Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I feel N.C. Naidu would make the best “Alien Ambassador”!

If Aliens land on Earth and their leader demands “Take me to your leader”, what would you do? News regarding such a situation has surfaced yesterday. It is reported that pretty soon planet Earth is going to have a leader for this purpose. It is being proposed that a Malaysian Astrophysicist Ms. Mazian Othman would soon be appointed as the United Nation’s Space Ambassador for “Extraterrestrial Contact Affairs”. That gives her the right to make the first official response to any travelling Aliens, as our leader. In response to this news, we should thank God that this peculiar issue is sorted out.
If the UNO waited until actual Alien contact to fill this post, there would be confusion and delay in hiring a suitable person within hours. Infuriated with the delay the Aliens might decide to colonize or destroy our planet or eat or kill us all! I wish the Aliens who land will be as good and great as Gods and Dr. Mazian Othman would handle them in the best interest of the world. However I have a feeling that N.C. Naidu would be a better person for this post. I hope you know which N.C. Naidu I am referring to.
N.C. Naidu is no Astrophysicist but a tricky politician with voracious appetite for power and limelight. He would never allow anyone to be in-charge of a situation. However good, intelligent and powerful or mean the landed Aliens might be he would not allow them to take control of him and the world. He is capable of playing politics with the Aliens, backstab the Alien leader and become the Chieftain or whatever it is of their world. But most importantly this assignment would keep him away at the UNO, Headquarters, and that would bring a lot of peace locally!  

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Take care of your Heart…

On the occasion of “World Heart Day 2010” I wish you a healthy Heart with good habits, regular exercise, good diet and regular health check. You may please see the above poster on “Healthy Life”. Please take care of your heart… you are precious to all of us and the society.
P.S. You may double click on the above poster to enlarge it.

Longest and heaviest rainy season at Hyderabad, after several years.

This is the longest and heaviest rainy season at Hyderabad since several years. The rainfall from 1st June until yesterday morning is 876 mm, as can be seen in the topmost picture.  And it is being forecast that the rains will continue for few more days. There is a light drizzle even now, as I am writing this article. It is not just in and around Hyderabad, but all over Andhra Pradesh and India, this rainy season has been beyond expectations.  
Frequent rains have caused havoc to people living in low lying areas and to the traffic along water logged roads which are plenty in Twin Cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. But in general people like me are enjoying the rainy season, the chill weather, hot snacks, long rides, the greenery, water streamlets and ponds everywhere and so on. The Government, the Hydroelectric Power generating Plants and agriculturists are surely very happy with this rainy season.
I have posted a number of pictures at the top revealing detailed “Weather Statistics” of Hyderabad. I hope the readers of my blog would find them interesting, informative and useful. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

“Ganesha Idol Immersion” at Hyderabad, “Ganesha Nimajjanam”.

Today is the final day for the immersion of Ganesha Idols. It is a holiday for all Schools, Shops, few Business establishments and Offices. Everyone is in a holiday mood and enjoying the day. Immersion of Ganesha Idols in a Lake or River is called “Ganesha Nimajjanam” in Telugu. The festival of Vinayaka Chavithi that is of Lord Ganesha was celebrated on 11th September 2010 at all houses of Hindus and at thousands of Ganesha Pandals set up by communities all over the city, with great devotion. The festivities and worship of Lord Ganesha continued until today morning, 22nd September, that is Bhadrapadha Shukla Chaturdashi. After the final worship the Idols are being brought in procession from different areas for immersion at Hussain Sagar Lake, located at the center of the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. All the major roads leading to the lake are filled with processions carrying thousands of Ganesha Idols small, big and gigantic and people who have come to see and worship the Idols. There is a lot of merriment going on in the processions with dances, music, fancy dresses and slogan shouting. The immersion of Idols in the lake is expected to continue all through tonight and until tomorrow afternoon. All the Telugu TV News channels are continuously covering the processions and the immersion.
Immersion of Idols took place in substantial numbers even on 13th, 15th and 19th September that is on the 3rd, 5th and 9th day after the festival. So one can have an idea how fondly, grandly and in large numbers the festival has been celebrated. The above photographs are an indication of the events today.
Idols of Gods at Temples are made from precious metals or sculpted from rock. Puja is done at Temples every day by learned Purohits as per ancient Shastras and Temple rituals. But for Vinayaka Chavithi Puja which is done in every household; it is not possible to follow the same Temple procedures, so it is recommended to get clay from Riverbed and shape it in the form of Lord Ganesha, offer Puja and immerse it back in the River. Leaving any idol without any regular Puja and offering of Naivedhyam daily or discarding it carelessly out of the house is not acceptable.
The Puja at home is done by invoking Lord Ganesha, doing Praana Prathishta and worshipping with a variety of flowers, leaves, fruits and by offering Naivedhyam of Lord Ganesha’s favorite food like Kudumulu and Paasham. The clay Idol is then immersed in a River or Lake along with all the Puja items like flowers, leaves, fruits, turmeric etc. This practice of immersion since ancient times had great environmental benefits. Bringing clay in large quantities from banks of Rivers and Lakes and putting it back in the form of idols away from the banks along with all the Puja material like turmeric and the various leaves (herbs) and fruits was good for purifying the water and served as food for fishes and other water creatures.
However the modern practice of making beautiful and colorful Ganesha Idols with Plaster of Paris and other hazardous materials and chemicals and then immersing these Idols in water bodies is certainly very harmful. Hope everyone would realize this before it becomes a major problem. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Joy of Giving Week - 2010, Sep. 26th to Oct. 2nd.

(Top) A Promotional Video - Joy of Giving Week 2009.
The “Joy of Giving Week” is a “Festival of Giving” that aims to bring together all Indians to spare money and whatever they can for the poor and under privileged. This event was launched last year and it was a big success. It was decided to hold it every year at the time of Gandhi Jayanti, starting on a Sunday and ending on a Saturday, containing 2nd October within the week. This year the “Joy of Giving Week” would be from Sep. 26th to Oct. 2nd.
The concept of this annual event has come from great service oriented institutes like Helpage, GiveIndia and Cry. It was originally planned to call it as “India Giving Week” but later a more appropriate name “Joy of Giving Week” emerged. In 2009, the very first year, over 300 registered “Giving Events” were held in more than 40 Cities of the country. These apart 1000 Schools, 100 Colleges and 340 NGOs got registered and participated in the event with great enthusiasm. The Joy of Giving Team thanked everyone for the contributions and announced that over Rs. 10 Crores was raised in cash and kind and channeled to worthy causes.
This year there is more awareness and there is bound to be greater service to the under privileged. You may please follow this year’s JGW program and contribute whatever you can to any service oriented institute or suffering individuals you come across. And may the youngsters in your household also get an opportunity to bring about smiles on some poor and handicapped children as in the top Video.  

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Our granddaughter won a prize in Fancy Dress Competition, today.

Our five year old granddaughter Sudhiksha won Second Prize in an Inter-School Fancy Dress Competition held at and by the Meredian School, Banjara Hills, today morning. This program was a part of the Meredian School’s Crystal Jubilee Celebrations and the event was named as “Fairyland Costume Competition”. 24 Children from different Schools participated in it. She represented her School, Gitanjali Devashray of Secunderabad and won a Second Prize.
She put on the costume of “Pied Piper of Hamelin”. The top most picture is of the Shield gifted to her, the second one is of her in the Fancy Dress and the other two are of the Certificates she has received. The last one is a video of her introduction to her Fancy Dress. I hope you too will enjoy and appreciate her show.

17th September 1948 is perhaps more significant than 15th August 1947 to the families of erstwhile “Hyderabad State”. How can anyone contradict this historical fact?

The above map is of the erstwhile Princely Province of “Hyderabad State”, a Province equivalent to the size of Great Britain with a population of 1.7 Crore in 1948. As per the aspirations of 85% of the population and the struggle of several persons “Hyderabad State” got annexed to the Union territory of India on 17th September 1948 that is 13 months after India became Independent. It is an important date to observe and pay homage to all those who have made it possible. The above newspaper cuttings will tell you how this significant event was observed yesterday all over Telangana for the first time in 62 years but unfortunately amidst controversies. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Osman Sagar is overflowing! after 10 years.

Osman Sagar Reservoir, which is more commonly called as Gandipet has touched its FTL (Full Tank Level) of 1790 feet, yesterday. Two of the fifteen Dam gates are partially opened last night to let out water into Musi River. Due to heavy rains this year, it is just not Osman Sagar, but every water body in the State is full or overflowing. Osman Sagar has reached its FTL after a gap of 10 years. Many people from the Twin Cities are rushing to Gandipet to see the vast lake at its full capacity and the gushing water at the Dam gates.
Gandipet is yearlong picnic spot of the Twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. It is very close to the City, almost a part of the City now. People go there to see a near empty lake in summer and definitely after the rains as it swells. The above photographs are from a few of our several visits to Osman Sagar and the close by Himayath Sagar. I must admit that the photos are not clear and do not project the beauty of the place even by a small degree. They are included only to give an overall idea of the place.
Osman Sagar Reservoir was formed here by constructing a Dam across River Musi in 1920. The lake is spread over an area of 46 Sq.Kms. Other detailed statistics of the Dam and Reservoir are in photograph No.6; you may click on the photo to zoom in and read. It was named Osman Sagar after the then ruler of Hyderabad State, H.E.H. Mir Osman Ali Khan. It was constructed to control the flooding of the city during heavy rains and to cater to the growing demand of drinking water to the people of the city. It is still a big source of water supply to Hyderabad. Musi River, which was long ago called as Muchukunda River is a tributary of River Krishna. Musi River originates in Anantagiri Hills at Vikarabad which is about 90 Kms. from Hyderabad. Musi joins Krishna near Wazirabad in Nalgonda District after traveling a total distance of 240 Kms.
The course of Musi passes through several areas of Hyderabad but this is more a sewerage canal of the city now. I hope the water being let out at Gandipet would clean the course of Musi, which the authorities are unable to accomplish.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Rampant commercialization of “Gentlemen’s Cricket” is ruining it.

Cricket is no longer a “Gentlemen’s Game”. For almost 150 years International Cricket was played with just a few controversies like bodyline bowling by England in 1932-33. Now it is different, in almost every contest the behavior of some players is demeaning, the vulgar gesticulations, the foul language, the tough looks on the field and the statements and behavior of players off the field make the contests look like gang wars. In white dresses the cricketers looked gracious, behaved well, played the game decently and brought glory to the game and their nations. Now not many are interested in Test Matches or the equivalents of Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy and County Matches (white dress Matches). Today the distorted versions of Cricket are thrust upon the lovers of the game and these versions are all about money with no regard for the true talent of the players. The organizers, the sponsors, the players, the bookies and the gamblers are all interested in the limited over versions of the Game, which are played in funny looking dresses with patches of different colors and advertisements on them. And this form of Cricket has given rise to as many scandals and scams as there are colors in these dresses. These 50 Over Matches (ODI) or Twenty20 Matches are being organized meaninglessly all through the year between any available teams sponsored by every Tom Dick and Harry Companies. There is ample money in this form of the Game but it is no longer Cricket, it is a game of “hit or get out” like Baseball with no regard to the talent of the bowler. In a true game of Cricket a Team never gets Out in 20 Overs and then gets the other team Out in less than 20 Overs. In such Matches Teams win more out of luck rather than talent. This is simply not Cricket.  
The above cover page and the video recording are from a U.K. based magazine “News of the World”.  This magazine exposed “Spot fixing” another threat and blemish to Cricket. In a sting operation carried out by this magazine you can see how a bookie controlled the players and the game to earn fortunes for him and the corrupt players. This is just the latest revelation. Time to time we have heard of Match fixing, misbehavior of players, ball tampering, corruption by the organizers of the game and the rampant gambling involved specially in India. All this is not good for Cricket.
The argument that Test Matches and 3-Day Matches have become boring with no results emerging from them is not a valid point. Such format of Cricket was enjoyed by generations of people all over the world and it is being enjoyed even today by true lovers of the game. The new versions of Cricket are only to offer cheap result oriented matches between any few contestants willing to participate in a tournament and make money for everyone and offer a cheap Tamasha to the audience.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Vinyaka Chavithi Shubakankshalu and Eid Mubarak!

Today, on the happy occasion of Vinayaka Chavithi and Eid ul-Fitr I wish all friends the best of everything. May the times ahead be much happier, prosperous and peaceful to each and every one of you.
Today is a very eventful day in Hyderabad and all over India as two major festivals have coincided. The entire city of Hyderabad is in a festive mood. As I go out of the house I can see all round happiness everywhere. This day will be remembered by all, forever.

Thadiya Nomu / Gauri Thadiya Puja / Gauri Thadiya Vratham.

According to Telugu Lunar Calendar, today is Shukla Paksha Thadiya of Bhadrapada Masam which means it is the third day of the first half (waxing Moon phase) of the month called Bhadrapadam. It is the day of Thadiya Nomu, a tradition running in our family since generations. Thadiya Nomu is a Puja dedicated to Goddess Gauri and it is performed by my wife as taught to her by my mother.  It is performed for Sowbhagyam that is health, longevity, happiness and prosperity of the husband and the family. This tradition is thus carried on with great devotion by mother-in-law and daughters-in-law of every generation. 

There are a number of steps / rituals involved in Thadiya Nomu Puja. The preparatory works start a day before, Uttareni leaves, variety of flowers and fruits are procured, the thread rolls required for Kankanam are meticulously prepared along with various other chores. 16 is a significant number for the Puja. All offerings to the Goddess like Kudumulu are in quantities of 16. An image of Goddess Gauri is made using Turmeric paste and placed on a bunch of 16 Uttareni leaves and the Puja carried out. The entire Puja procedure is an elaborate one. I am called towards the end of the Puja to seek the blessings of the Goddess and then tie a Kankanam on to my wife’s right hand wrist and another one on to her neck as a chain and then bless her. The Kankanam of the right hand is prepared by rolling 16 Uttareni leaves and tied with 16 strands of thread and the one on to the neck is with 5 Uttareni leaves and 16 strands of thread, 16 knots are put at equal distance along the length of these two bands and they are coated with turmeric paste. These are just a few of the many procedures to be followed. The reason why I have gone into some specific details is to emphasize the importance the ladies give to Thadiya Gauri Nomu by remembering all the minute details required for the Puja. I have neither seen my mother nor my wife writing down the procedure or making a checklist for the Puja. It is the devotion and faith in the Goddess, who is taking care of them; that makes them remember every minute detail, every year!   

On a breezy morning…

On a breezy morning, Amidst plants and flowers, As the Sun was rising, The feeling was joyous! Happily as we strolled, Pic...