Thursday, September 27, 2012

Designing the Future

[This post is exclusively for:

I am designing the future in association with & INK talks.]

For designing the future, i have a FIVE point proposal.

The first and foremost is removal of POVERTY.

Wikipedia definition of poverty is : 

Poverty is the pronounced deprivation of well being.It is the inability to satisfy one's basic needs because one lacks income to buy services or from lack of access to services

If you have ever gone on an early morning drive across a town or a city, the most common sight is people sleeping on the pavements, road dividers, under the fly overs and any other place they can find to spend the night.

Hunger, homelessness and not having a means to livelihood is common in many developing countries across the globe. It is indeed sad that there is no dignity for life.

One think which the world  can learn from  North america , is the concept of social Security.  Every citizen is a known one to the government , each having a social security number and the assurance of succor by the government if jobless.  

The rest of the world where Social Security is not yet applicable,needs to  wake up to it.  

SOCIAL SECURITY  as a tool to combat Poverty is the top most on my agenda for a Designing the future.

According to  Article 22 of the Universal  Declaration of Human Rights which states that

Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic , social and cultural rights  indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

 In simple term, this means that the signatories agree that society in which a person lives should help them to develop and to make the most of all the advantages (culture, work, social welfare) which are offered to them in the country.

The Second issue is GENDER EQUALITY. Women make up 50% of the world's population and  also 50% of the resources.  We need to tap this.  We need to give them equal rights.

The status of women, say in  India has been subject to many great changes over the past few millennia. From equal status with men in ancient times through the low points of the medieval period, to the promotion of equal rights by many reformers, the history of women in India has been eventful.

In 2010 March 9, one day after International Women's day, Rajya sabha passed Women's Reservation Bill, ensuring 33% reservation to women in Parliament and state legislative bodies.

Such more  constructive measures are needed to give women gender equality.

Episodes like 'Guwahati Shame' and 'Mangalore Pub" moral policing are a blot on  prosperity of a nation, and women at large.

The third agenda is CLEANLINESS.  We need to bring in technology and expertise for a safe disposal of garbage.  simply banning the polythene  bags is not enough.

A whole new department needs to be developed to device a way to prevent garbage form being dumped in open , giving rise to health hazards.

Stray cattle, dogs, crows and pigs fight for their food in an open garbage dump. 

Rain mixes with the filth and slush spreads all around. 

Promises made by politicians on the eve of crucial elections to clean up the mess have remained unfulfilled. Assurances given by  Ministers in power  fall by the wayside. 

The fourth agenda is using Mass Media to change MINDSETS which are lagging behind.

Many socialists believe that Media affects Public Opinion.  a shining example of this is the path breaking TV Reality show , 'Satyamev Jayate' anchored by  Bollywood star Amir khan.

Besides Hindi, this programme was also dubbed and simulcast in other Indian languages such as Bengali, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu.

Satyamev Jayate received an 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. 

Recently i visited the towns Phagwara, Pinjore and Kalka. The people living in small towns have yet to awaken to the changes in metros   We need to bring changes in small towns and villages too to enable their thinking to be a t par with the metros and the rest of the world.

The last on my agenda is teaching TOLERANCE.

Wikipedia says : 

Religious tolerance would mean that each person is free to chose his own faith and no other person would have a right to pass opinions on the faith of an other person. 

Right from pre school to schooling, we need to educate our children about cultural diversity.  We should have respect  appreciation and tolerance for cultures different from our own.  Perhaps this could help in combating prejudices and also help  to overthrow civil wars and terrorism.

I believe the above five agendas if seriously tackled will definitely usher in CHANGE.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tech Moms in a connected World

Technology has sure changed everyone's life  - be it kids, youth, working professionals or SAHM.

When i was a young Mum, my window to the  foreign world was either through  foreign magazines or the hugely popular Star World.

But with the advent of internet everything changed.

That was almost a decade  back. Later  with the introduction of social networking sites like Hi5, i made friends with whom i could connect mentally.

This was especially meaningful as i had quit my teaching job to raise my daughters.

But with Orkut and Facebook, life changed drastically. Sitting at home i could onnect with my FB friends  spread all over the count at home try and a few across the globe.

Technology  is also a good educator.

Although i am not quit regular on twitter but whenever , i  go there, it is like being exposed to a marathon talk on a trending topic.

Technology, indeed sharing has become a piece of cake.

Perhaps technology is the  best thing to have happened to Mums.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mansa Devi

Mata Mansa Devi Temple at Panchkula is a symbol of Himalayan culture and faith. The shrine located on the foot hills of Shivalik is an epitome of age old tradition of ‘Shakti’ worship in northern India. Himalaya being the abode of Shiva and his consort ’shakti’ became centre of shakti worship.

Mata Mansa Devi is  in the Panchkula district of Haryana state in India. The temple complex is spread of 100 acres of the Shivalik foothills in village Bilaspur, near Mani Majra, and Panchkula.

It is one of the prominent Shakti temples of North India

As you enter the main road leading up to the mandir, ther is a huge sandstone gate across the  road, indicating the route to the temple.

Thousands of devotees visit the shrine from various parts of the country, and especially during the Navratra mela, this number rises to lakhs everyday for the nine auspicious days.
 The main temple is dedicated to Mansa who is worshipped in the sanctum sanctorum both in the form of ‘pindi’ as well as in her anthropomorphic form executed on a marble.
 In the sanctum sanctorum she is worshipped with Devi Saraswati and Lakshmi in the form of Pindi.

Maharaja Gopal Singh of Mani Majra constructed the present main temple of Shri Mansa Devi, which is situated on the Shivalik foothills in village BilaspurTehsil and District Panchkula, during the period 1811-1815. d colored chunri

Within the sprawling complex with well built roads and manicured gardens are Puja bhawan, 

Puja Bhawan

Yagya shala
 bhandara   hall besides the main deity of Mansa Devi.

The courtyard adjacent to the diety temple is a vivid color of red . Thousands of red colored chunri are tied on the railing and on the tree.

besides this is a room enclosure where packets of shingar are offered.

a short clim up the stairs leads to a small Shiv a temple.

At a distance of 200 meters from the main temple is the Patiala temple

Patiala Mandir
 which was constructed by Karam Singh, a Sikh, the then Maharaja Patiala in the year 1840.
Here too in the open space is a huge Pipal tree with thousands of red chunri 

tied to the trunk and branches.

Outside the Patiala mandir at corners are Hanuman temple, Ganesha temple and a few more temples.

The green, shaded environments of the mandir complex makes it a popular venue to pray and spend some peaceful time with family and friends.

The temple complex and its environment are presently looked after by Shri Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board (SMMDSB) Panchkula
  The shrine has one Dharamshala consisting of 30 rooms and one hall which are available to the pilgrims free of any charge.Blankets are also provided free of charge. Besides this the Board has constructed another Dharamshala called Lajwanti Dharamshala Consisting of 15 rooms, These rooms are having modern facilities.

 Besides this Haryana Tourism Corporation has also constructed a Yatrika “called Jatayu” just at a distance of 50 yards from Temple which provides dormitory type accommodation and facilities of restaurant to the pilgrims. Each room has been provided with attached toilet and each room has four beds. 

As is with any SHAKTI, te temple gains significance twice a year for nine days during the  Chaitra month in April and Sharad month around October/ November.

Definitely worth a visit if you are visiting Chandigarh.

Monday, September 24, 2012

LOTUS Flower

Trip to KALI Mandir, Kalka

I had the opportunity to visit the Goddess  Kali temple in Kalka, which is a small town at the foothills of Himalayas,

 famous for the Kali Temple, in Panchkula district

 of Haryana.

The Kali temple which is an ancient temple, believed to have been built by the Pandavas  during theit 'Agyatvas' time.

The town of kalka, is believed to have sprung up around this temple.

The temple is on the main road which takes you from Chandigarh to Simla.

 For this you have to reach Pinjore, which is famous for Yadavindra Gardsn built on Moghul gardens architecture with plenty of lush lawns gardens and fountains.

Passing by the gardens, one has to cross the Pinjore main market and move further ahead passing by the Kalka market.  Here you cross the Gandhi Chowk

 in Kalka, and finally reaching the Kali temple which is on the right side of the main road.

Just as you enter the mandir, ther is a big Pipal tree.  The mandir itself is of ordinary size.  The main deity of Kali iss towards the rright and there is a sacred sanctorum where the priest sits, away from th quee of devotees.

Besides the regular prasad of garland, chunri and makhan mishri and phooliyan, one also offers mustard oil and black lentils to the Goddess.

In the open  area of the mandir is a huge statue of Mahakali,

s depicted in scriptures, standing on her consort, Shiva.

Right in front of this is the Shiv mandir, with a big Nandi in front.

A small shop at the entrance sells milk which ca be offered to the Shivling.

The temple is very popular with the locals, inviting huge crowds during Navratras.

Just a few yards away from the temple , once can see  a river flowing through a rocky bed. This is perhaps  the only Kali temple having a town named after the goddess.

My visit was an impromptu one.  I decided on the spur of the moment to visit the temple and am so grateful to the Goddess for giving me darshan.

If you happen to go to Panchkula, do visit the temple to seek blessing of Ma Kali.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

PHAGWARA Finale : CHERRY on the Top

 On the main road near the Bus stand is a landmark, HANDA City centre.

The Sukh Chain Gurudwara

The Sarovar in the Sukh Chain Gurdwara

Next we visited the GITA Bhawan in Model Town.

A quite common roof top prop that can be seen in the town....

The message in Punjabi by Traffic Police says :

Helmet Zaroori

Na Ki Majboori

Having completed the sightseeing we went back to the Hotel.  half an hour later my daughter informed me that her friend was waiting downstairs.   my decisona nd said, Let's go!

Even though i wanted to rest, courtesy demande that i meet him.  so i weent down to the reception.  As i tried to take leave, seending off the girls for  mores sightseeing, he inisted that i too come, saying;

'why dont you round up your trip?'

There was a good natured enthurisn and ernestness about him.  So in two secins i changed

my decision and siad Let's go.

He commutes everyday from jallandhar to phaggwara at GIT IMT in 

company cab.  But the especailly brought his VW car to take us around.

And tghus began the surprises, rolling on one by one....

As we headed towards the Phagwara Jallandhar Highway, he pressed the accelttor ando the building on the left.

we zoomed on the G T Karnal Road.

This is Lovely professional University , he pointed to the building on the left.

It  is in Jallandandhar? i enquird incrdulously?

'Yes".  It has study centred all over Punjab and in Phagwara too.


Lovely Professional University (LPU) is a private semi-residential university created under the state government private university act. LPU claims to be the largest private university in India in terms of number of students on a single campus and is situated on 600+ acres of green area on NH-1 at the entry of Jalandhar city. The university has more than 25,000 students from 26 states and 16 countries.
It is a residential university with separate hostels for boys and girls housing more than 15,000 students.
LPU provides education through more than 150 doctorate, post graduate, graduate and diploma programmes in a variety of disciplines.
Lovely Professional University has tied with international universities for twinning programs and international exposure programs.

Five minutes later he took a U turn on the Highway and we headed towards VIVA COLLAGE Mall,  in Jallandhar Highway.

As he drove towards the underground parking,  a Female security gauard stopped us.  Yhis felt almost like home.  I felt i was in Interior mall in Faridabad.

We took the lift to the Ground floor.  As i walked out, the first brand that i saw was TISSOT.

And as we explored i saw BIBA, MADAME, MENNA BAZAAR, ADDIDAS and many other more.

A Unique name U V &W caught my attention.

Amit told me it was a brand from ludhiana, specializinf in marketing certified organic clothings, the first to do so in India.  Jallandhar had beten Delhi!

After exploring the floors we headed for the top floor and i was in for another surprise.

A colorful food court with the SHUDH Brand  oulets beame in front of us.

Shudh Restaurant is the home of Pure Vegetarian cuisine, North India's first Multi Cuisine food chain.

It had SUPER TAMBI, south Indian Cuisine, AMCHI MUMBAI, Mumbaiya food.

We decide to go light and go ffor juices.

As we sipped our juice,  i found the ambience so very differnt from anything i had seen in Phagwara.

so, where is the crowd from? Phagwara r jallandhar?



The young crowd is all from Lovely profesional university.  The families are mostly from Jallandhar.

I watched  amusedly, as a group of young boys helped theemselves to dosa from Tambi, while a couple  oredered batata vada and burger from amchi mumbai.

 We drove out of the Mall , towards Phagwara, a bare five minutes drive.  Amit now tok us to HAVELI.

Amit Chawla  with my daughters

The HAVELI  has an open front courtyard with  brick seating arrangement.  A well with a rope and a bucket is the center of attraction for kids.

Inside the restaurant is authentic, ethnic Punajbi home decor.  With angithi  and huge tava, a parked truck, glass bangles embedded in the wall, manjis, hookahs, and more.

Adjacent to the haveli is the RANGLA PUNJAB, where you have live orchestra and food.  We could not spend time at Rangla Punjab as we hd to head to the hotel.  

In all, the ambiance of the place was a  mix of Dilli Haat, Pind Baluchi, but at a much lavish and grander scale,

There is a small Muisc shop outside Haveli.

I bought two CDs.

There is also handicraft shop ares which sells everything from gramophones, hookahs to paintings depicting life from Punjab.

As we approached our hotel, there was a Liv DJ in a restaurant which had caught my attention. The name of the rstaurnat was : Cafe de paris'.

there was a pandal and young girls were performing to the punabi songs.

In a flash i  realized this was Deja vu!

i was transportd to the time when i wass 12 years old and had attnded an open air concert.  Yhere a sprightly punjabi girl had sunf a hugely popular Punajbi flolk song;

Jutti meri jaandi hai pahdiye  de naal

te paula mera jaanda hai sadogre the naal

hoi jutti meri!

hoi jutti meri!

If the Haveli and Rangla Punjab along with VIVA Collage mall was the icing on the cake, the show at Cafe de Paris was the CHERRY!

On reaching the Hotel, Amit took leave fro us .  I thanked him for the he most enjoyable part of my stay in Phagwara.

he next morning we were up early and by 4.15 am we were ready to dive back to Delhi.  as we sat in the car, soothing strains of Gurbani filled the air, even though it was pitch dark and the street lights were on.

As we approached the Toll counter, just a few kms away from Ludhiana, i noticed the quote on the back of a car"


This three worded message, seen early in the morning on the highway, summed up the Punjab experiences for me.

A  broad smile came across my face.  I knew this was one trip my daughters would cherish.

for me, undoubtedly the high point of the trip was standing in the godown of he Gupta Book shop where

e i was born and visiting the Phagwara Railway station where my Nana had worked more than half a century ago.

Iill be back again, Phagwara!