Tag Archives: CULTURE

Musings : Don’t be selfish, just be human

Don’t be selfish all the time that only thing that you think about is you and your family.

Don’t be selfish so much that the only thing that matters to you is how much wealth you accumulate, even though you know you won’t carry it with you

Don’t be selfish so much that you are ready to steal or grab someone else’s happiness because all that matters to you is your own

Don’t be selfish so much that you take bread from someone else child to satisfy your kids hunger

Don’t be so selfish that you feel everything is about you and that your problems are the biggest in this world

This world works on a principle. Whatever you accumulate doesn’t stay for long. In third or fourth generation it won’t exist at all. Even the good children you have won’t be interested in your wealth nor those bad children won’t let it stay. If you reap selfishness it will come back to you for those who saw you be one all the time will be the same to you, even those for whom you became like that in the first place.

On a broader scale there are some who are struggling for having food on this Earth, some are there in your city or vicinity.

So by closing your eyes and having fun with your friends on a pizza party with drinks and posting on social media about freedom and equality, makes you a hypocrite

You don’t have to give away your life earnings neither you have to give away anything, just make sure you don’t grab something that is not yours nor make any evil plans to make it yours. For in your thoughts and actions, you create a vicious evil cycle, which deprives some of their normal life and puts them into a dreadful situation.

You don’t have to be a philanthropist nor a evangelist. You don’t have to be a volunteer nor you have to be a bread giver. You just have to let them be themselves and give them a fair chance at life. Don’t deprive them of fair chance at education, a fair chance at sports, fair chance to run at the marathon of life. By depriving them of their fundamental right to be able to given a fair chance you make them weak in their thoughts and belief for someone to help them. Your help is not helping them and your selfishness is causing them damage for generations.

So stop being selfish. You don’t have to be an altruist, you just have to be a human. Learn to be a human first and then become successful, famous, rich, happy and charitable.


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Festivals in India : Mahavir Jayanti

Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated as the birthday of Mahavir on Chaitrya Sud Triyodashi. Mahavir is consider to be the founder or proposer of modern day Jainism. Jainism is one of the oldest religions known today and its origins lie in India. Theologians often classify Jainism as a philosophy, a way of living life, rather than a religion.

Jainism is a non-theistic religion. There is no concept of God or spiritual beings. There’s no one to create, maintain or destroy the universe. The only thing which maintains the universe is, the universe itself. No one is superior to the laws of the universe. Jains believe that there were 24 great teachers, the first one named Rishabh Dev ji and the last of whom was Lord Mahavir who lived during 6th century B.C. Mahavir is regarded as the man who gave Jainism its present-day form. These twenty-four teachers are called Tirthankars– people who had attained all knowledge while living (Moksh) and preached it to the people. The Tirthankars were all humans once, they did some good deeds and were eligible for being a Thirthankar in next incarnation. Jinas are believed to reside in the top level of heaven, above the realm of the gods. Accordingly, liberated souls are revered more than the gods.

PALITANA

Jains believe in reincarnation and seek to attain ultimate liberation – which means escaping the continuous cycle of birth, death and rebirth. The ultimate goal is to get rid of one’s karma on their soul so that they may end this cycle. Once this goal is reached their soul has attained all knowledge and it rests in the heavens forever (Nirvana). This is similar to the preachings of Buddhism, but the principle and path to achieve Nirvana are slightly different. It is a matter of lot of speculations between the historians to find, if any connection between Buddha and Mahavira.

The way to get rid of one’s karma is to follow certain rules of doing good somewhat similar to the ten commandments in Christianity or the eight-fold path in Buddhism.

These include the principles of:

  • Ahimsa – To protect all life (non-violence)
  • Satya – To speak truth
  • Asteya – To not steal
  • Brahmacharya – To not commit adultery
  • Aparigraha – To limit one’s possessions

Jains uphold these principles by practicing vegetarianism, non-violence in thought, deed, and action.

The three guiding principles of Jainism, the ‘three jewels’, are right belief, right knowledge and right conduct.

In present day India, large group of Jains can be found in States of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. The two prominent pilgrim centres for Jains are Sikharji located in Jharkhand and Palitana in Gujarat. Both the pilgrim centres are located on hill stations and they take the test of Pilgrims.

PALITANA TEMPLES IN GUJARAT

Jain culture is divided into 2 sects:

  • Shwetambar : Shwet (White) + Ambar (Clothes)
  • Digambar: Dig (Sky) +Ambar (Clothes).

Both the sects have their own monks and nuns. Monks of Shwetambar sect wear white clothes with little to no stitches and Digambar monks live completely naked. This is because Digambars believe that one can only lead the life of a true monk by having no worldly possessions and by demonstrating indifference to earthly emotions such as shame. They consider themselves clothed by directions. Nuns of both the sects are white clothed.


FESTIVALS IN INDIA

HOLI • GANESH CHATURTHI • RAKSHABANDAN • JANMASTAMI • NAVRATRI • DUSSHERA • DURGA POOJA • DIWALI • CHRISTMAS • BIHU • UGADI • PONGAL • ONAM • SANKRANTI • UTTARAYAN • PARYUSHANMAHAVIR JAYANTI • RAMADAN – EID • BAKRI – EID • PATETI

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Pickles from India : The hidden lessons they carry

Pickles are eternal or so they are meant to be. Pickles were there yesterday, are there today and will be there tomorrow. Pickles are made in India since ages. Pickles come in every form and type. The technique to make pickles have been passed on from generation to next generation. Each region makes its own kind of pickle with the local produce available. Lot of spices and ingredients go into pickle to make it last long without any kind of synthetic or chemical preservatives. There might have been lot of iterations done by various people to perfect the art pickle to contain the right amount of natural preservatives as well as maintain the right kind of texture and taste.

Pickle making is an art in India. Usually pickles are made of Mango, Lemon and Amla. This is not exclusive or not limited list. There are various kinds of pickles made based on local fruits, plants and produce which last from 2 weeks to as long as 1 year. And you will be surprised to find the same taste even after an year. No modern preservation technique can come close to keeping food so fresh and long lasting.

Pickle making is art, science, religion and festival in India.

Pickle making starts at shopping for the ingredients and ends at placing the jar in the safe corner. When the season for pickle making starts like for eg the season for Mango pickle starts in summer. Ladies of the house often accompanied by a senior lady go to buy the best mangoes that are available. They pick each by hand and decide to pay the minimum they can. They bargain a lot. Why ? Because the amount of pickle that goes into the making is in large quantities for many households. It is made in small batches as 1 kg to large batches as 5kg to 10kg in a joint family. Those who have farms of their own, grow their yield separately and don’t have to go through the hustle of buying. They keep the best crop for themselves.

Pickle making is a family activity. Once the mangoes are brought home, they are washed nicely and cleaned until there is no water. Water is the enemy of pickles, well for most of them which are kept for long. Then all ladies, kids and men likely join in the process of cutting, marinating and preserving the pickle. For each kind of pickle, there is a separate process. But in all of them, the base idea is to keep things clean, follow the process taught to them by their granny, mother or mother-in-law and keep the pickle to rest in safe place. Most houses consider it equivalent to a religious ritual to make pickle as any kind of damage or rotting in the long wrong is considered bad.

Pickle making is Science. Process above everything. Most pickles are kept in solution of some kind of food oil and usually contains ingredients like mustard (Rai), clove (laving), fenugreek (methi), til, corainder (daniya) and other seeds in dry roasted and powder form. The aroma of the spices is spread in the entire colony. Pickle is mixed and packed in the jar made of ceramic or glass or similar containers which are specifically chosen for pickles. Usually whatever spice mix is left after the pickle is packed, is enjoyed by the family with rice, chapati or any snack on that day itself.

One stop solution for travel, minimalism, economy and food. Pickles last long. Pickles can be carried easily. Pickles need not be cooked again. Pickles don’t need any kind of alteration. Pickles can be eaten with rice, roti, any kind of snack. They are taste boosters. Pickles make food wholesome. Pickles remind you of your culture, tradition, village, home and specially of your family.

Pickle is poor man’s food. For the well off pickle may be a side dish or taste enhancer but for the real poor of India, pickle is a half part of meal. When the days are not well, they just add pickle in between roti and enjoy with some onion or chilly. When they travel in trains or are on move from one village to another, it helps them to travel light and eat healthy stomach filling food. When the supply of vegetables is over a toss or their is a breakdown in the supply due to any kind of natural calamity or strikes or damage to crops, pickles help to manage the days by functioning as supplements.

Pickles are made at home by family with hands, care, dedication and lot of love!

Pickle haters are few, yet they have their reasons. Some may complaint about the amount of oil, spices, chillies or other ingredients that go into the pickles that it makes their stomach upset or heat them up. But certainly they are not in the right context and use of pickles. It may not be right for them to consume but for millions, I say MILLIONS in India, it is a part of every day meal. For some it’s the major part of their meal. So don’t eat if you don’t like, but do not speak ill of it. It is not meant for you.

Homemade food made with lot of ingredients and a little love. Pickles in India are not made in factories with machines and synthetic preservatives. Pickles are made at home by family with hands, care, dedication and lot of love. Today in India, many varieties of pickle are sold in packets, containers some made by people, some made by industries. They may be good or may not. You can check the ingredients listed. But once you taste the pickle made by a mother, you will never forget it.

Pickles mix with every dish without any complaint.

Add pickle in your bucket list. If you are travelling to India for the first time, then make sure to add it in your bucket list to taste some form of home made pickle. You may carry some with you. However make sure to ask about the ingredients or heat level if you are allergic to any kind of food or cannot tolerate. For fun, you keep a bottle of milk with you and try it. If you fall in love with pickles then you will find each village have a variety of each kind of pickle and their are so many different kinds of pickle, so it will be a pursuit for you, even if you are Indian.

Pickles saved many generations in India. Pickles are their for a reason. If you don’t know the reason and don’t want to know, then at least check at the scale of their presence and accept the importance. For situations like COVID19 when the movement was restricted, pickles have helped many households. Even though the essentials were allowed in this scenario, many scenarios in life, don’t come with the liesure or choice. So pickles become a saviours. So I urge you all who consider pickles to be just another product in the food racks of shopping malls, to remember your childhood or make a call to your mother or grand mother and know about their experiences related to pickle and if you are lucky you may find a secret recipe hidden in them. It’s time to bring it out and try, before they are lost forever.


Let us know your favourite pickle in comments section below. If you are visiting our site from other parts of the world, share your thoughts on pickles and which kind of pickles are made in your country. If you don’t like pickles, share your feelings and reasons.

What a single migration by Elephants can teach you about life

A journey of a year, repeated until eternity. Elephants in central and east Africa take a migration from their homelands to islands in the east during the summer. To save themselves from the scorching heat and find water they travel hundreds of miles over weeks to reach a place for stay during the difficult times. Once the season changes and monsoon arrives in their homelands they take a return journey. Amidst the travel and return they go through various difficult terrains, hurdles, dangers and challenges. They overcome all of them one by one by sticking to the herd and following the Matriach, the leader of the group, often the eldest female. By going through various aspects of the journey undertaken by the Elephants every year, we can understand about life more than we would in our own life time.

The journey that begins before birth. Every year Elephants take migration from their homelands to other greener areas during the summer. This journey is one of the firsts for many while it is one of the so many for the Matriach. Elephants stay in groups like us. They follow a hierarchy and family system. The group is led usually by eldest female elephant called as the Matriach.

Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

Initial days. Early on the Matriach guides the herd to move on from their homeland and follow her. As the water in the sanctuary starts to dry off, it creates puddles of mud and Elephants love to play in the mud. So as they arrive it’s a clean source of water and by the time they leave it becomes a slumpy muddy ground. But only the Matriach knows the difficult of starting late and being stuck in nowhere. So she ends the party and asks them to follow.

No water. Scorching heat. Little green. The herd follows the Matriach. The group is made of many female elephants and young elephants. Some elephants are born during this Exodus. Grown up male elephants leave the group to start their own life. They are the bull elephants. They fight to mate and live. Living without a group is a difficult experience in wild for some animals. As they continue their journey and move out the sanctuary, the green cover goes on reducing. Matriach makes some stops at places she feels there is some shade and good source of protein and little water in the leaves or plants. But the stop is not for long. Soon they have to continue walking one behind the other.

Memory map. Survival of elephants depend on the leadership of the group. The herd with an experienced Matriach has safety net. Elephants have strong memory. They remember the landmarks, path and faces. By locating the landmarks the Matriach continues to move ahead in the journey. And by training the other elephants about the important spots. Often the eldest elephant has gone through various experiences in life and is aware of every water hole in the vicinity, sometimes of the only water source in the season is known by them.

Danger of crossing the river. When you are travelling as a group together, you must consider your weaknesses. To cross a river, you must estimate the depth before reaching the middle of the river and also look for any predators like crocodiles around. You have to safe guard your young ones and swim them through the river. Moving across different terrains is one of the eminent challenge in migration. Matriach has taken various trips in life and has experience of crossing rivers during different times of the year. She decides when to cross and if there is a need to hold on. Such wise decisions in our life comes through experience and having a vocal family and community which shares learnings and knowledge with transparency can help us repeat the same mistake of our yester generation.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Reaching the greenlands. Price of migration. Once you cross all the hurdles in your path, your reach your destination. The land of the green with lots of trees and plants. You choose to stay here for the next few months until the summer is about to be over. During this time Elephants enjoy eating and resting in the lush. Young elephants play in the surrounding. Life looks like a heaven. But it only lasts until it’s time to move again and go back to the place you have come from. This is like you going to a foreign land or a different city for work or business and thrive there. But you choose to come back often to your hometown.

Elephants are known to take care of orphan elephants as their own. Female elephants milk the young ones of a distant relative who is no more.

After enjoying the lush and green, it’s time to go back. It may seem when we are in a state of Bliss that there is nothing more to life then enjoying it to the fullest. But as the Matriach knows, so must you, when it’s time to move. If you start late you will not make in time for monsoon. If you start too early then you will risk losing someone of dehydration. The critical time to move lies in the times when you are completely lost in the fun. And only the leader will guide through the critical decisions.

Danger of the predators. The return journey is accompanied with its own challenges. You may go back the same route but things are never going to remain the same. By the knowledge passed on by generations of migration, it becomes clear which path is safer and appropriate as per the time of year. In past, there might have been encounters of lose or mistakes, the survivers become the leader and they improve upon the previous journeys and decisions. Hence the eldest female of the herd, is the most knowledgeable and compassionate of them all, because she has seen all kinds of challenges, troubles, loss, happiness and encounters. By taking a path through the territory of the Lions, elephants risk themselves, but it seems to be the closest way to reach home.

Arrival of death. Many a times during such journeys through the wild for migration and teaching their next generation, comes with a price. The price is losing some of your own kind. Sometimes it’s the young killed by a predator or being washed away in river. Even though elephants are deeply protective of their young ones, they do have their fair share of remorse. Elephants are known to take care of orphan elephants as their own. Female elephants milk the young ones of a distant relative who is no more. Far supersedes the deeds of us humans in many cases. We must learn to be compassionate and kind like elephants with no selfish motive.

Photo by shy sol on Pexels.com

After death. Life goes on. New Matriach. If the life cycle of a Matriach comes to an end, she lives quitely while performing all her duties. Sometimes while protecting the herd while other times when she can’t walk anymore because of her age. When elephants encounter death of family member or distant relative, they mourn over the loss. They gather around and pay respect to them by touching with their trunk. They grieve over the loss. They are believed to shed tears for long time. Elephants recognize each other well. They also identify other species like humans and remember them for many years. The loss of a Matriach, means the rise of a new female. She has to take up the responsibility of the herd. Often she is accompanied close to the Matriach since many years for getting trained in taking care of the herd, making the decisions, keeping an eye on the young as well as confronting any dangers that come in their way.

Leadership continues. Being close to one another, elephants learn from the old and pass on the knowledge to one another. They are perfect example of strength in group. When a new female takes over the charge of the group, she has already been trained for the job. In unfortunate conditions this may not be the case, but in usual situations, elephants are preparing next Matriach in the calm, wise, smart and capable female. When it’s time, she takes the role of leader and protector. She takes decisions just like her elders. She learns by her mistakes too but quickly bounces back to better at what she does. And the Matriach continues.

They are just like us or may be we are like them, yet to become good at what they are like.

Return to the homeland. Arrival of monsoon. When the herd reaches homeland just in time for Monsoon, it is the best time for them. They feel the energy, vibe and excitement to run. They follow the wind and rush as fast as they can. It is like the child running home after school. It is like a youngster coming back to his hometown from hostel. It is like a parent coming back from foreign land after years. You cannot stop yourself. Home is calling you and you want to be there soon. When it rains, they jump in the water, swim, play, bathe and drink until their hearts fill. They experience the feeling which is same as climbing a mountain and getting water at the top.

By taking migration every year they go through so many things over and over again with some new members joining the group, while missing the old who have left them. Going through the journey of migration by 🐘 is like going through over own. It is a journey of love, survival, leadership, decisions, difficulties, dangers, resilience, knowledge and family. They are just like us or may be we are like them, yet to become good at what they are like.


If you like to know more about 🐘 then watch following episodes about Elephants and migration.

DISNEYNATURE’S ELEPHANT

You are poor in your thoughts and not by money

Stacking things one over the other. When you are poor or not well off, you often live in houses that are small and made of 1-2 rooms. In such cases you end up using each room for multiple purposes like your living room, bed room and guest rooms are the same place even your study room. So based on the time and arrival of new members the structure of the room is changed to accommodate people or make space for some task.

You may have a small house but you can have big heart. Such rooms are often the size of around 150sqft. They are not even wide enough. In such scenarios you will to be having a habit of organising or moving your things around almost everyday. Stacking your clothes, bed and books becomes a norm. When you have to study you take out all books spread out and study often without a study table. Then when you have to carry on with other work or its night to sleep then you stack all the books and keep it in a corner usually covering with a cloth to avoid dusting. You have 3-4 chairs that are made of plastic which can be stacked on over the other or made of iron or steel that can be folded into flat piece and kept side by side.

Typical Matress in India

Multidimensional house. With the habit of stacking when not in use and pulling out one by one when guests arrive or many people have to sit in chairs, you end up making it your lifestyle. Doing such things over and over again you kind of train yourself to become someone with a stacking habit. In some households when there are people in large numbers then the chairs, they are made of sit down on the mattress made of plastic.

With times things change or do they. Over few decades new generation comes in and wealth is accumulated. Cities transform, houses transform and life is transformed. Now houses are big and you have enough wealth. You have space in each room and there are multiple rooms for each purpose. Some houses have multiple floors, increasing the variety of rooms. But you still end up using the same kind of chairs and end up making people sit in matress. What is more shocking that when you have enough space in the house, yet you end up stacking the chairs.

Plastic Chair

I do it because I was doing it. Similarly you never essentially make any major change in stacking books, clothes or bed. You have some assigned place for keeping things and multiples cupboards or wardrobes to keep things but you never actually get a hold of organising things in their optimum and the purpose of having place for each thing and keeping things in its designated place. You lack the functioning model. Often you end up misplacing things and searching in your rooms.

Your behaviours tell a lot about your inherent thoughts and beliefs. The idea here is not about the chairs, books, matress or stacking. It is about the habits we develop over time and make them our part and parcel of life. Even though people say change is the only constant they don’t seem to complete accept and apply it. We don’t embrace the change completely. We become part of the change willingly or unwillingly but we don’t adapt to the conditions as per how it is and how it is meant to be. This is seen for many things in life and across many classes of life.

You are poor in your thoughts and not by money!

One may have been trained to manage things well. Given a proper environment a child learns and thrives to face things well. Due to the reluctance to embrace situations we often end up confused and tired in dealing with new things. Certain times they make us feel depressed and drained. By consciously choosing to make small changes everyday within us, things that we feel must change, we step towards a smoother healthier life. There can be changes we want to make about our food habits, fitness, career, work style, interiors of household and many other things we come across in our life, sometimes very small while other times very important.

Step up to become the best version of yourself. Always try to embrace things as they are and work towards uplifting yourself, your family and your surroundings. Small changes and efforts when done collectively can introduce a lot of transformation in its true sense. By organising things, decluttering our surroundings and keeping things in their designated place, we free up our mind and surroundings. We develop a sense of freeness and openness. A smooth flow of thoughts without any stack or hustle.

Make small change in you often to bring about a big change in your life.


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Tennis is more than just sports, it’s a religion

Tennis, lawn tennis is one of the top grossing global sports with Grand Slams, WTA tours, ATP tours, Challenger tours and friendly matches. Tennis is played between two players in singles match and four players in doubles match. It could be men’s single, women’s single, men’s doubles, women’s doubles or mixed doubles. But that’s just not all. There is more to it than meets the eye.

Tennis is a saga. There are million dollars prize money, world tours, tournaments in many countries, schedules, sponsors, umpires, ball boys, referees and fans across the world. But is tennis just about the game, sports, winning and losing, finals, tickets, tours, locations or money. I believe tennis is much more than just a game, it is a religion, like no other.

Tennis teaches you discipline. Sports often is not about the games, rounds or matches. It is about the number of hours you have put in practice and the various strategies and tactics that you have learnt. Tennis is an individual sports. It is about standing tall all through the game from the start till the end. At any moment if you slip, rest, loose focus or get carried away, then the tables can turn for you.

Tennis teaches you dedication. It is about getting up in the morning and training for hours. It is about perfecting your serve, your return, backhand, slice or your volley. It is about practicing to approaching the net or your movement across the court. You must strengthen your muscles, your legs, your biceps, your mind and your body. You cannot be lazy or late.

Image : Pexels

You must train, train and train only to become so good at it, that when you get into the court, you are most of the time feeling a natural flow. Otherwise you may win a match but you will not win a tournament. You may be a good player but you might not become a champion. As they say a champion is who has trained hard when it felt it cannot be done any more.

Tennis teaches you resilience.

Tennis teaches you simplicity.

Tennis teaches you about respect, honor and dignity.

Tennis is timeless. People from all walks of life and other sports come to witness sporting events greatest moments in the finals of Grand Slams. It is about witness history in the making. It is as if you are looking at the finest qualities of human when put through the toughest challenge. It takes the seniors to their era and make them relieve those moments. It ignites the spirit of other sportsmen. It inspires the next generation to become not just a great glorified champion but a true honorable sportsman who will live in the memories of people in the times to come. It is about becoming Immortal.

Tennis messes with your mind, it haunts you and it makes you want to scream out loud but at the same time it takes you through the silence of a river in plains, deep forests and dark nights to awaken your inner spirits about life, passion, fighting spirit, grit, compassion and humanity. It takes you to the heights of a mountain and then throws you down to the depths of oceans, teaching you to be strong and humble at the same time.

Tennis is life and life is tennis. All the noise, hate, love, pressure, challenges, race towards tournaments, matches, rivals, competitors, events and controversies create heaviness in your heart and mind. Your family comes to your rescue. Tennis families are one of the best families in the world. Your coach, your physician, your friends are your strength in good times and bad times.

Image credit : Pexels

Tennis is one man show, individual sport. You are alone in the court and it teaches about sustainability, independence and self-work. It makes you go through the tough rides in some of the greatest moments in tennis history and as you are making them, you have to hold your nerves and put on a show.

Tennis turns young boys into men. Tennis teaches you to drink through the pain of lose and rising up from failures. It teaches you to gulp through your lose in face and stand up on the podium to speak about it. It teaches you to treat both the lose and victory alike. It is like the verse from Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If”.

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;   

Rudyard Kipling

Tennis is about sportsmanship and more. Tennis teaches you to be good sports person, a good partner, a good parent, a good friend, a good child and overall a good human being. It teaches you to be good friends. Tennis is about becoming the better version of yourself. Tennis teaches you about life, whether you a player, commentator or spectator. It takes you on a journey of life. It turns young boys into young men, who inspire generations of human current and past likewise. Tennis is about sportsmanship.

If good life is about living to be a good human and spreading love, care, positivity around the world. Then Tennis is one such part of life that teaches you to live it completely.


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