Monday, January 30, 2012

Our Visit to The Most Magnificent ‘Medak Cathedral’.

In hope of peace, good health and happiness we pray to all the Gods of all religions. As Hindus we regularly visit Temples in the city and go on pilgrimages to ancient Temples of great religious importance located anywhere in the country. As a young student of a missionary school I began to pray along with fellow students at the school Chapel and during school outings and excursions at Churches. And later when visiting other cities and new places on tours and sightseeing we have visited and sincerely prayed at Churches, Synagogues, Gurudwaras, Durgahs, Buddhist Temples, Jain Temples and at any place of religious significance. With such background we have visited the magnificent Cathedral at Medak Town, twice so far. I call it magnificent and support my statement though weakly with several photographs of the Church attached to this article.
The Cathedral at Medak Town is popularly called as Medak Cathedral or Medak Church. It is 100 Kms. from our house at Secunderabad. Medak Cathedral is the seat of the Bishop in Medak for the Church of South India (CSI). This Cathedral is the largest of all Churches in the State of Andhra Pradesh. The Cathedral also sees over the Diocese of Medak which is the single largest diocese in Asia and the second largest Diocese in the World. The main landmark of Medak Town is the Cathedral. It is built on an immense scale in white granite in Gothic style and stands on a sprawling 1000 acre land. The Cathedral is 100 ft. wide, 200 ft. long with a 175 ft. high bell tower and it can accommodate 5000 people.
It is said that this Church was born out of a famine that struck Medak for three years prior to 1914. At that time a dedicated English missionary from England, Rev. Charles Walker Posnett was posted as the Reverend of Medak. Hundreds of families approached the Reverend for food and blessings. Their pathetic condition moved the Reverend and he provided them with enough food. And as an act of thanks to God who helped him provide sustenance for the starving people of Medak, he proposed building a Church. The grateful inhabitants of Medak instantly accepted the proposal. Thus with the labor of love from those simple peasants, the Church rose. The construction of the Church commenced in 1914 and it took ten years to complete the construction. It was consecrated in 1924 during Christmas. The Church has an impressive style of vaulting and large painted stained glass windows, the most fascinating feature of the Church. These stained glass windows are like a picture book of the Bible. The pictures are bright and glow vibrant and lifelike when the Sun is out. The color spectrum produced by these windows is beautiful and beyond description. These three windows in the Church are created by Sir Frank O. Salisbury in his London Studio over a very long period. Each window is made up of several bits of painted glass, which are glued into a single piece and then delicately set into the stone windows. The window to the North offers a canopy to the altar; it depicts the scene of ascension of Jesus, towering above the altar, dwarfing everything else as Jesus appears ascending to heaven. The other two windows decorating the East and West fa├žade depict the scenes of birth of Jesus and his crucifixion. The mosaic floor in the Church is very impressive; it consists of six different colored tiles from England laid skillfully in a very attractive manner.
You can see many Hindu customs in practice here, like entering the premises bare foot, offering of coconuts and hair (tonsuring) in return for the favors bestowed by the Lord. I consider it a very important, historic and beautiful place to visit and pray, especially if you are close by; in and around Hyderabad.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Our Great Indian Cricket Team Suffers Eighth Consecutive Test Loss!

Today Australia crushed India by 298 runs to complete 4-0 whitewash. India lost all the 4 Test matches miserably. This is India’s eighth consecutive Test loss after its 4-0 loss, a series whitewash in England towards end of last year. In fact we have not won a single test series in Australia in 10 visits. In spite of such a gloomy background, our media, cricket commentators and analysts made us believe that we are sure to win the Test series, as our team is in great form and the Australian team is in a bad shape. It looks like our Team also believed the media and the experts and when they faced a tough Australian side they buckled match after match losing heavily every time. Everything to do with International Cricket in India; seems to be wrong, the BCCI, the selectors and the cricket players need to be selected on parameters other than what they are presently following.
Utterly disappointed with our substandard, lousy and dismal performance; I posted the following comments to my facebook status (the clipping can be seen at the top of this article). I am sure many would agree with me:
“Indian politicians, media, so called experts who appear on TV and a majority of Indian Cricket commentators are good at building “Castles In The Air”, to fool us or because they are fools. But certainly they are blind to the realities and do very little to improve the situation.”

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I am not happy this Republic Day.

I am not happy this Republic Day. I am Fed up with our characterless, corrupt, manipulative ever deceiving politicians in power. Disgusted and frustrated as they cannot keep up their election promises, cannot implement their announcement of 9th December 2009 on the process of formation of Telangana State, cannot punish criminals who attacked parliament and Mumbai, cannot facilitate Salman Rushdie’s visit to his own motherland, cannot do much good for the country except talk, talk, and talk mostly bluffs and in praise of their party and their dumb leader.
God save us from these power-hungry monsters, exploiters, looters, deceivers and their misrule and give us the wisdom to unseat this useless and wicked party and gift us able leaders who can take good care of us and the country. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year of the Dragon! I was born in the Year of the Dragon, Six Dragon years ago!

Today is Chinese New Year Day, the first day of a magnificent and overwhelmingly happy and prosperous ‘Year of the Dragon’ – 23rd January 2012 to 9th February 2013. In China, the Dragon is the imperial symbol; the sign of the erstwhile emperor and symbolizes the element Yang – Fast, Hard, Solid, Focused, Hot, Dry and Aggressive and is associated with Fire, Sky, Sun, Masculinity and Daytime. In the Chinese astrological cycle; the highly beneficial ‘Year of the Dragon’ comes once every twelve years. And this ‘Year of the Dragon -2012’ with Water element which comes once in every Sixty years is all the more important, greatest of all the years, it is the most-awaited year as it is predicted to be a great one for everyone and especially for those born in the earlier Years of the Dragon and who will be born from today onwards until 9th February 2012.
It is strongly believed that people born in the Year of the Dragon carry a natural charisma and are gifted with power, health, wealth and luck. They are said to be egoistical and ambitious, almost to the point of megalomania, and will not stop at nothing to get what they want. They can be successful as financiers, politicians, actors, singers, bankers and pharmacists and quite comfortable in many other professions.  I was born in the ‘Year of the Dragon with Water element’! Six Dragon Years ago! However I do not wish to discuss now the influence of the Year of the Dragon on me and my life so far. I am writing this article to wish everyone including the lovely babies who have begun to arrive in record numbers starting from today! ALL THE BEST!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The imposing Puri Jagannath Temple at Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, is awesome!

The Jagannath Temple at Banjara Hills, Hyderabad with 70 feet high Gopuram / Shikhara, built as a replica of the Puri Jagannath Temple, Orissa, on a vast land of 3000 sq. yards is awesome, as you can see in the above pictures.
Sri Jagannath is Lord of the Universe; he is Sri Krishna that is Sri Maha Vishnu. Jagan means Universe and Nath means Lord and hence Jagannath means Lord of the Universe. Sri Jagannath is considered as the supreme solace and savior of countless devotees around the world, since ancient times. His most important, monumental and magnificent Temple is at Sri Purushotham Kshetra, at the coastal town of Puri, in the State of Orissa. The Temple is a very sacred place of pilgrimage, it is a part of Char Dham, four pilgrimages that a Hindu is expected to visit during his lifetime and worship. The main deities at the Temple are of Sri Jagannath and his brother, Sri Balabhadra and sister, Ma Subhadra. The deities are made of wood from a divine and fragrant tree. This Temple was built in the 11th century.
The Puri Jagannath Temple at Hyderabad is a modern one, built by the Oriya community – Kalinga Cultural Trust of Hyderabad, and was opened to devotees on 8th March 2009. The Kalinga Cultural Trust has worked for more than a decade to obtain the land and build the Temple. It is a replica of the Temple at Puri but a smaller one. Yet it looks very imposing, with the Temple built on an elevated platform and with a 70 feet high Gopuram. The main deities at this Temple are also sculpted out of wood from Orissa, as at the Puri Temple. Apart from the huge and beautiful Temple of Sri Jagannath at the center , the Temple Complex has Shrines of Sri Lakshmi, Sri Vimala (Sri Parvathi Devi), Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesha, Sri Anjaneya and Navagrahas. The entire Temple Complex appears brick read as it is built / carved out of Sand Stone from Orissa. It is said that 600 tonnes of Sand Stone has been used for building the Temple. All rituals at the Temple are carried out just as in Puri, including the annual Rath Yatra that is Chariot Festival.  
Obviously, the Temple has become very popular and is attracting many devotees and tourists.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Hearty Greetings! On the happy occasion of Makara Sankranti, Pongal, Lohiri and Bihu!

May this Festival, being celebrated all over the country today and tomorrow under different names, Sankranti, Makara Sankranti, Pongal, Lohiri, Uttarayan and Bihu; bring Prosperity, Happiness and Joy for all of you and your families. 

(Sankranti Greetings & Traditions - A Video) 
I have written few articles on Sankranti earlier, explaining about the significance of the festival and some of our traditions associated with it like Rangoli that is Muggu, Bhogi Pandlu, Kite flying and so on. You may click on the following four Links / Titles to read them.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Awaiting yet another great Cooking Show!

“There is no sincerer love than the love of food” – George Bernard Shaw.
Nowadays in India there are a lot of Cooking Shows, Cooking Contests and Food related programs on TV by Lifestyle channels like TLC and NDTV Good Times, and most Regional Language Entertainment channels and even News channels. It appears that you can see at least one Cooking show at any time of the day. I like watching these shows. I watch some cooking and food related programs by choice and at times by chance, as I am browsing for some entertainment. Our family, especially I and my brother were interested in these shows even when we had only one TV Channel, the B & W Doordarshan! And now my eldest son also loves watching these shows and preparing some foods as per the shows. These programs have taught us a lot. They have tempted and encouraged us to prepare and enjoy a variety of foods. They have educated us on many aspects of cooking, simple to exotic recipes, deeper understanding of cooking methods, foods and condiments, tips and ideas and most importantly increased our passion for new foods and cooking, and taught us a lot on food presentation. These Television food programs shall always continue to be a big source of entertainment and information to us.    
I have downloaded several Gigabytes of innumerable shows and recipes with utmost interest. Of course it is a different matter that with so many Cooking programs being telecast I do not have the need to watch my precious downloads, as of now.
The main purpose of writing this article is to announce my interest in the upcoming “India Vs. Pakistan” Cookery Show! called “Foodistan”; being telecast by NDTV Good Times. This program will be launched on 23rd January 2012 and will be telecast at 9:30 PM, Monday to Wednesday. Any contest between India and Pakistan, whether it is hockey or cricket or any other game, will be of great interest and excitement to us. Same would be the case in this contest but the difference is that we would love the performance of both the teams as they would be cooking mouth-watering delicacies! The show will have eight professional and prominent Chefs from India and Pakistan dishing out the best of recipes featuring the cuisines and food traditions of their countries.
I am anxiously looking forward to watch this program without missing a single episode. Who wins the contest is not at all important to me, I am just interested in the wonderful foods they are going to create and how they are going to create.
I hope you too would love to watch this program.  

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Cartoons! On a rogue politician’s ‘flop show’ today, in Telangana.

Befitting insult to 'rags to riches - born manipulator, back stabber, power hungry dictator, corrupt criminal, ever deceiving fox and leader of the Telangana Dhrohula Party’. His army of goondas and criminals and the ever biased beastly Katmal batallions could not protect him today from the anger, abuses, insults, chappals and boots of the local people (you can see the mark of a boot on his back and a slap on his cheek, in the attached picture).  People are saying ‘May he continue to rot here and in hell’.

Muhurtham? Well, better check with the power hungry politician, who is disrupting peace and traffic with his never ending ‘padayatras’ and gimmicks to come to POWER.

A crook who deceived us in the last two general elections with false promises turned into a bigger villain when the Central Government announced the process of formation of a separate Telangana State on 9th December 2009. He had supported the formation of separate State even until few hours before the 9th December announcement, confident that the Central Government would never favor a separate State and that he can continue to fool the local people for their votes. Once the announcement was made he made a U-turn and opposed the decision and started large scale political resignations and demonstrations in his region. Due to this violence the Central Government went back on their decision. Since then he had no guts to face the people of Telangana. In these two years he could not tour the districts of Telangana and has lost every election that he contested.
Hungry for power, he decided that after two years of hiding from the people of Telangana he should somehow step into this area and continue to fool the local people. He has every right to tour but not fool people. The majority of people no longer trust this wicked politician and have opposed his tour. Aware of this ground reality he entered the region today with thousands of his followers some of them armed, and of course under the armed protection of battalions of ‘Katmals’ biased against Telangana. All along his route he had to face abuses, insults, stones, slippers and shoes from the local people. The agony and insults he faced are from those people who daringly came on to the roads to protest his tour. The whole region hates him and that is why a ‘total bandh’, closure of shops all along his route was observed as a protest.
I posted the above two cartoons on facebook, earlier today, based on the above subject and events and my hatred towards this evil - power hungry manipulator. I do not name him or his party as I do not want their filthy names to tarnish my blog. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wow! Lovely Sunflower Fields!!

Wow! Stunning Sunflowers!
Wow! Lovely Sunflower Fields!
Sunflowers are stunning, and are certainly among the most beautiful and brightest flowers. They are big and striking and remind us of the SUN, a SUN that can be lovingly gazed at and touched. The above pictures are of us, at some lovely Sunflower plantations. These days, Sunflower farming can be seen in several Districts of Telangana. And as we are driving in these regions, the fields full of bright yellow blooming Sunflowers, standing tall on their bright and large green leafy stems, set against an awesome landscape and a clear blue beautiful sky, attract us. They beckon us to stop and spend some memorable time with them.
In my childhood we used to have few Sunflower plants at our house. We used to marvel at the flowers and wonder at the way they always faced the Sun. And in general many people with an open yard in front of their houses grow Sunflowers for the ornamental look it adds to their houses. Surely; the SUN like Sunflowers, brightens a house!
Since many years Sunflowers have become a popular commercial crop in India. Edible oil is the main by-product. It has been established that there are a variety of health benefits associated with the consumption of Sunflower oil. And ever since Sunflower oil is available from trustworthy sources in India, we have switched over to this oil for all our cooking needs.  I am told that Telangana cultivates Sunflower in about 2 Lakh hectares with a yield of about 650 Kg/ha. Under very good water availability conditions it is said that the yield can go up to 1,000 Kg/ha and with soil enriching methods like crop rotation etc., the yield can further go up to 1,500 Kg/ha. The farmers would certainly benefit if the various Government departments that exist for improving irrigation and agriculture would put more efforts in assisting and educating the Sunflower farmers in improving the yield.
A little research on internet tells me many interesting facts about Sunflower. The name Sunflower is an exact translation of the flower’s Greek name, ‘Helianthus’. In Greek ‘Helios’ means Sun and ‘Anthos’ means flower and hence Helianthus and Sunflower in English. And according to Greek mythology there are a few interesting stories providing the origin of Sunflower. And all these stories are about a beautiful girl Clytie and the Sun God Apollo.
One story goes that a water-nymph called Clytie fell in love with the Sun God Apollo. She was so much in love that she would sit on the ground and stare at the Sun all day long. And as the Sun God never cared to notice her, the other Gods took pity on her and turned her into a flower (Sunflower). Her legs became the Sunflower’s stem, her face became the flower and her golden hair the petals. And even now, Clytie in the form of Sunflower continues to watch her beloved Sun God’s movements throughout the day, from Sunrise to Sunset.  
Another tale has a slight twist, Clytie was so much in love with Apollo the Sun God that she would sit on the ground and stare up at the Sun all day long though Apollo never returned her love. She sat all day long, upon the cold ground, following the path of the Sun for nine days, without any food and drink. She became weak and her limbs rooted into the ground, while her face became the flower and she continued to follow the course of the Sun.
Yet another story tells that while Clytie was in love with Apollo, Apollo scorned her love in favor of the love of another Leucothoe, the daughter of Orchamus the King of Persia. Clytie was zealous and told King Orchamus of the love affair between his daughter and Apollo and as punishment Orchamus buried his daughter alive. Apollo hated Clytie even more for this. Disappointed and depressed Clytie kept staring at the Sun God until her end and then she became a plant and Sunflower whose head turns to follow the Sun every day.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Indians Are Celebrating Two New Years! Every Year!

Indians are celebrating two New Year Days! Every Year! One is the New Year Day based on the local Lunar Calendar, a different one for different regions of the country. These are the traditional and religious New Year Day Festivals celebrated since ancient times with great devotion, as per their respective calendars. These regional New Year Festivals go by different names – Ugadi, Bihu, Gudi Padwa, Puthandu, Vishu, Cheiraoba, Navreh, Maha Vishuva Sankranti, Bestu Varas, Cheti Chand, Pohela Boishakh, Vaisakhi, Chaitra Pratipada and so on. People celebrate these festivals by following a number of ancient customs and rituals and of course sumptuous food. Prayers are offered at home and Temples for a happy, healthy and prosperous year ahead, for the family and community, and greetings exchanged.
Since a very long time, due to the influence of British rule in India there is always large scale partying on Gregorian New Year’s Eve followed by a holiday on 1st January for most workplaces and educational institutions. And since few decades, 1st January, the universal New Year Day is also being celebrated with a religious fervor. After partying hard on New Year’s Eve or enjoying New Year TV programs until midnight and exchanging greetings with all near and dear, the next day, the New Year Day, people are flocking at Temples to pray and seek blessings for a Good Year. Since about 20 years we are also going to some Temple on the New Year Day. Due to heavy rush at Temples in the city, we are at times preferring to go to some ancient Temple located on the outskirts of the city.  This year we went to Sri Godha Sametha Mannaru Ranganayaka Swamy Temple at Edualabad, which is 32 Kms. from our house. It gives immense satisfaction by visiting a Temple on the first day of the year. Even our Prime Minister, Sri. Manmohan Singh began his New Year by offering early morning prayers at the Golden Temple, Amritsar! Despite inclement weather and black flag demonstration!
In the above poster you can see two popular Sanskrit prayers from the Upanishads seeking Universal Peace and Well-being and a picture of my youngest son Srinath when he was 3 years old.
Translated, the prayer at the top of the poster reads:
Lead us from the unreal to the real,
Lead us from darkness to light,
Lead us from death to immortality,
Let there be Peace, Peace, Peace.
Translated, the prayer at the bottom of the poster reads:
May the whole world be Happy
May all the people be Happy
May all living beings be Happy

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year 2012!

The New Year is a time for celebration and looking towards the future with hope and anticipation. It is with this hope that I sincerely pray and wish you; a very happy and prosperous New Year.
Times have changed since my childhood. Technology is constantly advancing and bringing about many benefits and comforts to the society, in every field around us. At the same time many other serious problems are growing uncontrollably. To name a few, the ever increasing pollution levels, spread of disease and poor health, terrorism, accidents on roads, depletion of natural resources, inflation, unemployment, rise in crime rate and other evils in society, alcoholism and drugs, unabated corruption, misrule by greedy and deceitful politicians in the Government and many more complex problems. Even the mighty Ocean you see in the above picture is not as healthy as it was. We may not be able to set right most of these complex problems, but we can certainly take care of our welfare, our life, our future and our surroundings. Let us not be complacent, let us be cautious about most of these growing evils and take care of ourselves. Let us lead or boldly support good leaders and movements that promise better life to the society.
I have highlighted the above issues with the view that some of the points I raised would prompt you in making New Year Resolutions! that would make you lead a happy, safe and healthy life.        

Incredible Coincidence!

784533 - This is a number known to our family since 1980. It is a number we all had to remember then and even today, with of cou...