The Indian Cinderella

Once upon a time, there was a girl who lived alone in a forest. She did not know her parents for they had died when she was little. There was not much to eat in the forest except roots and leaves, so the girl depended upon the charity of passing strangers who often gave her roasted grains of millet and barley from their knapsacks. It just so happened that although the girl was poor, she had been graced with the most exquisite face and body. One misty dawn, it chanced that a rich, handsome King came riding through this forest. As his horse was racing towards the red morning sun, the King saw a brilliant glimmer moving behind the leaves. He eased his horse cautiously towards it. If the horse moved a step, so did the glimmer. If the horse stopped, so did the glimmer. The King was very puzzled. He got off his horse and called, “Who is it?” There was no answer. The King wondered if he was being deceived by a sunbeam. As he moved closer to the glimmer, it streaked through several bushes and moved…

Snakes & Ladders: The Ancient lessons of Ethics & Salvation.

The classic board game of snakes & ladders has been frolicked and cherished since ages both by kids and grown-ups equally and for most of us it’s either a brain stormer or a favourite time killer. But ever wondered if the genius who invented this board game had the objective of merely introducing a good pastime to forthcoming generations? Will you be surprised to know that snakes & ladders which originated from ancient India was a actually a creative and entertaining medium of giving lessons of spirituality to mankind! This game was known as ‘Mokshapat’ in ancient India and according to some historians this game was invented by Saint-poet Gyaneshwar of Maharashtra in 13th century AD. Most of us might be under the impression that this game came to us from Western country, well the game which we play today is very much Westernised and transformed to a great deal from the ancient one. It is believed that Saint Gyaneshwar wished to reveal the lessons of good and bad deeds to childr…

Makar Sankranti : wings of happiness and hopes

On January 14th each year, the beginning of the New Year is marked with new hopes and colourful skies of happiness. Makar Sankranti is one of the most auspicious occasions for Hindus, and is celebrated in almost all parts of India and Nepal in a myriad of cultural forms, with great devotion, fervour, and gaiety. The legends associated to Makar Sankranti and its significance in various Puranas are as fascinating as this festival is until today and the popular story which many of us know can be found in the epic Mahabharata. . It is believed that the great warrior and grand regent Bhishma, fell to the arrows of his grandson Arjuna on the Kurukshetra battlefield. He had been granted a boon by his father to choose the time of his death according to his free will. After lying on the bed of arrows for almost a month, he chose the day of Makar Sankranti to leave his mortal self.  That is why there is a belief that those who die during this period will have no rebirth. It is also believed that …

A Portrait Prince

“Chitra, Oh my dear Sakhi, this is a miracle! Your beautiful fingers have given life to my imagination!” Usha exclaimed taking her sakhi’s hands in her own, tweeting like a toddler she started whirling around holding Chitra’s colored hands and looking with love and wonder at the portrait of that handsome, young man who was stirring every chord of her heart in her dreams from past fortnight. That night when she first dreamt of him, Usha’s entire world had changed. She was no longer her old self and her love for this prince was all-pervasive. Entire day and night she stared at the Portrait Prince mesmerised, like a devotee under trance. She missed him, she longed for him with all her heart. Princess Usha , the daughter of Banasur, a powerful Kirata King established in East and ruling entire Shonitpur.He was a benevolent King, who cared for his subjects as his own children and due to his honest administration and fervent devotion to Lord Shiva, he was always invincible in every war. As t…

How Santa Claus was born?

Christmas is at the bay and as always it brings along with it enthusiasm of holiday season. Back then in our gadget-free childhood, Christmas season represented great fun and enjoyment especially the belief in Santa Claus bringing gifts for children at night dropping them in those red socks hanged on the door. As a curious kid, I had asked my parents who was Santa Claus and does he ever die? My parents laughed out that question as they knew my real Santa Claus were them and this childhood curiosity was easily forgotten as I learnt the popular perception on Santa Claus-an imaginary person meant only for children.

But to think of it, how this belief was born and why it’s associated specifically with Christmas is something to ponder on as the legend of Santa Claus at some point of time in past must have been the medium of certain new beginnings. Santa Claus associated with magical reindeers, the Christmas tree, the star and the gifts, how did it all begin? At some point most of us must ha…

Shiva : An eternal enigma.

Lord Shiva occupies a highly significant position of Hindu Holy Trinity but he is one god who perplexes a devotee, a rationalist and an atheist equally. Shiva signifies almost everything about Hindu pantheon and culture including dance, music, erotica, yoga and Vedanta. Shiva is an entity with rich tradition of unorthodoxy and assimilation. He is a cosmopolitan God. In my recent visit to Ellora caves, a world Heritage site in Aurangabad, I came across various beautiful sculptures of Shiva with his consort Parvati depicting his magnanimous feats and characteristics which arouses awe and mystery to the eyes of the beholder. “This is a 3D Nataraja madam” explains our guide pointing to a sculpture of Shiva in a dancing pose with Parvati besides him on the ceiling of one of the cave temple of Shiva “It’s known as 3D Nataraja as it appears that Shiva’s gaze is directly at you from every direction”.

As I was admiring this structure, an elderly foreign couple was standing near Shiva linga plac…