Tuesday, 29 November, 2022

Praise Be To Kaalbhairav!


Devendra Gautam

The desire to write with a clean slate had been building up for quite some time.
‘Though walking all alone and all over again in this chaotic milieu with fuming, coughing, huffing, puffing humanity on a rat race would help make sense of the mad times and fast-unfolding events not just at our very own ‘land of the brave and the home of the free’ but the whole world.
‘And though, that this venturing out and about would somehow inspire some creative outpouring.

So, a day before Valentine’s Day, yours truly came out of the woods quite lazily and headed towards Basantapur, a crossroads of civilisations of the yore and the here, the whole journey severely slowed down by traffic jams here, there, almost everywhere on the road laid comfortably and quite challengingly like his stubborn Python programming language problem.

In hindsight, Python sucks. When you can’t solve the problems that it throws at you, Python really sucks…..
Albeit late, yours truly arrived at his favourite hangout. By that time, a bit of history had already passed him by.   
At Basantapur, on any given day, ancient lovers carved into beautiful works of art on the tympanum, the architrave, the lintel, the portal and other vantage points of the yore look at lovey-dovey couples of this day and age with a sigh, as if to say: Those were the days and these are the days. That day was no different, though the pandemic in waves seemed to have come crashing on the crowd. 

Who knows? Perhaps, Basantapur, which means the city of the Spring, is not a perfect spot to celebrate the spring of life and love! 
Back to those works of art. For decoding those intricately beautiful pieces, one needs a keen pair of eyes, a considerable attention span and vast knowledge of subject matters spanning across time and space. Yours truly, well aware of his limitations, tries to fix his gaze on what he considers to be the centre of attraction after giving those pieces of art a cursory look, with due regard to the creators of the masterpieces. 

For yours’ truly, the centre of attraction has to be Lord Kaalbhairav. Let him be more precise: The centre of attraction has to be his eyes!
Sometimes, those eyes seem a tad too sad, moist even. Sometimes, they appear happy. Most of the time, yours truly cannot read them, for they are brimming with mixed emotions. You see, guys, ignorance is far more debilitating than cataracts.
Maybe all this is a reflection of the state of mind of the observer.
Or is it that the Lord God comes to life when the designated artist applies makeup on him following some tantrik procedures prescribed in scriptures? 

Dunno. Let yours truly not venture into uncharted waters, lest he gets lost...
But the lord draws a crowd on any given day. Among that crowd, sometimes, a sparrow ‘steals’ its beakful of peda or laddu from his mouth and flies away in a jiffy much to the delight of the lord, as if to brag about his exploits in such and such places, with the birds of the same feather.
And the spectacle is simply mesmerising when the rays of the Sun fall on the giant lord.
Forgot to share one more thing: Kaalbhairav is where the rulers of the yore used to take suspects for confession, believing that the guilty would not dare lie in his court. If they did, they would die by vomiting blood -- that was the public belief back then.

On that day, as the lord looked on, yours truly caught a big he-goat locking horns with a smaller one at a nearby temple, for the sake of good times, while another giant among goats sat somewhat depressed, perhaps aware of what lay ahead for him, his kith and kin.
It all reminded yours’ truly of the Nepali adage: Dhunga raato, pet taato.

Indeed, we the humans sacrifice animals in the name of god to feed ourselves.
This playful locking of horns had yours truly worried about world peace. Ain’t kidding, of course. It reminded him of many other ongoing wargames in the immediate neighbourhood and much beyond, while hunger games are ongoing around the world with the pandemic dealing a severe blow to the global economy. At such times, one wishes if these wargames were just for the sake of good times and not for global supremacy.
There’s another Nepali adage: Dui dinko jindagi.

Life is of just two days, literally: One of birth and one of death. So, why fight, why quarrel even?
But the powers fighting for global supremacy won’t listen. They have become so belligerent that they do not even fear Kaalbhairav.
Perhaps they are waiting for the wrath of Kaalbhairav to fall upon them.

PS: Lord Kaalbhairav never fails yours truly. It is for no reason that astrologer has told yours truly to worship Lord Bhairav and Lord Ganesh regularly. Sadly, he has never told yours’ truly that he will write some great stuff in the coming days! And that is killing yours’ truly!
So, he comes to this place every now and then, especially when his Python language problem gets the better of him, to look into his eyes and draw some inspiration to write stuff. Indeed, the intersection of liberal arts and technology is where great things happen.

For yours’ truly, that place is Basantapur, where he can always fall back to the arts when science fails him or vice-versa.
Praise be to the lord! Jay Kaalbhairav. Praise be to Basantapur, a wonderful space where even the laity gets to listen to the glory of the Spring!

(The author is a freelancer)