Monthly Archives: March 2013

Mumbai Local

This is the picture of a local train at Victoria Terminus of Mumbai. These trains are the lifeline of the city bringing to and fro thousands of employees to the offices from suburbs homes. These are electric trains and each train has about 700 to 900 seats. But at the peak hours there must be 2000 thousand passengers packed like sardines.

There are three services called Western, Central and Harbor running to cover the majority passengers. There must be about 3000 services per day. Last stations on these lines are Churchgate and VT Chuechgate

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Boats  near Gateway of India

From the Gateway of India we can see number of boats. Most of them are motor driven. Tourist board them to have a enjoyment in the Arabian sea. From a far off distance one can see the Cola a dotted with highrise buildings. At a short distance ahead are the dwellings of the original inhabitants of Mumbai. They are fisherfolk called Kolis who lent their name to the area called Cola a or Kolaba. Their boats are decorated with buntings and fluttering flags. from here you have to take boat for visiting Elephanta Caves situated on an island.

Pigeons

In front of Gateway of India and Hotel Taj in Mumbai, there are hundreds of pigeons. The visitors scatter the seeds and they gobble these with insatiable appetite. They can eat literally from your palms. They are not scared by humans.

Here one of them is eating seeds from my palm.

In Mumbai Again

After almost a year, I am in Mumbai the city in the vicinity of which I have spent more than 20 years of my life. I lived in Panvel where our company had constructed a huge accommodation. But most of the offices are in Mumbai and employees who live in Panvel have to spend at least 4 hours travelling to the work. There is though a trade off. In Panvel colony you have big area for walking and also lesser pollution. It is a gateway to Beautiful Konkan region as well as to Pune. There are a number of good natural spots nearby Panvel. We landed at Santacruz airport from Delhi. Temperature was 29C and as usual humidity was very high. The same stuffy weather which we have become attuned to during our long stay here. In fact, I loved this city for its oddities. But like Saleem and his sister in the Salman Rushdie‘s Midnights Children, I did not shouted back to Bom. We hired a taxi and soon we were lost in the sea of  people on the roads and vehicles. The familiar Udipi hotels, vegetable vendors on the roadside selling their vegetables and ubiquitous Coconut sellers and Koli women selling the sea fish, prawns were before eyes. There were same black and yellow taxis. Many new flyovers have come up in the city’s struggle to ease the traffic pressure. It seemed as if we have not got left the place for good and have been out of station.

Chocolates are Good

Chocolates in moderation are good for health. They contain cocoa which is storehouse of thousands of good chemicals which benefit our health. It contains organic chemicals called poly-phenols. These chemicals have been proven to reduces the bad LDL Cholesterol and boosts HDL Cholesterol. This is good for our heart and arteries.

 

A chocolate bar and melted chocolate. Chocolat...

A chocolate bar and melted chocolate. Chocolate is made from the cocoa bean, which is a natural source of theobromine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The benefits of these poly-phenols do not stop here. They are very active compounds and catch the free radicals which are very harmful to our body. Free radicals are atoms, compounds which have free unpaired electrons on them and are very reactive and can oxidize many useful compounds in the body and cause diseases like cancer, Alzheimer and other deadly diseases. These phenols render them ineffective and harmless.

 

Similarly chocolates contain a chemical called “Anadamide” which boost the mood and removes the gloominess. The name is derived from the Sanskrit word “Ananda” which means bliss.

 

Chocolate acts as a stimulant. It contains two compounds namely Caffeine and Theobromine whicha re stimulants. They also contain poly-phenols class called Catechins. These compounds help in reducing the risk of stroke in humans.

 

It contains Cortisol a chemical which boost the morale and reduces the stress levels. 1.5 ounces per day for two weeks have been found to do the trick.

 

But chocolates have a downside to health. They contain a lot of sugar which is bad for health. And also there are many other foods which contain many of these useful compounds but so many of these are collectively found in cocoa. So in moderation chocolates are good for health.

 

Bottlebrushes in Bloom

It is the spring season here. The nature has broken its hibernation of freezing cold and there is a thaw in the season. The plants and trees after shedding the old leaves are adorning themselves with fresh light green leaves. Within days the skeleton branches are covered with leaves. The days are becoming longer and hot. Soon it will become very hot and unbearable.

The weather in India are not uniform and every 3 months weather changes. This is why the natives here are in continuous struggle with the weather. There are extremes of weather in North India. This gives India a vast variety of vegetation.

The bottlebrush trees also called Callistemon so called because their shape resembles the brush used to clean the bottles. These days the trees are laden with these flowers of red color. There is a strong contrast between the rich green leaves and these flowers which hang like garlands on the tree.

All day long different animals and birds visit these trees to lick the pollen from the flowers. First in the morning are monkeys especially their kids which can easily reach the ends of the branches where the flowers are located. They eat the nutritious pollen and then snap the flowers from the branch. After this parrots come in big groups. They chatter, make noise and lick the pollen. They are the worst and break most of the flowers and the ground beneath is littered with fresh broken flowers.

Nightingales also come. If you look closer you will find the honey bees hovering around the flowers. There is a continuous buzz. They are the gentlest and use the flowers to make honey-one of the nature’s best gift to us.

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Hymn of Creation

Cosmos is a mystery and man have been curios to know how it came into being. What was there in the beginning? In India the intelligent mind began striving since the first millennium, for convincing explanations of cosmic mystery. In the latest phase of Rig Veda poets began wondering about creation. There is beautiful hymn called “Hymn of Creation” in the Rig Veda. It marks the beginning of abstract thinking and work of a very great poet who is asking questions which are fundamental in nature. It portrays whole vision of mysterious chaos before creation and the ineffable forces working in the depths of the primeval void. It goes like this:

“Then even nothingness was not, nor existence.

There was no air then, nor the heaven beyond it.

what covered it? Where was it? In whose keeping?

“Then there was neither death nor immortality,

nor was there then the torch of night and day.

The One breathed windlessly and self-sustaining.

There was that One then, and there was no other.

“At first there was only darkness wrapped in darkness

All this was only unillumined water.

That One which came to be, enclosed in nothing,

arose at last, born of the power of heat.

“In the beginning desire descended on it-

that was the primal seed, born of the mind.

The sages who have searched their hearts with wisdom

know that which is is kin to that which is not.

“And they have stretched their cord  across void.

and know what was above, and what below,

seminal powers made fertile mighty forces.

Below was strength, and over it was impulse.

“But, after all, who knows and who can say

whence it all come and how creation happened?

The gods themselves are later than creation,

so who knows truly whence it has arisen?

“Whence all creation had its origin,

he, whether he fashioned it or whether he did not

he, who surveys it all from highest heaven,

he knows -or maybe even he does not know”

This was used in Hindi as the starting track of the Doordarshan serial “Bharat Ek Khoj” by Shyam Benegal.

Modern physics is also striving to know the answer in theory called “Big Bang”. Its basic surmise is the there was energy only everywhere and matter did not come to existence. After the big band some of  the energy condensed to become matter.

 

Devi Saraswati

Course of Sarasvati river through Thar desert

Course of Sarasvati river through Thar desert (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She is the wife of Brahma and considered as the patron of arts, music and letters. As often in Indian mythology, She is also associated with the river of the same name which once flowed through modern Haryana of North India and is mentioned repeatedly in Vedic literature. The river is now non-existent of thought of as flowing invisibly. It meets the two other great rivers Ganges and Yamuna at Prayag or Allahabad.

According to PTI news of May 9, 2006, ONGC the largest of Petroleum Exploration and Production Company of India decided to launch the digging of wells for producing water from the underground source of river Saraswati in Rajasthan and help solve the water scarcity problems and also to discover the route of the river.

Under the project, ONGC in collaboration with government agency Water and Power Consultancy Services (WAPCOS) would dig many wells in Jaisalmar, Barmer and Bikaner districts that will aid its search for water of the river, believed to have originated in the Thar desert and disappeared into present day Pakistan.

The Goddess is depicted as a beautiful fair young woman, often with a Veena or Indian lute and book in her hand and attended by a Swan.Traditionally considered as the inventor of Sanskrit language. She is much revered by students, musicians and writers.

Devi Lakshmi

Lakshmi means fortune. She is the wife of Vishnu and is often called Shri. She is the goddess associated with good luck and temporal blessing. Although she is considered coexistent with Vishnu, she appeared in full glory at the churning of primeval ocean. Thus ocean is considered her father.

She is usually portrayed as a woman of mature beauty, seated on a lotus, with a lotus in her hand and attended by two elephants who sprinkle water on her from their trunks. She is believed to incarnate herself as the wife of incarnation of Vishnu, thus worshiped as Sita, the spouse of Rama, as Rukmani or Radha being the chief queen and favorite of Krishna of his youth.