Monday, January 26, 2009

Ram's The Way To Be?

Outrage over Mangalore attack; police forced to act

This is outrageous. Where is our freedom to live the life we choose to? Who gave them the right to beat a woman because 'they' thought she is indecent? What good is a supreme court judgement post the event? What is the difference between them and any other fundamental groups? Is it not an offensive to use Sri Ram's name to harbour such hatred and intolerance? Wasn't Ram's Sena the protector of all women? Shouldn't these people be punished to set an example for the rest of the 'Ram's Sainiks'? Or should they be sent for a Pscyhotherapy treatment to fight such unacceptable thoughts? Are they to be blamed for being ridiculous or for following instructions with a blind eye? Is this really intolerance or a game of politics once again?
We wonder and question while some people face the horror in real life every now and then...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Temple Visit

This thought has been lurking on my mind for a long time now and I really get agitated with it. I have noticed that whenever I visit a temple, the people guarding the place, as well as the pujaris behave in a very harsh manner with the people coming for darshans.

After standing in the queue for a long time when you finally reach the idol, you are shooed away briskly. And that half a minute darshan is almost always marred by shouts like "jaldi karo' "aagey badho" etc. Do the devotees not have even that much respect towards others to let them pray in silence for a moment? From Pashupatinath mandir in Nepal, to our very own temple here in Dubai - they all seem to be following the same procedure. It's as if if you dont shout and create a scene, the mandir is not a popualr one.

In Pashupatinath temple, I was appalled to see people spitting inside the temple area, throwing prasad everywhere, the most commercial pujaris doing pujas everywhere and not cleaning up ever after it - and one needed to walk barefoot throught this place. I felt ashamed. A place so sacred that you are not allowed to enter with your slippers on, but dirty enough for all and sundry to spit around!

Any place of worship is a place where one can unite with the divine, pray in silence and seek the guidance of the lord. It has to be a quite, humble and polite atmosphere where all devotees get a chance to pray whole heartedly - undisturbed. And everyone has to respect others. Instead of shouting and shooing people around, one can be humble and ask them to move faster in a polite manner. Some such temples that I visited were the AksharDham temples (in Delhi, Gandhinagar and Toronto) and the Golden Temple in Amritsar. No one utters a word, no one pushes you around, and every devotee is given their due respect.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Year Celebrations

Before I start this post, I'd like to wish all of you a very happy new year :)

I have been itching to write a post on all that we did but wanted to wait for the pictures as well. Yes my camera ditched me so waiting to collect them from my friends. And I don't know how much longer I have to wait so I have decided to write about it anyways.
We started from Dubai on 31st afternoon and reached the desert camp by early evening. Since it was our first time there (the rest of the group went there for the last 2 years), we were warned that the place has very basic facilities and we should not expect much. But we were pleasantly surprised to find a huge area just for our use, with 10 very neat and clean chalets (all ours). There was a Majlis where we would be partying in the night and a dining hall (for all the meals and tea). There was a swimming pool which we obviously couldn't use because of the cold weather and then there was a separate area for team building activities like a spider web, wall climbing, skiing etc.

Chalets were lined up on one end of the property

The vast area had some well highlighted trees

The Majlis was our playground for all games, fun and frolic

Most of the evening was spent talking with friends, setting up the projector and sound system in the Majlis and general chit chat. This was followed by a barbeque and then dinner. After dinner we all were supposed to get dressed and assemble in the Majlis for our skits!

Much as I was excited about the skit, hubby ditched me last moment :(. He refused to do the skit and well so I just did a karaoke song to cover up. He had had a bad day and I didn't feel it right to push him too much. Rest of the group did some funny stuff. One couple danced on a song, one family did the Gujju thingy in Kal Ho Na Ho (G-U-J-J-U...Gujju...something - it was hilarious!), one family did the Jay Leno show where the wife became Jay, the hubby a guest (as SRK and then as Gabbar Singh) and the son was a rock legend and played guitar. One family did jokes the Goodness Gracious style and the other did mimicry of all famous stars as to how they would record their voice message. Then we all danced and welcomed the new year. This was followed by a bon fire which lasted till the next morning.

1st morning was very relaxed with most people getting up late. Then it was time for the guys at the property to take over. They divided our team into 2 groups (all couples were separated) and each team was taken to play one game. By the time we finished both the games it was evening and I need not mention the amount of rivalries that were created! But in the end, both teams scored equal. Evening again was chilled out with most of the time in the majlis doing karaoke, playing roulette and recollecting the previous day's performances. But the highlight was a quiz organised by one friend. The teams were in action once again and the quiz master had to take care of a lot of accusations ;)! By the end of the day, one team was leading by 2 points.

Next morning was devoted to 2 more games - one was a race on wooden skis which was a lot of fun. We had 5 people on each ski, who needed to coordinate their leg movements in order to lift and move forward. So one person would shout orders left right left right, and the rest would follow. We had to cross a particular path and reach the finish line. The other game was more creative. Each chalet was given a set of 8 captions. We needed to click pictures for these captions in one hour and submit. To give you an idea, here are some captions:

  1. A thumbs up to 2009!
  2. Look overhead
  3. Hum hain rahi pyar ke
  4. Pool dude
  5. If you were attacked by the terrorists

This was great fun not only while shooting but even to review everyone's pictures and voting on the best ones. After all the fun and frolic, we parted finally only after a group photograph!

PS: I will try and update this post with some more pictures as soon as I lay my hands on them.