Friday, April 26, 2013

Malegalalli Madumagalu: A Review in The Hindu

My review of the play Malegalalli Madumagalu was published in the Friday Review supplement today. Read 'A Different Telling' on The Hindu website here or see below.

Instead of one sutradhar, there are different sets of Jogis, wandering minstrels who walk in from different parts of the stage to fill in the gaps for the audience. Instead of one linear plot, there are many parallel stories woven into intricate criss-cross patterns. Instead of one traditional proscenium, there are four tracts of land that recreate the villages, forests, rivers and huts of Malenadu, central Karnataka, from over a century ago. Instead of some characters, there are, reminiscent of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, many, many characters, someone’s sister, slave, wife or friend who all like and want to marry each other. It gets confusing in parts, more so if you haven’t read the 700-odd page novel. Yet there is enough romance, drama, betrayal, sacrifice, horror, humour, dance and music to hold your attention for nearly nine hours, coffee breaks included. The scale, the sheer ambition of it is what makes Malegalalli Madumagalu such an epic production in experimental theatre.

There is the ring, almost a silent leitmotif across the 50 scenes, making its appearance at crucial junctures in the storytelling to spell out a new twist, reveal another relationship or pass itself on to another set of Jogis. That is how C Basavalingaiah’s Malegalalli Madumagalu begins. Just when a group of them are about give up their tamburis into the River Tunga, for there are no audiences for their ancient stories anymore, travelling mendicants present them with a golden ring, eliciting a promise that they will tell that story to the world. One by one as the Jogis look into the circle of the ring, they see couples in love, they see religious animosity, they see the politics of the caste system. With their words and their song, they transport the audience to Megaravalli, Hulikallu, Lakkunda and Simbavi, non-descript villages in Malenadu if not for the complicated relationships that play out in the homes there.

Gutthi, the affable, a bit of a country bumpkin slave is on his way to win over Timmi, a bonded labourer in another rich man’s house. At his heels is his very lovable dog, Huliya, who doesn’t like it so much when it gets a leech in its ear in the middle of the rainforest. Along Gutthi’s way he meets the conniving Nagathe who pimps out her widowed daughter-in-law Nagakka to landlords so she can live well, beautiful Cauvery, other landlords and other slaves. Repeatedly, the play goes off on tangents to play out the lives and miseries and triumphs of these other characters.

Kuvempu’s magnum opus Malegalalli Madumagalu was adapted to stage by playwright K Y Narayanaswamy. No mean task, for the novel is a bundle of events and characters that are affected by social, religious and political changes that sweep through that region in that era. It took the maverick director C Basavalingaiah to translate it on such an ambitious scale.

Missionaries are making inroads into the villages and while those who are considering conversion are attracted to the equality and deliverance that the Christian god promises, they still won’t eat with the priest, for his origins are from an untouchable caste. Even the slave who serves him food will only drop rice from a considerable height, for the religious leader, though in white flowing robes, is still unclean. A bonded labourer is attracted to the new religion, yet shivers in fear when his wife, very cleverly, resorts to “being possessed by a spirit” to prevent their daughter being married off to a convert. No body understands the word ‘amen’, but the ‘beesekallu’ (the bicycle) that the priest rides delights them no end. The havoc that Christianity brings to traditional family structures and the struggle to reconcile its seeming liberalism with caste diktats serves for an underlying tension through the play.

Malegalalli Madumagalu is a brave production. The actors, many of them debutantes to the stage, are very good, though on opening night, there were some forgotten lines and some nervous missteps. The lighting left much to be desired and around 4 am, the narrative did begin to drag a wee bit. The sets are a treat to the eyes, but for the city skyline in the distance, they create an utterly convincing picture of a typical Malenadu landscape. Day 1 of the play had many little glitches that, hopefully, the team will iron out in the subsequent shows.

The play is on at Kalagrama till May 30, with the 9-hour performances starting at 8.30 pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Call 98400 48003 or 98865 40966. 

Images courtesy: G Suresh Kumar

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Paying Tribute to PBS

Once upon a time, long, long ago, I met P B Sreenivos. I was a child and I like to imagine that my parents were buying me ice cream that evening in balmy (then) Madras. We were at the beautiful drive-in Woodlands Hotel, just off Mount Road. PBS was a regular there. A portly man behind the cash counter told my dad that the owner of the place was a huge fan of PBS and he was allowed to eat anything he wanted there for free. The man who was born with a golden voice came there everyday to eat a piece of sweetmeat and have a cup of coffee; as a diabetic, he wasn’t allowed to eat sweets at home. My parents went up and said hello to him.

This is how I remember this story. Maybe it is partly imagined memory from a faded evening some 20 years ago. But I do remember seeing him; he looked small, with that same crinkled face that I somehow imagine he always kept, even when he was younger. Did he crinkle his face along deep lines when he sang the romantics for Rajkumar? Why are voices as ethereal as his given shades of yellow and called golden? In retrospect, I wonder these things.

I am a PBS fan. In a loyalty contest, I would join his camp rather than side with Rajkumar, who gained popularity in later years and usurped PBS from his high-backed throne in playback singing kingdom. I am fan enough to be able to sing along most of his major Kannada songs. Yet, I was never fan enough to be aware that he sang in seven other languages; I never followed his career, so to speak. His most famous golden oldies were from my parents’ younger days, yet, the poetry of those lyrics and the mostly flawless manner in which he rendered them make those songs, clichéd as it may sound to say so, evergreen.

For me, the memory of PBS’ songs will be entrenched with my memories of watching films in the two derelict cinema halls of Madikeri. Before one of them was demolished and the other went Dolby sound and fancy, every show would begin with PBS singing Kodagina Kaveri, from the film Sharapanjara. The record was scratchy from overuse and would get stuck in places. That was the cue for people to lower themselves down gingerly on the broken seats and attempt to recline just so. P B Sreenivos’ voice was the precursor for our entry into the magic of the movies in those smoke-filled halls. I miss that song before every movie elsewhere now.

There are stories you want to write and there are stories you have to write. This was the former. A version of this story appeared in Talk magazine here.

Reviewing Mohsin Hamid's How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia

You are already a Mohsin Hamid fan, a fan of his threadbare, no frills, no scented language style of writing. You have, for the first time ever, pre-ordered a book, his How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia. You have read about it elsewhere, on foreign newspaper sites and know that it uses the second person ‘you’ throughout the story. You remember that this style isn’t new, your other favoured author Chimananda Ngozi Adichie has used it in a short story. You think of Hamid’s cult second book, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, that you read first in a hotel room in the foothills of the Himalayas and marveled at the style until you were told by a friend that another author’s lesser known book predated that one in that style. You then read that another author, Omair Ahmed, and fall in love with his writing. You realize that Hamid’s prose isn’t always new inventions in the fiction world. But it is his minimalistic style that still envelops poetic notes if you happen to read a sentence aloud. That is what never fails to hold your attention.

By now you develop a little fatigue for writing as you. I go back to being me to tell you what happens to the unnamed ‘you’, the hero of Hamid’s brilliant new How to Get Filthy Rich…It is interestingly placed in terms of its classification of genre. It is a fiction narrated like a self help book. In what by now is Hamid’s much quoted quote, the book begins with how self help books are something of an oxymoron; “you read a self help book so someone who isn’t yourself can help you, that someone being the author.” For the rest of the pages, he goes on meticulously detailing everything that ‘you’ does to get rich, going back at the beginning of every chapter to talking about self help books, listing their qualities, calling them co-creative projects.

How to Get Filthy Rich…follows the life of ‘you’, a nameless, faceless person in a nameless village in a nameless country in Asia. You is sick when you first meet him in the book and is “huddled, shivering, on the packed earth under your mother’s cot one cold, dewy morning.” A series of chance events, in Asia you would blame fate for it, takes ‘you’ to the city, into a school, into college, into love. While there are no names for anybody, anything, you cannot help but place the story in rural Pakistan. Perhaps it is the author’s nationality that doesn’t let you imagine, co-create like Hamid calls it, any other country. Not even Bangladesh would fit the descriptions.

I find the chapter headings especially charming. In keeping with the tone of a self help book, Hamid calls attention to seemingly prosaic things like moving to the city, falling in love, rather advising not to, how to deal with idealists, politicians, bureaucrats and such like. Some are chillingly practical, you are told not to be an idealist yourself but lend support the ‘artists of war’, that’s the only direction to go up.

Our hero gets by selling expired goods with a non-expired sticker slapped on them. He gets by delivering pirated CDs. He briefly subscribes to fundamentalism because that funds his college education. His wealth comes from running a water packaging business. Along the way he finds himself the love of his life, marries someone else, has a son, loses everything and lives a full life by the time Hamid is done with him. The drama that follows his life is like a Bollywood theatrical that Asians could well relate to, it is a family saga, a story of grand love, sacrifice, revenge. But in Hamid’s language, there is masterful restraint that belies the theatrical to give you a story that seems completely new. He strips the novel of everything but the bare essentials, leaving you to fill in the details, letting you imagine and create your own book in the process.

In each of his three books, Hamid creates more a conceptual piece of art than just stopping at a good story. The story may not be unusual, any different from the dozens you have read, told or lived in, but in the manner of a Marquez book, it is for his brilliant reining in of language without succumbing to grand flourishes that make you want to return to his books again and again.

On Pakistani literature

Mohsin Hamid’s debut novel, the fantastic Moth Smoke, was my first introduction to Pakistani literature. From that discovery onward, I almost blindly pick up every book by every other author from that country. There must be something about the conflict and turmoil there that makes the country produce such brilliant literature. Most contemporary writers seem to follow a self help book of sorts. They are upper middle class, they have studied abroad for many years, worked other jobs, then returned to settle down in Lahore and write columns for Dawn or Friday Times or comment on Pakistani society for the world media.

Here is a list of personal favourites. By no means is this a comprehensive list. I do not include Saadat Hasan Manto for the sole reason that his stories are possibly too much of a work of genius to be anything but a standalone recommendation.

* The Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif: Dry humour, satire, oodles of sarcasm and fantastic storytelling. It would be very hard not to love this book. The book leads up to the plane crash that killed the former president of Pakistan, General Zia ul-Haq. A box of mangoes plays a very important role in the story. His second book, Our Lady of Alice Bhatti is another favourite. A third book called The Baloch Who is Not Missing and Others Who Are launched recently at the neighbour’s. Needless to say, I will be reading it when it launches here.

* The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid: A nameless Pakistani launches on a monologue with an American in a café and there emerges his reactions to 9/11, a slow building up of rage and aggression that completes a story that is sad, yet almost frightening. A short story called A Beheading, published in Granta, is another must read.

* In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Muenuddin: The handsome farmer who returned to live and farm in rural Pakistan after many years of being a lawyer abroad writes his novel in a sweeping, intricate manner. These are short stories, seemingly different. But there is one character who makes an appearance in each story and once you finish the book and sit back, you wonder if it was one large story after all.

* Intimacy by Hanif Kureishi: Though a British citizen, Kureishi has a Pakistani father and hence gets to be on this list. The short novel is said to be semi-autobiographical and talks of one man’s dilemma as he prepares to leave his wife and two sons.

* Faiz Ahmad Faiz: Just for the sheer wonder that is his poetry.

A version of this story appeared in Talk magazine here.

Monday, April 22, 2013

If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it is yours. If it doesn't, it never was. 

Google tells me that this quote cannot be accurately attributed to anyone. Must be one of those old wives tales that permeated itself into girl talk and unsolicited advice sessions. But like every annoying cliche there is to the world, this is true too, isn't it? 
I would say so about writing for me, more on which I will write someday. 

Now the  theory is likely to be held to test again. Damn the truth behind these things.

Friday, April 19, 2013

In The Hindu: Writing about Malegalalli Madumagalu

Many, many exciting things are on the cards professionally. Lest I jinx it, I am trying to stop myself from grinning about it. For I notice that when I am smiling through my days for a considerable period of time, something bad always happens to rub the shine off. Yes, you do learn to be superstitious in life on occasions. 

Without preliminaries any further, here is me starting to write on theatre for The Hindu. As a student of journalism, I had very specific ambitions of working as the foreign correspondent from Pakistan for The Hindu. I grew up reading that newspaper and continue to subscribe to it.

Here is a review of a preview journalists were shown a few days ago, of the 9-hour long Kannada play Malegalalli Madumagalu, adapted from Kuvempu's magnum opus of the same name. Last night, I watched the whole play. More on that next Friday, after the review is published.

Read here - Wandering Production  - in The Hindu Friday Review or see below.

It is rather given to bringing up a reference to Peter Brook’s The Mahabharata here, for that was nine-hours long as well. But then, it was the Mahabharata, with its 90,000 couplets and a mindboggling array of sub plots and transgressions from the main story; it was genius to have managed to tell most of it in so short a play. In comparison, Kuvempu’s magnum opus Malegalalli Madumagalu,literally translated to mean the bride in the hills, is just 700-odd pages long, so the director gets a wider canvas with an equal amount of time to interpret the novel. The thing is, strictly speaking, there isn’t a straight line story that is narrated in this book from 1967; the novel is a series of events in the lives of a series of people from many communities and classes that are entwined in one complicated way or the other. That is perhaps why it took the “madness of C. Basavalingaiah” to bring Malegalalli Madumagalu to stage in what will remain a landmark production.

The first time it was staged in Mysore’s Rangayana in 2010, the all-night play attracted audiences from across the State and the country. Back on popular demand, it will be staged again at Kalagrama, within the Bangalore University campus, starting April 18, with 25 scheduled performances till the end of May.

The playwright, writer K.Y. Narayanaswamy, still feels like it all is a dream and talks of how he wrote a burst of about 40 songs over two days. He attributes the exercise of adapting such a complicated novel to the stage to the madness of the director C. Basavalingaiah, who, with the 70 actors and many more dozen technicians and other artists, has set up camp for nearly three months at Kalagrama rehearsing the play.

This time around, the majority of the cast is new, with just 24 from the previous production. The 70 actors will play nearly 150 characters in 50 scenes across four stages. Malegalalli Madumagalu goes beyond the strict confines of traditional proscenium and follows the characters across the expanse of elaborate sets, which has been erected at Kalagrama, incorporating the already standing trees, the bamboo shrubs, a large pond and natural slopes and bumps in the land.

The audience, in 15-minute breaks between the play, will move with the cast from ‘bayalu-ranga’ to the ‘kereyangala-ranga’ and the ‘bidirumela-ranga’ before watching the end and catching the sun rise at ‘honge-ranga’.

The preview that the cast performs already promises a stellar production. The scene opens with a set of Jogis, traditional wandering minstrels, setting the context for the play and drawing attention to long-gone times in the Male-nadu region of central Karnataka. There is Naayi-Gutthi and his loyal dog Gutthi-Naayi, so inseparable that they will only be referred to hyphenated with the other’s name. There is the couple very much in love, Aitha and Peenchalu. There is Mukundayya, Jattamma and the many landlords and slaves of Hulikallu, Simbhavi, Bettahalli, Megravalli, Lakkunda. While there are three main couples that the audience will root for and follow the lives and loves of, the array of other characters is what allows the play many layers to portray the social, cultural and political changes that the region was swept by in the 19{+t}{+h}century.

Each of the sets will offer the audience a 180-degree view of the performances and have a seating capacity of 1,000. Malegalalli Madumagalu starts April 18 and will be staged every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday till May 30. Tickets are priced at Rs. 100 and will be available at Ravindra Kalakshetra, J.C. Road, Kalagrama, Bangalore University and Information and Broadcasting Department, Infantry Road and online Call 98400 48003, 98865 40966 for details.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Calvin's dad: The world isn't fair, Calvin.
Calvin: I know dad, but why isn't it ever unfair in my favour?

Sums it up for me. Trust a six-year old to get it so right.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

PBS...Will be Remembered

ಮಯ್ಯನೆ ಹಿಂಡಿ ನೊಂದರು ಕಬ್ಬು ಸಿಹಿಯ ಕೊಡುವುದು...
ತೇಯುತಲಿದ್ದರು ಗಂಧದ ಪರಿಮಳ ತುಂಬಿ ಬರುವುದು...
ತಾನೇ ಉರಿದರು ದೀಪವು ಮನೆಗೆ ಬೆಳಕ ತರುವುದು...
ದೀಪಾ...ಬೆಳಕ ತರುವುದು
ಆಡಿಸಿ ನೋಡು ಬೀಳಿಸಿ ನೋಡು ಉರುಳಿ ಹೋಗದು

(Mayyane HinDi Nondharu Kabbu Sihiya KoDuvudu...
Theyuthaliddharu Gandhadha Parimala Thumbi Baruvudu...
Thane Uridaru Deepavu Manege BeLaka Tharuvudu...
Deepaa...BeLaka Taruvudu
AaDisi NoDu BiLisi NoDu URuLi Hogadu)

Of all the fantastic songs P B Sreenivas has sung in a career that spanned over half a century, I remember this one today. In the context of things, I would have preferred to hum other lines. But then 'Nee Bandhu Nintaga', 'Baadi Hoda Belliyinda', 'Olave Jeevana Sakshatkara' and so many, so many others are equally laden with memories, stories and relevances.

PBS was my favourite singer. I met him once at the then Madras's elegant Woodlands Hotel, where the owner was his fan and had advised the staff to give PBS anything he wanted for free, every day. PBS came there then to eat sweets, which as a diabetic, he wasn't allowed at home. 

PBS will be remembered.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Amidst the Forest People in Town

There is something deeply intoxicating about drums. Perhaps it is that the dull thuds hark of ancient times when around the yellow fire the shaman invited spirits into his body to solve discords and cure illnesses and danced to please his ancestors. Or perhaps it is the monotony of repetition in those beats that puts you in a trance like state, which even seven days later, you only need let your eyes drift to hear the drums in your ears. Or perhaps it is that we simply cannot erase the primitive streak we all carry within, in spite of generations of ‘civilized’ lives. There is just something deeply intoxicating about the beat of drums, even when the drum is just an overturned plastic vessel or an empty kerosene can.

I have heard the tribals before, and imagined their sounds, their dances many times more. It was the promise of those drums and the lure of seeing what I imagined that drew me to the day-long tribal festival in my hometown Madikeri, Kodagu. The local station of the All India Radio, immensely popular in the hilly district for their inclusive programs from unheard of villages, organized Kadina Makkala Radio Habba, literally meaning the radio festival of the children of the forest last Wednesday, a full moon night, the Holi Hunnime.

Before I get there, I imagine it must be something akin to the Hornbill Festival in Nagaland every December, a government led congregation of different tribes strung together to bring in the tourists and attract the businesses that would keep these tourists happy. The thought seed might have been the same, but the Radio Habba is a celebration of pure joy, of being alive, of being able to appreciate being alive. The very many tribes of Kodagu have been brought together to showcase their dance and music forms, to interact with each other, with the non-tribals, to see the city. It is the first time ever that the tribes, spread far and wide in the forests and in deep set villages of the district have been brought together in one place. The habba is meant to be a noon to midnight celebration; the agenda lists stage performances before ending with dancing around three to four bonfires.

Three friends and I take ourselves to the Gandhi maidan, something of an open air stage in town. The heat is almost painful, it isn’t just a feeling alone that our skins are burning. The weather and how this can’t be a hill station keeps coming up in conversation throughout the sweltering afternoon. But the tribals of many colour, height and attire couldn’t be less bothered. The women are checking each other’s clothes, adjusting jewelry strung from wild berries around their necks. Men have bells on their feet, long sticks and cymbals in their hands and swirled lengths of cloth around their head. The Honey Bee liquour bottles are conveniently hidden behind the thatched huts almost daintily perched on the slope beside the stage.

There is an air of camaraderie hanging around each hut. One or two are made with green leaves and merges into the background. Others are brown and bigger, others low roofed. Groups from different tribes practice their song and dance routine inside, get their dresses ready. Everyone is nervous. It is only one group of Jenu Kurubas, traditionally honey gatherers, who slip in and out of their designated hut and break into impromptu dances throughout the day. These people instantly become our favourite. One of them wears different coloured feathers in her hair, necklaces of wild berries that I want too and a fancy belt of leaves and flowers around her waist. A slightly older woman is the Rastafarian of the group; she keeps her long mated hair hidden under a traditional flowing head cloth, until the bonfires lit up later in the night and she breaks free of the shackles of the headgear to dance with abandon round and round the fire.

The announcers of AIR, all local celebrities, introduce the groups; there are over 20 of them. They include the Jenu Kuruba, Betta Kuruba, Panjari Yerava, Pani Yerava, Devasoliga, Poomalekudiya, Tenmalekudiya, Kembatti, Medha, Kapala, Kodava and Arebashe tribes. Each perform a song and/or a dance. Almost every group is uncomfortable being on a stage; that is not how they sing to appease their deities or celebrate their marriages. Most don’t wait for a cue from the technicians to begin, they are anxious to finish their number and get off the stage.

There are songs for weddings, harvest songs, prayer songs and songs to abuse their Gods (a popular tribal festival in the district, when tribals abuse each other and their Gods in unspeakable terms – called Bunde habba). There is a man covered in black paint prancing about, for comic relief. On the side, there is a small exhibition of the baskets, prayer items and boxes they use, the wild fruits and vegetables they eat, the roots and nuts they use for medicines. There is Ummathat and Bolukhat, traditional dances of the Kodava women and men respectively, performed in a circle with slow, synchronized, warrior like movements for the men, graceful and reverential for the women.

The most commonly recognized song “Cauveramme devi thaaye…” telling the story of River Cauvery’s birth, interspersed with enquiries after visiting relatives and crops for the season take me back to school days when these were regular fixtures at every annual day function. There is the other characteristic Valaga recital, music slow and fast by turns that designs to send the dancer into a steady trance. When they take to the stage a second time, the full moon is up in the sky and members of the audience cannot resist breaking into the traditional dance steps to go with it. One from our little friends group, a Kodava, needs only a nudge before he joins the party too. 

Then the fires. Large logs are lit and small circles are formed. Different groups play for the cameras for a while, and then take their dance elsewhere, closer to their huts. Our favourite Jenu Kuruba group is still at it, with the same vigour, with the same infectious energy, unwavering for over several hours. The stage closes, the snack carts and candy pushcarts on the fringes begin to pack up. The bright full moon peeps through the tall trees and the air finally cools down. The tribals still don’t notice. Their wines, their plastic drums, their cymbals and the raging fire have transported them back to their forests. Heedless of the city people, unmindful of the town lights in the background, they raise the dust below their fast moving feet and dance round and round the fire. As we leave them to it, I for one cannot help but feel incredibly jealous.

A version of this story was published in Talk magazine here.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Magic Afternoon

What makes a place, a memory magical? I would say it is a combination of the company, the air, the coldness of the water running over your feet, the conversation, the slow afternoon, the breeze, the light nap, the bruise from the forest, the simple lunch, watching a blue butterfly flit about, seeing a row of fat white clouds lazy slide by, squinting against the afternoon sun that filters in through a golden coloured spider web, the stretching time, the little walk skipping over stones, making your own path, the cold drinks, the Edenic perfectness of it all. That's what makes this old beloved place magical with new loved memories.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Avril Storms

Oh well what do you know! Dreadful March went by and I am nearly intact. There were bad things, it was March after all, but nothing too devastating. Most near life changing things fell on the nicer, positive side of the coin.

-- A lovely trip to see a tribal festival in Madikeri happened with some very dear friends.
-- A lot of realizations on love and work and passions happened.
-- A book project got commissioned, to research and write text for a coffee table book on vintage postcards on Bangalore. (Yeah!!)
-- A lot of writing for an online magazine for a major water conservation campaign happened. Here and there, a lot of other writing happened.
-- An offer to write for The New Indian Express happened. (Fist in the air yeah! Where I started my career! Still the best place I have ever worked in. Joy joy!!)
-- A resignation from India Foundation for the Arts (IFA) happened. (Ma was nearly incredulous I lasted this long!) More on this soon, soon.

April started with a storm. I love storms. I don't relish them when applied over life but I suppose I would never find my inspirations, my drives, my miseries without them. Here is to the tempest of April and beyond.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Stormy Waters

I haven't seen a storm this size in this city. Back home in the hills, we have these every season. Ma used to say that this storm will leave only after destroying something. And destroy it did, it ripped things apart, fell trees, taken away frail roofs in its wake.

But I loved the storm then. I love the storm now. I love the drama of its thunder, its lightning, its memory of once when the lightning came inside and struck a phone line in the living room.

Beyond the storm is a new-ity, a fresh earth, an innocence of a bird, a song, a breeze. How could I fear the storm when it always gave me a new day on the other side?