Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Why cats are worshipped in Kedar-Gouri temple (blog marathon post 15)



Yesterday, I told you that I would tell you that I would tell you the story of why cats are worshipped in Kedar-Gouri temple in Bhubhaneshwar and how a cat followed me around, even sleeping in my lap.



Many many years ago in a small village in Orissa there lived a very pious but extremely poor Brahmin  family. 
There was a husband, his wife and  the mother-in-law who followed all the rituals and religious ceremonies. 
 Every day before they ate their breakfast the mother-in-law would make an offering to the Goddess of milk. Then after she did the pooja, she would use that milk for coffee. 
One day the wife was really hungry as they had no food the previous night and had starved. So when she saw the milk the next morn she couldn't resist taking half a tumbler. Out of sheer hunger she gulped it down.  
Then she panicked as the mother-in-law would now notice the reduced quantity and be furious as the wife had committed a sin by having the milk kept for the Goddess. She didn't know what to do. 
So to cover up her theft she dipped her fingers in the milk and smeared it around the mouth of their pet cat. 
The mother in law saw the milk around the mouth of the cat and the reduced quantity of the milk. She was so angry that she beat up the cat. 
The cat felt very sad and climbed up the tree outside their house and mewed in agony, piteously. 
Goddess kedar-gauri couldn't bear it. She descended on earth in disguise of an old woman and she took away the cat. She then kept the cat with her as her "vaahan". 
(Each of the Indian Gods have an animal as their 'vahaan'. The animal then gets divine rights and is worshipped and treated well, just a rung below the gods and goddesses.  
So the cat lived happily ever after with Goddess  Kedar-Gauri. 
And that is why cats are revered and treated well and worshipped in that temple.  
And this is why people gift a kitten to the Goddess when their wishes are fulfilled. 


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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A note from me to you (blog marathon post 14)




Ever since this blog marathon started, I have always taken care to compose each post carefully. It isn't as though I am writing for the sake of posting something. And of course, I don't get paid for writing here. I write here for the sheer joy of it and to connect with you. It feels great when you all write back, and tell me that you enjoy my posts.

I was also thinking this morning, how easy it is to pass a remark about the 'quality of writing ' on this blog. Those who have followed my blog will know that I do take care to see that I  always post something interesting---a poem I wrote,an inspirational post, a photo that matters to me,something amusing and things like that. It is always personal, always warm. It is never a callous post. 

If you have any requests for a particular topic, do say so in my comment box and I will consider that for my next post.

  One of the really nice things about being a best-selling author is that I get to travel to many places I have never been to, on my book tours as well as for giving talks at Corporate organizations and educational institutions. XIMB had invited me for a talk and it was superbly received.  I had shared pictures in this post.

I got a chance to visit Orissa, earlier this month. The beauty of Lingaraj temple was astounding. If you haven't yet visited it, do put in on your To-do list for 2016.

When I visited Bhubhaneshwar on my book tour, I also got a chance to visit Kedar Gauri temple, where I fell in love with  a cat that returned the favour. I always have a way with animals. The cat followed me around and even slept in my lap --which anyone who is familiar with cats will tell you is uncommon, unless the cat truly likes you.
The priest at the temple told me that there is a tradition in that temple, where if your wish is fulfilled, you gift a cat to the Goddess. That intrigued me. When I mentioned this to the journalist who was interviewing me the next day, he told me the story behind this tradition.

Come back tomorrow, if you want to hear the story of how this tradition came to be! 
Till then, keep smiling.
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Monday, December 28, 2015

When things go wrong. (blog marathon post 13)

Many a time things do not go according to our expectations. We desperately  want something but something else happens. We dread something occurring and we have to face just that. And then when we least expect it, life shines.
That is the beauty of life. That it is unpredictable. Sudden. Slow. Flowing.
At times languid, at times serene, at times tempestuous.
Nobody an predict how it will turn out, tomorrow.
Forget tomorrow, nobody can predict what will happen in just a day.

You can plan all that you want---but life totally takes over and before you realize it, it has spiraled out-of-control.

All you can do at such a time is weather it out. Wait for the storm to subside. Sail in muddy waters.

And as long as you can see the shore, just hang in there. You are going to be just fine.

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Sunday, December 27, 2015

A year end fun meme (blog marathon post 13)

Thought i would do a fun post for today, as it is a Sunday. So I headed over to  Sunday Stealing 
and found that they had a nice year end meme going, and I decided to do it.

Here is what they have asked, and my answers as well.



1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before? 
 Wrote anon-fiction book!



2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? 
 Had resolved to lose 3 kgs by Feb, and keep up my weight. I did keep it!


3. Did anyone close to you give birth? 
Yes, My niece!

4. Tell us a valuable lesson you learned in 2015?

That if you perceive you can achieve and that The magic (By Rhonda Byrne) really works!


5. What was your favorite new TV program?
This is one thing that did not change and will not change--I do not watch TV!


6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015? 
Lots of vacations abroad.


7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Lots of happy moments--Bangalore lit fest, my Book launch at Bangalore, Delhi lit fest, Gurgaon moms club event etc.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? 
The new book hitting  the Nielsen lists and being among top ten highest selling titles.

9. What was your biggest failure? 
Can't believe there was no failure at all.

10. What was the best thing you bought? 
 A fabulous  etched painting on palm from Bhubhaneshwar and extra storage space in my gmail!

11. Whose behavior merited celebration?
 Why will i celebrate anyone's behavior?!

12. Whose behavior made you appalled and disgusted? 
Best not to focus on negativity.

13. What song will always remind you of 2015? 
 this one:

 
14. What do you wish you’d done more of? 

 Ashtanga!

15. What do you wish you’d done less of? 

Not asserting what I truly want.

16. What was the best book you read? 

 Serious Men and illicit happiness of other people, both my Manu Joseph.


17. What one thing would have made your year measurably more satisfying?  

Doing an art vacation in Venice or Scotland.

18.  Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. 
 Dreams come true they do
Dreams come true
From all of us to all of you they do

Don't you know that dreams come true
Love is just a second away
(Better take a look inside)
Make that magic rule, let the miracle stay
(You gotta take a look inside)
(Westlife --dreams come true)
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Saturday, December 26, 2015

A crazy kind of love (Blog marathon post 12)



 I was listening to Taylor Swift's Blank Space today on the radio. Was intrigued by the lines
 "So it's gonna be forever
Or it's gonna go down in flames
You can tell me when it's over
If the high was worth the pain"

and "darling i am a nightmare, dressed like a daydream"  and
 "We'll take this way too far and leave you breathless
Or with a nasty scar"
So I looked up the video. And it was such a visual treat! I loved it that they have used 3 dobermans at 0.48--0.55
Truly no other breed would do :) If you watch the video, you will know what I mean.

I also think this kind of 'mad-frenzied love' is good only for music videos. In real life, you  would probably run from such a woman in the other direction. Even if she was Taylor Swift :)

Men on my TL who read this post, tell me what you think of such women. (Watch the video)
Women on my TL---we can all drool over this insanely good-looking guy in the video :)

Till tomorrow--keep smiling!
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ps: Glad that my blog marathon is going strong! Thanks to all who are reading and leaving me comments.

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Friday, December 25, 2015

Blue skies, sunshine, ocean and happiness (blog marathon post 11)


Maldives. A paradise on earth if there ever exists one.

It features in an entire chapter in my book The Secret Wishlist. 
It is where Ankit takes Diksha.

Fiction merged with reality.
I was happy.
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Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Christmas eve post (blog marathon post 10)

Christmas eve. Full moon night. I always feel there is magic in the air at this time of the year. I love the Christmas spirit --even though the skeptics would say it's all commercialized now with all those clever marketeers pushing just the right buttons to get you to open up those purse strings---I still love the spirit.

When I lived in UK, it was so beautiful. There was snow, lights, festivity, warmth, bonhomie and a cheer that wasn't there around this time of the year. When I used to live in Kerala too, it was the same! There would be groups of children who would go around, singing carols at each house. Some would be dressed up as santas, and they would put up a little show , going from door to door.

In Bangalore, from my 14th floor window, I can only hear the sounds of the traffic. The sprawling metropolis stretches ahead in front of me like a lonely galaxy.

And all I can do is sigh,and send out Christmas wishes to everyone who feels the magic, and everyone who needs it.


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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

How Love can be destructive (blog marathon post 8)



First it was the Sheena Bora case that dominated the water cooler, coffee machine and dining table conversations. The TV channels got a story that even the most imaginative fiction writers would shudder to create as it sounded—well, too fictional to be true. As we squirmed, wriggled and shuffled uncomfortably, glued to the TV sets that blared the ‘facts’ or  purported facts, the unfolding drama took turns that would make fifty shades darker pale in comparison. And this was a ‘true-story’ too to boot—or so they said even as the quest for the truth continues.
Just as I was recovering from the absurdity and the shock of the ridiculous depths to which humanity can sink, I was assaulted by yet another story---the Gokul case which appears to be even more sordid.  The techie who has been arrested for murdering his wife and for sending hoax bomb threats to Kempegowda International airport, Delhi and Mumbai airports has also been booked for sending a message to an Industrialist based in new Delhi, demanding one crore.
According to the local newspaper reports, he wanted to get back with his old flame at college whom he had now got in touch with through social media.  Allegedly Gokul murdered his wife two months ago and the police say he did this to get back with his ex-girlfriend. As a part of the master plan, he even moved into the same apartment complex where she was living with her husband and two children. Where it takes the plot of a suspense thriller is the way that the finer details of the story unravel. He knew that his wife was having an extra marital affair. So he posed as a Godman, won her confidence and got her to send compromising pictures of herself with her paramour. He is then alleged to have bludgeoned her to death and used the pictures to buy her father’s silence.  The newspapers report that he then tried to frame the husband of the ex-girlfriend by taking a sim card in his name and sending the messages so that he would be behind bars. What gave the game away was even when the ex-girlfriend and her husband were taken out of the building with their mobiles, the sim continued to be active. 
What confounds me is the extent to which people can go because of their relationships and love affairs. According to India’s latest available crime statistics, love-related issues was the third most common motive for murder, after personal vendetta and property disputes. In many states in India love-affairs or sexual causes topped the list. Murder for love transcends geographical boundaries, cultures and ethnicity and relationship issues as a motive for murder can be found in many countries in the world. While some like the Simpson case and Pistorius case—where he says he accidentally shot his girlfriend—hog headlines and then die down, there are thousands of others that make splashes in their individual geographic locations and then go placid when the ripples subside.
Psychologists say that globally about forty percent of all female murder victims die at the hands of a former or present spouse or lover. Nearly all male murderers claim that they committed the murder out of love and that it was a result of loving too much. According to psychologists, explaining the motive for murdering a person they love by referring to a single issue which is the male possessiveness is taking a very simplistic view. Though jealousy and anger play a major role, in the end what it really stems from, is that conditions for murderous violence develop over a period of time, where the man’s romantic ideology perceives the woman to be his whole world. He also lacks other sources of reasons and a meaning for his own life.  He thinks that he has full control and power over his loved one which is what is his traditional perception of masculinity. His behaviour is rigid and uncompromising. It is extreme dependence masked under the guise of masculinity that breeds conditions for violence and murder.
Throughout centuries many poets, artists and writers have been inspired by love. But, the force that binds, entwines, creates can also turn into an all-consuming energy that destroys, mutilates, maims and takes lives.
Love is a many splendoured thing, but sometimes when the splendour involves murder, it is ugliness that floods out, drowning the passion in blood, gore and futility of it all.
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This piece first appeared in  The Financial Chronicle, in my column Sex and the City. _____________________________________________________________________________
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Monday, December 21, 2015

44 (blog marathon post 7)


Why do I feel 24? :)

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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Loneliness (Blog marathon post 6)





A movie I watched last night left me strangely disconcerted and made me think about the relationships we form in these technology-saturated times. The movie Mili directed by Rajesh Pillai was about a teenage girl who grows up with feelings of rejection. Nothing she does is good enough and she keeps getting into trouble at school for being ‘weird’ and ‘different’, unable to complete simple academic tasks, always being lost in a dream-world. She is sensitive and kind but painfully shy.  She stalks her crush on Facebook but is too shy to talk to him in person. She spies on her room-mates who have boy-friends and she makes their lives difficult by hogging the bathroom when they need it, overhears their private conversation that they have with their boy-friends, reads  the messages on their phone, her irrational behaviour stemming from jealousy and a feeling of neglect. She has no friends, nobody to talk to and as the days pass, she cocoons herself in a web of loneliness. She becomes more and more depressed and finally cuts herself on her wrist in order to cope with the pain of alienation, withdrawing deeply from the world. A young man who is a motivational trainer enters her life and he understands what she is going through. He points out that what she is most afraid of is to get out of her comfort zone. He spends an evening talking to her, and his words have some impact on her. She finally ‘makes friends’ with a jolly-bear waste bin! She forms an attachment to it, carries it around everywhere and talks to the bin too. She slowly starts taking steps to change her life, and in the final frames manages to turn her life around, after shedding her indecisiveness, fear and uncertainly. She finally manages to escape the clutches of loneliness. There is no romantic involvement with anyone here, and yet she manages to combat loneliness.


Most people when asked why they want to get married, or why they want to be in a relationship, say that the idea of being ‘everything for someone’ appeals to them immensely. They like going from a ‘me’ to ‘we’. They enjoy coming home to somebody, sharing a home with someone, raising a family together and many other such things which only a marriage or a committed relationship can provide.
Research tells us that loneliness , even though isn’t a condition that requires urgent intervention, can have disastrous effects on mental and physical health, affecting our immune systems, increasing inflammatory responses and putting us at a greater risk for cardio vascular diseases and depression.
But is marriage or a long-term committed relationship an antidote to loneliness? I don’t think so. For, it is not just those who are single who can be lonely. Loneliness can creep up in marriages too. Over the years, the partners may not feel connected to each other even though they are living under the same roof. Their conversations become purely functional and practical, like asking each other if the telephone or electricity bill has been paid or whether the grocery shopping was done. The partners may no longer do things together, being immersed in their own routines—like one partner going to bed at 10.00 pm for an early start for an exercise class the next day, while the other staying up late watching TV or surfing the net. Affection and caring for each other might very much be there in the marriage—and yet the partners might be lonely as they are emotionally isolated.

Loneliness is measured by the subjective quality of our relationships not the objective ones. To combat it, what needs to be done is a conscious effort to communicate. To be genuinely interested in others---what they love, hate and what makes them tick. You have to take the initiative, create meaningful exchanges and do things together. In short, you have to fall in love again—and discover the other as well as yourself in the process.
The magic mantra to combat loneliness is connection and a lot of effort.

This piece first appeared in  The Financial Chronicle, in my column Sex and the City.
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Like what you read?
Buy my books, you will love them:   http://is.gd/preetibooks
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