Illustrated story book for toddlers, with two Indian folk tales. One story is about ingenuity, the other is about prudence in the face of flattery.
Imagination – The ability of the human mind to visualize/conceive the intangible.
If we had imagination, we would understand that we live on the surface of a giant sphere and not on top of a flat board. The reason Earth appears flat to our vision is because, we are a tiny speck on this planet, which makes us disproportionately small to be able to see the entire size of the giant ball.
Instead of arguing with the scientists, we would be able to verify this fact for ourselves personally, if we were giants towering over the planet, with our head reaching past the atmosphere to be able to see the globe in its entirety. Since we are not, we should probably talk to the tiny ant on top of a basketball, about the shape of the object it stands on, and it would say that the basketball it crawls on, is as flat as a pancake. And of course, we would know that the ant is wrong, because we can see the ball, just the way the astronauts can see our planet from space.
Beauty – aesthetically pleasing
“A thing of beauty is a joy forever”, goes the well-known phrase from the poem, Endymion, by John Keats. Dwelling on this phrase made me wonder about that one unique thing of such incredible beauty, that it would bring unfailing joy to its beholder.
Could it be a favorite work of art that could turn into a visual feast every time we set our eyes on it? Or a piece of music that strums our soul, each and every time we listen to it?
The Victory Drum
(Original poem by Bharaithyar)
Strike the victory drum – Strike it,
Strike the victory drum.
We vanquished the ghost of trepidation –
We split the serpent of falsehood, drank away its life;
To absorb the entire celestial world like elixir,
We embrace the life of profundity.
Liberation – Little Sparrow
(Original poem by Bharaithyar)
Stay liberated –
Like this little sparrow
In eight directions, it flies and roams,
Into the air, it ascends; swims rapidly through,
In measureless abundance lay,
The sky awash in light, is the nectar it savors
Geography – Terrain and weather that shapes cultures and customs
When I read O’ Henry’s short story, “Soapy”, I could not understand Soapy’s attempts to get imprisoned for the duration of New York’s winter.
At that time, I was living in the tropical part of India, where winters were mild, offering a much needed respite from the oppressive heat of summer. Having lived only in the tropics, where people went to cooler places to escape the brutal heat of summer, I was unable to understand why anyone would want to escape winter.
Several years later, when chance brought me to the east coast of USA, I was able to hold in my hand – the beautiful crystals of snow as they fell in silent showers, painting the world monochrome. What I also came to experience was the merciless cold, as Old Man Winter breathed his icy breath on us during these months.
That’s when I understood Soapy’s desperation.
Superiority – better by way of comparison
To those who claim superiority by not consuming non-vegetarian food, I say, there are no true vegans. Even if you wore a patch of leather, you are not a vegetarian, because leather does not grow on trees, neither does honey, nor silk.
That being said, vegetarians slaughter farmed plants for food, while non-vegetarians slaughter farmed animals and plants for food. Good thing too, because imagine if there was no food diversity and everyone ate just fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes, there wouldn’t be enough food for the teeming billions, even if we eradicated the entire ecosystem from the face of this planet and turned it all into farms.
By Lekha Murali “Half an inch? hmm … too little, maybe an inch. That’s too much. Three-fourths seems…
A monologue with God because dialogue seems impossible
God – The Omnipotent, Omnipresent, benevolent creator of this world
I have heard so much about You, growing up. I hear You are a kind, benevolent, just and fair God, although I am not sure if that was the case when You tested Abraham’s faith.
By the way, I am not here to discuss the Bible. I want to talk to You about money. Why do You need so much money? Why does The Almighty, who created this universe in a week, with a day to spare, need so much of his favorite creation’s legal tender?
I was reading to a room full of people when someone interrupted with a question about my first short story. I said something about being a novice writer and how I have grown ever since. When I resumed reading, the words fell out; the printed words rolled and fell out of the book. Some scattered on the podium, some on the floor, some fell on my clothing. I tried to resume the reading, but there were no more words left. I turned the pages back and forth in panic. The book had emptied out and the empty pages mocked me, ‘You built a career on stolen words, now the words got stolen from you.’