Monday, November 17, 2008


The puzzle: How was the society hundreds of years back, that built beautiful temples in India?

It was 3rd November 2008 evening at Bhubaneshwar. I'm done with my schedule and the rest of the evening was with me. I succumbed to my wishes – a darshan of Shiva Lingaraj. Dr.Prashanta Patnaik accompanied me to Sri Lingaraj temple at Bhubaneshwar. It was a Monday of Karhtik, an auspicious day for many ardent devotees. The temple is fairly crowded. We had a darshan. In every visit to an old temple I learn to appreciate the temple architecture and sculpture. and the Lingaraj temple is a treasure of it. In this visit I found stone carvings are made better visible, probably some agency has taken up a maintenance project.

Dr.Prashanta and me went around the temple watching and appreciating exquisite stone carvings, symmetry in a colossal architecture. The stability of such a huge stone structure is now still baffling. Managing construction activities of such a huge temple is a classical example of excellency in project management that should make, atleast, native business schools curious about.

Probably, to attract people to culture and heritage the forefathers have taken the help of some myths. Dr.Prashanta narrated me one of those on Lingaraj temple. The myth is woven around a a huge bull (Nandi) carved out of a large stone. The bull is adorned with ornaments carved on stone. Every curves on its body looks realistic. The enormous body is slightly tilted to its right resting on its right heap, belly, chest and the right front leg. The bull has a gracious look holding its head with beautifully decorated neck. The stone carved ornaments on its neck are partially hidden by scarfs and garlands offered by devotees. It's like customs and traditions hiding beauty of divinity. Its ears are right up and lively with minute details. People whisper their wants and wishes to bull's left ear for fulfillment. The bull is a divine giver? The left front leg is sculpted so aptly as if the bull is about to get up. At about ten feet distance there is a plant on an elevated stone platform. The plant (a peppal/bela tree variety) has been there for years but its height has been a foot only. It hardly gains in height and stem circumference. The day the bull gets up and eats the plant, is the final day for this world – the myth tells. Whatever, the myth could be but I enjoy a visit to the bull in my every visit to this temple. I salute the sculptor who has carved it out. Hundreds of years are flown, the sculptor is forgotten but his excellency is the perfection of the humanity and shines on!

My puzzle again popped up. Such an excellency the people of this land achieved hundreds of years back. What would have been society of Odisha at that time? Probably, there were prosperity around. People, sculptors, architects and the kings were rich enough to achieve this marvelous signature of their time. But then what made the society to plunge in such an abject poverty? How did the society forget the art of building such temples? Why didn't they excel further? I returned to Hyderabad only rekindling my puzzle.

“India Leaves its Footprints on Moon” adorns The Hindu newspaper's headline on 15th November '08 – a joyous movement for the country. Congratulations are showered on the architects of 'Chandrayan-1' for the excellency. And I got an answer to my puzzle.

We the footpath dwellers now privileged
For the clear view,
No roof there for us to stand in between
Us and Chandrayan!
We the jobless though bemoan
Still, will watch MIP as it's shown
Hoping the same (footpath) atleast for us on the moon!

We were the same ill-fated
That day stood behind
When the Kings built the temples for posterity.
So we kept the promise even bitten by the poverty.
But the kings distanced
Our sufferings remain unheard.

The flagged sanctum tells:
“I see the people who never failed in mission
I see the people who even hardly can make their ration.
But I hope excellency in humanity will prevail soon
For which I am still standing on!

17th November 2008.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Crude oil price went up and the everything else in this world became costly. The inhabitants of that barren land have been lucky, but wonder how do they flirt this God given opportunity. It's more of a concern thinking the earthly juice may soon dry up – as the fortune-tellers harp on. The net effect of price rise is my grounding after my short lived love in blue sky. Interestingly, I developed a self-defeating luxury for which I am not made for.

The urge for visiting my native place was getting stronger in the last October. This has been absent not only for my kids but also those of the neo-city dwellers. For these kids, there are no native places but a pretension of it. They don't get intoxicated at the smell of native place. Theirs' is the place that looks good on TV screen. Suddenly, I decided to go home and being grounded chose Indian Railways. Good thing is Indian Railways is now a profit making organisation for which everybody from the Railway Minister to the lineman claim their eminences. A good team work that is praise worthy.

Tending to be green I chose the public transport to reach Secunderabad railway station. APSRTC: Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation is one of the few public transport in India having good name for its service. Let me spend a minute on it. For commuting in Hyderabad city, there are three types of buses viz. Ordinary, Metro-liner and Veera. Very wisely bureaucrats in APSRTC have chosen for three, probably being inspired by the importance of three in Hindu religion e.g. Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara are the three taking charge of the total creation.

Ordinary buses are mainly chosen by poor fro its low price. Many a time, while traveling in such a bus you must be prepared to smell sweat soaked shirts of your co-commuters. Never mind, if you find yourself in the midst fo flesh. If you are short and out-of-size particularly overly sized then certainly you are at the receiving end. Metro-liner is fairly better with a lot of free space, a modest sitting arrangement at slightly higher cost. You are for sure for not finding a commuter who breaks his back in the hot Sun. Sometimes, you may get air of aroma from neo deo users. Veera bus is the luxury one and also the expensive one with push back seat to accommodate a passenger with out-of-proportion body. This is the kind of physique, socially, is taken as an index of the development. And Hyderabad is very much on that track. The bright proof - US has agreed to set up a consulate office in Hyderabad. What else proof you need? You yourself even can judge from the growing number of joggers/walkers on Tankbud/Necklace road.

As a Veera pulls into a bay and comes to halt, many shy away for its high priced fare. A person who decides for Veera could be a guy either on comfort searching or at the resigned state. I was among the later category to choose a Veera to reach Secunderabad railway station. I moved to middle of the bus to stand on alley for want of a seat. A feeling of disappointment creeps in if you don't get a seat in Veera. The feeling is alike to that of missing a first class for two marks; or being drained out after purchasing a plot and not being able to construct a house – the pain of a narrow miss. However, for every Indian there is a great history to back up and teach you to adapt. I prepared myself for one hour journey standing on my own leg, of course!

Veera pulled itself on much publicized well transformed road. A stop came and an old man boarded the bus. He looked around desperately for a seat to discover a youth occupying a seat for senior citizen. He walked up to and exercised his right little forcefully as the young guy showed an inhibition. Finally, the guy got up leaving the seat to the old. The young guy stood on alley and the guy standing nearby changed to a happy state, probably due to 'if not me not so others be' syndrome. The young guy at the loss of the comfort and embarrassment was getting tormented and looking for a point to cheer himself. Suddenly, he murmured at the hearing range of the old man commented on his deceptively black hair camouflaging grayed ones. The old man while settling on his comfortable push back seat got a pale face for being reluctantly old.

14th Nov. 2008