Thursday, February 12, 2015

मंदिर, पुजारी आणी दक्षिणा


नुकतेच माझे एक स्नेही मथुरा, वृन्दावन, अमृतसर इत्यादी गाव फिरून आले. तेथील अनेक चित्रविचित्र अनुभव मनोरंजक होते. मथुरेमधील एक अनुभव ऐकून विचारात पडलो. एका मंदिरात तिथल्या पूजार्याने आधी दानधर्माचे महत्त्व सांगून देवदर्शन करुदिल्याबद्दल दक्षिणा मागितली. त्यंनीं दक्षिणा देण्याचे नाकरल्यावर, पुजारी अत्यंत रागवला असे सांगत होते. त्यांच्या मते देवदर्शनाकरता दान दक्षिणा मागणे योग्य नव्हे.

थोड्याफार फर्काने हे चित्र बऱ्याच देवळांमधे दिसते. या ना त्या कारणाने पंडित/पुरोहीत लोक भक्तां कडून पैसे/धान्य वा इतर वस्तु मिळवण्याचा प्रयत्न करतात. बरेच वेळा भक्त मंडळी नाइलाजने अथवा भीती मुळे इच्छे विरूद्ध मागण्या मान्य करतात, नाहीतर अशा लोकंपासून सावध राहतात. अशा कटु अनुभवांन मुळे काही लोकांना मंदिरात जायला आवडत नाही. काहींना हा सर्व प्रकार पाहून हिंदु धर्माची लाज वाटते. आपल्याला पण असे अनुभव आले असतील.

खरे सांगायचे तर हि परिस्थिती बदलयची असेल तर काही गोष्टी आपण जाणून घेणे ज़रूरी आहे.

1. मंदिरातला पूजारी/पुरोहीत एक मनुष्य आहे. त्याच्या कुटुंबाची त्याच्यावर जवाबदारी आहे.
2. त्याच्या उपजीविकेचे साधन फक्त दान/दक्षिणा आहे. इतर शिक्षण नसल्याने दूसरे प्राप्तीचे साधन नाही.
3. त्याला मंदिर सोडून ठराविक वेळेत क्वचित् बाहेर जाऊन इतर धार्मिक कार्यात पौरोहित्य करता येते.
4. लोक मंगल कार्यात हज़ारों रुपये आनंदाने खर्च करतात पण पुरोहिताला दक्षिणा अगदी अनिछेने उपकार केल्यागत देतात.
5. लग्न कार्यात भरपूर वायफळ खर्च करतात पण पुरोहिताला निकृष्ट दरज्याचे कापड, धान्य इत्यादी देतात.
6. वास्तुशास्त्री/फेगशुई एक्सपर्ट/भविष्य संगणाऱ्यांना वाटेल तेवढे पैसे द्यायला लोक तयार होतात, पण आपल्या घरच्या धार्मिक कार्याला वेळ देवून, आशीर्वाद देणाऱ्या पुरोहिताला थोडी जास्त दक्षिणा देणे आयोग्य वाटते.
7. आजपर्यंत श्रीमंत तर सोडाच, मध्यम परिस्थितितला पूजारी कधीच भेटला नाही. सगळे जेमतेम आपला संसार रेटतात.
8. हॉटेल मधे वेटरला पगार मिळत असला तरी स्वखुशीने टिप देतात पण मंदिरात पुजाऱ्याला दक्षिणा देणे मान्य नहीं.
9. कधी पुजारी रीटायर होऊन आराम करताना पहिला आहे? आंगात शक्ति व् प्राण असे पर्यंत पुजारी सेवा करत राहतात.
10. तुटपुंज्या आवक मुळे दिवसेंदिवस पूजारी कमी होत आहेत.

अशा परिस्थितीत, पुजार्याने काय करावे? ह्यावर काही उपाय सूचतो?


Thursday, January 1, 2015


Dear friends,

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year.

It has been quite long since I posted anything on this wonderful platform.
Last year was a roller coaster ride with unexpected surprises some pleasant and some not so pleasant.

Hope all of you had a great year.

Best regards


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A weekend in Istanbul

Dear friends,

Recently my cousin Amit and I were in Istanbul for three days.  Long back during school days, we were taught about Constantinople (now Istanbul), a unique city located partly in Asia and Europe, a strategic geographic location and its importance in trade between Europe and Asia.

KLM’s night flight of three hours from Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam to Ataturk airport, landed me in Istanbul at 1:30 AM. Ataturk is quite similar to our old Mumbai airport. Hotel Boutique saint Sophia is @ 20 kms from airport and located at Sultanahmet, very close to most tourist attractions.

Dome of Hagia Sophia 
Day 1: On the first day we visited Hagia Sophia museum. Built in year 537 by Greeks, it remained a church till 1453, and then converted in to a Mosque till 1935, and currently a museum. It is famous for its massive Dome and paintings.

Painting on the Dome
The Church  Bell

Next, we went to Basilica Cistern. It is an ancient underground water storage facility, famous for its carved pillars and head of Medusa. It was used as a water reservoir to supply water to near by areas.

Head of Medusa at the foot of the Piler
Another Head of Medusa
Arched Ceiling and Pilers
Post lunch we visited the Sultan Ahmad Mosque commonly known as Blue mosque one of the largest mosque in Istanbul. The interior is beautifully decorated with blue tiles, stained glass windows, paintings and carpets all over the floor.
Colourful Windows
Main Dome
Walls decorated with Blue tiles
A tram ride from Sultanahmet took us to the Grand bazaar, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with 61 covered streets and over 3,000 shops. In the evening, return ferry from Eminonu to Uskudar in Bosphorus area gave a refreshing view of the city. The day ended with a stroll at “Istiklal Street” a shopper delight, followed by dinner and back to Hotel by Taxi.

Day 2: After breakfast we visited Topkapi Palace a world heritage site.  Built by Sultan Mehmad II in 1439, it’s a huge complex of very old buildings, tastefully decorated. The walls are decorated with decorative tiles, the ceiling painted in decorative design, the windows made of stained glass work. The entire complex is well maintained. Large collections of porcelain, robes, weapons, shields, armor, Ottoman miniaturesIslamic calligraphic manuscripts, murals, and Ottoman treasures and jewelry are on display. The collection of clocks and watches is unique. A Throne and few precious Items from India are also on display.
Topkapi Palace Entrence
Natural Daylight from the top

Fountains inside Sultans private chamber

 After a short stroll around Hippodrome area and shopping of souvenirs in the nearby market we went for lunch. 

The German Fountain

Column at Hippodrome

 After lunch we went to Spice market near Rustem pasha mosque and then took a late evening Bosphorus cruise, the city looks so beautiful during night. The giant Bosphrous Bridge connects Asia and Europe.
Bosphrous Bridge

Last day started with a visit to Gulhane Park a beautiful garden adjacent to Topkapi Palace. A fountain in the form of a book in the park was quite unique. Water used to splash from right to left as if a page is being flipped.
Fountain at Gulhane Park

 Nearby Archeological museum was also equally interesting. The last place to visit in Istanbul was IKEA store. This was fourth IKEA store I visited till date.
Overall the visit was a great escape from the monotonous routine. The Hotel was clean, comfortable & safe. The hotel staff was very friendly and professional.  Local Taxi drivers tend to cheat the tourists and bargaining in the shops is a common practice.
Though it was Ramadan, food joints were open during the day. Overall I found Istanbul a nice blend of old and new with both east and west culture co-existing seamlessly.

Rustem Pasha Mosque

I hope this blog will motivate you to visit places and share your experiences. Your comments, suggestions are most welcome.

Best regards


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Post card from Leiden, Nederlands

Dear Friends,

Hope things are fine at your end.

It's almost 3 months since I came to this interesting city of Leiden in Netherlands. Initial couple of weeks went away in completing relocation formalities and adjusting to the new environment.One thing I liked most about this place is Bi-cycling. Most of the people commute on Bicycle. Designated Bicycle paths are there all over the place. After coming here I was told that Amsterdam Stock Exchange is the Oldest Stock Exchange in the world. About 400 years ago, Amsterdam used to be the wealthiest city in the world. Recently I had visited a very old but still working windmill. It was constructed in 1743! It is used to grind corn and now converted in to a museum.
If interested, for more details do visit molendevalk.leiden

 Best regards

 Zero .

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Dear Friends,

 After a long gap of couple of years I am back at Bloging and hope to continue for a while. To begin with I have moved to Leiden, Netherlands on an International assignment.I hope to work on some challenging assignments, meet interesting people and visit some wonderful places.

 Best regards


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Life… a roller coaster ride.

Dear friends,

Recent post by Idlemind literally forced me to introspect and write a post after a long time. These days majority of us (including myself) are complaining about fast pace of life, about short lived excitement and long periods of dullness…..

A bit of introspection about this high and low made me think about roller coaster ride. A roller coaster ride starts slowly, goes at a steady pace for a short while, then gradually starts rising and after reaching the top, the real action begins, first it falls sharply, then turns us upside down a couple of times, the pace keeps on increasing and decreasing, moving up and down, changing directions and slowly at the end finally comes to a complete halt.

First time riders either enjoy the ride and look forward for a variety of different options or take a bow and walk away, rarely to ride again. People of different apatite for excitement, choose their small/big/simple/complex roller coaster and enjoy the ride as frequently as possible. Interestingly, very rarely people fall from the ride or get injured due to roller coaster failure. The safety record of roller coasters is excellent.

I think our social and professional life is also like a roller coaster ride. Initially childhood is slow and steady, youth is an uphill task and the middle age is a challenge full of high and low, right and wrong…., and then at the end we slowly exit from active professional and social life. If we consciously keep on experimenting without fear of Injury or falling down and choose the right life style (roller coaster) that suits our temperament, then we may enjoy every bit of it and look forward for the next ride with more excitement.

Recently I met two great personalities; the first one is an Industrialist who set up a large specialty chemical manufacturing unit after retirement at the age of 60 and at present he is heading the company at 85! The other great person is an author of books on classical music and a practicing painter at the age of 100! I salute these two great souls, who seem to have chosen roller coasters that suits them best and continue to enjoy the ride.

Hope we are riding the right roller coaster. If not, how about exploring a bit more? What say?

Best regards


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Are Battery operated two wheelers cheap and pollution free?

Dear friends,

Wishing you all a very Happy and Prosperous New Year.

It has been long since I wrote anything.

After returning to India, I find many Battery operated 2 wheelers on the road. Without any noise or warning, they simply zip past you. Few handbills and advertisements in local news paper promote these as a cheap, safe and pollution free mode of transportation in the city.

I wonder are they really cheap and pollution free?

First, these vehicles run on batteries that are recharged at home using Electricity. Generally Electricity for homes is subsidized by charging higher tariff to the Industry, thus it appears to be cheap because of the subsidy. If the real cost is considered than it may not be as cheap as the general perception is.

Secondly, recharging battery is an inefficient use of electricity. Lots of electricity is wasted in heat and vibration of electrodes. As the battery ages, it consumes more and more Electricity for every recharge. People, who use Invertors at home, are well aware of this high consumption of electricity. Typically Invertors in home take almost double the time of usage for recharging the battery. Replacement and disposal cost of old battery is also high.

As far as source of electricity is concerned, most of the electricity generated in our country is by Thermal Power Plants by burning Coal. These plants are the biggest polluters of environment as they generate Green house Gases like carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide plus NOx and SOx responsible for Acid rain. Huge amount of Ash (up to 30% of the coal consumed) that contains heavy metals and toxic chemicals is generated as a residue after burning coal, ultimately contaminates soil and ground water. Transmission and distribution losses from the Power plant, up to the house hold are also high (up to 20%). Thus the source of energy itself is the biggest polluter.

For burning, pure Hydrogen is the cleanest fuel, followed by Natural Gas/LPG followed by Petrol/Diesel and then last is Coal. Hydro-Electric, Nuclear and Wind Power are also relatively less polluting, but have their own issues of heavy Capital investment, Safety and Social issues.

Another observation is that, to save power, the driver of these vehicles tends to drive it without switching on head light during night, posing serious safety hazard for him and others.

As of now, I feel that by using these vehicles people are in fact increasing pollution. By just shifting the polluting source elsewhere, people are fooling themselves with a false sense of savings and so called eco friendliness.

Having said all that, I must acknowledge and accept that these vehicles are amazingly silent and definitely reduce sound pollution on roads drastically. Let us hope that in future, major source of electricity will be clean like Wind or Nuclear power or something else and the society will truly benefit by using these vehicles.

What do you say? Feel free to share your thoughts.

Best regards