The Unadorned

My literary blog to keep track of my creative mood swings with poems n short stories, book reviews n humorous prose, travelogues n photography, reflections n translations, both in English n Hindi.

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I'm a peace-loving married Indian male on the right side of '50 with college-going children, and presently employed under government. Educationally I've a master's degree in History, and another in Computer Application. Besides, I've a post graduate diploma in Management. My published works are:- (1)"In Harness", ISBN 81-8157-183-5, a poetry collections and (2) "The Remix of Orchid", ISBN 978-81-7525-729-0, a short story collections with a foreword by Mr. Ruskin Bond, (3) "Virasat", ISBN 978-81-7525-982-9, again a short story collection but in Hindi, (4) "Ek Saal Baad," ISBN 978-81-906496-8-1, my second Story Collection in Hindi.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thieving a Theme

Writers tend to portray important objects/events as banal ones and the banal ones as something out of this world. This is a sort of their obsession, just a technique to tell something differently, to take recourse to sensationalism, or at least to remedy their own boredom. It is their cleverness—well, we may call it so. In their effort to import newness to their writing, they do not care a damn about making a god steal, an ignoramus possess the divine wisdom, a weakling defy death and so forth. Lord Krishna used to steal butter from the milkmaids; he used to try out his pranks by pelting stones at the earthen pot on the head of the milkmaids. How beautiful is the poem of the devotional poet Surdas—maiya mere mein nahin makhan khayo! (मैया मेरी मै नहीं माखन खायो) This Bhajan of Anup Jalota is my all-time favourite. In my native district there is a temple named Khirachora Gopinath which means lord Krishna that stole the sweetened milk. And the legend has it that Lord Krishna, the presiding deity of the temple once hid a bowl of sweetened milk out of those offered to him so that he could pass it on to a devotee sleeping unfed in the town. Stealing an object out of the ones offered to you? Illogical: yet let’s admit there is something called the poetic licence!
Readers since time immemorial have liked stories of Robin Hood who used loot and then distribute the loot among the needy. Perugia stole Mona Lisa and a great mass of literature was churned out on the event, so much so the thief was hailed as a great Italian patriot! Our illustrious freedom fighters had looted treasuries of British India and the daring exploits of our heroes have been extolled in the literature. The great Oriya short story “Shikar” of Bhagawati Panigrahi that later became a film named “Mrigaya” and won national awards can be taken as an example.
So, when big people act small or the small ones the big, it becomes literature. Just a few days ago, I read a beautiful sentence in the newspaper that attributed it to a judge of the Spreme Court of India: There is no saint without a past and no sinner without a future. [Justice Katju on Sunny Leone]  
I know it is painful in real life, yet it can be a piece of funny literature to describe the pranks of our rogue elephants going into the kitchen and stealing rice and sugar. Even pachyderms are fond of alcohol! I don’t know if anyone of us is really writing on this. There is no tiger in our forests these days and so tiger stories would not come to our pen so easily. Really, how lucky was Jim Corbett to have lived in the cusp between nineteenth and twentieth century when there were tigers in Kumaon! Similarly, a monkey stealing a pair of specs and a mobile phone from the hostel should supply interesting materials to develop into stories. One can even make these animals speak and act like human beings, say like a boy-elephant chasing an elephant girl for love or defeating his competitors in antakshari.
Some fifteen years ago or so, it was discovered in a certain community development block of Orissa that the numbers of wells dug as per the records of the Block Development Officer was substantially more than what was physically found. So an FIR was lodged that wells have been stolen. Can wells be stolen? Even poetic license would not allow such a fantasy. Poets can go to the extent of stealing a glance or stealing sleep or, at best, stealing somebody’s heart! And not more than that. Corruption has more power than poetry: only the manner of utilization differs.
And even I know (or rather I can produce the victim) of a person whose blood was stolen. He was donating blood and it was agreed that only one bottle of blood would be taken. But when the second was taken and then the third one was inserted, the fellow protested. And the rest I have forgotten. And if I have to imagine what had happened then, let me say the victim was compensated with an offer of two ripe bananas. That is that.
A thief’s confession could be a great story, but how to meet one? At least on two occasions people have proposed to share their private stories with their request to fictionalize them, but ultimately they have restrained themselves. Really, I had expected from them something authentic and romantic, but their gestures were only too tentative. Then I felt cheated…and that is that. 
A. N. Nanda



Blogger NS said...

The Post “ Thieving a Theme ” is much interesting. Khirachora Gopinath temple was once attacked by invaders, but now it is a beautifully renovated temple . One theme in small hands when developed by big hands results in great glory. Stealing cannot be justified whatever may be the reason, because everybody have their own reasons for their mistakes. However stealing by god, heroes, and stealing of hearts will not come under this. In one recent Tamil film , the comedy scene of stolen well like the same type of real happening mentioned in the post have been picturised. This comedy I think just for fun but now I understand reality surpass imagination. “ There is no saint without a past and no sinner without a future.” is really good morale which everybody should know.
---------- N.Subramanian Tirupur

9:50 AM  
Anonymous Devaraj said...

Thank you sir.Its a nice article.I couldn't understand the line corruption has more power than poetry.I think that line relates the "way of corruption" done by the people and their thoughts etc...???? am i correct???

With Regards

1:07 AM  
Blogger A_N_Nanda said...

Thanks, NS, for visiting my blog n encouraging me. As for invaders' vandalism at Khirachora Gopinath...well, I have no knowledge about that. You may also like to go through another story about a thief in this blog at link

8:23 AM  
Blogger A_N_Nanda said...

Yes Devraj, no poet has ever imagined that a well could be stolen; it was left for the imaginative corrupt officer to do that. While a poet imagines all such fantastic similes to enhance a truth; a corrupt fellow uses heavy-duty lies to hide the truth. Well, corruption sometimes has to have more power than poetry. Or what do u think?


8:38 AM  
Blogger NS said...

The Khira Chora Gopinath Temple is located in Remuna. It is a small town 9km east of Balasore (Baleshwar), about halfway between Calcutta and Puri. The name “Remuna” is derived from the word “Ramaniya,” meaning “very beautiful.” Famous for Khirochora Gopinath temple Remuna has been a seat of Vaishnawite Culture for centuries. It is said that Sri Rama carved Gopinath with his arrow and that Sita worshiped this Deity in Citrakoot. King Langula Narasingha Dev, the king of Orissa, brought this Deity to Remuna in the 13th century from Citrakoot. King also arranged to dig the two large tanks, Brajapokhari and Kutapokhari nearby. Gopinath Temple Sri Gopinath is the Krishna Deity who stole sweet-rice for Madhavendra Puri. Pilgrims can purchase the famous and delicious kshira here (amrita-keli). The Gopinath kshira is a preparation of condensed milk, sugar, and cream, with a sprinkling of raisins. It comes in pots of various sizes and is distributed to the public. Sri Gopinath is known as Kshira Chora Gopinath because he stole and hid a pot of kshira in order to have it delivered to his devotee, the Vaishnava acarya Madhavendra Puri. Chora means “thief.” Western devotees are permitted in the temple. Rasikananda renovated the present temple after Muslim invaders destroyed the original temple. Rasikananda found the Gopinath Deity in a pond 4km from the temple, where he had been hidden to protect him from the Muslim king. During Chandan-yatra, the Deities are smeared with cooling sandalwood pulp (chandan). The temple priests apply chandan to the chest of the temples’ three Krishna Deities, Madana-Mohan, Govinda and Gopinath. On Aksaya-tritiya the Deities’ entire bodies are smeared with sandalwood. In The Area In the area is the Samadhi of Madhavendra Puri (2 min from the temple), the Samadhi of Rasikananda Prabhu (inside the Gopinath Temple compound), and a Siva Temple where Gargamuni is said to have had his ashram. Madhavendra Puri established an ashram in Remuna and stayed here for some time. His wooden sandals are worshiped in this ashram. Near the Gopinath temple there is a Jagannath Temple and a few other temples. Where to Stay and Eat Remuna is a small village, so there is not much in the way of accommodations. There is a small guest house near the temple with a few basic rooms with private bath for Rs 75. You can arrange prasada with the temple. There are two types of meals, one economical and the other more expensive. Travel The nearest railway junction to Remuna is at Balasore, the first major town in Orissa coming from Calcutta. You can take a night train from Calcutta that stops in Balasore in the early morning. From there you can take a taxi or bus to Remuna. If you arrive in Remuna in the morning, you can see the Deities and then catch a night train to Puri.
sir, I read the news of invasion of this temple from the above article. Many information started to reach me after reading your post by searching more and more
Thanking you sir
-------- N.Subramanian Tirupur

10:15 AM  
Blogger A_N_Nanda said...

Thank you NS for digging text on this. Still, I will have to seek for corroboration, for as a student of history I'd need that to register. Otherwise, the legends are replete with such things as Muslim invaders defiling/vandalising temples everywhere in the past.

Sometimes I feel it is a ploy of those who are supposed to protect the structures by timely repairs and maintenance. They do not do their duties and later generations, instead of admitting their failure to do that, spend time inventing legends of Muslim destruction. Honestly, I don't know if that is associated with Khirachora Gopinath. In time I'll do my research.

11:19 PM  

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