Chini Maati – Part 3

The kings are all the same, in all the countries. They are  the ones who lift the country up from the darkness of unknown, to the glory of riches and successes , triumphs and development, culture and education  and  then they are ones, who due to their whimsical nature and overpowering ego lead the glorious culture into the darkness of anarchy, poverty down into the road of hardships and doom. The brutality, the atrocities that they imposed on their people and their insensitivity towards their people, is common for all such kings. China too witnessed few such kings as well as queens who through their wishes and whims created beautiful palaces, tombs and much such spectacular architecture, but gave nothing but suffering to their people. They created a mark in the history by being hysterical and ego-maniac, while the whole country was going through bad time.
 
Chenghis khan invaded china in 1212 and later on his grand son Kublai khan expanded his kingdom in all directions. Russia was under Mongol power for quite some time and he even invaded Japan taking help from Koreans. But due to natural calamities he could not win over Japan. China was a mystery for European countries during those days and Marco polo was the first European to have traveled so far in the east. He stayed in china and served Kublai khan for 17 years.
 
One interesting thing is, even after being weakened by the exorbitant and lavish living by their kings and not quite caring for their people, china could never be ruled or conquered by any European country.
 
Even after getting organized under communism headed by Mao, people still suffered due to few whimsical decisions by this great leader. Mao promoted "Burzva" which is saying no to English, saying no to past history of china, its imperialism, saying no to Confucius, saying no to art and architecture. His slogan was "destruction before construction". Many of the school goers and college goers became red guards. Books were burnt, old temples, and art work was destroyed, intellectuals were killed. Although the country got rid of it’s imperialism, the communism came with its own bitterness and shortfalls. Today’s prospering china is a result of discipline enrooted by communism and dictatorial rule, while good balance of capitalism within the current communist framework.
      
Apart from writing books, one more thing that Meena Prabhu does have real passion for, is savoring the delicacies of every region. She seems to have tuned her taste buds to all those different varieties of food and makes out good and bad food from those unknown culinary specimen, with as much ease as you can differentiate between a good Baigan Bharta and a bad one. Her love for these different types of food is also visible from her writing and she does that as religiously as her writing.   
 
Smaller paws was supposed to be a sign of beauty in Chinese culture and those having normal paws were used to be generally from the poor or lower families. Mothers even broke the paw bones of their little ones at a very early age to limit their growth. A lady with three inch paw was considered to be most beautiful and called "Golden Lily". How funny to just, think about it in terms of how perceptions vary in different times and cultures. Beauty being measured in terms of kilos and size of the paw might seem totally out of the world at this time even in china, but this was the norm of those days.
 
It is interesting to know that Islam was part of Chinese culture even before Chenghis Khan’s tartar force invaded china through the great china wall. China’s ancient capital Shia still has lot of its olden architecture and fortification. The silk route was in use for centuries and china made sure that the secrets of tea, porcelain or silk doesn’t leak out, so that rest of the world remains dependent on them. The tea ceremony from Japan, is also a borrowing from china, but is more prominent and visible in Japan now, rather than in China. Its interesting to know that every Chinese has a simpler English name probably to make life simpler for outsiders, by not having to twist their tongue to their Chinese names.
   
The acrobatic skills and synchronization is one more area where Chinese excel and no wonder why they get so many medals in all such categories in Olympics. My prior notion about Chinese singing, that its generally monotonous and having limited range of "Sur" and "Naad", is not completely true and looks like they do have a well formed singing style as experienced by the writer during one of the concerts. Although the Beijing opera was a huge fiasco and its really difficult to make out anything from what’s happening on the stage even from the acting and makeup, leaving aside the language barrier.
 
The Beijing has 12 million people 1 million cars. But it also has 12 million cycles and the discipline follows by these cycle riders within their traffic lanes is spectacular. In terms of language mandarin is a bit softer and sweet while Cantonese is on the harsher spectrum. Chinese marriages happen in a registrar’s office and the bride wears a western style wedding gown. In fact many part of world, be it china, Japan or even few gulf countries all have adopted this western style of marriage. Many of these cultures are centuries old, but surprisingly all of them resort to western culture for their marriage celebrations. This can be quite a bright spot on cultural heritage front for us Indians, as we still stick to our traditions in various parts of the country.
 
The descriptions of datsu Buddha carvings, the La shan Buddha and the religious divine beauty of emelee is enchanting. The La shan Buddha is again a wonder and must have taken years to carve out a Buddha of that size. Just to give you an idea of its size, Meena says we can probably park a maruti 800 on its toe nail. Meena gives us a local experience of a typical Chinese village by visiting a small village near gwalin. The cycling along the farms, the hardworking Chinese farmers, the poor, but hardworking guide, who cooks food for her in her humble hut, in her farms, a real experience of being one with the culture.
    
Well its time to say "Sheshiye", which is thank you in Chinese, for patiently reading out my blog. Please do ignore the editing mistakes, as I am still learning to write…. Sheshiye again

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