Posted in Pictures Foreign

Review: Penguin Town (Documentary Series)

Loved this Netflix serial probably meant for kids with the kind of narration in the background, yet equally enjoyable for adults. Some of us may have prior knowledge of south African penguins, still this was the first time, I could glean so much info about them. Otherwise, when you think of penguins, you picture only the Antarctic.

The Penguin town as the Simon town is nicknamed after the takeover of the seaside place for over 6 months an year by the invading penguin colonies numbering in million, for their breeding season, is a bustling spot for both man and bird who do not only coexist but also tolerate each other to a great degree. Here is something for everyone of us take back: that shared space and peace. In India, such a scenario may spring up Penguin biriyani business (not a joke)! This was what was flashing frankly in my mind, as i relished watching each and every single episode on the adorable tall boy bird, the south african penguin. Picturesque beachfront and laidback villas from another age add charm to the setting. No wonder the bougainvillea family, the culvert family, the courtyard family all breed happily and look forward to coming back to their holiday homes (!) the next year. The travails of the penguins are very much humanlike! At least the struggle to secure a good comfy home is! Real estate hotcakes! Respects to the bougainvillea widowed father penguin for the way he is out in the sun day long to secure food for the family. The culvert family falling apart also is not unlike something that does not happen in human society. For the wild nature, the penguins have natural adversaries such as fellow gangster baddies, the lynx cats, the kites etc. Once the fledglings take to the water, of course there are the sea predators. The fragile ecosystem is balancing it out tactically against all odds. Yet, how well the town people have accommodated the penguins as part of their lives without counting them as nuisance deserves an applause. Their attitude matters.

Until now I was under the impression that the penguin fledglings take to water immediately on hatching. This is news to me that they need so much grooming and energy, and have to grow their waterproof oily feathers/skin to enter water. Great conservation work by the townspeople rehabilitating wounded/abandoned/orphaned penguin hatchlings before making them sea-fit for survival. You need education, awareness and maturity to be doing this job, hats off.

A must for kids and wildlife/nature lovers. Easy on our mind. Feelgood factor. The way wildlife care for their young ones is a reminder to us as to how everyone, every single life on planet Earth counts.

Posted in Environment

Do temple elephants connect.

Reading a book on African elephants and learning that the jumbos with their underbelly rumblings communicate on a very low frequency like the whales of the seven seas, that which waves may be inaudible to human ears, and that these aural vibrations transmit via conduits in atmosphere through the herds, and even across neighbouring herds to envelope the entire African continent supposedly, i have this doubt about the temple elephants in India. Do these unfortunate creatures languishing in the abodes of our gods, captured as calves from the jungles get a chance to learn the elephantine telepathy language. Do they voice their sufferings to fellow pachyderms in the same temple premises or those in the area and/or to those across the geographical territory (such as the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu for instance). Can the temple elephants communicate with wild elephants in Munnar or Kabini or Mudumalai or Ranthambore or any other forest reserve in India. If so, what is the expected range. Indian elephant corridors run across the Deccan coasts east and west, cut through central India and up to the Himalayan foothills and Bengal. Do the wild tuskers roaming our sanctuaries hear the feeble cries of our long suffering captive temple elephants. As I wonder, do our temple elephants separated as calves from their herds even pick up some elemental elephantine communication skills. Not only physically mighty and imposing, even endowed with a very keen intelligence and sharp memory power and with a very advanced metaphysical communication sense far superior to human communication evolution history, it is unbelievable that we are chaining these gentle giants breaking their spirit and ‘conditioning’ them. That breaking of the elephant brought in from the wild: it is heartwrenching. So much so that the towering mammoth feels after all, a simple iron chain can control it. How brutally must this wild beast be broken to come to believe in such an illogic. There are media news on temple elephants going on rampage when pushed to ‘work’ in musth conditions. I am yet to finish the book but this I am thinking about the the temple elephants keeping their communication channels open with their wild brethren. Are Indian/Asian elephants as keen and smart as the African wild elephant. We have an issue here. Ours are domesticated, the ones with temples especially. Which means they are in constant contact with homosapiens. Would that dull the senses of our temple elephants rendering them incapable of establishing or staying in touch with their longlost brothers and sisters in the wild? Just a thought.

say a BIGGGG NOOOO to Temple Elephants please…
Posted in Political

Moguls of India Afghans too…

I have nothing much to add on this except for few lines.

Moguls some groups gloat about were none but Afghans in whose terror reign of a couple of centuries in India, thousands of Hindu temples were razed, Hindu women taken into harems by hoards, and India ravaged and ransacked. The bloody massacres continued for generations. Today the places of worship they raised stand on desecrated Hindu temple ruins only. Imagine the rivers of blood that had sullied our Bharat.

Indian bhais may think on that. If you have come to fall in love with our invaders because you had no choice as your way of life resembled theirs, the least you can still do is stay loyal to India.

World has dozens and dozens of Christian countries. How many Islamic nations in the world, tell me? How many Hindu countries in the world? ZERO. Nepal used to be constitutionally Hindu, but no more. India, the birth place of Dharmic religions Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism, still is a secular democratic nation, NOT SADLY A HINDU RASHTRA. What is happening to the Hindus of Af-Pak-Bangladesh we know. Decimated even as we speak of. Force-converted with daughters abducted and raped.

The recent world developments show what it takes to remain a decent population. What it is to have humanity. If all is perfect, then why should one seek REFUGE at all anywhere. Migration is difficult. Seeking asylum is not the same as migrating for other reasons.

If we do not want to sing the national anthem, if we want to applaud our adversaries winning a cricket match, if we have more sympathy for the displaced in the Middle east over the poorest of India, then we must think of emigrating from India for good. Now many Middle east nations are offering citizenships to our Indian bhais. I wonder why they are not exercising that right.

If your ancestors embraced the ways of our invaders, you will have to still face the fact that until then your forefathers were Hindu ONLY. It is by quirk of fate that you are what you are. You will have to come to terms with reality, grow some gratitude when you breathe the Indian air and drink the Indian water and eat the Indian grain and rest your body on the Indian soil. Even the god to who you claim your loyalty may want you to do this.

Posted in Extras

The Five Cleanliness & Personal Hygiene Indicators We Cannot Miss.

Typically i have devised that the following are checks or indicators of the cleanliness standards of our home as well as our personal hygiene. You may think i am too fussy, but not at all. It’s pretty regular standards, but there are those who think this is big deal.

  1. Kitchen cleanliness. Especially the sink area and the oil cans. Mixer jars and the blender. Hob (cooking stove top) and chimney. Indian kitchens hold more gadgets than western ones: with our wetgrinders (for idli batter), blender, traditional coffee filter of coffee maker, OTG/Microoven, at least mini stone chakkis for pouding, fruit/vegetable juicer, sandwich maker, toaster, chappathi maker, etc. Our kitchen is also essentially a wet kitchen as we grind wet, blend wet, deepfry in oil, toast in shallow pan etc., at highest temperatures. We use hundreds of spices literally and our cooking methods are elaborate. Yet, it is imperative for us to maintain kitchen cleanliness at any cost. Wiping with wet cloth on cleaning with soap every few hours is a must.
  2. Bathroom cleanliness: the water closets of course, the wash stand, the bathtub (if you have), the tooth brushes and the drain holes especially. Even the regular Indian bathrooms (in)famous for their water usage can afford to remain dry most of the day once we are done with our bathroom chores. There is no reason for the bathroom floor to remain wet. Pails and mugs and faucets also need a regular clean-up.
  3. Comb in your dresser is a dead give away. If that is accumulating grime, it means personal hygiene is lacking. The clean comb ensures a cleaner bedroom. Organizers in wardrobes optional. W
  4. Towels and undies. They can be old and very many times washed, but they have to be clean one hundred percent. Dry.
  5. Foot of course! It is the general indicator of one’s hygiene perception in my opinion. If someone cares for foot, it means she is doing well in all other fronts.

Not all of us live in swanky marbled homes, some of us live in very compact apartments almost like hole in the wall, yet I think it is well within our means to be able to maintain the minimum general standards of cleanliness and hygiene which is basic decency.

I decided to embark on such short crisp lifestyle posts inspired by a page on Minimalism.

Posted in Food For Soul

Palmistry Of Social Media Busybees.

I flip through the album of happy faces in the Alps and the Eurostar, at the Eiffel tower and at the Vatican. Big big smiles there! I browse the freezes of Bharatnatyam mudras of beautiful dancers. I am horrified by the tiktok videos which at the same time entertain me. I cannot bear to hear out one full smule song posted online by a friend. I unfollowed another one for too many personal posts packed with embarrassing private info that i thought i could do without. There is this yatri who alerts everyone every time he sets his foot inside some temple precincts. There are friends who post before boarding a flight, on landing at the destination, checking into this hotel or that resort, walking, running, gymming, yogaing, shopping…. all with an ear to ear grin whose happiness is always infectious…

So is social media really that bad, i ask myself. I am seeing beaming faces everywhere. I am seeing friends in parks, beaches, singing, dancing, playing, tattooing (!), even praying. The kids are out of the world! The clubs are regaling. The wildlife is well cared for, at least online. The recipes are interesting. The causes are heeded to and helped. There is awareness on current happenings. There are playful rebukes and rebuffs. There is satire and sarcasm and the memes are blasphemous! There also is this occasional dampener – one or two, by way of sharing-posting negativity and hatred, but that which we can consign to the dustbin of our mind…. so otherwise? … otherwise i find the social media guys oozing with josh and party perfect! We may sometimes need this energy tonic to lift up our sagging spirit…

If someone is in social media sharing his/her enthusiasm and happiness for the world to see, i think they have nothing to hide. Contrary to popular belief that some seek social media approval, nowadays i believe, if someone is photobombing facebook, instagram etc., with their exciting escapades, then in all probability things are working out for them nicely, that they are genuinely happy. Not to assume that those who do not advertise are not doing great. But in the first case, in all probability, the guys have a reason to celebrate and they don’t shy sharing a slice of their happy life with everyone.

Rather than being irritated by them like in the past, nowadays i am looking at them with new eyes. Earlier they appeared narcissists to me. Now they appear happy, contented people to me having a blast on their birthdays, wedding days, any holiday for that matter.

After making this observation i was thinking of those who shy away from sharing with buddies their familial happiness or even the good moments they savour with friends. Somehow now they don’t strike me as those with a heightened sense of privacy. May be sometimes you don’t want others to see you? You don’t want to go on record? You don’t have anything happy and worthwhile to share? As i said, those with low profile need not necessarily be having a listless life. Yet, there is a good possibility that their lives may not be as interesting or as happy.

This i believe is true of those who never share family photos or vacation pictures or party clicks. You don’t have to consistently post, but there must be something to celebrate about. What makes someone completely hide their front. I don’t know this is now my social media psychology report.

The more seen one is, the more loud one is in social media, yes in all probability they are having a whale of a good time! These social media stars make no bones about wearing their happiness on their sleeves for the whole world to see. For the first time in my life, I am respecting them for diffusing positivity and cheer in the air thick with envy and hatred.

Posted in Food For Soul

Why it may be time for us to leave the Agama temples behind.

I think i have outgrown the Agama temples.

The reckoning moment came when 24 OBC Archakas and a woman Odhuvar were inducted into the service of Hindu temple devastanams by the ruling state government in Tamil Nadu this independence day, 15th of August. The move acceptedly brash, was met not suprisingly with stiff resistance. This has given rise to endless debates on social media as a backlash pitting friends against friends. The sore point is when you learn, your friends will remain your friends as long as you tow their line. Friends and even childhood friends remain lifelong friends when we remain confined within undrawn lines. One step any of us must take forward, then all hell can break loose. What an uneasy truce we have in Hindu society. How unreal this all is.

This has sparked many questions in my mind in last couple of days. Not that this may not have crossed any activist’s or freethinker’s mind. I have been an avid temple goer all my life and the massive and impressive Dravidian architecture south Indian hindu temples are my life’s mission. Heart’s favourite. I have visited/toured dozens and dozens in last five decades of my life and i have a list made up for future programs. Even so, something deep down nagged me. As someone who listens to my instinct always, I decided to record my reaction here in my blog post of how i felt about my friends responses and the media reactions in the matter.

Because there is not even entertainment of the idea of a conversation here. The topic is not open for debate or discussion. Chapter closed. Dead end. This is precisely what is the frustrating stumbling block when it comes to creating an equivalent and inclusive Hindu society. The brazen stubbornness of the Agama structure beyond criticism in this 21st century is one of the grandest failures of humanity and the so-called chest thumping democracy we purportedly have in India. As expected, the national mass media like our tv new channels in english language gave the Temple reform a deliberate miss. This one single point to me proved the historic significance of the move and assured me that we the Tamils were on right track. The south has always been a trendsetter.

I am kind of touched by the timing factor here. Today is Tiruvonam. Onam is observed in Kerala in remembrance of Mahabali, the Dravidian king and our forefather. The festivities keep alive the belief that Mahabali will return to claim his reign which is south India. Believe me this is just a coincidence.

The discussions on Agama temples raised the following questions in me:

  • Are the Agama temples the first and foremost bastions of caste prejudice from where springs an air of superiority about some at the top of the pyramind of the Hindu race. Do Agama temples thus sanction discrimination right from their sanctums? Yes, they do.
  • Once you disallow someone, discredit someone from something they are eligible to legally, it is the Agama model that can be held illegal. Yes, it is illegal to stop anyone from learning Vedas or working in Agama temples. Or do we have written laws to prove the contrary?
  • The Agama temple doors were thrown open to the Panchamas only in 1947 with legal intervention. Which means, without legal help Hindus will not act on own accord. To remove injustice, the hand of law in Hindu temples is a must. This is why Hindu temples are under government administration. To provide justice to all Hindus, Hindu temples need government control. Which does not mean that the revenues earned by the Hindu temples may be spent on non Hindus. This is a separate topic for discussion. I will just stop with noting down that the Hindu funds may be used for the welfare and betterment of Hindu population alone.
  • When the Agama temples put some on the top of the table, they naturally relegated others down the pyramid and some at the grounds level. The lowest could be the cremation or burial ground workers and manual scavengers with no hope to climb up the social ladder, stigmatized for generations.
  • Can you even imagine the all Indian scenario of cremation and burial ground workers refusing to burn the bodies of FCs. I wish they strike work someday soon all at the same time. Let our governments appoint cremation grounds workers from all communities in future. Let every caste cremate their own including the brahmins and the banias. This single step can ensure dignity of labour and bring about a changed mindset in Hindu society.
  • What happens when we venerate the Agama kind of worship and propagate it on a grander, national level with the approval and stamp of the regime. Self-aggrandizement of the creamiest becomes the natural output and stamping on the downtrodden becomes routine. We have the vicious circle where there is no escape from some dingy quarters deep down the social ladder.
  • The Agama temple worship of Hindu dharma is deeply entrenched all across India, in every single state of ours and union territory, that you cannot even dream of uprooting this structure for creating a just and equitable society.
  • The Agama worship is easily understood by the masses, accepted by the masses. Its reach is phenomenal. Its appeal is unbelievable.
  • The Agama breeds a subculture within its precincts that includes music and dance and art forms. Together An Agama temple is like a museum of artefacts, fascinating and inviting and enthralling at the same time. It is a unique experience only a practising Hindu can identify with. No wonder, even the obcs and the panchamas play down the flipside of the Agama worship smitten by the lure of the Agama.
  • The Agama subculture may span the vedic rites performed at homes, at festivities, at even funerals making the pundits and purohits inevitable parts of a hindu life whose services cannot be dispensed with
  • In short, the Agama takes care of the highest in the hierarchy within its own structure. There is no place for outsiders here.
  • The Agama network is really impressive, massive, nurtured over centuries. It is now a psychological phenomenon. Not even obcs and panchamas dare to touch it neither would any dravidian state government for that matter. It is colossal like the gigantic banyan tree. If it is be down, it can bring down the nation with it which can be of some concern.
  • If the Agama structure is to be shaken, it is therefore possible that the entire structure of Sanatana Dharma may come loose. This will be clearly the next level in Hindu evolution. Another plane totally. However this is an acid test that Hindus WILL have to take someday or other. If not today, then tomorrow. But such a day will definitely dawn in Indian history when self-questioning will begin. Yes, we can only postpose this date cannot avoid it. But by then, it may be too late to make amends. I expect a good majority of India to have converted by such a time. It kind of makes me sad. But it is not that those higher up the ladder do not foresee this condition at a later date. I would think that the current regime could be leaving it to the future generation to work out a plausible solution.
  • The Agama temples were probably built after Shankaracharya’s time the 7th century CE. It is after his times that castes came to be more pronounced in India with clear demarcating lines. All the more a reason to shun the Shankara mutts.
  • A quiet and efficient hierarchy of things was established and the Agama network is astounding. Even the question of dismantling such a structure can portray one as anti-Hindu even if it meant anti-caste aspirations.
  • Blatant crass commercialization of Agama temples is there for all to see.
  • Not even Gandhi and EVR touched or questioned the Agama. Their first target was inclusivity at basic level.
  • With Agama temples, Hinduism got reduced to Abhisegams and Alankarams of dieties decorated with precious gold and diamond jewelry. Pilgrimage became a corner stone. Gone was the Inner Shanthi, aspiration for Inner Peace or Self-REalization. Bhakthi came to mean noise and pompous shows.
  • Agama temples are thus extremely ritualistic and so are Hindu lives. Steeped in ritualism, with spirituality and purpose disappearing from the scene. Now Hindu spirituality has become that very synonymous with rituality that we cannot think Hindu without the ritualistic paraphernalia.
  • Passive aggression is the worst kind of violence because it damages someone psychologically and feeds, gloats like parasite on their self-esteem. This is the typical characteristic of Agama Vidhi.

Is there a way we can get out of the mess created by the AGama temple system. Yes. Kudos to the Tamil Nadu state government for even giving a thought in this direction. This is not exactly moving out of Agama but the current move can be the next best thing we can think of. The great equalizer. This is how history is scripted. Galileo did not get guillotined for nothing. He went against the top brass. He antagonized friends. He rebelled. He risked death. Yet he spoke the truth as he knew it. As it was. Time proved him right.

I am myself a deeply ritualistic, religious person, so you can imagine how much it can hurt me to write this down. In fact i am feeling extremely depressed and disturbed by the developments. I don’t approve of usurping of temple administrations by force. But what knifed my heart was that my friends felt and believed and averred that some are born with silver spoon and by virtue of birth belonged in the sanctum sanctorum whereas others did not measure up. I don’t have to take this personal, i can remain neutral, but i don’t want to. At least i want to put in on record that India will be doomed with this kind of mentality. This is sick! Sickening! On basis of birth one claiming superiority and brushing down brutally others under the carpet – this callousness is shocking! I don’t think at this rate Hinduism will progress or survive. And if we don’t, we don’t have anyone to lay blame on. The mental sickness, the hypocrisy of the caste Hindus will do the HIndu dharma in. We don’t need the Abrahamics.

Today if we voice our honest opinion on religion, we are viewed as anti-national, anti-Hindu. Tamil Nadu and Kerala are two of the bravest states of India. They may be corrupt but one can even survive corruption but not hypocrisy which is the deadliest cancer. It gives me utmost satisfaction to note that the two states have not budged an inch. Not in next 1000 years will they ELECT HONESTLY a BJP government. And I underscore the honest word. All my life i voted for these guys. Yet the defiance of my state always makes me proud. I am proud of my ex chief minister Jayalalitha Jayaram who refused to oblige anyone on their terms and laid down her life holding her head high.

I cannot change my own friends, i accept defeat. I cannot change my nation. But I can scale down my pre-occupation with Agamic temples. I will start doing that right away. And I will try to convince fellow hindus on one to one basis to STOP going to Agama temples and focus on meditation. I will discourage other hindus to stop following acharyas and mutts and fake sadhgurus. This i can do in my individual capacity. My religious perspective is changing right now. It will be a long drawn process i know. Much more difficult for me because I have viewed myself deeply spiritual and at the same time ritualistic. I guess it is my Mother Goddess who even planted this seed of thought in my mind. I guess at best i will be HER instrument. Ever since the idea germinated, I have a feeling that i am getting propelled on to next stage of spirituality. I never had the urge until now. I though do want to take it slow.

High time Hindu Dharma evolves. Our Dravidian architecture granite temples are an engineering marvel. Ancient and historic. But i wish we leave them at that. Hopefully we hindus evolve. I wonder why some factions are not letting us do that. Why are the flocks not allowed to graze further down the spiritual path? Simple. It means, there is the risk of the power equations changing. Everyone becomes one and the same. None can have the hegemony of remaining insulated and self-righteous. You cannot bend and break the back of fellow humans like the crematorium worker or manual scavenger like you have been doing for over a thousand year.

Phasing out Agama. Will i be able to do it? Only time can tell. I will remain a devout Hindu with or without Agama. Seeing the God within you is not as easy. It shall take time. Nevertheless I will go for it with all my heart.

Posted in Extras

Treat yourself to a good home pedicure :D

I thought i would break monotony and relieve myself of stress with a much deserved and relaxing home pedicure. Salons are closed, and even if open, may not be having upto-date beauty products. I suspect stocks with expiry dates fast approaching. So it is better to get things done at home.

Why Pedicure:

  • because to some like me, foot is a measure of our general hygiene level
  • some husbands have foot fetish when it comes to their wives, and therefore it is best to keep our foot nice and clean, and groomed always
  • a good foot is a healthy foot of a healthy man/woman 😀
  • to avoid foot cracks, nail breaks etc and promote good blood circulation
  • if there is one thing i may visit salon for, it is always pedicure first and foremost. i luv the one i get (mechanized massage) (although it is 2 years since i got it done here) here and in chennai, it is vlcc

So let me post here how we can pamper ourselves with home spa for our foot. Remember, we can do this pedicure watching tv leisurely!

I am not an expert on anything and least of all on beauty routine. I don’t wear make-up but for a light lipstick when i go out (only here in middle east) apart from an eyebrow touch and a moisturizer (or SPF face cream). However i do good maintenance behind the scene. This is something i put together myself. It works for me. The investment cost: the bath salt scrub can last you 4 years, the moisturizer 3 years, the foot scraper is lifetime buy. Not really expensive that way.

  • file your toe nails first of all neat and nice, shape if you want and use a nailpolish remover to remove old polish with a tissue or cotton. I use an acetone free one.
  • then soak in coconut oil for 30 min both your feet. i use a mixture of coconut oil, olive oil and almond oil
  • with foot scraper gently scrape the dead cells. absolutely no rough treatment please. as gentle as a feather. first the top of your foot, then the underfoot. the dead cells and dry scales will fall out and fresh unbroken skin will emerge. regular foot scraping will prevent foot cracks
  • then squeeze a lemon into hot water in a bucket and soak your foot for 15 to 20 min. clean in between the toes with pubis stone very very gently. this is a bath stone. however i don’t use this. the lemon bleaches the hard tanned skin on upper foot and foreleg. this is the best detan i can think of. if you think that lemon is astringent, you can balance it with mixing honey.
  • use good bath salt or body scrub salt to scrub the foot upper, foreleg and down foot. do this gently. no rash strokes.
  • rinse your foot thoroughly in fresh warm water and towel gently
  • slather some moisturizer or foot cream (available for men) on both feet. and smoothen. or use liquid paraffin if you want with no aroma (if you are a fussy man)
  • you are ready now to apply nail enamel to your toe nails (optional 😀 ) apply one coat neat, wait for it to dry and then apply the second coat and then top it up with quick drier application.
  • you are now the owner of dazzling clean foot that you can show off now proudly!
  • gently down your amazing feet in sexy kohlapuri, don a fabindia kurta and strut and preen!

Benefits:

  • boosts your self confidence
  • relaxing and stress relieving
  • can give self massage if you do know massaging. this to be done when scrubbing with body salt on the foot. this massage i do miss at home
  • feel cleanest and on top of the world 😀

Do this home pedicure once in 15 days and notice visible results in under 3 months 😀 post pix 😀

Posted in Food For Soul

OBCs must forsake Agama temples.

The beauty about Sanathana Dharma is that you can be an Agama follower or a non-ritualistic, a Shaivite or a Vaishnavite, a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian, you can follow any of the six schools of worship, or you can even be an atheist. You can attain Nirvana by any means. The ritualistic Agama worship is the most layman form of worship although it is very popular. It can be our kinder garten at best, but most of us refuse to progress from here.

I think this is watershed moment for those like me to come to a decision. It will be very difficult to forsake the Agama temples but i am contemplating completely giving up Agama temples for the bastion of caste prejudice they have come to symbolize. They are filled with so much hatred and bias where the torch bearers are unwilling to help others grow spiritually . They seem to have reduced everything to Abhishekam and Alankaram. Decorating deities with gold and diamonds is what is their level of piety or religiosity. We are aware of Kshama Prarthana for the rituals still skipped. Everything is convenient to correct, should those in charge make a mistake. The kind of hypocrisy i am witnessing in our temples and the spewing of so much of venom belittling others is horrible. I am not saying the usurping of temple admin is right either. There is a gentle way of introducing the new appointees where those in service of god can receive them with understanding, willing to teach them and grow with them. The initial state of denial and shock are unavoidable. We must be giving them time to settle down. Neither should the serving ones be financially deprived with their services cut short. For all this to happen, a society must be very mature and literate. However, this is not the case.

I would like that every non-brahmin gives up Agama worship totally and seeks meditation and other means of Dharma to attain Mukthi. Even the new OBC archakas can withdraw and leave the hollow granite structures to the heartless cruel people who can go to hell. My heart goes out to the poorest of poor called names, insulted by their caste card. I would ask every vettiyan to refuse to burn an FC body. That is how bad i feel. It looks like forever, these lower caste people must be confined to their fates, denied an equal social status.

I would definitely try to withdraw from my temple routine. I would though go to the non Agamic temples that are not bound by prejudiced practices.

It won’t be easy not stepping into Kapali temple or Valleeshwara temple. Both were originally maintained for decades by my community. Now i am ashamed that we even exercised such a privilege. But i will try to personally stay away from Agama temples as much as possible. I would stress upon every single OBC community to withdraw their support and allegiance with Agama temples. Just grow out, wean yourself okay? Move on to the next level. Climb to the next step in your spiritual ladder.

My Devi, My Goddess resides within me. I don’t have to seek Her outside anywhere. A temple is only after your Puja at home. On that I am clear. I have made some promises to visit some shrines with family in future. I shall have to keep up those promises. But for that, i will be slowly easing out of the Agama ritualistic temples. May be enlightenment will follow this way who knows.

I shall press every single OBC who i come across and who i can influence to give up Agama temples and concentrate on meditation and Puja at home or in non-Agama temples. No more this can be our collective responsibility either. If after serving in the sanctum for centuries these people still cannot understand God’s will or can’t embrace the masses and take them into their bosoms and show them the God, it is not worth it.

Hinduism is such a vast ocean. There are offensive scriptures still that we can give up. There are unfair practices that we need not have to heed to. Let us follow what we are comfortable with. The more ritualistic we become, the more distant we move away from self-realization. It is one thing to usurp the temple admin, but it another thing not to share knowledge but lead an otherwise materialistic adharmic life in every other way.

Dear Hindus, it is time to forsake the Agama temples. Just grow up. Shiva and Shakthi and Lord Balaji and Rama and Hanuman live in your hearts first. You don’t need these vedics or the purohits and pundits. But forever they will need you especially even after their death. Let them always stay indebted to you. I change my mind. Forsake the Agama, but burn their bodies. Sweep clean their ugliness. May you always be one step above them in every aspect – by virtue of birth. Your ways and means may be crude, but your end aspiration is merited. God be with you!

Posted in Food For Soul

the helpless plea that echoes in my mind…

I have a devoted househelp at my service for over 15 years now. She has a rural background. When she came to work for me, the first day on taking the broom in her hands she said, ‘Akka please don’t allot separate plate and tumbler for me! Otherwise i don’t want to work for you!’ I wasn’t planning to do that. Those words rooted me to my spot. I felt ashamed of myself to be instilling such a fear on this village girl. She is like my younger sister ever since. After sometime she noticed that I was using the same coffee mug, my son used his etc., and that we did not mix towels or soaps or any personal thing even within the family. It is after a month she told me to give her her own glass and plate because in my family, everyone had our own plate, glass that we wouldn’t interchange. Even pillows and blankets. Still i did not tell my girl firsthand what was our house practice. I let the girl find out. In my case, there was never a discrimination. One thing my help keeps telling me is, after coming to me all those years back she for the first time was shocked by receiving equal, humane treatment. Nobody gave her that respect that was due to her all these years. My help has access to all my house, all my things and my trust in her is one hundred percent. That very trust of mine in her endeared me to her. When I am down, it is she who cooks for me. One day I surprised my friends with her cooking – yes, my orthodox school friends. They couldn’t believe she was such a fine cook. They were at loss of words. Respect also means that we share our food with our househelp when it is still piping hot and can be savoured heartfully – not as leftover always. This is what I do. If i make something special or even my daily food, I first share with my help. I give her her share as she finishes my morning chore. That simple gesture would touch her immensely. When my husband would be around, she would say, ‘akka, let anna eat around first. let me take my share in the evening.’ Even my help’s friend is like my sister. Whenever my girl takes leave, this girl comes to run some errands for me and do the chores. First time the girl came to my house, she had a similar plea for me: ‘akka please don’t differentiate and allot me a lota separately. i feel very hurt.’ These words still reverberate in my ears. The second girl worked for someone else. She would tell me how her employer would not allow her to move freely giving her only the leftovers and old clothes. The girls like me for the only reason that I treat them as fellow human beings, nothing special. I got both the girls silk saris for a family function this year. They had tears in their eyes when I asked them to pick that had never happened to them before. That i got them very same saris like for my friends was what touched them most. For my part, i never did anything extraordinary. I realized just treating someone human can also move them so much…

My friends and even my family say I lavish on the girls which is untrue. The truth is that I treat them as an equal. Treat them like they are my friends and own sisters. This is what has won me their loyalty and love and affection. Today the son of my regular househelp has graduated and daughter is on the verge of graduating. First time LITERATES by the way in their entire joint family. I won’t deny i have played a role in pushing them to this purpose and asking them to improve their living standards in every way. I can help only those closest to me, being a woman in this society with limited connections. Even if i improve the lives of 2-3 girls in this lifetime of mine, i count it as a blessing.

I am asking this society only one question: if someone should beg us not to give them separate glasses and plates, what kind of monsters are we supposed to be. How much more can we stamp on others’ dignity and self-respect. How much have we psychologically damaged them, destroyed them. How have we broken their hearts to a thousand pieces. We are worse than the Taliban really. They kill physically. We wound fellow humans emotionally dashing and killing their hopes. This passive aggression is what I view as most heinous because it goes unnoticed. It is not viewed as an act of violence at all. The hypocrisy thrives, flourishes dividing societies.

How did the discrepancies creep up in the first place and get entrenched so deeply in our midst. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that traditionally (meaning for many centuries) some occupying the seats of honour while others slugging it out at the bottom has been the way the society functioned. The vast majority of population probably remained complacent or their protests were quietened in no time. The status quo prevailed until realization set in. It means a reshuffle is the way forward.

I think it is time we plug all loopholes that may lead to tear from our social fabric. There just cannot be any justification on the basis of birth for this senseless discrimination we still practice in our homes.

At the same time, the girls’ determination also revealed to me, how they will not allow themselves to be treated in future. Which ideology did influence them? Both cannot read a letter. It is useless blaming political leadership when the awareness is happening. Kudos to the girls for their sense of dignity and respect. In my case, they needn’t have feared. But it is a lesson for all of us: if we deny respect and equal space for anyone from any sphere, then they will be obliged to claim it from us forcefully. In Tamil Nadu temple case, this is what is happening today.

Posted in Food For Soul

do the graveyard shift.

I see so much of venom spewed ever since the OBC archakas tookover their assigned jobs in Agama temples. Remember, these too graduated from Vedic schools and are not without a background. I can imagine how worse it could have been for EVR all those years back and for Gandhiji to break the caste barricades and bring Hindus together as never before in over a two thousand year written history of India. Only solace is that, the media was absent then, especially social media. Crass characters like Subrahmanyam Swamy today are discussing the Tamil Nadu situation whereas he is yet to explain to the public here his role in Jayalalitha’s case and demise. If he had had any strength of character, no central govt would have rejected him. It doesn’t matter if you are Harvard returned, when you are found to be unreliable like this other one Shashi Tharoor, you will not find a good position anywhere because you are just that: not trustworthy and characterless.

I am not sure how much of physical violence was used to manhandle archakas in employment in which case it is totally wrong. But the archakas also can embrace the new appointees with more broadmind as their apprentices and train them in their order. What Ramanuja did centuries back, why should it be impossible to do in the 21st century.

What is bhakthi without an element of empathy. It is those in the service of God who must have more compassion and understanding. It n’t it strange that those who want to get into service of god are called the adharmic and those who are going adharmic are claiming to be dharmic.

Which shastra sampradhaya and dharmika have the caste hindus already not violated? At the cost of repeating myself I would like to record here that. the day a hindu (read brahmin) woman decided to wear double mangalsutra from two men and carry the child in her womb fathered by an unknown donor and the day a brahmana decided to take the work of a kasappukadaikaran butchering meat and going further on sampling liquor for making a living, the dharmic equations got altered. Ilai marai kaai maraivaa nadandhuthaan ellam. But when legal sanction was accorded to these transgressions redefining a pre-existant dharma, nobody can have the moral or ethical right any more to bar anyone from anywhere quoting scriptures or traditions. The truth is, not many non-brahmins can bring themselves to cross these undrawn limiting lines as easily as these folks do. I am not asking anyone not to remarry or have a child from anyone they please. And i have nothing to do with their eating habits. In fact i am for reforms that can make life better for our women. It is only when some parties flout what suits them and want others to abide by the unwritten code, there is a problem.

Whether we want it or not, at some point in history, this is going to happen. This holding back of knowledge, art is deeply disturbing and can be damaging to even our economy. I have noted that as expected, none of the national news channels covered the pathbreaking historical move made by Tamil Nadu govt in the matter.

To bring about awareness, our govt can consider this:

The brahmin population of the state is stated to be around 2%. I am not sure about Mudaliar or Nadar or Chetty or Pillai or Nair or Naidu or Jain population. On pro-rata basis, every caste must be allotted their graveyard shift in the various crematoria spread across the state, manual or mechanized. These groups can be given the rights to assemble their own team from their own caste members. The 2% brahmin population may still have to work for about 7 days out of the yearly 365 at the crematoria burning bodies. A similar shift can be considered for the scavenging work. Road kuppaya allanum, koottanum. I am not singling out one community. Let everyone share the duty as per their percentage population in the national census. And I am including even the christians and muslims in this list of scavenging job. I am leaving them out of the crematoria work quota because they have their own where things are not done on caste basis.

This can be an eye opener to the self certified puritanical groups and help them realize whose sweat and blood and dignity their ancestors sucked to put them above the rest of the lot. First of all, the much waned dignity of labour will be restored to full vigor in Indian society.

Reservation is for this purpose: when you cannot find a housemaid or street hawker or a crematorium worker or a sweeper in your community or relative circle, it means you are socially emancipated even if not materially very rich. In which case, you are expected to pull others out of their deprived situation with helping hands. This is what humanity is all about.

When did the castes/varnas come into vogue. They find no mention in the Vedas. They are the later additions. Shastra and Sampradayas to my knowledge can be dismantled or suspended or rewritten or altered.

What is this Agama vidhi, May be this is something that makes stops you from climbing out of the ritualistic quagmire? I remember the men in my family frowning against the Devasham rituals running for days. They would say, the said group divided themselves into two. One went to temples and took over the powerful societal position of serving the gods. Those who could not fit into temples that were not big employers, invented purohit work to keep themselves busy and earn a living! Personally I believe, it is more important to respect and treat a human with kindness when he or she is around. I do not believe in endless rituals year after year after the concerned person is gone. Once you leave agama schools, you find that there is no need to stick to caste-prescribed boundaries. You realize the entire set up has been put into place to maintain the same hierarchy for centuries. This i am not saying to disrespect anyone. But i have always awowed how cleverly some communities took care of themselves and kept themselves out of the harms way with ingeniously designed self-preservation techniques. No need to fight the kings battles. No need to sweat under a sweltering sun. Finest settlements in the agrahara with water wells. Safe life while the others slogged it out.

Many have been telling me to slowly come out of the ritualistic worship. May be I am now ready to go to the next step. I am already feeling a strong desire never to tow this line again. Rituals do help me focus better. I am able to give a shape to my spiritual goals. But many hindus are already leaving behind the ritualistic religion and taking a step forward. May be this is the way we can bring to an end the caste hypocrisy when whatever these guys say won’t matter to us.

We are having Tamizh weddings in our families already for past many years where we have dispensed with services of purohits. Instead we recite Tamil mantras. I have for friends who have had ‘seerthirutha tamizh kalyanams.’ Their children are now like trophies, not in anyway wanting.

Passive aggression is one of the most cruel forms of violence because it allows you to belittle fellow humans as if they are sub-humans while placing yourselves in a far better and superior position only by virtue of birth. This is most abominable mind-set. Knowledge to me is for sharing. Inclusive growth is important for national development. Caste is one reason India is backward. Caste is also the main reason for conversion post 1947 (and even prior to 1947).

I used to be sick of the curd rice stories. Then I turned against my friends and asked them, still why did the curd rice prevent them from becoming geniuses like the jews or japanese or even the koreans. What new inventions and discoveries in last 2000 years after Aryabhatta and Bhaskara. It is you who claim they were yours. In truth in Bharatha, whether scientist or mathematician or spiritual guru or even a nayanmar or alwar, anyone making a mark was absorbed by the brahminical fold after their lifetimes as theirs. Like we posthumously award Ashok chakra today to war heroes.

After the puritanical mind set in (I can peg this about the time of Shankaracharya) dividing the population on communal lines, you cannot observe any significant scientific temper in Hindu history. Once the hypocritical mind takes over, the genius vanishes. This is the truth.

Transported back to 1947 when a struggle of another kind was taking place in the south especially to usher in social reforms. I can imagine why EVR Periyar is so much villainified now. He did the unthinkable. 75 years later can we imagine otherwise?

The south has always been the trendsetter which is why we prosper better than the north. The north is steeped in casteist hypocrisy. You cannot have someone like Yogi boldly enact reforms as they are done in the south in another 1000 years. It needs courage and commitment to a cause.

Finally as a believer and a practising Hindu, I repeat, without Mother Goddess wanting it this way, this just cannot happen. Women may step into Lord Aiyappa’s abode in Sabarimala legally today because perhaps, Aiyappa thinks the time is ripe for that. Raam got his Ayodhya back, not you or me. If you are indeed a true Hindu, you will surrender without a question as I do. You will understand the scheme of things the way I do.

You think Shiva bothers whether you enter a temple after downing a peg of whiskey or in lungi. Or having your periods! Omg is this what you have reduced Dharma to. My kind of faith is entirely on another range. Man made decorum is fine. But upto a certain degree. Over that, all that matters is only the matter of the heart. With so much of bias at heart thinking lowly of others, I do not know how anyone can hope to get closer to ‘realization.’

Or guys be ready to flash your iyer or iyengar card at Kailasha or Vaikuntha when you get there. This is the kind of God you believe in.

Some Hindus are parasitic. They wouldn’t stop from feeding on those below them in ranks. This is why Dharma is dying.