House of the Rising Sun – Santa Esmeralda
There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Risin’ Sun
And it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy
And God, I Know I’m a-one
My mother was a tailor
She sewed my new blue jeans
My father was a gambler man,
Down in New Orleans
Now the only thing a gambler needs
Is a suitcase and a trunk
And the only time he’s satisfied
Is when he’s on a drunk
He fills his glasses up to the brim
And he’ll pass the cards around
And the only pleasure he gets out of life
Is ramblin’ from town to town
Oh mother tell your children
Not to do what I have done
Spend their lives in sin and misery
In the House of Risin’ Sun
Well, it’s one foot on the platform
And the other foot on the train
I’m goin’ back to New Orleans
To wear that ball and chain
I’m a-goin’ back to New Orleans
My race is almost run
I’m goin’ back to end my life
Down in the Risin’ Sun
There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Risin’ Sun
It’s been the ruin of many poor girl
And God, I know I’m a-one.
There is a mythical creature that walks ceaselessly the length and breath of this planet. She is a strikingly beautiful woman – all but invisible to the naked, human eye. She is nothing short of stunning. Her lustrous, long, black hair lies loosely around her shoulders as she strides confidently forward. She is very tall and she is known to wear a black mask, a black cape and black boots – that forms her usual attire. She constitutes everything that dreams are made of. She is invisible to the human eye but the fragrance of her subtle perfume is potent enough to arouse an intoxication that is hard to beat. You will never ever see her – she is a restless adventurer – forever on the move. She hides her grey eyes behind a mask – it is an effective means, for her, of forever hiding her true identity from the curious and unkind eyes of the world. She wears a mask to hide her tears of immense sadness and sorrow – she is weeping more often than she ever laughs. This forms the very basis of her essence and her soul – she is an addictive seductress because she is such an unknown quantity – forever enigmatic, perpetually mysterious and eternally elusive. She knows every nook and cranny of this Earth – if she doesn’t, then believe me, it is not worth knowing. She is a smooth operator with a practiced air and an experienced, discerning sense of shrewdness and wiliness. She is chimeral and capricious as only a woman can truly be – she can be the Goddess of Plenty – as intuitive, as caring and as instinctively protective of her progeny, as a mother is. However, she is notorious for her fiery temper. You would do very well indeed not to provoke her wrath. She can transform herself into a fiery monster, in an instant’s rage and she is ruthless enough to wreak such havoc as to make you wish ardently that you had never lusted after her, at all or ever. Yet, she is as sensitive and as fragile as porcelain – she responds to a caress or a loving touch, like a cat. She values love, loyalty, honesty and integrity, above all else – she will shower endless blessings on all the wise people who take the time, effort and energy to respect and cherish her. Never forget that she is a woman – she is infinitely capable of taking sadistic pleasure in a slow and painful revenge on all those who attempt to mock her. “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” – remember those words well, when she crosses your path on the Road of Life. She is a woman – her Love is not acquired, it is won; Devotion to her is not demanded, it is commanded and Respect of her essence is earned and cannot be bought easily or cheaply. Call her what you will – she is FORTUNE, WEALTH, PROSPERITY, FAME, MONEY – it really doesn’t matter what you choose to call her. She has been sought desperately by millions of people, since eons gone by – all people, men and women alike, stay in eternal quest of her lingering glances and affections – however fleeting and transient these affections might be. She is a temptress who smiles gleefully behind her mask because she knows that the world will never ever stop seeking her seductions. The world never can or will own her – she has and always will own them. She is the Queen of the Jungle.
Well, you might still ask why I am so insistent that FORTUNE is the epitome of striking beauty in the body of a slender, masked woman. It is due to a variety of good and concrete reasons – it is not due to one distinguishing individual quality – it is a conglomeration of female traits and characteristics that can only be the hallmarks of a woman. A woman who is graceful and lithe like a wild cat. She has cultivated the incredible speed and unerring marksmanship of a hunter, patiently stalking her prey. She is sensuous and voluptuous in her beauty as only a woman can be – her mask and cape are, in every way, a promise of hidden temptations and unattainable pleasures. She is like a chameleon – as changeable, as moody, as temperamental and as whimsical like many other women of her kind. Behind the mask, her grey eyes shine with kindness, gentleness and benevolence when she is in the presence of those wise folk who understand her worth; who appreciate her value and who respect and worship her like a Goddess – people who show her unstinting faithfulness and willing devotion and love. However, her cat’s eyes quickly turn green with rage and infinite fury when people ill-treat, misuse or abuse her.
She is in every way a paradox – just as she can be forever your loyal, sincere and generous friend, she can just as easily be fickle-minded and superficial – tempting men and women alike when she brushes her body past them. She can be like a mother bestowing eternal warmth and love to her precious children or she can turn into a vicious and vindictive serpent capable of swift and effective, fatal punishment – the punishment of making any man rapidly and unceremoniously fall from grace, fortune and fame. The tools of her punishment are very severe and not to be trifled with – she can easily bring on poverty, misery, hunger, starvation, innumerable debts and bankruptcy with a faint whiff of her breath. Such is Fortune – she walks the Earth endlessly and is never known to take a moment’s rest. Her own children make the homes of the benevolent, generous souls of this world their permanent abode. She is a notorious expert specializing in being eternally elusive to the people who lust and greed after her body, beauty, influence and power. Nobody knows from where she comes and nobody knows where she goes – she is mythical and enigmatic. She is capable of making her presence powerfully felt – she makes it prominently known that she is somewhere around with the glint and eternal glimmer that she bestows to her gold ornaments and jewellery; with the sheer sparkle with which she honors her diamonds and other precious gems and with the intoxicating whiff that she lends to every single thing of value that she represents in our world. She takes the physical form of Money as we know it – of coins and paper or plastic-coated banknotes and currency notes that are used as a form of payment for services rendered or as a medium of economic exchange.
Money is associated with everything that can buy wealth, riches, prosperity, fortune, fame and success. It is highly addictive, as intoxicating as alcohol, drugs or gambling. It has often been said that “Money makes the world go round” – well, literally, you know that money certainly lacks the gravitational force to make a huge planet like our Earth spin on its axis. However, let’s make a valiant effort to be realistic and pragmatic in one’s approach to this saying. It is an undeniable and veritable fact that it is much nicer, more practical, more comfortable and so much easier to cry one’s eyes and heart out in a Mercedes car than on an unbalanced, unstable bicycle. It is so much more addictive to take several gulps of intoxicating alcohol or wine than taking careful sips of undelectable and sugarless milk. Try asking a gentleman to wear a well-tailored suit made of a luxurious and plush suiting material, coupled with designer, leather, highly polished shoes and see how you can’t stop staring at him in awe, wonder and amazement. Just try admiring a woman, wearing the best make-up that money can possibly buy. Ask to see her ‘dressed to the nines’ in her ridiculously expensive mink coat and lovely stiletto heels and see how it makes her ever so striking and startlingly beautiful. Then try comparing those same awe-inspiring, fascinating images with the sad and pathetic picture of the wild and uncouth Tarzan with his beloved, Jane, (or the picture of any other tribal for that matter). Just conjure up an image of a buck-toothed, bare-chested frumpy woman (with sagging breasts – that’s for Jane or any other tribal woman). Try to imagine her ‘clad’ in a grass-skirt used as a temporary and flimsy loin-cloth – tied clumsily and precariously around her waist. Believe me, it will instantly and very quickly make you change your mind, in favor of the pleasures and luxuries of Fortune. Well, it’s really not so hard to believe or imagine and on the face of it, there seems to be nothing that can be truer than this expression – money DOES SEEM to make the world go round. Well, let’s see how far that is really the case or not.
In the days of the Old, Frontier West, the card game of poker reigned supreme as a gambling game among mustachioed cowboys who played with their backs to the wall and with their guns at their side. In New Orleans, there was one such gambling den called the “House of the Rising Sun.” One has never been too sure if it ever served as a brothel or not – whether it existed as a matter of actual fact or fiction. It is a song that is often sung by women, in remembrance of the enraged daughter who murdered her father – an eternal gambler who had beaten his wife in his drunken stupor. In this sense, it is possible that the gambling den might very well be a jail-house from which one would be the first person to see the sun rise – an idea supported by the lyrics mentioning “a ball and chain.” – a phrase used in slang form to describe marital relationships, as a whole. A lot of speculative theories have been put forth to explain the origins of such an ingenious name of this gambling house. It is the story of a young man who leaves his humble beginnings to look for a life of adventure and a “quick buck” in one such gambling den named “the Rising Sun.” He goes there despite knowing that is has ruined the lives of many – people who chose to drown the sorrows of their ever-increasing losses, with more and more alcohol. This drunkenness works very well for the profits of the gambling den so no one goes out of his way to control this descent to the lowest rung of drunkenness, unless the alcohol abuser becomes violent and uncontrollable. It has ruined the lives of many a poor girl, forced to earn her living by prostituting herself. The gambler, in the song, returns against his better judgement to New Orleans even though he knows he will inevitably die there – at the hands of his unscrupulous creditors. He goes back to gambling because he just cannot resist the lure and addiction of quick and easy money.
It is true that Money is important and necessary to meet one’s basic requirements of daily living expenses – it is needed to have a life of reasonable comfort, if not luxury. However, its existence has created many more problems than it has solved. People today are so ambitious to earn huge, monthly salaries that they work longer and longer hours every single day – Time that ought to be fruitfully spent with family, enjoying a meal, as a family or taking the time to watch a movie on television together. Time that should have been spent at home resting and relaxing, so that one awakes the next morning feeling rejuvenated and raring to go. Instead, the incidences of legal separation have increased dramatically and the incidences of divorce with bitter custody battles is ever on the rise too. Health is suffering more and more. People are becoming more and more greedy, egoistic and self-centered – the influence and craving of money in their lives is so great, it makes them either misers or spendthrifts in the eyes of the world. Money is one of the major causes for divisions in society based on economic and financial considerations – there is a glaring disparity in the world, to this day, among the “haves” (the rich and famous who enjoy every conceivable luxury known to civilization) and the “have nots” – the poverty-stricken, hungry, starving, miserable and down-trodden millions. It is one of the major causes of isolation, unhappiness and loneliness in the world among thousands of the world’s population – I can assure you that money normally buys no true and sincere friends. The rate of crime in big cities – crimes such as armed battery, assault, theft (leading to rape and murder) has increased tremendously and continues to do so. Life in any metropolis’ of the world is no longer safe or secure. The intense craving for money is an ever-hungry intoxication that has led to more and more incidents of swindling, extortion, bankruptcy, debts running in the trillions, corruption and any number of new and unheard of scams, involving the gross misuse of money, among the well-known leaders of state and famous politicians. What is sad is that there is no end to the misuse of money – it is ever on the increase.
Well, what can I say that you don’t already know? The bottom-line of this whole exercise is that money can never buy you Happiness or Peace of Mind. The woman named Fortune has wreaked her final revenge on the world for her gross and repeated ill-treatment. We will just have to bear the consequences until such a day comes when we all decide to unify ourselves as ONE and change for the betterment of humanity, as a whole.
- Stranger in the Mirror (hookedoninspiration.wordpress.com)
- An hour in Orleans, France (journeyaroundtheglobe.com)
- “HEAR! HEAR!” EXCLUSIVE: The Winter Sounds’ “The Sun Also Rises” Video and MP3 (hearhearmusic.com)