All posts by Sukanya Ramanujan

Multi-lingual professional with varied interests such as reading, travelling, music and photography.

Mighty Monday: The Farnese Bull

It’s Monday- you feel like you’re having a tough time? You might want to think about Dirce who is just about to be mowed by the mighty bull in one of the most exquisite and magnificent sculptures to have reached us from ancient times.

Presenting to you the Farnese Bull
Presenting to you the Farnese Bull

The Farnese Bull is a sculpture in Hellenistic style that today stands in the Naples Archaeological Museum. Almost 12 feet in height the work towers above the onlooker. The sculpture is said to be the 2nd or 3rd Century AD copy of an original piece made in the 2nd Century BC- but copy or original there is no denying that the man or men who sculpted this piece of art knew what they were doing.

Essentially Dirce (the woman at the bottom left) is being tied to a very angry bull by two brothers who are avenging previous abuse to their mother. The sculpture conveys the energy of the scene – the raging bull, the resistance of the woman in front, the man trying to control the bull, the other animals (don’t miss the small details).

Side view of the Farnese Bull
Side view of the Farnese Bull

The sculpture is also styled to be viewed from all directions and not just from the front or the sides.

View from the rear
View from the rear

The sculpture was excavated from the Baths of Caracalla in the 16th century. The excavation was commissioned by Pope Paul III who hoped to find sculptures and ancient works of art that could adorn his Farnese Palace- thereby the name – the Farnese Bull.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Broken

“Your heart is as stone” is the worst insult someone can throw at you. Hearts break easily. But stones break too. Stones are as vulnerable to the ravages of emotions, time and forces of nature as is the heart.

For this week’s challenge I am presenting a photograph of a broken piece of masonry from an old fort on the coast between Chennai and Pondichery in India. It is called the Alamparai fort. Apart from having been destroyed by the British when they captured the fort from the hands of the French in the late 18th century, the fort was also more recently damaged by the 2004 Tsunami.

A section of the Alamparai Fort now broken and lying on the beach
A section of the Alamparai Fort now broken and lying on the beach

In reply to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Broken

When Bad Things Happen For No Reason…Swatted by the Cosmic Paw

Yeah, it’s one of those rare crazy posts of mine- this is a good time to wander away to the next blog on your list.

There are two kinds of bad things that normally happen to us- things we totally deserve because we did something wrong or bad. And then those bad things that just happen to us out of the blue. Things that hit us hard making us wonder what we did to deserve something so harsh. If you’re anything like me you probably shake your fists at the skies, yell about it and then spend a lot of time thinking about why out of all the people in the planet- you had to be the one chosen to go through the ordeal. We all do this quite regularly.

A few days ago my work colleague and a cat fancier sent me a video on whatsapp. It featured a kitten and a dog. The first time I watched I went “ouch!”. You’ll know what I mean when you see the video or for the benefit of those who won’t the video features a kitten that’s just a few weeks old I’m guessing. This kitten seems to have either been temporarily or permanently separated from its mother (I’m guessing the humans who shot this video are sheltering it in their home). It’s at that stage where kittens only have one thing in their mind- their mommies and milk. And because its mother isn’t there the kitten goes trying its luck with this uber huge but thankfully very patient dog. At some point after some major tickling the dog opens its eyes (it was trying to snooze) has a look on its face that says “Hmm! Persistent Kitten” and then turns around and tries to sleep in another position. However just as the dog is moving its huge paw it unintentionally thwaps the kitten a bit heavily leading to the kitten skating a few feet on the smooth floor in the middle of a pathetic “meow”. Thankfully the kitten seems ok but the video stops there.

I watched this video a few times- after a while it got me thinking and I realised here was a big lesson in life.

You see, the kitten is who we are- mewling, needy beings crying out for our needs- money, power, love, fame etc etc In our quest for our needs we go around poking our nose everywhere. The Universe, Fate, Karma etc or whatever you want to call it is like the extremely patient Labrador. It has no malice or ill-intentions. It doesn’t have a targeted vendetta in a folder with your name written on it. This patient Labrador is just trying to sleep- it doesn’t really care about you. And then suddenly it shifts position and you get caught in the path of the paw- not the paw that was raised maliciously with the sole aim of crushing you. But the paw of a Labrador trying to support its own laborious sleepy turn. Having been caught in the path you get the wind knocked out of you and are sent skidding out of your path. For a brief while you are caught up wondering why you got what you deserved because you are back to your mewling and poking your nose everywhere again.

That is all it is folks. When bad things happen to you for no reason it literally just happens to you for no reason. There is no deeper agenda behind it. Nobody is trying to punish you for crimes you didn’t do- you just got cosmically thwapped by the cosmic Paw.

The next time you have something inexplicable and bad happen to you, think about this video and the cosmic paw. It will surely bring a smile to your face. Peace out!

Thanks to my colleague and benchmate Oof Ya for the video. And thanks to the person who made the video. Sorry I don’t know you so can’t acknowledge this.