Geneva Diaries #48

The Doors, Carnatic Music and Tamil Culture, Liechtenstein

8/27/12

Dear Roger,

I’m back! 

Not sure from where, and not sure if I can take you there, but I’m back.

I’m going to leave you with some music to describe my journey, Jim Morrison and Break on Through…I sense I did. And returned…from The Other Side. 

Have you ever felt like a particle suspended in space, deep dark space, completely and absolutely alone. A space that is continuous and endless without coordinates, outside our matrix of reality of time and space. Imagine a sense of senselessness, of being without form or sensation, suspended, in isolation, alone, stark in your singularity. Unsure of where you are and where you have been, with only a cache of memories to affirm your existence which themselves lie scattered over the horizon in timeless animation. Imagine an ocean without coordinates, no north star, no guiding light, tossed in a tempest without a beginning and with no end.

I have just returned.

See me in Jim Morrisons skin on youtube below:

The Doors – Break On Through (To the Other Side)

Love to all,

Purnima


4/8/12

Dear Roger,

As you journey across the globe, I share your adventure by journeying through time. Yes, I’ve been amusing myself traveling with some fascinating men and women through time and here are some snippets I could not resist to share before I embarked upon my next adventure.

My local library here in New Delhi is a relic of our British colonial Raj days and has an incredible assortment of well worn books most of which seem to belong to the last century catering to the families of the British officers and the brown sahibs, all a fascinating remnants of an old machinery of which I am a spoke.

Apart from the materials in the texts themselves, and the dynamic authors that have journeyed to the realms of my hearts desire, I find the statements made by these authors like a newly unearthed fossil bathed in the light of our times unraveling it’s irony/ peculiarities. I found myself drawn towards a charming little book, Switzerland for beginners by George Mikes, published in

1962 and had to grab it. I loved the authors style and persona and chuckled as i found a bit of myself in this dramatic character who it seems had inadvertently found himself in Switzerland comme moi, and it seems spent considerable time getting a keen understanding of the Swiss. However, what I wish to share are some fascinating snippets frozen in time (1950’s, 1960), where the author says, “An outbreak of revolution in Switzerland is about as likely as an outbreak of democracy in Russia or a heat wave in Greenland”. In describing Liechtenstein, the fascinating and curious country that lies between Switzerland and Austria, and can easily be missed if you miss the exit along it’s 14 mile length, the author relates how the police force consist of twelve men and a single murder is the highlight of the years criminal activity. That the prison is in the cellar of the Government House and is more often empty that not, and prisoners have to wait their turn to be admitted as it has a capacity of two persons and the cherry on the topping, prisoners are always sent home for Christmas. 

The author then relates a story (which had me in peals of laughter)which gives us a complete picture of this fascinating place in the 1950’s: The Deputy Prime Minister was apparently working late, when he discovered that he was locked in his office in the Government House, after much noise and banging a sleepy disgruntled man emerged from the cellar with a bunch of keys and let the Deputy Prime Minister out. After which he summarily returned to the cellar and locked himself in. Upon being quizzed about his identity he revealed that he was the resident prisoner in the cellar of the Government house. I wonder how Liechtenstein works today??

Love and hugs and many more stories in the pipeline.

Purnima

Liechtenstein: https://www.liechtenstein.li/en/ 


Dear Purnima,

Interesting musing about prisons and Liechtenstein.  I’m not sure what it is like there today, but I think it is probably vastly different than it was in the 50’s and 60’s.  I think I drove through the tiny country at one point in time, but didn’t stay long enough to absorb any meaningful culture.  I’m glad there are still actual physical libraries in Delhi where you can get your delicate hands on all those historical tidbits.  In the book I mentioned to you, “Super Sad True Love Story”, all the real libraries have been shut down and people don’t read anymore.  They just scan things with their electronic digital devices and glean the superficial, meaningless (unless it has to do with purchasing or credit) ideas.  Real books are smelly and very outdated, and only strange, unadaptable  people still bother with actually turning pages and reading every word on them.

I read this morning in Le Monde about a “girlcott” in one of Delhi’s suburbs to protest the lack of security for women.  It is apparently very dangerous for a woman to be out alone, and even taxis aren’t safe for them.

It’s been a whirlwind past week in Japan with everything from a traditional Japanese tea ceremony in Kobe, to a return to Kyoto and its marvelous temples (and the cherry blossoms were absolutely marvelous last week end.  The petals are starting to fall now and in a few days they will all be gone.  I’ll send a picture once we get home).  We leave for Tokyo tomorrow morning for more mingling and admiring of the sophistication and refinement of the Japanese culture.  We were in Kanazawa yesterday, which is really a delightful smallish city north of Kyoto.  It has a Ninja castle, an old Geisha section with some marvelous shops, and we had a drink in a charming little shop full of exquisite vases and other frightfully expensive items.  One small set of cups and a small Sake pitcher cost over a million yen.

More from Tokyo.  Please keep the stories coming.

Lots of love and hugs,

Roger

Cherry Blossom Season Tokyo: 

https://www.gotokyo.org/en/story/guide/hanami-guide/index.html


Tamil Culture and Carnatic Music

Dear Roger,

Yes, a seemingly endless barrage. I find the only way to write to you is in continuous snippets, jotted during my ( ever decreasing) few moments of lucidity.

I am in Bangalore once again and having dropped my son off at his boarding school (more like prison camp), I find myself suddenly alone, so very alone. Instead of regrets and fury, I have decided to share with you some music that I used to hear wafting out of my grandmothers room ( an accomplished Veena player and a passionate fan of MS Subbulakshmi). Music in praise of lord Krishna depicting all the forms of love, but most touchingly the love between a mother and her child (baby Krishna). This I find is a space untouched by popular media and we continue to stay obsessed by passionate love man and woman (++). to draw you into my space and make you feel sense my soul, I have to return to my culture in this instance the core of Tamil culture so beautifully played out in Carnatic music by MS Subbulakshmi

Mere to Giridhar Gopal – MS Subbulakshmi

www.youtube.com/watch?v=26JoBNcsPuw

Veena (musical instrument):  

Ravi Shankar playing the Veena: 

As i see MS Subbulakshmi in the above youtube clip immersed in her music singing a Meera devotional hymn that Krishna is her her only true love and none other, I see visions of my grandmother enraptures by this music swaying her head, with her fingers either moving up and down the Veena or embraced against her svelte frame and repeating her devotion to Krishna, to the cult of

motherhood, to the love for a child for baby Krishna or Bal Gopal. I watched this clip again last night and got deep peace, some consolation, as everything about MS Subbulakshmi seemed to remind me of my grandmother, as though she were here commiserating with me…all except for the nose rings ( my grandmother had to abandon her nose rings as they did not match her riding breeches, Oh the women of The Raj!).

On the topic of culture and the love between a mother and child, my heart would be a mesh of the cultures of the east and the west with many years spent in excitement over Christmas but most of all the Christmas carols which penetrated somewhere deep into my fabric.

Check out my fav Christmas carol videos below where I sing aloud inviting the angels to come see the new born baby boy:

Oh Come All Ye Faithful- Kings College Cambridge

Sung by Celine Dion ( definitely me as Celine here)

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Much to say about Federalism, Alexander Hamilton and the Federalist Papers but my lunch is uneaten, my coffee cold, and I have a baby boy to see before I catch my flight.

Hugs and kisses,

Purnima

PURNIMA VISWANATHAN

Published by Purrnima

Travel Writer - Art Blogger - CyberSmurf

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