A trip down south

On 24th March,2013 I travelled with my family to Chennai to meet our relatives. Southern part of India is known for its rich architectural heritage, with prominent ones being the temples which are epitomes of India’s glorious past. We planned to visit some of them. We visited the Meenakshi temple of Madurai. Madurai is the oldest city of south India and served as capital city of Pandyas. Located on the southern bank of river Vaigai, this temple is dedicated to Goddess Parvati.

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The Fact File:

  • It is the only temple in India where Goddess Parvati gets precedence over Lord Shiva.
  • Madurai was the capital of the Pandyan rulers.
  • It is believed that the Pandyan king, Kulasekhara built a temple around which he created a lotus shaped city-which came to be known as Madurai.
  • Arya Natha Mudaliyar, the prime minister of the empire got the temple rebuild because it was destroyed by Malik Kafur in the year 1310. It is believed that it was  built in the 17th century.
  • There are 12 magnificent gateway towers or the Gopurams .
  • There are 2 main Shrines, halls and the most important-Hall of Thousand Pillars.
  • The spread of the temple is around 45 acres and the height of the Gopurams being 45-50 m, tallest being the southern tower which is 51.9 m high
  • The annual 10 day Meenakshi Tirukalyanam (the divine marriage of Meenakshi) during the month of April attracts about 1 million people. Hindu festivals like Shivratri and Navratri are celebrated in this temple.

We all have seen Lord Siva, as Natraj; standing on his left leg. Legend is, King Arya Natha Mudaliyar requested Lord to give rest to his left leg which Lord Siva acceded. Meenakshi temple is the only temple with Natraj standing on his right leg.

The highlight of the temple is the Gopuram which had 1511 figures carved on it. Traditionally all major temples of the south have elephants which participate in religious processions. It is customary to seek blessing from the main elephant, which we did. Another highlight of the temple was the musical pillar which had thinner pillars around it which when struck with a mallet produced musical notes. We saw the idol of Natraj (dancing Shiva) and there was a huge and tall Nandi (the savaari of the Lord). There was Tibetan influence on the carvings which was very surprising for me-usually you don’t see dragons in the temples. It was explained that this was reflection of Tibetan artisans’ work on the temple.

There were many shops outside the temple selling holy books, deepams and other pooja paraphernalia and accessories.

It was nice to visit such a place where you find peace and enrich your knowledge.

*written in 2013

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Don’t Count Your Chicken Before they Hatch

There are several kinds of people about us-some who, are forever planning and so paralysed by their thought process that they just can’t act. And then, there are  people who just jump headlong on hope that their fondest hopes, dreams and plans would be lined up like Paolo Coelho said “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”. Is it so mathematical? Well, the idiom-don’t count your chicken before they hatch possibly motivated this famed author to say so!

I feel, this mathematical certainty doesn’t exist. Faced with challenges, one must optimistically fight, but one should be a realist-what if, the blessed plan fails? Would the approach of counting in your chicken before they even materialise not be like that of a compulsive gambler who has gone over the edge, betting on the monies he hopes to get from a lottery, sinking ever more deeper?

However, when I say one has to be a realist, one must have a healthy balance of optimism and faith that even a formidable challenge can be overcome-but at the same time one has to have a healthy dose of scepticism. One may hope to tame a black mamba, but to take it as a pet one can play with on this hope, with abandon won’t be a good idea. Similarly, when one has to take decisions which would impact life and death of others, one has to be cautious.

But if one were ever so cautious, would space travel or victory over the depths and heights of this planet possible? Moonshot was declared by the US president almost a decade before Neil Armstrong took that small step for the mankind on lunar surface. The technology which could have enabled this didn’t just exist. But this declaration committed a legion of scientists and engineers to invent the methods and make it possible. One must, however note that the president knew that he was depending on so many nascent technological developments to mature successfully before they could take that shot on moon-but the country did count in their chicken before they hatched. But they didn’t put man on the top of their rockets before they ensured that every thing worked reasonably well.

History is full of such examples where a dream spurred inventive people to solve otherwise unsolvable problems-but taking a risk which endangers life or limb without preparation and backups isn’t a good idea.

Why Humanities?

“ Until lions learn to speak, history would always be written by hunters!’ This quote aptly describes the state of a humanities student who now wants to break this monotony and prove his mettle. People are unable to discover the beauty of such a dynamic subject that deals with a lot of debatable matter and a good command over political and social affairs.

It deals with all human activities be it be social or political or psychological. But this subject faces a lot of criticism, misconceptions and prejudices.

Humanities being a diverse subject helps in overall development of a being. It enhances the skills of critical and analytical thinking through a very pragmatic approach.It even intensifies the linguistic skills and perceptions as it broadens the horizons as compared to a commerce or a science student who all through stays confined with narrow ideas about the universally accepted principles taught in the same cliched manner.

No single subject can deal with only pros of the matter. With so many advantages, this subject even has few disadvantages. The basic problem faced by humanities is that it is preconditioned as the theories of it remain stagnant whereas science and commerce deal with dynamic progression based on inventions and innovations.

Other negative aspect is that if taken this path, a student cannot sit for any IIT or NEET exam, whereas a science and a commerce student can still sit for UPSCE.

Today’s era demands for world class thinkers, industrialists , economists, etc who are humanities products.From time immemorial, science students have been able to earn a name and a standing in the society. It is high time that the humanities students now perform. From time now till ages to go, Humanities will rule.

My dreams and my hopes

“Hope is not a dream, but a way of making dreams become reality.”

Isn’t it interesting to note that hopes and dreams are way different yet alone without the other? As children, we were always told to have an aim in our lives- hopes and dreams… We were told to dream, to aspire, to achieve and to accomplish- thats the need of the hour- to survive.

The sapiens race was meant to be at the top rung of the society-be it be the times of evolution of the species or times now.Everyone even as of today have dreams and the journey leading to that destination-hopes!

Even I was brought up the same way. But as a child, i did not get the purpose of dreams. What i knew was, the ones you see at night while sleeping. I remember, that whenever asked about what i wanted to become or a dream that could come true, i had an instant answer ready with me- A teacher! or the dream of visiting the Disneyland(though i still have that in my bucket list)!  That is what every child “dreams” to become and to accomplish.

That dream was followed by another dream of becoming an astronaut which further depending on the subject i liked in school!

This is what everyone faces during their primary stages.

I believe , the realisation of dreams and the importance of hopes is understood in either of the two ways.

Firstly, it is when you realise your talents at the right stage and work upon it, being determined to make that your strongest quality which couldn’t be challenged by any.

Or it is when the opportunity has already knocked at your door- you were sleeping and lazy to respond, thats when some other takes the advantage of your opportunity and you repent of not having any dreams and how futile your life has been.

Dreams are like hard nuts to crack! You have to be determined all through. Dreams in other terms can also be referred to as hurdles.These challenge you, only if you have solid hopes to push you through these hurdles, you achieve.

I realised my dreams in class 7. That was the first time when i received the first prize in poetry writing competition.I worked towards gaining fame through writing and speaking.But i did have a change in my dream. A slight change that i was made to identify with during my switchover into adolescense.

As a privileged citizen, i realised the importance of being able to bring about a change- designing a change in the society for which we are endowed by a higher level of intellect as humans.

No one is less than a Mandela or Hawkings, it is just how determined you were till the last. It is when you were broken but still pushed yourself altogether. It is the time when you give up, not realising how close you were to success when you ‘just’ gave up. Edison could have given up at the 1199th attempt! But that hope and trust within you that keeps nudging you to not to stop trying…. this attempt will be successful- brings about all that change.

The quote by our ex- president Dr. APJ Abdul kalam that keeps my hopes and dreams alive is “ If you want to shine like the sun, burn like the sun.” Thats when your signature turns into an autograph. The attitude makes all the difference…… Dream to achieve.

Battlefield

Amidst those bloodfed battlefield,

lay the combatants who cluttered,

with no life they’d said a lot,

lifeless they were, yet they stuttered.

they’d marched all the way,

through the harrowing valleys

to the streets that led to peace of ray,

questions all the while…

was war worth it anyway?

That day the sun didn’t shine,

the battlefield lied dead,

in anguish and in pain,

lay the ones who’d prayed.

bidding adieu to all who cared,

his fiancé and his daughter,

with tears of the meet that knew was last,

yet they continued their sail.

The beautiful landscapes turned to black and white,

lay all still

Those boots stained with mud and blood,

made me to weep,

and the story of the martyred soldier

trying to resuscitate for peace.

those fields are to bring life to the generations,

and life to the world,

those are to be green and pink and purple,

with birds and rainbows.

why is it named a field of battle

that with the sounds of brattle?

Why not a field of tattles!!!

that will not let things grow brittle?

The Soldier’s Boot

The soldiers marching all along,

like the tide, to make the combatant clutter,

the brave-hearts of the country

whose families were to shatter.

Through the muddy terrains,

to the harrowing valleys,

they kept on marching

chanting the song of bravery,

one of him remembering his fiancé whom he is to marry.

The night seemed endless

with firing and bullets and rage,

the martyred bodies lying,

all feeling as trapped in a cage,

few of them taking their last breath ,

Scribbling something on that page.

The only passion is to save their motherland,

the real heroes of the country,

Someone’s father, brother and son,

were showcasing their gallantry.

The war was over,

news of their success was spread far and away,

the families locked up in their houses crying,

praying to see their loved ones marching towards them all the way.

There was something that day that really touched me,

the five year old girl’s innocence did show me the struggles to its roots,

holding my finger she took me,

Where she kept her father’s boots.

Those boots stained with mud and blood,

made me to weep,

and the story of the martyred soldier

trying to resuscitate for peace.

There i saw a note, blood stained

on which was written:

‘This was all i could do for you, my daughter!

You are all for me,

the courage i could gather was because of you and for you.

will always shower all for you from me.’

 

That was the day when I understood the true emotion of a soldier,

who withstands through the scorching heats,

to the freezing cold temperatures

like a boulder.

Here i pledge:

‘I would like to salute all the soldiers’

whom we do not even know,

but those are standing upright on the borders,

to take the bullets on them and give up their today to save our tomorrow.’

Jai Hind!

!Oxy ‘Moron’!

The ambiguous Mr.Schrödinger,

who claimed the poor pussy to be living dead!

created a chaos in the Vienna valleys,

only if he had not used the oxy ‘moron’

only if he hadn’t dared!

 

Then went the cat,

to be found missing,

the deafening silence down the road,

with its absent presence.

 

Mr. Schrödinger being a cheerful pessimist,

started to feel the comfortable misery,

risking his career on the kitty’s hand,

which would lead to intense apathy!

 

The paradox was a work of true fiction,

with the thought experiment and the superposition!

the cat was found missing

only of the oxymoron and the paradox parody superstition!

 

alone together,

the beggarly rich,

paid the price of

the living sacrifice!

 

Look at the power of deliberation of oxymorons

thought provoking ,openly deceptive,

to save yourself,

dare to use them.

 

this was a genuine imitation,

an accident on purpose,

only if the oxymoron was not clearly misunderstood

wouldn’t have created any ruckus!

Salute to the Indian Army

“If death strikes before i prove my blood, I swear, I’ll kill death”

These lines aptly glorify the bravery and the valour of a soldier. These unsung heroes have glorified our pages of history, not as individuals but as a country that has won or lost wars.

They give up the pleasures of their home, family and their children and pledge their lives to safeguard and protect their motherland.

Being a Jawaan is not a job for the weakhearted. Their training and discipline takes out the mettle and shine in each soldier.

Their integrity and commitment goads them forward to even lay their life, fighting for their country.

Each soldier finds pride to fight for their country and this passion of theirs has been beautifully expressed in the following lines:

“ If I die in a war zone,

Box me up and send me home.

Put my medals on my chest

And tell my mom I did my best.

Tell my father not to bow,

He won’t get tension for me now.

Tell my brother to study perfectly,

Keys of my bike will be his permanently.

Tell my sis not to be upset,

Her brother will not rise after this sunset.

Tell my love not to cry,

“ Coz Im a soldier born to die”

I and We

The word ‘I’ is very odious but the word ‘We’ has power, brings a sense of warmth and fills you with togetherness…

‘I’ makes you selfish, self obsessed but ‘We’ makes you  generous and giving.

When you need help, ‘We’ seems comforting and being by your side but ‘I’ looks only for me.

‘We’ is a family and ‘I’ is all lonely.

So, I suggest put ‘We’ before ‘I’ and find a happy road to the eye.

*written in 2010

Increasing Competition and pressure on children

It should be emphasised that the parents behaviour or attitude towards the child other than one of kindness and consideration should also be of understanding too.

Some parents make their child a channel for the realisation of their ambition and desire. They tend to bask more in the success and glory of their child than the child herself.

The increased pressure for performance and success can put the child through a cycle of uncertainty, competition and inferiority too.With the ever increasing competition in all fields the want for success can harm more than do good.

Parents fail to understand that a child, not being mature, gets frustrated due to the high level of competition and the unearthly timings of practice and schedule make it difficult for the child to keep up with his academics.

In the field of performing arts and sports the shelf life of a performer is usually short-lived and in that short span the child has the pressure to make a wish for himself.

This leads to increase anxiety. The success and spotlight showered on the child also tends to confuse the child as he is still not clear about his future.

It thus becomes imperative on the part of the parents to help the child to handle anxiety, success and failure with a sound, emotional support and backing from his pillars of strength.

*written in 2015