Tag Archives: Indian festival

Shiva Shakti – May the Force Be With You!

Mythology stems from the societal characteristics, the shared aspirations, the folklores, of a time lost in antiquity.

While the stories are from an era long gone, the emotions, the fears, the desires, remain the same;

who is an ideal man, who is the epitome of womanhood, what does the society demand?

The wheels turn, and along with them, the sagas take on new shades, exotic hues!

Each story, a real-life scenario, with its heroes and it’s demons;

each character, the face of a vice or the embodiment of a virtue!

How then, can the myth of Shiva & Shakti be different?

The story of a virtuous god, with the power to destroy, and his divine muse;

of masculinity and the contrasting femininity;

of strength and softness;

of steadfastness and pliability;

of ruthless fervour and empathetic care;

a myth of a fusion, an amalgamation of what when seen as separate, is incomplete, but together, makes a whole!

There are hordes that go searching, on pilgrimages, on quests, wondering whether this whole, this completeness, this divinity, eludes.

The journey seems long, sometimes futile, yet the hungry mind doesn’t give up.

There would be ways to appease the gods, ways to find them and ways to hold on to them…

Where can I find Shiva?

What form has Shakti adorned?

A short pause, to catch a breath, or maybe to reevaluate, change the strategy, try a new mantra…

a new dilemma- to give up or to go just a bit further, agitated and tired.

When all seems pointless, somewhere, deep from within, an arrow breaks through, a bolt of lightning, bursting from the core…

both reside within, in the depths of each and every soul, one can’t exist without the other.

Where once they were seen as two separates, coming together to complete each other, now they are seen as two sides of the same coin, yin and yang, not shackled by the stereotypes. Not humanised to appease the masses. Now, a personification of human traits…

masculinity and femininity;

strength and softness;

steadfastness and pliability;

ruthless fervour and empathetic care;

pragmatism and romanticism!

They dance their dance, deep within each;

There is a Shiva in me!

And Shakti too!

I am complete!

Artika Arora Bakshi is the author of two well-acclaimed children’s books, My Little Sikh Handbook, My Little Sikh Handbook 2: Ardas. She co-manages the thegoodbookcorner.com, and runs an online book club with a membership base of over 600 members. Artika’s articles and reviews have featured in the Daily Mirror, Daily News and The Ceylon Chronicle among others. She is currently working on her third children’s book in the My Little Sikh Handbook series and a second anthology of stories for adults.

 

After Twenty Years I Was In India For Holi And I Wished I Was Back In The Bay

Time traveling back to the water balloon exploding streets of childhood: Every Holi I would turn into a general, training my own army in water balloon strategy. Every spring my sons and their friends would be taken to a different local Holi celebration in the Bay Area – Sunnyvale temple, Fremont temple, Asha, RANA.

Strategic use of color ensure a prolonged victory. As the day progresses only traces of color remain in the little plastic pouches in the hand. Wily teenagers “borrow” color from little ones who clutch, rather than use their color stash. While adults strategize on conquering the food line, my boys and I unroll our holi war strategy. Hapless individuals who could be gheraoed and smothered with color are targeted. Spotless entrants into the field of war are the most fun to color. Using the victim’s powder to color them is a flag signaling ultimate victory.

One year a teenage girl approached a 4-year-old lieutenant, “Can I have some color?” she asked while her friends looked on hopefully. “Sure,” said my warrior, “Here you go!” as a cloud of red green and yellow rose around her. He made me proud.

Compare this to Holi in India: deserted streets, girls cowering inside, and children on a nearby balcony with a tub full of water balloons waiting in vain for a hapless victim. Bay Area holi celebrations promise an explosive street party with blasts of music, color-intoxicated dancers, food, and laughter. Twenty years ago as we left the Holi grounds and rolled into the nearest Burger King quizzical stares from customers followed us. Now when they see green, yellow, red and blue faces framed in car windows, the other cars on the road roll down their windows and shout “Holi !!” and nod their heads excitedly..

Featured Image by Snap Yourself! Photo Booth 2015

Ritu Marwah is the features editor at India Currents magazine. Her love for Holi is matched by her enthusiasm for life.