Saturday, October 25, 2014

Temple in Haidar's Bismil Song

You must have seen ruins of this ancient temple in Haidar's Bismil song and did you wonder? This is Martand Sun Temple of Anantnag. It is one of the only two Sun Temples in India, the other being in Konark, Odisha. The temple was built by King Lalitaditya Muktapida around 725-756 AD. The temple was completely destroyed by Sikandar Butshikan in early 15th century. It took one year for Sikander Butshikan to fully damage and destroy it.

You can search google on this topic; Historians account: During his rule Hindus were forcibly converted to Islam and were massacred in case they refused to be converted. And Sikandarpora (a city laid out by Sultan Sikandar) was laid out on the debris of the destroyed temples of the Hindus. In the neighbourhood of the royal palaces in Sikandarpora, the Sultan destroyed the temples of Maha-Shri built by Praversena and another by Tarapida. The material from these was used for constructing a 'Jami' mosque in the middle of the city. Towards the fag end of his life, he (Sultan Sikandar) was infused with a zeal for demolishing idol-houses, destroying the temples and idols of the infidels. He destroyed the massive temple at Beejbehara. He had designs to destroy all the temples and put an end to the entire community of infidels.

In his second Rajtarangini, the historian Jonraj has recorded, "There was no city, no town, no village, no wood, where the temples of the gods were unbroken. When Sureshavari, varaha and others were broken, the world trembled, but not so the mind of the wicked king. He forgot his kingly duties and took delight day and night in breaking images."


"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." - Albert Einstein.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Interesting movies...

Jane: Damon? How many fingers?
Damon: Orange.


Damon: You see, Fred, it isn't the size of a guy's IQ that matters. It's how he uses it.


Fred Tate: After a while I was the most famous kid at Jane's school. But then a year later, a 6 year old boy named Willie Yamaguchi got into law school, and suddenly I wasn't such a big deal anymore. But I don't care, because I was happy.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Happy Diwali!

Eat healthy, play safe, buy made-in-India, and enjoy! 
May your life be filled with all the happiness of the world! 
Happy Diwali! 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

विभिन्न रूपों में श्रीमाँ

कालीघाट में भद्रकाली का दर्शन करने के बाद माँ पैदल नकुलेश्वर की ओर जा रही थीं। मार्ग में गेरुआ-धारिणी, त्रिशूल-हस्ता भैरवी उनका रास्ता रोककर खड़ी हो गयीं। कुछ देर माँ के मुँह की ओर निहारने के बाद भैरवी गाने लगी। माँ चित्रलेखा-सी खड़ी रहीं। भैरवी का भजन सुनने के लिए रास्ते में भिखारियों और यात्रियों आदि की भीड़ लग गयी। वे गा रही थीं- 

ओ पार्वती, बता, तू पराये घर में किस प्रकार रही 
कितने लोग कितना कुछ कहते हैं,
सुन-सुनकर मेरे प्राण निकलने लगते हैं॥ 
माँ के प्राणों को भला धैर्य कैसे मिले,
क्योंकि सुना है कि जमाई भिक्षा किया करता है! 
इस बार जब शिव तुझे लेने आयेंगे,
तो कह दूंगी कि पार्वती घर में नहीं है॥ 

भजन समाप्त होने पर माँ के संकेत पर भैरवी को पैसे देने को तैयार होने पर उसने मना करते हुए कहा, "जिससे जो प्राप्य हो, उससे वही लेना चाहिए, माँ। तुमसे जो लेना है, वह मैं स्वयं ही ले लूंगी। तू जहाँ जा रही है, जा।" माँ आगे बढ़ीं। मैंने देखा कि रास्ते में जहाँ माँ के चरणों की धूलि पड़ी थी, भैरवी ने उसे उठाकर अपने सिर पर धारण किया और चली गयी।

नकुलेश्वर पहुँचकर माँ दर्शन करने नहीं गयीं। नलिनी, राधू, छोटी मामी और गोलाप-माँ को दर्शनार्थ जाने को कहकर वे स्वयं एक चबूतरे पर बैठी रहीं। अपने आप में डूबी बैठी रहीं। गोलाप-माँ आदि ने लौटकर जब उन्हें कई बार पुकारा, तब वे उठीं और अनमने भाव में गाड़ी में बैठ गयीं। सारे रास्ते वे कुछ नहीं बोलीं। घर लौटकर उन्होंने पूछा, "वह भैरवी कौन थी?" मैं बोला, "लगता है गिरीशबाबू के थिएटर की कोई रही होगी, इस समय ऐसी हो गयी है।" माँ  विशेष कुछ नहीं बोलीं, 'ओह!' मात्र कहकर चुप हो गयीं। 


साभार: "विभिन्न रूपों में श्रीमाँ", विवेक ज्योति (पत्रिका), अक्तूबर अंक, पृष्ठ ४६५
मूल: बँगला ग्रन्थ 'श्रीश्री मायेर पदप्रान्ते', खंड २ से, अनुवादक श्रीमती मधूलिका श्रीवास्तव।

Sunday, October 12, 2014

I, Ram

In early childhood we did not have TV at home. But perhaps the Gita Press' pictorial Ramayana (Baal Chitr Ramayan) given by grandpa was enough to inspire real imaginations. So I used to see long dreams where I was Ram, my younger cousin was Lakshman; and we fought battles with the demons...

Very conveniently I dreamed about the phase when young Ram and Lakshman were with Guru Vishwamitra and killed demons; so that there won't be need for Sita at that stage :) 

We killed many demons; only problem was that hands did not move swiftly and we fought like in slow motion... 

When we came back home victorious, our mothers Kaushalya, Sumitra (with faces of our real-life mothers) and others will greet us... Our actual home was our palace in the dream... 

What fun! Thank God, Ram Lakshman were victorious princes so we always won!

Saturday, October 11, 2014


Till 12th I was at hometown with parents and then I started moving out for studies. Every vacation when I went home and grandma saw me, she called me and asked to sit beside her, and then she would ask something like, "mann lag raha hai wahan?" (hope you feel okay there). At that question I used to take deep breath and say "yes" - but I did not think that was really a question since I was away for studies and mann lagna or not lagna really didn't matter... I remember she used to feel deep sympathy for the reason that we had to travel and stay in distant cities... Now having grown up a bit, I wonder where do we find such kindness and genuine sympathies... Now a day no one asks if mann is okay or not... There are automated "how are you" greetings and robotic "I am good" answers. I discover how wise GB Shaw said "Youth is wasted on the young." If only we were able to touch, feel and respond to all the love and kindness showered unconditionally at us when we were young...

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Book: The Only Fatherland

Most of us have read history only through school text books and hence our understanding of history remain juvenile even though we grow in age. With time each of us subscribe to any theory, no matter if backed up by facts or not, which suits our circumstances and convenience most. Often we try to prove theories by virtue of number of others who also subscribe to it, or by virtue of no opposition. 

Then I read two books by Arun Shourie and my mind was opened to new facts - of scientific inquiry which historians do - of facts which are reliable and others which are not. 

This one is essential to understand true face of Communists and their role around sabotaging Quit India Movement; supporting demand for Pakistan, slandering Gandhiji, Subhash Chandra Bose, JP and about several other events. 

Must read if you are interested in the subject.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

How Oracle Trash-Talks SAP

At a time when every company claims to be the best for its own reasons and competition is real tough, how do you differentiate between the real guys from the posers? After thinking 360 degrees, I think we can judge companies based on what their rivals tell about them. The more vicious the attack, the more dent their rivals want to see on their bodies, the stronger the firm is. In fact the "firm" in a sense is a very appropriate term for a robust entity. With this background, we can look at how rival Oracle has been hitting SAP for decades.

Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison has been trash-talking SAP for decades. And now it seems Oracle has started giving away the prize of co-CEO position to a person who abuses SAP the most. If you don't believe me just check out this article:

So if you are surprised that the new Oracle co-CEO Safra Catz could talk down SAP in this manner, you just have to hear from the horse's mouth - recently while addressing sixty thousand audience at Oracle Open World conference in San Francisco, Oracle CTO Larry Ellison lashed out at SAP again:

If you have been following this trend of Oracle executives waging verbal wars against SAP, one thing comes out loud and clear - their one and only weapon is the fact that many SAP applications run on Oracle Database. But if we go even a bit deeper, we would realize that Oracle database is not the most happening thing around anymore; it is like a commodity; and there is nothing hip about it especially in the medium to long term future! And even that comfort has been hit by SAP HANA. Hence the attack grows sharper than ever...

While Oracle laughs every time SAP buys another software company, they want us to forget that their own JAVA is an acquisition from Sun Microsystems in 2010! SAP HANA is growing fast and if the trend continues, Oracle won't have their only armor intact for a long time!

Today the most attractive area of growth lies in Cloud and with Concur's acquisition SAP has become the second largest Cloud company by revenue! Given the fact that Oracle itself has been trying real hard to make acquisitions in the Cloud; this news of SAP becoming the second largest firm in Cloud is not a good news to the Oracles of this world! This in part explains why Safra Catz and Larry Ellison are losing their mind at the speed of light! 

Keep watching this space for more!

[Disclaimer: Views expressed are personal and do not represent views of any organization author is associated with]

Sunday, September 28, 2014

My Book Reading Lifecycle

When I started out, I used to ‘yearn’ for books. I thought buying any other than textbooks would be sinful, so I treasured any catalog of books which I could lay my hands on. The little snapshots of books’ cover-pages fascinated me beyond anything! Mostly I retrieved old books; read and forgotten ones starting from our grandfather’s time. I ‘read’ as many books as reached me, mostly of Hindi literary legends at that stage. Later I became ‘borrower’ of books, when I started borrowing from our office libraries – often at the rate of two every week. I would also ‘record’ the names of those I finished, along with some wonderful quotes. For some years I became 'trafficker' of books; when I bought those in bulk from near Churchgate. Then twice I could claim to be ‘author’ of books; at least portions of those specks in the ocean. All along I never noticed when I became ‘hoarder’ of books – I would buy due to sheer pleasure of owning those books… As I grew with age, I also flirted with being ‘unbeliever’ in books – since reading those gave a false feeling of ‘know it all’ while the key lied somewhere else. But all through the lifecycle of my ‘business’ with books, I guess one thing has survived which is the ‘love’ for books. Currently I am loving one from Arun Shourie, which I bought to own but now it owns my time and imagination.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tiger Kills Man in Zoo

There is very sad news (news reference) where a tiger has killed a man who felled into its enclosure most probably by accident. Though some news sources are telling that the man was mentally unstable, at the same time they we are being told that he used to work hard as daily wage earner which tells that he was not that mentally unstable. I guess he must have scaled up the wall in order to have a better look at the tiger; white tiger to be precise, because as the pictures indicate, people were being allowed to see the unique white tiger in its enclosure from quite some distance.

Though this is very sad news and we naturally offer condolences, at the same time we can’t be without giving it a thought why it happened the way it happened.

I think that this is not a case of one man’s tragedy – it is a case of system failure. I read that the fence around tiger’s enclosure was only 3 feet high. There was a deep (15’) moat inside the enclosure and after the fence. The designers of the zoo would have thought only about how to prevent tigers from coming out of the enclosure – but they did not think about how to prevent people from coming inside it! They could prevent tiger from reaching the man but failed to prevent the man reaching the tiger! This is same case where we design even software systems – if we limit imagination to what could happen logically, there would be a time where illogical things would breach the system in a moment…

At the same time it is also interesting to know that when the man felled into the enclosure, the tiger did not instantly attack him. The tiger waited for 10 minutes and then attacked the man. The tiger was born and brought up in the zoo – so we can assume that it had not yet killed any living animal. Since it was born to a tigress inside the zoo, it must never have seen its mother hunt too! Then from where did it get the instinct to kill! Though its background explains why it took long time to attack, we can notice that sooner or later its natural instinct to attack and kill anyone threatening it (encroaching its enclosure meant the tiger felt threatened) came out! 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Daawat-E-Ishq: Nice experience

Daawat-E-Ishq is a lovely light-hearted movie; watching it was good time spent. 

Anupam Kher is brilliant; Aditya Roy Kapoor is super-cool and Parineeti is in her usual self! The movie also has a good social message. 

I liked the story which is full of twists and turns. If you have watched this movie then you can consider my analysis as below :)

At first, the father-daughter duo had become too negative in their attitude, due to the negative experiences they have had in their life. Though at one point Anupam Kher comforts Parineeti by saying, "not all boys are the same type", later on he agrees with her evil plan to become fraudster. At that point, he says, "like no one can buy a house in our country without paying in black, no one can marry without paying dowry". The first statement about buying houses is so untrue and judgmental - so many of us have bought houses without paying anything in black. While it is true that some people indulge in that, it is not correct to make a sweeping statement in general. Dowry is more prevalent, there are exceptional cases when no dowry is paid, but at the same time not in all cases dowry is meant to loot or make girl's family lose whole of their life's savings. In fact when Anupam Kher was not able to find a suitable boy even after willing to pay Rs 17 lakhs in dowry - it may not be because of dowry alone but because of other factors like his social status, the fact that the girl did not have mother, etc, because of which some families won't have agreed to marry her. 17 lakhs is not a little sum, and it was an exaggeration that he was not able to find a son-in-law only because of money. Anyways, coming back to Parineeti's decision to turn into a fraudster, it was surprising and idiotic that her father, Anupam Kher's character, agreed to allow her to do that and also join her. Kids at that age even though they feel like they are confident and wise, are half-baked and many of their decisions are not correct. In such a case it is essential for parents to interfere or at least register their opinion seriously. Since Anupam Kher was too soft on her and allowed her to do whatever she wished, illegal and unethical activity in this case, he did not play his role or duty correctly. And near the end, they were all in soup. Father was more to be blamed than the daughter for that situation.

Even if the father-daughter duo started to forge their identities; there was a time when Parineeti knew for sure that Aditya was a good guy, not the typical greedy men she had met in the past. But she feared that if she tells him the truth - he might not understand her and might give her away to the Police. At this time we see another flaw in her character - she assumed negative thing in Aditya behavior without any concrete reason supporting her assumption. What if she told him the the truth and he pardoned her (which ultimately happened in the end)? She could have taken a chance. Though I know it is easy to say than actually do. Still, when she realized that he was a good guy, and she already had Rs 40 lakhs he had given her, she could at least vanish from his life and go back to her home in Hyderabad. But no, she goes ahead with her decision to cheat the boy and throws Aditya at the mercy of police and also go down in the eyes of society. What wrong did Aditya do to deserve this? This decision to go ahead with old plan even when situation had changed and she had information which was prompting her to change her plan; shows her incompetence and indecisiveness. I may be exaggerating, but I worry about what she would do in future if she faces similarly complex situations? Life is long, and many things would change in the later years - if in future situation became tough - would she once again choose wrong path and make wrong decision to punish good people? I doubt that this is likely. Therefore it was a bold decision by Aditya to pardon her and keep his faith in her. It shows that his love towards her was true and in general it shows his good nature. If you are honest and truthful, it is more likely that you would assume the other person to be honest and truthful too. So his decision to keep her company tells more about his own good nature rather than pointing towards some good aspects of Parineeti's character. 

I liked Aditya Roy Kapoor's character - he was so cool, funny and considerate/sensitive at the same time. So far I have loved each charater Aditya has played in his movies, and that is one reason I am a big fan of his.

The movie was mostly shot in Lucknow and Hyderabad - which is a welcome change. The overall exposure that the movie gave to these cities and their culture was nice. (I also liked to see these two cities again, recollecting my own personal memories there). The culinary connection was delightful. Though in promotions they have highlighted too much about its foodie connection, after watching the movie it appears that the movie is not too much about good food, but it is as much about many other things as about good food. 

This is a good light-hearted movie; watching which I am sure you would spend your 2 hours well and you will come out with a smile on your face. It is also a clean movie which you can watch with whole family. 

Recommended to one and all. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Child Artists

Happened to see brilliant Master Bittoo in one of the old movies and a thought came to mind - how does he look like now after growing up? Is he still chubby? And what does he do - is he still in world of cinema? So I searched and discovered how Vishal Desai looks like now... And he was associate director in Baghban and a few years back joined Colors:

Friday, September 19, 2014

Lesson from Kids Yoga

When we were kids and did too much masti, sometimes mother would pull us (me and elder sis) up; mount us on the dining table (so that we could not escape); and give us a challenge (which was another trap) - sit still, close your eyes and for 10 minutes think only about Lord Ram, Sita ji and Hanuman ji with no other thought in mind... We tried but never succeeded - we were surprised why it did not work out - why we always had some other thought cropping up our mind - why we did not have that self control! We would ask mother why we could not do it - but mother would only smile and say two words - "try again". I think the idea was that even if we did not succeed but if kept trying, at least during that time we should be calm and rested...

I think that is a key to many things - keep trying; even if you don't succeed fully, at least during the time you are trying you are much better than otherwise!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Who moves the train?

We were on a train journey and our co-passenger next berth was a super-cool uber-curious kid who kept asking questions. Once he looked outside the window, felt the train running, and asked, "how does the train move?" I thought to play game; to give him a stupid but logical answer which he could understand... So I said, "There are big elephants at the front of the train who are pulling the train and running fast..." To my relief, the kid bought the answer. He was satisfied and went to sleep.

He woke after an hour or two. As soon as he opened his eyes, he saw outside and realized that the train was still. And he exclaimed, "The elephants have stopped!!!" That was so cool - instead of saying "the train has stopped", he more appropriately said, "the elephants have stopped!"... I felt guilty of misleading this super-intelligent kid.

May be one day when he grows up a bit and knows how trains move, he would say, "that uncle on the train was so stupid to think elephants move the train!" :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Think of Trees

At engg college, our department's seniors were hosting 'welcome function' for us. As part of interactions, they were asking us (1st year freshers) questions. One of our classmates (many would remember who she is) was asked something like "what would you like to become in your next birth? Or if you could become something other than what you are - what would you choose?" She replied "I would like to become a tree because a tree is so at peace and ..." 

That was an extraordinary thought and answer and it was so true! 

From that day onward, somehow deep in my mind whenever I think of 'peace', I think of 'trees'...

Monday, September 8, 2014

The CEO’s Email

The new CEO had joined the company with much funfair. He was a big name and industry veteran. Once in a while he sent some emails to all employees in a drive to boast morale. Rohit read one such email and he was mesmerized. The email had so many jargon, buzz words, and what not - so this is how a CEO's email should be! He was highly impressed with the CEO’s email.  

But his curiosity made him test his hypothesis. He copied one line from CEO's email with big words and 'googled' it. The exact line was found to be picked up from a synopsis of a Harvard training package! He was shocked and bewildered! Is it that the CEO did not write his email but someone else wrote it copying content from multiple sources? But why should a CEO not write his own email, especially if he was sending an important message to all employees of the organization? Since he was trying to make a culture shift in the organization?

Couldn't a CEO write one damn good email without plagiarizing it?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Observations on The Anupam Kher Show

I am a great fan of Anupam Kher and I have huge admiration for his talent and charisma. I think he is one of the finest actors of Bollywood. For some time ‘The Anupam Kher Show’ has been running on popular TV channel Colors and I watch it most of the times. The show’s format is good and it is content rich. Over the time I have made some observations on the show and wish to pen down those. These are merely my observations and intent is not personal towards anyone.

Awarding or gifting the guests at random: In some of the episodes, Anupam Kher gifts the guest with a memoire which is generally a written memento lauding the person for his or her achievements and commending the person. But this practice is followed only when some veteran celebrity arrives at the show and when some newcomer actor or actress or someone less famous from the chosen few comes, he or she does not get any such honor or award. Randomness of celebrity choices to whom such awards are given baffles the viewers and it is an uncomfortable moment near the end of the show. I mean last week you saw how Mr. Kher flattered that celebrity with a gift, but this week the show just ‘abruptly’ comes to an end! The celebrity who does not get award appears insecure about what is going to happen next too. In my opinion, even if Mr. Kher thinks some of the guests are unworthy to get an award and memento from his hands, he should still gift that person a memento – it does not cost much and it appears niceon his part. A good host does not discriminate between his guests.

Volley of questions: Quite often and abruptly at some point in the show we witness Mr. Kher showering the guest celebrity with a volley of questions. It is like a ‘rapid fire round’ without being labeled so. Viewers get confused for a moment and take time to settle down and realize what is happening. When this is in progress, which can start anytime without viewers or the guest having any clue, communication is one-way, i.e. Mr. Kher asks questions, the guest answers, but Mr. Kher instead of grasping the answer or responding or reacting to it, simply asks next question. At times this looks insensitive. After all, the guest might have shared a piece of his or her heart; something private or something dear to his or her heart; and the host is expected to respond or at least acknowledge it sensibly!

Too much flattery of some while ignoring some others: I don’t know if it was intended through the format of the show that the host Mr. Kher should often be too personal or impersonal towards the guests depending on who the guest is. When some old timer veteran actor or actress comes, he is seen flattering him or her with all the powers he possesses but when some youngsters or less famous celebrity comes, he is seen too impersonal or aloof/detached at times. I noticed when Sonam Kapoor came, at many points Mr. Kher kept her at arm’s length, i.e. did not respond with the same warmth with which Sonam was talking to him. Is it contempt or disapproval reflecting in Mr. Kher’s behavior towards those he thinks do not deserve too much respect for their not-so-great talent? It also reflects in the fact that Mr. Kher appears to have done much homework on some celebrities while on some others he appears unprepared and more like scratching on the surface.

Calling multiple celebrities: In many episodes two celebrities were called while it would be better to have only one. I think this show’s best USP is the content which is soaked in personal experiences of the celebrities who come on the show. Most of the time the celebrity guests have too much content to share but Mr. Kher has to flip between the two guests and hence viewers lose continuity. Though I must say that Mr. Kher tries to be balanced towards both hosts on such occasions brilliantly. I think if at some point of time this show could be documented in the form of a book, the book will definitely be a great hit. But for that to happen, episodes with two or more celebrities in it won’t make that much sense.

Appearing insensitive towards some guests: I am a big fan of Aditya Roy Kapoor. In today’s (7th of Sep) episode I did not like it when as soon as Aditya arrived and sat down – Mr. Kher asks something like, “We were discussing how Parineeti has been a topper and good in studies. Somehow I feel you have been an opposite of her…” This was not a respectful line to begin with; after all, was it written on Aditya’s face that he was not good at studies in school? For next fifteen minutes or so Aditya is quizzed on how he did not know what to do in life (which no kid does!) and in short how he fitted into the mold Mr. Kher had created for him! The frank, honest and cool manner in which Aditya handled all these questions was adorable. And while asking all these questions, Mr. Kher laughed at Aditya while Parineeti joined him and also interrupted Aditya with her comments perhaps in order to show her presence on the show and not to allow Aditya eclipse her. In my opinion some editing should have been done for Aditya’s portion to come uninterrupted.

There are many positives of the show too, that is why I shall continue watching it. If I have to name a few, first thing is rich content, which won’t be possible without the brilliant Mr. Kher asking those probing and intelligent questions which encourage celebrities to come out of shells and bare their hearts. Honoring one viewer in each show and giving him/her opportunity to talk to the celebrity is also a very novel idea. Mr. Kher himself is excellent and adds huge star power to the show. Still, sometimes I have felt uncomfortable with the points I mentioned in the earlier parts of this article and hence thought to share what I felt. I am sorry if some feelings were hurt of the viewers who consider this show or Mr. Kher flawless. There is always a room for improvement – as Mr. Kher says and I like it very much, “Kuchh bhi ho sakta hai”!