Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Why of Hindu Marriage

A traditional Hindu marriage is formation of a bond between two families and it is the duty of the boy & the girl to be the base of the bond. The newlywed couple has to do the samudra manthan by being like Mount Mandarachala, the churning rod and Vasuki, the churning rope, and churn out affection and happiness to friends & family and give way to a new beginning.

The wedding embarks a new phase in lives of the boy and the girl - they are transcending into manhood and womanhood respectively. To make this shift memorable and smooth for the bride and the groom there is celebration in the families. Gifts are exchanged and valuables are gifted to the newlywed couple so that their initial path may remain streamlined even under the shadow of early jitters.

India has been an agricultural country, so, one of the most holy processes - marriage - finds a lot of allusion to agriculture. The marriages generally takes place, after the chatur maas, i.e post the four months of rainy season, i.e a time which heralds the beginning of new crops and prosperity to the farmers and thus helps bring Lakshmi to the family.

There are various rituals that take place in a Hindu marriage and every ritual has its own meaning. The marriages begin with engagements. Traditionally, the parents decided the prospective spouse for their child  thus engagement became the ceremony, when the boy & the girl see each other and meet and greet with the family members.

Between the marriage and engagement takes place ladies sangeet. it is one of the most prominent and enjoyable ceremony. As the name suggests, its a celebration time, dedicated specially to women. During the sangeet, the female members of the family have a merry time together, by singing, some romantic, bawdy, fun filled songs. The main purpose of this ritual was to make a conscious shift in the mind and heart of the girl from the phase of girl to womanhood. The ladies would playfully tease the bride with the the incoming introduction of new romantic phases in life and make her ready for every type of physical & emotional pleasure that awaits her.

The ceremony just before the marriage is anointing the couple with haldi and chandan. This is mainly done by the ladies of the families. The main idea of this is make the bride and the groom attractive for the wedding night. By hosting this ceremony, the society give a green signal to the physical relation between the bride and the groom.

After anointing the couple with haldi, comes the process of applying hte mehandi paste on the hands on the bride. Mehandi function fits in place to abide by the Solah Shringaar suggested by Lord Lakshmi. Now a days, the mehandi function is couple with dance and a cock-tail party, to enjoy the last day of the bride's bachelorhood. This concept of clubbing cock-tail with mehandi, came to existence because of the western intrusion of Bachelor's Party.

Once the bride and groom are prepared, they are asked to invoke their Gods and ancestors  This process is of utter importance to the bride since she is making a shift and is transcending from one family to other. She has to now take the responsibilities of the new family.

Just before the marriage rituals take place, the family members, invite the Gods - Avahan - and then the couple worships them and then the Gods are allowed to go - Visarjan. The guests are given the status of Gods, thus the groom and his family are welcomed with utmost respect. The groom is then given the most valuable gift - The Bride.

The Groom comes along with a long procession of his friends and family members, in the most boisterous manner. This is supposed to represent the long and eventful procession of Lord Shiva. The groom's face is generally covered, so that no one casts an evil spell on him. The drinking and dancing - even in the most irresponsible manner - embarks the last day of  carefree behaviour and the groom heralds the end of irresponsible behaviour. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Dronacharya - A Brahmi, A Warrior, A Teacher

Drona, popularly known as Dronacharya, was a Brahmin, and had a childhood friend Drupada, who became a king. Once Drona went to Drupada and reminded Drupada of Drapuda’s childhood vow, of sharing some wealth with Drona. Hearing that, Drupada laughed out and said, that was a vow taken in child hood, when they were immature kids and now Drupada cannot do so, as he is a king. As a king, he can't share his wealth with a lower caste person. These words of an old friend hurt Drona and he angrily departed from there with revenge in his heart.

After that, Drona met Pashurama, a man well verse in all Vidyas. Pashurama was against the way, the kings were running their kingdoms. Drona asked Pashurama to teach him warfare techniques and Pashurama did so, only if, Drona took a vow of not ever sharing the Vidyas with any king.

Under the ages of Pashurama, Drona, learnt all the arts and became the greatest warrior. But soon, he broke Pashurama’s promise and became a teacher to Kauravs and Pandavs. He asked one part of Drapuda's kingdom as his Guru dakshina.

Drona made Ashwathama the king of the kingdom he got. By dividing the kingdom, Drona started a set of events: Drapuda prayed for a son, who would not shy from killing Brahmins and he asked for a daughter, who would divide the Pandava family property.

Now the question arises, whether Lord Krishna was right in killing Dronacharya, by beheading an Elephant, named Ashwathama and asking Arjun to rain arrows on Drona as soon as Drona heard about the news of Ashwathama’s death.

Drona did three grave mistakes:

1. He broke the holy Vedic caste system and became a warrior from a Brahmin
2. He broke the promise he made to Pashurama
3. He made his son a king, once again broke the caste system and showed favouritism.

Apart from that, there were other points too, the story of Ekalavya - a warrior. Ekalavya, was a tribal boy and Drona didn't teach him Dhanush Vidya, on the grounds of Eklavya's tribal background. Moreover, when Eklavya learnt Dhanush Vidya all by himself, just by erecting a life size statue of Drona and imbibing inspiration from it, Drona asked Eklayva to give Guru dakshina - Eklayva's Thumb.

Yet another crime is committed - demanding guru dakshina for teachings that were never taught by him.

These could be the main reasons, why Lord Krishna didn't shy away from killing an unarmed man, Brahmin and teacher.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Outsourcing is a process of shelling out some processes to an independent entity, by doing so, the outsourcing entity will fully or partially shun the process outsourced. The term outsourcing became popular during the 21st century, when the developing countries did jobs at a cheaper rate, as compared to their developed counterpart. Thus started the culture of outsourcing the jobs, which either were not cost effective or unproductive on balance sheet. This process is now quite popular in most of the industries and has reaped good results.

Apparently, outsourcing has crept its way from industries to our personal life. Though most of us would deny the fact, but most of us have outsourced most of our daily and some important, yet apparently unproductive, tasks. Our households are cleaned by our maids; the food is cooked by a hired cook; the clothes are washed by the laundry guy and so on. There might be different school of thoughts on whether it is right to outsource our personal hygiene or not, just because, we are unable to manage our time. In most of the cultures, food is used as means to express emotions of the family, such as, some special food items are prepared during festivities; different dishes are cooked when someone special visits our place; the gas stove is kept out , during the mourning period. To our apathy, we have out sourced such an important means of expression. In Mahabharata, Draupati, imbibed a lot of cooking skills from her mother – in – law, Kunti, so that she may be more attractive to her husbands than Kunti. After having outsourced our kitchen, how can we expect our daughters to be a good cook?

Ours is such a rich culture, where the teachings are not passed through books or manuscripts, but from generations to generations, just by being in contact and imbibing by observation. To add an insult to our culture, we have now outsourced our kids. With the concept of crèches gaining popularity, most of the so called parents are outsourcing their kids to a third person, with whom they share a symbiotic monetary relationship. How can we now expect our kids to have our family values, when during the initial, tender learning period of their lives, they have been in the hands of a third person, whose only interest is to make money. What we are doing is, slowly killing our culture and learning, that our ancestors have left for us. These learning once lost, will be lost forever.

The main reason behind most of us outsourcing and unable to adjust with current lifestyle is improper distribution of duties. Now, most of the women have moved out of their defined sphere, which included, though not limited to, cooking washing, cleaning, taking care of children and entered the male sphere which is fetching resources for living and luxury. The male population has forced their female counter part to push out of the female sphere but they have not moved out of the male sphere, i.e. still in most of the households, where the wife is working, she has to take care of household. This is the biggest imbalance in their lives. The male population should inspire from the female similitude and move out of their zone and should enter the kitchen and perform other household jobs to maintain the balance. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Cuisine Speaks of Its Culture

 It is very well said, it’s the cuisine that very well represents the culture of a country. Most of us, know west more because of Mc Donalds & Pepsi cola than any other attribute of the western culture. Every country has a specific way of preparing food. Rather, every region has a specific way of cooking. Even in India, Northern India has a totally way of cooking when compared to Western part.

The way of eating food is considered to have a great impact on the way we behave in our life. Indians for example, have a thali system while westerners have buffet and have a course meal contrary to Indians, who would eat by mixing food items together. A westerner would have the food in course and will have the sweets as the last course. An Indian would prefer having a part of sweet amalgamated with the staple food. We would need some chutney, salad and pickle along with food and would love mixing them together. This could be a subtle indication of why, we have achieved the heights of customization.

Let’s consider Indian style as being circular where in anything can be taken any time and in a rotation policy, unlike the western way, which is linear, wherein, every food item has a defined timing to enter the plate. The starter is the beginning and sweet the end. We see a reflection of this in the way we eat. Indians eat chapatis and tear the pieces in a circular way, contrary to western way where the knife and fork move in liner direction to cut.

It is considered that the kitchen is one place, which very well represents the culture of a family. The way we treat our food is the way, we treat our body. Probably, for the same reason, in ancient times, the kitchen was given more relevance than the temple. It was up to the extent, that, the kitchen would have a temple inculcated in it. The relevance of kitchen, in Asian culture, can be adjudged by the customs.

It’s the women, who were considered Lakshmi, the magnet of Devas, were allowed to enter the Kitchen and were given the responsibility of kitchen. It was a custom, to enter the kitchen only after having a bath, people were not allowed to enter kitchen wearing footwear, another allusion to the kitchen being a sacred place in homes. All these subtle hints passed the children a message that food is something much bigger than a means to pander the hungry stomach.

Cooking was considered an art. Every mother has a peculiar magic, which she adds to the food she cooks.  A cook would seldom taste the food prepared by her. Cooking was an activity, which would deploy all the senses of the human body, except taste, the sense, which it is going to delight. Such is the thrill of cooking. The cook would never measure the quantity of the ingredients;  she had to rely on her senses and experience. There were no written recipes; the knowledge was transferred from generation to generations.

Now we have completely changed our kitchen under the aegis of ‘globalization’. The kitchen is no more the citadel of positive energy, but has become a supporting machinery in most of our households. We need automated kitchen, ready to cook food; we need quick food, everything has lost the taste of the mother’s hand and just the essence of plastic and ceramic added to the taste of food.

We have gone to such a low level, that we have outsourced our kitchen. It’s no more a family member cooking, but some paid outsider cooking for us. Now we have to eat what someone else cooks. We have to intake the thoughts that the outsider has imbibed in the food. We have rather lost the right to say, ‘our food’. This has been one of the most cruel gifts that globalization has given us. Is this the aftermath of the western outsourcing?

Friday, March 2, 2012


The easiest task is to kill a man, and the toughest task is to kill a man. Stabbing to death is just the physical part of kill. The real pleasure is to kill someone slowly and enjoy the one watching die every moment, without letting the one realise that one is moving towards death. A murderer smells the actual victory, when he watches his victim, who bears the brutality of murderer’s cruelness which paralyses the victim, makes him dependent, and zeros him. There lies the real pleasure of committing a murder.

This pacifying murder can by no means be committed physically. The murderer has to attack within the victim. He has to attack the soul of the victim. The victim’s existence has to be subdued; his existence should be made a favour. A man may bear the loss of any materialistic thing; the real carnage is when has to lose his soul, when he has to lose his integrity and when he has to lose his ego. These unbearable losses, crush a man, they crush him into tiny pieces of regret.

Once a man loses his integrity and soul, there’s nothing for the man to defend apart from the material things. In a polished language, the murderer may call himself the leader and his victims his followers. The murderer makes his victims realize that everyone needs a soul, and it is he, who would provide a worthy soul to his followers.  

The best weapons that can be used against a victim are the carnage words: altruism, a life for others, brotherhood etc. These words are nothing but, soul denting bullets, coated with sweetness of the worldly pollute. The killer needs to make the victim realise that self happiness is the height of ego, make him condemn himself for being happy. If the victim’s rich he should bear the brunt of not helping others; if the victim’s satisfied, he should be tortured with thoughts of filthy people; if the victim’s smiling his smile should be belittled with the sorrows of the world.

The victim should be realized that he has no reason to remain happy, whenever he would see sadness around him, he should be apprised that he’s a parasite and should be bitten with thoughts about any wastage which was done by him was tantamount to a spiritual sin. As soon as he would enjoy his life, he should be bombarded with avalanche of fugitive thoughts, such as, there is a higher level of happiness which he is not experiencing, denigrate all his happiness.  He would find his soul suffocating in this perceptual doggy world.

Alas, we all are being brutally killed by some people, selling fairness creams to those, who think they lack visual appeal. We have been murdered by movie stars who pinch us by telling that we don’t have a good physique and attractive looks. We have been assassinated by those telling we are fat, by those telling us we lack confidence, by those deciding our needs, and by those apprising the society of, the so called, “Status”