Mobile Mania

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Technology development has revolutionized India, particularly in the field of communication. Internet, e-mail & mobile phones are making peoples life easier. Among this, mobile phones have become a mania in India. Here are the few actions of mobile users to support this statement.

If you had keenly watched mobile users, you would have noticed that whether they receive any call or not, yet they used to take out the mobile from their pocket and stare at the screen for a while and  put it back in their pocket again. I am really amazed to see the frequency of the action almost every fifteen minutes. Yes, Indian mobile users love to flaunt their mobile in the public.

No mater how important you are. No matter what important matter you are discussing with the mobile user, his/her attention always drawn towards the call received in their mobile. The moment they receive the call, they never hesitate to abandon you in the middle to attend their call. Once the call is over, you have to begin your discussion from the beginning, as she/he would be in a state of trance after attending the call. Here is a lesson, if you want to be listened properly, try to talk in mobile phone next time.

Employers are the happiest lot to have mobile phones as it helps them to track their employees all the time. On the other day when I was traveling in the bus, one passenger sitting next to me, a mobile in his hand, giving almost a running commentary about his journey by giving exact details of each stop, where he is now and when he would reach a particular point. I presumed that probably he might be speaking to his boss (!).

Mobile users also don’t have any etiquette. Once I was attending a condolence meeting. Large people gathered at a big hall. The whole atmosphere was very calm and serene. From the crowd a middle aged man who was sitting silently for a long, suddenly stood up as if he was bitten by some insect and looked around the hall in a hurry. After few seconds, he was started running to the corner of the hall. I was totally stunned to see his action. Since the meeting was on, I controlled my curiosity. Once the meeting was over I asked the person about his erratic behaviour. Without any embarrassment in his face, he told me casually that he just attended the call on his mobile (!)

While walking on the road, if you happened to see motorcycle riders with their head bent towards their shoulders; don’t think that they are handicapped. Probably they may be attending their mobile call by holding the mobile set between their head and shoulders (!)

 

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Delhi’s Metro

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This is a nostalgic memory of Delhi’s metro and how it changed the life of a common man in Delhi.

If you say metro it will certainly bring a pleasant smile on Delhi’s commuters. It is quite natural considering Delhi’s commuters woes before the arrival of Metro. You can easily identify Delhi’s commuters’ ‘mode of travel’ by their appearance. If they are dirty, tired with disheveled hair, looking pale and their dress is full of wrinkles certainly they might have travelled by Delhi Transport Corporation buses (DTC); if they appear pleasant, neat and clean and talk coolly, I am sure they must have travelled by Delhi metro !

Earlier Delhi commuters did not have any alternative than to travel only on DTC buses. Over the years it has got the dubious distinction of Dilapidated Transport Corporation owing to its poor maintenance. By boarding a bus does not guarantee you that you will reach your destination in time. It depends up on the mercy of its conductors and drivers.

Delhi roads are outlived its capacity as the number of personal vehicles are increasing in alarming rate, but the width of the roads are same as it was twenty years back. During peak hours it is very difficult to breathe inside the bus. If you wish to travel in a bus, you must be a multi-tasking personality as you may have to do so many things at the same time. You should be extraordinarily alert to keep your wallet intact. Having a personal vehicle does not mean that you will reach your destination in time as you may have to face traffic jams everywhere.

All these ordeals are over now. Thanks to Delhi metro. Even a poor casual labour enjoying his commuting with air-conditioned comfort. After entering into a metro station I felt as if I just landed into a foreign country. First time it has been proved that even in India public places like a metro station can be maintained spic and span if the authorities really wish to. No spitting, no littering, no begging, no vendors. It is absolutely amazing.

If you miss a train you need not worry. The next one will be coming to you in few seconds. If you are an outsider but want to visit so many places in Delhi, metro is the best bet as you don’t require any guidance. Each and every stop is being flashed on the screen. By mistake if you fail to notice it, you will get the announcement. The one thing I enjoyed about Delhi’s metro is the way it is disciplining the Delhi’s commuters. Yes if any commuter stands on the foot board the train would not move unless he/she clears the spot. While traveling, when I just peeped outside the train, I felt as if I am sitting in a low flying aircraft. No sound, no jerk. Certainly it is a best thing that could happen to Delhi. It is really a technological marvel.

Despite plenty of good things, there is only one disadvantage. Office goers in Delhi may not have any excuse for coming late to their office as they can no longer say that they are late due to traffic jams, road blocks, and diversions. Delhi is known for its monuments and memorials, which attracts large number of tourists. Now, Delhi’s Metro is certainly one more landmark for the visitors. Delhi can now boast of having a metro rail with latest cutting edge technology.

For Entertainment sake

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During my childhood  I was in a small village named ‘Konthagai’ which is in South Tamil Nadu, India. Since it was a tiny village, there was no entertainment for us other than playing few outdoor games. No television or video games were there at that time. The only entertainment for us was to go for a movie occasionally.

Unfortunately there was no theater in our village. We had to go to a neighbouring village, which is three kilometers away from our village. Going for a movie for us was not as easy as everybody thinks. After much persuasion our parents used to give their consent so reluctantly, as they knew that it would involve a marathon effort by them. So even after agreeing to take us to the movie, they always would look for some flimsy grounds to cancel the programme by showing our minor injuries, which happened while we play, or possibility of rain on that particular day. Since there was no bus facility available to the neighbouring village, they had to depend on roofed bullock cart (in tamil it is called ‘Koondu Vandi’), which was the cheap mode of transport available at that time.

They had to prepare the bullock carts well in advance to keep it ready for the journey. They also had to make the bullocks in a fit condition and also make them to wear iron shoes. They had to prepare the driver who drives the bullock cart to be available on that day. Many times our journey was called off as the driver failed to turn up on that auspicious day. Once we had to return half the way because the bullocks refused to go further. So many times our entertainment trip happened to be an unpleasant one. But it never deterred our enthusiasm; we always used to persuade our parents whenever we came to know that there was a good movie screened in the neighbouring village.

After few years, a touring talkie was opened in our own village. We thought that it would put an end to all our ordeals and anxiety and also would give a great relief to our parents.

Of course, our parents got a relief, as they no longer required to arrange marathon journey for us. But our joy of enjoying a movie was short lived. We realized that watching a movie in a touring talkie is really a Herculean task. Once we went for a movie, but returned without seeing the movie as the theater owner informed us that since they did not get enough crowd, could not run the show. Once we returned disappointed, as the reels containing the box, which was to come from the neighbouring town, did not reach. Once we gone for a movie for the noon show at 2 P.M. but returned at 2 A.M. as they took lot of time in pasting the reels which used to cut off every ten minutes run. Once we had enjoyed only half the movie as heavy rain interrupted and the whole place became a pool (!)

Now I am amazed to see the developments happened there. Almost every house has telephone and T.V sets with cable connection. They are enjoying the movies at the comfort of their drawing room. Even they demand the movies of their choice. Most of the houses having computers with Internet connection.. Hollywood movies are available through CDs. What a change! Earlier we were running for the entertainment. Now entertainment knocks the doors of our homes.

 

Enlightened at Buddha’s Land

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When I planned my trip to Patna, all my friends expressed an odd look. When I informed them that I will be going to Bodh Gaya they changed their expression which was so pleasing. That is the effect of the name ‘Bodh Gaya’. The distance between Patna to Bodh Gaya is only 105 Kms but it took us six hours to reach Bodh Gaya. It was a nerve rattling experience due to bad condition of the road.

Bodh Gaya is the most revered of all Buddhist sacred sites as Buddha’s enlightenment happened here.The main temple complex houses the famous Mahabodhi temple, stupa and a descendant of the original Bodhi (Peepal) Tree under which the Buddha gained enlightenment.

When we entered the temple we immediately got enveloped with serene and propitious feeling. We could not believe that we are actually standing on the spot where Buddha got enlightenment. At the temple we could see plenty of international devotees from Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia, China and Japan

Inside the Mahabodhi temple complex you can also enjoy the Lotus Pond or the meditation garden.

Bodh Gaya has temples or monasteries from many other nations with a Buddhist tradition (Bhutan, Bangladesh, China, Japan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tibet), all within easy walking distance from the Mahabodhi temple.

Next we visited the famous Vishnupad Temple. It is believed that Rama and Sita had visited this place. This is believed that the temple was built with the footprints of Lord Vishnu in the centre. This footprint marks the act of Lord Vishnu subduing Gayasur, a demon by placing his foot on his chest. Inside the Vishnupad temple, the 40 cm long footprint of Lord Vishnu is imprinted in solid rock and surrounded by a silver plated basin.

Next day  we planned our trip for local sightseeing. When we were taking break fast at our Holiday Home, happened to meet Venkat and Promod. Venkat’s social nature drew him towards us and we also happy to meet a tamilian in Bihar.  After conversing with both of them we came to know that they are also planning for the local sightseeing. What a coincidence ! Promod asked me why don’t you join with us? We were thrilled to join with them for the local trip as well to Rajgir. But for them, we could not have stayed at Gaya.  I think it was certainly Buddha’s call which happened through Venkat and Promod ! Our journey become so vibrant after they joined with us. 

First we started our visit to a Gurdwara known as Harmandir Sahib Gurdwara, the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs.. Besides being the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh, Patna was also honored by visits from Guru Nanak as well as Guru Tegh Bahadur. After the visit, we went  straight to the banks of Ganges and excited to see the river with reverence. 

Next we proceeded to Bihar museum. It is a huge museum. It show cases plenty of art facets and historical events of Bihar.  The time line that depicts the period of historic era was not only impressive but also  informative. Patna museum also located adjacent  to Bihar Museum. In which we are able to see the relics of Buddha. 

After the museum visit, we went straight to Golhar a old building where grains stored in olden days. It is believed that the top of the Golghar presents a wonderful panoramic view of the city and the Ganges. But due to renovation work, we were not allowed to go to the top.

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Golghar has never been filled to its maximum capacity and there are no plans to do so. Some have claimed that the reason for this is a flaw whereby the doors are designed to open inwards; thus, if it is filled to its maximum capacity, then the doors will not open.

Next on our way to Rajgir,  we visited the beautiful Pawapuri Jal Mandir .

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The Jal Mandir meaning Water Temple, also known, in Pawapuri, meaning a town without sins,  is a highly revered temple dedicated to Lord Mahavira, the founder of Jain religion, which marks the place of his cremation. Mahavira attained Nirvana (salvation) in Pawapuri. The temple has been built within a tank filled with red coloured lotus flowers.

Rajgir is  a hilly area and famous for its hot water springs, locally known as Brahmakund, a sacred place for Hindus where water from seven different springs merge and is notable for its healing effects.

Another major attraction is the peace pagoda. Vishwa Shanti Stupa  built in 1969, one of the 80 peace pagodas in the world, to spread the message of peace and non-violence.It is the oldest peace pagoda in India.

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The Chairlift rope-way  is another attraction. It was a thrilling ride with scenic beauty. Initially it was scary for a moment, after that I started enjoying the ride. I never experienced such a exciting rope way ride anywhere.

We also visited the ruins of Nalanda. It was a University of historic importance.  Amazed to see the architectural masterpiece.. The most popular Mahavihara of the ancient times, a significant Buddhist seat of academic excellence and a modest pilgrim center. Nalanda continues to be popular and attract lot of tourists every year.

Although in ruins, the entire complex presents a pretty picture and is thronged  by tourists day in and day out. It has “viharas” or monasteries to the east and temples to the west. In addition to this, the complex houses a charming little museum, which has a collection of several of original Buddhist stupas, Hindu and Buddhist bronzes, coins, terracotta jars. Apart from Buddhism, it is an important center for Jainism, Hinduism, and Sufism as well. Considering the rich heritage and the historical importance, it is a hot tourist destination.

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After our Nalanda visit, we visited the Black Buddha temple.This temple is a very interesting one. Though it is small in size but it is clean and well maintained. The statue of Lord Buddha is made of black stone unlike anywhere else. Here also lot of international tourists come every day  to pay their obeisance to Lord Buddha.

We left Bihar and reached Delhi with memories of Buddha and new friends.

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A pilgrimage to Shirdi and Nashik

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My  wish to visit to Shirdi was fulfilled on 27th Oct 2018. The train from Delhi reached Manmad station at about 5.30 AM. Reached Shirdi at 7.00 AM. Booked our accommodation at Sai Ashram managed by Sai Trust. The accommodation was neat and clean. Inside the Ashram lot of facilities provided to devotees by Sai Trust like subsidised food, free dharshan tickets and free distribution of prasad almost throughout the day. Separate queues for Senior citizens and for those booked through online.  It is the most organized temple I have ever seen.

Sai Baba of Shirdi,  was an spiritual master who is regarded by his devotees as a saint, a fakir, a satguru and an incarnation of Lord Shiva. He is revered by both his Hindu  and  Muslim devotees during, as well as after his lifetime. 

According to accounts from his life, he preached the importance of realization of the self, and criticized love towards perishable things. His teachings concentrate on moral code of love, forgiveness, helping others, charity, contentment, inner peace, and devotion to the God and guru. Sai Baba also did hate distinction based on religion or caste.

We also visited Shani Shingnapur. The village is known for its popular temple of Shani, the Hindu god associated with the planet Saturn. Here the deity is installed in in the open with no roof over it.

Shingnapur is also famous for the fact that no house in the village has doors, only door frames. Villagers believe that god Shani punishes anyone attempting theft.

The deity here is “Swayambhu” (self-evolved deity) that is self emerged from earth in form of black, imposing stone. Though no one knows the exact period, it is believed that the  Shanaishwara statue was found by shepherds of the then local hamlet.

After our visit to Shirdi, we visited Nashik, an ancient holy city of Maharashtra situated on the banks of Godavari River.  Nashik is a city of its own distinction as the whole city is surrounded by beautiful mountains. The Kumbh Mela is celebrated here every six years at Haridwar and Allahabad and Maha Kumbh takes place every twelve years at four places in Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik. According to the Puranas, it is believed that Kumbh derives its name from an immortal pot of nectar, which the devtas (Gods) and demons fought over. The four places where the nectar fell are at the banks of river Godavari in Nashik, river Kshipra in Ujjain, river Ganges in Haridwar and at Triveni Sangam of Ganga, Yamuna and invisible Saraswati River in Allahabad

In Nashik we first visited the Pandavleni Caves which is at the top of a hill. It was amazing to see the beautiful as well as artistic caves at the top of the mountain.

Next we visited Saptashrungi temple situated 60 kilometres.. According to Hindu traditions, the goddess Saptashrungi Nivasini dwells within the seven mountain peaks. (Sapta means seven and shrung means peaks.) There are 510 steps to climb the gad.Devotees visit this place in large numbers every day. The view from this temple is really awesome.

River Godavari flows through Nashik and its Northern part is called as Panchavati. It is said that lord Shri Ram and Sita along with Laxman stayed at Panchavati for some time. Thus Panchavati has gained holy importance. There are five Banyan (Vad) trees and hence the area is called Panchavati.Nearby is Sita Gumpha (cave) where Sita is said to have stayed for some time.The sages used to meditate in close proximity with the lush green nature. Laxmana – brother of Rama – used to stay here and cut the nose of Shurpanakha – sister of Ravana. This place has temples of Laxmana and Hanuman. The most important place in Panchavati is Ramkund. It is so called because Lord Rama is believed to have taken bath there. We also visited the Kala Ram temple.

After visiting Panchavati, we proceeded to Triambakeshwar Temple, Nashik. It is a beautiful temple with architectural excellence.   As per the Shiv Purana, once Brahama (the Hindu God of creation) and Vishnu (the Hindu God of preservation) had an argument in terms of supremacy of creation. To test them, Shiv pierced the three worlds as a huge endless pillar of light, the jyotirlinga. Vishnu and Brahma split their ways to downwards and upwards respectively to find the end of the light in either directions. Brahma lied that he found out the end, while Vishnu conceded his defeat. Shiv appeared as a second pillar of light and cursed Brahma that he would have no place in ceremonies while Vishnu would be worshiped till the end of eternity.

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Unity in diversity

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India is unique country as it has so many languages. Unity in diversity is India’s strength. Yet citizens always face some embarrassing moments when they travel from one state to another. I got a nostalgic memory when I came to Delhi 35 years ago without knowing its local lanugage ‘Hindi’.

When I joined my office, I was completely startled to see such a situation where everyone was talking in Hindi, cracking jokes in Hindi, exchanging greetings in Hindi. When they were talking about me I was not knowing whether they were appreciating me or abusing me.  From that moment on wards I started working as a ‘Robot’ doing my work without communicating to anybody.

After having seen my trouble, my colleagues started speaking to me in English. Even office peons after having seen my agony tried their best to convey their feelings to me in a broken English. So in office I had managed somehow to pull on, but outside I still struggled a lot to manage without Hindi.  As people of Delhi tend to reply to  you only in Hindi no matter in what language the question is asked !

Once I told my friend that I am finding it difficult to board Delhi Transport Corporation(DTC) bus, as the conductor asks too many questions which I don’t understand. To reduce my problem little bit, my friend advised me that whenever you board a DTC bus ask the conductor a ticket by tendering the exact coins for the destination. So the conductor would give the ticket and would not ask any questions. According to his advice, when I boarded a DTC bus asked the conductor a ticket by tendering the exact fare. But to my shock, the conductor asked me in hindi ‘Kahan Jana Hai ?(Where you want to go?). Since I was not prepared for the question I started blinking. But fortunately one of my fellow passenger who happened to be a Tamilian came to my rescue and saved me from embarrassment.

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Flourishing Indian democracy

72nd Independence Day-THE FIRST MAIL-TFM_217414Red Fort is a historic fort in the city of Delhi in India. It was the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal dynasty for nearly 200 years, until 1856. Every 15th  August Delhi’s Red Fort comes to the lime light as the Prime Minister of India address the nation on Independence Day.

The tradition continues from the first Independence Day on 15th August 1947 by first Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru hoisted the national flag and made a historic speech ‘tryst with destiny’. India celebrated its 72nd Independence Day and the present Prime Minister Narendra Modi hoisted the national flag.

On this day the Red Fort turned into a high security zone and even birds will think twice to fly over this place. Red Fort unique structure and stands tall reminding Delhi’s rich history and very appropriate place for this great function. The whole area including Jamma Masjid and Chandini chowk gives a perfect ambiance to the function.

Soldiers from Army, Air Force and Navy, NCC cadets and school children in tricolour dress add glory to the whole atmosphere. It is high tradition that all the former Prime Ministers, Ministers, opposition leaders,top bureaucrats  attend the function without fail. We can see the flourishing Indian democracy here.

When Prime Minister after his address mingled with the school children by breaking the protocol, I can see the excitement in the eyes of the young buds.

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