Castaway Plants?

They are not cultivated by the people like so many plants which decorate the homes, offices and other public places. They grow by themselves on the edges of the roads and other places wherever they get a chance. They are weeded out of the fields by the farmers to clear the land for useful crops. They are very sturdy and can survive the adverse conditions.

They are like the poor children who have no access to health care amenities and sanitation facilities. Some of them who survive all the diseases become very tough and become immune to every ailment.

Almost every one ignore their existence and treat them as an undesired growth. But even then they possess certain charm which a sensitive mind cannot ignore. They may have flowers of various hues and diminutive sizes. The flowers may exude fragrances.

As they say that a plant is considered a weed until its properties are not fully known. They may have medicinal properties.

Below are the pictures of some such plants growing in our area.

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A Short Story of Krishna

Krishna is reincarnation of Vishnu. He is very popular God because of his childhood frolics with Gopis (the wives of cowherds) and miracles. This facet of His life is full of romance. He is shown carrying a flute and herding the cows because he belonged to the Yadav caste which reared the cows. When he played the flute, a magic spell was created and animals, birds and moreover Gopis became mesmerized  and felt a force which carried them towards him. He flirted with numerous Gopis but his favorite was Radha.

Afterwards, there seems to be a total change in his personality. He became a very serious characters who sided with the righteous and helped them decimate the ignoble. He became the director of war called Mahabharata between the cousins and preached a sermon to hesitant Arjuna about what is wrong and what is right and it was the pious duty of a righteous person to destroy the evil.

He was born in Mathura in the Yadava tribe. His father was Vasudeva and mother was Devaki. His birth was also very dramatic. Devaki, his mother, was the sister of ruling king Kamsa who was a tyrannic ruler. It was prophesied that eighth child of Devaki shall kill Kamsa. For this reason, Kamsa put Vasudeva and Devaki in a dungeon and killed all his 7 children. But Krishna was born and since it was all Maya, the sentries fell asleep, locks of the dungeon broke automatically and a baby girl born to a friend of Vasudeva called Nanada was exchanged and was duly killed by Kamsa who thought that problem is now solved as he had killed all the children of Devaki.

As he grew up, Kamsa traced him and made many attempts on his life and he slew the Kamsa and became the king of Mathura. But even now he did not have any peace because he was pressed between two hostile kingdoms namely that of brother-in-law of Kamsa Jarasandha and unnamed Yadav king. He left Mathura and with his followers travelled to a place called Dwarka in the Saurashtra presently a part of Gujarat. He married Rukmini, daughter of king of Vidarbha his chief queen. Some say that he amassed 16000 wives and 180000 sons. This is only a mythological story because only a man with supernatural powers can perform such a mind boggling feat. Since he was the reincarnation of God, it was not impossible for him.

After the end of Mahabharata in which the wicked Kauravas perished and Pandavas become victorious, he settled them on the throne, he returned to Dwaraka. Here ominous portents beset his regime as his clan members drank heavily and indulged in quarrels. He banned the liquor but it could not stop the feud. His son Pradyumna was killed before his eyes. His bother Balarama also died. Dejected Krishna wandered in the forest and was hit by an arrow in the heel by a hunter as the hunter mistook him for a deer. He had a weak heel like Achilles it was a vulnerable spot. He died and city was swallowed by the sea.

Such is the story of Krishna. Even Gods perhaps with the exception of Siva have to die like other mortals. Also when God descends to Earth from heavens then he has to be like other people although adorned with extra powers.

It looks out of this world

Forest Research Institute (FRI) in Dehradun is about one and half kilometer from the place I live. I regularly go up to the gate of the institute during my morning walk. Many a times, I extend my walk to the inside the Institute. It was established in the year 1906. Nowadays it conducts trainings for the candidates selected for Indian Forest Service, for the forest rangers, M.Sc courses. The institute itself is situated in a very big campus which have trees of every kind found in India.

Institute is situated in the middle and building is majestic. Despite being so old it mesmerizes the beholder. It houses the laboratories, museum which contains specimen of wood of trees, non woody products, the bugs which thrive on the trees and is divided into 5 modules. Guides are also available if one wants.

This is about the buildings but the real beauty is outside where sprawling green grass lawns, water brooks, the mighty trees, bamboos of umpteen variety can be seen. As everyone knows, the work of growing the trees is a very painstaking one, it must have taken years for many trees to reach their majestic heights and beauty.

As you walk through the jungles and woods, you feel transported to an altogether different world. A world that is so peaceful and serene and you are compelled to praise the God who has created it all. The varieties of the trees are numerous ranging in size from few centimeters to hundreds of feet. In the morning time one forgets that he is in this world but feels that he is in heaven. There is no pollution. The air is fresh. Yonder the blue Mussoorie hills form the backdrop. When sky is not overcast, it is so blue.

I remember the dialogues between two brothers in the movie Slumdog Millionaire after being thrown from the train near Agra. When dust thins before them and the visage of Taj Mahal looms before them. Younger one says “is this the heaven? ” Elder one tells that No, we are not dead it is real. Similar experience is felt if you leave your thoughts that encumber you behind. If you get a chance visit this place and feel for yourself.

I visited the place after many days and took some snaps. Due to the clouds and early morning, the pictures are a bit hazy as if one is seeing them in the dream.

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Bootstrapping the Life

God‘s creations are not comprehensive. His ways are an enigma for us to understand. Even a tiny event taking place in the nature is beyond our understanding. How the life is sparked in the body made of flesh. I think many times that if we assemble all the organs into a human body, can it come to life by itself?

A simile can be drawn from the modern day computers. A computer is assembled from the hardware like CPU, mother board, storage media, multimedia. Even after assembling the hardware, it is just a lifeless piece without any use until it is booted. Booting involves a small program called “Bootstrap” which makes the machine to come to life and starts the vital functions like loading the operating system which readies the computer for doing useful work.

Similarly, there must be something, some spark of energy which the God must be infusing in the lifeless body and bringing it into the action. The body becomes ready for performing various functions.

A computer can be rebooted if there is some hitch in the programs. This can occur so many times in the life of a computer. But in case of living beings since the time of booting till the end of life, this happens only once.

It is rightly said that there are dissolves in the reel life but the real life goes on.

So Much Water has flown under the Bridge

It has seriously long while, I have written something in the blog though have wrote many things on the Facebook. Every time, I opened my blog page, I thought of writing something but it seems that some unseen force is holding my hand. Also whatever I have written till date seems all very frivolous when I look back at it.

It is just to begin again, I am trying my hand. Sometimes, the life I am leading seems so purposeless. I ask myself is this what you call life. Sometimes feels like running away to somewhere where nary a soul knows me. All this requires crossing a barrier just like the chemical reactions the reactants have to gather enough energy from heat or other sources to overcome the summit of energy of activation. After this it is all downhill.

Meanwhile, I have almost finished the book “City of Djinns” by William Dalrymple. What a writer!. The book reveals such unknown facts about Delhi. I am very much happy that at last after so many days I have read one good book.

I read very slowly because I meditate too much over the prose. I am surprised to hear some friends saying that they have read such and such book during the flight of 2 hours or in a day. It must be an injustice to the author who God knows had spent so many days collecting the facts for writing the book. Let the book be read slowly, and it shall reveal the nuances much better.

Thank God I have returned again, I seem to be able to catching some words from the hordes which are flying thickly around the paper and placing them on the paper at last.

Steve Jobs and Yuddhistra

Yama, the God of death wanted to test the wisdom and knowledge of Yuddhistra, the eldest of Pandavas. The story goes that Pandava brothers go to fetch water from a pond that supposedly belonged to Yama. As soon as, the pitcher is lowered into water, Yama’s voice reverberates and warns the pitcher holder not to fill it until he answers a question posed to him. As all the younger brothers fail to answer, they drop dead by the pond. At last when all the brothers are gone and none is returning, Yuddhishtra is worried and goes in search of the brothers whom he finds lying dead by the pond. He is aghast and anguished. As all the brothers possessed extraordinary powers, he is sure that some higher power has done this with his brothers. While he is sitting by the dead bodies, the voice of Yama again is heard. He lays down the condition before Yuddhistra, that he shall revive his brothers if he satisfactorily answers five questions.

One the questions was what was the greatest wonder of this transient world? To which he replies “Day after day countless people die. It is fact that that what is born has to die one day. Yet the living wish to live forever. O Lord, what can be greater wonder?”.

Sometimes back Steve Jobs died. He was not old to die but the cancer took his life. But he was a great man who had some most popular inventions to his credit. His products with brand names  Apple and Mackintosh are matchless. He wedded the electronics with artistry. He suffered from the pancreatic cancer. After surgery and liver transplant, he became well and delivered a speech to the graduates. His speech contained 3 topics, last of which dealt with his illness. He says in his speech, I quote,

“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’ life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

How strange both Yuddhistra and Jobs have exactly identical views about death. Further, Jobs likens the death to an inspiration. It is a change agent and scavenger. It continuously renews the life on the earth. Whenever, the role played by an individual is over, it simply replaces him or her with younger and brighter one. So, he exhorts, all of us to make best of the available time.

What is Maya?

In the Hindu mythology, universe or the Maya is the dream of Vishnu which he dreams when lying on the bed made of serpents on the lake of infinity. Then, there was Narada, who was a very erudite sage. With his intelligence, he impressed so many Gods and Gods often discussed their problems with him and used his services as a messenger for communicating with each other because one of them may be in Himalayas while another in the down South.

One day Vishnu called upon Narada and offered him a single wish. The Narada asked him to understand the Maya that is the dream Vishnu dreamed and which as we know is the universe. Vishnu said Ok and took him on a walk. Now they are walking and walking beginning with Calcutta which is teeming with millions of people. They cross the Sunderbans where the fabled “White tiger” lives in the swamps and Sundari trees. They turn towards west and enter Bihar and then towards Uttar Pradesh. The weather is turning hotter and hotter and they are feeling more and more thirsty. The land is parched and Narada is finding it very difficult to go on. Now they reach the desert where the sand is burning with the heat from Sun.

Vishnu calls Narada and asks him to fetch some water for him as he is feeling very thirsty and weak. He pointed towards an oasis with its green shady trees and a village. The Narada went there in search of water and saw a well. He went and knocked at the door of first house to ask for the permission to draw water from the well. But when he saw the face of the woman who opened the door, he forgot everything about him and fell instantly in love. He married the woman and they lived together with great happiness. He and she worked in their fields and in the passage of time they were blessed with two children.

But the happiness was not everlasting. After twelve years, dark clouds thunder in the sky. Then the rain comes in thick sheets and there follows a deluge of such intensity that there is a flood which hurls everything that comes in its way. Swirling currents of water separates his family. He sees them consumed by the water one by one. He is crying and calling his beloved wife and children but to no avail. There after he also drowns in the water.

Narada wakes up after one hour with his face on the sand. The Vishnu is standing over him and asking him why he had been so late and where is the water he had gone to fetch for him. On hearing this Narada said “O God, now I have understood the meaning of Maya”