Common Wealth Games And The Cultural Fiesta

October 29, 2010
It seems talking about Common Wealth Games is so passe now!  Nevertheless, I want to share some scanned images of handouts etc depicting the cultural fiesta the city was enjoying during the Common Wealth Games (phew! now I got time!).  In fact, we the Dilliwalas were visible all over the places from music concerts to exhibitions and not to forget the food festival.  No trace of tourists of other countries!


Shriram Bhartiya Kala Kendra showed a dramatic presentation of Ramayana.



Live music concert at Qutub Minar Complex



These were the singers who rocked the crowd, huge crowd! Two singers performed each evening.



So, during the games Dehi Govt had organised a variety of activities for promotion of culture of the city.  You had to pick up things of your choice.  You could enjoy live musical concerts, ghazals, Qawallis, food festival, book exhibition of Common Wealth countries, photo exhibitions (See Dilli Nama Pics - An exhibition on Delhi)

 You could enjoy the Ho-Ho ride (Hop on Hop off ride),  and visit the historical places of Delhi.  The known and unknown historial monuments were lit up, the museums, which are many in Delhi (I love them) were also showcasing the rich heritage of the country.  Also, the Nehru Planetarium, which was closed for quite some time for renovation was opened for public sometime on beginning of October. It's a must watch place, I will catch it up soon with my kids.

There were some very useful handouts and brochers given out by Delhi Government, which serve as a guide to the historial monuments and museums and other places of tourist attaractions.  Not just for foreigners, but even for the residents of Delhi, they will serve a great purpose, especially, if you a parent or are interested in visiting places apart from malls and PVRs.  I somehow love to go to such places where you get to learn something.  See the scanned pic of the map, though a small fragment it is, the map was huge.



And this is the pic of Nehru Stadium, which of course looked amazing! The purple colour as seen would change to different hues and it being huge, was visible for a great distance too

And let me share that the Youth Festival, ie Live Band performances and classical performances are still on in the Central Park of Connaught Place of Delhi.

Hope other Delhites too enjoyed the time, as I did.  If you are a Delhite, share your experience.



RESTLESS

Dilli Nama - A Photo Exhibition On Delhi


During the Common Wealth Games, I visited this photo exhibition called "Dilli Nama".   Actually being a Delhite at heart, it always interests me to know the history of the place.  This exhibition was organized by Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC) at India Habitat Centre and Red Fort.  The one I visited was India Habitat Centre.  It was a treat for the eyes as it showed the so very different facets of Delhi be it colonial, migrant, old, cultural, sufi or the new face of Delhi.  The pictures of refugee Delhi was also touching. Have a look...


The exhibition was a collage of drawings, photographs and replicas of certain areas of Delhi showed the vast diversity of the city.

So, this is Delhi!


This is how the exhibition looked like



Well, this was an intersting question asked? "Dilli Kiski ?"


Delhi does not really have it's speciality in handicraft items, but is a beautiful fusion of art and hadicrafts from all the States of the India









The three faces of Delhi - Old, sarkari and millenium!


Enjoy!

RESTLESS

PS - All pics clicked by me for a change!



Karva Chauth - A Modern View On The Ancient Ritual

October 27, 2010
As I sit facing my PC, my henaed fingers are striking on the key board making my pink coloured glass bangles jingle sweetly.  My pink chiffon saree with floral embroidery, slides off my left arm, as I loosen the strap of my high heeled sandals to concentrate on this post of mine. It is Karva Chauth, the festival hugely glamorised and popularized by Bollywood.  So I am in my traditional best, sharing the customs and rituals associated with it.

I don't hesitate to say that I am, well ehmm (!!), a modern woman who can handle stilletoes and cotton sarees with equal elan.  I, like many of the women internet users here, would read the historial background of this immensly popular fast kept for the well being of one's husband on internet, in English and will be equally attentive while the neighbourhood auntiji will narrate the Vrat Katha during the pooja in the evening, when all the married women of the locality dressed up in bright colours and jewellery would sit in a circle and sing a traditional song rotating the Thalis (plates) containing sweets and fruits for their mother-in-law (MIL).

Also, I don't mind saying that even this occasion will not go without my scurtinizing it nice and proper!  I am traditional enough to dress up and fast the whole day for the long life of my husband but I am very much a woman of this age who would mould the rituals as per her liking and convenience (without affecting the very spirit of the occasion). (Like I skipped the parantha and had bread in sergi)

And above all, I am non-conformist enough to question the very faith, the very mythological tale behind the ritual of this fasting. And later in the post, I want to question why does the Indian husband not fast for his wife?

But, first let me give you a bit of the background.


The fast of Karva Chauth is observed by married women and sometimes by unmarried girls for praying for getting a good groom!

States of India observing this tradition are Delhi, UP, Rajasthan, Gujrat, Himachal Pradesh etc.  Although in different states of India, this kind of fasting exists with various names like - Teej, Vat Savitri Puja, Mahashivaratri, Gangaur Pooja, Varalakshmi Vratham etc.

The rituals of Karva Chauth - Women fast from dawn to dusk without food or water.  Before sunrise, women bathe and dress up (do shringar) and have food, sweets, fruits given by the mother-in-law (it's called Sergi).  In the evening, it's community pooja for many people, and many perform the pooja at home.  But the community ritual is more prominent where, women sit in a circle and rotate the thalis seven times, singing the vrat song.  One elderly woman would sit in the middle of the circle, with some pooja material and a doll  made from dough, and will narrate the story to the women.  Afterwards, after seeing the moon and one's husband (Pati Parmeshwar!), the women would break their fast. (And, this I need not elaborate upon, as this has been shown in the movies so many times!  It's so mushy mushy and romantic na?!)

The idiosyncracies - Mehandi (Hena), glass bangles, jewellery, and bright coloured sarees are a kind of a must for this festival.  Women should not touch a knife or scissors or needles throughout the day.

How it could have started?  Karva Chauth could have started when men would go out fight in battles or work in different place for long and women would worry and pray for their well being.

The Story behind the fasting is a little unclear.  I have heard different narrations of the tale.  So, things are not so fixed that way.  But only thing is common that it was the two mistakes of the woman Veeravati which makes her loose her husband twice - once to death and the second time to another woman, the maid servant!  So, the story is a way to teach women a moral lesson of virtue and tolerance.

The story in brief, this girl Veeravati (veera) goes to her parent's place on her first Karva Chauth (so, if she was also observing this fast, then this tale can't be the origin of the ritual).  Her loving brothers light some fire and show the glow in the sky, saying that it was moon, so that she could break the fast and eat something.  They did it out of affection for their younger sister.  But, because Veeravati breaks the fast, her husband dies. (So, the fear factor put in the fast)

He not just dies, but has hundreds of needs pierced in his body (was he some Bhishma Pitamah?!) The poor girl prays to Shiva and Parvati and goes on taking those needles till it is next Karva Chauth (she kept a corpse at home for one year). But as the last needle is left on her husband's body (who is a king too), she goes to buy Karva (a earthern little pot) for her fast.  And the clever (or was she helping) maid pulls out the last needle.

The king regains conciousness and takes the maid as his wife (he had some memory loss too it seems!).  The poor Veeravati waits and fasts, with a lot of tolerance.

Once, when the king was going out, he asks his wife and maid, what do they want?  The wife (actually the maid) asks for jewellery and the maid (actually the wife) asks for a doll.  Veeravati keeps saying this story of changed roles to the doll (Rani became Goli, Goli became Rani, goli probably was the name of the maid).  When the curious king asks about it, Veera tells the truth.  Now the king realises his mistake (Oh,now!) and accepts Veera as her queen.


Religion and Fear -  If we really see that religion or rather religious practices have been as such which have put physiologial and emotional pressure on women to follow them.  Somewhere women have been given a lower berth.  Women, wanting a good husband would fast, wanting the welfare of husband or children would fast, chant mantras, pray, visit temples.  Women somewhere have been idolized as someone capable of these divine practices or sacrifices,  while men kept themselves away from him humdrum.  I have heard about men performing Yagnas or poojas only as a profession or familial occupation ie., priests or pujaris.

Fasting in Today's context -

In the current context, when rituals, customs, even true spirits of festivals have got subdued or diminished, and when only some symbolic gestures are left, which our generation doesn't even understand or does it just for fun.  How come then, such a rigorous fasting ritual has sustained the test of time, this surprises me!  In fact, it does not.  Our movies have definitely added a certain glamour to it and we should not forget that there is a number of retailing and service sector associated with women, which benefit from this custom. These could have been the factors for making this a popular ritual.

Karva Cchauth is the time for shopping for self and mother-in-law. Gifts include heavy sarees, gold and diamond jewellery.  Then women want their matching sandals, jewellery, glass bangles, bindis, cosmetics, hair accessories and flowers to dress up.  Also, this is a booming time for beauty parlours as they offer special "Karva Chauth packages"!  Skin clinics for hair reduction, skin upliftment, wrinkle corrector shots, specialised facials are the service areas which florish during this festive time.

And if you are not aware of the price tag, let me tell you that the humble Mehandi on both hands costs Rs 800/- on a day before KC, in prominent markets.

Physiological effect - Imagine, a woman on fast cooks for the whole family, feeds them but remains hungry herself.  But, the husband gets some spiritual high of being born a male! When women are working as hard as the men are, then does this ancient ritual, dating back to the time when women were not working outside, needs a relook and some updation with changing times? 

Is there something religious left in it? I doubt.  sometimes love :) but mostly expectation from family or fear of some bad consequence makes women stick to the fasting, only to be left comparing and counting the gold bangles worn by other women are wearing during the pooja!  For the wealthy, it's a show off time also.

The Metrosexual Man still likes to be treated as a semi God - The aarti utarna and touching feet of husband gesture makes me feel disgusted.  How can a man be some kind of God? Or was it something to do with respect? Men being much elder than their wives? Do women really need to treat their men like Parmeshwar, even now?? It defies logic! I feel disgusted by such acts.  But women do it, take the ashirwad (blessings) of their husbands, standing on the roofs, roadsides, parks, surrounded by people! And husband also obliges! hufffff!

I thought love needed reciprocation ?!  If it's about love, why there is no reciprocation? And, by the way, buying jewellery is no reciprocation.  Does it belittle a man's social standing if he admits that he too fasts for his wife??  Does he make himself a butt of ridicule in front of his mother first and then his family and friends by showing his love for his wife?  Why do Indian men don't fast for their wives? Is it not the reflection of a society where they say that it's difficult for a woman to live without a man - be it father, or brother or husband or son? And a man remarries within a few months of his wife's death?

I know what I have written will elicit anger from the men readers or even some women.  They may feel that if this is what this blogger woman feels, then why does she not leave the fasting ritual? Why she has to follow it?  I would say that you think about it with a complete joint family society set up of our's before shooting back.

But I would definitely like to know your views about this.  Tell me how do you feel about it? Especially the feet touching thingy?! And your views about why men don't fast?



RESTLESS




(Common Wealth) Games And The City!

October 20, 2010
(In the last few days, a lot of activity was going on in my life, work and city!  Things were happening with such speed that though I was bursting out of seams with my ideas to write about in my blog, but still I was not able to formally write and share a lot of things (I had been writing drafts though). So, here I go, starting with my CWG expereince!)

Common Wealth Games have come to an end.  Can we believe they are over?! I mean, seeing the preparations for years?!  There are news articles showing the places in Delhi which are still under rubble, still the work is incomplete.  Do you think, those renovation things would be completed now?!

Another thing, which every Delhite must have noticed, is that and there were hardly any foreigners on Delhi roads.... if they were, they would be with their guides for the occasion (volunteers) who exactly knew where to take them.  This was not what I was expecting. There was no mingling with the citizens of the city.  They came like VIPs, protected, even the buses used to carry the players and the teams were well escorted by two police gypsies, one ahead and one following the bus.  So interaction with the local people was quite out of question.  Also, there were not as many tourists from other countries as was expected.  Remember the bed and breakfast scheme of Delhi Govt., the evacuating of students from hostels to make place for the games tourists for abroad?  Yes, so now hotels even are complaining that they did not get adequate business during this time.  This was quite disappointing for all.

The good part were the sports events and the cultural and food festivals, the capital witnessed during this time.  Surely it was one of those rare opportunities to see an international event being held in your city, and Dilliwalas didnot wish to miss it.  I know a few of my friends had planned holidays to run away from the hustle bustle of the city during the Games Holidays (All schools were closed during games), but I think staying here was a better idea.  I stayed here and enjoyed a few of the events.  I will be writing briefly about them in this and the next post.

The events I witnessed personally, were visit to Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium, to see the athletics competitions. First time, I didnot carry the camera, as security instructions were silent about it. But the next time, after seeing everybody else carry theirs, I did carry it to click a few pics (see below).  I must say that the cheer, the clappings, the applause during the event, was gleefully infectious!  I don't know whether anybody thought about the importance of live audience ie. people of Delh or not but they were there, cheering and clapping "Indiyeah- Indiyeah" loudly when an Indian athlete ran past them.  It was truely an experience, which you cannot feel watching it on TV,  no way!
 
Indian athletes in Blue


winners running with their flags


The sweetest thing was the medal ceremony.  The national anthem of the winning player's country would be played during the medal ceremony and the whole stadium would stand up as a mark of respect (I was touched by this part of the ceremony).  Then the angavastram, the chanderi stole given to the winners was also a nice Indian gesture. (Great idea - textile ministry!)

I don't think, I need to talk about the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, again held at JLN Stadium, these were fabulous!  But, I noticed two things, which I didn't quite like. First, the dress of school children in both the ceremonies were the same. A white satin big cloak, which had green and/or orange colour underneath. Second, while the orange and green colour (depicting our tricolour flag) was being sprinkled with children underneath it,  the poor little children were covering their eyes to protect them from those powdered synthetic colours (like Holi gulal), that was not a good sight, I was really feeling bad for the kids.  A little sensitivity in this regard would have been appreciated.

All in all, the show was a success.  I think, we Indians accepted it, when the world accepted it!  Was it something to do with the guest's satisfaction first thing, or is it that we are always looking towards others for approval?! I still wonder.

Next, I would be bringing the write up of two cultural events I attended  and also some brochures, which are for keeps for Delhites!

Stay tuned!


RESTLESS
 


The Sports Period!

October 15, 2010
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Every time the school bell would ring, announcing the commencement of 'sports period', all the students of my class would turn into a jubilant crowd, tossing aside the books and notebooks, hurriedly stuffing the pencils, eraser and small ruler in their pencil box, they would jump and jostle with each other to reach the play ground as quick as possible.

And there was me, cute, little girl, short, petite, shy and disciplined, who would nicely fold all the books placed on her wooden bench and keep them properly before leaving the room, with frozen feet, walking slowly.  Was I so meticulous then? .... or was I just killing time?!  I think the latter!  Yes, I did not like that 'sports period', not one bit.

I hated the sun glaring in my eyes (why were we not allowed goggles in school?!), I hated the soil particles vigorously dancing in the air and getting in my eyes covered by my spectacles (ok leave it, no use of goggles!).  I hated the children running madly in the play ground, hated their loud crackling voices as they enjoyed playing - kho kho, chain-chain (a human chain of players chasing other players), kabaddi, langdi-tang (hop on one foot and chase others!), tug of war, cricket, football and throw ball.  Although, some years back they used to play stapoo, burfi, paali, I-spy, tipi tipi tap- what colour you want?, pitthoo, and I used to like those mild games.

But now, this was not a happy time for me. Not having the courage to fight with them, I would join my classmates with half a heart, one fourth of enthusiasm, one tenth of confidence and on hundredth of desire to play, only to be 'out' in one go. "Oh what a  relief, now they won't call be back to play", I would tell myself secretly! Was I reluctant to play or was I scared? I think the latter!
Always averse to games, rather scared of games, I chose to stay away from the sports equipment room, liked Library instead! 
Somewhere I had justified my non-performance in games with my good marks and interest in studies and active participation in debates, extempore speeches, poetry, drama and dance competitions (yes, I was good at blabbing even then!).  Somewhere I had accepted and believed that being good in studies and cultural was far better than soiling your clothes with mud and sweating like a pig.  Somewhere I had embraced the very popular saying of my growing up years " पढोगे लिखोगे, बनोगे नवाब ; खेलोगे कूदोगे तो होगे ख़राब "

Somewhere, I had given in to my comfort zone. I did not feel the need to challenge myself. Never understood the true meaning of sports and it's capability to educate a person.  Never knew sports help in improving concentration power, teaches virtues like - will-power, endurance, goal setting.  Never could appreciate that team games teach us leadership, initiative, responsibility, being a team player (that means letting go of one's ego and being one with your fellow players for a common goal).  Never could realise that above all sports channelize the burst of energy in teenagers and youth.
Sports also teach us a wonderful lesson of congratulating the opponent on his/her win and learning to accept your own failures or shortcoming.  Learning various games as a discipline teaches us big lessons on life skills which books don't teach.  It took me years to understand it.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, I got my first flavour for any sport throughout my schooling when my classmate taught me Table Tennis one fine day, when we were waiting for the extra classes of school to begin before our 12th board exams.  That was my rare visit across the sports room when I saw this boy, a good friend of mine, waiting with two TT bats in his hand (probably for someone else).  He encouraged me to learn, taught me the way to hold the bat...he told me it was simple... it was... first I played coyly... an embarrassed smile stuck on my face, but was soon engulfed in the ecstasy of the game... it was quick, spontaneous and such a coordination of eyes with the limbs.... I was jumping with joy that I could play! I just needed some guidance and encouragement.

I was left wanting for more.  Alas! those were the last few days of my schooling, with not much chance to play this game again in my life ever.  But the memory still brings a rush of excitement in me,  more so on that sweet evening with my child, years after my school got over, when I was running... sweating... holding the bicycle of my little son, while he peddled it on the road next to the park.  It was his first brush with the little machine, without supporters, so I was running along with him.

I know how important it is for him to learn cycling and many more sports activities in school.  I was thinking,"I will tell him that even in this age of expensive public school education his teacher won't tell him". 

And I did so, dear reader, as he grew up. No, he is not a sports hero in his school, he is a team player, but he knows what I didn't know at his age.  Let the next generation understand what we were not told, we were not taught.

Let the children go out and play.... enjoy.... participate....be a team member.....learn to accept the falls and feel proud on their little victories.....let them not worry about who will win and who will lose....ultimately what's important is participation.


 
RESTLESS

PS 1 : Thanks Blogadda for such a wonderful topic, it was introspection and confession time for me!

PS 2: I have written passionately about how we don't need games.  I still reiterate my stand. Sports as a discipline, as a subject, as learning is very good and essential for our overall growth, but sports as career, or organizing sporting events spending crores of rupees is not what I would support.  Using what you have learnt is important and not just learning and honing your skills for the sake of records is.

Don't Be Shy - Know Your Breasts

October 10, 2010

(THANKS TO INDUSLADIES CAMPAIGN AND FURTHER ENCOURAGEMENT BY BLOGADDA THAT I HAVE SHED MY INHIBITIONS AND AM WRITING ABOUT THIS DEADLY DISEASE AFFECTING THE INTIMATE PARTS OF WOMEN, SO OPENLY)



Breasts. 

This word means different to different people. 

Development of breasts in a teen aged girl is the time her mother would get worried about her daughter as to how to educate her about sexual health.

For men, this physiological feature of a woman's body has inspired awe, admiration, desire and lust from time immemorial.  A woman's external beauty, to a large extent is related to her curves.
 
If I say that for a woman, her breasts are mere two bundles of soft tissues which need continuous support, I would be dishonest.  Woman too associate a sense of femininity, beauty, sensuality and pride with her assets! 

An infant instantaneously  knows from where is he going to get the nectar for his life and it's strangely miraculous that a baby just knows to suckle without being trained to

The social conditioning based on the accepted norms of traditional Indian society expects girls to cover their breasts or even the curves as visible from her clothing.  The dupatta, chunni, odhani, stole, whatever you call it, it is a piece of long cloth used to cover one's breasts from the preening eyes of the opposite sex.  The 'Pallu' or "pallav' of the saree also serves the same function covering the curves given by the figure hugging blouse.

The way a dupatta is used to cover the breasts from the eyes of the people around, the same way girls are expected to be ignorant about their own body parts.  Mothers would advise their young daughters not to change clothes in front of a mirror.  The reason behind this thought could be the fact that sight can invoke sensual desire in a person, even if it's one's own body.

Ironically, this thought remains ingrained in the psyche of a woman for a long time and women generally remain unaware of the intimate parts of their body.... Women feel shy of their  own bodies.  They remain strangers to their own physical selves.

That is why it is very important that more and more information is written about and read and used about this deadly silent killer called BREAST CANCER.  And, the important thing about it is that a woman herself needs to examine herself regularly and keep a watch over any symptoms to diagnose it at any early stage.

UNDERSTANDING BREAST CANCER

Dear reader, there is ample information available on the Internet about the disease and I would not like to reproduce it.  However,  I have tried to put things simply, the way you can use it.  

What is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is an uncontrolled growth of breast cells

The term “breast cancer” refers to a malignant tumor that has developed from cells in the breast. 

Who Are At Risk?

1. Women having family history of the disease.
2. Onset of menstruation before age 12
3. Onset of menopause after age 55
4. Not having children or first child after age 30
5. Less time spent breastfeeding your kids
6. Birth control Pills
7. Hormone replacement therapies


WHAT CAN YOU DO?

First, don't feel shy to know how your breasts look or feel like, because only then will you be able to observe any change in the parts.  Hence a self examination is the first thing you can do. Click here to know how to do self examination. Remember :

a. Do a monthly self examination
b. Get an annual physician check up after 35 years of age
c. Get periodic mammograms done as advised by your gynaecologist. A suggested schedule is:
       *  begin at 35
       *  every year or two from age 40 -49
       *  every year beginning at age 50

Also note that you should get it done during first two weeks of your cycle if you in your menopausal stage. 
  
WHAT SIGNS TO LOOK FOR IN SELF EXAMINATION?

Ladies, do know your body.  Being vigilant is important, as otherwise the disease may creep up without notice and get diagnosed only when painful changes occur.  Look for these signs, if they occur:

* swelling of all or part of the breast
* skin irritation or dimpling
* breast pain
* nipple pain or the nipple turning inward
* redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
* a nipple discharge other than breast milk
* a lump in the underarm area


Dear reader, if you have been diagnosed for this disease, please see this link:



WHAT CAN WE DO TO AVOID BREAST OR ANY CANCER?

Maintaining a healthy life style is a prerequisite to remain healthy in today's time.  The basic fundas of eating right, good sleep, exercising and avoiding smoking and drinking alcohol works here too. 

WHAT KIND OF FOOD MAY HELP US?

I dug out the old issues of my favorite health magazine "Prevention" looking for some information. And I understand that although, there is no cure for the disease, but anti oxidants in food helps our body against cancer.  So why should we not include them in our diet and of our family members?  Here are a few foods which have anti oxidants:

1. Turmeric - Used in every dish in Indian food, but make sure you are using a trusted brand, as there can be easy adulteration.

2. Mushroom - We love this fungi! It beefs up body defenses, suppresses breast and prostate cancer. Suggested recipes - Make sandwich filling with sautéed mushroom ; make regular mushroom pea curry ; add them well chopped in soups, they taste great! (Remember to blanch the washed mushroom before cooking)

3. Papaya - Protects against lung, stomach, prostate cancer.  Also is great for digestion.

4. Green Tea - It is not really popular and is a bit expensive than the regular tea we have, but try to include it in your food plan at lest 1-2 times in a week.

5. Pomegranate - Helps kill breast and prostate cancer cells.  The fruit can be added to custard, cream etc and can be squeezed to have as juice too. 


NEXT TIME YOU KNOW WHAT TO GIFT YOUR MOM?

I know it is not going to sound too good to your ears, but next time you think of giving a gift to your mom or an elder aunt, gift her a MAMMOGRAM (The test to detect breast cancer).  We, the younger lot still are very aware and take care of our health, but women generally had given their health the last priority in our society, so it's time YOU educate your family or relatives or friends and give the gift which should bring mental peace to the person and an awareness in this direction.   

Lastly, Dear reader, do spread the word, take the Indusladies quiz to know more.  If you like this post, please vote to it on Indivine and spread the word. do leave a word with Blogadda about post, if you like it.



 RESTLESS 

Image courtesy : www.indiepoprock.net and sareetimes.com

Loner or Lonely?

October 8, 2010
(This is my L post for ABC Wednesday Contest)

Most of the times, I am a loner.  I just love my company.  Love to be with myself, and talk to myself.  Leave with alone with a book or two (even a newspaper or magazine would do), some music of my choice, a paper and a pen to write, a pencil to sketch, that's all I need. I can sit like this for hours without speaking a word to anyone. I can be silent for hours and never feel the need to fill that space with words. It's bliss for me.

But then I've had my share of loneliness too.... that very silence, which I so love, comes to hound me.... that very space becomes a void..... I get uncomfortable with myself at times, and look of approval outside.  I've experienced it all. Now let me ask you, the reader.....

WHAT IS LONELINESS?
Have you ever felt alone in a mall bustling with shoppers?  Felt the deafening silence of nothingness in a discotheque or a party?  Felt nobody needs you and nobody is there for you, chances are you are becoming the part of the lonely tribe which is increasing in numbers all over the world.  People are increasingly feeling lonely - age, gender, occupation does not matter.

WHAT CAN BE THE CAUSE OF LONELINESS?
In the age of social networking, virtual friends, round the clock updating of your activities on Face book or Twitter, having a robust number of "Friends" on FB, why are we getting more and more lonely?  Even, if you have your occasional friend's get-together, family dinners etc., don't you feel something amiss somewhere.  Is it not the genuineness of relationships that we miss these days? The warmth of true and caring relations? What do you say?

Loneliness is increasingly being seen as a clinical condition, no longer as an indulgence.  It has bad effect on a person's health and can be contagious too. (On the lighter side, I read that Divorce can also be contagious amongst friends!)

WHO IS GETTING AFFECTED?

Starting from the most obvious age group is elderly people or couples.  The nuclear family, children studying or working or staying away are some of the well known factors of  loneliness in elderly.  Also, the couples who kept the marriage alive or rather chose to be the marriage only for the sake of children's future ultimately tend to feel empty and lonely - devoid of anything to look forward to in their most personal relationship.
 
Middle age

FIRSTLY I AM NOT SURE WHAT IS MIDDLE AGE?!

I just don't know how to define this age! If we go by years, then the quality of health services available and the awareness about health issues now are making an urban citizen better off than what it was earlier.  I read that the life expectancy has gone up now.  So middle age could be 40-45 years, may be.

The other factor of determining, generally, what is middle of one's life can be how old one's kids are.  As kids till 11-12 years need a lot of attention, and afterwards learn to handle themselves, as far as basic things like feeding, dressing up, studying etc is concerned.  But, the point is that overall the marriageable age of both girls and boys have gone up considerably in last few years.  These days it's OK for boys to marry at 30 and 27 is not late for girls, so by the time they have teen-aged kids, they would have reached the mid of their lives, as I think about it.

AM TRYING TO UNDERSTAND MID LIFE CRISIS!  As I have understood midlife crisis (?) is when your kids don't really need you as a parent so much, and they begin to see you and judge you as a person, and as a person you know you have reached where you headed to years back... and as an individual you have understood and accepted your weaknesses and your shortcomings (as opposed to the days when you believed you can change the world!), you know you have hit the mid age, now it depends on you, what you do with this feeling.

The Youth is Lonely too

The stiff competition in every field, the peer pressure, the role models being the hep film actors, the expensive life style (to keep up with), with parents giving less attention to children's emotional needs or a disturbed family life can be a few factors why youngsters can get lonely at heart. Also, a romantic relationship trouble or not being able to keep pace with studies or a family tragedy, any such thing can affect the psyche of a youngster.

Technology, I was reading about Internet addiction today (52% of kids spend about 5 hours daily on Net), Cyber bullying, addiction of online games, thereby lack of social skills are aloofness can certainly affect the life of a youngster, pushing him or her in the shell of loneliness.

DEALING WITH LONELINESS:

People feeling 'lonely', I read somewhere, tend to look within, searching for happiness, finding ways to fill the void, sometimes by material abuse also.  Although, personally I have felt that the during the pangs of loneliness I have tried to look for a solution outside, tried to fill up the void by things and activities like reading, watching more TV, involving more with friend circle for frequent outings.  It's like I've tried to fill up every possible nook and corner of my mind and my heart with anything available easily to me.

Sometimes, it may help, when you strike the right chord by choosing an activity which fulfills your needs giving you the much needed mental peace.  Sometimes, you may be lucky to find that reliable friend who pulls you out of your loneliness, so it depends on you how you think you can be helped.

Yet another way could be associating yourself with helping other people in need.  Joining a NGO in whatever little way you can; to some yoga and meditation or gyming may suit.  I know, we people are busy and at times, we don't have time to deal with our own mental state, so joining a NGO is quite difficult.  But even a visit to a blind school, or an orphanage or a school or institution for small kids of weaker section run by NGOs or an old age home and then spending a few hours with them, learning how can one contribute to their cause, not necessarily financially but otherwise, also makes a depressed person feel better.

I learnt about one such thing, when I visited a Blind School and was told that I can contribute by recording my voice reading the textbook lessons of social Studies or Hindi or Science for the blind school children.  You have to believe me that it actually made me feel so good about myself, when I begun to go for these recordings on my weekends. 

So, the way to deal with your loneliness can differ, but definitely, it is YOU who knows how to deal with yourself.  It's equally important to do some introspection and find out what has left you so empty, so lonely and so desperate and then deal with the issues slowly. 

A depressed and lonely person should always remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and I should not give up so easily and also "I will be a phoenix when I rise out of my ashes" and YES, it's possible.

I had read a Hindi novel long back, and these lines really touched my soul and I always remember them, when in crisis :

तुमने एक ही बार वेदना में मुझे
जना था माँ
पर मैं बार बार अपने को जनता हूँ
और मरता हूँ
पुनः जनता हूँ और पुनः मरता हूँ
और फिर जनता हूँ
क्योंकि वेदना में मैं अपनी ही माँ हूँ.
( पुस्तक : नदी के द्वीप लेखक : अज्ञेय )

These beautiful lines written by Indian author Agyey mean that a mother gives birth to a baby after bearing the labour pain only once. But, the child grows, and sometimes his life puts him through pain and sufferings, which almost kill him but he endures everything and resurfaces. He gives birth to himself each time he learns to fight back and emerge as a winner, hence throughout his life, in his moments of pain he becomes his own mother in labour.

Have you ever felt lonely? What did you do to deal with it? Do write to me...


RESTLESS
image courtesy: http://pursuitist.com







Blue Blues of Delhi!

October 3, 2010
I wanted to write this little piece last week, but nevertheless now I want to share it, how a Dilliwala on the road feels.

It had been blue which had been terrifying me on the roads.  Earlier it was because of the Blue Line Buses.  If you are not a Dilliwala, let me tell you this commercial city bus service run by private operators was a set of quite a competitive people, who enjoyed overtaking each other, playing who comes first on the Delhi roads, while they went trampling people on foot and bikers alike.  They were soon given the title of Killer Blue Line buses and were gradually phased out of the Delhi roads, thankfully.  If you are driving a car and see a blue line bus behind you, you would immediately think of getting as far as possible from it, and very quickly as you don't know what the driver has in his mind! It was so bad.

And now, there is another thing "Blue" in Delhi, which inspires equal scare.  These are the lanes painted in blue, dedicated to CWG.  The main roads which connect the Games Village and the Stadiums have a dedicated lane for the CWG vehicles.  You can imagine, already crowded roads, hell lot of traffic and now the road is squeezed   and made slimmer!  And on that stretch, the blue lane, there are traffic cops to check nobody gets into the lane.

Initially, the fine was Rs 2000/- and now I read that you can be put in jail, if you cross that line..... Not that, we as citizens should be doing it, but imagine the state, you drive on a crowded patch of road, and a whole lane teasing you...... for it is exclusive and not for the aam janta! Yes, it really teases you!

But on the brighter side, I have observed, Delhi drivers are behaving very well, may be due to the fear of penalty, but still, the sight is lovely, PEOPLE ARE DRIVING IN THEIR LANES! Wow! that's a rare sight here.... to be honest, I also didn't mind jumping the lanes... but with due signalling of my movement.  But now, when there is no space to jump a lane, all vehicles are trotting like school kids queue marching quietly!

Delhi has had its share of blues, but ultimately I think as the guest nation, we should bear with it, and try to facilitate the contingents and nationals coming from different countries with open arms.... err..... dedicated Blue lanes!


RESTLESS


image courtesy : flashnewstoday.com

Do You Believe In Ghosts?

October 2, 2010
This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 15; the fifteenth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.
(I had been participating in Blog A Ton for last two months and this time the theme is changed, we got to write on a picture.  Since, I do not find much for my imagination on this picture, as I think it shows a spooky old railway station, and nothing much is there for my interpretation of the image, I am writing about one such real place in India which fits the bill.)


In Purulia, West Bengal, there is a station which had been abandoned for almost 45 years.  It was a haunted railway station.  There was a rumour that the ghost of a woman clad in white saree dances there at midnight.... spooky actually!

A villager saw her and died in a few days, people believe so. Railway staff were scared of getting posted there.

What I feel is that movies and serial, which show such scary stuff create an image in our minds, and we quickly relate to such stuff.

I understand that in 2007, rail service has been started here.

Really cannot comment on what is real and what is imaginary, honestly, it scares me quite a lot!  A lot of studies on paranormal occurrences and behavior is done worldwide, it kind of makes of think, will man some day find this one out too?

Children like to watch such programmes out of curiosity (and later feel scared to go to toilet alone!) even I have seen the most haunted places of the world kind of a programme on Discovery/History channel.  We do like to have that excitement, but does not that really leave you confused, as to what is a soul? Is there any life after death?  Are there really some guardian angels? Do ghosts exist?  Have you ever experienced any such thing? Do write... but don't scare me, right! :)



RESTLESS


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