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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Honor

'Cross your legs; a lady doesn't sit like this!'
My mother told me when I was 10.
The first time I bled, she shamed me again
'It is a great life until it happens.'
Maybe she was worried about raising a daughter
Unstained, untouched, unseen by pervert eyes.

I was 19 when I was raped.
He thought 'No!' meant 'Yes!'
His male ego could not handle rejection.
He kept asking, ‘Why are you so dry?'
As if I was doing him great disservice
By being so uncooperative.

He came between my thighs.
And gloated, ‘That was good!'
Maybe it was short.
But it seemed like hours.

I saw the moon looking down at me
A witness to my shame.
'I thought we were friends!' I screamed at it later
'Why didn't you save me?'

The thing is- I could not save myself.
My honor is between my legs- I was taught.
And I believed it for a long time.

It took years of hidden guilt and shame,
Repressed memory and some therapy,
To come to terms that it wasn't my fault.

The shame should be for those who fail at proper courtship
Even animals respect the choices of their women.
To take away what is not rightfully yours is the shame.
There is no honor in it.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Midnight in Paris

They say Paris is magical at midnight. I walked out of my hotel to experience that. After an unpleasant smell of what appears to be an open toilet for a homeless guy, I walked up to Pont de Grenelle, a  bridge across the River Seine.

I half expected some revelers from the past to sweep me back in time, like they do in the movies,  for a night with some of the greatest minds of art and literature. Hemingway, Picasso, Stein, Monet, Hugo- it didn't matter which part of historical reality. I imagined an enlightening conversation that would give me the unified mantra of life. A few phrases that would help me through every ordeal I ever face.

Then I look around, a family of refugees in the park, young people laughing by the river bank. The Eiffel Tower lit up like a million fireflies are climbing up and down. After everything the city has seen in recent years - all the showmanship by the terrorists to frighten the people and the head of states into reaction has yielded nothing. Because life goes on.

I believe the mantra I was looking for is: Be alive.

The Eiffel Tower at Midnight. Every hour from 9 pm to 1 am at the strike of the hour, the Eiffel sparkles like diamonds for 5 mins as the lights change from a continuous glow to a dazzling glitter. The lights go out after 1 am.


At Le Moulin Rouge (The Red Mill)

It was a lavish extravaganza featuring pirates, an Indian princess, classic can-can dancers, circus clowns, miniature horses, a talking dog, a gorgeous woman dancing in water with pythons (my favorite act) and three specialty acts. We decided to go at the 11th hour and were not disappointed, even though I have seen several shows in Vegas.

 The Notre-Dame is a medieval gothic Catholic cathedral


The Louvre Pyramid

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A visit to Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle


In the heart of the Emerald City, Seattle, there is a glass art exhibition showcasing the life's work of Dale Chihuly. Born in the Pacific Northwest, Chihuly began experimenting with glass blowing in 1969 and later traveled to Venice to work at the Venini factory on the island of Murano. The world famous Murano glassmakers still lead the world in the art of glassblowing.

I first saw a glass museum on our way to Niagra Falls with my friends on a 4th July weekend, way back in 2008. Then, SG and I received two gorgeous Murano glass centerpieces in 2010, as a wedding gift from an Italian family friend. I have left it for safekeeping with my mother-in-law unless we find a nice spot to house them.

In 1976,  Chihuly had a head-on car accident in which he flew through the windshield, got severe cuts in the face and got blinded in the left eye leading to his loss of depth perception. Then in 1979, in a bodysurfing accident, he dislocated his right shoulder. Chihuly relinquished his gaffer position and let others work on his designs. He started to communicate his vision by drawing forms which became an important part of his self-expression. In an interview in 2006, he said,'Once I stepped back, I liked the view.'

Glass Forest
Organic forms created by letting glass down from a ladder

Mille Fiori (a thousand flowers)
Inspired by Chihuly's mother's garden
Mille Fiori, in Italian, also refers to a type of honey gathered from several flowers

Growing up in Tacoma, Washington, Chihuly often beachcombed and found Japanese fishing net floats along the beaches of Puget Sound. The Ikebana and Float Boats were inspired by this childhood experience.  In the mid-1990s, he was in Finland when he threw his glass forms into the local river near the glass factory there.

One day, Dale woke up and said that he wanted to hang glass chandeliers in his favorite city, Venice. He had seen a chandelier in Barcelona in a low lying ceiling. It inspired him to make the chandelier series.

Similar to a floppy bowl I made in BAGI, these art pieces are clouds of bright color

A reflection of the Seattle Space Needle on a glass ball in the garden