‘ Women and men preen and strut with puffed ches

A goddess transforms into a common peahen and prays to Lord Siva. Location- Mylapore. Or rather, Mayil-a-puram. The abode of the peacock in central Chennai got its name when Goddes

Published: 09th September 2009 11:50 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 12:18 AM   |  A+A-

09sep_peacock

A goddess transforms into a common peahen and prays to Lord Siva.

Location- Mylapore. Or rather, Mayil-a-puram.

The abode of the peacock in central Chennai got its name when Goddess Parvati was so enamoured with the beautiful peacocks and did not pay attention to an important esoteric teaching of Siva. Irritated, Siva cursed her to be among the birds she was admiring. Perhaps Parvati’s plea for forgiveness has made the screech of the gorgeous peacock one of the most incongruous and unpleasant in nature.

In Persia, peacocks were once honoured for their magical and auspicious powers. They were guards in large gardens to alert the security of intruders. Their feathers are still used outside dargahs by faith healers to treat the ill. Soldiers wore them on coat of arms for protection and good luck. Native Americans and early Christians believed that peacocks were clairvoyants. Not in Sri Lanka, where peacock feathers are considered very bad luck and Lankan theatre director Mithran Devanesen always looks nervous when I carry them for my storytelling sessions of Peacock Tales. Exotic, beautiful and magnificent, the Peacock is our national bird.

Today, peacocks exist in human form. Women and men preen and strut about with puffed chests, painted and primped. Glittering bandh-galas, rainbow eye makeup, flamboyant hairstyles, tattooed bodies, sashaying down catwalks — their plumage garish and glittery.  Multicolour media branding, gleaming architecture, flashy nightclubs, and themed restaurants — all meant to attract attention like peacocks dancing in the rain! Today’s metrosexual men and women are largely wannabe peacocks — mostly flapping hot air!

 The peahen is the plain-looking half of this species. Not anymore. Aware of their gilded appearances, Parvati’s homosapien sisters (and brothers) are modern peacocks screeching a very different tune.

“ I’m the  best. I’m the best!”

anitaa.ratnam@gmail.com

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