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Image → A.Savin

Rasa → Raudram (रौद्रं): Fury. Presiding deity: Shiva. Colour: red, Adbhutam (अद्भुतं): Wonder, amazement. Presiding deity: Brahma. Colour: yellow

Archetype → Creator

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Nicole watched the homeless man by the Colombo rail from under her long bangs and lowered eyelids. This man’s hair seemed to have somehow been dried, blown and sprayed to perfection from nothing but the Colombo heat, salinity of June air and the monsoon winds. Thinking about how she failed to create the same beach waves at her hairstyling course exam that morning, Nicole felt something searing painfully in her gut; It shaped a toxic orange feeling.


When the world hands out what you’ve bled for, to someone who doesn’t even care, what the hell does that even mean?


A familiar voice inside Nicole’s head started a monologue of everyday injustices, stinging against her threshold. It was a chili-red coloured voice that always triggered the memory of sour mangoes in her taste nerves.


Seeing the homeless man’s beach waves had also scratched Nicole’s faith in the world. Things like the heatwave that passed through the city this morning (altering the very dynamics between keratin and water particles) and the model’s hair appearing surely vitamin-deficient no longer seemed like coincidences, but pitfalls set up by a conniving world. A few hours later, by the time it was her stop, something in Nicole was screeching in unison with the train coming to a halt.


Nicole hated coming back to her parents’ village where everyone knew her as ‘Nimali’—the given-name that she no longer identified with. Head lowered, but eyes scrutinizing from behind her long fringe, Nicole found offence in how the villagers on the street had the same hair—oiled and tied back or combed to a side.


Can a homogenous bubble be called life? Isn’t sameness a state of death than of being alive?


Nicole's chili-red voice muttered all the way home, prickling the sides of her tongue with a pleasurable sting. Her mother was standing by the gate, waiting. She showered Nicole with questions about lunch, breakfast, the house keys, laundry, reducing the length of the fringe, the exact temperature in Colombo... Nicole answered everything and nothing with ohs, hms, nuhs, and mh-huhs.


Is it still home if your instinct is to escape it?


Nicole walked in with her mother following two steps behind questioning what she’d like to eat. Sitting on a kitchen chair with hands quietly clasped on the table, zoning out from her mother’s string of questions, Nicole seemed almost composed. But, she had a scream welling up inside. Nicole knew this scream; It always came in a voice of deep burgundy and brought on a metallic taste on her tongue.


When her mother started asking about the hairstyling course exams, Nicole could no longer take it. She covered her mouth and ran into the bathroom. The trail of her surprised mother’s voice shouting in the background—about getting a bladder infection from holding it in for so long—came to an abrupt end when Nicole locked the door behind herself.


Between aspirations and expectations was a hellish place.


Hands clasped tightly over the mouth, Nicole watched her reflection in the bathroom mirror as the silent scream unraveled inside. It felt as if the burgundy-coloured loathing was being spewed all over her interiors. From the burgundy-bathed inside, came another voice—a new one Nicole had never heard before. It was an ugly shade between purple and wine red and induced a tinge of bitterness at the back of her tongue. The new voice spoke heavy and monotonous. It dropped words like a shaman’s drum beats inducing an altered state of consciousness; Words that Nicole couldn’t bear to hear; Mediocre. Dull. Forgettable...


In a moment of noxious revulsion, Nicole grabbed the little trimming scissor inside the jar with tweezers, combs and clippers. With shaking hands and short scissor blades inadequate for the task, she cut off her long, thick fringe in careless, irregular strokes. Nicole felt the weight of the entire year that she spent devotedly growing and shaping her fringe dissipate into air as the cut hairs fell at her feet.


Maybe it’s best to get nothing free from the world, and owe nothing free in return.


Nicole swallowed the last of the bitterness as the wine-purple receded, and a jagged hairline hung like a torn curtain above her face.



Read the previous story


 

The story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this production are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred.



Updated: Jul 30, 2022

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Our monthly stories are productions looking to connect people to the magic of stories.

We create supplementary reading lists as a way to give you an insight into the inspirations and thinking behind our monthly stories. These reading lists take you behind the story, revealing the process of its making.

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Rasa → Raudram (रौद्रं): Fury. Presiding deity: Shiva. Colour: red, Adbhutam (अद्भुतं): Wonder, amazement. Presiding deity: Brahma. Colour: yellow

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ArchetypeCreator

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Carl Jung described the creative human best; “Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” The defining superpower of the creator is to absorb the world and reproduce it new, made more interesting and beautiful inside their mind. We have all the art, music, books, films and objects thanks to minds that decided to play with this world. The creator can also make the world more tedious and render it a terrible place. This shadow aspect of the creator archetype is what we explored this month.


The mood we wanted to create in this story is that of raudra, or anger, identified in the eastern aesthetic theory of rasa. The anger in this story is latent but peripheral—at the intensity of frustration. We used the mood adbūtha, or wonder, as an undertone.


In this reading list, you’ll find stories, books, films, and events that reveal the shadow of the creator archetype, and raudra rasa evoking varying degrees of anger.

  • 1976, death of Vladimir Komarov: Komarov died during the crash of the failed spacecraft Soyuz 1 which he was piloting solo. Soyuz 1 was launched on the orders of Leonid Brezhnev—leader of the Soviet Union, who wanted to stage a spectacular space rendezvous on the 50th anniversary of the Communist revolution—despite the spacecraft not being ready. Although Komarov and his close colleagues’ tried to postpone the operation, their concerns were not taken seriously. Komarov died screaming in rage and cursing the authorities as the spacecraft failed. Knowing that he was doomed with the faulty craft, Komarov requested an open-casket funeral before he boarded. Making the power-hungry leaders look at his remains charred from the impact of hitting the earth at meteoric speed was Komarov’s punishment to them. This recording of the last words from the transmission of Vladimir Komarov inside the crashing spacecraft brings on the raudra rasa in anyone who listens to it.

  • 2006, The Yoga of the Nine Emotions: The Tantric Practice of Rasa Sadhana. Peter Marchand, Harish Johari. Destiny Books: This book details the raudra rasa from tantric and ayurvedic perspectives, delving into colours, tastes and foods linked to this rasa, emotional fasting exercises, and how it can be used for healing. Pages 78-88.

  • The shadow of the creator archetype is very much personified in the stereotype of the tortured artist: angered or anguished by the world, deep in self-doubt or with the toxic fuel of anxiety and pain feeding their creativity, this stereotype has probably grown beyond its truth and reached levels of myth. The two links below give an introduction to the stereotype and an analysis of its truth and myth.

2022 retrieved, Wikipedia: Tortured artist.

2019, The Art Assignment; the truth of the tortured artist.

  • 1996, Touched With Fire. Kay Redfield Jamison. Simon and Schuster Publishers: This book written by a professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine reveals links between manic-depression and creativity, and encourages us to question the relationship that exists between art and madness. Based on studies and research on mood disorders, the book reveals the biological foundations of illnesses, lives and works of some of the world's greatest artists including Lord Byron, Vincent Van Gogh, and Virginia Woolf. As Lord Byron puts it, “We of the craft are all crazy. Some are affected by gaiety, others by melancholy, but all are more or less touched.”

  • When Carl Jung identified the creator archetype first, it was coined as ‘the artist’. We prefer to use the term ‘creator’ for this very same archetype as it includes the whole spectrum of creative minds that this idea applies to. This list includes excerpts from Carl Jung’s writing that touches on the archetype of the creator :

  • 2022, Sri Lankan protestors retaliate against government-induced violence: On May 9th 2022, a mob consisting of the then Sri Lankan prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s supporters attacked the peaceful, unarmed protestors on the public beach at Colombo’s Galle Face Greens. The protest, which has been a nationwide movement with its most popular site being at the Galle Face beach, is demanding the resignation of a regime accused of corruption, blatant nepotism and theft of public funds that has led to Sri Lanka’s worst economic crisis. Angered by this attack on civil rights and what was seen as the sacred ground of people’s power, Sri Lankans around the country started attacking vehicles and private properties of pro-Rajapaksa politicians. Many Sri Lankans supported the retaliations even as the violence escalated. Surrounded by angry protestors, Mahinda Rajapaksa was forced to resign from his role as prime minister that evening. May 9th violence in Sri Lanka is an example of collective fury, and where a majority of people enjoyed and encouraged and savoured the emotion of rage because they felt it was justifiable.

World in one news, WION

Primetime News, News First Sri Lanka

Democracy Now

Unedited footage of May 9th violence, News First Sri Lanka

  • 2018, A brief history of female rage in art. Ariela Gittlen, Artsy.net: This article talks about how, when justice seems elusive, images of angry women can be cathartic, even inspiring. It includes seven works from western art history that show the beauty and power of female rage.


>> Read the previous episode


Updated: Jul 30, 2022


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Image → A.Savin

Rasa → Karuna (compassion, sorrow), with Adbūtha (wonder) as secondary and tertiary bhībhatsa (disgust)

Archetype → Caregiver

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Although Siri’s hands were watering the turmeric plants with perfect automation, her ears and mind were elsewhere. The loudspeaker tied to the coconut palm down the street was screaming something from the political protest being held at the edge of her watta—the little suburban quarter that Siri lived in. It bordered the dirty canal. Siri didn’t care for politics; She saw it as a game already lost. But, this government has pushed things beyond loss. The prices were brutal. Business had been so bad; and most of her clients, being as broke as she was, could no longer afford to escape their homes or wives. So, she half-listened to the political clamour while wishing they would just shut up and elect a real human for President. Why is the President never a real person who has had to stand in the gas line, or walk on asphalt under the Colombo sun when the bus fares hike?


Why is the President always a clown, a thief, or a psychopath dressed in human skin?


She sighed into the plants. At least, the turmeric plants were doing well. They’re going for two-fifty for fifty now. Siri scanned the leaves, picked up a young snail and flicked it into the canal through the wire fence. She watched the snail float away in the black waters with a flicker of guilt.


Do we live in a world where we have to steal someone else’s opportunity to feed ourselves?


Siri told herself that the snail will find sanctuary on the drainage barrier stopping the leftovers of city greed from floating into the sea. She caught herself reflected on the canal waters, broken into streaks of small currents. Siri felt utterly alone. Her bedmate hadn’t come home this week either; He could barely afford to drive his tuk-tuk to Colombo after the fuel shortage. But, what made Siri feel more lonely was the realisation that she didn’t really miss him; she just wanted someone to tend to. She watched the slow flow of the waters, unconsciously pulling at old hurts that are better left lost.


Siri was Siripāla then; another man with a job, wife and kids. Everything changed the day Siripāla came home to find his wife Leela arrested by the police counter-subversion unit. Soon, all that was left of Leela were old clothes, photographs and a certificate of disappearance. Their two boys were sent to their grandparents amidst the hills and paddies while Siri rented a cheap bunk room in the city to save every possible Rupee. This is where Siri first shared a room with a man. In the strange years that came, there were fewer and fewer visits home to the boys. Siri thought of her two sons; Jayantha would be fifteen now, and Jothi ten. She briefly toyed with the fantasy of bringing them here to live with her, but quickly threw the thought into the canal to float away with the snail.


Too much had changed to go back again.


Knees creaking laboriously, Siri got up to her feet and stood over the turmeric patch. The smell of sea salt came with the wind, making a strange combination with the canal stench. The protest up the street was still shouting about the cost of living. Whatever said and done, Siri was glad to have her house; She was free from the weight of rent that hung over the many heads in her watta. The ownership certificate for this perch-and-a-half plot cost her life’s savings. The canal bordering it was filthy, and the house was mostly gypsum board. But it’s hers. Siri just wished it wasn’t so empty. The devilishly loud children next door were getting an earful from their mother. Siri thought of the pandemonium that surrounded her in the tiny rented house all those years ago when she had a family—in another life. A full moon was swimming on the black canal water; it also swam in the liquid in her eyes.


Like the ocean, like the river, like water… always one with the other.


 

>>Reading list for this MS episode



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