Well, this is my 100th post. I have finally reached that magical mark... that three digit figure... 100. Wow! After some months of sustained blogging... and a few of being 'irregularly regular' or 'regularly irregular'... as a blogger, that is... I have finally scored a 'century'. And it feels great! I'm on top of the world... !!! Borrowing a word from among the several ones... mouthed by the great Shammi Kapoor's character... in the superhit movie "Junglee"... let me also proclaim... "Yahoooo... !!!"
Author's Note: Incase you are wondering about the picture here... it is an image provided by NASA (released Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009) taken by the refurbished Hubble Space Telescope, showing Colorful Stars Galore Inside Globular Star Cluster Omega Centauri. I felt this was an apt photo... for the occasion, my 100th post... "Chand taaron ko chhune ki asha, aasmaano mein udne ki asha... "
I was wondering, what to write... for this post... since it got to be something special, something memorable. After all, it is not everyday that one gets to write their 100th post... what say... ?!! After some thought, I decided to go with a poem by the great English poet, Romantic, literary critic and philosopher who, with his friend William Wordsworth, was one of the founders of the Romantic Movement in England and one of the Lake Poets. I refer to Samuel Taylor Coleridge (21 October 1772 – 25 July 1834). He is probably best known for his poems The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan, as well as his major prose work Biographia Literaria. His critical work, especially on Shakespeare, is highly influential, and he helped introduce German idealist philosophy to English-speaking culture. A paragraph from his longest major poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner - which along with other poems in Lyrical Ballads, was a signal shift to modern poetry, and the beginnings of British Romantic literature - is as follows:
Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.
But, this is not the poem... I referred to earlier. I'm talking about... "What If You Slept?". It's a magnificient poem... like a beautiful dream. Imagine a wonderful fantasy, like some very beautiful dream, coming true?! Miracles are not confined to a certain age, they can happen anywhere, any time... without prior intimation/notification. Normally, 'seeing is believing'. But sometimes... when the imagination is very, very, strong, it becomes or achieves the opposite... and then, 'believing is seeing'. Thereafter... believing or belief becomes more strong than anything else. Such is the power of imagination, the power of belief, the power of faith... and ultimately, the power of the divine. So, celebrate each and every day of your life... 'coz life is the greatest of all miracles. The journey is the reward... be thankful for every challenge and opportunity. Be an optimist... no matter what. "The optimist says we are made of stardust. The pessimist says we are made of the nuclear waste of burned-out stars." (Primack and Abrams)
The poem "What If You Slept?" is as follows:
What if you slept?
And what if,
In your sleep
And what if,
In your dream,
You went to heaven
And there plucked
A strange and
And what if,
When you awoke,
You had that flower in you hand?
.... Ah, what then?
..... What then, indeed... ???
The poet has a great power of imagination... no doubt. It reminds me of many a childhood fantasy book that would almost have readers believe "it was all just a dream" - were it not for the mud on the shoes, a bruised knee, the gift boxes, a jingle bell under the Christmas tree. I always liked that reassurance that, in spite of the big old "fiction" label.... the story was real. No wonder then that, "Harry Potter"... a series of seven fantasy novels written by the British author J. K. Rowling sells amazingly... around the world, while so many readers feel cheated by "Atonement", "Life of Pi", and other such novels with wildly unreliable narrators. There will never be any dearth of readers for: Gulliver's Travels, Hansel and Gretel, The Three Little Pigs, Alice in Wonderland, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Snow White and Red Rose, Robin Hood, The Phantom series, Tintin, Asterix and Obelix, Tinkle, Amar Chitra Katha (ACK), Malgudi Days, Ruskin Bond's novels, short stories, novellas, including his ever-popular Rusty stories. Well, I could go on and on and on. We want so hard to believe. We want to wake up from our reading trance and find relics of what we've read... left in our hands. To quote, Meister Eckhart, the 14th-century German theologian, philosopher and mystic: "When the soul wishes to experience something she throws an image of the experience out before her and enters into her own image."
The American poet Coleman Barks said and I quote: "The Sufis say the great world is the inner world, and the outer world of stores and restaurants and nations and three hundred billion galaxies is the small world. The inner world is your awareness. The outer is a kind of language for your inner. [With] that reversal, you can't shoot a weapon into a place where four hundred people are if you think the great world is the inner world and each of those people is housing a treasure of consciousness." Although he neither speaks nor reads Persian, he is nonetheless renowned as an interpreter of Rumi and other mystic poets of Persia (he bases his translations entirely on other English translations of Rumi). Barks' work has contributed to an extremely strong following of Rumi in the English-speaking world. Due to his work, the ideas of Sufism have crossed many cultural boundaries over the past few decades.
To quote Meister Eckhart again: "The eye with which I see God is the same with which God sees me. My eye and God's eye is one eye, and one sight, and one knowledge, and one love." and "If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, 'Thank You', that would suffice." I second that. Completely!
The other day I was watching "Troy" on TV. Its a fabulous epic film, loosely based on Homer's Iliad, besides material from Virgil's Aeneid and other sources of the Epic Cycle, (even though it frequently diverges from myth)... and has a great song in the end, for the film's end credits. You can listen to that amazing song "Remember" (with subtitles) from "Troy"... HERE. Sung by the Grammy-nominated American singer-songwriter Josh Groban. He has also performed the song "Remember" (with additional vocals by Tanja Tzarovska, lyricist Cynthia Weil) on the Troy soundtrack.
I have much to be happy about and I'm smiling. I found my posts being of some use to my readers. Here is an example. One of my readers from the Asia Pacific region... wrote this on his blog: "I guess all of us know the song "Jai Ho" from the movie Slumdog Millionaire... I have been wondering what that song really means... That is why I would like to thank this blogger for posting this information:" Then my post on "Jai Ho" follows. Here is the link. *a big smile* I also found my post on the decade of the Kargil War featured on Sulekha. Here is the link. *I'm beaming* My blog's IndiRank is at 80 now. It was 80 last month as well and 77 before that. IndiRank is a system that the folks at IndiBlogger have built to rank the blogs in the IndiBlogger network. It's like runs in a game of cricket - the higher the score, the higher ranking you (i.e., your blog) have. Blogs are ranked on a scale of 1-100. So, 80 is a pretty good score, right... ?!! My blog is an eclectic mix (as you can figure out from the 'labels' column) and till date... it has had 12,000 page views from visitors/readers spread across 84 countries... touching each and every continent. With the exception of some inhabitants from the Arctic region and the continent of Antarctica... for obvious reasons! Penguins, Polar bears, seals, muskox and reindeer... don't blog. They love to surf... but that is of a different kind! A big Thank You... to all my readers. You Rock!
A Note on Sulekha: In 1998, Satya Prabhakar created a simple website to publish the articles written by Indians from around the world. Since its inception, Sulekha (Sulekha.com New Media Pvt Ltd.) has become one of the biggest online communities for Indians worldwide and has a strong reach amongst online Indians and NRIs in about 60 cities. Today, Sulekha has developed into a global Internet franchise serving Indians through a portfolio of services such as: online Yellow Pages, online Classifieds, Print Classifieds, Movies/Event Ticketing, and Business-to-Business (B2B). The website is divided into different sub-domains such as Yellow pages, Classifieds, Blogs, News, cities and food. Each of these are run by completely different teams. More sub-domains such as packers and movers, interior designing, etc., have been developed to cater to the needs of people looking for services in those categories. Towards the end of 2008, Sulekha began offering stock options, i.e., ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Program) to its employees. It is headquartered in Chennai, India with offices in Bangalore, New Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai. They also have offices in the USA at Seattle, Austin. According to Alexa, Sulekha ranks in the top 35 Indian web portals and is ranked 612 on Alexa.
Now, for the awards. Offlate... it's been raining nay pouring awards... !!! *a very satisfied smile* But... I'll talk about them in greater detail... in my next post.
Please note... I'm taking a bow. *clap! clap! clap!*
We are already into the festival season... with Navaratri/Dussehra/Durga Puja being celebrated with full enthusiasm and traditional fervour. Hence, I'll end this momentous post with the links to an abridged audio/visual presentation of an All India Radio Recording - "Mahalaya -Mahisasuramardini" (Annihilation of the Demon Mahisasura). An oratorio invoking the Goddess Durga (through Sanskrit chants and Bengali devotional songs). The most perfect rendering of the shlokas were by the evergreen Birendra Krishna Bhadra - the magical voice behind the "Mahishashura Mardini"* - while the enchanting music was composed by the immortal Pankaj Kumar Mallick.
The legendary narrator recites the holy verses and tells the story of the descent of devi Durga to earth - and describes the epic battle of goddess Durga with the demon king Mahishashura - in his inimitable style, mesmerizing every household with the divine aura of his narration, as the Bengalis submerge their souls in quiet moments of prayer. Divine, enchanting and beautiful! You will be transported to another realm of the universe... while listening to this recitation. As the recital begins, the serene morning air resonates with the long drawn sound of the sacred conch shell, immediately followed by a chorus of invocation, melodiously setting the stage for the recitation of the "Chandi Mantra". Don't miss out.
1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSgNI1hmays - Part I.
3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Smgwjceo3Ww&feature=related - Part III.
Note: Some info gathered, courtesy Wikipedia. Quotes, courtesy: Wikiquote and http://recoveringphysicist.com/fpcog-aug20/.
Some great quotes from Joel Primack and Nancy Abrams' book, "The View from the Center of the Universe" can be found: here. Their website: http://viewfromthecenter.com/
* Bhadra has long passed away, but his recorded voice still forms the core of the "Mahalaya" program. "Mahisasura Mardini" (Bengali: মহিষাসুরমর্দিনী, The Annihilation of the Demon) is a hugely popular early radio programme that has been broadcasted since 1930 in All India Radio (AIR). This program is a beautiful two-hour audio montage of "Chandipath" (chanting from Chandi) recitation from the scriptural verses of Sri Sri Chandi or Durga Saptashati, Bengali devotional songs, classical music and a dash of acoustic melodrama. The program has also been translated into Hindi, set to similar orchestration and is broadcast at the same time for a pan-Indian audience.
"Mahisasura Mardini" is a remarkable piece of audio drama matchless in Indian culture. Though the theme is mythical and the mantras Vedic, this program is a landmark composition. It's scripted by Bani Kumar, and narrated by Bhadra while Dijen Mukhopadhya, Manobendra Mukhopadhya ("Tabo Achinta..."), Sandhya Mukhopadhya, Arati Mukhopadhya, Utpala Sen, Shyamal Mitra and Supriti Ghosh ("Bajlo tomar alor benu...") sang in their melodious voices. The songs are rendered by famous singers of yesteryears, including the peerless Hemant Kumar and Arati Mukherjee.
In the year 1930, "Mahalaya" was first broadcasted over the radio in Akashvani. The programme was organised by Premankur Aatorthi, Birendra Krishna Bhadra, Nripendra Krishna Mukhopadhya and Raichand Boral. The programme, which started off as a live-performance has been broadcast in its pre-recorded format since the late nineteen-sixties. However, its great popularity remains undiminished even till this day. Bhadra's rendition, "Mahisasura Mardini", is still played by All India Radio, every "Mahalaya", marking the beginning of the Durga Puja festivities. This program has almost become synonymous with "Mahalaya", also called "Debipakhsha". For nearly six decades from 1930... till now, the whole of Bengal rises up in the chilly pre-dawn hours, at 4 a.m. in the morning to be precise, on the "Mahalaya" day to tune in to the "Mahisasura Mardini" broadcast.
This undated handout image provided by NASA, released Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009, taken by the refurbished Hubble Space Telescope, shows Colorful Stars Galore Inside Globular Star Cluster Omega Centauri. (AP Photo) The link can be found: here.