Sunday, December 26, 2010

Shiva’s Ambassador

Basava the Bull. Shiva’s favoured mode of transport. In Karnataka, he visits our homes ever so often as “Kole Basava”, the spectacularly decorated bull, accompanied by his musician-minder. Sometimes, he just stands mutely, waiting to be rewarded for his presence with anything from a lump of jaggery and a handful of roasted gram to money. (The musician minder prefers the money!)

Sometimes, he will foretell the future, nodding or shaking his head when the minder asks him a question on our behalf. (A few surreptitious tugs of his bridle makes his answers what we want to hear. “Will Amma’s daughter be married by Ugadi?” “Yes, yes, yes"!!” he answers in three emphatic nods!)

And sometimes the musician minder will play a beautiful tune on his folk-nadaswaram. My favourite? “Bhagyada lakshmi Baramma”!

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