Rajasthan

We had a great vacation at Rajasthan last week. I will not be writing in detail about the places, since wikitravel does a better job at that. I will just jot down some of my experiences/thoughts during this trip.

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The first thing that strikes you once you are in Rajasthan is the "color". Blood red, dark pink, bright yellow, vibrant hues of blue and green - you feel as though they finished playing holi just before you arrived. It seems the people here, with their dressing sense, art and music, more than compensate for the arid, barren, vast spaces of nothingness. It is one place in the world where you can wear the gaudiest Govinda dress without the fear of a fashion faux pas.

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Color is very important to a Rajasthani. They have different colors for different occasions - the birth of a child, the mourning of a death, the ending of a mourning, for holi, for diwali. Innumerable types of turbans are worn, each distinctly representing the wearer's caste, sub caste, the region he belongs to etc. A trained eye can figure out a lot looking at a stranger's turban wearing style and color. Example, "Look at that Gujjar, looks like he just had a son" or "Looks like somebody died in that Banjara's house". Remember how we measured the resistors using color code? (B B Roy of Great Britain had a Very Good Wife)

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The audio guides in most places were good - it was excellent in Mehrangarh fort, Jodhpur; good in Jaisalmer and Bikaner; the only exception being Amer fort in Jaipur. Though aimed mainly at international tourists, it was informative and done very professionally. The reason I said international is because a simple statement like "Rama blessed Hanuman" would become "Rama, an avatar of Vishnu, one of the principal Hindu Gods, blessed Hanuman, the monkey God". Got it right? Like some of you bloggers who write, "A sumptuous meal in Kamat would cost you just Rs. 110" without forgetting to add "approx. 2.683 USD, as on 13/12/2010*" in the brackets.

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In Rajasthan, art is an integral part of life. Intricate paintings, delicate stone work, done with so much craft and finesse, make their presence feel everywhere. Go to any shop and you can hear the shopkeeper say - "This carpet work is fully hand woven, it takes 6 months to finish one piece" or "This 6X6 miniature painting takes 4 months". Intricate art was perhaps the early desert man's way of ensuring job security. You get orders for making 100 razaai or 200 paintings, and you have a secure job till retirement. 

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During our college days, we used to call our dear friend Avins as "onte" because of his height. Though the camels stand a few feet short compared to him, the tall, good natured, calm, composed, uncomplicated desert ships reminded me of him.

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I have a big problem with Hindi speaking people interchangeably using "da" and "ra" (like "bari" and "badi" for big; "lori" and "lodi" for lullaby) Imagine my plight when we went to see "Saheliyon ki Baari" and the board read "Saheliyon ki Baadi". Even a half pervert mind would interpret it as getting physical with girlfriends. I am damn sure most North Indians will find it amusing when Laura Linney introduces herself. On a similar note, I am very scared of any Tamilian singing "Lambi judaai" :)

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If you go to a restaurant in Rajasthan, dont ask "What do you have in dessert?" You may get the answer as "Sand dunes, camels,..." So adopt a safe approach and ask "What do you have in ice creams or milkshakes?"

Lingua Franca

Can you remember the first French word you had learnt? I can. Let me take a guess about you, was it "Bonjour", "Monsieur", "Mademoiselle", "Au Revoir"? If you say yes, I can safely assume that you were the novel-reading types and you must have read these in a dozen fiction novels where the protagonist travels all over Europe trying to escape from KGB, MI6, CIA or trying to uncover some deadly conspiracy against all odds. I am equally sure that you would have pronounced them in your mind like how you would pronounce an English word. Only later, you would have known that "Mademoiselle" sounds like "memmozee" or "au revoir" sounds like "avva".

If you were not the novel-reading types, in the post-cable-tv-pre-Internet era, there was only one way to get your basic French education - Fashion TV. You had to tolerate horrendously dressed zombies to catch a rare episode of Rio Carnival. I need not say that most of the times it was watched on Mute, so that the elders would not figure out the rate of erosion of Indian culture and values. It was then we came to know about "Michael Adam presents"...and then "Lingerie". And like our novel-reading siblings, we had assumed that it was pronounced the way it was written (only after many years, on one of the Non-mute occasions, we realized that it was pronounced something like "lawn-sje-ray". More weird the accent, more authentic your French is!)

On my way to Mysore (more than a decade after the first French education), imagine my joy when I see this on a wall. Somewhere in this world, even today, there are people who pronounce it the way I used to. Isn't it strange that we humans can relate to each other in the most unusual scenarios?




P.S: My most favorite word though is "Oui". I love the way the women say that in French movies!

I always find it amusing to imagine Shankaracharya, Madhvacharya and Ramanujacharya standing forming a triangle inside a circular ground. Ennio Morricone score in the background. Slow long shots of each one, followed by close up of each of their eyes.

Then, Ramanujacharya mutters to Madhvacharya - "Seems like you are one entity short" (followed by guffaws from Ramanujacharya's followers in the background)
Silence for 30 secs. And Shankaracharya slowly tells Ramanujacharya - "Looks like you got two too many" (followed by eerie silence and then heavy duty music from Morricone)

So here it is, the last one in the series...


A colleague of mine used to ask other colleagues whether they are "smart" or "mad". In case you have not guessed, it was her short form for Smartas and Madhvas!

Okay, Madhvas need not feel bad. Smartas have a bigger problem. Anyone returning from abroad with a fake accent will ask them "Are you smartas?" and it is an interesting way to stop people from acting oversmart ;)
So presenting the next one in the series: Dvaita...

I admit that my knowledge of UML as well as Hindu philosophy is very basic. So any discrepancy in terms of UML or philosophical concepts will not be totally unexpected. I am planning to do this series for different schools, here I am starting off with Advaita first.

Sibling Rivalry

Sanathkumara once asked the revered sage Sutha Mahamuni - “Oh knower of all knowledge, oh teller of great stories, can you please explain me in less than 4000 words as to when this ‘Sibling Rivalry’ started”.

Sutha Mahamuni cleared his throat, as he usually did before giving lengthy answers, a habit he had acquired by insisting on additional answer sheets during his exams in Gurukul.
“Oh Sanathkumar, the man who comes up with more questions than Siddarth Basu, the one who takes listening skills to different levels, listen. This sibling rivalry is existent from time immemorial. When Narada was telling Krishna the story, in which Samba Sadashiva answered a similar query from Nandi, this story was not told. Because I am making this story up for you. So please listen.”

Ganapathi and his brother Subrahmanya once had a dispute as to who was the elder of the two. The matter was referred to God Shiva for final decision. Shiva decided that whoever would make a tour of the whole world and come back first to the starting point had the right to be the elder. Subrahmanya flew off at once on his vehicle, the peacock, to make a circuit of the world. But the wise Ganapathi went, in loving worshipfulness, around His divine parents and asked for the prize of His victory.
God Shiva reckoned that Ganapathi should be declared winner because of his street smartness. Parvathi, like the dutiful wife that she is, disagreed completely. Who won in the end, nobody really knows. But, thats not the point here, the point here is that this is the first recorded sibling rivalry incident in all of Puranas.

“Hmm interesting”, quipped Sanathkumara, satisfied with the explanation.

“No no no, what is actually interesting is how the words ‘Sibling Rivalry’ is linked to this story”, Sutha Mahamuni said with a smug smile on his bearded face.

Before Sanathkumara could ask the obvious question, Sutha Mahamuni continued, “After this incident, Nandi started jokingly referring it to as ‘Kailasa Rivalry’. It also came to be known as ‘Shivling Rivalry’. And then, and then my friend, one day some Bengalis joined the Shivagana and started pronouncing it as ‘Sibling Rivalry’!”

Plogging

I am really surprised why no one has coined the term "Plogging" till now. In case you are wondering what the hell that is, it just means Parent-Blogging.

I am always surprised that, in my grandparents' generation having a dozen kids was the norm, that too when many had hand-to-mouth existence. My father jokingly tells that its because that was the only form of entertainment in those days. Some experts strongly believe that the late emergence of Plogging is the main reason for population explosion at that time. Imagine if a person had to blog about his half a dozen kids, he surely would not have the bandwidth (not the internet one!) to reach the dozen mark!

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Since blogging itself is around a decade old, the average age of Momma/Pappa blogs would be around 5 years at the most. Many parent bloggers right now will be blogging about their first kid. Will they be as enthusiastic to blog about their second kid? More importantly,will the parents at some point stop writing posts about their children? 

This could actually be a mommy blog post in the year 2030:
Control Systems Exam. Exhausted.
"My son has been studying for his 'Control Systems' exam all night. He is such a dedicated kid. I gave him cereals by missing my serials. Sleep Deprived. Gotta make Horlicks for him now. Laters. Bye".

3 comments:
wannabesupermom writes:
Wow. Great. You are a super mom. Your son is so lucky. Love...
from Internet Explorer 6, 5 minutes ago

regularvisitor writes:
Beautiful post. Wish him all the best.
from Firefox 3.6, 2 minutes ago

mommasboy writes:
Mummy, stop blogging. And get me Horlicks. Now!
from Blackberry, a second ago

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Here are the technological innovations waiting to be explored:
As of today, you can either write the posts about all your children in the same blog or have a separate blog for each child. But, the future will be something like this.
There will be a single parent blog, like lets say http://kidzofdasharatha.wordpress.com and auto tagging feature will create one dynamic pesudo blog per child. If you want to read the posts about all the children, you can go to the main site. If you want to read about a specific child, you would need to visit pseudo sites like say http://rama.kidzofdasharatha.wordpress.com, http://lakshmana.kidzofdasharatha.wordpress.com etc.

http://kidzofdasharatha.wordpress.com
Recent Posts:
 - Asking Rama to go to Forest. Having a heart attack. So long.
 - Rama's Enthroning. More details soon.
 - Rama won Sita, take a bow. Rather, break a bow.
 - Shucks, Vishwamitra took away Rama and Lakshmana.
 - Bharatha always loves to wear Rama's shoes.
 - Payasa worked. Kids look just like me. Minus the beard.

http://rama.kidzofdasharatha.wordpress.com
Recent Posts:
 - Asking Rama to go to Forest. Having a heart attack. So long.
 - Rama's Enthroning. More details soon.
 - Rama won Sita, take a bow. Rather, break a bow.
 - Shucks, Vishwamitra took away Rama and Lakshmana.
 - Payasa worked. Kids look just like me. Minus the beard.

http://lakshmana.kidzofdasharatha.wordpress.com
Recent Posts:
 - Asking Rama to go to Forest. Having a heart attack. So long.
 - Shucks, Vishwamitra took away Rama and Lakshmana.
 - Payasa worked. Kids look just like me. Minus the beard.

http://bharatha.kidzofdasharatha.wordpress.com
Recent Posts:
 - Bharatha always loves to wear Rama's shoes.
 - Payasa worked. Kids look just like me. Minus the beard.

http://shatrughna.kidzofbharatha.wordpress.com
Recent Posts:
Oops...no post. Looks like you lost your interest in blogging by the time this kid was born!

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Parent blogs will be used in future to collect very important statistics:
  • The drop in blogging interest from first kid blog to the second kid blog.
  • The average age when the child will take its first step.
  • The most commonly uttered first words by children.
  • The effect of Horlicks on the marks obtained in 9th standard science test.
  • The health drink that kids drink before their "Control Systems" exam.
  • The impact of parents' posts on the self esteem of the child.

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. No adult, parent or child ego was hurt in the writing of this post.

I saw this at the MG Road - Brigade Road Junction.



He is the president of "Karnataka Tamil Bhasha Kannadigara Sangha". Can it get any complicated than this?

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Nobody commented that they are not able to see the image.   It means no one is visiting my blog now or everyone has switched to RSS / Email subscription!

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