Thursday, August 29, 2013

Saree: A Dignity and Beauty for Women

One of the most popular attire for Indian women is the saree which gives them beauty and dignity. It is the most popular choice of all age groups of women. It is the age-old tradition of our Indian women to wear sarees at all important rituals and occasions of celebrations. Further, wearing a saree is a must for all Indian brides at their marriage ceremony even in this modern age of changing fashions.

Normally Silk Sarees with embroidery and craft work in red colors are worn on the wedding days by the brides.That is why we see a lot of demand for sarees of different designs and brands on all auspicious times and festive occasions.

What is a Saree?

Saree is a textile product of long stitchless continuous cloth of normally 5 to 7 meters length and of one-meter width which is draped over the body by women especially in Indian Sub-continent. It is normally worn over a petticoat and along with a blouse.

How to Wear a Saree?

A saree is draped over the body in various styles according to customs, likes, and fashions. A saree consists of two ends. One end which remains inside is normally plain without any designs and enormous borders. The other outer end which is left over to hang from the shoulder towards the bottom on your back (South Indian style) or in your front (North Indian style) is called the pallu or palla in Hindi and with various names in other languages. This pallu end is fabricated with enormous designs and craft work to enhance the beauty of the saree and the person wearing it. It can be sometimes simple also for daily wear purpose.

  • Hold the plain end of the saree which is to be kept inside to your right side of the waist and tuck it into your petticoat after confirming that your petticoat is tight to your waist. 
  • Then complete a round around your waist by draping the sari around your waist from your front side to your back and bringing it again to your front side. 
  • Now, tuck the saree all around your waist well into the petticoat so that the saree length from your waist to your feet levels up with your petticoat and hangs a more lengthy towards your feet but does not hinder your steps while walking. 
  • After tucking it well, make folds of the middle length of the saree; leaving the other end for dropping over your shoulder. (Remember one end is tucked into your petticoat at the beginning. The other end  depicting the design will be hung over your shoulder).
  • The folds that you make of the middle portion of the saree might be around your palm's width that is folded with your fingers of one hand while your other hand is holding the remaining portion unfolded. 
  • Leave enough portion of the saree for hanging it as pallu over your shoulder after taking it around your back. 
  • The folded portion of the saree is again tucked into your petticoat at the center of your frontside taking care that the folds are not made in a haphazard manner so that all folds are neatly folded and aligned straightly one behind the other displaying your skills and artistic talent. 
  • You can pin the folds tight with a saree pin to your petticoat so that they do not loosen. 
  • Now, the remaining portion of the saree is to be again draped from your left side to your back and then, bring it to your front from between your right waist and the under-arm portion to over your left shoulder. 
  • Then, drop it down on your left shoulder so that it hangs behind you. 
  • Here again, you need to drop the pallu in such a way that it looks beautiful and attracts people. So, instead of dropping it as it is, you will be folding it into three or four nice, narrow lengthy folds. You may have to pin it with a saree pallu clip to hold the folds and keep the saree on your shoulder intact in-spite of your movements.

Some people in Northern India, hang the pallu portion of saree to their front side instead of dropping it on their back. They call this method of wearing as "seedha palla" and southern people's method of wearing as the "ulta palla" type.

Some Keralites drape the whole saree around their waist like a lungi and wear long blouses or T-shirts.

Different places of women have the different methods of wearing or draping the sari.

Some orthodox women make the pallu to cover their heads in front of men even now. They consider it as a gesture of giving respect to elders and God by covering their heads with the pallu.

Different Types and Designs of Sarees and Blouses

Blouses are of many varieties. Blouse with long sleeves, short sleeves, and sleeveless blouses, etc. Again there are normal traditional blouses of plain type without any designs and shapes and modern blouses of various designs and shapes which hold tight to your body. It depends upon your likes and comfortability. Sarees are also of plain types with simple borders and no designs. Some sarees are filled with gorgeous designs and craft work and cost in tens of thousands rupees. There are printed sarees with various printed designs, woven designer sarees, and knitted craft work sarees, etc. You can choose among lots of qualities, designs, and colors according to your budget from a meagre one hundred rupees cost to tens of thousands of rupees value depending upon your needs and budget.

If you like to witness the beauty and glamour of this Indian attire and to know about more styles of wearing this marvellous costume, you may attend the Indian Wedding Ceremonies where you can find a congregation of different styles of saree-clad women with dazzling designs and colors.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Consensual Sex With Minor or Major

A lot of debate and arguments are going on regarding the subject of Consensual Sex nowadays in all corners of society.

All the leading newspapers carried on headlines the news of A Delhi Court maintaining that consensual sex with a minor girl does not constitute an offense or crime under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

Legally, it may not be a crime as both the parties are willingly committing it with mutual consent and understanding.

But, I couldn't believe how they dare to do such acts.

Maybe their parents, relatives, and the society around them may also not like those acts or approve such unethical acts.

But who cares?

The offenders (both those persons committing the act) do not want to care for their elders or society. Because they want to have the pleasure and experience of sex. Moreover, they think they have the right to enjoy the bodily pleasures and they are free to act as per their will and wish. Nobody has any right to infringe on their freedom.

But, is it morally good? Ethically right?

Don't you have any moral and ethical values and obligations towards your family and society?

Are you not tarnishing the image of yourself, your partner, and your family by indulging in such acts?

You are meant to concentrate on your studies and build up a good career to establish some solid foundation for your life.

If you go astray by such things, you will become weak and unable to control your feelings and your goal of life will become difficult to be attained.

What is the use of such sexual indulgence when you are unable to grow up your personality and career?

We are not animals to live astray. We are human beings and have some moral codes and human values to distinguish us from animals. If we behave like animals, then what is the difference between an ass and a man?

The Court has done a very good job by stressing the need for creating public awareness on the disadvantages of indulging in sex at tender ages such as physical and psychological impacts on your body and mind. But it has given the stress more on implications of sex and marriage at tender ages.

I would like to draw the attention of all institutions to create a solid public awareness among all ages of people regarding the bad implications of having sex outside of their marriage.

All crimes on women are deep-rooted in this evil lifestyle of indulging in sex outside marriage.

Sex is not to be construed merely as a means of physical enjoyment.

It is much more than that. It is a mental bondage between a couple.

Sexual relation involves an obligation of taking the responsibility of the partner at all times in all circumstances by the other partner. It is an attachment of body and soul.

Sexual contact should be a relationship for the whole of your life and not be treated as a temporary relationship for the time being to enjoy some momentary material pleasure.

If it ends up temporarily, then it leads to many complications in your life both mentally and physically.

It can lead to depression and psychological breakdown.

So better avoid it at the beginning itself by controlling yourself.

Maintaining friendships even among opposite sex is a good thing. But it should be confined to friendship only.

You can maintain most intimacy and even love your friend dearly to share all your pleasures and sorrows.

But have some control. Do not turn to sex.

There should be some border between you, however close you might be.

Impose some self-disciplines upon yourself.

Look at your family heritage and culture.

You can read books depicting moral characters who maintain deep friendships under one roof but are physically very controlled and maintain norms and ideals. There are such ideal characters in novels of one Telugu writer Yaddanapudi Sulochana Rani. Read such novels in other languages also or watch movies and TV serials with ideal characters to educate and grow up yourself with a good personality.

So, the main point of discussion is not whether it is consensual sex with a minor or a major.

The discussion and solution to be sought are, for the problem of sex itself outside the institution of marriage.

This evil practice should be eradicated from our society.

Enjoy sex after marrying.

Till then, only friendship. That friendship is to be an ideal one.

Don't think of sex at all. Give and take respect and love. Share knowledge and feelings. Enjoy happy and sad events jointly. Be helpful and protective of each other in all circumstances.

You can maintain friendship and remember each other lifelong as the best friend of your life.

That should be the relation between you and your girlfriend. It is an ideal friendship.

Let Us Make A Good Society.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Raksha Bandhan | Sacred Threads Festival

Raksha Bandhan is one of the auspicious festivals of Hindu culture which falls on the Purnima Day (Full Moon) of Shravan Month of the Hindu calendar.

It is the festival of celebration of bondage. This bondage is of many types.

But, the two main types of bondage celebrated through this festival are:

1) The bondage between brothers and sisters and,
2) The bondage between child and education.

The entire month of sravana is very important as many celebrations take place throughout this month. Especially for women, this is the month of worshipping Goddess Laxmi. Each Friday of this month is more auspicious when they observe fast and worship Goddess with turmeric and kumkum and flowers and invite ladies and offer them these things along with  fruits, sweets, bangles and cloth pieces as it is believed that the more you offer turmeric, kumkum, and flowers, and other auspicious items of women to the Goddess, the more your husband and family will prosper with happiness and long life.

Raksha Bandhan for Brothers and Sisters

The general people celebrate Raksha Bandhan day widely as a festival of sisters and brothers. It is the festival of love and bondage between brothers and sisters. It is the festival of tying a sacred thread of love, affection, and bondage.

This thread is called as Rakhi or Raksha. The sister ties the sacred thread of Rakhi to her brothers' wrists after applying tilak to their forehead and giving aarati to them.

The sacred thread is first kept in front of God and worshipped and then tied to their wrists. After tying the thread to their wrists,  sweets are also offered to the brothers. The brother, in turn, offers some gift or money to the sister as a token of affection and care for her.

It is a display of love and bondage and a commitment between brothers and sisters. Sisters express their love towards their brothers by praying to God for their well being and the brothers, in turn, wish for their happy and prosperous life. They undertake to protect and guard their sisters throughout their good and bad moments of life.

Raksha Bandhan for Child Education 

Another major ritual observed by people on this Raksha Bandhan day is the ceremony of Upanayana. It is the ceremony of wearing a sacred thread known as janeu or yajnopavita.

This ceremony of Upanayana or Upakarma is best done before the child is sent to a school.

But, most Brahmins and other community people also perform this upanayana of their sons favorably on this day of Raksha Bandhan as it is a very auspicious day.

It is a celebration of bestowing the sacred thread of Brahminhood to their children so that they can acquire spiritual knowledge from their early life. Only on wearing of this thread can one become eligible for attaining the Vedanta Gnana or the knowledge of scriptures.

This ceremony has to be normally performed as per our old traditions,  as soon as a boy child becomes eligible for attending school. But nowadays, it is performed at our own convenience (but before his marriage at any cost). One can marry only after upanayana is done to him.

There are four stages of life as per our Hindu Vedic Culture. They are Balya (childhood), Brahmacharya (bachelor life), Grihastha (married life) and Vanaprastha (retired, ascetic life).

The stage of brahmacharya completes only when he is bestowed with the sacred thread. He is bestowed with this thread amidst Vedic mantras by pundits during the upanayana celebration in the presence of relatives and friends. One can perform any ritual or puja only on wearing this yajnopavita. It is to be guarded and protected from all impurities. This sacred thread is symbolical to his attaining knowledge.

Raksha Bandhan as a Thread of Protection

Originally, Raksha Bandhan was not limited to brothers and sisters only. It was more widely celebrated by all classes of people as an auspicious day of tying the sacred thread amidst chanting of the Vedic mantras.

It is believed that by chanting of mantras and worshipping of the thread which is placed in front of God, the thread gets empowered by divine powers and whoever wears it will become powerful for his enemies and nothing bad will happen to him.

Lord Indra's wife Indrani tied this thread to Indra during the war between Devas and Asuras on this auspicious day of Shravan Purnima and he won the battle.

Further, Draupadi in Mahabharata also tied the Rakhi to Lord Krishna seeking protection for her husbands.

So, it has become a practice to tie the Raksha to anybody to protect him from dangers of life, especially on this auspicious day.

Brahmins tie the thread amidst chanting of mantras to all people normally on this festival day.

You may find the same happening if you attend any Hindu rituals. Before performing any ritual, there is this tradition of tying a rakhi or Raksha to the performer of the ritual. Parents bind this sacred thread to their children for safeguarding them. Husbands bind their wives and wives also bind husbands with these sacred threads for their security.

Modern Raksha Bandhan

Nowadays, Raksha Bandhan is celebrated in modern styles. Various types of Rakhis are available in different sizes, colors and designs with varying budgets. So you can purchase them as per your and your sibling's likes. You can tie them to your friends and neighbors also as a token of love and affection. So you find a lot of people all around you wearing rakhis and moving glamorously in a festive mood in your homes, neighborhood and at workplaces or marketplaces. Sravana month itself is a very beautiful season of rains and natural beauty all over. Added to it is galore of festive colors and decorations. It gives a great happiness to our minds seeing this display of love and bondage among people.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Independence Day and True Independence - Are we Really Independent?

Today we are celebrating our 66th Independence Day. We boast of attaining independence on this 15th day of August 1947 and celebrate the occasion with great pleasure and showbiz.

We attend the flag hoisting functions and listen to our leaders boasting of our country's development and their elusive contributions with sweet promises of more development if they are voted to power.

We utter slogans of "Vande Mataram", "Bharat Mata ki Jai", "Jai Hind", etc. and clap hands at their speeches and return home or watch live telecasts of flag hoisting ceremonies and speeches of CMs, PM, and think we have done a lot of Desh Bhakti and feel our duty is over. But this is not enough for your independence

Where is our Independence? Are we Independent? 

Do we really have it in our real lives?

A look at our society shows how much independent we are.

  • There is so much of corruption, violence, terror, and crime all over the society. 
  • Public is not safe. 
  • There is always fear of danger to lives of innocents. 
  • Rapes are becoming common in spite of strict laws. 
  • Terrorists and anti-social elements are free to attack at any time and at anyplace. There is no control on them. 
  • Moreover, the public and public servants are not free to perform their duties safely and honestly. 
  • They get transferred or threatened very frequently for being honest. 
  • People are not free to work in their interested provinces. They are scared of politicians getting them evacuated to their native provinces on bifurcation of states. 
  • It appears as if the independence is more for the politicians and terrorists to act as per their wishes than for the common public
  • Corruption is deep rooted in our system.

Economically and politically also we are not of so much independent. We have lost the value of our currency and depend on foreign factors controlling our economy. Further, there are continuous insurgencies from neighboring countries of our borders and security of our people is at risk always.

So how can we proclaim to be independent in our real lives?

Simply delivering speeches or listening to speeches does not bring us independence.

We must act.

Each one of us must strive hard to bring real independence to our lives. Our leaders, administration, and the public also should evolve such procedures by implementing which we can feel ourselves to be really free to live with full freedom in our society without the fear of anybody or any factor under some preset moral and ethical norms of society.

Each one of us should be very sincere, honest and pure in our thoughts and actions and work together unselfishly for the betterment of our society and the country.

Only then can we proclaim to be really Independent. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Obscenity and Indecency at Public Places and Within Society

I came across an article in the Deccan Chronicle, Hyderabad edition reporting about a drunk couple indulging in kissing acts publicly during lunch at a hotel and fighting with the gentleman and the hotel staff objecting to it.

This may not be a single case of such indecent acts. There may be many more such cases of obscenity and indecency like embracing, lip locking and other such acts which occur daily at parks, cinema halls, buses and many more public places.

Normally, newly married couple and dating and co-living people always look for occasions to indulge in such acts. It is but common and natural to have such feelings of enjoying sex for any person especially when young in age.

  • Enjoying sex and love in itself is not an offense or a sin. 

  • But there should be some boundaries and limits for enjoying it.

  • Sex enjoyment is a private, normally closed-room affair. It should not be indulged into at public places. 
  • Public display of sexual activity is to be refrained from as it amounts to obscenity and indecency. Further, it can cast bad effects on children and teenagers.

You are living in a traditionally cultured society.

You should learn to respect people and relationships.

Acts of obscenity and indecency can tamper your relationships in your circles and society.

We are human beings and not animals.

Animals may not be able to control their instincts and do not have any moral standards. But even in them, sometimes we do find great discipline and decent behavior.

As human beings, we are empowered with more wisdom and the ability to discriminate between what is proper and improper according to circumstances. We possess the ability to control our emotions and instincts accordingly. So why can't we be more decent and ethical in our actions?

We can learn things by observing the behavior of our parents and other elders of our society.

You will notice how dignified their behavior is as compared to our present, modern, so-called civilized behavior.

So, what I would like to emphasize here is that we must not indulge in such acts which may project us as indecent and vulgar beings. It can be very much embarrassing to our elders and society.