Lord Shiva is the All- Compassionate Hindu God, who swallowed the deadly poison ‘halahala’ to save the world from annihilation.
It is told, by munis (wise men) and sages, that when creation was complete, Lord Shiva and His Consort, Goddess Parvati went to live on the top of the Kailash Mountain in the Himalayas. Parvati Devi, one day, asked Lord Shiva- “O Lord! Which of the many rituals observed by your devotees please you most?” Lord Shiva replied- “The fourteenth night of the new moon in the dark fortnight, during the month of Phalgun, is My Favorite Day. It is called Shivratri. My devotees give me greater happiness by fasting rather than ceremonial offerings of flowers, sweets and incense. They observe strict spiritual discipline in the day and worship me in four different forms during each of the four successive three-hour periods of the night. The offering of a few bael leaves is more precious to me than the most fragrant flower and the most expensive jewel. They bathe me in milk in the first period, in curd in the second, in clarified butter in the third and in honey, in the fourth and last period. In the morning, after the prescribed ceremonies, they break the fast. No ritual can compare with this simple routine in sanctity.”
It is interesting to note that the bael leaf that we offer in the ceremonial rituals to Lord Shiva is considered sacred as the bael tree grows near the Shiva temple and the leaf has the particularity of blossoming in the shape of a trishul- three small leaves in a tiny twig, one in the middle and, one on each side. -Anita Bacha-
Once there was a little boy who lived with his poor, widowed mother in a far away village. His name was Harry. During school holidays he had no friend with whom to play. His mother was a loving woman and played with him when she was not busy with her household chores. One day, however, she fell ill and Harry became very lonely. His mother consoled him and told him to go out and play with Krishna. ‘Who is Krishna?’ Harry asked his mother. ‘Krishna is the friend of all!’ Harry rushed out eagerly calling ‘Krishna! Krishna!’ ‘Hello!’ said a cow herd boy coming from behind a tree ‘why are you calling my name?’ “Let’s play!’ Harry uttered with joy. They played together during the school holidays. Back to school, Harry told the school master about his new friend, Krishna. The school master listened to his story but did not believe a word of it. Soon it was the birthday of the school master. Harry became very sad; he had no money to buy him a birthday present. His mother then reminded him of his friend Krishna. ‘Go and talk to your friend Krishna’ she told Harry, ‘he will surely help you!’ Harry did as he was told and Krishna gave him a pot of butter milk. ‘Here! This is a birthday present for your school master!’ Unfortunately, the school master was not happy with the present. He scorned at it and asked his servant to throw the milk curd away. The servant complied but amazingly, the pot was filled with milk curd again. After several attempts to empty the pot, he ran to the school master to tell him about the incredible happening. ‘What!’ the school master exclaimed ‘it must be a magic pot!’ He immediately summoned Harry and asked him about the source of the pot. When Harry replied that his friend Krishna gave it to him, the school master asked him to take him to Krishna immediately. ‘I want to see your friend!’ he exclaimed. The school master followed Harry to the place where he met Krishna. At the top of his voice, Harry called for his friend but Krishna did not appear. Then from behind a tree, they heard another voice: ‘Why are you calling me Harry?’ Harry recognized the voice of his friend Krishna. He replied: ‘My school master wants to see you.’ ‘The school master cannot see me, Harry, because no one can see me unless he believes in me!’ said the voice gently but firmly. The school master was bowled over. He returned to the school with his tail between his legs.
MV WAKASHIO , a Japanese- owned bulk carrier ran aground on the coral reefs, off the coast of the tropical island Mauritius, on 25 July 2020.
Wakashio was empty of cargo but had an estimated 200 tons of diesel and 3,800 tons of heavy fuel oil on board.
Little by little, with the strength of the heavy waves, cracks arose in its hull. Fuel oil started to spill on the turquoise blue sea of the coastal district, Mahebourg. In no time, the oil spill reached its shores, destroying marine life, seaweeds, and corals.
The inhabitants ran to the rescue of the lagoon. They made floating booms with sugar cane straw to absorb the oil. In the meantime, foreign help was sought by the Government of Mauritius to block the catastrophic flood of oil from the hull of Wakashio to the sea.
On Assumption Day 2020, Wakashio broke into two. The authorities estimated that it would take decades to tow the two fragmented parts of the ship. Finally, the bow part of Wakashio was sunk in the deep ocean, far from Mauritius. It was also decided that the stern part of the ship that was stuck in the reefs would take decades to tow back. It remained as the remnant of a shipwreck in the lagoon, in the southeast of the green island.
The story here is told from the perspective of two Mauritian children, Angela and Oshin.
INSPIRATION TO WRITE THE STORYBOOK.
Earlier this year, I started a campaign to urge young Mauritian children to read books.
By coincidence, MV WAKASHIO met with a terrible accident at sea and it became the talk of the town in Mauritius and in the whole world. Social media wrote about the shipwreck and posted pictures of the sinking ship.
It dawned upon me to write the story of the Wakashio for children. I felt deep inside that it was a subject that will draw the attention of children, they will pick up the book and they will start to read.
Reading books and listening to stories stimulates the imagination of children.
As Albert Einstein has wisely said-
Imagination is more important than knowledge,
For knowledge is limited,
Whereas imagination embraces the whole world,
Stimulates progress, giving birth to evolution.
I strongly believe that children of all ages should read books and good books. In this age of electronic books, it is much better for parents to encourage a child to read traditional paper books, that he can carry and read every he goes – under a tree in the garden, on the lap of his mom… even where there is no electricity or an internet connection.
Reading books starts at home. First by a mother or a grandmother reading to a child, then by an elder brother or sister reading to a child and finally by a child reading a book by himself.
Salman Rushdie, the world acclaimed bestseller author says –
When a child is born, there are two things that he requires – LOVE AND SAFETY;
The next thing the child says is –
TELL ME A STORY.
Undoubtedly stories are an important part of our adult life; without them life is boring. Most of all, children love stories as dearly as they love toys and games.
My mother was an excellent storyteller. I vividly remember the story of Cinderella and Prince Charming as concocted and told by her when I was a kid. I bemused at her facial expressions and her body movements. I traveled to fairyland, wonderland, to faraway places; I fought with dragons; I talked to birds, rats, rabbits, and other animals.
Mostly, I started to daydream of Prince Charming. Often I took a broom, bigger than myself and arduously swept the kitchen. All the time, I kept an eye on the big pumpkin that mom kept in a corner of the kitchen, wishing that it would explode and Prince Charming would jump out.
From listening to stories, and putting myself in the shoes of Cinderella, I very rapidly developed a fondness for books. From reading books, I gradually started to write stories.
WAKASHIO is my new storybook for children and my first book in French. Mauritian children are more familiar with the French language, oral and written; I have written this book primarily for them.
It is legitimate for writers to remember that children are the adults of tomorrow. They should be made aware of the important happenings of their country and the consequences of their acts from an early age. Wakashio is a tale that relates the story of the wreck of MV Wakashio in pure and simple prose, illustrated by amazing color pictures.
SOUL POETRY -Inspirational Poems, Verses and Quotes is a collection of poems, verses and quotes which driven by wild waves of inspiration I wrote over the past five years. I am not a full time writer or poet. I only write when I am inspired and words start to flow from my pen like drops of nectar on a starve parchment.
The main subject of my poetry, my verses and quotes is Love. Here, I must tell my readers to appreciate that there is only One Love whether it is maternal love, physical love, obsessive love, infatuation or spiritual love to name a few. My book also covers different aspects of human relationships, and different themes from flowers to butterflies. Being a woman, when I write about a lover, I am writing about a man. So you will find a few poems very audacious. I have never found it challenging to write love poems about men. They deserve to be admired and their charms must be carved on paper and for eternity, recognizing that the body is mere rust and dust; the soul is eternal. Behind my every poem, there lies a story. Anita Bacha
May this waiting draw to a close, my love! That very soon we are united at last, In a mad and passionate hug; My heart shall beat with your heart, Away our tears shall flow in abundant joy, Shall wet our parched lips of the grief, Of the pain of thirsting desires; That blessed under a starry night sky, Your breath shall melt with my breath, My eyes bathe in the clear pond of your gaze; Swept into the furrows of time and space, We forget the world, the universe, the Creator himself, We forget the intense longing, We forget the slow suffering, That shall exist for us only our guiltless love! Anita Bacha
I embarked on a spiritual journey last spring and headed towards an ashram in search of self enquiry. My destination was India, a country known for its vast spiritual heritage. I carried in my luggage the minimal personal effects including a pair of old thongs. This search for the Truth of Oneself will, in my mind, be restrictive on personal wants and needs.
Two days after I had rambled around in my old thongs, I noticed that part of the right sole was coming off; I brought it closer to my eyes to have a microscopic view of the damage; I then perceived that there was another problem; the strap which run from between the big toe and the second toe to the right side of the sandal was threading off and thinning. I sadly told myself that the thongs had expired due to old age, wear and tear. It was essential for me to look for new thongs before the expired ones left me half-way. Opportunity knocked when the next morning I walked into a store to buy fruit juice. An array of attractive and colorful thongs was displayed on a self. I tried a few pairs until I fell on one which fitted perfectly.
I settled my bill, removed the new thongs from the box, glided my feet into them and placed the expired ones into the carton to throw away. Strangely, I could not find a dustbin and the expired thongs slept in the box under my bed almost forgotten. Time passed by. For the festival of Mahashivratri, innumerable pilgrims arrived in the ashram from all over the world. One night, I misplaced my new thongs. I immediately run for the rescue of the expired ones. I had been advised by a physician to walk barefoot which was supposedly a good exercise for different types of inflammation and beneficial for my sore knees, but accustomed to the western way of life, I found it hard to hop around like a grasshopper without footwear.
Eventually, the expired thongs silently resumed their job of transporting me. Every time I came out of a hall or canteen where footwear was not allowed, my eyes fell on them waiting for me, tattered yet so warm. They were serving submissively and devotedly like old wives. I left them here and there, under the nose of everyone but nobody touched them. They were too old to draw attention or to be stolen. Expired they were, in the eyes of all except in mine. What a startling spiritual lesson to learn! Respect and hold on to the old; in times of need, they are the most helpful.
Further, nothing ever happens accidently or mysteriously, spiritual life shows us. For every happening, there is a proper reason. Moreover we are taught that inanimate objects too have feelings and emotions. For instance, it is told in the sacred Hindu book ‘The Ramayana’ that when Lord Rama went to rescue his wife Sita from the demon King Ravana, an army of monkeys came to his help. They built a bridge by plucking mountains from the Himalayas and throwing them into the seas to allow Rama to walk from his land to the realm of Ravana. When the bridge was done, one mountain cried because it was plucked from its original place but not used. Lord Rama then promised the mountain that in his next Avatara, it will receive his blessings.
This very mountain was the Govardhana Peak which Rama as the Avatar Krishna lifted on his finger and held aloft for seven days in order to save the inhabitants of Gokul from the devastation of torrential rain. To cut a long story short, I returned home with the expired thongs, having learnt that self enquiry leads one to detach from people, mundane life and affairs by opening one’s eyes to the deficiencies in them.
One may wonder how does the writer’s mind work. How can he focus both on writing a story for children and simultaneously pen down about love, passion, disloyalty ,break ups, happiness, joy, sadness et al, which makes up a collection of love poems for adults. The answer is as simple as this, writing can be compared to cooking. You give a good cook a bag of grocery and he will make you a fantastic meal!
From my early childhood, I am a book person, or a book worm ,if you prefer. I hate to go to school though and prefer to sit down in a corner, to dream and to play at imaginary games.
My eldest sister, Romila started schooling at 5. I was only three years old then. My Papa bought Romila her first book. I still remember clearly the name of the book, its color, white with black and brown images on the front cover and on the pages. The title of the book was ‘TOTO ET LILI’. A book written by Augé in French. Romila was overjoyed with her book. I asked to touch, to hold and to smell the book. I fell in love with books! It was love at first sight. I can still smell, after numerous decades past, the heartwarming odour of a new book as it penetrated my young nostrils on that memorable day.
In no way was I motivated to go to school! I loved the book, the words, the images. They had the power to journey me into wonderland. I was Toto, smoking his pipe. I was Lili, laughing.
My Papa was delighted to observe my interest in books. He offered me my first illustrative story book for my birthday.
As I grew up, I loved to imagine stories about animals, children, ghosts and fairies and to relate them to my younger siblings, cousins and other children. I kept this habit after I was married and had children. In turn, I invented magic stories to tell to my children at bed time and any time that called for a fantasy story. Years after, I gathered new listeners around me. My grandchildren became very fond of my fables .I started to pen down these stories and to store them in my computer.
However, after I published my first poetry book, Soul Poetry, in 2015, my son succeeded in convincing me to write a story book for children. He believes that my stories have the potentials to stimulate the imagination, the curiosity and the love for reading of children of all ages. From a good story teller, his dream is to see his mom as a good story writer!
My first illustrative children book which is dedicated to all the children of the world will be released soon.