Tuesday, April 5, 2016

#ATOZCHALLENGE True or False? The Ambiguous Origin of the Devadasis . Letter D

Disclaimer: none of my stories are my views. I am just presenting different views as was present or is prevalent at a certain period of time.

If we trace back the history of a Devdasi system you will find many ambiguities. But there is one that really caught my attention. It was totally against all that I believed in. Maybe this is a theory given by a man to show himself in his pious myth or just a justification of why a woman was treated like animals from time immemorial. I don't know.

According to Kalidasa's Meghdoot, the Kamasutra refers to these Devadasis as courtesans who were high skilled artisans. They were the ones that kept the art of Odissi and Bharatnatyam alive.  They were the ones whose voice used to sing in praise of the lord in the temples.

One fact cannot be denied that there is no mention of Devadasis in our Jatakas, but a few hints have been given in the Puranas. But the history can be traced till the downfall of Buddhism. A theory also goes that Devdasi's were the Buddhist nuns, who had to resort to prostitution after Buddhism died down in India.

The only difference between Devadasis and  sadhikas was that they were not celibates and could either chose one patron or several. Just like a man could in those days. (I am not at all pointing towards the moral aspect but stating things as it was.) But then with the British Raj, this system came under a lot of criticism and it was during this time the devadasi system began to be compared to prostitution. Till then no one had dared to call these learned women prostitutes. It was a way of life. Right or wrong- it was where women were educated in the Shastras and Vedas fine arts and due to the patronage they received were often and were often the richest class of the society. Till they were not declared as prostitutes by the advent of the Britishers in India.

Was this theory mentioned in Meghdoot a fact? Or is the origin of the Devadasis as scholars are myth?

Fact or Fiction? What would you call this? 

Monday, April 4, 2016

#ATOZCHALLENGE True or False? The Mystery of the Crop Circle: Letter C

Switzerland: Img. Src. Wikipedia
Crop Circle was one of the trending topics for debate in the early 70s when the first design was discovered as early as 1678. Some came up with the theory of meteor attacks while others blamed it on the storms leaving these marks in its wake. But no one could explain how these crop circles had such precise geometric designs and a few have been said to follow the theorems of geometry. Most of you would ask what is so great about it? Well, they all are made in one night. Farmers go to sleep for the night and when they wake up all they see are the patterns. Often Celtic marks or geometric patterns. Like someone wants to give, us earthlings, a message.

When Doug Bower and Dave Chorley in the 70’s came forward to claim that they had made the crop circles which seemed to have sprung overnight, I have a feeling people almost felt cheated. Of course, that is my theory :), but to think that such intrinsic designs could be man made is still acceptable but to think that they can be made overnight, is literally challenging even Hephaestus. 

This gave rise to a new profession namely the cerealogists and from the 1970s till today many such crop circles have been found. No one has seen anyone making them and they all have sprung overnight.
Tv9 Gujarat - Gandhinagar : Crop circle appears overnight, creates curiosity

One of them happened in India too. Gandhinagar, Gujrat. The problem is if it had happened in the cities one would have still thought of it not being scientific but overnight such occurrence in a village and villagers not knowing about it at all? Makes one wonder.

Personally I feel the pattern is not the same. If you see the indents.

Another advocate of this theory is the finding of the Rosewell stone having the same pattern as that of the crop circle in Chisledon, 4000 miles away from where the stone was found. What was unique here was not only the stone has been carved to precision without changing the shape and smoothness of the stone but also it has a unique magnetic quality which no other stone displayed in that area. Was it man made using the sandblasting method as one scientist proved that it is possible to carve designs on stones like this. If yes, how does one explain the magnetic quality of the rock? One would never know.  

Fact or Fiction? What would you call this? 

Tweet: Tweet to me if you think #cropcirlce is a fact or fiction. @rubinaramesh199

Saturday, April 2, 2016

#ATOZCHALLENGE True or False? The Irish Legend of The Banshee: Letter B

This might be considered as an old wives’ tale but then I am an old wife. Hahahahah. A long time ago when I visited my grandma's house, it always gave me a feeling of being watched. Of a presence. I used to tell my mom regarding this and she always told me that these old houses of Kolkata gave such feelings even to the most ardent scientific minds. 

Google image
But there was one rule we had to follow. No combing of hair in the long corridors after 6:00pm. The reason given was it was the harbinger of  death.  Especially if witnessed by a black owl. Now for those who are smirking, please remember in those days grandma’s tales were very convincing and most of the rules were followed without questioning this matriarch of the family, simply because you loved her with all your heart. :D

Similar sorties I heard in my in-laws place where they would give the first cooked rice as offerings to the Crow. And boy they had to keep happy always! For even if they did not come to open the doorway to heaven(or hell), the fear instilled in my MIL’s heart was enough to drive us crazy. So if a spoon of cooked rice was the ‘harbringer of peace, then who wanted to question this tradition? :P

Birds have assumed a variety of role in all the cultures. From Greek to Egyptian to Indus, birds have either ushered in good luck or doom. 

And one of the strangest is the Irish lore of Banshee. When someone in the Irish village dies a woman of the village laments his death. (We have the same in our Indian custom and they are called Rudali ) anyways these Irish women would be called “keeners”. Legend also says that there were five Gaelic families where when death would come they would know since this “fairy keener” would come and wail in front of them. These fairies were ghostlike and wore white and had silver long hair which they would keep on brushing their silver mane with a silver comb. This also gave rise to a tale that when you see a comb lying on the ground you should never pick it up. Or you might invite a banshee.  We can  call this a myth of course.
And how is this related to birds? Everytime banshees were seen to have been flying away in the form of a white bird.

Before you decide, here is one real recording of the scream of a Banshee..

But then why did Jim Cobett, India's most famous wildlife hunter, and conservationist report three such screaming which almost stopped his heartbeat and cuddled his blood in fear? We have written proof in his diary where he calls it a banshee's scream. These screams can never be duplicated by a real person. It says in the legend, when a Banshee screams, your heartbeat goes faster and if you hear this scream for three nights continuously, then....Read the story here and then tell me.

Fact or Fiction? What would you call this? 

Tweet: Would you call the legend of the #Banshee a myth? If yes then why did Jim Cobett hear the screams? #atozchallege @rubinaramesh199

Read my post for C here

Friday, April 1, 2016

#ATOZCHALLENGE True or False? The Legend of The Ape-Man: Letter A

We all have heard of the yeti and some either called it throwback of nature or an old wive’s tale. But the concept of the ape-man has not been centric or localized in a certain culture only. Everywhere it has been called by a different name. From yeti to the monkey-man. For my first alphabet A, I choose to call this The Ape-man. 

Called as the Bigfoot in the Pacific Northwest, sightings of a man covered with white hair was reported near a ski location inSpain. While nothing has been proven yet my research took me to many such sightings even in India.


The notorious monkey-man of Delhi, on which many serials were also based can be a figment of an imagination or the costume of a serial killer. A man with black hair all over his body, 8ft tall and vanishing as nimbly as he appeared is definitely something which might cross the border of science. When in Delhi in 2001, many such attacks were reported it created a furor amongst the nations. The local police gave a report saying all were false but as they could not prove the existence of an ape-man, neither could they prove it wrong.  

Google Image
But the existence of ape "like" men was further popularized when stories of three brothers who looked and behaved like monkeys became headlines in the south of India due to the serial Mano Ya Na Mano. Their violent animal like behavior or their acute clairvoyant disposition became legendary. They were the much sorted out proof that such a phenomena really existed. Though not hairy, they certainly walk, climb and behave like monkeys. They cannot speak but the sounds that do come out from their vocal chords are very similar to the sounds of monkeys. Same sounds as were reported to have been made by the monkey-man in Delhi or at the yeti sightings across the world. A throwback of evolution perhaps?

Do you believe that such men can exist? Before you call this an old wives tale here is one scientific fact to look into.

Scientists have discovered a genetic mutation which caused hair to sprout on one’s bodies giving an ape-like resemble. This is called Hypertrichosis. Some even call it a “werewolf syndrome”. 

But again the people affected by this are pretty normal in speech and behavior. So how does one explain scientifically the animal like behavior and speech?

Fact or Fiction? What would you call this? 

Check out my post for the letter B here. 

Tweet: Does the legendary Ape-man really exist? #Fact or #Fiction? #atozchallenge of @rubinaramesh199 #rt

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Walking On The Precipice Called Equality

Image: Desktop Nexus.
Women are Weaker than Men. This phrase ignites a burning anger within me. One that consumes my soul. I would not have written on this prompt since I am hosting this prompt on my site but then I got one [I will not call hate] but rather an outcry from one of my fellow counterparts demanding to know why we are propagandizing that women are weaker than men. Are we? Being the feminist that I am, the very thought behind this statement makes me want to lash out. 

We are what we are due to our upbringing...
My fight to prove this statement wrong did not start today. And no I did not have an abused childhood where women were treated with disrespect. In a house dominated by 4 sisters [we lived in a joint family] over one brother, such a thought would have snuffed out even if it had been ignited. 

My fight strangely started after the birth of my son. Or I would rather say it started with one dialogue from a family member [no brownie points for guessing The Who]. She said, "Now you can buy him all the expensive toys since he is a boy." 

Do not differentiate between children...
I saw a look of horror crossing over the face of my seven-year-old. For the first time, in my house, the dormant division between a girl and a boy was etched. A line that refused to go away after that. My little girl took it to heart and slowly we both realized that small-small things were made very clear that a boy can do what a girl can't.  The worse was what a small girl was expected to do - like helping in the middle of the night if her brother is crying. She was just seven for god's sake. That was the day I decided to bring out the feminist within me. I became her shield. It was tough for fighting against a mindset is never easy. 

Teach your daughter to fight back - with positivity. Not bitterness.
I saw a change in my daughter too. She wanted to do things more aggressively and better. I suppose I should be happy about that. But something did not feel right. When I sat down to talk to her she told me bluntly that she had to prove to certain someone that women are no less than men. I felt very sad. This fire had ignited inside my daughter by a woman herself. So now instead of women are weaker than men, women are women's worst enemies started looming in my life. 

Grrrr...[could not think of an apt title here without sounding angry]
I brought both the parties together and made then sit with some serious talks. Unfortunately, the ingrained teaching of her ancestors did not leave the-certain-you-know-who. And more, unfortunately, my daughter took it as a personal issue. Now her every action is to prove that she can do anything she sets her mind to. I agree it's working positively for me. She has taken the positive route to prove herself. Instead of being bitter and angry that she initially was.

Change your own world first....
But as they say, charity begins at home. So a change must occur first within our own small world before we can make any changes in the world. I am sharing this part of my life with all readers not to prove a point. For I suppose for centuries, women from every corner of their world have been trying to do only do that. I have written this article to just share one point - as a mother of both a son and daughter, both are equal to me. BOTH. In my own world, I as a mother pledge to teach both my kids just that. Nothing more and nothing less. 

“Written for the Blogging Community: An initiative by The Book Club in the body of your post.
Disclaimer: I am not writing this post to win the competition and it will not be judged. 

Tweet: Women don't demand greatness. We demand equality. I respect men but as a woman, I demand my #respect too. Join our #BloggingCommunity

Monday, March 21, 2016

#AtoZChallenge Theme Reveal

Revealing my theme ( *drumrolls)
The Unexplained and the Unnatural 

I have a fascination towards unusual occurring. No, I am not a superstitious person nor religious for that matter. This might be the reason why I am open to many new things and even though I find them fascinating, they don't dictate my life. Right or wrong are not my area of concern. I strongly believe to each his own. But is there anything wrong is understanding those areas of life where science has failed to come up with an explanation? Let me say in the beginning itself that I am just giving a presentation. I am not passing any judgement. It's the finding of a curious mind. Now all I have to see if I have enough material to make my own set of alphabets:) 

I am revealing the theme but not the topics. But I plan to dig out some very interesting topics for the future paranormal writers. Do give me credit when you write your novel based on these topics. Hahahahha....  Wishing all my fellow participants a very happy Blogging Month. And a huge hug to the team of A-Z challenge. You guys are great motivators. 

Even I am curious how far I can reach :D

Curious Eh?

Gif Credit goes to Giphy.com

Tweet: #ThemeReveal #AtoZchallenge 26 days of How is this possible syndrome by @rubinaramesh199

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Let This Be A Celebration and Not a Mockery

Charity begins at home. Today I have decided to become selfish. I refuse to think of anyone except myself. Not about the wife in me or about the mother in me. When will people realize that these are but extensions of a woman?  I am a girl before I became a wife or a mother.

Every girl child is born with desires and ambition. But only 30% can fulfill them.  The remaining hide under the mask of sacrifice and they give up their most latent desires. And this is what makes the family members happy? It's actually funny but it does. For a woman's desires are so inconsequential that they don't even merit a debate. 

She sacrificed in the name of the family. Did she have a choice? She gave up her career for her family. Was it discussed with her? Why does she not get up and fight for her rights? She can. Do not consider her sacrifices as meekness. But she won't for she had seen her mother sacrificing and before her, her grandmothers.

I want to break this vicious circle of sacrifices. I want to tell my daughter that her dreams have a meaning. Yes, marriage is important but so is finding the right partner. Love is important but so is that action of a guy who gets up and says, "it's fine darling today I will take care of chutki. You go to work." 

That day we can say we are celebrating woman. Stop treating us as sacrificial goats. We did not want this role. We never said we were mother India nor did we say our career and our desires are secondary. So who decided it for us?

We. We the women decided to give up our lives and cry over what could have been at the dusk of our lives. We women decided to play the role of a martyr the day we told her in-laws that it is fine, let him go to work I will take care  of you. We women decided that just because we give birth to a child it is our sole responsibility.  And when the child grows up and demands we make that sacrifice year in and out- why the heck are we so surprised? Is this not what we have taught him or her from day one?

I think time has come to teach the true meaning of equality to a child. Desires and wants are equal in every human.  Let not a woman at the dusk of her life think about re-starting her career and finding the world has moved on. Happy Women's Day.

Phew! This was heavy even for me. :D