Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Tribal Lord

Recently I found a book in our Rongbuk Library, called the Tribal Folk Tales of Assam,by a former Civil Servant and Chairman of the Assam Public Service Commision,S.N. Barkataki.This book had probably been inherited from our Gentiana Library.Hence, dating this book back to 1982, when this book cost only Rs 25.Well, after a little more than two and a half decades, this amazing book of short stories, would be nothing less than a grand.So will completely Gaurd this book from any kind of theft!
Nonetheless,I have really enjoyed reading the stories, mainly for one reason, they are very, uniquely different.Quite fed up of reading the usual fantasy, and the usual fiction,this was a wonderful change.Much different from the Panchatantra and the Jataka Tales, even the My Book Houses, that I read so fondly when I was younger.This certainly reminded me of my childhood.It reminded me of how our surroundings influence our habits and character.The distinctive characteristics which are regarded as tribal are to a considerable extent shaped by the climate, the nature of soil,the terrain and the scenery of the land which they inhabit.As in countries like Tibet,life in these hills have also been hard.
The author has personally been to these hills and has encountered these unusual stories, while he was posted there.The hill tribes of Assam, lived in the districts of Garo Hills,United Khasi and Jantia Hills(both the districts now in Meghalaya),United Mikir, and North Cachar Hills and the Mizo Hills.The tales from these tribes reflect the astonishing old, cultural patterns of the hill- tribes, their religious beliefs,their behaviour and habits and customs.
Having done EP(Environmental Perception, a course offered in the Foundation Programme of my college) and thoroughly enjoyed it,these popular stories are an inlet to the social anthropology of these tribes,besides being their primary source of entertainment.So, I yes!I have been a sort- of nerd, but have throughly enjoyed this!
Anyway, I would consider this book a treasure, firstly because compiling so many folk tales across Assam is like a mammoth task and Mr Barkataki has been like a genius! Secondly, competing to do the same is almost next to impossible because, there are no "hill-tribes of Assam" any longer, having been absorbed in the new constituted autonomous states.
Nevertheless, the book can be borrowed or better still, read in the Rongbuk Library any day, any time.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Rest on the Foliage

This is much like "Stereopia"...but called Rest on the Foliage,its inspired from yoga,unlike the bollywood poster of stereopia.While you are concentrating in yoga(or meditating,or praying for instance),several images run through your mind...much of it is what you have either already experienced or really want to.Resting on the Foliage is to relax your mind from others and concentrate on yourself.Maybe not as worldly as the kinds of things that you might want to buy in your next shopping spree or something,but targets that you really want to achieve,deadlocks that you really want to break!So REST ON THE FOLIAGE!

Franz Beckenbauer

Mahmoud 'Oil'adinjad

Keira 'I-want-to-be-the-thinnest' Knightley

Monday, May 4, 2009


This is a a mental location of the place that i just visited when I returned know....if I simply zoomed out of my house in Chandigarh, where would the house in Kapurthala be.Done simply for fun sake and not much like a, details dont necessarily have to be added...i guess...heehee!!:@)

The outing(contd)

In kapurthala, when we found time other than eating auntie's home-cooked "punjabi khaana" we did visit a couple of places.The Science City being one.Uncle was very sweet to accompany us and he didn't want to miss a thing.So from the time we arrived at Fun...oh sorry Science City:P he continued to click pictures...talking about myself...what to do...i don't really carry these digital things around for memory 'photographic memory' is enough!hehehehe!
Another one of those days, we went all the way to Sultanpur Lodhi to visit Baba Ber Sahib, a huge Gurudwara where Guru Nanak-the first Sikh Guru- had supposedly attained his enlightenment.The Tree there, its a Ber tree that Guru Nanak had planted himself,making this tree a heritage tree, some 500-550 years old!!Good God!
And then, before leaving Kapurthala,we met Mai,our really old maid.She used to be with us always until we shifted to Patiala.It had been 5-6 years since I last saw her, and she hardly looked any older...she must be 65 by now!She was still the same...ever jolly, every happy and that same tight, suffocating hug when you meet!God Bless Her!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A weekened outing

Recently, my mother and I decided to visit our neighbour's house in Kapurthala, a small town in Punjab.We used to live there when I wasn't even we are talking about reviving some 20-21 year old memories for my mother.
The journey started in the evening...wah!I was missing the countryside!The fields, and birds and the open sky...I was born watching them...very refreshing from the Chandigarh city.The harvest season just got over,Baisakhi the festival of the Punjabis-so on the fields still lay,bundles of wheat crops cut and ready to be sent off.As night began to fall, we were still driving past the fields under the open sky,but only at night do you get to see things that happen behind the scenes!

Fire in the fields!Well, they believe that after one crop season is over it is important to burn the field....but then in return they kill all the insects surviving on the soil, the animals feeding on those insects go hungry and die...and the smoke in the air is of-course and potential threat to the environment!!"Huh!who long as I am alive!"
"So, as long as I am alive,I will do whatever!"They run their combines, huge threshing machines, after the night falls."Well, hello Mr. V.Smart Farmer Singh!Isn't it banned to run your machines once the sunsets???You can barely see anything,you can hit an electric pole and your fields can catch fire!""Huh!Who cares...As long as I am alive!I,I,I,I'm stayin' alive!"
Here we go again!
"Tiger Tiger burning bright,In the forests of the night;What immortal hand or eye.Could frame thy fearful symmetry?In what distant deeps or skies. Burnt the fires of thine eyes?"-(The Tiger, by William Blake).Such high rising flames, right behind a building-either a bungalow or a factory.GOD LAY MERCY!

The last bit of the journey was fires!It was only the Road, the trees and us!