Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Piousness of NAVRATRAS

Pic courtesy Ludhiana Tribune ( Online Edition)
I am sharing this Post, once again from the column of Hindustan times, INNER VOICE by R L Pathak.

  Navratras are here again. These are the days to start any new  venture, without going for any "muhurat" because Maa Durga bestow her unqualified blessings on one and all.

It is believed that the period is one of the utmost periods of piety.  Maa Durga has nine facets and is discerned in in manifestations deemed auspicious for for all new beginnings.  People observe the Navratras by getting up in the wee hours and after completing the morning chores start praying 

and chanting hymns, wishing all the best for the mankind.

During this time, people make it a point that they observe fast for nine days or for as many days as possible, depending on the contingencies and the person to person constraints. The sick, and the infirm, however need not go in for fasts during these days.

There is a custom to sow 'jow' ( Barley) in a pot and reap the 'crop' on the approaching Ashtmi/ and or Naumi. After this, rich feasts are thrown open to celebrate Ram Naumi, the birth of Lord Rama with great pomp and show in temples.  Prayer sessions are conducted and young females are treated and their good wishes are invoked.  The Custom is christened 'KANJAK' ; delicious meals, money and gifts are offered on the day.  Kids are pampered and they wear saffron head gears.

People observe total piety and simple living and do not do anything  in "thought. word or deed" to harm or hurt anyone in any manner.  They always try to follow the path of righteousness in order to be useful to their brethren which . in turn, helps everyone lead a pious life.

People also try to visit the Vaishno Devi shrine to pay their obeisance and earn the Mother's blessings.  It is said that Mother never disappoints any one and blesses all without any kind of divide or discrimination. "

In many states in India, besides the Prayers, Fasting and other Pooja ritual;s there is also an atmosphere of gaiety and dancing and singing.   During the nine days, DANDIYA, a dance form originating from Gujarat is performed in open squares by women, men, and children .

The very same Dandiya is also celebrated in Mumbai where celebrities , especially from Bollywood , grace the Pandals , and join the pious and fun atmosphere.

This is my second post on Navratras.  May Maa Durga Bless us all.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Magic of SPRING

We are in the midst of Spring,  the most beautiful and awaited season on Earth.

I happened to listen to the song 'The Rose' by Bette Midler, and the result is this post:)

Pic courtesy Dan

As per Wikipedia, this is what SPRING is all about.............

Spring is one of the four temperate seasons, the transition period between winter and summer. Spring and "springtime" refer to the season, and broadly to ideas of rebirth, renewal and regrowth.

In spring, the axis of the Earth is increasing its tilt toward the Sun and the length of daylight rapidly increases for the relevant hemisphere. The hemisphere begins to warm significantly causing new plant growth to "spring forth," giving the season its name. Snow, if a normal part of winter, begins to melt, and streams swell with runoff. Frosts, if a normal part of winter, become less severe. In climates that have no snow and rare frosts, the air and ground temperature increases more rapidly. Many flowering plants bloom this time of year, in a long succession sometimes beginning even if snow is still on the ground, continuing into early summer. In normally snowless areas "spring" may begin as early as February (Northern Hemisphere) heralded by the blooming of deciduous magnolias, cherries, and quince.

In India, we celebrate the Spring festival Vasant Panchami .  This day is celebrated onmthe fifth day of Spring  season as per Hindu Calender.  On this day people worship Goddess Saraswati,

 who is the symbol of  Learning, Knowledge , Music and Arts.

This day has special significance for students and the day is celebrated in schools where children pray to the goddess to  bless them with knowledge.

The specific color of the day is yellow.  People wear yellow clothes and cook yellow colored sweet rice a s a prasad.

Wiki says: 

Goddess Saraswati is the consort of Lord Brahma (Lord of Creation) and is the goddess of wisdom and learning. Saraswati is the one who gives the essence (sara) of our own self (swa). She is considered as the personification of all knowledge - arts, sciences, crafts and other skills. She has a beautiful and elegant presence, is pure white in colour, clad in a white sari, seated on a white lotus, representing purity and brilliance. She has four hands representing four aspects of human personality in learning: mind, intellect, alertness and ego. She has the sacred scriptures in one hand and a lotus (a symbol of true knowledge) in the second. With her other two hands she plays the music of love and life on the veena. 

Six more days of March, so let us enjoy SPRING in all its glory :)))

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Connecting with the Almighty.

During my darkest and toughest moments, i have always found Peace, Calmness, Strength and Hope whenever i prayed, especially in the sanctity of a quiet temple.

It is said, "When Prayers  go Up, Blessings Come Down".

Here, i am sharing a beautiful piece on Prayers, published in the regular INNER VOICE  Column in Hindustan Times on Thursday 22 march.  the article is by Dharminder Singh Ubha.

"People generally pray to God for a variety of reasons.  Some pray to Him out of fear, believing they will be punished if they do not pray regularly or on certain occasions.  some others remember god only when they are in difficulty and need help which humans cannot or do not give them.  There are others who pray out of a sense of duty thinking that they should do it.  Then there are those who are deeply devout and remember god out of love and reverence.

It is pertinent to ask whether it is prayer to God or faith in God which is more important and more powerful.  The obvious answer will be "Faith" because prayer without faith would be just a meaningless ritual.

The Bible says. "Ask,, it shall be given to you; seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you."  Lord Tennyson in his famous poem "Idylls of the King", writes:

"More things are wrought by prayer than these world dreams of".

Indian sages, saints scriptures express infinitr faith in the power of prayer, call it a panacea for all our ills and exhort the p[people to pray regularly to god or various gods and goddesses.  The prayer in the Indian context refers to a plethora of religious rites, rituals, and forms of worship.

The liberal and humanistic approach to religion changes its focus from the world of myth and mystery to the world of man.  People with this type of mindset  believe that service of mankind is the best worship and that ritualistic prayer has no place in the world of today.  Of course they too believe in the power of prayer.

But it is the silent prayer of the soul which they perform.  for this, they don't need to go anywhere, need no aids and perform no rituals.  Despite being wordless and formless, it strengthens one's confidence, leads to spiritual growth and paves the way for a successful, happy and contented life."

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Childhood Interrupted

A new born infant's first brush with the world is through his parents.  The reassuring touch of his mother rand his immediate family is what forms the core of his beliefs.  and TRUST.

As the child grows he interacts with other close members of the family.  followed by Neighbors, acquaintances and even strangers.

Yet, he hangs on for dear life to the ones closest to his environment.

I have always believed that  childhood is the MOST important phase of a person's life.  the values inculcated during this time stay with you  for your entire life.   a happy childhood translated into a happy youth ,  a happy individual. a happy citizen and so on.

whenever we have   delved into the psyche of serial killers or serious offenders like pedophiles, we can trace the  history back to a troubled childhood.

Each one of us is born with a pure heart. It is the big bad world which perverts our mind.

Coming to Child Sexual Abuse.  The scars left by this horrendous betrayal of  TRUST  by a close member of the family, or someone  else can have far reaching consequences, leaving a person battered and bruised for life.

The Campagin started by Author and Blogger Kiran Manral is indeed a bold step in dealing with this sensitive issue. and this post is in appreciation of her efforts to tackle this issue and ease the life of victims of CSA people.

It is heartening to know that several NGOs  like ARPAN, Women's Web, Tuli, South Asian Parent, RAHI and others have lent their support to tackle this issue.

As more and more celebrities come out with their stories of abuse, it will motivate the common folk to  come forward and unburden their guilt and troubled souls.

Confession is always good for the soul and unburdening of secrets kept deep in the heart will definitely free an person of  past traumas and help them to bury the past and move ahead with a fresh perspective.

An intelligent, educated adult can be robbed of a happy life all due to the demons of CSA plaguing his mind.

So, with April as the CSA month approaching fast, let us all do our bit to focus on this issue and set free scores of people trapped in there minds.

Kiran i for one am all with you and would be ahppy to take this ahead in any manner i can.

Let us a give a listening ear to the CSA  victims and help them unburden  themselves and live a happy life.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

And Humanity SOARS........

A couple of days back, i got an invitation from the renowned Women's right Blogger Seema Rao to attend a Critical Mass.  A silent Protest Walk from India Gate

 to the Rashtrapati Bhawan , today, i.e.March 18, 2012.

I could feel a sense of suppressed calm about this future event and i took pains to get together an outfit in BLACK, which was the color code of this event.

The scheduled time was 7 a.m. in the morning and i reached the venue a few minutes in advance.  Perhaps i should have discussed this with Seema, but for some reason i did not. so i did not have too many clues as to how this event would unfold.

so i sat back in the parked car and waited for things to unroll.  ans soon enough a trickle of people, dressed with a piece of black started moving towards India Gate.  I sat there in silence in the lovely cool morning with anticipation and curiosity.

And then more bikers, pedestrians, and people in cars  started gathering.  some came especially with their bikes in the rear of the car.  By now a small crowd, a mass of black had nucleated at India Gate.  i knew, it was not a mistake to have come.  Even as  i contemplated the right time to step out of the sanctity of the parked car towards the gathering mass, a fleet of Harley Davidson bikers came screeching , their head lights full on , circling the road and merging with the mass.

The next instant i was out and on my way to join the rest of the people gathered. I was stunned to see there were many young

children too.  But perhaps the most unbelievable thing was the professional gear

which many  of the bikers and other  people were sporting.

Soon, the main organizer of the Critical Mass took charge.  In fact, they are a gr8 couple which i was to discover later.  Gagandeep Singh Sapra and Harleen Sethi Sapra.

By now the whole mass of people were charged up and Gagandeep blew the whistle and instructed the protesters  to pick up banners which were  already ready and laid on the road. As i went to pick up one, a young man walked towards me with a few printed sheets which said:

Hindustan Times


He  handed me and insisted i write my name at the top and two lines, my view on Real Men.  Even though i was taken back at this, the words came out easily, without any effort, and i wrote:

"Who can PEEP into a woman's  HEART".

Finally the  Critcal Mass started on its foot journey from the revered India Gate to Rashrapati Bhawan. 

 By now, another breed of people had joined the mass.  Musicians and Drummers.  They strapped the drums to their waists and  got marching, their drums piercing the morning calm.

The enthusiasm and purpose of the momentum of people holding banners, 

reverberating drums, and flitting pass on their bikes was something i could never possible have anticipated as i had set forth from my home in Faridabad in the early hours of the morning.

As the procession marched on towards its goal, the Rashrapati Bhawan, i followed the lot in a daze.  Just in January this year i had witnessed the Republic Day Parade at this venue via the Television, but this was LIVE.

During the march, i saw several people clicking snaps and a few Police Vans silently observing the march.

Finally the march reached its venue:  The Barricade outside the boundary of Rashrapati Bhawan.  By now the  drummers from Drum Circle Friends took the gathered mass into a trance

 with their rhythmical and magical beating. The Critical Mass march was by now a motley mix of Cyclists, Joggers, Bikers, Expats, Media people, Drummers, men, women and young kids with their bright faces full of joy.

Besides the drumming there was singing of motivational songs by a group pf people dressed in Black kurtas which i presume were form theater.

I lost track of how long we stood there, clapping and celebrating this event, all for " KEEPING WOMEN SAFE" in our Society. The gusto of the men playing the drums, and cheering on silently was something i had never witnessed before. It almost seemed too good to be real.

And then, in a flash, protesters holding banners lined up across the entire breadth of the barricade, proudly flaunting messages in favor  of WOMEN:


Deadly for women

A Woman is not written in Braille.  You don't have to touch her to understand her. So DON'T Touch.

Can Stop

My 'Dress' is not a YES

Because We have had 

A crime where the victim becomes the

Am i Safe?

Y U NO Make 
Women Safe?

End Violence Against Women


Stop Now
Last Chance

Which part of the 'NO'
don't you understand?

Along with the silent but eloquent banners, the crescendo of the beating drums there were cries of heart  warming songs:

Tu zinda hai tu zindagi ki jeet main yakeen kar
agar kahin hai swarg to utaar la zameen par

Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamare dil me hai 
Dekhna hai zor kitna bazu-e-kaatil me hai

Ham honge kamyaab ham honge   kamyaab
ham honge kamyaab ek din...
man main hia vishwas, poora hia vishwas
ham honge kamyaab ek din............ 

And in the moment of climax, a jeep arrived at the barricade. Out stepped the proud conveners  of the event and proudly exclaimed that the honorable President had accepted the petition.  

This was followed by loud clapping and cheers of joy and distributing of the Petition.  And finally, the moment of truth for the Women folk.  Dr Nidhi Dhawan read the powerfully  worded and hard hitting  Petition demand.

I have a copy of the petition , but today being a  Sunday, i cant include a scanned pic.  will update with it soon.

And  hopefully  today begins a new Chapter in women's safety in our country. But the onus is on all of us, men and women to make sure that the interests of women are safe guarded and no injustice is meted out to them.

And yet, today was not just about WOMEN.  It was about HUMANITY rising against injustice.

The  man with the Green Colored T shirt  with the message :

Zindagi jhand hai
Phir bhi ghamand Hai

Says it all. Seema, you were not there to witness this spectacular event.  So, i hope you get glimpses of it from my Blog.  Do leave a comment !!