Thursday, December 31, 2015

why are Indian politicians so corrupt? Why the need to amass such wealth?

These are my reasons and explanations  for the Indian politicians' corruption and their greed for wealth

1) They have a strong belief that their children are morons, with zero capacity to make an honest  living . They also don't believe that their children have the capacity to win elections or be successful at politics or ANY  JOB. They therefore have this anxious need to amass wealth so that they have enough for the next 100 generations.

They believe that their grandchildren too will be turn out to be morons incapable of making an independent living. So they amass wealth to last many generations.

2)They also need the money to win the next election by bribing the voters. They have to make money when they win, to ensure that they can win the next time too by buying votes.

3)They, at least the Karnataka politicians, don't believe in investing in industries as they don't believe their offspring have the capacity to run an industry and continue generating wealth. They want to make money 'passively' such as owning property.
 I don't know if they invest in stocks and shares. My guess is that they dont invest in stocks and shares for several reasons: their thinking is still 'old'; they want to be able to see their wealth; they may not believe in these investments due to their limited education and so on.
Lots of Karnataka politicians own educational institutions such as medical and engineering colleges. These colleges demand huge sums of money from non-merit students which goes to the pockets of these politicians. They think this is a good and steady source of income when they are no longer in politics. These colleges invest minimum money in labs, libraries and pay the staff peanuts. I believe they own these colleges for the money and neither the politician who owns it or any member of his family has any skills in running it in an efficient manner. They hire people to run the college by paying them peanuts!

4)Indian politicians know that they don't have any capacity to do anything productive or useful; they lack education and skills. All they have is criminal tendencies with which they gain power, which they use to win elections through crooked methods. I doubt if even one single Karnataka politician has any skills to earn an honest living.  Even their kids who grew in the lap of luxury, don't try to learn skills during their education. There is of course nothing to motivate them to exert themselves to make something of themselves. Why should they even try to learn anything ro achieve something, when they have everything they want?

Sometimes I wonder if the Indian politicians would have been a bit less corrupt if there were some criteria to stand for elections.
If there were rules like:
minimum education to stand for election should be a Bachelors degree
 minimum IQ of 100 or something like that;
 absence of criminal tendencies (difficult to measure them but at least of jailbirds accused of rape, murder, robbery, etc could be prevented from standing for elections, it would be a relief!)
no history of bigamy, wife-beating & alcoholism; the reason I am listing these is because may politicians are guilty of this but these are often excused or ignored by Indians especially if  big shots such as actors and cricketeers and politicians are guilty of these.
I have a belief that if bachelors became politicians, then they would be less corrupt than those with families. I have this strong belief that, the Indian politicians are amassing wealth for their future generations. I am sure many will disagree with me but this is my opinion.
Of course, we already have rules such as declaring income, etc. But the Indian politicians dont care a damn about rules. They  believe they are above the rules!
If there was accountability for politicians, then politics would become less attractive to majority of the corrupt politicians.


I often wonder about the children of these corrupt politicians. I know for a fact that many of the adult children of Karnataka politicians have studied at reputable schools and colleges. I know that they want for nothing(except moral values and other such non-tangible things!) I wonder what is their self-image? What do they think of  their parents, their friends and other people. If I was the son/daughter of a corrupt politician, these would be my thoughts in my head. I would wonder if my friends are 'my friends' because they like me or if they like my wealthy lifestyle . I would have real difficulty trusting people, especially the sycophants. I would be embarassed to attend school or college when my corrupt dad is in the news for some corrupt deed of his.  I might give school a miss until he's no longer in the news or change schools maybe! I am a shrining violet and I wonder how the hell I would deal with the large number of people coming home daily. I don't know how I would deal with my corrupt dad arranging my marriage with a girl/boy who is the offspring in a 'powerful' family and the two families seek this alliance for 'political' or 'economic' reasons. I would be a pawn in my corrupt dad's hands without knowing how to stand up for myself!
I suppose I would be different from what I am now, if I was born to a corrupt politician. Mu upbringing may have made me have a different value system and I may not think like this.

The more I think of being the offspring of a wealthy, corrupt Indian politician, the less appealing the life seems to be! I know I will have a lot of wealth and comfort. But there is a lot of things I enjoy in my present existence as an ordinary person which I will not have as a politician's child. The freedom. Genuine friends. self-esteem, the belief that I am doing something useful to society and people like me for what I am . I now have a few friends and family whom I trust completely to have my back, without expecting anything in return except do the same for them. As a politician's family member, my relationships would be with literally thousands of people but shallow, superficial, unemotional and with wariness than trust! I would always wonder if someone is genuine or faking it to get something out of me! I would have to develop a really thick skin, knowing that people are cursing me and my family, especially the corrupt politician, my parent! I will have great temptations thrown my way and to enjoy them or refrain from them, would be a daily dilemma! I know for sure that my wife/husband is a pawn like me and marrying me not for 'my personality' but for my family's power and that is sure to depress me! Unless my spouse can convince me that it's me, not my family's wealth and power which is the main attraction!



why so many selfies

I read articles on  psychiatric/psychological problems in people who take a lot of selfies. The articles indicated selfie taking as indicative of narcissism, etc.
I have observed  some youth in India who take selfies and I believe these are the reasons for their selfies.

There is a young lady I know who posts a few selfies a week. She is yet to pass her BA or B.Com; she has failed a few subjects and is at home at present and not employed. She takes selfies and posts on facebook. I believe that she does it because: she has the time; she is good looking and is aware of it; she   uses the selfies to show off her clothes and looks and hair. She enjoys the compliments. Her main sense of self-worth is derived from the compliments she gets from her selfies. If Facebook dint exist and there was no way she could show off her photos, I doubt she would take those photos; If it costed money; she would not take that many photos; if it was too much work like in the past i.e. take the negatives to a studio to get it developed, she would not be taking so many photos.  If she could get a sense of self-worth through working or academic achievement, she would not be focussing on her looks. If the society she was in, dint value looks and valued other things, if the society din't compliment her, her selfie taking behaviour would be extinguished.


There is another young lady I know who posts selfies often. In her case, I believe, she does it due to her ADHD, her need to share her achievements & joys with her family and friends.  I have also observed that she seems to post selfies to show her middle finger to her mom, with whom she is currently having problems with!

There is a 50 year old friend of mine who is a physical fitness instructor in Bangalore, who constantly posts videos of the exercises of his group, the outings he has with his family and friends to restaurants, etc.  I think he does this to share with a large number of people his 'joy'; he is not inhibited and I believe this helps him get more people to join his exercise group.His photos radiate joy, energy, enthusiasm and are bound to attract people to join his exercise group or be is friends. His photos are not selfies but photos of himself in the group of people or his family and so on. He is a social guy and he is that rare character, who has fantastic social skills, lots of self-confidence, no arrogance, is talkative and, unlike most of his peer,s he's comfortable interacting with women.  (the west should learn about the joys of platonic relationships between the sexes from this guy!) This guy is happy, well adjusted, gets along well with his family and friends;  so when he posts several photos, weekly, I dont think of it as a sign of mental health issues.





Tuesday, December 29, 2015

CRIME FICTION SET IN NORWAY

The only book I have read set in Norway is The Indian bride by Karim Fossum. I enjoyed the book but found it sad. The reason I picked this book was the word Indian in the title. I was intrigued about an 'Indian' bride in Norway.

I may read more books by this lady some time.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

MY TAKE ON TEMPLES & SPIRITUALITY


MY TAKE ON TEMPLES & SPIRITUALITY
 I have not yet figured our what I experience when I pray. My daily or almost daily morning prayer is nothing but asking God(I read out a list of God's names) and ask the Gods to bless me and my family and friends( I read out a list of names of family and friends too). I find a definite reduction in anxiety  and feel calm and sort of have the belief that all my family and friends will be safe and problem free; this emotion of calmness lasts for a few minutes/seconds after my prayers. Then I get busy with whatever activity after my prayers; Once busily engaged, I stop experiencing any of the previously felt emotions...the spiritual mood, or anxiety or relief or whatever. On the days I miss saying my prayer, but I am aware that I didn't  pray, I experience a few seconds or minutes of uneasiness but this vanishes as I gets busy with some other thoughts or work. Sometimes I wonder if  praying for me is simply an anxiety reduction activity and not really one which makes me experience joy or spirituality or any of those 'better' emotions. I suppose, it would be nice if I could get something more out of my prayers.

The very few places where I feel calm and in a prayerful mood is when I am in a temple which is quiet, empty or almost empty and the temple should be of a "certain type". The few temples which fulfil this criteria are: The Kadumalleshwara temple in Malleshwaram in Bangalore in the afternoons when it's empty(I don't know how it is these days but in the 70s and 80s it was empty and quiet in the afternoons). The Gutte Anjenayah temple near LalBagh west gate is another temple where I am not distracted and I feel  able to focus at least a few seconds/minutes thinking of God and well-being of all living things.
 If I visited the temples alone, I would be able to focus more; However, I hardly ever go anywhere alone and often my companion is my chatterbox of a husband, who talks non-stop and so my limited ability to  focus or pray is further reduced! 
The other temples in Bangalore which I like as I get the spiritual feeling are the Basavanagudi temple(Bull temple), the Sri Mallikarjuna Swamy temple of Basavanagudi, The Shanimahatma temple near Navarang cinema house, in Rajajinagar, Gavi Gangadareshwara temple, Sri Bandi Mahakali temple near Kempegowdanagar, Gavipuram Gutthalli. Once again, I have to mention that the more crowded these temples are , the less spiritual and more distracted I feel!
 The  temples in the villages I have visited (my village and the villages neighbouring my village) are also places where I spontaneously experience a  sense of devotion;  I  feel spiritual in these temples and this spiritual feeling may be due to the quietness and the ambiance of these temples. I have the same spiritual mood when I am in the really old huge granite temples of Hampe, Halebedu and Belur.
I have listed below the features of temples which appeal to me and put me in a spiritual mood; I have also listed the features which put me off any spiritual mood ! 
a.Quietness. I cannot focus on the deity in the temple, with distractions such as lots of people, lots of noise, even if it is prayers or devotional songs over loud speakers, etc. These days, most temples in cities and 'popular' temples are terribly noisy. I go to them because someone at home, has forced me to go and not because I want to go. My question to the temple authorities is this,"Do you think God is deaf? Does he need to hear your devotional songs on the loud speakers? Will these songs be heard in heaven or where ever God is ? If God is every where, then why are the songs so loud. He can hear it if he is every where; even if God is not everywhere, surely, he(or she) is in the temple and he can hear it without the loudspeaker, can't he?
b. Absence of people or presence of very few people; the people in the temple,should be or at least appear to be focussed on the deity and should behave quietly.(I can get irritable, forget completely about God if the people are noisy, behave badly, etc! When I visit temples, I am often angry and disgusted and  become distracted from God when I see the priest favouring the 'richer' devotees; the priest yelling at someone; etc. These things put me off completely and I am not in a 'spiritual' mood but angry-disgusted mood in temples!
c. I prefer the temples which have not been 'modernized'. but most temples these days have been modernized. The old designs are changed and I simply don't feel spiritual in the modernized temples.  There is something about the simplicity and minimalism of the old temples and village temples, which really improves my mood. 
The most off-putting thing about modernized temples for me is the porcelain tiles on the walls which to my mind are 'bathroom' tiles. I always associate the shiny, plain white porcelain tiles with bathrooms, toilets and hospitals as I have seen them in only those 3 places during my childhood. Someone came up with the bright idea that tiling the walls of the sanctum santorum of temples will keep them clean or easy to maintain. And all temples I have seen (in Bangalore) seem to have adopted this idea! Looking at the white porcelain tiles on the walls makes me think that the Gods are in a bathroom and it simply puts me off, until I can distract myself!

The colourful disco lights some temples put is another thing which puts all spiritual thoughts out of my head! I prefer the oil lamps and for some reason I prefer the 'tubelight'! I know of many people who hate tubelights, but I love them! I want to be able to see the deity clearly and not try to make out the dark idol in the dim light of oil lamps! This is the one modern thing in temples I really like! On the other hand, there is some indescribable satisfaction in trying to see the Deity in the dimly-lit-by-oillamps-in-wall-crevices sanctum santorum, as the priest, takes the lighted camphor or Deepa in circular motions. As the priest moves the Mangalaarthi thette, in circular motions, the flickering fire lights up parts of the deity for milli seconds. I get a thrill to see the face of the deity glow for a brief second in the yellow flickering flames of the lighted camphor before becoming dark and invisible as the camphor flames on the plate move away.  
The plastic wrappers of the agarbattis i.e.incense sticks and the wrappers of the Camphor lying around is another thing which irritates me and puts all thoughts of God out of my head and angry thoughts of plastic pollution in!

d.The temple smells don't bother me thank God. I love the smells of temples in fact. The temple smell is an interesting mix of flowers(fresh, dying and dried), burning camphor, burning incense sticks, coconut water and fresh coconut, vermilion & Vibuthi (?ash), burning oil and burning til seeds. These smells are not  so noticeable   in North Indian temples. The north temples seem 'cleaner', drier & have less odors and this maybe because their worshipping rituals don't involve so much of offerings of fruit, camphor, incense sticks, etc by devotees.  

 The use of disposable plastic cups and plates in temples is another thing which makes me feel less spiritual.
e.For me to feel spiritual, I would like to have the prasada on  a piece of banana leaf like before or the dried leaf-cup(called Donne in Kannada) instead of the current plastic containers.

I loved the temple walls whitewashed with lime and reddened with red-oxide. There is something appealing in the simplicity of the white and red walls of temples of the old days. 
Today, temples are painted with modern paints and look glossy. I do know lime & red-oxide is probably not so easily available and modern paint lasts longer and temples have to change, but it really cuts my spirituality. I wonder if I am simply someone who cannot accept change?

I loved the uneven ground inside the temple (compound) walls and just outside the temple building. The ground was covered by roughly cut granite slabs; our village temple did not even have granite slabs but had sand and thorns grew there and we had to walk carefully so as to not step on those damn thorns when we did the three rounds pradakshe-ne. Today, thanks to the money pouring into temples, the rough hewn granite and Kadapa stone slabs have been replaced by expensive, smooth and to-my-eyes-tacky-looking marble or polished granite slabs. There is something so spiritual about the rough hewn granite slabs and whitewashed walls than the more polished, painted, shiny temple buildings of today.
Today, rich devotees simply pour money into temples and temple authorities feel compelled to use to money to 'improve' the temple. Unfortunately, they seem to have more money than good taste or aesthetics and the temple gets 'improved' and over-built. With all the money pouring in, why the hell don't temple authorities build decent toilets for devotees? Why don't they make the temples handicap friendly? It is impossible for the handicapped to navigate the temple safely in India! It is such a Herculean task simply to climb the stairs in some temples and to cross the massive door steps in some. Why don't they have a space on the roof for birds...why cant they put out food & water for the birds on the roof? Birds are disappearing from Bangalore, even common birds such as sparrows. How much does it cost to feed the birds when so much Prasada is made daily in temples? Why don't they have a space for the homeless beggars who are outside the temple begging?

Previously, temples had really thick walls. I dont know if they had thick walls because thicker was considered as better in those days. I loved those thick walls! In some spots, the walls would crumble into muddy-sand, when you touch them. But I loved those thick walls, I dont know why. They were almost a foot or more thick.

Most old temples had the Peepul tree, Neem tree and Parijata tree growing in their premises or nearby. Many or all temples, have the Tulsi plant growing inside the temple premises. These tress were worshipped daily by both priests and devotees. Some of these trees are hundreds of years old and huge. What I love most about these trees is their hugeness. I also love the sound of the rustling leaves of the Peepul tree and the sound of the coppersmith(crimson breasted barbet)bird in this tree, I could never spot this tiny bird but what a wonderful/powerful song/voice it had! It was  a repetitive sound and maybe that is why it's called coppersmith... the vocals of this bird sound like a continual hammer on copper... 
To me, there was something so tranquil in the sounds of this bird combined with the rustling peepul tress leaves while sitting on the steps of the Kadumalleshwara temple. But with today's teeming population, I doubt if this or any temple feels tranquil at any time other than at the middle of the nights!
One really stupid thing I have noticed in Bangalore is that the ground surrounding the trees is so covered with concrete that there is no way for the water to go into the ground! I see this concrete around trees growing in temples and the trees on the roads. The earth is so covered with concrete in Bangalore that there is no water reaching inside the earth and the trees dry up and die eventually; the ground water in Bangalore is so severely depleted that wells are drying up and a whole lot of ecological problems are being caused and growing daily. Why cannot a science minded Bhakta pitch his two cents of advice to the temple authorities to enable the trees to grow, unhindered by concrete? Also the soil is trampled daily by the devotees doing the pradakshina and the soil becomes hard or is eroded which is harmful to the tree. Why cant they have a set of steps on which the devotees can do their pradikshana without trampling on the soil or grass surrounding the holy trees?
Now with India's population, growing out of control, space is limited, trees are getting chopped and new temples, have no space for trees!

In south India, devotees have installed 'Nagara kallu' or statues of the snake deity near the trees to seek  favours from the Gods. These are often, about one to two feet in height, beautifully carved of granite and I loved these statues, installed between the trees(at least at Kadumalleshwara temple). In a country, where everything which is not nailed gets stolen, I am amazed that these beautiful statues are not stolen, though they are sitting in open places, unguarded!

The other things about old temples have not changed much or at least I cant notice any changes. The rituals are the same, the Gods continue to be made of Panchaloha and are still beautifully carved/moulded. The Teertha and Prasada are the same.  


I adore the old temples which have Kalyanis near them or running rivers close by. There is something about the Kalyanis and the steps going down to them which puts me in a spiritual mood, even though I vacillate between atheism and belief on a daily basis! Now, with all my exposure to modern knowledge, I would never put the water of the Kalyani into my mouth or even bathe in it. But I love the look of it, just the same! As a blissful , ignorant child, I had unquestioningly obeyed my grandmother and did all that she asked me to i.e. sipping the waters of the Kalyani  and bathing in it.
The Kalyani I saw most recently was the one in Hampe about two years ago. The waters were green, the place was empty except for a few tourists like me, there was wild grass and plants growing around it, it was so calm and quiet, I could have spent hours there, reading or photographing, sleeping or contemplating! I even saw lotus plants which made the scene so serene.

I am torn between wanting these temples to have few visitors and maintain the ambience and wanting people to visit these temples and experience what I did! The sad thing is, the moment, these temples become popular, more people visit and the entire ambience is inevitably lost! More people visiting means more income generated, more publicity, more investments into the temples and then they lose their age-old majestic beauty and ambience!


above is the Kalyani at Hampe I visited.
Below is the river near the temple of Hampe.


Below you can see the huge, once great,  Hampe temple in ruins. At present, there are few people here. It's quiet and the weather is like tropical. If one has simple needs and can live with less of modern amenities of life, one could attain Nirvana here!


Below, is a carving of Nandi on a river rock


Imagine that you are troubled and want to seek God, alone. You go to Hampe. Climb this small hill to be alone. Sit in the abandoned temple you see below. Sit and meditate. Not many will disturb you, though India is so damn full of people! Because this place is almost empty! You can carry lunch or come down to eat at a hotel in Hampe village and go back again.
Even the walk, up and down in this hot place, will make you forget your troubles! You will be busy trying to cool off and you will forget your worries!



Below is what I meant by red and white temple walls

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Below is a picture of an old village temple, which has been repainted in recent years with a gaudy orange. it was a lovely, muted limestone white wash before. This is what I meant by saying earlier that these days there is money being poured into temples but without  good taste!

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Look at the pic below. Imagine sitting on top of this hill (Hampe) to meditate. It is so calm and quiet, I can sit here, and feel all my anger against so many people simply melt away. I can see my anxieties melting away. I can feel my worries (if I have any then) seeming less important.  I can feel my mind going blank and calm and I can think positively simply sitting here and watch the Tunga river flow by these silent granite rocks. The climb to reach the top of the hill is also like some sort of penance! I was so out of breath that my mind was blank...no thoughts at all, I was simply gasping for breath, too thirsty to talk, legs stiff and all I could do was sit. look at the surrounding area and recover!

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The ISKCON temple in Bangalore  is completely different! It is so modern, (read commercialized)that I don't know whether to be amused, amazed or put off! It is like a mall in some ways and they sell Prasada which are not typical Prasada at all.
I do know that I should not depend on temples or 'external' things for my own peace/spirituality/Nirvana/Moksha/Shanti or whatever it is you want to call it. I do understand that no amount of peace in the temples or the outer world will help me gain inner peace. I do know that it is my mind which needs to be at peace and also that the external environment contributes very very little to my mind's experience of peace. That I should be able to experience peace, irrespective of what is around me in the external world; that I need to experience peace even in the midst of chaos. That I need to be at peace, even when I am in the middle of deep shit! I know that I can't go around blaming 'noisy' temples or 'crooked priests' for my inability to achieve Moksha. I cannot go around demanding  that the world and people change so that I can attain Nirvana!  If I want Nirvana, I need to change.
Yet, somewhere  deep inside me I think that, Nirvana would be a tad easy to gain, if I could meditate in solitude in an ancient, abandoned  temple  in the middle of a forest, sans people, surrounded by wild flowering plants, trees, birds and a Kalyani, !

FACEBOOK WARRIORS & PATRIOTS SHOULD DO REAL DEEDS. NOT MERE CUT-&-PASTE-&-PASSALONG

People post patriotic statements on FB. But how many of these millions of Facebook patriots, actually do something worthy for their country or countrymen?

Monday, December 14, 2015

Things I dislike on the internet

Is the modern world getting shallower and shallower or what? There seems to be so much emphasis on 'external' beauty and appearance  these days. I get the feeling that media seems to force us to regard external appearance as more important than anything else in the world.


These are some of the horrible titles which keep popping on the internet, no matter what I am searching for. These titles, show how the media is obsessed with looks and keeps forcing it on people.


10 unbelievable A-List Ugly Duckling Transformations.
Shocking photos of sexy stars that got fat real fat  fast
See photos of celebrities who have aged horribly
Plastic surgery gone wrong
and so on and on and on.


I cannot believe that when there are so many urgent and important things going on in the world which needs our attention, the media gives so much space to this sort of junk. I cannot believe that people spend time looking at these articles.







Tuesday, December 8, 2015

THE WESTERNS I HAVE LOVED READING

I have read only one series of westerns i.e. novels by Oliver Strange and Fredrick H Christian.
Oliver Strange created this wonderful character Sudden and he wrote 10 books and this series was carried on by Fredrick H Christian who wrote 5 books.
There are millions of westerns out there.  Westerns by authors such as Max Brand and Zane Gray are aplenty in  libraries and bookstores. My friends and folks have not heard of Oliver Strange and Fredrick H Christian. Yet, I prefer the books of these two authors, unknown to many today. The books featuring Sudden are listed below. I have read these books over and over again! They may be romanticized and unrealistic, but I adore them!  I discovered on the internet, that the 2 authors who wrote this series may not have visited America or seen first hand the 'wild west'. But that does not necessarily deter me from enjoying or believing these books!


 10 Sudden books by  Oliver Strange
  • The Range Robbers (1930)
  • The Law o' the Lariat (1931)
  • Sudden (1933)
  • The Marshal of Lawless (1933)
  • Sudden—Outlawed (1934)
  • Sudden—Gold Seeker (1937)
  • Sudden Rides Again (1938)
  • Sudden Takes the Trail (1940)
  • Sudden Makes War (1942)
  • Sudden Plays a Hand (1950)
 5 Sudden books by Fredrick.H.Christian
  • Sudden Strikes Back (1966)
  • SuddenTroubleshooter (1967)
  • Sudden at Bay (1968)
  • Sudden—Apache Fighter (1969)
  • Sudden—Dead or Alive! (1970)
All of these books are out of print. they will not be published again as these books are supposed to be 'racist', etc by today's standards. I don't see them as racist but as a reflection of the attitudes prevalent in  those days. These books are available in amazon and ebay but cost a lot. I am the happy & proud owner of  these 15 books! and some are hardbound too!

I am happy to say that these books are being reprinted!!! I saw a set of ten books of Oliver Strange as recently as May 2016 in the Blossoms book store in Bangalore. They can also be found on amazon.com for 63-00$. These are published by Hachette India.