30 May 2006

Judiciary in India

I was chatting with my friend, who is a lawyer, over the judgment of some case that hit the headlines sometimes back. I asked him why the judgments took so long to be delivered, does that happen only in India?
For which he narrated the following story:

There was a father, who was a lawyer, gives all the sophistication to his son, admits him to the best schools and colleges of the city, and sends him abroad for higher studies and gives him whatever he wants. The son, a bright youngster, comes out of the college and gets a law degree with flying distinction and wishes to practice with his father. His father, most accommodating for the son, asks him to take up one of the cases handled by him.

The enthusiastic youngster takes up the case to his head and gets success in it.
He rushes to his father with a copy of the judgment and expects a shower of praise from his beloved father. But the father criticizes him and says: "YOU FOOL...THIS IS WHY I SENT U ABROAD TO STUDY? IS THIS WHAT YOU LEARNT THERE?"
Son is disappointed and asks him "Did I do any wrong?"
Father shouts back: "If not for that case, how else do you think I could send you abroad? How else do you think this house you are living in came up? And you say that the case is finished?!!"

This is the face of real lawyers and this is how our judiciary works.
A story very popular among the lawyers, narrated by a modern day lawyer, so had to believe it.

17 May 2006

Sadma and the psychological order....

When I watched Sadma, of course, like others, I was also moved by the story, script and it’s cast. But, then I kept thinking, was it possible, something like what Sridevi in it had to go through!!! And if someone had to go through it, was it possible for him to become normal and remember everything again!! And, if he remembers back his pre-shock life, would he forget everything about the time he spent in shock…!! These things made me wonder and compelled me to find out about these psychological implications. But I kept on postponing my date with this issue.
Once, I saw it live, how mother reacted after the accident, and then I had to do something. Heard from the doctor that memory is a very subtle organ in the body. It might have happened that she was thinking about something else when the fall happened and she got hit on the head. That remained in the memory, whatever was going through in the back drop of her mind remained, like the reference to father by her. But the important information, like where we were coming from and where we were heading to, was pushed out of the memory. That happens in cases of a shock. Since the shock was very minimal, she survived. In fact, she fell off when the bike was traveling at 0KMs, means it was not traveling, but was hit on head. Though there was no injury, the information loss happened, nothing else.

I had to do some research on this particular thing. And the following is the result of my findings over a few days of extensive research. I just edited this from a psychology related site, since I was too lazy to type everything in my own words ;).

Human memory, like memory in a computer, allows us to store information for later use. In order to do this, however, both the computer and we need to master three processes involved in memory.

The first is called encoding; the process we use to transform information so that it can be stored. For a computer this means transferring data into 1’s and 0’s. For us, it means transforming the data into a meaningful form such as an association with an existing memory, an image, or a sound.

Next is the actual storage, which simply means holding onto the information.
For this to take place, the computer must physically write the 1’ and 0’s onto the hard drive. It is very similar for us because it means that a physiological change must occur for the memory to be stored.

The final process is called retrieval, which is bringing the memory out of storage and reversing the process of encoding. In other words, return the information to a form similar to what we stored.

The major difference between humans and computers in terms of memory has to do with how the information is stored.

Humans are more complex in that we have three distinct memory storage capabilities.
1. Sensory memory, referring to the information we receive through the senses. This memory is very brief lasting only as much as a few seconds.
2. Short Term Memory (STM) takes over when the information in our sensory memory is transferred to our consciousness or our awareness (Engle, Cantor, & Carullo, 1993; Laming, 1992). This is the information that is currently active such as reading this page, talking to a friend, or writing a paper. Short term memory can definitely last longer than sensory memory (up to 30 seconds or so), but it still has a very limited capacity. According to research, we can remember approximately 5 to 9 (7 +/- 2) bits of information in our short-term memory at any given time (Miller, 1956). If STM lasts only up to 30 seconds, how do we ever get any work done? Wouldn't we start to lose focus or concentrate about twice every minute? This argument prompted researchers to look at a second phase of STM that is now referred to as Working Memory. Working Memory is the process that takes place when we continually focus on material for longer than STM alone will allow (Baddeley, 1992). What happens when our short-term memory is full and another bit of information enters? Displacement, means that the new information will push out part of the old information. Suddenly some one says the area code for that phone number and almost instantly you forget the last two digits of the number. We can further sharpen our short-term memory skills, however, by mastering chunking and using rehearsal (which allows us to visualize, hear, say, or even see the information repeatedly and through different senses).
3. Long term memory (LTM), which is most similar to the permanent storage of a computer. Unlike the other two types, LTM is relatively permanent and practically unlimited in terms of its storage capacity. Its been argued that we have enough space in our LTM to memorize every phone number in the U.S. and still function normally in terms of remembering what we do now. Obviously we don’t use even a fraction of this storage space.

There are several subcategories of LTM.
First, memories for facts, life events, and information about our environment are stored in declarative memory. This includes semantic memory, factual knowledge like the meaning of words, concepts, and our ability to do math (Lesch & Pollatsek, 1993, Rohrer et al., 1995) and episodic memory, memories for events and situations (Goldringer, 1996; Kliegel & Lindberger, 1993).
The second subcategory is often not thought of as memory because it refers to internal, rather than external information. When you brush your teeth, write your name, or scratch your eye, you do this with ease because you previously stored these movements and can recall them with ease. This is referred to as nondeclarative (or implicit) memory. These are memories we have stored due to extensive practice, conditioning, or habits.

Remembering :
Short Term Memory. There are typically six reasons why information is stored in our short term memory.
1. primacy effect - information that occurs first is typically remembered better than information occurring later. When given a list of words or numbers, the first word or number is usually remembered due to rehearsing this more than other information.
2. recency effect - often the last bit of information is remembered better because not as much time has past; time which results in forgetting.
3. distinctiveness - if something stands out from information around it, it is often remembered better. Any distinctive information is easier to remember than that which is similar, usual, or mundane.
4. frequency effect - rehearsal, as stated in the first example, results in better memory. Remember trying to memorize a formula for your math class. The more you went over it, the better you knew it.
5. associations - when we associate or attach information to other information it becomes easier to remember. Many of us use this strategy in our professions and everyday life in the form of acronyms.
6. reconstruction - sometimes we actually fill in the blanks in our memory. In other words, when trying to get a complete picture in our minds, we will make up the missing parts, often without any realization that this is occurring.
Long Term Memory. Information that passes from our short term to our long term memory is typically that which has some significance attached to it. Imagine how difficult it would be to forget the day you graduated, or your first kiss. Now think about how easy it is to forget information that has no significance; the color of the car you parked next to at the store or what shirt you wore last Thursday. When we process information, we attach significance to it and information deemed important is transferred to our long term memory.
There are other reasons information is transferred. As we all know, sometimes our brains seem full of insignificant facts. Repetition plays a role in this, as we tend to remember things more the more they are rehearsed. Other times, information is transferred because it is somehow attached to something significant. You may remember that it was a warm day when you bought your first car. The temperature really plays no important role, but is attached to the memory of buying your first car.

You can’t talk about remembering without mentioning its counterpart. It seems that as much as we do remember, we forget even more. Forgetting isn’t really all that bad, and is in actuality, a pretty natural phenomenon. Imagine if you remembered every minute detail of every minute or every hour, of every day during your entire life, no matter how good, bad, or insignificant. Now imagine trying to sift through it all for the important stuff like where you left your keys.
There are many reasons we forget things and often these reasons overlap. Like in the example above, some information never makes it to LTM. Other times, the information gets there, but is lost before it can attach itself to our LTM. Other reasons include decay, which means that information that is not used for an extended period of time decays or fades away over time. It is possible that we are physiologically preprogrammed to eventually erase data that no longer appears pertinent to us.
Failing to remember something doesn’t mean the information is gone forever though. Sometimes the information is there but for various reasons we can’t access it. This could be caused by distractions going on around us or possibly due to an error of association (e.g., believing something about the data which is not correct causing you to attempt to retrieve information that is not there). There is also the phenomenon of repression, which means that we purposefully (albeit subconsciously) push a memory out of reach because we do not want to remember the associated feelings. This is often sited in cases where adults ‘forget’ incidences of sexual abuse when they were children. And finally, amnesia, which can be psychological or physiological in origin.


Thus… when I linked the Doc’s words and my individual findings, I put it like this: My mom was thinking about my father and the home at native, thinking about the neighbors and friends back home there. That time she didn’t want to think about where we had been that day to.. and what we did there and where we were going to..etc… She simply wanted to think about native, not Bangalore. That was when she had the shock. It means whatever was there in the reserved memory (the current events) was displaced from the memory and that stored was the info about the native and father. Means, the moment she reached ‘home’, she wanted it to be the one at native. But she found no relation with where she reached and where she wanted to reach. So she asked “Why are we here?!! And where is father…” etc… But later, when she slept and had a rest for sometime, her mind got back to the new environment and it tried suggesting that she lived in Bangalore then, not the native. So, she was normal again, after the rest. Ufffff!!!! What would have happened if she were not asked to go to sleep and take rest!! I can't think of it.
That’s why Sri Krishna has said “Whatever happens Happens for good”!!!!

16 May 2006

An unforgettable accident

I was riding back home from a relative’s house; my mom was the pillion rider then.
I came straight, avoiding the sickening Bangalore traffic on a smaller road…
Had to take right and was exactly 300 mts away from home.
Then came a cyclist to extreme right of the road. I had no option but to apply breaks and stop. It was a crossroad at which I had to take a right. This made the matter even worse. I prayed in God for the cyclist and applied breaks. Phew… vehicle stopped, and the cyclist escaped unhurt!! But a big thing was awaiting me…my mother fell down from the vehicle, L backwards, her head touching the ground. Thank God!! There was no stone on that road, but it was a corner and some sand was piled over there!! She fell on a bit harder side only, but escaped without any visible injury.

People gathered there, scolded that cyclist, he was already run-away. My mom was given some water… people are good hearted in these circumstances, you know. They help a lot, unless it’s a police case;). My mom visibly recovered and started walking. I asked her to sit on the vehicle. She refused. But I managed to make her sit on the bike, again.
We reached home, where sister was waiting for us to have the evening coffee.

That day was my mother’s birthday.

By the time I parked the vehicle, mom went in and sat on a chair. She looked a bit nervous and tired. I made some sorry face and narrated my sis the story of my mom falling off the vehicle, and me losing the balance of bikeL. She started criticizing me for making mom fall on her birthday.

Mom asked..”Hey tell me from where are we coming here”!!!!!
That was the first question I had to face that evening.
Later she asked “Why are we here!!!!!”
And added, “Where is your father????”!!!
(At that time we three stayed in a rented house in Bangalore, Father living in native itself, as he had some more years of service to offer there.)
Listening to these questions, we were afraid. And I felt guilty of making her say all these!

I asked her: “Do you know who I am?!!”
She said: “I know you. Where is your father?”
Sis asked her: “Mom.. Why are you talking like this? Father is in native.”
Mom replied..“Tell me where are we coming from now..”

We were afraid of the moment… We couldn’t get what was going on around us. Sis started crying and blaming me for all these things. Mom asked for water. We ran, both got her water. She drank and asked for one more glass. We got her again, this time in a bigger tumbler. We both had no clue what to do next.

I dared to speak first in that minute of horror.
I asked mom to go with us to a doctor. She refused profoundly, seeming normal this time with speech. Asked for one more cup of water. We kept supplying glasses of water and then we stopped, because of fear of what would happen.

My sis was just a graduation student and I, just a starter at some small software firm. We both were horrified and tried contacting father. We couldn’t reach him over the phone. We also didn’t want to call the neighbors; we had no hint of what was going to happen next.

It was 6 in the evening. We both took some courage and asked mom to sleep for a moment to come out of the shock. She went inside and tried to get some sleep. I guess she caught sleep pretty soon. My sis started firing at me and I expressed my help-less ness at the moment of the fall.

Since it was her birthday, we had planned so many things for it. I had bought a silk saree (my sis selected it, of course) for my mother for the occasion, which coincided with her 25th wedding anniversary (a few days ago) and my first salaryJ(previous month). We wanted her to wear that saree; we also wanted to take her to a temple. But this incident was a set back to us.

We were deeply shocked at the turn of events. With father away and relatives far off, there was no one we could ask for help at the moment. We took to God then. I lighted the deepa in-front of God and sat there un-knowing how to ask him and what to ask for. Sis also joined. I started chanting “Lalitha Sahasranama”. Sister also recited with me. After sometime, we shifted our prayer place to the room where mom was asleep.

We continued with the sahasranama. After sometime mom got up from sleep. We didn’t stop the recital of the stotra. Mom washed her face and joined us in reciting it. We were almost nearing the thousandth name in the stotra. After completion of the stotra, we all went, bowed before the deity at home, and came back. Mother looked pretty normal. She started to behave normally and there was no indication of the horror she went through 30 mins ago!!

We sighed relieving. But were not sure of her being recovered completely. So, wanted to visit a doctor immediately. But we put it on a hold, as she seemed good, and thought of cheering her up, a bit. We demanded her to wear the new saree. She reluctantly wore it.

As we were starting for the temple, a phone call came from an old friend of mother. She talked to her in a casual and usual way. There was no hint of the incident that happened some time back that day. And then we visited the temple, had Bajji at the Iyer’s corner and were back home by 8. I told everyone that we were going out for dinner. But Mom said she wanted to cook herself. At that moment uncle, mom’s brother, and aunt, his wife, came home. We gave them no indication about what was going on in that house an hour back and treated them in normal way. We five dinned together, trying to forget all that happened. It was a happy moment, that one, a real middle class mom’s birthday celebration. After that we told uncle and aunt about whatever happened and they asked us to visit a doctor the first thing in the morning, and we agreed.

Then came father’s phone call, he was taken aback by the narration of the story, too. But then, we added, not to bother him much, that everything was normal and she was doing well. He was a bit relieved.

This happened sometime back and even today, we happen to remember this incident whenever we all are together. We try to remember the horror and shock experienced that evening. Mom laughs every time we talk about it. She, it seems, still doesn’t exactly remember where we were coming from that day!!!!

I really thank God for letting that day pass without much of harm, it all happened, but a minimal damage happened. But it has been an experience of straightening the hair, horrifying the conscience. I’m still guilty of losing the balance and making my mom experience this horror on her birthday.

Whenever I pass through that place now with mom, I show her that, and say, “Here, it is here you fell down that day.” She pats me with pseudo-anger and smiles genuinely.

Please Note : Here me = My friend, My mom = friend's mother.
I thought its better to implement it in a direct speach than a rohnd about speach of my friend...;) Sorry for it, anyways.

11 May 2006

Lead Kindly Light!!!

Lead, kindly Light
- John Newmann

Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom, lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home; lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!
So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still will lead me on.
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till the night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile, which I
Have loved long since, and lost awhile!
Meantime, along the narrow rugged path, Thyself hast trod,
Lead, Savior, lead me home in childlike faith, home to my God.
To rest forever after earthly strife
In the calm light of everlasting life.

09 May 2006

YaladUrina rAmOtsava

Ramotsava grandeur at Yeldur

Kannada in Bangalore

Once I was on my way to meet a friend who would be gone forever to Pune,
So, wanted to present her my favorite book, in English.
I went to buy a book from a roadside bookseller.
Asked him "ee book ge estu agathe?" (How much does it cost, in Kannada).
He said "One fifty Rs".
I asked him "Estakke Kodtiya? Nange eradu books beku. 100 Madko." (How much shall I give, if I buy two books? Please give it to me in 100 Rs/book.)
Without a second thought he said "Sir, 150 Kodi. Eradu books tagondu Hogi." (Please give me 150/- and take away both the books.)
After buying it, I asked him why did he reduce the price by 50%?
For which he said "Sir, Neevu Kannada matadiddakke tumba kushi aytu. Adikke kotte.!!!!!"
("I was very happy to see someone speaking in Kannada!")!!
I could see his face filled with celebration.
Friends, It didn’t happen in an alien country, or an alien city.
I experienced it in 'namma Bengalooru', in the very crowded Koramangala, near the Forum mall.
What a bankruptcy of Kannada speaking people in this city!!!

I was shocked to hear that a seller in Bangalore awaits a Kannadiga to go to him and
speak with him in his language, for ages!! Quiet unfortunate!

I just hope that the situation improves and such things wont repeat.
I also hope that we hear our language spoken everywhere in the city.
Lets not allow it die in front of our eyes.

Here I remember an SMS i got sometimes back.
One who speaks in Telugu with a Teluguite and in English with others is a Teluguite,
One who speaks in Hindi with an Indian and in English with a foreigner is a Hindiite,
One who speaks in Tamil with a Tamilian, in Tamil with others is a Tamilian and
One who speaks in Tamil with a Tamilian, in Telugu with a Teluguite, in Malayalam with a Malayalee and in English with a Kannadiga is a Kannadiga.

How true Allwa?!!!!

08 May 2006

Ramakrishna Kendra, Kuditini, Bellari

It was a small place. An unheard off place in the supposedly under-developed corner of North Karnataka. We were guests of that small town for one night. The place is called ‘KUDITINI’, a small place in the Bellari district of Karnataka. It’s a part of the Heat Zone in the state.
We were on our way to Hampi from Mantralayam. My friend said he can not go back to Bangalore without visiting his ‘AVVA’(Grand-Mother). So, we decided to goto Kuditini, stay there that night and leave for Hampi early in the morning. So, we were there in Kuditini. We were treated with a great variety of dishes in his maternal-uncle’s house, from Enne-Badanekai to Mysorepak to Menasinakai to Bele(Pappu). We were made to have srpite, buttermilk…!
Oh! My God! And also, the aunty said “Nam maneli ondu nalku dina iri. Channagi Meyisi kalistini”!!!(Stay with us for four days, u’ll goback fatter). We couldn’t just refuse their Aathithya and then I couldn’t imagine what would be happening if I stayed there for four days!!
Then we went to meet AVVA at another of his uncle’s house, some two cross roads after, it was already 10:30PM. The Grand Mother was waiting there for us without even having food. Later we asked them to have food, we were not in a shape to have even a single rice gram. They reluctantly had food, offering us this that and all…! We had enough of aathithya already and couldn’t take it anymore. We had enough of water, as the Bellari summer was very new to us, we were already feeling de-hydrated. We planned sleeping on the Jaguli outside their house, inside the compound. I saw many people, almost everyone, sleeping outside the house(!!!) there. By that time, we got an invitation from other Mama’s house (where we had food), that they’ve already spread the bed(Kaudi)s for us on the terrace of their house. We rejected their offer politely and were getting ready to sleep listening to the stories of AVVA and her life-long experiences in that place. It was a good experience to sleep under the sky with nothing in-between, just myself and the stars, of cource, AVVA’s stories. I donno when I caught sleep. I was awakened early in the morning at around 5 o’ clock by the cooool breaze and then I couldn’t sleep. I was all excieted to leave early and see Hampi.
But it was not to be. AVVA ordered you have to have breakfast and then leave. We reluctantly agreed.
We decided to go on a walk to see the place, as we had some more time to spend in there. We saw people sleeping on the platforms infront of their houses. Some of them sleeping above the platforms built around the neem trees, some people already awake, getting ready for the early-morning walk.
We were walking across to the other part of the village, where we were taken at it when we saw a name Ramakrishna Kuteera on a small sheeted house. Out of curiosity, we just swept in. It was a small Aashram. It was named “Ramagiri Mutt”. Few people were sleeping inside the aashram’s enclosure. There was a big hall on the right side of the aashram on which we noticed the name “Ramakrishna Kuteera”. And felt surpised over the presence of Guru Maharaj in that remotest corner of the world!! As we moved in curiously, I think it was getting to be 6:45 or so… and slowly life was waking up in the village. One of the guys got up and saw at us with a surprised look. We were going around to see the place and surprised to see a big aashram-like structure behind this main aashram, named Vivekananda Kendra. The guy who just got up was going there. We asked him whether there was any place of worship of Ramakrishna Guruji. He said enter the third room there in the left part of the building and he opened the rooom for us.
We went in and saw three beautiful pictures placed on the wall, with the same pleasant looks on their eyes, Guru RamaKrishna, Sreemata and the Veera Sanyasi Vivekananda were stading there blessing the place with a great divine flavour. Presence of them in that part of the village made it so special that the Aashram was the best place in the entire village, of cource, AVVA’s house was there:”>. We sat there for about a few mins. And then came out to see someone standing there, talking to someone. We attempted to leave the place, But that man caught hold of us and asked where we were from and how did we reach there. My friend introduced himself as the grandson of Beedi Sheshappa, and then that person talked to us about other things. How they constructed the place, where did the money to run it come from, what sort of programs they organise, and what sort of people they expect their program to reach to.
The place, is constructed in a mutt called Ramagiri Mutt, a place where Yogi Revanasiddeshwara performed grand meditations(Tapa), centuries ago, and the divinity of that meditational power was still there, one can feel it from the place. There was a Shiva Linga in the central hall. I believe this Shiva Linga was the was the real power which gave these people courage and strength to start something like this. He went on telling about the history of the aashram. Long back there was a muni performing the Japa with complete devotion to Lord Shiva. From there came the divine power of the place. He said if we visit such places, that devine power will touch us through the air, which is an indication that we will climb a step above in our search for freedom.
He also said there were 200 students at that time in the Aashram. Everyone’s food and study material were taken care by the Aashram itself. They collect a fees of some nominal amount from each student. They run a school as well. So, it’s a no-loss no-gain social organization. I felt really happy to listen to the story of some people studying here and achieving heights in life.
He said one of the main programs of this organization is to spread the awareness of cleanliness and hygienic living among the villagers around Kuditini. Also one of the main ambitions of the organization was to produce a strong youth, soul of the nation. To produce Young minds which are free of thoughts, thinking in a positive direction. We were really impressed by the way a stranger was explaining all these things to us. My friend gave him some references at Ramakrishnashram Bangalore. Then this Brahmachari spelled out few more names that we acknowledged as knowing them. He said those Swamijis studied in this Ashram itself. They got their first lesson in this place, he said with pride.
He also said those students who join would be completely isolated for a while from the outer world. It helped them to understand the culture of the Aashram easily and also as time moves on the students would find it difficult to adjust to their houses environment. It prompts them to change the environment of the house towards the positive side, a bit.
Currently they have one more mission of building a well furnished school and residential complex in the outskirts of the village over a wast area of 4 acres. They were realising it alerady, he said.
Finally he said “We open our gates to anyone who want to seek peace, who want to travel to the divine world of spirituality. We have a library that will help them forget the world and deeply immerse in the divine living. We also take their help by introducing them to our students here, so that our students also get benefited from the guest’s experience. They can come here to strengthen themselves and travel in the world of divinity for a while, to forget everything and be a part of our mission.”
They also keep conducting some workshops, he said. Workshops conducted in the presence of some of the best lecturers of the same frequency, giving the students an introduction to the field of meditation and observance.
This is a great service to the humanity. by producing the strongest individuals that our country needs, they are performing a biggest help to the nation. Lets pray for some more organizations of this kind. This man who spoke to us was a Brahmachari himself. He has a perfect vision for the India in future. Lets wish him all the best.
His contact details are as follows :
Mr. Ramanjaneya,
Ramakrishna Kendra, Ramagiri Mutt,
Ph : 08392 – 248256
Mbl : 9448801553

Hmmmm… moving away from the Aashram with good thoughts…I have something else to write also. In the beginning of this essay I’ve said supposedly under-developed place.
Actually, Bellari is considered as an under-developed place from a long time. It might well have been one, but not any longer. There are some industries which have changed the fate of the district. There is Jindal from a very long time which was the sole employment creator in that period. But now, the Thermal Power plant is coming up creating loads of employment to the local youth, and converting a barren land into the power house of the state. There is Thunga Bhadra dam as well, in Hospet which is some 50 KMs from Kuditini. This dam has of cource, changed the fate lines of the farmers of this area. Now the farmers in this part of the world are producing as good as any other farmer in any part of the world. The use-less black soil of the past has been transformed into a heavenly grandure, raising jower even in mid-summer(when we visited) is a testimony for my statement. This dam has also shortened the legendary water-crisis of this district. Sometime back, the officers used to threaten their employees with a threat of transferring them to Bellari, but now.. one has to visit it to see how good a place can become with good vision and a bold implementation. People here were really good for us. They have been known for their generocity and they proved it again when we were their guests. They are determined to do well and I guess, they will do well. They will see Bellari transformed into a heaven in a short time. With that note, let me hope they suceed in their effort and let me wish the people a grand forget-the-past kind of life ahead.

02 May 2006

A small walk into the past....

A glory in the tragedy.. Please read onnnnn on this forgettable page.

I was roaming through that street... I heard "Illi Banni. Muthu tagolli serige
nalakku kaasu!!!!" (Please come Sir. Buy the pearls from my shop. They are cheap here). "Ee kade banni swami... mooru kasige bangaara ondu seru..."
(Please come here Sir. gold one count is just three units of money)!!!

I saw the street full of life... full of activity... full of people...
buying diamonds... gold.. Pearls... silver.. corals.. and what not!!! It was a market where the sellers were ordinary people… selling these valuables in hunks called "seru"!!! The buyers were not extraordinary either!!!!!!! They were normal villagers who work hard and be content at their two-meal-a-day kind of life!! Buying and selling these metals was a part of their lives here.

None of them... buyers and the sellers.... none of them were really afraid of a raid by un-ruly crowd... there was no policeman with big mustache and a larger than him banduk!!! There was no fierce environment. It was all active, happy and embracing.
I couldn’t believe my eyes... I felt as if I was roaming in the Heaven.!!!

Then suddenly, I was taken aback by the sudden rush of people... horses frowning... elephants screaming... women, little children dispersed in that sudden awful moment. There was tension allover, spread in no time. People were rushing out to save their lives!! Everyone was sensing something bad.. They were showing it on the faces which were clear of thoughts, a moment before. The sellers were murdered in an instant.

There was no screams of "Togolli..." "Banni..." anymore. It was all sudden...!
The place was turned into a graveyard in one flip of eye. Gold and diamonds spilled everywhere on the street... some people trying to run-away were chased and murdered... murdered ruthlessly...

"Hey Shambho!!!" "Ayyo Parameshwara...!!!!" "Dayasindho..!" were the screems, then. I was the witness for such a change of time in that split moment.

The destroyers moving onnn came towards me...
They were nearing me... one of them so near that his sword reached my hand.... I screamed...."Bhagavanta!!!!" and lost my conscience!!!

When I realized.... There was no invader.. there was no market...
there was not a single seller... no buyers either.... the place empty... no gold... no diamond... no pearl... There was no blood flow either... the place was calm... The moment was neither active, as it was two moments before, nor was it cruel as was a moment before. It was dull, calm... It was turned into a place that told the story to the visitors... The pillars of the bazaar was chopped to the extent possible, but the destroyers could not possibly do any further damage as the place was huge and real... some stores still existed as they did... some of the stores half cut... still standing.

I was angry... sad... tearful at what happened... I was alive... but the liveliness was no more... I was sad at the loss of the glory in front of my eyes..
I was tearing at the cruel behavior of the invaders...
What was the need for them to destroy the hard built place...
what was in his mind when he ordered his force to destroy the heaven!!
Didn’t he see the beauty at which the market was organized...!
Was he jealous of the glory of this place...? No answer...!
I was surprised... shocked... taken aback... hurt... My emotions then were stateless...
I cried my part. I then realized that what I lost was a part of the past.
And that I have to live with what I see now... pillars standing,
with no people interested in buying anymore... none selling anything there.... But just a barren land with the glorious story of the past.... Yes. I have to live life this way... But, is there no way to walk back to the glory? Hope there was one... but as of now... present is cruel... We have to live with this fact.

I was walking around the Vittala Bazaar of the great Vijayanagara Empire’s capital city Hampi, when I witnessed such a huge run of emotions in my mind as I've mentioned above.

It had been a marvelous time for us to listen to those stories depicting market scene of the past. But it is really painful to see the mindless invaders chopping off whatever they can, in an end-less misery of the place. We have beauty in one hand and the tragedy of loosing that un-parallel beauty to the cruelty of some mindless beasts on the other.

I was really saddened at the way the idols of the temples destroyed, gopuras of those temples chopped off, the way in which the destruction stands as a mockery of the Indian faithlessness called secularism. To live in presence filled with agony, is all that we have today; But to touch the Hampi's soil is a pleasant journey inside the glory of our own past...

If not for those mindless barbarians and the crooky beasts,
we could have been living in a world where :
The mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action.

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake, again...
(With due respect to Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore :))

My salutations to those who created Hampi
and my salutations to those carved it with artistry,
And also to those engineers who crafted the story of brilliance and intelligence.
Also to the Mother Thunga-Badhra who has blessed this land with the constant shower of affection
Also to Lord Virupaksha and Mother Bhuvaneshwari who, in spite of the ruthless destruction around them, stay there blessing everyone, blessing even the invaders..

Truly, Hampi is a mixture of three things Good, Bad and Ugly.
Lets hope everyone will take only Good things from here and bring the nation back to a position where the sounds of the Bazaar will be fearless, glorious and fascinating again.

Check out my photo and video album
Hampi trip on May1st 2006!