Monday, February 18, 2013

Religious or Superstitious??

Dear folks,

The Valentine's day seemed to steal away the fame of Oscar Pistorius, the paralympic champion with the accident at his residence. He has been accused of shooting his girl friend. It was Lance Armstrong last time who has been stripped off from his titles, now its Oscar for another reason. Confused to idolize and look up to these champions. I wish these people make sure they are careful with their reputation given their fanfare across the world.

Picture of this post was captured in London, UK. While it depicts the beauty of nature, it cannot be enjoyed unless we pause the daily rush and have a glance at the beauty around. 

Religion, this is a topic which is as vast as the spread of the Pacific. You know what sort of a debatable topic this term is in our country. 'Debatable' is too simple of a term to define the amount of havoc it can create in our country, if disturbed.
As part of every religion, there are certain rituals, practices and believes. These are set to make life traverse in proper direction, to lead an organised life and finally to attain salvation. I don't want to call them rules of a religion, as I believe no individual is bound to any particular rule but they are ways of life which will keep us away from unnecessary hassles. However, in the name of religious ways, over the ages we have adapted to some superstitions as well.

The downside of the beliefs and practices is that, in the name of religion, we have accustomed to some of the deeds which can create a pandemonium at times. Taking Hinduism into discussion, pilgrimage is very prominent part of the religious living. Visiting temples & other places of worship and conducting certain rituals are considered sane and vital to lead a pious Hindu life. These practices have lead millions of devotees to visit temples especially on auspicious days and occasions. It could be taking a dip in the rivers for pushkara (once in 12yrs) or attending the processions with all the paraphernalia, or visiting the temples. These may not be ruled out as superstitions, as on certain auspicious days of the calendar, the cosmic forces are quite strong when combined with a sacred bath or visiting places of worship (that are designed to attract cosmic energy) that they have great effect on human bodies and minds. This entire process is considered as cleansing of souls & bodies. All is well, if it is up to that. But, crowds thronging at pilgrimages on most important occasions can create a huge mess. In order to avoid this, endowment authorities prepare and make necessary arrangements, which in most cases fall insufficient. As it is evident that our temples collect huge amounts in the form of devotional donations, offerings and sometimes tickets, there is no dearth for monetary funds to manage it in a better way and increase the supplies. But how often do we see a temple management catering to the best of the basic needs of the devotees??? Even at Tirumala, which is considered as the richest abode of lord, there is chaos and mess every day in one of the queues. Although the Tirumala temple management has braced itself to handle millions of devotees’ every day, it still falls short of some basic provisions and systematic queuing. If we have to blame the authorities concerned, it is not always their fault. It’s the devotees who lack some fundamental civic sense. If you presume that this clutter happens with uneducated masses around, you are totally mistaken. Even if you buy the VIP ticket, you are sure to experience the same disorder. Your co-devotees don't care about you, no matter you trip and fall, they would jump over and go but none will offer a helping hand. So what sort of soul cleansing would they want to attain praying to the Lord without caring a bit for a fellow being? During my recent visit, I witnessed, a well-educated officer jumping over the queue lines and crossing the people so that he could get darshan quicker in a matter of split second difference. I was totally disappointed more by the co-devotees than by the management. 

 The recent Khumb Mela also witnessed this sort of chaos, of course worse in nature. While there was a blame game amongst different departments, how many of us realize that it was the uncontrollable mob that was responsible for that sort of stampede. I personally detest blaming the Railway authorities or the endowment authorities in most of these cases. The common man today lacks the very basic civic sense which is resulting in such turmoil. Who can keep guarding and guiding a madhouse mob. Even if the authorities intervene to sort it out, no devotee will be patient to bear with it and let them work. A very simple fact is always ignored in such labyrinth...that every devotee has come to do the same sort of ritual and is equally concerned about the time. Coming to Khumb mela, I cannot understand what sort of salvation does one attain by dying/getting injured in a stampede? What sort of sanity does one attain by dipping in polluted waters? I know this would appear as atheism to many, but to me this remains a prime question, when people compete to visit such crowdy places with infants, toddlers, veterans and disabled. Should that be termed as religiousness or superstitious? As long devotees/pilgrims don't have concern for his co-devotee or lacks civic and common senses, these occasions will have to witness more and more deaths in stampede and suffocation. Sometimes, RGV's (ramgopal verma, director) remarks about these stampedes and deaths at pilgrimages seem so valid.
In my opinion, you are never/can never be religious if you have no concern/humanity for a fellow being.  No matter how many rituals you do and how many pilgrimages you visit, it all appears as mere superstition indeed. 



Monday, February 11, 2013

Confessions of an Oniomaniac

Hello Fellas,

Missed this space...been a while since I wrote! 
Pinterest, a virtual pin-board network,...I guess I was one of those first few subscribers who hooked up to this space while it began in 2010. Since then, this has become a dearest space to me...useful n fun to me in all means. Whoever came up with this idea...Thank them a ton. Long live Pinterest!!! If you are looking for a healthy addiction, check it out :D!!!

I want to start a segment in this space...i.e posting my favourite pictures, because I hate them lying unappreciated. hehe. Isn't it nice to get some compliments for your clicks :). Here comes the first one.
Beginning with a beautiful swan, picture taken at Kew Gardens, London. A place which is amazingly awesome during spring. 


"Oniomania"...Don’t you think it sounds funny?? Being called as Oniomaniac is even funnier. Did it sound as an obsession for onions. Haha. But, that’s not right. Wanna on. 
Since my childhood, all the pocket money given to me was spent in a split second earning me a name as a spendthrift. I inherited my Mom's love for shopping but not her wiseness in spending. I enjoyed going to craft, book & art exhibitions while I was in India and emptied my pockets collecting my favourites.
After moving to US, my interest was ignited with the numerous stores & malls around. Fortunately, most of my dear friends also enjoyed shopping like me. Outlet malls were our favourite hangout spots. We used to explore all the stores, shop competitively, and by the closing time, forcibly got out from the store. Once back, we would have a fashion walk to exhibit the finds and chatter until dawn about the fun we had while doing all this.
During my stay in Houston, one of the famous & biggest malls in USA, 'Galleria' was right on the opposite corner of my apartment. My weekends never finished without visiting the mall. Those frequent visits helped me find great stuff at affordable prices. If there would be a hall of fame like the Hollywood, Houston Galleria would not miss my name there, I guess. Wherever I went, I made sure I did some shopping there…the minimum would be collecting souvenir items. My mom always did this. She says apart from the pictures we take, the souvenir items would be the best memories of that place.
My craze for shopping grew manifold after moving to London. As London is known as one of the shopping heavens (others being New York, Dubai, Singapore & Delhi), I had a gala time in there. Fueling my love for shopping, my husband (then boyfriend) used to accompany me so patiently all the time. Is it not surprising to find a guy being patient while shopping? Not sure, if he really enjoyed or cribbed doing so. But, in London, I did find many people like me who enjoyed shopping in spite of sultry sun, stormy rains & frosty winters. Boxing Day sale was the craziest shopping I ever did. I loved it because I could find some best items at great discounts along with bruises as it was a crazy marathon to get in and get out of the stores. Another memorable experience was being part of Vogue Fashion Night Out. Accidentally, I had been to shopping on that night…which allowed me to enjoy luxury shopping experience with great perks. I did post that experience in this page here.  Just as Galleria, Houston, I guess Stratford City mall in London would not miss my name in its hall of fame. Although Stratford city mall was newly opened just before I moved back to homeland, I made sure I made enough visits to make them richer...another awesome hangout in all ways (food, fun, shop & lazy out).
After coming back to homeland, I found it hard to maintain the same pace & interest in shopping because it is totally a swarming exercise here. But, do I find alternatives :)
Generally shopaholics are considered as brand crazy. I am personally not a brand freak, but I am amazed by the effort that goes into executing a design into a brand…which includes showcasing the design, creating a brand name, advertising and publicizing the same. The value of the brand not only depends on the uniqueness of the design and its quality but also depends on how the brand is conceived, at which status it was aimed etc; this was all known to me recently when I started following some top brands and ace designers on how they evolved into big businesses. I guess, I got too much into the anatomy of brands. I also love and dream to buy brands but when spending some big notes, I will make 200% sure that it is spent on the right item. If you assume, that I spend huge bucks every time I go shopping, you are totally mistaken. I make sure I spend reasonably. But also crib for unnecessary spending at times.
The positive side of the story is the excess stuff can always be sold at the thrift stores or donated at goodwill places. 
Alright, I guess, you would have understood by now that the term coined in the beginning was all about the craze for shopping. Yes it is. Oniomania is the technical term for compulsive shopaholism. Don't curse me for writing so many lines to explain a single word, instead consider this as my confession. I disagree if this is called as a disorder. It’s a rejenuvating exercise indeed. 
If you are one among the shopaholics, welcome to the league!!! Be proud that you contribute better to the economy instead of worrying to resist the urge!!! ;)