Mistaken to be mature.


I’d do things differently Mohan Chacha” he remarked. His mother, eavesdropping hitherto, burst into the room and launched a diatribe. “Don’t dare to swerve from the family path. Our family has worked hard to amass this wealth for generations. You are the next flag bearer. Don’t give that immature, vacuous and cheap brain of yours any work and just follow my directions. Learn from Mohan Chacha you pea-brained rascal.”

Rahul, taken aback by the sudden tirade, began weeping. Mohan Chacha, comforting Rahul, opened his mouth. “Madamji, we were playing Angry Birds. I secured two stars. He said he’d do it differently.”

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Posted for the prompt “I’d do things differently” at Write Tribe.

The “Mother”

Paul had lived life to the fullest. He drank the cup of life till its very last drop. The day he closed his eyes for the last time was, unfortunately, exactly hundred years after the day he opened his eyes for the first time. He died seconds after he became a centenarian. The entire town loved “Paul Chacha”(Paul Uncle). His Library, which he fondly called as the “Mother”, was open that day, as per his wishes. “Never deny people their right to study and learn” he would say. “Mother” was a  great Library. Paul had made sure that he left no stone unturned as far as the development and maintainance of “Mother” was concerned. It was truly “state of the art” in every respect except one. It was not air conditioned artificially. The library had these huge windows, which were open most of the time. The breeze from the beach nearby and the huge trees surrounding the library ensured that “Mother” was by default air-conditioned, courtesy Mother Nature.

Paul had read most of the books and knew the title and the name of the author of almost every book in that Library. “How can a son not know about his Mother?” he would always retort when some one asked him about how he managed to keep so much information at his fingertips. In the last eighty years hardly did he set his foot outside the library. “I cannot leave my Mother alone” he would argue with people who would advise him to take a break. “How could Mother’s lap not be peaceful?” he would assert. A small room annexe to the topmost floor of the library was his abode. His morning walk was well within the vast library. He would make sure he covered every nook and corner of the library. If he found any section dirty or ill-organised, the punishment for the person responsible was a special one. For a week Paul would clean the section on his behalf. The six-hundred odd employees were experts in what they were assigned to do, thanks to he innovative punishments of Paul.  “Punishments should not hurt the physical exterior but should tap and mend the gentle interior” was his mantra. He had two last wishes. The first one was obvious; His mortal remains should be buried in the park surrounding the library. The second one; The section in the topmost floor, which he fondly called “Amrutham” (life immortalising liquid) should be maintained as it is and none of the books, how much ever old they were, should be removed from that section.

Paul used to personally maintain “Amrutham” . Raju, 40 years of age, would succeed Paul as the main care-taker of the “Mother” and would personally maintain “Amrutham”. A day after the demise of Paul Chacha the entire town had gathered to pay its last respects. The venue was again a natural one – the Beach. After reading out the eulogy, Raju addressed the gathering. With a quivering voice, heavy heart and wet eyes he began his address. ” Paul Chacha is no more. But his legacy, his “Mother”,will guide us in the right path. “Mother” will inspire and educate the generations to come. Today, I would like to share something which is close to my heart. Most of you, during your visits to the library, have asked me about this. The story behind “Amrutham”. Today I will let you know the fact that Paul Chacha shared with me 15 years ago when he stopped me from committing suicide by jumping off the window in “Amrutham”.

Paul Chacha was then nineteen years old. He was from a very effluent family. At nineteen, he was the sole owner of one of the largest business establishments of the country. He had lost both his parents and his younger sister in a car accident. He could not bear the grief and decided to commit suicide. He came to our town, far away from his city, hoping no one would even recognise him. Fortunately, he chose “Mother” to end his life, which was then a big ill-maintained library. He climbed to the topmost floor and decided to jump off the window. He stood at the edge of the window with his eyes closed. He took a few deep breaths. And then something incredible happened. He inhaled the smell of old books. That scent had in it a life saving essence. It not only saved his life but instilled in him a new desire to live. That very night he completed reading two books. From then on, he never ever thought of ending his lifeHe named that section “Amrutham”  and the library “Mother” from that day. He went back home, sold everything in his possession. He came back to our town, bought the Library and poured every penny at his disposal for the revivification of the “Mother”.  15 years ago, as I was about to commit suicide a voice asked me to stop for a moment and take a few deep breaths. Now you know why I am still alive. “Mother” will never let her children die. Paul Chacha will remain forever alive in our hearts. These are the last few lines that he wrote hours before his demise. I will finish by reading them out for you,

Oh dear “Mother”, thanks for this life.

Happiness, knowledge and inner peace, everything very rife.

Every deep breath of every child, who is ending his life if it looks,

should carry abound the life-saver, the smell of old books.

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This post is written in response to this weeks Wednesday’s prompt “smell of old books” at Write Tribe.

Raise the Bar, Literally.

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This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

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Shama was one of a kind. She was the first female to own a BAR in the heart of the busy city. The Bar was house full every evening.  The city, being a cosmopolitan, had myriad ways to break people’s heart; love failure, work pressure, estrangement, bereavement being some of the common methods employed by it. The bull market brought in a lot of people to celebrate and at the same time a bear market would bring in a lot of disturbed souls. People who had no qualms in life would come to drink just because they did not know what else to do. Some people came to celebrate the entry of the newly born and at the same time some came to forget the departed. The palpable tension before an important event made people succumb to the habit of drinking, whereas, the joy/sorrow of the eventual success/failure of the event dragged them to acquaint the company of the bitter liquid.

“They say sweetness overpowers bitterness. But isn’t it true that most of the people, to forget the bitter experiences in their lives, fall into the trap of these bitter liquids. And what more, they say the more bitter, the more better. Interesting isn’t it?” Shama would often remark, while conversing with her husband’s photo, a task she would perform daily, before retiring for the day. As usual, every time, without a doubt, he would reply with a smile, and with the same smile. He loved her so much. An army major, he was killed while on duty. He left her alone, with two children, a decent amount of cash and a photo frame, which captured him smiling.

While in Kashmir with her husband she had taken up a bartender course just for fun. Now, it came to proper use. Her uncle, who was shifting overseas, sold his Bar to her at a very nominal price. From then on, she never looked back. To be true, she never had the time. Bringing up two children, taking care of the Bar and the household work would consume the 24 hours available for the day and sometimes would leave her begging for more. Six years had passed, and now she had got ‘used to’.

Madhu uncle, 85 years of age, was her loyal customer. Not a day had gone by without his attendance in the Bar. Even Shama looked forward to meeting him everyday. He was a fatherly figure for her, and someone with whom she could open up. He had helped her a lot in the upbringing of her children. In turn, Shama, quite an exponent in mixing spirits, would tender him a surprise drink across the table, everyday. He drank to forget; to forget the tragic death of his daughter, who would almost be Shama’s age, if she were alive. “Life has its own way of filling the gaps, isn’t it Shama dear?” he would ask her. “Shama, a lot of your customers talk hours together with you. What do they talk about?” he asked one day. “Uncle, it is not them, but the high spirits that talk. And the most common subject is God and Religion.” “Religion!!, Hinduism, Christianism or Isalmism. Which one?”  he quizzed inquisitively. “Ah, the one that brings all of them under one roof, Alchoholism” she retorted. Both had a hearty laugh.  He would always be the last customer to leave the bar, along with its owner. He would make sure that she  transferred the cash from the box to the purse and she safely locked up the Bar. He was also kind enough to remit the cash to the bank the next day.

The rainy season would always give Shama sleepless nights. The reason for that being the Bar was situated in a low lying area. Rain water running down the adjacent streets would finally accumulate right on the street where the Bar was located. In the past, there were occasions when rain water had lodged in and flooded the Bar. This time the rains were torrential. On that fateful day, Shama had decided to close the bar early. She was worried about the children being alone at home and also heavy rains had made sure that the attendance in the bar that day was scarce. It was quite early in the evening that the bar was left with only one customer, Madhu uncle. Sensing the increasing violence of the heavy rains, Shama asked the employees to leave at once. Madhu Uncle volunteered to drop Shama back home. She was in the rest room changing, when she heard a unusual loud noise. She, at once, guessed that the huge water tank right in front of the Bar had collapsed due to the rains, and the flooding of the Bar was now imminent. As she changed quickly and came out of the rest room, water bursted into the bar dismissing every thing in its way. In a moment she found herself drowning. She quickly swam to the roof and managed to take a few deep breaths in air and began to search for Madhu Uncle. When she swam to the serving area she noticed Madhu uncle, severely injured, desperately trying to keep his face above the water surface, struggling to breathe. She at once swam to him, caught hold of his long hair and dragged him along with her to the entrance. She dived into the water, asking Madhu uncle to manage on his own for a moment. As she reached to the door handle and tried to open the door she realised that something huge was on the other side of the door and even her strongest attempts inside water was not enough to open the door even an inch wide. She swam back to the surface caught hold of Madhu Uncle’s hair again, and in the brief respite she got to breathe, she had to come up with an escape plan. “Yes, the window of the rest room” she shouted. “It does not have grilles” she exclaimed, not caring for the fact that the only person who could celebrate the idea with her was almost unconscious. But to reach there she had to swim dragging Uncle with her for at least twenty metres. She closed her eyes. The smiling face of her husband and the innocent faces of her children passed by. She was ready. She took a deep breath and began to swim. She was determined not to let Uncle go. He was the God – given father to her. She had lost enough in her life and was not ready to lose someone she loved, again. She made it to the rest room. She was taken aback when she noticed that the window  was ten feet high. Since the rest room was the inner most part of the Bar, the water was only neck deep. So grabbing Uncle, she had to jump ten feet high to reach the window and go out to live again. She made sure that Uncle rested on the wall, standing. She jumped to reach the window. She could only make eight feet. “I love you children” she cried. She again thought of her husband’s smile and this time, she raised the bar. By taking the support of the toilet seat, she gathered enough energy to jump high enough to get the required grip. The willingness to survive can give you unbelievable amounts of energy, isn’t it? She then reached out to Uncle, who by now was almost conscious and reached out to her. She pulled him up and both were out of danger. They had snatched life from the jaws of death.

Six months later, Madhu Uncle inaugurated the renovated Bar. This time it was on the first floor with the ground floor dedicated for parking only. While talking to the invitees during inauguration, Madhu Uncle jocularly remarked about Shama that “this time, she has raised the BAR, literally”. Shama won the bravery award that year, which was only apt for an Army Major’s wife.

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The Tattoo Tip Off

 

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He awoke that morning, his face clearly displaying the displeasure at being disturbed in deep sleep. The annoying screech of the door bell had dragged him from the dark heavenly abyss of comfort to the view of a window pane rendered golden by the Sun. The late night meeting on the previous eve had ensured that he could only muster a three hour snooze.

It was his first stay in the newly built Guest Houses of the Intelligence Bureau. He was on the verge of busting a crime racket. He was working on this case for almost two years along with his colleague who also happened to be his best friend. A week before, his friend was murdered right in the middle of the street, in a bus full of people. The masked murderer had jumped off the divider on the street and grabbed the window rails of the bus with one hand and the bullet fired from the revolver held in the other had at a point blank range pierced his friend’s temple. In the next moment blood splashed everywhere. Before he could get a good glimpse of the murderer after wiping the blood off his face, the murderer jumped back on the divider, hopped into a car and fled. His pure-white shirt was rendered dark-red as he watched his best friend leave, forever. The case had now turned into a personal vendetta. He made sure that his family, the bereaved wife of his friend and her children were taken to a safe place. After that he had a late night meeting with his reporting authority, who, during the meeting, introduced him to his new partner. Tears rolled down his eyes as he saw his new partner take into possession the revolver that once belonged to his best friend. He briefed his new partner about the case in detail and then headed to the new Guest House, his make shift home till the racket was busted. He then cried himself to sleep.

As he dragged himself towards the door a lazy gaze at the wall clock informed him that it was 5 am in the morning.  He opened the door.  His new partner, with a glow in his eyes, uttered, “I received a call this morning. It was from an anonymous person calling himself an informer. This person wants to meet us and claims he  can provide a lot of valuable information about the case.” He at once agreed to meet him. He got ready and they set out to meet the informer.

They arrived at the location, which turned out to be a godforsaken Motel on the outskirts of the city.  As they entered the motel, he was surprised to see his new partner quite well versed with the tortuous corridors. His new partner then quickly pulled a key from his pocket and unlocked the door of one of the rooms. As he entered the room he was shell-shocked to see his reporting authority waiting for him. His new partner walked to the other side and stood next to the reporting authority. He sat on the chair, facing them, struggling to understand as to what was transpiring. “This racket, if busted, will harm the images of some powerful people. They don’t want that to happen. They are ready to pay as much as you want. Don’t be a fool like your friend. We tried to convince him first, but that fool never listened. They killed him. We hope at least you are learned enough to let go things that are tougher than what you can handle. You are a young officer, with a beautiful wife and cute children. Don’t you want to enjoy life with them. Time will heal your wounds, now that it will be accompanied with money, the healing will be much faster” his reporting authority remarked. “You B……….d” he yelled. His new partner now resting his stretched hands on the table yelled back ” You are talking to your boss, mind your language.” As his new partner stretched his hands the half arm shirt moved an inch, just enough to display a tattoo. He had seen that tattoo before! if only he could remember where. Yes!!, it was the same tattoo he had momentarily noticed in the arm of the murderer when he was hanging from the window rails of the bus. His new partner was the one who killed his best friend.

He was trained to control his emotions in such situations. He shook his head and raised it back. Calm and composed, he said ” Yes sir. I understand. I need to let go off things that I will not be able to control. But my job has given me one thing in my hand that I can control very well and that is………..” ‘BAM’  ‘BAM’ . Two bullets were fired from his gun and the pieces of brains of his boss and his new partner adorned the wall of the room, mimicking modern art.

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write-over-the-weekend-blogaddaThis post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

Seven famous sevens – Part – 7

Hello to all. I am quite excited in taking part in the Write Tribe Festival of Words – Seven day blogging challenge. The theme of the blogging challenge is SEVEN. I have decided to blog about seven famous sevens that I can recollect or find about. I thank Write Tribe for coming up with such an innovative challenge. I hope that every blogger who participates in this challenge will come out with full colours which,by the way,are SEVEN in number.

Seven famous sevens – Part – 1

Seven famous sevens – Part – 2

Seven famous sevens – Part – 3

Seven famous sevens – Part – 4

Seven famous sevens – Part – 5

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Super Heroes.

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“Ashwathaama Balir Vyaso Hanumanash cha Vibhishana Krupacharya cha Parashuramam Saptaita Chiranjeevanam” which means which means Ashwathama, Maha Bali, Vyasa, Hanuman, Vibhishana, Kripacharya and Parashurama, are the 7 long lived personalities (immortals). Of these my favourite is Hanuman.

Super Heroes save the world. When the world is in dire straits; attacked by aliens, threatened by terrorists, disturbed by evolved beings, etc …., the Super Heroes arrive right on time to show that they care for us and flaunt their extraordinary talents in the process of eliminating the peril.

I have a feeling, which is a mixture of surprise and an iota of disbelief, about the geographical origins of most of the Modern Super Heroes; since it seems that the fertilty required for their genesis and/or upbringing  is only in the American soil. I mean, why didn’t the space shuttle carrying an infant from the planet Krypton find a better landing site other than Smallville? Why is it that spiders don’t bite in any other country? Even if they do, why don’t their juices have Super Hero generating potential as the one that bit Peter Parker had?

For a moment I ask you people to consider our gods as just characters of fiction. Assuming that you did, I have the following argument. Our ancient authors had a better taste and insight in imagining a Super Hero. I am talking about Hanuman, who according to me is the finest and the best of
Super Heroes. Let us compare our own Desi Super Hero with these Pardesi ones.

Superman

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The alien Super Hero for whom America is the foster nation. Also called as the Man of steel, his alienness is vividly displayed when he fails to follow one of the most fundamental etiquettes(strictly followed by his foster nation) of dressing. Extremely powerful and immortal. Apparently his cells are infused with the genetic codex of the entire Kryptonian race. Has no weaknesses except for one, his powers are weakened when he is in the vicinity of the mineral debris called as Kryptonite.

Hanuman, an immortal hero, has his powers described on par with Super Man. He once almost touched the Sun. He is a loyal servant to the most supreme being Lord Rama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. A scholar, well versed with all the Vedas, he has the entire knowledge about the world he lives in. No weaknesses, except for the fact that he has to be reminded of his powers.

Spiderman

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The Super Hero who credits his origin to an accidental spider-biting incident. With great power, he needs to be taught, comes great responsibility. His major problem is his ego. Has an endless list of deeds involving bravery and courage on his side, but I feel he is in for a big trouble when mundane urgencies like answering a nature’s call knocks at his door step during an official duty, courtesy his outfit. He can’t even pleasantly scratch his crotch after a tiring, sweaty job.  As far as personal life goes his relationship with is girlfriend is on and off a million times.

On the other hand, Hanuman has no problem with ego, since he cannot remember his powers. Credit must be given to the author for thinking this deep. His outfit, a modest one. He is the one who proved that Rama nama (chanting of the name of the lord) is more powerful that Rama ( the lord himself) a fitting deed for a great character.

Batman

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The Super Hero who has limited his security services to a certain geographical boundary called as the Gotham City. A champion in ninjutsu and a master in disguise, having a body in perfect physical shape he is into providing justice and fighting crime along with his sidekick Robin. As in the case of Superman even Batman needs a lesson in etiquettes of dressing. 

Hanuman the most obedient of Super Heroes, operates alone. He has masterd every art of warfare. His bravery and an eye for how things should happen is depicted when he confronts Ravana and tells him “Hey Ravana, it would take me seconds to destroy you, but because my Sita mata has pledged that her husband, my lord Rama, will one day destroy you, I am leaving you alive for today”.

My blood boils when I see these Sci-Fi movies where the world is under attack and the Indians, in groups, are shown praying inside a temple waiting for a foreign hero to come and save the world. We need to get our imagination right and make Hanuman an international hero. I am waiting for the day when an Indian Super Hero will protect the White House from being destroyed and successfully saves the US president on the orders of the Indian Prime Minister (we must have a Prime Minister who can talk in the first place). There are a zillion computers in India too. I think some of them should also intercept a feed sent from Aliens before Americans and Europeans do. India should also save the world many a times.

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I finally thank Write Tirbe for coming up with such a wonderful challenge. It was surely a festival of words. The theme seven was so relevant to the year 2013. We have Big Boss season 7 commencing and KBC season 7 commencing with the prize money a whooping 7 crores. It is raining sevens this year. All in all it was great fun to participate in this challenge.

Seven famous sevens – Part – 5

Hello to all. I am quite excited in taking part in the Write Tribe Festival of Words – Seven day blogging challenge. The theme of the blogging challenge is SEVEN. I have decided to blog about seven famous sevens that I can recollect or find about. I thank Write Tribe for coming up with such an innovative challenge. I hope that every blogger who participates in this challenge will come out with full colours which,by the way,are SEVEN in number.

Seven famous sevens – Part – 1

Seven famous sevens – Part – 2

Seven famous sevens – Part – 3

Seven famous sevens – Part – 4

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SEVEN GREAT PHYSICS TEACHERS

I am a TEACHER by profession. On the occasion of Teachers Day I would like to write about SEVEN great TEACHERS who have inspired me and millions of others. According to me a teacher is one who has decided to be a student throughout his life. A teacher is the one who readily shares his/her experience and wants the students to learn from them.

Arnold Sommerfeld

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The master teacher. Eight of his students received Nobel prize. Isn’t it a boon to handle a class attended by eight potential Nobel laureates. Between 1901 to 1950 he was nominated for the Noble prize 81 times.  Definitely he is one among the elite group of people whom the Nobel prize missed.

Neils Bohr

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One of the pioneers of Modern Physics. He dared to think out of the box. Received Nobel Prize in 1922. He had a scientific debate with Einstein on Quantum mechanics which became a world famous event and is now called a Bohr – Einstein debate. There is a book published on this.

Enrico Fermi

Unknown-2Only a few physicists were equally good at theory and experiments. Fermi was one of them. A great teacher. Invented the Nuclear Reactor. He was the best in “back of the envelope calculation” so much so that it is now informally called as the “Fermi method”.

Hans Bethe

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He was the one to show the world that in the heart of stars nuclear fusion is taking place and received Nobel prize for it in the year 1967. He was the chief of the theoretical division working on the atomic bomb project. On the day he was informed that he had bagged the Nobel prize he insisted that he took his regular physics class.

Subramanyam Chandrasekar

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The Nobel laureate with the Indian origin. Received Nobel prize for the work on evolutionary stages of Stars in 1983. A great teacher. One story in particular illustrates Chandrasekhar’s devotion to his science and his students. In the 1940s, while he was based at the University’s Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wis., he drove more than 100 miles round-trip each week to teach a class of just two registered students. Any concern about the cost effectiveness of such a commitment was erased in 1957, when the entire class–T.D. Lee and C.N. Yang–won the Nobel Prize in physics.

Lev Davidovich Landau

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One of the greatest Russian Physicist. He was awarded the Nobel prize in physics in 1962 for his work in Superfluidity. Thousands of Physics students have benefited from his series of books on Theoretical physics. Landau kept a list of names of physicists which he ranked on a logarithmic scale of productivity ranging from 0 to 5. The highest ranking, 0, was assigned to Newton. Einstein was ranked 0.5. A rank of 1 was awarded to the founding fathers of quantum mechanics, Niels Bohr, Heisenberg, Paul Dirac and Schrodinger and others. Landau ranked himself as a 2.5 but later promoted himself to a 2.

Richard Phillips Feynman

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My favourite. According to me he was the best physics teacher of the 20th century. He won the Nobel prize in the year 1965 for co-developing the theory of Quantum Electrodynamics, one of the most successful theories in physics till date. He had the knack of solving problem in a simple way and teaching it effortlessly to anyone. His 3-volume lecture series is world famous and any physics student cannot miss learning from them.

One may ask as to why two great names, Newton and Einstein, have be omitted from my list. The reason is that I consider them as Gods of physics rather than just scientists.

Seven famous sevens – Part – 4

Hello to all. I am quite excited in taking part in the Write Tribe Festival of Words – Seven day blogging challenge. The theme of the blogging challenge is SEVEN. I have decided to blog about seven famous sevens that I can recollect or find about. I thank Write Tribe for coming up with such an innovative challenge. I hope that every blogger who participates in this challenge will come out with full colours which,by the way,are SEVEN in number.

Seven famous sevens – Part – 1

Seven famous sevens – Part – 2

Seven famous sevens – Part – 3

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THE SAPTASWARAS OF MUSIC

In Indian music SWARAS are notes,  components of a RAGA. There are SEVEN SWARAS viz. Shadjam, Rishabha, Gaandharvam, Madhyamam, Panchamam, Dhaivatam and Nishaadam, and are shortened to Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, Pa, Da and Ni. They form the basis of Indian Music. It goes without saying that they are deeply rooted in our philosophy. Every SWARA has a meaning, an associated animal (from whose natural sound originates the SWARA), an associated CHAKRA (bodily part of the singer from which the SWARA originates), an associated God, associated feeling (rasa) and an associated colour. Following is an amazing table of facts related to the SEVEN SWARAS.

Swara: Meaning

Animal

Chakra

God

Colour

Feeling

Sa – Shadja: Giving birth to the next six Swaras

Peacock

Base of Spine

Bramha

Light pink

Veera, Adbhutha, Rowdra

Ri – Rishaba : Morality

Bull (Nandi)

Genitals

Agni

Parrot Green

Veera, Adbhutha, Rowdra

Ga – Gaandhara: Light

Goat

Navel

Rudra

Gold

Karuna

Ma – Madhayama: Middle

Crane

Heart

Vishnu

White

Karuna

Pa – Panchama: Five

Nightingale

Throat

Naarada

Black

Haasya

Da – Dhaivata: Of Gods

Horse

Third Eye

Ganesha

Yellow

Bhibhatsa, Bhayanaka

Ni – Nishaadam: Sit/Lie down

Elephant

Crown of the Head

Surya

Multicolour

Karuna

Who does not get inspired by music? There are a zillion types of music, yet the language in which they touch the souls of the listeners is unique and universal. There is music in every aspect of life. Music takes us through every mood and emotion of life.  I conclude with a  poem to establish the essence of music in life:

There was once a man,

who claimed he hated music.

Throughout his life span,

he believed it had no logic.

While on his death bed,

he realised he was wrong,

since his heart throughout his life,

had composed the LUB-DUB song.

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