Sunday, 15 September 2013

Visit to Mahabalipuram - Part II

Arjuna's penance has been depicted as a huge bas-relief & is said to be largest of it's type in the world. The rock measures 27 meters in length & 9 meters in height.
Arjuna is seen in Tapasya mode with Gods, demi-gods, beasts & birds. Figures of Yakshas, Gandharvas, Nagas & Nymphs all merge in to a theme. 
They all seem to be rushing towards Arjuna to watch & bless him. Enire bas-relief has been beautifully chiseled 1400 years back. Looks as if it has been done on wood with each carved figure telling a story.
There is a natural fissure in the stone which has been used to depict penance of Bhagirath for bringing Ganga to this world.
Brilliant & magnificent. 

Arjuna's Penance - on left is a small temple & a sage sitting near it. He is Dronacharya with his various disciples.

The depiction has a touch of humour as well. Near the trunk of the elephant a cat is standing with hands above his head in Tapasaya mode Arjuna-style. Finding the cat inactive, mice start playing & the cat devours one or two of them & again comes back in Tapasya mode! On the left two standing figures & two sitting figures (heads broken) are also following Arjun. They are termed Fakes!

Just over the temple with his hands above the head & right feet touching his left knee is Arjun. He was looking for powerful divine weapon. In the process he has grown beard & lost weight & his ribs are showing. On top left is moon-god & on top right sun-god both having round plates behind their heads.

In between two parts there is Vishnu releasing the Ganga to go to earth & feed millions. (Some people mention river Krishna instead of Ganga).

People & animals rushing from left to see & bless Arjun.

People & animals rushing from right to see & bless Arjun. Two black monkeys watch the proceedings sitting on a platform on the right side

1. Temple of Brahma. Rare find outside Pushkar, Raj

2. Temple of Vishnu

3.Temple of Mahesh. Lingam has been placed here about 125 years back. 

Out of this single rock three caves have been carved in for temples of Brahma, Vishnu & Mahesh. Idols of the three are shown above. Statues outside the entrances are those of  Dwarpals.
Shore Temple. It is believed that there were seven beautiful temples on sea shore constructed in seventh centuary during the reign of Narsimha Varman II. The place was known to the sailors of the world as 'port of seven pagodas'. Only one has survived. Bushes & trees have been planted towards the sea shore to save further erosion & damage to this one. 

Erosion due to sea water can be seen

The bulls placed above the wall have been recovered from sea bed. Varah has been reassembled by cementing the pieces.

Weather & sea water has taken a toll

Effect of weather & sea water

Elephant after wear & tear

Some parts of the washed away temples recovered from sea
Parikrama around the temple

Another wonderful piece of work. Carving shows a cow & a calf. In case the head of cow is covered, it becomes an elephant & a calf! So two-in-one is not new but an ancient concept! 

Saturday, 14 September 2013

A view from the cabin

You see everybody has a boss & boss also has a boss. Targets are given by the boss & you don’t want to miss them at any cost. Then you take a look on your team & begin to wonder how the target will be achieved.
Sitting in the cabin I could see the team of officers working in the hall – a happy sight indeed. It is one of the rare days when all of them are present. If one of them is on leave not much of problem is faced. If two of them are on leave or missing other four take it with a pinch of salt. If three of them are off then the remaining officers start grumbling. Their smiles change to frowns & temperature rises in the hall despite it being air conditioned. So coolant needs to be applied before the heat reaches cabin! 

This is particularly so with Ms Sharma as her departure in the evening gets delayed. She keeps on working & simultaneously keeps on murmuring about workload at home & in office. She keeps adjusting her spects back & forth, her remarks become terse & her working style erratic. Don’t you provoke her by saying that Mr Sharma shall take care of kids & cook for them. She would flare up & narrate history & geography of Mr Sharma, his parents & even grandparents! Seems he drinks a little too much & his speeches thereafter in garbled English are awful & therefore the kids are getting unruly. If she is around Mr Sharma & the kids have to behave. At times Ms Sharma uses the same commanding tone with clients also leading to unnecessary complaints. As branch manager you got to keep her in good humour.

Not so with Mr Goel also called Lalaji by staff because of his bulky figure. He is easy going & amicable in contrast to Ms Sharma. Work or no work he carries on in his own leisurely style & is never in a hurry. Rather amusing to look at occasionally he will doze off on his chair. He is to retire this year & likely to become a grandpa soon & therefore taking life easy. But this very quality lands him in trouble some times. Once he almost missed his flight as he took his time from car to check in counter & from there to security check. After the check he sat in the lounge sipping cold drink & reading magazine. After several announcements desperate staff located him & took him to his seat in plane. Keeping his qualities in view he was usually kept for back office work. This keeps him happy & motivates him for putting another extra hour or so in case of need.

Team Work
As for Mr Gupta, he considers himself to be a smart guy & loves to attend female clients. Always neatly dressed with polished shoes, he keeps a comb ready to set the thinning hair in style now & then. Likes to wear perfumes. On such occasions when he is dealing with ladies his smile broadens, his tone becomes intimate & he becomes a little more active. He has been nicknamed ‘Majnoo’ by the colleagues & everybody tries to push female clients to him & nobody is disappointed. He has lots of contacts in the market so before going for shopping do consult him. He can advise you about menus of lunch & dinner of different restaurants, about sale of bed sheets, suits & sarees etc. Such fellows are good at PR jobs & he is given the job profile accordingly. He is of great help in case you want to entertain or arrange gifts for bosses or auditors.

Quite reverse is the case of Mr Rustagi. He is less inclined to work & more inclined to quote rules & regulations. Generally keeps aloof as if walking under cover of a mosquito net! He keeps himself abreast of all types of news & is ready with negative side first. At times it looks that he manufactures the news out of thin air! He would present the news as if it is confidentially known to him only. For example ‘I tell you such & such incident has annoyed the boss & transfer letter of so & so is on the table for signature’. So if you want to spread the rumour as news he is the man for it. He prefers to talk to boss of the boss rather than the boss. He seems to say that ‘I have talent but why should I work?’.

While I break my head over sketches of members of my team vs my target please have a chilled one.  

Friday, 6 September 2013

Visit to Pattadakal, Karnataka - A World Heritage Site

Perfect geometrical shapes & lines of Nandi Temple
Pattadakal a tiny village, is situated on the banks of river Malaprabha in Bagalkot district of Karnataka. It is 22 km from Badami & over 520 km from Bangalore. The town has also been referred in ancient texts as Raktapura - Red Town & Pattadakal Kisuvolal linked perhaps to reddish rocky hills all around this place. Chalukyan rulers had their coronation (patta) ceremonies here from seventh to ninth century.

The group of magnificent temples & shrines is representative of Chalukyan temple architecture. Some temples are in Nagara ( North Indian) style & some others in Dravidian architectural style having beautiful engravings & statues based on stories of Ramayana & Mahabharata. Chalukyas evolved their own distinct styles by fusing them. It is said that queen Lokadevi (Lokamahadevi) brought sculptors from Kanchipuram to create the marvelous temple complex in honour of victories of King Vikrmaditya II (734 to 745) over Pallavas.

Spread over an area of four acres this wonderful complex has been included in the list of World Heritage sites in 1987. Some photos.

Jambulinga Devalaya
Magnificent style of temple
Canopy here has a different style. Part of Virupaksha temple. 

Vamna Avtaar. As dwarf brahmin Lord Vishnu asked three steps of land from asura king Bali & then measured the world in two & a half steps. King asked Vamna to place foot on his head as King had nothing more to offer
Restoration work is on

Symbol of Chalukyas. The symbol shown here comprises of selective distinct properties of seven animals - Elephant, Crocodile, Lion, Peacock, Boar, Horse & Mahisha
A view of the Virupaksh temple

Time & weather have taken their toll

View of the monuments

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Manager's Cabin

Hot & Spicy from Pink City
There are managers & there are managers. Every manager has his own ideas which gives individualistic touch to his cabin. Some will keep the door closed & some will not. Some managers will keep the window covered with blinds or curtains & some will not do so. Some managers have their table clean & organised & some have their table cluttered with pens, loose papers, files, diaries, note books & other nick-knack items.

I prefer to keep the table top as free of luggage as possible. Somehow this helps me in keeping the thought process focused. A diary, a pen & a mobile seem to me enough of equipment to run an office. Most of the clients & members of staff appreciate this but not my boss The Baldy.  Whenever he visits & looks at the clean table he sarcastically remarks ‘no paper on your table not even audit report?’

If the space inside the cabin permits I always go for an aquarium with small colourful fish swimming around in it. They move around gracefully & inside there is no traffic jam for them. At times I wish I could keep a whale in the aquarium only to check the auditor & / or my boss The Baldy!

I always keep the door of the cabin open for visitors with the idea that all clients as well as staff members are welcome for discussion any time. They generally feel comfortable this way & the feedback is positive. Once in a while though there is a likelihood of unwanted people barging in or somebody coming in at a point when things are at delicate stage or a meeting with VIP is on. In such cases it has been suggested to the management that cabins should have three doors: front door for clients, side door for staff & back door for The Great Escape to street outside!

As regards glass pane window in the cabin, I keep it free of curtains or blinds. This helps in looking out in the hall & for keeping an eye on things so to say. This is of great help in ensuring that nobody crosses the LoC & the peace is maintained.  There is a simple law of nature which is applicable here that if there is peace outside the cabin then there is peace inside the cabin & then everybody can plan to go home in time!

Some managers keep printouts or photos of their gurus or Gods under the glass on the table. First thing in the morning as soon as they enter the cabin is to bow to photos & pay respects. Some managers keep small statues or calendars depicting temples etc in cabins. And yet some of these managers accept under the table items as well!

Another very important item is the chair in the cabin. General belief is that the larger chair carries larger impression. Some HRD people have a theory that a manager or a member of interview board should sit on larger & higher chair than the visitor or the candidate to impress upon him the power vested in you. Perhaps this is derived from the historical chairs used by kings & rajas. HRD & their views blah blah blah!

This reminds of a story narrated by my fb friend. Yamraj said ‘manager HRD now that you are here please proceed to hell for 24 hrs then to heaven for 24 hrs. Come back, discuss & we shall place you accordingly. In hell the reception was warm; offers of food, drinks, movies, games & friendship were many. In heaven it was much more beautiful but nobody talked & nobody listened to him. He told Yamraj that he now preferred hell due to nice friendly guys there. Yamraj promptly placed him there. To his horror the ladies & gents who met him earlier were all ugly skeletons now & the scene was of junkyard full of rubbish. On enquiry he was told by the skeletons that “earlier we were recruiting you & now you are an employee!”  
Cool & Sweet

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Shades of Monsoon - Some photos

During May - June entire north Indian land mass gets scorching hot to 40 – 45 Celsius. All living beings start looking towards sky for relief. The seas remain cooler comparatively & moisture laden sea breeze starts journey from Arabian Sea & Bay of Bengal towards Himalayas & thereby begins the Monsoon. Parched land & over a billion people get relieved on seeing clouds & soaking in showers.

Monsoon affects entire South East Asia & there are West African & Asian-Australian monsoon as well. The word Monsoon was first used in British India & is perhaps based on Arabian ‘mawsim’, Portuguese ‘mancao’ or Dutch ‘monsun’ or all of them.

For 3 to 4 months there are wide spread intermittent rains which bring joy & change in mood generally. Rivers swell, brownish land turns greenish looking rejuvenated. Clouds in various hues of grey form endless variations in the sky. 

Some photos.

Rain clouds over Jain Temple, Ranakpur in Udaipur
Monsoon rain in full force on road to Hampi, Karnataka

Gopuram & tower  under monsoon clouds in Belur, Karnataka

Clouds -white, grey & dark. Near Bijwasan Road farm houses, New Delhi

Sun trying to break out of clouds over Gandhi Colony, Muzaffar Nagar

Will it rain will it not? Clouds over NH 56 to Dehra Dun

After the rain the evening sky clears on NH 8 to Jaipur

Monsoon clouds over Shivasamudram Falls, Karnataka
Where land & clouded sky meet! On sea shore of Manglore

Exhibition ground of Karnataka Trade Promotion Organisation, Bangalore

Monsoon clouds over Hazar Rama temple, Hampi, Karnataka. Hazar - a thousand, stories from Ramayana have been sculptured on the walls of this temple.
Rain clouds gather over Tungbhadra Dam reservoir in Karnataka. The more it rains the better it is! 

Farmer on duty despite drizzle. Near Badami Caves, Bagalkot distt in Karnataka.
Rainy clouds over Shravanabelagola

Touching the Monsoon clouds is 57 ft tall statue of Lord Bahubali, in Shravanabelagola, Karnataka