Mrs. and me had been to Bangalore recently. We took the opportunity to see the vast and serene campus of The Art of Living Foundation on the outskirts of Bangalore. The founder of the world-wide foundation is Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. We had attended a yoga workshop organised by the foundation at Hyderabad six or seven years ago. I had practised the Sudarsana Crea for some months regularly, but then reverted to my old routine slowly. The crea which simply is a rlythmic-breathing excercise, a particular variant of pranayama, when performed in the manner devised by Sri Sri will take you along an exquisite and uplifting physical and mental experience. The physiological basis behind the experience, I do not know.
There is one another Sri Sri, i know of. The renowned Telugu poet , Sri Sri, the
author of great poetry like Maha Prasthanam, the great writer of movie lyrics and the campaigner for the undertrodden.
One of his memorable lyrics is ” The Dilemmas at the twilight.”
Here is my translation.
It is Norma Shearer in the Roxy
And in the Broadway it is Kanchana Mala.
Which way to turn,
Was the complex problem the student faced.
The menu at The Udupi Sri Krishna Vilas Restaurant,
Here is this delicious almond-halwa,
Nay, here is the tasty Semolina upma,
The salary-man was in a quandary to choose.
That evening again,
Loan sharks on your trail here,
Children starving, there at home,
Suicide by hanging or
Drowning in the sea,
Crux of the problem for this family-man.”
Weighty issues. As for me the first two sorts of dilemmas, I own arise quite often. And I can say the third sort of dilemma is faced by many of us mortals, at some time or the other though the circumstances that drive each of them to the alternative course may differ, and widely.
The Roxy and the Broadway were the, now defunct, great movie theatres of the erstwhile Madras, (Now called Chennai), I surmise.As for Kanchana Mala, I knew from my mother that she was the glamor-queen of the Tollywood during the thirties and
forties of the last millennium. What of the enigmatic Norma Shearer? I have read the lyric first some forty years ago. Since then this question lay dormant in my mind. She, no doubt, must have been the matinee idol , not just for the student, but unadmittedly for Sri Sri also for , he was, besides being the champion of the underdog, was also a connisseure of all that most guys are generally fond of.
Norma Shearer was i note , a hoolywood heart-throb, who reigned both during the naughty, no-holds-barred precode era of the Hollywood.but also the staid post-code era. She was famous not just for her looks but also for her perceptive and bold quotes. She retired in 1943, alas long before I was born.