By Giti Thadani
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Extra resources for Moebius Trip: Digressions from India's Highways
46 No problem, Madam, says the man who jumps out of the truck. With disdainful arrogance, he has the tyre back on with a couple of deft hand movements. I thank him and offer him some money. He refuses. Life is ironic, after all. Rest Stop: Orchha On long journeys, planning routes is an art in itself. Distances, road quality and accommodation can make or break a trip. When I first started travelling, these elements were of no importance. I had limitless energy, excellent motor skills thanks to a background as a professional table-tennis athlete, the arrogance of youth and a hard-bull head.
In the above myth, there is an etymological play on the matrika/vowel ‘i’. The goddess tells the male god (Shiv) that he is a corpse—sh(a)v—without her, without the matrika ‘i’. The goddess herself is named Shiva. This includes the name Shiv, but the inverse is impossible: Shiv cannot contain Shiva. Likewise, there is the nomination of the goddess Suryimaya. Sury is the name of the male sun god; Suryi is the generic feminine. Maya, from the root ma—to create— connotes the creative magical principal.
But the industrial world seems ignorant of these cosmologies, ignorant of their maya. Will this world take over the magic of the yogini sites by virtue of the illusion of its omnipotence? An empty scooter-rickshaw shows up. I run towards it but see that a man has already occupied it. I shrug in disappointment, but the scooter stops at my feet: the man has fetched it for me. The seat is almost as wet as I am, and the cold wind contributes to my state of chill. I guide the driver to the road where the jeep is parked.