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POWERED BY GLOBAL ADJUSTMENTS

November 2017 Volume 8, Issue 9

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64 What

Do Our Children Need? A poignant question to ask and answer on the occasion of Children’s Day

38 A Story a Day Reliving some of India’s beloved tales


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Dear Readers,

My favourite childhood memories are about stories enjoyed and lessons learnt. One such was from my grandma about Hanuman, the delightful Monkey God from the Ramayana. It is said that sage Valmiki, who is credited as the primary author of this epic, was very happy with his efforts and the manner in which he had written the massive work. He was brimming with pride over his magnum opus until someone said to him, “Have you seen Hanuman’s version of the Ramayana?” Valmiki was shocked. “What? Hanuman wrote a version of the Ramayana? Let me see that, too,” he replied mockingly. When he did see it, he could not stop crying. It was the most beautiful edition ever, penned by Hanuman who had scratched out the verses on leaves with his nails. The touching beauty and emotions were amazing! As Valmiki cried, Hanuman came up to him and asked tenderly, “Oh mighty sage, why are you crying?”

Valmiki replied, “Your Ramayana is so beautiful, it is literally a work of art! No one will read mine after they see yours.” “Oh, is that all? Do not worry,” Hanuman said and promptly ate up all the leaves on which the epic was written! “Now, no one will see my version!” he added gleefully. Sage Narada, a celestial being, who was witness to this whole exchange, asked Hanuman, “Why did you do that? No one will read your work now!” “Well, Valmiki wrote the Ramayana for the world to read. I only wrote it to praise Ram – and I can meditate on and rejoice in my Lord any time,” Hanuman replied. “This story teaches you, Ranjini, that the motive behind what you do is most important,” my granny said as she rolled the next ball of sambar-rice onto my outstretched palm – a favoured manner of being served lunch when I went to her house for the summer vacation. I happily swallowed the food along with the lesson. These love- and story-filled meals are vanishing from our midst these days, as we isolate ourselves via the so-called ‘social’ media from handheld gadgets. It is our fervent hope to bring back the lore and the lure of values by dedicating this issue of Culturama to children and the joy of childhood. Let us rediscover the child in us. Eat in good company. Put away devices. Laugh out loud. Tell a story. Listen intently to another. Be oblivious to what others think. Most of all, don’t worry. Be happy. Ranjini Manian, Editor-in-Chief globalindian@globaladjustments.com

Editor-in-Chief Ranjini Manian Managing Editor Yamini Vasudevan Creative Head Prem Kumar Graphic Designer Ankita Santhosh VP Finance V Ramkumar Advertising Chennai Shobana Sairaj / Madhu Mathi Bengaluru Meera Roy Delhi/NCR Ruchika Srivastava Mumbai/Pune Ashish Chaulkar

To subscribe to this magazine, e-mail info@globaladjustments.com or access it online at www.globaladjustments.com Chennai (Headquarters) 5, 3rd Main Road, R A Puram, Chennai – 600028 Telefax +91-44-24617902 E-mail culturama@globaladjustments.com Bengaluru No.: A2, SPL Habitat, No.138, Gangadhar Chetty Road, Ulsoor, Bengaluru – 560043. Tel +91-80-41267152, E-mail culturamablr@globaladjustments.com Delhi-NCR Level 4, Augusta Point, Golf Course Road, Sector 53, Gurgaon 122002, Haryana Mobile +91 124 435 4224 E-mail del@globaladjustments.com Mumbai #1102, 11th floor, Peninsula Business Park, Tower B, SB Road, Lower Parel, Mumbai – 400013 Tel +91-22-66879366 E-mail mum@globaladjustments.com Published and owned by Ranjini Manian at #5, 3rd Main Road, Raja Annamalai Puram, Chennai – 600028, and printed by K Srinivasan of Srikals Graphics Pvt Ltd at #5, Balaji Nagar, 1st Street, Ekkattuthangal, Chennai – 600032 Disclaimer Views and opinions expressed by writers do not necessarily reflect the publisher’s or the magazine’s.


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Cover Image Revel in the carefree delight that this child exhibits as she splashes through water. It is also of interest that barefoot walking and running – which has immense physical benefits – was a way of life in India (and continues to be in some parts).

Advisory Board Members N. Ram is an award-winning journalist and former Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu. He is Director of Kasturi & Sons Limited, publishers of The Hindu. Suzanne McNeill lived in India for seven years before returning to Scotland. She is a freelance writer and graphic designer. Liz Neisloss is a veteran journalist and writer who has worked for CNN based from Singapore, Chennai and at the United Nations in New York. She is now based in Mumbai. G. Venket Ram is an acclaimed photographer and the creative mind behind many a Culturama issue. www.gvenketram.com Annelize Booysen is a business consultant and social entrepreneur. She lived in Asia for more than a decade, which included three years in India. She is currently based in the United States. Namita Jain, founder of Jaldi Fit, is a leading fitness guru and a businesswoman who helms Kishco, a world-class cutlery brand.

Contributors Susan Philip is a freelance writer based in Chennai, and the editorial coordinator of Culturama’s various coffee table books. Eknath Easwaran (1910–1999) was a spiritual teacher, author and interpreter of Indian literature. In 1961, he founded the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation and Nilgiri Press in California. Devdutt Pattanaik is the Chief Belief Officer of the Future Group and a writer and illustrator of several books on Indian mythology. Visit www.devdutt.com Devanshi Mody studied Physics, French and Philosophy at Oxford, then fortuitously stumbled into travel writing. Vagabond urges notwithstanding, she’s ever lured back to Chennai for masala dosas! Deepa Kalukuri is the Managing Editor of LIVING and an alumna of the Asian College of Journalism.

Letters to the editor Dear Editor,

In the painting that adorns the cover of the Diwali issue, the artist has painted Devi Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth, fortune and prosperity) in a fabulous manner. The painting has been enhanced, maybe, by choosing to not emboss the vital organs such as eyes, nose and lips and leaving the face blank. I like the painting very much. My best wishes to the artist. R.K. Bhuwalka, Mumbai

Dear Editor,

I must say that your October edition was marvellous! From the cover to the heritage stories, it was just what I needed when I landed in India ago from Nantes, France. I will be subscribing to your magazine’s e-version after I return home. Bonne chance! Matthieu Deroubaix, France

culturama – Subscribe Now! Get your copy of Culturama as a hard copy or as an e-magazine - visit www.culturama.in to subscribe For other enquiries, e-mail us at culturama@globaladjustments.com or call us on +91-44-2461 7902


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Contents 50

Hit the Road

Can navagraha temples really curb the planets’ maleficent effects?

Regulars

26 Feature Indigenous games from the subcontinent are not just fun, they also help sharpen motor skills, hand-eye coordination and logic.

India’s Culture 8

Short Message Service

Short, engaging snippets of Indian culture.

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India in Symbols

We take a look at the significance of flowers and tulsi.

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In Focus

One-on-one with the towering theatre icon, Mohammed Ali Baig.

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Spotlight

Why does India celebrate Children’s Day on November 14?

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Tales of India

Relive the magic of storytelling with some beloved Indian parables.

Journeys Into India

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Picture Story

Explore the many facets of this beautiful land.

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India Impressions

Homegrown bands are bringing together diverse worlds in music.

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Myth and Mythology

The deeper meaning behind the birth of a six-faced God.

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Festivals of India

We celebrate Guru Nanak Jayanti, an important festival for Sikhs.

Relocations and Property 64

Holistic Living

What do our children really need?

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Space and the City

Property listings in Chennai.


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SMS by Suzanne McNeill

Short cultural snippets for an easily digestible India

Art/textile/craft: Wooden Combs From ancient times, Indian women have used wooden combs to comb and detangle their long hair, and to massage the scalp, which was believed to enhance growth. They used them to apply traditional clay-based hair masks, and to comb oil and perfume through their hair. They were also used by Sikh and Rajput men to comb their beards. Kangsi is the name given to the traditional craft of making wooden combs, as well as hair ornaments and pins, and it is primarily associated with the tribal people of Rajasthan. The combs are made from native woods such as deodar, a species of cedar, or Indian rosewood, known as sheesham, which also have Ayurvedic health properties. Often two-sided with fine and wide teeth, the combs are still crafted by hand, using simple chisels and files. They can be curved to fit the hand, and the handles are carved into floral, bird and animal designs. The natural beauty of the wood is its own ornamentation.

Words: Hazaar Hazaar (hazār) is a noun from Hindi that represents the number one thousand, and is also understood as an adjective that means ‘countless’ or ‘innumerable’ (hazārha). This idea of something in large quantities carries over into phrases such as hazāron mein meaning ‘in a multitude’, ‘amongst thousands’, and hazāron mein ek, ‘one in a thousand’, ‘of incomparable excellence’. The word is understood in Indian-English slang across all regions of India to indicate a large number of anything in phrases such as ‘There were a hazaar people at the party’, and also to mean ‘excessive’, ‘We’re going to have hazaar fun!’ It can also be used as an exclamation to mean ‘great’, such as ‘What a brilliant film! Hazaar!’


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Name: Rajkummar Rao

Critically acclaimed actor Rajkummar Rao’s film Newton is India’s official entry for the foreign language category at the 2018 Oscars. Aged only 33, Rao already has 29 acting credits to his name since he made his debut in 2010, and is the winner of a National Film Award and a Filmfare Award. Movie-mad Rao was born into a close-knit Yadav family in Gurgaon with no film connections, and studied acting at the Film and Television Institute of India. His first film was an experimental satire called Love Sex Aur Dhokha, and

following a number of successful supporting roles, Rao made his breakthrough in 2013 in the drama Kai Po Che! The same year, he was lauded for his leading role in the biopic of the activist Shahid Azmi. Determined not to be typecast, Rao is a method actor whose roles have switched between remarkably different characters. He goes to great lengths to research his roles and get under the skin of every character he portrays. Determined to push boundaries, Rao has transformed his appearance and body for several roles, losing or gaining weight or playing much older characters. His wish is to be a great actor but not a celebrity, and cites Marlon Brando as the person he would love to be reborn as. When not working, Rao watches movies and television series, and loves to travel. In Newton, a political black comedy, Rao plays the eponymous government clerk who is trying to conduct a free and fair election against all odds in the conflict-ridden jungle of Central India. Newton recently hit Indian screens, and Omerta, which recounts the story of an infamous terrorist, has recently premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. Rao next starts shooting for Fanney Khan, a musical comedy in which he stars alongside Aishwarya Rai and Anil Kapoor.

Food and drink: Petha Petha is a soft, gooey sweet from North India that is said to have originated 350 years ago in the kitchens of the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan. It is made from ash gourd, also known as winter melon or white pumpkin. The thick green skin of the melon is peeled off, and the seeds removed. The flesh is cut into chunks, then boiled for 15 minutes with alum powder, which acts as a preservative. The pieces are drained, refreshed under cold water, then added to a pan of boiling sugar syrup and cooked until all the remaining water has evaporated, the sugar syrup is thick and the petha is translucent. Rose or kewra essence can be added at this stage, or the petha may be flavoured with coconut, orange, cherry or almonds. Once cooled, the sweets are served dry or with the syrup in which they were cooked. The most famous petha comes from the city of Agra. For over 100 years, the family-run Panchhi Petha shop in Sadar Bazaar has been making petha that is praised for its perfect flavour, its balanced taste and purity. They have recently introduced a sugar-free variant for diabetics.


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In Focus by Deepa Kalukuri

All the World’s His

Stage Theatre and art have no limits, says veteran actor Mohammed Ali Baig. He speaks to us about carrying on his father’s legacy, his mother’s reaction to his being awarded the Padma Shri and the power of theatre to move people beyond language and words With his undying quest for perfection, Padma Shri Mohammed Ali Baig is one of a rare breed. Baig is a prominent ad film maker – he joined the industry when he was barely out of school and became the youngest directoron-board of Odyssey, India’s pioneering public limited TV and film production company. He has produced and directed over 400 advertising and corporate films for leading Indian and foreign brands in India, Thailand, and in other countries. However, his greater call to fame, which earned him the moniker ‘Global face of Hyderabadi theatre’, was his transformation from being a teenager who never believed he would perform on stage to performing at landmark venues across the globe. Born into a prominent theatre family – as the son of theatre legend, Qadir Ali Baig (deceased) – he has remained committed to ensuring that his family’s legacy

is maintained and given room to flourish. He founded the Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Foundation in Hyderabad in 2005, as a tribute to his father, to promote meaningful theatre in Hyderabad. He is also the founder-curator of the Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Festival – one of the most prestigious theatre festivals in the country – that is held annually between October and November in Hyderabad. He has been feted by countries across the world for his work in theatre and film. He won the highly celebrated Global Award for his heritage film Rockumentary, and received honours for his contribution to theatre by the French (2010) and Canadian Governments (2014). In April 2014, he was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian award, for his contribution to the theatre arts. So, how does one live out a legacy while chiselling one of his own? This


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Mohammed Ali Baig on stage with his wife, Noor Baig, in Quli Dilon Ka Shahzada. Photos: Courtesy Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Foundation

question gave rise to our interview with him. Here are some excerpts from our conversation:

Adhoore had five different looks and I found it amusing. Even then, I never thought I would be on stage – but here I am.

From ad films to the stage – did you think you would take up theatre as a career?

Tell us about the very moment you decided on a career in acting.

Never – I used to run away from theatre! It was quite intense to see Baba [my father] rehearsing, sets being designed…and since the plays were based on historic stories, the costumes were extravagant. As a child, I used to enjoy watching my father and his co-artistes prepare for days – and then the play would last just one evening. That was a little disappointing [to me] as a child. I did, however, realise that I had an aptitude for design. I used to design posters and tickets, but stayed away from the stage.

I was busy with my career in advertising, and then we paid a tribute to my late father on his twentieth death anniversary. It was a packed hall with some of the best and celebrated artistes of the country. I was taken aback with the warmth I felt that day when they spoke of Baba – like he was around us.

I loved watching my father on stage and used to wonder how he had so many makeovers in one play. His play Adhe

Even after 20 years, here he was, being remembered by his colleagues and friends – that was when it hit me how huge his legacy is! I knew him as my father but that Sunday morning I rediscovered the artiste he was through his peers, whose eyes were moist as they shared anecdotes. Amidst


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Mohammed Ali Baig atop a real horse on stage in Quli Dilon Ka Shahzada. (Right) In 1857 – Turrebaz Khan that had a world premiere at Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

those warm memories that were shared, I found my calling and kickstarted my career in theatre to celebrate my father’s legacy. I have a lot of respect for theatre and I am glad life took this turn. Do you regret that Qadir saab could not watch you perform on stage? Yes, I do! When I see Karthik Raja perform with Ilayaraja sir, Rahul Sharma with Shivkumar Sharma, Ayaan and Amaan with Amjad Ali Khan saab, I feel it would have been a dream come true if my father watched me perform, too. I know for sure he is watching me, because I feel his presence when I am performing. What was your reaction when you found out you were being awarded the Padma Shri? I was elated! However, my mother was the most excited for me. When they called, she picked up the phone. She would

usually call me on my mobile phone and leave a message; but that day, she waited for me to come home. She wanted to see the expression on my face when she gave me the news! My mother has been both my mother and father after my dad’s passing, and there could not have been a prouder moment for her. She had raised the bar quite high for me and my brothers, and groomed us to be successful. She is our role model and I owe it to her for believing in my talent. What is the one belief that holds you to your career in acting? I truly believe that talent is what you are born with and craft is what you can learn and excel at. You cannot teach an actor how to act. It is that inner passion – it is an asset that cannot be taught. You said that one of the happiest moments on stage was during your play in Edinburgh. Tell us more.


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Mohammad Ali Baig and Noor Baig in Spaces.

I wanted to revive the theatre industry, with ‘Heritage Theatre’ being the model for it. For Hyderabad, I wanted to stage a play that was close to their hearts. A local love story was the way to go and that is how we came up with Quli Dilon Ka Shahzada. We staged the play at Golconda Fort and people from far distances made it to the play. I could not have asked for more.

“I performed in a tiny village in France – even though they did not understand the language, they were moved by the play.” We premiered our play 1857: Turrebaaz Khan at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and the story was of an unsung hero. I did perform across the world – however, the standing ovation that we received here amidst the who’s who of the theatre industry left me speechless. It gave me a sense of great confidence in myself and the path I was on. Before Edinburgh, I performed in a tiny village in France – and, even though they did not understand the language, they were moved by the play. Like they say, art has no boundaries. That was also one of the most memorable moments. How did you manage to change the theatre industry in Hyderabad and get such huge crowds for your plays at Taramati Baradari?

Taramati Baradari was the site of our first production and it put Hyderabad on the global theatre map! It was a huge investment emotionally and physically. Given the sets to the number of crew members, grand productions cannot be staged anywhere else but at Taramati. Audiences from all walks of life watched the plays here and that has changed Hyderabad’s perception of art forever. Qadir saab’s play, Resham ki Dor, was staged by you. Tell us about the experience. Resham ki Dor was one of my father’s most popular plays, and staging it was a privilege. The play is about an unlikely brother–sister relationship between the Rajput queen, Rani Karmavati, and the Emperor of India, the Mughal king Humayun. The tale is about her sending a rakhi (a wrist-band signifying a woman’s love for her brother) to the enemy at the battle of Panipat. The play has been hugely popular for decades and I am glad today’s audience celebrates our history through our plays.


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India in Symbols by Susan Philip

Flower Power We take a look at the significance that different flowers and the tulsi plant hold in Indian culture and tradition


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Baskets containing coconuts, flowers and tulsi are sold outside temples, and devotees buy them to offer to the Gods.

In a Nutshell Nature is both venerated and used in worship in India. No puja is complete without the use of flowers. Various Hindu deities are associated with various flowers and plants. The sages of old understood the benefits of aroma, aesthetics and chemicals found in plants long before modern science had begun to decode them. The tulsi or holy basil, the marigold, the jasmine and the lotus are all flowers and leaves of special significance in India. Meaning and Deeper Meaning

Photo:Olya Morva

The plants used in worship and as decoration at important events are symbolic, and carefully chosen to address specific needs. The tulsi is worshipped for its own sake – an acknowledgement of the fact that it is a storehouse of medicinal benefits. The serene white of the jasmine is used in wedding garlands and other floral decorations, and women wear it in their hair whenever they can – its aroma soothes the nerves and also titillates the senses. Marigolds make a splash at all auspicious functions – and also at funerals. And the lotus, rising in breathtaking beauty from muddy ponds and shallow lakes, is especially dear to Indians – it is the country’s national flower.

The lotus, a favoured offering to Gods, is India’s national flower.


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A tulsi plant is kept and worshipped in many Hindu households.

The Stuff of Legends Lord Krishna’s wives graced his court with their beauty. Satyabhama was especially beautiful, and haughty as well, because she was of royal lineage, and her father exceptionally rich. One day, Narada, the celestial sage who revelled in making mischief, asked Satyabhama whether he was correct in his impression that Krishna loved Rukmini more than he loved her, the younger queen. Satyabhama was troubled, but Narada said he had a plan for her to demonstrate the extent of her love to Krishna. Obeying his instructions, Satyabhama told Lord Krishna that she had vowed to give him away as a slave to Narada, but the sage had said she could win him back by giving him the equivalent of Krishna’s weight in jewels. Krishna did not protest when she led him to the open courtroom, where a pair of big scales had been placed. There, she announced her vow to the gathered courtiers and proceeded to pile on her ornaments in one pan of the scales while Lord Krishna sat on the other. But no matter how much jewellery she


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Photo: Sylvia RICANEK, Germany

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placed on it, the pans refused to budge. Finally, Satyabhama exhausted her considerable collection of jewels. At her wits’ end, she turned to Rukmini. The elder queen calmly plucked a leaf from a tulsi plant, and, praying to Lord Krishna, placed it on the pan overflowing with ornaments. At once, the pan on which Krishna was sitting shot up. The tulsi leaf, offered with utmost love and devotion, outweighed all material wealth. Satyabhama thanked Narada for teaching her a valuable lesson. Thus, the tulsi is particularly sacred to Lord Krishna. And the practice of offering tulabharam – the equivalent of a person’s weight in some item used in devotion – is particularly associated with the Sri Krishna temple at Guruvayur in Kerala.

Photo: Ninna Høgedal, Danish

Scientific Substance The tulsi is replete with medicinal wealth. It is rich in antioxidants, and has antibiotic and antimicrobial properties. It contains vitamins A and C. The phyto-chemicals in it are useful in treating bronchial and skin ailments, and it is used in salves to heal wounds.

Flower garlands, especially those made with jasmine, are used in several religious rituals and for decorative purposes. (Top) Marigolds and roses are commonly used in worship.

Various parts of the marigold plant are used in medicine. It has an unpleasant odour, which is believed to repel insects, and that is one reason the flower is so lavishly displayed at functions.


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The fragrance of jasmine is said to soothe the nerves. (Right) The word ‘marigold’ is a corruption of the term ‘Mary’s gold’.

The jasmine’s calming properties are made use of in the popular jasmine tea. However, it is good to know that jasmine tea is not made from the jasmine plant. It is green tea, infused with the soothing aroma of the jasmine flower by drying the buds along with the tender tea leaves. The petals, stamen, seeds, stem and leaves of the lotus are believed to have beneficial effects on a range of ailments, including high blood pressure, certain digestive disorders, kidney problems and even heart disease. Saying it in (Sanskrit) Verse Yanmoole sarva tirthaani yannagre sarva devataa Yanmadhye sarva vedaascha Tulasi taam namaamyaham. In translation: I bow down to the tulsi, at whose roots are all the holy places, at whose top reside all the deities, and in whose middle are all the Vedas. The Aikya Factor The lotus is considered a sacred flower in Egypt. It is a valued ingredient in Chinese medicine. It is the national flower of Vietnam too. The jasmine is the national flower of Pakistan. Along with roses, it is an essential part of wedding garlands used in the subcontinent. They symbolise love and unity. They are used in funeral rites as well. Jasmine also plays a part in

Photo:

Carlo S

em, Ita

ly

European wedding rituals, particularly in Italy. Legend has it that a Tuscan farmer got a jasmine plant from a Persian trader, and zealously guarded it in his garden. He presented a bunch of jasmine flowers to the girl he wanted to marry, and, captivated by the aroma, she fell in love with him and agreed to be his wife. The name ‘marigold’ is a corruption of the term ‘Mary’s gold’. In olden days in Europe, it was an offering made by poor Christians to Virgin Mary, in place of the gold coins which the rich gave. The Aztecs also used it for worship. ‘Basil’ is derived from the Greek ‘basileus,’ meaning king – a reference to either the plant’s excellent aroma or the fact that it was used in salves made for kings. It was an ingredient in ancient Egyptian medicine, and went into the ointments used in the process of mummification. A Last Word “…my heart is sweet with the memory of the first fresh jasmines that filled my hands when I was a child.” - Rabindranath Tagore


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Mughal Emperor Akbar is associated with the board game pachisi, the descriptions of which were written in the 16th century.


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Feature by Suzanne McNeill and Team Culturama

Game On

For those who moan the fact that children keep their noses buried in ipads and computers, here are a range of Indian games that will keep them occupied and sharpen a skill or two, as well

Once upon a time, words such as ‘video games’, ‘X-Box’ and ‘PSP’ were not part of a child’s lingo. Come rain or shine, there was a choice of indigenous indoor and outdoor games that were part of the country’s rich cultural heritage. Many of these games also had the hidden benefits of improving logical and motor skills, hand–eye coordination and focus, as well as mental calculation. Indian myths show the gods playing their own set of games, and the Mahabharata rests its central climax on a crucial throw of the dice – which goes to show that these games have been an integral part of the subcontinent’s culture. While many games appear to have been sidelined or forgotten in recent years, others continue to thrive at the local and national level. What is heartening is that there is also a move to bring back some of the popular games to ensure that their memory and spirit are kept alive. In this spirit of revival, we take a look at some old-time favourites.

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Pallanguzhi is said to be an entertaining way to improve math and motor skills.

INDOOR GAMES India gave the game of chess to the world. Chess grew out of a sixth century tactical board game called chaturanga, a Sanskrit word that describes the four divisions of an army – elephants, chariots, cavalry and infantry, which would evolve into the modern bishop, rook, knight and pawn. The creator was said to be a mathematician called Sessa, who presented his king with a board divided into 64 squares and two sets of pieces – one set to represent the king’s army, the other his enemy. He taught the king that he needed to sacrifice valuable pieces to win the end game. From India, chess moved to Persia and then to Europe. It is said that Mughal Emperor Akbar played live chess in the courtyard of his palace in Fatehpur Sikri where, seated at a high vantage point, he directed real animals and soldiers around a giant board. Akbar is also associated with the board game pachisi, the first descriptions of which were written at his court in the 16th century, although it dates from 1,000 years earlier. An enthusiast of the game, Akbar laid out a huge ‘board’ on the flagstones of his courtyard where he and his courtiers could play (using, it is said, slaves as the ‘pieces’). The game is somewhat similar to draughts. The board is shaped as a symmetrical cross, usually embroidered on cloth, and each player has four wooden pieces, which move around the board based on a throw of six cowrie shells – the number Chess was introduced by India to the world.

that fall with their openings upwards indicates how many spaces the player may move. The objective is to move all four pieces around the board before an opponent does. More than one piece may occupy a single square, but a piece may not move onto a ‘castle’ square if it is already occupied by an opponent’s piece. Pieces may be captured according to where they land, and players learn strategies that allow them to conclude a game with the exact throws required. Chaupar (or chausar) is a similar game, with stick-like dice instead of cowrie shells. A 17th century watercolour held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art shows Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati playing chaupar. India is the last country to produce ganjifa playing cards. These mini but lavish works of art came to India from Persia, and were enthusiastically adopted by the Mughals. Circular or rectangular in shape, the cards were hand-painted and made from materials such as ivory or


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A popular game in South India, pallanguzhi is played by two people at a time, with a wooden board that has fourteen pits in it. The wooden boards range from simple rectangular versions to elaborately carved pieces that are treasured as vintage souvenirs. The players use cowrie shells, pebbles or seeds as tokens to play the game, which begins with each pit being filled with six tokens. The players then move around the board, picking up and dropping the tokens into each of the pits. The rules of how to drop and take or ‘capture’ the seeds depends on the game they are playing, and ends when one player ‘captures’ all the tokens. Said to be an entertaining way to improve math and motor skills, the game can become a marathon affair that stretches to several hours.

Paramapadham (‘Snakes and Ladders’ in English) was created in ancient India in the 1800s. The board accommodates 100 steps, and the player’s aim is to reach the hundredth step – which signifies heaven or God – at the earliest tortoise shell. Cheaper sets were made from wood or palm leaf. The suits are crowns, gold and silver coins, swords, servants, harps, documents and stores. Each suit has two court cards – a King and a Vizier. The objective of ganjifa is to win the most cards by taking tricks. At its simplest, on every turn, each player discards a card and the player who plays the highest-ranking card takes the trick (with one rule: the player holding the highest outstanding card in any suit is obliged to lead with it). There were a number of games played with ganjifa cards, but many of them have vanished as the rules were never written down.

Paramapadham (also known as thayam, and ‘Snakes and Ladders’ in English) was created in ancient India in the 1800s. The board accommodates 100 steps, and the player’s aim is to reach the hundredth step – which signifies heaven or God – at the earliest. A roll of the dice indicates how many places the player can move. When a player reaches a ladder (which represents virtues), he/she gets a boost up. When they encounter a snake (which represents vices), they are forced back several paces. A simple way to impart moral values, the game can become highly competitive, with players trying to race to the top! OUTDOOR GAMES Kho kho is one of the most popular games in India and demands speed, strength and stamina. Played on a rectangular pitch outdoors, it is essentially a game of tag that has evolved into a tactical team game of nine players each. Eight players from the ‘chasing’ team kneel in a row across the centre of the pitch, each player facing the opposite direction from the player next to them. The ninth is the ‘chaser’, and they take position at the end of the row, ready to pursue the ‘defender’, who must last the seven-minute innings without being tagged. The defender can run anywhere around the pitch and through the central row of kneeling chasers. The chaser, though, can only run in one direction around the row, cannot change direction or cut through the row. Instead, the chaser changes position with a kneeling


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Kho kho is one of the most popular games in India and demands speed, strength and stamina. .

teammate by touching the person on the back and shouting ‘kho’ – the attack is built up through a relay of ‘khos’, the chasers changing position fast and furiously as they pursue the defender. The game is won by the team that tags all their opponents in the shortest possible time. Kho kho is played by boys and girls, and inter-school and national championships are now held.

Gilli danda is popular in rural and urban areas.

Likewise, strength and agility are required to play kabaddi, which includes elements of wrestling and rugby tackles in this team contact sport. It is said that a military operation that takes place in the Mahabharata is based on kabaddi, and the modern-day objective is still to raid the enemy’s territory. Two teams compete, with seven players on the court, and five held in reserve. They occupy separate halves of the court. One team sends a ‘raider’ into the other team’s half, chanting ‘kabaddi, kabaddi’ and he must tag any of his opponents and return to his half before he runs out of breath. The referee keeps close to ensure he does not take an extra breath. His opponents, meanwhile, unite to try and capture the raider, and prevent him from returning, by tackling and wrestling him to the ground. Each team alternates in sending a raider to their opponents’ half. Players are declared out if they run out of breath, are tagged, or step over the court


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mallakhamb was devised by a master wrestler during the 17th century, who responded to the challenge of two unbeaten wrestlers from a neighbouring state by introducing the wooden pole into his training regimen in order to learn from the agility of wild monkeys boundary, although there are regional variations to the rules. Kabaddi has undergone a major revival in recent years, and international tournaments have sprung up with teams competing from Pakistan, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. Gilli danda can be played by any number of participants. One team bats, while the other fields. Two wooden sticks are required: one is short, about four inches long and tapers at each end. This is the gilli. The other, the danda, is longer, around two feet. The rules are not necessarily the same around the country, but here is one version: The batter places the gilli in a small hole, then, using the danda, in two quick moves flicks the gilli up and then strikes it hard out towards the fielders, who try to catch it before it hits the ground. If caught, the batsman is out. If the gilli is not caught, then the

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batsman drops the danda, and the nearest fielder tosses the gilli back to the batsman, aiming for the danda. The game is scored by measuring the distance from the batter to where the gilli has fallen with the danda (each length of danda equals one point). OUTDOOR SPORTS Think of canoe racing, and you will no doubt envisage a fast sprint in a one- or two-man kayak. Now re-imagine that sprint conducted between traditional war canoes that hold 110 oarsmen each, pounding along the usually tranquil backwaters of Kerala, and you have the vallamkali, or Snake Boat Race, part of the annual Onam festivities in the state. There are four main Snake Boat races, along courses upto 40 km in length, which are the highlight of the competitive events that take place on the waters. The most fiercely contested is the Nehru Trophy Boat Race, held on Punnamada Lake in Alleppey. The oarsmen are urged along by crashing drums and cymbals on board each gorgeously decorated boat, and watched by thousands of locals and visitors. Malla-yuddh is a Sanskrit word that translates as ‘wrestling combat’. Competitive wrestling has existed in India for at least 5,000 years, and professional wrestlers, who represented their kings in matches between rival kingdoms, were held in high esteem. Hanuman, the Monkey God, is worshipped as the patron saint of wrestlers, and there are


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Polo was introduced into India from Persia in the 13th century, where it had developed as a training game for cavalry units.

literary descriptions of wrestling matches in the Ramayana and Mahabharata. These fights would have been extreme versions of the modern sport, encompassing grappling, the breaking of joints, biting, choking and striking pressure points. During the colonial period, malla-yuddh, and its northern derivation, kusthi, were regulated. Traditionally, wrestlers lived and trained together, and followed strict rules of diet and lifestyle. Matches took place in a clay or dirt pit. The sport has since become marginalised, with tournaments remaining in a few strongholds, yet they attract competitors from around the world. India has its own home-grown style of gymnastics, called mallakhamb. The main type of mallakhamb is performed on a vertical wooden pole, but variations include hanging mallakhamb where the performer is suspended, and rope mallakhamb, where the performer strikes various yogic poses without knotting the rope. It was devised by a master wrestler during the 17th century, who responded to the challenge of two unbeaten wrestlers from a neighbouring state by introducing the wooden pole into his training regimen in order to learn from the agility of wild monkeys. The exercises are complex, requiring the performer to turn, twist, stretch and balance, and tournaments are held across the country. Mallakambh has so increased in popularity in recent years

that it has been performed on television talent shows and in a Bollywood movie. Let us conclude this overview of India’s indigenous sports with the game of kings – polo. A team sport played at speed on horseback, polo was introduced into India from Persia in the 13th century, where it had developed as a training game for cavalry units. Called sagol kangjei in India (literally ‘horse and stick’), polo was enthusiastically adopted by the British tea planters who discovered the game being played in the north-eastern state of Manipur on the region’s indigenous ponies. The Calcutta Polo Club was established in 1862, from where polo spread across northern India – it enjoyed particular patronage from the royal house of Jaipur – to Britain and across the world. The Club created the first rulebook for the sport, and to this day runs the oldest polo competition in the world – the Ezra Cup. Not only did the British endorse the game but they also adopted the traditional style of Indian trouser called the churidar in which to play it. Tight around the calf and baggy at the hips, this design was worn and perfected by a younger son of the Maharaja of Jodhpur, himself an avid and successful polo player. To this day the modern form of ‘jodhpurs’ are worn for horse riding.


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Spotlight by Team Culturama

Children’s Day November 14 India pays tribute to the nation’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and his love for children by celebrating his birth anniversary as ‘Children’s Day’

In India, Children’s Day is celebrated on November 14 – on the birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India. Fondly known as Chacha Nehru or Chachaji (chacha means ‘uncle’), Nehru stressed that children were the country’s torchbearers and they would lay the foundation for future success. He emphasised the importance of giving them love and affection, as well as channels to enhance their education. This was the reason behind the establishment of top-notch education institutes such as AIIMS, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and Indian Institute of Management (IIM). To honour his love for children, India celebrates Children’s Day on the day of his birth. The day was first established as a holiday in 1964 but many schools organise cultural events, plays and games on this day, in which the teachers and students participate. Some of these performances are entirely organised and run by the children, too.


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RajastHan

palaces. forts. relive the past.

milesworth holidays india • srilanka • maldives • and beyond

visit: www.milesworth.com Milesworth Travels & Tours Pvt. Ltd., 39 R M Towers, 108 Chamiers Road, Chennai. Tel: +91-44-24320522 / 24359554 Fax: +91-44-24342668 E-mail: holidays@milesworth.com


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Picture Story by Team Culturama

A Land Like No Other From silvery snow-capped mountains to desserts filled golden-hued sands, deep blue oceans to emerald valleys, gurgling rivers to mighty mountains – this land is one that contains within it terrains that covers most vagaries of nature. Poets have sung of its beauty, artists have captured it in their canvases, and writers have immortalised it in their works. Here is a glimpse into the wonders that lie within Indian borders, waiting to be discovered.

A riot of colours in the valleys of north India. Photo: Ben BOWLING, USA

The beaches of The Andaman islands in the Bay of Bengal. Photo: Helen TAYLOR, UK

t India.

on of Northeas

The rainy regi


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Fields of golden grains, meadows of fragrant flowers, Two delights from earth of her many natural treasures, Nestled within is a place divine set far above all measures, Created from dreams anchored by memories, Nowhere else a place of such luminous glories, This the Queen of all lands on earth, This, the land of my birth, the hallowed land of my birth. (Translated extract from Dhono Dhanne by Dwijendralal Roy)

The green valley of Ladakh in North India. Photo: Lynn Elise PETERSON, USA

In rivers, in springs of streams, in slow breezes, In being endowed with mountains, in the animals, It is the best country. In the gardens, in the crowds of trees, in fruit harvest, In the healthy crops, and in great earnings, And in the treasure that does not get exhausted, It is the best country.� (Translated extract from Paaru Kulleh Nalla Naadu by Subramania Bharati)

The snow-capped hills of the Himalayas in the northern tip of India. Photo: Philip James Clegg, UK

The Thar desert in Rajasthan, western India. Photo: Aurelie Marsan, France


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y a D a A Story

Tales of India ma by Team Cultura

Humans and animals, gods and demons – tales that are meant to entertain and educate are an intrinsic part of the subcontinent. We present a select few for your reading pleasure


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Storytelling is an intrinsic part of Indian culture – with stories told not merely to entertain but to educate as well. One of the famous examples is that of the Panchatantra fables, set in the jungle and featuring animals as the main characters, which was ideated and narrated by a scholar named Vishnu Sharma to impart the lessons of kingship and ruling to three unruly princes. Similarly, stories from the epics such as Mahabharata and Ramayana, parables from the Jataka Tales and folk tales from the different regions have been kept alive thanks to the art of storytelling. A common element of these stories was a value that was enclosed within a cocoon of characters, a plot and a spell-binding climax. It might involve a ghost who threatened to kill a king, a devout man who was being tested by God, or even a crafty stork that tried to eat up all the fish in a lake. However, no matter how different, the stories usually ended with the good being rewarded and the evil being punished. Thus, hidden in the stories were lessons to lay the foundation for a life well lived. Here, we share a selection of popular stories that have captivated the imaginations of children and adults alike through generations

The Lord’s Bride The Tamil month of Margazhi, which begins from approximately December 15 and culminates in Pongal (harvest festival) in mid-January, is considered to be one of the holiest months in the Hindu calendar. Devotional hymns written by the alwars (poet saints) are rendered throughout the month. The most popular of the hymns is the Tiruppavai consisting of 30 verses in praise of Lord Vishnu attributed to Andal, one of the 12 alwars. The story of Andal is set around the 8th century in a village called Srivilliputtur (Sri-villi-putt-ur) in central Tamil Nadu. At the Vishnu temple, there was a garden that was tended faithfully by a devotee called Periaazhvaar (Peria-

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azh-vaar). The flowers for making garlands for the Lord came from here. One day, while deepening the pit of the tulsi (holy basil) plant, he miraculously found a baby girl. Considering it to be God’s gift, and being childless he and his wife decided to rear the child and named her Kothai (meaning ‘from Mother Earth’) but later called her Andal. Andal was very devoted to the Lord and particularly enjoyed making the garlands that her father took every day to the temple. One day, Periaazhvaar found some strands of hair in the garland. Not too sure how they appeared, as he always took great care when making them, he


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decided to keep a careful watch. What he saw shocked him – Andal wore the garland meant for the deity and admired herself in the mirror before she placed them in the basket to offer the Lord. This was sacrilege according to Periaazhvaar. Hindus will not even smell flowers that are to be offered to God as this will make them impure! He confronted Andal and, to his surprise, she did not show any remorse. She confounded him by replying very calmly, “Why can’t I wear them? After all, I am going to be his wife.” Periaazhvaar was deeply troubled by this sacrilegious statement. However, that night, the Lord appeared in his dreams and said that he did not want fresh flowers but only

those worn by Andal. Such was the purity and depth of her devotion. Periaazhvaar’s doubts were put to rest and the whole town soon came to recognise Andal’s devotion. Andal soon grew into a young woman and her father wanted to find a suitable match. But she persisted in her resolve that she would marry only the Lord. Her father was in despair. Who could marry God? One day, Andal insisted on being taken to the famous Sri Ranganatha Temple (near Trichy). When her father did so, it is said she was so ecstatic at the sight of the Lord that she disappeared into the sanctum sanctorum and became one with the deity. Thus was she


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united with the Lord. Almost every temple of Vishnu has an altar dedicated to Andal and the gardens of Srivilliputtur exist to this day.

assignation, the lover was unavoidably detained elsewhere. As the woman was all aflame, she demanded that any man be brought.

If you are in Tamil Nadu, look out for the Margazhi celebrations from mid-December onwards. At the Vishnu temples, in the early morning before the sun rises, groups of devotees will go around singing hymns – many of which have been written by Andal.

The go-between went out and whom should she bring back but the woman’s own husband! The wife was shocked but recovered quickly. She attacked her husband, yelling, “You rogue! You claimed you had eyes for no other woman. See how you have failed the test I set you!” It took the husband a long time to convince his wife to forgive him. There, the parrot ended its first story.

Seventy Tales of a Parrot A collection of satiric, mischievous wives’ tales with morals, Shuka Saptati (‘The Seventy Tales of the Parrot’) dates back to well before the 14th century. The structure is of stories within a story. In a city lived a rich merchant whose one sorrow was his wayward son, Madan. The young man was given to many vices. A close friend of the distraught merchant took pity on him and gifted him a parrot, saying that this bird could be his family’s salvation. The merchant gave the parrot to his son. Madan was happy to have a new distraction in his dissipated life. One day, to his delight, the bird began to talk to him. Perhaps it was this novelty that led Madan to listen to the parrot as it began to try drilling sense into him. The parrot (shuka) warned Madan that his self-indulgent ways would lead to his fall, and told him a story to illustrate this. Madan was moved to see reason. Determined to reform his life and make his fortune, he took leave of his family and went to another country. He left behind him a very young wife, Prabhavati, who soon became unbearably lonely. To make it worse, she had some rather dubious friends who playfully suggested that she take a lover. Prabhavati was eventually tempted. As she was leaving the house on the first night she was to meet her lover, the parrot asked her where she was off to. “I am going to see what it is like to take another man for a lover,” said Prabhavati. The clever parrot, instead of stopping or berating her, merely said, “That is fine and merits doing. However, if you are caught, you will lose your reputation. Are you sure you have the wit to get yourself out of any problems that may arise, like the merchant’s wife whose own husband was brought to her as a lover?” Prabhavati was intrigued and begged for the full story. So, the parrot began the first tale of Shuka Saptati. It talked about the love a merchant had for the wife of another. But this woman refused to be unfaithful to her husband. So, the lovelorn man employed a professional go-between who set about befriending the virtuous woman and cunningly persuaded her to succumb. However, on the day of the

A little intimidated, Prabhavati stayed home that night. The next night though, she made ready to leave again. Again, the parrot delayed her with similar tactics and told her another story. Sixty-nine nights passed in this way with the parrot telling her stories with hidden morals. On the seventieth day, Madan returned home. The parrot led Prabhavati to confess her near infidelity to her husband but, when Madan seemed angered, quickly told him another story that preached forgiveness of a fault that arose from circumstances, and persuaded Madan to pardon a wife who had strayed more in thought than in deed. Thus ended the seventieth tale.

The Umbrella Thief This is the story of a demon called Naraka who snatched away the umbrella of Varuna, the God of Water. Naraka was the son of Mother Earth and had perpetrated many evil acts in his demonic way. Indra, the King of Rains and the Lord of the devas (gods), was vexed with him and went to Lord Krishna (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu) to seek help to destroy the demon. Indra related to Lord Krishna the nefarious activities of Naraka that were an affront to his sovereignty over the devas. Naraka had snatched away the umbrella of Varuna. He had also stolen the earrings of Indra’s mother, Aditi, and had evicted Indra himself from his abode, Mount Mandara, and taken the jewels that crowned it. Indra wanted Lord Krishna to put an end to the demon’s unrighteous acts. Hence, Krishna, who had taken his present avatar (incarnation), to put an end to unrighteousness and uphold the righteous, proceeded to face the demon. Earlier, Lord Krishna had given a boon to Mother Earth that he would not kill her son without her permission. To uphold his promise, yet put an end to Naraka, he took his wife, Satyabhama, to aid him as she was an incarnation of Mother Earth. The fight with the demon and his associates


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The killing of Naraka, a demon who harassed the gods, is one of the many stories associated with Deepavali/ Diwali, the festival of lights followed and many were the weapons that were used against Lord Krishna, but nothing could harm him. Finally, Lord Krishna used his sudarshanachakra (discus) and lopped off Naraka’s head. (The killing of Naraka is one of the many stories associated with Deepavali/Diwali, the festival of lights.) Mother Earth delivered to Lord Krishna the pair of earrings belonging to Aditi, Varuna’s umbrella and Indra’s crest jewels. Bending low with humility, Mother Earth praised Lord Krishna’s powers and sought his blessings. Indra felt duty bound to retrieve the umbrella that belonged to Varuna. Indra is also famed for bringing torrential rains – like he did to the cowherds of the legendary Vraja. Lord Krishna had to lift an entire mountain with his little finger and hold it aloft for seven days to protect the cows, cowherds and villagers who had taken shelter under it from the rains.

The Bond of Brotherhood While Deepavali is a one-day festival in South India, the same (called Diwali) is an elaborate five-day affair in the

North, with each day having its own religious significance and associated legends. Every year, Bhai Dooj, a celebration of the brother–sister bond, is observed on the final day of the five-day festival all over North India. (Bhai means brother.) On this day, brothers visit married sisters and are welcomed with a traditional tilak, or a mark of vermilion on the forehead, which is said to protect them from evil. In return, they renew their pledge to protect their sisters in times of need. Perhaps this festival evolved in response to a need for married women to keep alive the links with their parental home. Perhaps it was society’s way of reassuring the vulnerable dependent married woman of a fallback support system she could rely on, in case of distress. Whatever the reasoning behind this annual ritual, as in all such cases, there is an enchanting story that seeks to explain how it all began. The tale goes that in the early days of creation, the first human pair, Yama and his twin sister, Yami, walked the earth, basking in the warmth of the evershining sun (there was no night then), deeply bound by their


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love for each other. Mad with love for her brother, Yami even importuned him to take her as his wife. But Yama, ever conscious of right and wrong, firmly refused to be drawn into this sort of a relationship. In course of time, the scriptures say, Yama embarked on a quest to find “the home of the fathers from which one is never taken away,” that is, a quest to understand the significance of death in human life. He found his way to the land of no return and assumed responsibility as its overlord. Back on earth, Yami was distraught with grief at the loss of her brother. Her loud lament attracted the sympathy of the gods. When they tried to console her, Yami wept, “But how can I forget? He died only today!” The gods realised that it was the immediacy of her grief that made it so poignant and painful for her. They introduced ‘night’ into the world, with its soothing darkness to brush away cares, relieve stress, and pacify the agitated mind. By introducing a stretch of time between one day and another, the Gods helped Yami to overcome the aching memory of her brother’s death. However, once every year, Yama visited Yami on earth – and in their annual renewal of fraternal love lies the seeds of Bhai Dooj.

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Bhai Dooj is just one of a number of festivals in India that celebrates family relationships. The family has always been revered as an important building block of society and the relationship between members of a well-networked family are held to be sacrosanct and inviolate even today.

The Goddess’s Earring Thiru Kadvooror Tirukadayur (ti-ru-ka-da-yu-r) is located in Mayavaram, 250 km south of Chennai. Here, Lord Shiva presides as Amritaghateswar (am-rit-a-ghat-eswar) with Goddess Abirami as his consort. It is one of the important pilgrimage centres of Lord Shiva. Legends are associated with both Lord Shiva and Goddess Abirami. An unusual story is that of a man named Abirami Battar. About 250 years ago, Abirami Battar was born into a family of temple priests who, for generations, had worshipped the Goddess in Mayavaram. Abirami Battar was different from


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the others in the depth of his devotion. He would spend hours in front of the deity, immersed in her. He would sing in her praise and often go into a trance. Nothing seemed important to him other than the Goddess. News of his devotion spread and people flocked to see this great devotee. However, there were some people who did not like this popularity. They believed that Abirami Battar was only feigning devotion. It was the reign of the Maratha King Serfoji of Thanjavur. One day, he came to visit Tirukadayur to offer tributes to the presiding deities. He had heard of Abirami Battar’s devotion and went to meet him. As usual, Abirami Battar was unaware of what was going on around him. Starting a playful conversation with the priest, the king asked whether the next day was a new moon day or a full moon. Lost in thought, the priest answered that it was a full moon. The king was taken aback since it was the waning phase of the moon and it would be a new moon. Convinced that the priest was only a dupe, or perhaps piqued by his seeming inattention, he ordered that the priest be beheaded if there was no full moon the next night. He then returned to his palace. Abirami Battar realised his folly and wept before the goddess, pleading for her mercy. He began a passionate appeal Illustrations: Vincent Moses Raja that took the form of singing a series of verses in her praise. The verses were unique One more colourful version of the legend has it that because the last syllable of a verse was the first syllable of Abirami Battar lit a fire in a pit and suspended himself from the next verse. It is still available to us as Abirami Anthadhi a hundred ropes before he began singing. As he completed (meaning ‘Abirami: the Goddess without Beginning or End’; each verse, a rope snapped, bringing him closer to death. anth is end, adhi is beginning). Seventy-eight ropes snapped before the miracle happened. The goddess blessed him and he continued to finish the As he sang, the king and the people gathered to see hymn, 100 verses in all. how Abirami Battar would save himself. Was he a devotee worthy enough for the goddess to rescue or would he face the executioner? Seventy-eight verses had gone by and he was getting closer to death when the miracle happened. Moved by her devotee’s plight, the goddess is said to have taken off her earring and thrown it into the sky. The dark sky lit up as though the moon were in full splendour. Thus, Abirami Battar was saved.

The king was so ashamed for having doubted the integrity of such an ardent devotee that he begged forgiveness. He presented copper plates with inscriptions of this feat to the priest. It is believed to be in the possession of the descendants of Abirami Battar’s family. Just in case you are wondering, Abirami Anthadhi is still sung by many a household in Tamil Nadu today.


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Learn a yoga pose by Namita Jain

Shoulder Stand Referred to as the ‘queen of asanas’, this form involves an upside down position, in which your body rests on your shoulders. Lie on your back and raise both legs, bringing them up at a 90-degree angle. Then, with hands below the hips, lift your torso gradually off the floor, in a smooth movement that continues till the body is resting on the shoulders. Point the toes and keep the back as straight as possible. Benefit: This position regulates the thyroid gland, improves circulation, stretches the body and improves balance.

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Hit the Road by Devanshi Mody

Navigating the Nava Graha How much power do the nine planets hold over our lives? Can they really make or break our destiny as is proclaimed? A visit to the temples that are dedicated to them might hold some answers

The navagrahas or nine planetary influences are the Surya (Sun), Soma (Moon), Mangal (Mars), Budh (Mercury), Brihaspati (Jupiter), Shukra (Venus), Shani (Saturn), Rahu and Ketu (depicted as the head and body of a snake). In temples, their statues are usually seen facing away from each other.


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Ever listened to Holst’s The Planets? The celebrated music dramatically captures planetary belligerence. “How can planets affect us and how would visiting temples enshrining planetary deities mitigate their machinations against our ambitions?” sceptics sneer. Planetary impact on our lives is palpable, surely. Yet the benefits of circumnavigating the navagraha temples swirled around Kumbakonam mystified me. I have long derided internationally-dispersed South Indians who descend annually to appease nine planetary deities. Now, I find myself fortuitously inclined to investigate the practice. Or is it fortuitously? When I first arrived in Chennai from Paris, seven years ago, I was directed to award-winning tour operator Parveen Holidays meant to best showcase Tamil Nadu. I met Afzal, the owner, who recommended the navagraha circuit. “I am NOT on pilgrimage!” I recall establishing vehemently; temples of historic and/or architectural grandeur alone were of interest to me.

He reveals there’s a navagraha cluster outside Chennai but these do not have the same “vibrations” as their Kumbakonam counterparts. My ears prick. These temples, whose disposition replicates the celestial placement of grahas conceived by Siddha Idaikattar, trap cosmic radiation from the corresponding planet. The resultant electromagnetic fields generated regulates mental vibrations and tames the mind, transforming one’s mindset. A calmer mind engenders clarity of thought, opens the Third Eye, eventuates universal perspective, culminates in nirvana (enlightenment) and moksha (liberation from the cycle of birth and death). Matter Over Mind? Considering Einstein’s Mass–Energy equation and the wave–particle duality postulated by quantum mechanics, it is conceivable how cosmic radiation collides with mental waves/vibrations in an excruciatingly complex dance whose choreography natal charts determine. Imagine the mind as a discordance of jarred mental strings strummed by planetary

Painting by Ravi Behera

Last month, I chanced upon Krishna. He expatiated on temples. He asked me over to Parveen Holidays, of which he had recently become Asst. General Manager. Krishna has researched temples for 15 years. I decided to listen with more humility than accorded seven years ago. Only, he suggests the Great Chola Temples, Meenakshi and Chidambaram and I regard him disdainfully. Seen those. Now, the navagraha temples entice me. The irony of my reversed stance staggers. Krishna declares our present meeting no fluke, my new fascination for the navagraha temples not aleatory.

electromagnetic forces. The reigning planet of the moment turns conductor, making life symphonious or cacophonous. Saturn-afflicted? Ostensibly, visiting the Saturn temple modulates out-of-phase thought waves, attuning them to resonant frequency. “How illogical!” my Philosophy tutors at Oxford would scoff, as they did in my undergraduate days. Western philosophy cannot explain how matter (which behaves


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The Budh (Mercury) temple in Thiruvengadu. Photo: K. Saktivinoth, Sri Agasthia Maha Siva Nadi Astrological Centre

dually as particles and electromagnetic waves) affects the mind, which philosophers including Plato classify as “spirit”. Vedanta circumvents the dilemma by extracting mind out of spirit realms and embedding it in prakriti (loosely translated as ‘nature’). In the Bhagavad Gita, mind and intellect are cleverly relegated to the lower prakriti of Brahman (the “Indefinable” variously grasped as “Universal Conscience”, “Intelligent Principle”, “Immanence” or “Supreme Potency”). This resolves the impossibility of matter (planets and their radiation) impacting a qualitatively different substance mind. Mind and matter both partake of prakriti and can play together. Unaffected is the actionless Brahman. Paradoxically, you go to temples with correct vibrations to correct mental vibrations to attain Brahman that has no vibrations. I am veering into technical hairpins. Krishna had counselled that one must go to temples as a pilgrim and not as a philosopher or tourist. I was defiant that I must ascertain the empirical effects. “Destined” to Visit

The Panchavarneeshwarar Temple.

Admittedly, in June, whilst in Swamimalai for nadi josiyam I curiously and cursorily wandered into the navagraha temples as an experiment. Having visited eight of them, I discerned a distinct becalming effect. Others perceived it too and queried if I had seen a shrink.


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Perumpallam

In September, I sense obstreperous elements in my mind resurge. To counter this recidivism I am impelled onto navagraha Part II, especially as in June just as I reached the Ketu temple, the priest locked up. This denial and its import rankles. I seek Sakthivinoth, owner of the Sri Agasthia Maha Siva Nadi Astrological Centre, who I met in June. I must see his nadi reader Sivamurugan and translator Vinod. They are busy dispensing nadi predictions to 80 Italians. I must know, URGENTLY, why I did not enter the Ketu temple in June. Does this signify catastrophe? Sivamurugan asserts, “You visit a temple by invitation only.” I was destined to revisit.

The Adikumbeswarar Siva Temple.

Asked his views on “vibrations” while attending temples, Sivamurugan mentions that satellites have detected vibrations at the Saturn temple. Why the Saturn temple alone? Is it the most “powerful”? “Depends on your horoscope.” On probing if cosmic radiation impacts two contiguous people in a temple similarly, I elicit the same response: “Depends on your horoscope.” Planets stand like karmic embodiments and impediments in your horoscope in constant combat. Forces governing our destiny resolve themselves quite scientifically like vectors into a net effect. You cannot derail destiny but visiting temples alleviates effects – you will fall if destined to but will escape with a scratch rather than a fracture and mentally accept destiny, I have found, more readily. People usually go to navagraha temples for material needs. The mental peace is richer reward. I am “destined” to revisit the navagraha temples, Sivamurugan said. Possibly because, in June, I entered the Mars and Venus temples but strangely did not spot their shrines. Or remark on their recesses and splendid architectural facets. The Vaitheeswaran (Mars) Temple, aglitter with a billion lamps is gorgeous. Imagine, seven years ago, I dismissed the navagraha temples as aesthetically unexciting – without entering them. The Rahu temple is an enchantment, Mercury boasts an impressive stock of nagas (snakes) encrusted in the bowers of an ancient tree. Saturn is perhaps stylistically indifferent. Delving Into Aesthetics

The Ketu temple in Keezhilperumpallam. Photo: K. Saktivinoth, Sri Agasthia Maha Siva Nadi Astrological Centre

If first I declared myself appalled by the Surya (sun) temple’s architectural deficits, I now appreciate that whilst the other navagraha temples are Siva temples where anthropomorphised planetary deities are incidental, the Surya temple is uniquely a Surya temple and perhaps India’s only temple with shrines for all nine planets. However, in


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The Budh (Mercury) temple in Thiruvengadu. Photo: K. Saktivinoth, Sri Agasthia Maha Siva Nadi Astrological Centre

the sanctum, Jupiter stands facing Surya with a board above reading “Jupiter” and nothing indicating that radiant before is the Sun god, so devotees bow to Jupiter and flit around the temple seeking Surya… It is the Jupiter temple I deem the most aesthetically accomplished and indeed spiritually elevating of the lot. It is perhaps no coincidence that Jupiter is my lagna (ascendant) and, in June, I intended embarking for Tanjavur omitting this temple but was compelled to visit, on a Thursday, too (special for Guru), by the contrivance of nothing less than a blistering thunderstorm. Destined to visit? Then, I jumped the queue, with extravagant excuses, to reach the deity. This time, I prepare for a three-hour queue on a Thursday. There is a blaze of gold adorning bedecked devotees. The lesson that Guru (Jupiter) the “Teacher” imparts to me is that my mind is so busy observing the chaos without that I fail to see the chaos within. Temples should bring introspection and correction. There remains the Moon temple – minuscule, sober. En route back on Krishna’s recommendation, I stop at the Panchavarneeshwarar Temple with antediluvian svayambhu lingam that apparently changes colour five times a day. The temple seems beautiful but is gulped in darkness. At the sanctum, the priest elucidates that this is where Kunti from the Mahabharata came to expiate the sin of attempted infanticide and where a Japanese lady from Tokyo was dispatched by nadi astrologers to find a priest who “handled money”. The designated priest was my interlocutor’s father, who had indeed relinquished a bank job to take up priesthood…

Nadi and Navagraha Contrary to popular belief, nadi astrology and navagraha temples are not concomitants. I myself was sent to the Sarabeswarar temple – not part of the navagraha repertoire. Lata, owner of Paradise Resorts where I’m staying, and where nadi and navaraha tourists head, is startled that Sivamurugan even instructs against prostrating before planets, which are but intercessors like Catholic saints that petition on your behalf. “Who is the principal deity at navagraha temples?” he asks rhetorically. Siva, obviously. “Then supplicate before Siva alone.” I say I prefer the “vibrations” in the Adikumbeswarar Siva temple to the Sarabeswarar temple that my nadi leaf prescribes for me. “The pill is bitter,” he says cryptically. It is vibrations in a particular prescribed temple that rectify past lives’ karmic consequences. The Panchavarneeshwarar Temple’s priest says that karma takes lifetimes to coagulate into pythonous binding chains. Sivamurugan and Krishna deploy the same expression to connote that karmic knots cannot be undone in one temple visit and the eventual mental sophistication temples effect. As for the colour-changing lingam, the Panchavarneeshwarar Temple’s priest says the fifth colour is the one we would like projected, which we must meditate on. After the meditation, the lingam looks no pinker to me. Back at Paradise Resort, though, I look up from my idiappam to see a Ukranian tourist sporting pink hair. God works in mysterious ways, indeed.


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by

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India Impressions by Team Culturama

The Magic of

Fu s ion A marriage of Indian and western music is exemplified by homegrown bands and musicians who create a veritable jugalbandi of both genres


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Indian Ocean Photo: Bipin KHIMASIA, Canada

Indo-Western fusion music represents the perfect marriage of the music of the East with that of the West. Indian musicians, through collaborations as well as influences from elsewhere, have been making great fusion music for a while now. Older local bands such as Colonial Cousins and Indian Ocean are also being joined by individual young YouTube stars from India and beyond. We take a look at some popular homegrown music bands and stars in this field.

Indian Ocean Among the country’s oldest fusion bands, Indian Ocean first burst into the scene in 1990. From slokas to Sufi music, ragas to rock, mythology to environmentalism, Indian Ocean has been at the forefront of infusing India’s ancient wisdom and traditions with that of contemporary music! The band has also made music for several Indian films, including

Masaan, which won the FIPRESCI, International Jury of Film Critics prize and Promising Future prize in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival, 2015.

Avial Avial is a popular band from the Indian state of Kerala. The band gets its name from a stew of various vegetables with coconut and spices – avial! The alternative rock band for the first time, introduced the world to Malayalam folk in the rock format to great success.

Vidya Vox This Indian-born American YouTube sensation is famous for her ‘mash-ups’. Vidya takes on one Indian film or folk song and fuses it with an English pop or rock song. The result is a fabulous example of Indo-Western fusion pop music.


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(Clockwise from top) Raghu Dixit Project; Abiogenesis; Vidya Vox; Avial

Raghu Dixit Project

Abiogenesis

Led by Raghu Dixit, this band’s music is “strongly rooted in Indian traditions and culture and is presented with a very contemporary, global sound.” This is a folk rock band drawing influences from various indigenous cultural forces! The band’s attire during performances has also brought a lot of attention its way. Bright shirts, headgears and long, flowing colourful dhotis are all part of the act!

The northeastern part of India has a vibrant and exciting Indie music culture! Abiogenesis is a folk fusion band based out of Dimapur in Nagaland! The band brings together Naga folk music with modern forms of music to create a unique sound. Not just new music, this band’s Mao Subong has even invented a new instrument to create a new sound for the band, called Bamhum!


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Festivals of India

This month, india celebrates Guru NANAK JAYANTI, AN IMPORTANT festival FOR THE SIKHS

Guru Nanak Jayanti

November 4

Guru Nanak Jayanti is held in honour of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism and the first of 10 gurus of the Sikh religion. This day is regarded as the day of his birth.

Photos: Silvia RICANEK, Germany

Festivities usually start a few days earlier with the gurudwaras or Sikh temples being decorated grandly. On the day of the festival, a procession of devotees singing hymns, known as prabhat pheris, is conducted in the early morning at the gurudwaras. Following this, in some cities, the devotees take the procession around the neighbourhood as well. In addition, akhand path or a continuous 48-hour reading of the Guru Grant Sahib, Sikhism’s religious text, is held. Celebrations also include the display of sword skills and martial arts. A significant part of Guru Nanak Jayanti is the langar or the free communal meal – with the food cooked and served by devotees. This tradition was begun by Guru Nanak in the 16th century, to uphold the principle of equality between all people regardless of religion, caste, colour, creed, age, gender or social status. To do: If you can, visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar – regarded as the holiest gurudwara for sikhs to witness the grand celebrations.


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Portrait of India by Team Culturama

Saraswati – Veena Vahini is said to be the goddess of knowledge, music and arts. In this painting, Goddess Saraswati is portrayed with the veena, a musical instrument that represents her perfection of the arts and sciences. Her love for the rhythm of music is symbolic of emotions and feelings expressed through speech or music. Painting by Sri S. Rajam. Picture courtesy ‘Art Heritage of India: A Collectors’ Special’, published by L&T-ECC & ECC Recreation Club.

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Myth & Mythology by Devdutt Pattanaik

So many mothers, and tongues Kartikeya – a young boy who is the amalgam of six young boys, who were raised by six mothers – is regarded as a symbol of courage. However, there is a deeper meaning associated with his unusual birth


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The devas were threatened, as usual, by the rise of yet another asura. This time it was Taraka, and he was exceptionally powerful. He had declared that only a six-day-old child could kill him. The devas wondered who could father such a powerful child and they concluded it could only be Shiva, the great ascetic, the one who had withdrawn all his senses, and was completely withdrawn from worldly life. Since Shiva did not engage with anything in this world, all his energy was contained within his body. In Tantrik versions, specific reference is made to his semen. Never been spilt, empowered by eons of meditations and contemplation, it was full of potent occult energy. A child born of such energy would surely be a superman: he would be fully developed at the time of birth, fully capable of going to battle shortly thereafter. In edited versions, Shiva gives his seed to the devas. But in unedited versions, the devas sent Kama, the god of desire, to arouse Shiva into spilling his semen. Shiva is not amused and so burns Kama to death with a glance by opening his fiery third eye. The gods then beg the Goddess to help them and she takes the form of Parvati, daughter of the mountains, and she impresses Shiva by her own ascetic practices and secures a boon from him to marry her. But though he makes love to her, he does not spill semen. Frustrated, the gods finally beg Shiva to help them out. And Shiva, momentarily distracted, lets a drop of his bodily fluid fall into fire. But that drop is so fiery that Agni, the fire-god, gets burnt and begs Vayu, the wind-god, to take hold of it. Even wind cannot calm it down. So Vayu drops it in Ganga, the river. The river boils and the reeds on the riverbank catch fire. When the fire subsides, from the ashes emerge six children who are nursed by the Krittikas, the six stars of the Pleiades constellation. Finally, Parvati arrives to claim Shiva’s child. She hugs the six children and they become one. This child, of multiple mothers, leads the deva army against Taraka and kills him, earning the adoration of the devas who declare him celestial commander and warlord.

Illustration: Devdutt Pattanaik

He is called Kartikeya, the child nursed by the Krittikas. He has other names such as Skanda, Guha, Shanmukha, Murugan, Kumara, Saravarna and Gangeya, reminding all of his many mothers: two devas (male gods incidentally), a river-goddess, a goddess of the reed (Sara) forest (vana), six stars, and a mountain princess. Whenever people ask me what my mother tongue is, I always tell them the story of Kartikeya’s many mothers. In India, we have many mother tongues: one from our mother, several from the motherland; some connect us with our roots, some help build relations with neighbours, some get us good international jobs. All mothers are good and wonderful and delightful. The petty create a hierarchy between them. This multiple mother tongue approach is what a diverse country like India needs. It celebrates our plurality. Obsession with one language be it Hindi or Sanskrit or a state language or English reveals a lack of imagination and a contracted crumpled lazy mind that is not large enough to include and enjoy many. *According to the Hindu calendar, the month of Kartikai (which begins on November 17 this year) is in honour of Kartikeya. A special event associated with this month is the festival of Kartikai Deepam, celebrated primarily in South India, wherein oil lamps are lit and placed in different parts of the house.

Published on February 26, 2017, in Mid-day. Reprinted with permission from www.devdutt.com Painting by S.S. Rajam. Picture courtesy ‘Art Heritage of India: A Collector’s Special’ published by L&T - ECC & ECC Recreation Club.


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Holistic Living by Eknath Easwaran

What Do Children Need?

To help change the destructive direction in which our children’s lives are moving, what is required is a deep desire to put the children’s welfare above all else The most important gift we can give our children is our undivided love. No material advantage can ever take the place of such love, for without it children cannot grow to their full height as secure human beings. All we have to do is look around at the anger and separateness in the younger generation to see what happens when children are deprived of undivided love. I have known many young people who come from well-to-do homes, go to good schools, take music lessons, play junior league baseball, surf, ski, and even travel all over the world, yet a deeply rooted sense of deprivation distorts their thoughts, feelings and actions. To help change the destructive direction in which our children’s lives are moving, what is required is a deep desire to put the children’s welfare first and everything else second. We have the perfect classroom right in our own home,


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where we can learn to make choices that put the welfare of our children first. If possible, we should start doing this before the child is born, for the mother influences her child’s life even before birth. If the mother has a deep desire for her child’s greatest welfare, she will not fail to make wise choices in her daily living. Whenever she indulges an unhealthy habit, she is putting her own pleasure before her child’s welfare, which is another way of saying that she deprives that child of her love. Popular magazines and television would have us believe that our responsibility for our children’s well-being is met by buying fluoridated toothpaste and a balanced vitamin supplement. But health is not just an absence of disease. It is a dynamic, positive state of existence in which we function at our optimum, physically, mentally and in all our personal relationships. The basis of such health is a heart filled with love for others and a mind at peace, which is first absorbed at home, in the family, from the parents’ example of how to live. Searching Questions When we realise how powerful the example of our daily life is, we will start trying to find ways of making improvements in the way we think, feel, and act towards our own parents, partner and children. This calls for a thoughtful look at ourselves, and at our habits and attitudes. We need to ask: How effectively do we communicate with our children? In what ways does competition between husband and wife, parents and children, and the children themselves disturb our home? What kind of guidance do we give our children? Can we say ‘no’ to them when it is for their welfare without confusing them with elaborate excuses? Can we settle differences of opinion amicably? Do we spend our weekends pursuing our own personal interests, or do we give our time, energy

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and full attention to our family? In thinking about these questions, we begin to realise to what extent we exist as separate fragments, instead of as a family that is deepening all its relationships. It is this increasing isolation among family members that drives the sense of deprivation deep into the consciousness of children. To the extent that we work to reduce this separateness and estrangement, to that extent we dissolve the sense of deprivation from which our children suffer. One of the most effective ways of reducing separateness is to establish good communication among all family members. This is something we must work at constantly, for there is a natural tendency to split into peer groups, age groups, racial groups, religious groups, social groups and economic groups. Often by the age of 12 or 13, our children have become so absorbed in their peer group that they look there for direction and guidance, and since a twelve-year-old cannot provide a model of behaviour, the child begins to flounder and gets into trouble. Communication becomes even more critical during the teen years, when young people have to face so many new pressures: romantic relationships, sex, drugs, college, career and finding meaning in their lives. Peer groups, television, movies and the mass media often serve as substitutes for parental guidance in answering these questions because prolonged lack of communication has driven a deep rift between parent and child. What little communication does take place is often in the form of arguments which drive the rift even deeper and intensify the mutual lack of trust between parent and child. Then it does not mean much for a parent to say ‘no’ to an activity they know from experience will bring sorrow. Self-will, which is just another way of describing separateness and

Photo: Melissa FREITAS, Brazil


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deprivation, has become so entrenched that communication is almost impossible.

The more we become preoccupied with our own interests, the less we are able to see what is in our children’s best interests. For example, if we rush home from work eager for time for ourselves and park the children to one side while we indulge in some private pursuit that we enjoy, we are telling them by our actions that we do not have time for them or interest in them. After a while, our children are learning more from television than from us; they come to believe the message of the advertiser that things will bring happiness and security, and they take the violent, sensate behaviour of television heroes as models to emulate. In this way we are encouraging them to accept a way of living that will bring misery and despair. It is not only the child but the parents, too, who suffer, for the lives of parent and child cannot be considered separate. Being a parent today is one of the most difficult jobs on earth. It requires a depth of patience and discrimination that very few have. But all of us can develop these precious capacities with systematic and sustained effort. Although difficult at first, we shall find that as we grow in our capacity to put our children’s welfare before our own personal interests, many of our family’s and our children’s problems will resolve themselves. Every parent is the most influential teacher in a child’s life, for children learn not so much from what we say as from what we do. By spending more time with our children, we will gradually be able to understand the nature of the problems which confront them and give our best guidance. When we are giving our children more time and attention, there develops a loving companionship which enables the parents to say ‘no’ and the child to accept it without a trace of anger. By establishing a lasting relationship in this manner with our children, we can give them the strength and guidance so desperately needed when they enter the stormy teenage years. As parents, we can find many ways to build up a lasting relationship with our children. By learning to enter into their world, we can draw closer to them and draw them closer to us. This does not mean we need to imitate their hairstyle or clothes or speech. I am talking about something much deeper, which expresses itself in more concern in what our children are thinking and doing than in the book we are reading or the TV show we are watching. When we show our children through our undivided attention that we are deeply interested in what interests them,

Photo: Helen Ruth TAYLOR, UK

Loving, Lasting Companionships

As parents, we can find many ways to build up a lasting relationship with our children. By learning to enter into their world, we can draw closer to them and draw them closer to us they are assured of our love and affection beyond the shadow of a doubt. This attention cannot be faked; it must be real. To give our complete and undivided attention is a precious skill that can be cultivated through regular practice. When we draw closer as a family, our children grow in awareness of the deeper unity that exists between husband and wife, parent and child, and sister and brother. This is the most effective way of healing the disease of deprivation. Article courtesy Blue Mountain Center of Meditation. https://www.bmcm.org/inspiration/easwaran/what-do-children-need/ Join Us Every Saturday Global Adjustments Office, Chennai, facilitates a free weekly spiritual fellowship group following Easwaran’s Eight–Point Programme of Meditation. E-mail us for more information at globalindian@globaladjustments.com If you are in other cities, visit www.bmcm.org for e-satsangs.


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At Global Adjustments by Team Culturama

Silver (haired) Linings World Elders Day may fall on October 1, but the spirit of celebrating senior citizens is honoured round the year at Poornashakti It is a sad fact that many elderly lack company and opportunities for social interaction. It was to help provide a forum for these silver-haired members of our society that Global Adjustments Foundation initiated a monthly social event called Poornashakti, which is held free of charge for all those who attend. On World Elders’ Day, which falls on October 1, Poornashakti participants were involved in several activities, one of which was learning about the power of clapping to keep their mood upbeat and positive. On a more serious note, Kala Murthy, one of the participants, expounded on the five different forms of worship that have been prescribed by our ancient scriptures and have been practised in some form or another in daily life by Indian households. Also a means of giving back to the planet, this involves the provision of service to five sections or segments – other people, animals and plants or the environment, gods and religious institutions, the scriptures, and our forefathers. In practical terms, instead of restricting ourselves to praying at home for the dead or doing rituals for them, we could also spend some time at an old age home and

make the residents happy. Ranjini Manian, founder of Global Adjustments, added, “It is not just about giving money – it is about being kind and compassionate to almost everyone and everything around us.” Padma Chandran, another member, shared her thoughts on similar lines and gave away cloth bags to all the attendees to promote the anti-plastic campaign to help the environment. As a part of the celebration, the members played four different blind-fold games with surprising confidence! As one of them shared, “We do not know what lies ahead and what is coming – we either learn from the challenge or win.” At the end of the fun-filled evening, awards and trophies were given out to participants and elders.

Poornashakti is a social forum for senior citizens (over 65 years of age) run by Global Adjustments Foundation. There is no joining, participation or membership fee. Everyone who fits the age bracket is welcome to join in the monthly event, which features games, activities and snacks, and has interesting speakers. For more information, contact us at foundation@globaladjustments.com or +91-44-2461 7902.


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Culturama November 2017  

The November issue of Culturama is dedicated to the joys of childhood, given that we celebrate Children's Day this month. In here: - A pick...