Travel

Happy Diwali – The Story of Deepavali

Meaning of Deepavali - Happy Diwali

Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is the greatest festival celebrated all over India. It projects the rich and glorious past of our country and teaches us to uphold the true values of life.  (A few years back, I even got an entirely new perspective from a post on Twitter, and blogged about it here.)

The word “Diwali” derives from the Sanskrit “Deepavali” — Deepa meaning light and Avali, meaning a row.

On Diwali day, home is awash with the orange glow of twinkling diyas (small earthen lamps) lit to welcome Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and prosperity.

It is looked upon as the beginning of the business New Year, and blessings of Lakshmi, the celestial consort of Lord Vishnu, are invoked with prayers.

The 5 Days of Diwali

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Bavaria’s Linderhof Palace – Power And Magnificence

Megalomania.

It’s a word we use to describe wielding power recklessly.

Yet everyone craves power. We want to control events and people. To direct our actions meaningfully. To take charge of projects, activities, our lives.

On one of our evening walks, my daughter and I debated the issue – and an important point emerged.

Power must be tempered by responsibility.

When one desires power but shirks responsibility for using it, the journey towards megalomania begins.

Quite a few modern leaders would qualify under this definition. But megalomania isn’t something new. Many ancient rulers had it. And acted on it so grandly that there still remains evidence of their obsession with displaying power and strength.

We see it in their palaces and monuments.

One we toured recently was the luxurious Bavarian palace of Linderhof, built by King Ludwig II in the mid-1800s.

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Sculpting Life

Sculpture, Art, Bargello, Florence, Italy

(Sculptor: an artist who makes sculptures; carver; modeller.)

A sculptor sits at his block of stone. In his mind is a vision of what he’d like to carve from it.

With every stroke of his hammer, he must decide.

What to keep? What to remove?

Bam!

The chisel moves a little. The artist adjusts his instrument’s angle, the direction of his stroke.

Bam!

After every few hits, a piece chips off and falls to the ground… to be swept away at the end of the day, as rubble.

What’s left behind with the block of stone becomes a part of his sculpture.

If he strikes wisely and well, if his mind’s eye can see the image locked within rock clearly, if he makes few mistakes and has skills or talent, he’ll create a masterpiece.

Last night, as I thought about the lovely creations in Florence’s Bargello museum – it’s to sculpture, what the Louvre is to painting! – I was struck by an insight.

We are like sculptorsof our own lives!

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Unexpected Thrills Are The Best Ones

Red Ferrari

We were in Milan, Italy. It was the last day of our holiday trip.

Over nine days, we had travelled through three cities in two countries, walked dozens of miles, and viewed hundreds of lovely sights and scenes.

All of it had been carefully planned. We enjoyed every bit of it – but, frankly, there was little ‘surprise‘.

Until that morning in Milan, as we walked down Corso Buenos Aires on our way to the Duomo Cathedral.

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Snapshots of Cambodia

Temples of Cambodia

Today, millions of people from every corner of the world throng Cambodia. Many come to visit the famous Angkor Wat Cambodia, a UNESCO World Heritage site that boasts some of the oldest temples in the world.

Visitors marvel at the stunning architecture, the intricate stone carvings and the sheer magnificence of these houses of worship that have withstood the ravages of time to stand proud over centuries.

King Suryavarman Cambodia

King Suryavarman II – in a bas relief on Angkor Wat wall

 

King Suryavarman II ruled Khmer (Cambodia) for nearly forty years during the early 12th century. What he built has lasted over eight hundred years!

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