Friday, September 20, 2013

The Land of the Dalai Lama, Weird T-Shirts, Yoga & Meditation in McLeod Ganj

The sun was shying down with its last rays drawing a weak shadow over the ever dominant Dhauladhar Mountains. I have seen this sight more than enough but I have never been this captivated by sun’s light works over the majestic mountains. Maybe it was because, I know that it will be months or even years before I step foot in the land of the Dalai Lama.

Bhagsu Waterfall

McLeod Ganj was established as a cantonment/ a summer retreat by the British Raj, though the Raj have left the country it still is a Military Training Camp and a popular weekend getaway spot from Delhi, Haryana and Punjab. This tiny heaven was awakened by hordes of Tibetan fleeing their country after the failed uprising of 1959 against the Communist Party of China. Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama took asylum in the magnificent Dhauladhar Range along with his entourage. The Dalai Lama established the Government of Tibet in exile in 1960, making McLeod Ganj his official residence. Today, it’s known as ‘Little Lhasa’ and from the many posters of Lhasa hanging in almost all the restaurants and Tibetan owned business here, it does look like a miniature version of Lhasa.

Namgyalma Stupa

 Strolling through the streets of McLeod Ganj, it’s almost impossible to ignore, how much the Tibetans are hungry for freedom. The amount of t-shirts, bags, blankets, posters and even smoking pipes and bongs with ‘FREE TIBET’ on it makes it more evident that they are dying for a revolution that will set them free. Some shops have picture of that guy who set himself on fire in New Delhi as a protest against the visit by the Chinese president. Everything in this small settlement screams of freedom, to live in their country without someone controlling their sovereignty, which I believe is everyone’s right.

Monastery Inside Namgyalma Stupa

As I try to recline my seat, I can’t stop thinking whether I have I seen it all here or did I miss anything out?  But the loud Bollywood songs coming from the mobile phone two seats behind me, the giggling of the newly married couples right next to my seat  and  the smell of the jasmine hair oil from the newly bride won’t let me concentrate. I’ve trekked all the way up to Triund, explored the entire town on foot, visited the main Tibetan Monastery, took a cab down to Namgyalma Stupa and even saw a guy slipping to the pool right below the Bhagsu waterfall but something kept on bugging me that I have missed out something.

View of Triund 

I have never been that much into mediation, in fact I’ve always considered mediation as something where you learn how to sleep sitting but then I meet this software engineer from New Delhi who took a ten days mediation course in a Tibetan Monastery. Looking at him, I can sense that he was in peace with himself. I can make it out from his eyes and his voice, though I have not ruled out the idea that he might be a good faker or a really good actor. As he told how amazing the whole experience was, people from different walks of life, from different parts of the globe signing up for peace, answer to problems, plus some hippies just because it’s ‘very Exotic Eastern’ or may be to spread their smell to the area.

View of McLeod Ganj from Upper Dharamkot

The ten days journey to peace as according to him was eye opening and it was not an easy task to achieve. Complete silence for ten days, no smoking, alcohol or any kind of recreational drugs, though smokers were allowed to go off the monastery for a quick smoke. Restriction was not only on how one behaves but also on diet. Meals were boiled or steamed, no meat, no spice nor oil and it does make sense as diarrhea and constipation would make the whole silent meditation concept almost impossible.


Talking to him about the whole ten days experience kept me thinking; maybe I need something like this in my life, maybe this is why I feel like I’ve missed something here in McLeod Ganj because I’ve seen thousands of flyers and posters advertising about yoga and meditation. Maybe I needed this but that was when reality kicked in like a mother. I have a job and bills to pay. If I think with a clear mind, 99% of my problems can be solved with money. I don’t need meditation, I need money and my only solution is to work hard.

Yeah, I did really left something up there, my underwear and a shirt in the hotel.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Delhi, A Rapist Haven

Everytime I hear the line ‘India is an upcoming Superpower’; I dive into a divine state of utter speechlessness. I would love to see India as a Superpower nation but it looks like an impossible dream. We have only three problems, Economy, Political and social and the day our government figures a way to deal with these small three problems, nothing can stop from becoming a superpower nation.

Right now the entire nation is flooded in deep shit. India can’t be more unstable than now. We have tons of militant groups roaming freely collecting tax from the public in the North-Eastern states, the Central India is a full on war zone with the Naxalites and their communist ideology fuelled angry tribal who can’t seem to understand that Communism is kind of unpractical and does not really apply to the modern world. The ideology was built for the benefit of some fortunate few because if it was realistic then millions of people in North Korea and China won’t live in extreme poverty while some handful have access to all the wealth. Communism to me is just a fancy word for dictatorship. But again these tribal don’t either benefit anything from our so-called world largest democratic government so what the heck, which Ideology they prefer to follow. To the west we have our beloved neighbour, Pakistan ever ready to attack us and our only response is, if you attack us we won’t play cricket with you. That picture of our dear Prime Minister saying ‘if you attack us we won’t play cricket with you’ can’t be less feigned. In the Eastern region we have thousands of Bangladeshi refugees coming in everyday as if we already don’t have an overpopulation problem. Let’s not forget about China.

Okay, I get it. We have some minor problems disciplining our citizens and making friendship with neighbouring countries but right now, I feel that newspapers filled with news about crime against women is what we should be really worried. I am not suggesting that we should warn the newspapers to stop publishing such news; but find a solution to stop such news from happening. Maybe we all can join together and try to do something, even if not for the safety of the women but as a protest against newspapers and news channels for giving more importance to advertisement than news.

Image Source: Channel NewsAsia
As Indian we can adapt in any situation and the thing that I am most scared is; we might just get used to
it. Let this become a part of our life, something like bribery and how common and easy it is for us to give or take bribes to get things done. Looking at what’s happening around me and how people are reacting, we are not that far away from reaching that point.

As any normal human being we try to find someone or something to blame for our misfortunes and when it’s Crime against women, the Police seem to be the unfortunate ones at the receiving end. Since I have very less knowledge about other cities, I will refer to Delhi NCR. Delhi Police is not the most honest or competent police force in the world but compared to other states I personally fell that Delhi Police is doing their job. Delhi with its population and the easy access from UP and Haranaya, it’s not an easy task securing the city. They are paid for that but come on; they are just normal human beings like you and me. They cannot give personal protection to every single woman in the city. But again, the recent incident in Noida where that unfortunate girl got gang raped by 5 guys in which there were two police, it’s really tough to come to a conclusion on how the police is going to protect the public.

I feel that Delhi high rate of Crime against Women is not because of Delhi Police’s failure to do their job. I feel that it’s because we, the citizens have failed to educate our children and failed to show our children how to respect women. The social system of the city and its citizen is rotten from the bottom to the top. We don’t have any moral values. It’s not rare to see a 5 years old kid calling his grandpa a Mother Fu**** or Sister FU****.

Even though India may be screwed from almost every possible way, like a girl in a hardcore porn movie, yet am glad that I am a citizen of this country and I still have my ‘Freedom of expression’ . Because if I were a citizen of a God forsaken communist countries like China or North Korea, I would be dead before publishing this post.