Dikku teriyada Attic !


Dear all,

I realize this blog is also quite not as immediate to my previous on as I would have desired. But a lot of travelling had me on my toes, literally. But here I am, to continue the journey.

Im sure you all remember my eulogy to a great mentor in Dr. T.N.Ramachandran sir of Tanjavur. He is a saiva siddhanti and a great scholar, thespian of academia. Now,  I need to talk about how my journey continued from his home (home in this context is his protection  and shelter to my ameteur  and rigid views:-). In Shakespearean terms I was  “Sighing like furnace…sudden and quick in quarrel…” I was very much a young researcher with a lot of ideas of right and wrong, of who’s views are credible and who’s aren’t and who’s writings should shape my own understanding of history, art etc. He would patiently hear several of my emotional ramblings. Most of his responses to my childish queries were/are by themselves worthy of publishing. Here is one such from a random interaction with Sir on a sunday afternoon. Him seated and swinging on his oonjal and me seated on a plastic chair opposite him at the mutram of his tanjavur home.

Swarnamalya (childish and argumentative): Sir, Aasai mugam marandu pooche of Bharatiyar is about a young girl having forgotten her beloved Krishna’s face. But if she loves him so much why would she even forget him in the first place?

TNR Sir: Do u understand the entire meaning of the lines “
Aasai mugam marandu pooche idai yaar idam solven adi toozi, neesam marakkavillai nenjam enil ninaivumugam  marakkalaamo?”

Swarnamalya: O! sure 
O! friend I have forgotten his beloved face, how can I explain this? my heart hasn;t forgotten the love yet the face has been consigned to oblivion by my mind, is it fair?

TNR Sir: The mind is our most reliable ally and our trusted source. It’s very function is to bring memories update whenever required. Because it is the process of budhi, chit, manas and ahankaaram that creates every thought and therefore every memory.

Budhi is the intellect of man. It is the first place which processes a thought. All thoughts. This is the “arivu”. It then passes it to the next keeper.

Chit: this is understood as the rationale of a person. We rationalize the received thought which is why it is called “chintanai” where we ponder upon it and take it to the next level.

Manas: this is the heart, Up until now what the head was doing, now the heart takes over. This is where we develop emotions, attachments, detachments, likes and dislikes etc. It allows the thought to become personal, subjective and closer. That is perhaps why love and other emotions are always an appeal to the manas or heart. 

Ahankaaram: This is the ego or the self. The processed and curated thought is now well stored and also acted upon. If I love someone I confess love, if I am angry I show that emotion, if I miss someone I evoke memories about that person willingly to soak in that moment. It is independent, very individualistic and uses the other faculties in aid to represent itself. 

“Dear friend”, in this case could be even a soliloquy by the girl to her mind, which is supposed to be her friend and ally. I have been failed by you. I have no capacity of anamnesis. For the lovely face of my Krishna, I am unable to recapture. Who can help me from this state of amnesia? To whom can I complain about this internal malfunction of my system? The system that  never is supposed to fail a person?

I do remember (thankfully / unabashedly) the love he showered upon me. I am unable to still conjure up the face, the lines or the smile”. 

There are three aspects to all consequences in man’s life. There is the present that happens to him over which he has no control at all. There is a bundle of piled up consequences he has to face as an accumulation of his past deeds and then, there is what he can do based on his present experiences. These are the Prarabdha, sanchita and aagaamya karma-s. When her mind, heart stops listening to her, when she is unable to control them to retain a memory that she so wants to, she blames her mind of treachery, as if it’s not her own. This is due to the fact that no matter want we will, our prarabdha is a consequence we have to endure. What a pool of greater memories of his touch and love that the heart  (her heart or nenjam) chose to remember is perhaps her predestined sanchita. A girl who’s consequence was that she meet Krishna and become the object of his love and desire for a while, is her bundle of experience of her life. “What can I do?” Her lament of how to handle this predicament is her aagaamya karma. Do I rely upon my faithful, unfailing heart which savours his embrace and loving words or do I still allow my mind which duely failed me? How can I trust now? Whom can I trust now? What can I trust now? What use are my external eyes that can never work without the help of my mind? what use is this life if  my own preceptions were to fail me this way? (kankal irundu payan undo?)

When I heard this…U can imagine how silent, introspective and “shut up” I would have become. So introspective that, from then on, this argumentative researcher became a searcher. He made this haughty head pause to begin to look within.

I have always believed that the characters that we reflect through our arts viz-a-viz these Nayikas (in viraha or seperation, anger- Khandita etc) is not just a representation or encounter of their emotions but an interaction too. I once wrote a research article on Sigment Freud’s Psychoanalysis and Bharata’s Rasa theory. I found so many parallels and a constant interaction between the seeing and being seen. 

In this case, the girl is lamenting the failure of one of her own trusted faculties. She is desperately trying to use her heart to see if she can glimpse through the visages of what she remembers as feelings but forgets as memory. She is unable to hyperventilate upon any of her memories that bind the libido to the object. Her ego (ahankaaram) hopes to conjure up the image of him which is a lost memory to the mind but a yearning to her body and heart. 
This poem of Bharatiyar according to me is an oblique reference to the death of one’s own power over their mind. She laments this failure. But she also knows fully well that this powerlessness is due to the agony of  seperation from Krishna. 

 The only way she can recognize him now is by touching his lips with hers perhaps? It is only the encounters that can come to her rescue. She has to distinguish her and the other within herself to identify Him.

Bharati’s words TNR sir thus continued are,

“aasai mugam marandu poche idai yaar idam solven adi toozi
neesam marakka villai nenjam enil ninaivu, mugam marakkalaamo?”

not ninaivumugam (face from memory) but ninaivu mugam. Ye ninaive (O! mind) how can u fail me?

As a dancer, some where between the dance and imagination I  interact with her. I am her. This her is several characters, several women whom I understand, empathize with, absorb, imitate, interact, imagine and thus become. In this process my “self” is emancipated. 

The explanation for these two lines and how it has allowed me to find my thinking roots and wings is testimony to Sir’s teachings. As I said, I was to be a mere spectator of my own self who’ s perspectives to art, thought and literature changed after every interaction with Sir.

This is how he slowly nudged me towards my own space, even as I staggered cluelessly.

SWARNAMALYA GANESH
Dikku teriyaada attic !

P.S: I wish to share here a small video of my performance of a nayika in separation. But she is different from Bharati’s woman, she is haunting herself with memories of him and loves the self imposed torture. 
this video’s 7.20 th min is when the pallavai of the padam begins
P.P.S: didnt have the time to edit it to the exact start. 

In all,being a Women: difficult, tedious and absolutely joyous!










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