H1N1 doesn’t spare the priest

September 12th, 2009

Ashok Kumara Bhatta, a pujari by profession, is now well-versed with the H1N1 virus. Not that he is a part-time doctor or that he has contracted it. But, its fear has hit him where it hurts the most. His income has fallen drastically, to put it mildly. He is finding it difficult to make both ends meet now.

Being a pujary at a small temple in a corner of the city, he mainly depended on the people calling him home to perform pujas. Most of his clientele are IT professionals as that part of city had a significant number of people working with IT firms. They also made offerings when they stopped by the temple on their way to work every day.

Bhatta has hence had to increase his knowledge about the virus that has created so much tension in the hearts and minds of Indians, mostly the urban well-heeled Indians, today. He has learnt that the N95 mask manufactured by an MNC can help him. But, he can’t afford it. It cost about Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 in the black market today in many parts of Bangalore today.

The pujary, fortunately has been working to hone his marketing skills ever since the global slowdown hit Indian shores and had affected the offerings being made to the temple.

Mohan, who had to perform some rites for his father who passed away a year ago, came face-to-face with the marketing skills of Bhatta. Bhatta offered to perform some rites for free. In addition to that, he is also ready to give a discount on his rates. He told Mohan: “I can perform rites to your specifications and make it shorter if you want me to.”

While there is talk of a recovery, Bhatta is yet to feel the benefits of any trickle down effect.

Seems, not even God is spared the impact of the credit crisis brought on by the greed of a few in the US or the H1N1 virus.

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Making it Simple

September 12th, 2009

I sit down to write a blog. Spend some time on it. I do a spell check, check the blog for errors, and then I click on the upload button. Voila! I get logged out.

I log in again, after the server goes up, to check if the blog has been uploaded. Alas, it was not to be. The server had gone down I am told. My spirits too went down with it. It is not the first time though technology has betrayed me. Well, actually I am frustrated by my dependence on technology.

It not only has allowed me to indulge in the pleasures of writing nonsense (what I call random thoughts), it also sends me through an emotional roller coaster as I am also thinking so many times before posting the blog if there will be a negative comment from a kind-hearted reader who took time to read the blog posting.

Oh, I forget. When writing the blog another worry (only at home though) is if the power supply will stay. The fear of power cuts, often forces me to cut short whatever this man with no powers wants to say.

I am not sure now about the UPS’ capacity too. I had bought one that will stay for half an hour. But, its capacity is down now to about five minutes. Its elementary Mr Bose, the now-friendly electrician of the ‘reformed’ electricity supply company seemed to say. “It is normal ’saar’ for the UPS to behave so.” The quality of power is responsible for reducing my UPS to just a not so useful accoutrement with the PC is what I have come to understand.
I feel I am only complicating my life with my pretensions of being tech-savvy. I feel it would be better for me to be be back with pen and paper. Wish I could find an easy and cheaper way to write with a pen instead of typing on the keyboard and exposing myself to the possiblity of developing the ‘carpel tunnel syndrome’ too.

Well, I am indeed a worried man.

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Onam Crosses Border

September 1st, 2009

All my life I have known Onam as the harvest festival of Kerala, and a day I can throw dietary cautions to the winds. Most often friends and most acquaintances may even have know that it is Onam.

Hey, but this year seems a little different. All over the airwaves, in many languages you have ads reminding one that it is Onam… and it is time to buy new stuff. There are very many business outlets saying it is festival time and so… BUY!!!

What the slowdown has done to Onam has probably never been achieved earlier in history. Its cut across borders… and Mahabali has jumped out of the comic books and mythological narratives into the drawing rooms of people of all languages and cultures.

While earlier Mahabali has had to only visit the Kerala homes, now he will probably have to visit homes across many more states. While it would probably test his energy, it would also be a test of his linguistic abilities.

Indeed, while over time, Onam has tended to be a relatively more secular festival, the crass commercialisation has ensured that it’s whole philosophy is lost amidst the marketing din.

So, there we go. A harvest festival becomes an opportunity to harvest money of those ready to spend.

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