Feb 5, 2014

Do You Spell "Fate" with a Z


Sita held her breath and the drums rolled. The crowd became all eyes and Sita tensed her body like a wing in the tight cylinder of the cannon. And the drums rolled. And they rolled. And they rolled.

Boom. Sita took to the arc beneath the red and white canvas.

photo via vcephysics

At the age of 14, Rosa Matilda Richter became the first human cannonball. The year was 1877, the very year Victoria became "Empress of India." The cannon that launched her used a spring, rather than later models. These would resort to compressed air.

I named Sita after Hindu character Sita, avatar of Lakshmi. As personification of the good, bountiful Earth, and example of wifely virtues, the character exhibits courage and moral virtue -- which culminates in her refusal to undergo more than one test of purity just to appease her husband Rama and allay his fears concerning her chastity. Instead, she returns to the womb of the Earth.

Rama, Sita and Balarama in the Forest
Gouache, gold and silver on paper. India, Pahari Hills, Kangra, Circa 1810

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