Monday, November 28, 2016

About Aakrosh Diwas / Bharat Bandh.

Disgruntled politicians who have aligned to foment chaos today through Aakrosh Diwas / Bharat Bandh will most certainly be disappointed by the end of the day…their party workers would join them in the protests but not common men. I agree that there are shortfalls and some unfortunate sad incidents in implementation of demonetization, but as all of us are witnessing, the authorities are doing their best to overcome problems on hourly basis.  And I am sure it will not take much longer to bring everything under control and most certainly by 30th December 2016 as announced by the Government. Protests by opposition parties are doing more harm than good for the peaceful implementation of demonetization. It is common wisdom that most things are difficult before they become easy.
With today’s flop show I hope these political parties will mend their ways, otherwise they would become the laughing stock of the country for a long time to come.  

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Hygge!

“The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and richness to life that nothing else can bring.” 
– Oscar Wilde.
As you are all aware, English language has assimilated many words and phrases from other languages including Indian languages. The usage of such foreign words in English has become necessary as the foreign words convey the desired meaning and expression in short and very effectively and in majority of cases such words do not have an equivalent English word in short. The list of such foreign words is rather very large. For example some common Indian words in English are Guru, Bungalow, Jungle, Pajama, Khaki, Loot, Dacoit, Bazaar and so on. And similarly there are many words in English from all over the world and especially from French and Latin, and we use most of them regularly.
The title of this article, which also figures in the above pictures – Hygge (pronounced as Hoo ga) has not yet made a big entry into English language, but it would soon and everyone will talk about it. This is because since the beginning of the ‘World Happiness Report’ published by the United Nations annually, Denmark is standing out as the World’s Happiest Nation and this is because of Hygge! And not because of GDP - Denmark’s GDP rank is 12th in the world.
There are many ways to describe Hygge. Hygge means creating and enjoying a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people – family and friends.  Graciousness, contentment, good feelings, warmth and warm glow of candlelight are all a part of Hygge. There’s nothing more Hygge than sitting around a table, discussing the big and small things in life. Hygge is intrinsic to the Danish lifestyle. And Television is definitely not a part of it.
The high season of Hygge is now in winter, around Christmas. Denmark winters are long and dark, so the Danes fight the darkness with their best weapon: Hygge, and the millions of candles that go with it. There is summer Hygge too, with picnics in parks, barbecues with friends, outdoor concerts, street festivals, bike rides and so on.
Everyone in the world wants to be happy. We in India have many occasions to celebrate, like birthdays, weddings, wedding anniversaries, celebration of child births, celebrations for success at education and success at jobs, success at anything, several happy religious traditions, festivals, holidays, picnics, vacations, movies, shopping, weekends and many more occasions. But unfortunately we are not in the list of World’s 150 Happiest Nations. I wonder why.
Touch Wood, our family’s Hygge was always there and God bless will always be there - to be happy and make others cozy. And this fact I am sure all followers of my blog would agree. In this context I wish many Indians embrace the Danish art of Hygge and as it propagates, everyone would be surrounded by Hygge!  And our Country will be as happy as Denmark.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

My thoughts are with the victims and families of ‘Indore-Patna Train’ accident.

The emotional toll from a traumatic event can cause intense sad and frightening emotions. And these emotions are not limited to the people who are directly involved in the incident and their loved ones but even unconnected people like us who get to experience the event round-the-clock through news coverage. The recent train accident has shocked me and continues to sadden me as more and more deaths and tragic narrations are emerging. This article is not to cause anguish to readers unaware of this train accident but it is to vent out my feelings for the dead and their near and dear and convey my heartfelt sympathies to these unfortunate people.
Two days ago, on Sunday, 20th November, at 3:10 a.m. the Indore-Rajendra Nagar (Patna) Express Train derailed at Pukhrayan near the city of Kanpur. 14 coaches have derailed causing tremendous loss of life and enormous suffering.  As of today the death toll has gone up to 143 and the number of injured is over 200.
I am seeing messages of condolence from all over our country and the world. Financial compensation is being extended to the affected families and people. But none of these can immediately wipe away the grief of the suffering people. I can understand what they are going through as their lives and dreams lie shattered. I can only pray for them, to overcome their grief as soon as possible and get along with their life.
But for this major accident, this year would have been a very good year for the Indian Railways. Our Railways run 12,617 passenger trains and 7,421 freight trains daily. Every day over 220 Lakh (22 Million) passengers travel in these trains across the entire country. The safety standards are very high, yet once in a while such mishap occurs causing so much agony. Reasons for this accident are being probed but the unconfirmed initial finding is that it is due to rail fracture. I do not know whether this accident was avoidable, if it was, the Railways should ensure thoroughly to avoid such tragedies.
God please be kind to the victims of this tragedy. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

My views on demonetization and the fallout.

Like all my acquaintances and the vast majority in the country I believe that demonetization is a very good and bold decision taken in the best interest of our Nation. There are problems at few places in implementation and some tragic incidents have taken place. This is very unfortunate. I am also seeing that the Government, RBI and the Banks are doing their best to set right the situation. Hope everything will be sorted out soon and we will begin to see the benefits of demonetization. This is the feeling of all the people around me. There are seven banks with ATMs in our area, including the ATM you see in the above picture. At all these places, every day I see long queues but absolutely no impatience or grudging. The queues are disciplined and any unruly person is directed to get into the queue. Thankfully no media or politician has come to these places to create ‘tamasha’ and 24X7 breaking news. Wish the media and some politicians do not hunt for trouble and a tragedy at some place, just to vitiate the overall patient and peaceful atmosphere in the country.
You can see in the above picture how people have been queuing up here with absolutely no grudges against anyone and all this for strengthening the hands of our Government and for the good of our Nation. Three cheers for them and all Indians supporting demonetization.
Looking at the actions of some politicians who are opposing the Government, and the media that seems to be supporting them I posted the above comments on facebook in a fit of anger. In retrospection I feel sorry for them. My facebook post reads as follows:
I am very glad that today we have a very good and strong Prime Minister who is striving hard for the welfare of the people and the good of the Country. To overcome the stink and problems due to corruption, black money, counterfeit currency and terrorism small sacrifices will have to be made by us and support the Prime Minister. Many politicians who have never been able to do much good to the people or the country are barking like mad dogs at every good move and decision of the PM, especially the irresponsible and maddest dog among them, which barks the loudest from Delhi. And the dirty Media covers the nonsense and nuisance of these dogs. May good sense prevail on such bad politicians. 
I wish Sri Narendra Modi to be our Prime Minister for as many terms as possible. God bless him.


Thursday, November 17, 2016

My Birthday Celebration – 2016.

Yesterday, 16th November was my birthday. I really enjoyed the day. With birthday greetings coming from the family and from some relatives and friends over phone, email and facebook all day through made me very happy. Then in the evening I had some good time with the family, having cake, snacks and a sumptuous dinner as you can see in the attached pictures. This birthday was all the more special as my eleven month old grandson joined us in the celebration and entertained us with his awesome actions. One cake was a gift from my grandson! and the other from my younger son in Birmingham.
I believe that wishes from near and dear do really have an effect on our psyche. Synopsis of the lovely birthday greetings  were to wish me a wonderful day, to enjoy the day and every day thereafter, that my life should be filled with lots of love, laughter, happiness, warmth, sunshine, smiles and so on. Thoughts of all these nice people and their kind wishes made me happy and I thanked them all sincerely.
Birthday should not be just a date on the calendar. To everyone it should be a special day and we should all try to make it a happy one for her or him...just as my near and dear have made it for me year after year.
Thank You God For Everything.








Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Supermoon! As viewed from our house.

Video of the Supermoon, captured by us!
Yesterday, 14th November 2016, was a very significant day.  The Moon appeared bigger and very bright. This is because the Moon came closest to us. The last time such an event, a Supermoon occurred was on 26th January 1948 and the next time would be after a very long time, on 25th November 2034.
We anxiously waited for nightfall and Moonrise. We were ready with our Telescope, Binoculars, Camcorder and Cameras to view and capture memories of the brightest Moon, perhaps the only one of my lifetime. The Moon’s size seemed to be slightly bigger but its brightness was most certainly phenomenal. Moonlight was all over the sky and land. Not a single Star could be seen as Moonlight camouflaged them. Normally with our Telescope we can see the craters on Moon very clearly but yesterday because of the bright light on Moon this was not possible, they just appeared vague and shaded.
The reason the Moon appears to shrink and grow in the sky is that its orbit is not a perfect circle, but rather, a modest ellipse. As the Moon swings between its closest point and its furthest point, its distance to Earth varies by approximately 30,000 miles that is 48,000 kilometres. Full Moons and New Moons occur when the Earth, Sun and Moon all form a line. Supermoon is one such alignment when the Moon is at the closest possible to Earth and this is a rare occurrence as I mentioned above.
I and my family are glad as we could witness this rare event and are thrilled as we could see the Moon a little closely than it is normally possible. Hope you too were able to see the Supermoon.
You may see the above video and the attached photographs of the Supermoon captured by us.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Karthika Pournami Greetings.

Today is the holy day of Karthika Pournami. Karthika Masam is the name of the current Lunar month and today is Pournami that is Full Moon Day and hence the day is called Karthika Pournami. Today is also called as Karthika Punnami and Karthika Poornima / Purnima. It is a holy celebration to both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. It is the day on which Lord Shiva killed Tripurasura a demon king and protected the world. With boons from Lord Ganesha, Tripurasura became indestructible, grew into an evil force and defeated all the kings of Earth and the Gods in Heaven. According to Lord Ganesha’s boon, Tripurasura could be killed only by Lord Shiva. After witnessing the evil deeds and destruction unleashed by Triupurasura, Lord Ganesha approached Tripurasura in the guise of a Brahmin with a plan to eliminate him.  The Brahmin displayed 64 arts to the demon king, and pleased with the Brahmin; Tripurasura offered to grant him any wish he made. The Brahmin asked for the Idol of Chinthamani which is with Lord Shiva. As Lord Shiva refused to part with the Idol, a war took place between Lord Shiva and Tripurasura. The Chariot that Lord Shiva rode in this war is described as Prithvi (Earth) with the Sun and Moon as its wheels and the bow as Meru (the huge mountain) and Lord Vishnu as the arrow. This single arrow from Lord Shiva destroyed all the materialistic boons that Lord Ganesha had offered to Tripurasura in the form of palaces and vimanams (planes). The speed and force of the arrow caused heavy lightening which made Tripurasura faint and ultimately brought about his end.
People in very large numbers bathe in the holy rivers of the country today. They visit Temples and offer prayers. ‘Abhishekam’ is performed to Lord Shiva. As such, Karthika Masam that is the entire month of Karthikam is considered very auspicious. During this entire month and specially today oil lamps are lit at Temples, at holy rivers and houses with hundreds of wicks, sometimes thousands of wicks (‘Karthika Deepa-aradhana’) and in modern days 365 wicks to represent the days of the year. Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi along with all the Gods are said to visit and reside under Amla that is Usiri or Gooseberry trees by the side of Tulisi plants that is Basil plants, in this month. Hence a lot of prominence is given to these plants, prayers are offered to the plants on this day and in this month, and picnics are organized outdoors, preferably under Amla trees. These rituals are called Vana Mahotsavam or Vanabhojanalu. All these actions are considered very beneficial, they are said to liberate us from all sins and bless us with good health, wealth, prosperity, success, longevity and fulfillment of all wishes.
The above photographs are of Karthika Pournami puja at our house today.
You may click on the following links to read articles I wrote earlier on Karthika Masam and Karthika Pournami:

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sri Shivaganga Rajeshwari Rajarajeshwara Swamy Temple, Maheshwaram.

Sri Sri Sri Shivaganga Rajeshwari Rajarajaeshwara Swamy Temple at Maheshwaram, 57 kms from Secunderabad is a very ancient Temple. It is about 20 kms. from Hyderabad’s RGI Airport, along Srisailam highway. It is a Temple of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi Devi. The village got its name after the Temple. Maheshwarm means Maha Eashwara that is Almighty Shiva. The Temple is said to be constructed about 1000 years ago by King Ganapathi Deva of the Kakatiya dynasty. This is according to the inscriptions found on the sculptures at the Temple. However the history of the Temple thereafter is vague. In 1672 it was found in ruins by two brothers Akkanna and Madanna. Akkanna and Madanna were in very powerful positions in the court of, Abul Hasan Qutub Shah Ruler of Golconda (more popularly known as Tanisha). Akkanna and Madanna are remembered even today for the loyalty and service they rendered to their king and for the various constructions around Hyderabad, of forts, buildings and Temples.  The renovation of the Temple took eight years. It is said that in 1677 while the Temple was under renovation Shivaji, the great Maratha King visited this Temple; he was actually on his way to Sri Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple at Srisailam.
A few years later the Temple was destroyed by the troops of the Mogul King Aurangzeb. Then its history if full of up and downs. The present main Archaka Sri Veeresham Panthulu of Maheshwaram is with the Temple since last 22 years. He along with some locals and prominent people are; and have been striving to develop and upkeep the Temple.  Every day rituals and festivals like Maha Shivarathiri and Karthika Masam festivities are performed in a befitting manner. Tomorrow is Karthika Pournami and we could see large scale arrangements being made to celebrate the festival.
Some unique and extraordinary facts of the Temple are as follows:
The Temple is located at the center of the Pushkarini that is Temple Pond/Tank, with an approach way over the water. Normally the Temple Ponds are adjacent to Temples. Here the Temple Pond is called Shivaganga. Shivaganga has steps on all four sides for devotees to reach the water. Just sprinkling Shivaganga water over the head is said to purify that person and wash off all his sins.
This is a two-storey Temple. Goddess Rajeshwari Temple is just above Shivaganga and above it is the Temple of Lord Shiva known here as Sri Rajarajeshwara Swamy. The Shiva Lingam consecrated here is a naturally formed one from River Narmada. It is very beautiful; it is a two-toned Lingam, light brown with a large dark brown crescent having ash (Vibuthi) streaks. The sanctum sanctorum has entry doors on all four sides. The original Temple is on rock pillars, it still is, but as the Temple area had to be expanded it is now additionally supported with some reinforced concrete pillars. 
Just along the boundary of the Pushkarini, along its four sides are sixteen small Shiva Temples situated in all cardinal directions. These 16 small Temples are known by different names of Lord Shiva. This layout makes the Temple very unique and the Temple is called as one constructed with Shodashanga Roudrikaranam.
In front of the Temple is a huge tree, it appears as a single tree but it is a combination of three trees, Peepal, Neem and Udumbara/Gular (Raavi, Vepa and Medi Chettu). Under these three-trees combination is a Temple of Naga Raju – Snake God. It is believed that if a childless couple prays here for a child and wraps a coconut in cloth and ties it to a branch, their wish would be fulfilled soon.
I hope the attached pictures will reinforce my description of this ancient and important Temple. 















Today, 10th December is Human Rights Day.

December 10th is Human Rights Day, a United Nations (UN) campaign that calls for people to know and push for their rights no matter ...