Oral tradition versus historical ‘fact’

Working on the WWII book today, making choices: the Indian National Army, as described online, is not the same as the Indian National Army in the oral history I grew up with, stories and unspoken attitudes of my elders who lived through the war. I may of course not be remembering perfectly. I can talk to people who were alive at the time, and have, but I find they don’t remember perfectly either. Some memories are crystal clear and consistent, even down to using the exact same words each time they tell the tale,, others vague and shifting. So it’s up to me. At the end of the day, it’s my book; and I’m fiction for a reason. I will do the research, but I will write from my memory of the oral tradition.

I just heard my father chuckle and say, “What to do?” about these sorts of quandaries. So I’ll stop quandary-ing now, and get to writing.

What do writers, sword dancers, and zombies have in common?

I write. I dance, sometimes with a sword balanced on my head. Google ‘bellydance sword’ if you’re curious what that looks like.

Writers aren’t as interesting to watch as dancers. ‘America’s Top Writer’ is not the hot new reality show for a reason. Paint drying has far more glamor. When I’m trying to get my writer’s head on, I look and sound like a zombie. Most of me is elsewhere.

At this moment, I am trying to send most of my self back to 1941-1945 Malaya, where there was a war and an Occupation on, and once I’m there I am planning on watching and eavesdropping and sniffing out secrets and the scents of wartime food. I will have imaginary people in my head.

Some dancers wear a very serious face as they dance. Dance swords are hollow, but. Drop one on and you’ll see, it has impact. Serious business, like most dropped things in life; something breaks, possibly your foot.

Nevertheless, I personally can’t help grinning like a loon when I do sword. The sheer improbability of the thing makes me feel like a child blowing a first soap bubble, or lighting a sparkler for the first time. A thing turns into something other than itself: I, a perfectly (more or less) normal human being am standing here, dancing, even, with the edge of a blade sitting on my head, and it’s easy.

Yup. Easy. But only after you know how, after you’ve practiced, and only when you’re in the zone. In the zone, magic keeps it up, body and sword and music are one. Unfortunately this is related to the zone where soufflés never fall, stocks yield steady profits, kids never get sick, it never snows more than is pretty but not a nuisance, your nearest and dearest never irritate you…. Impossible and good things happen – for a while.

It’s easy in the zone. It’s hard to get there, and unfortunately it’s all to easy to leave it. (One tiny wrong move of the head, and boom: sword’s on your foot, have a nice day.)

Writing larger pieces is like keeping the sword up for longer periods of time. 20 secs even a beginner can do by a fluke. Couple of minutes, still not so hard. 10 – 20 mins, that’s a real challenge. It takes prep time and focus or a crazy high level of expertise (Google ‘Parri double sword’ to see what crazy high level of expertise looks like. She dances with two swords balanced at right angles to each other, on her head. Extreme expert.)

No writer finds balancing a book in their head easy. But once you’re in the zone, it’s fun. That’s you sledding down that hill, skating on that pond, skydiving, balancing that sword…

Unfortunately, sledding downhill and trying not to fall out is not the best time to, say, balance your checkbook, help a friend decide who to date or figure out why their printer won’t work. Braincells are busy elsewhere and everyday life gets interesting. Trees jump out to ambush your car when you’re parking (really, at least they do me).

In this silly place, company is a blessing. It’s lonely, not to mention slightly loony, to be stuck alone with a headful of imaginary people. But conversations in words of one syllable or less are best, and what someone’s cat did or, ‘Isn’t that a gorgeous tree’ is probably the right speed. Calm voices and emotions are best (sudden loud noise, sword or book on head, isn’t going anywhere pretty). Ladies and gentlemen, assume your writer friends are slightly deranged if they’re inside a book, and be gentle. We can be quite entertaining in that state.


Malaysian meditation technique for cold weather

Yesterday I posted a Holiday leftover poem for a cold day. Today it’s really cold, subzero windchill and Malaysia is in my mind.

We have dessert called ice kacang, which is shaved ice with lots of good sweet things on it, like aduki beans and palm sugar and coconut milk/cream. The meditation is as follows: like in bed under a lot of covers. Visualize the excess of winter around you piled up into giant mounds in a field. Now, drizzle it with your favorite sweet things. Take your time. Let the warmth of the covers sink into your bones and the visualized taste of the sweet sink into your heart/tummy (the two are closely related!). Tomorrow, or the day after or the day after that, once we’ve sweetened and eaten all the winter, it will be spring. My parents and grandparents got through living under foreign invaders in WWII (the Japanese Occupation) by devising a hundred thousand tasty things you can do with tapioca.

Speaking of which, drizzling sweet things on tapioca pearls is a wonder also.

Images: Ice kacang and sago gula Melaka.

remembering kindness: 9/11

9/11: Six degrees of separation, everyone lost someone. I waited 3 days before my next door neighbor came home from the Pentagon. People in 60 nations lost loved ones on that day. But the biggest casualty has been our collective consciousness. America was a kinder country before that day.

There is still deep kindness. Fear and the instinct to self-preservation makes it easy to forget that to love, to relate, to respect the other — other nation, other race, other gender, other anything — requires being vulnerable to a certain extent. My prayer is to see the collective trauma released — it is not seemly to grieve forever — and to remember with love but also to live, into the future, with kindness.

Just after 9/11, we were kind. At least, common people were, I claim no understanding of politicians. My neighbor, a Marine Colonel, came back from the Pentagon, having stayed long enough to be sure one of his best friends made it, and his first concern was making sure none of the violent backlash hit a very nice, older Indian couple round the corner from us who spoke little English and always wore traditional clothing. They were great gardeners and cooks, entertaining their extended family to lunch every Sunday. I was too naive back then to think they might possibly have been at risk, but — he was military, he’d been in volatile situations before — it was the first thing his mind went to. And he said a word here and a word there and made sure our neighbors were safe.

I want that neighborly America back. I do not think this disrespects the dead. They were part of that kinder world. The America where, when I was a lost kid at Bennington, one older friend lent me her bicycle, another taught me to bake bread, strangers drove me to church, my professors lent me books I could not afford to buy, and on and on. A thousand kindnesses, and too little paranoia for me to notice. I’m sure it was there. I’m not asking for a community of angels. Just the community that was injured in 9/11. Time to let go and heal.


politics, rice pudding, & the ocean: also, science 101

I’m going on holiday soon and was thinking what to take to read. This morning, I decided: mathematics. A long time ago, I was a math/physics student, and then a NASA science drone. Mathematics, unfolding, is as beautiful as the ocean, alive, intricate, complete in itself. Physics unfolds mysteries, and I don’t mean the God-particle nonsense that people have been getting excited about but the even more wondrous daily mysteries: wind, weather, why there is that odd-shaped shadow on my ceiling, how to park on a hill so your car doesn’t roll away…

Physics enchanted me, as a girl, because it the fundamental rules were essential simple, and clear. Water rolls downhill, ALWAYS. Stuff like that. Studying physics was a way to allow my mind to be simple, and clear. It does not contradict itself. Subtlety exist, but there is always the real to measure against.

For some years now I’ve been a writer. Fiction, mostly cross-cultural, dealing with social, political, and emotional issues. My community is now mostly writers, artists, activists, and nothing is simple, or clear; or rather, much of it probably could be, but people cultivate complexity. To include ALL the data — by which I mean all the facts, not all the opinions — on something, or as much data as one can get, and look at it all in balance, is not a popular sport. Balance, as best I understand it, requires calm. But the troubles of our times, from tars sands to Islamophobia to economic class warfare, call for concern. And most people don’t find concern and calm coexistent within themselves, especially in American culture, which says, subliminally, that we should be able to fix anything. So there is tumult, and shouting: a noise of long-winded thoughts and exhortations that seem to be saying, ‘Care more, care more! Don’t relax, don’t spin down, not for a minute, the world will cease to be if you do, the battle will be lost…’

I’ve tried to get people to care about some of these issues, particularly the race-related ones, without stirring anxiety. I think I have failed. Caring deeply while being staying as calm as we can is an emotional reality in daily life for most people, else we’d never let our loved ones go out the door, never mind become skydivers or firefighters. I think it’s okay, even essential, to deal with political issues the same way — do what you can, everything you can, and then let go and fix dinner. I talk a lot about politics, but I’ve never said this before, and I apologize for not doing so.

I am going to read, on my vacation, not a novel, full of sculpted emotion, or a nonfiction book full of argument, however just, but mathematics: to find a state of clarity in my mind again. It will be like eating fresh fruit, or rice pudding, after too rich a diet. Cleaning, and strengthening. In-between, I will go to California farmers markets, which are a paradise of grounded goodness, and I will cook dinner. I will look at the ocean.

I will be simple.

Outside, OR, Homeless on 5th Ave

There’s inside, and there’s outside. Inside of power. Outside in the cold.

Thursday afternoon, it was cold. Spring equinox, supposedly, but far from springlike in Manhattan. People were huddling against the wind, the lucky ones warm from still wearing heavy coats often discarded by this point in March. I had unfortunately believed the weather report, and was wearing only a light spring coat, no wool except for my hat, no fleece, the scarf around my neck and a pull-on hat the only real comfort as I walked from the subway to meet a friend at MoMA.

I got out of the subway at the bottom end of Central Park, on 5th avenue. The upscale part of NYC. I walked past high-end retailers, diamonds in the window in Bergdorff-Goodman’s (I think I’m remembering that correctly), status for sale at Louis Vuitton, and so to the upmarket church section: Presbyterian, Episcopal, Roman Catholic in a row, just a few blocks separating them. I planned, as I walked, a funny blog post about God turning off the heat in NYC and me wishing He wouldn’t because I was freezing.

On the sidewalk outside the Presbyterian church, I saw a homeless woman, and the joke stopped being funny.

The city is full of homeless people, and full of people walking past them. But this was different. In the winter, a lot of homeless people look cold, bundled in as many layers as they can get, stoically enduring. This woman wasn’t bundled. I do not know what she was wearing, because she was huddled in a canvas sheet, but it can’t have been much at all, because the whole of her, sheet and all, was slender. She was shaking violently. Not the shaking one sees sometimes in alcoholics or other addicts, but from the cold. How do I know? I’m no doctor. But I am human, and it was stunningly obvious.

Her eyes were clear, and conscious of all that was happening to her. Homeless people are sometimes shut down inside, by their eyes, long suffering having numbed them. She wasn’t numb. She was feeling every second of that horrid cold. She was sitting on a concrete sidewalk.

She was beautiful. About my age. Clear brown skin, expressive eyes, cheekbones that any artist would love to capture on canvas. An angel of God, a daughter of humanity, a sister. Our eyes met. And there was nothing I could think of to do to save her.

Her eyes expressed suffering: but no blame. I don’t know how that was possible.

She had short hair, in a spiky hairstyle. Bits of bare scalp showed in-between the thick curls. Heads lose heat. I pulled off my hat, gave it to her, and said, “Here, take this.” She pulled it on. The interaction was a natural one, in a horribly unnatural situation. Her hands were shaking. I knew I had to be out myself, late, and it would get colder; so I kept my scarf and gloves, though the real human thing to do would have been to hand her everything, coat and all. And then I dropped a dollar in her cup and walked away.

She is, was, Human and Beautiful. I pray she is alright, now. I was less than human. Every single person walking by her was less than human. If there had been a dog or cat there, stranded on that sidewalk shivering, a dozen people would have stopped, someone would have arranged a rescue.

I walked away. I did not know how to rescue her. Could one call an ambulance? Take her somewhere?

I walked the three remaining blocks to MoMA; across from MoMA there is a new building, or perhaps a renovation, under construction. It will be a luxury hotel. Presumably a thousand dollars a night, in that location. Louis Vuitton, 1K hotel rooms, 5th Avenue churches, among them my own, where well-dressed people will worship this Sunday, and Outside, in the cold, are the angels, abandoned.

In justice I will say also: those churches run soup kitchens, are active in helping the poor. Part of the reason I did not interfere is because I guessed she was in that location by choice, and presently would go to one of the soup kitchens for a meal. But dear God, it should be better than this.

“Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for …
we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.’

From ‘Dover Beach’, by Matthew Arnold.


What is an E. Paxson, you are asking. An E. Paxson is a human being and a friend, so far only on Facebook but qualifying as ‘friend’ in the best sense of the word regardless, which is, for me, someone who gives a damn, who notices, and is thoughtful. If that someone is also good with words, it’s extra. And so, here is a bit of that extra, several Paxson-isms, shared with the writer’s permission.

On Facebook:

“FB friendship: a new form of human relation. New vistas for philosophy and psychology; there’s a treasure trove of PhD theses here. Here are the people I work with every day, those I met last week and those I knew when I was a kid. Those I love, and those I’ve never met. People I knew and lost and rediscovered. People I met here and have come to meet in ‘real’ life. All of you neatly alphabetized, posting about the ridiculously sublime and the sublimely ridiculous. Here I learn, laugh and cry, and get to know you and share your life a bit. And of course out there are some of my close friends who, by their FB absence, help define FB-ness as well. FB: like.”

On the big question:

“Perhaps there is afterlife, reincarnation or nothingness. Perhaps tomorrow someone or some event will call you to account. But right this moment, you, the sum of the wiles and weaknesses that equate you, can act as you please. This then is the freedom of the human condition. You are absolutely free, even if you do not have absolute freedom.”

Finally, something simpler, but equally universal:

“Les nuits blanches, quand on rêve
On est son propre démon
Qui se tourmente sans trêve
Sans trouver satisfaction.

When one dreams, a sleepless night
His own demon he becomes
To torment without respite
Yet no problem overcomes.”

And yet is uplifting to read. Thank you, Edwin.


I am heartened, and reminded of all good things. That one need not understand everything or know the outcomes to choose right action (rereading C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books, and being reminded). Now if you’ll excuse me slipping from one thing to another, “tis a gift to be simple, tis a gift to be free, tis a gift to come down where we ought to be…” The gift that came at Christmas wasn’t just for Christians, whatever the extremists want to believe. Grace and Goodness can’t be tied to a name. We’re the ones with small minds. Grace is infinite. For me, and for you, and for you, and for you… Happy Sunday, Blessed Advent, friends.

Missing books

Books lost in these many moves: Betrand Russell’s ‘History of Western Philosophy’, the 3 volume Joe Campbell, Frazier’s ‘Golden Bough’,… i.e. most of the philosophy/anthropology/sociology. Thankfully still present, Tagore collected letters & essays, also Lionel Trilling’s essays. But I need to read about Hume and Locke now, and better from my own loved books than unfamiliar resources. Anyone who thinks moving is glamorous should not be a lover of books. Now to hope I remember all the lost titles, that they’re still in print, and that they don’t cost a fortune.


From an old friend in Malaysia, the best explanation of Deepavali. Light to all!

Deepavali the Festival of Light

Deepavali / Diwali is a combination of two names, Dipa, which means lamp and Awali, which means row or line. So in essence, this festival is referred to as the festival of the row of lights. It is widely celebrated wherever Hindus can be found. It is marked by exploding lights, fireworks and so forth. Hindus celebrate it to mark the triumph of light over darkness.

In Sanskrit, light means good and darkness means evil. Therefore, this is a celebration of good overcoming evil.

Happy Deepavali to all who yearn for light to wipe out darkness!

Cantonese talk radio

People arguing on a Cantonese language talk show on the radio in California. I recognize a word every few minutes and am ridiculously happy, imagining it’s Malaysia 30 years ago. Words i know in Cantonese: ‘hurry up’, ‘don’t make a fuss’, and ‘beautiful’. Also, ‘how much is that?’ accompanied by a pointing finger in a marketplace.

Sandy afternoon

Hot chocolate with salt, maple syrup, orange oil, cinnamon and vanilla, just perfect after a long, cold walk. Wind is still strong and cold down by the Verazzano Narrows Bridge. My neighborhood, and I, are relatively lucky. This is the bottom of Bay Ridge, facing Staten Island, what the cabbies describe as ‘under the bridge’. We have power. There’s a large downed tree uprooted from the sidewalk and fallen across the street fortunately just short of hitting the opposite house, partly because some branches broke off. Lying across the road it’s about the height of a man’s waist.

Down by the Narrows, there’s a large hollow pipe, half the width of this tree trunk but at least half again as long, lying on the rocks below the boardwalk and partially submerged. The exposed end is full of bolts and other fittings, I try to guess what it is: something from a ship, or a pier, perhaps? Somewhere a business is probably filing an insurance claim for this lost pipe. There’s a tremendous amount of debris in the water, from the expected plastic trash cans and traffic cones to what looks like someone’s kitchen table. A sweet watering can goes by, the kind with an embossed flower on one side. So many pieces of people’s lives washed into that water.

In return the sea has given what I think must be sand from the bottom of the water. The water is a browny-green, like tropical river water, and quite unlike it’s usual northern, Atlantic-coast blues. There’s sand deposited in curves on the boardwalk of the park, and across that and the bike lane and small road — a total of about 50 feet — on the surface of the parking lot. Stones, also, about 1/2 to 1 soccer ball in size, mostly of a color and shape not like the rocks against the retaining wall below the boardwalk. The sea and the storm have brought them from elsewhere. They are too large to have made it through the protective railing. I guess the water must have literally thrown them over the waist-high railing.

There are smaller stones. Several very small children, perhaps demonstrating the resilience of our species or at least of New Yorkers, are busily tossing the smaller stones back into the river. To them it’s a lovely game, a day when parents are unexpectedly and wonderfully at home.

All over the neighborhood, as I walk, is the evidence of hard working and determined people. I only managed to force myself out, pushing through the oddest panicky feeling, at a quarter to three in the afternoon. There were sounds outside from first light, and by the time I’m out much of the debris is done, miscellaneous debris bagged, tree limbs cut down to be hauled away. It’s still messy, but the piles of trash-bags and testimony to how much has worse it was. One house has a side covered with that plastic sheeting one sees on construction sites, either a very quick repair or an ongoing job, I can’t tell. Many stores, in this neighborhood which didn’t flood except down by the water, are open, all the ones where people live close enough to get in to work. There’s still food on the shelves, and no panic. I am not the only one taking pictures, though, and walking around marveling. We all know we’re tremendously lucky to be in a neighborhood that’s come off so lightly. I pass the subway station, and wonder when it is I’ll be able to get to the city again. It smells musty, or perhaps I’m imagining it.

I’ve heard from most of my friends in Sandy’s path, but not all. I am wishing this hadn’t happened, that the storm of the century hadn’t been bred by persistent denial of climate change. I’m remembering my NASA years and thinking how futile it is to know so much when we, as a country and a people, do so little. I am anxious too, remembering Katrina and New Orleans. I know New York won’t be like that, but don’t know what it will be. I’m wondering about life, and choices, probably in the same generally anxious and tired and not very smart way most people are today. The last days have been a blur of pre-hurricane prep, which in this city means hauling stuff around through the subway or on foot from stores, carrying water bottles and that last carton of milk and canned soups and such, all those foods one never buys except for such emergencies. Yesterday as the hurricane approached, and then during, there was the building and the howling of wind, and then more howling, and louder, a maddening sound that freaked out the body without stopping to consult the mind, and then there were the images and reports of horrible things happening, flooded streets and exploding power stations and fires…

I come home from my walk, and write this, and get ready to post my pictures, and wish I had something intelligent to say, a better closing thought than how to make amazing hot chocolate, but I don’t. There’s only waiting now.

One final thought. I am grateful, sitting here waiting to see what will happen to my city after a hurricane, that Obama is in the White House and not Romney, who would have us privatize disaster relief and who thinks climate change is a myth. I don’t want what Bush let happen to New Orleans to happen to me. Call me selfish. But it could be you and your city next time.

Be safe, you all.

Hurricane Sandy coming to call

It’s not everyday a girl finds a hurricane/nor’easter knocking on the door. Here’s what it was like in my neighborhood, down by the Verrazano Narrows bridge a stone’s throw from Staten Island.

10/27, 10:55am: Auxiliary IPhone battery yes, auxiliary battery charging cable no. Moving equals chaos.

10/28, 1pm: 1 block closer to the water than my place is in the zone B Eva area (not at all an issue this storm) but the point is, that’s the ritzy block, the super pricey, water view… block, and mine is where regular people like. Strange similarity to the areas of SF south bay where the crazy expensive places in the hills get hit by mudslides every rainy season.

10/28, 6pm: Wind is picking up and temp beginning to drop, lovely lovely bite in the air. Storm coming in from the ocean may be dangerous, but dear God it is beautiful too. Now if there’s just no storm surge into the sewers here (I’m v. close to the water) I shall be happy.

10/28, midnight: Internet and phone cutting out occasionally. Time to go to bed and hope not to be flooded or cleaning up from flooding soon. Goodnight, world.

10/29, 1:30pm: Walked over to the Verrazano Narrows bridge river park a little bit ago (around noon). Wind was still low enough people were out. We really are zone B and higher than Red Hook, high tide didn’t get over the wall. Looks probable storm surge + tonight’s high time will, but where I am (uphill from the river a couple of blocks) it’s only going to be potential nuisance stuff of sewer backups and power outages. Wind was getting pre-tornado-ish by the time I got home, and it’s getting stronger now.

10/29, 2pm: Okay. this is the water near by me now. High tide this morning, 9am, didn’t come onto the boardwalk, and at 12 noon when I was out there it was about 3 feet below the level of this pavement. I’m indoors now (2 blocks inland and UP, so no worries.) Wind is blocking harder. Indoors for the duration now, I guess.



10/29, 8pm: Got the Con Ed robocall. Still have power, but if it goes out I’m perfectly safe; will shut off cellphones and such to save battery and go to bed. So if I stop chattering…. Meanwhile the wind is crazy out there.

10/29, 11pm: Heading to bed. Goodnight all. Wind is still wuthering but I think a tiny bit quieter.

WWII Malaya – looking for sources

Looking for info on WW II Malaya, specifically the ethnic purification of Chinese by Occupying Japanese, and came on this on the way. Durian pickers killed as communists by postwar British authorities. And yet, all the Malaysian Chinese I know would think it silly to have issues with either the Japanese or the British. (The subtitle/thesis of my book is, how to survive a war without a legacy of hate.)

Dance, then writing

Dance practice last night slightly less resembling a hippopotamus in drink and today a scene, a whole (well, almost) whole scene of a short story that has nothing whatsoever to do with the book, I had forgotten how much release there was in writing new material. and now, proceeding in order of necessity, I go to seek calories, perhaps made out of chocolate.

Slow isolations and poses tonight, I will never understand why this is so much harder than the rapid movement but it is: and also more beautiful.

a passing stranger

“Do you know what happened to me today?” This from a slight, well-put-together woman I smiled at during a walk. She said, “My job is so stressful, I just walked from…” 3+ miles, and she was in work clothes & shoes. She had meant it as a casual, would you believe, how funny, comment. But then she broke down. Not for long, she pulled herself together pretty quickly — 5 mins of letting it out, tops. But what are we doing to people, in this country? Millions and millions on the edge of endurance. I was home sick on Sunday, and read myself the service out of an antique prayer book. There are verses from the Bible read during services. The surprising thing was that this very old version of the prayer book had about 3x as many verses about the responsibility of the wealthy to give, share, sustain, as the contemporary prayerbook. God, despite the evil that is coming out of the far-right, is not a fiscal conservative. We are, in fact, our brothers (or sisters) keepers. I told her to make herself a cup of tea or coffee, eat, take a walk by the water and relax over the weekend, while I patted her arm and rubbed her back. We exchanged hugs. It was pathetically inadequate. I hope Paul Ryan imploded tonight, and lets the hatefulness of extreme conservatism show through.

New York: Chinatown

“Your mother told you to buy two things.” Middle-aged lady in a Chinatown shop to a 20-something young man, as she holds up two fingers and shakes them in his face: public humiliation, a favorite teaching tool of the Asian Auntie. And yet, generation by generation, the kids are kind enough not to rise up and wipe us out. It is a miracle of love.

“…a ship’s boiler.”

I just heard the phrase ‘face like a ship’s boiler’ on a Britcom and suddenly remembered visiting the engine room of a large ship when I was 14 (somewhere between Port Klang and Madras. Not something passengers were invited to do but I somehow talked the engineering officer into taking me down there. The engines were huge. I had totally forgotten. I’ve had some moments.


Autumn equinox tomorrow morning. It can be a time for holy weeping, the trees wearing cloaks of gold and red, sun and blood, blessing and mourning. A time to grieve, a time to walk the passage of griefs released as the trees release their garments: presently to stand, still, proud, in winter’s burning cold. Presently, friends, soon: a whiteness comes of ending — and an excitement of immanent beginning. We will die, each of us, someday as the leaves die. Life itself survives. More than you and I, more beautiful. More to be praised. And so, Holy Weeping tonight, and Holy Joy. Happy Equinox this year, this night, this perilous, wondrous time.

Ganesha’s birthday

Happy Ganesha’s Birthday, especially to my Hindu friends. This elephant is a drawing I made of a carved wooden elephant that belonged to my father and his uncle and before that I don’t know. I think my father was wise, so, sharing. Wisdom and prosperity all round wouldn’t be so bad.