Monday 25 September 2017

A Beacon of Hope!

Painting By: Ayushi Jain

How many times does it happen that you look for something good in the world and people shatter your hopes and destroy the meaning of humanity?

I don't write on social issues usually but an incident that happened a day ago when I was traveling to Bhopal from Pune by Jhelum express, shocked me to the core. No, I was not the victim but it happened right in front of me. A girl who was in the berth next to me was harassed and photographed without any consent. It all started when we boarded the train from Pune.

What I like most about train journeys is that how we develop a skill to interact with complete strangers and also sometimes end up making lifelong friends. I didn't know that my perception about train journeys would ever change before taking this trip. It always takes time for me to initiate conversation with strangers and to get comfortable with fellow passengers. I was traveling to my hometown i.e. Bhopal. A girl on the opposite berth, who was traveling alone for the first time to her hometown Jhansi had no idea that someone was staring her. Since it was a long journey we started the conversation to kill time. One of the guys sitting on side lower berth joined our conversation and started talking nonsense. Well, I really don't want to disregard anyone here but that person was from the army and posted in Ladakh. We didn't want to interact with him because he was using false language and that too in front of kids and women. After some time he was joined with one of his batch mates and then left their seat for a while. Since the girl was from IT background, we had common interests to share our work-related experiences. Suddenly the friend of the guy appeared again and started interacting with us.He seemed to be a better person. Still, there were no signs of anything fishy that was about to happen in few minutes.

A family who was traveling to Delhi boarded from Ahmadnagar. They had 4 seats in our compartment. As soon as everyone got settled, one boy from the family noticed that the same person who was interacting with us before was clicking pictures of the girl and he conveyed the message to her. She asked me to check and confirm whether it was really happening or it was just a confusion. In just a split second after that, she saw her picture on his mobile thru the reflection in the window. She stood up and grabbed that person's mobile and there we noticed that he clicked many of her pictures and even shot a video. The girl was stunned and so was other people in the compartment. We decided to take this case further and to teach that deplorable person a lesson.

It was 9 pm already and TT was also no way near our bogie. Since I had seen some of the cases resolved over twitter by Indian rail ministry. I thought of dropping a tweet stating the train and passenger details to Indian rail ministry and to the rail minister himself. Within few minutes I received a response from the Indian rail ministry account and then later followed up by different regional DRM office and RPF team. It all happened in just a few minutes after sharing the tweet. As soon as we reached the next station i.e. kopargaon. Two RPF officers came and noted her complaint. Since, we already crossed a different DRM circle, on next station the complaint was transferred to the Bhusawal RPF team. They noted the complaint and then asked the girl if she wants to file a registered complaint? She was ready to take action against the guy but she was told that she might need to come to the police station or court to take this case ahead. Meanwhile, that guy pleaded guilty (in public) and was begging for mercy. She was traveling alone and didn't want to spoil a soldier's career/life. Hence, she decided to take the complaint back. The guy was shifted to a different bogie later on.

What I felt that she stood up against the monster rather bravely and didn't give up till the last. It was only the circumstances and her kindness that made her take the decision of leaving that guy. Though I didn't want to mention it but he was an army officer. We all respect our army men and one person cannot spoil the image of those who fight for us on the border and give us the reason to live our life rather peacefully.

Social media has gone to a different level now. I never experienced that in person before but this incident made me believe in digital revolution. Twitter is proving to be a revolution when it comes to approaching the government bodies for help. I hope this will lead to a better India in future. Also, one must always take a stand against people who take advantage of others. There is humanity still left in the world. I experienced it when everyone stood up for the brave girl and defended her. We need more such people to take this torch of humanity further in the generations to come. Hopefully, one day this world will become a better place to live.

Saturday 9 September 2017

Omkareshwar- A sacred land of Shiva..

Omkareshwar Temple (in left)

After getting the taste of hundreds of years old historical places, we finally thought of coming out from the prehistoric era and delve ourselves into devotion of Lord Shiva. Yes, we finally reached the mystical land of Shiva i.e. Omkareshwar (one of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines in India). It took us around 2 hours to reach Omkareshwar from Maheshwar. The road was fine and the distance was around 70km. It was a hectic day already and I seriously needed some energy for revival. And there couldn’t be a better place than Omkareshwar to redeem my being. The divinity in the air provided me the much-needed peace and calmness which I was looking for.

Walk over bridge

Lord Shiva

Sacred land of Shiva

A recap of where we started our journey from and what all we covered:

Bhopal → Dhar → Mandu → Maheshwar → Omkareshwar → Indore → Bhopal

We started from Maheshwar at 2 pm and reached Omkareshwar around 3:30-4 pm. Despite being a hectic day, my mother and father were still looking as refreshing as when we started from Mandu in the morning. Maybe, I was driving, hence the excuse can be considered, No? Though I won’t take away the fact that my parents are actually fitter and much more proactive than me. Well, the weather was comparatively good in Omkareshwar and that made our life much easier. The cool breeze had a lot of good vibes and a sense of welcome to the humble abode of Lord Shiva. There are two main temples of Lord Shiva, one is on the island i.e. Omkareshwar temple and other on the mainland i.e. Mamleshwar. Many say that Mamleshwar is the actual Jyotirlinga as it is stated in the sloka on Dwadash Jyotirlingam. But despite all the contradiction over the main jyotirlinga, most people consider both temples as equally sacred.

Omkareshwar Palace

Shops en route to Omkareshwar Temple

Keyrings and Lockets

Omkareshwar temple is situated on the island in the Narmada River. So, there are two ways to reach the island, either by boat or by walk over the bridge (well connected to the island). We started walking from the parking point and crossed the Narmada River through the bridge. Some people also prefer to go by boat but that requires more time. Since we had to complete the darshan before evening, we opted to walk. It hardly takes 20-25 min to reach the main temple if it’s not the peak season. During Shivratri, the same 20-25 min walk turns into hours. 

Flowers, Garlands, and Prasad

Colors of Sanctity

En-route to temple, one can also find many shops along the street selling Pooja related articles. As we reached the temple, we deposited our shoes/sandals at the shoe stand. Luckily, there were hardly 20-30 people standing in the queue for darshan. Hence, there was no pushing and all to make the experience unpleasant. We completed the darshan and sat in the temple for some time. All the positive energy that was flowing in the air embarked our journey from thoughts to wisdom. It was blissful! After spending much needed peaceful time in the temple, we left for the Mamleshwar temple. Also, to add there is a Gufa (Cave) Mandir ‘Govindeshwar Gufa’ near the entry gate of Omkareshwar Temple. It’s believed that Aadi Shankaracharya took yog lekh shiksha (Education) from his Guru Govind Bhagvad in Omkareshwar. And the place where Guru Govind Bhagvad used to live was a gufa (cave), now known as Govindeshwar Gufa Mandir.

Abhishek to Lord Shiva

Gomukh Ghat

View from the Omkareshwar Temple

Mamleshwar temple is situated in the heart of the city. It can also be seen from the Island where Omkareshwar temple is located. Mamleshwar temple was earlier named Amleshwar in the 10th century during Parmara period. Not only it looks older than the Omkareshwar temple but it also has beautiful pre historic carved sculptures on the structure of the temple. People in Omkareshwar consider both the temples on island and mainland as jyotirlinga. So, if you ask anyone for the directions, first they will ask you which jyotirlinga you want to visit? I was a bit confused when I heard it for the first time. My father then explained me the whole story that why the locals consider both places as equally sacred. Well, the questions were answered. Hence, we went ahead for the darshan. Comparatively, the Mamleshwar temple was less crowded than the Omkareshwar temple. There was hardly any queue for darshan and in no time we reached the inner sanctum.

Mamleshwar Temple

One of the temples at Mamleshwar shrine

Sculptures at Mamleshwar Temple

The whole experience of visiting the greatly revered place like Omkareshwar was quite enchanting. I was really happy that I visited this place and realized a great deal about how we are ruining our lives in big cities, running after things that are materialistic in nature. It’s true that some trips make memories for a lifetime! This was one such trip. :)

City of Temples

Do you want to take a boat ride?

Best Season...

July to March

Where to Stay...

Narmada Resort (MP Tourism).

How to reach Omkareshwar via Mandu and Maheshwar from Bhopal...

Bhopal → Sehore → Dewas → Indore → Pithampur → Dhar → Mandu → Dhamnod → Maheshwar  → Barwaha → Omkareshwar

Previous Posts from this trip:

Hidden Gems of Madhya Pradesh - Dhar 

Mandu - A place that resonates with history.. 

Walk the talk with city of Maheshwar...

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