Friday, April 28, 2006

Sati, Suicide, Murder, Rose-Whats In A Name

India, the land of mystics and mysticism, snakes and snake charmers, elephants and mahouts, Maharishis and Maharajas.

While all of the above fail to make news any more and are nearly as extinct as the soon to be 'black buck' of Salman Khan fame..what lives on is Sati- a ritual where the widow burns herself on the funeral pyre of her husband.

A recent incident invited attention to this dehumnanising practise which Raja ram Mohan Roy and Lord William Bentick had abolished almost 175 years back, or so it appeared.

It is alive(?) and well in rural India. There are almost 250 temples in the country with a continuous flow of devotees. The most high profile and hyped self-immolation was that of Roop Kanwar, all of 19, who died on the pyre of her 75 year old husband. There have been scores which have gone unreported, for every one with its story in print.

History bears evidence that this practise was adopted to save the widows from being captured alive by attacking forces,of the neighbouring countries. What has remained under wraps however is whether the act itself was intentional or one of coercion due to various factors. There have been rampant incidents of aspersions cast on the dishonorable intentions of relatives who, in their avarice and greed for the wealth/property of the deceased would rather have the widow 'out of' the fight for inheritance.Therefore, cloaked in fanfare and ritualistic 'tamasha' the innocent and helpless wife found herself burnt alive, and a temple built, as a mute evidence of the most heinous of crimes. A 'halloed honor ' for a murder most foul.

"Sati-Mata"..Right.. So long as she graces the temple as a stone idol!

The Sati(Prevention) Act of 1987, minus teeth, was unsuccessful in curbing the practise. What is heartening is the news reported by The Times Of India that a bill to the effect of putting the onus on preventing sati on the family and village, is under way..A bill incorporating new clauses will be introduced soon in the Parliament where"it will be presumed that the sati was attempted under duress and that the immediate family was in a position to stop her but did not." a progressive piece of legislation where the proposed law makes no distinction between 'passive observers and abettors'.

The widow, will thus be protected by law from being coerced to end her life if destiny has decided to end her husbands. Fair enough. Would that however spell financial relief, social acceptance, and familial respect? NO. A society which has been anaesthetised into accepting an age old practise as mere spectators has also in the process convinced itself of its validity and relevance. Judicial intervention is not going to be welcomed with alacrity.

"How can we stop her from committing suicide?" In all probability this will be the resigned response from relatives of another widow, from that community when news of her death surfaces. Sati, albeit , a new name, Suicide.

Women Dispensation is the reality, Women Empowerment .. a myth

Consider for the sake of hypothesis, that the widow does genuinely care enough for her deceased husband. Would she even in the given scenario agree to extinguish her life or opt for it under duress? Or the fact that she fears for her safety in any case? This itself is a relection of the bindings and social stigma at work in rural India.

So India is a land of diversities.. Whats new about that!! nothing.. Here is another reason 'To Die for'..latest report of a Dowry death.

I love my country..Which other, the world over, boasts of such ingenuous methods and reasons for murder?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Just Some News

Since I hadnt checked on the technorati links for almost a week, decided to do that. And look what I found..This!! For me n my Sachiniti..awww.. I am so touched.

Few things in life get you all weepy,grateful and humbled!

I want to really thank all those who have bothered to listen. Just to see the site meter clicking was enough proof that you all were here. A special mmmuuaahh ofcourse to those who have been so kind and wonderful with their comments.

Gosh!!..must check myself.. before I begin to thank my parents, hubby, kiddies, doggy. neighbours..and make it sound like Rekhas lifetime achievement award speech..I will sign off.

Waving.. a flying kiss with my tear laden lace kerchief.. Marilyn Monroe-ish..

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


"A mask tells us more than a face.”

If there is something which is ubiquitous, across the board, ethnicities, cultures, nations, nationalities, races, is the irrepressible tendency of humans to in a verb. Their intentions, desires, moods, temperament, in fact their whole personality.

Strange isnt it? I mean you spend a lifetime becoming what you are and then spend a major part of it masking that. So then, why did you get to be that in the first place? (funny.. how much one can convey just with the usage of prepositions!)

Is there then "Cinderella time" for the clock to strike and the mask to melt away into nothingness, or does it after a while become a fixture, beneath which only a shadow of the original exists, wrinkled, jaded, shrivelled!

Given the present scenario, how does one then operate? Does one have to have one as well? A social mask for a masked society? I wonder then if one gets aware of the circumstance of donning it or does it magically appear at will, a la Superman/woman, spiderman/woman, catman/woman..will have to ask son for further references..

And Truth? What of that? Oh! it shines through.. at times.. when in love and the one beneath decides to unburden the tragedy of his being and revel in the freedom of just Being, in the hope of acceptance on 'an as is where is basis'..not long before time decides to unleash its seasonal fury and the mask of the other gets blown away to smithereens to reveal who? A stranger...ah Well! all in the game of life.

Come to think of it, is it really that 'all pervasive', this mask business ? Lets look around.. internet..hmm pseudonyms, friends...reliable?naah, family.. of course.. 'blood is thicker than water and all that'..yeah Pravin proved that by actually shedding it..and us? Well me.. I write under my own name, have been attacked since times immemorial because of my inability to cloak my feelings, so thats two+.. as for the rest well who knows yet in the process of discovering.

Difficult process.. if you ask me.. since one is unable to decipher when it came on or if it has come on at all? Scary .. It strikes surreptitiously and is so infectious. By merely looking at one , there are grave chances of it manifesting with alarming equality or greater proportion on to you.And before you know it hey presto! there you are responding, reverberating, echoing, tones, voices, accents, attitudes..

“Our masks, always in peril of smearing or cracking, in need of continuous check in the mirror or silverware, keep us in thrall to ourselves, concerned with our surfaces.” ..Tricky business this.. make, preserve, modernise, refresh, re-mix,chameleon like:)( No reference to you CK. just so apt for the point)

Then why even bother? Why not just BE? Savour the freedom of your own emotions, thughts, personality, ideas.. Because 'No one is more youer than you'.. and as long as it is you who loves your self, why bother if the world does , one way or the other? It is the one in the mirror who has to smile back..the world's smile maybe the mask of a clowns, in any case.. who knows?

'Summon all the strength to rip off that mask'..Oxygenate, Live and Love. You come by this way just once..

Monday, April 24, 2006

Suicide..Navin Nischol's Wife

Promod Mahajans brother Pravin shot him at point blank range, in what seemed as a pre-meditated act, stemming from frustration at being the 'ignored poorer' one. The media, internet have been all agog with the News. Rightfully so. Sibling rivalry in its latest serpiginous reflection.

What caught my attention however, was the underhyped but equally ,if not more tragic news of the suicide of actor Navin Nischols (Sawan bhadon, Buddha mil gaya fame) wife Geetanjali. She was at home at her Mahim residence when she decided to put an end to her sufferings, or so she imagined, by hanging herself from the ceiling fan.Her servants reported the incident.So... another unsung, unceremonious, futile end! Another love story bites the dust. There is nothing more heartbreaking than to be witness to a heart break.

A while back, in an interview to the media she had gone on record to narrate how Navins brother Pravin( again!what is with this name!) Nischol had allegedly duped them of their plush apartment at Khar, which had been bought with Navins money in the '80's, but had been on Pravins name to avoid tax hassles, or so she claimed. Financial constraints had led them to become homeless and therefore were now living in appalling conditions at Mahim.

The 'alleged' suicide note, found by the police states however that she was taking her life due to the alcoholism of Navin and the property dispute. Reports claim that Navin had been living separately for almost a year, in Pune.

Irrespective of the details and circumstances, which would be unfair to comment upon without adequate proof, what seems clear is that the couple had been unable to cope with

1)adversities in finances
2)adversities in career
3)adversities in relationships

This was a second marriage for both.Barely six years old.

Walking the tightrope of life, , a piece on the suicide of Kuljeet Randhawa, in totally different circumstances, will shed further light on the sreiousness of this scenario and the underlying causes and implications. She was an acclaimed actress and model, young and beautiful. Her reasons surprisingly too boiled down to failed relationships.

“Anguish of mind has driven thousands to suicide; anguish of body, none. This proves that the health of the mind is of far more consequence to our happiness than the health of the body, although both are deserving of much more attention than either of them receive.”

While I am feeding in details of the news which at most skims the surface of what is working in my mind right now, I find it increasingly tragic that in this world of apparent modernisation and progress, humans find themselves alone, forlorn and at sea, desperate and friendless. Also, it is sadly true that positivity is a sentiment which is starkly unavailable as an ingredient of the lives of most,especially at times like these.

"Adversity is the salt of life" said Swami Vivekananda. Remembered by some, but adhered to by fewer!

Do we tend to give our all to emotional well-being over and above any other? Yet fail to instill in each other the joyous wonder of being together as the only premise worth any deduction.

If , love be the centre of our existence, why cannot we love unconditionally? Not in expectation of any return and to avoid in the face of disappointment, hurt? Alternatively, desist from placing our life in the palm of another humans inconsistent loyalties or capabilities of reciprocation. The other maybe as confused or himself/herself in need of strength and solace.To expect super human efforts from another while not displaying any ourselves, is fallacious and can only lead to disaster. As has been apparent in this case.

Most men are at their lowest, if careers fail to translate into compensatory and commensurate returns financially. It is at such periods in life that most marriages break under the pressure of coping with the demands of life on one hand and an unresponsive or asympathetic spouse on the other. What should have been a 'give only'relationship, in terms of love and understanding, disintegrates into a 'take only'. Soon the 'blame game' takes over and the two become unrecognisable even to themselves.

“True Love burns the brightest, But the brightest flames leave the deepest scars.”
The path of love and togetherness is fraught with uncertainties, trials and tribulations.

A hint of philosophy, which points towards the direction of patience and wisdom, a tinge of spirituality which opens up need for faith and trust in the Unknown Plan, and a dollop of love for that one person who has pledged herself/himself to you, would go a far way in minimising incidents such as these, which speak of a Broken heart, more than anything else and the final revenge at having not been heard.

Is suicide then the end to suffering? Negative. If only she had known that perhaps it would serve only to perpetuate the seed of unhappiness which could have been allowed to wither away on its own, over time, with patience, in barren soil inconducive to erroneous thinking, emerging out of an awakened mind. If only..

Saturday, April 22, 2006

No Ring - No String

I met a girl , couple of days back, at a social do. The usual kind of party where you meet some interesting, some not so, some nice, some not so, some who you take back with you in memories and others who you want to forget the moment they are out of your sight.

She was the former variety, interesting , nice and the fact I am writing about her amounts to the fact that she was memorable. Pretty, in a bizarre sort of way and totally in-the-face.With her attitude, speech and stance.

A while ago, I would have made my excuses and strolled off. I found it difficult to come to terms with this 'new breed', to whom irreverence is a choice and a badge they wear as an identity status.

Surprisingly, ever since I joined the ranks of 'blogging community', I notice that my reserve and trepidation at 'dialoguing' with the kind is slowly melting. Even almost disappearing. I find myself warming to their view point and eager to know their take on almost every issue under the sun..which includes of course, the quintessential topic of discussion among humanity as a whole- Marriage.

The above title of the post was thanks to my new friend. It more or less is self explanatory on what she thinks of this great'institution' of marriage. Or rather does not think of it, as one. To every argument I put forward with all the eloquence at my disposal, or 'weight of experience', all I got from her was "why?" or a "so what?", "why bother" and finally "its just not worth it"..period.

I was taken aback, initially, at the generous dollops of slang that interspersed her vociferous fragmented utterances. You'd be too. Try envisaging the above four worders punctuated with six f's and 3 a's. But once the reasoning behind the heavily cloaked words reached my overwhelmingly and by-now groggy mind, I actually found myself telling her "I think you are right.. I would have done the same too." Hubby ofcourse at this point, had given up on the two of us and decided to replenish his stem glass.

To put it as succinctly as I can, she believed that most men/women today do not believe in marriage as being the only worthwhile destination in their life. If the reason for marriage is stability, then she didnt need a man to give it to her. Emotional needs,well, which husband remains your best friend, once the initial euphoria has died down. Physical needs?? "You must be joking..Hitch up for life for a roll in the hay? Never!!". What about envy at those happily married snap shot families, kids in tow, munching on crunchies, at a theatre. Wont she miss it?.. Yeah right..go home to a hubby who promptly goes off to sleep and you are left handling the kids their tantrums and an acrylic sense of having had a good time!

Compare that with the brazenness of telling the guy who decides to exhibit his male ego by reminding her how she ought to be doing this that or the other, with a s***w off. Coming back to a place where she can be the person she wants to, never made to feel guilty for choosing to have a life, and not just babies!!

"Independence" in its most recent and progressive(?) connotation. So what happens now to Kids? Will they happen? And if they do, will they have a home with Papa and Mama?
Is it just years of conditioning that accentuates a family as we know it, or is it the only way it was meant to be? Are single parent families the future?

What of "and they lived happily ever after "endings? Or, were they fairy tales after all..there are no endings of the kind.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Yours Forever

"All the powers in the universe are already ours. It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark." Swami Vivekananda

To be fallible is to be human too. But if you want to feel the power in you and your potential to be what you were mean to be, all you have to do is read Swami Vivekanada.

I am a voracious reader, but have rarely been inspired as much by any other. To top it, all of his works are speeches he has delivered, which have been collected and compiled. Therefore, it was not as if he had actually sat and written it.

It has been said that Swamiji never prepared his talks. He went up to the podium and began speaking.Pearls of widom, effortlessly. That is what makes it truly remarkable. Even if one were to try, one cannot look for error. They were perfect in implication, rhetoric and peppered with spirituality.

Having gained a deep insight into the vedas, and the writings of our sages, it was as if he had imbed it wholly. What emerged was a simplified, day to day lesson on life and living. Never before had Hinduism and its philosophy been propounded in a manner which the common man could relate with and grasp. After him, there have been one in every decade. If you know what I mean. But he was the original.

Lets take this quotation. How true. And how motivating. It is we who have limited our powers with our thinking. So it is not our ability to achieve or to overcome which is questionable, it is our interpretation of our situation which should be questioned.

There is an opportunity waiting, in every challenge of life. Only, we choose to interpret it as an obstacle. That normally happens when the gaze has shifted from the goal that perceived obstacles present themselves so. Perhaps, there is another lesson waiting to be learnt for the journey ahead.

The oft repeated saying of light a candle when it gets dark, inspires us to light the candle of wisdom. Life is the greatest university, if one is a willing student. Wisdom our best friend. Always present, just a step behind, waiting to be beckoned and ever willing to be a guide.

And when all else fails to get you out of the dumps, read Swami Vivekananda. He has never let me down. He will be there for you as well.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

And Now Banks Take Over Piggy Banks

Times are fast-a- changing..for better or for worse, depends on which side of the fence you find yourself.

As parents, all is not hunky dory. Our brats are under focus, scrutiny and attack, if I may add. Close on the heels of a report that kids in Mumbai receive the highest amount of pocket money,they naturally earn the privilege of being the highest spenders. The ad gurus, fast to learn and quick to implement have decided to address their ads to the 'new entrants' on the block. The savvy young breed of decision makers, our kids.

Never one to lose an opportunity, there comes an anouncement by the ICICI Bank introducing the 'Young Stars Account' for ages between 7-18. What's sensational, you may ask.

Wait till you read of the perks. A personal debit card with daily spending/withdrawal limits of Rs2500.

Now thats a fire in the hay stack kind of matchstick thrown our way. One kid has it, and there the tantrum takes centrestage..''I want it too". No amount of cajoling and manipulation can really work at this stage. May help to delay the propensity of the needed reaction, if you are lucky. But act you will have to , one way or the other.

"The world is getting materialistic, by the hour" was a constant refrain of my Grandma, 20 years back Wonder what she'd have to say today.

Ahh nostalgia..takes me back to the time when in one of the absurd demands, children make, I threw a fit for an aeroplane, on a visit to the airport. There I was all teary eyed, hiccupping in misery, sobbing at having been told that I could not have one. My dad, a great one for masterminding ingenuous ways and means to turn the tide in his favour offered a deal . He explained that he since he was just a little short of cash for the aeroplane, suggested that I settle for the next best , which he would get me right away, while the aeroplane, was agreed to be momentarily kept in abeyance... I wiped my tears, fiddled with the kerchief, thought really hard, and settled for a Five star cadbury chocolate. Since Pa looked relieved, I quickly made it 'two'.

"Children are not casual guests in our home. They have been loaned to us temporarily for the purpose of loving them and instilling a foundation of values on which their future lives will be built." James Dobson

The ad makers, banks are villains of the story, in the lives of our kids, cementing impressions on their impressionable minds.What they are in fact contributing towards is for one, exposing them to artficialities at a younger age than accepted, by equating acquisition of expensive gadgetry with happiness, secondly, depriving them of the simple pleasures of say, saving up rupee by rupee, in a Piggy bank, hear the tinkling of the coins in unbounded pleasure, seeeking to fulfill a simple and innocent dream, or better still , waiting to surprise a dear one with a gift, bought from breaking open the piggy and wide eyed unparallelled excitiment of counting up one by one the accumulated treasure of arduous sacrifice, and unswerving goals.

One is not against the practise of 'pocket money per se. In fact it is highly recommended as means to the quickest and most effective lesson in economics. Earn, spend, save. What is scary is the attitude of some folks to compensate lack of quality bonding time with perhps a debit card, now. With the coming of age of 'collarless crimes' from the Manu sharmas, Abhishek Kasliwals of our society, the fear of 'drugging' easy money is all the more pronounced. Too much too soon..then what?

Too much of pocket money, and its an invitation to misuse. Too little and its a thrust to criminal resorting to acquiring it. The underworld feeds on youngsters in the' get rich quick mode'. Therefore, just enough to keep the value of the rupee from getting undervalued. Buddha and his middle path is an advisable remedy here.

In a world already riddled and fraught with stresses of unsatiated desires and forlorn, meaningless existence, this is serving to perpetuate the miseries of modernity, over the raw freshness of untainted , simplistic life, some of us would want to present our children with.

We need more Dhirubhai Ambanis and Azim Premjis, self-made, enterprising and Legendary .
What I am certain of is that their pocket money was perhaps next to non-existent.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Just For laughs!

• Today is the International day of Smart & Attractive people. Send this to someone who fits the description! Don’t send it back; I've already received hundreds.

• The Japanese have produced a camera that has such a fast shutter speed it can take a picture of a woman with her mouth shut!

• When u feel lonely and alone & cannot see any one around you, the world seems to be fading away, come along with me I'll take u to an eye specialist!

• Unlike others your brain is a masterpiece. In the left half, nothing is right and in the right half, nothing is left.

• Today, tommorow and yesterday there'll be one heart that would always beat for you. You know Whose?
Your Own Stupid!

• Be careful when a guy tells u that he loves u from the bottom of his heart for this may mean that there is still enough space for another girl on top.

• Q: If a devil catches your wife, what would you do?
A: You can do nothing. if devil has committed a mistake let him face the consequences.

• What do u call a woman in heaven?
An Angel
A crowd of woman in heaven?
A host of Angels
And all woman in heaven?

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Aamir Khan-From Reel to Real

Aamir khan apparently has been impressed with Medha Patkars Narmada Bachao Andolan's fight for the villagers of Gujarat, So much that he has decided to join hands.

While Medhas fight began almost a decade back, when she demanded that the villagers be re-habilitated in direct proportion to what they were supposedly to be deprived, in the construction of the Sardar Sarovar dam, Aamir has decided to pitch in now.

Since, no relief is in sight and the work of the dam now approved, the tension increases. Medha is fasting since March 29th in New Delhi.

There seem to be dimensions that are hidden, insiduous suggestions and veiled agendas, on the part of the Government. While the rehabilitation and the modalities have been underlined by the supreme Court, which for all practical purposes should be beyond the scope of discussion or dissension, the fact that not only has its adherement been in doubt, as also the fight to raise the height of the dam.

Put simply, this would mean, additional villages submerged and further mass of people to be rehabilitated.

Narendra Modi has taken this opportunity to prove that he is as much a star in Gujarat as Aamir if not more. After all he can ensure that Aamirs film and its posters be vandalised, and anarchy prevail outside the theatres in Gujarat. He wants Aamir to be out of the coterie supporting Medha and he is doing his not so Mod-i-est bit.

Yesterday there was a candle light protest against Aamir, outside his residence, by BJP supporters. It lasted all of 20 minutes. What is clear is the fact that it was meant to be a publicity stunt more than anything else. How does one explain the presence of the media in all its force, with cameras, mikes et al!!

Aamir stands his ground. His take on it seems reasonable and is in consonance with how an average person would react. Build the dam if it means water for Gujarat. But rehabilitate displaced villagers. Fair enough.

In a recent interview Aamir was asked if his new Avatar was thanks to the role he assayed in RDB, to which he replied in the affirmative while reminding that this was what the film was about. Activism from the common man.

True Aamir. But the problem is that others have seen the film too. And if they choose to utilise their newly found sense of activism, courtesy RDB, to mobilise opinion against you and your support, then who is to stop them!!

All said and done, the antics of the Modi Government in creating a widespread feeling of dissension against the Congress, is obvious. Modi claims that this is a plot by the central Govt to influence the Supreme Court from disallowing the increase in height of the dam. He has begun his 51 hour fast , albeit in air conditined comfort, as a protest .

For the lay man, what it finally ends in is befuddlement and maze of questions.

Why has Aamir , suddenly jumped into the fray? RDB has recently been given a tax exemption from the Congress. Is it because the Defence minister , in the movie, was obviously from the BJP cabinet? Gujarat is under the BJP rule.. Is it pay back time for Aamir and his gang???

Deductions anyone.

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Sunday, April 16, 2006

O.P.Nayyar...Not forgotten

Update: Please click here for updated post -6241 views 386 comments

Who can forget the lilting, romantic numbers unforgettable renderings, which had a distinct feel, recognisable in the choice of accompaniments, the piano, sax, acoustics and then the soulful strain of melody..

Pukarta chala hoon main.. galli galli bahaar ki..bas ek shaakh zulf ki..bas ikk nigaah pyar ki

Chain se humko kabhi aapne jeene na diya (electrifying combination of asha Bhosle and O.P)

balma khuli hawwayein.. mehki hooyi fizaayein, dil chhahta hai mera, behekna iddhar uddhar

Woh huns ke mile humse..hum pyar samajh baithe

Aap yunhi agar humse milte rahe.. dekhiye ek din pyaar ho jaayega (makes you want to fall in
love all over again)

Sawan ki ghata chhayi, yeh dekh ke dil jhooma.. lee pyar ne angdayi , deewaana hua badal. (Rafis attitude..unbeatable)

Aap ke hassen aaj naya noor hai..mera dil machal gaya..toh mera kya qasoor hai

The list is endless..I can go on and on.. singing and typing.. reliving the days of school and college competitions when many of his compositions had led me to the coveted goal.

And now you have to read this..

There is no way I can breviate the above article without losing out on the necessary detailing, so I guess you will just have to return after reading the link.

My father always said "chadhte sooraj ko hi salaam hai"..Who worships the setting sun, its only the rising which is heralded.

This man a powerhouse of talent, perhaps the only Music Director of those days whose name would appear on the billboards of the films over and above the cast and crew and read something like 'O.P.Nayyars so and so". Today he is forgotten, unknown, to most .

In the days of yore, when his contemporaries were stalwarts who were steeped in classical training like S.D.Burman, Naushad, Jaidev, Madan Mohan, he was perhaps the only music director who could not read music and had no classical training. His heart spoke and he recorded music which has eventually defied time. I cannot recall any of his tunes, being unsuccessful, which is a commendable feat in itself.

I remember seeing him recently on the musical show "Sa re ga ma pa" which I watch because of the high calibre of the participants, where he was accorded a standing ovation by the audience and a programme was dedicated to just his songs. His quiet dignity and poise apart from his signature white attire and hat, made him a striking picture of health and elegant calm.

Who could have imagined that after the adulation and celebration of an hour of the show, he returns to an almost monastic solitude of either a Hotel room or an adopted family !!

What is fame, then, in the final analysis. Only a fickle food on a shifting plate. A recognition by those who you dont know and whose concern for you is ephemeral..If this story does not prove it, none will.

'Fame is a vapour, popularity an accident; the only certainty is oblivion"

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Saturday, April 15, 2006

Spare The Rod And Spoil Momma

Man canes mother to death..

, April 14, 2006 | City

Was tired of daily spats between his mother and wife, so he decided to ‘end’ the squabble

Rashmi Rajput

A 30-year-old salon owner, Suresh K. Prasad, decided to end the daily squabbles between his mother and his wife by allegedly caning the former to death. The husband and the wife have been missing for 10 days now.

Prasad, originally a resident of Rajasthan, had been living with his mother, Sitadevi, in a rented apartment at Navghar Road in Bhayandar for almost a year. Things changed when Prasad married Rani, 27, two months ago. Those in the know say, though the wedding took place with Sitadevi’s consent, trouble started brewing right from the beginning.

With a member added to the family and aspiring for a better life, Prasad bought a shop-cum-residence at Jesal Park in Bhayandar. On that fateful day of April 1, the family moved into their new house. At around 8 pm, Sitadevi and Rani started fighting again.

“In a fit of rage, Prasad began hitting his mother — initially, with his fists and then with a stick. Hearing her cries, the neighbours ran out to Sitadevi’s help,” says Sanjay Sharma, one of Prasad’s employees, “She repeatedly complained of pain in the abdomen. She kept pleading for a doctor, but Prasad never called one.

Sitadevi died an hour later.

Sharma says, Prasad then got a fake death certificate from a private practitioner, and burnt the corpse on Sunday afternoon. On April 4, before the cops could nab him, he had boarded a train to Jaipur.

So the son was fed up of bickerings and did what was perhaps done to him as a kid.

Only this time it was he who caned his mother!!

Another instance related to a couple who locked their mother in the kennel on their way out to work.

'Throw momma into jail' was a piece I had written on reports that couples were misusing a dowry law to implicate parents to part with their wealth and property.

Try as I may, I cannot seem to fathom what is behind this behaviour . What is it that is driving them to be so cruel towards their own parents?

Or is it not just parents?

They are antagonistic towards the world in general and find in helpless hapless parents a soft target?

Since wives too have learnt to fend for themselves, have armed themselves with knowledge of the rights that protect them, so purging of frustration had to find another convenient and available target. Also someone who was at a loss to retaliate, because cowards cannot stand up to affront or confrontation. It leads therefore to unsuspecting, old dependant parents once again..

Decay in society would one day take on such monstrous proportions was beyond ones imagination.

So Kalyuga as professed by many is not over.

Fathers raping daughters, incest, and now parents phsically and mentally tortured by their own children.

Sometimes I wonder, was this the Plan for us? Or have we interfered so much in His , that He has left us to our devices, to fend for ourselves?

All one can say is 'subko sammati de bhagwan'

I love this quote
A woman has two smiles that an angel might envy, the smile that accepts a lover before words are uttered, and the smile that lights on the first born babe, and assures it of a mother's love.

then the same child is fed, nourished, pampered and loved. When grown, proves to her with a cane in his hand , that he is a man now!!

Friday, April 14, 2006

'Happy Vaisakhi'

Site MeterIt is 14th April. Vaisakhi or Baisakhi, the New year for North Indians.

My childhood memories are resplendent with "Baisakhi Di Raat" celebrations, where fun, frolic, Dhol, Bhangra and masti reigned Supreme.

It seems a thing of the past. There are fewer celebrations now. And it saddens me. However much I may attempt to re-create the culturally enriched childhood I enjoyed, because of paucity of the emotion shared on a similar note by the population, I feel I have been not wholly successful. How can I single handedly duplicate a Baisakhi Nite, a common enough feature then, even in Mumbai, to show my kid what being a Punjabi is all about?

As always a greater philosophical and spiritual interpretation exists as well. Trust our ancients not to have utilised every opportunity to exemplify a Basic truth.

It marks the seasons which signal to man the time for work and the time for play and relaxation, the commencement of the agricultural cycle with sowing in spring, and its culmination with the harvesting of the golden grain. And then, of course, we have, in endless variations of legend and myth, the hallowed perceptions that there is an ever-renewed war of light and darkness, of the divine and the demoniac in the unceasing evolution of the world

What has struck me about this festival always is its significance or rather the significance of 14th April, in almost all Indian states.

Baisakhi has a special meaning for the Sikhs. On this day in 1699, their tenth Guru Gobind Singh organized the order of the Khalsa. On this day also, Guru Arjan Das was martyred by the Muslim rulers who, in barbaric cruelty, threw him alive into a cauldron of boiling oil.

Again, on this day in 1875, Swami Dayanand Saraswati founded the Arya Samaj—a reformed sect of Hindus who are devoted to the Vedas for spiritual guidance and have discarded idol worship.

This day is once again of immense religious import to the Buddhists because Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment and Nirvana on this auspicious day.

Baisakhi day is observed as the Naba Barsha (New Year) in Bengal. On 14th April, the people take a ritual bath in the River Ganga or any other river or a nearby tank and bedeck their houses with rangoli (floral patterns) drawn on the entrance floor of their homes with a paste made of rice powder.

Baishakhi festival is celebrated twice a year in Himachal Pradesh in honour of Goddess Jwalamukhi.

In the South, Baisakhi is celebrated to mark the Tamil and Telugu New Year. In a ceremonial march, people take out wooden chariots in a procession. The temples in Kerala celebrate Pooram festivals usually in honour of Vishnu. Among them, the Pooram observed in the Vadakkunathan Swamy (Shiva) temple of Trichur is famous.

Another festival of note in South India takes place in honour of the Goddess Kamarchi Amman whose temple is located in Pondichery. The goddess is worshipped three times a day when the idol, duly decorated with jewelry and flowers, is taken out in daily processions on different mounts consisting of a horse, a lion, a swing or a chariot.

To return to north India again, Bihar state celebrates a festival in Vaishakha (April) and Kartika (November) in honour of the Sun God, Surya, at a place called Surajpur-Baragaon.

North-East India with its complex of seven states, inhabited by people of different ethnic origins, languages and cultures, has its own panoply of spring festivals. Perhaps the most colourful is the is the exquisite festival called Lai Haraoba in the local Meitei dialect, celebrated by the people of Manipur.

Assam has been home to a number of ethnic groups professing different faiths. Perhaps, the most important of these Bihus is the Rangali Bihu celebrated on the 14th of April. Young women clad in their silken raiment, dance to the rhythm of the drum.

In the spirit of revelry and joy, festivals of the kind should be used as an occasion when people cast aside their misunderstandings and ill-feelings and
refurbish relations of fellow feeling and amity.

So Happy Baisakhi once again..this time with renewed vigour.

.Information of some festivals from Tourist department

Cross linked at Sepiamutiny

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Salman Jailed- Now What?

Site MeterSo Yes, salman has been jailed or atleast sentenced for 5 years and 25k.The 105 page order was unprecedented and passed on a Monday. Intentionally I suppose , since Tuesday is a public holiday and he cannot apply for bail or appeal in the High Court, so had to spend these couple of days in the jail with 200 undertrial dreaded terrorists from kashmir and Punjab. His mother has reportedly been hospitalised on hearing the news.

The judge validifies the harshness with 'exemplary action' as excuse.

Not fair. Why was'Exemplary action' not served on a rape convict Sunil More? Not only was his a heinous crime but he was a cop who has taken the oath of protecting citizens. Why was he let off with just 12 years? Even lesser than a life sentence!

The girl he raped was barely 17 or so. Which means that she would be 29 when he is a free man, and probably chased by him in retribution. Apart from the fact that her life has been ruined in totality.

It is a pity that the killing of a black buck finds witnesses ready to stand by their statement come hell or high water. But the murder of Jessica lall, in the presence of a 100 people fails to get a conviction for the accused supposedly for lack of witness substantiation.. How much more disgusting can this get? Having envisaged an eventuality of the kind had written about this a couple of months back.

We are therfore citizens of a country where animals are more revered than humans. Enlightening.

It seems fairly clear that while on the one hand the high profile tend to take seriousness of crime with a pinch of salt, on the other hand they are also those targetted as 'sitting ducks' often enough.

Does justice always have to mean retribution?

Will it serve in saving the black buck as an endangered species? Should not Justice mean a combination of rectifying the wrong and punishment? Solution was at hand,if only they paused to look.

Reformatory justice makes more sense . Especially in this case. The buck is a dying more is dead. Salman is guilty. Would not it make more sense to punish Salman in a way that it simultaneouly furthers the cause of perpetuating the species, instead of sentencing him and the problem of the buck remains where it is. Except for the fact that at most it will be a deterrent for future killings.

Salmans good offices and finances could have been utilised for projects and schemes to create an environment to breed more of these. Now that would have been progressive and reformatory.

The Bishnois, a people who worship the black buck, need to be applauded for their unwavering stand, also need to be chided for their near sightedness in the issue.

Though they must be gloating over the judgement and feeling vindicated, It would have made more sense had they utilised this opportunity to perpetuate the species so revered..Seeing Salman serve a sentence is not going to get a buck back but had they asked the judiciary to intervene to formalise a project and made Salman responsible.. it would have served both The Buck and Justice....

The sentence as it stands today..Silly and immature. In the High Court, Salman will probably succeed in getting a stay and finally a reprieve in the sentence as well. So this transient victory will ventually be meaningless for the Bishnois, or so it seems.

Was this also an eye wash, in absence of which the Bishnois would have probably thirsted for revenge on the lawyer and judge involved?

Who knows?

Just my .002 $

Cross Linked at DesiPundit

Monday, April 10, 2006

Barefoot In the Park

Chewing on it again..

"It is not the greatness of a man's means that makes him independent so much as the smallness of his wants”

William Cobbett

I experienced this, in my first tryst with truth while living at the Yoga institute, learning Yoga sutras and asanas. Apparently it was a mandatory stay prior to the year long teachers training course, prompted by the 'love for anything Indian' phase. Insiduously, however, I was ' trained' in more ways than just in Yoga. I had no intention of becoming a teacher, especially after the course, since I felt it unethical in teaching solely the physical aspect of yoga, when it was meant to be ideally viewed as a body-mind relationship. Instead I taught at the Institute , for a while, where the purity of tradition was maintainable. The other reason I taught there, I confess, was selfish. I had to be in shape to be credible, so it compelled me to regularise my practise.

Once there, I was surprised to discover how little it is that we actually need. Life was suddenly, uncomplicated, simple and peaceful.

The routine we were made to follow was perhaps a way of life for our ancestors.No big deal there. They would have been possibly amused at the sillinesss of us having discarded that pattern, so assiduously worked on by them, in the first place.. Arising before dawn, meditating, positively energising oneself and ones surroundings, asanas, pranayams, frugal , healthy , nutritious, vegetarian diet, spiritual ponderings, efforts to contain ones thoughts in complete awareness,bonding with fellow 'yogis'.

It was unimaginable that we, as in product of our times,a fairly pampered lot, fairly accustomed to our taken-for-granted- luxuries, would take to this simplified version of hermit-like life with amazing adaptability. Makes one wonder at the play of genes, and their responsibility towards this ready acceptance. We might have been a rather sane species , I suspect, in our previous 'yogi' avatars. Or am I speaking only for myself here? :)

At the end of our stay, none of us wanted to leave. We had felt cocooned and safe. Our body had been nourished, de-toxified and refreshed. The soul felt rejuvenated and cleansed of the burden of seemingly impervious impurities. We were as good as new.

Having to return to the world which now seemed strange, wicked,and bereft of innocence and its appreciation, made us misfits who had been condemned to hell after having had a taste of heaven. After teary farewells, much hugging, promises of undying friendships, keep-in-touch pleadings, we were grudgingly transported back to our homes by clueless family members,who having just witnessed an overly dramatic, emotional scene, were not quite able to fathom what the hullabaloo was all about, especially since at the commencement, a couple of weeks ago, we seemed a motley group of mature adults. This transformation was understandably, unimaginable.

The question that befuddled however was 'How does one replicate the peace of that life 'inside' whilst in the world outside?"

Difficult but not impossible. After years of R&D, yours truly is gifting you the kernel of 'her experimments with truth', tried and tested, guaranteed.

What is needed is unwavering attention to the goal and a regular self analysis. Incorporation of the basic tenets of a yogic life, as much as possible, particularly in the areas of thought processes, diet patterns and exercises. Willful avoidance of falling into the trap of the 'dil maange more' mentality, so cleverly advocated by our ad gurus but so detrimental to our 'dil'.

Apart from that , blueprint of a methodical work plan. In an effort to demolishing the wisecrack " it is so simple to be happy, but so difficult to be simple", let us show our mettle by proving it simply wrong. Begin at the beginning and sort out seriously, a 'things that make me happy' list. This is as good a start as any.. If you happen to be the 'romantic' kind, to whom the chirping of a bird, sound of the brook, silence of the mountains, echoes in the hills, lapping of waves on a sunlit evening, is music, then things are off to great start. Read further.( Give up, if the list includes, an island in Greece, art ,as only 'Van Gogh' or such like)

Recommended additions to the list,open to alteration from subjective perspective, chai and pakoras on a wet ,wet day, R.D. Burmans melodies, Mirza Ghalib's Ghazals, the first bud on your precious black rose plant, a "mama, you are my best friend " card from your kiddo, a warm, cheery,toothless smile from an old beggar woman who you treated to Paani Puri, the koel on your windowsill, the earthy incomparable aroma of the first rain, watching your fave film cuddled in the darkness of your room,undisturbed and free to sob heartily, being blown over by random acts of kindness from complete strangers, feeding oneself guiltlessly to huge helpings of Black Forest, while feeding the music system with Kitaro and Julio, marvelling spellbound at the myriad colors of sea-life, feeling the cool of a baby's cheek, sharing notes such as these with your fellow beings. If any or such as these ,are capable of soaring your spirits to dizzy heights of sublime got it made. There's nothing to worry.

Life will turn out to be as joyful as a walk, barefoot in the park.

Additions from my erstwhile commenters are most welcome..Ah ha, another one on my list.. I love reading your comments:)

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Sunday, April 09, 2006

My Maid and Mangoes

There are maids and there are maids..and then there is mine.

She is young and sweet. Lovely as well. Loving too. Rushes to get me a tissue as soon my early morning bout of a 97 sneezes is onto its third or so. What she cannot do however is make tea..Can you believe that ? Tea ..I have tried, to train her with measure cups and special milk. But like mom says..She just does not have it in her to make an "Aha" cuppa. So we are onto Twinings or Green tea these days.

It doesn't end here. Her idiosyncrasies I mean. We happen to live in a space with huge sprawling mango trees, presently heavy with fruit. The glee on her flushed face, is noteworthy when she looks skywards and sees them within aams reach. . sorry.. arms reach.

The bare mention of 'Aam", and she appears almost magically, rosy cheeked, wide smile , awaiting permission to go to the terrace, climb on to a branch or so and come back loaded with booty. Needless to say, to get her to respond to one's calls otherwise is a formidable task . Especially , since she decided to decipher the workings of the remote controlled bell, in such great detail , that it has since been lying around partaken to pieces, in unsung glory.

Ah Yes.. the mangoes. All I advised her was to shred a dozen or so for the 'chhunda' (sweet and sour mango chutney) which I love to prepare and a dozen for the 'panna' ( cooling drink from raw mangoes) for hubby and son. Since there were quite a few left and rather large ones, I said to her, in these precise words "Chaawal me rakh do, pak jaayenge".

Soon Dinner was announced. We assembled in the dining room, with great anticipation since Hubby had decided to prepare his Special "Roghan Josh", the recipe he had proudly proclaimed a few dozen times since mid morning, was from the maharajahs personal chef and the 'AUTHENTIC' Roghan josh. The aroma was killing and the look was devastatingly yummy. Recommended accompaniment was rice, which incidentally the maid had mastered the art of preparing, as also the vegetarian fare.

I lifted the lid of the rice casserole to serve my deliriously hungry, excited family. I looked closer. Something seemed strange. What were these huge boulder like formations in the rice. Potatoes..? Naah..and the rice was soo.. soo.. gooeey. How? Why? It was that same Basmati, exported to Dubai, or so the ads claimed..

There was just one person who could solve this mystery, after hubby, son me all had tried our versions at de-mystifying this tale of the Lumpy Basmati. Jayshree ( Dear Maid) who had since retired to watch her fave saas bahu type serial, was called. I asked her ..'What happened to the rice..why is it so sticky .. and what is this tukda tukda?"..

She looked at me puzzled and said.."You have forgotten.. you had asked me to put the mangoes in the rice..So I decided to put it in after peeling and chopping it"..All this with a cute smile on her face and looking at sonny to share their private joke on my 'memory lapses'.

I have rarely got so mad ..almost hysterical and then when I saw hubby trying his best to hide his laughter behind his beard and pursing his lips to control the uncontrollable, well I had to give in too. We laughed while Jayshree deducing my bad memory was the butt of another family joke, joined in, clapping her hands and rolling her head back in laughter.

All I wanted was to have a few ripened mangoes from my tree.. and the Rice cannister was the suggested location for that end, where after snuggling up a few days in the cosy embryonic warmth , the Alphonsos would have emerged, shiny, yellow, ripe and juicy.

Did I tell you of the time she decided to put the curd to set in the refrigerator, since we had guests over and wanted it quickly???

Friday, April 07, 2006

Scarred or Scared

Just finished reading Scarred - Experiments with violence in Gujarat - by Dionne Bunsha.. a must read . I remember how one reacted when the incidents happened and one saw them splashed on TV.. horror, outrage, shock.. but somehow there remained a tinge of disbelief... a feeling that these were just isolated incidents..

Dionne bunsha's book is quick to correct you.

Scarred is an extremely well written book and an experience I cannot describe. With each page you live once again the horror of Gujarat but this time it is not through images laced with impassioned commentaries. It is a simple almost clinical account of one incident after the other that brings to light the extent of the horror that simple individuals had to live through, a horror inflicted by other human beings in the name of religion..

What scares you is not the nature of the incident, but the fact that these were repeated with obeseesive regularity over and over again, with thousands watching as if mesmerised or frozen.. what sacres you is that hardly any one reacted.. what scares you is the depth to which humans can fall, what scares you is the way women are abused, what scares you is that total lack of respect for life bearers, even when they are carrying full term babies, what scares you is how easy it is to incite people to forget everything humane and act as demons, what scares you is the way people can be driven to lose every shred of decency.. what scares you is that in these women they rape and mutilate not one sees his own wife or daughter, what scares you is that this was done by those who pretend worshipping women deities..

Today a painter is taken to task for disrobing an image that is held in respect, but the same people disrobed many women without batting an eye lid..

I will not even delve into the severed limbs, or bodies thrown live into pyres.. Bunsha's book brings to light the frightening reality of how easy it is to get people to act in such horrific ways.. then the cover ups, the gloating as perpetrators roam free and victims skunk..

The most touching story was perhaps that of bilkis.. many times told but in bunsha's simple and denuded prose it strikes a chord even in the most insensitive person: she saw her whole family being raped, killed and burnt.. she too was raped though pregnant.. she passed out and her tormentors thinking her dead left her there.. she lived to tell her story..

For months and months no one heard her but she did not give up in spite of living amidst her gloating tormentors.. but she had to carry on even if only to explain why she still lived.. will bilkis bring the guilty to pay for their crimes is an open question but if they do are not then bilkis's survival would have had no meaning..

Anouradha Bakshi
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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Bloggers Can !!!!

What I have observed as a constituent of blogging mentality, is the urge to be Rude at the slightest provocation. It has puzzled and perplexed me.

Rarely does one take these insanely inane statements seems so tiresome. But often for those more sensitive and refined it seems uncalled for and uncouth. One has two options then. Either wanting to hit back with the same intensity or logically battle it out, which is oh! so tedious and dreary, especially since the thought at the back of the head is a nagging doubt at the effectiveness of an intelligent debate with someone who has decided to be obnoxious or is possessively holding on to his/her views with every breath of passionate life.

Some are born different, some achieve it with their unique pattern of thinking and others..well would rather shove it down our throats. The need to be heard , especially when the content of the words is hardly worthy, is so pre-dominant, that the resorting to extreme speech and usage of atrocious language is the quickest and easiest route.

For such, the difference between being successful and being notorious is non-existent I suppose.

On being outlandishly ridiculous, there are plenty of these around. Their mantra is simple. Sexual innuendoes, spiced with outrageous affirmations,laced with hypocritical freedom of expression enough to dazzle, beguile and numb into temporary hypnosis. And Voila!! a brigade will follow, impressed with the dare-to-be-bare-stance, hungrily awaiting more.

Needless to add the text shorn of these trappings would be inane and trivial.

How can we ignore the variety who come here to be 'entertained' and unleash a whorl of dastardly comments on all n sundry ..They are the ones with the frustrated careers, frustrated spouses and frustrated physicality. What better avenue than the blogosphere to sit back and hit out in complete anonymity and in the safety of your own space. Not difficult to believe that in a real life situation these would be the cowards nearest to the exit.

One wishes however that those who choose to offend with rudeness, aggressiveness and boorishness, would realise that they aint fooling no one. Gee, wouldnt we love to hurl them into outer space instead!!

It takes all kinds to make a world but there are some who need to make a world of their own !!

To gain a comprehensive view of the contention, reading of the comments section is recommended. It will throw further light on the slant of the article.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Wardrobe Male-Function

The media and its activism in highlighting stories such as Jessica's or Meher's had almost made me want to send them a note of thankfulness.

However,as before, the media has revealed itself as a double edged sword.It has angered, disgusted and irked me enough to write this piece. The issue in question is the undignified, uncalled for and blowing up beyond all proportions of accepted decency, the 'wardrobe malfunction'scam.

For Petes sake, it was an could happen anywhere, to anyone on any day. Becoz it involves the dis-robing of a popular model and therefore titillates the average male and his perverse sense of voyeurism, it has received the kind of attention from not only the press and t.v. but also the internet. It is the 'hot' topic of the week !!

Appears as if the public is so starved of excitement simultaneously so hungering for it, that about 'anything', even if it is a split second slump of a gown, sends them into a 'viagric' tizzy.

Despite the strides we seem to be making in all areas of life as an 'evolved' race, or so we'd like to believe, the manner in which the public and the gazers across the board have lapped up this story with their tongues hanging out, clamouring for more, is appalling and highly deplorable.

Grow Up Guys!! Latch on to more than the story of an unclasped hook!!