A Shaheb’s Guide to India
How a simple father-son craft project became a global, epic diorama
Five years ago this month my wife Bidisha and I got married a full Hindu wedding in India. Four years ago our son was born.
This past Thanksgiving while carving the turkey at our Philadelphia home I got to the bone that my granny from rural southwestern Virginia used to save and make into a turkey bone Santa sled decoration at Christmastime every so often. It’s a morbid Appalachian thing, you wouldn’t understand. In a fit of nostalgia I decided I’d give it a whirl and introduce my young son to a part of his cultural history.
To make sure I was really remembering correctly I Googled “turkey bone sled” and one of the first things that came up was someone’s Pinterest page about turkey bone sleds with the header, “My granny made these.” Yep, I was on the right track.
My son and I often do multi-stage, multi-day art projects so I told him we were going to embark on this “small” project. I’m thinking the whole thing will be five or six inches long with a couple of ceremonial reindeer pulling it but he insists that it be the full 9 reindeer, and that there be a full moon, and a Pleiades star cluster (the Seven Sisters), Aldebaran (the brightest star in the constellation Taurus and one of the bull’s eyes), a small pine tree like the one we have in a planter outside our house, and our street sign, and snow on the ground, and hovering in the sky above Santa there should be Kartik. Without missing a beat I told him fine but that he’d need to design it on paper first so we’d know exactly what we were making and not leave anything out.
Kartik? That would be the Hindu god Kartik, less famous brother of Ganesh. Kartik is the Pete Best of major goddess Durga’s children. I later learned it’s impossible to find an altar figurine of just Kartik alone, so I convinced him instead to CONT’D at medium.com>>
by James Whitcomb Riley (1885)
INSCRIBED WITH ALL FAITH AND AFFECTION
To all the little children: — The happy ones; and sad ones;
The sober and the silent ones; the boisterous and glad ones;
The good ones — Yes, the good ones, too; and all the lovely bad ones.
- ITTLE Orphant Annie’s come to our house to stay,
- An’ wash the cups an’ saucers up, an’ brush the crumbs away,
- An’ shoo the chickens off the porch, an’ dust the hearth, an’ sweep,
- An’ make the fire, an’ bake the bread, an’ earn her board-an’-keep;
- An’ all us other childern, when the supper-things is done,
- We set around the kitchen fire an’ has the mostest fun
- A-list’nin’ to the witch-tales ‘at Annie tells about,
- An’ the Gobble-uns ‘at gits you
- Ef you
- Wunst they wuz a little boy wouldn’t say his prayers,–
- An’ when he went to bed at night, away up-stairs,
- His Mammy heerd him holler, an’ his Daddy heerd him bawl,
- An’ when they turn’t the kivvers down, he wuzn’t there at all!
- An’ they seeked him in the rafter-room, an’ cubby-hole, an’ press,
- An’ seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an’ ever’-wheres, I guess;
- But all they ever found wuz thist his pants an’ roundabout:–
- An’ the Gobble-uns ‘ll git you
- Ef you
- An’ one time a little girl ‘ud allus laugh an’ grin,
- An’ make fun of ever’ one, an’ all her blood-an’-kin;
- An’ wunst, when they was “company,” an’ ole folks wuz there,
- She mocked ‘em an’ shocked ‘em, an’ said she didn’t care!
- An’ thist as she kicked her heels, an’ turn’t to run an’ hide,
- They wuz two great big Black Things a-standin’ by her side,
- An’ they snatched her through the ceilin’ ‘fore she knowed what she’s about!
- An’ the Gobble-uns ‘ll git you
- Ef you
- An’ little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue,
- An’ the lamp-wick sputters, an’ the wind goes woo-oo!
- An’ you hear the crickets quit, an’ the moon is gray,
- An’ the lightnin’-bugs in dew is all squenched away,–
- You better mind yer parunts, an’ yer teachurs fond an’ dear,
- An’ churish them ‘at loves you, an’ dry the orphant’s tear,
- An’ he’p the pore an’ needy ones ‘at clusters all about,
- Er the Gobble-uns ‘ll git you
- Ef you
[images via donaldtyson.com and xenophilius.wordpress.com]
“Someday I hope to write a book where the royalties will pay for the copies I give away.”
As with Tesla’s Letters, I’m happy to report that Medicine, Man is now available on Kindle and that a free excerpt is also available via the new Kindle web browser app which lets you buy and read Kindle books without needing to own a real Kindle. Great idea from amazon. An excerpt of the play was also published in the ep;phany literary journal in 2003, which you can also read for free.
A word to the wise — do not buy a hard copy of this script on amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com from the scammers trying to resell it for tens or hundreds of dollars. Be sure you’re buying a hard copy directly from barnesandnoble.com for $6.75, or the Kindle version for $7.13, or a hard copy directly from amazon.com for $7.50, or the amazon.co.uk Kindle version for a similar amount in Euros.
In case you’re not familiar with the play, after the success of the Mill Mountain Theatre’s regional premiere of Tesla’s Letters in my hometown of Roanoke, Virginia in 2001 (after its world premiere Off Broadway in 1999), artistic director Jere Lee Hodgin asked me what I was working on next. I shared with him a two- (continue reading…)
The cool kids in the programming department at amazon.com have come up with a unique way for authors whose works are available on the Kindle to share their opening pages, so here’s an excerpt from Tesla’s Letters. You don’t need to own a Kindle to view it. This new app for reading Kindle-formatted books right in your browser without owning a Kindle is, understandably, a marketing tool to get you to want to buy a real Kindle and download the whole book. And that’s okay. It’s only a Kindle, and they’re cool.
A word to the wise — *do not* buy a hard copy of Tesla’s Letters from one of the resellers on amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com listing it for exhorbitant amounts like $43.00, $100, etc. There are some unscrupulous jackasses operating through those websites trying to rip you off. You can buy this script directly from Samuel French or download the Kindle version from amazon.com for just $7.50, and at a similar price in Euros from amazon.co.uk. Enjoy.
If you’re not familiar with the play, it’s a semiautobiographical wartime drama set in the late 1990s Balkans with unfortunately (continue reading…)