She’s Leaving Home

Last week a good friend of mine sent me the message below. How is it that friends –even the most recent ones- can see things that close relatives cannot?

Curious how certain patterns, certain things become relevant in one’s life. ”She’s Leaving Home” has been a background piece several times in my life, all of them crucial occasions. It perfectly apprehends my run-away-bride behaviour, my always-radical departures.

My first attempt to leave the house occurred at the age of 4; it didn’t take long for my father’s driver to follow my trace and bring me back home. My first solo adventure lasted only few precious hours but it tasted like heaven. Ten years later I escaped from a hideous -girls only- board school in San Antonio, TX and hitchhiked my way to Dallas. Back home and forever grounded my mother asked why I behaved so thoughtlessly. No word came out of my mouth; I felt guilty and confused. At that time I couldn’t clearly understand myself let alone what others expected from me. It seemed that everything I was or wanted was the exact opposite to what adults had planned for me. My parents divorced short after that incident so their wild cat ended up living in the North of Europe with a French aunt I had seen twice in my whole young life.

Uncertainty was never a problem since it is in my nature to take risks and rise to the occasion; however it was my infinite need to be free and discover the world and myself what kept me going. Marriage was never in the original plan of course, but a home. My daughters became my home; I created what it was denied to me for so many years. Thus when I realised that my multiple attempts to save my former husband were completely futile and that his mental illness was threatening not only his but our lives; I took my girls, jumped into my van and left. No certain destination. No hesitation whatsoever. Behind me bombs hit, showering debris from all sides in the darkest night of my life. In front of me a thick cloud of dust, a suffocating forest of poisoned smoke. Failing was not an option, so I gave gas.

All supposedly friends with no exception shook their heads and asked why do you behave so thoughtlessly? What could those people possibly know? No word came out of my mouth. This time though I felt no guilt, no confusion. For the first time in centuries I could see clearly. I saw so much bullshit all around me. I saw horrible realities, realities those friends and relatives had chosen to ignore. I could no longer relate to the aspirations they had for creating a wealthy, comfortable and pleasant life for themselves.

Thankfully my former husband never asked, he was an utterly clever and sensitive man; I guess he knew from the bottom of his heart that he had blew it, he knew he had lost me for good. We were headed in totally opposite directions and we could never hope to turn those around and go back towards a point in the past where we had something in common.

Yet I cared till the bitter end, my love for him never died. I loved him for the good times and all the lessons learnt together in the far past. It was just that my love for life, other people and purposes had far exceeded it. And I was brave enough to stand up for my values and genuinely, yeah, perhaps recklessly, acted accordingly.

Among the ruins, midst in the misery of an apocalypse’s-like scenario, and right in the core of nowhere, freedom was mine at last.

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He Called me Baby

I truly enjoy writing in English. That makes me only a fan not a pro, but someday I’ll master it. Meanwhile I practice on a daily basis and don’t give a damn if get it wrong sometimes; I don’t care if I fail or if the speech ends up being a mix up of all the languages I know. This is an excerpt, the absolutely raw version -English will be polished I promise- of my new digital book hopefully put for sale by the end of this year. The title has not yet been defined, but most probably will be “He called me Baby”. Subtitle “Tiny True Stories”.

The K Party

Every single time I get these beautiful happy cards I wonder why on earth people keep inviting me to parties. My social skills are zero and that fact is well known among friends and clients. I guess they haven’t lost hope on me; they think awkwardness is a mood related and time dependent disease. Well, it’s not.

But I made my friend a promise, and so attending this particular event was not optional. Good thing is big parties are ghost parties, nobody really notices anybody; hello dear, hors d’oeuvres, small talk here and there, and by the time dancing begins I’ll be gone. Too bad this was a formal event in an embassy. You think Hollywood ambiance is frivolous or stiff? Wait till you get to know diplomats and their wives.

In such carefully planned happenings singles are placed together, and so we losers ended up sharing a big table for dinner. And that was the moment when I saw him for the first time; he was vis à vis from me cheerfully talking to some guys who in relation to him, looked like Lilliputians given their low profile and his height. The guy next to me came from outgoing Denmark and by the time the dessert was served he asked me if I was up for a BIG surprise. I gracefully declined his generous proposition not before asking what part of my behaviour that night motivated his. He reached out to hug me and whispered, “I’ve always been drawn to intelligent women with a nice derrière.” Awkward to say the least; odd thing he thought he was making ME a compliment. I decided to skip coffee and left on the spot.

But filer à l’anglaise of that particular embassy was not as easy as I thought; evaluating my chances silly me chose one of the maison’s empty kitchens as the perfect detour. And there I was in that place actually trying to unlock the back door handle and take my usual French leave through the back yard when I heard a deep voice close behind my back. It scared the hell out of me.

  • Ya’ won’t crack it without a proper tool, Lady.

Caught in the act I hastily turned around and mumbled,

  • Excuse me?
  • Ya’ heard me.
  • I surely did, clever man.

Three seconds of sheer silence; this guy looked at me with such impudence I felt naked. Mariachis as background music.

  • It’s been quite a reception, ain’t it? He spoke with a strong US-Southern accent. Texas? Bad, sad memories rolled down.
  • Sure, great occasion. I replied sarcastically.
  • So why’re ya’ creepin’ out?
  • Creeping out? Shit, so busted, damn it!!
  • So that’s it, huh? Another one with a BIG surprise.

I rolled my eyes and sighed.

  • None of your Biz. Who cares? Who are you btw?

He took his time. Agilely moved his burly body towards the entrance and then placed it parsimoniously in the kitchen’s threshold pretty much covering the whole space.

  • K. He ultimately said elevating his chin straight-facing my outraged persona.

To top it all off, K. Lord almighty, was I forever doomed to find my former boyfriend someway or the other wherever I go? I felt stupid, so I impolitely replied.

  • K? Is that supposed to be a name?

No answer only a flash of sadness in his eyes, which I totally disregarded and didn’t let loose.

  • OK, OK K, never mind. Nice to meet you “Kay”; it’s been my pleasure. I grabbed my purse and walked towards the entrance.
  • Now, would you be so kind step aside and let me get the f**k out of here?

He stretched out his arms up to the lintel, took a long gaze at his old leather boots and said,

  • Hell no Ma’am.
  • I. BEG. YOUR. PARDON? !!!!!!

And piercing me with his eyes, he quietly added,

  • Ah don’t see it happenin’. Not until ya’ quit bein’ up’dee with me. Ah see “lady” written all over yer purtee face, so ya’ better show some respect and start behavin’ as such…. as of now.

Words cannot even remotely describe my bewilderment in that moment. Unable to offer any defence since in the next breath I felt as if a lightning bolt had struck me. Only very rarely I’ve found myself at a loss for ground; my legs gave out and the rest is history.

Note: The Universe works in mysterious ways, down by law I later learned –in a more forgiving way- that up’dee stands for uppity, a trait no man in Texas is able or willing to bear, in no way.

Ganapati 紅財神

May the power of Deva Shree Ganesha:
Destroy your sorrows;
Enhance your happiness;
And create goodness all around you.
Wish you a Happy Ganesh Chaturthi!
 

Lord Ganesha is worldwide regarded as the God of Wealth, Prosperity and Good Fortune. He’s also considered as the God of all beginnings; he wards off evil and removes obstacles. Many countries in Asia i.e. Afghanistan, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Nepal and Thailand worship the elephant-headed god with the 108 different names. Ganapati is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. India, especially Maharashtra commemorate his birthday with a festival, the Vinayka Chaturthi

The festival also known as Anant Chaturdashi begins on Shukla Chaturthi, which is the fourth day of Hindu lunar-solar calendar month Bhadrapada and ends on the 14th day. This year the festival commences on August 25 and concludes on September 5.

There are four main rituals observed during Ganesh Chaturthi:

  • Pranapratishhtha – the process of infusing the deity into an idol,
  • Shhodashopachara – 16 forms of paying tribute to Ganesha,
  • Uttarpuja– Puja after which the idol could be shifted after its infusion,
  • Ganpati Visarjan – immersion of the Idol in the river on the last day.
देव श्री गणेश की शक्ति मई:
अपने दुखों को नष्ट कर;
अपनी खुशी बढ़ाएं;
और अपने चारों ओर भलाई बनाएँ
आप एक खुश गणेश चतुर्थी इच्छा!

sarveshaam सर्वेशां

My house is full of inner light. The day began with an early meditation, a long cold shower and afterwards a rewarding chat with my daughters who unexpectedly knocked at my door bringing gifts and laughter in a no-birthday day.

I believe in the healing power of mantras. The sarveshaam mantra I’m sharing with you today is a Hindu prayer for Peace from the Vedas. It belongs to the shanti mantras’ sort and invokes harmony and tranquillity. As many of you might know, mantras may be repeated three or eleven times, as time permits and should be recited with a pure heart. Shanti mantras may be used to bless all those in attendance to a pooja or the individual, after a prayer session.

ॐ सर्वेशां स्वस्तिर्भवतु ।

सर्वेशां शान्तिर्भवतु ।

सर्वेशां पुर्णंभवतु ।

सर्वेशां मङ्गलंभवतु ।

ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

Om Sarveshaam Svastir-Bhavatu |                                                                                                                                            Sarveshaam Shaantir-Bhavatu |                                                                                          Sarveshaam Purnnam-Bhavatu |                                                                                            Sarveshaam Manggalam-Bhavatu |                                                                                                Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||

Let it be so ordained (-bhavatu), that all the people (-sarveshaam), experience well-being (-svastir); let all the people experience peace or tranquility (-shaantir). Let all the people experience wholeness and completeness (-poornam); let them experience prosperity and auspiciousness (-mangalam).

May it so happen (-bhavantu) that everyone (-sarve) receives happiness (-sukhinah); let them all be saint-like (-santu) and be without disease and in good health (-niraamayaah). Let them see with their own eyes (-pashyantu) the goodness of life (-bhadaraani); and let them not (maa) contemplate in their conscious mind (-kashchidh) any sorrow inducing (dukh) thoughts while they remain beneficiaries (-bhavet) of good fortune (-bhaag).

Rath Yatra रथयात्रा 2017

No human language is too difficult to digest once we get an idea of its foundation. India is still a challenging and unknown territoire to me, but I’ll keep on digging. On the occasion of the past Odisha Rath Yatra festivities I gave my friends and colleagues this free translated verse composed in a style known as citra-kavya. In this gender of Sanskrit poetry, the verses have to be read in the form of a picture. When the reader lays out the syllables or sometimes words in the shape of the given picture, hidden meanings are found. What a thrill, don’t you think?

How wonderful. This wheel situated so beautifully in Krishna’s cart appears full of grandeur. It is his eternal, loyal associate. By its activity of moving around, it bestows auspicious blessings for enhancing our unlimited joy.”

OUTRAGE IS NOT AN OPTION

The path out of hell is through misery. By refusing to accept the misery that is part of climbing out of hell, you fall back into hell”. — Marsha Linehan

Reading the news makes me sick lately; corruption, hatred, exclusion, vulgarity, and paranoia make our current hellscape.

Please someone stop this guy from tweeting; stop the non-sense. People, don’t get me wrong I usually maintain a sunny outlook of things even in my darkest hours. It was me who always said everything is going to be all right. But you know what? Sheer optimism is not the solution here; it’s a handicap. I believe we should face the fact that there are tons of things beyond our control and that we are in deep shit. It doesn’t mean we condom what’s going on, quite the contrary. But it is my conviction now that we would do better if we accept the truth and move forward, rather than paralysing ourselves with shock and outrage. I don’t want to waste my energy anymore getting riled up by abject tweets, despicable behaviours and ridicule declarations; we help no one staying angry or distressed.

Let’s do something wise and proactive instead; compassion, love, and affirming values exist because people intentionally work toward them. Let’s shift our focus to what is most immediate and most helpful; focus on i.e. the work of fighting for human rights and accountability. And I encourage you to be kind to others even the ones you don’t like. Make an effort, take a step towards the good and allow you to grief and know that from time to time it’s OK to freak out and vent for a while. Then go back to work, as always for the good. We are traveling a long road toward change, but we will play the long game.

Metafísica China en el Siglo XXI

This is how I feel right now, me and my cat Zulu. Lord almighty, please give me strength, a clear mind and throat; make me attractive and wise. More than 100 signed in for the conference -and counting- Who would’ve thought? I never ever imagined that my professional and personal path could be a subject of interest to people other than my cat. Well, let’s do it ….. even if not there anymore, this goes for you Zulu; I will always love you. Go get them Tiger!!!

Antonia’s Line

Nothing dies forever; a little something always remains from which something new can grow… Well, there’s nothing for it; life’s got to be lived.”

When I first watched the film Antonia’s Line I didn’t even know how was to be a mother, but I very much wanted to be just like Antonia: a strong, sturdy woman with a sincere smile, far removed from Hollywood standards of perfection, but infused with a natural glow and warmth that made her truly charming. This is something my own sophisticated mother would never comprehend, but to me, such simplicity has always been the kind of beauty I’ve always strived to achieve.

What draws me particularly to Antonia is by far her personality. She forges her own path, plays by her own rules and always brings her own sense of spirituality and kindness to everything she does. Perfectly content and satisfied without a man—although she cares deeply for one, she refuses to become his wife. Antonia is swift and reasonable in her quest for fairness and integrity; she takes the law into her own hands when she discovers her grand-daughter Thérèse has been raped, silently and calmly picking up a shotgun, invading the male world of the bar and demanding justice. What a courage and serenity in the middle of such a crisis!

And God, she’s generous!! The old wooden table in her garden is a reflection of her soul. That particular table reminded me the one my grandparents used to have in their house at the Provence, with the huge difference that Antonia always welcomed a bunch of strangers in hers. And this is something I’ve always tried to accomplish with less fortune I must say, since my family never understood hospitality the way I did. They always wondered why I regularly picked up less fortunate people from the street and invited them to come over for lunch or even New Year’s Eve. I have wished so much to have an extended family, many friends and unexpected strangers who would tell stories from the far seas, wherever they might be.

The whole film celebrates life and love, philosophy and sexual pleasure, and every other form of creative expression—painting, music, mathematics, you name it. There is no hierarchy of ideas and ideologies; everyone and everything done in kindness is equally honoured.

Happy Mother’s Day!!!

 

If I just could…

Nothing happens randomly, there’s a purpose in small things happening almost inadvertently. This week I received an invitation to attend The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The line-up this year boasts performances from Radiohead, Bon Iver and Lady Gaga among many others. Radiohead? I have almost forgotten how much I enjoyed their music. Swamped with work and music from other latitudes I consistently let go old baggage. God, if I just could do the same with other stuff!

Coachella brought Fake Plastic Trees to my mind and by listening to it I couldn’t help but recalling one of my favourite poems:

Maybe I am doing exactly the same thing right now, yearning for something I can’t have, but maybe the thing I desire so much isn’t what I need. In a world full of deceptiveness, one wants desperately to believe that real things do exist. How much are we willing to mislead ourselves?

 

 

Ms Nohemi Dragonné

 Tasveer is pleased to invite you to the private preview of Rohit Chawla: The Inspired Frame in Mumbai on 1st April, 7pm onwards at Akara Art

The Inspired Frame brings together Rohit Chawla’s work from four different series that reconstruct tableaus and compositions as featured in famous works of art. Chawla uses contemporary models to recreate life-like experiences of paintings as a personal tribute to renowned and seminal artists Ravi Varma, Gustav Klimt and Frida Kahlo. Also part of the exhibition is a selection of photographs from a series inspired by Mughal miniature paintings that has never been seen before.

The accompanying publication produced in conjunction with The Inspired Frame features reproductions of all of the photographs in the show and text by Rupika Chawla. The book is available at Akara Art and online at the Tasveer Bookstore – www.tasveerbookstore.com.

Limited edition prints are available for sale. For more information, please write to us at info@tasveerarts.com. The exhibition will remain on view until 22nd April 2017.