DESTRUCTION

Nataraja – the most famous depiction of Lord Shiva is not only an epitome of ethereal beauty but also symbolizes a very important piece of the Hindu mythology. According to the Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva is known as the ‘Adi dev‘ which means – the oldest of the Gods. He is known to be an ecstatic dancer. And ‘Nataraja‘, which literally means ‘the Lord of the Dance’ in Sanskrit, is the form Lord Shiva took when he performed ‘Tandaba‘ – the dance of destruction.

The dance, which is also called ‘Rudra Tandaba‘, symbolizes the never-ending cycle of creation and destruction of the universe. In this form, Shiva is seen standing on a dwarf figure named ‘Apasmara‘ or ‘Muyalaka‘. According to mythology, the dwarf demon ‘Apasmara‘, who symbolizes ignorance and illusion, attained immortality. He kept getting more and more arrogant of his powers and eventually challenged Lord Shiva. It was then when Shiva took the form of ‘Nataraja‘ and performed the dance of destruction, crushing ‘Apasmara‘ under his right foot. Since ‘Apasmara‘ could not be killed in order to preserve the balance between knowledge and ignorance in the world, Lord Shiva forever remained in his ‘Nataraja‘ pose, suppressing ‘Apasmara‘ for eternity. Therefore, the ‘Nataraja‘ avatar of Shiva is a message that ignorance can be overcome by knowledge, music, and dance.

In this pose, Shiva is represented with four arms and flying locks as he whirls around in his dancing frenzy. His locks are decked with a skull, datura blossom, and a crescent moon, which symbolizes that he is omnipresent. The sacred Ganges is flowing through his locks. His third eye represents spiritual wisdom, power, and enlightenment. Through the third eye, Shiva can see beyond the apparent and destroy all evil.

He is seen providing the music and rhythm of his dance by himself, holding a small drum – the ‘Damaroo‘ (usually resembles the shape of an hour-glass) in his upper right hand. In his upper left hand, Shiva holds the fire – ‘Agni‘ which can destroy the universe. In his lower right hand is seen a Cobra, originally belonging to ‘Apasmara‘, which appears to be slain or tamed. Hence, his lower right-hand makes the gesture of blessings – ‘Abhaya Mudra‘ which calms all fear. And his lower left hand, which sweeps across his torso in the dancing pose pointing towards his left foot, makes the gesture of ‘Gajahasta‘, symbolizing salvation and liberation. In his right foot, Shiva is crushing ‘Apasmara Purusha‘ who represents ignorance and illusion which leads humanity away from the Truth. And his left foot is an expression of exuberance of energy displayed during his dance.

The ring of fire – ‘Prabha Mandala‘ behind the Lord represents the endless circle of birth and death. The outer edge is fire and the inner edge, the waters of the oceans.

Thus, the dance of destruction is not just a dance, but a representation of the motion of the whole universe around us and how God plays all the three roles of creator, preserver, and destructor simultaneously in His grand gesture.

A Woman


I dare not describe what women are, my vocabulary falls terribly short of worthy words! So, here are few of my most favourite quotes of all time:

The beauty of a woman must be seen in her eyes because that’s the doorway to her heart, the place where LOVE resides.

Audrey Hepburn

I alone cannot change the world. But I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.

Mother Teresa

Extremists have shown what frightens them most: A girl with a book.

Malala Yousafzai

Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.

Oprah Winfrey

Women are meant to be loved, not understood.

Oscar Wilde

Don’t let anyone tell you, you’re weak because you’re a woman.

Mary Kom

A charming woman does not follow the crowd, she is herself.

Loretta Young

A woman’s guess is much more accurate than a man’s certainty.

Rudyard Kipling

One is not born, but rather becomes a woman.

Simone de Beauvoir

And, the last but not the least, an anonymous quote:

Every man needs a woman when life is a mess, because just like the game of chess – the queen protects the king

Happy women’s day to all the women in the world!

Courtesy: [Wikipedia]

The Empty Swing


15-the-empty-swing

The Empty Swing

I wait for her to come and play

Everyday…

I spread my arms to cover her from the sun

To watch her having fun…

I tell the wind to gently pass and make no hustle for a while

So that she could smile…

I tell my leaves to moist the air

As she rolls down her hair…

I tell the grass to be gentle on her feet

As she climbs the swing to sit…

And as she sways swiftly underneath my shadow, her legs stretched facing the hill

I cautiously hold on to the ropes and keep vigil…

And when she asks “How are you?”, and plays me as her confidante

I just want to hold her in my arms; alas, I can’t…

Now she does not come to see her friend anymore, years have gone

I stand here alone…

I keep looking down the valley to hear the bell

She used to come riding her bicycle…

But, In my heart I know, I will see her again before I go

Though the cold bites harder now when there is snow…

Let the seasons pass by, the fall and the winter, the summer and the spring

Till then, I will hold on to the empty swing…

Jurassic Hunt


The hunt is on...

The hunt is on…

It appears quite incredible to me to think that giant reptiles were once the rulers of this earth. It really sends a chill down my spine to think that there was a time when some ancient monstrous predator used to hunt around the very place I live on right now !! I’m sure the paleontologists who unearthed the fossils of these gigantic creatures did have the same feeling 🙂 And maybe other ancient civilizations who found their remains also did, thereby spawning the stories of giants and ogres and dragons.

Thank God, dinosaurs went extinct from the face of the earth due to some natural calamity (the exact cause is still not proven beyond doubt, but the theory of a massive asteroid crashing on earth about 65 million years ago is the strongest contender) as part of a mass extinction event in the last Jurassic era. Otherwise, who knows how different a world it would have been for us, the mammals? Would we have even made it? But one thing for sure, the curiosity towards these prehistoric creatures who once roamed the earth are ever increasing since Sir Richard Owen named them “Dinosauria“.

And among the numerous species discovered so far, I think the most popular one has been the so-called T-Rex, closely followed by the Raptors, thanks to the Jurassic Park movie franchise. Though there were other dinosaurs even bigger and probably mightier than the T-Rex (like the Spinosaurus or the Gigantosaurus), it has just become indispensable in any “Jurassic” movie. I should admit, I felt the the same childlike thrill once again, seeing both of them back on the silver screen with the latest installment of the Jurassic franchise Jurassic World, that I had almost two decades ago when Mr. Spielberg first swept us from our feet, taking us into the magical turned menacing world of Isla Nublar  🙂

This is dedicated to all my friends who are still a T-Rex fan. Enjoy…!!

Rain On Me


...and wash my pains away

…and wash my pains away

She was asleep…when the cracking sound of thunder woke her up. She quickly got up, still trying to find out what it was. Then it announced its presence once again, this time with an even louder crack and an unmistakable flash of lightning that filled the room even through the narrow gap of the closed door. She had no doubt anymore. “At last!!!”, she whispered to herself…and ran out into the open terrace as quickly as she could, almost stumbling while opening the door. And there it was…still away from the house…but it was approaching rapidly from all directions. It covered the horizon like a veil of white mist…nothing could be seen on the horizon anymore. “What took you so long?”, she asked in a tone of complaint. And it replied with a blazing flash, piercing across the dark columns of clouds above…and the endless reverberation of the thunder gradually fading away.

“Oh, I know… the same excuse again”, she smiled. Her wait was over. It was almost in her reach now. She gasped, taking a breath, and ran to the edge of the terrace, almost not able to hold herself back. “I’ve been waiting so long…”, she told, “not any more”. She could feel the surrounding changing, moist engulfing the dry and dusty air, quenching the thirst of the arid land. “I’ve suffered so much…”, she could now barely utter the words, her voice almost choked in emotion. “…so much pain…”, tears rolled down her cheek. She closed her eyes.

And then the first droplet of water touched her gently on the forehead, and then another one splashed on her eyelid, and then another one on her lips…and then another…”Come…take me in your embrace”, she said, spreading her arms across. “Come to me…and wash my pains away…”, she murmured one last time…and then…it started…

P.S. This work is dedicated to my dearest of friends, Tinni. Thank you so much for supporting me, standing by me like nobody did and being my inspiration!!