Let me make it clear in the beginning, that title is not mine. It is the title of one of William Shakespeare’s sonnets from Love’s Labor’s Lost. I will explain below why I chose this title.
During last week of December, 2018 we visited Zion National Park. There, on our hike on Temple of Sinawava Trail and the trail to the Emerald Pools, we saw icicles hanging by the walls of the majestic cliffs. This brought back memories from my highschool days , and believe me that was a long long time ago,where our poetry textbook had the poem with the title above as a required reading. Continue reading “Thursday Tidbits: When Icicles Hang by the Wall”
Lessons on politics are spread around the pages of Indian epic Mahabharata. We may ignore them at our own peril by dismissing Mahabharata as mythology but its teachings still ring true in this modern age.
My intention today is not to discuss the teachings of Mahabharata but about a few episodes form the first major empire of recorded history in India. History of the first major ruling dynasty of India has a few lessons of its own that are still valid today. I am not talking about the current Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. This is about the rise and fall of the Mauryan Empire (322-185 BCE).
1. Kautilya Chanakya (Vishnugupta), the author of “Arthashastra”, considered one of the greatest treatises on economics, politics, foreign affairs, administration, military arts, war, and religion ever produced(Maurya Empire-New World Encyclopedia),was the brain behind rise of Chandragupta Maurya and the Mauryan Empire. Chandragupta Maurya defeated King DhanaNanda (Nanda dynasty) in battle for the throne. Dhana Nanda’s erstwhile prime minister Rakshasa plotted with enemies of Chandragupta. With the good of the country in his heart, Chankya skillfully manipulated Rakshasa to accept a prominent position in Chandragupta’s administration. Chanakya knew that Rakshasa was an able administrator and counsellor who would be an asset to Chandragupta in friendship rather than as an adversary. Chanakya’s courting and manipulation of Rakshasa for accepting the position is the story of MudraRakshasa kavya.
Lesson : For greater good of the country, build bridges and not sit on your ego. Reward merit.
May be Machiavelli learnt a thing or two from Chanakya.
2. Asoka, grandson of Chandragupta Maurya converted to Buddhism after the battle of Kalinga and opened the exchequer for proliferation of Buddhism far and wide neglecting the army and thereby leaving the country vulnerable to external attacks. Maurya empire did not sustain for long after Ashoka’s death thereby fragmentation of the central authority and balkanization of India the price for which modern India paid with the division of the country.
Lesson: Do not mix religion and politics.
Lesson: The exchequer is not personal property of the ruler to be spent on pet projects to the detriment of the country.
This is my simplistic readings of history. Opinions of intellectuals may differ.
Emperor Ashoka’s picture source is Wikipedia, Chanakya’s impression from New World Encyclopedia
I am vacationing with my family and this post definitely was not in my planning.
We visited Horseshoe Bend in Page. Arizona on XMas day afternoon. It was a joyous occasion for us as we had planned it for a long time. Little did we know that at a time we were having fun, a family was grieving for their loved one who lost her life at that very spot twenty four hours ago.
We arrived Bryce Canyon at about 8:30PM yesterday to biting cold and immediately went out for dinner before the restaurants closed. On return to our hotel and opening internet, very first news that we got in whatsapp from my brother-in-law shook us to the core. We scoured the internet to know what happened. All the news channels had reported that on Christmas eve afternoon a girl from San Jose, CA (my hometown) fell to her death at Horseshoe Bend. Parents reported her missing after looking for her for couple of hours. A helicopter search located her body seven hundred feet below the lookout point but it was too late in the evening to recover the body. The body was recovered on Christmas day AT ten in the morning.
My mind immediately focussed on the tension my wife was going through when we were having fun at Horseshoe Bend. It was a gorgeous evening, cool but not cold with the sun low on the horizon. She, like any good mother, was trying to keep us all away from going too near the rim as we were busy clicking away trying to preserve the moment in our cameras and cell phones. All around us, young and old alike were busy taking selfies. A barrier was erected near the rim of the look out point but many adventurous souls were scattered all over happily oblivious that a tragedy had occurred there may be less than twenty four hours ago. It may have hurt the business if people would have known. One can only speculate.
As we were about to return to the shuttle stop my wife panicked as we could not locate our daughter. For about ten minutes or so, she basically went bonkers looking for her. Happily we found her well inside the barrier taking photos. I can only imagine what was going through the minds of the parents of the missing girl the previous evening.
While the cause of the fall is not known yet and speculation is futile, our memory of Horseshoe Bend will foreever be associated with this tragedy. Pray that the grieving parents find strength to bear with this great loss.
As for me I can only say that please be careful. Don’t let a moment’s indiscretion be the cause of lifelong grief.
I used to have a category called Thoughts where all my random ramblings including some poems used to reside. After three years it seems I have lost track of why I used to have this category. I just digressed. Trying to put some discipline in my blogging, in the New Year I am going to post stuff other than my poems and postings for various challenges in a category named Thursday Tidbits. My plan is to post every Thursday. From my previous experiment with fifty two weeks journey with the letter W, I know it is not an easy task to post in a regular basis. However I did post regularly every Wednesday a poem starting with the letter W for one full year. It was hard but rewarding at the end.
Another reason for starting this is the constant request from my eldest son to put my thoughts in writing regarding our experience of growing up in India, migrating to USA and setting up our home here. His concern is that as time goes by, slowly and slowly the next generation will lose connection with our roots. Not sure how much I can add to his request as I am not a good writer of prose and never disciplined enough to keep a diary. So many things will have to be based on memory only and memory plays strange tricks as one becomes old.
Planning on a week long vacation in couple of days. Kids are back from school and my eldest son will come home tomorrow morning, flying in from east coast. Going to a place with good chance of encountering snow, we have to do last minute shopping for real winter clothings ( does California winters count as real winter except on the mountains?). We are also trying to finalize a contract for our kitchen remodelling before we leave. Then Mr. Murphy, the good Irish man that he is, strikes. Yesterday our kitchen sink got clogged up and the garbage disposal pump discharge started reflowing through the other sink.
After couple of bottles of Drano ( I know, I know I am not being environmentally friendly but believe me baking soda and vinegar as well as plunger failed), with their claim of declogging the toughest clog or money back, failed to clear the clog completely and not being able to get a plumber to match our schedule, after much trial and error ( and the two bottles of Drano) I was able to partially unclog the drain pipe but as luck would have it, one of the sink pipes started to leak. Long story short, we are now reduced to no use of dishwasher. That, by itself, is not a death sentence. But being not able to run the garbage disposal means no solid material period in the sinks now and all cleaning to be done at substantially reduced water flow. I am now the head-constable in-charge of cleaning operations with my two kids electing to have their meals outside to avoid the rigors of cleaning dishes and pots and pans. Sadly my wife’s lack of confidence in my plumbing skills were quite apparent in her voting me down to repair the leaking sink.
We did achieve something today. We finalized the cabinet door design and colors today. As we were leaving the cabinet designer, my wife told him that she would contact him tonight with her final thoughts. Now I am wondering are we back to square one. Oh well, I atleast did my part in keeping my mouth shut.
Happy holidays everyone. May this holiday season bring much joy to you and your loved ones.