Journey called life

Sundays are good if you wish So

What to do on a Sunday ? It’s a million-dollar question if you are a working middle-class professional doing a salaried job in India.

Though, the question arises for everyone but it becomes a puzzle only for people working in a fixed time-frame on weekdays. Weekdays in India varies from 05 to 07 days based upon job-profile of the individual. In the same way, working hours varies for everyone in our country. Though we are not as lucky as employees in France to have an average  30 hours per week work hours but most people in organized sector works between 40 hours to  84 hours on an average. Though, this data is not constant and people keep moving up or down the ladder but our situation is not as bad as people allegedly working in North Korean labour camps who may work for 112 hours per week on an average.

But, data by nature is dynamic and it keeps changing. It is rumoured that Netherlands may have reached an ideal average working hours of 21 hours per week. Unbelievable ? Why are Indians trying to get Green Cards for US, Europe is a far better destination considering lesser number of working hours while enjoying a fat salary. It is a proven fact that the more your country moves up in the development index, your working hour gets reduced.

Same formula is also partially true for top hierarchy in an organization. People working at lower rungs in an organization always have an intrinsic feeling that top man is good for nothing and his favourite pastime is to make sure that subordinates live in hell. But, like in a honeybee colony, functions of Queen bee, Drone bees and Workers bees are clearly identified so that Colony survives. So, all office-goers like worker bees have to slog for long weekdays to collect honey from all sources so that they survive in rat race of life.

So, now you realize the importance of Sundays. It is not that Fridays and Saturdays are not important but Sunday is like top of the cliff where you enjoy the wind on your face but need to climb down next day to slog again.

Coming back to the issue  of doing something on Sunday. Actually, a large percentage of people prefer to do nothing. Normal office-going men prefer sleeping on Sundays. However, kids and wives feel that Sundays have been gifted by god to make merry. They try to squeeze the juice out of husband/father and indulge in shopping in nearby markets/malls or go out to watch movies and eat out in a famous restaurant. DSC01703

Some health-conscious people walk or run long distances or cycle on country-side roads. Some people visits friends/families and have jolly time at the expense of host whose Sunday gets twisted due to uninvited guests. But, this normally happens in small towns not in big metros where neighbours don’t even recognise each other.

If you are bachelor then there are perks like sleeping for longer hours and eating to heart’s content, watching TV, using Internet and then sleeping again. Though, a big drawback nowadays is social media applications in your smart phone. Facebook, Instagram,Twitter, Whatsapp , video-streaming websites,e-commerce websites, fitness/health websites are a big nuisance for enjoying a peaceful Sunday.

The smart phone keeps invading into your personal space and makes you a dumb spectator of other’s lives. Yes, I don’t understand that why are these phones called smart when they make you dumb and erodes thinking capacity of your brain. It is a black hole which keeps your brain immersed in things which aren’t necessary in your life. All screens, be it TV, desktop/laptop,Tablet, phone or anything else is bad for your Sunday.  It makes you a slave as you can not keep away from it for a long time. There was a time not long ago when people took Tablets when they became ill. Same is happening again as screens are making our lives miserable. There will come a time in future when we have to take Tablets to get rid of screen from our brains.

Some people carry their screens to even toilets and it is the most obnoxious thing I can imagine. They feel that their bowels won’t get empty at designated place if their eyes are not watching or reading something on screen.

I even know a girl who  posted her status on Facebook as – “Dropped my phone in commode and so feeling sad ” and to top it some well-wishers asked – ” how did you retrieved it ? washed with soap or wiped with clothes ? ”

What have we come to as a society ? Where will we go from here ? To shit-hole , I guess.

So, it is better if we keep away from dumb phones on Sunday. I won’t called it smart …how can it be smart ? Either you are smart or your phone is ? Choice is yours.

So, I will tell you what to do on a Sunday. Go to nature along with your friends/loved ones. You may have hundreds of friend on Facebook but they all are like thin air. They vanish as soon as you take your gaze away from screen. Cultivate friends and family by spending Sunday with them. Do anything which pleases you. Clean the mess in house, do gardening , plant a tree in park, run/walk, live life…..see the sun and moon, see stars….meet your neighbours and their kids. Take interest in life of someone in real world.DSC02346

Do not post a smiling face on your timeline.  Walk your dog if you have one or feed street dogs if you don’t have your own. That street dog won’t forget your meal and will profusely thank you by wagging his tail vigorously.Be human, behave like human.

Yesterday, I read about a couple whose ( 01-year old) son’s first word were some words on the pattern of ” Okay-Google” . Because, parents were addicted to Google Assistant so the kid followed their large footsteps. I wish that your kid must speak Mumma or PAAPAA as his first word. This is true joy. Throw away AI-assisted apps from your bedroom and open windows and let the monsoon rain drops touch you. This is bliss.

That’s it for today. Enjoy Sunday.

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Chhath Festivities in Bihar-I

Today is an auspicious day in the life of a large part of people living in eastern part of India especially in Bihar and some parts of Uttar Pradesh. Chhath Puja is also celebrated in a big way in neighbouring Nepal and various places around the globe wherever people from this region have migrated and settled. It is one of the most important and sacred festival involving rigid but simple rituals emphasizing the abstaining qualities of Indians.

This festival has an ancient tradition which goes back to few thousand years even predating Vedic period.Nonetheless, some rituals of worshipping Sun god are mentioned in Rig Veda. Another mythological fact links the history of Chhath Puja with Ramayan where Sita worshipped Sun after returning from exile.

But, I am not sure about why this festival is the most celebrated festival in Bihar.

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One of the reason may be that this festival is a self-inspired and managed festival . Official priests or other holy persons has no role to play in Chhath. All able-bodied women/men can perform Chhath Puja as it only demands distance from one’s worldly possession including pleasure food.

Second reason may be that this is one of the most eco-friendly festival which emphasizes the godly and life-giving qualities of Sun and water sources around us. Main ingredients which are offered to Sun are locally available fruits/vegetables some of which have become exotic due to environmental degradation around us. River/Pond cleaning and preparing step-wise mud slopes for keeping fruits/vegetable is a major part of festivities.

Moreover, it is also a little-bit different from other Hindu festivals as idol-worship in the sense of physical statues and places of worship are not involved. All natural/man-made sources of water becomes the place of worship during Chhath. It also highlights the supremacy of nature over mankind and people from all economic classes offer the obeisance to the Sun on the banks of river/ponds  in the same way.

No VIP queues are allowed before Sun.

Chhath is called so because it is celebrated on the sixth day of Kartik month of Vikram Samvat(Hindu Calendar) which normally falls in the month of October-November as per Gregorian Calendar. There is another Chhath named Chaiti Chhath which is celebrated on sixth day of Chaitra month which normally comes few days after Holi during the month of March-April. So, there are 02 types of Chhath, 01 on the onset of Winter and another one at the onset of Summer. Therefore, it seems that Chhath is strategically situated at the gates of 02 major seasons in India. But, the winter Chhath is more popular as it falls in midst of long festival season in India. Here, I will talk mainly about today’s Chhath.

Main festivities of Chhath lasts for 04 days.It is an arduous festival for devotees .

It starts with Nahay Khay (eating after bathing). People take bath in holy river and eat a single meal of rice, pulses mixed with pumpkin and Pumpkin dish prepared in ghee(clarified butter). For younger generations ghee can basically be termed as grandfather of refined oil which tastes like heaven if obtained in pure form. Nowadays, people get afraid if you talk about food prepared in such a rich aroma as modern doctors believe in ignoring benefits of traditional food. So, in a sense, Nahay Khay promotes cleanliness of outer and inner body including vital organs of stomach. 

2nd day is meant for Kharna or Kheer-Roti (rice prepared with sweetened milk and bread). People observe dawn to dusk fasting and eat just after sunset after offering it to Sun and Usha (Goddess). Thereafter ,  the most arduous task begins which includes nearly 36 -hours of fasting even without a sip of water. On 3rd and 4th day, fruits,vegetable,milk and home-made sweets are offered by devotees to setting and rising sun respectively while standing in knee/waist-deep water.

There are strict rules for preparing sweets for this purpose as even cooks are not supposed  to   eat anything and observe fasting. Thekua (a traditional sweet made of refined flour, sugar,etc.) is  a must for Chhath festival and it is consumed in large quantities.These items are normally made on earthen stoves by using clean wooden sticks as fuel. But, nowadays LPG has replaced it in prosperous households.

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So, Chhath Puja primarily encompasses abandoning food and other material comfort like soft beds for few days. It promotes austerity and is healthy for human body. Some people also offer to undertake journey from home to river banks in supine manner by prostrations. It is called Dandvat Pranam which means instead of walking on 02 legs , you cover the whole distance on your stomach and chest. Mathemetically, it means if your height is 1.80 metres(nearly 06 feet) and distance from home to river bank is 180 metres then you have to lie on road and get up immediately 100 times. Multiply this several times if you are smaller and journey to river bank is longer. It is pretty strenuous and performing it on empty stomach is a herculean task. But, it is good for your health and continuing it for longer period will make you fighting fit.

But, the story of Chhath has many more shades. So, it will take another episode to complete it. Till then , we shall try to eat less and live a frugal life as rich food or life has disastrous consequences and believe me no one has been able to survive longer on a deadly cocktail of rich life and food.

So, what do you think about this thought, you can let me know by sharing your thoughts on http://www.justcasualthought.com.

Happy reading.

An Opinion about Judwa-2

I watched Judwa-2(Hindi movie) today. Though, it was little bit late as the movie was released during last week of September, 2017. But, watching first on big screen is always a pleasure for seasoned movie buffs. I enjoyed it as normally I do not read review of movies by celebrated critics. It gives me pleasure to enjoy movie without  being prejudiced about performance of actors or intricacies of plots. So, whenever a movie gets released on Friday, I adopt the attitude of a cavemen and avoid all references to that movie in newspapers, websites, televisions or any other mass media source till I watch it through my own eyes. I avoid it religiously and even turn my gaze away from such reviews while leafing through pages of magazines/websites.

So, I will try not to reveal plot or any substantial fact about movie if you are planning to watch it in near future and do not know the history and geography of this movie. Yes, history and geography are important pillars of this movie. Normally, history and geography are not integral part of a run-of-the-mill movie. These subjects are actually stress-busters for harried students tormented by laws and bylaws of mathematics and science.

But, Judwa -2 is different. It is different in the sense that I already knew the plot and was familiar with shenanigans of lead actors. It was a sort of deja vu for me as I recall watching Judwa in a pretty foggy and cold morning in the month of February, 1997. More than 20 years have gone by, but it seems I watched it yesterday.

It is a well established fact that satellite/streaming channels have stuffed our lives with all sort of visual entertainment and movies are repeated time and again. The best example of this stuffing theory is melodramatic film Sooryavansham on Set Max. I am not sure how many times I have watched it inadvertently. Even broadcaster sitting at the Control Room of Set Max doesn’t know it. It is joked that even close relatives of megastar Amitabh Bachchan call him by the name of Dada Thakur. Normally, as per data collated by diligent movie-lovers, a TV-watching Indian adult watches each movie at least 05 times in a life time.

So, Judwa(1997) is no different. Actually, it was a remake of a Telugu movie named Hello Brother (1994) starring superstar Nagarjuna. But, Hello Brother is also an unofficial remake of  Twin Dragons (1992) starring an Asian/Hollywood superstar Jackie Chan. This movie was made in Hong Kong. A Kannada movie named Cheluva was also made based upon Two Brothers of Nagarjuna.

So, now you will realize that Judwa -2 originated  in Hong Kong and travelled to Hyderabad then to erstwhile Banglore then to erstwhile Bombay and now arrived in Mumbai. So, it has covered a distance of nearly 4200 Kilometres in a journey which started 25 years ago(in 1992) on a coastal city on South China Sea and culminated on humid coastal region of Arbian Sea.

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Now, coming to the movie.

Basic logic of the movie is that if  one part of a twin experiences pain then other part of twin also gets hurt depending upon distance. It is a reflexive kind of funny action.

Movie has been declared an all-round hit and earned few hundred crores and counting as on date. It is nicely packaged masala movie and full of double-meaning suggestive words.I will call it a time pass entertainment having wonderful cinematography. Scenic locations in England have been shown beautifully.  University of London campus forms backgrounds of various scenes. Beaches and resorts of Mauritius give the movie a holiday look. Taapsee Pannu and Jacqline Fernandez perform the task of good eye-candies and they looked beautiful.But, acting -wise I feel that Karisma and Rambha were far better in 1997 movie. Varun Dhawan is impressive but comparing him with a younger Salman is bit too harsh.Original humour and timing of actors were better. Original Judwa was the starting point of an enduring partnership between Salman Khan and David Dhawan.

The movie also denotes the times we live in. Salman Khan came to India  in earlier version and here our Varun goes to London. So, the background changes and clean streets of London replaces rustic charm of erstwhile Bombay.

But, music is hummable. Earlier version was evergreen in flirty sense and that’s why 02 of best songs of earlier version have been remixed by original composers. Anu Malik deserves praise for putting old wine in refurbished bottle.

So, watch it for old times.

 

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