Wednesday, August 03, 2016

The Story of a Suicide, by Sriram Ayer: my thoughts

I am generally an upbeat person... Sometimes almost to the point of annoyance. I love talking. I love cracking jokes and I believe in people. But life is not all black and white. It’s not all that easy to stay upbeat all the time and I have struggled with clinical depression and multiple suicide attempts.

So it is not always comfortable to read something that echoes the feelings of the past. Sometimes present. But it is the truth. You cannot run away from it. Every time I hear of a suicide, whether it is on television or a work of friction – something moves deep inside. An immense weight pushes against my chest.

The Story Of A Suicide By Sriram Ayer is one such story that mirrors the hurt of so many youngsters today. In the day of social media where are lives are public without us realising it, the youth have much more to lay bare to the world.

A character very poignantly puts it “Morality is a moving target. What’s theirs needn’t be yours. As much as you have a point of view, they have one too. The drama between people on different points of the pendulum makes one compelling story.”

Image Courtesy: The Story Of A Suicide, Illustration by Ghana
But throughout the book, this thought is challenged. The anxiety and the transition of being an adult aren’t easy and the story easily portrays that through its numerous chapters. The voyeurism that technology easily offers the world makes it all the more worse. While all of us have to face betrayal at some point in our lives, there are some that are deep rooted.

Ayer attempts to touch various subjects of the childhood and growing up through his characters. Sexuality, harassment, morality, our attempts to be recognised and accepted in the society, passionate love and the cruelty of human nature – his novel has all rolled into one. Amongst all this is the sensitive subject of child abuse.

The narrative speaks of several issues through the eyes of multiple protagonists and the story moves from one visual to another seamlessly. The watercolour illustrations by Ghana are equally tantalizing and echo the mood of the story. The one that I felt most strongly for was the way he describes modern depression and how it takes root. The lack of understanding that people around have for this ‘deadly’ disease is affecting many and it would continue to do so unless we start addressing it properly.

There is such a severe lack of help and understanding when a person goes through this trauma that more often than not we end up blaming the victim. But it is hard to imagine that thought process... Ayer is adept that making you go through the pain through his characters. The issue is that it is not just the society that refuses to understand you. Amongst other betrayals – the lack of understanding from your parents probably ends up hurting you the most.

Image Courtesy: The Story Of A Suicide, Illustration by Ghana
Image Courtesy: The Story Of A Suicide, Illustration by Ghana

As studies have shown over 40% of children face abuse. Many of them are abused by their family members. Instead of turning a blind eye towards the child, we as adults need to listen.

And as the child approaches the confusing times of being young adults, our outlook has to change. We have to remember how difficult it was for us. As parents and as a society in general we need to set better examples for the young. The constant support is more than necessary. We need to check out for the signs of depression, of anguish – and these need to be addressed in the proper way. Families need to seek professional help. Read up for the sake of their loved ones. We can't be dismissive and say "get up and stay positive". For people who are giving up on life it is not easy to just "stay positive". We truly need the support of friends and family.

There need to be proper channels and support groups who talk about depression and provide counselling. Education systems need to adopt ways to deal with harassment and speak to distressed people. Homophobia is a society issue - we have to stop feeding hatred, we need to accept people as they are. There sexuality and preferences are secondary. First of all, we all are human beings who need to be treated with respect and dignity.

A story full of sensitive issues, this book needs to be read for the sake of the youth.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Untitled - again

तेरी रौशनी में मैं अपनी किताबें पढ़ती थी
तु खोया-खोया सा बस मेरे सर पे हाथ रखे कुछ गुनगुनाता रहता,
और मैं तेरी आवाज़ को सहेज के अपने ज़हन में रखती जाती थी।

घंटो तक मुझे तू कुछ भी समझाता रहता,
मैं तुझे ताक, सोचती रहती
कि तेरी इन छोटी छोटी सी आँखों में कितनी कहानिया बसी हैं।

गली क़ासिम से चुराया हुआ एक शेर सुनाता,
और मेरे कन्फ्यूज्ड से चेहरे को देख उसकी मानी दोहराता।

पहाड़ों की बदलियों ढांप कर सुला देता था,
या घंटो उंगलिया उलझाये कोई ठट्टा कर,
मेरी नाराज़गी पे मुस्कुराता।

अब वो तेरी धुन ज़हन के बक्सो में बंद सील गयी हैं।
वो कहानियों की स्याही अब धूप में पड़ी पड़ी उड़ चुकी है।
वो तेरी लफ्ज़ो की मानी गुम गयी है वक्त की कोठरियों में।
वह रेशम से बादल चिर के बरस गए हैं।

मैं अकेले अंधेरों में खोती जा रही हूँ।

Monday, July 11, 2016

Catching up on lost growth: Addressing the fear of the modern parent

It is not easy to be a child today. Children today live in a competitive environment. Their entire world has changed – whether it is education system, what they need to learn, the kind of exposure they have through video games, television or internet. They need to be fit and mentally prepared to face the immense pressure that they get from all sides.

Parents too are today more busy than ever before. They have now become more aware that the child has to be ready for the world from an early age. Finding the right school, the right tutors etc. have become a heavy task. But what is the one thing that parents need to worry about the most? The thing is a healthy body leads to a healthy mind.

Providing the right and balanced nutrition is as important, if not more, for the growth of the child. Yet young parents face this challenge everyday and unfortunately feel disappointed that even with all their efforts, their children are not able to grow properly.

In the formative years of the child, from about 3 to 9 years of age, it is important that it gets to absorb all nutrients that it is eating. Healthy muscles, strong bones will lead the child to go on and become a healthy adult as well. A good height and a child with an ideal weight will also be able to focus more on the growth of mental faculties – since he/she doesn’t have to cope with daily sickness and weakness.

Catching up on growth has become a priority for all parents as they know a weak child will be less capable of facing the challenges that they will eventually get during their school years and even later in life.

It is unfortunate, but it is a harsh truth that weaker children face a big evil of the society at a young age – bullying. Of course teachers and schools try to prevent it, but even with the best efforts sometimes you cannot avoid your child facing it. A good idea is to make sure that the child is physically fit to counter the bullying and stand up to the people who target weak children. It is not the only solution to it – but it will aid the child in all ways possible.

Proper nutrition remains a big factor for healthy growth of a young child, especially at that tender age. Horlick’s Growth+ has been developed by a team of international pediatric experts. It is specially been made for children aged 3-9 years who struggle with attaining the ideal height and weight. It contains high quality whey protein with added nutrients that are known to enable children to catch up on lost growth.

The anxiety that parents face when their children don’t grow to their optimum height is immense. It is always a matter of fear and the guilt of what they could not provide to their little precious daughter/son. But with the aid of nutritional drinks, parents can rest easy that they have given the right tools for the child to provide an environment for a holistic growth.

You can find more information here :

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

IndiBlogger Launches - targeting the right publishers

New bloggers like me have a tough time finding the right kind of press releases and information on the right kind of events that they want to go to. While most of us have a wide array of subjects they cover, there are many people who we want to connect to. Despite social media, it maybe difficult for many of us to connect to the right people through their PR. I am prettysure a lot of businesses are having the same kind of difficulty to connect to people too.

Well, here is the solution: was built to make it extremely simple for a business to get their Press Releases published by top bloggers. All a business has to do is upload their Press Release and the ‘Automated Influencer Targeting Engine’, or ‘AITE’ for short, proceeds to accept applications and automatically shortlists bloggers based on various factors including internal ratings and rankings. Once shortlisted, the influencers do their research and publish their articles.

Anoop Johnson, Co-founder & Director of Marketing at IndiBlogger, adds, “With a starting budget of just USD 150, a business of any size will be able to get their press releases published by influential bloggers with a few clicks.” assists digital marketers with a variety of tasks including, but not limited to, SEO, content marketing, generating awareness and gaining much needed conversations around the product, driven by internet users on influencer platforms like blogs.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Birthday special: the best of Shakti Samanta

Shakti samanta is one of the most famous directors of the 1960s and 1970s. He is a pioneer in shaping bollywood as it looks today. Born in burdwan in 1926, the director made films in bengali as well as hindi. He is known to have established rajesh khanna as the reigning superstar of the 70s and made some memorable cineme.
Here are some of his most remembered works:  

Howrah bridge 1958
A murder mystery which featured the suave ashok kumar and the beautiful madhubala, this movie is iconic for a lot of reasons. The songs 'mera naam chin chin chu' and 'aiye meherbaan' are still loved.  

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Five important tips for travelling in the winters

Winters are a lovely time to travel around the world. You will find the most beautiful destinations even more beautiful with the lovely cool weather, without all the sweat and the tanning to worry about. 
But travelling in this season needs a bit of planning especially if you live in really cold areas. 

Plan and pack

You may love travelling impromptu but in the winters try and plan early. Consider what time you have in hand. If you go to a place where it snows in winters, think about whether you are packed for the cold. 

Leave early

It seems like a good tip to stick to in any weather but winters are the time to be extra careful. Leave at least an hour earlier than what you had planned for your flight. Cars break down more often in winters. There is also fog or an unseasonal rain to consider. A lot of flights are recheduled so reaching the airport early would certainly be a boon.


Buy all the necessary medication and pack it carefully. In the small chance that you are stuck somewhere, you don't want to fall sick. Also pack in some first aid just in case.

Child safety

If you are travelling with a child make sure they have enough warm clothes. Pack more than necessary if you are unsure. Children play in the snow and can get their clothing wet, it is better to have an extra set instead of risking a flu.

Road trip safety

Carry these essentials tow rope, jumper cables, sand to aid with traction in case you are going to the mountains, blankets, flashlights, matches and emergency candles. Also carry alot of fluids as it is easy to get dehydrated in the winters since we don't feel as thirsty due to the cold and it can cause a lot of problems

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Top 5 destinations to go to this winter

The cold chilly but clear bright nights, pristine white snow, cosy sun lit mornings – what more could a traveller want? Winter holidays is a great time to pack your backpacks and go travelling in the world. The festive cheer already envelops you making it a great time to enjoy the beautiful weather and foggy mornings with a hot cup of chocolate.

But for people who want to explore – winter is a great time to see the world (and India) at its best.

Have a look at the best of the places to visit this winter

New York
The temperatures in New York quite near freezing, but the lights and the snow will make your heart melt. Christmas and New Year is the best time to go to the beautiful city of New York. With the mixed culture and urbanisation – New York City makes for a fantastically stylish holiday. It lights up into a winter wonderland each year with Christmas trees, holiday window displays and lights adorning every window in sight.

For the party hoppers the city offers you a plethora of places where you can dance away your night. The New Year will have the entire city flocking the Times Square to see the 'Ball Drop'. There are various concerts happening all over the city and great places to dine in. The only thing to keep in mind – make sure to make your reservations before hand.

Oh! “The City of Love!” By far the most romantic city in the world, Paris is the perfect couple getaway in winters. The snowy city will have you enchanted as the glowing cultural scene and the historical nuances will keep you entranced.

As everyone knows Paris is known for housing the best of the art world, apart from the Louvre, there is also the Musée Picasso, which has some of the best art exhibitions from around the world.

Paris is much quieter in the winters and it has some great cathedrals and chapels that look mystical in the winter.

You could also go out for the best of Parisian cuisine as it will be much easier to get reservations with the absence of the tourist crowd.

Coming back to our own country, winters are the best time to travel in the tropical weather of India. Rajasthan looks spectacular in winters with temperatures barely touching the high 20s. The desert is freezing early morning, but once the sun is out, you can walk around all day in the colourful lanes and bylanes of Jaisalmer or Bikaner.

Jaipur and Jodhpur too are pleasant and the festivals/fairs held in the state like the camel festival and the desert festivals will take your breath away. These festivals bring the nomadic desert life of Rajasthanis to life with cultural events, camel races, folk music, dance shows and turban tying competitions.

The open skies in the desert at night, with stars scattered across the sky like diamonds is a sight that you will never forget in your life. The best way to travel in Rajasthan is by roads, and adding to the adventure, camp out in the desert if you are brave enough. Rajasthan will truly dazzle you.

There is a reason why Kerala is called 'God's own Country'. With serene surroundings, and its calm backgrounds, this southern state offers you a retreat from the hullabaloo of modern life.

It is pleasantly cool, without being too cold, and the lovely seafood will only add to the experience. Visit the backwaters of Kerala through lush green palm-fringed landscape, diverse wildlife, and houses and villages that line it making it one of the most tranquil things you can do.

You can also take some time and get an Ayurvedic treatment for one of the many benefits including rejuvenation of the mind and body. Kerala is a place where time stands still and maybe you can catch up with your inner self in that time.


Like the sunny weather and all the fun people in one place? Go to Goa! It is the most popular tourist destination in India for a reason. Not only are the beaches picturesque but added to that is the local flavour of the beautiful folk culture of Goa. Goanese cuisine and people make for a heady mix of celebration – especially in the christmas season. The entire state seems to be partying, with the touch of the warm sun bathing down your body, Goa is a place to visit for every sea loving person.

Se Cathedral, Basilica of Bom Jesus and Dona Paula Beach make for the perfect heritage sites that you can visit. There is also the option of going snorkeling, parasailing and water skiing in the beautiful blue Arabian sea.

Whether you like the sunny sea beaches or a cosy snowed in afternoon, winter is a pretty good time to travel. Make sure to pack clothes according to the weather of your destination – and more importantly pack in your sense of adventure!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

5 things men do to annoy women

Men are from Mars and women are from Venus goes the popular adage. And if relationship problems are to go by there are some things that women absolutely hate about men which eventually leads to the tiffs and fights. Here is a list of some of the habits that irks the ladies... Men should probably take a note and do something about these for their lady love. 1.Leaving towels on the floor – this one is a universal complaint. Men tend to have a bath and then leave their towels on the floor, instead of a perfectly good hook available to let the towel dry out, they wait for the women to pick it up and hang it for them. AND it is not only the floor; they leave wet towels on the bed, on the sofa, and on the nearest chair. 2.Saying inappropriate stuff at the wrong time - every time they do something wrong, like leaving the towels lying around, and you get angry – they say stuff like “Are you PMSing?” or “Is it your time of the month?”. It is almost as if you cannot get angry at anything they do. And if you actually do get pissed at something they have done, it is because you have a mood swing. 3.The party cook - men have this tendency to boast about how good they are in the kitchen because occasionally they make the chicken for a party or dinner at home. They use excessive ghee, cream, and masalas to add the extra zing, while leaving the woman to make the pastes, the sauces, the accompaniments, as well as clean and wash after him. And, of course, not realising once that the days she cooks, she is also taking care of nutrition and health and tries to use everything in moderation – plus cleans up after herself. They obviously don’t realise that making an occasional chicken is very different from cooking every day. 4.The technology superiority complex - every time a woman buys a new phone or a laptop; the men pretend to have an inbuilt manual for the product. Sometimes they are as clueless as the women, but nevertheless they don’t like to show that. Instead they hold on to the device for dear life and keep throwing random facts about it, from a website they have read in. They don’t realise that we women may already know how to use it, but men seem to completely ignore it. 5.Eyeing other women in your presence – it was annoying enough that men watch other women. But many men don’t stop even while their girlfriends are right next to them. It is insulting. Many even start complimenting the others about how they wear their clothes, notice their earrings and their make-up; while completely ignoring how much effort you put in to dress up yourself. And if the women don’t play along, they just say “You are jealous.” Jealousy be damned, it is a fact that you are with the person you love, so you men need to mind yourselves and keep your eyes on only your beloved – always.

Thursday, November 12, 2015


खाली सा आकाश है 
काला अंधेरा, काली रात। 
उड़ते परिंदो के कटते पैरों पर
काले खून के दागों से लिखी बंदिशें हैं । 
समुन्दर में ही डूब जाते हैं लफ्ज़, 
साहिलों पर सिर्फ रह जातें हैं 
मैले पैरो के निशान। 

एक काला चाँद है, 
झूठे वादे करता है। 
फिर लौटके आता है 
खुद ही दर्द से भरा हुआ। 
दर्द उढ़ेल के समुन्दर में, 
उफाने उठाता है, 
पत्थरों पर सर टकराता है। 

चाँद तुझसे दूर कहीं, 
आवाज़ काटके, मुँह बांधके, 
कुर्सी पर मैं बैठी हूँ। 
काले फूल बिखेर रहीं हूँ।  
खाली काले बंद  कमरों में, 
ईटें खरोच रही हूँ। 
कहीं कोई नज़्म उभर आये तेरी ही लिखी हुई। 

जलाकर बाकि तो राख़ कर ही दिया है मैंने
अब लौ बूझकर धुऐं से अपनी साँसे भर लूं।
राख़ करुँ जिस्म को, 
और तेरे अगले आवन पर, 
बंद कमरा पत्थरों से टकराकर 
समुन्दर में ही डूब जाये। 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Five things to do and see in Khajuraho

The temples of Khajuraho are world famous. Not only is the architecture spectacular but the erotic sculptures are intricate and it is a must visit place for anyone who loves art.

The name Khajuraho (Kharjuravahaka), is derived from ancient Sanskrit and according to legends the temples used to have two golden date-palm trees as their gate.

The Hindu temples and their art
Khandarya Mahadeva (Shiva temple) and Chaturbhuja and Ramachandra temples (Vaishnav temples) are not only beautiful but are also architectural wonders as no mortar was used to join the sandstones. Among the artwork, some are erotic and experts suggest that the reason for erotic art in temples are depictions of Tantric sexual practices. Others suggest that this was the king's way of inspiring people to be involved in family life. They are the main attraction of the temple cluster.

Jain Temples
The Jain temples which are located on southeast region of the Khajuraho monuments were made for the flourishing Jain communities, during the Chandela rule. The temples have sprawling architecture mimicking the main temple structures. But the subject of the sculptures are adapted to the Jain sensibilities.

Sound and Light
The main temple complex offers a sound and light show every evening in both English and Hindi. Held in the open lawns the show is informative as well as entertaining. The history of Khajuraho is briefly told in the show and it is voiced by none other than Amitabh Bachchan.

Dance festival
Every February The Khajuraho Dance Festival is held in the town featuring various Indian classical dance forms. Imagine dancers performing their art against the backdrop of the Chitragupta or Vishwanath Temples, almost as if the Apsaras of heaven have descended on earth to enchant the mortals.

The food in Khajuraho will surprise many. Most hotels offer and Bed & Breakfast and most of it will have an American or European cuisine on their menus. There are beautiful roof top restaurants that offer pastas and pizzas that can give any big hotel in metropolitans a run for their money. There are bakeries and sandwich shops scattered all around. But all this does not mean that Khajuraho does not have Indian cuisine on its platter. Many a restaurants will offer delectable Indian cuisine as well.

Pic Duladeo Temple
Pic Courtesy - Wikipedia 
(This article first appeared on )

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Durga Puja special: Nine forms of Shakti

Maha Navratri or the Sharad Navratri is celebrated during the advent of winters in India.During this time, the nine forms of Durga or the nine forms of Shakti – energy - are prayed to by different communities.

Manifestations of the ever powerful goddess are three - Mahasaraswati, Mahalakshmi and Mahakal. They are the Shaktis of Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra respectively without whom the trinity is incomplete.


Goddess Durga means ‘The inaccessible’ or ‘the invincible’. She is the most popular incarnation and is one of the main forms of Shakti. Durga was manifested to destroy Mahishasur, who had the boon that no man could destroy him. Gifted by the gods, with different powers and weapons, Durga is a form of Adi Shakti.

Mantra - Om Aim Hreem Kleem Durga Devyai Namah


Bhadrakali means Mahamaya Kali. She is worshipped in Kerala and she is associated with the Keralian Martial Arts - Kalarippayattu. She is supposed to be born to Shiva to destroy ‘Daruka’.
Lokanarkavu Temple is dedicated to Bhadrakali. She is the main centre of the ‘Shakt’ sect of hindu Goddess worship in the southern India.

Mantra - Om Glaum Bhadrakalyai Namah


The famous Mookambika Temple on the banks of the never drying river Sauparnika in Karnataka, is the home to the goddess Mookambika. The goddess is called Mookambika as she is said to have slain the demon Mookasura. The idol of Chandramaulishvara is said to have been installed by Shri Adi Shankara. The idol is the Jyotirlinga Signifying both Shiva and Ambika Devi.

Mantra - Om Sarvashaktyaika Roopashree Mookaambikaayai Namo Namah


Amba Ma or Divine Mother represents the power of the Supreme Being that preserves moral order and righteousness in the creation. She is a composite goddess who includes different elements of many Gods and Goddesses. She stands for motherhood and all the positive energy in the universe.

Mantra - ‘Om Ambe Ambike Ambaalike Na Manayati Kashchana,
Saa Satyaashwakaah Subhadrikaam Kampilyavaasinim’


Annapurna is the Hindu goddess of nourishment. ‘Anna’ means grains and ‘Purna’ means ‘Complete’ or ‘whole’. It is said that she does not eat a morsel unless all her devotees have been fed in her temple. She is the residing deity at Kashi, Banaras.

Mantra was composed by Adi Shankaracharya called the Sri Annapurna.

Mantra - Kasi Puraadheeshvari, Bhikshaam Dehi,
Kripa-Valambana-Karee, Mata Annapurnesvari


Bhairavi is the fierce facet of the Divine Goddess, indistinguishable from Kali, except as the companion of the Bhairava – Form of Shiva. She is also called Shubhamkari, good mother to good people and terrible to bad ones. She is especially important in Occult practices and is a powerful goddess of Tantra vidya.

Mantra - Om Bhairavi Saham


Chandi or Chandika’s reference originates in Bengal which is the prime seat of the ‘Shakt’ sect. To defeat Mahisasur, all the energies of the Gods came together, throwing out blaze in all directions. The unique light, permeated the three universes with its shine, combined into one, and became a female form. Her actual name is believed to be Chandraghanta

Mantra - Om Aim Hreem Kleem Chaamundaayai Vicche


Tripurasundari is known by many names such as Lalita, Sodasi, Rajarajeshwari and others. Tripurasundari is the primary goddess associated with the ‘Shakta’ Tantric tradition‘ - Sri Vidya. Her name means ‘Beautiful in all the Three Worlds’, and the Indian state of Tripura derives its name from the goddess. She is also worshipped as the Sri Yantra.

Mantra – Om Mahaa Tripurasundaryai Namah


Bhavani or ‘giver of life", is the power of nature or the source of creative energy. She is also known as Karunaswaroopini meaning - one who is merciful. Ma Bhavani was the tutelary deity of the Maratha leader Shivaji. She is a Kul Devi for many Maharashtrians surpassing castes of the state.

According to mythology, a demon by name Matanga caused destruction upon the gods and humans who approached Bramha for help and upon his advice turned to the Mother Goddess Shakti, who took up the form of the destroyer,

Mantra – Bhavaani Bhavaani Bhavaani Trivaaram Udaaram Mudaa Sarvadaa Ye Japanti,
Na Shokam Na Moham Na Paapam Na Bheetih Kadaachit Kathanchit Kutashchijjanaanaam

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Durga Puja: Significance of each day of the festival

Durga Pratima at Milani (MC&WA) Puja in Delhi
Durga Puja and Navratra are simultaneously celebrated all over India, just before the advent of winters and is therefore known as Sharad Navratra. It is the time of the year when the mood of festivities catches on like wild fire and everybody regardless of who they are and where they are in India join the celebration. Durga Puja is the celebration of the Goddess in all her different forms. Whether it is called Navratra or Durga Puja, the ten days are days of reverence to the woman who is pure energy – without whom even the gods cannot sustain.

The festivities Durga Puja last for ten days, however the main rituals are conducted only for the last four days. Each day of Durga Puja has a special significance and the preparation for the festivals begin months before the festival.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The story of Lord Ganesh

Ganesh — Vighna vinayak — the destroyer of obstacles.

There are many legends surrounding the Elephant God scattered around Vedic verses and the Puranas. Different versions of tales make sure that the fascination about Ganpati doesn’t dwindle. Some of the stories are as significant today as they were in the old times.

The Birth of Ganesh and the elephant head

Goddess Parvati, once alone at home, created Ganesh out of her cleansing paste, and told him to stand guard while she took a bath. Ganesh being devoted stood guard, refusing to even let Shiva inside who was unaware of Ganesh’s motive.

Soon heavy battle ensued as both Gods refused to relent. Shiva in his anger threw his Trishul (trident) at the young boy, and his head was immediately cut off/severed and flung afar.

Parvati was aghast and bereaved when she saw her son lying dead at the hands of her husband. To console her Shiva sent out his army in search of the first head that can restore their son. They found the head of a dying elephant and the head was attached. He blew life into the young elephant headed god and blessed him with wisdom and strength.

Shani and the birth of Ganesh

Another story about the birth of Ganesh is that Parvati prayed to Vishnu for one year for a child. Lord Vishnu bestowed the goddess with a son, and all the Gods and Goddesses came together to celebrate the birth of the child.

Shani, the son of Surya (Sun God) was reluctant as he was cursed with a destroying glance. But at insistence of other Gods, he looked and immediately the child lost his head.

To save the child Shiva went looking for another head. He found a dying elephant who offered his head to the lord. Shiva immediately joined the headless body of the child with that of the elephant’s and Gajanan (One with the face of an elephant, another name for Ganesh) was brought back to life.

The Story of Vakratunda

Matsaryasur, a demon once meditated and chanted to Shiva to grant him immortality. Pleased with his devotion Shiva blessed Matsaryasur that he shall not be destroyed by any human, God or demon. Drunk with power and fearless of death, the asur soon conquered the three worlds — heaven, earth, and paataal.

He started to create problems for Srishti (creation) altogether. The gods prayed for mercy so they could be saved from the atrocities of the demon. Finally Ganesh, the remover of obstacles, took the form of Vakratunda and captured Matsaryasur.

In fear of Ganesh’s immense strength, Matsara begged for forgiveness. The Vakratunda form forgave him and set him free on the condition that he will not trouble the Gods again. Peace was restored once again in the three lokas.

Ganesh and the Cursed Moon

Ganapati was once offered a lot of laddus (modaks) and was unable to walk after eating all of them. He started to ride his Vaahan the Mooshak (mouse). Suddenly a snake appeared on the way. The mouse, frightened by the snake, started running away and Ganesh fell off.

Amused by all this the Moon mocked the young God. In anger Ganesh broke away one of his tusks and threw it at the moon, breaking it off, and cursed him that within 15 days the moon will fade away. He also said that whoever saw the moon on Ganesh Chathurthi would be mocked and falsely accused.

Terrified the Moon prayed to Shiva, who made the curse lighter and said that with the beginning of every month the curse will work and the moon will fade, and in the next 15 days the moon will get back its brightness.

The Pride of Kuber

Kuber, the lord of wealth, was proud and disdainful of Shiva due to his poverty and simple life. To mock him further, he invited Shiva to eat at his palace at a feast with other Gods and Goddesses.

Shiva declined but offered that Ganesh (his son) go instead. Kuber was happy to accept, and invited the young Ganesh for the feast.

Ganesh asked for food as soon as he reached the feast. Kuber gave him tasty servings of dishes. Ganesh finished his food and asked for more. Kuber gave him a second helping and then a third. Soon all the food prepared for all the guests was over, and Ganesh still asked for more. Soon Ganesh had devoured all the food in Kuber’s kitchen and went for the food in the city. Kuber was aghast, and frightened that if Ganesh was not appeased soon, he will destroy the entire city. He ran to Kailash and begged Shiva for a solution.

Shiva told him to give a handful of roasted rice to Ganesh, but with humility and love. Kuber fell at Ganesh’s feet and gave him the offering, thus also burying his pride.

The Story of Kaveri

South India was stricken with drought and Agastya Muni started praying at Kailash to Shiva for relief. Shiva gave some of the holy Ganga water flowing from his hair to the sage to help south India. Agastya held the water in a pot and carried on his journey to the south.

The sage reached south India after a strenuous journey and stopped to rest. Unknown to him, the young Ganesh had followed him. Curious he took the form of a crow and tipped the pot. The water touched the land and blossomed into a river. And lord Ganesh blessed the land that the water will not dry again, hence saving the land and the people.

The place of origin of Kavery is called Taalkaveri. Kaveri is also called ‘Ganga of the south’ for the same reason.

Ganesh and his universe

Once the gods gave Parvati a Modak of wisdom and knowledge to give to her son, on the condition that it cannot be split. Parvati was in a fix and asked Shiva for help. The God and Goddess decided to test their children so they could be fair.

They asked both their sons, Kartik (also called Skanda or Murugan) and Ganapati to encircle the universe three times and whoever wins shall win the Modak.

Kartik immediately rode out on his peacock to encircle the universe. Ganesh simply rode on his mouse and took three rounds of his parents knowing that the two constitute the entire cosmology.

Happy with his love and devotion Shiva and Parvati gave the Laddu to the young Ganesh, who is known as the god of knowledge and wisdom.

Ganesh and Mahabharat

The great sage Vyaas wanted to tell the tale of Mahabharat and wanted someone to write it down as he dictates. He prayed to Ganesh and pleaded him to write it as he dictates.

Ganesh agreed but on one condition. He said that he will write it only if the sage does not stop composing it. Vyaas was in a dilemma, nevertheless he asked the Lord that he agreed but on the condition that Ganesh promised to understand every verse before he wrote it down.

Rishi Vyaas made some complex compositions for Ganesh to write down, and as the God took is time to understand those verses before writing, the sage composed the next few lines.

Thus the epic was written.

Brothers to Drishyam: It's time B-Town moved on from Goa, everyone else has

Holiday thrill seekers have had a unique relationship with Goa. Since the early 80s, the state (then a union territory) has topped the list of vacation favourites for Indians. Why restrict to just our countrymen? Foreigners too have headed to Goa, after landing in India, to spend breezy evenings in beer shacks and their mornings strolling around the beautiful beaches.

The middle class though, was introduced to the love for Goa through the big screens. No denying that Bollywood is the biggest trend-setter in the country. Though it all started with Raj Kapoor's Bobby, it was Rishi Kapoor romancing Dimple Kapadia in Saagar that made sure that honeymooners headed for the picturesque locales, sidelining their previous favourite - Kashmir. Westerners, on the other hand, were in love with the lazy tropical mindset of Goans. This was one place where they could have cocktail parties and sunbathe without the fear of offending the locals.