Saturday, February 14, 2009

Pink beauty

Here is a pair of lovely sweet-pea from my garden wishing everybody a love-ful day .
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Saturday, February 7, 2009

The mystery of disappearing things..

Yesterday evening I suddenly realized that one of my files is missing from our little study. Now the documents it contained were no way valuable but the fact that it was missing was strange. In my small house there are very limited places for a file to stay unnoticed and there are absolutely no visitors in that room . Also since it went missing, I realized I need it badly and urgently.(well , it happens!) So 11 PM in the night , me and hubby started searching the house. We even opened the freezer and washing machine to be sure .(Well, one of my aunt one day realised that her mobile phone and her specs are missing together . After two hours of search the mobile was located in the deep freezer and the specs on her eyes . ) But no , the file was nowhere . The incident was even more annoying as it is the second such ‘disappearance ‘ from the study . First was also equally puzzling. One day suddenly the cable connecting computer with my external hard disk disappeared. One moment it was there and the other it wasn’t. I searched whole house for it but … This second incident made me very irritated, puzzled …even sad. The thing is , I take pride in being ‘well’ organized (hubby would have used the words control freak ) . I am almost arrogant about my planning and arranging skills-both in office and at home . It was almost a personal blow that things(however small and value-less) went missing from my house .More than that, looking at the circumstances of the disappearance, I can’t blame anyone else . As this is no TV soap the other possibility of it being taken by an ET or a ghost would not stand either .So it must be me who misplaced the things . I was still mad one hour after the unsuccessful search operation , when I went to bed. Then me and hubby consoling each other, shared one story each from our childhood days when such disappearance of things left us puzzled . I will begin with his story . In schooldays, he used to collect cards with cricketers' pictures on it . Some uncle gifted him a beautiful dairy and he decided to paste these cards on it. That perhaps was not best of the ideas , as it made the diary bulky and puffed up . But then for a schoolboy’s eyes , it was still beautiful. Immensely proud of his collection ,he used to carry it everywhere . As it was his prized possession, he was always extra careful about its upkeep. It was time of his summer holidays and the family was going to Mumbai where his uncle was staying at that time. He was told that the diary cannot travel all the way to Mumbai as it will add additional weight to already exploding luggage . Dear boy thought it out hard where he can safely keep his diary . After two weeks of fun filled holidays at Mumbai when they came back diary was nowhere to be found. Everything else in the house was intact but diary disappeared .He obviously searched every nook and corner but to no avail. Poor boy was crestfallen by this loss . One year went by and it was another summer holiday and they were all set to go for another trip. When the large suitcase was pulled out from top of a steel almirah , with a ‘thud’ the diary re-appeared . Delighted beyond words, he suddenly remembered that last year when the family was about to leave , he thought the newly vacated top of the almirah a safe place for his diary .
My story is also similar in essence . I had once written about our craze for comics particularly for Amar Chitra Katha in our childhood.(here) Once I was ‘issued’ a comic titled Ratnavali (based on famous Sanskrit drama supposedly penned by King Harsha ) by my elder sis Anu. I gave it back after reading but soon afterwards Anu reported that it is missing. She even started doubting that I had ever returned it . This lead to some well fought sisterly fights , followed by yelling and tears from both sisters. But then with frantic searches and even cross checking by our eldest sister, the comic was nowhere. Both of them concluded that it must be me who has misplaced the comic and was now claiming that it was returned . Well, the accusation which was to be proven false later on continued on my head till one day after 4-5 months we were shifting from that house . It turned out that the comic somehow slipped between the old newspaper at the bottom of the rack and was safely lying there all the time when poor me was branded ‘careless’ and worthless creature (with a hurtful ban on further borrowing of comics)by two elder sisters .
Well , I hope soon I find my cable and my missing file also and the mystery of their disappearance resolves or perhaps , the day is come when I should also declare like Garfield-the-cat that -"Organised is my middle name and poorly is my first "

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

O God!

We discussed Gods and myths during lunch hour today . Surprised, are u? Yes…rightly so if you are. I mean lunch hour is meant to discuss tyrannical bosses, useless colleagues, hopeless subordinates, food, politics, traffic and weather only. That too in this order strictly. Where do the heavenly matters of Gods fit in this menu?
Actually the talk started when we started discussing the latest fad towards Buddhism. Someone said that the kind of Buddhism that flourished world over is not the puritan Buddhism which Buddha preached in his times to get rid of ritualistic and prejudiced Hinduism . This is because a normal person need symbols to worship, she argued . I casually commented that this is why in Hinduism many traits and virtues have been deity-fied . Hindus worship meaning behind their statues and the demarcation of virtues is so minute that there are many gods and goddesses functioning in a similar jurisdiction of virtues.

Just to illustrate the point I named Kuber and Laxmi- both of them are worshipped for wealth and money making . There is of course a slight difference between the two . Another colleague jumped in with the argument that the Gods and goddesses too have a hierarchical system . He claimed to be well aware of this as he has watched all mythical animation films with his 3 year old son . I tried arguing back that its not only hierarchy but also the genesis of a particular god. The gods worshipped today in what we loosely understand as Hinduism come from various streams. Some folk traditions, some Vedic gods modified to suit modern needs , even borrowed gods from other religions and of course historical persons turned into deities. If we take one God say Ganesha and start counting the myths associated with him we may find several weird and contradictory myths. But that is perhaps the beauty of myths. They touch you at some very basic level. Simple tales given status higher than that of a folktale and fables. Let us take Kuber for instance. I remember standing on the floating hotel of Kolkata (Floatel) a friend was looking at the banks of the river Ganges. It could have easily been converted into a tourist site –someone commented. There are ample number of businessmen in this Badabazar area itself who can invest in such a project-somebody else chipped in . This friend wisely commented that "well it is not the same thing to worship Laxmi and to worship Kuber. These seths of Badabazar are worshipper of Kuber- the guardian of money , they do not believe in creating wealth." Well, his comment may not be correct completely in that context but it certainly speaks a lot about the difference between the two deities.
Freshly curious about Kuber, I did the most natural thing of googling his name. The wikipeadia gave me the information I needed on this mythical, semi historical and common god between Hinduism and Buddhism.
Kuberin our myths is King of Yakshas.He is mentioned as guardian of directions. He is the Lokpal of the treasury of Indra.(That is why his statue in front of Reserve Bank of India) .He and the capital city of his kingdom Alkapuri is mentioned in Kalidasa’s Meghadutam too, if you remember . In Sanskrit literature this Alkapuri is taken to be in Kashmir and thus Kuber is rightly the keeper of North direction . Kubera is also the son of Sage Vishrava (hence he is also called Vaisravana) The banks of river Narmada is described as the birth place of Kubera, where his father Visravas, lived. It is also a territory of Gandharvas as the Mahabharata informs us. The same Kuber –in Buddhist tradition was a King of Lanka. He was banished from his kingdom by none other than Ravana –his younger brother , who succeeded him on the throne of Srilanka. So one can conclude that Kuber was a much traveled person – from Lanka he settled down to Himalayas .And why not- to facilitate his travels he owned the first aircraft –the pushpaka yan, which was later on notoriously used to abduct Seeeta . Now comes the connection between him and Laxmi, his house was supposed to be the abode of Adilaxmi – the deity of all riches. Kuber was so rich that he in south Indian traditions is also credited to have loaned money to Lord Vishnu, to meet his expenses of marrying Laxmi. (The myth also says that Vishnu is still paying the interest part only and is yet to pay the principal!)

Some of you may find it amusing , but to me these myths are captivating stuff. They speak so much about the imagination and fantasies of our ancient wise persons and common folks. Don't think that Hindus are the only ones who claim protection of 33 crore Gods and Goddesses The other day some one was telling me about deities/patron saints in Catholic traditions specially in Italy . It is a similar tradition like Hinduism and there are patron saints for horses, cancer patients, housewives and even for 'falsely accused'. Internet will give you comprehensive list of these saints and their functional jurisdictions.

Well, the discussion on the lunch table turned quite heated till finally one wise colleague (incidentally a Sikh gentleman) commented “ Perhaps that is why they made that movie-GODS MUST BE CRAZY!) and broke the divine contemplation . Later on someone quipped that had this discussion continued for few more minutes, disturbed by the fact that a group of auditors is discussing their jurisdiction , Gods would have sent down their organisational chart as reply to auditors' observations.