Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

To all my bogging buddies, have a great New Year ahead!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Things my Husband Says

Me: Honey, the tap in the kitchen is making weird noises. Can you please take a look?
Husband: Walk's over to the tap, "Tap, please stop making weird noises."

Me: I think its fair enough.
Husband: You think?
Me: dskjfaoiufjkasfdjal!

Husband: How are you today?
Me: I am fine.
Husband: I thought you were Madhu.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Is Mushroom a vegetarian food or Non-veg?

Ever wondered? I have this Sri Lankan colleague who started arguing with others at work that Mushrooms are non-veg and that she is not going to have mushrooms because its Saturday. That got me thinking, are Mushroom's really a veg or non-veg?

Mushrooms are not conceived in a womb, Mushrooms do not feel pain when you pluck them off, so they have got to be vegetarian. Also, they dont yelp when you throw a stone at them. Even Egg's dont yelp, so can it be a vegetarian too?
The counter argument is, they are thriving fungus! So, it has to be non-veg. The argument obviously is insufficient to be able to conclude weather or not mushroom is a vegetarian or not.

I started doing a bit of research (now you know what I do on free-time at work) on this and found a link to Srimad Bhagavad Gita: http://www.bhagavad-gita.us/bhagavad-gita-6-16.htm
According to Krishna or Krishna consciousness, if you will, don't indulge in over/under eating.

Food is divide in to 3 types according to Gita. Now it is up to us to decide where each food falls.

Saatvik (goodness): Milk, honey, vegetables, rice, lentils etc. If you ask me, eggs are also vegetarian. They are unfertilized by sperm isn't it? Also by definition, you are not causing pain to the egg when you make an omelet (just like you don't cause pain to carrots when you dig them out of soil). No offense to anyone, this is strictly my opinion. In my definition, egg falls into Saatvik category.
You might argue that we need to classify food based on cell-structure not where it comes from. I would not agree because when Gita was being written or when Krishna was defining Saatvik food, He didnt consider cell structure. If He did, we would have found some texts suggesting the same. Anyway, back to types of food.
Does it mean that it is time to redefine what "vegetarian" is?

Rajasik (Passion): Anything which is hot (chili-hot) and spicy falls into this category. From what I understand, there is no clear definition of which foods fall under this category.

Taamsik (Ignorance): Meat and meat products fall under this category. It always surprised me that, we Hindus give so much importance to religion, peace etc, yet Bhagavad Gita (or rather Kurukshetra) itself is a justification of why war is essential at times. Of course I fully believe that it is the Holiest of text's till date, yet the irony is not lost on me.

Another thing is, how many of us realize that its not about veg or non-veg but its about not killing animals for our wants/needs? For the same reason even leather cloths should also be a strict No for a practicing vegetarian. can we live without eating meat? Yes. But do I propagate that eating vegetarian food is the way to go? No. I am not against eating meat...and I don't try to persuade those who do to consider my perspective.

Its up to you, the reader to decide where Mushroom falls. It obviously does not fall under Saatvik, but it could be either Rajasik or Taamasik.

So, it is not possible for us to arrive at a blanket conclusion that Mushroom is a veg or a non-veg item.

Disclaimer: My intention is not to offend anyone. If I come across that way, let me know and I will edit my post. These views are just my views. So, you will have to let me know if I offended anyone, since that's not my intention.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

From 9 to 19 to...errr

ha ha! I wish I could remain at 19 but I am not! We all grow up don't we? In the next few weeks I would be celebrating my birthday. When I was in my train last night, lost in thoughts as usual, I started reflecting on how I have changed over a period of time. If I were given a chance to go back change my life, I would not change anything except a few things here or there. But then, without bad experiences would I be still the same person that I am right now?

Over the years I have realized that no one but I am responsible for my own happiness. I have to learn to be happy irrespective of what the circumstances are. Usually I would have choices in the worst of the circumstances. Sometimes I get angry...only some times. Other times I just let it be. I have also learned that its OK to be angry and its to get tears in our eyes. Its OK, because I say so. It might not be the same with anyone else. This happens to me every time I have a fight with anyone!

I have learned that it is not possible to make everyone happy because some of them just do not want to be happy no matter how much we try. So, either brood over the fact that they are always upset or just let it pass...I have to make a choice. Usually I do let it pass. Usually we tend to apply this at work.

What I feel about myself is important to me.

I learned that people come as a package. Its OK if the person I am interacting with has a few 'flaws' (if you want to call that). Every quality in him/her defines what they are. Attempting to change them would only wreck them and the outcome might not be what you wanted to begin with. If I value the person as a whole, I should accept the person, complete with the qualities I do not like in him/her. Of course its not easy. But, we have to learn to accept the fact that they are a different person. I cannot and should not expect them to be like me or expect that they should agree with me every time. This happens all the time in friendships.

I dont have to agree with everything the other person says. Its OK to disagree respectfully. At the same time, I should not expect that the other person should agree with everything I say either!
I do tend to get busy at times, I learned that making small efforts like baking cookies on a Sunday morning would come a long way.

Sometimes I do not think what I say. This happens when I am with someone very close to me. I should learn to think twice even before opening my mouth in front of someone who is close to me also.

More to add...later.

Friday, December 3, 2010

One Fine Day...

Days when my husband works night shift and a regular working weekday for me:

4:45 AM: Alarm went off; I snoozed it and went back to sleep.
4:55: High time I get up; else I would miss my train to work.
5:30: Finished shower, hair-dry. Sit for break fast, pack my lunch bag.
5:45: Lock the door and set off to work.
5:47: Forgot the train pass. Come back home to grab it.
5:50: Miss the bus. Come back home.
6:15: Get the bus, get the train.
7:15: Change from train to bus again
8:00: Reach work and start working.
4:40: Get the train, reach home at 6:10 PM

6:10 PM: fresh-up a bit, change and have dinner.
6:30: Heat the water for Dal and rice for next day.
6:40: Get the dal and rice going. Chop onions for curry/fry
7:00: Get started with making curry/fry. While its being done...
7:15: Get a load of laundry started. Chop veggies for next day.
7:30: Finish off the curry/subzi. Get a glass of wine.
7:40: Get the tadka ready for dal. Oops, forgot the salt. Add a little salt and sambar powder.
7:45: Unload the dishwasher filled with clean dishes. [Michael Scott's voice from Office booming in the TV]
7:55: Go back to the basement, transfer the washed laundry in to drier. Come back upstairs. realize you forgot to switch off the light near the washer. go back downstairs again. I will have to put away the clean cloths only tomorrow.
8:10: Load the dish washer with dirty dishes. Wipe off the sink and kitchen counter.
8:25: Pack my lunch and snack box for next days work.
8:35: Clean the stove. Ouch, its still hot!
8:45: Water the indoor plants. Yes, little bit, every day.
8:50: I just cleaned the living room yesterday but still there is a bit of dust. Let me do it now.
9:00: Compost bag and the recycle bag are full. Change both.
9:10: Switch off all the lights, take the untouched glass of wine upstairs to the bed room.
9:15: Switch on the TV. Finish off the wine. Oh no...I didnt iron my cloths for next days work.
9:25: Finish off ironing my cloths.
9:30: Send a nite nite, miss you message to husband.
9:31: Get a reply from husband. Nite nite! Hope you relaxed. (me: sigh)
9:32: Fast asleep!

Next day, 4:45, my day starts all over again. Oh did I mention that its a day in Nov or Dec? If it were in Summer, I water the plants/grass outside for an hour. If its a snowy day, I get up at 4:30 AM to shovel the snow! When did life become so busy?
That's why I love it when my husband is not working night shifts. He helps a lot with cooking and almost always drops me off at work. I get to get up at 5:30 the days he is not working.
I have absolutely no idea how i am going to fit in kids when they do arrive!

Friday, November 19, 2010

On a lighter note...

Of  late I have been seeing plenty of old Bollywood movies. I was kind of surprised to deduce some interesting analogy. Its to do with rape scenes. Thing is, most of the 1980's movies had at least one rape scene. Be it Padmini Kohlapuri or the professional rapist, Shakti Kapoor. Only during a rape scene the camera is zoomed at the woman's cleavage or all her agony is captured. But when it comes to two people in love kissing each other, all they show is 2 flowers bumping into each other. Why?

Not many movies are complete without a rape scene. More often than not, the entire movie is based on a rape scene, as if there is no other better story line. Villain rapes (or attempts to) hero's sister. Hero takes revenge. Or, Villain attempts to rape heroin and then hero saves her. They fall in love. You get my drift?
What bothers me is that, is it really true that rapes have become part and parcel of Indian society? If yes, why is it shown in such a way that no deductions are made?
There is nothing funny about a rape; yet so many movies revolve around this. Strange, dont you think so?

Friday, November 12, 2010

1.76 lack crores...

I never knew, until 3 days ago that there is a denomination called, 1.73 Lack Crore. This can happen only in India; one person in a party does something stupid which costs the government money and the DMK leader extends full support.
http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/go...in-court-65756
I had a huge argument with one of my friends regarding corruption in India. He maintains that every party is corrupt (which is true) to some extent; this time it has gone too far. But just because some other party is less corrupt doesnt mean they are any noble, are they?

I am reminded of a joke. A man walks up to woman in bar and asks.. "Will you sleep with me if I gave you a million dollars?". Woman looks around and says .. "Ok." He then asks "What about for $20?" And she answers "$20? What do you think I am??" And he replies "We have already established what you are - now we are just negotiating!"

We do not respect the Auditors revealings and still await on the fate of IT minister Raja; we let go of a child molester, Rathore after a teenage girl has lost life; we let go of Kalmadi after the games; Kasab is still alive....

What is happening to India?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Freedom of speech, gone too far...

Yes, I am talking about the renowned author, Booker prize winner (for God of Small Things), Arundhati Roy. I always felt that Ms. Roy is after the media-lime-lite but this time, the freedom of speech has gone a bit too far.
To say that, "Kashmir has never been an integral part of India" is the most stupidest thing I have ever heard. Its like, chopping your own foot with an axe!

Here is my take on this issue. What Ms Roy is saying is correct when it comes to, poor, young women getting raped (recent case Asiya and Nilofer), Kashmir under constant pressure from all sides, and the heart-broken families who have lost their loved ones in the name of war. BUT, the solutions (or the lack of it) is what makes me wince. People of Kashmir want, "insaaf" from Indian government is what Ms Roy claims. I ask, freedom from what? Doesn't she realize that, the moment Kashmir is declared as "not-a-part-of-India", our neighboring countries would occupy the land in no time literally massacring every single citizen?  I would give Kashmir like maybe 5 minutes before it is completely occupied, from the moment it gets its so called 'freedom'. I cant believe that Ms roy seriously believes that India is actually causing more harm to Kashmir-state than good.
How come, she has not given a single moments thought about scores of soldiers who were killed, trying to (and succeed) protect Kashmir? The word traitor comes to my mind, but I will refrain from saying so.

I think Ms Roy is aiming to be Aung San Suu Kyi. House-arresting (or any kind of restrain) her would only get her more sympathy and more media attention which I think is what she is after.
If it were up to me, I would completely ignore her.
Just like the media, she never sticks with one single issue until it is sorted. After crying her heart out with Pokran issue, she went after issues over Narmada, literally hijacking the spotlight from Medha Patkar.

One thing every politician should learn (in my opinion) from her is her smartness. She is rich, yet, is always seen amongst poor. She makes statements which would get her killed in any other country, yet, makes them in such a way that no one really can say a boo to her.

Her extraordinarily good writing skills is something I always admired. Agree that almost every article she writes is grossly exaggerated, but usually she has a point. Of course, the solutions (again the lack of it) is something different altogether.The carefully built self-image is something every politician should learn.

Monday, November 1, 2010

How Life Changes...

I don't know why I am in a reflective mood lately. Maybe because of Diwali preparations or it could be anything. I started thinking about how we used to shop for Diwali around this time of the year. I could be wrong but in olden days I felt that Diwali was somewhere in early Oct? Now its November.

My mother passed me on one of her jewelry sets for my marriage. My Mother In Law passed me on "puliaaru" (Lord Ganesha's stone murthi) after getting married. This was given to her by her MIL. How days go by and how years rollby!
All the Diwali sweets/snacks my mom used to make then, I am now making at home. Soon there will children, they grow up and it would be my turn to pass on what I had been given. It would be their turn in no time...

In this wide space, where does life stop? Does it matter how happy we are right now(or how sad) when we look at the bigger picture?

Anyway, we decorated our home for Halloween. Here are a few pictures.Below is the picture taken when we went pumpkin picking in a near by farm. Rows and rows of them!
My flower vase in the dining room :)
No :) its neither my hand nor my husbands :) Ha ha! my home is haunted!!!
I bought so many candy this year for trick or treat. Do you like my decorations for Halloween?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Somethings changed from within

By nature I am a Happy Person. I mean, I tend to take life easily in everything I do. When something goes wrong, I ask myself, "'Is my husbands or my parents life in danger because of this? Is anyone Else's life in danger?" If the answer to any of the questions is No, then the problem is simply not serious enough (personal opinion). My husband says I had been lucky in life to be surrounded with loving people. Perhaps its true. Even if i were not, being hard on myself or being hard on others does not serve the purpose, according to me. What do you think?

This is a fairly quite weekend for me; just as well. I was catching up with my thoughts. I started going back to the days when I was a little girl. Somehow when my parents made a comment about something I need to improve in me (when I was little), it never came across as a reprimand or as sarcasm. But lately, the moment someone says something, it comes across as sarcasm to me. I wonder if its me who has changed or its the world which is not bothered enough to hurt others feelings. Have you ever felt this way?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Obsessed with America!

I called my mom last night and my mom's kaam-wali-bai was also there. So, mom asked me to say hello to her. Here is how the conversation went (of course I am translating to English).

Me: Hello bai, how are you?
Bai: HHHHEEELLLLO! I am good, very nice to hear from you.
Me: Same here. How are your kids?
Bai: You tell me, how is America?
Me: I don't live in America
Bai: huh? so where do you live?
Me: Canada
Bai: Where is it?
Me: West
Bai: West as in?
Me: West as in West.
Bai: So, America then?
Me: NO!
Bai: Everyone gets married to Americans. Why didn't you?
Me: Errrr, I don't know, maybe because my husband lives here.
Bai: Where does he live?
Me: Canada
Bai: Where is Canada
Me: :Sigh:
Bai: Tell me
Me: You ask my mom
Bai: Your mom lied that you live in America
Me: I can see why
Bai: what do you mean
Me: I mean you don't know where Canada is! That's why she just lied
Bai: So...where is Canada
Me: :sigh:...near America
Bai: "near"? not good enough then.
Me: Please pass the phone to mom

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Three Roses for the Third Anniversary...

Exactly 3 years ago, I got married to the most wonderful man I ever met (24Oct2007). Probably this is what everyone feels about their own spouses; and why not! They sure deserve it!

From a blushing bride to now, I have come a long way. We had our own share of fights, laughs and everything else in between. Most of all, I have learned that we are there for each other; that trust factor which comes only with time has come to us sometime when we didn't even realize it ourselves. Which is just as well...In the beginning whenever we use to fight, I used to ask him, "do you still love me?", now I don't feel the need to, for, I know he does.

I hope that we celebrate many more anniversaries together, until death do us part. And as a short term goal, maybe I should aim to become a mommy by at least 2 years from today?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Why I support elaborate weddings...

Its become quite fashionable for people to say that expensive/elaborate weddings are such a waste of money and that the money thus wasted is better utilized if given to any charity. In fact I ended up with an argument with a friend of mine with regards to this.

Of course, I am not suggesting that one go into debts when it come to performing a marriage. Getting into a debt so that you can show-off your status is stupidity. I am suggesting that once we live within our means and save and spend money reasonably (within the means is the key here), weddings becomes a pleasure for all!

I do not believe that weddings are a waste of money. Why?

Here is why: Apart from the life long satisfaction which the couple would get, economy actually improves with elaborate weddings. How? Here is how. Think about spending on weddings this way, lets say 5 lacks were spent (not on loan but on savings).

1. Rs 25,000 on Nalungu (haldi ceremony): You will need haldi/chandan, blouse pieces, coconuts, fruits, flowers, lots of glass bangles, puja items etc. All these are available only at local small stores. You will be going to your loca fruit market to get fruits; local flowers lady to get flowers, local bangle shop for bangles, so on and so forth. So your 25,000 rupees have actually helped these local people (who are lower middle class like flower lady). isn't that a good thing?

2. Rs. 25,000 for mehendi ceremony. Mehendi is done by your local/popular parlor ladies. sweets are bought at a large scale. Juices/drinks are bought at a local bakery. All these small businesses have profited from your 25k.

3. Rs. 1,00,000 for Engagement Ceremony: Lets say 50,000 is spent in buying nice Rings is bought bride and groom. Isn't the jewelry shop making a living out of this? Another 25k is spend again on 1. the last 25 k is spent on lunch/dinner. Isn't your caterer and everyone working form it not getting a livelihood out of it?

4. Rs 2 lacks were spent on wedding: 25k for stage decoration and the hall decoration (flower-wala and the labor cost for setting the stage), 50k for the wedding hall (which includes chairs and stage setup), 25k for band baja and baraat, 70k for catering, 20k for small gifts for guests. You can count how many people had earned their living out of this 2 lacks you spent.

5. The last remaining 1 lack is for the brides cloths, grooms cloths, kaamvali expensis, grocery expenses for relatives, so on an so forth. Here, for how many people have you contributed money/wages?

All this, I am not even including the jewelry cost.
Think about these expenses on a bigger scale. It actually helps the economy grow. The flow in the economy brings the inflation down. the supply grows as the demand grows; as the supply grows the prices starts to fall. Most importantly, once the supply increases, anyone will try and look for better ways of getting things done for cheaper. Do you agree?

P.S: I am not talking about Aishwarya Rai-style-weddings which is nothing but a nuisance to people living around that area. I am talking about us middle -class people weddings.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The fuss about Common Wealth Games

I had been a silent spectator of the spectacle (nonetheless), Common Wealth Games (CWG), held in Delhi, 2010. There were so many blogs, written all over the world, about the CWG. Interestingly, I saw two sides of the games. One, before the opening ceremony and one after the opening ceremony. Most of us rushed into criticizing the government (ruling and opposing equally), needless to say Kalmadi included, before the opening ceremony. Only after the opening ceremony did we start seeing the other side of it.

Did anyone else happen to notice that no nation (including Britain) happened to even bother mentioning CWG until a small news which came out saying, "sports village might not be ready on time"? Over night India became an international joke.
Suddenly India became a home for snakes, fever and what not! The athletes, apparently are feared that they could catch colds and fevers. The same athletes who happen to be in the peak of their age and health.

I cannot believe the extent many so called 'developed' nations go only to contradict themselves in the end. On one hand Indians are ridiculed that so many poor are left hungry while billions of dollars are spent on CWG. On the other, ALL the athletes expect 5 star facilities! No, 3 star will not do.

Lets take a step back to 1891, the peak of Victorian power. The games started as a statement of good will and understanding for the nations 'of' British Empire. The first full fledged games were actually held only in 1930; the time when British Empire is already under very serious pressure from rivals,  US, South Africa, Japan and needless to say the peak of liberation moments in India.
Churchill's government, as a very last resort, who named the games as British Empire- Common Wealth games (1954), could hold on to the 'name' only. By 1970, many nations are already 'free' from the British rule. The games were re-named British Common Wealth games.The British Empire by then has already lost its stance.
Finally, the delusions are abandoned and the name 'British' is shed. Now its just the Common Wealth games. But the pride is not lost; the fairer skin that is. Speculations about who should declare the games open begin. What a shame! Her Highness cannot make it to the country of snakes (according to you know who) but the Prince assumes the responsibility of declaring the games open; when the Indian President is very well available!

I can still hear the echoes of China-bashing which has happened during 2008 Beijing Olympics. Controversies about poverty, pollution, population and what not were alleged against China! But the strong country that it is, it over came all the hurdles and proved that it is now (YES!) the super power. 

The same thing is now happening with New Delhi. Show me one country where there are no poor; one country where there is no corruption; one country where there is no pollution?!
The moment West gets a chance, they start bashing the so-called developing countries.

Lets talk about the 2012 London Olympics; apparently England will show us how the games are meant to be held the 'proper way'. Alas! Even before the construction began, $15 billion have already been spent! Lets see how much they end up spending by the time the games finally begin. Its not too far; I am going to keep a close eye on these 2012 games budget.
Oh ya! Don't forget all the terrorist threats which London is already receiving. What an irony that the same people complain about India. What is a bigger threat? A cockroach in the washroom or a terrorist who has threatened that they would have Bombay-style-terror-attacks? You figure, do anyone has any right to talk about how "un-safe" India is?

And coming to Australia; how many racist attacks have been made on Indian's? whats a bigger problem? The so-called global warming effect which India has or everyday racist attacks?

Everyone (someone sane) must understand that problems in developing nations (I would/should have used 'developed'), problems are always exaggerated to put them down.

To the West its obscene that India spends million of dollars on games; yet they scream on top of their voices when they see anything less than 5-star-facility. I would like to ask one question to everyone who say that these games are a waste of money...Do you know how and where the money went? How did all the critics conveniently ignore the new airport, subway lines, roads and railway bridges that the bloated budget for the games has brought to the city? Apart from everyday benefits these infrastructure offers, building all these did not appear out of Harry Potters broom! Actual human beings built these! For a wage! Now, who has any right to say that government is not giving employment/bread/shelter? We cannot expect that government give cash on a silver platter without working for it now, can we?

What bothers me the most is the fact that quite a lot of (educated) people in India seriously take every word the media says as 'truth'. Most Indian news channels has international stakes. Most protect the international interest than Indian. How, may I ask, that we trust the media which portrays the poor picture of India?
I agree fully that the corruption has hit new heights in India with CWG games. Yet, I urge that everyone look at the bigger picture rather than concentrating on what went wrong. Of course steps need to be taken.
Kalmadai would pay big time, that much I am sure. Like I said before, the corruption in India is grossly exaggerated.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A small stroll

That's what I took just now; a small stroll. Its a beautiful day here; well its getting cold but we can still get away without thermals. During lunch time, I hardly get time to get out. I usually eat while I work (office job). I know...I know, its a bad habit which I had been trying to break for a while now. The lunch room is almost always packed and I work downtown; where am I supposed to eat my lunch then? The best option is at my desk...

This afternoon was different. Something pulled me outside (could be the pain in my knee); if only for 30 minutes. I took my lunch bag and went out. Since its a cold day, not many people were in the nearby park eating lunch. I found an empty bench, which is a miracle. Usually the park is filled. I sat and ate my lunch watching the birds fly, the leaves falling, the dogs happily wagging their tails and an old man taking a walk.

I am more content right now than when I had left my desk to grab lunch. It lightened my heart (and my knee). Often we are too busy to listen to what our mind/body really needs. It could be as simple as fresh air. It only takes a moment to listen to ourselves.
I am going to make a conscious effort to listen to myself more.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Holier than thou attitude of ours...

When I say "ours", I am referring to all human beings. I am not kidding but we seem to take unreasonable pride in the way we look and perform our activities. Confused? Allow me to explain...

Last night my husband and I were watching the movie, Men in Black II. It continues to bother me whenever I see an Alien movie that we, humans, seriously believe that Aliens are freaky-looking-creatures. Some times the creatures are down right funny! We have never seen an Alien, yet me make that assumption in every singe movie! Why? Because we believe that humans are the best ever!

"I am better looking than you...you Alien!", would be the first opening line I would presume, if we ever get to meet them. What if they turn out to be extremely beautiful than us? What if they are so beautiful that we look creepy compared to them? Why doesn't movies show any better looking Alien? Here are few pictures which i had taken from various Alien movies; tell me...what gives us a right to portray that Aliens are ugly looking when we have never ever seen them?!

Men in Black II:

Transformers: is this picture funny?!

Species:

Signs

Koi Mil Gaya

District 9

Ewwww....I am giving up on searching pics on Aliens now. I said Ewww, didn't I!? What a racist. No, not racist. Perhaps "speciet"? I did a spell check and the word doesn't exist in dictionary. After all these gruesome movies, its about time this that this word is introduced in the dictionary.
This brings me back to the real day to life experiences. Even we, sometimes, assume a "God" complex. My husband uses this term for people who think that they know the best, they know everything, they are God. If not everyday, even we are possessed with God complex, knowingly or unknowingly from time to time. Unless we make a conscious effort, we dont even know its we who have that complex.

So, back to the present day. From today on, I am going to make a conscious effort not to fall into the God-Complex category :)

Edit: If the Aliens ever really come to earth, believe it or not, they would be so offended to see these movies portraying them so ugly. Not to forget, I doubt if we would last a single day after they get to see these movies!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Women in Combat Roles

This has been going on in my mind for a long time now. In majority of countries women are not allowed in active combat roles. There are various reasons for this which I will point out one by one. But to start this thread, I do think that women should be allowed in active military roles.

main reasons why women are not allowed in combat roles (according to what I know):

1. Our Paradigm: Yes! its us who is stopping women to enter active combat roles! In olden days, women were not allowed to work. But the perception changed. Its basically our perception which allows us to think that women are not good enough to help protect the country is stopping us from letting women go to active roles in military.

2. Physical Limitations: By no means we can discount the fact that men are more physically strong than women. But, if proper training is given and if any women is in a position to fulfill the requirements of entering into combat roles, she should be given an opportunity.

3. Sexual harassment: No matter how many regulations are in place, it is but impossible to deter a few men. Especially in enclosed locations like submarines, women are more prone to harassment from their male colleagues.

4. Brutal captures: We always believe (rightly so) that we have to protect any woman her self respect. But in event of being captured the first torture method which could be used on them is gang rape.
Of course in today's world, even men are prone to gang rapes but we tend to look more in terms of woman's trauma.

5. Maternity leaves: Military people are expected to be on call 24/7. During pregnancy and post child birth, it is but impossible for women to enter combat. This I think is the major draw back for women to enter combat.

But where there is a will, there is a way. Clauses can be made to provide way for women, if they are interested, to enter combat roles. Even women can be deadly, should there be a need. Israeli army proved so. Give women a chance to excel if she is interested in joining active combat roles.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Should prostitution be legalized?

This is the question which I had been thinking for...forever now. There are always pros and cons for every single situation but in this case, according to me, the cons seem to outweigh the pros. I am not sure how many of you agree with me but nevertheless, this is what I believe in:

Prostitution should not be made legal. I have tried to write what I believe in and I have taken a few references (but most of what I had written is my take) from what I thought are reliable sources (see sources below)....

Definition:
Prostitution is an act of engaging in sex in return for money. Procuring is operating brothels, soliciting sex, pimping, child trafficking and all other activities which make profit at the cost of someone else (prostitute). I am going to call her a sex worker going forward.

Parties involved:
There are mainly 4 parties who are involved in this occupation, if we are referring to “Procuring”; the sex worker, pimp, client and an organized crime group.

Why does it exist?
Simple, Demand and Supply concept. It also exists because there is poverty. No one in this world would willingly sell their body to a different man every night (sometimes 3 to 4 times a night).
Unemployment, little/no education, few jobs (and that too which require skills), inadequate salaries are some of the factors, which compounded, forces some women into prostitution (willingly).

Statistics in Canada (Sorry, couldn’t find any books about prostitution in India in the local library):
Many studies clearly indicate the relation between sexual abuse and prostitution. Before turning to prostitution, 33 to 80% of prostitutes polled in Québec, in Canada and in Native communities had been victims of rape and sexual abuse.

Direct copy paste: Base: http://www.csf.gouv.qc.ca

• According to an international study, 81% of the sex workers have been threatened, 73% have been physically abused, and 68% have been assaulted with a weapon. In addition, 62% claim to have been raped since they began prostitution.
• An international survey establishes that 67% of prostitutes show symptoms of Post-traumatic stress syndrome.
• Although the figures vary, certain studies demonstrate the link between drug addiction and prostitution. Indeed, 75% of the street prostitutes in San Francisco are drug dependent, while 27% are alcohol dependent. In the Atlantic Provinces, the rate of male and female prostitutes who reported suffering from drug abuse is
50%, while in the Prairies, the rate is 42%.

Social and psychological damage: My take….


• We live in a world where a single woman is pried upon. What is the condition going to be for a sex worker? Men would start traumatizing her asking her sexual favors even to let her kid go to school, even when it is legalized.
• Every sex-worker, no matter which part of the world you live in, is subject to violent physical and emotional abuse.
• The level of stress of a sex worker is reportedly greater than that of the Vietnam War and the Gulf War veterans.
• Serious possibilities of contracting STD’s.
• Even if a sex worker survives a STD, she cannot survive in her ‘job’ beyond the age of 30. What is she going to do then? She is back to square one where she actually started; poverty, loneliness, insecurity etc.
• Falling in love, getting married, living a normal human life (unlike a sex-toy, slave, being named as a whore), giving a safe and secure future for her kid, enjoying simple pleasures like sleeping through the night peacefully is a distant dream for a sex worker.
• Try living a life having to shut down your feelings because you need to sleep with a stranger every single night…you will know what I mean. It’s not always about men, lust, men’s-needs, their desires. Stop and think what a woman goes through.

Legalization is not the solution:
Have you ever been to Las Vegas or any other country/city where organized prostitution is legal? Do consider the below points when you say that Organized Prostitution is ‘way to go’. Legalizing something which is not-right does not correct the situation.


The Nevada brothels (organized/legalized) take half of the money in every transaction and on top of that, they charge the women for room, board, the taxi driver who has got the client and every other little thing. Then the government gets in on the pimping by taxing their earnings and charging them licensing fees. How much do you think is left for the sex worker if she charges, say, $300 for 2 hours? And how much of emotional trauma do you think she has been going through? So how did legalization help a sex worker while 80% of her “HARD EARNED” money is going to someone else?
There is no proof to say that it’s the oldest profession. Even if it is, END IT and protect those who have to resort to it because only women who are poor would allow themselves to be willingly violated physically (if they are forced into it, its altogether a different story).
If a man cannot restrain himself sexually and is disturbed enough to resort to rape, what are the chances that he is not going to physically abuse the sex worker (positively none)? Just because men ‘pay’ does it automatically mean that they can treat sex workers like trash? How different is this from any other form of rape?
Police will still get their “share”, thanks to the ever existing vultures who do not miss a chance to touch/rub/make crude jokes to a sex worker (legal or otherwise).
It is masturbation with another body; literally, when there are no feelings involved. Sex/lovemaking is sacred. Let it be the way it is supposed to be.

[Translation from French version ]
Canada, Special Committee on Pornography and Prostitution, Pornography and
Prostitution in Canada, 1985.
“I’ve been in this trade for 19 years and I say if men come to see prostitutes it’s because it gives them a feeling of power. They dish out the money, so they’re in command. You belong to them for half an hour or an hour. They simply buy you, no obligation; you’re not a person, you’re just something to be used”.


After all, I did say that human beings were not meant to be sold and that our bodies are sacred and not to be treated as rental property. PLEASE! RESPECT US. SHOW US CONCERN WHEN WE ARE POOR. WE ARE MORE THAN ‘MERE’ FEMALES. GIVE US A LIFE WHERE WE DO NOT NEED TO SELL OUR SOULS ALONG WITH OUR BODY. PLEASE!!
I am not a sex worker. Still the fact that somewhere, something like prostitution exists makes me feels like my body is some merchandise. This is not a healthy sign for any women.

Sources of the facts/statistics:

Prostitution et VIH au Québec - bilan des connaissances. Sylvie Gendron and Catherine Hankins
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/154140.stm
Canada, Special Committee on Pornography and Prostitution, Pornography and Prostitution in Canada, 1985.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_in_Nevada
http://www.csf.gouv.qc.ca


Notes/suggestions:

Try and do something about poverty which drives women into prostitution.
Try and curb child trafficking and forced entry of young women into prostitution.
Remember that if someone is entering prostitution because it is lucrative (very small percentage of women do this), they still are prone to the post traumatic stress disorders and all other ill’s I have mentioned above.
Again, remember that women are persons. It’s not always about men and their desires.

And most importantly, before anyone starts defending legalizing prostitution, will you allow your sibling to join this profession if its legal?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Life is so...

Life is so…

Beautiful? Unpredictable? How is life? The reason I am pondering over this is; yesterday I was looking through some of our (my husbands and mine) old pictures. It’s been almost 3 years since I had seen them. I took out the picture when I was 9 months old and my husband’s picture when he was, maybe 1 year old. There were no dates, so I am just guessing.
I kept those small pictures beside our wedding picture. I couldn’t help but start thinking about life. How, two seemingly indifferent-to-each-other-kids, have ended up together? Who would have thought that, after more than quarter of a century later we would end up together?

We are already of age when we could be parents. Before (seemingly) long perhaps our kids would look back at these pictures and wonder the same?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Remembering James

Many a time I wondered what would happen of me after 200 years. Sure enough I would have been long gone, but what exactly would have happened of me? Would I be remembered? How much?

When I was in my 11th and 12th standard I knew a person by name James. Gosh! I even forgot his last name. He was 87 years young and was living in Home for Aged. I was in a residential convent and as part of community service; we were required to do something good to the community every weekend for 3 hours (every Sunday for 2 years). I was assigned to Home for the Aged, to James. All which was required of me was talk to him, that’s all.
His wife passed away 35 years ago then, I wasn’t even born when she was long gone. His children were well settled overseas and James had no one to come to visit him on Sundays. Initially I was apprehensive, what would I talk to someone who is decades older to me? I was in teens and he was nearing 90. What could we possibly have in common?

To my surprise, we did have quite a lot in common. We spoke about books; I should say he spoke about books. He used to miss them but hoped that they found a worthy home. He also used to speak a lot about his wife. Since 35 long years have passed, he only remembered a few bits and pieces of her; the colors she liked, the coffee she made, the beautiful voice of her’s…and then he used to fade. I just used to sit there wondering what he must be going through. But he did mention one thing; he wasn’t sad any more that she was gone. Memories have become so much a part of him that he doesn’t need her in person anymore. Memories would do just fine.

Since he had bad eye sight I used to read news paper to him. He didn’t quite enjoy that. He always said that his nurse could read that for him and that I talk.
Hindsight I think James was actually listening most of the time while I was happily yapping away. It should have been other way round (that’s what my role required me to do), but never did he stop me. I should have been more sensitive.
He had a very small room and all his worldly possessions would fit in a small trunk; snugly put away under his tidy bed. He also had a small backyard where we grew seasonal vegetables.

On one Christmas we shared, he gave me a small powder box. He said that it was all he had and I was so happy that he actually has something to give, even though he himself has hardly any.

More than a decade has gone by since I had last seen him or heard from him. I wonder what happened to him. I wonder who was assigned to him after I left school. I wonder if they had been kind to him.
I wonder if he joined his wife or still at Home for the Aged. I made a mental note that I go check with the Home for the Aged about him, next time when I go to that city again.

Now, why did I suddenly remember him? I don’t know. I just remembered…

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Significance of Kolam (Rangoli)


I was having a rather interesting conversation with my grand mom (over 80 years), a few days ago and thought I should share this here. She asked me if I do a kolam (rangoli) everyday at my home here. No, I do not. And then she started explaining why kolam is important and its significance and why I should resume putting a kolam everyday even in Canada.

In her days, people used to get married at a very young age. My grand mom herself was 13 when she got married. People expected that daughter in laws are experts in home-managing-skills at such a tender age. They have to do all the work; cooking, cleaning, attending to never ending demands of in-laws/guests, taking care of kids (if any) etc. You might argue even now people do same things. The point is that in those days people used to live in joint-families and in big homes. So, taking care of home itself is a full-time job and more. All the chores take a physical toll.
Drawing a kolam apparently is like warm-up exercise before the long day ahead. How?
You need to first sweep the entrance of the home, mix cow dung in water and sprinkle on the entrance (which acts as a disinfectant and prevents the dust to enter the home); grind the soaked/dried rice into a fine powder (kolam) and then bend over and draw intricate design is a big task. It takes energy, but just enough to give a head start.

Second reason why kolam is important is the positive effect/energy it brings inside. We use Maakolam for this. Here is the image. The red design around this maakolam is believed to prevent the negative forces to enter the home. The intricate designs are believed to bring concentration (I guess that’s true).


Third reason is that, our elders believed (like we do) that everyone (humans and animals) co-exist peacefully in this world. Since the kolam is made of rice flour, ants come and eat the kolam as the day progresses.

Kolam is drawn at the time of sun rise, the time at which sun helps you to produce vitamin D in our body.

P.S: Picture taken from online.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Changes in School's

I have always maintained that its extremely important to have counseling at schools. I cannot begin to tell how sad I felt after reading the below article.

http://www.ndtv.com/article/cities/made-to-clean-toilets-at-school-teenager-kills-herself-40804

A teenager kills herself after after being taunted in school for cleaning toilets! She had no one to speak to. If only, if only she had anyone to speak to!

Is it the movies these days which is portraying that suicide is the solution to all the problems? The girl is only 13! How did she think that ending her life is the solution? How?!

I am unable to get my head around it. I am feeling deeply disturbed.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Secret Diary Of Ravana

I usually don't like to put jokes in my blog but this one I just could not resist...Before I post this, I must disclaim that I absolutely loved the movie Ravanan. I think its a master piece in disguise.


My name is Ravanan.
I must declare upfront that I’m most upset with Mani Ratnam sir. Yes, Ravanan (not Raavan as the film is titled) will never forgive Mani sir for choosing Abhishek Bachchan to play my part in the Ramayana. Now, admittedly, Mani sir is a good director but couldn’t he have cast Rajnikant? And, if Rajni said he can’t, he ought to have opted for Mohanlal or Sanath Jayasuriya (the Lankan cricketer deserves a break). And Aishwarya? Mani sir could perhaps have made the Baby B more emotive if he had signed on Karishma Kapoor (the two were engaged in 2002 and called off the marriage a year later) to play Sita. Anyway, Amitabhji (whose acting in Sholay got much praise in aakash and pataal) has blamed his son’s poor performance on poor editing. But I fear the real culprit was poor acting.

Also, Ravana—ok, drop the ‘n’—is most upset that his story has been so poorly interpreted. In fact, Ram (yes, the Lord himself) called to say that I look messed up in the film and that I must take Mani Ratnam and Abhishek to Lord Indra’s court. I did toy with the idea but when I approached Ram Jethmalani, he said Ravana is not a national issue and that I must approach Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa. Imagine me pleading with him! The very thought of it makes my ninth head ache and the nose of my sixth run. Anyway, out of frustration I called up Aishwarya who thought I was Abhishek. “The movie has already been released so you don’t have to keep saying you are Beera,” she said in the same tone and accent she used in Pink Panther 2. I said I was the original Ravana and she laughed. “Abhi, who do you think you are fooling?” she said dismissively. I passed my mobile (0000000666) to my seventh head which was in a foul mood and shot back: “Do you know who you are speaking to? This is Ravana, emperor of emperors. The one who knows the four Vedas and six Upanishads.” Nice try, she retorted. “Abhi, I know you can disguise your voice, but you don’t sound one bit like Raavan—you sound like Mani sir trying to sing God Save the Queen by the Sex Pistols.” I hung up after hearing that. The subtext of Ash’s words was not lost on me. I know for a fact that Johnny Rotten was the lead singer of the Pistols. So, was she implying that I, the great Ravana, was rotten?

Given the state of affairs, I thought I must call Mani Ratnam sir immediately and let off some steam. “How dare you deface the fair face of Ravana,” I yelled. “Abhi,” he shot back, “take it easy. The film may have done badly but you and Ash have got enough publicity.” Bah! This was indeed infuriating. So, as a last resort, I screamed a one-liner from Rajnikanth: “Mani sir, Ravana will hit you so hard that even Google won’t be able to find you. Mind it.”

http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?265965

Monday, July 5, 2010

Bharat Bandh-July 2010

India is very dear to me for a variety of reasons. I guess i really don't have to go through each and every reason. It truly pains me to see it go through turmoil time and gain.

Yesterdays Bharat Bandh takes the cherry. We have managed to bag the raise in prices and yet accumulate more than Cr 2000 deficit. I never understood politics. I am "aam janta" types. But I have told my brain to take decisions when it comes to major things. I do not understand why the opposition has taken the decision of Bharat Bandh. And we, the Aam Janta are the ones who lost a day's business. Who is going to cover the deficit? Its we! Who is going to feed the lost wages of a daily worker, the one who cannot survive if he doesnt work for a day? Is the opposition coming to feed them...no.

Come on! as much as i oppose the price hike, there's got to be an alternative to combat these political games. We all know the out come of the Bandh. Nothing will be done, then why not adopt an alternative method and try our luck?

Perhaps a commission be employed to look in depth as to why the prices were raised and was there anything at all which we could have done to prevent the hike? At least we could have stood a chance of some action. What a waste of public sentiment and money....

http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/bharat-bandh-stops-india-mumbai-worst-hit-35569

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Rani Tiwari...My new hero

How many of us have heard stories about dowry deaths? I have and I have full confidence that you did too. As a refreshing change comes this bright woman, Rani Tiwari. Even after she was engaged to be married on June 19, 2010, the demands of dowry and gifts never stopped.
The 30-year-old decided to catch on hidden camera the relentless demands of her fiancé and his family - Rs five lakh in cash and a car.

So the brother sister duo used a hidden camera when the grooms family came visiting and caught it all on tape. The video was then handed over to the police who arrested the boy and his father.

Rani since then has been flooded with proposals. Who wouldnt want to marry such a couragious woman? You go girl!

I think India is taking slowly one step after another in right direction. Its a proud moment for every ordinary women.

http://www.ndtv.com/news/cities/rani-tiwari-dowry-slayer-flooded-with-proposals-29005.php

Friday, June 4, 2010

Heart is such a strange place…

My husband and I are going for a 2 day-picnic two weekend’s from now. Like a teenager in love for the first time, I started thinking of what to wear already! Silly me (or maybe not). Even though I see him everyday (almost, at least for 5 minutes) somehow we fell in a comfortable routine. What do these youngsters call it…zing! is lost. I am so much looking forward for this 2-day-picnic. I think this time the zing is here without me prompting for it :)

Friday at last!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Why education is so important?

I am troubled with conflicting thoughts today.

Here is why according to me. I had never been a great fan…(why am I being so politically correct today?) of any political party; partly because I had never been too affected by them. Or at least I thought I had never been too affected by them on a daily basis. I have studied in a fairly good school and completed my graduation. The town I come from has two government schools; one for boys and one for girls. They also had a mid-day meal system there.

But, I never saw the class room full at any time. Agreed that people coming to free schools are from poor families and they need to earn the living for the family and hence no time for school. But, when the government is making an effort to run schools and give food, why aren’t parents still making an effort to send children to school? And later when they grow up, they are going to say that government didn’t do anything for them.

What am I missing? I am puzzled. Why are we expecting government to feed us? We don’t live in a communist society, so why?

I do understand that they are there for the well being of the society but to expect that they feed us…isn’t that a little too much to ask?
If you are educated, you will be able to find a job right? You will be able to pull your chin up and survive. For that matter, it’s the will power which takes us a long way. Even a person who doesn’t know a b c d has succeeded!

What am I missing? What are we…or what should we expect from government?

I am trying to write an article about UP’s CM Mayawati. Please do wait for it.
Her quest for power, money and eventual honor of Goddess is something we all need to admire…however cynical. Nite nite now. Have sweet dreams. Mine have been preposterous lately. Ha!!! Perhaps deserve it.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tagged....

I am not 100% sure how this ‘tag’ works and if I doing right but Samvedna tagged me and I am glad that she did. Most of time we get so caught up with lives that we fail to stop and have some “my” time. So, here is some of my “my” time.

1) What is your current obsession?
Getting the weeds out of my grass

2) What are you wearing today?
Skirt and a blouse.

3) What’s for dinner?
I made mango Dal and Okra fry for tonight’s dinner

4) What’s the last thing you bought?
Coffee just about 30 minutes ago.

5) What are you listening to right now?
Not right now but the last song I heard was…my, I am actually thinking now. Yeah that old song, Rim jhim gire saavan….suag sulag jaaye mann.

6) What do you think about the person who tagged you?
A lady with so much balance in thoughts that I come back to her blog everyday to check if she had added anything new.

7) If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the
world, where would you like it to be?
Never thought about this but I think I would like to have a small island with all the amenities required.

8) What are your must-have pieces for summer?
Shades and sunscreen.

9) If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?
Any where quite…so quite that I can actually fall asleep while reading a book.

10) Which language do you want to learn?
I want to learn to write Tamil. I can speak it well but cannot write so far.

11) What’s your favourite quote?
Never argue with idiots. They drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.

) Who do you want to meet right now?
My sister

13) What is your favorite timepass?
Always been either reading a book or gardening.

14) Give us 3 styling tips that work for you.
When you don’t know how to do your hair according to what you are wearing, just blow dry your hair and leave it loose; add a string of pearls on your neck and you ARE going to look simple and sweet.

15) What is your dream job?
I love gardening so I would love to open my own nursery sometime.

16) What’s your favorite magazine?
None so far. For some weird reason that I never got in to reading magazines.

17) If you had $100 now, what would you spend it on?
I had been meaning to buy a new hand bag, so $100 for a hand bag I guess.

19) Who according to you is the most over-rated style icon?
Paris Hilton

20) What kind of haircut do you prefer?
Shoulder length.

21) What are you going to do after this?
I would reach my work place shortly, so start working 

22) What are your favorite books (Movies was the question but I couldn’t come up with an answer, so I changed it to books)?
Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and Jane Austin’s, Persuasion

23) What inspires you?
I fell in love with photography after I had seen my friend’s collection of pictures. So, I think when ever I see something tasteful I get inspired by it.

24) What do your friends call you most commonly?
My name

25) Would you prefer coffee or tea?
Coffee always

26) What do you do when you are feeling low or terribly depressed?
I try to walk it off. If it’s not working, I call a friend.

27) What makes you go wild?
People trying to intimidate me at work or any place.

28) Which other blogs do you love visiting?
All in my blog list and many more.

29) Favorite Dessert/Sweet?
Fruit salad with custard.

30) How many tabs are turned on in ur browser right now?
3

31) Favorite Season?
Rainy but I don’t like earth worms.

32) If I come to your house now, what would u cook for me?
Fresh pan cakes with maple syrup 

33) What is the right way to avoid people who purposefully hurt you?
I don’t know if it’s the right way but I usually tell them that I am hurt and leave it at that. And after that, I try and avoid further contact with them.

34) What are you afraid of the most?
Me going blind or disabled.

35) When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?
I still need to work out more and what’s up with my hair today!

36) What brings a smile on your face instantly?
When ever I imagine a baby, I smile.

37) A word that you say a lot?
Oh my!

38) A prayer always made ?
Be sensitive while keeping up your chin.

39) What is that one thing that keeps you going.
Hope. It’s the magic word.

40) what is more impotant to you...being right or adjustment?
Depends on whom I am dealing with. Call it hypocrisy but if I am with family I usually let many things pass.

I am tagging the below people. I am sorry Samvedna, I am unable to tag more than 3.

1. Invincible
2. Gouri
3. Dolrama

Friday, May 21, 2010

Couple of things...

Couple of things has been going on in my mind. Please PLEASE drive safe on roads! Follow the speed limits; they are there for a reason. If you are angry, intoxicated or not in the right frame of mind, take public transport. Just wanted to share this with you all, even though you are all wise enough not to act stupid on roads. Split second is all it takes…


Long weekend coming up for us! I am planning on getting lots of yard work done. We are also planning to go picnic to a near by beach. Yeah yeah…I will take lots of pictures :)


Here is the poem which I had written to my nephew, who is due to arrive in this world in the second week of August :)


I have known you since a few months now;
I am so exited; arrive soon love.

You won my heart before I had seen you,
this could happen, I had no clue.

Mommy set your room all ready,
Complete with a big new teddy.

Daddy painted your room blue,
and stuck pictures of Winnie the Pooh.

Diapers they bought in hundreds,
your beauty I am sure exceeds Worlds wonders.

Momma collected books she had listened as baby
you will like them too my precious ruby.

We bought you bibs and mittens,
on which there are brightly knitted kittens.

We bought carefully selected toys
Shopping for you is such a joy!

Oh! Please come soon dear one,
I am so excited, I can hardy wait now Hun.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Golconda Fort- Hyderabad

Have you ever been to Golconda Fort in Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh)? If, not what I am going to say would pleasantly surprise you. I am going to tell a little bit of history about the fort and the current situation. Pardon me for the long post (but this deserves a big post), you can read this at your leisure; perhaps with a cup of coffee! (Click on the pictures to see the original size).

The fort was first built in 13 century by Kakatiya kings. The name is derived from Telugu (of course), Golla Konda; shepherds hill. Built on a granite hill, the fort is 400 ft high. The Kaktiya Dynasty (Warangal in Andhra) was conquered by Islamic Bahmani Sultanat and then by Qutb Shahi Dynasty in early 15th century. In 1687, it succumbed to Aurangazeb and then entire fort underwent siege and ruins.

During the Qutb dynasty is, the city/fort was expanded and renovated. The mud fort was rebuilt with granite. The fort was protected by two walls, 5 km the inner forts circumference and 7km the outer ‘protective’ wall. In between were the deep waters and the alligators!

Here are a few pictures of the remaining splendor. Below is the main entrance to the fort. Do you see two peacock cravings on the top? Right above them, do you see a small rectangular black opening? That is used to pour hot oil below, should the enemy manage to come near the gates. Also the entrance (I couldn’t capture the entire pic) is just wide enough to fit one elephant. And the yard is constructed in such a way that once the elephant is inside, it does not have enough space to turn around and go back. So it is stuck here with the enemy burning in the hot oil. (The one wearing the blue striped shirt was our guide).
Remember this yard well as I will come back to it later.
Below is the picture of the granaries. You can also see the fort partially from here. Apparently the kings used to order the soldiers to carry the grains every day on top of the fort for cooking. The reason why the granary is so far is because the king didn’t want the soldiers to be lazy during peaceful times.
Below you can see the inner wall I was talking about and the 3 out of 7 Qubt Tombs (will post a separate thread on this later).
Below is ‘Ramdas’ prison, VVIP prison; an interesting story actually. The pictures you see are hand carved by Ramdas. Like some of you might know, Ramdas is a famous poet and a composer of carnatic music. The legend goes like this: Ramdas is the revenue collector in one of Abdul Hasan Shah’s ruling. Ramdas is a great devotee of Lord Rama. Apparently he sent a request to the emperor to grant funds to build a temple of Lord Rama in Bhadrachalam (Andhra). There was some miscommunication (king claims that he never received any request) and after the temple was built, Ramdas was imprisoned be cause he did not take permission to use the funds.
After 12 years, two young warriors (believed to be as Rama and Lakshmana) mysteriously enter the court and repay the money in full for Ramdas’s release. When the emperor realizes that it was Rama and Lakshmana, he feels that it was the miracle of Allah and sends the entire money back to Bhadrachalam, Rama temple. Since that year, till date, every year during Ram Navami, state government sends funds to Bhadrachalam temple.
Below is the bird’s view of Hyderabad. In here you can see Charminar also. Like I said in the beginning, the small 2 arches (beside that vertical trimmed tree in middle of the picture) was the entrance where the hot oil used to be used. If you stand there in one particular spot and clap, you can hear it here {right side one spot (I put a small stone) in sand beside the big rock}. No pones and no radios! Just one clap in an angle and even now we can actually hear the clap all the way down there! This is used for communication between soldiers down there and up here with coded-claps.
Below is the picture which is quite interesting (no, we have no idea who those guys are in the picture). The small arch opening (which is now covered with stones) is the secret passage to Charminar. This was constructed as an escape route in times of trouble.
Below is the picture of Maha Kali temple constructed during Kakatiya times. The passage was so narrow that if you are even on the heavier side, you might not fit in the entrance! There is also a small mosque.
Below here, you are seeing a part of Hyderabad, inner walls of the fort and Kings resting quarters.
Below is the picture which I am posting for a special reason. If you see properly and visualize, you can see the outline of the main fort. This was constructed in such a way that all the blind spots are covered and the soldiers if placed properly can shoot arrows and cover the fort completely. Far below to the left, there are chairs placed for the evening’s light show.
This picture is special too because it’s showing off the beautiful fort and the kings, the queens resting rooms and the stairs. The court is all the way up in the fort and king and the queen are carried in a palanquin every day. If they are being carried up, then 2 short soldiers are placed in the front and 2 very tall soldiers are placed behind to carry the palanquin to have the balance and comfort of king and queen inside. (Other way round while coming down). And no, that wasn’t me with a green basket.
Notice the way the top edges of the pillars are carved. This is the guest room for VVIP’s from other states. The beauty of the room is such that, if you stand close to that corner and whisper something, another person standing right across the room, ear close to the wall (and all the way to the other side) can hear the whisper as if it’s being said in a loud speaker! My husband and I tried it! In those days, apparently kings used to receive many guests and to make sure that the guests are not plotting against the king, there is always someone listening to the conversation from the other corner. The parable, “walls have ears”, is so true in this case.
Absolutely amazing architecture! I was so surprised that even in those days people had such powerful technology.
Below is another amazing piece of architecture. The platform which you see just above the arch is where the king sits and sentences traitors. Just like above example I quoted, the room is built with stone in such a way that if the traitor tries to open his sword or do anything other than stand with folded arms, the king would hear the motion so loudly. We tried it and I almost jumped out of my skin at the loud sound made by a mere pen cap!!! Also, the arch is placed in such a way that if the traitor manages to pull a trick and shoots and arrow/throw a sword at the king, the arch obstructs anything to go beyond. But the king is seated in such an angel that he can throw what ever down. Really, you need to see for yourself that I am telling the truth.
Do you want to make a guess what those tiny lights are? Yes! They are bats! The sight sent chills that time and even now I shiver at the sight, smell and the noise of them in one of the un-used dark chamber.
The first picture is the view of the fort from ground above; the top most chamber is the court. The storage spots you see were once used to light the candles and as a show case for various diamonds which the Qutb’s collected.
And not to forget, the sanitary and plumbing works were excellent! I took the picture but am unable to post. I will use pointers to highlight the hot/cold water lines. YES! They had a special broiler for hot water!

Last but not the least, just before going to the fort, we came across this “Homoeo World”. Any one wanting to prevent swine flu can get medicine from “Homoeo World”! What fun we had!!!
More stories to write….will share them all soon.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My garden pictures

Finally spring is here! Well, it doesn’t feel much like spring though. Because of the frost warnings, I had to transfer my little ones back to the garage! As the season progresses, I promise to post more of my garden pictures.

Yes…I have a huge project coming up this year. It’s the second season since the time we moved in here and slowly I am getting the hang on what my back/front yards like.


This pink one is the dwarf tulip which I picked up recently. Beside that is the yellow pansies. Its supposed to attract butterflies, lets wait and see.


This is the experiment I am doing. This is a small ginger root which I planted. I hope to see some ginger growing soon, like in 6 weeks. Will post a picture then.


A loner this tulip has become. I often forget the name of the lavender flower which looks like a lilac! The pink one is the thick seed.








Some annuals which I absolutely adore. They also are a great fillers.


I started a few flower plants from the seed (left). Hopefully they grow up. Right now they are still germinating...If they bloom, I will post a picture later in the season.






And who would forget the daffodils and Wordsworth?









This is the strawberry seedling i bought. 3 weeks ago this was the size and now its still the same. perhaps I am over-watering and killing it with love.




I don't seem to get over my love for tulips!

I also bought them in purple, red and orange. Once they bloom, I will post the picture. Yeah...this year mine are coming late.






Here is methi, coriander, green chilly and peppers. Methi and Coriander seem to come before the rest.

Below is the Asiatic Lily. Hopefully the weather warms up before winter for them to bloom :) They give a nice fragrance when in full bloom. I will post another picture when in full bloom.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Manthani: A small village in Andhra, India


Now that I am back from a month long vacation, it’s about time I share with you all a few pictures I had taken while there. Actually I had taken many pictures, but I will post one location at a time.

I am starting with a small village in Andhra, Manthani.

Manthani is located about 65 km South of Kharimnagar on the banks of river Godavari. We visited this place because, one: its old, two: ancient temples all over the place, 3: years ago, as a little girl I used to go swimming in river Godavari in this village.

The picture above is the first thing you come across as soon as you enter one of the temples, Lord Shiva’s. Right now it’s hard to tell to which God this temple was originally built for because half of the temple is empty and is in ruins. It is unclear as to which year this was built, but is widely accepted (according to the temple priest) that this was built in early 15th century.

As you climb up a few stairs (made of rocks of course), we came across this another ancient master piece, not exactly sure who this is.
Manthani is filled with temples. Even though mainly it is an agricultural village (now), its name comes from Sanskrit, Mantra Kutam (House of Vedas). We were told by the temple priest that at one point, 100’s of years ago, Manthani housed one thousand Brahmin families/scholars and hence this name. No wonder the village is filled with temples.

This one of the many empty….place’s (not sure of the right word) where there should have been some God’s statue but there is none as of now.
This is Lord Shiva’s place. All these make me wonder, had it been anywhere else, this would have been made maintained well, publicized and made it into some museum/tourist place.
This must have been a big temple once up on a time. Every where we go we came across small temple type of structures. Perhaps it’s not a temple after all; this could have been a part of the village, just like a tree/well etc.
I found this below scene very interesting. A tree growing right through the rocks! I can’t believe that Manthani is not popular for all these amazing things to see around.
Another stone structure in ruins.
Below is the picture of river Godavari (now just sand) just a couple of minutes walk from the temple. Apparently the water from Godavari was the primary source of water for 100’s of years. Yeah, I know, there is no water as of now. You can actually see people walking right through the sand!
This place is special to me because, about 20 years ago my parents brought me and my sister here for picnic. I still have the pictures where my family was having a day out near this river.

On our way back home, we slowed down to see the cow-selling-place. Apparently, every week this happens. I had never been to a cow-selling-market, so took this picture. Don’t miss to notice how Milkshake is spell 

And yes…wait for pictures for another place! Will post soon.