Chitralekha Gujarati issue dated 4th August 14
Watch “Editor’s Audio Note” on YouTube -
Shrawan Maas: The Month of Lord Shiva
Over the last few years, says a survey, an increasingly greater number of young people are taking to religion. Incredible as it may sound, but the young ones, brought as they are amidst growing influence of Whatsapp, Facebook etc, take their religion equally seriously, if not more. Their lingo matches with the one widely used in social media, but their intent and sincerity cannot be questioned. Welcoming the advent of Shrawan on social media like, ‘it is Shiva’s month, you know’, they take to fasting with as much intensity and fervor as their elderly counterparts. It comes as a pleasant surprise that their education and overwhelming and all-pervasive impact of mobiles and TV has not diluted their desire to connect with their roots. In this cover story that heralds the holy month of Shrawan, Ketan Mistry, Ketan Trivedi, Jwalant Chhaya and Faysal Bakili interact with a few representatives of the generationext to demystify the strange mix of modernity and tradition increasingly-and quite explicitly-manifested by our youths.
In Hindu mythology, the second month of monsoon and tenth month of Vikram Samvat is regarded as a sacred month among the believers. In this month, devotees of Lord Shankar (Shiva to younger ones) do fasting for Shiva on every Monday to show their obeisance for the lord. The month of Sawan is also considered holy in the Chaturmas (the four-month cycle of monsoon) that begins from Devapodhi Ekadashi. In these brief interviews, we get to know that while some do fasting purely for spiritual reasons, many feel that fasting has a two-fold advantage: it cleanses your body and purifies your mind and soul.
At 24, Nirav Chauhan is a successful maths teacher tutoring at a prestigious college in Mumbai and conducting his own tutorials. He admits that for the past three years he has been doing fasting in the month of Shrawan, taking one-time meal on the day of fasting. Also, he would do five fasts in a year without taking a single drop of water no matter how many lectures he has to attend during the day. To those skeptics who marvel at his adhering to fasting despite being a science student, his simple answer is: faith is a very personal matter and we must respect each other’s faith, he asserts. He however strongly feels that fasting should not be based on principle of quid pro quo, as you cannot strike a deal with God that I will do fasting provided you give me what I ask for.
He rues our colonial mindset that conditions our mind to accept things only after they are endorsed by foreigners. As for the effect of fasting, he has no doubt that it lightens you up, both mentally and physically.
Pratiksha Dave, an RJ based in Surat makes no bones about the fact that she is out-and-out religious, doing fasts every Thursday round the year, besides observing it on Monday as well in the Sawan month. Though she is a regular visitor to temple, she admits that you find more young people visiting temples during this holy month, who are not regular during the year.
While Komal Dalal, a banking-insurance professional is convinced that fasting makes you strong mentally, Preety Chudasama, a PR executive of Ahmedabad looks upon the month of Shrawan as the month that facilitates purification of soul. Preety strikes a rational note when she reveals that more than the month of piety, the Shrawan month for her is a month that restores her mental balance and health. Underlining the importance of fasting, she explains that since our metabolism slows down during monsoon, it is imperative that we take light food to aid easy digestion.
Sagar Trivedy, the Ahmedabad-based accounts executive advises restrain in intake of food during rainy days. And for Mitsy Dave, every Monday begins with a visit to the Shiv temple. The holy month of shrawan has touched foreigners as well. Irwin Vithoph, a student visiting Rajkot from Chicago under the Students Exchange Programme confirms her new-found passion for Lord Shiva.
The concluding piece deals with the special varieties of food items that are suitable for intake during fasting. Various eateries and food outlets reveal how they do brisk business during fasting season by rustling up a few such delicacies.
You should not be surprised if the cover story converts you from being a strong agnostic to an ardent follower of Lord Shiva
Hunting the Wanted
How does one hunt down the criminals who are wanted in their country but have managed to sneak into a foreign country and taken refuge there? Obviously those who manage to flee their country after committing crimes are hardcore criminals and it is not always easy to nab them, says Mahesh Shah. We have to approach international investigative agencies in accordance with international norms and take their help to capture these absconding offenders.
It goes without saying that we have our own ‘share’ of criminals who have taken asylum outside India. Notably among them are terrorists/criminals like Dawood, Hafiz Saeed, Rasool ‘Party’ and so on. We have already caught the wanted criminals like Abu Salem, thanks to the extradition treaty we have with Portugal, and Sunil Kakkad who had committed economic crimes running into crores before fleeing India. The list is pretty long. What do our authorities do to lay their hands on these wanted? What are the prevailing laws? What is the Red Corner Notice?
You get to know everything in this fascinating story on the ‘wanted’
The Milk of Human Kindness Flows..
Since the story first appeared in Chitralekha two weeks ago, there has been an unprecedented response from the readers. Sweety Makwana, an Australia-based Indian origin woman is a single mother single-handedly fighting a battle to restore normal health to her 3 year old daughter Twisha, who has been suffering from a congenital and almost incurable deformity, seriously crippling her digestive system. The complex surgery needed for the purpose is going to cost the mother a fortune, says Ketan Trivedi, who had also penned the initial story that first appeared in the issue dated 21 July 2014.
Rising to the occasion, the readers of Chitralekha, moved by the story, have loosened their purses and forwarded their donations to the struggling mother to convince her that she is not alone in her battle. Even Rajkot is not lagging behind in extending its support to Sweety, says Jwalant Chhaya.
Besides the above, the issue also carries Political & Humour columns, Palak, Cardiogram, Priyadarshini, Health Helpline, Jalsaghar and Mukhwas
The best and most effective mode of communication is silence..!!