Thursday, December 18, 2014

Pangna Mahamaya - Homecoming of the Goddess!

The mountains of Himachal Pradesh have many traditions and most of them involve dancing, singing, and drinking. If you ever happen to witness the homecoming festival of a local deity, which means entry of the deity into the temple after it has come back from its visit to another deity, you will be enthralled by the joyous atmosphere.

The following video is the homecoming ceremony of the Pangna Mahamaya Goddess in the hills of Pangna, a small village located some 150 kilometer from the state capital of Shimla.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Not Just Charity, Safety too Begins at Home | #NSDF

I will start with two incidences, which show how funny and painfully ignorant our traffic sense is.
Why are you wearing a seat belt? That's not mandatory in the hills. You know, if a vehicle rolls down a gorge, how would a person unbelt himself and come out? 
This is a common misconception in the hills of Himachal Pradesh, a small mountainous state where I come from.  It is believed that a vehicle rolling down a gorge, which happens frequently because of poor roads, will even give a chance to a person to move or jump out of the vehicle.

Therefore, wearing seat belt is stupid. 
Are bhai, Punjab Police has told this to people living in cities. Those who live in a city  need not wear a helmet because it becomes difficult to ride through narrow lanes with a helmet on. Peeche dekhne me problem hoti hai
 Heard of rear view mirrors, anybody? 

Then there is the classic case of high-beamers. It doesn't matter to them if their vehicle is parked, or cruising through a well lit city highway. They love it to flash. In Chandigarh, after the city police started strictly imposing the rules and fining the high beamers, the number of high flashers came down like anything.

It's not that people are ignorant. They do know. It's just that they do not care!

Those who belong the era of late 1990s must remember the TV commercial with coconuts about importance of wearing helmets while riding a two-wheeler. The ad went something like "Marzi hai aapki, aakhir sar hai aapka" (Its your choice because after all the head too belongs to you).

Haven't you seen young kids zooming past you at absurd speeds while their helmets hangs from their elbows. Because it is believed that wearing a helmet on your head will reduce your chances of pataoing a girl. After all, womenfolk in India identify their soul-mates this way only.

It can't be scientifically argued that by what percentage, the chances of finding your soul-mate are increased by not wearing  a helmet.

But the chances of getting your head squeezed like a coconut surely increase by not wearing a helmet.  

These three incidents show that we do have bad, rather pathetic traffic sense but that is not beyond amends. Chandigarh is the best example of imposing traffic rules and making people fall in line.

To make India a better traffic sensitive place, we need the following three rules, to begin with;

a) Administration does their part, fining people is far better than giving posthumous compensation
b) People need to remember that helmet-coconut story, a head gone once can  never be retrieved.
c) Parents need to work harder with their kids. A lost life, that too of your kid, is probably the most painful experience of human life.
d) Safe driving as well as parking practices are the need of the hour. With out cities shrinking by the day, haphazard parking not only create traffic problems but it also leads to fatal accidents.

Traffic condition in India will improve only through Public participation because its the public that has to begin making sense. Safety Begins With Me by Nissan is One such initiative that must be talked about.

Nissan Safety Driving Forum brings on-board experts from public and expert space to talk about and share the ideas and benefits of Safe Driving Practices.  The campaign has already moved into its third year and every year a couple of new cities are covered under this program. 

An ideal way of raising awareness through public participation.