Oct 21, 2010

Haiku - Rejoice in Silence


Clicked by me at Palampur in March

As you walk in silence
through these mountains
can you hear your soul rejoice ?

Oct 20, 2010

Celebrating Navratras the traditonal way !

I celebrated Navratras in Chandigarh after a very long time and participated in a long standing Navratra Tradition of our family-of Worshipping `Sanjhi`.
Punjab has a traditional way of celebrating Maa Durgas` visit on earth. In almost all Punjabi households, a ‘Sanjhi’ or Mother Goddess is created out of cowdung and mud and then plastered on the wall. My grandmother used to make Sanjhi by moulding cow dung in the shape of figures and then painting the face to give it a life like look.My aunt has kept the tradition alive but the only difference is that she uses only mud and instead of plastering the Sanjhi on the wall she uses a huge piece of cardboard.


In the Sanjhi you see above, she has created the faces, hand and feet and the flowers out of mud and then painted them. She has used paper for the dresses!


The two flower pots with the green leaves is another tradition followed during Navratras. On the first day of Navratras, seeds (usually Barley) are sown and then watered every day. This signifies prosperity and good luck. Almost every festival in Punjab is linked to farming. Usually the farmers start sowing seeds for wheat and other pulses after Dusshera and sowing of these barley seeds is actually a prayer to the Goddess for a good crop.
It is believed that Maa Durga comes down to earth to visit her parents during Navratras and returns on Dusshera. Usually the sanjhi is taken off the wall and immersed in a river on that day.(Similar to Durga Pooja). The barley has grown a few inches by then and is plucked and given to brothers by sisters. This signifies continuous prosperity and happiness in the family.

Oct 13, 2010

Yes I am Single. So?


Marriage! That all important thing in a woman’s life! Something that gets even more importance in our society than other trivial matters such as education and women’s rights! Our social mindset is such that an Indian woman is only considered to be a “complete woman” if she has a mangalsutra around her neck and a baby on her lap. As someone who is single, I am constantly being told how essential marriage is for a happy, secure and stable life. It’s a social norm that must be followed; my “well wishers” inform me earnestly. Honestly, I really can’t seem to understand this point of view.
Marriage according to me is a conscious decision to spend your life with someone you truly love and want to be around the rest of your life. What does it have to do with a woman’s security and social acceptance? The general arguement is that a woman needs someone in her life to “Take Care” of her. Are we trying to imply that the modern Indian woman is not capable of taking the major decisions in her life and looking after her own needs? As for the majority of women is this country who are not financially independent, isn’t it a better idea to empower and educate them so that they become self reliant instead of just marrying them off to someone so that they are “looked after” for the rest of their lives. And how many times does it work? Haven’t we all seen umpteen examples when a woman is ill-treated by her husband and left to fend for herself? Usually women don’t even have the courage to walk out of an abusive marriage because they are afraid of the social stigma.
What we need to do is change the mindset of the society. We need to stop treating a woman as a “Responsibility” or a “burden” and treat her as an individual with the freedom to live her life as she wants. We need to acknowledge and support a woman’s right to fight against an abusive marriage instead of telling her to quietly accept her lot.The Problem is, a woman’s hopes and aspirations don’t stand much of a chance in our male dominated society. Indian woman is supposed to be the epitome of sacrifice – She is told that she must compromise her own happiness and desires for the good of her family. Yes, there is a little give and take in every relationship. We make adjustments and sacrifices for the people we love – be it friends, family or siblings. But do we really need to submerge our own identity to get the so called fulfillment and social acceptance that marriage offers? My question is - is marriage the only thing a woman can derive happiness and contentment from? Isn’t the freedom to follow our dreams and aspirations and live our life the way we want enough to make us happy? Wouldn’t a woman who hasn’t found the man of her choice, be happier living alone, doing what she wants, instead of getting stuck in a marriage where she lives a stifled existence. Tell me wouldn’t you rather be in the driving seat of your own life rather than let your life be driven by someone else where you wouldn’t even have half a chance of back seat driving ! Some of us are lucky enough to live life on our own terms. But we are a minority, and even if our family is perfectly all right with us being single, society is definitely not.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not against the institution of marriage. A marriage between two people who truly care for and understand each other, is a real blessing. What I am trying to say is don’t make marriage a social compulsion, something we are obliged to do even if we are not happy doing it. Let a woman make her own choices, let her decide if she wants to stay single or get married and give her the right to walk out of an abusive or unhappy marriage without making it a social stigma.

edited to add: This post is one of  the winners of the Tejaswee Rao Blogging Awards - 2011

Oct 12, 2010

55 Fiction at Ginger Chai !

Ginger Chai has published a 55 fiction that I have written.
It can be read here
Thanks a lot Ginger Chai !

Oct 8, 2010

Autumn Leaves - Haiku



Autumn leaves flutter down
 like tired souls
at the end of their lives


(Visit Magpietales to get a picture prompt each week)

 

And History repeats itself !

A year back I had written about the travails of travelling by the office cab. Well a lot has happened in that one year. The management finally god fed up of our constant badgering about the downtrodden cab and we got a swanky new cab. Then unfortunately two of my cab mates who had become very good friends changed jobs and the cab journey lost most of its fun. Even more unfortunately three new people joined the cab who I can only describe as The Whiner, The Foren Return and Mr. Punctuality Personified. The whiner whines about everything. She whines when the cab is early, whines when it is late, whines when she has to sit in the front (AC too strong) whines when she has to sit at the back (too bumpy). Mr Foren Return on the other hand has spent four years in Australia and deems that land to be fit only for gods. If the Australian government wishes to redeem its image after the recent racist attacks on Indians, all it has to do is get this guy to act as their PR agent. Every day we endure a new installment on how great Australian infrastructure is, how everyone follows traffic rules and the roads are so clean that `you can eat off them mate`. Mr Punctuality Personified on the other hand is obsessed about reaching office on time. His is the last stop and god forbid if we reach there even a minute late. We are harangued by phone calls asking us where we are, how many minutes it will take us and do we not realize that he can’t afford to waste office time standing on a bus stop.
Any how I digress. What does all this have to do with history repeating itself ? Because today, exactly a year after I wrote this, our cab broke down on exactly the same spot as it had last year on this day. You see, our cab owner went home for navratras and took his swanky new cab with him. The replacement Indica was so decrepit and rickety that even Ratan Tata wouldn’t be seen dead in it. So today morning, I sat in the cab squashed between the whiner and the foren return listening to the whiner complaining about lack of space and the Foren Return pontificating about the spacious cabs in the land down under. Then the unthinkable happened. While the cab was bravely wheezing its way up the Ashram flyover, the engine coughed once, twice and then gave up on its valiant effort to climb the flyover. A policeman already harassed by the rush hour traffic made his way to our cab, extremely irritated by this addition to his work load. He beat his Stick on the bonnet and said arre jaldi hatao kitna jam laga diya. Our driver spewed a stream of paan on the road, swore volubly in haryanavi and asked us get down and push. Now we all reacted in typical fashion –
Whiner – Oh god how can I push, so much traffic , its so hot ……..
Foren Return – (while hardly making any attempts to push) this would never happen in Australia you know. A cab would never break down there man …. Such good traffic man ….
Punctuality Personified – How much time will this take. I really can’t waste time stranded here………..
The cab driver realizing how useless we were in the situation, spotted a few workers on CWG duty and cajoled them to push. Thankfully the car started after a few pushes and we reached office very late and thoroughly irritated.

(8th Oct 2011 – Dare I even think about it! )


 

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