The Commercial Pilgrimage

A very popular pilgrimage is that to the  four abodes in Himalayas called Chota Char Dham (Chota meaning small):BadrinathKedarnathGangotri and Yamunotri – all of these lie at the foot hills of Himalayas.  It is considered to be a journey that the devout undertake for earning punya … a term I have no English equivalent for – perhaps good deeds?  But then many undertake it in the summers, to escape the heat and placate the Gods at the same time.  Killing two birds with one stone…

Everyone has a personal religious journey to undertake.

There was a time in life when I was overwhelmed with life itself and everyone and everything that was happening to me.  I did what people normally do, when confronted by impossible odds.  I turned to religion.  Since I live life and do everything with passion, when that did not work for me … I went whole hog; I turned to world religions, to occult, to spiritualism and to astrology.  I wanted answers to the question that plagued me, “Why me?”

I did not get the answer to my question, but I got much more.  I got a world view on how human beings made sense of their surroundings, of nature and environment through religion.

In my humble view, all religion stems from one basic fact; it teaches us how to live in harmony with our surroundings, with nature and with each other.  It is a set of rules to live life by.  Rules which, when flouted, have disastrous consequences.

“Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!” [John 2:16]

 The Bible says that Jesus cleaned up the House of God by throwing out the merchants, the money traders and people who were plying their wares.

Matthew 21:12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.

The Koran has very strict rules on attire, behavior and conduct when one visits the mosques.

The Hindu religion, like every pagan religion has its root in nature worship.  We have myths woven around banyan trees, peepul trees, tulsi plants.  We consider our mountains holy.  We have huge temples and shrines built on rocks and hill tops.  Kailash Parbat is the abode of Shiva, the Himalayas are given a religious significance.  We, by rights, should be a very eco-friendly country should we not?

How did commerce get into it?

I went to JagannathTemple in Orissa once and was put off by the rampant commercialism.  I came back upset; there was no sense of piety there.  I visited Vaishno Devi twice and then turned away.  I get more happiness chanting and meditating in the confines of my bedroom sitting on my bed than I get when I go to these places.  But then each to his/her own.  My purpose here is not to upset any one else’s religious sentiment.

Religious tourism is a huge commercial force.  And hotels have been built to cater to pilgrims who can afford to be the religious tourist, afford the Char Dham Yatra.  The priests in the temples almost salivate as they take our donations, by hook or by crook.

Everyone is familiar with the images of the buildings being washed away in those awful floods.  Six floors to a building, or more, and built so close to Kedarnath, that one does not have to walk too far.  Pilgrimage in comfort.

Shiva in water

The images scared me and shocked me.  To me, they seem to be a scary version of our belief of washing our sins away by taking a dip in Ganga.

Are the Gods mocking us?

Are the divine forces sending us a warning?

Our ancients built these shrines with a purpose in mind.  The purpose was that spiritualism stands for harmony with nature.  They were situated far away in the lap of nature, where piety and peace would be found.

Nature is a stern taskmaster.  And a powerful one.  It is sending us a message … those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.  As a Devi worshipper I implore to all …

“Stop turning my Mother’s house into a marketplace!”

 

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Women Bond

I kept the title of the post Women Bond to get search engines, yes I did.

To celebrate the bond us women have with each other was secondary. Search engines, yes, they are all important 😛

Sorry but I am not going to add a photo of a Bond bombshell here .. this pic is a delightful one and more apt

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Traditionally men were hunters, women gatherers. Male bonding was absolutely essential for hunting , it threw the hunters into life and death kind of situations, and they had to form bonds, so that someone watched their backs as they went for the kill. Total drama, which required partnership, it also required men to kill or die for each other. The movie industry has made millions tapping into this basic need of men. Male bonding is celebrated, it is immortalized.

Females, as gatherers and the sex that gives birth to and raises children, also had a critical need to build cooperation and trust with other females. In the olden days, a pregnant woman or one with small kids was highly vulnerable, and weakness often resulted in death. Women bond did take place, but it was informal, bonding at the bathing ghat, washing clothes together at the river, while harvesting, while cooking.

Women sang songs, helped each other. Trust was needed, but it wasn’t as desperately dramatic like the men had it. The Women Bond was based on cooperation, reciprocal helping and sharing of day-to-day tasks – and child-minding, providing care and support around childbirth, during illness and at other ‘weak’ or defenceless times. Women bond is not the ‘I will risk my life for you’ rather it is the ‘I will care for you’.

And that is what we need. We are the nurturers, we are the care -givers. If we form a Woman Bond that gives us the assurance that we will be cared for, we are blessed. Somehow movies and television shows love showing the bitchy side of the female nature and not the way we care for each other.

Male bonding is formal, every corner of the world has Men Only games, Men Only clubs, associations. LOL, and they have such pompous fusses, coat tails essential, ties only etc etc. Women have no such fusses, we simply bond. We don’t need cricket, we don’t need fencing or martial arts clubs, we don’t need card games. We are there to share what comes to us naturally, care and love.

For the past one year, I have been a member of Indiblogeshwaris, a group of bloggers. I just have one regret, why did I not have a support system like this when I was young, going through grim times? I don’t remember who added me to this group, but it has truly enriched my life. I had to celebrate with my fellow members today, but could not go. This post is my tribute to all the intelligent, strong, wonderful women in the group ..

Ladies,

Years ago I was absolutely alone. The one who was supposedly my partner was out of my life. The people I trusted shared with me a bond of blood, but did not support me. Those people who I shared a blood bond with also sabotaged all the friendships I tried to make. I leaned heavily on my sons for companionship. Then they grew up. In an effort to set them free from the crippling burden of being a companion to a parent, I turned to blogging. And then I found you, my community of women.

We are so different. We come from different walks of life, we live in cities and towns all over the world. We have one main thing in common, we blog.

But scratch the surface, and you find so much in common …

We are opinionated, we have no hesitation speaking out our mind. We are quick to anger, we are equally quick to sarcasm. But we are quicker at letting what angered us go, to forgive and laugh it off. We are quick to lend encouragement, support someone in need. We are quick to give and take love from each other. The frankness, the honesty, the love and companionship is something I truly value.

Thank you my sisters, for being there for me.

I will never know loneliness again.

It’s so hard to love my India these days

When I was a little girl, my school was big on India love, we were taught to love our country and were full of national honour.  Us “girls in green” (our uniform was a peppy green with white polka dots number) were supposed to be chock full of national pride.  You know the spiel every convent school feeds you; Jesus loves girls who love their country …

Independence Day and Republic Day eves were celebrated with pomp and ceremony and we even got candy.

We were told stories of little boys and girls who had done patriotic deeds, not for India but for their own countries – from all around the world.  Dutch, French, British, American, Eskimo, whatever.  And I think our convent had a few movies in their stores that were aired at every such occasion.  We were shown those movies time and again.  If we were lucky, we got to see “Sounds of Music” for the 100th time, or a movie called Boot Polish.  But mostly it was Jagriti.  Sister Lydia, our chief tormentor was a patriotic Indian and she loved it and we were forced to overdose on it.  I think we, her captive audience, saw it 10 times a year, for at least ten years.  Yes, I still remember the song “Hum Laye Hain Toofan Se …” and “Aaj hai do October ka din”

Yeah yeah, Jesus loves little girls who love their country …

We had leaders to look up to, Mr. Nehru and his cabinet genuinely wanted to do things for the country.  In hindsight we may think that his policy of socialism was flawed – but he tried.  He was patriotic and wanted to do things for India

The shadow of Mr. M. K. Gandhi still loomed heavy on the national consciousness.  And that frail old man cast a huge shadow.  Papa told us that he was killed not by a villain but by another deeply patriotic person from another school of thought.  Papa loved to play devil’s advocate.  It was his thing, you know, to confuse us totally.  So he told us to remember when we heard propaganda trying to demonize his killer, Nathuram Godse, that Godse himself was not a traitor, just another lover of India who was from a different school of thought.

Dharamsankat … he would tell us.

These days we do not have Dharam – and that is the sankat!

Scams happen – it is matter of course.  We even rationalize corruption by calling it dhanda or oopar ki kamai, when it is not earning, it is downright thieving.

Little girls get raped and politicians blame this party or that, instead of hauling up our police for not doing their job, and the judiciary for not letting justice be delayed.

There is a leadership vacuum.

 

No one is responsible for anything …

 

Citizens take to the streets to protest, Police beats them up

Police protects leaders, not the taxpayers who pay its salary

Our soldiers get beheaded or mutilated – we beat our breasts

China comes in – Foreign Affairs Minister calls it “acne”

Sajjan Kumar scott free – Shrug and say – Law takes its own course.

Sarabjeet killed – Put on a sad face and say “Unfortunate.”

Anything more ?

 

Rape of a minor

The recent Delhi rape of a minor reminded me of what happened in December, both in Delhi and also close to my house when Damini was struggling for her life  ….

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A six year old was gangraped and left in our neighboring colony – left to die.  Some good Samaritans from our area collected whatever was left of her, a bleeding scrap of womanhood, torn from cunt to ass, stomach badly injured (yes, I will not gloss over facts), and deposited that pitiful heap at the hospital.

Then the tamasha started …

The girl came from a very poor family – surprise surprise!

The boys were from a village close by, and they were unpleasantly shocked that the girl still clung to life.  Why did she not oblige them and die?  Worse – she recognized them.

They were even more intimidated that citizens, the educated and comparatively well off ones cared.

So they looked around and got some local neta (belonging to their caste) into the picture.

The neta tried to bully the doctors into listing the child as a patient who was 22 years old.  Apparently child protection laws are not as lax as the woman protection laws.  The doctors (it was a government hospital) refused, stating that they could not justify the treatment that they were providing the child as the same they would have given a 22 year old in this case.

The neta bullied …

The doctor went on leave rather than argue with the politician.

The child fought for her life, clung on to it grimly, though even a small movement from her made her pee, though some of the intravenous meant to feed her oozed out of her stomach.

Women activists that I had contacted wanted to start a morcha – create a noise.

Backdoor negotiations were going on to hush up the case.  A price was being settled upon.  A price for the life of that abused girl child.  I even heard someone say, “What is left of her, anyway?”

Within a few days of her being taken to the hospital … she was found in the hospital dustbin, dead.

Her parents, migrant labour, were nowhere to be seen.

A janitor told me  with a shrug: “She would have required constant medical help as long as she lived.  Gareeb aadmi, (poor people), how can they afford it?”  I opened my mouth to say something nasty and saw that stony look in his eyes.  How many times had he faced the tyranny of the rich or well connected? And how many times had he been forced to cut his losses in a similar way?

I went out, sat in the car trying to come to terms with what I had seen, just been a part of.  The cold December morning seemed colder, dead, horribly so, like that small thing that had once been a six year old girl playing in the colony… before she was raped.  There was nothing left to do but ring the women activists who had planned a dharna.  There was nothing left to fight for.

It jolted me out of my upper middle class complacency.  We take our safety for granted, we girls/women who belong to the upper classes.  I know we are not safe – but we are much safer than our poor sisters, who have no recourse to “political connections” and the law.

I talked to a cousin who is a family counselor, a psychiatrist, trying to come to terms with something so grim.  She explained that to some men, women are objects.  I knew that!

But did I?  I knew it, like every woman in this country knows it – but we somehow do not want to admit it.  An artist’s representation of what men view women as – yes even a six year old child ….

I have removed the picture since I have no copyright to it, and the owner of the picture objected to the usage without permission.

What was done to that child and the child who was found recently in Delhi is complete objectification.  Use, abuse, throw.  If the girl survives, bad luck.  It will cost some money – which can be paid, and the abusers walk away with impunity.

The police will try to hush up the case – even slap a woman if she protests.  And why should they not?  They have been brought up to think of us as stupid cunts.  How dare a woman raise her voice?  How dare she look me in the eye and challenge me?  If she does, she deserves to be slapped and shown her proper place in the society!

Scene from the protest in Delhi in December

 Anti_RapeProtests_Delhi_AP1

 

 Nothing has changed ….

We are human and have the right to live lives of dignity. 

A post I had to link here, thanks Priyanka Dey for this very powerful post

 

Ring the Bell

Ring the Bell

Ring the Bell and Indiblogger organized a meet on International Women’s Day.  The aim is lofty i.e.

Ring The Bell calls on men and boys around the world to take a stand and make a promise to act to end violence against women. From 8th March 2013 to 8th March 2014 we’re going to get a million men to make a million promises to ACT to end violence against women

It was a well organized event with celebrities like actor Rahul Bose, Entrepreneur Priya  Paul, Sitarist Anoushka Shankar, her fingers move on the sitar string like wow!  There is no way to describe it.  I reached very early and saw her rehearsing.  It made me think I’d seen it all.  But then she performed live on stage and it mesmerized me. .Mahabanoo Modi Kotwal was a huge surprise.  I am a fan now.  SWARATHMA, is electrifying.  I am going to buy their music.  Advaita Kala of Kahani was also there.  She spoke about women as strong women and definitely sexual beings.

 

Under the sky, Sitarist Anoushka Shankar rehearsing

Under the sky, Sitarist Anoushka Shankar rehearsing

As far as the aim is concerned, the ground realities sadly, are pathetic.  The laws for Women’s Reservations and Rape still gather dust in some filing cabinet while the Parliamentarians are busy sniping at each other and taking potshots at each other – it is pre election year, you see.  The powers that be are not “Ringing the bell.”

Swarathma did a wonderful satire on politicians, but their song on child abuse titled GHUM or LOST was awesome.  I was too enthralled by their performance and did not take pics.  This is from their Facebook page

 

Swarathma

 

I live in Haryana where women are treated at par with the cattle they rear.  Sometimes cattle are treated better.  Ring the bell …. anyone?

Gentlemen

What bothered me is that patriarchy is so well entrenched in our psyche that even well meaning men like Rahul Bose spoke about teaching brothers to “give power” to their sisters.

Give Power?

No one gives power, you just have to grab it.  Wasn’t that patronizing and patriarchal?

No, I am not dissing him.  He means well.  It is just that the attitude is so deep rooted in society that men feel that power is theirs to appropriate and, if they feel benevolent enough, they can bestow it on their loving sisters.  He did redeem himself in my eyes by wanting to support, counsel and enlist men whose wives/sisters/mothers have been assaulted or molested by low lives.  Considering that every third woman has been in such a situation at some time and at some point in her life – we have a huge population to enlist.  What is more, these men would be sensitized to the issue and be supportive to the cause.

Mahabanoo Modi Kotwal’s reading shook me.  It brought a certain incident I was recently involved in – trying to help a minor victim of rape – back to my mind (if it will ever leave it).  The child is dead and yes, I was unsuccessful.

There were two grass root workers from rural India who were invited to stage by Indira Jaisingh.  These women spoke from the heart, bringing forth real problems they have to deal with, awful attitudes they battle every day of their lives.

Speaking about the patriarchal mindset we battle everyday – my thought is simple.  Sensitive men are not born, they are nurtured and brought up so.  Just treat the boys and girls at home as equals, make them both aware of the challenges the other sex faces.

Utopian thought?

Perhaps …

Then again, perhaps not.  My sons say they want independent women in their lives, girls who can walk free and do their own thing.  They want to live their own lives, not be fettered with the responsibility of chaperoning their women everywhere and protecting them 24/7

Yes, that is one call for emancipation …

I think I did well as a parent :  They do not attend any women’s meets with me.  Overtly they do not support such things : they think I am more than equal.  But to my mind they ring the bell.

She was all dressed up and in the mood to rock the audience – which she did!Anoushka Shankar performing

anushka-shanker

Eat your hearts out people, we saw her this close.  And she plays wonderfully.  It was magical.  Pic courtesy our very own IHM

Was great fun meeting old blogger friends and new.  Ruchira, Aabha, Tikuli, Akanksha, Priyanka and so many others.  Met Bhavna for the first time – shy and so well brought up.  My Ma would have told me to behave like you – you are such a pleasure!

A Requiem for Our dead Sister

A Requiem to our dead Sister

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We never saw her face.

We never knew her name.

We never met her.

But she touched our soul.

She shook us up from apathy

We called her Damini

Braveheart, Nirbhaya, Amanat

Her struggle to survive touched us

We prayed for her, lit candles

We came out on the streets

She will never know her names

She will never know we wept

She will never know our empathy

She will never know we mourned

She will always be a part of us

We, the daughters of India

Who hunch our shoulders

On streets to shield our breasts

From being groped by strangers

While our steps do not falter

We who avoid eye contact

With louts who make lewd gestures

We who do not linger

To hear sleazy comments made

On our walk, our anatomy our dress

We who face daily inquisition

Why were we out of home?

What were we wearing?

Did we know him, or invite

The man who groped us?

She will never know her names

She will never know we wept

She will never know our empathy

She will never know we mourned

She will always be a part of us

Rape and its aftermath

Mark of Shame

I do not think any person in the country is not following the recent rape and its aftermath.

I often write about women, and how strong they are. I admire the spirit of women who live, laugh, love and nurture. But the recent events have shaken me. The thing is – bloggers like me are fortunate. We were born to educated people, nurtured in – maybe not gender equal atmosphere, but were given some opportunities, and since our families loved us, we were not suppressed – not much at least. (Here I am talking about my generation.)

And we were lucky. We did not climb into a wrong bus and got raped.

But we got groped. We encountered sleazy teachers, certain cretins who visited our homes and touched us inappropriately. We went out to buy vegetables and got whistled at, we also had fellow students who tried to – as is euphemistically termed “acted fresh”.

And we were told by our mothers that our brothers and fathers would set the person right – if the act was dastardly. If not, we were told to ignore and move on. Just don’t provoke men. They are “like this only”.

The list of provocative behavior is endless

(AT HOME)

1. Do not laugh loud

2. Do not talk sweetly … but do not be rude and cold

3. Do not react angrily

4. Do not sing … the servant may be listening.

5. Do not sit outside and read

6. Do not comb your hair in the verandah

7. Do not hang out your underclothes to dry in full view of public

8. Lock your room door before you enter the bathroom, on the chance that the servant may be in your room when you emerge

9. When you talk to your school friends on the phone, do not talk loudly. Your voice should be low.

10. Do not mingle with your brother’s friends.

OUTSIDE

1. Do not go out alone

2. All the above rules 1-10 have to be observed with suitable modifications.

3. Do not be over familiar with any boy and with girls who have brothers of the same age as you

4. If you have to visit your school friend’s home, your brother will go with you.

Mind you this was the sixties and the seventies. I obeyed. There wasnt much choice.

But did that stop anything? Boys would follow and whistle. There would be cat calls. Me being what I am, I would turn my cycle and charge at them. I would throw stones and shout gaalis. It encouraged them. That was not a deterrent at all.

So behavior as per the above listed rules did not work. Reacting angrily did not work.

What did I want?

Just to live my life …

Forty years have passed. Has anything changed? No.

Sure we are more educated, our girls have been “granted” more freedom. But has the country changed? Have the men who walk the streets changed? No and they won’t. Because they do not think they are responsible.

It is the woman’s fault. She is the instigator, she asks for it.

What did the girl who got raped want? What was she asking for?

She bought a ticket on a bus and wanted to go home. That is all she was asking for…. She was not asking for rape.

She was wearing decent clothes. She was accompanied by a male friend.

This, as per Shiela Dixit and Delhi Police is appropriate behavior, and falls within the norms of safe practice.

But the rape happened.

CLOTHES DO NOT GET A PERSON RAPED, BEING OUT AT NIGHT DOES NOT GET A PERSON RAPED.
A MAN FORCING HIMSELF ON A WOMAN GETS THE WOMAN RAPED.
A MAN FORCING HIMSELF ON A CHILD GETS THE CHILD RAPED.

Men who do it are the rapists. They are the violators. Men rape women and children. That is a fact.

The politics of raising my voice on social networks

There seems to be politics when you raise your voice on social networks. A word of warning : Do not ask me to shut the fuck up. It never works

It seems that in today’s India raising your voice in outrage brings about a few reactions that are very interesting.

1. Oh come on, lets talk about cheerful things

2. Stop talking and do something about it.

3. Yeah, this was bad but there are far worse cases

4. So and so social strata has it worse

5. Don’t you have anything better to do?

And yes, I am talking about the recent rape case.

I’d love to talk about cheerful things, but somehow this news item has freaked me out. I do not have a daughter but deeply fear for girls and women on the roads. Yes it has affected me.

What has disgusted me is this insidious competitive spirit that has crept into expressions of outrage. Certain women have taken to social network with enthusiasm in the spirit of “Uski sari meri sari se safed kaise?”

One status was :

oh plz jst stop updating ur status against ds DELHI RAPE KAND.if u really care dn side ur expnsive laptop n cozy blankets….come out n protest.v 9 v cant change it by protestng bt atlst v can slap ds govt in public..

I completely empathize with the sentiment but would like to put certain things on record

a) This is not a competition. People who can not travel (since they have jobs to do, dinner to cook, children’s homework and needs to attend to) are not doing any less. They are raising their voices.

b) As citizens of this country their voices are valuable too. Remember it is one vote per person, so their voices count.

This case came into lime light coz’ the girl is brutalized and is struggling for her life in the national capital. Everyday numerous gang rapes take place in tribal belt, who talks about them? Soni Sori is beaten and then a staff is shoved up her genitals did you even hear about her? There are many Sonis out there. She hails from middle class thus showing middle classes how vulnerable they are as women and families of women. No body cares what happens to tribals and dalits, middle class speaks only when it is about them.

I humbly beg to submit that I care, but since the media did not cover it and since I am an ordinary middle class person who is not a social activist, there was no way I could have known or raised my voice about it.

And does my not raising voice against what happened to Soni Sori make my raising my voice on this case any less effective? Is this a *&^%$* competition?

And dear readers, is my raising my voice in protest not important? How in this crazy skewed climate that I find on social network have I deserved to be termed as

arm chair debaters who want a change without actually doing anything about the change it self.

A girl is struggling for her life and if one feels outraged others try to act superior and shut our voices!

Weird!

Free speech in today’s India

First of all, let me clarify my stance : I am only writing this post because I am not in Mumbai, specifically Thane. No one likes to go to jail, just for exercising one’s right to free speech. Police these days seems more eager to arrest people on Facebook statuses and tweets. The rapists, murderers and other hardened criminals can ply their trade with impunity. No one’s out to get them. Free speech in today’s India is a risky thing.

Apart from one brave soul, Justice Katju, no one in the higher echelons of power came out to support that poor girl. This is what she wrote on Facebook, as a “free” citizen of our democracy :

“With all due respect, every day thousands of people die but still the World moves on. Just due to one politician died a natural death, everyone goes bonkers. They should know we are resilient by force, not by choice. When was the last time, did anyone showed some respect or even a two-minute silence for Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Azad, Sukhdev or any of the people because of whom we are free-living Indians? Respect is earned, given, and definitely not forced. Today, Mumbai shuts down due to fear, not due to respect.”

I do not find anything seditious in her comment. The same girl now is scared to talk to anyone and is apologizing to all and sundry : a few hours in jail can do that to anyone. So much for exercising free speech.

What further appalls me is some people I know who put things up as their status message :

Two girls legally punished for making joke of Bala Saheb’s death and commenting against ‘Mumbai bandh’ on Facebook.

Best news I read today. Such idiots who do not respect a great man like Bala Saheb and make joke on his death should be treated the same. Well done…

Really? Well done???

Thackeray was divisive, he encouraged vandalism and rioting. If you do not believe it, please visit this link. As a north Indian, I was often shocked and disgusted by the way he ran Mumbai like his personal fiefdom, and encouraged his sainiks to vandalize property and businesses belonging to non-Mumbaikars. The truth is that he would not have been able to, if the administration and police were honest and had the moral authority.

What I admired in the man was his bluntness, his intelligence and his charisma. He did what he thought was right. He definitely exercised free speech beyond what his Sainiks think is permissible for lesser mortals.

But why, as his legacy, are we allowing his party to clamp down on free thinkers?

I am raising my voice because I remember this famous quote :

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a Jew.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

Happy Diwali to One and All

Our office is a very Hindu one – any more Hindu we would have been issued saffron uniforms 😛

Just kidding

We have navratri pujan in the office. Everyone gathers in the huge reception, where a havan kund is installed and havan is held – twice a year on navratri. Our Sikh, Christian and Islamic brethren join in. Communal harmony in action.

I love it. Just like I love the gaudy colours of Hinduism, marigold, saffron, red, magenta, gold and bling.

Rituals and all are fun, but I don’t get too emotional about them. I love the festivities. I like Christmas trees, Santa, the little hanumans who paint themselves and wear a tail and come to fair grounds. The little Krishnas lovingly decorated by proud Mamas for pageants.

To me, my Godji is the one I talk to nonstop and never hear the dreaded line “RITU SHUT UP!”

Anyone who can hear me blathering and never say that, even once, is truly divine!

Some pics of the office all dressed up for Diwali

THE SHERA WAALI MANDIR

THE PORCH AND RECEPTION

Oh how I love the festival!

And how thankful I am for the inflation. There are less crackers and pollution thanks to our Government which has slept when it should have checked the galloping rise in prices.

Thanks to them the festival is all about lights, chocolates, mithai and shopping.

Just the way it should be.

So guys wish you all a very happy Diwali