Ganesha, Ganopathi, Gannanata The Elephant Head, the Ivory Tusked, the Fat,
the Long-Nosed and the Rider on the Rat;
As the god of new beginnings, Ganesha is my favorite of the five Hindu deities. From time to time, we all need to begin again or at least refresh our inner selves so when a call when out to bring back a Hindu god from India for The Well in Marfa, TX, I knew which one it would be.
I found this Ganehsa in Jaipur where he was lovingly packaged in bubble wrap for his long trip via Dubai toTexas. Gracias a Dios! Ganesha arrived safely and is now serenely installed in his new place of honor.
If you happen to be out in Marfa and are looking for some wisdom and inspiration, come to The Well. It’s a great space. Check it out.
How Ganesha got the head of an elephant is a mystery although the most familiar legend is the one where Shiva cuts off Ganesha’s head to gain access to Parvati. Then, to soothe poor distraught Parvati, who had created Ganesha out of her own body, Shiva had to find a replacement head for Ganesha. Volia! An elephant. You can read more here.
But who was R. N. Currey, our featured poet for today? Born in South Africa, Currey was a schoolmaster at the Royal Grammar School, Colchester, for 40 years, yet he was still regarded as more a South African poet than an English one.
Paper dreams within the cover of a book,
book binds itself with the glue of a spine,
spine weaves together—dovetailed by the grace of words—words of passion,
India is well—for a first time visitor—indescribable. Somehow, I still cannot put my brief two-week visit to Northern India into perspective. The focus of the trip was the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival. Billed as the largest free literary festival on earth, the JaipurLitFest 2015 may have lived up to its hype with 300 authors, 140 musicians and 245,000 recorded footfalls over five days.
The crowds were intense—especially as the week wore on. It was nearly impossible to push through the cross paths on the grounds of the Hotel Diggi Palace at midday—or to find a seat at one of the sessions. Yet, if you went early in the morning, the queue for chai-in-small red-earthen-cups was short and you could grab a spot somewhere at one of the 10 venues. And, who you might find seated next to you could be surprising-from an economic advisor to Prime Minister Modi to a graduate student from LA studying Renaissance trade routes in India as international visitors were represented from over 50 countries!
Sometimes the best part of a trip is what you discover when you get back home. That’s what happened to me. After decompressing from the 31-hour journey from Jaipur to Austin, I discovered my complimentary copy of The Indian Quarterly.
This is a beautifully produced literary and cultural magazine full of essays, art, fiction, poetry, photo essays. My favorite part is discovering new poems and poets, such as Paper T[r]ails by Sudeep Sen
Paper dreams in stacks, between covers,
among notes left surreptitiously between pages for someone else to read.
At this exact moment next week, I will be in the sky on my way to India. YES! I N D I A!
Just the thought of India causes a wave of emotions that simulates the flow of the country’s name as it moves from the back of the throat to the tongue and palette and ends with the AH as it floats out the mouth. AH INDIA!
I’ll be traveling with a group of 15 other writers and the meat of our 10 day trip is The Jaipur Literary Festival. Billed as the “largest FREE literary festival on earth,” there will be close to 300 speakers, thousands of attendees, events in tents and gardens—and time for tea! (Tea time is at 4:30 pm)
In sorting through the list of speakers, I discovered Tishani Doshi—a Chennai-born poet, author, journalist and dancer.
Her poetry is inspired, important and full of the unexpected. There is always the element of surprise—as in her poem “At the Rodin Museum.” It took me a couple of reads to realize that it was the poet Rilke following the poet speaker and not the artist Rodin.
Why Rilke at the Rodin? I’m not sure but I do know the two had a connection—in fact, the reason for Rilke’s first trip to Paris in 1902 was to write a monograph on Rodin.