I asked for his permission to photograph and he said, ‘Go ahead Uncle Jee.’ Jee being like Sir.
I promised I’d get a haircut from him.
Most people prefer the pasteurised milk that arrives in half litre polythene packets from established government milk plants. Some with roots in rural Punjab prefer their milk fresh from the udders delivered by milkmen riding on motorcycles with huge aluminium and colorful plastic containers. They are an essential part of morning life in Chandigarh.
The Tricity of Chandigarh perhaps may have given a lead to many other world citizens with its idea of numbering trees. This is stock taking of another kind.
The Horticulture department knows the wealth of its trees is safe by checking the numbers on trees. Tree cutting is a serious offence. It can lead to imprisonment. That is why the tricities of Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula are so green. No one is runninng away with the trees because of this.
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.
Affordable Housing is a promise of the new Modi government in India. Skeptical citizens have defiantly voted a common man’s party (AAP) to govern the capital of India, which is Delhi. Cynical citizens have turned their allegiance quickly not having seen the fulfillment of any campaign promises including the reduction of prices. People are not very impressed by Prime Minister Modi’s encounters of an another kind with President Obama who was the chief guest at this year’s Republic Day celebrations.
In the meantime some citizens live in make shift tents while new cars and mobile phones burgeon all over the country. Ironically as in this picture there are new parking spaces for cars but not enough roofs for poor citizens. Also you can see the office of a big Housing company in the distance; but these high priced apartments are a distant dream for the common man in India. Perhaps one reason is that there are too many citizens in the first place.
Art and Lifestyle by Brandon Knoll
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