Monday, 29 April 2013

Folktales - Souls of Any Culture

^    The grandmas and grandpas are spending summer evenings alone,
      waiting anxiously to narrate folktales to their little ones.
^    So, why don't you guys give break to your smartphones and tabs,
     and spend sometime with your grandparents.

^    Until the old man pulls a tale out a hat, enjoy a folktale about 'Rih

^    Rih Lake, in Chin State Burma, is about 3 km from the Indian border
     in Mizoram. This heart shaped lake is close to hearts of the Mizo

^    The Chin believe that the ‘other world’ is divided into two, and all
      spirits go to a place called ‘Mitthi khua’ (village of deaths) then some
      move on to ‘Pialral’(heaven); but to reach their eternal abodes, they
      have to pass through the Rih lake. According to the legend, after
      crossing the lake the spirits reach a hill, where they look back at their
      village and weep for days longing for the world left behind. The hill is
      said to be full of flowers called ‘Hawilo par’, which the spirits pluck
      and wear them in their ears and hair. This makes them forget their
      desire to return to their loved ones and they proceed further.

^    The ‘Mitthi khua’ is where the common people settle, living just like
      they did in their past lives. But beyond it exists ‘Pialral', where only
      the men and their families who earn the title ‘Thangchuah’ through
      their piousness and having sacrificed animals and given community
      feast could enter the heaven, much to the envy of the people who
      have to settle in the ‘Mitthi khua’ where there is only hardship.

^    In the pre-Christian era, the Chins and all cognate groups believed
      this place to be passage of souls to their eternal abode. And during 
      the period of British colonization, soldiers were ordered to dig the  
      ditch to dry the entire lake, but on half way of their attempt, all the 
      diggers were killed by some kind of unknown plague, believed to
      have been unleashed by the spirits.

*    For second tale,
      (watch out this space for second tale about this lake)............

Friday, 26 April 2013

Enigmatic Caucasia


  *     No mountain ranges, except the Himalayas, in the world
         evoke so much of awe and admiration as the Caucasus.

  *     A series of stunning discoveries in Georgia have
         challenged the conventional view that Africa is the sole
         cradle of humankind. Skulls at an archaeological site
         near the Dmanisi in Georgia dating back to about 1.8
         million years ago are the oldest remains of humans
         found outside Africa.

  *     Its giant mountains, magnificent valleys, rich and varied
         vegetation, extraordinary collection of different races,
         speaking countless languages and representing almost
         every branch of the human family; its strange history and
         beautiful monuments make it a wonderland of romance.

 *     No other region of its size in the world has so many 
        different races and languages. The region is home to the
        Russians, Armenians, Kurds, Persians, Tates, Georgians,
        Chechans Lezghins, Abkhazians,Turks and Tartars.

 *     At one time there were seventy different races in the
        Caucasus, and about three hundred languages were
        spoken in the markets of Colchis.

 *    Major writers like Pushkin, Tolstoy, Lermontov and
       Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, on military duty/in exile, spent
       considerable time here. Beauty and people of the region 
       inspired them to write some of the greatest novels.

*    And aspiring writers needn't lose heart because not
      all has been written about the Caucasus. Have a look
      at the picture of the young widow below.........

*     The woman on the right in the picture, Natalia Gurieli,
       the wife of Prince David Gurieli, was considered to be
       one of the most beautiful women of her time. Widowed
       at 25, she spent the rest of her years wearing mourning 
       clothes. And her widowhood lasted more than 50 

*    Isn't it a fascinating tale? Not much has been written
      about her. I'm sure her life would make an interesting

*    Are you ready for the challenge? Then pack your
      bags and head to Tbilisi, Georgia.........

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Is this not my world?

      As a five-year old girl battles for her life in a Delhi hospital after a gruesome rape, like millions of people the world over, my heart cries for her. It shocks us that this happened within four months of the 'Nirbhaya' incident.

        In deep grief and anger I pen down a few lines ................. 

            O God! please tell me? 
                Is this not my world,

             Here my day is darker 
                             than the night,
             My soul shivers from
                          very male sight, 

             Several eyes bare me 
                          when I pass by,
             Air fills with vulgar taunts
                          and lewd sighs,

             My cries for help often
                           die in silence,
             As monster continues with 
                           heinous violence,

             With all my strength and
                           I decide to fight,
             But how can I match the
                           monster's might,

             No human heard my cries 
                           I'm not shocked, 
             But how can God watch His 
                           part get chopped,

             My soul consoles as                            
                          body is torn apart,
             Cries beside me is 
                          my bleeding heart,

             In heaven and on earth
                         all this goes unheard,
             O God! answer me 
                         is this not my world?                

Friday, 19 April 2013

Are Gods listening ?

       A day ago an NRI, based in the US, donated $ 3 millions to a famous temple in India, the country where thousands of farmers commit suicide each year, millions of people barely manage to have a meal a day, and thousands of babies die of hunger and malnutrition each year.
       And this NRI is not alone. We often hear of a famous businessman or a film star donating millions to the temples.
        What do we call such people? certainly not philanthropist..........
        Why do Gods need so much of wealth? I often wonder. Try telling this to an atheist and prompt would be his reply, with a smile, "Didn't I tell you so?"

        But as a believer I have to ask, "Are Gods listening?"

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Human vanities?

          During a trip to Cherrapunji in 2005, I had a close look at its hills, soaked in rains. Until 1984 the place had the unique distinction of being the wettest place on the planet. But in 1985 that honor had gone to Mawsynram, the opposite hills. Cherrapunji after a round of fresh showers had become as lively and vibrant as ever, with no traces of rancor for the loss. In fact, Cherrapunji seemed to rejoice the success of its neighbor. 

         Those hills that day taught me life's one very important lesson ............ 

Helping the needy

         We all are moved by the plight of the poor and wish to help them in our own ways. One doesn't have to be a Bill Gates or a Warren Buffet to do that.

         I read about a woman, who while travelling in hinterland India, found the village girls walking miles to go to the nearest school. On inquiry from them, she found that they had to often miss their classes because much of their time was wasted in commuting. Also, they had to help their mothers in household chores and hence they were left with very little time for their studies.

        Moved by their plight, she purchased ten old bicycles (she could afford then) and after repair distributed them among ten girls. Thus she ensured that twenty girls went to the school regularly. It's an example how a person can help the needy in his/her way.

      Easier way is to wire money to an NGO but I would rather opt for the option taken by the lady mentioned for the simple fact that one can't be sure how and whether one's hard earned money has been utilized well by the NGO. When in doubt, it's better to do it yourself.

     It's a thought .........................

Saturday, 13 April 2013

A Palestinian

          A night full of dreams,
          A dream full of screams,

          The dream becomes reality,
          In its entirety,

          A nation won, a nation lost,
          In the recent past,              

          Peoples scattered,
          Hopes shattered,

          Brother's treachery,
          Leads to misery,

          A body killed, soul remains,
          Wish unfulfilled, will prevails,

          In the occupied territory,
          On Israel's periphery,

Live a Life That Matters


Somebody forwarded this great piece of wisdom. I thought of sharing it with you all............

Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours, or days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten,
will pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame, and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.
So too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire.
The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won't matter where you came from or what side of the tracks
 you lived on at the end.
It won't matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.
Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.
So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built; not what you got,
 but what you gave.

Friday, 12 April 2013

The joy of creation


While creating something we are worried how our creation is going to sell. In today's materialistic world, market matters the most. So somehow we don't enjoy the joy of creation. Some years back, I read a story about an American woman, who wrote a book, "How to tie my shoelace". It was less than a 100 page effort, which she self published and distributed it amongst her loved ones.

Needless to say, it wasn't a best seller. Perhaps that wasn't on her mind. But a huge smile on her face showed the immense joy of creation, which she experienced while holding the book in her hand.

For me, it was a pure magic of creation.

So, let's experience the joy of creation and its magic.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

One Small Step

Hi Friends,

A moment comes in our lives when we all feel dissatisfied with our routine. when we read a book or look at a painting, we feel why couldn't we write it or paint it. Next moment we sigh in admiration and move on.

Do we ever sit down for a while and ponder!

Remember, we couldn't write a story or paint a picture because we never tried doing it. And those who did weren't afraid of trying it. I say this from my personal experience. A decade ago I could never write more than one-page essay. today I've written three novels and dozens of short stories. In our everyday lives we come across many interesting stories, which we admire but never think of penning them down.

A month ago I never thought I could paint. A month later I've painted three pictures, which may not be great but I tried and someday, I'm sure, I would be able to paint reasonably well.

 So, what are you waiting for? Pick up a piece of paper, or your laptop and start writing the story that moved you the most. Or, pick up a canvas and paint and give shape to your idea, however weirdest it might be.

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