And here in village..2

Nature is full of amazement. More you explore it, more it will astonish you. So when I noticed some beautiful structure made up of blades grass hanging from a tree, it caught my attention.

With little assistance from a countryman and more from Google, I got to know that these beautiful structures are nothing but the nests of Baya Weaver Bird. When you look at these tiny Baya bird and then the nests, you won’t believe that these nests are their creations. The nests are so intricately and beautifully build keeping every aspects of resident’s need that even modern day architects will admire.

I clicked some of the images, with a little difficulty as its position was strategically placed and difficult to reach!

 

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Sharing some of the interesting facts about the Baya Birds and their nests which I came across:

  • These weaver birds found across the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia.
  • Baya weavers are social and gregarious birds. They forage in flocks for seeds, both on the plants and on the ground.
  • The breeding season of the baya weavers is during the monsoons.
  • Only male Baya birds builds the nest and the reason being just to woo their female counterpart!!!
  • So when the construction of nests remain in midway, male Baya birds by flapping their wings attracts the female counterpart and if she gets attracted, then inspects the nest. If she is satisfied with it and the loving bond gets established between them, then the male counterpart goes on completing the nest.
  • Some bird watchers also claim that at some occasions when the female birds have  rejected the nests, some male weaver have been spotted tearing it up, out of frustration! How amazing isn’t it?
  • These nests are generally made up on thorny trees, lying above the water bodies. The entrances to these nests are from a tube which is hanging in bottom of the nests. The reason being very simple that these mechanisms prevent can prevent the possible attack from any predator.
  • These nests works as heat shield and waterproof too.

 

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Did you notice Baya bird in the image? They are in camouflage! Or even you can blame my Phone camera! 😛 

 

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My saga with Indian Railway

What is “adventure”? There can be multiple explanation of this term. According to me when you do something without much planning, will automatically become adventure. Isn’t it?

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Traveling in Indian Railway will also turn in to adventure when you haven’t have planned the journey in advance and booked the ticket 3-4 months prior to the departure date. The population pressure is so much on Indian Railway that getting a confirmed berth in the train on short notice is a humongous challenge. Tatkal Ticket is an option but it is very dicey. You cannot be certain that you will secure a berth due to multiple factor associated with it, such as your typing speed, internet speed, payment gateway response, server side response etc.

Recently I had to visit New Delhi from my hometown, but the concern was that I haven’t planned the journey in advance and hence getting a confirm berth was next to impossible. Even after trying on three occasions on three different days with two different devices simultaneously, I failed to get the Tatkal Ticket. I was disheartened but did not lose hope. Next day I thought to book a ticket from Howrah Junction, as it has very large number of train towards Delhi than that of my city. I checked the availability of berth in different train for next five days, but again I met with disappointment as all the AC coaches of all the trains were in waiting list. Then I searched for sleeper class, the story was more or less same. I thought what has happened to whole country, why they all are heading towards Delhi now. “Delhi Chalo” was a slogan propagated long ago. My father said that due to convergence of summer vacation of schools and colleges and the being an auspicious time for marriage (Lagan as we call it) for Hindus, getting ticket will be difficult. But then suddenly my eyes lit up on seeing that Durunto Express was having seats in sleeper class and showing RAC/103. I instantly booked the ticket hoping it will get confirmed as it has four days left before the departure.

The D-Day arrived but I became perplexed after knowing that my seat did not get confirmed and I had to share my seat with one more guy for whole 22+ hours journey (that’s what happen when your seats remains in RAC i.e. Reservation Against Cancellation). The problem with me is my height, though am not very tall but tall enough that side berths of the train coaches always seems a restrain for me to completely stretch my legs and now on side lower birth, sharing with another person, who is unknown to me for such a long journey that too in very hot summer in sleeper class was frightening for me.

I just left my luggage on my bert and ran in search of the Train Ticket Examiner (TTE). On searching multiple coaches I finally reached to him. I requested him that since my RAC number is now moved to 6 so there must be chances that I will get a confirmed berth. That TTE was very rude! He spoke in Bengali Language, which I can understand but can’t speak fluently, that no seats are available and there are no chances of getting it available. I asked why you are so sure without examining the passengers and that too my RAC is just at 6 and it’s very probable that I will get one. He responded scathingly “Don’t teach me my job”. Seeing the situation getting worse, I left the place and sat on my allocated berth.

A person in his 50s was already there. He seems to be very serious person. I thought, this journey is going to be a tough one for me. Then suddenly a gentleman came to us and asked “Would you mind giving this berth to us?” My co-passenger became furious and said “We have already got half of the seat from the government, even when we have paid for whole and you still want to relinquish this for you, do you expect me to sleep on floor?”.

That gentleman responded politely “Sir I will offer both of you a separate berth which is in different coach. We are four and two seats are here in this coach and two are in different. So if you both will vacate this seat then we will have three berths at one place and four of my family member will settle here together and you both will also get comfortable berths there”

I was simply ecstatic. Partly because I needed a sound sleep desperately because I hadn’t had any since last 24 hours and partly because, I felt very annoyed by the response of TTE. I am pretty sure that if I had offered bribe to him, he would have readily gave me the separate berth.

Anyway, I thanked the gentleman but requested him that once the TTE will come I will show my attitude to him first and then leave the place. Soon TTE came and asked for tickets, when he asked me. I presented it before him and said to the person (who offered his berth to us) next to me “some government appointed person considers himself as the king of the institution where they are supposed to serve, thank you Sir for giving me your berth I am really very grateful to you.” My only purpose was to make the TTE hear that I got a seat till Delhi that too without offering him bribe. TTE looked very disgruntled but nothing he could do about it. He left the place agonizingly. I was smiling cunningly as he was leaving the place. I was happy. My purpose was completed. I got an upper berth where I could stretch my leg without any constrain and also I had made the TTE role a little subdued.

But even though I got an upper berth, situation was not pleasing. It was very hot inside. My every attempt to dose off was in vain. People around me were also not helping the cause. Many of them were furious about the way BJP tried to “Kill the Democracy” in Karnatka and some were defending their act.

I decided to step down and thought of drenching my head and washing my face with water so to get some relief from scorching heat. Indian Railway has done a curry favor that it has let the coaches of sleeper class and AC class connected and I fully utilized this arrangement. I went straight to the washroom which was meant for the First Class for the obvious reason of its cleanliness and hygiene. Inside it, first thing which I did was to see my face and my hair which seems to be like someone after electric shock. It was flying all around. I looked towards wash basin just to get some water so as to wet my hair with it, but suddenly I saw a phone was lying on the rack just beside wash basin.

Without hesitation I picked up the phone and you won’t believe it was of the same brand which is considered best in the world. Yes! The same which you may have thought. Someone must have forgotten it. Frankly speaking, N number of thoughts came to my mind. Who’s phone it might be. Even if, I would like to return it, then whom to return? If I will ask any person they will surely stake a claim. If I give it to the TTE, he will surely devour it. Why should not I keep this phone with me as it’s me who have found it and in any case if I give it authorized one(TTE), every chances are there that they will not let this phone to reach the right person. Then a parallel though came that how the person would feel if he will come to know that he has lost his phone.

After entertaining all these thoughts, I finally decided that I will wait near the door of the coach just near by the washroom and if any person will come searching for it then I will return to him/her by asking the security code to unlock the phone. I waited there for 15-20 minutes. Nobody came with that intention, I became puzzled and though what to do now?

I picked up the phone in my hand and pressed the unlock button. I was flabbergasted to see that phone didn’t have any security code and it got unlocked. Now a hell lot of option opened in front of me. I can dial any numbers from it to anyone in the contact list. I searched the recent call and dialed a number which was named as “Son Mohsin”. The man picked up the call and I narrated him the whole story. He sounded very much desperate as well as grateful to me. He said that he has recently gifted this phone to his dad on his 55th birthday. But the question was not solved. How I will recognize his father? He was also unaware of the coach and berth number. He asked to wait me for 5 minutes so that he can get the details from his younger brother who came there to see off his father at the station.

Within few minutes I got the call and details and it was Coach A1 Berth-4. Again the man showed his gratitude and said that it is very rare gesture these days which I have shown. To tell you the truth I also felt very happy as my ego was gratified by hearing my praise. I went straight into the compartment with the intention of returning the phone. As if destiny has more surprises for me, the person on A1-4 was none other than my Physics teacher of 12th standard Imran Ali!!!

On seeing me he immediately recognized and expressed his happiness. Then I asked him “Sir! Have you lost anything”? Then he searched his pocket and brought out one basic phone and his wallet from it and said no everything is with him. Then I showed him the phone and he was shocked and said “Oh! Yes this is also mine. My son has gifted me few days back. I almost forget it, but where did you get it”? I narrated the whole story and he said “Thanks to Allah! In the holy month of Ramzan he chose this method to bring you in front of him. God is great”! He again continued “Do you know this is very costly phone. I scolded my son when he gave me such a big phone, as this small phone is sufficient to fulfill all my needs. If anyone else has got this phone surely he would not have returned it. I am proud of you, not because this phone belonged to me but because you chose right path, this is the success of a teacher”. We talked for another half an hour and I touched his feet on leaving the coach. He patted on my back. I smiled back.

I was very satisfied and smiling, but when I was exiting the coach and returning towards my sleeper class another person was looking at me with cunning smile, he was the same TTE. He asked “you were in AC first class compartment, show me your ticket” And whatever happened after that was embarrassing for me. Rest is up to you to imagine what might have happened to me….

Hope you would have liked the narration. Do let me know your views!!!

Ethics, Morality and a Passenger Train

Last few days were very hectic for me. I traversed across various cities and some villages of Jharkhand and Northern Bihar. Cloud Atlas once told that “Travel far enough, you meet yourself”. I am not sure that I met myself or not but I am pretty sure that, if we are receptive, travelling teaches us many lessons.

In my itinerary, the first leg was from Jamsehdpur to Capital of Jharkhand, Ranchi. One can reach Ranchi through various means such as Cabs, Buses or trains. I always give preference to the train over other mode of transportation provided that I have sufficient time. I was supposed to be accompanied by one of my friend on the whole journey, but when he heard that I will opt for train and that too a passenger train, whose average speed hovers around 30 kmph, he ditched me and preferred to travel via cab. I was also determined. I told him that I will meet him in Ranchi, from there onwards we will move towards in next destination together.

I get into the train in an early morning. Oh!!! Passenger Train!!! It reminded me all the contradictions of our country. Contradiction between rich and poor, rapidity and slowness, high class and low class, cleanliness and filthiness, comfort and uneasiness, talks of bullet trains when we are not even properly running the trains at the speed of 30kmph and many other contradictions were easily perceptible.

Our train was very humble. It stopped at every damn stoppage. It virtually had a halt where even 2-3 persons were standing on the platform. Probably it really meant that it will give service to the last person of the society as our leaders famously claim. As I told you our train was very humble, I did not mentioned it without reason. It gave the way to every other train which was on the same track, at one instance it was stopped so as to allow passing even a goods train!!!

Anyway, despite of all these, I truly enjoyed the trip. The surrounding besides the railways track from Jamshedpur to Ranchi is very natural and very serene. The railway track is flanked by many hills which is part of Ranchi plateau. There were some rivers, rivulets and when the train passed over it made the travelling very relaxing. The day was also cloudy and it made the travelling more pleasant. I virtually travelled by standing near the door and stepped out of the train at every single station.

Everything was smooth until the moment, when the train stopped at an uninhabited area or one can even call it a practical forest. A continuous shrill sound of honking from engine was coming. The continuity of the sound made some people think about the possible reason. Train was stopped there for more than 10 minutes. Everybody has their own interpretation of the stoppage of the train. But suddenly one gentleman’s interpretation changed the atmosphere of the coach entirely. He said “Jharkhand is a Maoist affected area, they might have sabotaged the track and might possibly carry loot in the train”. Now the whole coach became perturbed and so was I. On numerous occasions I have read the stories of sabotaging the railway tracks by maoist or naxalites, but if this was one, it will be a firsthand experience, which probably no body would like to have. Amidst all these, the shrill sound of honking was continuous.

I don’t know from where it came, I stepped down from the coach and moved towards the engine to see what was really the case! When I came near to the Engine, the driver of the train also stepped down. I asked the reason of the stoppage and he pointed his finger towards the railway track.

A calf was sitting on the railways track and despite the continuous honking, it remained unmoved. Then driver along with some other co-passenger tried to move the calf out of the way by freighting the calf with sticks, some even threw small pebbles on him but all efforts remained futile. I was the mute spectator when all these things were happening but my phone camera was making shuttering noise when I was clicking all these events.

Later it was discovered that the calf was injured and hence was unable to move out of the track. Later some people came upfront and collectively helped the calf to move out of the way. The rail coach driver was also among those.

When the calf was moved away from the track everyone was going towards their respective coaches. I went towards the railway driver and shook hand with him and told him “Thank You! You are very compassionate and kind person, only due to you the life of the calf saved today.”

But his response was quite unexpected. He smiled and said “Kindly delete all the pictures you have taken of this event. It is undesirable for me to stop the train without proper signal and it may cost my job. It is considered unethical in our profession”. When I was taking these pictures, I had in my mind that I will use these pictures to substantiate the whole incident of compassion, but as the driver requested me, I deleted all of them without reconsidering. I was happy. The driver smiled back. I was again on the door of the train. Suddenly it started raining, as it happens in any Bollywood movies after happy ending. Train was marching forwards just like a big snake in a forest.

The words of the driver “It is considered unethical in our profession” was reverberating in my mind. I thought, is it unethical to save the life of a dumb creature?

The train was in its peak speed and probably for the first time I got to understand the nuances of Ethics and Morality. The train driver was Morally Correct, but was he Ethically? Well I don’t know.

She shines

Who motivates us?

When someone achieves some extraordinary feat, even when they face a lot of hurdles and pains in their way, in my opinion, those persons motivate us. Isn’t it?

But, it is true that this is not the case for all of us, as many claims that they are self motivated. Many argue that no humans can be their motivation as they are only motivated through divine aspect of the nature.

Have you ever been in any situation in your life where you have felt that you are alone amidst the mob? Yes, No.

Anyway, Skip this question and face a new one.

Have you ever been really alone and secluded, where no one is besides you and the closet person are physically situated miles apart from you? I think most us wouldn’t have experienced this kind of situation.

Six girls decided the fate that they are going to place themselves in the same situation and that too willingly. They are Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi , Lieutenant Commander Pratibha Jamwal, Lieutenants P Swathi, Vijaya Devi, Payal Gupta and B Aishwarya.

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Credit: Internet

Do you know them? Yes, No. Doesn’t matter, even I were oblivious of them till recently.

I think they are worth knowing. That is why I decided to write about them.

All of them, whose name I have mentioned, are officers of Indian Navy and they have decided to circumnavigate the earth without any assistance of their male counterpart. This means that all women crew, for the first time in the History of India, have decided to have a complete a circle around the earth in a ship called INS Tarini. They have already started the journey and has reached the first leg of it.

 

 

 

The mission is termed as Navika Sagar Parkirama. This mission was flagged by, first full time female Defence Minister of India, Nirmala Sitaraman.

Few facts about the mission:

  • INSV Tarini is 55 foot sailing vessel built indigenously in India by M/s Aquarius Shipyard Pvt Ltd, Goa.
  • The expedition will be covered in five legs, with stop-overs at 4 ports Fremantle (Australia), Lyttleton (New Zealand), Port Stanley (Falklands), and Cape Town (South Africa) for replenishment of ration and repairs as necessary.
  • It will circumnavigate globe in approximately 165 days and is expected to return to Goa in April 2018.
  • The ship will promote Make in India, as it is indigenously built.
  • The crew will check and collect the data for marine pollution.

Many of you would be aware that in ancient time, Indians were not supposed to cross over the oceans, because it was termed as inauspicious. That was the day and this is the day, when only women crew has started a voyage to break the shackles of the idea that women are subordinate to men and they can’t venture alone in life. Imagine the journey, it will not be easy. There will be dark nights, and that too in ocean. There may be no humans in their sight for miles. The sound of the ripples of the ocean may be horrific.  Some waves will be huge. They may encounter some pirates in their journey. The ship is not too big and waves and thunderstorm may test their mettle in mid way. But they are prepared for it. They have already faced the waves of prejudice and subjugation by male dominated society, probably their voyage will be easier than the voyage that women has had over the centuries in India. They have decided to lost in joy of the journey, and when they will return back to Indian Coast, probably many Indians will discover a new perspective.

These all  girls inspired me, and I hope they will also inspire you!!!

 

 

Nature as Teacher

Shubh Prabhatam!!!

I am sharing a photograph with you, that I have taken few days back, and you all have to do is to guess what exactly it is? Is it a field? Which crop is grown by the farmers in this field? If not, what is it? Take your time, don’t go bottom part, unless you have a guess.

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Guess What?

 

Have you guessed? Yes, No.

Anyways, since I have not introduced any prize money for guessing the correct answer, so even if you didn’t guess, no reason to be saddened.  🙂

Behold the second sets of Pics, which I have taken few months ago, precisely in Spring, and you will be amazed to see the contrast between the two as both the pictures are of same location, may be I have taken it from different position.

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Pristine Flow

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The game, which we all loved to play near the river

 

These photographs are of Swarnrekha, a major River of Peninsular India, in the mineral rich state of Jharkhand.

Since past two years, I am observing a phenomenon. During summer some part of the river is completely inundated by a weed called Nasturtium/(Jalkumbhi, जलकुम्भी ). Its growth is very fast. Weeds are those undesired plants which gives competition to the intended crop by taking nutrition from the field, which were actually meant for the growth of desired crop. Due to excessive Nasturtium, rivers loses its identity and seems like a pond. Dissolved oxygen in the water gets reduced which is unhealthy for marine ecosystem.

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Current status, from a different angle

Reasons for its growth: As we all know, unlike the Himalyan Rivers, Peninsular Rivers are ephemeral and mostly depends on rain. So few months after Monsoon and especially in summer the water in the river becomes low and its speed reduces drastically. A huge chunk of industrial and municipal waste is directly discharged in to the river generating an ideal condition for the growth of Nasturtium.

But, then comes the Monsoon, with all its might. Rivers banks are raised. Peninsular Rivers can be very violent and tumultuous in rainy seasons. Flow along with water level increases dramatically. Nasturtium grows only in steady water. Tremendous increase in flow results in washing out all the unintended weeds. Soon the whole river becomes pure and pristine and river gets it real identity.

Parallels in life:

It is said that nature is the greatest teacher. It teaches us the different lessons through its various acts, provided we monitor it carefully.

Some time in our life, our mind is preoccupied with many negative thoughts. They can be compared as the Nasturtium weeds in the river. They drain our energy and prevent us from displaying our real worth or character. Negative thoughts are just like weeds in the field which takes our limited energy meant for our enlightenment and progress.

But, like river receives Monsoonal water to which washes away the unintended weed, we also get many opportunities and instances in our life. River relinquishes the weeds in that force of water and attains its real nature. Are we ready to leave negativities to live in our true potential?

I think we are in better position than the river. Monsoon comes only once in a year, but if we desire, there can be many opportunities in our life to shed all the negativities and drags.

 

मैं और मेरी नाव

शुक्रवार की रात से अगर कुछ अच्छा हो सकता है तो वो है शनिवार का दिन, psychologically थोड़ा सुकून रहता है कि चलो एक और दिन तो बचे हैं छुट्टी के. आज सवेरे बाइक लेकर मॉर्निंग वॉक पर निकला :-P. जैसा कि मैंने पहले भी शायद किसी लेख में लिखा है कि मुझे नदी किनारे अपने शहर की मरीन ड्राइव पर, जो शायद 10-12 किलोमीटर लम्बी होगी, सुबह सुबह गाड़ी चलाने में मज़ा आता हैं. उसी मरीन ड्राइव पर एक स्थान ऐसा भी हैं जहाँ दो नदियाँ मिलती हैं. वहां बैठने का प्रबंध भी हैं. मैं अक्सर वहां जाता हूँ तो कुछ देर रुकता हूँ. आज भी रुका.

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I was discussing about the same place, It is known as “Domuhani“, meaning two mouthed. A term to refer meeting of the two rivers. Clicked it few months back.

वातावरण, जो दिन में आज-कल काफी गर्म हो जाता हैं, सुबह में काफी सुहावना सा हो रहा था. कोयल उसमें मिठास घोल रही थी. कल रात की तेज बारिश और तूफ़ान के बाद आम के पेड़ से काफी मंजर नीचे गिरे हुए थे, पर उनकी अलग से खुसबू अब तक आ रही थी, एक पका हुआ बेल भी गिरा हुआ था, मैं उठाने जा ही रहा था कि एक अधेड़ उम्र की माता जी ने उस पर दूर से ही चिल्लाकर कब्ज़ा जमा लिया, मैंने उठाकर उनको दे दिया और बोला कि मैं आप ही के लिए उठा रहा था 😛 😛 …..वो भी मेरे परोपकार को  समझ रही थी . उन्होंने मुस्कुरा के कहा चलो रहने दो , मैंने भी अपनी दांत दिखा दी.
उसके बाद कुछ देर बैठा, तो कुछ विचार निकले…फ़ोन पर ही ड्रॉफ्ट कर लिया. थोड़ी संसोधन के पश्चात आपके सामने प्रस्तुत है…अपने मनोभाव को मुझ तक पहुँचाना मत भूलियेगा

Boat
Google se uthaya

मैं और मेरी नाव 

मैं नदी के इस किनारे
तुम बैठी थी उस पार
बारिश का मौसम
बाढ़ थी आयी
नदी हुई विकराल
पर मुझे तो था आना
कैसे भी तेरे पास
तैरकर जाना मुश्किल था
नदी में प्रचंड बहाव था
सोचा एक नाव बनाते हैं
सहारे नाव के
तेरे पास हो आते हैं
लग गया नौका बनाने में
सुध नहीं रही ज़माने की
ऐसा व्यस्त हुआ कि
मौसम तक बदल गया
बारिश बीत गयी
ग्रीष्म चरम पर आ गयी
नदी बरसाती थी
तलछटी तक वो सूख गयी
आज मेरी नौका तैयार है
विडंबना ऐसी कि
नदी में जल नहीं है
न ही तुम खड़ी हो उस किनारे पर
मैं हूँ और संग मेरे, मेरी नाव ….

…………..अभय ……………

Pondicherry: A Short Trip

I had an opportunity to visit Pondicherry in mid January this year. One of my friend Abhishek, was staying there and studying at Pondicherry Central University. He had invited me to visit that place several times, but as this was his last year of academics in that varsity, so I finally decided to go.

Pondicherry was formally a French colony till 1962. When rest of the India was in British occupation, Pondicherry was an exception along with Goa, Daman etc. to name a few.

I landed in Chennai and from there it took another two and a half hour to reach Pondicherry. Though it was January, when rest of the Northern India was in the grip of the winter, days at that place especially in Chennai was hot. Eventually night was very pleasing in Pondicherry as the cold breeze from Bay of Bengal was blowing incessantly. I stayed there for 4 days and visited some Temple, Church, Aurobindo Ashrama, market places, Auroville, a nearby historic place called Mahabalipuram which is nearly 100 Kms from Pondicherry. But in evening I preferred to be in Gandhi beach and enjoyed the song of the waves when it came to meet the shore.

The trip was overall good and enriching, yet my last lap was adventurous. You must have heard that Jallikattu protest was in full swing in Tamlinadu in recent past month. The day when I had to return to Chennai, some political outfits has called complete shutdown of the state including transportation system. So virtually it became impossible to reach to Chennai Airport, yet through the grace of Lord I reached to the Chennai Airport just before boarding time. I came there by hitchhiking all along Pondicherry to Chennai. It’s a very interesting story, which, if I get time, will definitely love to write. Google Map came to my rescue at many occasions 🙂

If you are planning to have a visit in South India or especially in Chennai, do take out at least two days to visit Pondicherry. It’s beautiful. But don’t go in summer. I think November to January will be an ideal time to visit.

Sharing you some of the pictures, which I have taken from my Mobile Camera. Hope you will like them.

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Sunrise and A Trawler

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Other side of the Beach

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Sailing together even on turbulent waves, not only just when water is still & stagnant

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Gigantic Golden Globe. Got to know that people get inside the globe for meditation. Yet I missed it. 😦

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Many Roots of a single tree, Clicked in Auroville

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Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram.  Built in 700-728 AD by Pallav Dynasty. Architecture marvel

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Lord Shiva and Mother Uma inside the temple

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Lord Vishnu

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Guiding Lamp

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Bye Bye Chennai and finally Laut ke buddhu ghar ko aaye 😛

Founder’s Day: Jamshedpur

On 3rd of March, Jamshedpur celebrated its founder’s day, birthday of Jamsetji Tata. When majority of the Indian cities are in chaos and disarray due to its unregulated and unplanned expansion, city of Jamshedpur (administered by JUSCO) can be a guiding lamp to them as where and how to go in the field of planning a city. It also holds the prestige of being the first planned industrial city of India.

It’s the same place where Tata Group has started its journey. A group which is India’s largest conglomerate with revenue of $ 103.51 billion in 2016, employees approx 660,000 people. A group known for it’s ethical behavior.

This city, previously known as Sakchi, was named as Jamshedpur in 1919 by Lord Chelmsford, then Viceroy of India in the honour of Jamshetji Tata. It is also known as Tatanagar. Contribution of Tata’s is immense in the nation building. So every year on 3rd of March city is illuminated and decorated to give it’s homage to its founder.

When I was kid, like any other kids in city, I was waiting for this day with a lot of excitement and enthusiasm. We used to go to the Jubile Park to see the lighting, fountains and decoration. It was virtually like a Mela for us.  After many years, as some of my school friends gathered they pulled me to go the same place. As I generally avoid crowd, I  initially hesitated later persuaded by them, if not coerced 😛

Sharing you some of the photos, which has been taken from my cell phone. Photos quality will not do justice the actual euphoria prevailed over the place. However, it may give you an inkling that how special this day is for citizens of the city and for Tata’s.

Holy Cow!!!

Last weekend I was fortunate to have a visit in a village of West Bengal, few hours away from my home.  As from some of my previous posts, you might have an inkling that I cherish the village life more than the cities, where they claim all the luxuries pervade. Reasons are quite simple: Fresh air, water, pristine environment, lush green fields and more importantly very simple people (in general:)).

Apart from many memorable experiences gathered in this short trip, the one which I would like to share is my time spent in a Byre or Goshala. Many of you must be aware that a Goshala is place where many cows are kept and served. In return, we get milk and other byproducts.

So when I stayed for some time there, I found myself closer to the nature. There were more than 100 Cows and each has got unique name such as Surabhi, Mala, Vasundhara etc. It was very confusing. Yet, the one who takes care of those cows knew each one of them by their name. And I saw when he called their name, they responded too 🙂 It was very thrilling to me.

Cows are companion of humans since ancient time and one species which have served humans more than any other animal. Especially in India, it’s not treated as animal but as mother, and rightly so. The cows are very simple, innocent, gentle, affectionate, emotional and intelligent. When you will see a calf close to her mother, the affection between them will give you peace in the heart, just by seeing how the speechless species responds to each other. In our ancient scripture, which we don’t have the time to read, is full of the glories of the cows.

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Her name is Shambhavi, she loves tickling around her neck. 🙂

Yet, when I come to city and hear that slaughtering of the cows are at full swing all over the world and even in India, just to earn money, it disturbs me. It disturbed Mahatma Gandhi too.

I am quoting Gandhi ji from the tabloid Young India, which he used to edit himself.

…The cow is the purest type of sub-human life. She pleads before us on behalf of the whole of the sub-human species for justice to it at the hands of man, the first among all that lives. She seems to speak to us through her eyes: ‘you are not appointed over us to kill us and eat our flesh or otherwise ill-treat us, but to be our friend and guardian’. (YI, 26-6-1924, p. 214)

…I worship it and I shall defend its worship against the whole world. (YI, 1-1-1925, p. 8)

… My ambition is no less than to see the principle of cow protection established throughout the world. But that requires that I should set my own house thoroughly in order first. (YI, 29-1-1925, p. 38)

Gandhi ji was an avid promoter of cow protection. Even though it got endorsement of Gandhi Ji, there is a common sense so as not to kill cows, just for the sake of eating it and making money .

Cow protection why?

  1. No one would like to kill his/her mother: This is an emotional appeal. Mother gives us milk for only two to three years after child is born. We are served, nourished by the milk of cow for much longer duration. Isn’t she is even better than mom in this aspect?
  2. Economic significance: Even if you will say that, no I am not an emotional Man/Woman I purely believe in the economics, still there are reasons that one should not thrive for killing cows. Cow’s dairy product is an important ingredients in our food chain. From milk to cheese, from Ghee to Lassi and many more dairy products are just due to cow, which are rich in nutrients.
  3. Cow helps in agricultural activity. And especially in India, where people are still deprived of many advances machinery and the size of fields are very small.
  4. Even the waste of cow, such as cow dungs and cow urine is used. Cow dungs are used to produce organic manure. Unlike modern artificial manure, which helps to grow productivity initially and after frequent use it makes the land barren, the organic cow manure is having no ill-impact on the soil.
  5. Cow’s urine is used for medical purposes in Ayurveda, which is gaining acceptance all over the world.
  6. Religious aspect: Yes, since India is a home of world’s ancient religion and they are in a huge number, their religious sentiments matters too. In Hinduism, Lord Krishna is also known as Gopal, means protector of the cow.  In many scripture, killing a cow is considered very sinful and ominous. Hence it’s the responsibility of the state to make such arrangement that cows can be preserved and not slaughtered.

Even though there are so many substitutes to gratify one’s tongue, I don’t find any reason why the people kills such an innocent species. During my visit, I was inquiring about various aspects and functioning of Goshala, then one of them responded to the question of cow slaughtering in a very interesting way. He said Lion or for that matter, any carnivorous animals prey not to gratify their taste, but to satisfy their hunger as, Lord has made them in such a way that they can’t be Vegans. But why humans kill animal is beyond comprehension.

 

गांव का एक और दिन

एक और यात्रा एक और कहानी. जीवन भी तो ऐसी ही है न? हर एक की अलग अलग कहानी। कुछ भविष्य तक टिक पाती है, कुछ इतिहास में समा जाती है. पर होती सबकी है. चलिए तर्क में न जाकर, यात्रा वृतांत सुनाता हूँ. तर्क नीरस होती है, घटनाएं रोचक.

वर्षों बाद अपने पैतृक गांव जाने का प्रयोजन बना. कुछ काम से ही, वहां से निकलने के बाद वर्ना गांव लौटता कौन है?
खैर मैं बहुत उत्साहित था. घर पहुंचा, तो हैरान हुआ. वातावरण पूरी तरह बदला हुआ सा था. सड़क पक्की, बिजली 20 घंटे, घरों के छत पर कभी खप्पड़  राज किया करती थी, अब अल्पसंख्यक हो गई है, सड़कों से बैलगाड़ी तो डायनासोर की तरह   विलुप्त हो गई है, साप्ताहिक हाट की जगह घर के पास ही सभी आवश्यक चीजों की दुकान जम गई थी. मोटर साइकिल जो इक्के दुक्के दिखते थे, अब बहुतायत उपलब्ध है.

सोचा गांव के आसपास का एक चक्कर लगा लूं. एक पड़ोसी  से मोटरसाइकिल का अनुरोध किया तो वे  सहज ही तैयार हो गए और चाभी बढ़ा दी। निकलने वाला ही था कि परिवार के एक सदस्य ने कान में फुसफुसा के गाड़ी में पेट्रोल डलवा देने का इशारा किया। मैंने भी झट से कहा “हाँ-हाँ  ये भी कोई कहने की बात है”.
पड़ोस के एक बच्चे को पकड़ा, उससे नाम पूछा, उसने बोला “सिपाही”. मैंने कहा “तुम क्या बना चाहते हो यह नहीं पूछ रहा, बस नाम पूछ रहा हूँ “. उसने कहा “गांव में सब सिपहिया ही कहते हैं, वैसे स्कूल में मास्टर जी हाजिरी के समय राहुल कहते हैं”. मैं मुस्कुराया और बोला चलो गांव घुमा के लाता हूँ, वो बोला कि “आप घुमायेगें या मैं”? मैंने कहा “ठीक है तुम ही घूम लेना “और हम निकल पड़े .

गाड़ी में किक लगाया, थोड़ी ही दूर जाने पर अनायास ही निगाहें पेट्रोल के कांटे पर गयी। पाया कि, बाढ़ की कोसी नदी के समान यह भी उफान पर थी. उसका  कांटा खत्म होने के निसान के विपरीत दिशा को छू रहा था. मन में मंद मंद मुस्कुराया। नोटबंदी के दौर में 100 रूपये कीमत आप लोगों से भी छुपी नहीं होगी.

5-10 गांव छान मारा। सड़क बहुत ही अच्छी थी. ठंडी हवा शरीर को छू रही थी। चलाने का मजा ही कुछ और था। कुछ तस्वीरें भी ली।

तभी अचानक मोटर साइकिल ने जर्क लिया और बंद हो गई. 5-10 किक के बाद भी स्टार्ट नहीं हुई तो निगाहें फिर से पेट्रोल के कांटे की तरफ गई। अरे ये क्या 20-25 किलोमीटर चलने के बाद भी इसके स्तर में कोई गिरावट नहीं हुई थी।  उसकी विश्वसनीयता पर संदेह हुआ और गाड़ी को  हिला डुला के देखा. और संदेह विश्वास में बदल गया.

पेट्रोल खत्म!!!!!

पीछे बैठे राहुल (सिपाही कहना अजीब लग रहा था ) से पूछा पेट्रोल पंप कितनी दूर है। उसने जवाब दिया ” 7 किलोमीटर और मरे हाथ में दर्द भी है “.मैंने बोला “हाँ-हाँ समझ गया। तुम धक्का नहीं देना चाहते”. पर 7 किलोमीटर……

तभी वह  उछला और बोला पीछे देखिये, और मैं मुड़ा और ख़ुशी का ठिकाना नहीं रहा जब मैंने देखा कि एक दुकान पे खुले में ही पेट्रोल बिक रही है

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पेट्रोल की दुकान, जो मेरी रक्षा को आयी

भगवन का वरदान ही तो था, नहीं तो 7 किलोमीटर तक धक्का लगाना पड़ता.
दुकान पे पहुंचा तो देखा कि एक महिला बैठी हुई थी, मैंने बोला एक बोतल मुझे दे दीजिये. उसने मुझे ऊपर से नीचे तक देखा और भड़क कर थोड़ी मैथिलि थोड़ी हिंदी में बोली, “ये बोतल वोतल यहाँ नहीं चलता है हाँ, ये सब बाहरी आके ही बिहार को बदनाम करते हैं, हमारी सरकार ने बंद करके रखा है यहाँ पे. चाहिए तो जहाँ से आये हो वहीँ जाओ.

मैंने तुरत हिंदी से मैथिलि में स्विच किया और बताया कि मैं ये जो बाहर में रखी बोतल है उसकी बात कर रहा हूँ. वो मुस्कुराई और बोली “अरे! ऐसा बोलो न कि पेट्रोल चाहिए और बोल रहे थे बोतल चाहिए”. मैंने सोचा गलती स्वीकारने में ही भलाई है. और पूछा कि हाफ लीटर का कितना हुआ, वो बोली 40 रुपैया में आधा लीटर और 80 में एक लीटर. मैंने सोचा कि थोड़ा हास्यबोध (sense of humor) का उपयोग किया जाये, और बोला कि आपका तो नुकसान हो गया. वो बोली “वो कैसे”? मैंने बताया कि मेरे गाड़ी का  पेट्रोल खत्म हो गया था और आपका दुकान नहीं रहता तो 7 किलोमीटर धक्के देकर जाना पड़ता, सो आप 200 भी मांगती तो मज़बूरी में देना ही पड़ता.

वो लपक कर बोली ऐसे थोड़ी न होगा, पेट्रोल का दाम 100 रुपये में आधा लीटर ही है, मैं थोड़ा हंसने लगा और सोचा कि वो मजाक कर रही है . वो बोली हिहिया क्या रहे हैं, सच कह रहे हैं हम, आधा लीटर का 100 ही लगेगा, लेना है तो लीजिये वरना जाइये. मैंने कहा पर आपने कहा था कि 80 रुपये लीटर है. वो बोली तब कहा था सो कहा था अब 100 ही लगेंगे. मैंने 100 का नोट बढ़ाया और बोला आधे लीटर दे ही दीजिये, उसने माज़ा (Mazza) के हाफ लीटर बोतल में भरा पेट्रोल और एक कीप मेरी तरफ बढ़ाया. इससे पहले कि पेट्रोल का दाम और बढे, मैंने झट से पेट्रोल को टंकी में डाला. सेंस ऑफ़ ह्यूमर भरी पड़ गया था और सिपाही हंस रहा था.

 पेट्रोल डालते समय कुछ अंश हाथ में लग गया था,  अनायाश ही उसका सुगंध नाक में आयी, पर मैं हैरान हो गया कि उसमें से पेट्रोल की खुशबु कम और केरोसिन या मिट्टी तेल की खुशबु ज़्यादा आ रही थी. भारी मात्रा में मिलावट कि गयी होगी, ऐसा प्रतीत हुआ. अब मुझे संदेह हुआ कि मिट्टी तेल से गाड़ी चलेगी भी कि नहीं. किक मारने वाला ही था कि वो महिला आयी और 60 रुपये  वापस किया और मुस्कुराके बोली हम लोग भी मजाक कर सकते हैं और चली गयी. मुझे ये तरीका अच्छा लगा और हंसी भी आयी.

तभी दुकान के पास एक 20-22 साल का लड़का जो ये सब देख रहा था, मेरे पास आया और बोला इसका पति पियक्कड़ है, दिन भर दारू पी के  धुत्त रहता है, घर भी यही चलाती है.

किक मारा. गाड़ी एक किक में शुरू हो गयी, अब समझ कि वो बोतल सुनके इतना चिल्लाने क्यों लगी थी. गाडी चली  भी और पेट्रोल पंप तक पहुँच भी गया. हवा ठंडी ठंडी ही चल रही थी.किसान खेत में धान काट रहे थे, पूरी धरती सोने सी लग रही थी. सिपाही से पूछा “मेरे देश कि धरती सोना उगले…. ये गाना सुना है?” उसने कहा “हम पुराना गाना नहीं सुनते हैं”. मैंने पूछा कि “कौन सा गाना सुनते हो”? उसने कहा “कमरिया करे लपालप…..”. और वह जोर जोर से गाने लगा. मैंने भी गाड़ी के एक्सीलरेटर पे जोर लगाया. मोटर साइकिल पेट्रोल से चल रही थी कि केरोसिन से पता नहीं….