On origins #2

July 8, 2011 § 3 Comments

During the Friday Jazz Night at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, my friends and I happened upon the glass-blown chandelier room of the Dale Chihuly exhibit. These were magnificent pieces, all glass and light and scale, and reminded me a bit of Thomas Wilfred’s lumia compositions that the Tree of Life’s Terence Malick employed to mysterious effect at the beginning of the film. (ok I think that was enough name-dropping for the day)

Chandelier Installation, Chihuly

When I went closer to examine the underside of one of the chandeliers and tried to think about whether I would want that hanging in my own house, I realized that it reflected perfectly off of the black marble tablet stone underneath it, and suddenly another layer of complexity revealed itself. The set up reminded me of the Swayamvara scene in the Mahabharat, where Arjuna wins the hand of Draupadi through a feat of physics. He, in competition with countless other suitors, must shoot the eye of a fish that is tethered to a revolving pole by looking only at its reflection in a pool on the ground. He succeeds, of course, and gets to take the princess home. Where he must then share her in a polyamorous marriage with his four other brothers, but that’s a story for a different day.

There probably is no further point to this vignette than that I love it when things remind me of India, and of folklore, and the complexity and layers and nostalgia and the feeling of home. And also that I wish people still held Swayamvaras. (They sound pretty hot).

On a mildly related note, to celebrate the end of an era, my friend J, who is admittedly very Caucasian but who has been, to her credit, determinedly working on her summer tan, and I will be attending the Harry Potter premiere this week dressed as the Patil twins. I just can’t wait.

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