Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Digital India


E-governance may not be heard of by many Indians. But they are definitely reaping its benefits. So today even the men and women staying in the remotest part of the country are able to apply for passport online. They are able to track the processing of their passport on the computer that too sitting in their home or villages. Every village panchayat these days has a computer and an internet connection. This was something unheard of.

Ours is an agrarian country. Majority of the population comprises of farmers or those involved in allied occupations. They require revenue extracts of their lands for various purposes the main being applying for loans. The village officer would harass the poor farmers and they would not get the document unless they had greased his palms. However now with the new web portal that the government has come up with the farmers can get the requisite information at the click of a mouse.

These are just instances. There are many day to day transactions which have been transformed by the e governance. So now we can apply for PAN card online. We can furnish online income tax returns. We can apply for various examinations conducted by the government online. Ask your grandfather as to how troublesome it was to get a ration card done. Now you can do it in a jiffy. Train bookings, public sector banking, d-mat holding, paying utility bills, lodging complaints against the erring officials, tracking your complaint, provident fund holdings has become very easy because of the web portals. The list is simply endless. The most important change which this e-governance has brought is that it had reduced the human intervention to the bare minimum. As a result all these procedures and transactions have become transparent. The touts and agents are eliminated from the circle to a large extent. You do not need to bribe anyone. You are not required to spare your day and thereby forego your daily wages to wait indefinitely at the government office located at the district place. Your time energy and even money is saved. You can apply at your convenience from your place of residence.

E-governance has tremendous potential to change the life of all of us. It will take us towards the real Ramrajya. But it can not be forgotten that it is still in its nascent stage. Though we the chick urban class may be flaunting our latest mobiles and tablets, the fact remains that still many of the Indian households are unable to procure two square meals. There are power cuts. Unless we have solid infrastructure and the basic needs of our country men are fulfilled we will not be able to tap the full potential of the e-governance.

But this is not to belittle e-governance. E-governance along with the right to information has brought about not just ray but a huge beam of light into the lives of citizens. 

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Three Young Boys

Three young boys shared a hovel
They were of the same age, built and colour

One of them wore a skull cap,
another applied a tika on his forehead and 
the third had a cross dangling from his neck


One day they had a fight
Voices were raised
Gestures were made
Words were exchanged

Then came the night
The skull cap lay on the table
along with the cross and 
the box containing sandal paste

Mother nature took 
all its children
near Her bosom

Saturday, 28 March 2015

The Chaos Within - Book Review


Though the blurb of the book The Chaos Within says that it is the story of five friends, it is in fact story of six friends. These six friends meet up after ten years at a college reunion. Five of them have been conventionally successful. The sixth one happens to be a loser. He blames the other five for his failures. He is all set to take a revenge. He has come all prepared for the same. It is when he raises the gun at his five successful friends that their chaos within surfaces.

The writing is simple and amateurish. The first hundred pages of the book are boring. The same stuff which we have read in numerous novels set in colleges. Nothing about studying but all about drinking, romancing and peeing. It is believed that the novels and films reflect social scenario of that era. If that happens to be true I am really worried about the alcohol consumption and drug abuse amongst the youngsters. Moreover I do not know any college in India which has a ball room. 

That apart the character sketches of the friends during their college times are too plain. They are too blunt. However the author manages to cut out razor sharp personalities when it comes to their lives after college. I wish she had devoted some more time to breath life into the characters when narrating their college incidents.

I was also able to point a few spelling mistakes. On page no. 41 across is spelt as acroos. On page no. 123 comes another misspelt word convivtion.

The best part of the book is the confessions which the conventionally successful friends make towards the end. Though stereotyped this part of the novel manages to strike a chord with you. It is for this part that I liked the book. Most importantly it carries a social message that everyone has his or her set of problems in life. It also tells us that instead of blaming others one should shoulder his or her responsibility.

The Chaos Within is an easy read. Don't expect too much from it and it will not disappoint you. 

Thursday, 26 March 2015

My Home

Sitting alone I dream of going home
But now what is my home?


Four walls of brick and  mortar
made of the same clay
where my loved ones lay

Long silhouettes which continue 
to smile at me

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

taste and health


Well it is eight in the morning. I am very hungry. I want to have my breakfast. But I am not going to settle for anything less. Today I am going to go to Guptaji's place for my nashta. Yes, the same Kellog's waale Guptaji.

Never before were cornflakes so Indianized. Never before cornflakes had adorned such new attire. Never before they tasted so delicious. Guptaji gave a new life to Kellog's and its anaj ka nashta. The whole grains and serials are known for their goodness. But experience shows that all that is healthy tastes yucky. As a result it is very difficult to stick to a healthy nashta. But with Kellog's waale Guptaji's latest innovations regarding recipes involving cornflakes this myth is broken that too quite successfully.

Guptaji and his mouth watering recipies of Kellog's anaaj ka nashta has had a pull and that is the reason why I am going to visit Guptaji's place today for breakfast. At his home good health gets married to good taste. So who will not be eager to become a party to such a good alliance. So I am going to visit him and claim my share of the treat.

Banana with cornflakes. Custard apple with cornflakes. Cornflakes with apple. Cornflakes with chocolates. I wonder from where Guptaji gets ideas for such new, yummy recipes. Just by reading the recipes my mouth has been watering. It has not stopped watering till date. Having no option I had to visit my doctor as the water was persisting. I asked the doctor what was wrong with me. The doctor examined me. I asked the doctor to prescribe a medicine for my ailment. The doctor said that no medicine would heal me.

I was disheartened. Sensing my disappoint a smile broke on my doctor's face. He patted me on my back and said that the medicine for my ailment was visiting Guptaji's house for breakfast. That would not only heal me but also ensure that I will never fall ill, said the doctor. I again reassured from the doctor that he was speaking about the same Guptaji – Guptaji Kellogs waale.

I was astonished that even the doctor knew about Guptaji and his recipies. The doctor said that he was in the field of ensuring good health for not only his patients but also for his friends and family. No wonders that he too had found Guptaji's healthy recipes which involved the goodness of fruits and cornflakes combined with the tasty chocolates, coconut and even popcorns. Moreover Guptaji Kellog's waale has a recipe for every occasion. So for watching movie you have a special recipe. He also has special recipe for Gudi padwa. Now when Guptaji is having so much in store for nashta which will satiate the taste buds as well as provide the body with all the essential nutrients, who does not want to go to Guptaji Kellog's waale's place for nashta. 

Monday, 23 March 2015

Suspense series part 2


 Read the previous part here

Oblivious to Shilpa her captivator was driving at a slow pace. It was strange that he was in no hurry. The accomplice in the crime had got down at the naka. They had not forgotten to administer Shilpa sedatives before they got off the car. The sedatives had soporific effect on Shilpa. That was going to make her captivator's job easy.

Relentless he drove. The only parts of his body which showed signs of life were his hands on the steering and his legs on the accelerator. Otherwise he was lifeless, devoid of any emotions. It is your thoughts and emotions that make you alive and not mere breathing which goes on mechanically.

The landscape had changed now. The roadside dhabas were no longer to be spotted. The area was barren, devoid of any trees or human presence. The latter was a good sign. But the former was not. It did not afford him the privacy to do the act which he was intending to do. He wanted the grooves where he could camouflage along with his car and its besotted passenger on the backseat.


Ghat with hair-pin bends. Drive slowly.” Said the sign board. The topography of this area was such that the ravines and valleys in the ghat had dense vegetation. It offered the driver the solitude which was required to accomplish the task which he was assinged. But the hair-pin bends ensured that there were traffic jams. So the driver always had a vehicle escorting him and also following him.
By now our cool as cucumber driver had started to feel anxious. He thumped his fist on the steering. The horn blared. He knew that will not make the passenger on the rear seat wake up. She had just the right dose of the injection. She would not wake up till the next morning.

Then came the spot where the road widened for some time. He had reached the plateau. On the last stretch of the plateau there was board which said that it was a scenic spot. At that time of the hour darkness was soon going to cover the sky. Those with their families and even those with the keen eye for the beauty of nature had left long ago. This place was too unsafe even for those with the nocturnal desires.

This was the perfect spot for the captivator. He finally let out a sigh of relief. He quickly located the flattened portion in the barrier along the curve. The moment he spotted the gap he shifted his leg from the accelerator to the brakes. Applying the brakes gently he let the vehicle skid into the slope at the extreme end of the plateau. 

To be continued

50 Not Out - Book Review


The book market is inundated with self-help books. However the recent self-help releases had disappointed me. They were insipid and banal. Their tone was preachy do this and do that. They lacked honesty and sincerity. As a result they fell in the better said than done category.

Against this back drop 50 Not Out came as a cool breeze in the hot summer afternoons. 50 Not Out aims to draw life's lessons from the game of cricket. It is this format that works in favour of the book. It something fresh and never tried before.


The book is divided into fifty small chapters devoted to one value which one must inculcate for real success. The author narrates incidents from various cricket matches involving ace cricketers. He also mentions his own experiences at the field. He also draws parallels from his experiences as an employee of a bank. 50 Not Out is not only about cricket. It mentions anecdotes from films and books as well. Most of them were unheard before. This further enhances the quality of the book.

The writing is simple and lucid. The writer's simplicity and sincerity touches your heart. The book is about applying cricketing principles to lives. The medium cricket happens to be the hero of the book. I really liked the story of Devidas in the book. The book offers innovative approach when it says that there are no prizes for being excessively modest. I also liked the 10000 hour rule quoted in the book. I liked when the author says that your skill has to be your second nature. The author offers practical lesson when he says that you have to vocalize your feelings for no one is going to understand your inner feelings. Though the book borrows from many people, books, movies and of course cricket, it dutifully acknowledges all of them.

I am not a cricket fan. I do not even watch cricket and hence understand little about it. As a result I was apprehensive when picking up a book based on cricket. However my lack of love and understanding for the game did not come into way while enjoying 50 Not Out. Rather it repelled my dislike for the game at least to some extent.

I loved this book for its novelty, simplicity and sincerity. I have decided to read the book (again and again) and work on the exercises given at the end of each chapter. Needless to say the book is worth reading. 

Saturday, 21 March 2015

What is happiness?


Happiness is the goal towards which all of us strive hard. All of us want to be happy in our lives, don't we? But if I ask what does happiness mean to you the answers will not be uniform. I respect every individual's right to define happiness on his own. I move on to enumerate what happiness means to me.

A cup of tea. Yes happiness for me is a cup of tea. It is raining outside and I am sitting in my window watching the beautiful downpour. There is chill in the air. What I want the most in such a serene atmosphere is a cup of tea. That cup will bring all the happiness for me. The taste of tea that lingers on lips in the wet season is all what happiness is about.

Books also open the world of happiness for me. Right from the ordering of the book, its receipt, casual skimming its pages and reaching the last page, gives me immense happiness. Only a book lover will be able to relate to me when I say that books give me happiness. Some times I wonder how come merely few words printed on a paper can bring so much of joy into my live. I own hundreds of books, but my hunger for books remains unsatisfied. Books = happiness for me.

Doing something new, something which I have never tried also gives me immense pleasure. Yes there is anxiety. There is initial skepticism. I want to give up before I complete. But something or the other compels me to finish the task in my hand. Once the task is accomplished all the hard work and pains is forgotten and my heart fills with innumerable joy. The sense of achievement boosts the confidence and makes me happy.

Friends are indeed the primordial sources of joy. Meeting a friend is all about happiness. Even if we do not go out for a movie or for a lunch, even if just chitchat standing in the middle of the road I am happy. Indeed friends are the soul mates who are with us for many many lives. Uttering the very word friends makes every pore of my body ooze happiness. Thank you all my dear friends for being part of my life and filling it with all the joy.

I am the son of the mountains I feel all the time. The very sight of the mountain peaks makes me happy. I am too eager to climb to the top of the mountain. I feel that I have a past life connection with mountain. So if I club all those things which make me happy I would say – happiness for me is being on the mountains with my friends and reading a book while watching the heavenly downpour from my rest house window.    




Buying New Moto E


Today I am going to be candid with you. For some of you my feelings may be appear ridiculous. But still I will be very truthful to my feelings.

I had avoided buying a smart phone for a very long time. The reasons were numerous. I was apprehensive as to whether I will be able to use it. I was unsure if I would know how to use its features. I was also worried as to whether it will create a big hole into my pocket. But in today's age without a smart phone has become a need and not a luxury. So my search for the smart phone which would meet all my requirements began.

I went on searching and comparing smart phones. I stumbled upon the New Moto E by sheer luck. New Moto E appeared to have been born for me. It was reasonably priced and easy to use. On realizing the same I heaved a sigh of relief.


New Moto E came in two colours black and white. I chose white. I was getting six additional bands in various colours. The hand set had 5 nice grip shells. So New Moto E was determined to bring new colours into my life. When it came to the speed of the processor New Moto E did not disappoint me. It came with Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with a 1.2GHz quad-core CPU. So multi-tasking became easier with New Moto E. It also ensured that I could browse the net, play games, stream music and watch movies at 4G LTE speed .


A good processor usually takes a toll on the battery life. But not with New Moto E. It has a 2390 mAh battery which lasts for an entire day. Did I tell you that the New Moto E runs on Android Lollipop, which happens to be the latest version of the world’s most popular mobile operating system? That was one of the reasons which attracted me to New Moto E.
New Moto E provided premium Moto experiences like Moto Display for notifications and updates without interruptions. Also there was Moto Migrate to quickly and easily transfer contacts, photos and videos to my new phone.


Camera was one of the chief criterion which governed my decision of buying new smart phone. The New Moto E has a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera and a second camera in front. The interesting feature is you can start the camera by simply twisting your wrists. No need to touch the screen. A single twist in your wrist will switch on the front- facing camera. With two twists of the wrist, the camera with Motorola’s Quick Capture feature will be launched. Taking pictures was never so easy.

I had begun with apprehensions but New Moto E met all my requirements. It calmed my nerves and brought a new joy into my life.


Thursday, 19 March 2015

Towards real manliness


Many years ago I had a servant who would wash my clothes. He was a man. Once my friend Ashish had come to stay with me. When he saw that a man was coming to wash my clothes daily, he could not control his laughter. When I asked him why was he laughing, he told me that he was laughing because a man was doing a woman's job.

This incident speaks volumes about the prejudices which all of us carry. Thanks to the wash bucket challenge that I got an opportunity of doing the laundry. Washing clothes is looked upon as a very menial task. Unfortunately we tend to look upon women as second-class citizens. No wonders washing is considered to be a woman's task. That is the reason why you have never seen your macho heroes washing clothes even in the movies.

But having taken up the task let me tell you that it is indeed challenging. First you will have to take out all the clothes which you intend to wash. Then you check their pockets. You find money, notes and many other things in the pockets. I seldom realized that how irritating it is to take out those knick-knacks from the laundry basket.

But thanks to Ariel Matic which came to my rescue. It shared my burden literally. Just a spoonful of the detergent was sufficient to remove the tough stains. In my case the stains were at the cuff and collar, tea stain on my pants and chocolate stains on my shirt which were caused as a result of my beloved niece hugging me tightly with half eaten chocolate in her hands. Ariel removed the stains effortlessly.

I always prefer to wear clean clothes daily. A single stain and I discard the apparel. Little did I know as to how it was was washing those dirty clothes. Thanks for challenging me with the wash bucket challenge I realized that real manliness lies in taking the wash bucket load off your female family member's shoulder. I salute to all those women who washed my clothes all these years. I love you all, respect you all and most importantly I commit to share the washing load with you. 


 'This post is a part of the #WashBucketChallenge activity at BlogAdda.com is association with Ariel India' in your blog post. 

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Suspense series 1


"Get into the car," a coarse voice said. For a moment Shilpa was startled. Instinctively she tried to gauge from which direction the voice was emanating. But there was no time for making such calculations. Before she could realize she was pulled into the car.

Till then it was a usual day for her. She had been to the bank where she worked as a clerk. She was on her way back to home. She was in her early thirties and weighed sixty kilos. Her friends said she must shed a few kilos. Shilpa gave in to the peer pressure and started to walk to her work. Her moped lay dust ridden in the bungalow parking where she lived.

She lived as a paying guest with an elderly woman known as Maria. Maria was widowed. Her only son was an marine engineer and lived for ten months on the sea. As a result Maria would be all alone. Talkative Maria abhorred the thought that she would have to talk to the walls and ceiling alone. Hence she decided to keep a paying guest. An advertisement in the local newspaper ensured that Shipa and Maria met. Maria developed instant liking to Shilpa who was new in the town.

Even Shilpa's parents thought that Maria's place would be secured for their daughter to live alone in this big city which was hundreds of miles away from their town. Shilpa's father had tried to dissuade her from taking the job. However Shilpa convinced him. She told him that how difficult it was these days to get a job in a public sector bank and she should not let the opportunity go. She also assured him that she would try her best to get a posting near her home town as early as possible. Shilpa's mother had seconded her decision. Being in minority her father eventually gave in.

Yes this was indeed a big city. But Shilpa had found that everybody was very cooperative. The only thing was that they respected each other's privacy. Unlike her hometown unnecessary personal details were not dug into.

Shilpa liked her job in the bank. Though in a city her branch was in the outskirts. As a result there were comparatively few customers and resultantly less staff members. They were four clerks, one manager and two peons in total. It was like a family set up. Never for a minute in the past four months had Shilpa felt that she was away from the family.

Maria and her office colleagues had promised to take her on a city tour numerous times. But for some reason or the other the plan did not materialize. Shilpa thought of exploring the city on her own but lazy Sundays did not allow her to do so.

All that she knew in this new city was her way from her residence to her bank. It was a straight road. You were not required to take a single turn. Though the bank was in the outskirts the road was flowing with traffic day and night. That made Shilpa feel safe.

But today that net of safety had sucked her inside. It was pitch dark in the car in which she was pulled in. Minutes later she realized that she was blindfolded. Was she kidnapped? Was she going to be raped? Her mind was worried with all those dreadful thoughts. But there was silence in the car. She could not feel how many people were in the car. Her hands, legs were tied and she was tucked into the seat belt. She stood absolutely stationary as she was unable to move.
To be continued

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Together


Together is a simple word. But in real life it is often difficult to be together. The constraints are many job commitments, no time for others, respecting each other's space, no meeting of minds. But still you require someone to share your joy and reduce your unhappiness. I am indeed fortunate to have such people around me.

The best people to be around are friends. They do not have expectations from you nor do you expect anything from them. As a result the relationship remains in its purest form, unspoiled. I have a school friend. The school got over and we went to different colleges and enrolled for different courses. Those were the days when there were no mobile phones. Needless to say we lost touch. I was burdened with my studies. Soon our college got over. I was busy in making my mark in the profession which was all ready crowded. He too had to look after his father's business.

One day we met after fifteen years through a common friend. As happens always we promised to keep in touch. However we indeed kept in touch with each other. I was away from my home town and would visit it only occasionally. His business required him to stay in his office late in the evening. But still he would come to meet me in the late evenings. We would go for a drive. Sometimes we would catch up a late night movie or have dinner together.

Both of us lost our fathers soon thereafter. Both of us were the eldest sons and hence both of us grew mature together. Many a times our long drives would turn philosophical. We would discuss death and God. He would share his business tensions which he could share with his family and I would share my thoughts. Those rare meetings energized both of us. He did not gift me anything nor did I remembered his birthdays. But still both of us looked forward to my visit to my home town.

We shared as to what it feels to lose a father. We shared our sorrow and grief. We could not speak a word about it in our homes. As we had to put up a brave face and shoulder the family responsibilities. This sharing was cathartic for us. Had we not been with each other, we would have definitely buried our pains deep into our hearts. The pain would have resurfaced in the form of some disease or psychological disorder. Most importantly we got the feeling that we were not alone. All of us wait to hear rather want assurance that we are not alone. The assurance has to be genuine. It need not be articulated into words. It is quietly communicated in a genuine relationship, isn't it?

Friday, 13 March 2015

The Holy Gauri Kund


Haridwar is synonymous with the famous Ganga Arti at Har ki Paudi, rope ways at Chanda-Mansadevi. Every where you go there are hordes of pilgrims, which have given birth to hundreds of Vikram Rickshaws and Cycle Richkshaws blocking the road with hotels, dhabas, shops selling religious paraphernalia and offices of private tour operators on both the sides. An ordinary pilgrim wonders if he will really find peace of mind in this chaos. Even I was posed with the same question and I found an answer for myself that too in the affirmative.

The best way to know a place is by foot. After having visited all the tourist spots shown by the local sight seeing bus, I wanted to embark upon something which is not there on the tourist itinerary. So I ventured out and serendipitously stumbled upon a paradise, in the crowded pilgrim city, known as Gauri kund.

Gauri kund is located near the famous temple of Bilkeshwar. Gauri kund is the place where Mata Parvati carried out a penance for three thousand years to have Shiva as her husband.

Bilkeshwar temple is located on a hillock. On my way to the hillock I found a small shrine devoted to Panchmukhi Mahadev. I had seen panchmuki, dashmukhi elephant but Shiva Lingam with five faces was a rarity.


The climb to the hillock was pleasant with trees every where you saw. The atmosphere was pleasant. There were hardly any visitors. Locals boys played cricket in the courtyard. I entered Bilkeshwar temple and paid by obeisances. The temple appears to be built rather renovated during the recent times.


A small arch from the Bilkeshwar temple premises leads to the Prachin Gauri Kund. As I entered the arch I was enter a different world. I was surprised to have entered into a forest. A rocky path way took me to Gauri kund, which is located at the foot of another hill. The air was dry. The leaves fallen from trees crackled as I stepped upon them. There was silence everywhere.

Why do all the forests have peculiar smells and sounds? As I pondered over it, I could see a sage with long locks of hair stomping towards me. His neck was tilted and he babbled words which I was unable to comprehend. He kept on jerking his neck with every step of his brisk walk. Sadhus and sages have always fascinated me. But this time I was bit scared. He crossed me and went into the woods without giving me a single look. I wanted to capture him in my camera. But his sight was so intimidating that I did not dare to do so.


I moved further. Surrounded by dense forest, with two huts housing the sadhus, the place was scenic and serene. The huts had rounded stones from the river bed nicely placed over one another as their wall compound. The rounded stones added to the beauty of the place and were not sore in the eyes like renovated temples with marble. I could hear the peacocks mow but was not fortunate enough to spot one.


A small bridge upon a creek took me to Gauri kund shrine. On alighting a few steps, there was an old bilva tree standing devoid of any leaves. With only its fruits like balls hanging it stood out.


On the left was a marble statue of Shiva. On the right was the Gauri kund. Gauri kund is like a small well housed in a temple. It is covered with glass and I was able to see the fresh water deep down. There were idols of gods and goddesses near the kund. I came out and spoke to the young Sadhu who was the caretaker of the shrine. He asked to take the holy water from the kund. The kund was covered with glass. I wondered how I could have water from it. He pointed out to the tap. Water was drawn from the holy kund by a pipe. I had it with much reverence. Another tap also provided an opportunity to take a dip into the holy water. I thanked the young swami. He refused to be photographed.


A very small path along the creek took me to see the holy cave. The cave had an iron gate at the entrance with a lock. I pushed my nose into the iron bars to have a close look at the cave. I could see some idols installed inside. I prostrated before the deity and came back to the Gauri kund shrine.


There was something about this place. There were no sounds to disturb. It was hard to believe that this place was sitting on the lap of a bustling city called Haridwar. The silence brought me closer to the divinity. I was able to feel that this shrine was indeed living. Its holiness, purity and positivity entered into every pore of my body making me realise the purpose of making holy pilgrimages. I had come to Haridwar – the door of the Gods and was not going empty handed. 

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Let Go and Let God


Writing
Writing is indeed cathartic. There is chaos in the mind. Many people, places and moments are etched in the mind for ever and ever. Writing about them for sure take away the huge burden from the mind. I feel relieved. I feel relaxed. It has been my experience that some incidents kept on pricking me for years together. They have had long lasting impact on my life. Many of them may appear too insignificant, involving strangers and I may have been perhaps just a meek spectator. But still they stayed with me and disturbed me. Once I write about them I feel better.

Reading
Reading transports me into a different world altogether. Indeed a person who reads lives many lives and one who doesn't lives only one. When I am disappointed and dejected I read the lives of great men and women. I can absolutely relate to their struggles. They inspire me and I learn from them. Also books relating spirituality dominate my bookshelf. Spiritual books inject a new dose of enthusiasm into my tired body and soul.

Singing Aloud
Singing aloud especially the classical compositions which I have learned soothes my nerves. The ragas are nothing but various moods. No wonders when you sing a song of one raga you get into that mood. Bhoop, Bhimpalas and Khamaj are my favourites. Even if just sing a few lines I feel better. Indeed music makes a direct connection with the Almighty.

Long Walks
Longs walks whether into the wilderness or through the crowded places also help me to de-stress. It is ironical that brisk walking allows me to slow down. But that is a truth. Walking alone long distances gives me an opportunity to look at my own thoughts and reflect. By the time I have done my one hour walk my mind is much calmer. Of course some credit must be given to the physical exercise involved in walking as well for secreting the good hormones.

Meditation
Meditation is indeed the greatest gift of the god exclusive to the human race. I have been meditating since I was a child. I guess I have carried forward this habit from my past life. After all we are spiritual beings in physical bodies. Meditation calms my mind. Unlike the impressions of the western world meditation is not about renunciation and withdrawing from the world. My experience has been that just a few days of regularity in meditation and I regained my zest for life. So even if you have no plans of denouncing the world and hedonistic objective of enjoying all the material stuff, meditating will be help you do it better. I am indeed grateful to the Infinite Intelligence for sharing this esoteric secret with me and helping me. To sum up it is let go and let God. 



I am going to try a new quick way to De-stress & #SlowDownZindagi using Parachute Advansed Aromatherapy Oil in association with BlogAdda

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Dewas the abode of Gods

Dewas literally means the abode of the Gods. I had been hankering to visit this quaint town for quite some time. There was no particular reason for the hankering. I knew it housed some temples. Those temples are neither well known like Ujjain or Omkareshwar nor are they known to be any architectural marvels. But still there was some pull which was drawing me towards Dewas.

I was to board my bus for Udaipur from Indore in the night. I decided to make a day trip to Dewas. It was still dark when I got down at Sarvate bus stand and boarded a bus for Dewas. I literally alighted from one bus and squeezed myself into another. In Madhya Pradesh government transport is only namesake and the private buses are the only mode of transport for the commoners.

When I arrived at Dewas it was still dark. I alighted at the bus stop. It was pitch dark. Not a soul was to be seen on the roads. I wanted to freshen up before I started for the temple. I found only one lodge on the road by name Surya. It was undoubtedly the ugliest lodge I had ever seen in my life. As stated earlier I just wanted to have a bath and had no plans to stay overnight. Moreover there was no other better option in my hands. So I decided to put up at Surya.

After bath I started for the temple which locales call as Tekri meaning a hillock. It was six in the morning and was terribly cold. The temple is near the bus stand and is walkable. You do not need any conveyance to reach there. Rather it would be appropriate to say that no conveyance reaches to the top. Though I was able to spot policemen riding their bikes to the hillock.

Before the ascend to begin I was able to spot the bungalow of the famous classical singer Kumar Gandharva to my left. I was super excited. But the fact that the great singer is no longer alive and I would not be able to meet him in flesh and blood disheartened me. I thanked all the recording companies for preserving his voice for many generations to come.

As it was petty early in the morning even most of the shanties selling flowers, coconuts, chunari, photos and other religious paraphernalia were still closed. The vendors were brushing their teeth and heating water on the earthen stove for bath.

I entered the iron gate which was probably erected to prevent motorcycle riders from taking their bikes to the top. I began the steep climb. The Tekri appeared to be a favourite spot for people of Dewas to go for morning walk and exercises. Men and women in tracksuits and walking shoes were climbing and descending, greeting each other a good morning. There was a man who was climbing alone with Marathi songs from the film Asthavinayak playing on his mobile. I was proud to hear Marathi songs being played out of Maharasthra. But I was equally ashamed as a Marathi man was committing the sin of breaking the peaceful, serene and pious environment with the noise blaring from his Chinese handset which promised high pitch sound.

There are benches installed on the way for the pilgrims to sit. Many of them were broken. There was drinking water facility as well. However the plight of the water station was such that I doubt if anyone would dare to drink a single drop therefrom.

The walk though steep is not much in distance. As you climb up mesmerizing views of Dewas town are on offer. The town had slept covered with a blanket of mist over it. The Sun had come out gently kissing the houses and making them to get out of the blanket.

First came the temple of Tuljabhawani who is also known as the badi Mata. The temple appears newly constructed. Though the idol of the Goddess is old.


The Goddess is charming with beautiful eyes that bestow benediction. The courtyard of the temple offers breathtaking view of the town rightly called as Dewas. The yellow tiger seated in the courtyard has eyes made of marble and catches attention.

After prostrating before the badi Mata I proceeded for the parikrama. There are numerous small shrines on the parikrama path. I saw a big Trishul standing tall. To prevent any loss of life due to landslides the moutains that overlook the path are covered with nets.

Dense greenery and steep valleys and not to mention the morning walkers accompanied me throughout my parikrama and for that matter my visit to the shrine.


The cutely decked up Hanuman too was quite a site.


Until I visited Dewas for me Kho-Kho was just a game. But I discovered Kho-Kho Mata's mandir on the way to Parikrama. I was happy to have found a goddess with an unusual name. I wish there was some more information available regarding the Kho-Kho goddess.

Then comes the Choti Mata's temple. You have to climb a few steps to reach the temple.

 Choti Mata is bigger in size than the badi Mata and her gigantic form takes you in complete awe. 


Her temple is an ancient rock structure peculiar to the architecture of the Marathas.


There are banyan trees with their wide expanse in the premises of choti Mata's temple.

There is a small shrine of Kalbhairava too. He appears alive and has the most expressive features.


Also stood in the premises a Sadhu amidst a dhooni and Goraknath's idol. Sadhus and their lives have always fascinated me. But I do not know why I did not feel like talking to him. Choti Mata's temple is the highlight of the Dewas trip and it does not disappoint you for sure. There was a large group of devotees who had come to pay their respects to the choti Mata. But still the atmosphere was serene. A photographer managed to entice them and they clicked pictures with the huge Choti Mata in the backdrop. Everyone including the photographer cleaned the sanctum of the temple with a broom. This custom was unknown to me. Perhaps it was an act to fetch good deeds and enter good books of the goddess.


I completed my parikrama. There is a relatively new Jain temple at the end of the parikrama.

The Tekri has numerous trees. These ancient trees along with the shrines are indeed a part of our culture which all of us should be proud of.


But this jewel of our culture is calling for preservation. Everywhere on the Tekri you find dirt of plastic cups and bottles, coconut husk, papers and such other stuff. When will we realize that the Goddess does not reside only in the shrine but this Tekri itself is manifestation of that mother divine?

I descended the Tekri and took a tempo to go to Keladevi. It is at the distance of 3 kms from the Tekri. Keladevi is a private temple complex which has newly constructed temples of Vaishnodevi, Keladevi, Hanuman and Shiva. It has towering statutes of Hanuman and Devi. Keladevi offers nothing special and can be given a miss for sure.


Instead head to Bilavali where Mahakaleshwar resides. Bilavali is a quaint village at a distance of 3 kms (Both Keladevi and Bilavali are in opposite directions) from Devas. It houses the ancient Mahakaleshwar temple. Though the temple is recent cement concrete construction, the ugliest thing which is done under the name of renovation, it is located in a serene and peaceful atmosphere. The air was cool and I could feel the positive spiritual vibrations of the place.


It has a Hanuman temple and a small Bhairav temple as well. Sitting on the bench near the Bhairav temple I watched the temple. The huge banyan tree with a mongrel under its shade made the picture perfect.


Devas is indeed the abode of Gods and I soaked as much spirituality inside me as I could. My only wish – it should have been cleaner.