Does God seek revenge?

With God’s grace and persistent reminders from my uncle, after 5 long years of our wedding, we could finally perform the Satyanarayana Swamy Vratham at our residence. The pooja went on well under my parents’ guidance and help. We felt really peaceful and happy having undertaken the Vratham.

swamyBesides the pooja we were happy to host our extended family for lunch and we thoroughly enjoyed the family gathering. So, all went well except for 2 minor hiccups which are the cause and reason behind this blog post.

For those unaware, this pooja is sacred and is performed once a year by many Telugu house holds. It includes a detailed pooja procedure followed by 5 stories narrating the history of the pooja and the power of the God.

These stories, to my utter bewilderment, indicate that the Lord gets angry on anyone who vouch to do the Pooja and couldn’t undertake it. He goes to the extent of effecting the health & wealth and even causing death to the kith and kin of the person who vouched. I strongly deny to attribute these qualities to my Lord. I am sure my Almighty can never be so revenge-seeking. His motto can not be chasing every non-abiding human being into living-hell. If it is so, can we really treat him as the Supreme Power?

So these stories must have been invented by our ancestors. But for what purpose? Shouldn’t devotion be born out of sheer love? Will the fear induced Pooja process serve any purpose?

The second glitch was that at the beginning of the Pooja, we were allowed to give only the names of my in-laws. The reasons quoted by Pandit ji for denying the names of my parents  were in-comprehensible. Don’t I have the basic right of praying for the peace and prosperity of my parents?

Aren’t these practices the root cause of some problems in the Society today?

PS: I am not an atheist. I believe in Almighty. My faith is my strength and my guiding factor. My problem is with customs and practices.



A rejoinder to a business standard article on Bahubali!

A northie friend of mine shared this article asking for opinions from her telugu friends. Having watched the movie, though not on the first day and having followed all the uproar against the weakling in the characterization of the female lead Avantika I felt intrigued to read through the article. Especially the title echoed with my feelings.  The discourse of this magnitude sounded un-necessary for me too. But as I read through, I have lost it completely.  Does the author really mean the discourse is unnecessary because tollywood movies are anyways hopeless, because the director is used to dumbifing the female lead roles, because the female oriented movies are not successful, or because the director is a disciple of another Director who is used to objectifying the female lead! His arguments are something beyond my comprehension.

First let me rebuke on his degrading statement against Tollywood. Sir, your statement regarding telugu movies has really hurt a genuine telugu movie buff’s sentiments. Please be reminded we do have many female-lead movies in Tollywood. Missamma, Mayabazaar, Karthavyam, Arundati,  and the latest Rudrammadevi are just few examples of successful (read box office hits) and powerful female-lead movies which I could recollect immediately. I am sure there will be many more which will surface on a simple google search (let me know if you need help there). They may not match in numbers with male-lead movies but they definitely don’t fall short of matching up in ratio with other woods (Holly, Bolly, Kolly etc).

Non-telugu guys I promise to write a separate post to give you a non-biased view of tollywood and link it up here.

Secondly on the movie, when I watched the movie, I got damn bored in the first half at the over insistence to establish the physical power of Shivudu and ofcourse I didnt like him making advances towards Avantika but I enjoyed the picturization nevertheless      (And please don’t get me started on laws of physics etc… lot of so called international standard hollywood movies don’t comply as well). As the story built up I got glued to the narrative and the screen play. The second half completely compensated for the glitches in the first half. Sivagami- Ramya krishna, Kattappa – Sathyaraj , Ballaladeva – Nazar, Bijjaladeva – Rana, Snr Bahubali – Prabas! What a lovely casting,  characterization and performance. And of course it will be a crime on my part not to mention the war scene. By the end of it I forgot about all the shortfalls of first half and left the theater making a mental note to watch it again on the big screen.

I still agree with a lot of my feminist friends on why Shivudu-Avantika relationship portrayal is a cause of concern given the current Indian scenario. I could have appreciated if the Director handled it better. The fact that he used colloquial language even for a movie which is framed in medieval  times did impress me. Obviously he could have found a smarter way to handle the delicate romance between the two  powerful lead characters.

The Queen!

The Queen!

BUT for a minute forget Avantika and look at the characterization of Sivagami. Look at the respect she commands, the ethics she caries and look at the whole kingdom that obeys to her orders (including the crocked husband). And please be reminded this character has also been brought alive by pretty much the same Director. It clarifies the point that the Director might have just been carried away in Avantika’s case but had no intentions of an anti-feministic message  through his multi-million block buster movie.

Let us come to the audience. There is an age old saying “What you seek is what you get”. So I can only request the audience to use their discretion while trying to emulate the movie. You wont obviously attempt to climb up the water fall trying to dupe Sivudu right? In the same way please don’t go by the movie blindly and assume that you can continue to make advances with women even when they show resentment / when they don’t give you their consent. In short sit back and enjoy the reel for entertainment, come back to real life and behave yourselves!

I rest my case!

Learning is now a child’s play

One literally had to sweat it out!

One literally had to sweat it out!

Some times evolution in structured learning surprises me. Think about it a 1000 years ago, if you got to learn you got to sweat it out at Gurukuls. You got to be equivalent of a servant to the Guru, please him with your service and get blessed with some gyan. May be not so far ago (and wrt some courses even today), you got to clear competitive exams, adhere stringent selection process of group discussions / personal interviews etc to get into that dream course of yours (Not to mention the slogging involved in completing the course).

This kind of highly involved and intensive format of learning is great for children. But as we get into full time professions, the opportunity cost just shoots up and our learning rate just drops off the cuff. The part time courses were the saviors for the conscious continuous learners. These courses with their increasing acceptability in the job market were a boon but nevertheless the self preparation and the examination process involved kept my types at a safe distance.

Wonder box as teaching assistant!

Wonder box as teaching assistant!

Today, with every home being connected, there are innumerable courses being made available through our smart devices. Just imagine, you could watch your favorite course video on your wonder-box while you sip your coffee at the comfort of your desk, or you could just turn on the podcast while you drive back home.

While we are at it do look up this interesting listing of 37 websites to learn things. Great job Krystina

Personally I love Coursera and found it damn easy and useful. While the acceptability / recognition for these courses is a little far away, they serve the purpose of fun-filled / easy learning.

So be happy to belong to this era of entertaining life-long learning and try out your first online course ever. Trust me, you will thank me for my recommendation!

Cheers to all the learners out there