Road Rules in India-A Guide

September 30, 2012

Note: The following item was extracted from travel section of UK daily newspaper.


Traveling in India is an almost hallucinatory potion of sound, spectacle and experience. It is frequently heart-rending, sometimes hilarious, mostly exhilarating, always unforgettable – and, when you are on the roads, extremely dangerous.

Most Indian road users observe a version of the Highway Code based on an ancient text. These 12 rules of the Indian road are published for the first time in English.

ARTICLE I
The assumption of immortality is required of all road users.

ARTICLE II
The following precedence must be accorded at all times. In descending order, give way to: cows, elephants, heavy trucks, buses, official cars, camels, light trucks, buffalo, Jeeps, ox-carts, private cars, motorcycles,scooters, auto-rickshaws, pigs, pedal rickshaws, goats, bicycles (goods- carrying), handcarts, bicycles (passenger-carrying), dogs, pedestrians.

ARTICLE III
All wheeled vehicles shall be driven in accordance with the maxim:to slow is to falter, to brake is to fail, to stop is defeat.
This is the Indian drivers’ mantra.

ARTICLE IV
Use of horn (also known as the sonic fender or aural amulet): Cars (IV,1,a-c): Short blasts (urgent) indicate supremacy, ie in clearing dogs, rickshaws and pedestrians from path. Long blasts (desperate) denote supplication, ie to oncoming truck, “I am going too fast to stop, so unless you slow down we shall both die”.

In extreme cases this may be accompanied by flashing of headlights (frantic). Single blast (casual) means “I have seen someone out of India’s 870 million whom I recognize”, “There is a bird in the road (which at this speed could go through my windscreen)” or “I have not blown my horn for several minutes.”

Trucks and buses (IV,2,a): All horn signals have the same meaning, viz, “I have an all-up weight of approximately 12.5 tons and have no intention of stopping, even if I could.”

This signal may be emphasized by the use of headlamps (insouciant). Article IV remains subject to the provision of Order of Precedence in Article II above

ARTICLE V
All manoeuvres, use of horn and evasive action shall be left until the last possible moment.

ARTICLE VI
In the absence of seat belts (which there is), car occupants shall wear garlands of marigolds. These should be kept fastened at all times.

ARTICLE VII
Rights of way: Traffic entering a road from the left has priority. So has traffic from the right, and also traffic in the middle. Lane discipline (VII,1): All Indian traffic at all times and irrespective of direction of travel shall occupy the centre of the road.

ARTICLE VIII
Roundabouts: India has no roundabouts. Apparent traffic islands in the middle of crossroads have no traffic management function. Any other impression should be ignored.

ARTICLE IX
Overtaking is mandatory. Every moving vehicle is required to overtake every other moving vehicle, irrespective of whether it has just overtaken you.Overtaking should only be undertaken in suitable conditions, such as in the face of oncoming traffic, on blind bends, at junctions and in the middle of villages/city centres. No more than two inches should be allowed between your vehicle and the one you are passing – and one inch in the case of bicycles or pedestrians.

ARTICLE X
Nirvana may be obtained through the head-on crash.

ARTICLE XI
Reversing: no longer applicable since no vehicle in India has reverse gear.

ARTICLE XII
The 10th incarnation of God was as an articulated tanker


The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

September 26, 2012

I have been honored by Peri, from Peri’s Spice Ladle at http://perisspiceladle.com who has lovingly nominated me for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award. If you have not already met her, I highly recommend checking out her blog. She writes about Indian-inspired Food for the Global Palate and if you love things Indian as much as I do, you will definitely love this blog.  And if you care nothing for things Indian, but love good food, you will also not regret visiting here.  She is creative and ingenious and her recipes are simple to follow and truly delicious to eat.   It is truly a privileged to have been nominated by her. A big big thanks to you dear and to God and the Universe for guiding me to you.

In accepting this award, I must follow the 3 rules.

1. Thank the person who nominated me.

2. Share 7 things about myself.

3. Pass the award to 15 nominees.

So, here are the 7 random things about myself.

1. My greatest joy and blessing during this sojourn on Earth is my family. My 6 amazing children and the extended family of additional sons and daughter-in-law they have brought me, and my 13 wonderful grandchildren ranging in age from 8 months to 18 years!

Me and My Kids – Five daughters, and one son-the “baby”

2. I had the honor and privilege to meet Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo-the first Western woman to be ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist Nun. This meeting resulted in a powerful but subtle shift in perception for me leading to a “growth spurt” in my life’s journey. You can read about her amazing life story here: Cave in the Snow

You can also find more information about her life’s work, her nunnery, at this website: www.tenzinpalmo.com/

3. I have three loving Guides who have been with me since birth (although I was forced to deny their existence on threat of punishment when I was 7 years old). I reunited with them in my 50’s through a deep meditation practice and they have agreed to publicly reveal my pet names for them since childhood. Kaki, Gee and Chuchibell!!

4. I was blessed to have an audience with HH Dalai Lama in 2001, and the effects of that brief meeting are still rippling through my life to this very day.

5. I love to play computer games rationalizing that they are good for my rapidly aging brain, but how much brain power do you need to play Bubbles?!?!?

6. I love to dance and have been doing it in one way or another since the age of 2. For the past 35 years I have both taught and danced Israeli Folk Dancing-I currently dance 3 times week, each session lasting about 4 hours.

7. My one vanity is painting my fingernails!!

The  blogs I have chosen to nominate, in no particular order are:

http://theblacktwig.wordpress.com/

http://jmkhaprawannatellyouastory.wordpress.com/

http://thinkingiswrite.wordpress.com/

http://ronmayhewphotography.wordpress.com/

http://travelgardeneat.com/

http://travellingbag.wordpress.com/

There are different types of blogs here, photography, travel, food, inspiration…but all are creative, a joy to follow, inspiring and fun.  Hope you will check them out. These blogs continually surprise me with the depth of their ideas, the scope of their interests and their ability to keep me constantly mindful and aware of each and every moment, and to be grateful for all the blessings showered upon me each and every day. They bring greatinsight and JOY into my day, and hope you will also find them of some sort of assistance along your own life’s journey.

With love light and JOY


September 26, 2012

Wonder what is waiting just around the bend in my upcoming journey to India???

Not In India

My life is a twisted, turning road

…and I never know what awaits me around the next bend.  But I travel this road in complete Freedom from Fear for I know without a doubt, with complete Faith,that another wonderful, exciting and beautiful surprise is waiting for me once I get around the curve.

It may be a sharp and unexpected turn and I will have to navigate it carefully and slowly, but once I get past it a whole new and wonderful vista  appears before me once again.

I am truly blessed to have found this road of liberation and joy and love.  God is the engineer and Master builder of this road and he has graciously given me, and everyone, free access to it if we are just willing to

take the first step into the unknown with complete acceptance and Faith in what lies ahead.

with love…

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Butterflies and Freedom

September 24, 2012

Butterflies have always represented freedom to me. I have a butterfly tattoo (not small to be truthful) on my shoulder which many of the “normal” people in my life are not happy with, but again, it was a statement for me many years ago when I still felt the need to make such statements! 🙂

Last year, just before returning home from India, I came across this lovely creature on the road just outside my guesthouse, and once again, it shouted loud and clear.. FREEDOM. It sat still for a very long time allowing me to admire it and photograph it, as if saying “I am here especially for you and will stay as long as you need me to”.

It was of course a reminder that freedom is something we choose for ourselves – something we can have, and deserve, no matter where we are, and no matter what our situation is in life. It was reminding me that once I get home, I can easily choose to remain “free”, even once I return to the responsibilities and obligations of my reality when not in India. Freedom does not mean disregarding our obligations and responsibilities…it means choosing to be true to ourselves and our own needs and finding the best way to fulfill those obligations and responsibilities to others without negating ourselves in the process.

And of course the message is always timely.

I am now just two weeks before my flight back to India and it has been a long and hectic year plus since I left last time . Many things have found their way into my reality-many good and wonderful things – but also many stressful and energy draining things. I have not been all that good in keeping my balance…in watching out for myself…in being true to myself…and I have paid a high price in dis-ease. I have learned many lessons over this past year, have grown in many wonderful ways, but still needed a reminder of how important this FREEDOM is in my life.

Today, while scrolling through random posts on my India Journal blog, I came across the one describing my meeting with the butterfly above, and of course, the message was rekindled for me.

I know that I am on my way to India, albeit for a short 6 week sojourn, and I know that I must choose to make each minute joyful and stress-less. I am grateful for this blessing and know I will return both cleansed and rejuvenated, on all levels…but that I must also remember to cherish the blessing of FREEDOM to always choose to do what is best for myself, because without it, I will fall back into the same dis-balance and dis-ease which so plagued me over this past year.

I have been given a blessed message, once again…and pray for the wisdom to follow through with the insights it has given me – both in India, and when I return home. Even before this message, I had already made the decision to “vacation” completely while in India…see the post “To Cook or Not to Cook-That is the Question” …a decision based on a deep soul understanding of what is right for me. I must always remember to hear what it is that my soul requires, for that is the only true source of direction and guidance for my Higher Good. The mind tries to control, the ego to exert its power, to tell us what we “want” and the soul speaks softly and gently-telling us what it “needs”. Listening and understanding come in the quiet times – and these were sorely missing in my life this past year.

I find myself in a place of tranquility this past week, which I have not felt in a very long time, feeling “lighter” than I have for ages, and look forward to more of the same – based of course on my own choices – both in India and upon my return home.

The butterfly has reminded me once again that Freedom, and Freedom of Choice, are in my hands, and my hands alone.

with love light and JOY

Jane


To Cook or Not to Cook-That is the Question!

September 19, 2012

…and the answer is NOT TO COOK!!

This sounds very cryptic I know, but is quite simple.  Every year for the past number of years I have set up a kind of very simple kitchen system to be able to cook in my room while in India.

Good enough to Eat

In a previous post I explained the reasons for taking a room and setting up a primitive sort of kitchen , rather than a full apartment with kitchen, as follows:

My first “kitchen”

”  The limited kitchen as a blessing: I sometimes find myself annoyed that I don’t have a real kitchen and have to improvise to prepare my simple meals. And I am very limited in what I can cook, as I have one pot and one frying pan, [the past two years I have added a pressure cooker which is a BIG plus ]  

no counter top, no kitchen sink (I have finally figured out how to best wash my dishes using the bathroom facilities), and basically all I can cook is kitcheri, vegetable soup, pasta, porridge, pancakes, eggs, grilled cheese or toast with tahini, hot drinks…I cannot make anything more ambitious even if I want to, including chapattis and paranthas. And even these few simple things involve great planning and thinking things out before beginning to actually cook them. Measuring out of ingredients, peeling, chopping etc., in advance outdoors,

Veggies ready for cutting up outside on the terrace table

making sure each thing is lined up on the table to be put into the pot which is on the gas balloon which sits on the floor and which I either squat over or sit in a chair to stir. I’ve gotten very good at all this actually and no longer find it difficult in any way.

And then I realized that these limitations are a true blessing.

I usually sit in the chair but a friend caught me one morning like this!

Knowing myself, if I had a comfortable working kitchen, I would spend a lot more time cooking as I did when I had a kitchen in Mcleodganj several years ago. And that involves shopping each day,

Local Provisions Shop (not including fruits and veggies)

carrying the heavy stuff home, spending money on expensive ingredients, spending LOTS of time in the kitchen making all kinds of lovely dishes, and even inviting people in for dinner a few times a week. And this is NOT what I want while I am here. I want things as quiet and simple as possible and being limited in my kitchen facilities, guarantees that things are kept to the bare minimum and as simple as possible while still being able to cook twice a day for myself. So, for me, no kitchen is actually better. ”

my second ‘Improved” kitchen

I have always enjoyed being able to cook these simple meals for myself however, and since I began using a pressure cooker a couple of years ago, it has gotten even easier.  I can now make steamed veggies in 1/2 minute!!  Kitcheri, delicious vegetable soup with lentils in less than 10 minutes etc.

But cooking still does involve work.  Especially getting everything set up when I first arrive.  It takes a couple of days and lots of energy, and then the same energy to get it all packed up and back into storage before I leave.  And of course the shopping for ingredients, the cleaning up after cooking, etc.

Since I will only be in India for 6 weeks total this time, not my usual several months, I have been contemplating the wisdom of going to all this bother this trip.  On the one hand, I love the option of preparing food for myself when I feel like it, and having the freedom not to have to go out to eat all the time…but most of this trip I will be on my special panchakarma diet anyway (which I will write about at a later date), and the big plus is being able to make my own vegetable (with a larger variety than the restaurants would prepare for me), or even having a good rich vegetable soup once in awhile. And of course there is nothing to compare to the porridge I make myself with apples, cinnamon, raisins and almonds,but I will “make do” with the restaurant version for the month.  On the other hand, I will be needing the time to rest and take care of myself as much as possible, and cooking during this period of time is usually on a very limited basis for me anyway.  I do most of my cooking before and after my month long treatments…and that’s when I enjoy it mainly.

My vegetable plates will not be as exciting this year!

So, after much contemplation of the pros and cons, this morning I came to the final decision, that this trip will be TOTAL vacation.  No cooking, no shopping, no cleaning up, no setting up and repacking before I go home etc.  If I want a larger variety of veggies in my daily vegetable plate, I will provide the kitchen with them myself !!  And if I need my kitcheri heated up in the evening, I will ask the kitchen to do that for me as well.   And if I REALLY feel the need for vegetable soup, I will go down to my friend’s house and cook it there, making up a large pot for her and her family as well!!  🙂

I am pleased with this decision and happy that it has finally been made.  Takes another “load off my mind”!  🙂

Namaste

Jane


Gayatri Mantra Video

September 14, 2012

I first heard this mantra while walking the streets of Rishikesh years ago, and from the first moment, it resonated within me on a deep soul level, without ever knowing what the words actually meant. My soul knew. I have been chanting it joyfully ever since .

Following the reblog Gayatri Mantral with translation and explanation of this wonderful mantra, I have found this video so that you can also hear it and perhaps connect with it as I did so many years ago.

I first heard this mantra while walking the streets of Rishikesh years ago, and from the first moment, it resonated within me on a deep soul level, without ever knowing what the words actually meant. My soul knew. I have been chanting it joyfully ever since .

http://youtu.be/nDnamSM3Z3s

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September 14, 2012

I first heard this mantra while walking the streets of Rishikesh years ago, and from the first moment, it resonated within me on a deep soul level, without ever knowing what the words actually meant. My soul knew. lI have been chanting it joyfully ever since . I’ve looked for translations/explanations over the years but this one is by far the best, most comprehensive and easily understood one I’ve ever found. So wanted to share with you. I will try and see if there is a way to upload a music file, and if not, will do my best to find a link to this mantra being chanted.

MyLifeMyStuff

The Gayatri Mantra consists of twenty-four syllables – three lines of eight syllables each. The first line (Aum Bhur Bhuvah Swah) is considered an invocation, and is not technically a part of the original Gayatri Mantra as it appears in the Upanishads. Gayatri is also referred to as a Vedic poetic meter of 24 syllables or any hymn composed in this meter. Hence, there exists a whole family of Gayatri Mantras, which serve as meditative aids to pray for the blessings of a particular personal God.

Aum Bhur Bhuvah Swah, Tat Savitur Varenyam Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi, Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat

ॐ भूर्भुव: स्व: तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं । भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि, धीयो यो न: प्रचोदयात् ।।

A basic translation can be given as…Oh God, the Protector, the basis of all life, Who is self-existent, Who is free from all pains and Whose contact frees the soul from all troubles, Who pervades the Universe and sustains all, the Creator and Energizer of the whole Universe…

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