Friday, October 23, 2015

Our Hindu Rituals! Should We Change Some Now?

Godess Durga idol being immersed amidst piled up garbage at Kalindi Kunj Ghat.

The above image is from The Hindu and the next one is from google. Painted Durga idols are immersed in water bodies after Durga Pooja in Bengal, Odisha etc.

 Image result for Durga immersion

I am not happy looking at the 'to be broken' or 'broken' idols of gods.  So much effort is down the drain. Yes, this is a ritual followed by many for the past many years.  But we are adding pollution to the river and our earth cannot take it anymore.  Population has increased...instead of one idol, hundreds of idols are being immersed.  We don't have many water bodies anymore! Clean water is becoming scarce.

'Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) senior scientist Dillip Behera said: “Metal compounds of elements such as lead, cadmium, chromium and nickel are largely found in artificial colours and if so many idols are immersed in the river, they may cause carcinogenic or cancer-causing toxicity in the water and affect people downstream.' (link)

Earlier vegetable colours and colours from stones were used to paint the idols.  But now, cheap paints are used. 

Same thing happens when we immerse Ganesha idols also.  At least, we, in Tamilnadu, use clay idols which blend with the water easily.  And when I was in Bangalore, I used to immerse our Ganesha idol in a bucket of water, leave it for a couple of days and throw the water in some corner of the compound.  I did the same in my previous house too though we had a well at home, since I worried about the clay's origin!

Clay idol at home! (link)
This way of disposing off idols is ideal I feel! In Bangalore, they had built a huge cement tank at Raagi Gudda temple, filled it with water. People stood in a long queue at night and immersed the idols there.  Many idols were clay idols! And many were painted with organic paints, I was told! People were 'placing' the idol inside the tank, not throwing them in the water, which I liked! After all Ganesha is our favourite god! Have a look:

Clay idol with organic colours, it seems.  Looks beautiful.
Tank for Ganesh visarjan. People stood calmly in line and immersed the idols here. All flowers and other things which adorned the idols were dropped in one place.  Just the idols were immersed here.
The crowd waiting for Ganesh visarjan, chanting Ganapathi Bappa Moriya and singing some bhajans.

People can drop the idols in the tank and go out via another gate.  One hundi was kept there.  People who are interested to help this scheme can drop money in it.  This is done by a group of people for the past few years, it seems. The debris is removed from the tank later.

Clay idols and immersion tank are ideal to celebrate these idol visarjans.  Nobody is hurt in this way. Let us all think about it!


Monday, October 12, 2015

This Is To The Lovers Of 'Reader's Digest'!

Stories you read when you are at the right age never quite leave you.
You may forget who wrote them or what the story was called.
Sometimes you will forget precisely what happened,
but if a story touches you, it will stay with you,
haunting the places in your mind that you rarely ever visit. 
Neil Gaiman

When I read this quote today morning, I felt that this is very true.  And I remembered one of our favourite books of those days, the 'Reader's Digest'.  Yes, we were reading a number of fiction books too, but some small articles which came in the Digest, still pops out of our memory bank often.  

We had subscribed for the book after we shifted to Bangalore, well, now, Bengaluru, in '77.  We started getting them from '78.  Our kids were small and so it was read by just by me and my husband.

Then the kids grew up and we shifted to Hosur, as all my readers know by now.  Still the book was coming home.  The kids also started reading...first the jokes in laughter section.  Once they reached the higher classes, all the four of us would sit together and solve the 'word power'.  We used to tick different symbols for each, check and know the level of our intelligence after checking the answers.  The rapport was there and our knowledge also improved! I think my children also learned a lot from these books and they too will always remember some things from their engaging childhood, right, sons? Have a look at the books! 

The collection of 'Reader's Digest', a monthly magazine, here, is from 1991 to 2006.  I had given the earlier issues to our maama who is very old and wanted to read the old issues when he got time.  We must go to him, collect the old lot and give him the next set of books!
This is a close up of the books!
These are some old issues.  Click on them to know more pl. Content list was on the cover! Last page had paintings of renowned artists...Indian artists too!

Our favourite section, 'It pays to enrich your word power'.  This must have helped the children in their growing years and us too!
I still use this 'Quotable quotes' facebook!
I used to order for my nieces too as a birthday gift...the yearly subscriptions! I was famous for giving books as birthday gifts to all the children.  They still have got them at home! Some girls are married now!
Another favourite section...I started reading and remembered about writing the post.  These books never bore me!
All of us used to read these and laugh together! After my elder son left for the States for higher studies, to do his under graduation, I used to write letters by hand (it was the norm in those days...'95,'96...), some 12-13 pages at a time! I used to fill up the margins with these jokes and tick them too, for not repeating them later! I did this to humour him! I did this for some years and then came the 'hotmail'! Then personal touch was gone!
Another favourite, 'book section'.
True stories were very interesting. 'Humour in Uniform' also used to be interesting!
I miss reading these books, new ones, but I still have the old stock to read again and again! Friends and relatives who come and stay at home love to read these books...old issues!
Later on, the quality of the writings started deteriorating...they started offering gifts in 'millions'! But the book was not interesting...So, I had to stop the subscription reluctantly.  But will remember many stories, articles from them always, at least in bits and pieces like the quote above, says!

I suddenly wanted to know what our friend, Wikipedia says about this magazine!

'The magazine was founded in 1922, by DeWitt Wallace and Lila Bell Wallace.'
'The magazine was started by DeWitt Wallce, while he was recovering from shrapnel wounds received in World War I. Wallace had the idea to gather a sampling of favorite articles on many subjects from various monthly magazines, sometimes condensing and rewriting them, and to combine them into one magazine.'
'The first international edition was published in the United Kingdom in 1938 and was sold at 2 shillings. By the 40th anniversary of Reader’s Digest, there were 40 international editions, in 13 languages and Braille, and it was the largest-circulating journal in Canada, Mexico, Spain, Sweden, Peru and other countries, with a total international circulation of 23 million.'

Now, we read everything online.  But you won't get this thrill of seeing old books physically and feel nostalgic!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Monkey Business!


This would have been a normal photo of three monkeys, but they posed like this in the end!

A close up of the fellow!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Krishna Devi Temple...An Old Dilapidated But Beautiful Temple In Mahabaleshwar!

We went on a road trip two weeks back from Chennai to Mahabaleshwar! Came back home via Goa... We visited 3 ancient forts (my son's favourites!).  And we visited this temple also!

It was drizzling and the whole area was covered by fog.  The passage to the temple was narrow and slippery.

This temple (in Mahabaleshwar) was built in 1888...Wiki says:

Behind Panchganga temple, there is a small trail that leads to Krishnabai temple where the Krishna river is worshipped. It is built on the hilltop overlooking the Krishna valley and was built in 1888 by a ruler of Ratnagiri on the Konkan coast. The temple has a Shiva lingam and a beautiful statue of Krishna. A small stream of the river flowing from a cow-face (gomukh) falls on a ‘Kunda’ or water tank. Stone carved columns and ceilings are the special characteristics of this temple. This old temple has gathered moss and is in ruins. It is not visited much by tourists and is isolated. But it provides a most exquisite view of the river Krishna.

Since it was a bit dark because of the rains and fog and the time was nearly 6 pm, I could not see the gods properly/clearly.  I noticed the whole garbha gruha was wet (no water stagnation though).  Only few lamps were there. The flowers looked beautiful on the dark stones.  We were just soaking in the drizzling rain and walking around! The pond where the water flows from the 'gomukh' looks as if it is not used or cleaned.  A priest came there after sometime and closed the door of the sannidhi...wooden door which looks new.  A few people came when we were there.  Otherwise, the whole area looked very quiet and pleasant.  You can notice from the pictures below.

Krishna Devi/Krishna Bai temple, Mahabaleshwar.  Notice the plants which are growing on the walls of the temple, this will destroy it in a few years

The narrow way to the Krishna Devi Temple...
The first view of the temple...

The garbha gruha and the Gomukh...Looks serene without any other distractions!

The legend says that River Krishna starts from this Gomukh statue (Cow's mouth)...The water comes like this throughout the year, it seems. 
The garbha gruha...sanctum sanctorum ...The frame, the door, the silver thrishool and Nagaraja looks as if they were added in the recent years.  A small Shiva linga was visible.

Nandi (Lord Shiva's vaahana/transport, bull!) statue in front of the temple.  You can notice the fog behind it.  We could not view the river properly from the railings but saw the scene which is given below.  We could have seen the beautiful panoramic view of the Krishna valley if the weather was clear!
The waterfall which flows into the Krishna river below! Notice the plastic bags and bottles thrown by the 'tourists'...dirty people.  This was visible from the railings near the temple.  This scene diffused the happy feeling we had, while roaming around the temple. 
Many people mention this temple as Krishnabai temple.  I don't know which name is right.  I liked the way the surroundings near the temple being maintained by is spotless, no dead leaves or any other debris.  Very nice. Well...this visit is going to stay in my memory. 

The famous Krishna valley view is it from the net.  We saw glimpses of this when the fog moved a bit but it vanished again! Here is the picture, thanks to Tushar_driving's link

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