Tag Archives: society

Seven Secrets of the Goddess – Review


Yet another author whose works I’ve become a complete fan of – Devdutt Pattanaik. If there is too much hype surrounding him today, I would say every bit of it is worth it. I started reading his books from his later viz Shikhandi being the first one and now this. I have come across his other ‘Seven Secrets’ series titles and hope to read all of them in due course of time. Because one can only imagine how much knowledge – the sheer depth of it – can be contained within one person.

Like there is a pioneer in every genre of writing, I would say Pattanaik has taken up that space when it comes to demystifying Hindu mythology. And this is coming from someone who has been a staunch atheist for the better part of his life. And whose reading of Hindu mythology has been confined to children’s textbooks with colourful art and observation of family or community rituals.

Without going into the merits or demerits of my own beliefs in this regard, I can objectively say that a writer deserves all the more credit when he or she manages to deconstruct complex subjects to make it appealing to every kind of reader. Without compromising on quality everywhere. Maybe I’m saying purely from the point of a view of a reader who delves in the sheer pleasure of reading before anything else. Even then, Pattanaik’s writings have a huge significance today, given the constant churning and questioning of cultural foundations of society. It’s not a bad thing and Pattanaik only helps further this cause, while espousing the belief of ‘multiple truths.’ That is a belief I stand by personally. It would be easy to confuse this with ‘multiculturalism.’ But I would say multiple truths are more universal in scope – because even the tiniest of human groups have differences that they need to work with constantly – just like life partners.

Like Shikhandi, Seven Secrets of the Goddess talks of the very vital aspect – the role of women in society. It goes from the extreme ie Kali to the very mild ie Gauri and every aspect that lies in between. Pattanaik elaborates on every version of tales relating to Gods and Goddesses as seen by different communities of India. The influence of Western, Islamic and other cultures on Hinduism is also dealt with in this regard. And from this emerges a very interesting narrative which I believe also explains the current dynamic of Indian politics.

Concepts like gender and feminism perhaps cannot be explained merely with a few chapters or references to religion/mythology if one wants to view everything through a rational perspective. The author, having been trained in medical science himself, does not ignore this fact. Which is why he balances the spiritual and material references very carefully. This encourages critical thinking and doesn’t just end up being a portrait of a religion that has been wronged by others or seeks to stand out. It seeks to inform without a bias in an age where objectivity is like proverbial needle in the haystack.

To get your copy of the book, visit Flipkart


Indian Procrastinators’ League

The IPL is back, and so is the enthusiasm, the euphoria, the hysteria…and possibly many other adjectives that I was trying to look up in the dictionary while writing this post. But then, I’m sure coming up with heavy words is just another diversionary tactic that we, er, proud Indians are so good at. In slightly more than 24 hours from now, a ‘cricket extravaganza’ will kick off with Punjabi mundas cheering for teams originating from land of Marxist machhlis, and so on. In the midst of this, you, me and a lot of others have raised a concern (and quite rightly at that) that Anna Hazare’s fast will be headbutted out of the media headlines. Or, if you and me want it to be that way.

Corruption is a byword – a byword for larger things that have encompass our daily lives – that being ‘right’ is the new ‘wrong’. ‘It’s not right to do things the right way,’, ‘It doesn’t matter what they think’. What is the right and what is wrong? Who are they? These are questions that may be beyond the scope of any blog, book, discussion paper or seminar. The IPL, like the CWG and 2G grafts, was another symbol of ‘Shining India’ (sic). Players being auctioned off to the highest bidders, as if they are coal mines or storage infrastructure for a telecom service provider. We have scorned at it, we have made fun of it. Yet, we may or may not have noticed a strange irony that lies in this particular phenomenon. The auction – it’s not just the players out there, it’s happened to each one of us, day by day, week by week, month by month. We have auctioned off our souls – to the traffic sergeant for making the signal-jump look like a clean act, to the municipal inspector for making the ‘jugaad’ of owning two houses and paying taxes for one a perfect example of our ‘smartness’.

Yes, corruption in the country may be like the proverbial chicken and egg – does it thrive because we let it or are we too helpless to do anything about it? But, from a cynic’s point of view (which this blog writer may be accused of) – the bias may be towards the former. Isn’t there a saying that corruption is like cancer? And cancer survivors know only too well the benefits of early detection and cure.

Many a times, it’s been said that ‘giving up food is the coolest way to get work done.’ Putting the overt sarcasm in this statement aside, if that had been the case, how would the McDonald’s and Domino’s of the world do business in India? Any and every MNC who sets foot on our soil is baffled, and also happy, at the sheer volume of business that this land offers. And, this is also the land where ‘it’s difficult to get any work done.’

Anna Hazare’s move may or may not be symbolic. But, it’s clearly about taking a stand. It’s about doing the bizarre to treat the weird. Be it sleazy politicians or cricket administrators, remember – they are a construct of the same ‘society’ you and me inhabit. Yes, today they may be occupying pedestals so high that we find it difficult to reach out to them. Again, like ‘we don’t vote’, so we don’t want to reach out. Like a legend called Michael Jackson once sang: “Some things in life we just don’t want to see…..all I want to say is that they don’t really care about us.” For us, the situation is: “We don’t care about us.” We are the Indian Procrastinators’ League, which even I’m a part of (otherwise this blogpost would not have existed!). Yes, I’m ranting and showing off my angst in so many words. But, in the process of reading this, I’m sure you are being the change you want to see. Yes, I believe that all of us will go beyond words to wipe out the tolerance for evil. Yes, hope is the sturdiest of ropes

Walking Down The Aisle, Literally

Workplace romance may not be a very new concept exactly. But, there are times when the couples concerned start taking it too literally. In such cases, the events that follow give you some much needed break from the heartburn that you nurse after blowing up that humongous amount of money on flop movie in the nearest multiplex. Consider the example of an airhostess getting married to a pilot as an example. How would the chants of the officiating priest sound? Maybe something like this:

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome aboard Knotical Mile Airways, Flight 42+69. Today we are here to celebrate the happy union of Long Legs with Ray-Ban Eyes. Please follow the instructions carefully as I, Jet Lageshwar, lead you through this happy occasion. We will be covering the distance in approximately ten days, 62 hours. There are NO exits in the aircraft if we encounter turbulence. For the bride, there are special masks called Retail Therapy fitted above the seats, which drop down if the groom starts eyeing the other airhostesses with more precision. The groom would be requested to help the bride wear her mask instead of him giving it futile, mid-air trials. At the back of every seat, there is a booklet on surviving disasters like 125 decibel shouts at 5am – I request the groom to go through it carefully.

We will be providing you with refreshments on board free of cost, but we will expect you to return the favour with at least a kilo of onions and fake gold jewellery. Please feel free to use your mobile phones even when the aircraft is taking off or landing, but make sure your conversation is about the latest car or at least the Scotch whiskey bottle that you gave for dowry at the wedding of your child. Or, if your boy or girl has reached marriageable age but is yet to find a suitable match, feel free to send me the profile at jet.lageshwar@tharkimatrimony.com. I will be happy to help at the best rates on offer in the market.

Here’s Jet Lageshwar wishing the couple and everyone else on board a very happy journey.