His dad was Russian royalty. Since the age of six weeks he could tell the difference between gourmet and ordinary meals, silk and cotton stoles, real and fake woolen throws, synthetic and down duvets, the warmth emanating from humans and radiators. He could tell if he had the full attention of his staff or not. He still can. He knows how to get them to do what he wants without saying a word, be it opening the door for him or being stroked at the back of his neck.
For entertainment, for a short while the laser pen was fun but very soon he let us, his staff, know it was cheap and silly. He wants action, involving blood and gore. He’s out hunting, bringing home trophies of half-dead mice, baby sparrows and often a big gash somewhere on his body.
He knows he’s good-looking. His James Bond swagger gets exaggerated when he knows he’s being watched. He sits like a statue when he’s being talked about but his upright ears change direction like a satellite dish. If he’s in the mood he humours our affections but prefers that we stick with our duties.
I do believe that he needs to check his cat-privilege. For centuries, cats have pretended to be domesticated while all the time exploiting humans. It’s about time we, as humans did something about it. I am in the process of designing an ‘unconscious bais’ training for him while at the same time preparing myself to be royally ignored. He has a clear preference for male company. It has been communicated to me in no uncertain terms that I am ‘extra’.
Named and reared by one of the finest specimens of the human species, he is a Maharaja of the Kingdom of Two. We celebrate his majesty, Mr Milkshake, paws, claws, whiskers and all. And his surrogate mum, Saagar today and every day.
In one hand I hold the joy, excitement and celebrations of the upcoming wedding, the holidays, time with family and friends, the outfits, the outdoors, the sweets, the music and festivities. New beginnings!
In the other hand I hold my devastation over having not seen Saagar for 3 years. Three years! The years made up of unliveable moments. The period that has shown me what’s important. The weeks and months that have seen friendships thin out and flimsy acquaintances grow into pillars of strength. The time when I have met some of the most incredible people I know. The time during which I have come to know more families bereaved by suicide than I knew existed. Also the time I have learnt about being human.
Both are simultaneously and fully present. I am fully present to both. I honour them both and hold them close to my heart. I know that Saagar is smiling. I know he is with me.
After a long time, today I took a chance and bought water-proof mascara.
Hindu mythology speaks of gods and demons churning the great ocean to obtain nectar out of it to become immortal. A pot of poison emerges out of the great waters. The poison is so powerful that nobody can touch it. But Lord Shiva agrees to get rid of the poison by consuming it. He carefully holds the poison in his throat, which turns blue. On the occasion of Maha Shivaratri, which is today, devotees show their gratitude to this deity for thus having saved the world. He is considered to be the rockstar of Gods! Through fasting, chanting and meditation, we realise the Shiva element within us.
Shiva is the name of a silent, unseen, benevolent energy that makes up the whole universe. The sun, moon and stars adorn him. Rivers of knowledge flow through him. The mythical snakes associated with him represent an alive and aware consciousness that is the universe. Under his right foot, he crushes ignorance. He is the Lord of Dissolution, the space that holds energy, the medium of existence, without a beginning or an end. He stands for truth and beauty.
His cosmic dance is the dance of creation where millions of species are generated and they are all one consciousness. The dance is an interplay between material and spiritual realms of creation. His mythical blue body signifies the infinite sky. The sound of his drum denotes the expanding and collapsing nature of the universe. The fire in his hand stands for the primordial energy of the universe.
He lives on Kailash, a place where there is only celebration. He also dwells on cremation grounds where there is only void.
Divinity is present in a void as well as in celebration.
Time to create, invite and celebrate light.
On this auspicious day we lit seven oil lamps, one for each continent, for peace for all people all over the world.
“Loka Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu”
“May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all”
This beautiful mantra reminds us that we are not separate and independent beings. We are inter-connected with all living beings in the universe. We cannot achieve true happiness if we cause unhappiness to others, nor can we be free if we deprive others of their freedom.
It is possible that earth is the only unique planet with ‘intelligent’ life on it, in many galaxies. Yet we have managed to sap this gorgeous globe into material and moral poverty. We are at the brink of World War 3 with a real threat of another nuclear explosion in the near future. Despite enough resources, our greed kills many of hunger, violence and deprivation. Instead of breaking down barriers we create new dividing walls everyday.
This mantra of non-violence is also for all world leaders.