Thursday, 29 November 2018

The Boulevard of Motherhood



Note: This post had been deleted accidentally by me. I had received a large number of views and comments on the original post, thank you so much for that- it was overwhelming!
Since the write-up is about my daughter, I am re-posting the whole article by using my blog back up.





I have been wanting to write a blog post since a long time as I am now in the complacency & sanctity of my own home ; however finalizing  on a topic has been the main predicament. If I have to look at the current affairs, some topics are either religiously sensitive or politically precarious. So where do I begin…….?? I then look a tiny human being answering my question with the most beautiful smile- she calls me amma; she is my daughter, Adhvika.
I realized there is nothing more important in my life other than Adhvika, that’s why we call her Thankam after my grandmother. Thankam is her pet name that refers to the purest form of gold.
She was born to me on the 5th of Feb,  after a very long and arduous labour;  it had to be an emergency C-section as the baby and I had developed some complications during labor. I remember being immediately rushed to the Operation theatre after the mid-wife pulled the emergency bell. I also remember asking one of the doctors that arrived if my daughter will be fine. The doctor smiled at me and said- “you will both be fine”. I saw my mother and husband standing in front of me pale and distraught. I looked at my  mother first, who is a strong and phenomenal lady in all ways; she said-“both my babies will be fine”. Her words filled me with instant hope and courage. Jithu looked away, I saw him turn misty; I saw him cry for me and our baby and then he looked at me and said- “I am there for you Nimmie.”

However, it was all fine eventually. She was born healthy and beautiful. That day, another me was born- I graduated to a mother. I held her and looked at her little face and shut eyes; and then I realized the true meaning of love because I have never loved anyone the way I love her. I was weak, but felt  tenacious.

With motherhood came a series of emotions- protectiveness, possessiveness, dejection, confusion, upset and love. In me, I have it all in high proportion. I am extremely possessive about my baby and get mad at anyone who questions it. I just tell them-  “I made her, she is mine and I have all the rights to be possessive about her.” Also with motherhood came various other challenges that needed to be dealt with utmost caution and patience. Until last year, I used to fix my own schedule and would get mad at anyone who would try to change it as per their convenience. Now I pee in the time scheduled by my daughter. She decides my bathroom time, my shower time, my reading time and my munch time.  This massive change in my life is for my daughter and,I have to do everything right as I am constantly worrying about negative potentials. My midwife has told me, I need to be very involved in all the stages of the baby’s growth cause no one can do it better than myself.


In the olden days, mothers were carefree as they blindly trusted the older people in the family with their opinions and experience. Today, the mothers rely on opinions from expert midwives, medical portals and articles; and the mothers these days are more confident in looking after the baby cause they are trained to be confident even before the baby is born by going for birth classes and attending sessions with midwives. They are not told that they cannot do it, instead they are told that only they can do it better than anyone. In my case I trust my mother and mother-in law  with their opinions and conjecture but I also prefer updating myself with the latest way of parenting which is, looking at stuff online or going for classes.
The biggest and the massive beauty in having a baby is that the father gets involved in it too. A father’s involvement is very important cause he needs to make sure if the mother needs any kind of refuelling in terms of energy or sleep. Jithu has supported me in various ways like changing Adhvika’s diapers, taking her for a walk; infact he has even helped me give her a shower. The most beautiful sight I still have in mind was the way he held her close to his chest and looked at her in the most affectionate way and I saw a stream of beautiful promises in future.
As a mother, one needs to make a lot of sacrifices, you cannot be that carefree person you were before or even say, “oh it’s alright, I can do it tomorrow”; no, your mind, body and soul will never let you adjourn anything. There will be sleepless nights, tiring nights, nights when you feel like you have given up; however, there will also be times when you see your baby roll over on her own, sit up on her own, smile just by looking at you, take her first steps, call you- “mother”.

I now respect and appreciate my mother so much more than before. I am nowhere close to what she has been for me and my sister. She was a supermom who made sure everything was in place in our lives. She was our best friend, teacher and guide. Our lives are a derivation of our mother’s hardwork, sincerety and love; and moulded with my father’s support.  I remember achan taking us to our first dance class, however it was amma’s reassurance and encouragement that made us continue with it. 
A child will have many aunts and uncles (mine has a direct aunt,my sister), grand aunts and uncles, 2 sets of grandparents; but only a single mother and  father, and parenthood is a constant battle that needs to be fought by the parents and in the end, it will all be worth it! The will be poop-on-your pajama days, vomit-on-your t-shirt days, messy hair days but like I said, in the end it’s all worth it!


















































The Digital- Life Saga



Today’s evening walk had been quite momentous. I crossed a house well known to my family and I saw  the lady of the house swabbing the verandah while the domestic help was sitting on the stairs worming into facebook. I decided to abandon my walk in order to check with aunty if she had exchanged personalities with her maid;  she was definitely in a tizzy seeing me having found her in this situation so she explained that her maid is worried as she has some family crisis so she has to leave immediately and is waiting for her son to pick her up. I looked at the ‘’worried and distraught maid who was reading a fake rumour on FB with occasional grins and smirks directed towards the screen while her mistress was mopping her abode on her behalf. Funny world, I thought.


My issue wasn’t with the maid checking her FB posts but I was mentally questioning her priorities. However, I realized that I wasn’t any different in that regard; the maid and I were digitally tantamount. Even when I am working on something that has a deadline, I would still want to check every FB notification that pings, every whatsapp message even if it is sukhi aunty’s request to share Shirdi Saibaba’s photo to 10 people lest a mishap befalls.

Digitalization has changed the world; It’s made life easy for people. News, events, payments, transactions and job applications are only a click away. One can speak to their mama- mami settled in Canada from Jalandhar and discuss why mittoo doesn’t want to marry pingu. Digitalization has definitely brought the world closer; you  know more about celebrity weddings than about a wedding in your  own society, you know more about what your chaachi cooked in the US than what is  cooked in your own kitchen. You watch videos of funny baby antics when your own baby is longing for your attention. You click pictures of the sad predicament of a hungry society when it doesn’t even take 1/10th of your salary to feed any particular cluster. The posts apprised online is more for likes and less for expressions; and the freedom of speech is only in theory as there are murder threats issued to those who post their opinions without any filter.

The biggest downside according to me is that one finds it difficult to differentiate between real and unreal content . Recently, I read something online about fake whatsapp rumours that are triggering deaths across the country.  The viral rumours were about alleged kidnappers who were actually innocent beings; this rumour got spread across via facebook and whatsapp and caused lynching deaths. The Indian authorities later had to make campaigns to salvage the situation; the campaign described how fake news can be differentiated from the real news. However, the fake news saga continues…

During the course of illness and adversity, people find solace digitally because apparently there is nothing better than “Google”. The world economic forum coined the phrase- Fourth Industrial Revolution” where Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, driverless cars , 3D Printing and many other technologes could be the new future. I don’t really know if it’s a good or a bad a thing yet; all I understand is that humans have created machines and machines are eradicating humans.

We also need to be aware that the exploitation of computers have given rise to cyber crimes like fraud, robbery, illegal downloading, child pornography , cyber terrorism and distribution of viruses. The figures and statistics of the cyber crimes in India have been constantly ascending, a recent survey explained how every second a woman gets tricked into being a victim of cyber crime. Cyber bullying is now being used as tool for threats, vengeance and purpose .

While some of the negativities of the digital era can be curbed and solved, issues like cyber bullying and fake viral rumours have no solutions. However, personally we can all try for the digital  era to be less adverse on us; the ball is always on our court. If you really want to speak to a friend, try ringing her/him or meeting her/him personally rather than chatting. If you want to discuss a problem ask yourself first before posting feelings online. If you are looking for a stress buster, hug a dog or play with your child. If you really want to be happy make a human smile everyday. Life happens once, happy moments need to be cherished and admired. Try to breathe and live today because happiness happens for real, happiness is born inside you not digitally. If you really want to use the digital platform, use it to spread love, awareness and spirituality rather than detest, hatred and anger. Let the love be stronger than hatred, always!




Image Credits : Google and Radha Aunty
References:
https://www.vakilno1.com/legal-news/cybercrime-in-india.html
https://www.livemint.com/Industry/bRDDR7SPed23hGgtvwtKWM/India-in-10-years-The-beginning-of-a-digital-era-of-inclusi.html
https://thefuturescentre.org/articles/8241/do-new-technologies-bring-us-closer-together-or-drive-us-apart




Saturday, 3 February 2018

Be Judgemental and Jump In the Well

Add caption
The other day, an old lady asked me why my nose was so small; I paused to ruminate if she said nose or horse as I had a picture of a horse on my shirt. I was just going to ask the person if she was being scatological by pointing towards a picture on my dress which I have no control over. “Are you being serious ma’am? How is this silly yellow horse on my shirt bothering you?” Just as I was mentally arguing with her comment on my shirt, she pointed towards her nose and said- “your nose dear”. I was flabbergasted, my lips quivered but I didn’t know what to say and gave her an asinine smile. I wanted to call her judgemental, however would I be called judgemental if I called her so?

I remember the time I had to visit my hometown to attend my Nan’s funeral, I went with a lot of extra kilos that amalgamated within myself as a result of my husband’s love. My husband believes good food is like heaven and a good fart thereafter (forgive me) is like a good meditation(are you monsters judging us already?); he instilled these great values and culture within me as I went home bouncy and enlightened. However, not many were impressed with my new countenance(with the extra kilos); they began judging- is she ill, does she have thyroid, is she constipated, is she possessed? Some of the older aunts started staring at my bottom with despair as if it is my fate that bloated it, while some stared to check if it will be transformed into an umbrella. I got a lot of consolations and condolences that day, some for my Nan and a lot for myself. I wanted to call them all judgemental, however would I be called judgmental if I called them so?

I wont lie, I too am judgemental to a point where things can get annoying; however, I don’t think it’s cool to judge or be judged that way. We are configured by nature and genes in a remarkable way and it does tingle a bit when we hear comments on our profile, and yet we pass comments like- she is too fat, he is too dark, she is very talkative, he snorts when he sniggers- not our business, but we still pass judgements like our life depends on it.

It’s OK to observe, it also OK to get amazed while observing but it’s not OK to pass contumelious remarks on your observation because you don’t just look like a moron, you might actually be turning into one as you have no idea what the other person’s journey is about. You might not even want to get to know the other person, as it’s so much easier to sit in one place and pass remarks but you have no idea the amount of negativity you are distributing and integrating within yourselves.

 Life is meant to sit back and enjoy, once you start accepting life for what it is, you will start appreciating yourself and others. When you start to enjoy life, you also start to enjoy and appreciate different personalities and people. Let life be about love, acceptance, food and dance and not about – “she is a donkey, he is a retard” kind of phrases.

Let me give you a simple tip, - next time you feel you are getting judgemental, inscribe your valuable remarks on a piece of paper, decorate it with glitters and colours (that’s right) spray a little perfume for fragrance and do a small forest dance around it; finally, fold that piece of paper, kiss it and flush it in the toilet- because that’s where your opinion belongs, regardless of how you decorate or sugar-coat it! So before those toxic thoughts subdue you, let it go and breathe; let's not make life that complicated. 





Image Credits: Google

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Hunger- A predicament unresolved.

In the antediluvian times when a problem aggrandized, committees were formed to solve the problems and specific measures were taken to ensure it won’t sprout up again. In case the issue couldn’t be solved at all, the people were taught to co-exist with  problems  with the justification of a mythological reference. Years passed, people who suffered in amassment were labelled “cursed” and the competent ones ruled.

Clusters under target
Thankfully today we have a lot of organizations and individuals to support these cursed souls and find them a respectful place in the society. We have various establishments to support women, the destitute, the mentally disabled, the animals and health victims with the patronage and backing from powerful celebrities, media stalwarts and politicians. A lot of social and economic issues came under control with change in attitude, and improvised analogies injected into minds with experiential campaigns. However, there is one adverse facet of the society that hasn’t changed at all and that is- Hunger. As per recent statistics by the Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations, India tops the Hunger list of the World with 194 million starving people, which is over 15 percent of India’s population. Additionally,  India ranks very high (exceeding China) in terms of food wastage where more than 40 percent of the agricultural produce gets wasted every year which amounts to 58000 cr.

The considerable increase in the economic growth of the country might have made a little amendment in the life of a few, but have failed to make any difference in satisfying the hunger of a large mass. Many reasons can be analysed for this issue -the status of unemployment, corruption, global recession, increase in the price of food and energy; one can even blame natural and man-made disasters. However we fail to realize that this issue has a solution and the solution is through YOU and ME. Let’s imagine a situation where you eat a huge breakfast at 9 am and throughout the day you stay in an empty stomach; what would be your condition at 8.30 pm? I am pretty sure you would be famished beyond limits. Do you get the point? Despite having a heavy breakfast much to your heart’s content at 9 am, by evening you feel starved and ravenous for food. Now, imagine living in a starved condition for days…we are not talking about skipping  meals or not getting your favourite  dessert .We are talking serious business here; a condition you and I would call a nightmare, the condition of Hunger and extreme starvation!

Volunteers of The Robin Hood Army
Is there a permanent solution to this problem? Maybe not! However, can we make a difference? Sure!  The answer is obvious- Reduce wastage and distribute surplus food. Did you know there is an organization in your country that dedicatedly works towards the reduction of hunger? It’s called the Robin Hood Army and they are present in different parts of India! The modus operandi is very simple, the RHA has  tie ups with various hotels and catering services in an around the city they operate and whenever they learn of surplus food, the group immediately gets together, collect the food and distribute it amongst some identified clusters in the city. The motto is simple- Reduce wastage and curb hunger.

India is the largest producer of milk across the globe and one of the major producers of vegetables and fruits; but it’s a shame to learn that 1/3rd of the undernourished people in the world live in India.  It’s also not a mystery to comprehend why the prices of milk and vegetables are twice as it should be-the answer is wastage!

Deepak Singh, RHA Navi Mumbai Chapter
RHA is moulded out of people like you and me who are concerned about this national issue of  hunger and wastage of food; but the only difference is-they are out there fighting ! Deepak Singh, Head of RHA Navy Mumbai Chapter said, “The team is young and full of energy and the only aim when we get together for a drive is to make most out of the food we have in hand and feed maximum people. The source of food is mainly through hotels and catering services so that the surplus food can be fed to people thereby also ensuring there is no wastage of food.”

On the tie-ups with various hotels he said, “ Bringing a new Hotel on board is always a challenge, however we are doing quite well in maintaining relationship with the existing ones; but the problem is not as complex as you think. Even if it’s a household party where we realize food is in  surplus, we immediately get together and distribute it to the needy.”


My confabulation with the RHA team members made me realize that a different outlook and a positive attitude and make a huge difference in our war against hunger; it begins with you, as you can be a Robin Hood in your own account. Whenever there is a small party you host or even attend, make sure there is no wastage of food – either you call a Robin or be a Robin. Before you abandon that last slice of sandwich or a glass of soft drink, look around – what matters not to you could mean life to someone!

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one”- Mother Teresa

If you wish to be a part of this organization, visit the Robin Hood Army page on Facebook and sign up there or visit http://robinhoodarmy.com/



Image Courtesy: The Robin Hood Image bank and Google 


References:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/Food-worth-Rs-58k-crore-goes-waste-in-India-every-year/articleshow/20452251.cms
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2014/08/india-perishable-food-waste-population-growth/
http://robinhoodarmy.com/
http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/an-army-of-robin-hoods-that-fight-hunger-2934688/

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

A Holiday To Remember- 1st Anniversary Celebration in Paris


The memories of my First Wedding Anniversary celebration are still whirling across my mind and as it goes I recollect the approbation and marvel I and my Canon captured in our reminiscences. Is there a better place to celebrate love and togetherness other than the beautiful city of Paris? I think not!

Waiting in Anticipation at the Airport

The preparations and anticipation began two months before the travel and one of the main things I wanted to do before the journey was lose my weight-which obviously didn’t happen as I love my life a bit too much; however my husband surprised me with a brand new Canon, 2 weeks prior to our departure- now that is definitely better than losing weight in my logical analysis.

22nd of December: We were counting days when finally the  “D” day arrived on the 22nd of December, 2016. Brimingham to Paris takes an hour of flight journey and France is an hour ahead of The United kingdom. We arrived  in Paris at 4pm  and started our journey towards The Best Western Arc De’ Triomphe Hotel located in the Avenue De Wagram. A remarkable point we noticed about the building clusters in Paris is that most of them are triangular in shape; and our hotel was at the tip of a triangular block. The manager of the hotel was very friendly and helpful, God bless his soul, he helped us get a brief idea about the routes to use for our big Paris exploration on the next day and while he helped us get our luggage onto the tiniest elevator we have ever been in, Jithu wondered if both of us would fit in with our luggage; at this the manager smiled and exclaimed- That’s why Paris is called the city of love! One would be quite amused to learn that many blocks in Paris either have tiny or no elevator in the buildings because the elevators were  late additions to the buildings. The buildings have been preserved in that condition for years; so elevators were constructed in the only available spaces near the stairs.
Paris Infrastructure


Our room was beautiful and it had this out of the world Nespresso Machine that made the most beautiful coffees throughout the day. The over-all décor of the room was very quaint; we crashed into our beds to wake up enlivened next morning. I deliberately kept the curtains open so I could see the beautiful view until I sleep.

The next day we stopped by at a local bar for brunch where we ordered some bacon, eggs and pancakes with honey. What I enjoyed eating the most was the French bread- Baguette. Though baguettes are baked all over the globe, it is essentially connected to France. Baguettes come in different shapes and sizes and are given different names according to its size. For eg- A short Baguette , shaped in the form of a rugby ball is called batard which literally means bastard.

Open Top City Bus Tour
After attacking the food, we decided to experience an open top city bus tour to apprehend the city of Paris. The city bus tour was beautiful as we got an exquisite glimpse of the French Infrastructure, Heritage and Culture. Paris canopies architectural references and examples from the 18th century to the present era; in fact it was in Paris that the Art Deco style of architecture first established that involved craftsmanship using rich materials which represented luxury and glamour . The bus gave us some beautiful peeps of  The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral- an iconic landmark which was once the power centre of Paris, The Louvre Museum, The Orsay Museum, The  Paris Opera House and a couple of other attractions.  
Busy Streets of Paris

The Wedding Feast at Cana
We got down at the Louvre  Museum stop to visit one of the World’s finest Gallery of Art, Culture and Heritage- Musee de’ Louvre! The Louvre essentially accommodates Sculptures and Artefacts from ancient Greece and Egypt and a notable collection of paintings from the era of Neoclassical, classical and Renaissance. The biggest mistake you can make in Louvre is to attempt to see it all at once, which we did out of the lack of time but we spent a significant amount of time at the Grand Galerie’ where we went through some of the beautiful Italian paintings that depicts religious scenes mainly from the Gospels. The Monalisa is obviously the biggest sensation in Louvre and mind you, she is the most protected and mobbed painting but she is not my favourite; the painting I love the most is the biggest painting in the Louvre where water turns into wine, “The Wedding Feast at Cana”. I will shamelessly admit that my favourite feature in the painting is the way the grandeur and beauty of the women in Venice is depicted through this painting.
Examining a bullet hole on the sculpture


Abduction of Helen of Sparta

The Lower Pyramid within The Louvre
The mobbed Monalisa

Paris from The Eiffel Tower
After Louvre, we decided to visit the Eiffel Tower. Although many will argue that The Eiffel Tower is the most popular attraction in Paris, I would say the city is much more than the Tower however it’s always a delight to watch the tower sparkling at night like a dream but in the end, it’s just a tower. The Eiffel tower is divided into 3 stages, with restaurants on the first and second stage, and the topmost stage is 906 feet above the ground which is the highest observation deck that is open to the public. You can have a beautiful birds eye view of the entire city of Paris and the best time to visit The Eiffel tower is night. It is said that Gustave Eiffel who designed The Eiffel tower received a lot of criticisms from various artists, in fact a petition was sent to The ministry of works and commissioner for exposition claiming that the erection of the Tower is the biggest insult to the French Infrasructure. Gustave retaliated by saying that his tower looks like the Pyramids of Egypt so it wouldn’t be right saying that something that is beautiful in Egypt becomes hideous in Paris. However, today Eiffel tower is one of the most visited monuments in Paris.
The Eiffel Tower

After experiencing the three major attractions on the 23rd we decided to call it a day.
24th-  On the Christmas eve, most of the attractions were closed so we did not have  much to do so we decided to have a walk across the streets of Champs Elysees-  one of the most famous shopping streets in Paris. On the Christmas eve the streets were decorated in a way that magnified its glory 10 times. All the big brand stores like Hugo Boss, Marks and Spencer and Levi’s were decorated to look like treats. We managed to do a little shopping from these streets and we headed straight towards a local stall that sold mulled wine and waffles. It was a perfect day! We had our dinner from a Middle Eastern Restaurant;  where they served an extraordinary entrée which is very famous across Avenue De Wagram- A platter of sides where one dish contained raw salmon dipped in Mayonnaise . I wouldn’t say I liked the platter too much but it was an interesting experience.

The Cruise Ride
25th December- Our Anniversary date falls on the Christmas day and we decided to take the day slow by watching television and attending calls. At 5 pm we decided to step out for a romantic cruise ride on the river Seine. We had a glimpse of some of Paris’ famous monuments and attractions within a comfortable heated deck; and suddenly the realization struck us that we are leaving this beautiful place tomorrow.

The Avenue des Champs Elysees
26th December- We packed our bags and decided to go for a quick walk to bid farewell to this city. I would say Paris is best explored on a walk; as you walk through the picturesque and quaint paths across the street you experience the real beauty of Paris which is beyond the famous monuments and The Monalisa- you see why the city of love is named the way it is- the buildings, the roads, the elegantly dressed women, the singing children, the whiff of the French bread and the magic of the city make you want to come back and experience all of it again. Yes, Paris is important for its attractions and monuments but it’s much more than all that…
We reached Birmingham on the 26th of December and made a promise to go back for a longer time and make Paris more of experiences and less of attractions.
The City of Paris






Note: Some pictures were captured on our Canon while some from my phone. 

References:
http://en.parisinfo.com//
http://www.nyhabitat.com/blog/2014/12/08/4-things-did-not-know-about-paris-stairs/
http://www.toureiffel.paris/en.html
http://primaryfacts.com/2970/the-louvre-facts-and-information/


Monday, 15 August 2016

The 70th year of Independence

Mr Modi has always been known for his characteristic double entendre wordplay, and has validated this very fact on today’s Independence Day Speech. His epic diatribe on Pakistan  triggered the alleged  establishment that Pakistan wants to rule Kashmir but it forgets that it is not paying any heed to its own Baloch residents. This remark did create a launch in many minds and many Baloch opinion makers like Brahumdag Bukti, the grandson of the eminent Baloch leader Akbar Bukti who was killed in the military operation of 2006 , have supported him and thanked him for this consideration. The man can scatter  notions and plant new notions in the minds of people. What a phenomenal leader! He spoke about many developments like the Railway ticket buffer improvement, refund of Income tax made easy, faster issuing of Passports, potentiality of the GST bill and many other expansions and enlargements.

While he spoke about humanity and unity, what interested me the most was his statement, “If the society disintegrates, the empire straggles, gets divided into the highs and the lows”. We as a country is  home to various ethnicities , religions and races and we are so proud about it that our patriotic Independence day write ups and messages throw light on this very “Unity in Diversity” aspect about our country. Yes, this is indeed a matter of pride for our country and its people; but even then how much of it is really true? Modi did say that India as a country attained Independence 70 years ago but what about the Independence of its citizens? Are we allowed to have our own thoughts? Are we afraid to express them for the fear of sedition, or are we in some way biased with our thoughts? There are many points to prove this very point but I would like to bring your attention to a long forgotten Community that proudly calls India its home- The Siddhi Community.


As per my research, the ancestors of the Siddhi Tribe had migrated to India from East Africa on the 15th Century and lived on our land as merchants, slaves and mercenaries. Ever since then and till now, they have called India- their home but mostly they stayed aloof from the archetypal Indian civilization for obvious reasons; they were not accepted (communally or socially because they were black) by our people who say- "We as a country are one, irrespective of our caste, creed and colour." However, there came a time in 1987, when the Sports Authority of India set up a Special Area Games Scheme that put the Siddhi community on focus. The members were trained to be potential Olympians and International performers for sports so that they could win a medal for our county and make us proud, which they did. They were chosen by the scheme as potentials because of their African genes that make them naturally exceptional in sports. There were many winners from the Siddhi community and they sure did make our country proud but soon enough, the programme was inexplicably shut down by sending letters to the athletes that their services were no longer needed. Post the close-down, a lot of the former athletes had to look for alternative means of living and were trying their level best to be accepted in our stereotypical world; some were accepted but many were ridiculed and insulted because they were blacks and were not considered Indians. However, we must not forget the fact that this community speaks Hindi and the regional languages as accurate as any Indian can speak, they have Indian Passports and have embraced the Indian culture just as any honourable Indian would.
Now, after many requests and pleas from the Tribe our Government has obliged and have brought the SAG scheme back on track and currently many potentials are being trained for the 2024 Olympics  but they are still hoping for some light in the Cul-de-sac. They are hoping to be considered as normal humans rather than drug-dealers, hookers or demons. Our notions and ideologies have not changed much since the past 70 years or even since the beginning of Indian civilization. Initially we openly displayed our resentment in public and today we do it on a social media platform; initially  most of us considered inter-caste marriages a catastrophe and today we still practise Honour Killing. What has changed? Technology? Economy? Government? What about us? When are we actually going to be independent and allow others be independent? Are we still going to break every brick that has the impending quality to be a bridge between what we are and what we think we are? Today I discussed about a community that is hidden in the forests of Maharasthra, Karnataka and Andra Pradesh because they are derided and detested by us; all they wish is to come out and co-exist with us as fellow citizens. We call them Africans, but the current Siddhi Generation don’t know much about their own traditional culture because they have encompassed ours and yet we call them outsiders. Have you imagined being called an outsider in your own country? Well, I have and it made me feel so helpless cause today when I closed my eyes and thought about our tri-coloured flag all I felt was respect and gratitude for my country and its people; it would break me if my country-people say- Stay back outsider you don’t belong here.


References:
http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/pm-narendra-modis-speech-on-independence-day-2016-here-is-the-full-text/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UD7sp-L9lUk

Picture Credits:
Google

Friday, 1 July 2016

The Know It-All Syndrome




“The fools think they know it all. The bold pretend they do. The wise know they know nothing. “

Not more than 2 days back while I was busy making a premium dish for our guests, I made a solecism of asking some learned people in the cooking science department about the amount of pepper powder that needs to be used for the dish. I had a vague idea but I wanted the dish to be perfect; so I ended up getting three different suggestions and additions. I just wanted a perfect dish so I followed all three advices and yet I validated the very proverb- “Too Many Cooks Spoil The Broth”.

In the above situation I was to be blamed completely but many a times I have realized that even without asking for an opinion or suggestion, some ideas from people pop like an imagery of sharp munitions being thrown between two armies of a prehistoric war and some of them drill into your mind in a way that you would feel like yelling- God Stop It!

These clods will ask you a question, give you an analysis, and even before you could answer them, they are ready with an answer. You would just be standing there through the whole throbbing process of a “Know- it all’s” analysis. Now if you are ill-starred that day and you provide your own opinion, these clods would spend hours of your otherwise useless time proving to you how wrong you are.

Dealing with people of your own age is relatively easy, you can afford to get a little nasty on them and tell them- “you can say what you want but every opinion of yours that is going inside me is going to get out as an enormous poop in the morning. So jabber on mister”. However,  my issues are with the slightly grownup lot because they tend to blame you for nearly everything, even if it’s not your fault. For example if you go and tell them- It was night and a random alien who I’ve never encountered before killed me in my sleep, they would still blame me.

Internet suggests various techniques on how to Out-fox a know-it-all. I have tried most of them and trust me none worked. All I know is taking certain opinions with a grain of salt and accepting it for everyone’s sake help me in not creating a scene in front of certain esteemed people; but it’s before I sleep at night that I regret not giving it back to the lousy know it-alls. I feel- how dare I not tell them if you really know it all, why don’t you know that you are imprudent, dumb, infuriating and a pain; but hey, it took me a long time to realize that there is no cure for a know-it-all because they will never figure out that they don’t really know it all. Even on their death bed  they would just be giving sermons on the various career plans that are available after death. So you see, it’s beyond pointlessness; you can never make a know-it –all feel the way you do that’s just going to trigger them to say more about your feelings and the way they feel about your feelings.


Here are a few remedies I have tried which haven’t worked exactly; but since it’s an article, every problem discussed should have an abstract remedy .

Remedies:

Act like a Retard
Next time you see a know it all act dumb and don’t talk much, just smile a lot and let him talk because even a know it-all finds it difficult interacting with retards; gradually we can expect him to give up.

Stuff your mouth with food
When you see them approaching you at an event stuff your mouth with so much food that you wouldn’t be able to respond even if you wanted to, that could ease out the moment.

Try light humour/sarcasm
If your co-worker is a know it-all then you can’t ignore him all the time or act retarded so try some light humour in a not-so-offensive way that could put the message across to your colleague .

Deactivate yourself
Sometimes even when the above points don’t work, deactivate yourself and ignore the prat because someday Karma will deal with him, if not in this life then his next life.

There are no medicines for know it-alls but the world is full of them; you have to put up with them cause they know everything except the fact that there is a  fine line between virtuosity and insanity. No offence, I am not saying a know- it all is wrong always but some times they behave like a windows update process that’s  painful although  helpful; but if I really need help, I am not shy to ask. However it becomes very difficult to tell a know it-all that – being right all the time is great but one must learn when to shut up.


Image Credits: Google



Friday, 4 December 2015

Sabarimala- A Buddhist Temple?



“Kallum Mullum Kaalukku Methai, Swamiye Ayyapo
Ayyappo Swamiye, Swami Saranam, Ayyappan Saranam
Swamiye Saranam, Saranam Ayyappa”

The holy lines are delivered by the devotees of Lord Ayyappa as they cross the Pampa river banks on their way to Sabarimala. The lines mean - "The gravel and thorns on my path to Ayyappa feel like some cushiony mattress." The devotees go puff-pant with anticipation and a smile on their faces reciting the chorus- Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa.

 Sabarimala is open to the devotees only during Mandala Pooja which is between November- January; and on the first day of every malayalam month.  

Let's deliberate on what makes Sabarimala so famous amongst its devotees all over South India. Is it the meaningful 18 holy steps( patthinnetu thripadi) leading one to the sanctum sanctorum; or  the exceptionality of the temple as compared to other Hindu temples across India? The deity who resides within the Holy shrine of Sabarimala is none other than Lord Ayyappan or the HariHara Putran( Son of Lord Vishnu and Shiva). According to the Mythological legend, Lord Vishnu appeared as Mohini at the time of churning the ocean of milk who enticed the Asuras so that the nectar that was primed could be taken away from the Asuras and be given to the Devas to slain a demoness called Mahishi. Mahishi was given a boon by Lord Brahma that no one could exterminate her except for the offspring of Vishnu and Shiva. When Mahishi started creating troubles in Devaloka, the Devas turned to Vishnu for help. Post the seizure of the Holy Nectar by Mohini and its deliverance to the Devas, Shiva became captivated by the charms of Mohini; Ayyappan was conceived by their Holy union. Gradually, the Gods decided to place Ayyappan under the care of Shiva’s childess devotee, The king of Pandalam, who adopted Ayyappan as his own son. After Ayyappan grew up and realized the purpose of his life he decided to leave the palace but he asked his father to construct a temple in his name. He aimed for a place using his arrow which fell at a place called Sabari.


Buddhism and Jainism in Kerala According to some historical facts, during the 10th Century AD, more than three quarters of the inhabitants of Kerala were either Buddhists or Jains; Hindusism established itself in Kerala between the 10th and 12th century . Parama Parusarama, an avatar of Vishnu, reclaimed the land of Kerala and gifted it to the Brahmins which historically indicates the reclamation of the Land from outsiders and thereby restoring Hindusism ie Hindu Dharma in Kerala.

Pathanamthitta, where Sabarimala is currently situated was vastly a Buddhist place. There have been information of Buddhists idols being recovered from various parts of Pathanamthitta. There are historical facts that suggest  Sabarimala was long time ago called Churulimala, at a time long before Lord Ayyappa was born; it was known to be the abode of Aavalokitheswara Bodhisatwa who postponed his buddhahood until he assisted every conscious being during their time of  difficulties , to Nirvana.

Let’s pay attention to the following verse and its meaning:
Buddham Saranam Gacchami (To Buddha I go for Refugee)
Dharmam Saranam Gachami ( To Dharma(teachings) I go for Refugee)
Sangham Saranam Gacchami (To Sangha (Monks) I go for Refugee)

And now to this:
Swamiye Saranam Ayyapa (Lord Ayyappa, I seek refuge in you)
History suggests various facts and evidences that connect Lord Ayyapan to Buddhism; in fact some references directly and indirectly refer to Lord Ayyappan as an incarnation of Lord Buddha. The word “Saranam” refers to Buddhist teachings and is not used in any other Hindu verse connected to any Hindu God. Ayyappan is also known as Dharma Sastha. If we break the two words we get:
Dharma: A word of supreme importance to the Buddhists
Sastha: Known as the synonym for Lord Buddha

  Now on a deliberation about Hindu temples, most of us would have noticed that Hindu temples are situated in areas that are populated by inhabitants of a particular place; however Sabarimala stays secluded and is situated on a plateau which is over 40 feet high and connects the devotees to the Shrine of Ayyappan by the 18 holy Steps ( patthinetu Thripadi). Even many Buddhist monasteries  that  are located on an altitude are lead by series of steps.

Another distinction about Sabarimala is that it’s the only temple in India where the women who are in their child bearing age are not allowed within the temple. The men go to Sabarimala after observing 41 days of fast and celibacy.  In another instance, we know Siddhartha left his family  and renounced his kingdom in search of eternal bliss and enlightenment.

So is Ayyappan really Gautam Buddha or are the facts mere coincidences that can’t be compared to reality? I don’t know and can’t be very sure about the comparison but these facts sure startle me; for me it is an incredible revelation. However, when we closely observe both the religions of Buddhism and Hinduism, we will comprehend that  it teaches the same principles and values. The idealogy of nirvana, karma, moksha, the oneness of all beings etc are present in Vedas, Upanishads, Gita and also in the Buddhist teachings. The assertion of the vedas that the truth is One,(Ekam Eva Adwitheeyam)  is also taught in Buddhist teachings.

With the above limited facts I cannot possibly conclude if Ayyappan is actually Buddha but I would like to draw your mind to the potential world of amazing possibilities. Some of us don’t believe in religion and for some the very thought could be a sheer waste of time; but for the others this piece of news is to contemplate with wonder on the world of mythology, that is still clandestine. While many of us believe we know enough about an epoch that existed million years before our birth, we have some who believe in Illumination by Science. If we connect the dots, we might realize that we are all looking at the same meal with different diet habits. However, do we really know the truth; because some facts state that even Buddha never believed in God; he believed in Humanity and  Moral Government but never in the creator of Universe. So, do we really know the truth?

In Sabarimala when we cross the 18 meaningful holy steps, we come across a message in the sannidhanam- "Thathwam asi"- It means Thou Art That- You are Truth, The supreme realization lies within you.

 Every year Sabarimala draws millions of pilgrims, all looking for Moksha, making it one of the largest annual congregations in the world. The pilgrims chant:
Kettum Ketti, Sabari Malayku, Aare Kaanan?  Ayyane Kaanan,
Ayyane Kandal? Moksham Kittum
Swamiye  Saranam Ayyappa

Clutching the Irumudi Kettu, I am on my way to Sabarimala.
To see whom? To see Ayyappan
What afer seeing him? I shall attain Moksha
Lord Ayyappa, I seek refuge in you

Swamiye  Saranam Ayyappa


References:
http://www.buddhanet.net/ans73.htm
http://www.ambedkar.org/Tirupati/Chap5.htm
http://www.rediff.com/news/dec/31rajeev.htm
http://hindusutra.com/archive
http://www.chintha.com/keralam/sabarimala-history-myth.html
http://www.thrikodithanam.org/tidbits.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayyappan

Image Credit : Google