Some Very and Some Not So Very Useful Sites

December 14, 2007

The future needs help...

Don’t know how many times I have heard this “Today the kids are much more smarter than we were!”. Or the famous, “Yeh aaj kal ke bacche”. There is absolutely no doubt that generation after generation kids are turning out to be smarter than the previous generation.

But sadly, it’s not doing as much good as it should. On the contrary, the recent events revolving around teenagers in India, has raised a question mark on their upbringing.

This certainly may not be with all the children; however the area of concern is the increase in percentage of kids that are emotionally imbalanced. Even though, I have no practical experience… I think the solution lies with the parents more than anyone else.

As children are growing up faster… parents need to be two steps ahead of them. It’s a competitive world and the time has come to compete with your children. Before a thought crosses their mind, it should cross your mind and help you avoid the destruction. This is possible only when you know your child inside out.

But again it may not be as easy, with both parents working or busy with other activities. So how and when do parents gauge the mind of their children? That is when weekends and holidays help. Not only it gives parents a chance to relax, but can be the right opportunity for them to gauge the mind of their kids.

To get a solution for such sensitive matters can never be easy. But individuals and society need to wake up first. And then take small steps ahead to create a bettter and safe environment for all.

October 31, 2007

Careful with those home remedies

Since my college days, I have tried so many of those make-it-at-home packs, for beautiful skin and hair. I mean a human body has so many flaws to improve upon. So whenever one has a solution for any of those flaws one does get interested to know and try it. But sometimes the solution becomes a problem.

Likes once I heard on the radio, an excited Radio jockey, very confidently enlightening all her listeners; with her excellent tip on how to remove marks left after those uninvited pimples stay. Well, according to her just crush few Garlic cloves and apply it on the marks. Impressed by the confidence of the RJ, I ran to the kitchen and did exactly that, only to see the pimple marks being converted into burn marks.

The pimple marks wouldn’t be visible from far but the marks left behind by garlic could be visible from miles away. Days after that were really horrible, however months later the marks disappeared completely. Till date when I get pimple marks, I am too scared to do any home made remedies to remove them.

One of my cousins had a similar experience when she tried applying curd to make her hair smooth and manageable. She was horrified to see some of her hair greying after this treatment. This reminds me of a story I read in the newspaper, few years back. A man lost his vision, after he put drops of lemon juice into his eyes because he read it was good for the eyes.

I have always been in favor of these home-made remedies however there are certain things one needs to be aware of. We all have different skin and hair types, what may work for one, may not necessarily work for another. If you decide on trying a home remedy first try it on a small part of your skin or hair. For sensitive areas like eyes, ears don’t do anything without consulting a qualified Doctor.

October 16, 2007

Vacancies for writers

On a Sunday afternoon, as soon as I put on the TV, my mom felt I could utilize my time in a better way and gave me some flour to knead. Hence, it made sense to stick only to the local movie channel and avoid channel surfing. While watching the movie, my eyes fell on the ad running below, which showed “Vacancies for writers”.

Being a writer, I thought this was an opportunity I should explore. My hands full of wet flour I found myself so helpless, I had no clue how to take down the number. I rushed and washed my hands got hold of a pen, only to find out there was no ink in it. Managed to get another one but before I could write, the ad was off the screen.

I cursed my luck “Why does it always has to be me?” and got back to what I was doing…. kneading flour. Just as I am about to, get hold of something good, I am not ready for it… so I thought.

But some times you do get a second chance in life and so did I. Same evening, again the ad was displayed and this time neither were my hands occupied nor my pen without ink. So, I wrote the phone number and decided to call up the next day.

Long before the call I had thought about what I was going to ask and if they asked me to come for an interview, I would go the same day. After all, the employer should feel important (Dad said so…). Monday early afternoon, I called the given number, after about 50 tries, finally got through.

This was the most crucial part of the whole adventure, because this is when I discovered the ad was not about “Vacancies for Writers” but it was “Vacancies for Waiters” and for all I know, I was not remotely qualified or trained for the job.
Vacancies for writers
In my excitement, I didn’t notice this huge difference even after seeing the ad twice. So as they say, all for the best, first time when I couldn’t write down the number was probably a sign that this was not meant for me. Also, this incident made me realize, the importance of paying attention to minutest details.

September 7, 2007

The sacred language - Sanskrit

Sanskrit, a forgotten Indian language, is derived from the word samskrta which means ‘perfectly formed’. Long ago, it was the language used by civilized India. There are innumerable languages that have used Sanskrit, for its formation.

Besides being a beautiful language, it represents the ancient culture of India, which was more spiritual and wholesome. The most powerful source of knowledge, VEDAS is said to be written in Sanskrit. Controversy surrounds its origin; some historians support its Indo-European link, while others vouch it to be the language of the divine interpreted by the Rishis (Sages).

Sanskrit being developed in an age when there were very few human civilization devices and so Sanskrit doubled up as a language and tool for memory improvement. In the modern times, strong similarity is found between the working of Object oriented Programming (OOP) and Sanskrit.

While it may not be a common language today, many people especially Indians have this hidden desire to learn it. Harish Shetty, top management personnel with one of Indian MNCs, says, “I am a firm believer that, if you learn Sanskrit, your ucharan (speech) becomes perfect”. Prakriti Sharma, a self employed lady says “Since Sanskrit is not very easy to learn, its best to start early. I will make sure to send my kid for Sanskrit classes by next year.”

While many people I know are learning French, German, Japanese and so on… my first priority would be Sanskrit. Nothing wrong learning these languages too but as they say charity begins at home, on the same line, learning begins at home. I might as well start learning, what my country has got to teach me, first.

August 14, 2007

Indian Prisoners of War

15 Aug 2007, INDIA celebrates its 60 years of freedom; it’s the time to rejoice, the time to remember those, who gave us this freedom and also those who protected it from vested interests. India and Pakistan are marking this day by releasing prisoners of each others countries. It is indeed a very noble way of celebrating our freedom however while reading the news, my eyes were trying to find, if the prisoners freed were Prisoners of War (POW). But no, the free Indian prisoners from Pakistan were mostly fishermen and rest civilians, who had illegally crossed the borders.

I didn’t know much about POWs, until I saw this amazingly heart touching movie… 1971, Prisoners of War by Amrit Sagar. This movie is obviously about POW from the 1971 India-Pakistan war. It’s a flawless movie portraying the struggle of POW planning to escape from the prison, and what happens in between.

The climax especially would leave anyone awestruck. There are very few movies that are de-glamorized yet entertaining. And above all, an eye opener, which leaves a deep impact on the viewer. From that time on many occasions, I have thought what must be the state of these POW now.

Wish the kind of awareness hockey has got, after the movie Chakde…India, even the POW issue could get after 1971 POW…!But sadly didn’t read any such news about it, anywhere.

As I read the article about the freed prisoners, once again I restlessly look if there is any news about them. From 1971 to 2007, these army men are paying the price for keeping us safe and to think about it, what if there are similar POW from the Kargil war. According to some of the Freed Indian Prisoners coming from Pakistan, quite a lot of POW are still present in Pakistan’s secret cells. About 36 years later they are still waiting for someone to reach out to them. Some have lost their mental balance some their eyesight.

Illegally under imprisonment in Pakistan, their families must have lost hopes of their return. On the completion of 60 years of Independence; Let us pray for their Well being and hope they are soon united with their loved ones. With such patriots suffering in another land, how appropriate is the 60 years celebration??

A poem, dedicated to these POW

Dedication to POW

August 8, 2007

Archies Comics family has a new Indian member... Raj Patel

Archies Comics

Archies comics came into existence in 1952, and I have been reading it since 1980s. It had always been my favorite book, based on it there are also cartoon videos but never liked it that much. The blend of humour, logic and the connection with real life has been amazingly perfect, in Archies comics. There are so many stories I can think of even now and laugh, which at the same time makes so much sense.

In one of such stories, one of Veronica Lodges pair of pants were accidentally torn in the college. After which she is embarrassed to no end and is lost about what she should do next. When her Friend Betty suggests she should walk as if nothing as happened or she will draw peoples attention towards her; Veronica does exactly that. She walks to the classroom, with all her confidence.

When other girls in the college see this, they think if Veronica Lodge is wearing that, then obviously it must be the latest trend. And next day all the gals are wearing trousers which is full on one leg and short on another. Funny but when today I see ripped Jeans I get a feeling that this is what must have happened with the person who introduced it!

Now Archies comics would be, more dearer to me because they have brought in an Indian Character Raj Patel. From what information I have collected, sounds like, he would be presented in a positive way. Rajs Father, Ravi Patel is rich and famous, and a Doctor by profession. The family includes Rajs Mother Mona Patel and sister Tina Patel.

Hopefully, this character stays in Archies forever and is not just momentary.

July 17, 2007

Taj one of the seven wonders...

I have deep interest in history. It tells so much and entertains at the same time. However, when I sit down to write something about Indian history it gets very difficult to know the facts. The facts are more or less ambiguous. To find the accuracy of any part of the history is a painful process.

Last week, there was too much happening over the voting of Taj as the Seven wonders. Taj… what a beauty! is nothing less than a dream and so are the other wonders which holds in it subdued fragrance of the gone years.

The other wonders included were;
The Great Wall, China
Petra, Jordan
Christ Redeemer, Brazil
Machu Picchu, Peru
Chichén Itzá, Mexico
The Roman Colosseum, Italy

Wonder if there is some history associated to these other wonders as in the case of Taj Mahal. History about why it was created, how it was created and what happened after it was created. From the beginning to end there are tons of tales to tell. Again like many historical events even here, the accuracy of these stories is questionable.

Taj Mahal was created by Shahjahan a moghul king, in memory of his wife Mumtaz. If this interests you, Mumtaz died while giving birth to her 14th child when her 13 child was less than a year old.

Taj mahal was brought into existence after long years of hardwork from countless artisans. As a reward for all their hardwork, it is believed they were handicapped by cutting off their hands. Reason? No other Taj should ever be made again. This past of Taj makes me wonder if Taj is a symbol of Love or brutality.

Nevertheless, I am happy it has got world wide recognition as it definitely is a brilliant art work atleast this way the artisans earn their due credit.

If these stories associated with the taj, wasn’t enough there is another strong contender to the list. Taj originally a Hindu temple was seized by Shahjahan from a Hindu king. Now if this story is to be believed all the previous history of Taj becomes baseless.

To think of it, I am glad Taj is not known as a Hindu temple for then like many other beautiful and well-maintained Indian heritages even it wouldn’t even reach to the nomination list. We would not have all the campaigning for it because it would then become too non-secular for the seculars to promote Taj as one of the seven wonders or the caste and creed sensitive Hindu priests wouldn't allow low caste to enter Taj. So in short all for the best.

June 10, 2007

Trip to Puttaparthi

As a Sai devotee I have always tried to visit Puttaparthi atleast once in a year. This year I had been to Puttaparthi in February. There are a couple of very interesting incidents from my trip which I thought is worth a mention.

Our itinerary was planned as follows, Mumbai to Bangalore to Puttaparthi and back. We had planned to move to Parthi from Bangalore on 1st of Feb as it takes only 4 to 5 hrs from Bangalore to Parthi, so we had approximately 24hrs halt there. However on reaching Bangalore we got the news that Baba was in Chennai and would be coming back only on 2nd of Feb. Can’t explain how disappointing we felt at hearing this piece of news, as we had to leave Parthi on 2nd afternoon.

It is famous about Baba that no one can tell when and where he will be at a given point of time. Thinking about it I had a hope that probably Baba will change his plans and pre-pone his arrival at Parthi. To my excitement and joy this is exactly what happened. Instead of 2nd Baba reached Parthi on 1st of Feb almost the same time when we reached. Non-believers may term it as a co-incidence but believers like me know that Baba always hears the prayers of his Devotees.
Sri Satya Sai Baba
That’s not all, when I went to the main hall where Baba comes to give darshan to his devotees I was stopped by one of the volunteers as the dress that I wore didn’t have a shawl or Odeni. As a rule every female entering the hall (even Prasanthi Nilayam) should to be covered from neck to feet with a shawl wrapped around.

With only a couple of mins for the gate to be closed I had no time to go back to my room to get a shawl. Although there was a smile on my face, deep down I really felt like crying. Just then another volunteer who was watching all this from a distance came to us and said to this volunteer

“Let her go probably she was not aware of this”.

Following a small chat with this helpful volunteer I was finally inside the hall after being refused entry from many other volunteers to whom I referred the volunteer behind who had given her consent. Again in the face of that volunteer I saw Baba himself.

In only 24 hrs of time span there was so much happening in Parthi (Some mentioned here, some not) that otherwise doesn’t happen in days together.

Time and time again I have been questioned by non-believers about why do I believe inSri Satya Sai Baba and they try to enlighten me with all the stories they have heard about him. This piece of writing, an answer to their questions is only a part of Baba’s involvement in my life; Similarly, Baba has helped and heard me in all my difficult times.

Puttaparthi... high on spirituality!


April 13, 2007

Bindi / Tilak - Significant part of Indian culture


Tika or Bindi applied between eyebrows on the forehead by Hindu women is believed to be a symbol of Parvati -- the Shakti(Power) and signifies female energy that can protect them and their spouse from every evil.

It is also believed that pressing the point between the eyebrows (Bhrumadhya) keeps away cold, cough headache, fatigue. Hence while applying Bindi, ladies would press Bhrumadhya to be physically fit. However, these days women use sticker bindis instead of kumkum powder that doesn’t give the above benefit.

Tilak that the hindu men apply on their forehead represents auspiciousness. It can be made of sandal paste (chandan), sacred ashes (Vibhuti) or red tumeric (kumkum). The devotees of Shiva apply sacred ashes on the forehead, the devotees of Vishnu apply sandal paste (Chandan), and the worshippers of Devi or Shakti apply Kumkum, a red tumeric powder.

In ancient India, Tilak was applied according to the occupation of the person; Brahman applied Chandan (sandal paste), Kshatriya Kumkum, Vaishya yellow kesar or turmeric and Shudra black bhasma, kasturi or charcoal powder Tilak.

The space between the two eyebrows is the Ajna Chakra, Sandal paste comes with great medicinal value, apart from acting as a cooling agent it is spiritually beneficial. Chandan reduces body heat when applied at the Bhrumadhya.

Lord Siva's third eye is located at his Brumadhya and it is believed when open it can destroy the whole universe. Similarly, when the third eye of the soul opens it is capable of destroying physical, mental and spiritual (Adhyatmika, Adhidaivika and Adhibhautika) sufferings.

Our endless sins alongwith our three Karmas Sanchita (accumulated works), Prarabdha (Productive works) Agami (current works) are destroyed after concentrating on Bhrumadhya after applying tilak. While applying Tilak and beginning to meditate, one should pray this exercise will help them come closer to the unknown, unseen truth.

February 16, 2007

His-story can be our story too...

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful nation, which was the envy of many other nations. The obvious reason why it attracted, the interests of many wicked rulers. In not much time, these rulers in greed of more power and wealth entered the beautiful nation and captured most of its assets… before destroying its culture and magnificence. The protector of the land tried hard to save their land and people from these intruders but failed in front of their evil minds.

Many years later, the people of that destroyed land worked hard and were once again bringing it to its original state. However once again it drew the attention of power hungry rulers and once again was captured and destroyed.

This went on and on… for no man, in this once beautiful land learnt anything from history. They thought they were too well-learned to brood over what happened in the past. Only if somebody had told them, HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF.