Rajneeti – A fan’s testimony

RajneetiRajneeti – the film

Finally, after a long time, a film sweeps the earth below your feet. Despite the fact that the story resembles Mahabharat and The Godfather, there are numerous moments in this film which takes us by surprise.

My favourite character here is not the one which is played by Katrina Kaif, but surprisingly the one played by Arjun Rampal. Others were established actors or the ones who got the script’s favour, but Prithvi has played a “Subdued” Sandy Corleone with elan.

Ranbir Kapoor has smoked too many cigarettes and I am wondering whether cigarettes also played a part in drawing strategies. If this is the case,  then Nana Patekar should have demanded few box of cigars. Just kidding.

But, the real winner here for me is the script, the pace is good and holds the plot together. I am a bit disappointed with the space given to Ajay Devgan, the director should have done better with him. He is not given enough space here, which is a pity.

This post will be incomplete if Naseeruddin Shah’s role is not discussed here. He played a superb cameo here.

Manoj Bajpai has also done justice to his role.

Overall a must see and better than lot of movies in the politics fold, such as Sarkar, Sarkar Raj, Rann etc.

Tie and Dye

As the name suggest cotton or silk fabric is tied into sections and then dyed, these ties prevent the entire material from being dyed. For more intricate designs different sections are tied at every stage of  dyeing and variety of colours are used  thereafter, fabric opens into amazing designs dots, circles, square, waves and stripes.

Tie Dye Tapestry

Pic. Tapestry made with using Tie and Dye technique

Main colours used are yellow green red and black. Its process and patters has given it different names like bandhej and laheria. This art is very popular in Rajasthan, Gujarat and  Madhya Pradesh, where its a household craft which is supervised by head of the family. The fabric is skilfully knotted by the women, while the portfolio of dyeing rests with the men.


Pic: Bandhej

This technique is becoming very popular as not only fancy items, but day to day wearable clothes are also being made using this technique. See a T-Shirt below. Also, cushion covers and various apparels are made from Tie and Dye.



td 1 Pic. Another dress made from Tie and Dye technique.


Pic. – A pillow cover.

Getting Enough Sleep as a Parent

Children steal your sleep, it’s not possible to be a parent without any effect on the quantity and quality of sleep, unless you have vast retinue of retainers at your service. The worse your sleeping patterns are the worse every thing else become in your life, so its well worth mitigating the damage. If children’s are waking up a lot or sleeping at odd times they will probably become irritable, and unable to concentrate just like you….this is potentially a explosive combination. So you will have to make do with routines, common senses and basic psychology.
Up to about three months, your sleep is probably not going to be great. . So sort yourself out for maximum comfort – cot next to the bed, baby in bed3, baby feeds while you’re asleep (breast feeding – the bottle tends to fall out of your hand…), whatever. After three months or so, you can start training your baby – spacing feeds, sleeping in their cot, sleeping in their own room perhaps. Good habits and a little bit of suffering now (you may have to sleep less while your baby adjusts) will give you precious extra zeds later.
From about the age when they are no longer in a cot, this is the ultimate weapon of the toddler. What parent could fail to acknowledge the wail of their progeny – ‘daddy I want a glass of water?’ It’s a mystery to this researcher why they get so thirsty at night, but one conclusion could be that this is an acceptable way, when waking up in the middle of the night, to get some attention from one’s parents. You can try putting a glass by the bed, making sure they have a drink at bedtime, but fundamentally, it’s you they want…
Bed Wetting
The downside of all this drinking, of course, is that it has to come out the other end. Children gradually gain control of their bladder from birth until, by the age of three, about half can and do remain dry through the night. Most of the rest have gained voluntary control by the age of five, but bed wetting is a problem for few unlucky ones.
1 in five year old suffers with this
1 in seven year old suffers with this
1 in eleven year old suffers with this,
1 in hundred suffer with it in their early adulthood.
Normally kidney produces a stream of urine in bladder, when it is full it’s stretched and sends signal to brain for the need of urinate. During sleep brain produces vasopressin, which reduces urine output from kidney, usually to a level where bladder does not fill completely until we are awake.
In some children’s brain is not producing enough vasopressin, but a good news is that brain increases the production as the child grows.
In some the bladder is not big enough, this will tend to show with frequent use of toilet during the day.
Some time brain does not recognise the signal because the sleep is deep.
In some the problem may be inherited.
And in some there may be some external factors like, stress, bullying, disturbance at home, or simply a scary bed time story.
Although parent can not teach their child to develop bladder control, but they can encourage child to learn by offering support and encouragement.
Even when things are going well, when you’ve been sleeping solidly for some time, the other thing that children do a lot of is get sick. This may involve in you waking up to check up on them, because you’re concerned. This is almost the worst, because not only are you up, you’re also having to react, make decisions, deal with a grumpy/weepy/hot/nauseous child. There’s not a lot you can do about it either – other than being prepared by having the appropriate bucket/medicine/spare bedclothes/ handy in case of need.
Monsters in the wardrobe, gremlins under the bed, nightmares, strange shadows, too dark, wind outside, rain on window, giant lobsters (yes, really): all of these are capable of generating abject terror in the average toddler to young child. They wake up and they will yell until you get there to comfort them. If you’re lucky, the shouting will wake any other children as well. You can try some words of comfort ‘giant lobsters live in the sea, son, not in your bedroom’ or ‘vampires and dragons are only in stories, and pirates and knights are only in the past.. You can try leaving the light on on the landing, or a night light. You can try avoiding certain stories as the bedtime read. But some nightmares are a normal part of development. If you can avoid that the child systematically comes into your bed as a response to this, then that would be a smart plan as this can be a hard habit to break.
Babies can be sensitive to the slightest creak on some occasions, but can also sleep on, impervious to the most incredible racket if tired enough or used to it. Some sort of halfway house seems the best approach on this – it seems reasonable that older brethren should pipe down while the baby is sleeping, but at the same time if they can only sleep in a ghostly quiet, this will not facilitate an eventual transition to some form of collective childcare, and will make your life trickier as well as everyone tiptoes around the house, finger to lips.
Most children aren’t capable of outlasting their parents in the evening, fortunately, but they are more than capable of waking up at a time that even a dairy farmer would consider a bit premature. Solutions include darker curtains, strict instructions on what to do when they wake up ‘read your book until I come down’ or clocks with eyes shut, eyes open ‘if the rabbit has his eyes shut, go back to sleep’.
Part of the problem can be how long they are sleeping in the day, and when. If they sleep in the car on the way back from the creche, for example, it’s not surprising that they are not going to put their head back down on the pillow on arrival. Some nurseries impose a siesta, but maybe you can influence how long it is?
The creativity of children in finding a good excuse should not be underestimated. Recent examples that this researcher has encountered include ‘my pants are too tight’ (at 3 am), or ‘I can’t find my soft rabbit’ (at 1 am). The possibilities are almost limitless.
This is a solution, rather than a problem. Children are creatures of habit – if most nights you feed them round the same time, and then have an endgame routine – wash, teeth, read a book, lights out (for example) – this reduces the potential for conflict, and increases the possibility that they go to sleep contented and therefore do not wake up. The constituent parts of the routine vary with age, obviously, but putting in place a routine can be done from a very early age. The downside of this dependency on predictability is that if you allow them to pick up bad habits, it makes it hard to put it right. For young children, avoiding television, computer games, boisterous activity or other over stimulation at bedtime is always a good plan.
Another angle on this is predictable behaviour when dealing with a plea to attention. One possibility is the first time you go into them, you talk to them and reassure them. After that, you just go in and tuck them in but no talk, no hug, no matter how many times they call you. They soon get the message that there’s no point in calling you again. Another is – first time comfort, second time perfunctory, third time cross. For younger children, you have ‘controlled crying’ – leaving them for a set amount of time, then comforting them (normally without picking them up), leaving them again, etc until they get into the habit of sleeping through.
Despite all and any of these tactics, for more or less long periods of your life as a parent, none of it may work. You may just have to grit your teeth and wait for it to pass. If you find yourself really distressed through lack of sleep or the problem is ongoing, then see your GP or similar source of advice – specialist sleep clinics and the like exist for extreme case.

All Saints – Crooked Spire – Chesterfield

Crooked Spire of Chesterfield
Chesterfield - All Saints church.

All saints church at Chesterfield.

Chesterfield’s crooked spire is a parish church of St. Mary and All Saints. This famous six hundred year old crooked spire is visible from many miles around. This is a largest parish church in Derby shire, having several chapels, alabaster tomb, and a full range of historic treasure. It was built around 1350.

Since 1994, this is a member of the Association of Twisted Spires of Europe. There are altogether 72, France has 32, Germany 19, Austria 8, Belgium 7, Denmark 3, and Switzerland 2, with Chesterfield being the UK’s only representative. Chesterfield’s Crooked Spire is the most unusual, with a greater lean & twist than any other.
There are plenty of legend, about the All saints crooked spire.
Some say that a local blacksmith was asked to shoe the devil and was so nervous, he drove a nail into his foot. The devil flew off and kicked out at the spire as he passed by.
In the second tale, the devil landed on the spire and sneezed violently when the smell of incense from the midnight mass reached his nose.
And in the third, the spire turned around in amazement when a virgin was married in the church
so it leaned over to have a closer look, and if this ever happen again the spire will straighten thinking that it’s common.
The most likely explanation, though, is the lack of skilled craftsmen and the use of green timber, a lack of cross-bracing and 32 tons of lead cladding.
The octagonal spire of All Saints is timber-framed and constructed of oak, with platelets of lead-cladding rising in herringbone rows from the flat-roofed and crenellated battlements of the clock-towered belfry, up to the golden cockerel atop the weather-vane, 228 feet above the ground.
The spire currently leans 9ft 6ins to the south-west and leans more every year.
The spire also has a spiral twist of 45% from west to east at its base which is thought to be attributable to the use of green, unseasoned timber, and the weight of the lead cladding.
The spire at the All Saints was added to the existing tower around 1362, but is not attached and is only held in place by the weight (32 tons) and perfect balance.
During the 19th century an official architectural survey declared the spire unsafe and dangerous; the Town Council were ordered to either take it down, or repair it and make it safe – they repaired it.

Om (Aum)

Om or aum is a sacred Hindu symbol, and is considered greatest of all mantras and sacred formulas. The syllable consist of three phonemes a-u-m (in Sanskrit, the vowels a and u combine to become o) and the symbol’s threefold nature is central to the meaning of Om or Aum. Aum is said to be the primordial sound that was present at the creation of the universe. It is said to be the original sound that contains all other sounds, all words, all languages and all mantras. It is a mystical or sacred syllable in the Indian religions, including Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, and Buddhism.
It represent several important triads like
the three worlds – earth, atmosphere, and heaven
the three major Hindu gods – Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva
the three sacred Vedic scriptures – Rigved, Yajurved, and Samaved
the three stages of life – birth, life and death
Thus Om mystically embodies the essence of the entire universe. It is uttered at the beginning and end of Hindu prayers, chants, and meditation and is freely used in Buddhist and Jain ritual also. The Mandukya Upanishad is entirely devoted to the explanation of the syllable.
The syllable is mentioned in all the Upanishads, specially elaborated upon in the Taittiriya, Chandogya and Mandukya Upanishad set forth as the object of profound religious meditation, the highest spiritual efficacy being attributed not only to the whole word but also to the three sounds a (a-kāra), u (u-kāra), m (ma-kāra), of which it consists. A-kara means form or shape like earth, trees, or any other object. U-kara means formless or shapeless like water, air or fire. Ma-kara means neither shape nor shapeless (but still exists) like the dark matter in the Universe. When we combine all three syllables we get AUM which is a combination of A-kara, U-kara, andMa-kara.
The Katha Upanishad: “The goal, which all Vedas declare, which all austerities aim at, and which humans desire when they live a life of conscience, I will tell you briefly it is Aum” .”The one syllable [evākṣara, viz. Aum] is indeed Brahman. This one syllable is the highest. Whosoever knows this one syllable obtains all that he desires.”This is the best support; this is the highest support. Whosoever knows this support is adored in the world of Brahma.”
The Chandogya Upanishad chanting the syllable om is the best of all essences, the highest, deserving the highest place, the eighth.”
In Bhagwat Gita Krishna says to Arjuna – “I am the father of this universe, the mother, the support and the grandsire. I am the object of knowledge, the purifier and the syllable Oḿ. I am also the Ṛig, the Sāma and the Yajur Vedas.”
According to Hindu philosophy, the letter A represents creation, when all existence issued forth from Brahma’s golden nucleus; the letter U refers to Vishnu the God of the middle who preserves this world by balancing Brahma on a lotus above himself, and the letter M symbolizes the final part of the cycle of existence, when Vishnu falls asleep and Shiva has to breathe in so that all existing things have to disintegrate and are reduced to their essence to him
According to Vaishnava Dvaita ‘Aum’ is an impersonal sound representation of Vishnu/Krishna while Hari Nama is the personal sound representation. A represents Krishna, U Srimati
Radharani and M jivas
According to Advaita philosophy it is frequently used to represent three subsumed into one, a common theme in Hinduism. It implies that our current existence is mithyā and maya, “falsehood”, that in order to know the full truth we must comprehend beyond the body and intellect the true nature of infinity. Aum is the signifier of the ultimate truth that all is one.
In Jainism, Aum is regarded to be a condensed form of reference to the five parameshth is, by their initials A+A+A+U+M (Arihanta, Ashiri, Acharya, Upadhyaya, Muni)
In sikhism, Ik Onkar is the first phrase in the Mul Mantra which means”there is only one God”.
Buddhists place Om at the beginning of their Vidya-Sadaksari or mystical formulary in six syllables (viz., om mani padme hum) as well as most other mantras and dharanis.
Detail description of om.
The syllable om consist of 3 curves (1,2,3), a semi circle (4)and a dot.

Curve 1, which is lower, is the largest, this symbolises the waking (jagrit) st
age. in this state the consciousness is turned outwards through the gates of the senses. The larger size signifies that this is the most common state of the human consciousness.
Curve 2, which is upper signifies the state of deep sleep (sushupti) or the unconscious state. This is a state where the sleeper desires nothing nor beholds any dream.
Curve 3, which is middle one and signifies the dream state (swapna). This is the stage which lies between deep sleep and the waking state. In this state the consciousness of the individual is turned inwards, and the dreaming self beholds an enthralling view of the world behind the lids of the eyes.
Thus these three curves represents the three states of an individuals consciousness, and the entire manifested reality spring (emerge) from consciousness hence the 3 curves represents entire physical phenomenon.
The dot signifies the fourth state of consciousness, known as turia in Sanskrit. In this state the consciousness looks neither outwards nor inwards, nor the two together. It signifies the coming to rest of all differentiated, relative existence This utterly quiet, peaceful and blissful state is the ultimate aim of all spiritual activity.
Finally, the semi circle symbolizes maya and separates the dot from the other three curves. Thus it is the illusion of maya that prevents us from the realization of this highest state of bliss. The semi circle is open at the top, and does not touch the dot. This means that this highest state is not affected by maya. Maya only affects the manifested phenomenon.

Henna- Mehandi

Mehandi is a temporary body art done with a powder known as henna. This is obtained from a plant Lawsonia inermis, commonly found in middle east and other areas where climate is hot and dry. The top leaves of the plant is dried and crushed to make powder, i.e. henna powder.

The art of mehandi is spread over the south asia, middle east and north africa. Henna is popular for more than 5000 years , for not only its aesthetic or sacred qualities but also for its medicinal properties. Henna has a strong cooling effect and is also known as an antiseptic. Henna is also used as a hair dye.

The henna powder is green in colour but the stain or colour which is leaves is orange-red. There are different ways by which people apply henna paste on body. Some people use toothpicks and some use plastic cones or plastic squeeze bottle to make beautiful patterns on body. Then this is allowed to dry for few hours, then gently removed without using water. This way pretty colour is obtained which lasts for couple of weeks. in other words is a naturally obtained tattoo.

Henna designs or mehandi designs traditionally falls into four different styles:

1. Middle Eastern style
is mostly made up of floral patterns similar to the Arabic textiles, paintings and carvings and do not usually follow a distinctive pattern.

2.The North African style generally follows the shape of the hands and feet using geometrical floral patterns.

3.The Indian and Pakistani designs encompass more than just the feet and hands and generally extend further up the appendages to give the illusion of gloves and stockings which are made up of lines, paisley patterns and teardrops.

4. The Indonesian and Southern Asian styles were a mix of Middle Eastern and Indian designs using blocks of color on the very tips of their toes and fingers.

This is a wonderful art.

Laughing buddha

The celestial Buddha named Hotei or Pu-Tai is best known as the jolly Laughing Buddha. In China, he is known as the Loving or Friendly One. He is based on an eccentric Chinese Ch’an (Zen) monk who lived over 1,000 years ago and has become a significant part of Buddhist and Shinto culture. Because of this monk’s benevolent nature, he came to be regarded as an incarnation of the Bodhisattva who will be Maitreya (the Future Buddha). His large protruding stomach and jolly smile have given him the common designation “Laughing Buddha.”
Laughing Buddha has been regarded as an incarnation of Bodhisattva and due to his protruding belly and jolly nature was given the name laughing Buddha. Images of Laughing Buddha can be seen gracing various amulets, temples and restaurants. The benevolent Buddha is also regarded as deity of abundance and contentment.
You can always see him carrying a sac which is always filled with some precious things. He is patron of weak, poor and children’s.
According to legend, if one rubs the Laughing Buddha’s great belly, it brings forth wealth, good luck, and prosperity. Hotei is also referred to as the patron saint of restaurateurs, fortunetellers and bartenders. When one overeats or over drinks, friends jokingly attribute it to the Laughing Buddha’s influence.