Monday, June 26, 2006



Dear Blue Cheesers and others,

In case you didn't read the subject line, this one's about self-loathing.

I'm here in my grandparents' house again, this time with my mother too, after a month in Singapore where my parents and I started work on a documentary based on a dance-poetry-theatre project called Navashwaasam which I/we have been working on for 9 months. If this documentary comes together it could be a fantastic resource to learn and teach and dialogue about art, history, science, education,democracy, beauty, truth, and creative resistance.

As that work flows on, the next project looms. September 11th 2006 is the centennial anniversary of Gandhi's declaration of satyaagraha in Johannesburg. It's also 5 years after the WTC and Pentagon bombings. Peace groups are using the occasion to call for a world-wide pledge of non-violence. I'd like to use one of the parts of Navashwaasam, a poem by Emmanuel Ortiz called Moment of Silence, and add a mirror-image echo in a poetic litany of the various triumphs that the Other World has seen (that CNN has not). Preferably with a group. Preferably as a tangible action in a people's movement that honors and protects an earthly resource. Preferably disobedient, though thoroughly civil, and definitely non-violent. If this project comes together it could captivate and activate audiences around the world.

I'm also working on a projectwith/for my dance teacher who, after seeing Navashwaasam, has started treating me like a fellow dance-maker, an adult, a professional, notjust another good student. She wants to explore Chaanakya, an Indian Machiavelli, especially with respect to his views on women, and especially through three women characters Draupadi, Mira Bai, andSavitri, all of whom, she says, maintained a facade of subserviencewhile in fact being subversive, even revolutionary. I'm in charge offiguring out the Savitri part. My mother suggested looking atAurobindo's Savitri. Now I'm hooked. Every time my mother walks through the room looking like she's not doing anything in particular I ask her to read Savitri with me. It's a meditation in itself. We'replaying around with an idea of a costume that can be flipped back and forth to show both Death and Savitri as they converse. If this project comes together it could be spiritually and artistically mind-blowing,a whole other level of Humanness and Being.

That all not sound much like self-loathing to you? Oh, but it is. I would say you don't even know how much it is, but if you're on this email list maybe you do.

I loathe having the privilege of intelligence, talent, lack of any severe physical deformity, and a family who made it their priority toprovide me access to an exceptional institutional education. It doesn't matter that this blessed family support, this home education, now allows me to break free of all manners of prisons, institutional, emotional, physical, and otherwise. My privilege is still thoroughly loathable. And no matter how much I scrub my own clothes or clean the bathroom or dig my own holes or powder the dry ginger on a stone instead of in the grinder, that privilege will never go away. I will still be the elite. I loathe the elite. I loathe that I've never been hungry. Oh sure, there are times likewhen we got lost in Chapada Diamantina and had to do Cobra Watch all night and I came back to the poussada thinking I was ravenous. But when have I truly known Hunger? And now when I'm about to eat the delicious dish my grandma made for breakfast in which the wheat grains are wonderfully chewy and the ginger (grown in our yard) just zings out, and after morning yoga, and my regular meager intake the previous evening, my hunger is the very best spice, just then, the women carrying heavy stones on their heads come in the gate and I lose my appetite. The stones are to lay the foundation for the staircase to the second floor that will be built by them, instead of by me and my mother (and guests), the ones who will actually live there. The stones probably come from blasting a sacred mountain in front of our house, a blasting I was so vehemently railing against just a few months back. My self-loathing at the sight of these women stops me from taking the second helping which I always take though my body never needs it.

I loathe that I'm still pleased when I lose weight even though I'm always speaking out against the media industrial societal complex that causes devastating body inferiority complexes in urbanized boys andgirls, the sons and daughters of the urbanized middle class who sit on their asses all day and then pay to go to a gym instead of just using their body to get what they really need (like by digging holes to grow vegetables instead of buying them and cleaning bathrooms instead of hiring someone else to do the dirty work and doing yoga for health and playing soccer for joy) and then just being happy with the body shape that results. I loathe that the only thing I can do to turn this violence I feel towards myself and all I am into a positive, sustaining, learning experience is to write to you all, because that is all I know to do. I loathe that I'm sitting at a computer, the parts of which someone searching through an e-waste dump will eventually poison themselveson, biding my time until the revolution begins and I will build its house, together with the other inhabitants. I loathe that there is apart of me that knows and needs to know that some of you will read this email and think it impressive, and think me remarkable.

But enough. I'm in India, the land of wisdom and truth and non-violence, right? I'm taking the Self and leaving the loathing inLas Vegas.

Love the Self.
Play with the Self.
Worship the Self.
Be the Self.

Thanks for taking my dump.
May your moons be ripe and smelly,

P.S. This communique occurs when the moon made of cheese is blue. If you think this all smells interesting and wish to be a blue cheeser and are not already, please tell me. If you think this cheese is smelly kaka and want nothing to do with it, please tell me. If you don't understand (and want to know the meaning of) certain words or phrases because they're in portugese or spanish or malayalam or sanskrit or hindi or mali-speak, please tell me. If you can help me inany of the things I mentioned (especially about September 11th), please tell me.

P.P.S. I'm behind on birth celebration communications. I love you all.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mali, I stumbled on your blog a few days ago. I hope you intended to have readers.

We should catch up sometime, but since I read this post, I've been bothered about it--I spent half an hour thinking about it on the bus this morning. I want to say that I think you're wrong, inasmuch as one's feelings can be wrong. But we should want a world peopled with the beautiful, intelligent and talented, and it terrifies me to think of loathing those traits. There are plently of other things to loathe, such as elitist conceptions of what any of those traits can and cannot be, or the fact that global society denies people education, food and health.

During my commute, I thought that one way to represent this distinction would be to loathe the fact that your virtues were privileges, but now I think even that's wrong. They are priviliges, in that we should feel graced and thankful to have them--just as we should feel _privileged_ to have a sun and moon to dance naked under. That they should be available to everyone, or that they have been provided to you as a result of a sick and unjust system, doesn't change their beauty.

Track me down sometime.

--Nathan from Synergy

1:52 PM  
Blogger Malavika said...

dearest nathan. i'm assuming youu are the longhaired paris-went this-used-to-be-a-tree stamping nathan. just checking. if so, how wonderful a day beautiful a life mindblowing an existence this is.

no, i didnt really intend to have readers, but if i do, wonderful. especially long lost friends.

you're right. if i was saying what you thought i was saying was completely and utterly wrong. and maybe i was sort of saying that. but what i was DOING was different. the explanation is still building in my head. if it converges i might send it out to folks again because i got ennough responses like yours to warrant it.

but for now, know that i absolutely loathe nothing abbout myself or what i am or where i come from. there's a certain distaste and guilt i have about my privileges, those are both emotions/reactions/feelings i'm using to fuel myself to transcend the emotions themselves, to keep changing the frickin system by being the change i want to see, and to come to a universal love. its coming. in the meantime, loathe was a strong word, i wanted to write a strong email to capture and condense what was going on in and around me and fling it out to the world hoping the arrows would turn innto flowers. They did, in me, the act/process of the email brought me to the inner peace i hoped for, but it seems to have had unintended consequences on those i shared my burden and joy with.

where are you? who are you? what are you? how's leah? gosh i hope this is the right nathan. if its not, tell me who you are so i can remember how to love you. oh and tell me your email address, this thing just says anonymous comment at blogger or whatever)

5:37 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home