Tag Archives: India

Together with the Nature

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Watching the sun setting down in the sand dunes where you can’t find a singly being in vicinity is one indefinable experience. I can best describe the feelings of the individuals in this picture as Pure.There is no desire of anything or qualms in life. The only want is to watch that very sun rising once again.

Picture taken at Thar desert, Jaisalmer, 2013.

There are certain days…

Disclaimer: The purpose of this post is not hatred towards any country but has an underlying compelling issue.

There are certain days when I pray to God to relocate me to some super developed country in a snap of fingers. Today was that day. And you’ll know why.

I often take local train to work and for back home. Like everyday I left from work hurriedly hoping to catch my regular but my legs gave up halfway and I missed my usual train. Ideally the frequencies of these trains should be every 15-20 mins but like it never works this way I waited for 1 whole hour for the damn train. Not that I didn’t have alternate options to go home but since I live about 32-35 Kms away I prefer going by trains. So the combination of heat, staring eyes and the eternal wait was irking me from within. But nothing I could do, I waited, boarded the next train and reached home quite late. I get really bad mood swings when I get back home late as it disrupts my routine. I missed work out too. But in a way I feel relaxed as I get time to watch TV and for blogging.

My experience above is just a quarter of the reason of my prayer for relocation.

I am a very avid follower of politics and current affairs so when I watch news I go really deep into it. I understand that socio economic woes of India is the part and parcel of living in huge democratic and a developing country, so something like that shouldn’t incite me to write on it. Instead I felt baffled when I saw that my neighboring country  China has encroached 640 sq. km. of the eastern most state of India. While all this is happening under the nose of the government, the 1.2 billion people of my country are totally oblivion of the fact that their land is being intruded silently. It’s not been long when the northern most state of India was in the news due to the repetitive intrusion and chaos being caused by another neighbor – Pakistan. The insistent vendetta with China and Pakistan is not an overnight issue, it is there since even the time before my father was born. However I am more perturbed by the inability and the impotency of my government to combat this issue.

I take an interest in knowing about a country through its people so I pick books which are either the memoirs or biographies in the backdrop of socio-civil issues of the countries. This way, I get not only the political history of the country but also the account of the miseries seen by people in those times. Among my favorites are North Korea, Liberia, Israel, Afghanistan, Iran, Europe during Hitler times, Tibet and other countries. Such books burn my heart out and I am left pondering how hard times people of these countries must have seen. Today while watching the news of Chinese intrusion I somehow felt myself in the shoes of those people. And suddenly I started imaging that how lives will be different from now seating in my air-conditioned room than desperately looking for smuggling myself to US. That one hour session of news on Chinese invasion almost convinced me that it’s a deadly situation and I am losing my territory to Chinese slowly.

In the wake of danger I said to my parents “Lets leave this country and go somewhere safe” to which my mom said “And where is that?”

I took a while and assessed I would not want to go from a developing country to another developing country like Brazil or Philippines for that matter that leaves Africa out of the question;  USA although lucrative is quite vulnerable due to its intermittent intervention in the matters of other countries; Gulf or the Middle East would be last on my list; somewhere like Finland or Norway would need physical sustenance which I as a habitant of hot country lacks; Europe sounds good but what will I do there, not easy to get work visa; Australia can be good but migration is not easy…

While I still figure out the safest place for my migration, I make another prayer to give Indian diplomats the grit and wit to solve the issue at their level avoiding the situation where I would have to leave my air-conditioned and peaceful home.

Dwarka – Gujarat

And the holiday is over. This time I couldn’t get enough of it, I feel I would soon need another hiatus. Anyway, since Indian currency is depreciating against US dollar at a pace at which Sebastian Vettel wins his race, I am looking options to explore my own country which is vast and diverse in culture. This time I visited the state of Gujarat, a region which boasts its industrial development.

Gujarat is a place which connects to Indians through Hindu mythology, Indian freedom struggle, unique culture and food :-). Once you are in India you can’t really ignore this region as you will come across its name somewhere or the other. If you have heard of Mahatma Gandhi, there you go Gujarat is his birth place.

My trip involved visiting to lot of temples. Now to me Hindu temples offer lot of architecture excellence. While my family was offering prayers inside the temple I was at some corner zooming my lens to capture the intricacies of the monument; it left me in awe of minute details the architects had paid while carving each stone and chiseling mythological fables for us.

Below are the pictures of a temple called Rukmani Mandir which is located near Dwarka town of Gujarat. Rukmani was the wife of Lord Krishna but bound to a curse by a saint both Lord Krishna and Rukmani faced a separation of 12 years. She penanced for 12 years where now her temple is located away from the temple of Lord Krishna in Dwarka. For the reference I should tell you Dwarka is Hindu’s holy place, this is where Lord Krishna spent his 100 years of life.

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One man and his pen

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August 15th is the day of India’s Independence.  I would like to dedicate this post to him who gave India its national anthem. A Japanese Nobel laureate described his appearance as:

“His white hair flowed softly down both sides of his forehead; the tufts of hair under the temples also were long like two beards, and linking up with the hair on his cheeks, continued into his beard, so that he gave an impression, to the boy I was then, of some ancient – Oriental wizard”

Rabindra Nath Tagore’s contribution to India is an example of how some fights can be won by strong writing.  Gitanjali, a legendary book that is a compilation of his poems would touch anybody’s soul. The poems have based on humanity with shades of spirituality.

 “Leave this chanting and singing and telling of beads! Whom dost thou worship in this lonely dark corner of a temple with doors all shut?
Open thine eyes and see thy God is not before thee!
He is there where the tiller is tilling the hard ground and where the path-maker is breaking stones.
He is with them in sun and in shower, and his garment is covered with dust.”

I feel fortunate to have learnt about Tagore and his writings that fills me with immense pride and love for my country.

“Where the mind is without fear
and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been
broken up into fragments
by narrow domestic walls; …
Where the clear stream of reason
has not lost its way into the
dreary desert sand of dead habit; …
Into that heaven of freedom,
my Father, let my country awake.”

Duped or not Duped, that is the question

It feels stupid to get duped in your own city.

Today was my street shopping day with a friend. Anybody traveling to New Delhi especially a woman should definitely visit Sarojini Nagar if shopping is one of the things on your list. This place is not only cheap but you get defected original high street brands (well the defection is not evident from a naked eye); exported stuff, knock-offs, and stolen originals. So you see paradise for a shopper!!. Highly recommended.

With the description of the market you can make out how efficient you have to be in your bargaining skills. You have to bring out the best in you in this shopping paradise. I would rate myself as an average bargainer as in I would only say twice to the shopkeeper and then if I really like the stuff I will buy it :(.  But frequent visits to this place has honed my shopping skills, now I don’t give up that easily and have also even tried walking past the shopkeepers if they don’t agree with my price. And they call me back with my price!!

So, somebody who is a locale, knows the language, knows the functioning of this market and is also enhancing bargaining skills got duped. At least I feel so. A nice branded expensive watch has been on my list for long. So when my friend and I was buying some women stuff, suddenly we heard a voice “Madame do you want a real Gucci or a Tommy Hilfiger watch?” At first we snubbed him but he was persistent. He started taking out watches of various brands from his various pockets (he had like uncountable number of watches hidden in his clothes).

“How do we believe you, this doesn’t look original?” asked my friend.

“Madame this is original, but it is stolen, you will find the same watch in the showrooms for US$150, I will give you in US$40.” said the seller.

Well even 40 bucks is quite expensive in this market, my whole budget for this shopping was US$40!!! yes imagine it is dirt cheap place. So we ignored the guy and gave him reasons for not buying it although we did like it. It was not at all looking a rip-off plus it came with a box. We asked for more proofs for its authenticity and he showed us some hieroglyphic numbers. Somehow that guy sounded convincing. Even to my friend who is a lawyer!! So after 3-4 denials we thought of buying it because the guy was so pushy. We bargained and got him down to US$32 for two watches. After a bargaining rally finally he agreed and we felt victorious, we paid, and he scampered away.

After a moment we kept thinking if it was a good bet. We again checked the watches and this time somehow we felt those were fakes. Although till now it is a mystery to us if we bought the originals or fakes. Because if these are fakes then we lost good amount of money. And till the end of our shopping day we kept asking each other if we were duped!!

So getting tricked in your own country convinces a thought that getting tricked in a foreign land is no shame.

Live for a better world

Arazu, a single Afghan mother of four smuggled herself with 2 sons from Afghanistan to Germany after bribing exorbitantly at the borders.  This was in 2011.  She still awaits the reunion with her daughters.

Hyeonseo Lee, a North Korean national escaped the country for the better world only to reunite with her family after 14 years.

Kunsang, a Tibetan woman who left her home country with her daughter in order to survive from ruthless invading Chinese army.  Though she is over 90 she has never been able to return to her country. Living an exiled life.

And it’s just not them. There are thousands of people every day who put their lives at risk to find out ways to escape from extremist countries. I am left flabbergasted with the immense courage and determination (of course loads of money!!) displayed by these people to leave that toxic political and social environment in desperation.

Living in a democratic country I still crib about the corruption and bureaucracy prevails in India however when I read such stories I feel so fortunate to be a part of it.  It is sad that some of us are very unfortunate not because we are born in poor families or with some disorders but to take birth in a country like Afghanistan or North Korea!!  There, the life of an individual is not his or her but it is heavily dependent on the political scenario of the country.  In North Korea not even that option as there is only one man rule. I have been wanting to write on Kim Jong-un since long but have never been able to understand how one family has been able to hold its control on its people for that long even after incidents of insurgencies all around the world. Pick up a history of any subdued nation there is always one section of society raising its voice against autocratic rule and starting some sort of Guerrilla Warfare against the ruler but it is disappointing how we haven’t read any such revolt in North Korea.

It is quite despairing, you take birth in this world only to find yourself on the behest of country leaders.  Suddenly your life is not yours. You are scrutinized, monitored and live in constant surveillance. And making matter worse if you are born with shit luck you would either end up losing your life in a suicide bomb attack or a vegetable life in a concentration camp.!!!

A conversation

After watching the horrendous natural mishap happened in the Uttarakhand state of India, I am devastated and shocked with the intensity of nature’s fury.

Uttarakhand lies in the northern region of India beautifully adorning mountain ranges. This state is popular for its hill stations and pilgrimage destinations. Like all years, this year also, thousands of people visited to the holy shrines at Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamnotri and Gangotri only to witness death due to the floodings caused by the heavy rains and cloudburst.  The whole state as lies in the hilly region is prone to landslides. I watched the clips of the destroyed region on the news and they are very disturbing. People are still stranded in different parts of the state without food and any contacts as the road network got damaged and any sort of connection is not reachable to them. The rescue teams are in action to save as many people as they can however nobody can estimate the exact number of people who may have lost their lives in this accident. It is probably in thousands.

This video is just a fraction of the damage that has happened.

It is an intrinsic nature of us – to complain even without even realizing our faults. In this post I am trying to make a conversation between an affected pilgrim and the God.

What a pilgrim says to his God after witnessing this whole nature’s devastation.

“It was an epiphanic day,

I thought,

My materialistic pains will be alleviated,

If I see you,

I took a plunge,

Crossing rivers and mountains,

I arrived,

With folded hands, pure heart and teary eyes,

I prayed,

Not for me but for my family,

As I opened my eyes I was swept away,

I was drowning,

 Amidst the yelling people I was lost,

    Soon everything was in rubble

    I lost everything for which I prayed for

  And with that the faith in you

Are you really God – the most divine or a monster?”

How the God replied to this harsh accusation on Him:

“It is you who made me God,

And now you are making me a monster

I never asked you to come to me,

I never asked you to pray me

All I have asked you is to help each other,

There are others dying every day of hunger,

While you were feeding your family

There are atrocities happening everywhere,

And you watched them

It perturbs me more when I see,

What you did with the nature I gifted you,

You did not value it too

And you are asking me if I’m a monster

Don’t go find me at far off places,

You will not seek happiness

I am there where you don’t want to see

 Within you

I have given you the power to find solutions for all your pains

Once you’ll start valuing things I have bestowed on you,

And help people around you,

You will not need any GOD to help you.”

A Rainy Day

It’s been long since I last wrote. Think bad weather in Delhi was dissipating ideas from my head but finally God saw my misery and it poured!. And it didn’t just pour but it poured and poured so much that it caused flooding in my garden area. Nevertheless, I love rains, some magical drops of water and it revives the whole environment around. After today’s shower the withered plants are rejuvenated, the scrawny stray dogs got resuscitated and are walking again rather than sleeping like half dead under the cars and here I, once again with recharged brain, sitting by my window with a cup of coffee and reading interesting blogs by fellow bloggers.

The beautiful weather gives me an opportunity to take few clicks of my flooded garden area.

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A sweet dried up plant is filling its pot as if it’s never going to rain again 🙂

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This leaf, so complete in itself,
Is only part of the tree.
And this tree, so complete in itself,
Is only part of the forest.
And the forest runs down from the hill to the sea,
And the sea, so complete in itself,
Rests like a raindrop
In the hand of God.

-Ruskin Bond

Black as Night, Sweet as Sin

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Ever wondered why all thoughtful and intelligent conversations happen over a cup of coffee and not any other beverage?

India, traditionally is (or rather was!!) a tea drinking country but thanks to the economic boom for bestowing hectic work hours, coffee is now catching up fast as a  preferred drink mostly among youth and white collar workers. I was at Starbucks today and watching those young people swarming the place, it struck me that it’s kind of bizarre or at least a trend to note that how coffee can become an excuse for a casual meeting.  Some often used expressions these days are ‘let’s catch up over a cup of coffee‘ or ‘You owe me a cup of coffee’ or ‘oh! why don’t we meet at some coffee place‘.  Even when I’m meeting a guy, I’m expecting a quite obvious and weary line to seek attention ‘Just one cup of coffee is what I’m asking for‘.  Like ‘Coffee’ has a solution for everything.  And tea still elite is losing its sheen at least among young people.  But these days you would rarely come across somebody who would say ‘Hey let’s meet up for high tea‘. I haven’t heard this in long time now.

Coffee undoubtedly is a magical drink as it lights up your brain and suddenly the most buffoon person will also sound like Einstein. How many of us could not imagine kicking the mornings without a coffee? When my friends and I meet up for a coffee, the conversations we exchange are definitely more constructive and intense. And some memorable moments for sure. Seems there is certainly something special in those dark cocoa beans which get along well with people in any mood.  And that’s why Neil Gaiman rightly said “Black as night, sweet as sin” as it’s too complex to understand the very nature of coffee so just enjoy your cup of Kaffe.

The Golden Temple

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I accept that this is not a very good click.

This place is one of my favorites in India for the energy and atmosphere it possess. This place is called Golden Temple a.k.a. Harmandir Sahib located in Amritsar city in Punjab province in India. It is a Gurudwara, the holy place of Sikhs and this temple is considered even holiest because the original Guru Granth Sahib (the holy book of Sikhs) is placed here. This temple was built by the fifth Sikh guru, Guru Arjan in 16th century. The temple as you see in the picture is made of gold and the pond around the temple is  called Sarovar which is considered to contain holy water.

I am not a sikh but this place is open to all individuals regardless of religion, caste, creed, or gender. Only mandate is to cover his/her head all the while in this place.

Visiting this place is one of its kind experience.