Through this blog of mine (which I started back when blogging wasn’t even cool or understood), I’ve made plenty of good friends. I leave my blog URL in a few places but somehow, people find their way here and end up being my good buddies.
When they email me and I reply, they are inevitably surprised. The first thing many e-buddies ask is this, “Why did you choose Maya Kirana as a name for yourself and your blog?”
Not many people know this little history of mine. I will let all of you in on this little secret of Maya’s.
When I started writing seriously for online publications, I was still receiving a paycheck. It meant there were issues I could write about and many more which I could not. I was then also an editor of a woman’s portal and I could not, absolutely could not just blurt out what I felt. I was certain it was totally unbecoming of me if I did what I wanted to do, disregarding my employer’s expectations of me (you see, I am a conscientious employee).
I first wrote a piece on how I felt about children. I remembered the title was something I lifted off Kahlil Gibran – how children do not come to you, but come through you. It resonated with what I felt about marriage and children. Perhaps I thought too much. I still think a lot about issues which many find a fact of life. Anyhow, this online publication (now defunct) published it but I had to choose a pseudonym. And fast.
So I used MayaKirana. It gave me a freedom to express what I couldn’t, under my own name.
But why this exotic name for this not-so-exotic Malaysian woman? (Then I was just in my mid-20s. Still idealistic though.Still hoping. Never want to lose my curiosity.)
Maya means many things to me. The word is soft and gentle but multifaceted in its truth. Through my Buddhist roots, I’d like to think it reflects on Queen Maha Maya. In Sanskrit, Maya also means ‘illusion’. Once a upon a time in one of the saddest episodes of my life, I believed life to be an illusion. What sort of illusion, you may ask?
That’s why Kirana comes in. Kirana is how I spell Qirana, an Arabic word meaning ‘light’ or ‘nur’. Combined as a word, MayaKirana is about the illusion of light. What I see and touch in this world are but illusions of light. That’s why I see you. That’s why things are what they are and then cease to be. It was explained perfectly through the movie, The Matrix, where I finally understood with clarity what I was trying to see all along. (By the way, The Matrix is based on Buddhist doctrines but I am not a theologian – I do not explain concepts as well so do take a look at this piece to find out more about the themes in this movie.)But then again, many people now know who the person behind MayaKirana is. It is no longer a mask but an alter ego everyone acknowledges. Rather a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde conundrum!
Whatever it is, I love the mystery that MayaKirana affords me. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how MayaKirana came to be.