Monday, September 30, 2019

Red Thread Around Wrist


Red thread around the wrist (right for men and left for women) is the new fad of Hindu ritualistic identification. Called Mauli or Kalva, it is tied by a priest or an elderly person after a ceremonial event. The wearer is supposed to keep the thread until it is worn out.

The literal meaning of Mauli in Sanskrit is ‘crown,’ which means, above all. There are several mythological stories about the origin of Mauli, as well as claims of health benefits.

The red cotton thread is often mixed with small colors of yellow or orange. It is supposed to dispense some magical powers of protection and to ward off misfortune as well as to attract good luck.

Many among those who wear the Mauli have a strong feeling that it should not be removed because of a fear that such an act can bring bad luck.

It is the fear factor which dominates all the religions of the world, and Hinduism is not an exception. The sacred thread symbolizes that fear, besides its ritualistic value.
-Promod Puri

Monday, September 23, 2019


I was 10-year-old when one day I severely broke my right arm. A local pehlwan, as the practice or custom was in those days, was called to fix the arm. His oil massage and turning and twisting the arm to align the broken bones was an extremely painful maneuver. After a few days, the rugged treatment did not produce any improved result. Perhaps, it was more damaging.
Next, I was in an Amritsar hospital where a known surgeon specializing in fixing broken bones finally put the bones close to and in front of each other. This was followed by lying on my back all the time for a week or so. The operated arm was kept lifted up, tied with a string which after going thru a pulley was tied at the other end with solid brick. The heavyweight was meant to bring the two bones together and slowly become one solid elbow joint. It worked.
I don’t exactly remember how did I pass the time during this period on the hospital bed. But I do remember the early morning hours of each and every day. These were the waiting moments. Waiting for my mother’s arrival to take over the night shift from my father at the bedside.
The sound of her chappal, while walking from the entrance door to the long recovery ward and up to my bed, is a revered and treasured memory which is as blissful now as instinctively felt then. For a child a few minutes or hours of separation from the mother is really a long wait. The reunion is a sheer elation.
One day at the hospital my innocent joy was elevated. To my pleasant surprise, my eldest brother was beside my bed. He came to see me from Delhi. What made him undertake that journey! Just simple and wholesome feelings for the youngest sibling in the family.
He sat beside me. I don’t remember what he talked about, but his visit and giving me company must be an exhilarating moment between us.
A caring and compassionate person with love and feel his presence was a cheery treat for me. He presented me with a box of toffees.
Sweet and unforgettable moments. A gleam of the past is in the present.
-Promod Puri


By Promod Puri
“Words are the tools of writing.” But not quite so!
Words, in fact, are the bricks and mortars we select and gather to build a structure. Its architecture and construction are based on our thoughts, opinions, and feelings, perceptions and impressions, or sharing of information, knowledge, and experiences.
In our learning faculty, there is a library of words being accumulated from early childhood. We retrieve them from our memory cells to begin the composition of a story, novel, essay, poetry, and all other literary and non-literary works or writing a simple personal diary.
Moreover, comprehensive dictionaries offer thousands of words stacked in alphabetical order.
Just like bricks, words are cast in different sizes, but each is carrying its own identity and impact. It is in this semantic profile that words give an outlook and character to writing.
Words are liberal in their nature. If a word is not the right one or it does not fit into the rigid demand of a writer, it offers a whole stockpile of alternative synonyms choices.
Words are not the writing tools, but when they are put together by the skills of a wordsmith, the whole composition becomes a tool by itself. Primarily, writing is the tool of communication which we need as a complement to speaking. But writing goes beyond spoken words. It stays longer or forever.
Is writing hard work? Not really, so far as there are enough bricks around in different sizes and shapes, along with a sound idea or subject matter, that a structure can be built and redesigned or even renovated.
The technicality of writing lies in its grammar as well as those little but indispensable characters, called punctuation marks, offering control and disciplinary mechanism in this creative development.
However, objectivity, sensitivities, and rationality are the basic guidelines in raising a writing structure which is otherwise stalled when these feelings lack honesty and sincerity.
Under these guidelines, writing offers good companionship. As well as “writing is the only way to talk without being interrupted.”(Jules Renard, novelist, and playwright).


Three noticeable differences
1. Whereas Trump has a stiff relationship with the media, Modi is steadily developing a controlling relationship with the media.
2. Trump is open and blunt, expresses his views the moment these come to his mind; Modi often plays the politics of silence.
3. Modi loves bear hugging, for Trump shaking hands is enough.
-Promod Puri

Sunday, September 22, 2019


by Promod Puri
Back in 1972, when I immigrated to Canada and made my first home in Winnipeg, Manitoba, that I happened to know a very helpful and friendly person by the name of C. R. Bector.
He was a distinguished professor of mathematics at the University of Manitoba. And out of respect, as being elder to me and having an academic professional status, I along with other close acquaintances used to address him as Doctor Sahib or Doctor Bector. He was not a medical doctor but had a Ph.D. degree in his extensive portfolio of degrees.
C.R. Bector, although to most of us in the Indo-Canadian community sounded more like an English name, especially the surname, but Doctor Sahib, who is retired now, hails from Punjab. He was a popular personality in Winnipeg, simply because of his informal, lively and sociable temperament.
However, for me, the enticing thing about him is that his real name is Chajju Ram. It is really an old-fashioned North Indian name as we seldom come across with that namesake.
And the first name Chajju immediately strikes on the famous Indian proverb “jo sukh chajju ke chobare, na balakh na bukhare. Translation: east or west home is the best.
The name Chajju certainly gives a lot of credentials to the importance of the home as it is part of the life’s triangle, rather I would say the most sought-after trinity which is “roti, kapdra aur Makaan”, meaning food, clothing, and shelter.
The fact is anybody with a home, in reality, owns his or her little sovereign kingdom or queen-dom. It is one of those virtues of life which one aspires to have it. Life begins at home and revolves around home to enjoy the bliss of having that pride possession.
Home is not merely a physical dwelling of walls, windows, and doors, floors, and roofs. It is not just a rest spot either. Rather a cozy place of peace and tranquility in the midst of family or friends’ lively togetherness and entertainment. Home is a place of absolute independence within acceptable social norms.
Home sweet home is a simple expression carrying deep feelings of warmth and comfort which one yearns for.
If the home does not give all that is expected then it is a house, and for that reason, homesickness can be endured but not the house arrest.
Home is the place of everlasting nostalgia of living with parents, brothers, sisters and dear ones. The childhood anecdotes of little fights and laughs, the home-cooked food, books and beds, the school homework, and a lot more are part of the fond memories. The physical remembrance of each and every household item is also a sentimental and sweet relaxation.
Moreover, home is where we accumulate our cultural values, connect with our heritage and acquire family’s social, linguistic and religious identities. Home is that place of security and independence where with elated feelings one can unwind, recline and relax.
Seventeenth-century English poet James Thompson has exquisitely expressed his perception of home:
“Home is the resort
Of love, of joy, of peace, and plenty; where
Supporting and supported, polished friends
And dear relations mingle into bliss”.
But that bliss is deprived to millions of homeless people all over the world sheltering under the open sky at the mercy of Mother Nature. It is this sad aspect of humanity which is visibly invisible as life goes by especially in busy metropolises.
Chajju ka chubara” is indeed a bliss of comfort and peace for most of us. And my friend C.R. Bector’s place was an embodiment of these virtues especially during harsh winter months of Winnipeg.


His father, Pierre Trudeau, was an intellectual statesman. Justin Trudeau falls into that grade. The genes are (4) trudeau seniordownload (4) justin trudeau
He is a “thoughtful and intelligent guy”, commented former Liberal leader Bob Rae. In his policies, we hope for better and more compassionate Canada.
The clear majority gained by the Liberal Party under his leadership in the 2014 election not only demonstrated the rejection of ultra-right-wing politics of discrimination, anti-immigration and fake security concerns, but it restored the confidence in Canadian values of humanism and compassion.
Justin Trudeau’s rise to political leadership has been like that of an ordinary common man. He worked his own way to climb that ladder. He was not handed life in politics on a platter as being the son of legendary former prime minister.
His adult life began as a school teacher, snowboard instructor, bouncer in a night club, and playing the role of a war hero in a World War 1 TV drama. These credentials show the traits of a young man trying to gain some space in society.
He also has a tattoo of Haida nation printed on his arms. He loves ethnic food; his first outing with his date, now his wife Sophie, was to Khyber Pass, an Afghan restaurant in Montreal. He is an ace Bhangra dancer too.
From this simple portfolio, we can see him as a down-to-earth leader with a thoughtful and intelligent approach to run the affairs of the nation.
He has expressed openness to let in all the views and concerns in dealing with environmental issues.
He pursues a humanitarian and independent foreign policy which is not influenced by the big brothers south of the border. This foreign policy puts Canada in its traditional role of no-combat military involvements, but for peaceful missions only.
His domestic liberal policies include: legalizing marijuana, protection of transgender people, reuniting families of immigrants, reinvigorate ethnic cultures and diversities, and bring more diversity in the government. One of the outstanding features of his leadership has been welcoming refugees.
Mr. Trudeau has recognized the true multicultural fabric of Canada. It was also the hallmark of his father’s political life when he declared multiculturalism as the official policy of the Canadian government.
He has shown his enthusiastic participation in ethnic cultural events. More than that he recognizes the contribution of Canada’s ethnic diversity to make this nation a truly multicultural society of equal opportunities.
There is faith in Mr. Trudeau’s ethnic sentiments. And that is the kind of leadership the ethnic communities feel encouraged to see their involvement in Canadian affairs.
-Promod Puri
(Credit: The picture portrait of Pierre Trudeau on the right is by artist Mayanwy Spencer Pavelic. It hangs in the gallery of the House of Commons)  


Besides the devotional practices at dedicated places like temples, home or public shrines, a striking and environmental sensitive and gratifying feature of Hindu worshipping practices and reverence is the deification of natural landmarks like rivers, lakes, and mountains. There is divinity in all elements of nature as well as in plants and animals. The belief is that gods and goddesses manifest in them. And their adoration is part of Hindu ritualistic practices.
Excerpts from Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs, And Traditions.


Carbon Dioxide is the gas which is blamed, and rightly so, for warming the earth atmosphere. In fact, its concentration in our atmosphere is only 0.041 percentage. Whereas, all the human activities contribute just about 32 percent of 0.041% of the total amount of carbon dioxide.
But carbon dioxide has a very strong influence on climate because of its ability to absorb heat emitted from our planet’s surface, keeping it from escaping out to space. And that causes the escalating phenomenon of climate change.
-By Promod Puri


By Promod Puri
“The past is history, future is a mystery, but today is a gift……”, stay in the present and enjoy the moments. These are some of the many favored in-vogue quotes.
The favorite quotations or advisories suggest our prospects belong to the moments we live in. We are told to live, feel, and enjoy the era of the present, rather than being prisoner of the past or future.
But the now moments are related to past and present.
Past, present, and future are interlinked, and compliments to each other with indelible events, experiences, karmas, and imaginations. The act of managing the future involves gathering and distilling the right information from the archives of the past within the time span of the present.
The independence of “now” does not exist.
Understanding and embracing the “power of now” are in fact related to past and future moments. Any expression of the “now” moment like, “I am very happy and enjoying myself,” is compared to the past or future moments.
The comparison or contrast with past or future moments gives “now” its valuation.
Our past is an assortment of both joyous, rough, memorable, and learning experiences. Whereas, our future lies in the prospect of imagination.
Imagination is an inspiring concept which is very natural foresight in the life of an individual as well as the society we belong to. Civilizations have been created, nourished, and developed on our ability to contemplate about the future.
No doubt, anxieties, worries or concerns often become parts of our contemplation, but so do the dreams. In this package, destiny is created thru our forward-looking karmas of the present which influence our future. Progress comes by prospecting in the future.
Flights to the future with optimistic imaginations are the thrills and promises of the prospective unknown.
Prospecting is natural. It is a functional activity of our cognitive powers. Sighting the future is both a conscious and unconscious activity. We can’t stop it while realizing, dealing, or playing with the moments of the present.
In these moments, our moods also swing like a pendulum, moving back and forth, from past to future while creating new flashes for the present.
Sometimes, journeys to the past contribute to the pleasures of the present. Past is a treasure like an old photo album. It is an asset and a companion. Ask the person lying on a hospital bed for a long time. Or when a fatal blow to the past happens to a person with dementia. Moments of the present do not offer a “gift” here.
Moreover, for society, the past is not merely history, but it is a heritage as well. The identity of a society is based on its culture.
Past, present, and future are interlinked, and compliments to each other with indelible events, experiences, karmas, and imaginations. The act of managing the future involves gathering and distilling the right information from the archives of the past within the period of the present.
Time does not cover the innate past, or cause a pause to our imaginations for the future. It does not flow like a river. It does not fly either. Time rather spreads out. In this spread, past, present and future reside forever.
It is our mind which ferries us around for stopovers at our memories and spurs us to conceive our imaginations, as well as bringing us back to the present. And life’s journey continues while sailing through our past, present, and future.
(Promod Puri is a journalist and writer. He is the author of “Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs, And Traditions”, a book which explores the rational, secular and progressive nature of Hinduism.)

Monday, September 16, 2019


Bhagavad Gita is a question-answer dialogue between Lord Krishna and Prince Arjun. It is a compilation of Lord Krishna’s philosophical and practical teachings in response to Arjun’s questioning the intricacies, the confusions and the challenges in an individual’s life.
The entire episode is set in a war zone symbolizing that human life is a combat ground as well. Gita is a sacred, practical and eternal guide as to how to tackle evils and to seek a path of spirituality. It covers ethical and moral challenges in the battlefield of life.
Bhagavad means Bhagavan, the Supreme Being, or meaning ‘bhag’, the blessed one. Gita stands for ‘geet’ meaning song. The ‘t’ in Gita is pronounced with tongue straight rather than rolled back.
Divided into 18 chapters with 700 verses Gita encourages us to enter the field of righteousness or truth as a warrior without any second thoughts. Gita calls it ‘Dharam’ or holy duty.
The allegory is when Arjun is in confusion as well as in moral dilemma to be either a contributor to the upcoming bloodshed or get out of it. He questions the worth and the outcome of the fight for dharma.
This is where Lord Krishna, the guide to Arjun in the battlefield, makes his presentation. He introduces the doctrine of karma-yogi, meaning be a warrior in life, and perform the holy duty of fighting against evil.
The field of action is what life is all about. Be a karma yogi is considered to be the most known message of Bhagavad Gita. It involves faithfully and sincerely performing our duties and obligations without attachment to results.
In the following verse Lord Krishna says:
“To action alone hast thou a right and never at all to its fruits; let not the fruits of action be thy motive; neither let there be in thee any attachment to inaction fixed in yoga, do thy work, O Winner of wealth (Arjuna), abandoning attachment, with an even mind in success and failure, for evenness of mind is called yoga”.
Gita offers the ride to a karma yogi on the route of righteousness while facing evils. In other words, life is a struggle in the material world and a journey toward the spiritual destination.
In the spiritual itinerary Gita while advocating the necessity of action with detached expectation of its outcome, emphasizes on intellectual pursuits thru knowledge, discern between right and wrong, mastery of the mind, giving up lust, anger and greed, identifying the divine and demonic traits in human nature and follow a path of devotion to reach His abode. And that is what makes a person a complete karma yogi.
The long discourse by Lord Krishna in response to Arjun’s questioning and curiosity not only covers the simplistic lessons of being an active karma yogi to handle day to day business of life but the dialogue goes beyond to more deeper philosophies. It covers the material and spiritual subjects; creation, preservation, and destruction of the universe; the flight into the celestial worlds of His multi-facet universal form; life after death, and lot more.
(Excerpts from Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs, And Traditions)…/book-on-hinduism/

Saturday, September 14, 2019


As the starting gun waqueens-park-u100ks fired2015-Swearing-In-Large for October 21 election campaign, the ruling Liberal Party and the opposition Conservative Party are running almost neck-to-neck with 34 and 35 percent support respectively, according to the latest poll.
Besides, this close-race pairing, another crucial dual emerging fast, is the 11 percent support for each of the New Democratic Party and the Green Party.
And then there is a new political sneaker this time representing the Far-Right burrows of Canada. The guy is the disgruntled former Conservative, Maxime Bernier, who launched the People’s Party last year. Currently, it is getting three percent approval, according to the poll.
The real race, which is traditional in Canadian power politics, has always been between the Liberal and the Conservative parties. And this time is no different. However, the difference in this election fray is the emergence of the Green Party.
The Green is creating a strong wind to shift the direction of Canadian politics. The party will share the stage with the New Democratic Party in the roles of being the kingmaker. After all, both the NDP and the Green ideologically sit together in the same political carousal. They ride on the environmental issues facing Canada and the world. The difference between the two is only of degree.
How the post-election game will play depends upon how much the supporting parties, i.e. the NDP and the Green, can extract from either of the Liberal or the Conservative to meet their poll promises and ideological commitments.
The post-election arena would be as much exciting as during the entire campaign period. In that excitement, all eyes will be on NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and the Green Party leader Elizabeth May as which side of the seesaw they will sit.
Promod Puri

Tuesday, September 10, 2019


People with free mindset attitude swing like a pendulum. Passing through the Centre, they move to the social or political ideologies of the Left or Right but not committed to either of them.
The world will be a better place if more people join the pendulum instead of being fanatics of the Right or Left, which can restrict the perception of issues confronting us individually or by the society we live in.
-Promod Puri


While space scientists can continue their exploration of the moon and establish more communication links with the cool-light planet, I along with most of us of the Indian heritage were told in very early childhood that the guy up there in the sky is a close relative from the mother side. He was referred to as Chanda-mama, to be precise Chanda uncle.
In fact, as we were growing up, we were introduced to a very popular children magazine, I believe it is still around, called Chandamama. It was an easy read comic magazine dealing with ancient Indian folklore.
Moon has a very special spot in the Indian social and cultural scene as well as in the Hindu mythology. For the Indian film, industry moon is more than a shiny twilight dish.
For the poets, it is an object of love, witness to the loving relationship, beauty, imagination, a messenger between two lovers, etc., etc. The film Chaudivan Ka Chand immediately comes to my mind. Its theme song ‘Chaudivan Ka Chand ho ya aftab ho’ is still popular even after more than 50 years of film’s release.
And then there are many Hindi film songs where uncle Chand is prominently featured. “Dum bar jo audhar moon phere oh chanda, main tum se pyar kar loongi, Chalo dildar chalo chand ke paar chalo, Na yeh Chand hoga na taare rahenge magar hum hamesha tumhare rahenge, Chand phir nikla magar tum naa aaye, Khoya khoya Chand khula aasman, Chanda re mori patiyan le ja, patiyan le ja, sajan ko pahocha de re, Chand aahein bharega, phool dil tham lenge, Chanda re chanda re kabhi to zameen par aa baithenge baatein karenge.”
These are some of the oldies which come to my mind, but there are many more where the moon is the main character in the imaginative lines of Hindi film lyricists.
Well, one day when man can comfortably visit the moon, we can replay these songs up there to the delight of our Chanda-mama.
-Promod Puri

Sunday, September 8, 2019


The unrest and protests in the Kashmir Valley over the abrogation of Article 370 have made it insignificant the overwhelming silence and calm in Ladakh, Kargil, Jammu, Kishtwar, Doda, Rajouri, Poonch, Udhampur and other regions of the vast state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The tranquil scene in these regions has a message in it. However, that message is insignificant. What is significant and newsworthy is the hostile and volatile atmosphere in the Kashmir region. But that is not new. The mindset bias is always inspired by what happens in the Valley.
Does not this silence matter in understanding the Kashmir Problem? It seems not.
Intellectuals, academics, journalists, Leftists, and others “progressive” communities in India and all over the world avoid considering this fact. Perhaps, that would unload them from the bandwagon.
A fair perception of the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir problem is the need before delving on the Kashmir problem and its related developments.
-Promod Puri


Boredom is a very commonly expressed feeling even in this age when we have 24-hour entertainment at our convenience. There is a stream of entertainment and information from our smartphones and social media in the company of self. But still, there are occasional experiences of boredom.
Why do we feel bored?
Generally, they say boredom occurs to those who have not developed any interest in any activity or hobby. Especially this is true when in the golden years of our lives. There are plenty of dull moments which defy time and move with their own speed.
An enjoyable activity helps to ward off boredom.
There are two faces of enjoyment. One is entertainment which is infused by the actions coming from the outside, like watching a movie or a game. The other is recreation when we feel the fun of being involved with the action, like playing a game of chess, cards, or any other activity of interest.
Late British philosopher and poet GK Chesterton wrote: “There is no such thing on earth as an uninteresting subject; the only thing that can exist is an uninterested person.”
Promod Puri