Thursday, October 30, 2008

Disturbing piece of news

Read this very heart wrenching story about the aftermath of Bihar floods. Do read it, atleast it will for a moment make us feel that we are so blessed to be living comfortably.

Also I read this funny piece of news in morning papers today. This Kannada director Krishne Gowde wanted to name his film as "12 December" and it seems that Karnataka Film chambers does not allow it, Apparently the movie titles cannot be in English and they have to be in Kannada, hence they suggested that his movie title should be "Dashambara 12". So the director has decided to junk this project, because he feels that any other title may not have the same impact. 
I can understand, bus boards, road signs, being in Kannada, for benefit for most of the poeple, I can understand requesting people to learn kannada, but isn't this too much?


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Getting Lifted...

These days I have discovered this new and convenient way of getting around in bangalore, and that is taking lifts :). It works if you are ok to bear the embarrassment of making those hand signals and everyone rushing past you without giving a look. But then you have to realize that we think more about what other people are thinking about us, than other people, specially unknown people, who actually dont give a damn of what you do on streets.

Of course this method may not work for girls, but for guys I guess they can safely go about using this. More often or not these days I end up finding a lift. Lot of days I take multiple lifts too.

Today was one such day, I was all loaded witih laptop bag in one hand and guitar in another and asking lift at the signal. Actually guitar always helps because people always have this fascination kind of things for people who carry around guitars with them, and it makes taking lift that much easier. Out of all the guys who had stopped at the signal, I saw this guy who had this small choti that was  struggling to hang out from his helmet, and from my experience "choti" guys are always very sportive kinds and most likely of people to give lifts and so it happened, I asked him and he readily agreed. No sooner did the light go green, he started asking me about my guitar exploits, and the songs that I could play on guitar. I did nto have anything much to share, and then he told his story about how he had a music band kind of thing in college, and he could play drums, keyboard and guitar, the songs they used to play at that time, and little bit of hindi that he learnt because of playing those hindi songs. Now the job has practically killed all that, and he does not get any time at all. As it usually happened we exchanged bit of history of our lives, our hometowns, and so on. He also told me some of the easy songs that I should rather play and try playing.

When finally I had to get  down, and our roads had to part, he gave me his phone number and all, and asked to be in touch. But then as it happens, as I got down, hundreds of things started running in my head, to take auto for remaining distance or to walk or to take another lift and about all the implications that each of this option might have on the plans that I had set up for the day. I got completely lost in my world and this guy slipped out quietly , and now when I am sitting to write this post, I realize that his number has also been lost somewhere in my call list.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008


I have been to Mysore couple of times and also to Chamundi hills but I never really carefully looked at the statue of Mahishasura. It rang little bell inside my head.

Until till yesterday, when i was reading this book from RK Narayana, about Gods, Demons and legends of India, that I read the full story of Mahishasura, and was able to connect Durga Pooja, Mahishasura and everything.

Mahisha means a "Buffalo", and asura ofcourse means Rakshasha (Demon). Apparently it seems that Mahishasura father who was a great Asura, married a she-buffalo, hence their son was called Buffalo-asura. Metaphorically it is supposed to mean that Mahishasura was physically all powerful but maybe not that blessed on the mental front. 

As the legend goes, Mahishasura performed rigourous penance for years and Brahma, being pleased, appeared before him. Mahishasure asked the boon that neither any man or God should be able to conquer him, only a woman could conquer him. This way he thought he would remain undefeated since it was highly inconceivable that any woman would dare to challenge him for a battle. 

So as it happened, he waged battle with  Indra and swarga loka, and none of the gods were able to defeat him. He conquered the Swarga Loka  and Gods went in to hiding. In the hiding, all Gods combined all thier powers and created a devi called Durga, who was unmatched in beauty and power. Durga challenged Mahishasura and after 10 days of fierce battle killed him.

Sometimes it amazes me that there are so many stories, legends in Indian mythology, and the way they have survived through the ages.  When I had been to Uttrakhand, (if you have never gone, do go, it is heaven) there were so many temples, stones, shrines, lakes all along the way, and each of them had a story associated with it, each had a significance of its own, some stories that I had heard, some were completely unknown. I have to blog about it as well :).

Anyways, a happy Dashera :) 

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Of Navaratri and Dandia...

Growing up in my home town, the two festivals that I absolutely used to love is Navratri and Makar sakranthi. Because in these festivals there were no ceremonies to be performed, (well not to be disrespectful of anything, as a teenager I always used to find all the ceremonies very boring).

Navratri specially was very eventful because the festival went on for nine nights. And also during that time we were given permissions to go out at the night with friends. We used to dress up in our best, and gather at one central location. We used to cycle around the town, from one place to another, trying to check out which was the place which had the best music and the best people and then we also sparingly use the money that we used to get on samosas and tea. Seeing all the older guys who used to get their girls on the scooter (bikes were a rarity scooter was the most common), I so much wanted to grow up fast and get to earning something as soon as possible. Generally in those days,  garba used to go on till 4am in the morning, and then we used to cycle back home, and sleepily attend the school next day or bunk. Even teachers did not used to say anything during those nine days, and as such I hardly remember a instance when I had test during that time.   

What is very unique about Navaratri and garba kind of dance is that unlike other forms of dance, which are performed, by individuals or a small group of people, garba/dandia is like performed by thousands at the same time. And still there is not much of chaos, because the beats are fairly simple and as long as you clap at the right time, and move about in the circle you are fine. I remember that there used to two or three such big grounds where there used to be 10-20 such concentric circles, and if you were to lose your friends, somewhere, it was nearly impossible to find. So we used to keep a pre-defined place, that if we were to miss each other we would go back and wait at that place.  

The last time when I attended such a  grand Navratri festival was when i was in 12th. Also during that Navaratri I had a heart break. There used to be this girl in my class whom I had a huge crush on. And during that Navaratri, I spoted her with one guy. Well till earlier years of navrathri she used to come with her girl friends, and it was a thrill to go and talk to her for sometime or even get a chance to dance with her.  But this time around she had come with this guy, I did not know anything about the guy, except for the thing that he possessed a scooter.  

After that year, I went to college and after that have never got the chance to attend this festival in my hometown, so sometime I very much wish to do that again. But as I hear from friends, things have changed now, hometown is not like a small town any more, Most of open spaces have given places to malls and other buildings, instead of free entry now there are passes, there are more strict rules now and all the celebrations have to end by midnight, Cycles have disappeared, and most of the teenagers are so burdened with exams that they cant think of staying awake late at night for Navatri. 

Sometimes I keep wondering, if all the community festivals are disappearing, and giving way to more private and restricted celebration. But then day before yesterday I went to this quiet little gujarati assocation, where they had organized a small garba. There were about 200 odd people there, aunties, uncles, girls, guys, kids.  After a long time I danced and danced, talking with unknown people, exploring new dance steps and trying to recollect all the old dance variations that we used to try, hearing to all those old gujarati tunes,  till 3 am in the morning. Well ofcourse it was not as grand, but something that I would remember for a long time to come. 

If you have never been to any garba/dandia celebration, do try it out. It is unique as compared to any other dance form, and you dont need to know dance and all, it is fairly simple and once you are inside the circle you would move automatically.