Four Beliefs or Opinions

Day 3 – Four Beliefs or Opinions

I am back after a break with the Four things Ten Days Challenge. If you have been a long time friend of mine, you’d already know that I have some really strong beliefs & opinions. I wouldn’t say that I am right about everything. I could be wrong. But if I feel about something, I do feel strongly. You might have got a whiff of it from my Bio. So, this was a list made after a lot of thinking. Took me close to three days.

Souls / Spirits – Maybe the stories I heard from my Grandmother instilled this fear in me. But I did not find any reason to not believe in them. She herself has witnessed people being possessed by spirits and the thought freaks me out. What if there is a spirit right here as I write this, preparing to possess me?
I think a lot about them. People have seen them wearing the clothes they wore while they died. But how do souls have a form once they discard their mortal coil? What would happen to me when I die? What if I do not move on to the parallel world and stay around helplessly?

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Check Image for credits

The more I think of it, the more I’m sure of my belief in souls. Once this body disintegrates, there will still be me left. I am just not sure if I should be happy or terrified of the prospect.
God & Miracles – I am skeptical about the reality of Ramayana or Mahabharata. The Rama setu would have been real, so would have been the Kurukshetra war. But, whether they were related to Godly men isn’t something I’m sure of. I enjoy epics and the depiction of little Krishna, his love for butter, his episode with Radha etc. On the other hand, I do not buy Rama’s reasons for sending Sita away and I don’t think stories such as those send out good messages, especially when people consider him to be a Hero.
That being said, I believe in the creator; the presence of a power that keeps everything in motion. I have often felt the presence in my life. I used to experience them right from my school days. At the right time, I received the right guidance and the push. There were moments when things were totally out of my hand and amazingly, they turned out well. They were too good to be coincidental. Call it vibration, guardian angel, cosmic power or God. I believe in it.
I believe

Rights and Wrongs – How often do we argue fervently with people, reaching no conclusion in the debate? Ever thought of the possibility that both the parties to the argument could be right? Let us take up this very post. My beliefs or opinions may not be agreeable to you. It is alright with me as long as you don’t shove yours down my throat.
I wrote a poem on this which is close to my heart. You can read it here: My Black Velvet Unicorn.

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Right to Love – This is a continuation of the previous point. I thought this required emphasis. I believe people have the right to love and this isn’t to be put to vote. How would you feel if someone says,

“Hey! Why do you Love your mother? You shouldn’t. My Holy book of Crapism says so.”
The government intervenes and says,
“Alright! Let is put his right of Loving his mother to vote. Those who think he should be given the right, put your hands up.”

Keeping aside all religious sentiments, considering the fact that we are mere souls; the body will disintegrate and so will our gender, tell me how could we put LGBT’s rights to vote? Let people Love anyone they want to love as long as there is no bloodshed and destruction! Why don’t people feel so strongly against rapes, murders, littering the streets & corruption, but go nuts over two men in love?
Alright! You are entitled to your opinion. I am mine. But remember, so is the LGBT community! You can choose to be straight. But you don’t get to choose for others.
I believe in the policy of live, and let live. I try my best to ensure that my beliefs do not inconvenience or encroach upon the rights of others. My beliefs are an intermingled mesh of your belief and disbelief. I may not be an ideal person in the conventional world. But I am ideal in my own eyes, I live guilt free and that is what matters to me.


This is Day 3 of Four Things Ten Days Challenge. If you like this, you can read the previous posts here –
Day 1 – Four Likes Four Dislikes.
Day 2 – Four Fictional Characters
PS – If any of you want to join the challenge, you can start right away. This is for 10 days and you’ll have only 4 things to list each day. I’m not revealing the remaining list now. You can discover it with each day. You can either join the challenge in your blog or in the comment section.

Featured image credit: mysticinvestigations.com

The Lord’s Laments

Today, as I was browsing through Facebook, a series of satirical quotes caught my attention. The author portrays how certain religious beliefs scream irony so much so that even God is flabbergasted. But, we humans do not question them because come on! We go to hell if we do. And no! You don’t need to know where Hell is. One simply does not ask such questions.

The series were named ‘Daiva Vilapangal’ or God’s Laments by one Mr. Mahesh Haridas. Each one of them focusses on The Lord Almighty’s worries and how he must be lamenting about them.

All credits for the idea and images go to Mr. Mahesh Haridas. Those who know Malayalam, can check the post here. For the rest, I have given the translations below. I apologize in advance for my inability to give the exact translation.

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The Lord’s Lament 1

The Lord is in distress. He received crores of money in the form of offerings and the last date to pay his tax dues is fast approaching.

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Should The Lord pay taxes? But isn’t he the one who created us and the entire universe? Then why would he pay tax? Does it mean that he is dependent on the government and that he has to abide by the laws and regulations? So, the law makers are above God, right?

The Lord’s Lament – 2

 

The God of Death, Yama decided to give our Lord a treat for having helped him meet his targets. As usual, all the killings on Earth was in the name of God.

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I have my God and you all have to follow my God. No! Your God isn’t the real one. We protect our God and if you do anything to tarnish his image, you will be facing us.

And so we fight and die. Now, if we die, who will protect our God? He will perish without us. Oh dear!

The Lord’s Lament – 3

On a closer look at Earth, he saw that the walls were all covered with messages and quotes in his name and he wondered, When on Earth did I say all that?

“You shouldn’t love the same gender. Why do you think I created two genders? I would have created males alone or females alone if it was allowed. I decide whom you love. Alright?”

“Menstruating women shouldn’t enter certain places of worship. It infuriates me and my wrath will be upon you!”

“Are you a Hindu marrying a Christian? Henceforth, I do not want to see you. I prohibit your entry into my home.”

“Share my picture on Facebook. Else, you will hear a bad news in 2 hours and will have bad luck for the next 10 years.”

God – Whaaaaat!? Someone is impersonating me!

People – Oh shut up! You aren’t the real God. Real God says things like those. ^_^

 

The Lord’s Lament – 4

An arrest warrant for God. Due to the fireworks conducted to please The Lord, hundreds lost their lives.

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“Um… tell me how people died, again? Er… was I supposed to watch the fireworks? I was enjoying my Pizza.”

The Lord’s Lament – 5

The Lord was the judge and he gave away prizes to the committee members who played movie songs the loudest, to entertain him during the festival.

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“Hey! Can someone play that song from the latest Rajnikanth movie? I like that guy! 😀 ”

The Lord’s Lament – 6

The establishment made in the name of God, without his knowledge, was destroyed and in its place, another building was constructed again in the name of God. He looked at these humans and said, “(Damn!) I should have planted some plantains in their place.”

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Some of them are equally hilarious and disturbing. For instance, the last one. According to some, if one doesn’t belong to their religion, one is not religious at all. I personally know people who believe so.

Some of the comments on these posts said that festivals and fireworks weren’t for God’s entertainment but for ours. The question is, if certain entertainments cause trouble and nuisance, is it necessary in the name of religion? Will we lose anything by reducing some of the festivities? This is my opinion and I know you will have yours. I respect that. But the answer ‘This has been followed for years and this should continue’ is too vague and unsettling.

To believe or not to believe is up to people. But stereotyping the God you have never seen and expecting people to follow your version of it, manipulating religious practices as per your convenience, using fear as a tool to get things done in the name of God only depicts the crookedness of human minds.

Your God is your conscience. Your version of God need not tally with everyone else’s version. As long as your deeds do not hurt anyone physically or mentally, you are worshipping your God right.

How different, peaceful and beautiful the world would be if each one of us minded our own business, ensured that we did not hurt our fellow beings through words or deeds, and extended our hands when someone was in need?

Featured image courtesy: Favim.com

PS – I am not an athiest. I am religious in my own way yet, that doesn’t stop me from questioning certain beliefs. I do not have any grudge towards any religion. If the mention of any names hurt your sentiments, I apologize. It wasn’t intentional. Meanwhile, some of the sentences explicitly display my belief and I do not apologize for those. To know the difference, you may ask me. Thanks 🙂

Book Review: Ramayana – The Game of Life

Introduction

Book: Ramayana – The Game of Life: Stolen Hope
Author
: Shubha Vilas
Publisher: Jaico Books
Note: This book is third in the series of six books

We have all heard the story of Rama and also its various versions. Most of us know of the peripheral whats, whens, hows & whys, and the story as narrated to us, ends with a moral. We have agreed, disagreed and debated over the turn of events umpteen times. Shubha Vilas’s Ramayana – The Game of Life takes Ramayana to a whole new level.

I began with the 3rd book in the series – Stolen Hope. Yes. You can start with it since it gives a gist, in the beginning, of what happened until then and you really don’t feel that you missed anything. But by the end of this review, you’ll know why starting from book 1 is for the best.

Blurb of the Book

 

Analysis

It begins with a sage narrating the history of Dandakaranya – The Dandaka forest – to Rama, Sita & Lakshmana. While reading through the narrative wide-eyed, I noticed numbers marking certain words and footnotes given below the pages. It didn’t take long to realize that the author has done an in depth study in Ramayana. He has analyzed how each aspect of the story can be related to real life and how it can be applied in certain situations. In some parts he gives the cause and effect of certain actions. These footnotes not only help us in analysing the story at a deeper level, but also guide us to look within ourselves.

Here is an excerpt from the book that will give you an idea of how it works. This is one of my favorite analysis from the author.

The body of the book reads:

“And the focus of the sages had been to attain self-perfection, but the menace of the rakshasas has channelled their focus to self-protection instead.”

The footnote related to this says:

“Coexistence of opinions is saintly life. Extermination of others’ opinion is demoniac life. Just as sages and demons coexisted in the Dandakaranya forest, with the demons trying to exterminate the sages, virtues and vices coexist within each individual. When vices try to exterminate virtues, then Rama needs to come in.

When negative forces try to influence our lives, our focus changes from inward evolution to outward aversion. Driven  by fear, the sages of Dandakaranya instead of focusing on inner upliftment, began to focus on outward resistance.”

The situation that led to restlessness in sages, have been analysed in depth and it has been correlated with similar situations in our lives. While the purpose of human life is self-evolution and happiness that we go after is in fact within ourselves, when adversity strikes, we tend to look outside for solution, support and happiness. Our focus shifts from our purpose and we need Rama – call it faith, will power, support, motivation – to get us back on track.

Ramayana has been told and retold in various versions and myriad tongues. Even here, I came across new course of events. Vali – the monkey King, and Ravana were friends. Sita throws a blade of grass between herself and Ravana, who was advancing towards her angrily. The blade of grass stops him on his tracks. To know the reasons for these, you will have to delve deep into the book. The mere act of throwing the grass is substantiated with close to a dozen reasons, each one more denser than the other. It is said that people in that era, spoke and acted with great caution. Every action of theirs was deliberate and had deep meanings. This was one such.

These new perspectives and analysis gelled well with the story and gave a freshness that helped me go with the flow. The book ends with Rama and Lakshmana wandering in search of Sita and chancing upon the ashram where Shabari resides. After a heart-warming episode here, the curtains fall.

The Prancing Deer

At the bottom of the page is a deer. The deer is seen to be standing, walking, prancing as the page turns. As the story advances, the deer moves forward through the book. It moves from the left end and reaches the right end, to be shot by an arrow. Having known the author through his writings, I’d like to believe that this deer has an inner significance, though I don’t know what that is. I fell in love with the deer gradually and it hurt when I saw it shot in the end. This was a unique bit I haven’t seen in any other books. 🙂

Summary

The author is a spiritual seeker and a motivational seeker. His intentions of imparting knowledge and providing motivation through epics have been made very clear through his writings. Giving footnotes for certain course of events, the author helps the readers analyse the situation and provides guidance as to how these teachings can be applied in real life. This is why I had mentioned that reading the series from the beginning is useful if you intend to take home the teachings. Written in a simple language, this book could also be given to children to draw values and morals from.

 

Mere Toh Giridhar Gopal

To start with, here is a picture of the naughty butter boy Krishna shared by my College senior yesterday. This is the altar in her room and I couldn’t help but share this beauty. 🙂

The Butter Boy :)
The Butter Boy 🙂

100 Happy Days – Day 58

Happiness is the magnificent form of the Lord

 

We have a Krishna Temple nearby with the most one of the beautiful Krishna idols I have ever seen. On any normal day, there are a very few people around and it is so peaceful to simply stand and stare at that beautiful form. But don’t be fooled by his appearance. He is very very naughty. I had written about one of his pranks where he hid inside the Garbhagriha while making me wait for him. You can read our conversation here. 😀

The specialty of this temple is that two old uncles sit before the deity and sing continuously for 2 hours every Thursday. They never fail in their duties. They have a book full of songs. Unmindful of the Shruti, Taalam or what the people would say, they offer flowers of music at his feet. I have always admired them. One evening, when I went with my sister, we saw a lady approaching the duo and asking something. This was followed by her son’s, a 5 year old child, bhajan.

My sister said, “I think anyone can sing here.”

“Yes, maybe.”

“Then why don’t you go and sing?”

“Aah no! I haven’t practiced and I’m very tensed.”

“Why? There is no one around.”

“Still. I’m scared.”

“Tell me seriously. Do you want to sing?”

“I do! But I don’t want people to see me. I don’t want them to know that I’m singing. I would sing if I were invisible. I prefer it that way.”

“Do whatever you want!”

I was feeling guilty now. I had a chance to sing in an auspicious place, right in front of my beloved deity and I was rejecting it. Ultimately, I ended up singing. People did notice and I did feel awkward. But I saved myself from the guilt I would have faced.

Yesterday I decided to pay a visit to him since it had been so long. Being a Thursday, an auspicious day for Lord Krishna, there were many people around. As I walked in, I couldn’t take my eyes off his majestic form.

Bathed in sandal paste,
glowing like gold,
coal black eyes
and celestial curves for lips.
One thick chain of gold,
above a garland made of lotus flowers.
An orange kanakaambaram lining
followed by the most fragrant jasmine.

As many more flowers adorned his body, my field of vision ended there since I was focused on that alluring smile. He just stood there.

“How could you look so magnificent?”

No Answer.

After drinking in his beauty, I began the circumambulation which was when I saw those two uncles singing. They weren’t sitting in their usual place. Instead, there was a huge hall next to the garbhagriha. No one could see inside unless they came close & peeped through the window or walked in. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I took another round and saw that there was no one else inside. I could sing without being noticed.

Here is the bhajan I sang. Hope you like it:

There was no conversation between me and the thief of hearts. Last time, we met, he showed me his pranks. This time, he proved that he actually listens and cares. I sang, got up and with no awkward conversations, I exited the temple premises in peace. 🙂

Visit to A Paradise

I was out of town for a few days last month. Had gone to Ochira, Kollam for my sister’s admission. A very peaceful and beautiful place with the Sea on one side and the ocean on the other. I got back a couple of days back, after which I fell ill. So I missed a few days of 100 Happy Days due to lack of connectivity there. So, here is one of the posts I wrote then.

100 Happy Days – Day 52

Happiness is Experiencing Tranquility

I have been to Ochira many times as a child and I always looked forward to the boat ride to Parayakadavu. I used to watch with awe, the white squids (or were they jellyfishes?) swimming all around us in the backwaters. I always thought that they were jellyfishes because I never knew back then that there were things called squids. Those things awed me, but their creepiness scared me to the core. I did have the fear of falling off the boat. But, thankfully nothing so dramatic happened.

Around 15 years later, I went there again hoping for another boat ride. But things had changed. With bridges and roads, a boat ride isn’t necessary at all. I am not happy about it. But since we had a motive (admissions for my sister), I didn’t speak my mind. I will definitely go there for my boat ride. 😉

Well, so on our way to Amritapuri, I watched the waves lashing against the shore. At times, the water even splashed towards the road. It was a rare view.

This is the view from the place we stayed. The ornate building is the Amritapuri Ashram. Look beyond that and you can see the Sea. Ain’t it beautiful? There are many inmates who have been staying here for over 15 years. How would life be if we could sit on the balcony with a view so beautiful and read a book with a mug of coffee in hand.

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Don’t you want to see the view to the left side? Here you go!

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The Ashram is flanked with Sea on one side and backwaters on the other. It is similar to a live wallpaper. You can shift the view as per your mood. If you want to experience some peace, the view of the backwaters would give precisely that. If you want to see some action and some emotion, the waves lashing, the sun kissing the Sea goodnight, move your chair towards the right of the building and Tadaa!

I couldn’t sit and read there. Not literally. I did read some Indirect Tax case laws. By reading, I mean novels. I will definitely go there some day, just to sit and read or maybe to take a walk by the Sea. 🙂

Kochi Diaries 2 – The Police Museum

Fort Kochi Mattanchery Trip – Part II – The Police Museum
Read the first part Here.

Continuing from our Mattanchery trip, we visited the Police Museum where they had displayed some really interesting stuff.

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Front portion of the museum

We entered through the left side where they had displayed mannequins with various police uniforms starting from the Travancore Kings’ era until now. I was surprised to see the drastic change. Women police, at one point of time had skirts. Also, they had displayed the different types of caps used.

The exhibits placed at the central building had some really amazing artifacts, few of which I have given below:

  1. Coins
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2. Palm leaf manuscript – They also had placed the Ezhuthani or the stylus, that was used to write on these palm leaves. Beautiful as it may seem, I cannot imagine writing without ink and having to etch the words into leaves.

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3. Ash Pot – Initially, I thought this was used as a cigarette ash tray. But when I got home, Amma told me that in earlier days, they used to hang this in the illam. Since brush and toothpaste didn’t exist in those days, they kept tooth powder in these pots. Also, these were indeed used as Ash pots. But, to keep the holy ash (Vibhuti/Bhasmam). The pots were hung on the threshold so that, after bath or while leaving the house, people applied the ash on their foreheads or body.

About the book below the ash pot, I vaguely remember that it has the testaments written in Hebrew. I am not sure of it though.

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4. Miscellaneous Artifacts 

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Gigantic Shell

 

 

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A huge bell and an old pair of spectacles which reminded me of Harry Potter 😛

 

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Look at the intricate work that has gone into the liquor can. I would definitely want one like this.

 

 

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The ink pot looks super-cute and that lock is huge!

 

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The hooked sword of a velichappadu, the revealer of lights

They had also displayed different types of swords and the pistols used in those days.

Though I am not so fond of history and though I haven’t still got the link of events, all those places and the stories they told intrigued me. If I had a chance, I would live a day in that era and return, just to know what they did without all the technology, what were the traditions then and the reasons for the same.

If you visit Kochi, make sure to go to Fort Kochi. It is indeed a chest of stories. 🙂

Kochi Diaries 1 – Fort Kochi, Mattanchery Trip

100 Happy Days – Day 32

Happiness is going on trips

Part 1 – Fort Kochi, Mattanchery

Being a Kochiite, I have never gone to Fort Kochi or Mattanchery as a visitor. I never had the opportunity. But for some time now I have been wanting to go there. Specially after I went to Fort Kochi for a photo-shoot and realized how different that place was from the rest of Kochi.

That day, by 2.30 pm, we – My Sister, my best friend and I – started towards our planned Fort Kochi & Mattanchery trip. I had my Lavy and he had his bike and so it was a pleasant ride from here. With around 3 bridges to pass through (Frankly, I lost count :P), I was mesmerized as always seeing the water body. I was torn between the need to ride and the urge to keep looking at the waters. Man! That is risky!

These were the places we went to during the trip;

  1. The Pardesi/Jewish Synagogue
  2. The Clock Tower
  3. The Streets of Mattanchery
  4. The Police Museum
  5. The World’s biggest Uruli
  6. The Dutch Palace
  7. Fort Kochi

The Pardesi/Jewish Synagogue

In about half an hour, we reached Mattanchery and began with the Jewish synagogue. Once we took the tickets, we were led to a room that had illustrations and description about the history of the synagogue. I tried reading some, skipped some and remembered a very few interesting facts. I never knew Kodungallur was known as Cranganore. Sounds really cranky!

The synagogue was built in the 1568 by the Jews. The flooring was laid using 18th-century, hand-painted, porcelain tiles. One of the most fascinating things I found in the description was that, no two tiles are similar. Sure enough, when we scrutinized, though they all looked similar at first, there were minor differences between each tile. Photography was prohibited and so, I couldn’t get a close up image of the tiles. However, Wikipedia did give me an image of the interiors which you can see below. At the center of the synagogue is a brass railed pulpit. But, what caught my eyes were the Belgian glass chandeliers. You can see them all hanging majestically. I wonder how the place looks at night, with all the lights.

You can see the tiles on the floor. They are all unique.

Image courtesy: wikipedia.org

The Clock Tower

While entering the Synagogue, you could see an 18th century clock tower which is also an attraction there. In the image below is the clock tower. The entrance to the synagogue is towards the left, next to the lamp shade.

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The Streets of Mattanchery

The streets of Mattanchery is filled with antique shops, art galleries, display of black metal jewelry, pashmina & cashmere shawls, a combination of ethnic designs, North Indian and western outfits etc. I was pointing at everything in the vicinity saying variants of ‘wow’s and ‘so beautiful’s.

Some buildings had beautiful structures. I don’t know what they call them, but a lot of intricate handiwork had gone into making them. This is one such thing I found before a shop.

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I don’t think it looks as beautiful in the picture as in reality. Those water plants are in itself a beauty. And when they are laid out like this in a miniature well, it enhances the beauty further. I would definitely have one like this built in my mansion some day. 😉 Oh! And look at the artefacts inside the shop. We do have a hanging lamp at home. So, that’s one down. 😛

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As I walked down the street, I decided to take some pictures of the shops. Again, this isn’t how it looks. The streets are beautiful and I need a real camera. 😦 You can see all the clothes, scarves, the jewelry, the ethnic bags etc. All the colors were driving me crazy. 😀

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The Police Museum

The Police Museum is a display of history of the State’s police from the era of Kings of Travancore to now. Also, some random things from those times.

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Entrance to the Police Museum

We entered through the left side where they had displayed mannequins with various police uniforms starting from the Travancore Kings’ era until now. I was surprised to see the drastic change. Women police, at one point of time had skirts. Also, they had displayed the different types of caps used.

The central portion of the museum had a multitude of artifacts, some of which were very beautiful and intriguing. Towards the left side of the premises, there were various kinds of swords displayed. They are all reserved for another post.

FK

 

The World’s biggest Uruli

Uruli is a traditional cookware in Kerala. They are often used mostly for religious ceremonies; in Temples or for Poojas at home. Nowadays, you can see them in various sizes adorning the drawing room of many Malayalis. And why not!? It looks majestic as you can see below.

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The picture given above was taken at an antique store in Mattanchery. They claim this to be the world’s largest Uruli that got into the Limca book of records. It looked so aesthetic, filling the entire hall of the shop. I also silently wished that there were turtles in the water. It would be fun watching them. 😛 I love the intricate work on its body. Isn’t she a beauty?

The Dutch Palace 

Our last stop in Mattanchery was the Dutch palace. Though it is named so, it was built by the Portuguese in 1555. It was gifted to the then king of Cochin. Later on, the Dutch carried out some extensions and renovations and hence the name Dutch palace. It is built atop a Devi temple.

The palace is built in the traditional Kerala style (naalukettu) and has a courtyard in the middle. They don’t let us see all the parts of the temple which is sad because, there was a particular corridor which looked irresistible. If we stand there, we could see the entire interior portion of the palace which is the specialty of a naalukettu.

  • In one room, they have placed mural paintings depicting scenes from Ramayana.
  • In another, they have displayed the different types of swords used by the king and the royal soldiers.
  • They have also displayed palanquins in various sizes and shapes. They looked irresistible.
  • The next room showcased the various stamps and coins over the years, map of the palace, map of Kochi, details of many Kings, their pictures and so on.
  • Another section had the exhibits of huge locks used in those days, shampoo and oil containers, combs, hair pins etc used by the royal women.

I am sure that I have missed out many things, but this is what happens when they don’t let you take pictures.

Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi is where the God’s own country takes a tangy twist. The buildings there have a western finish to them with their posh looking windows, bright and chic paints in different colors, streets named after Westerners whom I really don’t know. My favorite of all is the princess street. I felt that was the most colorful and unique area there. We walked through the street for a while, and then went to the beach.

Once we were done with that, we went back to Mattanchery, munched into some cold Pepsi and hot vada pav from Goli and started back home. I really can’t wait to go there again. We couldn’t cover many places and one day, I will. This is just the beginning. 🙂

 

Day 29 – The Monsoons

100 Happy Days – Day 29

Happiness is …

BzumAY3CQAE2wKr
                                                A view from my bedroom window

When the clouds form patterns,
the lights are dimmed,
the breeze becomes cooler,
a cue that the wait is over.

The birds return homeward,
as the winds pick up speed,
They play with my hair,
and give me the chills.

As I close my eyes,
and feel the changes around me,
I hear the pitter-patter drum rolls,
the announcement of her arrival.

I look at the vista before me,
as she picks up speed.
I hear her approach,
a shiver runs down my spine.

Alas! I catch sight of her,
gliding gracefully before me,
drenching the green Earth,
marking her territory.

She hugs the tress,
disarms the dirt,
kisses the tender sprouts,
and dissolves into the waters.

She leaves nothing untouched,
my soul included.
Of all the seasons that we have,
she leaves me awed, forever.

These are the pictures of the canal behind my apartments. It is one of the most beautiful places. You can see a wide variety of bird species in here – the parrots, the kingfisher, the coucal, white cranes, brown cranes, yellow-long-tailed bird, a black long fork tailed bird which I assume is a drongo etc.
Bzul_RUCQAAZ35q  I took these pictures when it was raining heavily. When Jun begins, monsoons hit Kerala and it rains and rains and rains. I keep wondering why one (Read a Keralite) spends lakhs of rupees, travels long distances and go to unknown places for honeymoon. Nothing can beat Kerala during the monsoons.

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A view of the still waters and the drenched trees after a rain

If you ask me which is better, the rain itself or the Earth after the rains, I would always say the latter. The cold, the sound of settling raindrops, the croaking of the frogs, the leaves dripping with water, the drop running down the glass in the windows. Every time it rains, I feel trapped. If I had wings, I would surely be out there, playing with the raindrops. 🙂

11 Songs That Stir My Soul.

A R Rahman is my God of music.

I used to listen to melodies often but never bothered to look who the music director was. Many years after my playlist grew, I happened to notice that most of the songs I had were A R Rahman‘s. Slowly, as I fell in love with the creation, I fell for the creator too. 🙂 But, in the list below, you wouldn’t find many ARR songs. Because, most of us know his hits very well.

Following are the songs close to my soul, my precious gems. There are Malayalam, Tamil & mostly Hindi songs here. Also, for your convenience, I have attached bits of each song sung by me. You can read the reasons for my song-love, listen to the bits & decide whether you like them. 🙂

1. Teri Bandagi (Hindi):

Movie: Drona

This song has been rendered beautifully by Sunidhi Chauhan. If you have spent an entire night thinking aimlessly about a loved one, if you were torn between the joy of being loved & the desperation of knowing that your love is miles apart, you’d love the lyrics. And the music is mind-blowing. Just put off the lights, plug in the earphones, close your eyes and melt into this. 🙂

2. Mujhe Aaj Tune Jo Choo Liya (Hindi):

Album: “Tum Aaye”

This is another one of those soul stirring songs I mentioned. Like the icing on the top, like the rainbow in the sky, Hariharan’s voice just materializes here & there and as always, he has weaved his magic in here. The lyrics, it begins with;

Mein Kahoonga toh kaun manega
Aaj kya dekha, kya kiya meine
Phool ko aaj gaathe dekha hai
Chaand ko aaj choo liya meine.

(Meaning – Who would believe me if I say,
about what I saw today & about what I did.
Today, I saw the flower sing…
I touched the moon today…)

I must admit that there is a peculiar beauty about Hindi lyrics. And the Urdu words in some songs, simply enhance the feel. Do listen to this song for the enchanting voices of Hariharan & Alka Yagnik.

3. Piya Milenge (Hindi):

Movie: Raanjhana

Here comes A R Rahman. I consider this to be one of the classics he composed in a very long time. Firstly, he knows to choose the right singers. ARR’s ‘Chayya Chayya‘, ‘Ishq Bina’, ‘Des mere‘ etc are well known, powerful songs sung by Sukhwinder singh. And so, it was only natural for Sukhwinder to pull of Piya milenge with so much ease. The song is intricate with a  Sufi, devotional touch and the inspirational music & lyrics. One cannot miss the vibe that the tune creates.

The enchanting part, is its lyrics. It says,‘The one you’re searching for outside, is seated silently within you. When there is a sea inside you, why do you search outside? Draw back the curtains of your mind, open the veil and you’ll find your beloved.’

If you think, it talks about love, someone else thinks it talks about God. The word ‘Piya’ is used to refer to one’s Love and also to Lord Krishna. Whether it says about the Lord or Love, is left to our interpretation. And that is what allures me about this song. A unique piece of work indeed!

4. Pookkal Pookkum (Tamil):

Movie: Madrasapattinam

http://gettamillyrics.blogspot.in/

From the start, from the moment I heard this song, I was restless until I downloaded it. I have listened to this a hundred times and never got tired. Later, when I saw this movie, specially the scene just before the song, I fell for the music all the more. I have no idea what half the song means. But the tune & the feel is excellent. Here is the video of the scene & the song.

5. Manmarziyaan (Hindi):

Movie: Lootera

Again, the music is what lured me. I have no idea what the lyrics mean. The voice of the singers, the music and the entire effect it creates is all I wanted to instantly fall in Love with this piece of music.

6. Kaash Aisa Koi Manzar Hota (Hindi):

Album: Gazal.

Singer,Hariharan! What more should I say? Love the music, love the voice. There is no way one cannot fall into the abyss of this music. As I mentioned earlier, Urdu language has left its mark here. And Hariharan has weaved his magic here. You wouldn’t hear an extra bit of instrument. It is peace. It is all silent, except for occasional tinkers and how do I put it? My wonderland would sound like this.

7. Maula mere Maula mere (Hindi):

Movie- Anwar

No introductions here. If you listen to Hindi songs, you’d definitely know this. This song is the Tom & Jerry of all the cartoons, Harry Potter of all the books. I have rarely come across people who don’t know this song. Wondering why it is here? I don’t want a single person to miss this.To begin with, the lyrics brim with passion. The repeated chanting of ‘Maula mere’ gets me imagining a guy, so awestruck seeing his Love, that all he could say is ‘Oh God’ repeatedly. It depicts that deep, gripping kind of Love that you could only imagine, read in books or see in movies. These are my favorite lines.Rakh lu chupaki mein kahi tujhko Saaya bhi tera na mein duu (I’ll keep you hidden somewhere I wouldn’t give you away, not even your shadow. ) Love the emotion behind these lines.

8. Madno (Hindi):

Movie: Lamhaa

Most of my friends in Kerala hadn’t listened to this song. I still wonder why. I was the local distributor of this song here. 😛 I shouted, flogged and fought with anyone who didn’t listen to this. My reasons are the same. Lovely music, lyrics and feel.In between, the male voice is replaced by Chinmayi Sripada‘s enchanting, husky, base voice. If your eyes are closed, you’d just open & say ‘wow’ right there.Mein hu shab tu subah dono judke judaa Mein hu lab tu dhua dono judke juda Madno… Mashuko… Dilbara… Madno re… I’m night & you’re morning, both join & then separate I’m lips & you’re prayer, both join & then separate The last words all mean beloved and I think Madno is Urdu, Mashuko is Kashmiri and Dilbara is Hindi. See that? How could one not fall for such details?

9. Mazhaye Thoomazhaye (Malayalam): Movie: Pattam Pole

http://hotnsourmoviechannel.com

So far I haven’t written a single Malayalam song in the list and many would ask ‘Why this?’. It has got a rainy touch to it. And no other song in Malayalam gave me this feel. The lyrics are pretty good. Again, romance is the theme. But as I said, when I listen to this, I could imagine the green interior parts of Kerala, the rain, its smell, and the love you find when it rains. It’s the music, the singer’s voice and the reference to rains that pulled me towards it.

10. Azhage Sugama (Tamil):

Movie: Parthale un paravasam

Must say, it is a sad song. But the wordplay is fantastic. After a break up, one is asking the other if he/she is fine. Whether their anger and sorrows are doing well, whether the loneliness seems fine, whether the house, the gardens, the bed & the single pillow atop is fine.Trust me! It sounds really beautiful in Tamil. 😥

Azhutha Neeril Karaigal Poividum Theriyaathaa?
Kuraigal Ullathu Manitha Uravugal Puriyaathaa?
Ithu Kaneer Nadathum Paechu Vaarthai,
Udaintha Manangal Ottathaaa?

(Meaning: Don’t you know that in the tears (I) shed, the shores would vanish? Don’t you know that it is human nature not to be perfect? This conversation is between tears. Will the broken hearts ever join back?)

The entire song has a lovely amount of wordplay. But I wouldn’t attempt to explain & spoil more of it here. You can find the lyrics HERE. And no doubt, A R Rahman swished his wand for the music. It is lovely.

11. Abhi Mujhme Kahin:

Movie: Agneepath

Sonu Nigam! Sonu Nigam! He has just pulled out his heart & that is what sang this song. When I listen to the lyrics, I imagine a phoenix sing it. The theme revolves around how someone was reborn from the ashes. It talks about the relief when a person burning in the scorching sun suddenly finds the tree’s shade. The feeling of an angry kid scolded & being cajoled. You can read the lyrics and meaning HERE. This one is more about life. Words that leaves us thinking. The words come alive with the apt kind of tune given. And when Sonu Nigam sings it, _/\_ speechless!

Image courtesy: http://storage9.gear3rd.com/

These are my all time favorites. There are many more lovely songs in my playlist. If I were to go on, the number would reach around 30 or 40. These aren’t my top eleven or anything. But, these were the ones that had to be mentioned. And so, I did. Please do listen to them and let me know if they make it to your playlist. I’d be too happy about it. 😀

PS – I’m really sorry for screwing up the translations.

God, Speak to me!

This is a beautiful piece of writing I came across few years back and I had noted it down in my diary.
Thought I’d share this.Writer: Anonymous

 

The little child whispered,
‘God speak to me’
And the meadow Lark sang,
but the child didn’t hear.

So the child yelled,
‘God! Speak to me!!!’
And the thunder rolled across the sky.
But the child didn’t hear.

The child looked around and said,
‘God, I want to see you.’
And a star shone brightly
but the child did not see.

And the child shouted,
‘God show me a miracle!’
A life was born.
But the child did not know.

So the child cried out in despair,
‘Touch me God! And let me know you are there.’
Whereupon, God reached down and touched the child
but the child brushed the butterfly away and walked away unknowingly.

 

Madhura Bhakti – The story of the divine love.

Dheera sameere…    Yamuna theere…

Vasathi Vaney Vanamaali…

(Near the serene waters of Yamuna lived the Vanamaali)



He was the life breath of Gopis in Brindavan… The one with the peacock feather… The lotus eyed cowherd boy…

It was time  to leave for Mathura. He bids farewell to Yashoda and all others. He then proceeds to meet Radha. It was only Krishna who knew how pure her love for him was.  He kept thinking as to how to face her tears and how on earth to console and comfort her. As he was walking towards the Yamuna river where Radha would be, he could see her still form waiting for him.

As he approached her, he was perplexed to see her receive him with glowing smiles. She tells him, “Krishna, why do you look so sad and depressed? Are you scared of what would happen to me if you leave? For even if you leave me physically, can you ever leave my thoughts? You can’t leave me coz you’re already trapped in the cage of my loving heart.” Hearing this Krishna stands dumbfounded.

Recovering from the unexpected behavior, he bids goodbye. He walks a few steps ahead and turns back only to see his Radha literally rolling in the banks of Yamuna and crying aloud unable to bear the departure of her very life breath. Though she spoke with an intention to console him, the moment she found the dark, curly haired form leaving her, her suppressed emotions couldn’t find place in her soft heart and thus she broke down.

Seeing this Krishna rushes to her and holds her by her hands and the serene waters come from the divine eyes in the form of tears silently saying that He can’t bear to see her cry. Krishna holding her hands, but unable to console her, only looks into her eyes filled with his form. Radha then asks him, “I neither need your proximity nor your exclusive attention. But a boon to die on your lap”. For which Krishna promises, “Wherever I am, however I am I’ll surely be present by your side at the time of your death”

Assuring thus he rushes back to the place where the chariot stood with a fear to even look back at his beloved for he knew for sure, what she’d be doing…

This sight has melted the hardest of rock and hills that were present…

Years passed, Radha was married to someone whom she never even thought about, she was perpetually tortured by her in laws who misunderstood her relationship with the divine. She never paid heed to their abuses coz her mind, heart and soul were filled with Krishna and there was no room to accommodate the thoughts of others. She smiled, laughed, cried, spoke or even lived and breathed for Krishna. And thus time flew…

Those shining eyes, rosy complexion and our most charming Radha was no more the same. Her eyes grew dull, hair turned grey yet; her heart still twinkled with the memories of her dear most cowherd boy Krishna. It was time for her to leave the world.

She sees partially all her relatives around her deathbed and requests them to leave her alone on the banks of Yamuna . They do so though unwillingly. She remained there leaning against a tree looking at the sparkling waters of Yamuna. The tree she leaned on had her and Krishna’s name engraved upon its bark. Seeing this she remembered those days when she and Krishna used to play around the place, Krishna’s pranks, his words, his smile, the divine music from his flute… In fact it was Radha who had encouraged Krishna to play the flute.

Suddenly she starts getting hiccups (a sign to show that she’ll live no more). Unable to bear the physical and mental agony, she drops her body slowly only to find herself on the lap of the lord. Then she remembers the assurance that her Krishna had given her. Looking at him she breaks down. His smile brings tears to her eyes, his touch stirs her emotions and his very presence puts life into her. Looking at the plight of his beloved, Krishna says, “I’ve failed…” He then cries for the second time, he apologizes for having failed to grant the boon of his proximity to her. Then Radha tells him,” Lord, haven’t you given me the thoughts of yours? Haven’t you given me a heart that has a form of yours alone? A life that lived for you alone? Is it not a boon for me to live in this world yet remember you alone? Truly lord, the moment you left me, I realized that I’m nothing without you. The ego in me is dead. I’m hollow. Kindly take this hollow instrument in thy hands and breathe through thy lips thus letting me merge in the melodious tunes of thy breath.” (A hint for him to play the flute that she loved the most).

The music was so melodious that the whole environment around them rested in peace. And Radha was no exception to this. Krishna realizes that the queen of his heart is no more for his lap becomes heavy, as a result his heart heavier and his anger, heaviest.

The nature too feared the fury of the lord who stood there with red eyes, shedding tears for his Radha. He then looks at the flute and with all the strength that is latent in his creation, throws it into the Yamuna River.

Yes, that was the last time he played the flute. That is how the lord commits himself to his loved ones.

Radha’s and Krishna’s love was misunderstood by the residents of Brindavan as attraction and infatuation, and even today many do. It is up to the devotee the way he worships the lord. Like Hanuman’s was Dasya bhakti to Rama, Radha’s was Madhura Bhakti to Krishna. Yugas changed, but its difficult find someone like Radha who loved god throughout their life. Most importantly could love god alone throughout their life.

Courtesy: An instrument.

The words of the LORD…

God wants to talk to you.

 

I came down just for you.

I’m on your guard through & through.

You cry at the agony of being born.

Seeing ur anguish my heart is torn.

I rush to you to caress you.

At once you smile , a smile so true

Each time your gaze falls on me

You seem to be in blissful glee

Your first word uttered with love, ‘ MOTHER !’

Makes me feel you love me alone ,none other…


But alas child! You seem to change,

Your  mind and your tastes become strange

As you grow , the world is what you fancy

But what caused the world ? you blindly don’t see.

As your father I come in disguise,

But you find none other than yourself wise.

Your mind  travels far  and wide,

And  everytime away from me you hide.


The hands in the clock keep turning

The fire in you keeps burning

You find happiness in hanging around with your age

I   immediately respond &  come down to your stage

‘Dear Friend !’ You call me & with me you stay

The moment I show you the right path, you simply walk away.

As the tricky time flows by,

Your mind seems to fly high.

The moment I know what u seek for

I come to you at your door

Many a times I try approaching you

Everytime you’re obsessed with something new.

Your calculations never seem to go wrong.

You turn your head away from me all along.


The oil in the lamp within you,

Begins to reduce through & through.

And that’s when child you panic here

You realize that you have reached nowhere

You understand that you’ve missed something

along the tracks…

And that’s when you take a look back.



You recall your very first days

And see your mother’s charming ways.

You find your father’s protective hands

And your friend’s reassuring glance

And then child you look at me

My same glow in them you see



Regretful tears fill your eyes

My love is what you didn’t realize

My legs are numb… my hands ache…

My love keeps flowing & my heart breaks…

Waiting for you here I stand

unnoticed, for you to hold my outstretched hand.

Waiting for you to realize the ceaseless flow

Of boundless love that on you I bestow.