love is the way

love is the way durga dashLate nineteen eighties. Just when we thought we were out of our teenage hangovers and stupidities, and the advent of TV and DVD players would sound the death knell for Bollywood, a spate of romantic films ruled the box office. These movies also launched the career of a lot of stars: the innocent looking Juhi Chawla, the dhak dhak girl Madhuri,  the chocolate boy Amir Khan, and romantic singer Udit Narayan  to name a few. We enjoyed listening to those great romantic songs without bothering much about their meanings or origins.

Now we don’t have to even wreck our brains to understand the lyrics of some of the popular songs.  We have to just google it. I found out this from a site:

Aye mere humsafar
Ek zara intezaar
Sunn sadayein de rahi hai
Manzil pyaar ki

O my companion
wait just a while
Listen to the calling
of love’s destination

Even after a little help from the Google, the song may not be fully understandable. I too write poems that friends say they don’t understand. But what I do understand from the above song is that it treats love as some kind of a goal to be achieved. And I have an objection there. Because I think love does not have any destination. Love is the way.

When your goal is to become a doctor, it means you are not a doctor now. Same way if love is your destination you are not in love now.

In those days, not having the advantage of Google to check out the exact lyrics and not being native Hindi speakers, the lines we sang sometimes went like this:

App jaise koi
Mere jindegi mein aai
To baap ban  jaye
…… to baap ban jaye

Duniya kaminooo.. ka mela
Mele mein yeh dil akela

Those days we never tried to understand the meaning of Hindi film songs. These days, even after trying my best I fail to understand the mystic connotations of the majority of Hindi film and pop songs.

 

In Bhakti Sutras (which some translate loosely as the Aphorism of Love), Narada says that love is the goal as well as the way. Of course he was talking of divine love. Similarly many of the songs written by Rumi and other Sufi saints are about divine love.  For the spiritually inclined love is the way to self realisation.

But, for the Bollywoood lyricists love is the way to make lots of money. Some highly paid lyricists have brought down many Sufi bhajans from their high pedestals to the level of teenage infatuations. They don’t even acknowledge that they have plagiarized the songs from Sufi and Bhakti writers. Don’t think it is only the script writers who plagiarize.

Of course our popular bhajan singers do not do a better job when they sing bhakti songs following the tune of Bollywood songs that reminds you of  semi clad heroines and item girls gyrating to the tunes in all their vulgar glory.

In my book Idle Hours, I have dealt at length about my ruminations on love at length in an article. I have also discussed about the origin of the Valentine’s Day.

According to one theory, this day is associated with the St. Valentine who performed secret marriages in the 3rdcentury Rome against the diktat of the emperor to debar young men from marrying so that they became better soldiers. However, St Valentine would hang his head in shame if he now learns that marketeers are exploiting his name to sell cards, roses, and chocolates to gold, diamond, and platinum. Moreover, we are not satisfied with marketing the ‘ways’ associated with love only for one day. We have invented so many curtain raisers (Rose Day etc.) before the Valentine’s Day.

On a serious note, St Valentine will also hang his head in shame when he learns that even though we are living in the twenty first century we are seducing girls so that it will add to the numbers of our community.

At the other extreme, we are killing the people who genuinely choose love in spite of differences in social status, religion, caste, or creed.

I was deeply touched by the way poet Rahat Indori has put it.

फूल इस सोच में गुम हैं, के कहाँ महकेंगे, 
तितलियों के लब ए इज़हार पे पाबंदी है..... 
क़त्ल करने की खुली छूट है अब भी लेकिन, 
प्यार मत करना, यहां प्यार पे पाबंदी है.....

one life is not enough – the paradox

One life is not enough, yet for now, this moment is full in itself.

One life is not enough, yet for now this moment is enough unto itself. The statement may  seem to be a paradox, self contradictory, and outright goobledygook. However, it is not when you see different parts of the statement from different perspectives.

When you are playing the role of an experiencer, when you are drowned in sense pleasures, you crave to experience the pleasures again and again. The lustful man wants to have sex with all the women in the world, the greedy wants to own all the wealth of the world. Same way one can be greedy for experiences and achievements. Alexander wanted to leave no corner of the earth unconquered.

But, you can switch your role from being an experiencer to being the observer, or  a witness. Then you have a glimpse of the depth of the moment.

Baffled by the myriads of the creations, I have often made the petition to the maker  that one life is not enough to experience His limitless creations. At the same time, to experience the depth of His creation, one must learn to dive into the depths of the present. One who is bothered too much by the past or concerned too much about the future, loses the opportunity to utilize the fare of the creation on offer right now. Same way, being grateful gives out a message to the universe that you deserve to be an active part of His creation for ages to come.

Time is fleeting. It is a continuum. The moment one tries to catch hold of it, it is already gone. So where is this moment and how to catch hold of it? One can experience the relative dimensions of time depending upon one’s state of mind. In deep meditation one can experience time stop and a stage comes when is established in the witness consciousness. In doing 100%, one is not bothered by past or future.

It may not be possible to play the role of the observer or be in a state of samadhi through out your life. Same way it is tiring to hanker, non stop, experience after experience. Deep real rest and an attitude of letting go helps a lot in recharging one self from time to time.

Life in its myriads of colours, shades, flavours and tastes

There are six basic tastes, according to Ayurveda. Depending upon the person, some tastes are pleasant some are unpleasant and some may be outright atrocious. However, to have a balanced diet and thus a balanced body and mind, one should include a bit of all the tastes.

Same way according to Bharata’s Natya Sastra, the artistic expressions involve nava rasas or nine falvours- some positive some negative. Contrasting flavours makes any story interesting.

So also in life. There are positive as well as negative feelings and  emotions.

If one has experienced only the height of joy and not the depths of depression and sorrow, if one’s journey of life has been a smooth road without any ups and downs, any twists and turns, one has missed to live life in its totality.

Life is such an enigma

This is my translation of a favourite Hindi film song from Anand – a  popular movie of yesteryears.

 

Life is such an enigma

Sometimes it makes you laugh

sometimes it makes you cry.

The mind never wakes up.

It continues chasing after dreams

Sometimes it so happens

The traveler on the path of the dream

leaves behind the dreams

and goes away somewhere

never to be found again.

Those who came together

to set up the ‘mela’ of life

together struggle and are

partners in happiness and sorrow.

Suddenly one of them chooses silence,

and goes away somewhere

never to be found again.

opportunities for short story writers

Amazon Kindle Publishing in collaboration with the Hindu Lit for life has announced a short story contest. It is also an opportunity to get your short story published on Amazon platform. For details visit : https://www.amazon.in/b?node=14467703031 

Another opportunity for aspiring short story writers is offered by Times Of India through its write India program. The winning entries of season have now come in the form of a book. Frankly speaking, I could not connect with many of the winning stories which seemed to favour a particular POV over quality of writing and other things. Nevertheless, it is too an opportunity for the procrastinating authors.

By the way I have already published my short story on Amazon through their Kindle Direct Program. It is available for free download from 08.02.2018 to 12.02.2018. There after also it will be available for free for KindleUnlimited subscribers.

Please read my book and leave your reviews on Amazon. It is an unusual story of the love hate relationship of an owner of a medicine shop and a beggar who had made the footpath in front of the shop his home. Hope you will like the humour elements and the allegory.

landmark durga prasad dash.jpg

 

one life is not enough – the philosophy

 

one life is not enough 2

Each role has been like a life.

The transition of roles have been

Smooth sometimes.

Sometimes as painful as

Death imagined.

 

A student’s life, a teacher’s life

A son’s life, a father’s life

A spoilt life, a disciplined life

A civilian’s life, a soldier’s life

A villager’s life, a small town life, a big city life

A hermit’s life, a yogi’s life, an indulgent life

An addicted’s life, a sober life

A reader’s life, a writer’s life

A famous life, a nobody’s life

From being a student celebrity

To being an anonymous soldier,

Worker, clerk, teacher, and leader.

An atheist’s life, a god fearing life

A believer’s life, a rationalist’s life.

 

 

I am so grateful that in this one life

I have experienced so many lives.

Still somewhere

Why does the mind harp on

That this life is not enough?

one life is not enough 1

(Next post: one life is not enough – the paradox)

Dear friend, what is the first thought you get when you come across the line – one life is not enough? Share your views in the comment.

 

Educating India (Part-III): Hear it from Sir Ken Robinson

ken robinson.jpg

Education is one of the boring subjects to discuss when you are in a party. Everyone needs it, everyone is concerned about it, but how many are willing to go in for an in depth discussion about it?

When it comes to educating our children most of the parents usually go with the wind of the times, subject to their economic limitations. And immediate economic considerations always takes precedence over anything else like the actual talent or inclination of the child.

In depth discussion about educational issues may be boring. But, you will be surprised to know that a TED talk given by British Educationist Sir Ken Robinson is one of the most watched videos on TED website and Youtube.

Here in India the perception is created that much of the rot in the education system can be traced to Macauley. But, after hearing Ken Robinson I realised that it is a global phenomenon. Education was taken seriously by the governments in the nineteenth century to meet the growing need of the industrial revolution. Thus, while some aspects of education (maths, science etc) are overemphasised, other aspects like arts, music, dance etc., are never given the importance these subjects deserve in our school curriculum.

These talks are sprinkled with generous doses of humour. So whether you are an educationist, a parent, or a lover of British sense of humour, do not miss these videos.

 https://embed.ted.com/talks/lang/en/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity

https://embed.ted.com/talks/lang/en/sir_ken_robinson_bring_on_the_revolution

https://embed.ted.com/talks/lang/en/ken_robinson_how_to_escape_education_s_death_valley

(My book Sixteen Parenting Sutras is live now on amazon. It is also available on #KindleUnlimited)

Part 1: Educating India

Part 2 : Educating India

 

sixteen parenting sutras

parenting sutrasI am not a great believer in tips, tricks, shortcuts, and patchworks (or what they fashionably call ‘hacks’ these days) when it comes fundamental issues of life and relationships. In fact such superficial measures cannot have any meaningful impact when it comes to deeper issues of life. I believe that if one’s basic attitude or philosophy is based on sound understanding of the issues, these will be in the right direction and a few mistakes on the way will not have much  impact in the long run. After all no one is perfect. But one can have the right attitude and adopt a philosophy that is based on the reality of the times.

Each of the sixteen ‘sutras’ or principles that I have phrased and enunciated in this book has an underlying philosophy. Each is an attitude to adopt. These are not tips and tricks to be used in response to  particular situations.

These principles have taken a long time to come to sixteen. In 2008 I was invited to give a talk to the parents of a gated community. For the talk, I developed a write up that I called five parenting points. That time I was regularly conducting Art of Living classes for adults and children. I was also doing my meditation regularly. This write up was a product of my receiving divine revelations from up above.

Just joking. Actually this write up was a product of my interest in eastern philosophy, my own experience as a parent for fifteen years by then (What is so unique about it?), and my interaction with a large number of children and parents by virtue of my workshops where in both the parties voiced many of their concerns.

The write up about five parenting points was published in ‘Lighthouse’ where I have been a co-editor.  Subsequently, a magazine about Positive Life took an interest in the article. The editor was so positive about the interest this article would generate among the readers that she wanted me to expand the article so as to be serialised over a number of issues. I expanded the principles to ten. Subsequently, I don’t know why her enthusiasm turned negative. Was it because I had cited a Samskrit sloka that did not go down well with her? Well, I would never know.

The manuscript gathered dust till last October when I wanted to revive it. Meanwhile, I have also become a little wiser so as to make the total number of principles to sixteen.

So, if you are looking for shortcuts or any quick fixes, this book is not for you. But, if you would like to explore beneath the surface and ponder over the common fallacies that many parents fall prey to, read the book and chew on. It is a small book. But the impact may not be so.

 

What’s up, Doc?

durgadash1

Bugs Bunny’s casual inquiry – ‘What’s up, doc?’ – was not meant to elicit a detailed status update as Bunny himself (or, itself) hardly waited for the answer. But status update is very cool and hot these days in the era of smart phones. Whether you are interested or not, your phone is bombarded with status updates and messages of all kinds.

There are some friends who are just content with sending a good morning message to the group that we are members of. Some go a little far in sending the same message to my personal whatsapp number. Some go a little too far when, after sending the good morning message to our common whatsapp group and to my personal number, they send the same message to me through Facebook messenger.

Recently I read an interesting article titled – Whatsapp Freezes Because Indians Send Over 100 Crore Good Morning Messages It Just Can’t Handle.  It means this fad is not a global phenomenon and now there is one more thing I as an India should be proud of.

In a country where people love to bombard you with good wishes morning, mid morning, mid day, after noon, evening, and night, getting out of whatsapp groups, that you are not interested in, becomes a sensitive issue. If I had not been a little rude, till now I must have been a member of about one hundred such groups. When you leave a group some admins do not express their disapproval openly or immediately, while some are a little vocal demanding an explanation as to what made you to choose this disastrous path of your life. Some may go a little far as they add you back again and again ignoring all your humble efforts to exit the group.

Some admins use innovative methods to keep the flock together, like the one where every one was made an admin immediately after he or she joined the group. How can you show your back to a group where you are a caretaker now?

Messaging apps have created a lot of duplicate Nirmal Babas. Messages and photos come with a rider that you must forward the message to ten others so that kripa ani suru ho jayegi.. (blessings will flow to you).  But there are threatening messages too: ‘you must forward this to ten others or else..’

When social media arrived on the scene, people were already fed up with the biased attitude of the main stream media which has been considered as the fourth pillar of democracy. Some thought (and I think still they do) that social media would act as the fifth  pillar of democracy.

But the fact is social media is slowly turning into a filthy pillars of democracy as we are bombarded with propaganda and rumours in the form of ‘forwarded as received’ messages. Most of the ‘forwarded as received’ messages turn out to be fake. Some messages kill people while they are still alive. Some warn about imminent earthquakes or other disasters quoting from privileged sources. It is unfortunate that people react to such messages without bothering to verify the authenticity of such forwarded messages.

Long before Shashi Kapoor actually died I got a forwarded message about his death. I immediately checked on google news and there was no such news. Now a days when authentic information is available at the same finger tip that as that of the forwarded message through the app, I fail understand why people do not take a few seconds to verify such news before forwarding it blindly to others.

The one thing I sometimes like are the jokes. But it is not a joke when you receive the same joke a dozen times a day, or worse when a joke lands up in the wrong forum. I am  a member of a few spiritual groups and one day it was a shock of our life time when a lady member posted an adult joke in the forum. Of course later one one of her friends, in order to clear the embarrassment that hung around her, took pains to make us understand that it was one of her mischievous colleagues who did this.

What is far worse is when your well intentioned  amorous messages land in the inbox  of an unintended recipient. In my book – Idle Hours -I have discussed one such incident in humorous detail. However let me briefly state it here. Once I received a message on my whatsapp, ‘Janu I love you’. It was from a married lady who was not married to me. To make matters worse my wife saw the message first. Of course later it was confirmed that she had accidentally sent the message to me in stead of her husband and all parties were assured of it after necessary verification and certification. Everything ended well. But I leave the scenes of turbulence that must have happened in between to your generous imagination.

That’s all folks. Thanks for reading.

(In response to Indispire Edition 206 . Topic suggested by Dr. Anita Sabat)

 

the perils of being a vegetarian

Self styled Indophiles and western and westernized authors propagate the myth that an ideal Hindu is an idol worshiper, a snake charmer, a fatalist, a peace-loving tolerant compromiser and above all, a vegetarian. Of course, it is a statement of half truths.

When it comes to vegetarianism it can be said without being politically incorrect that Hindus are selectively vegetarian. Contrary to the practice of the pro-genies Abraham, non-veg foods are absolute no on religious occasions for the pro-genies of Brahma, the exception being certain festivals and rituals connected with shakti and tantra.

South Indians who have never come in close contact with the Brahmins of Odisha, Bengal, Bihar or the Kashmiri Pandit, may generalise that a Brahmin has to be a vegetarian. This again is far from the truth, the exception being the Bengali Brahmin for whom fish is a vegetarian delicacy.

Rather I should say that among the Hindus some are vegetarians, some are selectively vegetarians and some are selectively non vegetarians. When I say selectively non-vegetarian it is applicable both across the spectrum of time and the spectrum of non-plant based foods. This again is region specific.

I come from a family of Odiya Brahmins where some of the elders did not believe in the practice (not in principle) that a Hindu, that too a Brahmin, has to be selectively vegetarian. For them it did not matter whether it was a Thursday or the Janmastami. Without some kind of non-veg sides their stomach refused to accept any kind of food.

Now I am a converted vegetarian.  The transition from being a selectively vegetarian to a pure vegetarian happened when I became a certified yoga teacher. I was supposed to warn my course participants about the perils of non-veg foods and the related issues like cruelty to the animals. There was no way I was not going to practise what I preached. Frankly speaking my transition was not a difficult one. I am not a foodie and before becoming a full time converted veggie it was only on rare occasions that I used to take non veg food.

So now, having adopted vegetarianism as a way of life I am not looking back in spite of the fact that it has now become an expensive lifestyle choice for a city dweller who does not have the luxury of a kitchen garden. I remember that during our childhood days in the village half of our vegetable needs were fulfilled by our own vegetable garden in the backyard. Even half of our non-veg needs were fulfilled by the river flowing by.

On a sleepy Sunday morning you go to the local vegetable market to wake up to the fact that today tomato has decided to act pricey and hence out of reach. Some other day you get exhausted chasing the onion that is playing catch me if you can. This does not  happen with the prices of non-veg food items that do not go through seasonal fluctuations even though they are subject to normal market inflation like any other item. Forget about mutton and chicken, these days, the transportation networks ensure that even fish never goes out of fashion.

You may safely eat fish salad, but unless your vegetables are cleaned by a Hema Malini recommended scientifically sophisticated vegetable washer you would be eating raw vegetables at your own risk. Same goes for the carbide laced fruits available in the market. After getting mouth ulcers on a number of occasions, these two items – uncooked vegetables and ripe fruits –  have entered my not-to-eat list along with non-veg items, further narrowing down my to-eat list.

To avoid the ill effects of the chemical and colour laced fruits and vegetables, now a days, you have the choice of upgrading your status (both real and Facebook) from being a simple vegetarian to an organic vegetarian. That again comes with its own price tag further increasing your cost of maintaining a vegetarian lifestyle. Further, there is no way of ascertaining, if someone is taking you for a ride in the name of organic food.

Indian hotels too give the vegetable lover a raw deal. The word vegetarian has a close connection with vegetables. When you go to a south Indian veg Hotel, the only item containing vegetables sometimes could be the pickles.

In a north Indian pure veg hotel when the waiter sings the menu starting from various combinations of paneer and mushroom I feel like shouting at the top of my voice, you *** let me tell you paneer is not a vegetable and mushroom is a controversial vegetarian delight as my friend from Andhra testifies that in their family it is considered a non veg item. By the way, someone following the vegan philosophy would not certify paneer, which is of animal origin, to be conducive to a vegetarians lifestyle. Now, tell me about a dish containing vegetables. Then his answer would be,  ‘Sir there is mixed veg, veg kolhapuri, ……’ Being allergic to over-spicy dishes I opt for the mixed veg highlighting the fact that it should be less spicy.

When the waiter brings me the dish of mixed veg, do I hear the poor vegetables singing:

"dhondo dhondo re sajna.. 
bits and pieces of us
in this ocean 
of gravy and spices"

When it comes to parties- official, unofficial, formal and informal- it is not a nice feeling these days to belong to the disadvantaged minority. In our family we have this ritual called the sacred thread ceremony where the son of a Brahmin is certified to have known the Brahman and become the twice born after not understanding a single word of what the purohit was chanting for three hours. Now a days even such a religious occasion demands at least a fish dish. Like any other buffet party here also your area is quarantined.

When I was a neo convert to the cult of vegetarianism I would go to any such party with the airs of moral superiority over the people who are directly or indirectly responsible for heinous cruelty to animals. It would take some time for me to realise that actually I was looked upon like a criminal there as someone would remark with a disdainful look, ‘Oh! You are a vegetarian’. Even some well wisher friends would bestow me with tons of sympathy for what I was missing in life.

So, with chemically conditioned and artificially colored vegetables and step motherly attitude of the hoteliers and party organizers, the tribe of vegetarians will continue to face the existential crisis for years to come.

It is said that Budhha had fixed a maximu limit  of  begging for his bhikhus. Those days it must have been simple – A few handful of anna and vegetables. I think if Budhha were alive today the limit would be something like this:  150 grams of rice and vegetable (both organic) and two liters of mineral water. Alternately, he might have set a limit for daily cash receipt with an inflationary component factored in.

Mad charvak says that in this ghor kalyug even a monk needs money, a lot of money. After all,  he has to purchase the water to drink and maybe,  after a few years, the air to breathe.

P.S.: To be fair even though occasionally the price of a particular farm product sky rockets, the farmer hardly gets anything out of it. Rather, in some seasons we come across the phenomenon when tons of rotten vegetables are thrown away or vegetables are sold at throw away prices. Over the decades, food prices have not been subject to the same rate of inflation like other consumer items. In spite of the compensatory measures like fertiliser subsidy and other slogans, the overall condition of the Indian marginal farmer continues to deteriorate.

 ‘Teach Me To Dream’ – Book Review

My illustrator friend Sailaja Anand ( who is also an eternal optimist) has put up her perceptions of my poems on her blog.

ETERNAL OPTIMIST

‘Teach Me To Dream’ has been written by Mr. Durga Prasad Dash whose work I always have admired. It is an anthology of poems that celebrate life in its myriads of aspects: love, longing, pain, illusion,beauty and ugliness, freedom, bondage, war, politics, enlightenment.There is no sphere of life that is left un touched by the author. Each emotion is conveyed beautifully and every reality is expressed with conviction. Each stanza is a beautiful piece in itself, touching the deep core.

In part I, the way the author has connected seasons and emotions with his web of words is so heartening.
”there is a rhythm in the sun,
melody in air, and
dance in water”
Through words the author is indeed celebrating the nature with beautiful expression.
In poem ‘your sweet absense’
In the following lines
“In my lack of discretion
hoping to rise with you
I fall again and again”

View original post 281 more words

Educating India (part-2): Specialisation

 

This week’s Indispire prompt suggested by blogger Neha Tambe is about Indian Education Scenario. The exact prompt is: ‘What kind of changes do you wish to see in the education system in India? Learning cannot work like an assembly line. Why can’t children choose in high school their focus subject and graduate with that? Share your ideas and vision about education.’

The prompt asks: why can’t children choose in high school their focus subject and graduate with that. Well, in my opinion high school is too early a time to go for specialisation.

In High School (upto class X) let the children taste all the different branches of knowledge. It will help them, first of all, to know for themselves where in lies their strength or weakness. It will also help them to discover their own inclination for particular fields of study.

Secondly, specialisation cannot happen in total isolation. It can happen only after a certain degree of generalistion. An engineer needs to express his thesis in proper language. All subjects are somewhere interconnected. A scientist should have a little background in humanities and ethics so that when she goes for scientific inventions she does not ignore the potential harmful effects of the inventions on the civilisation.  The scientist also lives in society hence must know the basics of social sciences to be aware of what does it mean to be a responsible citizen. And without history we would not know why a particular group of people behave today in response to different situations.

In ancient days, in the western civilization, all kinds of knowledge were bundled as philosophy which literally means love of knowledge. Of course now a days the word philospher indicates to someone who is devoid of all types of practical knowledge. There was no rigid partition. The greatest Greek philosophers wrote about science, poetry, drama and rolled out self help literature all at the same time. Pythagoras was not only a great mathematician, but also a great mystic. The works of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and others have stood the test of time.

In ancient India knowledge was divided into two broad categories: the para vidya and the apara vidya – the knowledge of the inner and the knowledge of the outer. While we need certain skills to make a living, we also need to learn certain skills to manage our own life, its ambitions and emotions. In the Gurukula both the branches of knowledge were taught to the children to make them complete human beings. Of course subsequently students moved onto their area of higher studies either on their own or under the guidance of specific masters. The universities at Taxila and Nalanda were famous for higher education.

Let me here clarify that para vidya is not religious knowledge which is all about a set of beliefs and rituals. Para vidya is more of kindling in the student a spirit of inquiry into the existential issues of life and giving them the tools to discover them.

In fact I would recommend that the curriculum of high school becomes more broad based to include subjects like elementary economics and accounting. It will also be good to introduce the students to alternate versions of History, rather than changing the history syllabus to suit the ideology of the party in power. 

Maybe, the time has come in India now to go for cross-specialisation. I come across the profile of US or European students with a diploma in Art History and graduation in electrical engineering. Of course In India also students also go for cross-specialisaton after Engineering or medical they go for an MBA degree in Finance or Marketing. It is still not a culturally acceptable thing in India that someone is pursuing a serious academic course in a University in aesthetics after a post-graduation in  in anesthetics.

Mad Charvak says cross-specialisation is the mother of all creativity.