Who am I?
I am a shapeshifter. A chameleon soul. I change colors and hide myself in plain sight.
I am the water. I am the wood. I am the shadow of the mighty sun, lurking in the hood.
I flow like the river, twisting, turning, but forever onwards, to wherever gravity takes me.
When collected in depressions, I embrace the silence of deep lakes.
When tipping off cliff edges, I become the waterfall, raining down in outrageous beauty.
I am a silver stream in the morning. And a golden ball of water rolling at midday.
I am the lover’s mouth at night. Making love to the ocean, disappearing into its dark delight.
I am the black ink of my pen, as it dances from my heart, onto the pages of this diary.
I am the dance of the ink, matching the rhythms of the river, that is being traced in its words.
I am the source of those rhythms, the radiator, the tuning fork. Head to toe.
That vibrates to the slightest of stimuli. A photograph. A raindrop. A sunrise. A sunset.
I am a whore to the stimuli. Moved by slightest promises of delight, of love, of pleasure divine.
I am a devoted mother nurturing the fantasies these stimuli give birth to within me.
I create words and melodies and paintings and a warm web of love to keep them safe.
I am each strand of that web built with the drying of my spit and sweat and blood and tears.
I am the spider woman building that web with my spit and sweat and blood and tears.
I am the spider baby nesting in the spider woman’s web. I also know how to take love and care.
Learning the delicate art of balancing, of stucking and un-stucking on the web’s strands, myriad.
I am the glass eyes of watery dreams in the spider baby’s eyes, reflecting the whole universe.
I am the tears that fall when the storm comes. Tears of fear, of loss and great disillusion.
I am the storm, collecting all the webs of the world, swallowing them up to vomit out in disgust.
I am the disgust, the churning stomach, the exulted river that leaves the mouth in reflex.
I am the silence. The numb depths of despair where rest these rivers of forgotten filth.
I am the resting dove of pure white feathers, walking the mountains of filthy death.
I am the egg created on this filth, in a nested web, out of love, and exaltedness.
I am the little paws clawing at the hard egg shell. I am the strong will of the little one inside.
I am the promising beauty of the universe that dares welcome the little one into the filth without.
I am the quivering pulsating will of life. I am the creation song, urging breaths of wistful air into it.
I am the unforgiving unrelenting unasked for and unwelcome plight of death.
I am the beginning, the end and everything in between.
I am the morning that follows the night that follows the morning that follows the night.
I am one. I am all. And one again. I am everything.
something that keeps me on the endge
so i am not burdened by the weight of living a life
so i am lighter and an easy flyer
something dangerous that induces a fear
bigger than the others that i am nurturing right now
so i can become a kid napped into its clawing spreads
losing track of every other string
that something that does not kill me
actually makes me stronger
because i honestly have wished
to die, before i have to endure this pain
a pure rush of fear, fear of death
or maybe something just more fearful than this, right now
more tangible, more immediate, more fucking realistic
so that i face it, live through it, survive it
and know for sure
or at least a little more sure
that the power of my will still holds some flare
that as long as i am alive i can still stand straight
pay the prices of living, rents to the landlords
and live to see the circle complete
not run out of fuel till the ends meet . . .
The melody of this song exploded from within and without
It exploded from the speakers and was absorbed by each heart
It also exploded from each of those hearts and spread across the air
Together they created a new super structure with their inter-being
A new person A new body A new living entity pulsing to Queen’s melody
Going through each of the twist and turn of the song the person wasn’t bored
Lasting its dance to the melody for the whole 6 minutes
And they who once said that the song was too much and too long
Dissolved in the ecstatic noise of this person, this super structure
I belong to the generation that grew up in the magical, mystical world of Harry Potter. The lightning bolt scar, bold Expelliarmus spell and You-Know-Who are as close to my childhood memories as my mother’s lullabies and father’s wise cracks.
So it came as a personal offence to me when I read about some people talking against its general spirit and motive.
Questions were raised about racial inclusion in the characters of the story. They said that there were hardly any witches and wizards from Asian countries or even African countries in Rowling’s world. Basically, the characters lacked in color distribution.
I had read this criticism years ago and had not been able to counter it immediately. Because it was true that in Rowling’s canvas, there were very few Browns, Blacks and Yellows. But something about the spirit of this criticism did not go down well with my understanding of the Harry Potter series.
I felt that it was being seen through a very narrow lens. A fallacy that is made when an ocean is viewed from the other side of a wall, through a tiny hole. The amount of water visible through the hole is considered by the viewer as the whole amount of water there is. So even the ocean is falsely believed to be just another lake or a pond.
This year the series celebrated 20 years of its publishing. So I decided to watch one of its movies and reminisce what it was like to be in the Harry Potter world, all those years ago. Having chosen the Fifth part of the series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, I think I was able to counter this allegation of lack of inclusivity by the author.
Every Harry Potter part addressed a key issue at its heart. These issues were usually related to the age Harry was in the book and also issues related to different aspects of Light and Dark.
This particular section of the HP series was about how Dark and Light always went hand in hand, even in the noblest as well as darkest of souls. Harry was not an extraordinary wizard, but he had greatness thrust upon him because of extraordinary circumstances. He is seen as a beacon of light in a world drowned in darkness of one Dark Lord. He finds this light coming from a place of love and sacrifice that he was showered upon by his mother.
The Enemy Within
As a 14 year old boy, at the threshold of his teenage years, Harry is shown to fight with the Darkness that can lurk even in the brightest hearts. He learns an important lesson, as do we as readers,when his Godfather explains to him
“We all have darkness and light in us. But we are defined by what we choose to act on.”
Incidentally his Godfather, Sirius Black, comes from the Slytherin House. The House that is known to be home to the Dark Lord and in itself stands for the darker forces in a human being – ambition, ego and elusivity. But he goes on to be selected in the House of Gryffindor, to which Harry and all of his family belong. He chooses to act on his brighter side, that of courage, simplicity and friendship.
We also see one Severus Snape, the teacher Harry loves to hate, revealing his own abused and bullied side as a young school boy. We see how this cold blooded human came to be so, the reasons his darkness was triggered because of nasty childhood memories.
In the closing scenes of the movie, Harry talks to his friends about what they as young teenagers have, but the Dark Lord Voldemort does not. He says that they have something worth fighting for.
What are they, as young teenagers, fighting for, which is bigger than the motives of the most powerful wizard of all time? The answer is Balance.
They are on the side of the Balance, the same side that even nature takes. There are all kinds of forces in nature – day-night, light-dark, herbivore-carnivore, birth-death, growth-decay. And together they maintain the higher goal of nature – to maintain the Balance.
Whenever the Natural Balance is tipped to any one side, whether too much good or too much bad, they are automatically brought back in check. Too much goodness weakens the ability of a man to defend himself. Too much aggression weakens the ability of a man to remain humble and grounded.
So even though the greatest threat to the wizarding society is a Slytherin, all the Slytherin House members are not vilified. All the Houses will and must exist. And must find ways to coexist despite their differences. This is the spirit of true courage in Rowling’s universe.
So even if her characters are not balancing out the White with the Black, the spirit of her story is. The underlying spirit is what, in my opinion, should matter in the end.
Text is more important than Font on a Signboard
Stories are like sign boards. Great stories are the ones that point us in the direction of this Great Balance of our own Nature. Although the design of this ‘sign board’ is important, it is not more important than the direction it is pointing towards.
To conclude that a sign having Black letters against a White background is racist, is as ridiculous as questioning the motive of Rowling towards racism. Black letters definitely occupy less space on the White background, but that only increases legibility and ease of understanding. I think that is all the purpose of the sign board is. Beyond that what the board says, where does it point, should have more significance.
J. K. Rowling grew up in Europe, studied and worked there all her life. This simple fact is bound to reflect in her writing as well. It is bound to reflect in the universe that she creates to tell her story. But is that supposed to mean the story is one sided and biased as well.
I don’t think so. I would like to quote one, Cheryl Strayed, a survivor, an inspiration and also a best selling novelist.
“…when you’re speaking in the truest, most intimate voice about your life, you are speaking with the universal voice”
And so I think that it is the truth in the voice of Rowling, when she tells the story of Harry Potter, that counts for the universality in her stories. Even if the characters are not directly racially balanced, the spirit is and that is universal as well inclusive in every way possible.
The Potterhead in me rests her case
When a week has been skipped and I have a compensatory post in place of the two that were missed!