today flowers blossom in me

Usually, the commuting to and from the office is the most unpleasant experiences of a working day in a city like Bengaluru so much so that when someone asks, ‘what is the distance of your office from home’, I say, ‘it is one and a half hours to two hours depending upon the mood of the traffic of the day’. Of course, in terms of physical distance it is only 25 km one way.

But today while going to office flowers blossom in me.

In spite of the fact that it is a post holiday working day. Today is Diwali. It must be a holiday for the Indians in the north of the Vindhyas. However, for many offices including the central government ones, yesterday was the official Diwali holiday. The thin traffic indicates that in spite of it being a working day, many thought in true Indian spirit that a day like Diwali ruled in favour of staying at home over whiling away time on mundane office affairs.  I also learn that officially it is Diwali off day for some.

Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian BloggersIt is such a pleasant experience to drive on Bengaluru roads on some of the busiest routes on a working day with thin traffic. I ruminate whether there is a remote possibility that in distant future a time will come when every working day traffic will be like this. Why limit the traffic problem to only working days. Even on weekends you may have a horrible time while negotiating with the Bengaluru traffic on many stretches. I am reminded of those lazy weekends twenty five years back when I used pedal around Bengaluru the whole day sometimes alone, sometimes accompanied by a friend. If I do it now the doctor may, in stead of calling it a healthy habit,  discount my life expectancy by five years.

But today flowers blossom in me.  Bangalore is a cool beautiful city. What make it hell are its potholed roads, made worse by the incessant rain of the last couple of weeks. And the bumper to bumper laborious traffic. Today, free from the care of the bumper to bumper traffic, I can smell and feel the cool breeze passing through the roadside trees.

Flowers also blossom in me for another reason.  Thank God, I am not a Delhite. I will be able to blast a few crackers along with my son and his friends at least this year. For I don’t know when the ban- cracker-to -avoid- pollution syndrome that originated in Delhi will infect Bangalore, which is as cursed as Delhi in terms of vehicular pollution.

Of course our liberal and secular sensibilities do not allow us to ban certain types of highly polluting vehicles and industries, and inhuman practices of privileged religions.

Wishing all my readers a very happy Diwali.

diwali deepavali.jpg

 

 

Journey Through Karnataka’s Heritage Sites

For the Christmas vacation of 2015, the initial plan was to go somewhere far away, outside Karnataka. But plan A did not work out somehow. So here was the plan B – why not visit some nearby tourist places of Karnataka that we have been postponing visiting for years. A day before the visit, we decided, our 2/3 days journey would start with Shravanabelegola, then on to Shringeri through Belur and Halebeedu.

So, early one morning towards the close of 2015 we hit the road, me – the driver, Subha – my wife as the mentor and Dipayan – our 13 year old son as the official navigator and photographer.

Our first destination was Shravanabelagola which is about 160 kms from Bangalore. As I learn that some years back the statue of Gommatesvara at Shravanabelagola was voted overwhelmingly in a Times of India poll as the first of the seven wonders of India, I wonder, “how come I have missed such a wonderful site even though I have stayed in Karnataka off and on for over 10 years.”

Shravanabelagola

Belagola means white pond and shravakas are Jain seekers. As the place is famous for both, it is named as Shravanabelagola. There is a beautiful pond- even though no more white – in the middle of the town which is flanked by two hills Vindhyagiri and Chandragiri.

On Vindhyagiri stands the majestic monolithic 57 feet high statue of Gommatesvara. There is no alternate to climbing barefoot or with socks the 650 odd steps to reach the sacred footstep of Lord Gommatesvara. Of course there are palanquin bearers for those who cannot climb. To reach the top, it takes a leisurely half an hour. There is no need to hurry. It would be better to take frequent breaks not only to stabilize breath, but also to appreciate the surrounding views as you climb. And of course to click those selfies to share on the social media.

As you climb up the Vindhyagiri Hill you can have a bird’s eye view of the Shravanabelagola town and the Chandragiri Hill across the town. It is here at Shravanabelegola that the Mauryan Emperor Chandragupta Maurya lived the last years of his life after converting to Jainism. On Chandragiri hills are a number of memorials to various Jain monks and a temple.

While climbing up the hill, you have the feeling that you are rising above the mundane affairs of the world and the majestic statue standing high on the mountain radiating bliss is inviting you to rise above the worldly worries and obtain the peak of bliss and innocence.

As one reaches the top of the hill through the winding steps one cannot but stand in awe of the magnificent statue of Gommatesvara Bahubali. Let it not be identified with the fictionalized character Bahubali of the eponymous multilingual movie.

When the movie Bahubali was released it drew protests from the Jain Community. May be, I think rightly so, they feared that the movie will evoke wrong associations and ideas concerning Jain History which is already misrepresented on many accounts by the scholars of Indian History.

On the rocks on both the hills are a large number of Kannada inscriptions that have survived the ravages of time for a thousand years. These have provided valuable information to the historians and archaeologists. However to me what was of special interest was the story of Bahubali written on a large board.

The story of Bahubali

Bahubali is the son of the first Jain Tirthankar – Rishavdeb who was the king of Ayodhya before entering into ascetic life. Rishavdeb had one hundred sons and two daughters through his two wives. Prominent among the sons were Bharat and Bahubali. Before renouncing worldly life, Rishavdeb crowned Bharat as the king of Ayodhya and Bahubali as the king of Taxshila. Other 98 sons were also made kings of various remaining provinces.

Bharat was highly ambitious. After subjugating 98 brothers he wanted Bahubali to surrender his kingdom. But Bahubali, which literally means the strong armed, would not consent. So war became inevitable. Fearing large scale devastation, the learned from both the sides, suggested a novel method – instead of the armies of both the sides engaging in battle, let there be a duel between the two brothers. Perhaps, it was keeping in line with the Jain principle of Ahimsa or where total Ahimsa was not possible to go for minimum collateral damage. Bharat was defeated in all the three rounds of the duel. But instead of being humbled, the defeat only infuriated him more and he sent his special weapon, known as Chakraratan – a wheel bestowed with magical powers, to kill Bahubali. To everyone’s surprise the weapon could not even touch Bahubali.

At first Bahubali was enraged. However, a sudden realization dawned on him and made him wonder about the futility of war and the craving for worldly gains. Thus, humbled in victory, Bahubali gave away his kingdom to Bharat and set on the journey of self-discovery. He engaged in deep meditation in the standing posture for such a long time that creepers grew over his legs. With a little help from Rishavdeb, Bahubali finally became enlightened.

Awestruck, as I climb down the Vindhyagiri, I cannot but agree with what the famous journalist Vir Sanghvi had written in an article after visiting Shravanabelagola – “It is a sobering thought that around 500 years before Michelangelo created his David, Indian craftsmen had created a statue that is much more beautiful and far more impressive. ….. Long before the European Renaissance and long before the great structures of the medieval era – such as the Taj Mahal – were created, India had a cultural heritage that was the envy of the world”.

The head anointing ceremony

Every 12 years, the head anointing ceremony known as Mahamasthakabhisheka is performed in an elaborate ritual where in the idol is bathed in sacred liquids like sandal paste, milk, ghee, turmeric paste etc. The grand ceremony, that draws millions of people, culminates with the showering of flowers from a helicopter. The next one is scheduled to be held in February 2018.

The message of Gommatesvara Bahubali

Bahubali, the strong armed one, stands alone, naked, innocent and majestic radiating bliss and peace atop mount Vindhyagiri to announce to the world that to patronize non-violence requires unsurpassed strength. It is not a sign of meekness and weakness. Defeat need not always humble someone. Real victory is victory over one’s own negative tendencies and ignorance.

Belur and Halebidu

Our next destination on the heritage tour was Halebidu which is at a distance of about 80 Kms from Shravanabelagola. We reached there by lunch time, hungry enough to devour whatever was on offer. So we did not mind the shanty hotel near the Hoysaleswara temple offering typical south Indian Thali.

Belur and Halebidu bear the testimony to not only the grand and distinct architectural style as the Hoysala style of architecture, but also the ravages done to a culturally advanced society by the barbaric Muslim invaders from time to time. A UNESCO study says that out of the 1500 temples built by the Hoysala rulers, only 100 survive today. Many temples were destroyed by the army of All-ud-din Khilji led by his general – Malik Kafur.

Belur was the first capital of the Hoysala Rulers whose empire spread all over Karnataka and some of the neighboring states. During their reign from the 10th to 14th century AD, art, architecture literature and spiritual practices thrived due to generous patronage of not only the rulers but also the influential citizens. In addition to the places of religious rituals, the temples served as centers of art and culture and sometimes even as courts. The Hoysala style attempted to achieve grandeur in ornate design with profusion of intricately carved stone sculptures, in contrast to the temples of other styles built to grand size , both vertical and horizontal.

The Chennakesava temple at Belur was commissioned in the early part of the 12th century by King Vishnuvardhana. The Vaishnavite Temple was earlier known as Vijayanarayana Temple to commemorate the victory of King Vishnuvardhana over the Chalukyas, as one legend goes. It is said that the Saivite Hoysaleswara temple at Halebidu was built by prominent merchants to rival the Chennakesava Temple in grandeur and glory. However after the completion of the temple it was dedicated to King Vishnuvardhana, who shifted his capital to Dwarasamudra which was later on called as Halebidu meaning the Old City. Some say King Vishnuvardhan was converted to Vaishnavism from Jainsim and his wife Shantala was also a Jain. Nevertheless, she patronized many Hindu temples. Overall, it is seen that during the Hoyasala period, a highly culturally and intellectually developed plural society developed making immense contribution to Indian and Kannada art, culture and literature.

The main attraction of Halebidu are the two conjoined temples of Hoysaleswara and Shantaleswar. There is an archaeological museum inside the compound of the temple. Other places of interest are the Kedareswara temple (also built in Hoysala style) and the Jain Basadi which are at short distance.

I was intrigued by the story behind the Garuda Pillar to the south side of the Hoysaleswara Temple. Usually Vishnu’s vahana Garuda sits on the Garuda pillar in front of many Vaishnavite temples. However, this Garuda Pillar here is erected in honor of the body guard of King Ballala II. I learn that Garudas were highly skilled and loyal body guards of the kings. With the death of the king they served, they also ended their lives. In this particular case, the body guard Kuruva Lakshma was so loyal that he took the life of his whole family along with his own.

Inside the the Chennakesava Temple at Belur are a number of other temples, some added later on after the consecration of the main Vishnu Temple. As I enter the large temple compound in the afternoon, roam around and sit down for a while to meditate, it gives one a feeling of timelessness. Nothing much has changed inside the temple during the last 800 years, including the form of temple ritual that has been carried on without even a day’s break .Of course men have come and men have gone. The carvings on the outer walls and the inscriptions provide valuable information and hints about the life in those days.

Each image, each carving has a story to tell and they are in thousands. The history and archeology enthusiast may need months to explore and fathom them. Even for a casual visitor, one day is definitely not enough to appreciate various historical land marks (that includes Hoysala-style step wells) spread in and around Belur and Halebidu.

At the end of a tiring day, falling asleep was not much of a problem. However certain vague and dreamlike feelings lingered on as I felt being transported back in time to those golden days of history. I hear the sounds of sculptors chiseling and bringing into life, lifeless objects, with the hope that the creations outlived the creators. I see them signing off their work with a feeling of pride and accomplishment (literally, because many of the carvings bear the name of the sculptor in local language). On various pandals inside the temple, discourses and discussions are going on as to the origin of the universe, the nature of reality and the ultimate aim of life. In another corner, the compositions of poets find expressions through accomplished dancers and singers. In the streets outside, the common citizens carry on with their lives as usual while the threat of battle and devastation looms large. Soldiers return from battle, wounded and tired, yet surviving to tell the tales of camaraderie, courage and victory.

Shravanabelagola, Halebid and Belur have been proposed to be included in the list of UNESCO heritage sites. There has been no such recommendation for Sringeri. May be because, Sringeri does not boast of any monument of architectural grandeur. Nevertheless it is an important landmark contributing to the notion called India and towards the preservation of ancient Indian spiritual and intellectual heritage. Thus seen, it is no less a heritage site than Shravanabelagola.

On to Shringeri and Shirimane Falls

The 100kms odd journey from Belur to Sringeri was mesmerizing. The winding road through the ghat sections of Chikmagalur district is flanked by coffee estates. In between there are stretches of roads that are in need of repair and it slows down our journey. Otherwise also, we stop frequently to have a panoramic view of the surroundings and examine the plantations of the estates. My wife gets fascinated with the creepers that grow on the tall trees which provide a canopy to the coffee plants. We learn that these are the creepers that produce black pepper. We reached Sringeri long before lunch time to take a little rest and visit the temples of Sringeri Sarada Peetham. The guest houses constructed and maintained by Sharada Peeham are well maintained and the charges are very nominal. Of course one can opt for one of the more expensive private lodges or home stays located throughout the town and the outskirts.

Sringeri is a small town with a population of about 5000 and is situated on the southern side of the river Tunga. There is ample parking place in between the town and the river and adjacent to the Sarada Peetham.

The majority of tourists were school children who came as a part of their annual excursion during the Christmas vacation. It was a bit crowded. At other times we may not see so many footfalls. As the place was meant to be a citadel of learning and contemplation for those who took to the monastic order, it would be fitting if the place is not filled with bustling crowds all the year round.

However, there is a story behind the place being chosen to be the first of the four original ‘Maths’ established by Adi Shankara. While passing through Sringeri, Adi Shankara saw a unique site near River Tunga. It was a very hot day and a snake had spread its hood over a frog to shelter it from hot sun. Adi Shankar could discern the special vibes permeating the place. The story has a modern parlance. Huge number of fish gather at the river bend near the temple to be fed with puffed rice by the human beings. They have so much faith of not being caught and fried that they come near you without any iota of fear or hesitation. Truly, it is a place with special vibes. The presence of ancient temples, the river flowing by leisurely and the green mountains standing still create a serene and peaceful atmosphere.

Here it may be remembered that today there are hundreds of swamis and saints who claim to be the torch bearers of the traditions started by Adi Shankaracharya. However, Adi Shankar established only four ‘Maths’ – one each in the southern, western, northern and eastern part of India, entrusting each Math to be administered by one of his four prominent disciples- Sureshwara, Hastamalaka, Totakacharya and Padmapada. Thus, in the south we have the Sharada Peetham at Sringeri, in the west at Dwaraka we have the Dwarakapeetha, Jyotirmath is located at Badrinath in the north and at Puri in the east we have Govardhan Peetha. Presently the Sharada Peetham is headed by Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji who is the 36th in the lineage of head pontiffs of the Peetham.

The temples of Sri Saradamba, Sri Toranaganapati, Sri Vidyashankar, Sri Adishankara and another dozen odd temples are located inside the temple complex on the southern bank of the River Tunga. Sri Vidyashankar Temple was constructed in 14th century combining Hoysala and Dravidian style of architecture. Different temples inside the complex have been constructed at different times. Our visit and prayers at the temples on the southern side culminated with the partaking of the free lunch (annaprasada) inside the temple complex. The lunch consisting of kheer, rice, sambhar and butter milk was simple yet sumptuous. Temple authorities claim that every day on an average of 8-10 thousand people are provided free lunch and dinner.

In the evening we went to the northern side of the peetham across the river. A narrow high bridge over river Tunga connects both sides of the premises of the peetham. Of course, nearby there is another hanging foot bridge for the use of the villagers on the other side of the river. The northern side across the river houses the living quarters of the pontiffs, other swamis and disciples. It has the ambience of an Ashram. One can have an audience with the head pontiff Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji and his successor designate Sri Vidhusekhar Bharati at prescribed timings in the morning and evening subject to their availability at Sringeri. Luckily for us on that day both of them were available for darshan.

There are a number of other temples in and around Sringeri. Another interesting place that we visited in the afternoon was the Sirimane Falls located at a distance of about 20 kms from Sringeri. Even though the road was so bad that it created doubts as to whether it would survive the next few days to be regarded as any kind of motor-able road, the waterfall was worth a visit. Here again the crowd consisted primarily of sportive school students running to enjoy a bath while their shouting, reprimanding, threatening guardians and teachers played the spoilsport.

The Article originally appeared on TourMyIndia. Visit the site for more photos.

 

even for gods one life is not enough – the ritual of nabakalebara

 

nabakalebara 2015
sand art by Sudarshan Patnaik

There are hundreds of festivals and rituals associated with the Lord Jagannath Temple in Puri, the annual car festival, which falls on 25th June this year, being the most prominent one.

There is one ritual that is unique to this temple. The presiding deities of the temple – Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, Devi Subhadra and Lord Sudarshan take new bodies after a gap of some years. It happens when there is a repetition of the month of Ashadha according to the Hindu calendar followed in Odisha. This ritual, known as Nabakalebara, happened last time in 2015.

The year round rituals associated with the Jagannath Temple are a mixture of vedic, tantric and folk traditions. What make the idols lovable are the rituals taken from folk traditions where the idols are treated as living human beings. So they are subjected to the daily routines beginning from brushing of teeth , bathing, eating and sleeping. Like it happens with a human beings,  the bodies are subject to death and decay. Following our philosophy of transmigration, the souls in the idols discard old bodies and get new ones.

The elaborate rituals associated with Nabakalebara starts with Banajaga Yatra – the journey to the forest to select the four neem  trees that would be used to make the idols. The trees must fulfill certain criteria like particular marks on its trunk among other things.  It is believed that the chief priest of the temple gets directions in his dreams about the location of the trees.  When a tree is identified, elaborate pujas are made in honour of the trees before cutting. While the usable parts are carried to Puri in a grand procession, the unusable parts are buried with respect.  Even a temple is built at the place where the tree stood. People consider each part of the tree and its surroundings to be divine  and people throng the place to celebrate with religious fervor.

After the idols are ready, the life force of each idol known as brahma  or pinda inside each idol is transferred by the chief priest to the new ones. This is a closely guarded secret. Nobody knows what that pinda  contains. People say the original flowers and other material put inside the idols during the earlier Nabakalebar are still found fresh.

The idols are made ready before the car festival or the Rath Yatra.  The old ones are buried  inside the temple at a place known as Koili Baikuntha with respect and rituals associated with the death of a near and dear one. The celebrations with the new idols are accompanied side by side by a kind of an unofficial state mourning  where the people of Odisha follow all the rituals associated with the death of a family member like not celebrating any auspicious ceremony at home for a period of one year.

Indian Bloggers

Sunday Musings and Random Notes #2

Random Notes

The times are such that, neither are notes so random nor do they have any  association or destination other than the bank. The whole nation is in queue for a few ‘tukda’ notes. It is Saturday night and as we finalise our plan to visit Chinchi Falls and Mekedatu as part of our weekend getaway, we are reminded, we have forgotten to factor in legal tender notes to our itinerary. So we rush to the nearby ATM. Though there is still a queue, we manage to get some of those extremely rare pieces of paper and come back home by 11:30 P.M.

It is ‘7’ o clock in the morning when we start our trip. However, people have already left home long back for their  ‘Cash’ mission and we notice long queues in front of every ATM or Bank that we pass.

Four days earlier, on my way to office, for every traffic jam at an unexpected place I would hear someone commenting, “There must be a bank ahead”. It also reminded me that  I too have to get some legal tender notes. Nahi to yaar biwi bachon ko kya muh dikhayoge. Somehow bunked it for three days. But on the fourth day ran out of excuses.

While on the queue, I  came across so many conspiracy theories. As usual some were pro M, and others were anti M. A young man in front was describing about the fake currency printing presses in China and Pakistan with such graphic details that I felt he had just landed on the queue, fresh from a first hand experiences of those macabre places.

Now coming to the weekend gate away, details of which I will share in a separate blog post, the road as well as the tourist spots were unexpectedly thinly crowded. Then of course someone made a nasty comment:

bhaiya bhid to bankon ke samne lagi hai. Yahan aaj kaun milega.

While coming back, by the evening, again observed the long queues.

Sunday ka suraj nikla nayi ummeed ke saath, 
subah 6 bajese lambi kataron ke saath. 
Din khatam hogaya, lekin umeed nahin, 
kataron mein koi kamee nahin.

One event, so many memories

Reminded of my days in military training. If one person did a mischief, the whole platoon would be punished. The funny thing was that quite often the mischief monger would escape by reporting sick.

Those were the days prior to the installation of ATMs in India. If it was a pay day, it was only the bank employee who did his official job. For others, it was  a day to be spent in queue either for you salary or for your movie ticket.

Then of course, one is reminded of those never ending queues and drama in front of the ticket windows of cinema halls during those golden decades before the advent of Television.

One may be reminded of a few Bollywoood dialogues as well for easing one’s frustration while queuing up to get back one’s own money parked in the banks.

"Ek tukda note ki kimat tum kya jano Modi Babu"
"Tumhare kale dhan bale noton mein itna chhed karenge, 
confuse hojeyge, kitna bank mein le jayen, kitna mein aag lagaye." 
"Aaj mere paas gadi hai bangla hai. Kya hai tere pass?" 
"Mere pass ek hazar ke chhute hai"

The people who used to do ‘dus ka bees’ in and around the cinema theaters are also back in business bringing the silver lining to those who do not mind paying a little extra for the sake of avoiding the serpentine queues.

Or, to avoid being asked back at home:  “Khali haath laut aye. Kya socha tha… khsuh ho jayega

Swagat nahin karoge hamara

1000-notesWhen the movie ‘Pink’ was released there was so much fanfare and pre-publicity. Even the great Big B wrote a a letter to his grand daughters with his own hands using a Parker pen (for which he is a brand ambassador) and made sure it made into the headlines of national media. (Was he not in talking terms with his grand children? Then why did he need the entire national media to take his message to his own grand daughters?)

But no such pre-publicity for this pink note – the harbinger of a new economic order. Like Lord Krisha, it just took birth, unsung, unnoticed.

The movie ‘Pink’ tried to create awareness about women’s issues. Hope this pink note makes us aware of the dangers of black money and parallel economy.

Indian Bloggers

Street is where the action is

The street is a place of never ending ‘reality shows’ and ‘soap operas’, of fascination, beauty and ugliness. For this photo challenge, not only did I take some new photos, but also dug up a  few interesting ones from my archives. Here are a selected few, along with some thoughts they evoked.

I

street3

Don’t  we have such streets in every part of India, where the road is perpetually under repair? A street where tangled wires carrying charges and messages hang menacingly. A street of heat and dust and partially open gutters. And, the ubiquitous holy animal.

II

Of course, let not the previous picture  be taken as a representative image of India. I am not vying for any Oscar. Hence, I have no inclination to show only the ‘nasty’ part of India.

Street is where the action is. Sometimes some inaction. Many streets could be so beautiful and cosy, you would not mind having a sound sleep on its pavements on broad day light, as can be seen in the  picture below.

street-1

Oblivious of the surrounding sounds, his chappals serving as his pillow, this old man takes a sound  afternoon siesta on the hard pavement  of a busy Bengaluru street.

Obviously, when it comes to quality of sleep, the quality of bed is immaterial.

III

street5

While  some step lightly into the day, hoping it to be a jolly good one ………

IV

On the same street (in the same frame) there is some one getting prepared to shoulder the burden of the future.

street4
“If only I could exchange my two small bags for a big bite of those two ‘happiness’ pieces.”

 

V

street2
Things do change. The street of picture I, after two years.

More about me and my writing journey

 

Who am I and why do I blog? May be this should have been my first post. But then, it would have been too early. Of course now and then I have shared bits and pieces bout me and my outlooks. Here, let me sum it up and provide the missing pieces.

Four months back I was trying WordPress just as a time pass. I noticed that the domain durgadash.com was available. Then it was an instant decision. I registered for the domain and started this blog. Of course I have another blog where I have been blogging since 2014. Now,  I have stopped updating that blog and  I am planning to close it after sometime as it is not practicable to maintain two similar blogs.

Reading and writing has been a passion since childhood. When I was eighteen, four of my poems were published in an international anthology. After graduating from Berhampur University in 1987, I joined Indian Air force to fulfill another passion, i.e soldiering. In the twenty years of my defense career I traveled a lot, met with a lot of different kinds of people and did a lot many other exciting and mundane things.  But reading and writing took a back seat. In 2008, got released from Air Force after twenty years of honourable yet no so extraordinary service.

In 2009, I started my first blog. It was with Blogger. Sometime in  2011 or 2012, one day I came across an advertisement for cheap hosting options offered by GoDaddy. I got a little tempted. Mine was any way not a commercial blog. However, I thought  why not go for it to give my blog some professional feel. I fell for the bait of cheap hosting and shifted my blog to an independent domain.

However, after six or seven months, to my horror, one day I found that my blog was behaving strangely. The customer care at GoDaddy was also not able to sort out my problem. Subsequently, things became worse and the blog collapsed. I don’t know whether GoDaddy has improved its quality, meanwhile. Another unfortunate lapse from my part was that I had not taken back up of all my posts.

Then, for quite some time I was busy with my professional activities and could not restart my blog till 2014.

Now, coming to the question as to why the hell do I blog, well, I blog to share my passions. Both the visible and the invisible elements of creation fascinate me. I am a wanderer and wonder-er. And, one life is barely enough to experience even a fraction of those passions.Hence my blog – as a kind of plea to the maker is named as  One Life is not Enough. I  have expressed this as a poem, which can be read here. There is also a sequel titled –  One Life is not enough, yet for now, this moment is full in itself. 

So, through my blog I wish to share my passions. My passions which can be shared without being politically incorrect in an Indian context. Photography, poetry, travel, books, movies, personal growth, philosophy and mysticism are some of my passions worth to be listed. I will also share my views and feelings on social issues that I deeply associate with.

As a reader your passions may be different. So, in my blog  please indulge yourself in  whatever you find interesting. And of course your feedback  will be of immense support to me, in my blogging journey in particular and my writing journey in general.

Thank you.

Indian Bloggers

Looking Back with Gratitude

rearview_mirror.jpg

So here comes my feedback form. My feedback at fifty. If the biblical life span is 70, for a Hindu the ideal life span is 100. So, here I am, at the thresh hold of my half way mark.

I did my education at a number of schools in a number of localities falling in rural , semi urban and urban areas. This provided the opportunity to have a taste of  India in its myriad of colours and flavours. This experience was extended in range and depth when I joined Indian Air Force that provided me the opportunity of close interaction with people and places from all across India. A career in Defense takes away many of the biases associated with religion, language and locality. The stint in Indian Air Force has truly been a blessing.

By the way, as I write this article today, the Indian Air Force is celebrating its eighty fourth anniversaries. My hearty greetings to all Air Warriors (serving and Ex) and their families. I also take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Indian Air Force for not only giving me an opportunity to do my bit for my fellow citizens, but also for enriching my life with beautiful experiences.

There were times when the perceived indifference of parents was painful. But, when I saw how some of the over caring parents are playing with the dreams of their children and hindering their growth by their protectiveness, I realised what a blessing it was to have parents who did not interfere with many of my choices.

It is has been a great wandering, a great journey. There have been moments of fulfillment, moments of disappointment. Kabhi khushi kabhi gam – life has gone on. There have been rewards, there have been brickbats. There have been times when I have been treated like a celebrity and there have been times when I preferred to go into temporary oblivion. Plenty of foolish decisions marked by a few sparks of wise ones.

But no moment has betrayed me. Each moment has given me an intensity and passion. The failures have been as intense and meaningful as the successes. A cluster of failures caused disappointment in those moments. But, ultimately it was so sweet when those failures led to greater success subsequently. Through it all everything has been a learning experience and it continues to do so. Every event has been a launching pad, a rest house by the great road side of this journey called life.

One thing that I lack let me confess, is focus. Nature’s myriads of creations detract me. Sometimes I want to do too many things in one life. I get easily bored. However, I feel my interests in thousands of things do not leave any moment to get bored.

At the end of the day what is there to achieve ?  Of course here I am reminded of the sand artist. Every achievement is like the art work of the sand artist, may be just a little more enduring. Nevertheless, the sand artist does not stop his creative work knowing full well it would be so transitory.

Similarly, I also take up challenges – sometimes for my own personal growth, sometimes to bring some beauty into the world through creativity, sometimes to make this world a little more livable and lovable thorough bits of unreasonable acts of service and criticism. Have I achieved anything substantial? By the way what would be my definition of achievement? Well that is for others to evaluate.

And so far, it has been a great wandering in this wonderful creation; and I would continue to wander and wonder.


Indian Bloggers

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(This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.)

Sunday Musings and Random Notes

Our movies are like our food

While switching channels ( Sometimes I enjoy this bad habit), got stuck with Star Action. The movie was – The Other Man. It was supposed to be an action movie. There was so much silence. The dialogues were few. Some of the dialogues were not complete sentences. Yet the movie made such an impact.

Of course such a movie, if made in any Indian Language, may not make any impact. We like our movies like our food, a lot of varieties, a lot of spices, lots of loud and bright colours and of course, lots of sounds.(Have you heard the sounds of a self unconscious hungry person taking a south Indian meal, starting with papad and ending with rasam?)

Even the most macabre of the movies must have a song and a dance thrown in every half an hour in addition to the usual punchlines and lengthy harangues. For us, silence in the theater is unbearable.

For every minute of silence in the theater, the audience may legitimately wonder:

Itna sannata kyun hai bhai

Day of the Bandh

A Bandh rarely solves the problem it is associated with. Of course it causes a lot of inconvenience to a lot of people. Especially people who come on a short visit from outside and are caught unaware. But it has some positive side effects.

For a day, the pollution level of the city falls down drastically. The fuel saved in turn, saves foreign exchange and cushions government subsidy on fuel. It is such a pleasure to drive in the city in the afternoon when the enthusiasm of the protesters have died down. Or, for some busy city souls it may get the much needed surprises rest.

May be it is  good to have a bandh once a while for the sake of a healthy city and its citizens.

 Leisurely Sunday

Sometimes a simple unpremeditated shot taken with a cell phone (not the iphone 6 type) may take on artistic quality. Loved this photo taken by my son Dipayan. Look at the composition of the objects and the use of natural light.

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Karntaka Heritage Sites – Photo Essay

For the Christmas vacation of 2015, the initial plan was to go somewhere far away, outside Karnataka. But plan A did not work out somehow. So here was the plan B – why not visit some nearby tourist places of Karnataka that we have been postponing visiting for years. A day before the visit, we decided, our 2/3 days journey would start with Shravanabelegola, then on to Shringeri through Belur and Halebeedu.

Here are some photos of the trip. To read my detailed article at Tourmyindia.com  click here

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At the foot of the Lord Bahubali

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The magnificent Bahubali

 

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The guardian angels are no less majestic

 

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View from the top of the hill of the shrines at the Chandragiri Hills and the sorrroundings

 

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A panoramic view of the Chennakesava temple at Belur

 

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Halebid interior
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Entrance to Halebid Temple
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Intricate carvings
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Intricate interiors
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The magnificent Bull – a witness of thousand years
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The defined layers of intricate carvings

 

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The journey should be as beautiful as the destination

For more photos and to read my detailed article at Tourmyindia.com  click here