Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Makeover of a temple

I just don't get it. Yesterday the newspaper carried an article which said that the entire sanctum sanctorum of the Tirupati Balaji temple is to be gold plated. This is a huge scheme estimated to cost around Rs.1000 crores. The article claims that this amount of money is to be generated by the temple's internal revenue and gold donations. It goes on to say that since the project was inaugurated a few weeks back there has been a steep rise in gold donations not only by business tycoons, charitable trusts etc but also by ordinary devotees who offer their gold ornaments.

I am too a religious (or must I call myself spiritual) person. I visit temples though not every other day and do like it too. I strongly believe that religious sentiments are purely personal. I can accept the fact that temples spend a considerable amount in renovation work in trying to reduce chaos and confusion within the temple premises and so as to ensure a safe and fulfilling pilgrimage. But I don't see why seeing a gilded temple would make people feel more pious.

I'm not in favour of squandering money meaninglessly in gold plating the temple. Why is this sort of gold plating necessary? I do not believe that the Gods would have insisted that temples be adorned with gold and diamonds. Nor do I believe that a true devotee would see the need for it. But as always, this is my opinion. I'm sure I'd have a lot of people opposing my standpoint. If anyone is able to figure out the intent behind this adornation, please enlighten me.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Best Pals.....

I make friends easily and mostly for life. Many of them are now in far places. A few of my best pals are in Dubai and when my folks left the place for good I felt terrible. I felt we'd never meet and spend time together and we'd slowly begin to stop being such good friends. But five years down the line, today, I can easily say that they are still as dear to me as they were then, if only a little more...
When I couldn't go to Mumbai to meet them, 3 of them decided to come to Chennai to be together for a few days. And boy, did I have the time of my life! These guys are the best friends anyone can have. As my friend said, after this trip we can say that we know each other more than ever. Spending a few hours every week or say everyday for years is a big thing. But we guys had never spent the whole day together. This was a different experience. In half a decade everyone changes; and so have my friends and I. We were never similar but lifestyles and situations have made us more different than we were then. It is true that friends are the family that we get to choose. But can we, really, call them family?
I mean... when we are at home we put up with parents and siblings all the time. We endure their bad moods, tolerate their bad habits and not hold it against them. We learn to accept them as they are. People are easy to handle most of the time but get pretty difficult at times. It really is the difficult times that we don't always see of friends whom you haven't lived with. Being with them 24/7 makes us see them in different light. When you have seen that too then you can say you know them well.
This trip was the most memorable experience I had with my friends. We stayed together for 5 days, day-in day-out. What I did realize is that although we have all grown up, we never grew apart. Despite the distance, despite the differences we will always be around for each other and love each other so.
So now I can say I know my friends very well and that they will always be my best pals. That no matter what I can count on them. They say the world's best friends are not the ones who have the same characters, they are the ones who have the best understanding of their differences.
And, they are my family.

Thank you guys. You'll are the Best!!

Monday, September 14, 2009


The media is no doubt trying to fight stiff competition and come up with innovative news stories adding to being the first to report the news of happenings the world over.
The reason I write this is last week the media had focussed considerable attention on the Finance Minister publicly reprimanding the External affairs minister and his deputy for staying in Five star hotels. This was followed by news that all politicians would be required to curb a lavish lifestyle and take to austere living. Next, newspapers and channels gave extensive coverage to Pranab Mukherjee's flight to Kolkata in the economy class of SpiceJet, a low cost carrier. So much importance was given to this piece of information that it was the day's 'Breaking News' in many News channels. And then the news of many politicians welcoming this austerity drive.
Now what caught my attention is that one of the Indian websites in their news section has introduced a new segment which says 'Shoot a photograph or video of a politician or civil servant violating the guidelines and indulging in extravangance.' I really don't know what to make of this. On one hand, we talk about individual space and on the other about paparazzi frenzy. The point I wish to make is not that such segments are useless and only meant to increase viewership; because good or bad, I have no doubts that this would be one of their most viewed segments as is their other 'Stars Spotted'.
I feel that today we live in a world where too much attention is given to ostentation and hype. One would rather read a news item that begins like.. 'The city police commissioner was woken up by a call at the unearthly hour of 3 am to be informed of his deputy's death at the hands of militants whom he fought bravely for more than half an hour.' instead of 'Asst. Police Commissioner shot dead by militants in a fierce encounter that lasted half an hour.' (The above was an actual incident; news reports of which I had read in two newspapers and were almost as mentioned.)
I don't think this is a healthy habit. We seem to patronize the sensationalization of news. The page 3 is now a whole newspaper supplement. Also supplements focus a lot on movies, fashion, trends, high end shopping and needless to say a whole lot of gossip concerning big names from all glamour-related industries. I don't mean to say that all this is to be thoroughly avoided. I only believe that all this should be kept within limits. And more importantly, draw a clear line between other news features keeping them devoid of flashy narration.
Why could this be? Is it because our lives have turned so mundane that we look forward to such masala everyday? Or is it because we cannot empathize or feel for what we read and read it instead with the air of reading a work of fiction and derive pleasure in the garishness of events. I am conservative in a few things. And this is one of them. I prefer to keep details of news stories free from pageantry and pretension.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Love - True or not

As it dawned on a bright spring day,
I heard the nightingale’s melody
Sitting in the grove’s pleasant shade
she sang for herself... all night all day
Her gilded voice with a thousand echoes
as nature smiled in blissful glee..

And then he came and the cupid struck
She sang for him now through dawn through dusk
His love consort for her angelic symphony
Their love bloomed in the gleaming meadow..

Then one summer night he bade farewell
And asked her to await his return
Said he’d be back to prove his love.

Awaiting him with painful patience
She sang all day. sang all night
Her melancholy strain and forlorn voice.
Her Broken heart and shattered soul...

She tried to break free from him
But she couldn’t ....
For he was now a part of her.

And one winter morn in the icy chill,
her voice was heard no more
Her soul had embraced death.
Her cold listless body slept forever...
Awaiting his return, which would never be.

Alas, she lost herself for she couldn’t let go....

*** If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, its yours. If it doesn’t, it never was. But some people just can’t let go, they try to cling on and never learn true love***