When Gods Get Broken-Exile to a Ficus Religiosa (peepal tree)



Colorful clay gods are used in some religious ceremonies in homes in India. A Pooja or  prayer ceremony is done on Diwali (Hindu Christmas when the God Ram came home after conquering evil Ravana in Ceylon). 

It is not auspicious to retain these clay gods and after the ceremony they are bade goodbye and consigned to rivers or seas. In suburbia and villages away from any flowing water, a Peepal tree(Ficus Religiosa) becomes the official receiver of such forsaken and broken clay figures which too are not kept at home.

The red thread around the tree marks the tree as being sacred and anointed. The same red thread is tied around wrists to mark your presence at a religious yagya, an offering of incense, spices, clarified butter (ghee)rice and nuts on a small container of burning wood. Yagyas with the right mantras can turn the tides of time and fortunes. Yagyas can cause clouds to appear and deliver rain during times of drought. Yagyas are the highest kind of offering to the pantheon of Hindu Gods who are as real to Indians as their own family members.

Also notice the red cloth with gold trimmings. This is a traditional offering to the all powerful goddesses including, Durga, Laxmi, Mansa and Kaali. People tie the red cloth with golden trimmings around their forehead as a badge of their visit to a holy shrine. The sight of the forehead cloth elicits cries of ‘Jai mataa dee’ from passers by who sing praises to Mataa or mother in the form of Kaali, Laxmi, Durga, Santoshi or Mansa.

Dog Pooh and Congress Grass and Cannabis

congress grass

congress grass 2

somewhere there you may even find the cannabis plant

Congress Grass and Dog Pooh

I suppose no one walks on roads anymore. Everyone now goes to gymnasiums, fitness trails or even malls to have a constitutional. Walking in circles early in the morning seems to be an occupation monopolized by the elderly.

In this area of Chandigarh I see peripatetic old men a plenty and wild dogs. I am not an enemy of dogs but having been bitten once by a mad cur I tread carefully with a throwable stone in my hand all the time. (No I did not take up writing after that dog bite; I had fallen into this elephant trap all by myself.)

I rub my thumb on the stone and polish it to a fine gleam. I have had occasion to throw it only once when an over excited stray dog attacked me thinking I was trespassing. I did not hit him but the clack of the stone against the road was enough to change the cur’s mind.

A lot of people feed these stray dogs and thus become immune to their unfriendliness. Poor dogs do not know that these people feed them to ward away evil spirits as suggested by various astrologers. I hear black dogs are much in demand both of the canine and whisky variety.

My roads are littered with dog pooh. Both the wild and the pet variety. It is not yet mandatory for pet owners to pick up turds in pooh-bags. Thus all the roads are mined with this dog excrement.

One more threat to us perambulators is Spring time Congress grass. It gives allergies and skin rashes to all and sundry. It is the duty of the municipal corporation to clear this horticultural menace. Alas most of the funds are consumed on paving pathways to VIP lanes; painting curbstones in black and white on VIP visits; Changing bulbs on roadside lampposts forgotten in darkness till the arrival of a Somebody.

If only our councilors and leaders would take a walk through the lanes inhabited by their electorate, the world would be a better place.

Till then we must learn to tread wisely through the hazards of dog pooh and congress grass.