Tuesday, December 26, 2006

joke of the day

Found on Rajeev's blog, as a comment to one of the items that I had sent him

http://rajeev2004.blogspot.com/2006/12/separate-iits-iims-kvs-for.html

If we were in Pakistan our options in education would be - IIT (Islamic Institute of Terrorism), JEE (Jehadic Entrance Exam), IIM (Institute of Infiltration Management), CAT (Career in Al Qaida and Taliban), IAS (Iraq after Saddam), MTech (Master in Terror Technology), GATE (General Aptitude in Terror and Extremism).

For once, some one came up with more creative names than what I did :-)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

NRI divorces- a serious issue

Prelude: This post took a lot of "shud i or shud i not" , for I know it concerns many of my close friends.. But then, the intention is not to hurt any of their feelings, who may be regular readers of this blog, but try to address an issue that I believe is snowballing into one with serious implications for the generations to come, in addition to of course a personal interest I have to see it to that it be addressed in the best possible way ....




I was at my cousins place in south Jersey the last weekend and a mention came up about a distant relative of ours who was divorced after 6 yrs of marriage, in Mumbai .. the reason ? "it just did not work out" and then the conversation hit upon divorces in US.. they were telling me case after cases of NRI marriages that broke up..

Some one married his cousins wife.... bunch of other close friends of my cousin got divorced or are seperated... about second marriages .. and unfortunately, the last few months saw some of my own close friends in similar situation... "falling out of love" and hence seperating, after 5 or 6 yrs of marriage,... marriages leading upto the verge of divorce within 5-6 months.. another case of divorce of someone after about 20 yrs of marriage (and who has a young kid now...) ....
To the extend that almost every 1 in 4 married Indian in US whom I know seem to have some serious problem with marriage ..

Alarmed, I look up some statistics and it turns out I am just being a live victim of the percentages... There is in fact an entire blog/website on NRI divorces and I quote

Between 10 to 15 percent of all Indian American marriages culminate in divorce or separation. ( http://www.nridivorce.com/index.php?p=50 )

There are around 18 million NRIs in the US, including illegal immigrants. For about $500 one can get a divorce in the US in less than a week. The total number of NRI divorces in the US is over 15,500 ( http://www.nridivorce.com/index.php?cat=5 )

These may not be accurate to the dot, but I look around and things seem to correlate. And what could be the reasons ? Well, may be increased career oriented lifestyles, may be effects of being product of nuclear families, may be the effect from the near 50% (??) average american divorce rate ...... In India too, may be in the Metros the rate is on the rise, but then I think overall it has still not reached such high numbers. Perhaps the "society" aspect in India - be it a little bit of pressure or be it the consoling hands of the society around may be one factor still keeping it low

But then, isn't this an indication of a more "liberal" Indian Amaerican soceity ? Well, well, I am not sure if liberalism should be at the cost of one of the most important values that we as Indians have cherished - that of family. I have even heard Americans say, (yes, told me ) that some of them like to marry Indians because they think the family will be more stable
No, this is not to say that those who are "suffering" from unadjustable marriage should continue to suffer.. but at the same time, such high numbers makes me feel that there has been a huge change in the "tolerance levels" .. and adjustability factor.

So what do I propose. Well, I haven't given much thought to it yet, and those with interesting thoughts may post them in the comments section, but some of them that I can think off

1) I think there is a huge "old generation" Indian couples , many of whom are now leading a retired life. Many have their kids married off... Perhaps they can form some kind of a collective, to address the issues of the young married couple... before it gets to the stage of divorce

2) Seminars and workshops on the issue... ummm .. with a sincere motive..

3) I think institutions like temples and other religious missions (like chinmaya mission) too should take up an active role.. be it by providing counselling centers or even a bit of philosophy...

4) And of course, all the necessary "getting to know each other as much as u can" before the marriage ,....

Well, at the end of the day its too personal an issue.. and with a 1 : 6 chance of an NRI marriage breaking down , anyone... yeah, pretty much anyone could be part of it... One can just hope that with some community level efforts, the ratio can be reduced, in a natural way !

sarve bhavantu sukhinAH

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

like 'em or not...

Like them or not, you can't ignore them ...


It all started with the Meera Jasmine petition.. One of the comments read as follows :
Stopping from entering temples is a still prevailing blind belief. Each human has the right to enter temples. Have you heard about the Pavakkulam Temple at Cochin? This is owned and run by RSS, and allow everyone, Indian or foreign, Male or female and Hindu or non-Hindu to come and perform prayers to the almighty. In the 1930s our society was brave and fought for "kshethra pravesanam" but now, the population has started hiding in their shells and not acting for the rights. I am a rashtrita Swayam Sevak sangh worker and the State Joint Secretary of Swadeshi Science Movement, I fully support the protesters who are with Meera Jasmin for entering temple.
------------------------
That was signed by one Dr Balaram from the Cochin Univ of Sc and Tech (CUSAT) .. I was naturally curious to know if what he stated was the offiicial stand of RSS on the issue... After a few email exchanges, he wrote to me one day, among other things
I don't know if you have noticed three important points refered by RSS.
1. RSS demanded for appointing Dalit poojaries in temples including major ones in India. (This was in a press conference dated two weeks back from New Delhi)
2. RSS demands a discussion on temple entry issue of women in Sabarimala. in this the opinion of RSS is " ladies should decide if they want to enter there or not, it is not the power of men to stop them". (pls refer to speech of P Parameswaran in a public meeting two weeks back, Mathrubhumi reported it)
3. Members of all religions should be free to enter all templesin Kerala. (Parameswarji's same speech is reference).
hope you have cleared doubts.i also was an orthodox Hindu, but it is Sangh which changed me.
-------------------------
The first was not really news to me.. I have heard that VHP of Tamil Nadu has trained over thousand non-Brahmin priests.. The second, was, interesting... and the third, even more (well, did the petition have any effect ?!?! my guess is as good as yours ..... )
(Note: Don't mix up the drama by some kannada actress with the general issue of Sabarimala entry to women )
---------------------------------------
I tried finding the actual references to the above, and I did for two of them

So that much is official !! The last one, well, Balaramji has promised me to send the scanned copy of the Malayalam newspaper in which Parameswaranji's speech came... lets see :-)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

thanksgiving redefined




Sitting in the world where one Turkey gets pardoned so that scores of other Turkeys can be killed....where you hardly utter the word "thanks" during those midnite queues and early morning rush and push for a discount sale...... I was looking for something to redefine the "holidays" .. apart from the spilled over work of course
And then it struck.. my thanksgiving this year is dedicated to Guru Tegh Bahadur, whose martyrdom day falls on the 24th Nov (friday) this year.... (I think its a "optional" national holiday in India) .......

Here's a bit from swordoftruth , a portal that sadly doesn't seem to exist anymore

Aurangzeb decided to Islamize India as fast as possible, starting with Kashmir. He had a devil's brain and he devised all kinds of artifices to get his way. Writes Sir Jadu Nath Sarkar in his renowned five volume History of Aurangzeb: "In Kashmir, Hindus and Muslims used to intermarry, and the wife, whatever might have been her father's creed, was cremated or buried as her husband happened to be a Hindu or Islamite. But in October, 1634, Shah Jahan forbade the custom and ordered that every Hindu who had taken a Muslim wife must either embrace Islam and be married anew to her, or he must give her up to be wedded to a Muslim. This order was rigorously enforced."


The rise was to turn the Hindus into Muslims by virtue of political power. In any event, it was still a 'slow' process from Aurangzeb's point of view. He wanted to turn the world into a Koranic world of Muslims only and those who still did not opt for Islam, had no place in the kingdom.
'Aurangzeb ordered that every Hindu must become a Muslim under pain of death. The Hindus wanted a period of six months to consider the proposal, which was granted. Aurangzeb also issued a fiat that those who refused to be Mohammedans would be put to the sword and a wholesale order was issued to kill the Brahmins and collect their janoys or sacred threads, as proof of the slaughter.


Aurangzeb demanded that enough Kashmiri Pandits were to be slaughtered every day, so that their sacred threads weigh at least 1.25 maunds (46 kgs). The weight of a single thread is very small and on calculation, it was found out that at least 25,000 Kashmiri pandits had to be killed every day in order to fulfill the requirement of the 1.25 maunds of thread. Naturally, there was panic among the Pandits. They met Guru Tegh Bahadur at Anandpur Sahib on May 25, 1675. They prayed to the Guru and said: "Our lot has become unbearable. You are rightly known as Hind ki Chader or Champion of the Hindus. We have been given six months' time in which to make our choice between Islam and death. That period is about to end...We have come to you for help, guidance and protection. O Champion of the Hindus!"


Naturally, the Guru was plunged into deep thought. He noticed the sad faces of the Brahmins. His young eight-year-old son, Govind Rai (the future Guru Gobind Singh) asked his father why these good men looked so worried? What has happened!

Continuing the rest of the story from a different source


"Guru ji, I see the acutely sad faces of the Sangat and you are silent and in deep thought. What is the problem?" asked Gobind Rai to his father. Gobind is about 9 years old at this stage.
Guru ji slowly turn to his son and explain the situation as concisely as possible.


"Baata (Son), this is sangat from Kashmir. They are Hindus who have been friends of Sikhs since the time of Guru Nanak. They have a very serious problem on their hands" said Guru ji.
Gobind Rai replied, "Pita ji, you are the Guru of the entire world ("Jagat Guru"). You will know of a solution to all problems"

"Baata, Emperor Aurangzeb has given them an ultimatum – If they do not become Muslims, he will kill them all", explained Guru ji.

Guru ji continued, "Some well-known Religion person ("Mahapurakh") will have to make a sacrifice to stop this butchery. We have to find a supreme soul who will die so as to awaken the sleeping consciousness of the people of Hind".

"Pita ji, there is an easy answer to this problem. You are the most spiritually aware person in whole of Hind. You can make that sacrifice", answered Gobind Rai.

Guru ji was pleased to hear these words as it confirmed that his son had reached a suitable age to become the next Guru, and that Guru ji's work on Earth had been completed.

Guru ji addressed the Pandits, "Go and tell Aurangzeb that if he can convert Guru Tegh Bahadar to Islam, they will all convert. Otherwise he should leave them alone"

The Pandits were delighted that a solution was found and duly informed Emperor Aurangzeb of the decision. Aurangzeb was delighted that by converting one person, he would without any further delay have the conversion of many 1000's to Islam. Accordingly he summoned his officers to arrest Guru Tegh Bahadar.


In the summer of 1675, the Guru, along with some of his companions were finally brought to Delhi and asked to convert to Islam or else face the penalty of death. Guru ji was also asked to perform a miracle. Guru Tegh Bahadur averred that he would rather sacrifice his life than give up his faith and his freedom or belief or perform a miracle. Thus, under Aurangzeb's orders, Guru ji and his companions were tortured. The Guru was chained and imprisoned in a cage and was tortured in the cruellest and the most inhuman ways for five long days. In order to terrorise him further into submission, one of his distinguished devotees (Bhai Mati Das) was sawn alive, another (Bhai Dyal Das) was boiled in the cauldron and the third (Bhai Sati Das) was roasted alive before the Guru.

Finally, the Guru himself was beheaded, under imperial warrant, in broad daylight, in the middle of a public square, the most prominent public place in India, called Chandni Chowk, of Delhi, on the charge that he was a stumbling block preventing the spread of Islam in the Indian subcontinent. The exact location of the beheading is marked by Gurdwara Sis Ganj in Delhi. His martyrdom was yet another challenge to the Sikh conscience. It was then realized that there could be no understanding between an insensate power imbrued with blood and a proud people wedded to a life of peace with honour. The sacrifice roused the Hindus from their passive silence and gave them the fortitude to understand the power that comes from self-respect and sacrifice. Guru Tegh Bahadur thus earned the affectionate title of "Hind-di-Chadar" or the Shield of India.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

karma and the reward


When I got a mail in a group that I am part off, asking if anyone would volunteer pick someone up from BWI airport on Sunday at 6.30 am, and drop him of at Montgomery village health center, I was a bit hesitant... - for one, I would have to get up around 5 am on a Sunday.. and for another, I was to pick up some one flying a red-eye flight from CA, and he being in his seventies, would need some break to freshen up, before I can take him to his destination, and that mean a back-home time beyond 10 am... [in fact u can check the time stamp on the post :-) ]

But then I knew perhaps I was the one in a best position to be able to do so, and hence I volunteered.. never knew exactly what the person whom I was picking up (whom, I never knew until a few days back either) was here for... all I knew was that he was here to meet someone on sunday(today) and fly back to CA this evening .. so as I started on sunday morning I just took it as another chance to drive around a bit, listening to some nice music, and perhaps chat with some one in Samskritam (yes, in his seventies, he is now enjoying speaking and learning Samskritam) .. nothing more

But then, as I knew further and further about whom he was going to meet, and when I finally met the patient at the health center, my whole perspective changed.. It was his sister (or may be cousin sister), just a year or two younger to him. Being diabetic, she has had to amputate both her legs above her knees... he was here to give her some confidence...... she looked quite gracious, sitting in her wheel chair.. well, I should actually say "kept" on her wheel chair ! her nurse took us to a visitors room where her brother could chat with her, and told us "she is doing good this morning, but make sure you do not leave her alone, please"....

As I walked back from the center to my car, I could n't help thinking two things... first a mail that I had gotten in my inbox a few weeks before (I am attaching the text of it at the end, eventho not all pts are relevant to me .. now)... and second - how my entire perspective changed when I realised that I was being a small connecting link, in a great act of compassion and care... in a small way, a nimitha (a la Gita 11.33) ... somwhere deep down, the feeling of satisfaction... of "i have made my day".....

And that naturally reminded me of this point which i heard- either on a talk on thursday on campus or on friday (at the temple by sadhvi vrnda chaitanya) about the idea of a good deed being its own reward ( parOpakAraM as the punyaphala itself) within the law of karma.... Isn't the feeling of having being able to [and being provided with enough resources like a car- a car like chetak :-) ] even a small help to some one, a gift, a reward in itself....

I am curious to find out the references , if any, of such a norm of karma anywhere in vedanta, or other philosophies of hinduism... (anyone, who knows , please let me know).....



anyways, adya prAtakAle eva dinaM sArtakaM abhavat ..... epatraM atra ArOpitaM astI

-------------------------------------------------------

I am thankful...

1. For the husband who snores all night, because he is at home asleep with me and not with someone else.
2. For my teenage daughter who is complaining about doing dishes, because that means she is at home & not on the streets.
3. For the taxes that I pay because it means that I am employed.
4. For the mess to clean after a party because it means that I have been surrounded by friends. 5. For the clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat.
6. For my shadow that watches me work because it means I am out in thesunshine.
7. For a floor that needs mopping, and windows that need cleaning because it means I have a home.
8. For all the complaining I hear about the government because it means that we have freedom of speech.
9. For the parking spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking and that I have been blessed with transportation.
10. For the noise I have to bear from my neighbours because it means that I can hear.
11. For the pile of laundry and ironing because it means I have clothes to wear.
12. For weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I have been capable of working hard.
13. For the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means that I am still alive. AND FINALLY .......

for received e-mails because it means I have friends who are thinking of me, at least. HAVE A NICE DAY !!!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

SethubandanaM video

This is from the animated Ramayana - collaborative project with the Japs..... Its quite interesting how, it took the Japs to take interest in making a purana into animation ... One of those things were we missed out on realising our own potential - like Yoga which the West popularised and almost literally "took over" ...

Of course, now there are many more coming - Hanuman, Krishna and so on...

I just love the song in there... Hope to get the Sanskrit lyrics sometime soon.. Oh by the way, I do own the full CD of this :-) .. anyone up for a screening... in fact may be an "Indian Animation series" , now that we have quite some ...

And by the way, there is a small story associated with this part of the Ramayana.. Varuna promised to support the stones for the bridge, only if it has Ramnaam on it.. Apparently SriRama himself put a few stones, and thinking that since he is Rama himself, he did not write Ramnaam on it.. and they sank !!! He realized that he too needs to write the powerful Ramnaam on them ...

youtube video

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The "FC" votebank ?!

Disclaimers
------------

1) I believe that "caste" is a British imposed system on India and has hardly anything to with a "guna-karma" based (B.G 4:13) varna system

2) I so very wish that the politicians of India had not made hinduism mincemeat based on castes

3) As much as possible, I would like to see myself.. as a caste-less Hindu.. by varna, a Kshatriya
(Frawleys "Baudhika-Kshatriya")

4) Technically I belong to an OBC comunity and am an "OBC against OBC reservation" , notwithstanding a possible criticism of "Oh why would he need it ?" , and difference of view from folks like nizhal-yodha, whom I otherwise tend to agree with on many issues

5) I do not fully agree with the methodology adopted by the latest NSSO survey .. but would also assume that the Mandal commissions 52% OBC figure is exaggerated

But still
--------

1) lets play the number game.... assuming the NSSO survey is right


And so whats the point ?
------------------------

Apparently for every 100 Indian

SC - 20
ST - 8
Hindu OBC - 30
Hindu "FC" - 25
Muslim etc OBC - 11
Muslim non OBC - 3
Christian/Others - 3

Do I see the so called "FC" at a 25% , second highest in the list ?! Am I missing something ?!

Monday, October 30, 2006

lazyme...

I had promised lazysusan that I will do this, quite a while ago... Frankly I donno what purpose it serves :-) .. except for the "light theesko" , and ummmm.. some questions are nice self reflections, the day before I turn 27 as per the Gregorian calendar ...

Meme it is... and here's from the M-W dictionary
: an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture

this one's named "A point in time"

Take the first book that you find underhand, open it on page 18 and copy what’s written on the fourth line from the top:-
"Several different rare-earth atoms can thus be used as good optically pumped...."
Siegman's basic book on lasers... page no: 18 out of 1200+

Interestingly my roomie read the author name and wondered.. siegman... siegman whatt .. freud ?! dude, thats sigmund

What was the last program you watched on tv?
Must b CNN news in the lunchroom

Without verifying, try to guess the time it is?
7 pm

Check out.
7:06 says the computer

Which noise can you hear apart from the one of your computer?
Some machine running (or is it the heater ??) running in some lab

When did you go out for the last time and what did you do?
Kerala Mela.. enjoyed the Chitra-Venugopal concert

What are you wearing now?
shirt, pants and a jacket... I feel cold manytimes in my lab !! so except the time when I am on experiments, you may see me with a jacket

Before you started this meme, what were you looking at?
checked my mail.. on the comp.. even before that was trying to, unsuccessfully run a labview pgm !

Did you dream this night?
must have, as per scientific theories, but don't remember.....

When did you laugh for the last time?
Hopefully not yet !!

What’s on the walls of the room in which you are?
Clock, a phone list ..... and a signboard which says "computer room"

Did you see something strange today?
Can't remember if I looked in the mirror today !

What do you think of this meme?
Can I skip atleast one question ?

Which was the last film that you saw?
"Mazha Peyunnu Madhalam Kottunnu" .. a great mallu comedy of the 80ies... mohanlal and sreenivasan.. was on TV the day before I came back from India..

The number of movies I watch in a year would b equal to the number many people watch in a week .... next in my wishlist "Sardar"

If you became a multimillionaire overnight, what would be the first thing that you’d buy?
I guess I take refuge in this word that a friend of mine often uses ... "aaasai" !

Tell us something about you that we don’t yet know?
ha ha... now I know why someone made this meme !! as we wud say in IITM, "nice try"

If you could change something in the world apart from culpability and politics, what would you change?
Will keep that a secret until I actually succeed...

Do you like dancing ?
Came as a surprise to me that indeed I liked it... once in a dandiya and another time, when Prof Prema Pandurangan made her audience do the Vrindavan dance

Do you like George Bush ?
I leave that to Jay Leno

Which name would you choose if you had a girl?
ihhi ihhi ihhi .... apparently that cannnot be a unilateral decision.. so shall wait

And if it was a boy?
same as above

Have you ever thought about living in a foreign country?
I think this meme was made by some American !

What do you want God to tell you when you go through the doors of paradise?
God.. ain't in paradise....

What other blogger that you'd like to tag?
just about anyone who feel like .. don't have any particular names... Off late am not really part of any bloggerbrotherhoods !!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The "ABCD" of politics

Anthony Bangaya Centermein Defencemantri


So, why did MMS* do that ? Chucking the Bengali "Young" Turk Pranobda and inducting the Mallu ? (Pranobda has been shifted to Foreign Affairs.. ) Frankly, I would have thought a much more inefficient Home Mini Shivraj Patil to lose his job.... Well, politically the following could be the reasons

* Anthony's relatively "clean" image so far... and that also at a time when defence establishments are increasingly getting corruption-accusations and spying charges .. moreover, if Madam has to taken on Gerogie bigtime, she better have some one "clean" doing the job . Ever since MMS took over, there has been quite some corruption accusations against its Ministers and legal setbacks - Natwar Singh , the Jharkand Messup and Buta Singh, declaring of the Godhra panel set up by Laloo-the-Baloo as illegal ,


(Well I still do not consider the Indian Armed forces any particularly bad.. every Nations defence has its pitfalls.. and with a plethora of countries trying to corrupt the 1.3 million strong armed forces, I am actually glad, we are doing pretty good)

* A strong message for K Karunakaran .. had he stuck around and continued to lick Ma'ms' boots , look what he or his rogue son could have possibly gotten

(The other "muska"teer Vayalar Ravi is happily going around countries, eating away to glory and increasing his already big tummy... He already cannot see his own feet, times aren't far when he won't b able to see upto ten feet in front as well !!)

* Potential "revival" of Kangress Party in Kerala.... which is torn into pieces due to infightings

(remember, the party could not win a single seat out of the 20 in Loksabha elections last time in Kerala)

----------------------------------------------------------

So how well do I think will this move suit ? In as much as I like Anthony for his rather clean image and frankspeak, I think he is too inefficient .. doesn't have the guts to make important decisions, neither have the ability to stand by and defend his decisions.. And known to make the wrong decisions at crucial times (calling KK back into the Congress coalition was one such)

What about the rather strong stance that he took on the "minorities" issue and a not-so-overtly-pro minority stance he seemed to take during the Marad issue ? Well, there may have been some honesty in him, but it may have been also trying to get the pro-Hindu votes.. especially that of the strong Dheevara community .. But then, under the cover of his satements and "neutral" stance, look what the Muslim officers in charge under him and the Congress ally IUML did did during the Marad Massacre (in which nine Hindu fishermen were hacked to death by Muslims) .. link (by the way, people in Kerala believe that the district colector is no more Sooraj, but Siraj, a convert to islam )

----------------------------------
Anyways, lets see how he does... Meantime, am a bit surprised the BRF does not have a thread yet on this.. or may be its not yet time.. However, I found a new humor thread.. :-)
http://forums.bharat-rakshak.com/viewtopic.php?t=2169

* and lastly, MMS - you thought I meant ManMohanSingh .. Oh no, I meant Madame Maino Sonia !!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

108


What better day to have my 108th blogpost than Deepavali day ..... ! And what a coincidence.. I will b turning 27 by the end of this month... thats 27 times 12 ... 324 months ! which is 3 times 108 !! Its like 108 months of the kid phase, the boy phase and the "youth" phase is over and now am preparing for the fourth phase, ha ha ... apparently some astro has predicted that it will be 36 by the time I get "well settled".... ha ha ha , thats another 108 months away !! (as a matter of fact 35-36 is about the MAXIMUM that I wanted to b in US, even before hearing any of the astro stuff .... ) .. would b interesting to watch how things shape up in my life ! isn't it cool to watch one's own life as though the drik were different from the drisya :-)

Deepavali ShubhAsayAH .... check out this nice message (and old one) by former Fiji Prime Minister and labour party leader Mahendra Chaudhury http://www.flp.org.fj/n021102.htm

And leaving thoughts on 108:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/108_(number)

for those mathematically inclined at 18 degress :-) ...

http://www.sulekha.com/blogs/blogdisplay.aspx?cid=4372
http://koenraadelst.voiceofdharma.com/articles/misc/why108.html

and for some personal philosophical notes

http://drisyadrisya.blogspot.com/2006/03/spiritual-trivia.html

comments welcome

Saturday, October 14, 2006

ID appendix1 ! (janmashtami @ Kerala)


It started raining heavily, minutes before the scheduled time of the Shobhayatra, and yet, noone left, no parent complained on behalf of their kid..... they waited in anticipation.. the Balagokulam volunteers distributed "nanacha avalum sarkara-naalikerom" .. well soaked flattened rice with jaggery and coconut mixed.... to all the participating kids..that pointy I wished I too had dressed up as some.... O well, may be a Rakshasa as that wud have suited me better


Used that waiting time to have some fun for the kids.. dig cams are still a wonder for some of them, who were crowding around me to see their pics on the cam_screen


No waiting for complete stoppage of rain... after all Mallus know how to do things with umbrella in one hand :-)


The tablaeu put up by "our temple" .. by the way, this is the main juntion near my house and on the left of the pic you can see a part of the Tali temple - maintained and run by the Kshetra Samrakshana Samiti and for the libretaion of which stalwarts like Kelappaji had done satyagraha ... me used to go there atleast once daily, onway to school (those shirt and dothi restrictions do not exist there... in fact I don't actualy remember seeing the "no entry for non-hindu" board also there......)


Technology goes hand in hand with the tradition... For a while I kept wondering where the Chenda mElaM sound was coming from, when I could not see those musicians as part of the foot-procession... and then I figured out ... indeed, not for their protection from the rain, but for their instruments :-)


This was an awesome tablaeu put up one of the other two temples who were part of the procession .. the muni is actually a kid..... so how did they do it ?! :-) ... thats a secret !!


Drenched, and yet, shouting Krishna bhajans and slogans at the top of their voices.... the rich and the poor, the "big" and the "small" ............


Matki................................


Pics taken on Sep 14, 2006.... have to add that mea family donated a humble Rs 1160/- for the event :-)



Friday, October 13, 2006

a tactical error, Georgieee ?!



Methinks Fernandes lost it all, the moment he dragged Kalam into it.. I am not a personality worshipper (of Kalam or anyone for that matter) , and neither do I believe that anyone is above possible corruption , however, I think it doesn't take much to see that George goofed.. for

1) It doesn't make anyone a less criminal by dragging one more fellow ( Note: that is even assuming both himself and Kalam are guilty)

2) Unlike a rather solid evidence of something fishy has happened vis-a-vis Jaya Jaitley, there is, atleast so far no evidence against Kalam

3) There is nothing wrong in Kalam as scientific advisor suggesting and even showing any "extra" interest in getting those Israeli Baraks... boy, thats his job... and there isn't even any issue if George himself had pushed for it, the whole issue revolves around his party and its treasurer... did whatever that happened, happen with his knowledge ? why did he not ask her to step down until proven not-guilty (the evidence in this case was much more stronger than, say the Hawala accusation against Advani - and yet, its the latter who immediately stepped down and came back only after he was proven clean)

and now, one stroke, he has brought to ground all the goodwill he had in BJP.... by dragging in Kalam - BJP's favorite still - and sort of implicating the former PMO too in the process

I for one still want to believe that the 76_year_old , who quit a Christian seminary (priest-training) to become a socialist, is clean... and that he just happened to be the right man in the wrrong party... I have read with pride, his Siachen visit, and don't have any doubts that he was perhaps India's best defense minister... if sans the controversies .. His rapport with the armed forces, I have heard was so good...

And yet, I can't imagine why he would make such a tactical error.. an error which has effectively given an escape route for the hit_and_run italian lady ... and how could you have made enemies the very people who stood by you in the middle of the storm ?

vinashakaale vipareetha budhi ?

ps: http://www.indianexpress.com/story/14642.html

Thursday, October 12, 2006

a hoax.. never mind !

It ain't the best of the news one wud want to hear days before Diwali... atleast the 350,000+ (assume all genuine signatures... or lets say even half that number) who signed the "US-PS Diwali Stamp Petition"

for just like the "Mars will appear as big as the moon".... it turned out to be a .. O well !!

http://www.sajaforum.org/2006/10/diwali.html

Gets me thinking about these online petiotions... and frankly I do not have Yes or a No answer... Before I go into some points, I must admit that I myself have indeed signed a lot of them... spread around some of them, and started some (actually just one ??)

1. Should I look at the Diwali bit as a dissappointment, or should I take it as "Oh wow, look a few hundreds or thousands of internet users actually wanted it" ?

2. Will that have a negative impact on future petitions... U know the feeling of being "cheated" at some level ?

3. What did those who started really intent to do ? "Just for fun", or a "sincere wish, but wrong or insufficient methodology" , or a trick to collect a huuge email database ?

4. For an already lazy and passive Hindu who used to take refuge in online petitions of all kinds and be satisfied that he has done his "sakkat" for the religion ... for such a Hindu.... wud be interesting to see if he (or she) stops doing even that or will actually start thinking doing something a little more solid ... or just continue with life as it is

To me looks like the "as it is" option is most likely whats gona happen.. for the same day, i.e today, I get another petition appeal .. for Abdul Kalams second term

http://www.petitiononline.com/apj/petition.html

Once more, should I see that as a positive for the fact that a scientist has won the heart and souls across India, or should I be saddened at the fact that a 75 year old seems to be the "only nice option" .... if only we had lots of visionaries to pick from.... after all we are a Nation of a Billion !

Monday, October 09, 2006

Monarchs... again











I had a post previousy as well on Monarch butterflies..

see http://drisyadrisya.blogspot.com/2006/03/nostalgia.html

And now, thanks to a tip off from Naresh's blog....

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/03/science/03butter.html?_r=1&8dpc&oref=slogin

The butterfly that goes from Canada to Mexico and partway back lives six to nine months, but when it mates and lays eggs, it may have gotten only as far as Texas, and breeding butterflies live only about six weeks. So a daughter born on a Texas prairie goes on to lay an egg on a South Dakota highway divider that becomes a granddaughter. That leads to a great-granddaughter born in a Winnipeg backyard. Come autumn, how does she find her way back to the same grove in Mexico that sheltered her great-grandmother?

I just love reading about these ones... donno why...

May be the fact that such tiny creatures can achieve so much might be fascinating me....


May be the validation of "mayi sarvamidam protam......" (gita 7.7) might be the key .....

May be its just their beauty.... for once, can't I not worry about the reason ?! and enjoy ...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

taaki aksar na ho afzal !

My email to B Raman .. lets see if he replies.......

meantime, comments invited from readers

********************************************

Dear Shri Raman

ref : http://www.saag.org/papers20/paper1972.html

Frankly , I was a bit dissappointed to see your article end non-conclusively and suggesting an abeyance - the main reason being the possibility of the punished being made into a hero/martyr (as per islam) . Zooming out on the bigger issue of islam itself, its almost as though one has to give in to what that religion is, how much ever illogical it sounds ... as tho' one doesn't have a clue as to what to do with a RELIGION which

* Asks to kill non-believers ( eg: 9:5 ... and plethora of other verses ) ... (the definition of non-believer is given in Chapter 109)

* Considers the land in which its not a majority as the land of struggle ( dar-ul-harb)

* Declares that singing praise of the land (vandemaataram) is against the religion

* And makes heros out of terrorists who have killed inocent lives

Isn't it obvious that India is forced to take islam as it is, and change accordingly ?

***************************************************************

Alternately, here's a suggestion, which may sound ridiculous, but for want of an alternative.... - since it is the RELIGION that tells him to Kill , since its the RELIGION that makes him a martyr and hero if he is punished, since its the RELIGION that tells him that he will get virgins in heaven - how about depriving him of that fundamental aspect ? Feed him some pork forcefully or convert him officially - as per law. If the law has the right to take away one's life thro' death penalty, and freedom through imprisonment, why should it not have the right to take away ones religion thro' proper means ?

And convert to what religion ? - either that religion against whom the fellow did the crime, or give him a choice - Jainism (which wud be an exact extreme oppossite of his religion) , Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Christianity... you have plenty to choose from (atleast the local church I am sure will be more than glad to bring the water for dipping ...)

Will there be a better humiliation for him and the rest of the clergy encouraging the likes of him ? WatchOut before you do the next crime in the name of Islam - if caught you may lose your religion !!

time permits, would like your comments
-

Sunday, September 17, 2006

ID - 4 (A Tribute)

28 days in 3 years .. thats a probability of 2.5% !!

Sep 1, I met her (see ID-1) and she cud speak.... and she pretty much told "Now I am waiting for death"!

Sep 4, I again met her, one of the Onam days and she cud still recognise me, but did not speak much... even as I handed her the Onappuda (new dress).. and she had already started to eat less !

Sep 14 she was hospitalised and I met her again on Sep 15, but she was almost unconscious....wud not even open her eyes. I undertook my B'lore trip fully aware that I may have to cut short and she breathed her last on Sep 16, 3.15 pm - I had almsot just finished my work in B'lore and just enuf time for me to catch a last min bus, and be back at my ancestral place before the last ceremonies

And now, the 11th day for the rituals is on 26th , and off I am on the 28th back to the US ....

Its as tho' someone had planned it day by day hour by hour... and frankly, I feel satisfied on two counts, - that I cud meet her .... thrice in her last few days... (albeit the fact that the last meetin she cud not recognise me or anyone around) ... and that she had a rather peaceful death...
even in her last few weeks she hardly complained

Once more my humble Pranaams to my Achamma (fathers mother)

-----------------------------------------------------------------

She was the last of my 4 grandparents and the one to whom I was perhaps most attached... and so even as I tried chanting "Nainam Chintanti Sastrani..." , tears kept falling for a long time...
death...... undoubtebly the most powerful truth !

ps: I wanted to write about my Madras trip, IITM after 3 years, the Janmashtami celebs, and my B'lore trip...and I have quite some pics with me donno when .. not today for sure

Saturday, September 09, 2006

ID -3 (100th post)

Celbrating my 100th post with some pics from an awesome Chennai trip :-) ... at first, I was a bit diss that I did not get ticket for the nite train, and that I will end up sitting in the train for 11 straight hrs in hot sun.... but then when has train journeys ever been a diss for me ? and with cool breeze, and rain and moonlit nite... t'was a joy ride... meditative and exotic at the same time !! the camera cudn't obviusly do full justice, but here's what I cud










ID- 2a (pending pics)










Friday, September 08, 2006

ID - 2

The first week

So, Onam is officially over ! Ho was it - well 5 on 10, I shud say, mainly because there was hardly any Onam atmosphere anywhere... or aleast I did not come across much . Instea of asking "whats up for Onam", it shud almost be "which TV channel are u watching for Onam"... there are some 10-20 mallu channels now, compared to the 3 or 4 that used to b there 5 yrs befoe.. and so more soaps or my mom :-) ... eventhen, there were glimpses of Onam here and there... here are some quick bits of my trip so far

the komies

well, looks like the commies and i do not match "in blood" itself.... here's what happened... needed to get some advanced blood tests (mostl I only told the doc to write them down), and since the doc was an employee of the EMS hospital (buit by the commies, in the name of the veteran commie E M Sankaran - well, there is a Namboothiripad, his caste name that the commies usually attach to the name, but then heck with it, E M Sankaran wud do ) I was asked to give blood in the hospitals lab ... well, my town here is a "hospital city" , with about 10 or so MAJOR hositals, and numerous smalls ones... and this one too, as such was big and well mainained

But then, the lab was a total idsspointment... after paying the 1090/- Rs, a traineee sort of young fella came to take blood... first off looks like nobody over here wears gloves... seeing the fellow (who was shorter than me and younger than me), I instinctively stretched my left arm,... he plucked in the needle in the wrong place (I cud sense that), and worse, seeing that no blood is coming , he started turning back and asking the ohers around there, and while doing so was twisting and turning the needle inside my nerves ... and then, even worst, he started pushing the some litle blood that came, back into the neves..... that was enuf.. i told him to stop, and did the rest myself... pulling out and stuff... then comes another girl, she did a good job taking the blood from my right arm, but then threw the needle full of blood carelessly on the table, so much so that the needle hit here and there and drops of my blood made its marks all over !!! I complained to whoeve there, they noted down my no: and suff, never heard back .... me remains anti_commie even in bloood !!

Trips and Treats

Was in for quite some pleasant surprises, for in the moring, in the temple near my house, Balagokulam kids had gatehered around and made a little flower carpet and were singing Onam songs... that was my first Onam treat...
I learnt that they had many more Onam pgms lined up for the rest of the day..

The taxi hired for us to go visit al elatives (daylong) had two CD collection of old Mallu songs... songs which I wud listen to as a 6 or 7 year old... that was lovely... for most of the songs, I wud sing along... I think the driver was surprised that I remembered most of the lyrics ! Over at my little cousins place, the 6yrold and her friend sang some Onam songs and danced to them (in their own ways - see the pic below).... O well, the deeper into the villages you go, Onam's still alive I guess

An overnite stay at Guruvayur.... me and my parents decided that we wil get up around 5, reach the temple by 6, get darshan and prasad by 8 and leave... but then , I could not sleep the nite.. at 2 am, I decided to get up and go stand in the early morning queue when then temple opens at 3 am ... It almost looked like the Lord wanted me to come earlier... I remembered an old experience of mine with this 3 am worship

Its called "Vaakacharthu"... at 3 am u get to see the Lord as decoarated the previous day... then they dress the lord as a kid, bathe him using the twigs of a particula tree (vaaka), and again dress him as a small kid ..all this happens very fast and in order to get to see all these, u have to stay put at the very door of the outer sanctum of the temple from 12 midnite the previous day... I did that once, and once the door opens, one has to run about 100 - 200 m before u can hit the door to hthe inner sanctum... among the crowd that day was a 60-70 year old man... people around discouraged him from being with the crowd and running . "Ammava, Odumbo Veezhathe nokkane" "Uncle, be careful, don't fall when u run with the crowd".. he just smiled...

3 am, the door opens, the old man is already on his heels... the rest of the crowd simply cannot catch up... he enters the inner sanctum first, with almost a 10 m gap from me,who was the second to enter , followed by the rest of the crowd .... O well, glad I came second only to such a soul :-)

Oh ya, another interesting bit.. For the Udayastahamaya Puja (a special daily Puja at Guruvayur), one needs to pay 50,000 Rs advance , and book.... (the real expense of the Puja I guess is much higher). And as of now, every single day upto year 2049 has been booked, and the board has stopped taking any more (the board run by govt now wants 10 Puja bookings per day to make money, where as the priest is insisting that only one person be allowed per day)

So thats a whooopping 75 crore rupees sitting as advance cash with the devaswom (meaning for govt to loot) ! For 50,000 Rs one can run 3 ekal vidyalayas (i.e about 90-100 kids education and 3 villages healthcare) for one full year !! with 75 crores, 365*43*3 schools for one year - or almost 8000+ schools for 5 years... O well, the day Mallus learn charity, I shall be blessed !

Leaving thoughts

Well, there is lots to write... lots and lots ... every minute here is full of life... something or other keeps happening... am being pulled into everything.. from the mobile revolution (remember those li'l cycle repair and rental shops or rather wooden box rooms.... u don't get to see those anymore, instead u see mobile service centers) to the fact that I am ending up drinking tea almost every 2-3 hrs ....... and so on andso forth... but then
I think this' is a good enuf update... One week over.. thats one phase of vising relatives, and eating lots f Onam food... and getting to know what has changed in this tiny yet hyperactive little town...

And now comes the second stage .... the next week of Chennais and Bangalores ... and in between, I shall come back for the Janmashtami celebs on sep 14 , by the Balagokulam .... for Onam has been a bit of a dissapp.. I hope the Balagokulam folks, will keep the flag hi

ps: Pics... ummm... upto downloading onto a comp or burning on a CD is okay, but then, many comps in internet cafes do not have softwares even to roate the pics, and sometimes no wnzip and stuff... so will upload as and when, but no promises :-)