Sunday, February 19, 2006

All’s well that ends well

Delhi is hot and getting hotter by the second. This blog now officially takes a summer break till July 15 . Below is the last 70-errrr for the season. Cheers.

Dr. Neha was 40 years old when she married fellow orphan Bhim, a handsome 21-year-old. Initially, it was odd for Bhim because he had to stop calling Neha aunty. But it worked out well in the end. Bhim is about to become a doctor too and the happy couple has a son and a second one is on the way.


Ok, here is another random 70-er

Radha was world’s most beautiful girl. When the gods fell in love with her beauty and fought over her, Radha decided to run away to a place where there were no gods. She ran to the ends of the earth and wherever she ran she found the gods still fighting over her. Eventually she stopped running because she realized that the gods were too busy fighting over her to really notice her. And while they continued fighting, she married Hriday, a man who was blind.


Sheena and Meena were twins. Sheena was ugly, Meena was pretty. Sheena hated Meena for her beauty. So one day she killed Meena and got Meena’s face transplanted onto hers. Sheena then became a model, married a rich man and lived happily ever after. Till her kids were born. You can run, but you can’t hide. Sheena’s kids were uglier than their mother ever was.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Dakhinpat Satra, Majuli

Saturday, February 11, 2006


Majuli is flat as a pancake, has no roads, no public transport to speak of and is very very dusty during the dry winter months. But Majuli was still worth every bit of the dust that coated our Sumo, our hair, eyes, clothes and luggage when we went there.
In Assam, Majuli is known for its Vaishanavite monasteries. There were more than a 100 of them and now there are just 20 or so because the river Brahmaputra has been gnawing away at the island, which is now half the size it was in 1950. These monasteries are called satras and the monks, most of whom are celibate, are called bhakts.
Just to make things clear, Majuli, despite the fact that erosion is such a serious problem, is a HUGE island. It is one of the largest river islands in the world. So it is not like the river can be seen from every part of the island. You have to travel at least 45 minutes from the center of the island to any of its banks.
We went to a monastery called the Dakhinpat Satra, situated in the southern part of the island. The journey to Dakhinpat was painful. Like I said there are no roads so it was one long, bumpy, dusty ride from the circuit house where we were putting up.
The local population is very helpful and very inquisitive. Before they give you directions, they all want to know where you come from.
To be fair, the journey to Dakhinpat was also very beautiful. I saw more birds in the forty-five minutes it took us to get to the satra than I have seen in my entire life. Majuli is dotted with ponds and marshes and bridges that are left hanging forlornly in the middle with the ends having been washed away by the river during the monsoons.
Floods are a common phenomenon. During monsoons, people move bag and baggage to embankments or any other high ground they find. You want to go to your neighbour’s house in the monsoon? No sweat, just row your boat across to their doorstep. We met a family that said they live on a boat during monsoons because of the floods.
Coming back to Dakhinpat, the monastery was pretty much empty when we went there because most of the bhakts had gone for a function organized for the CM who was vesting the island that day. But we found one really old bhakt who must have been well into his eighties.
It is hard to describe Dakhinpat’s beauty and tranquility. Vast open skies, exotic birds dotting the marshes next to the monastery, clean air and monks who are so kind and warm to absolute strangers.
These monasteries earlier used to be very strict. They would not allow women on their premises after five in the evening, but that is not the case now. We reached at 5.30pm, strolled around the monastery and capped it off with some payokh (kheer) offered by the very kind monk Benudhar sarmah.
All in all, it did not matter that we did not know anyone, by the time we left Majuli we had made a lot of friends. That is the beauty of Majuli, more than its natural beauty, it is the hospitality of the people that is so touching.