And here another rabbit joins in..

Mashed Musings

The tiger was getting old. He was a fierce killer when he was young, clawing and tearing animals in the jungle, roaming around like a king with his extended clan. He had made a pact with the other carnivores in the jungle. An army of hyenas was raised and was let loose on the hapless rabbits, deer, buffaloes, zebras and giraffes. Hyenas were usually mindless; they followed order for the pieces of flesh thrown at them at the end of the day. Soon the vultures too entered the pact. They protected the tiger and his clan by gouging out the eyes of deer and buffaloes in case they tried to save themselves and their young ones from the jaws of the tiger clan. There were other carnivores like the snakes and eagles that were always appreciative of the deeds of the clan in a bid to be in the gang’s…

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Word Muse #3 – சாய்ந்து

For what are ‘Word Muses’ and the list till now, look here.


Request : Please forgive spelling mistakes if any. I am largely out of touch with the written form of any language except English and Mathematics!  Free spell-checks and corrections hugely appreciated [sheepish grin].


கண்மூடி சிரிக்கின்ராள், பார்.
காதலன் தோள் சாய்ந்து
கனவுலகில் – பல வருடங்களாய்.
எழுப்பிவிடாதே.. அப்படியே தூங்கட்டும்.
விழித்தால் விழுந்து விடுவாள்,
ஒய்யாரமாய் நிற்க்கும் Pisa நகரத்தாள்.


Transliteration :
Kanmoodi sirikkinraaL paar..
kaadhalan thOL saaindhu,
kanavulagil – pala varudangaLaai.
ezhuppi vidaadhe.. appadiye thoongattum.
vizhiththaal vizhundhu viduvaaL,
oyyaaramaai nirkkum Pisa nagaraththaaL.


Rough  (blah!) translation :
Look how she smiles, her eyes closed
Leaning on her lover’s shoulder,
In the land of dreams – for years long.
Don’t disturb her.. Let her sleep
She would fall if she wakes up
The leaning tower of Pisa.

Vishnu’s Blues – Episode 1

PRE-REQUISITE : Basics of Hindu Mythology. Don’t know your Rama, Vishnu and Narada? Please consider not wasting time here, lost in alien references.
Vaikunta is exceptionally quiet. No soul seems to be around, not even Lakshmi.

Aadi-Ananta Sesha is seen coiled up tight, his massive thousand-headed hood bent low at an angle. . apparently to block light from disturbing a sleeping Vishnu.

Vishnu is seen tossing and turning restlessly, lying with the end of Sesha’s tail for a pillow.

He hears humming accompanied with the familiar clang of wooden cymbals. Before he could groan his annoyance at being disturbed, he hears a bright bubbly voice “Narayana, Narayana! Prabho… Pranaam”.

“Uggh.. What’s it Narada? Anything important?? Didn’t you see the huge ‘Will bite if disturbed’ board outside?” groans Vishnu without opening his eyes.

“I’m sorry Prabho. I did not mean to disturb you. I just came to say Hi. . Haven’t seen you outside for ages.. You haven’t even been attending the weekly group meetings to discuss earthlings.. “

“Yeah yeah. . So what? Can’t a god rest in peace with some solitude? As if the Maanavas are getting any better if we sit and brainstorm novel ideas for their upliftment. Let me sleep.  Just go, would you?”. Vishnu pulls down Sesha’s hood curtain lower.

“What’s the problem Hari? You look harassed.. baggy eyes with dark-circles, you’ve put on weight and you are clearly.. umm.. irritable”. Narada steps back cautiously.

In one swift motion, Vishnu sits upright, pushes Sesha’s head upwards to see Narada clearly, and snaps. “Oh for Shiva’s sake, I’m depressed! Haven’t rested in ages. Have been binge-eating. Haven’t gone out in the sun or even gotten off Sesha for I don’t remember how long. What do you expect? For me to look like pretty N. T. Rama Rao with blue body-paint? Really?”

Narada blinks, shocked.

“I am filled with self-doubt.. Have been suicidal. But alas, suicide is not even a possibility for me. Anyway, since I don’t believe in the stupid anti-depressants, I decided to take at least Valium and get some sleep. Grr.. who wants to be God? I don’t even have the self-esteem of a Maanava anymore!”

Narada walks to Vishnu and tenderly touches his shoulder “Do you want to talk about it Hari? What is it that is bothering you Jagannatha? Perhaps, you would feel better ranting to me?”. Vishnu sighs,  shifts and makes space for Narada, and motions to him to sit beside him.

“I have failed, my friend.  Miserably. I have let down everybody – all those who trusted me, all those who worshiped me. Look at what I have become – useless, miserable, and clearly intolerable.”

Vishnu looks up to meet Narada’s eyes – with tears brimming up in his own. “Even Lakshmi can’t stand me anymore – she left a week back – to stay with Parvathi and the kids”.

“I feel so lonely Narada.. than ever before.. alone with my failures and woes.”

Narada puts his tambura and cymbals away, sits beside Vishnu, turns Vishnu by his shoulders to face him and speaks with authority.

“Useless! He who has not less than 9 avatars to show as invaluable work to the universe, he who is the subject of two of the greatest epics in all times – is useless! And this most loved celebrity of the most powerful trinity of Gods is lonely! Rrrrrrrright.. Just listen to that and you’d know how silly you sound. Get off Sesha now and get ready for the weekly meeting now, would you?”

Vishnu laughs – cynically. “Celebrity. Powerful. Have you forgotten Narada? Lonely at the top?”

“And answer just one question for me – with conviction – and I’ll go where you want me to go.”

“Shoot!” says Narada impatiently, while reaching for his tambura.

“What use have these avatars been? Especially the last four? Give me one constructive, clear, really universal way in which they have affected and changed the ways of the Maanavas for the better.”

Narada protests “Oh, come on! They are not so etched in the memory of generations of Maanavas for nothing. They have taught them all the values that they hold dear – they have taught them dharma, karma, and how to live as good people. There are just too many ways to list.”

Vishnu goes back to sleep, “Well.. I asked for just one – JUST one constructive, clear, universal way – no vagueness, no exceptions, no big words. Take your time. I am not going anywhere. Go ask others and come back to me, if you wish.”

Narada opens his mouth to speak, fumbles, closes his mouth, lets his shoulders slump and sits thinking.

“Okay, now, you are being unfair. This is too vague a question – it has no definite answer. There is no defined metric, there is no defined goal which was either achieved or not achieved. This is like those English poetry analysis classes these Maanavas have in school – take a short poem from a dead author and ask ‘What was the author trying to say?’, and start off with ‘He mentions a blue curtain – he is talking about clinical depression’. Vague, silly, and absurd. All of those interpretations are mere conjectures unless the author comes to class and states his own interpretation of his poem. And only then can the poem and the poet be deemed to have succeeded or failed in communicating what they set out to communicate.”

“YOU created these avatars and their lives – you were the actor, screen-play writer, and director – you were the author. What were YOU trying to say in the first place?”

Vishnu sits back up, thinking. “Well, you do have a point there.. what was I thinking when I went down to the earth? The first time, and every time that followed?”

He gets up and starts pacing.

After a while, he pauses. “Let’s look at it chronologically, shall we?”

To be continued..

Coming up next..

What was Vishnu thinking when he came down to the earth?

In the next episode – Don’t miss it!

Word Muse #2 – Stance

She stands light on her feet

Constantly shifting her weight from leg to leg

In anticipation – of having to give her spot away

Feeling like a tress-passer – an encroacher with no rights to the space

Eyes flitting around – looking for that someone whose path she might be obstructing

Ever ready to move aside..

Before someone asks her to..

A stance of precaution.


He stands rooted – at ease

Owning the space – as the rightful heir

For as long as he is there

Eyes looking straight ahead – indifferent, even mocking.

He rarely notices if he is standing in someone’s way

Until he is tapped on the shoulder and asked to make way – with a ‘excuse me’ and a ‘please’.

Then, he would reluctantly move aside

Sometimes with a frown, sometimes with a smile..

Sometimes with anger, sometimes with grace..

Always with a sense of being cheated of what was his.

A stance of entitlement.


Ask them for their opinions..


He starts off with a “This IS…”.

She starts off with a “I think.. I may be wrong.. but I feel..”.


Pull them into a debate..


He stands his ground unless and until he is forced to step aside.

She goes “may be.. ummm…” while her mind is busy wondering if she is wrong – after all, he sounds like he knows and that he is right!

He feels entitled to the ‘right’ stance.

She is over-cautious about not taking the ‘wrong’ stance.


He looks around – at all the women – always light on their feet and ideas..

He learns to smile down & talk down to all ‘woman’-kind.

She looks around – at all the men – always firm on their feet and opinions..

She learns to fidget, stumble, and quickly shut up in front of all ‘man’-kind.

He leaves condescending comments on her blog post – “Let me bestow you with much-needed perspective – woman..”

She gives apologetic replies full of guilty smilies – “That is also true. You are right.. But.. this is just my opinion..”


And then this brisk woman comes along..

Feet rooted, gaze focused, chin up, voice clear and strong..

Unafraid of taking a stand..

So used to taking a stand..

Blind to their ‘gendered’ stances..

Naive to both his ‘entitlement’ and her ‘encroachment’.

She does not flirt with opinions – she dates them – steadily.

She says “Nope. You are wrong.” just as easily as she says “Hmm.. You do have a point there”.

She is polite – not sorry.

She faces equals – neither looks up nor talks down.

A stance of open-minded confidence.


They can do nothing about this alien being

Except judge behind her back..

She mutters “unfeminine – arrogant”

He grumbles “feminist – man-hater”

All for simply taking a fair and clear stance.



Women – MANY talented, successful women – take this precautionary stance – standing on toes, starting with a disclaimer-prelude of “I don’t know.. I may be wrong.. but I think..”.

When it is pointed out to women – they switch immediately to a high-strung immature imitation of the ‘entitled’ ‘masculine’ stance.

And when women do that – a LOT – it only reinforces the ‘entitlement’ stance that comes naturally to most men.

I see that all around – whether in this snob-level-nerdy academic campus of mine, or in some grown-up ‘intellectual’ literary debate video I happen to watch; whether inside a corporate meeting room, or at casual social gatherings.


When does it change?


Stances can become gender-neutral only after we recognize and acknowledge that – now – they are ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ in very definite ways?

And consciously shift ourselves to the gender-neutral stance?

Have you watched this awesome TED talk on body language? Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are

It says “Don’t fake it till you make it.. fake it till you become it!”

I think there needs to be a conscious change like that in verbal language too!

Have you noticed any language usage that is typically ‘gendered’ like this?


edited to add :

Thinking about it again, I realize that these definite extreme stance roles hold good among any two people where there is a perceived social hierarchy involved – race, caste, economic, educational qualification, ‘intellectual’ – anything. The only special thing being that irrespective of the outer hierarchy involved, it plays stronger & clearer when there is an additional inner hierarchy – of gender – involved. Gender-inequality seems to be the inner-most – the base – of all social inequality, and it plays out strongest of all.

Who Next?

WARNING : If you are prone to getting yourself hurt or offended on behalf of long dead and imaginary people, TURN BACK and LEAVE this page – NOW!


Long long ago in Bharat khanda..

A prince died..

Along with him died a lover, a husband, a brother.

And a Purushottama was crowned..

Chakravarthi Raghupathi Ramachandra.

While Siyaavar Rama lay buried..

Along with his weakness and vanity.



Not so long ago in Hindustan..

A struggler died..

Along with him died a husband, a father, a leader.

And a Mahatma was born..

Father of the Nation.

While frail Mohandas lay buried..

Along with his self-centered and short-sighted streaks..




Today in India..

Many light diyas – to remember Purushottama Ramachandra’s victory,

While some hate his hypocrisy.

Many take their children to school half-naked – to remember Mahatma Gandhi’s birth,

While some frown at his eccentric experiments.

None notice the gruesome murders of Rama & Mohandas..

Serial killings..

Cause of Death : Deification.

Modus Operandi : Forced removal of human flaws.

Who next? Anna Hazare?