Ganapati Bappa Morya!

We Indians are blessed with many Gods and Goddesses but I think I can safely say that the cutest and most adorable of them is the Elephant-headed pot bellied four armed single tusked Lord Ganesha. Although on second thoughts Krishna in his childhood avatar is probably equally adored and cute 🙂

Lord Ganesha is also the Lord of beginnings and the Remover of all obstacles. This Ganesha Chathurthi I wish you all new auspicious beginnings and share a beautiful mosaic of the God made by our own dear friend and artist Ferdi (Ilfordian). She appears to a bit underweather d these days but I would like to request her to share some details about her artwork and thank her for allowing me to share it with you all 🙂

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Image (c) Ilfordian

Don’t miss the tiny mouse at the bottom – never fails to amaze (and amuse) me how Lord Ganesha manages to sit on the mouse (although some believe it is a rat or a shrew) without squashing it 😀 But then legend has it that there was a celestial musician Krauncha who accidentally stepped on the foot of Muni Vamadeva who was infuriated enough to curse Krauncha to become a mouse. The curse turned Krauncha into a massive mouse who ended up damaging everything and anything. Once he made the mistake of destroying the ashram of Maharishi Parashar where Lord Ganesha was also staying. To teach the destructive Krauncha a lesson, Lord Ganesha looped a noose around his neck and subdued him. Krauncha begged pardon and requested salvation. Lord Ganesha forgave him and accepted him as his vehicle which Krauncha gratefully accepted. But then the Lord was too heavy for Krauncha so taking pity on him, the Lord became lighter so that Krauncha could easily support him.

The other angle is that as the Destroyer of all obstacles with a mouse as His vehicle, Ganesha is able to enter into all nooks and crannies with ease and gives Him Omnipresence. Alternatively, the mouse is the destroyer of a farmer’s crop and by subduing it, the Lord removes their obstacle. There are many other stories of Ganesha like this one here which explains why Ganesha has a single tusk. Well one of the versions anyway!

I have always wondered what the chant “Ganpati Bappa Morya” meant and this time I exerted myself to google it. Ganpati is a combination of two words – Gan is group and pati is ruler or lord (Like really? Oh well I guess I better not go there...) and Bappa is Father or Lord. Morya is a bit tricky with two explanations. The more popular one is the one which speaks about a 14th Century saint Morya Gosavi who was a crazed devotee of Ganpati and did severe penance to please his Lord. Pleased, Ganesh asked him to choose his boon and all he wanted was to be forever associated with him and hence the chant Ganpati Bapppa Morya.

The other explanation is that Morya is a combination of two words – Mhora ya which means come ahead and bless us. I personally prefer this explanation as it makes more sense but then again, both explanations could be right!

Ganesha Chaturthi greetings to one and all 🙏

वक्रतुण्ड महाकाय सूर्यकोटि समप्रभ
निर्विघ्नं कुरु मे देव सर्वकार्येषु सर्वदा

Meaning:
1: (I meditate on Sri Ganesha) Who has a Curved Trunk, Large Body, and Who has the Brilliance of a Million Suns,
2: O Lord, Please make all my Works, free of Obstacles, always.

Ganapati Bappa Morya!

***

Brothers in Arms

stock photo, family, sibling, home, funny, kids, rivalry, patenthood

Photo from here

 

Brothers in Arms

Words 250

The only girl among three boys, I was mercilessly ragged and teased.

Their one stop entertainment channel.

Their unpaid servant.

Make me an omelet, one would say.

Coffee for me, another said.

Why me? Why always me? Make it yourself. I stamped my foot and threw a tantrum.

“Fine, I am off to tell Ma, that you went bike riding with…”

Okay fine! Thwarted, I stomp off in impotent fury. They double up laughing. I shake my fist at them. They laugh even harder.

I grow older, taller, and prettier. Besotted, I stare at myself – Mirror Mirror on the wall…

Snickers and muffled gasps from the window still haunt me. “Oooh isn’t she pretty – for a donkey?”

Skirt flying, I chase them around the neighborhood.

Mother catches me and thrashes me.

“Did you hear the poor lil donkey go heehaw heehaw?” They rub salt on my wounds.

They make me buy cricket gear with my Rakhi money. In return they allow me to fetch and hunt the ball from the undergrowth.

School and college bring distances and greener pastures.

I move on with my man, the love and light of my life.

All too soon, he showers me with curses, kicks and punches.

Sporting a black eye, I decline to go home for Rakhi.

I couldn’t face the boys’ howls of laughter.

They landed up to get their pound of flesh.

They whisked me back home even as he lay trussed up in a hospital bed.

***

Rakhi: An Indian annual festival wherein sisters of all ages tie a Rakhi (a decorative string) around the wrists of their brothers, while praying for his health and protection from all evil/mishaps. She in turn receives a gift from them and a promise to take the responsibility of her well-being.

 

 

SPF: Forced into the Backseat

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Photo (c) Sascha Darlington

Forced into the Backseat

Words 202

What the hell Khushi!” Arnav pounced.

“What?” Khushi didn’t look up.

Hissing in frustration, in two quick strides Arnav switched off the television.

Khushi leaned back and popped another chana* in her mouth.

“I don’t get it Khushi.” He thrust a finger into her face. “How can you sit here and watch some stupid soap while Angel cries her heart out?”

Khushi shrugged. “It’s nothing major.”

“You know?” He sat down with a thump.

“She’s heartbroken.” Khushi said in a stage whisper.

“What the…!” Arnav was back on his feet fists clenched. “I’ll kill Shubham.” he ground out.

“Go ahead,” Khushi waved, “but remember your precious Angel won’t thank you for it.”

How can you be so calm?”

“What else can I do? They are adults. They have to sort it out.” Khushi shot him a darkling look “You also stay out of it.”

“I have to do something!” He paced the floor.

“Go tend your plants.” Khushi went to the kitchen. “Or take up kickboxing.”

Are you crazy?”

“It’s going to take some time.” She expertly sifted and prepared the batter for the jalebi*. She wrinkled her nose at him. “It’s been 30 years and we still haven’t stopped have we?”

***

*Chana: Roasted Bengal gram

*Jalebi: an irresistible crispy juicy Indian sweet

Written for the Sunday Photo Fiction – a story in 200 words or less. Thanks to Alistair Forbes for hosting the challenge and Sascha Darlington for the photo prompt. To read the other stories inspired by this prompt click here.

APWC: One

Finally I had the opportunity to visit the Sri Harmindar Sahib more popularly known as the Golden Temple at Amritsar, Punjab, India. This temple is the holiest Gurdwaras (door to the Guru) of Sikhism.  The temple houses the Adi Granth the holy scripture of the Sikhs. Sikhs believe in the concept of Ek Onkar or One God and the doors of their temples are open to men and women of all religions. In fact, the Muslim Sufi saint, Hazrat Mian Mir, laid the foundation stone of the temple.

The Golden Temple runs the world’s largest soup kitchen (langar) and reportedly feeds anywhere from 1,00,000 to 3,00,000 people for free each day, regardless of caste, creed, gender or background.  Importantly, volunteers from the community (kar sevaks) run the langar (and build Gurdwaras).  The langar serves to uphold the principle of equality between all people regardless of religion, caste, color, creed, age, gender, or social status. In addition to the ideals of equality, the tradition of langar expresses the ethics of sharing, community, inclusiveness, and oneness of all humankind.

A visit to the Golden Temple is a must for all Sikhs in their lifetime. I would go so far as to say it is a must for everyone.

This a view of the Golden Temple at night

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And during the day.

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I cannot quite decide which view I like better. Can you?

Posted for Nancy’s theme of One for her A Photo A Week Challenge

Thank you for visiting – have a great weekend.

I would also like to wish everyone a very happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous Diwali. Image result for diwali emojiImage result for diwali emojiImage result for diwali emojiImage result for diwali emojiImage result for diwali emojiImage result for diwali emojiImage result for diwali emojiImage result for diwali emojiImage result for diwali emojiImage result for diwali emoji

Glimpses of Durga Puja

Durga Puja is easily the most important festival of the Bengali community of India. Goddess Durga, the ten-armed goddess, is revered as the Mother of the universe and the Power (Shakti) behind the work of creation, preservation, and destruction of the world.

Durga Puja (or the worship of Goddess Durga) is not just a religious event it is also a social and cultural festival, where the community suspends all routine activity to  collectively submerge itself in worship, art, music, dance and of course food. Interestingly, artists put their all to recreate their vision of the Mother and after the celebrations, the idol, a work of art, hard labor and reverence is immersed in the waters. This is believed to symbolize the formlessness of the Supreme Being, impermanence of life and the cycle of birth and re-birth and the importance of non-attachment.

It is almost impossible to capture the enthusiasm, beauty, innovation, vision, passion and creativity of the myriad artists (not to mention the tireless audience) who make Durga Puja such a vibrant festival yet I couldn’t resist sharing a few images:

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Just add a dash of color

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A closer look at the skirt material

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An artist creates a painting of the Goddess on stage during a sitar recital

And the Dhaaki (drummer) without whom Puja could never be Puja

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Already waiting for the the next Durga Puja 😀

If, like me, you are hungry for more, feast your eyes on more such gorgeous visual delights – click here

Thank you for visiting.

For readers of Moonshine, here's Chapter 91 and Calvin

Happy Onam

On the happy occasion of Onam, I wish you all joy and prosperity. Onam is Kerala’s biggest and ten days long harvest festival that is celebrated across communities, irrespective of caste, creed and religion. Kerala, which is also known as God’s own country, is perhaps unique in celebrating the return of the mythical demon king Mahabali.

As the legend goes, Mahabali was a powerful and revered king of the Asuras or demons. He was famous and popular because of his just and fair rule, all his subjects were happy and prosperous. Seeing this, Indra, the king of gods became insecure and requested Lord Vishnu’s help in overthrowing Mahabali. He was defeated (another story) and banished but because he was such a great king, he was allowed to return once a year. It is this return return to his land that is celebrated with such fanfare and enthusiasm. This festival is promoted by the Government of India internationally as the ‘Tourist Week’ for Kerala during Onam celebrations.

The traditional ritual of laying pookkalam (floral carpet) starts from the first day, when Mahabali begins his preparations to return to his land. The size of the pookkalam increased in size as the day of his approaches, with layers and rings being added each day to welcome their beloved king to their homes.

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All pookkalams (decorations) made and generously shared by Mymind (actually I didnt give her much choice 😉

And of course, like all festivals this one too is accompanied by a feast – onam sadya. The traditional feast consisting of a gazillion dishes is served on plantain leaves.

Just a sample for you, prepared and specially served on request by none other than Mymind

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Apart from feasts, folk songs, elegant dances, boat races, elephants, and flowers are a part of the vibrant and colorful festival. You can read more about it here

I am off to book my tickets to Kerala – what about you?

Happy Holi–days

It’s that time of the year again – spring and colors are back with a bang. And as a special treat this year, a long weekend for all of us. Isn’t it grand? Celebrations are on and I am already exhausted.

Got the hint?

Yeah, I just laid the grounds for a leave application. There’s loads on my plate not only this weekend but also the whole of next month. April, as you know, will be a marathon session of blog posts everyday (except Sundays – phew). Plus I do have noble intentions (fingers crossed) to continue to post Moonshine as per schedule on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

In view of the above, I do hope you will consider my situation kindly and grant me an extended leave of absence till the 30th March.

I will be very much obliged.

And as a thank you – the picnic finally happens! Here’s  Chapter 47 and Calvin – he really is incorrigible isnt he?

Calvin and Hobbes

Source:http://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/2008/02/25

Wish you all a very Happy Holi – of color, joy, forgiveness and new beginnings.

See you all next Wednesday – 30th March.

And don’t forget to leave me a note – remember just a minute of your time, a simple Hi can make my whole day 🙂

For image source click here