Not So Khamosh

Kalicharan

Khamosh” , meaning keep your mouth shut, is a signature dialogue spoken by the ace villain, anti-hero and good man actor Shatrughan Sinha of Bollywood movies.

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This is about his 1976 film in which he played a fearless cop Prabhakar and his look-alike, the ferocious Kalicharan. The movie directed by Subhash Ghai became an instant success. It not only gave Hindi cinema the famous item number Jaa Ra Jaa O Harjai, but also created one of the biggest bad men of Bollywood, Lion or as he pronounced his name as “Loin”. We are talking about Ajit. Following picture, captured in the year 1975, by ace lensman Jagdish Aurangabadkar, on the sets of the very film, Kalicharan, lead actor Shatrughan Sinha as the title character is seen pulling on his prison chains. The picture brings back memories of the film that made women named Mona and Lily famous. It also reminds one of the days when Shatrughan Sinha, the level headed politician, could be a bad man and fight bad men even on screen.

Magic of Sholay

Cover of "Sholay"

Sholay is a cult movie in India. After a slow start, it went on to break many records and created many milestones in the history of Bollywood.Many events happened on the personal levels with some of the actors. People still remember its dialogues. Many buffs have seen the movie umpteen number of times.

Mumbai Mirror carries on such story every Wednesday in its cinema section. Shyam Aurangabadkar, ace lens man took beautiful and unforgettable pictures and the article is published under the title “Sepia Memories”

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In this photograph captured by ace lensman Shyam Aurangabadkar, almost the entire stellar cast of the film is seen partying after a hectic day’s shoot in the picturesque terrain of Ramanagara in Karnataka. (Late) Amjad Khan did an unforgettable turn as the feared bandit Gabbar Singh. Apparently, he was the makers’ second choice after Danny Denzongpa turned down the role. Amjad prepared himself for the role by reading a book based on the dacoits of the Chambal valley. AK Hangal, who passed away recently, played the blind Rahim Chacha in the film. After all, who can forget his dialogue: “Itna Sannata Kyun Hai Bhai” when his son Ahmed, portrayed by Sachin, returns dead on horseback.
Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan enacted the roles of the two crooks, who are close friends, Veeru and Jai, respectively. They’re assigned the job of capturing Gabbar alive by a seriously maimed ex cop Thakur Baldev Singh portrayed by (late) Sanjeev Kumar, who sadly isn’t there in the picture. Among the interesting anecdotes related to Sholay, Bachchan married Jaya Bhaduri four months before filming began. Similarly, Dharmendra, who had already started wooing Hema Malini, continued to do so in the film.

Shiva-The Most Adorable God

Shiva evolved from the fierce Vedic god Rudra with whom elements of non-Aryan fertility were merged.

English: Bangalore Shive
English: Bangalore Shive (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Shiva or Siva is a great ascetic. The great Yogi sits in meditation on the tiger skin on the high slopes of Mount Kailasha in Himalayas. Through his deep meditation the world is maintained. He wears his long matted hair (Jata) in a topknot with crescent moon is fixed and sacred river Ganga flows. His neck is black, scarred by the poison which was the last product of churning of the cosmic ocean and which he drank to save the other Gods. Snakes encircle his neck and arms. His body is covered with ashes. Besides him is the trident and his wife Parvati and his mount Nanadi bull.

Although he always seems to be wrapped in meditation, he can, in his divine power divide his personality. He is the lord of dance (Nataraja). In this aspect he is very popular in Tamil country. He dances in his heavenly palace at Mount Kailasa and Chidambaram temple. He is said to have developed no less than 108 different forms of dances, some cal and gentle, others fierce, orgiastic and terrible. Tandava is the form of latter. In this dance he he dances and beats a wild rhythm which destroys the world at the end of cosmic cycle.

Another form which he is seen is called Daksinamurti a universal teacher and is depicted is an informal pose, with one foot on the ground and other folded on the throne on which he sits and one hand raised in a gesture of explanation.

Above all these, he is worshiped in the form of linga, usually a cylindrical pillar with rounded top. This form seems to be popular even in Harappa civilization thus constituting an element from non-Aryan culture.

In South India, story of the marriage of Siva and Minaksi, daughter of a Pandiyan king of Madurai is an event celebrated in one of the most famous and splendid of the temples.

Chandragupta Maurya

When Alexander the great entered India he crossed Hindu Kush occupied Kabul  and reached Indus and crossed it, it was 326 BC. The land of India thus attracted outsiders since times immemorial.Omphis, the king of Taxila had already submitted without much resistance. Beyond Jhelum river was the land ruled by warlike king of Punjab, Porus. Alexander was with great difficulty able to defeat Porus in a surprise attack. Porus was captured  and brought before his conqueror.

Porus was said to be very tall and handsome man. At the time he was brought before Alexander, he had nine wounds on his body and was barely able to stand. But when Alexander asked him how he should be treated, he had told “As befits me-like a king”. Alexander was so impressed with the answer, he restored him to his kingdom and made him a vassal when he retreated to Greek fearing a revolt in his armies.

Alexander had no intention of relinquishing the control of the areas he won in the battles. He installed satraps to govern the conquered territories. But these did not last long and local rulers again gained control of the lost lands.

There was at that time a young man called Sandrocottus -identical with Chandragupta Maurya, who sided with Greeks and advised Alexander to proceed East and attack the unpopular Nanda emperor in Patliputra. But his boldness of speech annoyed Alexander who ordered to kill him. But he escaped. Ultimately with the help of his Guru variously called Chanakya, Kautilya or Vishnugupta who was very able and unscrupulous Brahmin, Chandragupta overthrew the Nanda and became the king.

After the Alexander left, Chandragupta expanded his kingdom in all directions. His empire was the template for modern India. When Seleucus Nicator, the Greek general knocked at the doors of India again he was met by Chandragupta in 305 BC and suffered a humiliating defeat. He had to enter into matrimonial alliance with Chandragupta. Megasthenes was appointed ambassador to Patliputra.

It is surprising that such a great king would abdicate his throne to become a Jain monk and fast unto death in the South India at Sravan Belagola in the modern day Mysore.

Tai Ahoms: The Easterly Kshatriyas

Indian subcontinent can be accessed on land and by sea from three sides. In the past, invaders entered it through West from the side of Afghanistan. It is protected from North by Himalayas which act as a formidable wall. The mountains which cover the India from North West to North East have been responsible for keeping the invaders entering from the North directly and also for creating the weather particularly the Monsoon which gives India respite from sweltering heat and helps in meeting the irrigation requirements and bestow bounteous crops to the region. Its snow capped mountains feed the perennial rivers which sustain the life of teeming masses inhabiting the entire northern India.

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The people entering from the West mingled with original people inhabiting the region. Soon their population escalated and they were obliged to spread in search of newer avenues where the conditions existed for habitation. In this process they spread over whole of Ganges valley up to Bengal.

The other entry point was the North East where people from South East Asia and China entered India. In comparison to the Western corridor mentioned earlier, terrain here is more difficult. Also people who came and settled in the North East confined themselves to the Assam and its 6 sister states in the North East. One reason for this might have been the difficult proposition to expand towards West where already stronger kingdoms existed. Secondly the narrow strip called chicken neck area separating the North East states from rest of India must have acted as a bottleneck which might have dissuaded them.

Assam and the 6 other states namely Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland & Manipur in the North Eastern part of India possess enchanting natural beauty. Due to the lack of industrial progress, the environment is still free of pollution. The natural products are forests of bamboo & teak, crops of rice and vegetables grown on the fertile land on the edges of river Brahmaputra without any application of contaminating fertilizers. Of course most famous product of Assam known all over the world is the tea. You travel by car on any road and along both sides are never ending teas plantations. You can see the women laborers with special kind of baskets hanging from their shoulders plucking the leaves and putting in the baskets.

Nederlands: Een vrouw aan het werk op een thee...

Parasuram Kunt, Arunachal Pradesh

There is plenty of fish in the rivers. The area is rich in petroleum. In fact, the oldest oil well in India was drilled in Assam at Digboi. The original people are mainly tribals whose customs and rituals are entirely different from rest of India.

The most important migrants to come and and settle in this area came from Yunnan province. First to enter the North East region was Sukhapa, who came with army, his women and nobles. Although initially they did not practiced Hindusim but later Kings leaned towards this religion and ultimately converted to Hinduism. Local inhabitants called them Tai-Ahoms.

Arunachal Pradesh is famous for its mountainou...
Arunachal Pradesh is famous for its mountainous landscape. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As they became more tolerant towards Hinduism, the elements of Hindu mythology entered into their history. Thus it was stated that Brahma created the human beings from a gourd. These people were gentle and pious. But by the time of Treta Yuga, the moral values declined and Indra became worried and sent his grandsons: Khunlung & Khunlai to rule the earth and bring back the old order. These were the progenitors of Tai-Ahoms. They descended to earth facilitated by a golden ladder on the Mung-ri-Mung-ram mountains. Thus the Tai Ahoms, as they won over the local people labeled themselves as Eastern Kshatriyas.

Eyelashes: Protector of Eyes

Every organ or part of our bodies is designed to perform some biological function for the survival and fitness of our bodies. Some of the organs keep working without our ever noticing it until that organ stops working due to some injury or illness. Only then we realize the importance of that organ. One such part of body is eyelashes.

For centuries the eyes have been recognized as an important part of physical beauty, especially for women. Eyes can communicate without the need of words. The human beings have developed great capabilities of eyes. Attractive women’s eyes are often also associated with favorable social status. And in many cultures long full eye lashes are symbols of beauty. On the other hand, loss of eye lashes is seen as a sign of deficiency in women. And so for centuries women have tried a myriad of methods for making their lashes, longer and fuller.

These beauty part aside, from an anatomy and physiology point of view, however, eye lashes serve several functions. They are intended to keep foreign particles or small insects from entering the eyes and causing damage or irritation. Lashes are attached to eyelids in a curved arc designed to channel water away from the eyes, forming another layer of protection from the environment. Lashes are actually sensitive structures, similar to cats’ whiskers. They trigger the blink reflex response when an object comes too close to the eyes

Lashes are simply hairs that grow from the edge of the eyelid. They are arranged in two or three rows. Each eye has between 100 and 150 individual hairs with upper lids having the greater number. Eyelashes are the widest type of human hair and the most richly pigmented. Each hair is, on average, 8-9 mm long, 7 mm of which extend beyond the eyelid. Lashes grow at a rate of about 0.15 mm per day, which means that if lashes are pulled out they take about eight weeks to fully grow back. Like other human hair, eyelashes are produced from follicles under the skin. Follicles have three stages of growth—an actual growing phase, a declination phase and a shedding phase. Each hair is very strong—capable of supporting 100 grams.

Hair growth in humans is different from hair growth in many mammals that shed their hair all at once. Human hair growth is asynchronous—that is, some follicles are experiencing growth while others are in decline or being shed. The eyelash growth cycle is variable, lasting between five and twelve months. The first phase is called anagen. This is the growing phase and lasts about 45 days on average. The normal length of a person’s lashes is determined by this phase. In the second stage of growth, called catagen, follicle cells undergo programmed cell death, a process that takes about fifteen days. About 3% of all lashes are in this phase at any given time. The lashes then enter a period of rest, telogen, which can last as long as nine months. Up to 15% of hair is in this phase. At the end of this phase lashes are shed in a process labeled exogen. As this phase ends, anagen begins again.

Like all human hair, eyelashes are made of 85% proteins, primarily keratin and melanin. Water makes up 7 % of human hair and 3 percent is composed of lipids. The keratin is made up of eighteen amino acids, 7 percent water, and low concentrations of trace minerals (e.g., iron, zinc, copper).

A shard of water

The scene from the balcony of my apartment in the third floor of the building is breathtaking. It harks me back to my childhood. The place where all these apartments have come up were fields then. There were rills with gurgling water running through the path which led us from our home into our land.

Now this patch which is remaining reminds me of those times. There are fields in which the cattle graze when the land is fallow. In the rainy season, the cattle roll in the mud and after that go to bath in the pond of water.

This pond looks like a shard of mirror. It is a narrow strip of water. I was surprised why the pond does not get dried. Still there is water. This time I found the answer. There is a river not far from our place. It is called Ghaghar. It is not a big river like the other mighty rivers of Punjab. In the past, as I have mentioned, there were small streams which ran through the area and distributed the water for irrigation to the landowners on the rota basis. I have presumed that all those stream must have become extinct but I was surprised to see one in which pristine water was flowing and leading towards the pond and beyond.

There is a narrow path made from the constant walking of the people. It is narrow strip of bald land. People who are walking on the path look tiny specks from our home. During the high sun, the water simmers and it becomes difficult to look at it directly.

From the height of our home, the pond seems to like a broken piece of mirror-placid. But a closer look indicates lots of activity taking place there inside it. Buffaloes wallow in it. Besides you can see the cormorants and ducks smoothly swimming over the water surface. Water continuously exits the pond from other side.

There is algae over a part of it. The same algae called cyano-bacteria or green algae which is on the surface of the earth since times immemorial when no other form of life existed. This is the same algae which is the precursor of life that is present on the earth.

On the other side is a preserved patch of woods where eucalyptus and poplar trees grow along with undergrowth. There are trodden paths running and getting lost inside these woods. These remind me of the poem “the road less taken” by Robert Frost.

I don’t know how long this patch of remaining land will last. I fear the day is not far when the demon of concrete will overtake it. In the last I present a picture of laborers carrying dried wood stick bundles on their heads for firing their hearths and sitting around the fire for keeping the winter at bay.773614_4119964200461_125172242_o 773760_4119963520444_349074978_o