Thursday, August 30, 2012

Happy ONAM

Being a North Indian, i have never had a taste of Kerala or its biggest state festival ONAM.  But this year, a friend  told me about the great Onam feast at Kerala House in Delhi.  I visited the venue today with my daughter and had a wonderful experience having an authentic Keralite meal, on a vivid green, jumbo size banana leaf, served with loads of love.

Before sharing the picturess i clicked, i am sharing a status update of a Facebook contact....Durgadas Sampath.

As per popular beleif in Kerala, 

"Bali was a benevolent Asura king and his capital was located in Kerala.He was very powerful and won over Deva Lok (the abode of the gods) also. Indra, the king of Deva’s went to Vishnu for help. Vishnu took the shape of a Dwarf (Vamanavatar) and asks Bali for land to be given as Dhana (charity) which will be covered by three of the Dwarf’s steps.

 Bali knew that god himself had come and is up to some trick. He followed his dharma and agreed to give him land measured by three steps. Vishnu sheds his small (Vaman )size and grew into gigantic proportions ( Vishwarupa).With two steps he covers all the worlds including earth and heavens and hell(Pathala loka)and Bali offers his own head where he could take the last step. Bali thus gets to live in the nether loka forever. The boon given by Vishnu in return for this was that lord Vishnu himself would be his eternal guard .

Lord allows him to come to earth to once in a year to visit his subje
cts .Let us celebrate Onam with happiness and pomp so that Bali goes under the impression that we are all very happy.

Mythology depicts in effect the cultural conditioning on the collective psyche of the social group. Many mythological figures are but identities available as an archetype for human beings to be enacted. Bali represents an identity whose core value can be stated thus

“If you show your smallness (Vamana rupa) I will offer you my bigness and dignify your smallness (by giving you the land)

If you show me your Bigness (Viswa Rupa) I will offer my smallness (my head under your feet)as a surrender to your bigness and dignify you”

By following his Dharma Bali was able to deal with both smallness and bigness.

Butter Milk and Rasam

Desserets : One from Dal and other from Rice

Till, the next feast... wishing all Keralite readers and friends a very HAPPY ONAM :)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Tagged by Rickie!

So, the effervescent Blogger, my IBL , Delhi Sutras team mate , Rickie Khosla tagged me.  This reminds of Christmas last year when i had created the Christmas blogging  Award and tagged several friends. 

Time to do the honors again. So, here we go.

The basics:

Section 0 : Rules of Engagement!

If you are tagged/nominated, you have to post 11 facts about yourself.
Then, you answer the 11 questions the tagger has given you, and make 11 questions for the people you are going to tag.
Tag 11 more bloggers (with no more than 200 followers).
Tell the people you tagged that you did.
No tagging back.

Section I :11 Facts about Myself.

1.  A confession : I just got internet on mobile. Yes, a Nokia smartphone, much after hubby and daughters.  Why so late? I wanted to avoid internet on the move, but now finally a sucker :)

2.  I miss watching English movies in Faridabad. Can never enjoy VCDs at home. I love the big screen, pop corn, nachos and Pepsi and a LIVE audience for company.

3.  Loved the last movie i watched, COCKTAIL.

4.  I believe everyone should fall  in love at least once in a lifetime.

5.  Waiting with bated breath for my first book to be published.

6.  Relationships are never a bed of roses, but i still feel blessed to have my family.

7.  Injustice infuriates me. As does Fake types.

8.  Am happiest when someone else is doing the cooking, but i have my days of INSPIRED cooking and love entertaining.

9.  I love my childhood town Allahabad and gonna visit it soon! 

10.  Feel happy that i spent my senior schooling abroad in Zambia.  I thus got an international perspective at age 12 in mid 70s. ( Oh yes, i am old :)   )

11. Jokes apart, i think cynics need to be reincarnated :)

Here  we go with Section II

My Answers to Rickies 11 Questions: 

  1. What do you think is the best invention by humans? Why?
Definitely the mobile.  It is all about communication and reching out and making an instantaneouss difference.  A talk to someone  close at any hour out of 24 hours is the biggest soothsayer for me.  I feel blessed because of this invention as i love spontaneity and will often call a close one to perk up my day.  Really no substitute for this invention.

2.  ShahRukh Khan or Aamir Khan? Why?

My Blog post'  Men who INSPIRE' includes Shah Rukh Khan (SRK) and not Amir.  Probably because after Rajesh Khaanna , SRK is the quintessential romantic celluloid hero.  BUT after "Satyamev Jayate' it is AMIR all the way!

3.  If you didn’t have a cellphone and laptop for a week, how would you keep in touch with everyone and everything?

I think i would save that one week and enjoy the world connecting with the real gadget free world.  A week without communication with close ones wont hurt that much.  so i would simply plunge into the real world and enjoy deja vu... good old unhurried days  Probably go gallivanting and visit famous monuments, Art Gallereis, or some other such similar activity without regrets of any kind.

4.  Who is your favourite door-ka/ki-risthtedaar that you meet very rarely but would want to more often? Why? And what’s really keeping you from meet him/her more often?

My favorite door ka rishtedaar is my nine year old niece who lives far away in Canada.  I get to see her only after long intervals and miss her presence and company.  a big Hannah Montana fan, a lovable extrovert she is a dose of vibrancy.

5.  Between Maya, Mamata, Jaya, Sonia and Sushma, who will make a better PM? And will she be better than Atal and Manmohan? Why?

Politics is not really my forte and i have not been following any one of the five ladies in question.  But for obvious reason Sonia is someone you can't ignore. She has been regulary featured as one of the top powerful women in the world.  so my vote would go to her.  

I can understand the misgvings of a section of out population who were against her becoming the PM, since she is not a Indian born citizen.  But she is someone who has always risen to the occasion and role demanding of her life.  be it  adapting as a daughter-in-law in a new country, a reluctant but supportive wife of  her PM Husband Rajiv Gandhi, and when destiny beckoned her full fledged into Politics, she became aan able head of the congress.

she has grit, determination, survival instinctsexperience, charisma, power and enough sense to fit into the role of PM.  She would be a match for Atalji and  would never fall into the category of 'underachiever'.

6.  Why do you love/hate Ayn Rand? (I am pre-supposing that you are not indifferent to her)

Unfortunately I have not red Ayn Rand but know of her as being a celebrated author.  She was a motivator much before Inspiration Gurus  came in vogue.  Your question Rickie has given me the push to buy her book and read... and i will do that .

7.  What would it take for you to pose nude (no fig leaf, please) for Playboy/Playgirl? What will be your pre-conditions and what will they have to give you as compensation (cash, kind, charity, whatever)

I wouldn't be seen dead nude even when i weighed a mere 42kgs ( True, cross my heart  :)  ).  Call me a prude, old fashioned or privwcy crazy.  But that is how this case stands.

8.  Describe the physical appearance of Lord Rama (including attire) based on what you imagine him to be.

Lord Rama :  a well built tall frame, fair complexion, penetrating eyes with vision, a timeless expression, exuding serenity and positivity.

9.  What is your definition of a good human being? On a 10-point scale, where 10 completely describes this good human being, what rating would you give yourself? And who is the closest to 10 that you know of?

Definition of a good human being is a person who has a broad outlook of life.  As this quality automatically gives him an understanding, humane and big heart, which is what defines goodness to me.

I would give myself 8 :)

The closest who comes to 10 would surely be my Dad.

10.  If you were the President of Pakistan, what would you tell India to change so there is peace in the region?

Geographic neighbors with common roots and history should be  like siblings.   I think as president of Pakistan i would want to bring the two countries closer with greater measures.  measures beyond good will train or a cursory Wagah border activity.  Use mass media to change mindsets.... through entertainment.... movies, Realty shows.  also cultural exchange of youth, right from primary to professional courses.  Weed out communal and caste divides through fair treatment to all sections of society.  Encourage and respect cross border artists instead of giving the harrowing  experiences at the airports. Make visa regulations easier, travel easier and scrutinize prisons for foul play or injustice.Organize Sports tournaments  beyond cricket. Teach tolerance  for other religions.  AND.... make movies like 'Ek Tha Tiger' :)

11.   If your child was an ace mathematics and science student and an ace boxer, what would your career advice to her/him be?

with a brilliant IQ, I would encourage her to go for becoming a scientist to bring about changes for the world.  she can always take up boxing as a hobby sport.

Section III

My 11 Questions for you to answer:

1.  Your most inspiring moment.

2.  Singing or Dancing?

3.  Vidya Balan or Rekha? Why?

4. Your favorite self cooked menu for a special occasion.

5.  Your favorite novel from recent times.  Why?

6.  M F Hussain who courted controversy by painting objectionable paintings and thereby hurting sentiments of  a section of people, was on a self imposed exile during his last years.  Do you thin that was fair?

7.  Your favorite Funny quote.

8.  A celebrity who is your dream icon and why?

9.  Your dream for India by 2020.

10.  The last time you laughed out loud.

11.  Your favorite Sci fi movie and why.

And finally the last Section, IV

Vinita Kherdekar

Ruchira shukla


Shail Mohan

Shilpa Garg

Bikram Mann

Ekta Khetan

V J Sharma

Sushmita Sarkar

Abha Iyengar

Rituparna Mukerji

so, the honored Bloggers.... keep the chain moving and  Blog away!!!

P.S.  There is something gone wrong with My Bloggr and colors are creating havoc.  so do note that the Tagged bloggers are :

Vinita Kherdekar, IHM, Ruchira Shukla, Sushmita Sarkar, Rituparna Mukerji, Bikram Mann, Abha Iyengar, VJ Sharma, Ekta Khetan, Shilpa Garg, Shail Mohan.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The 1 Lakh milestone

Time to take stock, and ....celebrate :)

A little over two years and 173 posts, Daffodils enters the six figure bracket.  Crossing over to over a Lakh visits from 133 countries.

A heartfelt THANKS to all my readers.  It has been an amazing journey, totally unimaginable when i leapt  into the Blogosphere with a first post, totally unawares as to where i was headed or what lay in future or what i would learn, experience and gain.  Yes, it has been a collosal gain, quite difficult to express in words, even for a Blogger who has been quoted as writing Dil se.

Sending tons of love to my readers, hoping that the INK never dries. Indeed this has been one of the most enriching experiences of my life.

Love and Light, always.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

2012 : Celebrating 65 years of KESARIA

A lovely day.....A i turned on Doordarshan after a long time to catch the Live Independence Day Celebrations Live from the Red fort, what do i see and hear? The fine strains of lilting music of shehnai, by none other than Bismillah Khan. 

Followed by the telecast and a reflective episode of Satyamev Jayate wihe a promise from Amir Khan for a second season of the programme, soon.

And then? The soul lifting song..... Mile sur mera tumhara.... to sur mile hamara......

2012.  A significant year in my life.   A year ill remember with pride all  my life for many personal reaons. Is the world supposed to end this year on December?

Why is the world believed to end this year in December? Because the Mayan Calendar ends that day and Nostradamus predicted the Sun would line up with the centre of the milky way and burn everything to death.

Some doomsday forecasters believe that on December 21, 2012, the Earth will experience unprecedented cataclysmic disasters  ranging from massive earthquakes to tsunamis to Nuclear Reactor meltdowns. 

If that is true, all the more reason for all of us to take stock out of our lives and our Nation and contemplate on that needs to be changed. And if we all are NOT going to die this year, all the more reason for us to stay charged and usher  in Change, which will make living on this Planet a better place for all things, Living and Non living.

Yesterday evening the newly elected President, His Excellency Mr Pranab Mukerjee addressed the nation for the first time after being elected.  He called for a second wave of Freedom  Struggle to eradicate the three evils plaguing our country:


Illiteracy and 


He claimed to be an Optimist and talked of several other needs of the country.  He talked about Gender Equality  the need to stand by Farmers in their difficult times, conserving Mother nature, praised the Armed forces and the Police Personnel, need for peace and Non violence. He also praised the  Indian  sportsmen for both participation and winning medal and bringing glory to the nation at the Olympics.

Hailing Gandhiji as the architect of our country he concluded by urging fellow countrymen to work with devotion by  adopting  the ideology of PEACE  and keeping  PROGRESS in the Horizon.

As per tradition, the Prime Minister Mr Manmohan

 unfurled the Tricolor at the ramparts of the Red Fort with 3500 eager school children dresses in saffron, green white and sky blue along with dignitaries .

Like the President, the PM, Mr Manmohan Singh also talked about battling poverty, illiteracy, hunger ND backwardness to truly celebrate freedom.

In his 35 minutes speech he talked about the achievements in the recent years like providing health services and electricity to villages, a polio free India, providing mid day meals to 12 crore school children,

  He talked about the plans for future like providing  skills to youth for employment, opening banks in villages, th abundance of grains stored in godowns despite unreliable monsoons, and the universal need of working together for the progress of our country.

praising the scientists of our nation the PM announced that  MISSION MARS  had been given  sanction.

In his book 'What Young India Wants', author  Chetan Bhagat has talked about , 'My Great Indian Dream'. 

Excerpt :

"All of us need to engage with the issues involving our country.  We need to not ignore politics because we feel nothing will ever be done.  things do change and so will our country.However, it will change  much faster if YOU come on board.  it will change for the better if YOU want to change.Let us contribute to this new direction India needs to move in.  When people look back on our times, they may say this was a period of great turmoil.  But let them not say it was the time when people sat around and did nothing to make things better. Just like the freedom fighters who made such sacrifices for us, let us also join hands to make India a better place. Thee is no Hindu India or Muslim India.  There is no Punjabi India or Tamil India.  There is no upper caste India or lower caste India.  There is not even a Congress India or a BJP India. There is just one India, our country, which we all want to become a better place.  We want a Nation that is rich, respected and has a good place in the world. We want a society with good values.  And as long as we are on the same page fore that, I will continue to have high hopes for my country."

In the path breaking   Television Talk Show 'Satyamev Jayate', Amir Khan touched the chord of the nation.  He highlighted many burning issues plaguing the nation:

Satyamev Jayate received overwhelming positive response and feedback from both the critics as well as the public. The show was widely appreciated by several film and television personalities, politicians and social activists for its research, format, presentation and content. The show highlighted sensitive social issues prevalent in India such as female foeticideschild sexual abusedowrymedical malpracticehonor killings, insensitivity towards the physically disableddomestic violence, overuse of pesticides leading to pesticide poisoningalcoholismuntouchability, plight of senior citizens and water crisis

And Independance day is not just in the heartbeat of evry Indian, but every NRI, living in four corners of the world.

This is waht Hillary Clinto had to sayabout today:

Through my many visits to India, I have been impressed with the creativity of the Indian people, the richness of your culture, and the resilience and strength of your democratic institutions. From the freedom movement led by Mahatma Gandhi to independence in 1947 through today, India continues to stand as a beacon for the world of the powocker of nonviolence and the promise of democracy. The United States stands side by side with India in a strategic, indispensable partnership built on our shared democratic values and fundamental belief in the entrepreneurial spirit. Our governments and our people will continue to work together to tackle the challenges and seize the opportunities of the 21st century, laying the foundation for continued peace and prosperity in Asia and around the world.

In USA the Indian Independence Day started in Dallas and moved to New jersey.  the parade was a grand affair showcasing  the pride Indians abroad have for their country of belonging.   The Parade will move to Chicago and San Francisco  finally reaching  Madison Avenue in New York on the 19th August .

In Dubai, a Blood donation Camp was organized by the  Consulate General of India,  along with the Indian community and Friends of India organizations. A 10km run was also organized to commemorate the Independence Day.

Perhaps the most innovative message on Independance day came from space - in the form of Sunita Williams

 who sent congratulatory message, sitting... er... floating near the Tricolor!

ZEE Tv also brought in the 66th Independence Day celebrations by pledge to plant 65 lakh saplings  with its two year old campaign, My Earth, My Duty  with the Ex President Dr Abdul Kalam participating in this drive.

Another cheerful note - Delhi adopts the Sparrow :  as the State Bird, in a bid to protect the dwindling number of sparrows

 in the city, by giving it special rights via  a campaign : 'Rise of the Sparrows'.

And how can we forget the most import :ant thing about today..... remembering out leaders who sacrificed thir lives to free us from over 2 centuries of britis Rule : Gandhiji, Pandit nehru, Bhikaji Cama, Rani Laxmibai, Tnati tope, BhGAT SINGH, CHADRASHEKHr Azad, Patel, Jinnah and more.

And it was heartening to her Lataji sing:

Tum bhool na jao unko..... is liye suno ye kahaani,  jo shaheed hue hain unki.... zara yaad karo mere watan ke logon.... zaa ankh main bhar lo paani...............

Wishing all my Bharatwasi a Happy Republic Day... JAI HIND!