Monday, June 26, 2006

Temple vs. Tourist Spot

Last week I visited two very famous temples in Maharashtra - Sri Siddhivinayak Temple Mumbai and Panduranga Vithhal Temple, Pandharpur. #

There are many things that are burning inside me after visiting them. For now, I am just summarizing a typical temple scene.

Typical Temple Scene
  • Long serpentine Queues competing with the longest in the world surrounded by iron fences and walls accompanied with hawkers trying to sell garlands, beverages and eatables.
  • Bare-footed devotees trying every other alternate to get a quicker and longer sight of the deity's idol like
    • getting in Q hours before the temple opens
    • pushing, VIP pass
    • breaking queue
    • jumping the iron fences that I got to see in Pandharpur
  • Thanks to terrorism, security people live closer to GOD.
  • CCTVs used both for security and calming the queue by putting their deity LIVE, soon companies will have to approach the deities for a brand ambassador.
  • Priests asking you to part away with at least a 50 rupee note and offer it to the deity. The heftier the amount, the more seconds you remain in front of the idol. They also sometimes ask separately for dakshina. This is what happened with one of my groupmates recently.
  • The common belief among the followers as Rajiv Malik quotes:
    "Many ardent Hindus live by the conviction that the mere sight of this temple's central icon of Lord ... assures spiritual transformation." [That is only one of the thousand things people want assurance for]
A shocking fact that I came across through this piece of news article on Kali Temple
"Long serpentine queues of bare-footed devotees waiting for hours to get a “darshan” of the Devi may be common elsewhere also, but the Kali Devi Mandir here stands out for the large amount of liquor and sheep which are offered to the goddess on the occasion of Ashtami." [Kali Temple seems to make asuras out of them]

Is this what true Hinduism all about? For that sake I question every other religion in this 21st century, a continuation of the darkness, the human beings have lived in since their inception.

I appeal to all Bapus, Moraris, sants, sri sris and all such religious corporates - Can't you bring light in such people's dark minds in lieu of the Laxmi endowed on you?

# Other famous religious places that I have paid homage to are:
Vaishno Devi, Jammu * Neelkanth * Jwala Ji * Haaji Ali Dargaah, Mumbai * Akshardham Temple, Gandhinagar * Doodheswar Nath Temple, Ghaziabad

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Increase English Vocabulary

Those who are looking for improving their English esp. word power for exams like GRE, SAT should visit NYTimes and read articles on language written by William Spahire.

In every article, he picks up a word, part of some news, and discusses etymological evolution, usage in various contexts. You will also learn at least 7-10 good , if not new, words. By good I mean words rarely used by an average English literate.


I gave my GRE and scored 600/800 in Verbal.
I had mugged up 3500 words [Barron's wordlist], mostly alien to me in one or the other way in around 3 months time, on an average 2 hrs a day.
Though I could retain 2800 just before GRE.

I would like to share the strategies I tried to attack my weak vocabulary
Newspaper reading
These days newspapers like TOI consciously present them(esp. their editorial section) with a focus on students preparing for competitive exams involving strong English vocabulary.
Though its a well known fact that editorials usually involve unusual vocabulary, TOI takes special care by ensuring that its articles covers words from Barron.
All About Words: An Adult Approach to Vocabulary
I read first 4 chapters of this book and it was real enlightening.
It helped me build an appetite for words
Another thing that acted as a friend, philosopher and guide were the 2 dictionaries that I bought
Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary
Oxford Illustrated Dictionary

They helped me understand subtle differences in words and fine shades of their meanings.
I literally sat for over 600 words and read from the dictionary. But give the time constraint, I could not continue this exercise for all words.

More later .... need to run for dinner

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Digital Divide vs. People Divide

If people can get any song they like, why should they listen to their friend's music, or (horrors) listen to the music selected by a group of barflies? By allowing people to have whatever they want, are we destroying that ability to get along?
- Sarah Gilbert blogs About those killers: does digital music kill community?

I think Sarah's blog about Fry's theory stating that with mass customization and digitization comes loss in community and the thrill of the hunt for that one good song in an otherwise terrible
is something people should be conscious about when they use gadgets like iPods, MP3 players etc.

These days, we are constantly searching new technologies and business models for narrowing the digital divide between urban and rural people to hunt down "lack of access" to information and communication technologies. But in this run, we should not get hit by the problem of people getting divided across iLines.

Technologies that allow people to hide in their own [mental] cocoons are a threat to the community spirit. Remember, Man is just not a being, Man is a social being.