Tag Archives: India

The Karma Yoga

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Lord Krishna instructing the Bhagavad Gita to ...

Lord Krishna instructing the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna in Kurukshetra. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

Namaste Everyone.

 

Apologies for being so irregular with my posts.  May be my initial excitement of writing about my city evaporated too quickly and also I got swayed from my starting point of interest ‘Local Food & Flavors of Jaipur’ .

 

I felt jammed and stationary, no inspiration, no words.

 

But nothing stagnated except me.  The Doodhwala (milkman) arrived everyday in his whitish cotton Dhoti-kurta  right on time no matter how chilly the morning was; the modest street dogs never stopped running around in the street; the wandering cows never seemed unhappy; the Dhobi family (a young couple &  3 children) came everyday to open their wooden desk workstation, tirelessly steam-pressing cloths of the neighborhood  and earning a livelihood.

 

Only I seemed to have all the big valid reasons in the world not to write.

 

Just then I read this Shloka from Bhagavad-Gita as it says:

 

“Perform your prescribed duty, for action is better than inaction.  A man cannot even maintain his physical body without work.”

Even my lovely city kept getting older, bigger and stuffed with every passing moment.  It got 286 years old this year.   A home for almost 67 lakh people and may be the same number of birds & animals.

And I missed out writing about so many interesting things.

So with hopes and inspiration renewed I hope to come up with some interesting posts soon.

Till then.  Bye.

 

 

 

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Wonder shops of Jaipur

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Wonder shops of Jaipur

Do you wonder what a world!!

I always wonder.

I love to admit that I am still mesmerized by the world… Even if it is just my world that I’m considering-where I’ve been eating, walking, sleeping, feeling, I think living.  Jaipur has so much to offer to a storyteller (that I wish I was), to a camera, to anybody who loves life.  It is definitely (and thank God) not a night city.  It is a day city, wakes early-sleeps early.  In winters very early.  The only thing that can make a Jaipurwala remain awake is either Diwali or a Marriage party.  We don’t waste our good-night-sleep for any damn thing except that.

zaika 025If you feel it seems very very conservative–may be it is.  But fortunately my city doesn’t seem to be a part of the blind race of becoming LA, Dubai, Bangkok or some great ‘Night-life-wonder’.  It is just Jaipur. An old fashioned, laid back, non-happening city but nice.   Interestingly it seems to be rejecting pub culture or discos and multiplying the new genre of festivals.  Food, fashion, jewelery, craft, art, music, dance, literature.

There is one coming in January ’13 –Jaipur literature festival.

Jaipur Lit Fest

Jaipur Lit Fest (Photo credit: Paras Chopra)

And surprisingly, even for the most non- happening ones (like myself) it still has something.  Like our Wonder Bazaars.

See this shop full of beautiful brass utensils.  brass iteam shopsThe other day, I was strolling in the markets (for no good reason), just for pleasure.  And to my delight I crossed these tiny shops with millions of utensils stuffed like brass flowers.

Enlarge the image to see the items in close–tongs, diyas, temple bells, wind-chimes, what not all.  Wonderful craftsmanship.

If you ever visit to Jaipur,  make sure to come to Tripolia Bazaar for these wonder utensils.

The bazaars are a visual delight.  But do watch your step!.

Enjoy! Be Safe! Be Happy!

Good Day!

Post Diwali Darkness..

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Lighting during the Tihar Festival season.

Lighting during the Tihar Festival season. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been struggling to understand the significance of festivals all my life.  I created this blog because of this reason only.  I thought I’ll share the magnificence of the celebrations.  The importance festivals have in our lives rather in our culture.  How, why, when, where?  And in the quest I realized that I know too little to offer the world.

Past 18 days precisely saw 5 days of massive celebration of Diwali and almost a whole month of shopping extravaganza–for everybody.   All during this time I felt like writing about this, that, what, not!! But everytime ended up pondering, why celebrate anyways.  There is so much of hatred in the world, so much of poverty, millions of people who have nothing and here we are spending exuberantly on firecrackers, lighting, clothes, jewellery, sweets, flowers…….just name it!!

I keep asking people what makes them spend so much.  All say we want to celebrate.  It is once a year (Really so?). It is a family  get-together time. It is the biggest festival of India.  It is significant for Hindus (…) !!  Ya ! Ya !  Agreed.

But a simple answer came from my mother.  ‘It is time to celebrate life’.   ‘To forget the miseries and celebrate the beauty and blessings of Life.’

Truly all we want is–happiness and if we don’t get it, we make it.  Festivals are more or less like this.  We create happiness, at least we create a stage for happiness.  We greet-meet (deliberately). We engage in gatherings.  We invite for card parties.  We dress up (best). We just do anything & everything to make ourselves happy. Only US.

Yes, only Us.  Though in the process we make a lot of other people happy too.  but primarily it is only we that we want happy.

English: An oil lamp made of clay used for the...

English: An oil lamp made of clay used for the diwali festival in India (Haryana). Deutsch: Eine indische Öllampe aus Ton während des Diwali-Festes in Haryana. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All these celebrations are just to put away the hatred, we have for the people around, aside and light the lamp of hope and love.

But forget not there is always darkness underneath the lamp.

Just as this old Hindi proverb says ” Deepak Tale Andhera”

Happy Diwali.!

Cheers for Life.!!

Lok Rang — Folk Dance Festival

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Lok Rang — Folk Dance Festival

 

Namascar Everyone!

As I told you there is no ease to celebrations here in Jaipur.  Sweet winters have knocked on the doors of the city and thus begin the season of exhibitions.  Starting from October and resting sometime in January, Jaipur will see  a series Handicraft exhibitions and cultural fests.  Just enough to keep the Jaipurwalas and the tourists busy all winter.   Check this link below for the glimpse of Lok Rang the Folk Dance Festival 2012 that commemorated day before yesterday at The Jawahar Kala Kendra, our local cultural center.

http://jaipur.co/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/lokrang-celebration-in-jaipur/jkk7.jpg

No no this is no Halloween party, these artists are dressed in different mythological characters.  Here in India people know the characters by the way they are dressed.   Every mythological character has distinctive dressing style and it remains same in every story (almost thousand).  Well they  supposedly wore Divya Vastra  that is the divine clothing (doesn’t require dry-cleaning!!)

These artists are depicting some or the other divinity.   It would be too early right now to tell their mythological names and their respective stories.  But don’t worry will be sharing more with different contexts.

Its been 19 years since this festival started.  A nine-day long celebration comprising of evening performances by folk dancers from all over India, art & craft bazaar (market) and most of all lovely regional food stalls.

The place, Jawahar Kala Kendra has a model village with rural ambiance.  It is a hub for folk culture, Indian art, theater, exhibitions.  You’ll find exquisite handicrafts, local jewellery, furniture, paintings, traditional clothing, local toys.

For more photographs of the first day of the Dance Festival click the link below.

Lokrang-2012

I will be back with fresh photos and news from the festival soon.

Till then Namascar.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Happy Day!

Durga!! Durga!!

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Durga!! Durga!!

Durga! Durga!

Indian Exclamation (particularly Bengali) of saying O My God.! Though all Indians swear their words with God, but I just love the way a Bengali says–Durga Durga.  It sounds like–Dugga! Dugga!.

Rich Red–Color of strength..

I love the richness of culture that the people of my country bring in together.
There are characters (millions) each unique, with their own values, their views, their own feelings & expression.

People fill a land with vibrations.  An old Indian saying is, “Feelings make a stone turn into  God”. Meaning, a place of worship is sacred because of the feelings that are attached to it..

Day before yesterday was the last day for Navratri and fortunately I got the opportunity to visit the Puja Pandal  i.e. the community celebration of Bengali Hindus to worship Goddess Durga.  The first thing that hits when you enter an Indian worship place is ‘smell’.  The strong smell of Dhoop (a complex mixture of powdered wood with Indian sacred plants) enters yours nostrils and reach deep in.. It was all smoky, dense and mystical.

Bengali Celebrations are quite musical (well so are most of the other Indian celebrations) .  The devotees were tapping their feet and swaying in the loud, soul-churning music of Dhol and Kartaal.  

swaying crowd

It started with slow beats and kept on rising, rising..

Men & women were dancing.  Even the priest was matching the beat while swaying the  Diya (fire lamp) in circular motion to the Deities.

I felt like dancing myself.  Difficult to control a beat so powerful.  Unfortunately, I was not carrying my camera and thus I missed some beautiful shots.

It was almost a forty minute long puja. Amazing I must say.  An experience must to have.  I  always believed that if we don’t feel religious we shouldn’t do all these rituals.  But to experience the spiritual aspect of a thing, we need to let go of ourselves with the swing.

Forgetting of who you are and what you are doing at the present moment lets your soul  Feel.

With this blog I am trying to do the same. I am closing my eyes to the world that my eyes see and let my soul perceive..

Some may feel I am  overly in love with my surrounding. But that is what I am.

Loving the city that I once wanted to leave and settle elsewhere.

Loving the celebrations that I used to avoid as a teenager.

Loving everything that I missed out seeing and experiencing while being too busy becoming a person.

Good Day to All!!

Taste of Jaipuri Sweets–LMB

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Taste of Jaipuri Sweets–LMB

Welcome to the most favorite and world famous shop of traditional sweets in Jaipur, LMB the Laxmi Misthan Bhandar.

Phirnis  and Ghewar

Authentically Rajasthani Sweets.

Misthan as in Hindi means sweet dishes.   This store opened its door with this Brand name in the year 1957.  And since then it has been the landmark of Jaipur.

I bet every tourist that visits Jaipur, comes to LMB.  This picture shows the pile of Phirnis in front and Paneer Ghewar behind.

These below are traditional Rasgullas.

Rasgullas

They are small balls made of freshly curdled milk and flour, then soaked in sugar syrup.

A variety is available throughout India. Different version and different shapes are found in various parts of the country.

Here first in the row is Rose flavored, second is plain white, third is Kesar (Saffron) flavored and the fourth is a brother of Rasgulla— Gulab Jamun.

Glimpse of the shop.

I was accompanying a group of friends from Mumbai and was mesmerized as always.  Though my frequency to the shop is like twice in a month(minimum) but I am always happy going there.  Colorful Mithais, lovely crispy savories they have so much to offer.

Apart from sweets they have a full restaurant serving traditional meals.

This shop is situated in Johari Baazar, the whole of  market has either traditional Saree shops or Jewelry shops.  Johari in Hindi means Jeweler.  The master plan of the city that took its initial shape sometime in the year 1727, has three parallel markets. The Johari Baazar, the Chaura Raasta and the Kishanpol Baazar .

Wish to see the colors… Come and see here.

This  click is from one of the many many Saree shops that you’ll witness in Jaipur.

Traditional Indian Wear–Saree.

See the colors.

Colors compliment the sandy background of Rajasthan.

For us colors signify the essential beauty of life, which has uncountable shades.

These are traditional Leheriya sarees-a tie & dye method in which a mustard seed is used to make intricate designs and patterns.

Jaipur’s another famous thing– the Gota Work, i.e. borders made of golden colored threads.

Traditional Gota Patti Work

It is widely used in all ethnic wear.

Again something very typical of Jaipur.  The artisans work really hard to make these beautiful designs.

The Gota Patti Work

Festivals here are all about sweets and colors…  wear beautiful colors, eat and be merry..

Happy Day!

Confusions in the middle of festivals..

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Confusions in the middle of festivals..

Festivities are never at ease in India.
Festival holidays are much more than the total number of Sundays in a YEAR.

Ya! You are reading right..

Now as the Navaratri begins, quite a number of communities are involved in making preparations for upcoming religious ceremonies.

Nava-ratri are literally two words–first nava which is a Sanskrit word that means NINE and ratri means NIGHTS.

Nine Nights of Puja (rituals) and Celebrations. Though the Deity that is worshiped is same Devi Durga (Goddess of Power), but it takes different celebration in different communities and groups.

For the Gujrati Community Navaratri means Garba (Traditional Dance festival); for Bengali Community the Durga Puja is all the most important; for Punjabi Community nine day Sthapana (bringing the idol home and doing the rituals) of the Goddess.  Same is for Jaipur, for nine whole days the Goddess is worshiped in almost every hindu household. On the ninth day a feast is prepared and nine girls that symbolically represent the Nav-Rupa (nine-forms) of the Goddess are invited and offered food and gifts.

It is much more confusing to be there in the middle of these festivals and almost COMPULSORY celebrations, than what I’ve tried to write above.

Honestly, the celebration fever here is so high and so infectious that I bet if anyone can resist..  This is the time that the city witnesses the most heavy tourist traffic.

The markets are going colorful.

The houses are repainted.

The temples are being decorated.

The deities are smiling.

The ladies are busy making traditional festival sweets & savories.

The news papers and magazines are trying to compile best recipes for the festive season.

Everyone seems necessarily happy.

Well, the list is tooooo long. I can’t write in one post, look for my upcoming posts.  Also I’ll be trying to bring some pics of city’s celebrations colors.  As India is nothing without its colors and surely nothing without its CELEBRATIONS…..

Have a Happy Day!

Shraada and the food for the departed Souls..

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Shraada and the food for the departed Souls..

Greetings Everyone!  Namaste

This time of the year is significant for Indian Hindu Community in many ways.  The fifteen day long Shraada Paksha is ending and Navratra is to begin with the next new moon.

The Hindu Calender is different from the World Calender.  It varies and has a complex system to determine the days of different occasions, festivals, etc.

Shraada Paksha are the days to remember the family members who have passed away and offer traditional delicacies to the spirit world.   The meals are strictly vegetarian and special.  Though, we keep in mind some personal favorites of the person whom we are remembering, but major part of the menu is common in every household.  It is then first offered to a Brahmin (usually a temple priest) and then shared amongst the family members.Though this is not a complete 'Thali' as it lacks a few more delicacies, but this is picture of simplicity in our food. .

Interestingly, a share of the meal is offered to a crow, as Indian Mythology states that after death the human soul first gets into the life of a crow.

And so this not-so-happy looking and not-much loved bird get his day and his share of royal treatment.  Surely for 15 full days in a year!!

But the best part is to find a CROW and make him have his meal!! As they seem to be holidaying in some unknown place-where men are not running behind their lives to have PURIES.

Though,we all enjoy these days as this is not a mourning time.  But yes it is not considered auspicious time for anything: be it shopping, be it partying, be it MARRYING, or be it starting a NEW VENTURE.

Well, Well, Well!!!

Don’t worry, at least there is one good thing.

FOOD.

So enjoy!

Have a Great Sunday!

The Importance of Self Improvement-Part2

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Went for an early morning walk.

The much required thing for me (at least).  It is a quiet time and usually un-interrupted.  Except for a few dozen of cows that stray on the street munching, mooing, waving their tales incessantly.

And those brown skinny Indian dogs–with waging tales.

Well for (most) people of India that’s not an interruption at all.   I love these ever cheerful dogs, these multi-coloured cows with saintly looks.   And keep wondering what goes inside their heads. One thing is for sure–they don’t seem unhappy.

So are they happy all the time?

  They must be!  They don’t seem to spend on fitness centers, organic exotic vegetables, Protein Shakes to become fit looking, supposedly happy entities.

Seems like they are at least happy with their physical state.  Have you ever seen an ugly, fat or skinny cow?  They all seem to look the same–plump and content with life.

Why there is so much pressure these days to be GOOD LOOKING?

Don’t Know.!

Does anybody know?

But we believe,  just like that farmer who was carrying a baby goat on his shoulder and met four different people who told him that he should be crazy carrying a dog on his shoulder.

He couldn’t disbelieve four people.

So do we believe, that looking GOOD has everything to do with our happiness.

No offense against the fitness lovers.

But concepts take a fashion shape these days.

Everybody wants to follow.

And moreover, wants everybody to follow.

And so we believe.

Osho says, “There is nothing more suicidal than belief.  One thing you have to definitely understand is that to believe, to believe blindly, to accept silently with closed eyes, has been the basic reason why your lives have been crippled until now.”

So today, I just wish to relish my breakfast and feel peaceful- just as that cow who would rather count the flies she shooed off her belly than counting the calories she is eating.!

Happy Breakfast !  Good Day!