THE DEATH OF A YEAR

The Death of a Year

Years die, do they?

The year began with a ray of hope. Prime ministers and Presidents spoke of a new era. People began making plans- How much money I am going to make this year? Will I die this year? Will my beloved love me this year? Will the government do well this year? Who will win the Oscar? Who will get the Nobel Prize for Peace? Who will shine in sports and games? How luxurious will be my birthday bash? What will I get for Christmas? Will the prices of food go up? Will the world end this year? How is this year different from last year?

_______________

A young boy who was collecting coins began to count them. A teenager was staring at his computer screen waiting for a movie to get downloaded. A young woman started guessing the day she is going to give birth. A bald man put some magical oil on his head and waited for his hair to grow. A nurse who applied for a passport and visa waited for it without patience.

A desperate man hoped he wouldn’t get caught after committing a crime. A woman started hating herself for getting married. A man wished he had not boarded the plane that met with an accident. A youth said, ‘If I had gone five minutes earlier I would have got the job.’ A teenager wished he had not driven his motorcycle rashly. A middle aged woman went crying to the confession booth and waited for the priest.

A super computer stopped working. A famous church collapsed in an earthquake. A great tyrant was killed by the mob. A private bank went bankrupt. A petroleum mine got empty.

Accidents. Catastrophes. Massacre. Mass murders.

Kisses. Hugs. Benevolence. Love.

The year moved along to the beats of time and came close to its end.

_______________

Madhan took the phone to call his dad. His dad said, ‘Hello’ several times but Madhan did not hear. Madhan listened to the conversation between two strangers. One said, ‘What’s your new year resolution going to be?’The other said, ‘I don’t have any. Do you something? The calendar spoke to me. I am shocked and tensed. I fear the New Year that is yet to come. I don’t want this year to end.’ Madhan put down the phone.

It was common in Madhan’s family to make a dummy representing the old year and burn it at the stroke of twelve when the New Year began. An old Santa Claus mask was used for the face of the dummy; Grandpa’s old shirt, pants and shoes were used to dress the dummy. Madhan’s elder brother jokingly put a cooling glass on the Santa Claus mask and said, ‘The old year looks more realistic now.’ An old post card cover with the old year with the old year written on it was pinned to the shirt of the dummy.

Madhan was afraid of scarecrows in the field. The dummy representing the old year looked just like a scarecrow. Madhan was afraid to go near it.

_______________

‘What’s your new year resolution going to be?’ asked Madhan’s father.

‘I will be obedient to my parents and I will not get afraid of scarecrows anymore.’ replied Madhan. His father was impressed.

That night Madhan went all alone to the cowshed where the dummy was left. Echoes of fear still moved up and down his chest. He stood near the dummy that was sitting on the broken chair and looked at his eyes. The light of the streetlamp reflected on the cooling glass to give the impression of two yellow eyes. Madhan tried hard to prepare himself for his resolution. He looked at the eyes of the dummy and said, ‘Old year, I don’t fear you anymore. You are going to die anyway.’

‘Is it so?’ replied the dummy to Madhan’s shock.

‘You can talk!… I am sorry.’ said Madhan.

‘It is fine. Young men are like this. You forgot everything that I did for you. Gratitude is not a word in your dictionary. Anyway, I forgive you. Don’t be afraid. See me as your grandfather.’

‘What did you do for me?’ asked Madhan.

‘There were many accidents, disasters and diseases that travelled through me throughout my life. I did not let anyone of them touch you. I filled the trees with leaves so that you could enjoy the shade after you got tired of playing football. I let the crops grow so that you could eat for the whole year. I did not the sun be too angry nor I did not let the rains be too playful. I am there with you throughout the year as a faithful companion. I took care of you with love and care.’

Madhan’s eyes were filled with tears. He hugged the dummy and the dummy stroked Madhan’s hair. All his fear had lost its way into compassion.

‘Don’t hug too hard. Remember the chair is broken.’

‘I will not. Can I ask a question? Why are you so old even though you are only a year old?’

The dummy laughed and said, ‘It is because I am wearing an old Santa Claus mask. It is because of the experience I have had throughout my life. It is because of my hard work.’

‘They are going to burn you tomorrow. I will help you escape.’

‘No, you will not. What should happen will happen. I must go. You are not doing anything to me. This is an order.’

‘But…’

‘No ‘buts’, my rein is over. I should give way to the younger generation. Remember it is not the hay or the mask that is speaking to you. It is the spirit of the year.’

‘Are you god?’ asked an ignorant Madhan.

‘No, I am his faithful servant. God has millions and millions of servants trying to maintain a balance throughout that universe.’

Madhan remained silent for some time and then said, ‘I will miss you, grandpa.’

‘Don’t worry. I will always remain in your memory and get registered in the big book of the past just like my ancestors.’

Madhan looked deeply into the dummy’s cooling glass. All the incidents that happened that year flashed in fast motion. Madhan mind was enriched.

‘Now you may go, Madhan.’ said the dummy.

‘Yes, I will.’ replied Madhan and went to his bed to sleep.

_______________

When the dummy was put on fire, everyone laughed and danced in jubilation. The ashes of the dead year would fly in the air, provide nutrition for the plants and trees and reappear as myriad flowers. The ashes are not dead.

The guests and neighbours enjoyed the feast and fireworks. Madhan was in tears. He remained silent to the questions of his parents and relatives.

After the celebration was over Madhan turned and looked at the burning dummy. A stranger came from nowhere and threw a calendar into the fire. Madhan could only see the silhouette.

His tears melted into wonder and curiosity.

The earth decided to revolve around the sun once again.

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DENVOR FERNANDEZ

The Nudist Manifesto

nudist-billboard

Man is born free; but everywhere he is in clothes. Woman too.

Woman and man: We were once naked, nude and unclothed; dressed in the attire of God. God created us naked, but we pollute our bodies with clothes.Our bodies were free. Our souls could smell nature without cultural barriers. Then came the clothe, the leaf, the barrier. What made us do it? We wanted to protect ourselves from nature, from the environment, from the world. We created worlds of our own: cultures, religions, myths, folklore, languages, traditions, histories and identities. We were protected. The clothes killed the cold; the clothes repelled the sun. The clothes were armours; the clothes were covers. Then we got addicted; addicted to clothes. We fear when we don’t wear them. Fundamentalists force us to wear them. They feel threatened when we don’t wear them and soil their ‘cultural heritage’. Man creates monsters; culture, history, religion, nation, identity, race, species and technology are the monsters created by man. Man has to destroy it to regain his true self.

Shame was taught to humans and they lost their paradise. Why were we taught to hate our own bodies? Women were made to suffer more due to the ideology of shame. Unnecessary guilt, psychological trauma, social antipathy and even death, suicide, visited them because of this ideology. The ideology of shame needs to end. Human beings should be ashamed of their violence, their greed, their vanity and their hatred of each other; but not of their bodies. nudism

The naked human body is seen by some societies as the wantonness of sexuality. Hide them: they say. Why can’t the naked human body be seen as the natural truth? This is how humans look naturally, without the artificiality of clothes. Sages in India and other spiritual communities see the naked human body as the symbol of worldly renunciation. Akka Mahadevi, an Indian poetess, walked naked throughout her life! Nudity is nature in its true form, unpolluted by artificiality.  Jesus Christ says in his famous sermon on the mount:

28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. ( The Gospel according to Matthew 6)

Yes, clothes are necessary. They give another dimension to your personality. They represent human art and creativity. They protect us from the climate, from external infections and even prevents the mosquito from getting all of you. But, it also should be noted that we should wear clothes and the clothes should not wear us. If we decide to wear clothes, it should be because of our own choice, and not because of the choice of society, culture, tradition or religion. Every human needs the freedom to go naked.

Japanese traditions have understood. Japanese families bathe together. Father, mother, brother, sister, grandfather, grandmother, uncle and aunty bathe in the same large family bath. It saves time and it also help to get the family together. A family that bathes together stays together.

In the Great Bath of the Indus valley civilization, people of the town, men, women and children bathed together.

Mohandas Karamchad Gandhi, India’s father of the nation, used to bathe with his younger female relatives. He did it to prove that he had transcended sexual desire. But, that is not why we should bathe together. We should learn to bathe together so that we learn to respect each other’s bodies from childhood. We kill the ideology of shame. We learn to realise that the human body is not just sexual, but also spiritual. There is God in every inch of our bodies.

19Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. ( 1 Corinthians 6)

It is not just in other’s bodies. We should learn to see God in our own bodies. Other’s bodies are God’s artworks, so is your own body. Look at yourself, in the mirror, or by laying your eyes on it, in the nude and respect God’s creation.

It would be wonderful if a ‘Go Nude’ day or a ‘Go Nude’ week is celebrated across the world. It will teach us to respect bodies instead of imprisoning it with artificial barriers. We exploit nature to create clothes; when we leave ourselves to nature, nature will take care of us. Nature is the best healer. nudism2

DENVOR FERNANDEZ

 

Book Review: HOPE WE NEVER MEET AGAIN

Author : Srinath Krisnamoorthy

Publisher:Notionpress

Pages: 216

Roger Ebert wrote in his review of the South Korean film Oldboy: ‘It is a powerful film not because of what it depicts, but because of the depths of human heart which it strips bare.’ Hope We Never Meet Again is powerful because of the same. It daringly uncovers the deep secrets locked within the depths of the human heart, as only a few novels have done before.

It tells the story of Varun Diwakar, a techie lost in the city of dreams, Banglore. His love life, his revenge life, his magical life, his psychological life and his life form fodder for the action of the novel. Love, lust, passion, romance, guilt, greed, anger, fear, surprise, hate, thrill…and the rainbow of human emotions, you feel it all as you enter the mind of the protagonist. The other characters in the novel are also powerfully drawn. The author sees to that the readers empathises with each and every character. They are not stereotypes that emerge in commercial films, they are unique and dynamic.

The chapterisation is unique. Each chapter presents a different point of view. This breaks free from traditional unity of the plot. Instead of presenting a single story, multiple narratives are used to enrich the story telling. Those in favour of hyper-linked plotlines would love this novel. Yet, everything is strangely connected.

The theme of crime is an often visited genre. Book stalls are swamping  with detective novels. But, this novel takes this theme to a different realm. The ‘ghost effect’ is done decently. The novel keeps us guessing towards the end. The suspense at the end is well done. The magic and psychology of the plot thrills.

The milieu of the novel is well painted. The ethnic beauty of south Indian villages form a foil to the vanity of the cities. People from Kerala will love this book for its cultural richness and linguistic expressions.

The novel takes a bold stand that other works do not dare to take. It satirises and celebrates life at the same time. It goes into deeper questions about the meaning of life and gives answers better than any commercial ‘self-help’ book. It is emotionally arresting. It offers a ride filled with strong feelings, a ride worth taking.

DENVOR FERNANDEZ

Preparing for Christmas

A star, a gift, a tree. Christmas is beyond that. It is a celebration of God’s love for us and our love for God. As in the novel Life of Pi the main aim of all religions is to love God. How you do it is up to you.

The Bible says: The Kingdom of God is within you. Yes, it is something within you and not without. Discover it inside. Don’t search outside. You may find images, symbols, organisations, political bodies, doctrines, ideologies, cultures and traditions around you, but not the Kingdom of God. You can find it only in the depths of your soul. Let Christ be born, or Easter, in your soul.

A birth can change your life.

God is Love. Love is God. When Love is born in your heart there will be God. When God is born there will be Love, and nothing else. No anger, no culture, no religion, no community, no nation; but Love.

I Corinthians 13 says:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

That is Love! In Osho’s I Say unto You vol.2  a disciple tells Osho ‘I Love you.’ Osho says him not to love him as a person but love him as Love. If you love a person there will be attachment, and soon attachment and possessiveness will replace Love. There will be jealousy and conflict. Love is not possessive or jealous. It is, just, Love. Experience it and you will make others to do it.

The message of Christianity is simple: Love God; Love others as you Love yourself.

Everything else is just blunt doctrine. The problem with the world today is that they see only doctrine and not the Supreme Soul, the God. Doctrine is just the wrapping; God is the Chocolate. Religious organisations, political groups, prayer groups, theologians, great speakers and religious symbols are just wrappings. People keep chewing the wrappings; they get frustrated. They start blaming other people, other religions and other ideologies. They become intolerant. They become fundamentalists. They have the ideologies they are brainwashed into and get angry when other don’t follow them! Do they follow?

Love God; Love others. Sophisticated people can’t accept that it is so simple. That is their tragedy.

Spirituality can’t be taught. (Yes, not even by this article.) It should be experienced.

1 Peter 4:8 says:

8 Above all, love each other deeply,1 because love covers over a multitude of sins.2          

1 John 3: 16 says:

 16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.1 And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.2

17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him,3 how can the love of God be in him?4

18 Dear children,5 let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.6

So I end my words and hope for action.
DENVOR FERNANDEZ

 

                      

The Language of Love

language of love

“To understand the language of the Heart, one does not need to know any language.” says the lyrics of Viramuthu in the movie ‘Mozhi’.

We express. That is our way. Anger, hatred, jealousy, happiness, sadness and disgust are all expressed. But, should love be ever expressed? Is it something that is felt in the soul and…see how hard is it to express when it comes to love. Love, too, should be expressed for the greater good of all humanity. People who feel anger and hatred easily expresses it in the form of violence, we complain that the world is becoming more violent, so what is stopping us from expressing love.

Love should leave its home, the heart, the soul, and fly like a dove towards the beloved. Love needs a language, a very earthly language that everyone understands. The language of love should have nine alphabets/ symbols which could act as a subject, a verb or as an object. The combination of all the alphabets makes the perfect sentence. The alphabets are:

  1. The Eye: Look at her/ him and enjoy the beauty God has gifted her/ him with. Look with eyes filled with love; the eyes like a camera records the beauty of your beloved and communicated love to your soul. Look at the hills, meadows, valleys and trees; Don’t you see God in them. The waterfall. Look. The ocean. Look. Does not the ocean  accept pebbles of every race, kind and colour. Look into others’ happiness and make them your own. Don’t look with jealousy, don’t look with lust, or with greed or angry. Look with love and enjoy variety in the Universe.
  2. The Smile: God smiles; Don’t forget to smile back, for God is present in every being and non-being. Every smile blossoms a ray of peace in your heart as well as the hearts who receive the smile. It give inner peace quicker than any meditation.
  3. The Ear: Listen to your beloved. Obey the Voice, if it would lead to peace and goodness. Listen to the birds, to the breeze and to the stream. Don’t forget the rain that showers equally on grass and oak.
  4. The Word: Every language is a gift. You can say, I love you, in any language you with. It creates the same effect. Tell your beloved how much you love her/him, using the dynamics of the language, after throwing away the dress of fear. Feel it before you tell it. communicate love by praising your lover’s body, mind and soul.
  5. The Gift: A tricky one; but it tells how much you love. Krishna says in Bagavat Gita, if you give me a leaf with love and compassion in your heart I would certainly accept it and keep it forever. Offer yourself as a gift; other gifts are only material symbols.
  6. The Action: ‘Right Action’ is one of the Eightfold paths to Nirvana, according to Buddha. All your actions must be filled with truth, goodness and beauty. Satyam shivam sundaram. Perform actions without expecting the fruits of action, says the Bagavat Gita.
  7. The Freedom: If you love something, set it free; if it come back it is yours; if it doesn’t it was never yours, said Omar Khayaam. Enjoy your beloved’s freedom for love happens when you respect the freedom of others. Possessiveness and jealousy are the enemies of love. Satisfy your lover’s dream and destiny.
  8. The Touch: A single kiss can awaken the sleeping beauty, a single hug can vanquish millions of misunderstandings. The first kiss changed both the lover and the beloved. They are not humans any more; they are Gods. The child knows the love of the mother from the gentle nipple that feeds the milk of love. A touch can say things that billions of words can’t.
  9. The Soul: You and your lover share the same soul. All have souls; they are one. Our souls are just bits of leafs fallen from the, Over-Soul, the Supreme  God, the Tree of Life. The roots will absorb us and we will turn in fresh leaves in the Body of God.

The language of love is easy to learn. The only sin in the world is to stop loving. As you have already read this article, it is time to forget these nine alphabets. Yes, forget it. Remember only the power of Love. Other words mean nothing. Remember only the feeling, the impression, this article left in your mind. Forget everything. I just want to tell you this:

Dear Reader, I Love You.

 DENVOR FERNANDEZ

Ravana’s Lament

Two cannibals from different continents fought with each other. Both of them claimed: “We treat our women and children better.” As they where fighting their women and children ran away in search of ‘Liberty’. 

O Sita! My daughter!

In my dreams you would flutter.

And disappear without any warning

As quick as lightening.

 

I sinned when I abandoned her.

My guilt searched everywhere.

I send spies to know

What became of her, Oh!

 

[I left my little one in the forest

Heeding the prophesies of my superstitious

Ministers. Why did I do it?

Was it fear? But, then…]

 

…I was in my prime of youth,

Filled with the courage of lions.

I did stand for the ‘truth’

And with strength bend irons.

 

I had sons thereafter

Who grew to be like me.

But, it is not them I am after.

My daughter is more dear to me.

 

[There is no greater love than that of a father for his daughter.

I realised it too late. Too late. But then…]

 

…Aryans educated her, indoctrinated her

With their obscure culture.

She learned not the values

That a Dravidian stands for.

 

O Lord Siva! She married an Aryan.

Her destiny is to be an Aryan’s slave.

He himself is a slave

To the snobbish sages’ orthodoxy.

 

[Dravidians never enslave their women, nor do they follow the barbaric

Manusmrithi, or the demonic

Caste system. But, then…]

 

…I have to win her back

And gift her our Freedom.

I want her back

To be the Queen of my egalitarian Kingdom.

 

I must steal, to set her free

From

The Aryans who maimed my

Beloved sister.

 

[But, then…]

 

…Will a caged bird,

who loves her cage,

Wish to soar the skies

and taste the nectar of Liberation?

 

The Freedom of some

Is the Slavery of another.

A Hero for some

Is the Villain for another.

DENVOR FERNANDEZ

ravan