Tag Archives: travel story

Shiva`s evil plan

Compassion with a strong and gender divinity, our Lord Ganesha, for that we all make mistakes. Actually a tribute to our great Lord Shiva, the father of destruction!

Preface

Hinduism seems to be one of the most complex religions there is. But in fact it`s not.

There might be over a million Deities existing in all, and to at least a dozen of them Hindus pray regularly. There is a particular God or Goddess for every occasion to worship. But, no matter how deep you want to dig into Hinduism or not, the basic thought, of the order of the world and all energy existing in it, is really simple.

In Hindu belief, there are three main powers, characterized through the three mightiest Gods: Brahma, who stands for creation, Vishnu, who is responsible for preservation and Shiva, who brings destruction. These three powers keep the world and all its beings moving and in order. Creativity, continuity and change. Birth, life and death. Not one could exist without the other.

Now, there are still many other Gods. Like there are many other important things in life, apart from creation, preservation and destruction. Things like health, wealth, loyalty, fertility. So there is basically a single God for everything humans could wish for. A single God, people can pray to when they feel they need to.

One of the most popular ones is Lord Ganesha. Ganesha is said to be the “Remover of obstacles” and also called the “God of wisdom”. He is prayed to at the beginning of a journey, for clearing the way of all problems.

Not as much known as Lord Ganesha himself is the fact, that he actually is the son of Shiva – the God of destruction. This is the story of a desperate father using his son to destroy mankind.

Ganesha on another mission

Lord Ganesha, the great and wise Remover of obstacles, the God of wisdom, was once on the beginning of another journey. He had spent much of the last time dealing with small tasks and had lost the overview about what was happening down there. It was time he paid another personal visit to mankind, to find out about their problems and helping to solve them.

Unexpectedly, this time he found many people unhappy and unsatisfied. Almost everyone was wining for something “more” they wanted to have and they were complaining about “so many things, which stand in the way”. Lord Ganesha was highly alarmed. That was him needed! But he was also overwhelmed by so much unhappiness he had never seen before. He didn`t have a clue, where to start and how to help them. Because this time, the problems of the people didn`t seem to be real and fightable. All the unhappiness Ganesha found lay in a haze of mysterious gloom. He was idealess. He sighed and sat down on a blanket on the floor.

Ganesha getting to know the Smartphone

Suddenly, he spotted some people walking down the road with a mysterious black tool in their hands – some holding it to their ear, some holding it in front of them, staring at it. He looked around and saw even more people carrying these strange objects. The people were walking, talking and laughing, attention-caught with these things, as if they were friends. Ganesha didn`t understand. So he asked someone.

„Excuse me, Sir. What are these mysterious things everyone is walking around with?“ The man didn`t look up from the tool in his hand at first, but when he finally did and recognized the Elephant`s head, he was excited that Lord Ganesha was speaking to him and replied „It`s a smartphone, oh great Lord. The best thing in the world!” Ganesha still didn`t understand. So he asked “But what are people actually doing with it? And why does everyone seem so keen on them?” Now the man realized, that Ganesha had never seen a Smartphone before. So he replied:

“Smartphones, oh great Lord, are the most useful tools of the modern world! People can solve every problem with them. You can talk or message to whoever you like, from everywhere. You can order whatever you want from wherever you are. You can picture everything you do and show it to anyone. You can share your whole life with all the people in the world, and you can find the whole world and all answers to any question in it…. Plus, you always got all your appointments neatly in order. I can tell you, it`s a hell of a great tool!”.

Ganesha wants a Smartphone

Ganesha was thrilled. His eyes began to sparkle. He smelled, this tool could be the clue to solve everyone`s problems and remove everyone`s obstacles in a much more efficient way. So he was sure he needed a Smartphone himself right away. “Where can I get one like this?” he asked the man. “Oh Lord, please, I would be honored if you allowed me to give you mine as a present.” Ganesha smiled and felt happy like a child on Christmas Day. Another man had witnessed the conversation and came offering his Smartphone as well. “Please Lord, take mine, too!”, “Yea, and mine!” shouted a third person, „And mine!“ yelled a fourth…. Ganesha took all of them excitedly, thanked the kind people and went straight to work.

Ganesha at work

He started making phone calls, messaging around and searching the whole internet to find solutions for the people`s sorrows. He was very busy, night and day. He compared information and offers, made calls, searched, he gave his best. But somehow, not a single problem wanted to get solved, despite all the work he did. He started to get worried and desperate.

Shiva is pissed

What the great, wise Lord Ganesha didn`t know was, that he didn`t come on this mission by accident. His father, the great, mighty Lord Shiva, had sent him, because he was angry. A while ago, people had started always wanting more of everything and therefore people had begun to dangerously exploit the nature. The prices for food and products of life were falling, because no one wanted to pay decent money anymore. So they produced more and more of everything and exported more and more of it, but the prices kept falling. And the greed increased. So did the unhappiness.

For all that, people had taken so much water from the holy river Ganga, that there was almost no water left for Shiva to reign and play with. Shiva was seriously pissed. He was furious with mankind, because they always claimed everything for themselves. So he made an evil plan to destroy them. But none of these boring, upfront destruction scenarios that were known already – like floods, earthquakes and so on. Oh no! This time he was really angry. So, his plan needed to be subtle and the most evil ever.

Shiva`s evil plan

What he came up with, was genius. He decided not to attack the humans directly, but manipulate their souls and destroy them from the inside. His plan was, to silently destroy the humanity within and among men, so they would slowly destroy themselves.

Therefore he invented a small and apparently useful tool – simple enough for everyone to use, but complex enough to keep both smart and dumb people distracted for ages. It was a tool so useful, no one could resist using it, so useful, no one wanted to live without it anymore, so useful, no one wanted to spend a single minute without it anymore! That was when the Smartphone was born. People loved it.

Getting Ganesha out of the way

But there was Shiva`s son, the great and gender Lord Ganesha, who surely – sooner or later – would discover the Smartphones being an obstacle to people. Shiva couldn`t let his good-hearted son interfere with his plan! So he kept Ganesha busy for a while with small but frequent tasks and he hid the Smartphone phenomenon from him until it was time again for Ganesha to visit mankind on another mission of removing obstacles and solving problems. But the misery among the people was already so widely spread, that Ganesha didn`t know where to start helping them. In that very moment, Shiva let the first Smartphone cross his son`s way.

Ganesha loved it immediately and started using it, because he did`t know this tool. He had not seen yet what it did to the people and had never been disappointed by its promises. Also, the people had told him it was the most useful thing in the world. So Ganesha started to love Smartphones, just like everyone else. But soon he got addicted to them, and trapped.

The problems grow

Now Ganesha was so busy using his Smartphones for all the problems to get solved, he suddenly couldn`t solve a single one of them anymore! There were more and more troubles, problems and obstacles among the humans and even the Great Lord Ganesha couldn`t remove them. And because the people saw Ganesha using his Smartphones all the time, they were even more convinced it was a good and useful tool to have. Everyone, without a Smartphone before, got one now. Everyone, including Ganesha, got entirely addicted and absorbed in using Smartphones. Everyone now tried to always be efficient, to always do and solve things. And the troubles and problems of the people grew and grew.

The destruction scenario

Humans started fighting. Humans stopped talking to each other. Humans stopped sharing things of their real lives, because they were so busy sharing all kinds of things on the internet already. Everything they had, they wanted for themselves. And they never seemed to feel they had enough of anything. People got egoistic. People always had no time. And especially, they never had time to simply be happy. As the time passed, the human race slowly developed into a species of emotionless egomaniacs, with brains only still responding to the orders of their black little tools.

Shiva`s plan worked

Shiva watched the scenario with pure pleasure. He sat back in his dry bed of the Ganga River and grinned his most evil grin. His plan had worked perfectly! He laughed, a loud evil laughter, which should shiver the whole Himalaya for centuries.

Advertisements

Ausstellung Bremen Vegesack

“Geprägt durch ihre vielen Reisen und einen einjährigen Aufenthalt in Asien hat die Künstlerin einen ganz anderen Blick auf unsere Gesellschaft mit ihren Begehren, Normen und Emotionen bekommen. Die gewonnenen Perspektiven und Fragestellungen kommen in Bildern, Objekten und Skulpturen zum Ausdruck.”

dsc08771ww

dsc08768

Reviews:

Die Norddeutsche:

dsc08914

Das BLV:

dsc08915

Ausstellung human. emotionen. absurditäten.

Ausstellung Human. Emotionen. Absurditäten. Janina Mau

„…Und dann bin ich ein Jahr durch Asien gereist. (…) Aber mit meiner Rückkehr hat mich eine der schwierigsten Phasen meines Lebens erwartet: Das wieder-Ankommen. In meiner Heimatkultur, in Deutschland. Ich habe gestrauchelt mit all dem Luxus hier, der es allein nicht bringt. Was früher normal für mich gewesen war, war mir plötzlich fremd. – Eine Kultur In der so vieles so durchstrukturiert und wohlorganisiert ist, von so extremem, aber unbewussten Wohlstand, der selten richtig wertgeschätzt wird. Ein Land, in dem Menschen selten wirklich glücklich sind mit dem, was sie haben. Und wir haben verdammt viel!

Durch diese Asienreise und mein ganzes vieles Rumgereise, habe ich einen anderen Blick auf unser alltägliches Leben und unsere Gesellschaft bekommen, der oft sarkastisch oder auch bissig ist. Der sich meist kritisch mit unserem Wohlstand, unseren Gewohnheiten, Erwartungen und Forderungen auseinandersetzt. Und der unsere Begehren, Emotionen und Normen hinterfragt.

Ich bin inzwischen angekommen. Aber ich empfinde immernoch – und werde es wahrscheinlich immer – viele Dinge und Gefühle, die wir als elitäre, westliche Gesellschaft haben und die wir als Selbstverständlichkeiten empfinden, als paradox und oft vollkommen absurd. (….) Und das ist die Geschichte dieser Ausstellung: Human. Emotionen. Absurditäten.“

Human. Emotionen. Absurditäten. In der Kunstbar Bremen
Human. Emotionen. Absurditäten. 25.03.-16.04.16 in der Kunstbar Bremen

Wealth

Lucky, in theory (a Burmese kidney-infection)

Have you ever had a kidney-infection? I do not hope so, because I can tell you it hurts like hell. Your brain is empty, apart from the permanent pain, the shivering and the desperate wish for it to stop. I am very glad though it wasn’t my first. Because when I felt the strange, slowly rising pain in my back, as we were walking just out of Nyaung-Shwe-village for some days of trekking and camping, I got suspicious. I knew I knew that pain from somewhere! It was not just the shitty mattress and the weight of my backpack. We sat down for the Burmese version of Spaghetti-Bolognese and I suddenly remembered that I´d had a light version of a bladder infection a week ago and hadn´t cured it properly. But I had thought it had gone away. I knew what nightmare was about to happen now. I told the guys I was with to go on and don´t worry because I was sad enough I couldn´t do the camping-trip now – I didn´t want to spoil theirs as well. They hesitated, but went after I forced them to. I tendered my back and sighed while I watched them and their carefree laughter becoming smaller and smaller in the distant of the dusty road, whirling sand swallowed their shapes eventually.

I sighed again and stood up, asked for the next doctor. There was one close by. I entered an open shack, looking like all the other shops and businesses at the side of the main road, only with a white desk and chair in the middle of the empty, shabby room. A very nice female doctor asked me to take a seat. I told her about my pain, my past bladder infection and supposed kidney-infection, and she listened carefully. By then my pain was already quite alarming and let me quite incapable of much complicated brain activity. We realized our common language was not enough to understand entirely. So she pulled out a dictionary, I looked up “kidney” and “infection” and showed her the beautifully written Burmese equivalent. She understood. She said it was likely to be possible. Yet she told me she had no “machines” for testing it and couldn´t prescribe medicine in such case. She wouldn´t have that medicine here, anyway. My heart sunk. My pain rose with every minute. Paralyzed me already. And now my help and hope faded away. She recommended to drive to Taungyii – the nearest bigger town – and see a doctor in hospital. I got scared. A hospital in another town is really far away, when you are in Burma with the syndromes of a kidney-infection. I didn´t have any energy left to do so. But apparently, it was the onliest choice. She said she was truly sorry, and I saw it in her calming smile and encouraging eyes. I realized that this was how things were in Myanmar. There was not always a doctor for everything immediately when one was needed. And I was probably still very lucky because I had, in theory, the money to pay a taxi to drive me to hospital, I had, in theory, the money to pay for medication…

Now traveling is no theory. Traveling is one of the most practical things you can experience. And when you do it well, you get sucked into the local circumstances and realities so much, you totally forget about your privileges and further options as a tourist. Which is mainly good. So despite feeling very weak, I asked around for a bus (which is in Nyaung Shwe village always a cramped pick-up with two wooden benches, bumping its way to wherever, at the speed of 50 km/h…). But as it was already 4 pm, people told me, the next one was going only the next morning. Don´t ask me why exactly I didn´t consider taking a taxi for 30 Dollars. I don´t know. It simply was a lot of money. Even in that situation, it seemed so out of place, spending that much money (five nights sleep in a comfortable hostel or 20 proper hot meals) on a diagnosis I already knew and could also have tomorrow while I was still able to fight the pain with a lot of painkillers. So that was what I did. I returned to the hostel, said I was back already because I was sick, and spent a fevered, shivery, restless night until I cached a cramped, bumping pick-up-ride, lasting two-and-a-half-hours of pure pain, in the morning.

"Bus" to Taungyii

Taungyii was bustling. The whole city was an open market place, people were bargaining and screaming, car drivers pushed their horns. Tired and far from understanding what was happening around me, I asked my way from the bus stand to the hospital and finally arrived after half an hour foot walk at a middle sized, once-white building that looked kind of like a hospital. Mainly because it had a big red cross on its outer wall. When I hung over the reception, complete lack of energy, the young nurses – white caps on pretty faces – giggled behind their hands. Burmese girls always did, I think because they were shy and totally flattered to see and serve a foreigner. In the pale, morbid waiting hall people sat with worried faces in silence. Pain was tormenting me, but I was still a lucky sick person. Within five minutes I was sat on a white bed with an enthusiastic young male doctor asking me in fluent English what my problem was. I suspected that many of the other people had to wait longer.  After I had told him, what I had already told the doctor in Nyaung Shwe, he pressed my belly, back and side, asked for pain and, nodding, began to write down something. He wrote into a small, cheap children´s exercise book – which was meant to be the professional file for every patient here – diagnosis and treatment. After a log silence, still writing without looking up, he said “I prescribe you another antibiotic for seven days.” His fingers were carefully forming letters, phrases, signatures. I sat up. “Eehh, but you haven´t tested anything. How do you know it´s really a kidney-infection? Don´t you want to test anything?” – “Your syndromes speak for themselves” he answered, relaxed, looking up now. “You said you had a bladder infection. And you say you have taken Ciprofloxacin for five days. That antibiotic has, unfortunately, a habit of not being strong enough to kill all the germs in only five days. It seems that was the case here also. So your infection has not fully gone away. Now it is very important you take another kind of antibiotics, a strong one, for the whole of seven days so we can be sure all of it gets killed.” He closed the booklet, handed it to me, smiled and wished me all the best. And that was it. – Could it be that easy? Irritated I spluttered a “thank you” and went out of the room to the counter in the waiting hall with the nervously smiling nurse-girls. They pointed to their left, to another counter with a woman behind it. That seemed to be the pharmacy. I handed her my “file” and two seconds later she placed three single plastic packages of small pills on the counter. Next to it she laid a hand-written bill. Now I had a big problem!

In theory, I had a lot of money on my bank account. In practice, none of my credit cards were working on Burmese cash machines. We had already taken a lot of US-Dollars in cash with us into the country. It was said, that there were not many ATMs at all, and even if, it was not guaranteed, that it was really possible to get money from them. We had smiled at the overly-careful advices from the two-year-old travel guide after the ATM in the capital had worked fine. Yet we had what we thought would be enough cash for our stay.  But then we finally realized that it would get tight after all. Luckily we had a friend with us, who´s Visa credit card was working on some ATMs, so he lent us money. Still our financial situation remained tight. Sometimes the machines were working and sometimes they were not. And sometimes they had limits. When my friends had left for their camping-trip, I hadn´t thought about money. I had enough for the daily life, enough to pay for food and some nights in the hostel. I had not thought about “expensive” medication.

The bill said 35 Dollars. About the same that antibiotics would cost in Germany. – A fortune in Burma. Also for the standards we had immersed into. I emptied my purse on the counter – all my remaining Dollars and Kyatt put together, removing the money I would need for the bus home, another night in the hostel and some basic food. Left was half of the money I had to pay. Delirium and fever of a painful kidney-infection overcame me. I stood in a shabby hospital in a strange city, far, far away. Realizing, that it was Sunday and all the banks were closed. That my pain was killing me and I had no opportunity to get relieve. Simply because I had not enough money to buy medicine to cure my serious illness. And my friends were somewhere in the faraway bush with no mobile phones on them. I felt like in a proper, evil nightmare. For a moment I think I felt the desperation, that for many thousands of people must be constantly real. (Although I was still a very lucky sick person, in theory.) I was devastated. I broke down. I think I cried. But the woman on the pharmacy-counter was kind and smart (and beautiful), like many Burmese women are. She understood and tendered me, wordless. We had no language in common, so she showed me, taking a part of my money from the counter, holding it, and handing me two of the three packs of pills. Gestured, pills 11 to 14 would stay here until I would come back, bringing the rest of the money. I was baffled. I smiled. Bloody cultural civilization! People just stick to it like fat blue flies to the shit because they don’t know about alternatives. I would have never ever considered such an easy solution to be possible! In Germany, or other western countries, you either can pay for medication or you can´t. Ripping apart a prescribed dose, buying single tablets, is just not a concept to think of, for us.

Delirious nights

I took the packed pick-up home, happy now, relieved (even bought new pencils at the market on a dose of antibiotics and painkillers!), between all the smiling people transporting goods, belongings, market shopping, helping me onto my place on the wooden bench. Back in the cozy comfort of my hostel I again had shivery, fevered nights with bad dreams and often lay awake in pain staring at the lizards in front of my window. But it got better with a lot of sleep. And the pills 1 to 10. Then some warm tea. Then the western breakfast on the terrace (Pancakes). Then the beloved three-in-one-coffee-mix and when I could think again, I started writing. I didn´t stop writing for three whole days without a break. Sitting on the terrace, watching guests from all over the world come and go. And on the fourth day, after a huge thunderstorm, which I watched from my comfy shelter, anxious because of my boys out there, somewhere, they came back, happy as ever, with many stories to tell. And with money for my second trip to Taungyii.

 

Close to the meaning of life

Ants exist because someone has to milk the lice. Worms are there so the plants have a fluffy ground and the rain can drain. Deer walk about for there is some grassland left without forest suffocating all the fragile plants closer the ground and the wolves don’t starve.

Even the stones are there to provide the moss and plaits a base, to challenge the down-coming water in it’s run and to save some precious warmth for the lizard. The grass grows to feed the cattle and to give the ticks a spring board to their victims. Trees grow and fall and rotten and become rich soil again… Ok, admittedly, all of this is a philosophical or a question of belief. But everything at least seems to have a working order! What in hell is the meaning of the mankind? What is our reason, our excuse for being? What are we supposed to contribute?

I would love to send a questionnaire around the world to thousands of different people with different lives and read all the diverse opinions of this maybe most interesting and yet most difficult question of our existence. What answers would you get? I bet a list from A to Z! Maybe starting with “we exist to amuse ourselves”, “to become rich” and “we are made to form the world” or “to save the world”.. I have lost myself in that question long ago and keep struggling with the sense of human and my personal existence.

But there is a growing number of other people nowadays asking the same question. Since we don’t have to worry about surviving anymore but about the size of our TV and the best restaurant to eat at, we do have too many choices of everything – what to do, buy, think, become… Since we are let to decide for ourselves and not been decided about (yes, suddenly we are actively responsible!) by the nature, fate, the church, the parents or community which we were not long ago so dependent on, the meaning of our individual lives became blurry.

I think today two kind of people might be happy: those who don’t ask themselves that question and those who have asked it themselves long and insistent enough to eventually find wisdom in it. All others, I believe, must sometimes feel the same slight melancholy pain I do of that hidden and unanswered question. When they gasp for breath and realize people are just running about, chasing vague aims they don’t even know, feeling the need to achieve something the norms prescribe while they are distracted by things that promise a happier, more fulfilled life though those just pursue to push the nonsense they don’t need still in the hope to gain something they think they want.

When you turn your head towards nature it’s obvious that between birth and dead every living creature was given the duty to do certain useful things to justify it’s existence. What do we actually contribute to the world? What are we supposed to do? Some people would say they do useful things like they are involved with charity, help other people or they pay for reafforestation or things like that. Those things are good, no doubt, but they are admittedly only a compensation for what others or we ourselves have done bad before ergo should be naturally and not an achievement to pride oneself with. Those things are a syndrome of our modern society but no answer to the question for the reason of our existence. And unfortunately I can’t please you with the answer.

But back to the survival. What about living to survive? Since that is basically the main aim of every living creature there must lay some answer in that. I have had a light bulb moment recently while camping in Scotland how at least to kill the worry about the meaning of life. I already saw how it works many times in Asia and now really felt it for myself.

It’s really simple: When you are busy with surviving, the gnawing but obviously luxury question for meaning doesn’t exist.  For us – the standard westernized person – it is quite a while ago that we seriously had to concern ourselves with surviving. To concern ourselves with an outcome at the end of the day that would strictly and mercilessly decide about we living or dying. Hunger, cold, danger or illness. For many, many other people on this planet it is still a daily reality. When you have to basically work all day just to survive on a human level you don’t ask for another sense because that is the sense. Providing a dry, warm and safe sleeping place for yourself or even children, managing to have enough and warm food and warm, fresh clothes the next day keeps so many (predominantly) woman around the world busy permanently as a full-time job. They don’t have all the luxury we do, they can’t go to ALDI buy ready meals, stuff the washing machine with dirty clothes and put the children into day-care so they have some leisure time. They have to work really hard for all that and when they’re finished at the end of the day they can be seriously proud of themselves because it’s a bloody hard days work. Do you think they ask for another meaning in life?

So all that came back to me when I was camping some days in the wilderness of the Scottish Highlands – often twelve miles each direction to the next house, human, civilization. The weather is tough there in early May and I was fighting permanent rain, wind and cold. It took me some hours per day to pack or set up my tent and stuff properly, to prepare it against the heavy wind and wet from above and underneath. When that was done, depending on the distance I had walked that day and the spot I’d found, the preparation of food was difficult sometimes. Drinking water was to fetch from far, gnawing hunger and difficult weather conditions made it often a laborious act to eventually get some by then desperately needed food. I was wrapping up in my sleeping bag long before nightfall, exhausted, because when you don’t live in the comfort of a house warmth and light are rare goods and you don’t expect anything exciting to happen anyway (like I often do at home at 4 a.m. lurking around unsatisfied for something on facebook). But I felt truly happy because everything I had done that day had been absolutely necessary and therefore had been meaningful. I didn’t had to worry whether I did the right things or not, because I only did what I had to do and if it worked, I did it right. No questioned decisions, no struggles, no regrets.

I have thought about what is really meaningful in my life often in those early nights between those snow-capped mountains hiding myself very basically from the reckless whether with nothing to do. It came to me that feeling and enjoying those very moments were the answer. Being able to lay there in all needed comfort and satisfied with no further wishes. When I get close to nature and far from all the unimportant stuff of civilization I get very close to my basic needs. And I feel very clearly what it does not take to be happy. Not the nice flat, not the good beer, not the pretty skirt and not even the beach-holiday. In some conditions being able to “survive” the day is a proper reason to feel sense. I wished it could always be like this! Freed of options, freed of expectations, freed of temptations! I’d be happy and satisfied without even knowing the cause of the human being.