Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Nidra is Sanskrit for sleep .I love sleeping.I wish I could be in deep sleep for hours without the tension of getting up from bed.But, alas, life is not as simple as that & I am forced to get up & get life going.

Sleep is defined as a state of rest wherein one is unconscious.So,in all probablity when we sleep ,we are relaxed without a care in the world .But this is not always so.We undergo REM ( Rapid eye movement ) which is dreaming .We also have fits of sleep & do get up .Some even sleepwalk.But one must admit that sleep relaxes our body & mind.It has been said that deprivation of sleep will lead to death faster than starvation or thirst.Hence ,sleep is very important for our well being-perhaps more than food.

I feel sleep helps in losing weight as well.If someone is awake most of the time,at least once( actually more than once ), that person will reach for some food.This will in all probability, be some unhealthy snack but if the person sleeps then there is no chance of indulging in this unhealthy eating.So ,those of you who want to shed flab,please try to sleep even in the afternoons.This is what the various health clubs  mean when they advertise "No diets,no excercise for losing weight."So why empty your pockets by joining them ? You can sleep your way to a slim & trim figure .

For a good sleep,many conditions are stated.One can drink  warm milk & try to sleep at the same hour .Some even take a light shower .Still others read books.Some may need a quiet atmosphere before their eyes close.It is better to switch off the lights & the idiot box before one tries to sleep as all this helps in creating the right ambience to relax.People who are on medicines are advised not to take  certain medications at night as they might interfere with sleep.

I am someone who has got addicted to sleeping in the afternoon as well.This was not possible when I was in employment for obvious reasons.But now that I am at home,I have got addicted to the afternoon nap.My maidservants also cannot disturb me in this .I hate those who come knocking during afternoons when I am enjoying  blissful slumber.I do have some sleepless nights & afternoons but they are few & far between.

My eyes are almost closed by the time I serve lunch to my kid .I generally cajole my kid to sleep as well.This is because,she will otherwise watch the idiot box which will disturb my slumber .She is no mood to do her schoolwork after her lunch.So I prefer that she sleep instead .Moreover,she gets tired & by late evening,she is ready to hit the bed without having even looking at her school work.The nap thus serves another purpose-it energizes us for the remainder of the day.

My niece is someone who takes offence if I ask her to sleep in the afternoon.She gets up early & is tense till she reaches school.My daughter on the other hand has to cajoled into waking up both in the mornings as also after her afternoon slumber.She keeps on postponing her waking up by telling me that after one or two minutes,she will wake up.These minutes can add up to half an hour.During mornings,my kid is ready to skip her breakfast as also her combing in order to wake up late.Such is her indulgence in sleeping.

My kid can sleep even in a moving vehicle.The movement of the vehicle lulls her to sleep.This is better as otherwise,she irritates by constantly asking us to update the distance we have covered & are yet to cover & so on & so forth.

Till date,I never had to take sleeping pills .Almighty has been kind to me as he has given me the ability to sleep so much.I wish I could sleep for ever but since I have to post my blogs,I have to wake up.Actually,if you are suffering from insomnia ,please try to read my blog posts.Guaranteed, that you will feel sleepy & doze off.I am actually doing social service by posting my blogs as many will prefer sleep to reading my writing.So,you see ,there will less of social strife as a result of all this.

What are you staring at ? Kindly forward the link to my blog to all so that all can sleep blissfully !

Friday, November 5, 2010


We were received at the station by a person who had been updated by the travel agent from Bangalore.We hired four Vikrams to carry all the people as also the luggage to the place which had been booked .We were taken to the Swami Narayan Ashram.They had rooms to let us.We just shifted our luggage into the rooms & hit the bed.We were fast asleep.

The next morning,we were surprised to see the person who had received us at the station at the ashram.He informed us that he is a priest & he will perform the rituals of veni daan.He knew Tamil & spoke it too.This made things very easy for the men in my family as regards communication.We told him that we had already fixed it up with our priest at Allahabad.This made him angry & he refused to budge.This was partly because the travel agent had misinformed him that he should assist in rituals.Another reason,I surmised was veni daan ceremony involves a lot of things being handed over to the purohita who performs it.He also reminded us that he had come to receive us at the station at such a late hour. We somehow managed to convince him that our priest only will officiate at veni daan.There was some cash which was exchanged to cool him down.He in turn,spoke to the ashram attendants to see that we vacated the ashram by that evening itself.

Our priest had called us all at the ghat for veni daan.Veni means hair & daan meaning giving away .So veni daan means giving away hair.In the said ceremony,the husband parts with a small part of the hair of his wife.We enquired from the purohita about the significance of veni daan.He said that sumangali ( a wife ) has no right to a hair cut in her life time.But as per scriptures,all our sins reside in our hair.So by Veni daan,a sumanagali also gets an oppurtunity to get rid of her hair ,in part thereby parting away with her sins.Veni daan has specual significance in Allahabad as there is sanag,m of three rivers-the Ganga,the Yamuna & the Saraswati.I am  someone who likes hair cropped short & have been keeping a short hair style since I joined college.This veni daan just confirmed that I had been right though I had to face stiff opposition from many of near & dear ones !

All the things had bveen kept ready by an assistant of the purohita who hailing from Allahabad spoke in Kannada.He had learnt it so that he could communicate with people from Karnataka.I felt that we could take a lesson from him & learn other languages.After ,our hubbies had cut a few centimetres of our hair,we proceeded to take adip in the sangam.We were all taken in a boat &  reached the sangam in the midst of the rivers.We could make out the Yamuna which has  a darker hue & the Ganga which has a light colour.Saraswati,is invisible & is said to be just joining the two from underground.As we lowered ourselves on the stone platform to take adip,we were surprised by the strong current of the rivers.We just managed to take two or three dips in the water-drowning our heads into the water .We climbed up & the bathing was done.We managed to do all this because of being ably assisted or rather propped up by the boatmen.

In the wet clothes,we reached the purohita's place .We changed into a fresh set of clothes.We then gave away our wet clothes to the purohita's assistant as per the tradition.Then each of us (each  couple ) also gave a set of clothes to the purohita & his wife.This included a dhoti & a nine yard saree.After that,we went to the Mutt for lunch.It is located opposite to the purohita's home.The food was simply superb ! Sambhar had been prepared using karela but it was so yummy that I quite forgot about the bitter taste of karela.Lunch over,we headed back in Vikrams to our rooms at the ashram.

At the ashram,another drama began.The attendents demanded that we vacate the rooms as they had been told about our stay only till that afternoon.We told that even twenty four hours had not passed since we landed at the ashram but they refused to listen.Then my bhabhi called up the travel agent at Bangalore & umpteen calls later ,we were allowed to stay till that night.The Bangalore travel agent aslo transferred money to the ashram account before we were allowed to continue our stay further.

In the evening,five of us went sight seeing.All were unable to accompany us as some were not well & others were too exhausted.We went around in a Vikram & saw Hanuman temple,a Kali mata mandir etc.We also stopped to taste lassi at a namkeen shop.My hubby got some savouries packed for his family so that they could enjoy thenm during their train journey.As some people were not well,they wanted idlis .But we ere unable to get idlis.But nearthe ashram itself,they weree able to buy idlis.

After the sight seeing,we headed to the Mutt to partake of dinner.The purohita's home had Ganpati celeberations going on & they invited us for Bhandara ( grand feast ) at his place.So we cancelled our dinner  at  the Mutt.There was a big crowd for the feast.Ganpati aarti got over & as we were to leave for station,we were served the feast first.There was sabzi,daal,stuffed pooris,chutni etal.Our other family members had also joined us for the bhandara.After we thanked the purohita,we left for our rooms.We packed up our things & left for the statioin in four Vikrams.

I & my hubby were to leave for Delhi in Rajdhani.Other family members were travelling to Chennai from Allahabad.My hubby had booked & cancelled our tickets to Delhi.This, I was able to learn after many attempts.So,I tried my luck in booking tickets at the statiuon.I was able to book my tickets in another train which was arriving at three at midnight.The booking clerk made a passing comment about his happiness.I gave him a hundred rupee note as he had made me happy.We bade our family good bye as we left the platform wherein they waited for their train.Their train arrived just some ten minutes before our train.

We climbed into our Rajdhani.This is the original Rajdhani -from Kolkatta to Delhi.The interiors of the train delighted me .The toilets & seats & the whole train was spic spac.We reached Delhi by ten in the morning.We hailed ataxi & reached the airport.There was a lot of time as our plane was scheduled to fly to Mumbai only in the afternoon.We ate some snacks & just lazed around in numerous shops .My hubby brought a spectacle case as he had lost his case.We did try to book an earlier flight but none was available.

We finally boarded our flight & reached home by half past seven.My kid was delighted to see me & her dad.She hugged me tightly to tell me that she had missed me.I was also equally emotional.We had dinner & went to bed.Next day,we had to be on time for my daughter's school at seven in the morning !

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Promote Your BlogRangolis were drawn to prevent entry of pests into the house in olden days.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gaya & Bodhgaya

We reached Bodhygaya by midnight & took up our rooms in a hotel booked by the Bangalore travel agent.But the absence of lift in the hotel irritated us very much  as we were dead tired.We immediately retired for the night as next day,early morning, the men had to perform Tithi in Gaya for their ancestors .

In the morning,I & my hubby ordered tea from the hotel & others had coffee prepared on the heater which they had carried from Chennai.I remarked  to my hubby, that, his family is so fond of milk that they will just sprinkle coffee to pots of milk & expect me to drink it as coffee ! I for one, cannot gulp milk as coffee.So,I opted for hotel tea.Years of bombarding my hubby with information that milk is harmful has finally made him believe that milk is the most  incomplete food.

My family had carried coffee powder,milk powder ,sugar,etc -all the way from Chennai for consumption during travel.This was because my family is highly  suspicious about the cooks preparing vegetarian beverages whilst handling non-vegetarian food .Moreover some of my family   keep speculating about who must have handled the milk,the coffee & the like.Why they  do not think similarly about shares & stocks being handled by people who consume all -even pigs & cows is beyond me.Bluntly put,people who dabble in shares are cannibals ! They are swallowing   whole  humans with bones & skin et al ! On second thoughts,this is so, as the non -vegetarians are unable to reach their levels of  consumption,that of  man eating cannibals  that is !

The ladies & kids  took bath .We then left for Gaya which was a good half an hour away from the hotel.Bodhgaya is the  place wherein Budha got enlightenment.One can observe a lot of statues of Budha in the lawns of the numerous hotels that dot the place.The Japanese government has also poured money in Bodhgaya for sprucing up that place.For the Japanese,this is a place of pilgrimage .This is so for other foreigners as well ,who are influenced by Buddhist ideas.One can see & meet foreigners on the roads & in hotels in Bodhgaya.

The transport vehicles in Bodhgaya are autos & more popular is the Vikram.It is what one can call as an extended auto wherein there is seating arrangement for nearly ten people.We hired two Vikrams & left for Gaya.Men were to take bath in the river .We landed at the Bodhgaya temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu.The temple roof is made of wood & the structure of the temple is  of stone.There were many priests doing shradha ceremonies & rituals for hundreds of people all over in the temple.We entered the sanctum sanctorium wherein one can view the footmark of Vishnu .Pind daaan was in progress there.Many were taking snaps.Still others were trying to touch the foot mark & paying their respects.We also paid our respects.

Men came accompanied by the purohita inside the temple.He made them take their places by the side of the gopuram where there was an elevated platform.The rituals of shradha started. Legend has it that shradha performed in Gaya  is a sure shot way of attaining moksha .The story of Gayasura is witness to this .Gayasura was an asura but he was full of virtues ,no vices.He pleaded to Almighty that in spite of his virtues,he was always being born as a rakshasa. Brahma complained to Vishnu that virtues of Gayasura were equating him with the Devas.Vishnu appeased them all.He put his foot on the body of Gayasura.Whoever does pind daan on the foot mark of the Lord which got crytstallised as stone attains moksha.I quipped to my hubby," In this age also,appeasement is being done.A person who is equally strong is made the Deputy Chief Minister so that there is less problem.Now we know who taught us this method of pleasing all." My hubby only smiled as he has no compulsion to laugh.He was not going to accomodate  me by laughing whole heartedly !

The rituals were nearing completion & the time had come when the participants have to give up some things for life at Gaya.Our family had many discussions on all this giving up.The priest enlightened us," Actually,one must give up greed,temptation,anger,jealousy,etal but since this is impossible for humans,one can opt for easier things." One has to give up a sweet,a vegetable & a fruit.In fact,the item must be one which is liked the most, but humans being very cunning,give up for life whatever they have hardly tasted or something they find tasteless or something which they resent for any reason .My hubby asked loudly what I will give up as he opined  that I will not cook that anyway after giving up. He did nor want to give up something which I will disagree upon.I gave up sweet lime ( I find it tedious to de peel & eat it ), parwal ( I rarely eat it ) & basundi ( rasmalai-I hate all milk sweets -wherein milk is in liquid form with cream ).So ,in effect, I hardly gave up anything for life.One family member gave up Mysore pak.For this,my jeth has a solution.He said ,one can add maida to the besan & make Mysore pak.Then it can be consumed by the person who has given Mysore pak in Gaya as the ingredients of Mysore pak have changed.So,there is always a way /s  out  ! The rituals had ended now.

Then we all headed for prasada-lunch to the purohit's home. The food was sumptously declicious.Then we returned to hotel.In the evening,we came back to the temple.The temple had been scrubbed clean for the Tulsi shringar of Vishnu paada ( foot mark ) .We wanted to buy the printout on thin muslin cloth of the footmark & we got it.The Gaya temple is very spic spac.During day time also,it is scrubbed clean with water two to three times as the pind daan makes the sanctum place very sticky.

The evening at the temple was very pleasant as a group was singing bhajans & there was a  gentle breeze .The stone floor was cool & we strolled in the temple.The next morning, we enquired about vehicles plying to Allahabad from Gaya & sensed that the rates were exhorbitant -more so, as we had already rail tickets for the journey.Rotis were baked on the roti maker ( the advertisements which all must have seen on the idiot box ) in the hotel room in Bodhgaya.I was afraid, that the hotel may raise objections but they just looked away.My family ate the hard chapatis & sugar & chutney powder.We also had poha & dahi..Our tummies full,we departed for the station at  Gaya .

At Gaya station,my bahbhi & her hubby took ill-they vomitted.The train was late.So we all just sat on the platform & waited.Cool bottles of soda were purchased to aid digestion.All the family had it as prevention is better than cure.Some apples were also consumed.As we waited,a zip repairer came on the platform.My family got some luggage zips repaired.I got my sandals stiched.So,he made a killing in one hour.Many others also got their bags repaired.

Finally our train arrived & we left Gaya for Allahabad.We had second class compartment tickets as the travel agent had opined that the journey was very short.But nobody was able to rest with their feet stretched.We reached Allahabad by around eleven ,dead tired.
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