Monday, July 20, 2009

Kanwarias----Shiva's foot soldiers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Past three days all the educational institutions in Ghaziabad are closed!and all of us in the teaching fraternity are treated to a pleasant surprise of five days off from our busy schedule(of course we will work overtime or may be we will skip certain other calendar listed holidays).However for now we are relaxing thanks to the self styled soldiers of lord Shiva. As traffic crawl along UP- Delhi border, we can see long lines and huge crowds of saffron clad men and rarely a few women carrying kanwars( triangular wooden frames) colourfully decorated with cheap plastic festoons and toys. As monsoon sets in , we can see these kanwariahs initially in pairs or small groups across the plains of north India. From Bihar, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand and mostly from Uttar Pradesh they travel by various modes of transport towards Haridwar, Gangotri and Gomukh, to collect the sacred water from river Ganges and take the water to their local Shiva shrine to offer the ganga jal(sacred water of Ganges )on the shivaling.The real pilgrimage starts after collecting the water from Ganga. the kanwarias have to walk bare foot on their way back home carrying kanwars in various forms(according to their planned penance). the toughest one is the dak kanwar in which the kanwaria has to run all the way carrying the kanwar and the easiest one usually by the novitiates is the baithi, in which the kanwar can be allowed to sit on ground while the kanwaria rests. walking or even in rare cases running long distance means extreme exhaustion, blisters on feet, cramps,and often irritability. this also teaches them a lot of endurance, though we can hardly see them in that positive state of mind.intoxicants like bhang is consumed by many to help them bear the hardship (may be). the result of all this is arrogance and rowdiness on the part of these pilgrims who are called Bholenath(another name for Shiva). On their tour back home they are treated like Shiva and reverence is in abundance for them. The huge tents set up by rich shop keepers and various charity organizations and blessed by the government host these pilgrims by pampering them, feeding them and even tending their blistered feet and massaging their limbs.All through their journey back which may span over a period of 10 days, they receive royal treatment at every rest house tents they reach  en route,and, the kanwaria devotees hasten to feed them and offer cool drinks and and care even on roads.
Usually majority of the kanwarias are from the lower strata of society who are otherwise looked on with contempt by the upper strata and as suspected thieves and miscreants by the police. once they don the kanwaria garb they are treated with great reverence. Most of them who are deprived of two square meals a  day in their normal life, are fed with rich food and given the luxury of abundant rest and pamper by those who look down upon them otherwise. What a paradox of our society! Or is that a sweet unpronounced revenge by the lowly people on the affluent lot in the society?? Whatever.... for now they are simply basking in the name of god and making use of every ounce of pamper bestowed on them....and....thanks to them,we, in the teaching faculty along with the students are relaxing in gratitude(?????) to the kanwarias--------the soldiers of lord Shiva!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

An ode to selfless love

Who are you to me?????????????
A sister I never had????
A daughter not born to me?
a friend who cares and dotes over me?
Nay.. u are all rolled into one my sweet loving Xi!
Five days of togetherness encompassed in formal ways
Turned into five decades of loving bond?
Those were just two days with you again....
You turned that into an eon of memory
Ever reminding me of your caring and loving ways
Each moment coming back to me to tell me
You care and you love with full heart
I dare not thank u my Xi.....lest....
Your crystal clear heart breaks!!!!!!!!.........for.....
Your love, I know is unconditional......

Just one more wish about us---my dear,
May this bond live on till our last breath my Xi

A fortnight of sheer joy

I remember those days when I started life as a home maker around 32 years back.It was sheer excitement and thrill to collect small items for the kitchen and for the living room. I always thought gone are those days of excitement and sheer joy of setting up a new household.

32 years passed amidst moving from a rented house to the Air India quarters and then to our own house and then building extensions and additions.Things seemed to have settled down and life almost stood still and devoid of much excitement. Little did I know that the excitement and thrill was to resurface and once again in a different perspective was I to experience all that.

Fifteen days of a totally new experience of setting up a new home and experimenting with basic available equipment and infrastructure and all the while enjoying every bit of it....................that too in a paradise like environ!!!!!!!!!!
May be my sheer joy of doing all this for my doting son who lost no chance to pamper Amma and to take every little effort to make her happy and cater to her demands, brought all the thrill of yesteryear's back
32 years back it was the man of my life who danced to the tune of my demands...and this time it is the other important male member of my life-----my son----who let go no chance to fulfill my demands. Whatever..... setting up anew home for my son, cooking solely for him, and waiting to see the smile of happiness and contentment at seeing me home when he came back from work, and watching him glow while seeing his favourite dish on table ...Oh my God that was my greatest joy!!!!!
That fortnight of my stay with my child, my doting darling son, took away from me all aches and pains of growing old, and the wonderful flora and fauna and the weather of Bangalore made my mind and body healthier and younger.Truly speaking I did not want to leave that paradise, but I have my soul mate, and a work place to turn back to and loads to do before i turn to those green pastures again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!