Thursday, 18 December 2014

A Stranger !

               (This poem I wrote several years ago)  

                              A stranger

           Walks in crowded cities,
           Unmindful of human complexities,
           And life's eternal beauties,
           A stranger.

           Friendship often seeks,
           That meetings make,
           And partings break,
           A stranger.

           Confines in mystery,
           Looks what is not he,
           But someone else be,
           A stranger.

           Scruples that reside,
           In a human mind,
           Reason could he find,
           A stranger.

           A few moments ago,
           when asked, where you go,
           He says, 'I don't know',
           A stranger.

           His lovable countenance,
           Gives some assurance,
           Of future remembrance,
           A stranger.

                       *         *        *

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Forgotten Verse of Shakespeare...

                                                (concluding part of verse)


        Gentle wind sport did find,
        Wantonly to make fly,
                       her golden tresses.
        As they shook, I did look,
        But her fair did impair
                              all my senses.
        As amazed, I gazed
        On more than a mortal 
        Them that I love can prove
        Such force in beauty's 


        Next her hair, forehead fair,
        Smooth and high; next doth lie,
                             without wrinkle,
        Her fair brows; under those,
        Star-like eyes win love's prize
                             when they twinkle,
        In her cheeks who seeks
        Shall find there displayed
                             beauty's banner;
        On admiring desiring 
        Breeds, as I look still upon her,


        Thin lips red, fancy's fed,
        With all sweet when he meets,
                               and is granted,
         There to trade, and is made
         Happy, sure, to endure
                              still undaunted. 
         Pretty chin doth win
         Of all the world commendations;
         Fairest neck, no speck;
         All her parts merit high admirations.


         A pretty bare, past compare,
         Parts those plots which besots
                                  still asunder.
         It is meet naught but sweet
         Should come near that so rare
                                  'tis a wonder.
         No mishap, no scape
         Inferior to nature's perfection;
         No blot, no spot:
         She's beauty's queen in election.


         Whilst I dreamt, I exempt
         From all care, seemed to share
                                pleasures in plenty;
         But awake, care take__
         For I find to my mind
                               pleasures scanty.
        Therefore, I will try
        To compass my heart's chief contending.
        To such a case causeth repenting.

                          ___  William Shakespeare
(credit to Gary Taylor for finding this priceless poem)

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Forgotten Verse of Shakespeare

*   Hi, here's a forgotten verse of Shakespeare for poetry lovers!!

Forgotten Verse

                        Shall I die? shall I fly
                        Lovers' baits and deceits,
                                             sorrow breeding?
                        Shall I fend? Shall I send?
                        Shall I shew, and not rue
                                              my proceeding?
                        In all duty her beauty
                        Binds me her servant for ever.
                        If she scorn, I mourn,
                        I retire to despair, joying never.


                        Yet I must vent my lust
                        And explain inward pain
                                         by my love breeding.
                        If she smiles, she exiles
                        All my moan; is she frown,
                                     all my hopes deceiving.
                        Suspicious doubt, O keep out,
                        For thou art my tormentor.
                        Fly away, pack away;
                        I will love, for hope bids me venter.


                       "Twere abuse to accuse
                       My fail love, ere I prove
                                                 her affection.
                       Therefore try! Her reply
                       Gives thee joy-- or annoy,
                                                  or affliction.
                       Yet how'er, I will bear
                       Her pleasure with patience,
                                                   for beauty.
                       Sure will not seem to blot
                       Her deserts, wronging him
                                                doth her duty.


                       In a dream it did seem
                       But alas, dreams do pass
                                            as do shadows.
                       I did walk, I did talk
                       with my love, with my dove
                                   through fair meadows.
                       Still we passed till at last
                       We sat to repose us for our 
                       Being set, lips met,
                       Arms twined, and did bind
                                       my heart's treasure.

                       (to be continued.....................)

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

My colour is black !

*   Another black kid, Michael Brown has been killed by a white police officer, Darren Wilson and the killer without remorse goes around TV studios explaining how he killed a boy in self defence. To add insult to injury, the killer has not been charged by the grand jury. Not long ago an unarmed black was killed by a white man for trespassing. 

*    And what's surprising is that this is happening in the US, (the world's most civilised nation ?) and not in some central African country. It's quite painful to hear about such an incident. 

*     A precious human life has been taken away by a mindless man, who should be behind bars, than explaining his act on TV. Will justice be ever done? 

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Road to Regression.

* A woman jailed for watching men's volleyball match. If 
   I told you this, you would mock me and say, 'Don't pull 
   my leg." Friends, this is as true as it sounds bizarre. 
   This happened in 21st century Iran.

* This seriously bring one to believe that some Muslim 
   countries continue to live in the dark age, and forget 
   that it's the age of light.  This news is disturbing for 
   every sensible human being and it's important that 
   we all protest in every possible way.

*  Women in our times deserve equal rights, denied to
    them since the dawn of civilization.  Men in all 
    societies need to address this problem without 
    wasting anytime.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Last Bus to Lekhapani.

*      This is one of my favourite stories. Enjoy the bus ride to Lekhapani..........

Last Bus to Lekhapani

Pooran Mal Lakhotia alighted at the Dibrugarh bus station at 9 p.m. and rushed to the booking counter from where a dim light emanated, indicating perhaps the counter was open. But he was disappointed to find it closed. Dejected, he looked around for someone to inquire about the bus. Seated in one corner, he found a man brewing tea.
       Picking up the suitcase, he moved to the tea shop. Suddenly, he felt an instant urge to have a strong tea.
        He put the suitcase down, and asked the tea seller, rubbing palms to generate some warmth, “Bhaiya, when is the next bus to Lekhapani?” 
       The tea seller, with typical looks of a man from the Gangetic plains, gave him a wry smile and spoke, “Arey, sahib, you’ve just missed the bus by about fifteen minutes.”
       “When is the last bus to Lekhapani?” he asked instantly.
       “That leaves this place at midnight and the booking counter will open half an hour prior to departure,” he replied putting the kettle on the fire.
        “What time does it reach there?”
        “Before 4 a.m.”
        “4 a.m.!”
       “Ji Sahib. Perhaps you are coming here for the first time. In this region the sun rises early. It’s dawn by 4 a.m.”
         “What’s your name?”
         “Lallan, could I’ve a strong ginger tea?” he urged.
      “Ji, Sahib. Wait a minute,” he said elatedly, dusted a plastic chair with his gamchha, (hand towel) and then gestured him to sit.
“I’ll wait here at the bus stop. There’s no point going back to the hotel room now,” he thought loudly, settling in the chair.
“Sahib, you won’t regret staying here,” he heard him remark.
“Why!” he exclaimed.
“Ji, nothing. I meant you could read the book or newspaper. You would be carrying a lot of books,” he spoke putting tealeaves into the boiling water.
“How do you know?” he queried in surprise.
“I’ve seen many sahibs reading books while waiting for the bus here.” he put sugar into the pan and stirred it vigorously. A minute later when the tea started boiling, he grated ginger into fine pieces and dropped them into the pan.
“Do you know how to read?” he inquired, but felt foolish a minute later asking that stupid question.

            (Please go to 'Short Stories' section for full story)

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

           The Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra originates from Nauti village, about  25 km  from  Karnprayag  in  Uttarakhand. The  Kunwar of Kansua  village  inaugurates  the  ceremony. The legend has it that Nanda Devi, the consort of Lord Shiva left her village and went to the Nanda Devi mount. Therefore when the yatra starts, heavy rain occurs as  if the Devi is  crying. This yatra covers many villages en route  and  the  Devi  meets  her  sister  in  Bhagwati  village.  The festivities  come  to a standstill, when  time  comes for the Devi to leave  for  her  husband’s  home. Special  prayers  and  rituals are performed and the offerings are loaded on  the  four- horned Ram. The deity is decorated like a bride, ready to leave for her husband's home. The scene  becomes  emotional  when  devotees  bid tearful farewell to the Devi, as they bid farewell to their own daughter.

      The four horned ram proceeds towards Trishuli peak, the abode of Lord Shiva. The women folk believe that the mist around the Nanda Kot peak is the smoke coming out of the kitchen of Goddess Nanda. They sing songs in praise of their Goddess, whom they consider as their pampered daughter.
         This journey is extremely tough as it passes through difficult terrain. During the yatra, devotees pass by Lake Roopkund, surrounded by hundreds of skeletons. According to the mythology, once a King took some dancers to this sacred spot. Due to heavy snowfall, the people got trapped and the dancers were transformed into skeletons and stones. Another myth is that King Yasodhwal's pregnant wife's placenta, during child birth, flowed down to Roopkund and this in turn caused the death of the people present there. Nandakini, one of the five main tributaries of the Ganges, originating from the Nanda Ghunti in the Nanda Devi Sanctuary, and joining the Alaknanda river at Nandprayag, lost her significance.

         During the period of Chand kings, Nanda Devi worship took the shape of a fair. Prior to that, Nanda Devi was being worshiped, but at  that  time  only an idol of Nanda Devi used to be worshiped. The  custom  to make  two  idols  started  from  the  period  of Baj Bahadur  Chand. The twin  peaks of the Nanda Devi and Sunanda Devi are said to be the abode of two goddesses. 

          The  Nanda  Devi Raj  Jat Yatra covers approx 290 Kms. The 230 Kms distance is covered on foot by trekking and 60 Kms by the transport. It takes three week to cover the whole yatra. People from Uttarakhand  and  other  parts  of India  participate  in  this  Yatra. The route traverse through high peaks and beautiful meadows.

          The goddess Nanda Devi is worshiped at dozens of places in both the Kumaon and Garhwal regions, but the region around Mt. Nanda Devi and its sanctuary, is the prime area related to the Yatra, organized once in 12 years. The Jaat (meaning Yatra or pilgrimage) starts from Nauti village near Karnprayag and goes up to the heights of Roopkund and Homekund with a four horned sheep. After the havan - yagna is over, the sheep is freed with decorated ornaments, food and clothings, and the other offerings are discarded.

     Raj Jaat procession goes through villages, where there is a recognized Nanda Devi temple. At Koti, a night halt of the participants takes place where a night-long worship and celebrations take place. Thousands participate in the procession carrying the dola of Nanda Devi. It is said that the Nanda Devi fairs started in Kumaon during the reign of the King Kalyan Chand in the 16th century. A three-day fair is held at Kot Ki Mai or Kot Bhramari Devi. The fair at Saneti comes every second year.

     Nanda Devi Raj Jat is the most wonderful pilgrimage in the High Himalayas, combining faith, mystery and myth. Like the Khumbh it is organized every 12 years. 280 km pilgrimage by foot begins at the village Nauti, in Chamoli district and has 19 resting places. The yatra reflects the traditions of the society that has deep faith in Nanda Devi. People of all castes, religions and creeds joyfully join this journey, which embraces pastoral hospitably and govt apathy with equal ease, as it traverses through the heavenly environs of the Bedini Bugyal.

Friday, 10 October 2014

White Elephants !!

*    In poor country like India where thousands go hungry 
      and  millions  manage  just  one  meal  a day  for their
      families,  spending  crores  of  rupees  each  year  on 
      maintaining the  institution of  the  governor is hardly 
      any act of wisdom. The huge  amount of money spent
      on their pay, perks and maintaining Raj Bhavans does
      not justify the the work discharged from this high 

*    The Governors perform only one constitutional duty, 
      i.e., inviting the  leader of the  largest political party, 
      or the group to form the govt. It's one duty  that can  
      be better formed by the Chief Justice of the State.

*    Most governors often meddle into state politics and
      make life difficult for the state govt at the behest of
      the centre. Money  saved by  dismantling this office 
      can be spent on health and education of impoverished

Friday, 26 September 2014

Roopmati -- Baz Bahadur ...... A forgotten love tale.

 *     Baz Bahadur, a music lover, was the last independent ruler of Mandu. Once out on hunting, he met Roopmati, a shepherdess frolicking and singing with her friends. Smitten by her enchanting beauty and melodious voice, he begged her to accompany him to Mandu. Roopmati agreed to accompany him on one condition that she would live in a palace from where she could see River Narmada, which she loved so much.  

 *     Baz Bahadur built Roopmati's palace to which water was supplied from the Rewa Kund, equipped with an aqueduct. Queen Roopmati's Pavilion was built as an army observation post. It served a more romantic purpose as Roopmati's retreat. From this picturesque pavilion perched on a hilltop, the queen could gaze at her paramour's palace, and also at the Narmada flowing by.  

*      Roopmati and Baz Bahadur fell in love with each other and got married according to Muslim and Hindu traditions. The Mughal emperor Akbar sent Adam Khan decided to invade Mandu. Baz Bahadur with his small army went to challenge him but was defeated. Roopmati poisoned herself to avoid capture. Thus ended, the magical love story steeped in music, poetry, romance, war and death.

*   Tale of Roopmati and Baz Bahadur has been immortalized by Ahmad-ul-Umri Turkoman, who wrote 26 poems in Persian. This manuscript later got translated into English by L.M. Crump under the title, The Lady of the Lotus: Rupmati, Queen of Mandu: A Strange Tale of Faithfulness in 1926.

*     It's one love tale that has remained forgotten in the land of its origin. It's surprising and sad that no Bollywood filmmaker never thought of telling this wonderful story on celluloid. Hopefully somebody someday does it. 

Friday, 19 September 2014

Scotland Vote for Independence !!!


*    So,  finally pragmatism has won in Scotland. British PM must be a relieved man, today. My heart goes out to independence seekers in Scotland. Many minority ethnic groups the world over are seeking independence because their aspirations are being met within the existing framework. It's the responsibility of the rulers in those countries to ensure that people of minority ethnic groups are not discriminated against.  Iraq is the case in point. 

*    Russians living in Ukraine and Ukrainians leaders  need to take a lesson from it. 

*     United we stand divided we fall.  

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Life's greatest lessons (2).............A Storyteller.

*  We often come across people in our lives who, though, uneducated are excellent storytellers and people who are well read but terrible at telling stories. 

*   About a decade and half ago I too met with a soldier, Tek Bahadur, during  my three year stint with an Indian Para Military Force. On a week long patrolling assignment in the jungles of Mizoram in the northeastern India, we one day passed by a lake, picture of whose lonesome beauty got etched in my heart forever.  

*    On inquiry why there was no human settlement near the lake, the man during the night in the next village narrated me the folktale (read story of 'Palak Dil' in my earlier post) of that lake.  His style of narration was so fascinating, so captivating that I was inspired to take up writing. Until then I hadn't written prose of any worth. 

*     That night fifteen years ago changed my life. He inspired me to write. Today I have written about five dozen short stories and four fiction novels. And for this newfound inspiration, I owe it to him. And I know there would be hundreds like me who have been inspired by people from humble educational backgrounds. 

*      Thank you, Tek Bahadur.

Monday, 1 September 2014

A Dark Alley.

A child is like a rose bud, tender and beautiful. Like a rose spreads its fragrance, a child spreads its smiles. Its heart is as fragile as a petal. Both need plenty of love and care, and delicate nurturing. With love they grow up and blossom, without they disintegrate and die. Ironically, their creator and destroyer is neither Nature nor God but the man. One moment he is a saint and the next moment he is a devil incarnate.
          Varsha was like a rosebud, tender, beautiful and growing up under the protective care of her father and casual love of a rather casual mother. Like millions of children she went to school, played in the gardens with her friends, read comics and storybooks, watched cartoons on TV and once a while saw a horror movie and then kept awake the whole night thinking of demons, and thereafter when she cried in her sleep, her father rushed to her, took her in his arms and pacified her. He told her there were no demons. It was just a nightmare, a horrible little dream.

(for full story go to short stories section above)............

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Sapta Badri.


The Badrinath temple is believed to date back to the  Vedic period, though the current structure was built in the 8th century AD by Adi Shankaracharya. The Badrinath legend states that Vishnu in his incarnation as the sages Nara and Narayana, did penance in an open space at the location of Badrinath.

Adi Badri

Adi Badri, the first temple complex among the Sapta Badri temples is an ancient shrine dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is located 17 km from Karnaprayag. 7 temples were built during the late Gupta period (5th to 8th century). In ancient times, when approach to the Badrinath Temple was closed during winter months, pilgrims worshipped Vishnu at this temple. Adi Badri is an hour's drive from Karnaprayag, close to Chulakot on the way to Ranikhet.

Vridha Badri

Vridha Badri, is located in Animath village, 7 km from Joshimath. The legend says that Vishnu appeared in the form of an old man before sage Narada who performed penance here. Thus, the idol installed in this temple is in the form of an old man. The legend has it that the image of Badrinath was carved by the divine craftsman Vishwakarma. At the advent of Kaliyug, Vishnu chose to remove himself from this place, later Adi Shankara found the partly damaged image in the Narad-kund (pond) and established it at the Badrinath.

                                      Bavishya Badri

Bhavishya Badri, about 9,000 ft above sea level is located in a village called Subhain, 17 km from Joshimath. It is situated on an ancient pilgrim route to Mount Kailash and Manasarovar, along the Dhauli Ganges River. Bhavishya Badri is connected by a motorable road to Saldhar,19 km from Joshimath, beyond which a 6 km trek is undertaken to reach the shrine.

According to a legend when the evil will transcend the world, the mountains of Jai and Vijaya would block the route to Badrinath and the sacred shrine would become inaccessible. The present world will be destroyed and a new one established. Then Badrinath will appear at the Bhavishya Badri temple and be worshipped here, instead of the Badrinath shrine. 

Yogadhyan Badri 

Yogadhyan (Yoga) Badri is located at Pandukeshwar at about 6,000 ft above sea level, close to Govind Ghat and is as ancient as the main Badrinath temple. Pandukeshwar is located en route from Govind Ghat to Hanuman Chatti, 9 km from Hanuman Chatti. Legend has it that King Pandu, meditated here to god Vishnu to cleanse him of the sin of killing two mating deer, who were ascetics in their previous lives. The Pandavas were also born here and Pandu died and attained salvation here. Pandu is believed to have installed the bronze image of Vishnu in the Yoga Badri shrine. The image is in a meditative posture and thus it is called Yoga Badri. The idol is life size. According to a legend, the Pandavas, after defeating and killing their cousins Kauravas came here to repent. They handed their kingdom to their grandson and went to perform penance in the Himalayas. 

Another historic location is the Suryakund, on top of Milam glacier, a hot water spring, where Kunti gave birth to her illegitimate son, Karna, fathered by the sun-god, Surya. Kunti was married to Pandu at Pandukeshwar.

Dhyan Badri

Dhyan Badri, is located in the Urgam valley, close to Kalpeshwar on the banks of river Alaknanda. It can be reached from Helang Chatti by a 12 km trek. The legend of Dhyan Badri is linked to the Urvarishi, son of King Puranjaya of the Pandavas lineage who meditated in the Urgam region and established the temple for Vishnu. 

Ardha Badri

Ardha Badri, located on the Joshimath-Tapovan road is in a remote village and can be approached only by trekking along a steep bridle path. As the size of the idol is small, the temple is called Ardha Badri, meaning half Badri.

Narasimha Badri

Narasimha Badri at Joshimath is closely linked to the Bhavishya Badri legend, even it is not one of the famous Panch Badri. Some believe the image is self-manifested. It is also believed that one arm of the image is getting thin with time and will finally fall off. When the arm disappears, the main shrine of Badrinath will be closed to the world and Lord Badrinath will shift to the Bhavishya Badri shrine. With this cataclysmic event, Kali Yuga will end ushering in the Satya Yuga. Then the Badrinath shrine would get re-established. When the chief Badrinath shrine is closed in winters, the priests of Badrinath shift to this temple and continue their worship to Badrinath here. Along with the central Narasimha image, the temple also has an image of Badrinath. 

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Who is Happy?

*        I wish to share a story of wisdom, I read somewhere.

Who is Happy?

A crow lived in the forest and was absolutely satisfied in life. But one day he saw a swan. "This swan is so white," he thought, "and I am so black. This swan must be the happiest bird in the world."

    He expressed his thoughts to the swan. "Actually," the swan replied, "I was feeling that I was the happiest bird around until I saw a parrot, which has two colours. I now think the parrot is the happiest bird in creation."

     The crow then approached the parrot. The parrot explained, "I lived a very happy life—until I saw a peacock. I have only two colours, but the peacock has multiple colours." The crow then visited a peacock in the zoo and saw that hundreds of people had gathered to see him. 

     After the people had left, the crow approached the peacock. "Dear peacock," the crow said, "you are so beautiful. Every day thousands of people come to see you. When people see me, they immediately shoo me away. I think you are the happiest bird on the planet." The peacock replied, "I always thought that I was the most beautiful and happy bird on the planet. But because of my beauty, I am entrapped in this zoo. I have examined the zoo very carefully, and I have realized that the crow is the only bird not kept in a cage. So for past few days I have been thinking that if I were a crow, I could happily roam everywhere." 

    We humans suffer from the same mindset, make unnecessary comparison with others and become unhappy. We don't value what God has given us. This all leads to the vicious cycle of unhappiness. Learn the secret of being happy and discard the comparison which leads only to unhappiness.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Panch Kedar.

As the legend has it, after the Mahabharta, the Pandavas went to seek blessings of Lord Shiva to atone for their sins. But Shiva, who didn't want to meet them, took the form of a bull to hide. The Pandavas were not ready to accept it. Bhima tried his best to pick up the bull but failed, and the bull scattered into pieces. 

Impressed by Pandavas' determination, Shiva finally blessed them and freed them from their sins. The lord then asked them to worship his hump at Kedarnath. This conical protrusion is worshiped as the idol in the shrine. This ancient and magnificent temple is located in the Rudra Himalaya range in the Garhwal region of Uttaranchal. In Kedarnath lord Shiva is worshiped as one of the twelve jyotirlingas (linga of light).

Tungnath, the 2nd Panch Kedar is set on the crest of a hill. It is the highest shrine on the inner Himalayan range. About 3 km uphill from Chopta, Tungath is reached through a path winding through meadows and rhododendron thickets. Tungnath is built of stone. There are two smaller temples dedicated to Parvati and Vyas in a small courtyard.
Rudranath the 3rd Pancha Kedar is situated amid thick forest at a height of 2286 m. This shrine is 23 kms from Gopeshwer. In this natural rock temple the face of Lord Shiva is worshipped as Neelkantha Mahadeva. This is the only temple in India where the image of Shiva is worshiped as a symbol of his face, a sublime, tender aspect of Shiva. The holy Kunds (Tanks) near Rudranath temple are Surya kund, Chandra kund, Tara kund, Manas Kund. 

Madhyamaheshwar, the 4th Pancha Kedar, is located at the base of Chaukhamba peak, 3289 m above the sea level, and 30 km northeast of Guptakashi. Shiva is worshiped at Madhyamaheshwar in the form of navel - shaped lingum. From here Kedarnath and Neelkanth peaks, associated with the life and times of shiva, are visible.  

Kalpeshwar, the 5th Pancha Kedar, is a small rock temple and located in Urgam Valley at an altitude of 2,134 m. Here the locks (hair) and head of Lord Shiva are worshiped as JATADHAR. 

Monday, 28 July 2014

Panch Prayag.

Panch Prayag is the word used for the five sacred confluences of rivers  in the  Garhwal  region  in the Himalayas. The five prayags (prayag meaning  confluence)  are Vishnu  Prayag,  Nand  Prayag, Karn  Prayag,  Rudra Prayag  and Dev  Prayag,  in the descending order. After Rishikesh one has to go through all these on the way to the Badrinath dham.

Vishnu Prayag 

The Alaknanda River, originating from the eastern slopes of the glacier at  Chaukhamba, is  joined  by the Saraswathi River near Mana village and then flows in front of the Badrinath temple. At Vishnu Prayag, it meets the Dhauliganga River, which originates from the Niti Pass. 

Nand Prayag

The Nandakini River meets the Alaknanda River at Nand Prayag. A legend has it that confluence derives its name from the Yadava king Nanda, Krishna's foster-father. According to the legend, Vishnu granted a boon of the birth of a son to Nanda and his wife Yasoda and also the same boon to Devaki, wife of Vasudeva. Placed in a dilemma, since both were his disciples, he ensured that Krishna, an incarnation of Vishnu, was born to Devaki and Vasudeva but was fostered by Yashoda and Nanda. 

Karna Prayag

At Karn Prayag the Alaknanda River joins the Pindar River that originates from the Pindar glacier, below Mount Nanda Devi. The epic Mahabharta legend narrates that Karna did penance here and earned the protective gear of Kavacha (armour) and Kundala (ear rings) from his father, the Sun god. The name of the confluence is thus derived from the name of Karna. 

Rudra Prayag

At Rudra Prayag the Alaknanda meets the Mandakini. The confluence is named after god Shiva, who is also known as Rudra. According to a legend, Shiva performed the Tandava, a vigorous dance that is the source of the cycle of creation, preservation and dissolution, here. Shiva also played his favourite musical instrument the Rudra veena here. By playing the Veena, he enticed god Vishnu to his presence and converted him to water.

Dev Prayag 

Dev Prayag is the confluence of two holy rivers, the Bhagirathi, the chief stream of the Ganges and the Alaknanda. It is the first prayag on the way to Badrinath. Downstream this confluence, the river is known as Ganges. The holiness of this place is considered equal to the famous Sangam at Allahabad where the Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati rivers merge.

The Bhagirathi, which flows in rapids with strong currents meets a much calmer river in the Alaknanda. The contrast between the two rivers joining here is striking. The confluence got the name tag 'Dev' from a poor Brahmin called Deva Sharma who performed “rigorous religious austerities” here and was blessed by Rama. 

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Humble tribute to the Master.............

*     After an agonizing wait of more than 10 months, finally I could pick up paint and brush, and paint this. Choice of the subject is rather odd and audacious. But it has been on mind since I started painting in Mar 2013. 

*     Picasso has inspired generations and millions around the world. I'm a novice and a learner. And It's my humble tribute to the Master...... 

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Mana.........a village steeped in antiquity.

*    When you reach Mana, about 3 km from  Badrinath, 
take a deep breadth. You are in village that's about more 
than  5000   years   old.  In    antiquity   it  was   called 
"Manibhadrapuram" where the Ghandarvas used to reside.

*   It's believed that five Pandavas and Draupadi had passed through this village during their trip to the Swargarohini Peak from where they all had planned to ascend to the heaven. (more about it in future blog).

*    This wonderful village, located at more than 10,000 ft above sea level, is populated for only six months between mid May to mid Nov and buried in deep snow during winter months when its inhabitants migrate to lower heights at Joshimath and south of it. The tribe is different and so is their culture. 

 *   When you sit at a teashop, at the village's far end, and 
sip  much  needed hot tea, your  mind  is  transported into 
another  world. On  one  side  is  the  sound   of   gurgling 
Saraswati  River  and on  the  other  is  the  silence of the
mountains.  It's a  lifetime  experience,  one  would  like 
to live it again and again. 

*  And a few steps up is the route, to the Satopanth Lake and the Swargarohini Peak, on which one is tempted to walk but for the worldly worries...............

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

ISIS............. deadlier version of Al Qaeda

*    Iraq burns, and the world watches with abated breadth as Al Qaeda's newer and deadlier version captures city after city. And what an irony that America remains a mute spectator to all this. After so many days when ISIS has entire Sunni and Kurd regions and some oil refineries under their control, Obama talks of action in a cautious tone. 

          *     This man, the Iraqi Premier, Nouri-Al-Malliki, is 
       responsible for Iraq's descent into chaos. He, like
       Morsi, after assuming power forgot that he was given
       mandate for uniting the country. Muslim leaders have
       to take lesson from Mandela, who through 'Truth and 
       Reconciliation Commission' successfully made two
       communities to forget century-old animosity and 
       come together in nation building. 

Friday, 13 June 2014

Egypt..............Morsi to Sisi, An opportunity lost.

*     What an irony? Egypt, from Morsi to Sisi, has travelled back into time. Like many western observers one might be tempted to blame General Sisi for killing the child of democracy in the land of oldest civilisation, but I would rather blame Morsi for this situation to develop in this great country.

*     When Morsi was elected as the first truly elected President of Egypt, he forgot that he was President of whole country not that of Muslim Brotherhood. He behaved like an autocrat, worse than Mubarak and allowed the army to come back to power again.  

*      A great opportunity lost for Egypt. It's time the elected leaders in the Muslim world realised that fundamentalism and bigotry have no place in the present day society. Like other nations, the Muslim countries too are yearning for democracy. 

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