Thursday, August 31, 2006

Om Ganeshaya Namoh!

Since I could not take pics of the Pune Ganpatis, am posting the one at home. We had decided to have a permanent 'sthapana' done of the Ganpati, keeping in mind the ecosystem,etc. Plus, the way the idols are thrown around here, I think it was a wise decision.

So the brass Ganpati is the permanent one. And since visarjan is a part of the puja, I make a small ganpati, either of clay or 'atta' (flour), and we have the visarjan at home itself. The orange Ganesh (in the pic below) is the one I have made- from flour and food colours...yes, completely edible! ;)

And we have a huge collection of Ganeshas- around 300 odd- from statues to prints, frames to masks, suparis to toys...they are all stored and displayed only during the festival... have not displayed all this time because of my dog, Tara, who's still too small to understand she's not supposed to eat them.

And am sharing few with you all.

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Monday, August 28, 2006

A tale of two cities...

Since childhood to about 2 years ago, whilst I was living in Mumbai, I always wanted to visit Pune to see how Ganesh Chaturti is celebrated here. Having heard so much from boastful friends and relatives, and also having seen part of it on TV, I was curious and in a way dying to be part of the 'cultural mela'. And looking forward to being part of the city that the entire state looked up in awe during these 10 days...

Till I shifted to Pune.
This being my second Ganeshotsav here, I slowly saw my wonderful visions of the rich culture and 'proper' conduct of the various Ganesh mandals existing in the city evaporate into shards of hard reality.

Last year, I thought I was being partial to Mumbai (which I am always, no matter what), by being critical. But this year, the story repeats itself.

Ok, now the 'what'. And this I'll say by comparing the way the festival is conducted in the two cities- Mumbai and Pune.

* In Mumbai, the pandals and decorations are ready one day prior to the Chaturti. Especially for the large Ganpatis and the famous mandals. In Pune, as of now, it is the third day and the decorations are still being done- leave aside opening the pandals to the public.

* Mumbai- The Ganesh murti is set up on the first day itself. No allowances made for any delay- the 'muhurat' is all pervasive.
Pune- The decorations are not complete, so how can you expect the Ganpati murti in it??? And this even for famous Ganpati mandals like the Dagdu Sheth. I happened to pass on Jungli Maharaj Road today and had seen about 4-5 large pandals- but all of them shut to the public- as work was still going on!

* Mumbai- The Ganpati statues are taken home and even submerged with a lot of respect. The way one covers the statue before the 'sthapana'. enters the home in a particular manner, leaves it with the back facing and more. Puneites couldn't care less (and I have seen quite a few, hence this statement!).

* Mumbai- Of course the sea is there, but in far off places, the small neighbourhood water tank, pond, lake,etc is cleaned and made available for the 'visarjan'. The BMC appoints people to collect the garlands and strictly do not allow any waste to be submerged with the statue. And the statues are submerged properly, with all the proper rites being done by the person who's sending off the God and also by the person who's taking it to be submerged.
Pune- Yes, the river is there and running full too. And an apparantly 'systematic method' or rather, as the Punekar would say, the eco-friendly method of putting the statues in specialised tanks filled with water. This is great, but the tanks never contain water till the third day, the statues are just thrown in, the garlands and other stuff dumped and there is no real 'visarjan' per se.

* Mumbai- Larger than life are the sizes of the Ganpatis. And many of them existing since years. And they also have timings and huge crowd gatherings to see them off. But there is no ego hassle- especially of who goes first and who follows. While leaving, everybody goes as one- the visarjan is done together and everyone is happy.
Pune- There is a strict protocol followed. The top five Ganpati Mandals move first, get to do the visarjan and then only can the others follow. Even with the top five, there is a heirarchy of sorts- which means that without the first moving, the second one cannot follow or lead. And in tow are the various dances, 'rangolis' being put in front and more- great fun to see- but when you think of the others behind, you only wish these guys would hurry up!

* Mumbai- Timings are adhered to- especially because it is a procession of the God. And despite the public gatherings, all the visarjans happen on the last day- nowadays majorly by 10pm. And those going after 10pm are silent in their processions and conduct.
Pune- When the Ganpatis arrive three days after they should have, you know they are justified when they have the visarjan three days after. And time??? "What's that? Let the first royal mandal move- and since they are taking their own sweet time to cross few steps forward, don't blame us for immersing our statue after a day or so- that is when we will manage to reach the water body!"

The smaller details like Mumbai being more cosmopolitan and every person following the religious activity with sincerity is not much to talk about.

And yes, despite all the lovely show that Pune puts up, I realised it is finally just that- a show. Quite a flop one at that.

Just started a new blog on architecture, design, technology and more. Called Design-o-logy. You can check it here:
Also will be starting my own travel blog soon. The name is Wanderlogue and the link being

Monday, August 21, 2006


Not much of a tv serial watcher, but must say that Ekta Kapoor's optimism in the human race is tremendous. Take for example, Kabhi Saas Bhi Bahu Thi... There are actually 6 generations of one family under one roof... and going with the average age of the youngest being around 18 or so, I guess the oldest should be well above 120! And none of them need botox, tucks or lifts, anti-wrinkle creams or anti-ageing lotions! Now is that not a great achievement of humanity???!
I think, with the kind of TRP ratings this serial gets, everybody watching it is entitled to demand for this secret of the elixir of life from Ekta, so that they too can be young forever! Though there is one condition here that I see Ms.Kapoor putting to all people- that of staying in a joint family and to be filthy rich- because that is the only way the masala of life will get pisaoed well! Mmmm...I can actually smell the flavour of life coming through!
The other K-man.
Saw Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna over the weekend. I must say, I was warned about how crappy it is and that I should not waste my money. But since I normally like to experience for myself, I took the plunge! And came out wet, of course, but not because it was a damp squib, but because I could not stop myself from crying.
The movie is real enough and has a mature concept. Love can come knocking at any given point, it's upto us to choose what our priorities should be. And also indicative of how the values of marriage have changed today, making us wonder if there is anything like a forever marriage.
The characters were well played, and I really liked Amitabh's character and his performance in this movie! And Aby's baby rocks too! All in all, it was fun, although a bit too long. And I happened to watch it at Infinity Mall in Mumbai, with seats that are like lounge chaises- large and comfortable enough to be able to sit cross-legged or sleep in it. That's the changing face of movies and theatre halls for you.
Ok and since I have been getting comments from people assuming I liked the movie because I wrote few good things about it, let me follow up with the negatives:
- Too long! Loads of scenes were not needed at all.
- That black beast meeting was really idiotic- KJ should not attempt comedy.
- I don't see the reason why Rani married Abhishek in the first place-marry for the sake of marriage and not for anything else. And friendship/pity/kids should be the last thing.
- And what is the problem between them that she had to turn towards Shahrukh- now a frustrated, mean guy, with no spine to boot?
- How come that kid looked so happy after his parents divorced???
- Abhi pyaar hua, ikraar hua- phir bhichad bhi gaye- to jaane do na. Why tell the spouses!???
Funny though it may sound, I still don't know if I liked the movie or no....
Wrote some lines on my way to Bombay...they sort of sum up what I was thinking then, but are still incomplete. Anyway, here goes.
Bikhre bikhre pal yehan,
Kahan unhe dhoondoo?
Yeh na ho ke unke khoj mein
Kuch aur mera kho baithoo...
Tarassha hai jise kabhi mahfuuz hoke,
Yeh vakt ke churaye hue lamhe
Kya ik baar phir unse mil sakoo?

Monday, August 07, 2006

So, what does 'love' mean to you?

'Love' today is such a common word in the phraseologies of today, with expressions like 'Ooh! I so lovvee this song/him/the food/the joint...' and ' Love you gal, thanks a ton!'...also, 'Hello/ Take care, luv!' being spouted at the drop of a hat! And if one is at a social do, all the more reason to have 'luhhhvv' being transferred to you on a honey-laden golden plate. It makes me wonder, do they really care so much or is this really love!?

The word 'love' is very sacred to me. And the name of my blog not withstanding, I choose to use it sparingly and definitely not for all and sundry! That's primarily because I feel that when I express love for/to some one/thing, I am duty bound and morally obliged to mean it. Also being acutely aware of the connotations, implications and responsibility the word has, I'd like to believe that since I said it, I am truly- from the depths of my heart- convinced that I do so... a conviction that holds me in good stead through all the trying times and doubting minds around...

That's why I ensure that when I tell someone 'I love you' (be it family, friend or otherwise), I actually feel the words come from my heart. And I am completely confident about what I feel when I say I do. This attempt to be honest and true to myself has led me to sign most of my mails/letters/cards with either 'warm regards', 'cheers!', 'take care!' and so on...emphasising that I do care, but not necessarily love them. This also helps me analyse my feelings and have the clarity of thought of love as compared to feeling/caring for/being sympathetic to someone and more.

And so, from saying 'I love to travel/watch movies/to read/to dance...' and 'I love design/photography/good food....' etc; I have learned to say, 'I enjoy travelling' or 'I'm passionate about design' ... expressing myself completely but yet not brandishing the word 'love'.

It may sound stupid, self-centred or even weird, but I know in the bargain I am being completely true to myself and the person I expressed love for. It's not a superfluous expression of society's norms but a revealation of my heart and soul. Something that is real and set in stone.

Love, for me, is being true to my soul. And for eternity.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Friendship: Fortune Forever!

Wishing a very HAPPY FRIENDSHIP DAY to us all !
May there always be peace, happiness and trust around and within.... :)

Some thoughts to share... yes, a lil mushy post for the day... but what the heck! It's not always that this happens... and for those who think I've gone loony...well... just blame it on the rains! :)

What shall we use to fill the empty spaces,
Where we used to talk?
How shall I fill the final places?
How shall I complete the wall?
Are we friends, or are we not?
You told me once, but I forgot
Tell me now, and tell me true
So I can say, I'm here for you.
Of all the friends I've ever met
You're the one I won't forget
And if I die before you do
I'll go to heaven, and wait for you
I'll give the angels, back their wings
And risk the loss, of everything.
Just to prove my friendship is true
To have a friend, a friend like you
-- Loren Heath, Friends
A part of you has grown in me,
together forever we shall be.
Sometimes apart,maybe in distance
but never in heart.
-- Unknown.
Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it's all over.-- Octavia Butler.
If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are your waiting?-- Stephen Levine.
If we discovered that we had only five minutes left to say all that we wanted to say, every telephone booth would be occupied by people calling other people to stammer that they loved them.-- Christopher Morley.
I've learned in my lifetime so far that you can't help who you fall for and no matter how hard you try and how much it hurts you everyday that you just wanna be with them or just talk to them you never stop trying to make them happy by the little things you say or do because thats what makes your life worth going on for.-- Unknown.
Sometimes in life, you find a special friend. Someone who changes your life just by being a part of it. Someone who makes you laugh until you can't stop. Someone who makes you believe that there really is good in the world. Someone who convinces you that there really is an unlocked door just waiting for you to open it. This is forever friendship. When you're down and the world seems dark and empty, your forever friend lifts you up in spirit and makes that dark and empty world suddenly seem bright and full. Your forever friend gets you through the hard times, the sad times and the confused times. If you turn and walk away, your forever friend follows. If you lose your way, your forever friend guides you and cheers you on. Your forever friend holds your hand and tells you that everything is going to be okay. And if you find such a friend, you feel happy and complete because you need not worry. You have a forever friend, and forever has no end.-- Unknown.
A friend who is far away is sometimes much nearer than one who is at hand. Is not the mountain far more awe-inspiring and more clearly visible to one passing through the valley than to those who inhabit the mountain?-- Khalil Gibran
When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.-- Henri Nouwen.
I value the friend who for me finds time on his calendar, but I cherish the friend who for me does not consult his calendar.-- Robert Brault.
The friendship between a man and a woman which does not lead to marriage or desire for marriage may be a life long experience of the greatest value to themselves and to all their circle of acquaintance and of activity; but for this type of friendship both a rare man and a rare woman are needed. Perhaps it should be added that either the man or the woman thus deeply bound in lifelong friendship who seeks marriage must find a still rarer man or woman to wed, to make such a three cornered comradeship a permanent success.-- Anna Garlin Spencer.
Did anyone ever tell you

Just how special you are
The light that you omit
Might even light a Star.

Did anyone ever tell you
How important you make others feel?
Somebody out here is smiling
About love that is so real.

Did anyone ever tell you
Many times, when they were sad
Your e-mail made them smile a bit
In fact: It made them glad!!!

For the time you spend sending things
And sharing whatever you find,
There are no words to thank you,
But somebody thinks: You’re fine!

Did somebody ever tell you
Just how much they love you?
Well my dearest Online-Friend
Today I’m telling you !!

I believe that without a friend
You’re missing out on a lot.
Don’t be confused by
Friends and acquaintances,
There is a difference:
Because I care about you
-- Unknown.