Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Happy "Holi" day

Happy "Holi"day everyone. I wish each of you everlasting happiness now and every day of your life.

Although, these days I am not so much into playing Holi but I enjoy the day nevertheless. The high positive energy that this day brings is absolutely infectious! Everybody is in such high spirits! You can't but get affected by it.

As a child I used to love playing Holi, it was great fun to run wild! Our Holi get-together would usually happen in an Army club, my parents would have their own group of friends, and we children were allowed to just be… What fun!

And every year, there was this standard lunch for Holi…Chole bhature, and I loved it! Never got tired of it. I still remember the taste. The colour from our hands would kind of mix with the gravy, and we happily gobbled that...nothing happened! I can't dream of being that bindas these days!

I guess now I know why I can survive without any stomach problems, even after having a lot of pani-puris from the road side vendor! I have a strong immunity. I thank my parents for not being so fussy!

I really like the significance of Holi.

Holi is believed to have originated from the word Holika. Holika was the sister of Hiranyakashipu who was a demon king. He had been given a boon by God Brahma, and because of the boon, it was absolutely impossible for him to be killed by anyone. As a result of this boon, he became arrogant and started attacking humans and Gods. He wanted everyone to start worshipping him instead of God.

However, his son Prahlad was a worshipper of Vishnu. He was so devoted to Vishnu that no amount of threats from his father stopped him from worshipping Vishnu. His father tried to get him killed several times but was unsuccessful. As a final resort, he asked his son to sit on a burning pyre with his (Hiranyakashipu's) sister Holika, and Prahlad obliged. Holika was protected by a boon so nothing would happen to her if she sat on a burning pyre. But the opposite happened. Prahlad came out of the fire absolutely unscratched and Holika burnt!

Holi is a celebration of good over evil; Arrogance over humbleness.
That in my mind is the essence of this festival.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I am so in Dove

This is what I was humming to myself after using the Dove split end rescue shampoo and conditioner-

I am so in Dove, in Dove, my split ends are all around when Dove is not here, when Dove is here they quickly disappear, I am so in Dove.
In Dove, I need Dove in everything I do, in everything I want my hair to be, I am so in Dove.

This is actually a song which goes like --I am so in love the moments seem to drag when you are not here...
But I don't know where I heard it, and I just can't find this song anywhere!  And I have not hummed this song in ages! I don't know why all of a sudden I started humming this song. The only logical reason seems to be Dove!
My love story with Dove received a fresh boost a few days back when I got this package from dove. A very nice bag with a dove split end rescue shampoo and conditioner. I have been a huge Dove fan since I started using Dove. But I had not tried out the split end rescue shampoo. I have used it around four times now, and really there is something about it, can’t find any split ends!
Dove brought back good old memories of my teenager days. The good old days when I used to be happy always!
The only worry then was --Oh, I wish I stand first in my class this time, I wish I was beautiful, I wish I had thick, long, beautiful, and split end free hair....
At school, I was always fascinated by think and long hair. I used to have waist length hair and wanted to be Rapunzel I guess. We were supposed to tie up our hair, and so I would plait it (with my mom’s help of course). What used to bug me then were the split ends! No matter how often I trimmed my hair or oiled my hair, they would still be there. I wish Dove was that readily available then!

Now, my hair is shoulder length, I don't need to plait it anymore, but I have Dove! I can show off my hair without any split end tensions!  I am oozing with confidence these days and perhaps I might try to grow my hair longer, who knows my teenage dream of thick, long, split end free, Rapunzel hair might just come true with Dove.

...This is what Dove's done to me.

If you are a Dove fan like me, you might want to click here to know more about Dove Split End Rescue System.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Madhubani paintings; Bihar, India

Madhubani Painting by school
We left Darbhanga at around 10.30 am and started for Madhubani. We wanted to go to village and meet artists and see Madhubnai paintings...we were informed that a village by the name of Jitwarpur is home to some artists who are actively involved in Madhubani paintings. We set off and soon after reached the village.

We were caught off guard and were very pleasantly surprised when we suddenly chanced upon a painting on the wall of a house, wow! We stopped the car and started clicking, up ahead we saw a school, and really that school was something.

It has paintings on the walls by school children. We stopped the car and we were wondering if there was some way we could take a closer look at those paintings. We did not want to disturb the school's normal functioning.  We got noticed after some time, and they gave us permission to go around the school without disturbing any school proceedings. I was thrilled!

I am sharing some truly out of the world paintings by the school children.

Madhubani painting
Painting on the wall of
a school in Jitwarpur, Madhubani

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Darbhanga, one of oldest cities of Bihar, India

We reached Darbhanga around 8.30pm. We were tired but happy to have accomplished so much in such a short time!

Our purpose of stopping over at Darbhanga was mainly because we wanted to visit one of the oldest cities of Bihar. Darbhanga has so much of history that it definitely warrants a visit. The other reason was to visit Madhumbani, I am a huge fan of Madhubani paintings and I wanted to visit the source of these wonderful paintings.

Some historic facts about Darbhanga. I had found the name a bit weird and could not resist finding out about the origin of the name before my visit:

This is what I found from Wikipedia (the -paragraph in italics has been taken for Wikipedia)

The name Darbhanga is the mutated form of "Dwarbanga". That is, it is the combination of words "Dwar"(Gate) and "Banga" (Bengal) meaning "Gateway of Bengal". If one notices Bengali and Maithili, he will find many a phonetic similarities particularly in the main verbs of both the languages which ends with word sounding "Chhe".

Some scholars say that Darbhanga was named after Dar (Dwar) and Bhangaa which means broken gates. It is assumed that the gates of the Qila (at Qilaghat probably) were
broken (by cannons or elephants) in 1326 AD when Tughlak forces attacked the last independent North Indian Hindu king.


I believe the city is as old as the Ramayana. Videhas were the first to settle in Darbhanga. They came to be ruled by kings called Janaks. This area is also known as "Mithila, after one of the kings who was named “Mithi”. Sita belonged to this part of India. She was the daughter of King Janak Sirdhwaja, who was also a very cultured scholar.

In British times; the zamindar estate of Darbhanga was perhaps the  richest. Maharaja of Darbhanga, Maharajah Sir Lakhmishwar Singh, was very popular because of his progressive leadership. Darbhanga also happens to be the cultural capital of Bihar because of its rich musical and folk-art history.

We did not have much time because we planned to spend the day in Madhubani and reach Muzaffapur by evening. But we did manage to see some beautiful structures inside the fort.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Nalanda, an ancient university in Bihar, India

Aerial view of Nalanda
I am continuing with the travel posts on my Bihar trip.

From Rajgir we set off for Nalanda, unfortunately we did not have much time because we had to reach Darbhanga the same day and it was already 1pm and we still had long distances to cover! This left us with only a couple of hours of daylight in Nalanda, I regret not having more time. Nalanda does require more time, and I missed the museum:(

Nalanda is known as one of the greatest universities of the ancient world, it was founded by Kumaragupta around 413-455 AD, and Kingh Harshavardhana of Kannauj (from 606-647 AD).The Pala kings continued to patronage this institution, but Nalanda started declining around 1200 AD when it was invaded by Bakhtiyar Khilji.

Entrance to Nalanda
Brick walls inside
the ancient university

Students came from distant places and countries to study in Nalanda. Some of the well- known people who visited Nalanada are, Nagarjuna, Aryaveda, Vasubandhu, Dharmapala, Suvishnu,
Asanga, Silabhadra, Dharmakriti, Shantarakshita, and the Chinese travellers Hiuen Tsiang and I-Tsing. They have extensively described about their experience in Nalanda, about the monastries and the shrines, and the life of Monks in Nalanda. Quite a number of subjects were taught in Nalanda, Theology, Grammar, Logic, Astronomy, Metaphysics, Medicine, and Philosophy.

Nalanda University,
Bihar, India
Dormitories for students

Archeological survey of India started excavating this site from around 1915-1937 and again from 1974-82. They found the remains of six brick temples and 11 monasteries. A thirty metre passage runs from north to south with the temples on the west and the monasteries on the east. There were many sculptures excavated during this time, but we could not see those because we did not have the time to visit the museum. If you plan to travel to Nalanda, do visit the museum, I have heard that it
is worth a visit.

A beautiful structure
in Nalanda
A courtyard surrounded by living quarters

Rooms around a courtyard in Nalanda

It felt so great just being in Nalanda. Here I was, in one of the first universities of ancient India! The thought itself made me feel so good. I wish there was some way by which I could even get a fraction of the collective wisdom from this enriched place, how great it would be!

I believe at one point there were around 2000 teachers and 10,000 students in Nalanda. Many of the students and teachers lived in Nalanda.  It was a residential university, and a first of its kind in the world! The monks lived a simple and humble life enriched with so much knowledge!

What I learnt after going through wikipedia that the library was so vast that it was believed to have burnt for three months after it was set on fire! I wish we could revive this university again. I wonder how it must have been when it was in its element.