Monday, 29 December 2014

Shutting the Door


i firmly believe that when God closes a door, he opens a window for us to move forth. While i may not be proud of the some of my actions so far, but i  have no regrets. Oh rather just very few. There was a few wrong choices that i wish i did not make, but i have come to terms with it as i did what i had to do, given my understanding and circumstances at that point in time. 

So it had come as a surprise when someone from history asked to meet me. Apparently he had learnt a lot from me and i would be able to judge him correctly. My reaction?? Snicker.. -____-'

So this is my reply....

there was a time yonder..
as fragile as it was, it lasted for some time
shattered by a thousand stone

as time slips 
so does the grains of sands 
in the foundations 

choices made 
washed away the line
for a clean slate


There is no such thing as  friendzone of the 'X's. Maybe it works for others but not for me. I don't particularly give a shit of what my previous partners think of me. It used to matter to me-Then. Now I have no time or inclination to dwell on the past, especially on broken relationships. it's better for all in my opinion.  

the only past that i give my time too. The dead.


So Dude, i suggest get a grip on yourself & focus on your family. The past looks rosy because of time has blunted the pain & faded the scars... nothing stays the same. 

Neither am i particularly interested in awaking old friendships with new & different set of rules. The only rules i accept are the ones i make. You may want to seek out a therapist if you feel that you require validation from someone in your past. Unfortunately, you cant afford me. 






Saturday, 20 December 2014

Devis ~ Himachal Pradesh

This post is the last lag of my Punjab_ Himachal Pradesh tritha. Originally i wanted to go to Vishno Devi but due to time constraints decided against as it would have meant that i might not even have enough time to visit the Golden Temple~ a place i had to visit. The continuous downpour leading to flooding in J&K was unexpected and in hindsight probably we were lucky.

Here are the links for the previous Amritsar post and Jalandhar/Mcleodjung trip. This post is all about the various Devi temples scattered in and around the Kangra district. The first Devi that we visited was the Devi Talab & Chintapurni Temple blogged in previous post of the Jalandhar & Mcleodjung trip. After returning from Mcleodjung we went towards Chamundu temple a short distance from Vatika Hotel where had checked in. After darshan of Chamundu Mata, it was time for dinner amidst of a wedding party- i think,  before an early night as the parents wanted us to darshan Chamundu Mata again early in the morning to take some nice shots... how cool is Geet's mom & pop?? Vatika Hotel is right by the river so i slept and woke up to the sounds of bubbling water tumbling through the riverbed at twilight and watched the unfolding of the new day..
 
 
 


And it was off to the temple... with a single Hibiscus flower and some sweets.. Chamunda Mata is also known as the Goddess of War,epidemics/diseases and plagues one who drinks the blood of her defeated enemies, demands liquor & blood sacrifice and revered by the tribal group "Munda" before assimilation into main stream Hindu & Jain religion/cultures.

and the photo taking  session started off.. check out the hunk who while having Lord Ram in his heart was considered to be guards of Chamunda Mata.
selfie!!
all the cute monkeys around...
is it a "kiss my ass" look??
And the winding Baner river beside the Temple
This temple by the river is not the original 700years temple. that's about 17km away up in the hill but rather the newer relocated one. It seems that King>>>> had prayed for the relocation for easier access to the temple for the sake of his people and the Goddess came in the dreams of a pandit/tantric and told him to look at a location where the idol was found eventually.
The story behind the Temple is chronicled in the Durga Sapt-Shati.... It goes like this....that on the orders of a King the two demons Chand & Mund attempted to harress the Goddess Ambika/Kaushiki whom they found sittng on a rock on a hill and had their army of demons surrounded her. She got angry opening up her third eye bringing forth the the form of Kali Ma and slewing not only the army of demon minons but also Chand & Mund, earning her the name Chamunda~ which is the combination of the 2 demon names. That's one story.
the picture below show the original temple up a hill..now all burned down early this year in Feb 2014 unfortunately..
http://hillpost.in/2013/02/dhauladhar-himani-chamunda-temple-to-be-developed-as-pilgrim-center/60375/
A wall mural depicting Durga Ma and Kali Ma both of whom are closely associated with Goddess Chamunda at the relocated Temple
Of course i did not take any picture inside as duh! i was busy praying instead of trying to take a picture or a video. But her form was completely shrouded with only her eye(s) being visible. And seeing online pictures i can totally understand why. Instead of other regular Devi who are the eptimon of health & fertility with glowing skin, full breast & hips, well Devi Chamunda is shown with dried papery skin, sunken body surrounded with scores of skeletons, corpse and decapitated heads with blood still dripping... err u get the drift. A more scary version of Kali Maa.
 

There is another story mentioned on the walls of the Radha-Krishna temple across the river, judiciously read and translated by Geet for my benefit..and yours now. The second story goes..Once there were demons who used to live in the mountains /forest terrorizing the people. the King prayed for divine intervention and his prayers was answered by the Goddess Chamunda who would slay the demons but in returned demanded that every single day a single human sacrifice had to be made in her name. It was thus agreed upon that every family would sacrifice one of their own, when their turn came to do, for the greater sake of the society. This went on for some time. At the same time there lived a childless couple who prayed to Lord Shiva for many many moons till one day their wish for a child was fulfilled and they had a son. They lived a blissful life... but one day it was their family's turn for the sacrifice. Devastated they went angry & wild cursing the Lord Shiva asking him why after so much tribulations they were finally granted a child of their own in their old age only to have him been cruelly  taken away. (Which is illogical if i can say so myself..) So again after after many prayers, Lord Shiva answered their prayers and told.... send the boy to be sacrificed, he would ensure the child's safety. The dreaded day came and with tears running down their eyes, the parents send the brave little boy all alone to be sacrificed. As the boy was walking towards his doom an old hermit came and asked the frightened boy why he was so sacred.  When the child explained his predicament the sage offered to give him company which was gladly accepted. So it came to be... that when Goddess Chamunda came looking for her daily sacrifice only to be stopped by the hermit. Angry that a mere human would dare to stop her, Goddess Chamunda proceeded to kill him only to realize that he was was no mare mortal but Lord Shiva himself. In the end to ensure that the promise given to Chamunda Ma would be kept yet keeping his word to the parents of the child, Lord Shiva modified the promise to state that each day a corpse would be sacrificed over a agni to her. Thus till today each day a body is cremated there...In the vicinity of this temple, there is a cremation ground that serves to 22 villages of the nearby areas.
 
woow... spooky. i guess that also explains why the cave under a boulder housing a Shiva Linga behind the main Chamunda Temple is so revered by all..and the babas (agori??) at the temple across the river. And why there are so many of these statues.. folks big & small smoking up ganja, a favorite choice of substance for the Neelkanth
hummm..... after all that history it was time to head back on a somewhat somber note.  We pass by a Sankrit college run by the temple trust where devotee or anyone interested can go to study the Vedas/Puranas, with a library housing numerous old manuscripts, books on Hindu philosophy, Vedas, Puranas, Unishads and other religious books including on astrology, Sankrit & history. (Darn, i should have taken up urdu/sankrit lessons when i had a chance!!) Besides the college there is also an Ayurvedic dispensary that provides medical treatment.

But all that walking and learning had us working out quite an appetite. It was off to the hotel for some vegetarian breakfast of paratha, poha, curd & fresh fruits. I think i had more than twice servings.. :D
Then it was off to continue our journey... to the temple that used to be one of the most wealthiest in India once upon a time.Kangraji also more popularly know as Bajeshwari Devi lies behind numerous no of stalls selling anything from puja items to fridges, Himachal artifacts and products.
Behind the bustling market stalls in the tranquil town of Kangra lies one of the most magnificent temples of North India. Behind the cricket field, behind the innumerable stalls selling everything from fresh chicken to puja offerings, Bajreshwari Devi Temple stands tall among its surroundings. Yet reaching the popular Hindu temple devoted to goddess Bajreshwari presents a bit of a challenge requiring patience, and a good guide.
It is not known when Bajreshwari Devi (A.K.A. Vajreshwari) was built. History reports that the temple was attacked in 1009, by Mohammed Ghazni, a Muslim ruler who amassed a vast wealth from repeated raids of India. In 1905, a devastating earthquake flattened the original temple along with much of Kangra and the nearby Kangra Fort. Fifteen years after the horrific quake, Bajreshwari Devi Temple was reopened in 1920, one of only a few remaining temples of Kangra’s glorious past.
The annual festival of Makar Sankranti is famously celebrated at Vajreshwari Devi. The holy tradition of applying ghee to the goddess idol, followed by a washing of cold water 100 times continues..it was there in the court yard that i saw a humble temple structure untouched by man's defilement or nature's fury being the sole structure unaffected by the 1905 earthquake. 
and while i'm not one to donate cash to beggars, i will definitively give what ever amount i can to those who have the strength & dignity to continue working whatever the job. Saw a visually challenged gentleman who buskers inside the compound as his livelihood... he was not particularly skilled nor did he had a wide repertoire of scores but what he knew, he did so with pride & joy. #salute 
then it was off to see yet another famous temple...one that is situated next to a cliffside
Midway, we stopped for a lunch at the Govinda Restaurant..called so because appreently they had Govinda, 90s Bollywood superstar dined here. And they also photshop him into chitchatting and eating food... x________X
the golden dome is the most striking feature of Jwalamukhi Devi temple. It is also one of the 51 Shakti peethas, where Mata Sati's tongue fell off from her burning corpse. It is suppose to be a really spirital place but i could not help but feel sadden by the extend of mass commercialization. As one climbs the vendors endeavors to sell you their most expensive & elaborate puja samagri...the same offerings will be superficially offered to the Gods by the pujari before crudely cast aside to be bundled off later into sack and presumably sold off to the vendors. A continuous circle of profit & margins. For a temple under Government care, it does it's share of red tape & corruptions.
Inside the compound there are Nine temple with undying flames of natural gas representing the 9 Durgas namely Kali Maa, Annapurna Mata, Ma Chandi, Mata Hinglaj, Mata Vindhyavasini, Lakshmi Devi, Saraswati Maa, Ambika Devi and Anjana Devi.
Above the compound some 1 km uphill is yet another temple... of Durga Mata i think. And there is something that i have not often seen in temples- the 9 Grahas (planets) of Indian Astrology in there proper their proper house. Despite the extend of materialistic nature that the temple showcases (which is pretty common in all Indian institutions i guess)... Himachal Pradesh is a beautiful district and one i would definitely plan a return trip too.. for a yet another round of darshan but i will include some treks and yes gold shopping as they have so much gorgeous designs!!

Till the next time...adios!!







Wednesday, 17 December 2014

#PeshwarAttack

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        #PeshwarAttack                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Fall trip pt 3

The third & final post of my brother's India trip was a short one, Bangalore under 24hrs 16hrs. compared to the Goa & Gokarna trip it was almost of a let-down, maybe it's me or the really short time that we had Or is Bangalore just too boring???!! Lolol

We reached chilled Bangalore at 7am and i wondered....where the heck can i take my brother around? I would have loved to show him Mysore but there was a slight risk that we might not reach Bangalore back in time to collect all the luggage and head off to the Airport- that's almost 2hrs away. Neither Tripadvisor nor Lonely planet was helpful too as they showed only temples, temples & more temples! Ridonculaus i tell yah!

In the end... i took him to  MTR next to Lalbarg Main Gate for a ghee laden greasy affair.. the following dishes was just for the two of us. 
upma
  kesari bath
 crispy masala dosa with extra ghee
 and rava idli with veg korma (i think??) 

needless to say.... we were stuffed to the absolute limit. In fact i thought i might just vomit while walking as i'm prone too. I ALMOST did too... but as soon as i got the tingling sensation that food is coming up, i stopped breathing. Yup. It was gross...but i did not wish to alarm my lil'bro with images of me puking out my breakfast bent over at the road. lol..

Then it was a slow gaity waddle to Lalbagh. Where we search for the lake. Took us 30mins and it was blah! Still we struck a pose or two against the backdrop of various birds & ducks. But the Best part? The pictures got corrupted! Lol...

After Lalbagh-  was Bull Temple and a series of more temples...

and bought some #cheatone Rangoli templates...

then it was off towards Iskon Temple for a darshan, where cuzzie wore a dhoti for the first time. Lol... i thought it migth fall off any moment but apparently it was securely tied up around the waist... well #waddanoe

Also visited Tipu Sultan summer palace..which was really simple and modest palace..

for me  it was just a good backdrop to take a million selfies! :D


 we reached home for some pre-dinner drinks & snacks before heading to Hyderbadi Biryani where they serve some of Bangalore's best chicken biryanis.. too bad i was still so stuffed that .... i could not eat more. A sentiment shared by my brother too..



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alas my bhai's vacation came to an end far too soon. we had travelled some 1000kms together, all the while just catching up each other's and extended family lives. Sometimes the best travel companions are your own blood & kin..



cant wait for out next trip together!! Disneyland here i come!! Needless to mention where i would be dragging my lil brother off too in 2016.




Saturday, 6 December 2014

Drive Safe By Nissan


NSDF

So there is a new IndiBlogger contest by Nissan on Driving Safely.The entire concept of "Safety begins with Me" is Nissan nationwide road safety campaign. Normally i would not give a jack*** about it as i have typically been the passenger but since i recently got my Driving Licence, i realize that it's vital to know more about driving safely especially when the majority of motorist in India drive as if they are in a mad dash to the Hospital, every single time! The pedestrians? Huh...they have a death wish... either that or they are so sure that their prayers for immortality has been answered. And in all honesty, if u saw me crossing the road..well thank god for our blessings as i have been known to either sprint or walk leisurely in heavy traffic. Lol. but like i mentioned that was in the past.
It was not easy for me to get my Driving License. Not because i'm hopeless at driving (don't be such a chauvinistic porcine) but rather due to ALL that paperwork required beforehand etc.. I have always known how to ride a two wheeler since it's basic but a 4-wheeler was a different set of wheels (no pun intended). It took me some time to get  used to changing gears, accelerators - and boy am i glad that i took proper driving lessons from a reputed company because road safety begins with the Driver. Plus i want to make sure i do not have my DL taken away because of some silly errors that might easily become disastrous. (just Google road accident pictures )

While Nissan is actually a Japanese MNC, it's great that it conducts Nissan Safety Driving Forum (NSDF) in India, an annual activity commencing from 2012 reaching cities across India from Chandigarh to Kochi, from Mumbai to Chennai. There are many factors that contributes towards safe roads but it all starts from "Safety begins with Me", be it the motorist or the pedestrian.

So here are my few cents worth of suggestions:

For the Pedestrian:

  1. For Gods sake please don't dash into the traffic in order to cross the road.  You are not a chicken.  Please check out the vehicles, left & right and wait for the traffic to empty out before attempting to cross the road. 
  2. If there are zebra crossings, overhead bridges etc...Use them. Much of the taxes we have paid the government are for public infrastructure. Since we  have already paid for it, use it. Besides it's good exercise climbing the steps.
  3. Boots are meant for walking. Not the roads. There is a thing called the pedestrian footpath. You have a right to walk there, not for the footpath stalls to hawk their wares.
  4. Technology & traffic do not mix as well as whisky & soda. Avoid using mobiles & other gadgets while walking (in traffic). Watsapp, FB updates, calls can all wait. make your safety your priority. 
  5. Wear bright reflective colors at night. This is optional but if you tend to walk  at night, it would be really helpful if you wear something reflective at night. Maybe a jacket/bag with a neon strip (which is all the rage??) or simply something white or pale.

For the Motorist:

  1. Learn to drive/ride before hitting the roads!! If possible go to a driving school, else learn from a someone who knows all the rules of driving.  
  2. Wear your seat belt, helmet if you ride! You are not on the ramp walk, wearing a seat belt could potentially save your loved ones from attending your unexpected funeral. Do the same for your passengers. It will ensure you are safe even if the vehicle somersaults several times.                                      
  3. Rear view Mirrors in a car/truck/bus are not for checking out how good or bad you look. It's for seeing the oncoming  traffic behind. Maintain them. Bling it up if you want but remember..u should be able to the the traffic behind. 
  4. Indicators are called indicators for a good reason. Use it to indicate the direction you are going. 
  5. Speed limit. Unless you are in a Formula 1 racer in an official F1 race there is no need to race. Never mind if the idiot has overtaken you. You are a better driver. Keep to the speed limit
  6. In continuation of the previous point, respect traffic light signals. If it's orange...slow down not speed up. Think like it's your grandmother... slow down and obey.                                                                                   
  7. Kiss your friends & family not the vehicle in front. Have some a reasonable distance between the other vehicles.
  8. Buy a good safe car. The safest you can afford. (Mercedes-Benz M-class is real good!!! But Nissan Altima is a real good deal for the mid-size moderately priced cars. Because lets face it... how many of us can actually afford a Merce??)
  9. Beams. Learn the difference & situations of using the low/high beams. Don't be a Dork. if you have difficulty seeing, visit an ophthalmologist.
  10. Phones. Leave it alone when driving/riding. Not even a woman can multi-task driving with using a phone. If it's so urgent, stop and take the call or if you are addicted to always being online- take the bus/metro.
  11. The most important?? Don't drink & drive. Definitely not at the same time. There is no sympathy for a wanna-be Devdas or a Murderer. 
There are like zillion more things that one can do to be on the safer side but these are the minimum. Be safe.

NSDF



For more information on how you can help be a better driver & a human being... visit the Nissan Safety Driving Form page.