The Mountains Have A Memory

A memory of silence, slow rain,
Of a damp violet, unwritten poems,
A shepherd’s call, the laziness of the falling snow,
And a wind taking birth among sleepy pines.

The mountains seem to have swallowed 
The cry of every dawn, a soldier’s bones 
And the distance between a falling leaf and the ground. 
Yet they are calm as if you were absent 
Like nothing has walked past their burning valleys 
and no one has wept 
Not even a black bird for her unborn child. 

Sometimes, suddenly they come alive 
The mountains breathe through wandering horse trails, 
Wet honey bees and the faint bleat of a lamb. 
No sooner they get quiet like a cemetery 
Than they drown their solitude in my tiny palms. 

Perhaps someday they will wake up on my breasts 
And remember that they too have a heart.

Poet's Bio:

Dr.Reshma Ramesh is a bilingual poet writing in English and Kannada. Her poetry book ‘Reflection of Illusions’ (Writers Workshop) has been presented in the International Read and Share Conference attended by Asian Countries in Malaysia in April 2017.  She is a member of World Congress of Poets and has presented her poetry in the 37th World Congress of poets Mongolia and Pulara 7 International Poetry and Folk Song Festival Malaysia. Her poems have been presented in World Poetry Radio Show in Vancouver also have appeared in many international anthologies, journals and have been translated into Bengali, Turkish, Albanian and Mongolian. She has been a speaker at the Bangalore Literature Festival 2017. She is a distinction holder in BFA Photography KSOU and practices Dental Surgery in Bangalore

साँवले होठों वाली: एक सिगरेट से ज़्यादा कुछ थी ही नहीं

माचिस की तीली से
जब चाहा सुलगाया
फूकते रहे
होठों बीच लगाते-हटाते
कभी आधी जलाया
कभी यूँ ही बुझाया
थाम कर ख़्वाहिशें
धुएं संग उड़ाया
एक सिगरेट से ज़्यादा
कुछ थी ही नहीं

जानते थे तुम
अच्छी नहीं मैं
जमती जाउंगी
गहरी काली रेत जैसी
फिर भी काली स्याही से
कुछ बनाते रहे
कहते  रहे अच्छा है ये कालापन
दर्द, दोस्त, हमदर्द
मिटाते मोम वाले रिश्ते
बेदर्द फरिश्ते!
मैं चुपचाप साथ रिसती
यूँ ही मिटती
तुम नज़्म सुनाते
उन बोलो में
मेरा जिक्र नहीं
एक सिगरेट से ज़्यादा
कुछ थी ही नहीं

आदत बन आई तो
कहते हो पीना ठीक नहीं
जल जल कर जीना
ऐसे जीना ठीक नहीं
दूरियाँ बनाते हो
मुद्दत से जलाते नहीं
एक सिगरेट से ज़्यादा
कुछ थी ही नहीं

...या बस एक लत

जो छोड़नी थी
सो छूट गई

["एक सिगरेट से ज़्यादा कुछ थी ही नहीं" लामया द्वारा लिखी "साँवले होठों वाली" संग्रह की कविता है. और पढ़ने के लिए देखें saanwale hothon wali ]

Picture Credits: Man and Woman, Edvard Munch, Expressionism

Game of Thrones Meets Dushyant Kumar

उनके लिए जिन्हे गेम ऑफ़ थ्रोन्स या हिंदी कविता से प्यार है.
हिम और ज्वाला का गीत, दुष्यंत कुमार के शब्दों में

Things That Make Your Day: The Elder Brother

No words can describe this...

अब पैंन्ट में जेब ही नहीं बनवानी

जो पैंन्ट से मैने पर्स निकाला
हल्की हुई जेब ने सोचा
बाहर निकलूं
हवा ही खालूँ
साथी ढूँढूँ
दुःख सुख गा लूँ
पहले तो कुछ लोग मिले
भरी जेबों के पीछे भागते
औरों की जेबों को ताकते
साथी की जेबों को काटते
ज़रा दूर सकुचाई एक जेब मिली
चंद सिक्के ही पास बचे थे
इसलिए बहुत घबराई थी
फिर एक खाली जेब मिली
जिसने मुंह भी नहीं दिखाई थी
देख ज़माने की चतुराई
जेब बेचारी बड़ी घबराई
ईर्ष्या, लालच और बेईमानीसुन कर जेब से यही कहानी
मैंने भी है मन में ठानी
अब पैंन्ट में जेब ही नहीं बनवानी

["अब पैंन्ट में जेब ही नहीं बनवानी" लामया द्वारा लिखी "साँवले होठों वाली" संग्रह की कविता है. और पढ़ने के लिए देखें saanwale hothon wali ]

[Picture Credit, Max Ernst, Untitled, Dadaism]

Being Dunkirk

It is impossible to not think of perspectives after walking out of a Christopher Nolan film. In fact Nolan, has mastered the art of non-linear narration. Dunkirk is no different. Except perhaps we can say that in this case the dimensions were: the land, the waters and air. More than a week after the breath-taking experience of Nolan’s Dunkirk, I am left thinking about a possible fourth dimension to the movie- of Dunkirk herself. What could it have been, ‘to be’ Dunkirk during the tragic yet notable period between 26th of May and 4th of June 1940 marking the early years of World War II?

One is forced to contemplate- without the miracle of Dunkirk, what is the soul of Dunkirk-the city? To be honest, I did not know much about Dunkirk before the movie. The first striking feature of the city is her name. It has a West Flemish origin which means “the church in the dunes”. Unfortunately, a city that literally means church has been host to one of the most terrible assaults in the history of war. The repeated assaults on her, aerial ambushes and underwater torpedoes, during the unfair course of war, is an appalling contrast to her name. To balance it all was the heart-wrenching courage exhibited by the soldiers and the rescuers. I ponder, was it her? Was it Dunkirk steadying herself and her children, looking at the enemy in the eye fearlessly and holding up in the face of inescapable danger? Was it her spirit that fought alongside her daughters and sons, and saved them, in fact even more than what their prime minister expected.

One cannot miss the spectacular visuals in the film thanks to Hoyte van Hoytema. I was almost moved to tears to see the beautiful beach city being subjected to mutilation. But on the deeper side it was more like watching a warrior queen charging ahead, of all her soldiers and leading by example almost as if to say, ‘Be proud of your wounds, my dears!’ At the end of it all, she was definitely ‘persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.’ Another thing that moved me was the embrace of the Dunkirk spirit. I was enraptured by the love shown to her by her protégés- the people of the city. In the final scene when a soldier fearing disrespect from his fellow dwellers cowers in shame as the train chugs in, is taken for a surprise when they are given a warm welcome- just like the warm comfort of a mother’s lap that nurses her child’s broken heart.

When I look at present day images of Dunkirk I cannot help but feel a tranquility that seems to surround me through the photograph. To think of the incongruity between the city now and that of 77 years since. But there she is… still providing the shore to the new generation with the same vigour. Everybody talks about patriotism and love shown by people to their country. Dunkirk – the movie, has made me aware of the love that a country shows to its citizens. The story of this tiny city in Northern France which even now has less than a hundred thousand inhabitants, who protected her citizens and lived to tell the tale has made my belief in the universe stronger. The spirit of Dunkirk, is a testament to Buddhist tenet: What you think you become, what you feel you attract, what you imagine you create.

[This Article has been authored by Avanthika Nityanand]

Picture Credits: Photograph published in: "Dunkirk: Fight to the Last Man'', by Hugh Sebag-Montefiore ISBN-10: 0141024372 ISBN-13: 978-0141024370 Penguin Books Ltd, 2007. Photographer not identified

I am a Lolita?

I am a Lolita, they think, and not yet a lady.
They may be right, or wrong for all I care.
Say I were a lady,
I would smile to appreciate, not to deprave.
I would giggle, for it must have been funny,
And not to be cheesy.
I would laugh, not to mock.
Then if I were sweet, that would just be me.
I would be friendly because I need friends as you do.
I would sing for the love of it, dance for the love of it,
And not merely to tantalize.
But then,
I do crave attention at times, Am I spoilt?
I do read through, Am I convoluted?
I do accuse, Am I scandalous?
And so I love, only to amuse.
I am loved, more often as a muse.
I romanticize the wind, the rain, the ocean,
Yet, I corrupt.
For I am just as old and as hurt as you are.
A book with pages turned and misread.
Old and young at the same time,
Experienced yet undiscovered
...Sinful and restrained.

Pic Credits: "Seated girl and Venus" by Vincent Van Gogh. 

{ This poem is by a guest poet who wants to contribute by the name of "Marooned". }

The Anti-Adoption Squad

Adoption. I have had some interesting yet most insane conversations on this topic with my folks and friends (let us refer to them as “Squad”) over the past years. So, the gyan women in our society receive from the time they get married; “Do not postpone the ‘baby’ plan; if you do not take it when God gives it to you, He will punish by not giving it to you later”. Makes me wonder, if that is a priority of God that He (if it is a He) is keeping a track of a million women’s fertility cycles and busy fixing deadlines so that He can brutally punish by not giving them a baby. Like really? Every time the squad comes up with the ‘Oh-My-God’ questions “What will you both do if you cannot conceive? What are your plans for later? What if it is too late by the time you guys want to have a baby?”, my fed-up spontaneity takes over and the reply is “Will adopt a baby. Duh!” (That is, if my husband & I develop some paternal/maternal instincts ever!). And then the Kathakali mudhra faces around us with extreme expressions. “Pucham” (abhorrence) we call it in Malayalam. 

The Biological Barrier
And the most popular ‘reason’ the squad comes up with “Why should you adopt when you can reproduce one?” to the religion and social background of the adopted child. The arguments can be quite ridiculous, especially when they are themselves not sure about the authenticity of these arguments. “The blood relation” at the helm. If people are so obsessed with blood; please donate some than accumulating it.
For the sake of the squad, let us quickly glance through the blood relationships in the history of religions. Jesus and Joseph. Oops. Pass. Lord Krishna (born to Devaki and Vasudev, but adopted by Yashoda and Nand). Socially unacceptable or embarrassing act? Parents adopting a child and nurturing them are equally or sometimes more respectable and lovable than the ones who have given them birth.
If you need more examples from a modern point of view? Augustus Caesar, Steve Jobs, Rajesh Khanna, Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela, Marilyn Monroe, Leo Tolstoy, etc. So if the so called “blood” the squad talks about really mattered, would these people achieve what they have in life? On the contrary, the mythology and reality and full of ‘biological children’ nurtured in negative environment or under a negative legacy who perpetrated the same in the world around them.

The Bloodline Question
Assuming one passes the ‘biological’ barrier, it leads to the next phase, “How do you know what sort of “criminal” blood these kids might be carrying? They might just stab you and leave with all wealth.” Yeah, the statement that usually leaves the sanity dumbstruck. Do you ask this question when you meet with an accident and take blood from a donor/blood bank? Oh, you just need to save your life; be it criminal blood or pure blood. This sort of arguments or school of thoughts are rather stopping us as a society to embrace the immaculate children who might have been dumped or have been a victim of fate. Don’t these kids deserve love and affection? They are being kept away from a life which they can avail but are unable to because of the social taboo being created about adoption and the backlash the parents have to face who have been bold to sail against the social tide. Trust me, all that matters is the upbringing of the child. The religion or social background of the child does not matter – what matters is how they are brought up, the values which are instilled in them, and the change these little ones will make in the future generations.

Also, not all adopted children are a second choice. I've personally never had any desire to be pregnant or give birth till date. I also feel that with nearly 7.5 billion people on the planet already, I would be a lot more comfortable adopting someone who's already here than adding another to that huge number. And the couples who genuinely cannot conceive are directed to expensive medical treatments and even religious retreats by the amaze of intelligence of this “squad”. And is the child guaranteed?

Adopting a Girl
When I talk about adopting a girl child, I do not mean to discriminate between a boy and a girl, or value a boy lesser than a girl. People, including myself, always talk about equality, and if we value a girl more than a boy, or vice versa, technically it would be sheer hypocrisy. But if there is an emphasis more on adopting a girl child through various campaigns or documentaries, then it is probably because there is seriously wrong with the mentality of common people who build this society. As simple as that! As a child, my dad was raised in a kind of environment where girls weren’t given privileges like getting higher education. But such environment didn’t change his basic self. He grew even sensible and believed exactly opposite. He believed so true in his girls that he fought all odds to make sure that both of us have something that no man can take from us; Education and good values. So it boils down to this; either you adapt to your environment or you revolt against it. Fortunately for me, my ‘Superhero’ chose the latter setting major parenthood goals for people around.

Let us accept the simple fact that in India it can be true that families favour sons over daughters. Because, unfortunately, these people have put the ludicrous norm of the ‘family line’ passing through the son. When the son marries, his wife becomes part of the family, but when a daughter marries, she becomes part of her husband's family (leaving her family, symbolically or in actuality). Many Indians do not have retirement pensions or plans, and so rely on their sons, who will always remain part of their family, to care for them in their old age. And wives’ parents, well if the husband has a good enough heart or if the girls’ parents have saved enough sensibly, they are saved from a disastrous old age. 

The future
Let us have the perspective in place and stay a little away from all the ‘squads’. Also, the adopting parents must not get caught into self-exultation. You are not 'saving' the little one, and do not expect the little one to be grateful. He or she is just a part of your family. An adoptive child looking for their first family has nothing to do with whether or not the adoptive parents are good parents-- it is natural for the child to want to find out facts and see people to complete their story. And they should be able to do so with your loving support.

Slowly but surely, things are changing. More women are financially independent. The youth is more sensitive to the need of individual space and thought. The two genders have become more equal than before. So, we are headed towards a brighter future (fingers crossed).

Along with a big salute, I dedicate this piece of my writing to all those ‘parents’ who have stood against the social tide and are giving all the love and values to their kids, adopted or otherwise – loving them, nurturing them and making them into responsible adults. Please, guys, let’s grow up and stop social tabooing of adoption.

Perhaps there is no greater miracle than finding a loving home for a child who needs one” - Bill Clinton

Pic Credits: "Mother and the children" by Gustav Klimt. 

This article has been authored by Ninitha George

Why? (Or, Why is It That I Have to Let You Judge Me)

Why? O Why?
When I am not a super-human
Why do I have to act one
Everywhere, for everyone? 
I have to pretend 
That I am invulnerable 
That I don't break...
I don't suffocate... 
That I have to swing
Between being a spineless creature 
And a human of substance 

Why? O Why? 
I have to be a protean?
Adroit at everything I do
That if I fail, I am useless
And if I win, I am a hero 
Held aloft on display 
Why my love has to pass your tests?
If I don't show, I am selfish, 
If I show, I must be tamed 

Why? O Why? 
Can't I be just your level, 
I must be either better or worse? 
Why is it that I have to 
Let you judge me 
And not judge you at all…

Pic Credits: "Frieda and Diego" by Frieda Kahlo. Note how Frieda's self portrait is deliberately kept puny in comparison to Diego's

{ This poem is by a guest poet who wants to contribute by the name of "Marooned". }

5 Interesting Things to Do in Trivandrum

Vivekananda Rock Memorial Photo by Premnath ThirumalaisamyCC BY 2.0 

Trivandrum (Or Thiruvananthapuram (Thiruvaṉantapuram, Malayalam: തിരുവനന്തപുരം), the capital city of the coastal state of Kerala on India’s south-western coastline, is bountiful in numerous tourist activities. Picnics, races, trekking, reading, dreaming- you will be in delightful confusion in picking out what to indulge in! 

Located within the spice bowl of India, Trivandrum is a land of aromatic herbs with healing powers, rivers, beaches, mouth-watering cuisines, gardens and whatnot. Its location makes it loaded with various activities for entertainment and edification. 

Top 5 Things to Do:

Selecting the best activities won’t be an easy selection for the excited traveler, as is so often the case! Listed below are the best of the lot, chosen solely for your enjoyment and merriment: 

1. Healing Ayurveda

The ancient healing science of Ayurveda is not only for the sick and afflicted, but serves to de-stress and rejuvenate any regular person you pick out from the crowd. Explore the various ayurvedic clinics and centers for a refreshing and soothing experience. Ayushmanbhava Ayurvedic Center provides both short and long term treatments and programs which have promising and lasting results. 

2. Aqua Leisure in Rivers and Beaches

Indulge in a boosting shot of adrenaline and endorphins as they course and throb through your veins in various water sports and activities. Beaches are in plenty and you can enjoy long walks or ride speed boats according to your taste. Kayaking can be both an exciting and refreshing sport, and quiet gentle boat rides will lull your senses to relaxation. 

3. Search Your Soul

Trivandrum is infused with spiritual history as evident from the impressive ancient constructions and mighty temples and tall churches. Survey the timeline of the art of building and creating massive structures, all made for the wandering and hungering human soul. Seek comfort in the solitude and devotion that exude from these spiritual sanctuaries. Whether you happen to be a believer or non-believer, it is undoubtedly a sight to behold devotees immersed in devotion and soulful trances. 

4. Sightseeing, Shopping and Spice

Whether you embark on your own or book a tour through KTDC (Kerala Tourism Development Corporation), there is plenty to see and enjoy inside the city. You can drive to Kanyakumari, the southernmost tip of mainland India, and watch in awe at the long stretch of sand and sea. You can also book a short tour of the city in small groups and take time to investigate interesting corners that appeal to your curiosity. Do make sure to explore spice gardens and get your hands on the organic produce of the state. Reasonably priced and free of adulterants, it is a great way for pampering yourself to various oils, spices, soaps and eatables. Plan a trip to Neyyar Dam to get even closer to nature and take time to treat yourself to the magnificent sights of the Western Ghats. From Agastya Mala, you will feel like you have travelled to a land between parallel time zones as the clouds and sky seem to merge together in a cerulean canvas. 

5. Be Fighting Fit

If you possess interest or have experience in martial arts, this is a big plus of Trivandrum. Kalarippayat, one of the most highly developed arts of self-defense with spectacular demonstrations, can be learnt if you happen to have some extra days planned into your trip. CVN Kalari Sangham offers lessons and trainings to willing and dedicated participants and regular classes are held on all days of the week except for Sundays. 

More to Do, More to See: 

Make it a priority to try out the various cuisines, especially the delectable Kerala Thali, or “plate of Kerala”, which consists of multiple curries and sauces served with steamed rice. Trivandrum Zoo is a good educational treat if you have kids on your trip as it is well-maintained and clean. Be sure to get your hands on some handicrafts and locally made artifacts as they can be appealing as well as interesting. Coffee is a much-favored beverage and there are many cafeterias and coffee houses where you can enjoy freshly brewed coffee as well as spiced teas. 

This is a guest blog by Rohit takes pleasure in gifting the world with wonders and awareness about many fascinating nooks of India and captivates his readers with his journeys to the different corners of this peninsular nation. He blogs regularly at

साँवले होठों वाली: सोचा, कोई गीत लिखूँ

आशा तकिये में छिप रोती
ढूंढ रहे सब सीप में मोती 
इस दौर भाग में 
एक नवल प्रीत लिखूँ 
सोचा, कोई गीत लिखूँ

होड़ है, शोर है
जोड़ है, तोड़ है 
गुणा-भाग में 
खोया एक राग लिखूँ 
मुस्काता एक बाग लिखूँ

पर कलम बेचारा, क्या बतलाता
जो भी लिखता, व्यर्थ ही पाता 
धुएें के बाजार में 
अनसुनी एक गुहार लिखूँ 
कैसे कहो फूहार लिखूँ

माटी है, ये बोल नहीं
हाँ, बातों का मोल नहीं 
ऐसे कोलाहल में 
सरहद है बेहाल लिखूँ 
या विधवा का श्रृंगार लिखूँ

सोचा था एक ख्वाब लिखूँ 
साकी और शराब लिखूँ
क्या हार लिखूँ , क्या जीत लिखूँ 
उचित नहीं मैं गीत लिखूँ 
उचित नहीं मैं गीत लिखूँ

["सोचा, कोई गीत लिखूँ" लामया द्वारा लिखी "साँवले होठों वाली" संग्रह की कविता है. और पढ़ने के लिए देखें saanwale hothon wali ]

Picture Credits: Self Portrait, Oscar Kokoscha, Oil with hand

The Boy Who Conquered

[ A story by Amrita Brahmo ]
Long ago, and far away, there was a land blessed with a strange and magical power. No one quite knew how, but any child born in that realm was gifted with the ability to live up to his or her name. Now you might think this was mere coincidence, and believe me, so did people for a long time. Then someone did the math and deduced that there was indeed a reason as to why all the young men named after the Fire-God were setting haystacks ablaze with their slightest tantrums. Anyway, such were the ways of the land and people took great care to choose a perfect name for their young ones, one that would seal their destiny for the years to come.

Time passed by until on the first day of winter, with the first snowflake, a baby boy was born in the family of a modest school teacher, and the entire village came to partake of their joy and to witness the ceremony of name-giving. Amidst the crowd, the teacher’s wife held up her little baby in the air as he shrieked, protesting against the cold blast, and pronounced his name “Arihant!” There was a murmur for no one quite knew what the name meant. It was the first of its kind and they stood in awe as the teacher told them what it meant- “One who has vanquished his enemies”
The years passed by and the little boy grew up under his family’s stern but loving eye. He went to school like others of his age, but his heart lay in other things, finding shapes in the clouds, building artifacts from clay and making up elaborate stories to amuse his younger siblings. The bane of his existence, in his ten year old mind, was his name. Each time someone asked him that question, he suppressed a grimace thinking of the inevitable awe that would follow. He often thought of asking his parents why.
I don’t want to kill enemies, I don’t want to conquer anyone. I’d rather make friends and make people happy, don’t you get it?
But being a polite boy, he never voiced it out loud.
One day he was sitting by the river bank, throwing stones into the water, watching as they created ripples in his reflection. Suddenly he heard a plop and saw that an old man was trying to recover his little metal pot which had just fallen into the river. In a jiffy, he waded into the stream, his wiry body underwater for a few seconds before he resurfaced with the pot and handed it over to the man with a “Pranam”.
“May God bless you, my son. What is your name?” The old man asked.
“My name is Arihant, Dadaji” The boy replied, using the form of address for grandfather. He didn’t quite mind telling this man his name, maybe because he didn’t pause in awe, he just smiled.
“And Arihant, do you know what it means?” He asked.
The boy crinkled his eyebrows for a second, ” It means one who has conquered his enemies” , he recited listlessly.
“Yes that is what they say it means. But do you know what it means?”
By now the boy was confused. “What does it mean then? I don’t know. I always thought…”
“You always thought the enemy would just be someone who attacks you with sword and spear. Someone whose blood you need to spill. Okay tell me, if you are very hungry and have only one mango and a boy your age suddenly snatches it from you ,what would you do?”
“Hit him hard!” Arihant said, a flash of outrage making way to his face at the imagined scenario
“Okay, but then, suppose he hasn’t eaten for days. Suppose he has to bring back food for family too. What then?”
“I’d not get angry, I’d let him have it.” Arihant mused
“So who was your enemy in this case? What was driving you to do something bad, an eye for an eye?” The old man smiled peacefully.
“Anger.” the boy uttered with a wide eyed look. “My enemy is not a person. It can be a thing. An emotion. Something truly bad.”
“Yes. And your destiny is to be the conqueror of your enemies, my son. Do you see now?”
The old man quenched his thirst and walked away.
Ten year old Arihant walked back to his village with his head held high, ready to embrace the power of his name.
[This post is authored by 'Amrita Brahmo', originally published at mysoulcompany ]
[Picture Credit: Caravaggio, Amor Victorious, Renaissance, Baroque]

The Zen Master and a Little Girl

Life, birth, death are the constituent questions of philosophy. The complexity of these subjects is overwhelming and hence the explanations seldom have continuity. I came across this anecdote about a Zen master (a Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism emphasizing the value of meditation and intuition rather than ritual worship or study of scriptures) Seung Sahn Soen-sa, which channels the knowledge into a childlike simplicity. Soen-sa recounts his conversation with Gita, the seven-year-old daughter of one of his students at the Cambridge Zen Center, after the death of the center’s beloved cat, cleverly named Katz. (“Katsu!” is a shout that is described in Chán and Zen Buddhism encounter-stories, to expose the enlightened state (Japanese: satori) of the Zen-master, and/or to induce initial enlightenment experience in a student). Katz had died after a long illness and was given a traditional Buddhist burial, but the little girl remained troubled by his death. One day, she came to the him for an explanation. 

“What happened to Katzie? Where did he go?”
Soen-sa said, “Where do you come from?”
“From my mother’s belly.”
“Where does your mother come from?” Gita was silent.
Soen-sa said, “Everything in the world comes from the same one thing. It is like in a cookie factory. Many different kinds of cookies are made — lions, tigers, elephants, houses, people. They all have different shapes and different names, but they are all made from the same dough and they all taste the same. So all the different things that you see - a cat, a person, a tree, the sun, this floor - all these things are really the same.”
“What are they?”
“People give them many different names. But in themselves, they have no names. When you are thinking, all things have different names and different shapes. But when you are not thinking, all things are the same. There are no words for them. People make the words. A cat doesn’t say, ‘I am a cat.’ People say, ‘This is a cat.’ The sun doesn’t say, ‘My name is sun.’ People say, ‘This is the sun.’
So when someone asks you, ‘What is this?’, how should you answer?”
“I shouldn’t use words.”
Soen-sa said, “Very good! You shouldn’t use words. So if someone asks you, ‘What is Buddha?’, what would be a good answer?”
Gita was silent.
Soen-sa said, “Now you ask me.”
“What is Buddha?”
Soen-sa hit the floor.
Gita laughed.
Soen-sa said, “Now I ask you: What is Buddha?”
Gita hit the floor.
“What is God?”
Gita hit the floor.
“What is your mother?”
Gita hit the floor.
“What are you?”
Gita hit the floor.
“Very good! This is what all things in the world are made of. You and Buddha and God and your mother and the whole world are the same.”
Gita smiled.
Soen-sa said, “Do you have any more questions?”
“You still haven’t told me where Katz went.”
Soen-sa leaned over, looked into her eyes, and said, “You already understand.”
Gita said, “Oh!” and hit the floor very hard. Then she laughed.
Soen-sa ends the anecdote with an exchange intended to be funny, but in fact a tragic testament to contemporary Western education being a force of industrialized specialization, deliberately fragmenting the unity of all things and de-conditioning our inner wholeness:
As she was opening the door, she turned to Soen-sa and said, “But I’m not going to answer that way when I’m in school. I’m going to give regular answers!” Soen-sa laughed.

One may disagree with the explanation and have so many cross questions but there is no doubt about the strength of the single fabric answer which even a child can understand.

[This anecdote appeared originally in brainpickings ]
[Picture Credit: Octavio Ocampo, The Buddha, Surrealism]

Things That Make Your Day: Dear Daddy

'Women empowerment' and 'Open Letters' are probably two of the most abused phrases around us. Every one talks about the first and writes the second, to further a third -hidden agenda. What is different about this video is it has no masquerades. It is actually an advertisement (By CARE Norway) and easily one of the most powerful adverts to come out in the recent times. What makes it extremely powerful, is the transcript-an 'Open letter', that an anonymous girl writes to her father. The letter, a mini autobiography, leaves a message... and a mirror with our faces

Dear Daddy,
I just wanted to thank you for looking after me so well, even though I am not yet born. I know you already try harder than Superman, and you might even let mommy eat sushi. But I need to ask you a favor. Warning. It’s about boys because you see, I will be born a girl, which means that by the time I’m 14, the boys in my class will have called me a whore, a bitch, a cunt and many other things. It’s just for fun of course, something boys do. So you won’t worry and I understand that. Perhaps you did the same when you were young, trying to impress some of the other boys.

I’m sure you didn’t mean anything by it. Still, some of the people won’t get the joke and funnily enough it isn’t any of the girls, it’s some of the boys. So by the time I turn 16 a couple of the boys will have snuck their hands down my pants when I am so drunk I can’t even stand straight. And although I say “no” they just laugh, it’s funny, right? If you saw me daddy you would be so ashamed because I am wasted. 

No wonder I am raped when I am 21, 21 and on my way home in a taxi driven by the son of a guy you went swimming with every Wednesday. The guy who always told insulting jokes but they were of course only jokes so you laughed. Had you known that his son would end up raping me you would have told him to get a grip. But how could you know, he was just a boy, telling weird jokes and in any case it wasn’t your business. You were just being nice. But his son, raised on these jokes becomes my business.

Then finally I meet Mr. Perfect and you are so happy for me Daddy because he really adores me. And he’s smart with a great job and all through the winter he goes cross country skiing three times a week just like you. But one day he stops being Mr. Perfect and I don’t know why. Wait. Am I overreacting? One thing I do know, I am not the victim type. I am raised to be a strong and independent woman. But one night it is just all too much for him with work, and the in-laws and the wedding coming up, so he calls me a whore, just like you called a girl in middle school a whore once.

Then another day he hits me. I mean I’m way out of line, I can really be a bitch sometimes. We’re still the world’s greatest couple and I’m so confused, because I love him and I hate him and I’m not sure if I really did do something wrong and then one day he almost kills me. It all goes black, even though I have a Ph.D., a fantastic job, I’m loved by my friends and family, I am well brought up and nobody saw this coming.

Dear Daddy, this is the favor I want to ask:

One thing always leads to another so please stop it before it gets the chance to begin. Don’t let my brothers call girls whores because they’re not. And one day some little boy might think it is true. Don’t accept insulting jokes from weird guys by the pool or even friends because behind every joke there is always some truth.

Dear Daddy, I know you will protect me from lions, tigers, guns, cars and even sushi without even thinking about the danger to your own life.

But Dear Daddy, I will be born a girl. Please do everything you can so that, that won’t stay the greatest danger of all.
Credits: #DearDaddy Campaign, CARE Norway. 

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