Friday, November 30, 2012

Ahmadabad Trip: Mahudi

As Ahmedabad does not host lot of historical, religious, and scenic monuments, so my friend planned to visit nearby religious monuments. We started with Ghandhinagar, the capital city of Gujarat. The city hosts the oldest Akshardham temple in India. So we planned to visit this temple first, but after turning up at it's empty gate, we realized a loophole in our plan. We visited the temple on Monday, which is the only resting day for the temple staff in a week.

Though we were disappointed, still we had planned to visit other temples. Hence rather than considering it as a set back, I welcomed it as a well timed relief. Mini Amarnath temple was next in line. This temple is a replica of the Amarnath temple. Amarnath temple, situated in the Himalayas, is the most popular and dangerous Hindu shrine. You need to walk, and trek a little to reach to the mini Amarnath temple's. This hall imitates a natural cave and it has a Shiv-ling. The Shiv-ling is created artificially using snow and maintained at -5 Deg C to save it from melting. If you have any temptation to touch the deity, you must be prepared to donate 1000 Rs. Apart from the main hall, this temple hosts 10-12 other Shiv-lings which are replicas of the most popular Shiv temples across India.

Next temple was a Jain temple. This temple, widely known as Ghantaghar Mahaveer Ji jain temple, is situated in Mahudi. Maudi is 35 Km away from Ghandhinagar. The temple is quite beautiful, but it is associated with plenty of rumours.

Second hall which host Idol of Ghantaghar wale Shri Mahavir Ji
Temple is spread across a huge area. Along with three prayer halls, it has a museum, library, inn, parking lot and mess. Out of 3 halls, biggest hall hosts idols of 24 Jain Tirthankars. The oldest and prodigious idol, which belongs to Padam Prabhu, has been placed in this hall. The architecture of the hall is quite impressive and elaborate. Second hall is dedicated to Ghantaghar wale mahavir ji, he is known as the guardian of the temple. Third hall has idol of Yognistha Acharya Bhagwant Shrimad BuddhiSagarSuriSwarji Maharaj Sahebji, who put the foundation stone of the temple. Main attraction of the temple is 2 bells i.e Ghanta(in Hindi). One of these bell weights couple of tons. This bell is used only once in a year on Diwali and it's sound can be heard at few miles away from the temple. Second bell weights 40-50 kg and it has been places at the top of marble ladders.

Sukhadi, as a Prasad, is offered to the deity. Sukhadi is prepared with Pure Desi Ghee, wheat flour and Jaggery, and it is quite delicious. Rumours say that if you taje the Prasad out of the Mahudi village intentionally or unintentionally, then you will face fierce consequences. As per local people, whoever tried to take Sukhadi home, didn't even reach home. They were met with an accident before reaching home. It must be eaten or distributed in the temple premise only. So keeping all these rumours in mind, the devotees are prohibited from taking this outside the temple premises.

However list of prohibitions does not end here. You are prohibited to take photographs in the premise. As per the rumours, deity is still active in the temple, and if he is captured in the photographs, then he can create problems in your life.

After visiting the premise, we went to the exhibition hall and found a narrator who narrated the complete story of the temple. He told us all the mysterious phenomenon associated with the temple and he supported most of these events with unconvincing stories and reasons. This session lasted for 90 minutes, and we collected some history, and unconvincing theories about the temple.

Mahudi temple was our last frontier for the day, still the day was not yet over as our nights were already booked for another Garba session.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Who are you?

If someone asks you to introduce yourself in the group of 10 people, your introduction differs based on the purpose, and the members of the group. But how would you answer, "Who are you?".

You are sitting in the office with 50 colleagues in a presentation. Presenter stops all of a sudden, and asks you, "Who are you?".

You will merely have time to think and respond to such a simple, but weird question. My crude answer will be, "I am Vishal Jain.". Oh wow! that's all. Will my name define me completely? I do not think so. I am much more than merely the name. But then why I didn't consider anything worthy enough to associate with myself at that moment. So in my opinion, this question needs a delicate and much refined answer.

This question was asked to different people. Presenter asked this question to the first person; he answered, "I am a human being". Presenter asked the question repeatedly, and this guy told few of his behavioral characteristics, before running out of them.

In the same manner another person was interrogated. This guy told his professional achievements to answer it. Third person answered it with his personal information. Though neither question, nor participants, nor listener changed, but none of the answers were satisfactory, and complete.

So how would like to answer such a simple question? We do not ever think of answering this question in life time. So why don't you take some time and tell me that "Who are you?".

Monday, November 12, 2012

Happy Diwali 2012

So it is time to celebrate Diwali, the biggest north Indian Hindu festival. Except the mythological essence of the festival, it has significant importance in our life. Reunion of friends, families, shopping, decoration, cleaning, hopes, wishes, and love within families are few examples of such significant matters that are associated to the common man.

On this day, hundreds of small lamps will illuminate every street in every city. Hundreds of traditional oil lamps and hundreds of electric bulbs will enlighten every house in the street. No street, house, and place will remain dark today. Apart from decorating houses with lamps, every house will certainly have a Rangoli drawn with different colors and decorated with twinkling lamps.

This day, most of us, will visit the market from one end to another and wish Diwali’s best wishes to everyone either known or unknown. We will visit our friends who did not get time to meet us after last Diwali. It will be the perfect time to visit their houses and have some sweets (I love sweets) which are served as part of the traditions.

With our families, we will worship goddess Lakshmi, and god Ganesh. We will ask goddess to visit our house and shower money on us. Lakshmi visits every house this day, decides which house is decorated best, and stays in such a beautiful house for eternity. Chanting and praying will stop after an hour, after that we will be free to demonstrate the power of bombs we bought last night.

All the kids will first start with the loudest bomb, then as soon as louder bombs finish we move to bombs and crackers that last little longer. Ladies burst more trivial crackers. Though there is noise from different directions, but everyone seems to like the noise and pollution on Diwali.

I love everything about Diwali. Whether it is cleaning and dusting, or it is decoration, or it is meeting with friends, or it is worshipping, or it is cracking the crackers everything is charming, and cheerful. Though I have not brought any crackers yet, but I will get them soon. Hope you all will enjoy your Diwali as much.

Wish you, and your family a great, and prosperous Diwali!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Do we really own something?

Yesterday me and my friend had a brief discussion regarding possession. While describing our wealth, we proudly tell about our properties, cars, and ornaments, and we claim to own them. So our basic concern was to find out "Who possesses whom?".

Don’t worry, I haven't gone mad. I am yet quite sane.

Let's assume a person, who became a millionaire couple of years back, owns a BMW car. Along with the fundamental expenditures of the luxury class car, he has to maintain his status according to the car. He can not drive his car too often due to the fear associated with the car's status. He has to keep a tight vigilance to ensure it's safety. He cannot park it at random places to keep it away from streext vendors and kids. So to park it, everyday he strolls for an hour to find a better, and spacious parking place which might be 200 meters away from his house. He cannot park the car in the market where it is susceptible to scratches and thefts. So still do you think this millionaire owns a BMW?

Similarly, we all book a flat with the help of a bank, and keep depositing the bank's EMI for the entire life. We cut our expenditures, we reduce our desires, and we halt our life, but we live for our home. Do you see yourself as a king, after buying the home which already has owned you?

Further let me take the example of my own house. After moving to the house, my dad has stopped travelling. He says, it is unsafe to leave it unmanned even for 1 day, so at-least one person must stay at home. Hence they do not travel anywhere. He is always worried about the small cracks in the roof. So instead enjoying the house, he is more worried about it. So I do not think that my dad is owning it, rather the house has become the master of our lives.

If we sit down and look back our purchases, we feel the burden of these purchases first and later realize their importance, and advantages. So it is better to do something you like, instead of, owning those non-living things, which are possessing us.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Ahmedabad Trip: Garba Nights

I planned my trip to Ahmedabad at the time of the Navratri, so that I could enjoy world famous Gujarati dance, i.e. Garba and Dandiya. My friend's explanation was so elaborate, and enticing, that missing Garba, this year, was inevitable. So in the Navratri I was in Ahmadabad for three nights and each of the three nights was Garba night due to my friend's efforts.

Garba and Dandiya are Indian forms of dance these were originated in Gujarat, an Indian state. Many traditional Garbas were performed around a central lit lamp of different avatar of Shakti Maa, but now Garba has been changed drastically over the years. Now Garba has mixed with Dandiya and it has become more vibrant, and dynamic. Traditionally guys wear Kurta-Pajama and girls wear Chaniya-Choli-Dupatta. It is celebrated in the Navratri, 9 days celebration, just before Dussehra.

On day one (Seventh day of Garba), we reached to the party hall quite late, but the hall was lively, and completely packed. It was filled with vibrant colors, loud music, and enthusiastic Gujjus. Thousands of people, who were dressed in colorful and traditional Gujarati attires, were present in the hall and they were dancing with never lasting enthusiasm. Atmosphere at the hall was highly jubilant, and elated.

Though the hall was filled with few thousand people, but nobody, in the entire hall, was concerned about others. Everyone was enjoying so much that the existence of others was inconsequential.

After  Music was halted.
We started the Garba without losing any other moment. First I learned a few steps, and I joined the group. Though my confidence level was low and my feet were not dynamic, but still I tried my best to maintain the rhythm with others.

Due to the regulations in Ahmadabad, music stopped at 12AM, and all of us had to leave the party hall. As our night started couple of hours back, so after leaving the party hall, we went to the hotel for the dinner instead leaving to our homes. We had the special Gujarati dinner which was delicious, but it did not have any Gujarati dish. After having the delicious dinner, we all departed to our homes.

Next day we went to Chokhi Dhani. We were late again, and by the time we reached to the place, people had started leaving. Even after, so many people had already left, the hall was yet overpopulated, and the remaining bunch was not in any mood to stop. Music was loud and wild. Everyone was fully engrossed in the beats. Due to the yesterday's dancing experience, I was able to move my feet at the Garba beats. We formed a circle and danced around it. Lot of people joined our formation, and sometimes we joined other formations to keep the Garba alive.

Again, the Garba lasted for one hour only, but this hour was filled with fun and it was highly rejuvenating. People were gasping for more, but there was not any music for them.

Group at second day@Chokhi Dhani
Though the Garba was over, but the night was still young and refreshing. We had tea at a closed shop and later had the dinner on a road side restaurant. At the restaurant, we treated ourselves with the south Indian food which was cooked in the Gujarati style. Till now I was not able to find a decent Gujarati restaurant, so at-least one more day I had to wait for the Gujarati meal.

Earlier I had planned to leave the next day, but citing a holiday on Vijaydashami; I stayed there for one more day. As it was last, and the most important day of Navratra, so I planned to spend this auspicious day with my friends, instead spending this day in the train.

Third night was way too bigger than first two nights. We went to ONGC Ground, Ahmadabad. It was big stadium filled with thousands of people. This ground was divided in 2 different parts. One was a circle in the middle of ground where only girls were allowed whereas remaining people were allowed outside this circle. This time we reached to the ground around 11PM. Last night we all lacked a good group. People who accompanied us in last days were busy with some other friends. Due to this, we ended with the people who were more interested in sexy girls in the ground.

People performing garba@ONGC Ground
Time stops, but clock does not. After 2AM we all were forced to leave the ground. We returned to the society and it was still active, and alive. Most of the residents were out in the garden and they all were enjoying the Dandiya. So after playing it in a smaller group for some time, we joined all of them. After spending an hour in the Dandiya, we roamed in the streets which were still filled with people. Every street had one tent to play the Garba. Whether the street was a small, or a big street, or belonged to the paupers, or the riches, it had its own establishment of Maa Shakti.

Dandiya at the Society Garden.

I completely enjoyed the Navratra in Ahmadabad. It was not the dance, it was not the beats, it was not the time I spent but it was the energy of the people. In these days, you do not need friends, and you can mix with anyone and everyone. It is much more than Diwali in north India; it is much more than Teej in Rajasthan. It is as big as Chrismas, but it is more social than this. Every person irrespective of age, sex, and religion enjoys the festival of Navratri and beats of the Garba.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

I am not planning to review this book. I just want to shout that I am loving the book. Since the day I have taken the book in my hands, I have been dreaming to finish it. While sleeping I dream about next chapter. I dream about harry's possible actions to defend himself, so I just want to finish the book and watch the movie one more time to enjoy it more.

I had finished Harry Potter's first three parts quite a long time back, since then I was planning to start rest other parts, but I did not get enough chances to start these books. But this Saturday I got the perfect time to start the book and now I hope to finish this book by Thursday, so that take I can start 5th book of the series.

You all must wish me best of luck. :-)