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Random Thoughts

The World as I see it

Month

September 2012

मन


This one is in Hindi (poetic feelings always show up only in mother tongue :P)

कभी कठिनाइओं  के बीच अडिग-अचल
तो कभी चिंताओं की चहल-पहल|

भावनाओं के लहरो में बहती जाए इसकी नैया
कभी  मामा कंस तो कभी श्रीकृष्ण खिवैया;
पल में क्रोध-परिपूर्ण तो पल में स्नेह का आलिंगन
झूठ और सच्चाई के अंतर्द्वंद्व का यह क्रीडांगन|
श्रीकृष्ण के कृत्यो की कीर्ति कर्न्य कर कृतार्थ हुआ;
पर पग-पग पे बाधा देख प्रण-पथ से यह विचलित हुआ|
द्रुतगामी है, दिक्-भामित है, तो कभी दंभ का दर्पण है;
कभी जल-चन्द्र-प्रतिबिम्ब-सम विचलित होकर भी सौम्य है|
काश यह मन भी कदाचित चंचल न इतना होता
पर फिर शायद इस देह का जीवन, जीवन न होता|
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The Second Home


Well people say there is not a feeling like being at home. Might be… Might not be… As far as I am concerned, it is not. I mean there are some aspects you always find which makes you feel attracted towards your home, but there are many more interesting features to be explored in the hostel. As many of the young readers would agree, the excitement of going back to home dies away not more than 7 days after reaching home. A place like hostel gives you more freedom to live your life the way you like. Here you come across people, their views and thoughts. You try to develop your own stand on issues that you see. Some concern you in particular, others can be generalised to the society. In my view, hostels are the true schools which engineer a complete person out of you.

Take friends for example, the building blocks of a hostel. This is the place where you understand their true worth. With parents far away from reach, you know that you would have to turn to them whenever you are in need, you make friends out of natural instinct and time continuously tests your friendship; mostly strengthening them in each test. This is the time you come to realise the difference between your parents and the friends. Any number of times you let your parents down, any number of times you ask a favour from them; you are sure that they would never leave you alone. Friends in the hostel are closer to reality. Friendship never works one way. You can’t be the sole person to demand in a friendship. Even the society works in a similar way. However friends are gentler than the society. They are not traders who count the number of favours done by them and expect the count to exactly match the number of favours done by their friends. The hostel teaches you how to make friends, and more importantly how to be a good friend.

There are many other facets of life which the hostel teaches you. It is the last frontier of life before you go to face the society head on. It is the last frontier where mistakes regarding important decisions in life can mostly be rectified without causing much of harm. And in my opinion it is the only place where you can discuss, analyse and question any system of the society and ask “Why is life the way it is?”

Ganga Behti Ho Kyun?


In a pensive mood today…

Browsing through youtube today, I came across this fabulous song by Bhupen Hazarika…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Foa2jv0sIcw&feature=related

Reminded me of the days when I heard it on the television. Those days I was too young to appreciate the meaning of the song. But now the feeling become clear.

Ganga (or Ganges) is a highly respected river in India. It flows through her plains. Almost all the fertility of the plains can be directly attributed to it. And no wonder in a nation where emotions are the defining character of the people, the river is worshiped as a goddess. And feelings take the form of mythology. As per Hindu mythology, the river has descended from the heavens to cleanse the sins of the world.

In the song, the singer is seen questioning as to why is the river flowing in a soulless, lawless, helpless world.  The song goes as

With the mighty extent, with subjects along your banks screaming in dispair, oh Ganges why do you flow speechlessly?

In a world where morals are lost; where humanity is corrupt, why do you flow shamelessly?

The voice of past , cries out loud, oh the pious stream, why don’t you make your people brave and progressive?

Illiterates stand fortune-less…

Countless people (literates) vision-less…

Why do you blind and dumb to the people around you?

People are so self-centred…

Whole society stands without a personality…

Who don’t you integrate the society?

Why did you stop being a source of action and energy?

Why did you become inanimate?

Why you stopped giving inspirations to lives?

The world turn into the battlefield of Kurukshetra

Oh mother why don’t you give birth to valiant warriors in the nordern India?

The words make me shiver…

 

The Fearless Beauty


Image

Photo Credit: Subhradeep Misra

The whole state of Gujrat seemed to have a new variety of squirrels – a very special one. Don’t stare at the photo too hard. There are no surprises for you in terms of looks. The surprise lies in the fearlessness of this cute creature. I had always seen (and known) squirrels to be shy and fearful – the ones which will flee at the sight of a human. But after visiting this state I must admit that all squirrels are not the same. All the squirrels in the region seem to be damn fearless. You could patiently photograph them from distances less than a feet. They seem to have all the time in the world. Here are another click of the same squirrel a few seconds later…

(Both photos taken at ISKCON temple, Ahmedabad)

 

The Mound of the Dead


ImageI wish I could stay there forever… I wish I could meet those master architects… I wish I could read their early writings… I wish I could learn from them the way to organise cities… I wish I could rejuvenate the Mound of the Dead.

Standing on this barren land, when you look around yourself the first word that comes to your mind  is ‘Impossible’, You are struck not by the natural charm, architectural marvel or aesthetic value of the place; you are instead filled with respect for the people who blessed this middle earth with their presence 4000 years ago.

Welcome to the Harappan Civilisation… Welcome to the Mound of the Dead…

During my recent visit to Ahmedabad, I got the opportunity to visit a tourist spot, which is unique in some sense. I visited a port of the Harappan Civilisation. And man! I truly realised that 4000 years ago, the people living here were geniuses.

How to visit

Well, journey to this place is not very comforting. We (I and my friend Subhradeep) boarded a metre gauge  passenger train from Gandhigram station of Ahmedabad to a village called Lothal Burkhi. For me – current resident of West Bengal – it was a weird experience to find the passenger train to vacant (all through the journey I thought of Lalgola Passenger). The pace of the train was, to say the least turtle paced (or snail paced?). I however liked sight of rural Gujrat on the way. At the station, we faced the most serious of our problems – language. We had to hire a ‘motorised vehicle’ (I can’t find a better word for it) to Lothal and the driver was speaking gibberish. After 15 minutes of mutual exchange of words and gestures in which neither of the parties understood anything, we got a mediator and finally managed to strike a deal for Rs.200 (We were badly buffed but I won’t go into details of that). After 15 miutes of Kuchcha road adventure, we reached the most barren tourist spot of my lifetime.

In Lothal

Lothal is a actually a small area with remanents of some buildings. It was a port city of the Harappan so it contains a large water dock. Historians say that 4000 years ago there used to be a small stream of water which connected the place to the Arabian sea. This was one of the docks used to trad mainly pearls to central Asia.Image

One of the most amazing things about the structures there is the extensive use of bricks. Yes they used bricks and not stone for their construction. Moreover the bricks were  plastered so brilliantly that they have stood 4000 years of heat and rain.

The first thing you see in the city area is the Acropolis, built on elevated grounds with stronger and larger bricks. Next comes the crematory (in my opinion, the actual Mound of the Dead). Historian believe that Harappans did not worship idols; however a weird structure attracts the attention of the visitors (an the historian). It can be thought of anything like a statue or a tower. Hence speculations persist on it being a deity.

Next in line was the lower town, the large area with buildings all around. The brickwork which amazes you become more extensive and complex. On the peak of complexity lies the bead factory, the workplace of the tradesmen of the era. Plus you would find water wells all around; the extensive network of the world famous sanitary water management.  Image

Walking through the city, I could feel the geniuses around me. On visiting the museum nearby I could feel them talking to me. Showcased there were finely cut and polished pearls, the toys, the things of daily use. I could see the unicorn in their seals and coins. The accurate system of weights and measures.

But then after the visit, I felt ‘Why did they have to go?’ Historians list the possibilities as a famine (as they did not seem to farm), a fierce battle (as they did not possess many weapons) or earthquake to be the possibilities. They were great men who even replicated their knowledge in writing; but we the denizens of 21st century fail to understand their language. What a pity!

According to me, the place is a must see. You might have seen the silver linings of the mountain, the blue depths of the shore, and many historic architectures, but take my word for it, there is someone waiting for you in the Mound of the Dead

 

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