Hello hello hello
Is there anybody in there? 🕸
No more ramblings from me in this one, Elizabeth. I’ll come straight to the point and start you on the tour. I’m going to introduce you to some of the most popular characters in Indian mythology.
I kinda want this to be the penultimate mail in this series. You ask why? Ah-kay, we’re going to talk about this in this letter anyway.
We have talked a little bit about the historical roots of Indian culture, a bit about our languages, and a little about ancient Indian literature, and their relations to spirituality. I have been wanting to talk about a few schools of Indian philosophy, but I haven’t been able to sublimate it on paper. And my time is running out. This letter will have to do it.
Outside my window, there’s a neem tree. Have you ever seen a neem?
There’s sunlight on its leaves now. The way my room is, the sun doesn’t come into it directly. I wish it did. After a few days of rain, you wish for a few hours of sunshine on your skin.
Señora Rime 🐌
Let’s continue right from where we left off.
As I was saying, Hinduism doesn’t have a sacred book (it has many books, some of which were made into sacred books by later generations). Neither does it have a single deity.
Hello, sleepyhead. It is 14:30 here at my place, so I know it for a fact that you are definitely asleep now.
Let me begin on the subject of getting people things.
As I said, I grew up among monks, or sādhus as we call them in India (the feminine for sādhu is sādhvī.) One very big lesson I learnt from them is how to take. You see, these monks have no personal belongings. Yes, they do belong to a monastic order, and that order has property and everything, – but in principle, they are still hermits. And they used to talk to us about the quality of non-attachment.
I’ve been thinking about what I should write in this second letter to you.
I will have to make a choice between two things, I guess. Or perhaps I will end up talking about both.
I’ve been going back to our first exchange, and what I keep thinking is, – when I made you that promise that I’d help you know India, that — that was a very crucial moment. That was a moment of commitment. I made that commitment – said those words myself, and now I have to do exactly that.
The radio said there would be a storm. After all the long, hot days, I thought, I could use a storm.
There wasn’t much to do at home. In the kitchen, the potatoes were sprouting. One would think they were dead balls of vegetable, brown and waiting to be pieced and eaten. You leave them alone for long enough, they send out shoots and try to grow back into plants.
I was going down the west corridor when I saw that there was a curious picture on the wall.
Then suddenly this morning, out of the blue, a weasel informs me that I have been nominated in a ‘blogger award’ chainpost.
Completely unexpected, but I am not putting much on my blog these days, so I thought I’d play along, but with my own modifications added to the game.
“There is no document of civilization that is not also a document of barbarism.”
সিরিজ শুরু করার সময় লিখেছিলাম, ‘স্কুললাইফে যত ভায়োলেন্স আর নিষ্ঠুরতার গল্প চাপা থাকে, স্মৃতিচারণের সময় আমরা সেগুলোকে খুব একটা ভেসে উঠতে দিই না।’
“There must have been a moment, at the beginning, where we could have said — no. But somehow we missed it.”
ছোটো থেকে পড়েছি, মানুষ গোষ্ঠীবদ্ধ জীব। কিন্তু এর মধ্যে একটা অদ্ভুত মজা আছে যেটা ছোটবেলায় চোখ এড়িয়ে যেত। গোষ্ঠীর কনসেপ্টটা একাধারে ইনক্লুসিভ এবং এক্সক্লুসিভ। একদিকে যেমন কয়েকজন মানুষ দল বেঁধে একটা গোষ্ঠী তৈরী করে, অন্যদিকে তাদের মধ্যে অন্য যেকোনো কাউকে দূরে ঠেলে রাখার একটা জোটবদ্ধ মানসিকতা সমানভাবে কাজ করে। নিজের দলের বাইরেকার যেকোনো এলিমেন্টকে যথাসম্ভব এলিয়েনেট করা মানুষের মজ্জাগত স্বভাব। এটা আছে বলেই আমাদের হোমো সেপিয়েন্স প্রজাতি জীবজগতে এত কম সময়ের মধ্যে এতখানি সাফল্য পেয়েছে। এই স্বভাবেরই আলাদা আলাদা অভিব্যক্তি আমাদের বর্ণবৈষম্য, জাতিবিদ্বেষ, জাতীয়তাবাদ, জিঙ্গোইজম।