Friday, September 26, 2008

no new avtaar

i am back, with NOTHING new. but from now on i will begin my sentences in Upper Case because I am bored of writing as if I am scribbling in my personal diary.

It was Ganapati time. The school had kept a little Ganapati in a corner, all decorated and festooned.

The child had pleaded with me to get a Ganapati home. I said, we will make one. A little red, clay Ganapati with a yellow umbrella( her idea), and yellow mouse were made and placed on the highest pedestal in the house- the speakers. I told her a benign, child friendly story of Ganapati and left it at that. It made little impact on her.

She came back from school a couple of days later and said she would tell me the story of Lord Ganesh.( Oh Lord!)

Mumma, Lord Shiva Ganesh ke papa hain.

Goddess Parvati unki mumma hai.

Jab woh baby tha to uske papa ko gussa aaya to unhone sar kat diya Ganesh ka.

Her eyes widened, koi papa aisa kar sakta hai?

Truth be told I did not soften the story for her from then on. I did my best to assure her that though fathers can get angry, and so can mothers, she should not worry about anyone's head being cut off.

We spoke about magical powers,powerful elephants,and fathers feeling jealous of mothers' love towards progeny.

She was very upset about the Elephant's body that lost its head to Ganesha, and what about its mommy.

We spoke about wrath, destruction,the cycle of life and death.

These larger-than-life ideas were spoken about in simple, elementary terms, but she and I must add, I, remained enthralled by the story and the conversation for quite a while.

She knows some stories of Krishna as well. My aunt told her the lot.

And each of these stories address some core anxieties of a child, and of adults who allow a deep reading of these stories. And then there are the hundreds of interpretations that these stories allow.

And to imagine that these stories are being made to suffer the dogma of being sacred, when actually they celebrate the profane entering the narrative.

I guess its time to dig out Ramanujan's Three Hundred Ramayanas.

9 comments:

Space Bar said...

yay! you're back!

thelastbyte said...

Dad cuts off son's head, dad swallows poison to save the world, mom clutches dad's neck to prevent him from getting poisoned...I suppose there's some comfort to be derived from deifying dysfunctional families. Like Forrest Gumpish heroes of the West.

I do miss reading Amar Chitra Katha though; religious/cultural discourse on comic strip - gotta love it.

--
Null Pointer

Banno said...

Hey, you or your blog don't need a make-over. I used to love that Ganesh story too, as a kid, and still do. What a conversation it must have been with Sanah!

SUR NOTES said...

space bar: i think i am back...

thelastbyte: "deifying dysfuncional families" - thank god for that- thats the only reason i turn to these wonderful epics. each character with her/his version of truth! lovely.

banno: oh how hard it was to not make papas the villian of the piece! but i did the right thing and deflected conversation to larger ideas! :(

Sue said...

I once read an essay discussing how fairy and folk tales help children deal with the complexities of the real world -- death, pain, incest, adultery, war, unfairness.

It made a big impression on me. Children are kids for only a short time. They spend several times that short period being an adult and perhaps protecting them from the ugliness as far as possible isn't such a smart thing to do.

Says the mother who hasn't had to deal with it yet. :)

Penguin said...

Thank you so much for coming back! :-)

anja said...

thank God you're back..tension ho gaya tha mujhe..no going away, don't worry about posting too little..no guilt baby, I'll wait around till you're in the mood;) But seriously the 5 year old killing the teddy bear...ay ay ay that scares me..I can't think that far yet..I do remember being into the Ganesh story too when I was young...I love that Sanah was concerned about the elephant and its mama.

karmickids said...

Yipppeeeeeeeeee
Sanah's back...

SUR NOTES said...

anja: ofcourse the teddy bear game is horrific. it still gives me the chills.

but we need to mediate and talk our kids through the horrors around us.

i was most disturbed that the child said that this baby has no mummy papa and THAT IS WHY we should kill him. kids talk about killing, and blood, and gore...but this is a different space altogether. one that can not be shushed or shouted at.