Ganapati Bappa Morya

Rockstar_Ganapati

Rockstar_Ganapati

This is the time of the year when we all welcome The Elephant God – Lord Ganesha with full festive fervour. I had written about the story of Ganapati’s head and our trip to Mumbai’s favorite Ganapati Lalbaugcharaja. I can’t get enough of The Vignaharta(remover of obstacles). Years ago during the British Rule when people were prohibited to gather in large numbers, Bal Gangadhar Tilak came up with this brilliant idea of Sarvajanik Ganapati(community Ganapati) festival. He brought the Ganapati out of people’s house and made it a public celebration. This helped people develop a sense of belonging and helped the Indian Independence Movement. This year I am at the birth place of this trend  – Pune.

Even years after Independence people continue to celebrate the festival with equal gusto. In fact even now the festival is used to depict current events or raise social awareness. For me the best  part is the creativity shown in the decorating the mandaps and the Ganapati idol.  The mandaps can be Mysore palace, mythological backdrop, garden, The Himalayas, an egg shell!!, or even a dinosaur. Imagine going inside a dinosaur to see the Ganapati idol.

Jute_Ganapati

Jute_Ganapati

The expression of human creativity while making a Ganapati idol has no limits. It can Ganesh in the form of other Gods like Vishnu with a seven headed snake, shiv or others, it can be Ganesh made of mustard seeds, sesame seeds, coconut fiber , Cadbury gems, leaves or at times even recyclable material like the cycle parts. At times it can highlight current issues  or just be fun like I remember seeing during my childhood – a Police Ganapati, a lawyer Ganapati, a rockstar Ganapati, a software engineer Ganapati, a judge Ganapati ans so on. Use of technology to improve on story -telling for Mythological stories is yet another interesting aspect of this.

People from all walks of life and even different religions celebrate the festival. And the best part is people enjoy this festive season in all its forms with no discrimination and God is seen in his innumerable avatars too. Just like the way the Lord almighty exists in many different forms.

Ganapati_Mandap

Ganapati_Mandap

Ganapati_Corruption

Ganapati raising awareness about corruption

Saibaba_ganapati

Saibaba_ganapati

No wonder the Elephant God is so loved and revered. It is time to bid adieu to this year’s Ganpati at most homes. Hope you had a great Ganesh Chaturthi and have a great year till a the God appears in his new forms. Next time lets see if we get to see a robo-Ganpati as well.. 🙂

Ganapati Bappa Morya, Mangal Murti Morya, pudhcha varshi laukar ya…(Dear Ganesha we pray to you and request you to come again next year with lots of blessing and love)

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Beautiful Earth

I saw this beautiful pic on FB page of Rare and Uncommon Photos. The details about the image here:

The photograph was taken by the crew on board the Columbia during its last mission, on a cloudless day. The picture is of Europe and Africa when the sun is setting. Half of the picture is in night. The bright dots you see are the cities’ lights.
The top part of Africa is the Sahara Desert. Note that the lights are already on in Holland , Paris , and Barcelona,and that’s it’s still daylight in Dublin, London, Lisbon , and Madrid. The sun is still shining on the Strait of Gibraltar . The Mediterranean Sea is already in darkness.
In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean you can see the Azores Islands;  below them to the right are the Madeira Islands ; a bit below are the Canary Islands; and further South, close to the farthest western point
of Africa, are the Cape Verde Islands.

Day_and_Night

Day_and_Night from Space Shuttle Columbia on it's last mission. Photo Courtesy: Rare and Uncommon Photos FB page

Not sure if this is indeed taken by Columbia’s last flight but the photo sure aroused my curiosity and I searched for more authentic sources. Boy I was in for a treat! Posting a few of these wonderful pics I collected from various sources; all of them in turn credit their source to NASA.

Space shuttle pictures - 1

Space shuttle Endeavour's open payload bay in a picture taken in December 1998

Atlantis against Sun

The NASA space shuttle Atlantis is seen in silhouette against a backdrop of the sun on Tuesday, May 12, 2009, as viewed from Florida, U.S. Image Courtesy: NASA/Denverpost.com

The video is called “All Alone in the night”. It is a time lapse footage of the Earth as seen from the ISS. This video on YouTube is uploaded by BitMeizer. Images from http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/ and Music: ‘Freedom Fighters’ by Two Steps from Hell. One hell of a video.

The next one shows our beautiful Earth.
 

100 years and Religion

Found these two amazing links on the web. Thought they are worth sharing.

1. IBM is celebrating its 100 years this week and on that occasion Information Week has complied a fine collection of pictures. IBM is a pioneer in the silicon industry. These photos definitely worth a look.

http://www.informationweek.com/news/galleries/software/enterprise_apps/230600173

2. For all the programming geeks. What if programming languages were religions?

http://blog.aegisub.org/2008/12/if-programming-languages-were-religions.html

 

 

Judge not lest ye shall be judged!

Sudan-Famine

Sudan-Famine: Vulture eying the emancipated girl Photo: Kevin Carter

Is there anybody who is not familiar with this pic? This photo won the Pulitzer Prize. The photo was taken in 1994 during the Sudan famine.
The picture depicts a famine stricken child crawling towards an United Nations food camp, located a kilometer away. The vulture is waiting for the child to die so that it can eat it.

This picture shocked the whole world. No one knows what happened to the child. The New York Times who published this photo had to run a special editorial saying that the girl had enough strength to walk till the food camp but no one knows the Ultimate fate.

Kevin Carter

Kevin Carter

The photographer Kevin Cartercommitted suicide three months later due to depression. He not only received the prize but also drew a lot of flak for not helping the child and instead using the  20 mins to adjust lens which got him the prize. Recently on one of the Facebook albums this pic was posted with caption that questioned the human values of Kevin for having taken this photo instead of helping her which prompted this post.

Had he helped, he would have helped one child but this picture caught the attention of an entire world! which is a better outcome and let us not forget his job was to take these pictures. That was his objective of being there. He was DOING HIS JOB!

It is much easier to judge Carter’s values sitting in our air-conditioned rooms and researching the history on our computers using Google. Ever wondered what it must be like to be a war photographer? To see people die in front of you, to be in the line of fire yourself, to see your colleague and friend die in a firing while taking those pics. How easy it is to see suffering like the kind in Sudan and still continue doing your job with the same passion.

Portion of Kevin’s suicide letter read “I am depressed … without phone … money for rent … money for child support … money for debts … money!!! … I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings and corpses and anger and pain … of starving or wounded children, of trigger-happy madmen, often police, of killer executioners…I have gone to join Ken [recently deceased colleague Ken Oosterbroek] if I am that lucky.” He was a white male who protested against apartheid. He was a member of the “Bang-bang club”. Through his photography he also exposed many other evil practices like Necklacing.

Ok now back to our “Judge others from your comfort zone” club. Here are a few questions for you.

  • When was the last time you contributed to a relief fund and how much(this by the way is the least you can do)
  • When was the last time you even visited any affected area? Even if you are given a chance most of us would be busy with our own lives or give up the chance for fear of contracting a disease or getting into the chaos
  • How much do you contribute to your local society welfare
  • Are you associated with even one NGO and what is your contribution to it?
  • When you see a begging child, what do you do
  1.  Comment on the sorry state of India
  2. Give the child a rupee or two and get rid of them
  3. Take a child to your house and give a job
  4. Take the child to an NGO and try to get help to get make them employable and give the child make it literate
  5. Stop the child for a minute and speak to it about the concerns and why the child is forced to beg
Answer these questions and compare yourself to the above Kevin’s work and read the suicide note of the foolish guy who committed suicide even after receiving an award and compare who is more human. The answer would obviously be “The Judge Club”. Of course yes isn’t it more human to be selfish and judgmental! It requires more sacrifice and guts to do what Carter did than just being human!!

E for Epitaph

Kohima_Epitaph

Kohima_Epitaph

This is the famous epitaph on one of the war memorials in Kohima, the capital of Nagaland, India.

The epitaph says

“When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say,
For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today”

The Kohima 2nd Division Memorial is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission on behalf of the 2nd Infantry Division. The memorial remembers the Allied dead who repulsed the Japanese 15th Army, a force of 100,000 men, who had invaded India in March 1944 in Operation U-Go. Kohima was a vital to control of the area and in fierce fighting the Japanese finally withdrew from the area in June of that year.

According to the Burma Star Association the words were used for the Kohima Memorial as a suggestion by Major John Etty-Leal, the GSO II of the 2nd Division.

This is thought to have been inspired by the Greek lyric poet Simonides of Ceos (556-468 BC) who wrote after the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC:

“Go tell the Spartans, thou that passest by,
That faithful to their precepts here we lie.”

Link for ABC Wednesday