Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Ravan Dahan

I have a vague memory of going to public grounds in Ambala, Haryana (that's where we lived when till I was 5) to witness Ravan Dahan on the eve of Dussehra. Mostly celebrated in this fashion in the North, in recent years Ravan Dahan has gained a steady popularity in Maharashtra as well.

I relived these memories on a chance visit to the Nav Maharashtra School Ground, Pimpri, 3 years ago:

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Now it has become an yearly ritual for me and family. The event is sponsored by Amar Moolchandani. Each year there is a bigger stage and a bigger set of random politicians being invited to the event by the sponsors. I think the stage had more than a 100 guests this year. Some snaps and videos:
Meghnath (in blue) & Ravan effigies. Fireworks in the backdrop
Garbha on Stage
The video of the main event (edited using Avidemux). To note: some of the frontbenchers realize that its not as cozy up close as they thought (1:48). In turn a burning Ravana decides to give a real close up view to the crowd as a small part of it files and lands among the frontbenchers (2:25).

Some tips if you are planning to attend:
  1. Ravan Dahan is done at 10 pm (very punctual)
  2. Its a 2-3 hour entertainment program culminating in Ravan Dahan with dance, garbha, fire shows by local & international artists. You can also see fancy fireworks through out the show. If you have time go early - around 7.30 pm. 
  3. There is seating arrangement and if you go early you can find chairs. Even later (we went at 8.30) you can hunt for vacant chairs and take a seat towards the back.
  4. Car parking, esp. if you go late, is a problem. The road going towards Pimple Saudagar is a good place to park your car and also avoid traffic when leaving. 
  5. In case you have reservations about the crowd - it's decent, lot of families, ladies and children.
  6. Wait for 15-20 minutes after the event so that getting out of there is a lot easier
  7. There are barricades to prevent people from going too close when the effigies are burned. However depending on the wind direction standing right up to the barricades is not advisable. Often burning ash floats over to the front of the crowd. Holding the chairs over your head (like an umbrella) can be used for protection :). Nothing serious though.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A days workout

Crisis compounded - Mom's not well, Avani's down with cold and her baby sitter is on leave for 5 days. So I decided to take a day off to look after the little devil. Realized its a tough job handling an infant for an entire day:

No. of squats done: 20-30
No. of back benders:  50-70
Weight training: 8 kg for 1 hour, through the day
Steps: 100
No. of songs sung & re-sung: 20
Courtesy here
And by the way this was not even her full day - I did not contribute in her daily ablutions, breakfast and dinner. Hats off to wifey and mom, and to ladies all around who balance roles as a mother and as a wife and sometimes also as an employee.
Courtesy here
As an engineer, I can think of some obvious optimizations for fellow fathers in case they are given a similar one-day assignment:
  1. Pick her favorite food. Since I don't feed her regularly, her lunch and evening snack was her favorite food so that eating stress is neutralized.
  2. Restrict her play area to avoid running after her and some of the heavy lifting.  
  3. It might be worth investing in the 15 minute stroll (maybe accompanied by song) if that makes her sleep - will give both of you much needed rest :)
  4. Do not plan to do any office work - most likely you will not get any free time to get involved in any other activity
  5. Pay attention to her and her surrounding - with an active baby around small crises occur with unnatural probabilities. So that glass of water on the table or that unattended plate of food may quickly turn into more cleaning work. Prevention is definitely better than cure
  6. Be extremely patient
Enjoy your day & relish these moments :)

Sibilant S

I am forever amused by the "Sibilant S" used to coax reluctant infant bladders. Not sure if this is an India-only tradition, but you can often witness anxious mothers, toddlers in tow, making a beeline to the bathroom throughout the day trying to avoid an "outside incident". And inside the bathroom its desperate pleas followed by veiled threats and intermittently the "Sibilant S" to let it go...though only occasionally successful.
Indoctrinated by years of practice what if they really made a sub conscious association - imagine a teacher trying to quieten a class room full of students shhhhh...
Courtesy here and edited by Paint.NET

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Ek macchar aadmi ko...

I have a long running enmity with these blood suckers and am always on a lookout for methods to free my house of these parasites.
In my quest to find the ultimate antidote for this menace, I found this - a project by Intellectual Ventures Inc., funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. A mosquito-zapping laser created by salvaging parts from consumer electronics. Do watch the video below:
Demonstration at ted talk by Nathan Myhrvold
Some other unconventional ways for wannabe mosquito terminators:
  1. Home made mosquito trap - I think this one is a hoax. Tried this at home. No. of mosquitoes trapped: 0
    Courtesy here
  2. Electric mosquito trap. I ordered one from wantrn. It does an OK job, but effective only in dark rooms that too when there is no one present in the room (make sure to do a Homenum Revelio before turning this on :). The build quality needs a lot of improvement, as does the service. The charger stopped working due to a loose contact within the first month.
    But, not to miss the joy of seeing a pile of corpses when you check the storage container after a few days. Mu ha ha ha...

  3. Heavy duty outdoor trap from megacatch. IMO this should be a must-have amenity in every society...look forward to mosquito free night strolls and gardens.
    Mega-Catch Ultra
And for those of you who came looking for the famous song in the title from the movie Yeshwant: