A Critic's Meta Review: 4/5

The Hanuman Chalisa by Tulsidas (REVIEW)

Every morning - without fail - when I was living at my last apartment (which seems like ages ago but, in reality, was about two or three months ago), after walking to the kitchen with Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali artfully balanced upon my head, making a cup of black tea with cardamom and fennel seeds, reading from said book while sipping said tea, washing and stowing away whatever dishes my roommate conveniently “forgot” to clean and clear from the sink (so the flies don’t come), prying open the pantry, grabbing a can of salmon cutlets from the uppermost shelf, opening said can, pouring half of the contents of said can into my cat’s food bowl (next to his, rather concerningly, consistently full water bowl), placing the remainder of the aforementioned can on top of the refrigerator, and then looking at myself in the mirror to make sure that I had not woken up in an alternate universe where I have exactly one less set of abs than the one in which I typically reside, I would walk over to my dresser and pick up my copy of Goswami Tulsidas’s “Hanuman Chalisa”, which my Nana (my mother’s father) had brought back from India and gifted to my mother, who had then gifted it to me several years ago, and I would pick up my acoustic guitar (or my roommate’s, if mine was in some weird tuning) and perform, in full, this version of the Hanuman Chalisa.

Up until this year, I had not even so much as opened this thing. It sat in one of the drawers of my old bedroom nightstand, collecting dust and God knows what else, given all the Milky Way and string cheese wrappers I had shoved in those drawers over the years. But ever since I had started to get closer with my Nana and, to be quite frank, my mother (we have not always been on the best of terms), I have developed a newfound appreciation for my spiritual heritage and have taken it upon myself to learn everything I can about what my ancestors believed to be the true nature of this realm of the astral plane.

Even though I was not familiar with the text of the Chalisa until recently, I have known about Hanuman and his story since I was a wee ragazzino. I was initially drawn to him because he was a monkey man. I have always had a thing for monkeys - in fact, I wanted to own one as a pet until I saw that interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show with the lady who got mauled by her pet chimpanzee. Her face...or lack thereof, rather...yikes.

Just stick with cats and dogs, folks.

...and weevils.

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