Thursday, 18 September 2008


By far one of the lamest advice articles I have read on a How-To site in a really long time. Here goes... (nasty/ sarcastic comments in brackets are my own)

How to Keep a Girl Forever

If you want to know how to keep a girl in your heart forever and ever and keep her from leaving you. Here is how!

Hug your girl as much as possible and let her pull away. She might think
you don't love her! (oh my god he pulled away b4 me, he doesnt love me .... :-( waaaaaaahhhhhhhhh.......... )

Carry her books and bags for her. She will give you a kiss or hug as a reward!
(ya sure! obviously this was written by some school kid)

Call her once in a while to keep her thinking about you. Just tell her you really love her
over the phone! (yes, over the phone, she will kill u if u have the balls to say it in person! muahahahaha)

Whisper things in her ear such as: compliments, "I love you", "Did you know...", "Can I just tell you how...". (like dude, where's the rest of the dialogue?)

Kiss her in front of your friends; you don't want her to think you are hiding her from them!
(try at your own risk)

Buy her something once in a while. Just something small like: a teddy, bracelet, lollipop, chocolates, rose! (lollipop? what are we? four?)

When she is cold, give her your T-shirt or jacket. Also, you should leave a T-shirt
at her house and tell her it's hers. (yes! all girls want a guy's tshirt which they can't wear,
its like money in the bank)

Take her out to do things with you. Like go to the beach, mall, friends house, park, fair, go karts, paintball! (wow, basically it means take her everywhere except the loo)

Be a romantic! Take her out for long walks, dinners and later on kiss her on the neck as you give her a necklace. (phhh)

ALWAYS KISS HER! Not every minute, but just whenever a class finishes or at a friend's house.
(what can i say, i like the explanation offered - not every minute... duh ... isnt that
obvious nutcase. this also re-instates my previous comment - it is written by a school kid)


Don't be too clingy. (finally some sanity)
Don't hug her friends or even your female friends. (ummm, really?)
Don't leave her out of things. She will get MAD. (depends... maybe if u r dating a psycho)

Friday, 5 September 2008

Friendship & News

Just came across something I wrote at 16, okay 17:

How good a friendship is does not depend on the years spent together , but on
the intensity of love , trust , understanding and comfort.

Nothing lasts forever , friends become people , people become friends , and life
goes on . People who were once friends , turn to casual aquantainces .
Friendship and love are two things you never need to look for , you just discover
them at most unlikely places and times , they just happen.

I hate newspapers and all the darned news networks , I like to believe that it's a
beautiful life and it's worth living , that it's a beautiful world out there , waiting
to be explored , watching news and the things that happen around us , breaks
my illusion . We could sure do with some peace on this planet.

Friday, 15 August 2008

A Day at RML

So today India celebrates it's 61st independence day. And why not? We have come a long way and the changes are everywhere to be seen. But there are still miles to go. This is especially applicable to public healthcare facilities in hospitals such as Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in the capital. Sure it's free and all, but all processes are primarily governed by obscure paperwork that causes a lot of delay. Add to it the huge bulk of population, scarce 
doctors and outdated 
infrastructure and you have chaos!

What makes it so chaotic? There are over 150 patients each day for each specialty who examine patients over a course of 4-5 hours. There are only around 4 docs for each department. Do the math. 

Here, a few candid pictures to unfold the real deal...

Marsh and stagnant water on the premises - a hotbed for malaria. Hey don't you go to the hospital to get RID of diseases?

Once you register after struggling through a long queue and take
a consultation number, this is where you wait. I like to call this 
the outer waiting chamber/ corridor.

The open air canteen of sorts. People kill time here as they wait for their turn. Some even leave the hospital to run errands in the meantime. 

While others mingle and bitch about the hospital procedures.

Finally lady luck smiles and you feel closer to your destination
as an attendant 
yells out for a set of numbers. Ab dilli durr nahi, you feel.
You find yourself
in the inner waiting chamber only to enjoy your
90 seconds of fame
with the doc as he/ she hurries through
your reports and symptoms.

Yes ma, your turn will come too. Sabr ka phal mitha hota hai!

An ailing old man on the brink of a doorway without any attendant.
The concept of 
ward boys is alien to the hospital. Your companion is the
one who
manoeuvres your wheel chair/ stretcher. To get a wheel chair or
stretcher, you have 
to get a permission slip signed btw.

In stark contrast is the nursing home for higher officials.
Super clean, 
quiet and conducive to healing.

There are other things too, but you wouldn't like to see them. And I don't want to show you.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

C-Grade Villiany!

Khoob jamega rang jab mil baithenge 3 yaar, aap, main, aur google talk. Lol. Me and panjak ended up talking crap and 
what resulted was a lot of laughs! Read on...

e budde!!!! jo wahan daag kaun saaf karega!! tera baap??? raps him with his walking stick

ae budhiya, lagta hai mera hunter pada nahi tujhe bade din se, chal bageeche ki ghaas kaat

e budiya!!! aaj fir gobi khilayegi!!! (throws garam garam gobi at buddis face)

arre maine lawn mower use karne ko kaha kya??? apne muh se kaat!! aur use khaa!!!

aur jab ana aur neha milne ayenge.....ana = ye bichare budda buddi kaun hain? hansa = ye mere naukar hain

budda = magar bahu....SLAPPPPPP shuts him up

and exit buddha buddhi
and me - muhahahaha bol ana kaise aana hua
chal kitty party shuru kare
tu patte kaat main breezer nikalti hu

mera pehla daaw meri saas ka mangalsutra 
mera doosra daaw mere sasur ka pension account

and they get chatty....hansa = yaar ana mera dil vo nayi chevrolet ki gaadi lene ka hai..magar paise nahi hain
hansa = tujhe pata hai mere sasur ke upar life insurance policy hai....aur haadse to hote rehte hain....

ana - main ek aadmi ko janti hu jo ye kaam saste mein kar dega 
aarti - arre saste mein kya ye to free mein ho sakta hai

hansa = mujhe kisi aadmi vaadmi ki zaroorat nahi hai
hee hee
aarti = maine kerisone oil use kiya tha....bada effective hai
cheekhen sun ke extra maza aata hai

hansa - bas mere pati ko kuch nahi pata chalna chahiye

ana - vo to lallu hai

nahi to teesri shaadi karni padegi
neha - saare mard lallu hote hain
ab mere patiko hi dekh lo

ana - yaa, can u call me when u murder your saas sasur, jabse maine apne waalon ko maara hai i havent had that sort o fun yaa

i have a feeling uwant 2 continue with the dialogues

bas ab dimag khali ho gya

itne mein hi

my villany is exhausted
how will u sustain ur career as a dilogue writer for ghar ki lakshmi betiyan

(i have a good mind to post this chat to my blog tho)

me too
chal let's both do it

Thursday, 17 April 2008

How Not To Tell a Joke

I know, I know, I haven't blogged in ages... (and here I was, thinking that buying a lappie would actually make me more regular). Anyhow, now that my company is on a firing spree (they call it downsizing), here's a tribute to the man who lost his job yesterday. Unworldly wise and cynical, the man will be missed 
for his weird ways.

Most of all, this is what we learned from him - how not to tell a joke:

Joker: Joke
Audience: Hahahaha
Joke: You got it, right?
Audience: Ya Ya!


Joker: Repeat Joke
Audience: :-I

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Dead Man's Chest

Thursday, 24 January 2008

The Effervescent Auto Wala

Not only is it dilli ki sardi that knocks the daylights out of you, it's also the infamous dilli ka auto wala (referred to as AW). When in Delhi, without a car at your disposal, expect to meet one or all of these.

Specimen 1: Uh No!

Me - Auto khali hai bhaiya?
AW - Haan
Me - Rajouri Garden chalenge?
AW - Nahi

Specimen 2: Not Really

Me - Auto khali hai bhaiya?
AW - Haan
Me - Rajouri Garden chalenge?
AW - Rajouri mein kahan?
Me - Central Market ke paas..
AW - Nahi

Specimen 3: Map to My House

Me - Auto khali hai bhaiya?
AW - Haan
Me - Rajouri Garden chalenge?
AW - Rajouri mein kahan?
Me - Central Market ke paas..
AW - Ye kidhar padega
Me - (More route explantions)
AW - Nahi

Specimen 4: Great Expectations

Me - Rajouri Garden chalenge bhaiya?
AW - Haan
Me - Kitne paise
AW - Sau rupye
Me - Akele chale jaao

Specimen 5: My Way or the Highway!

Me - Rajouri Garden chalenge bhaiya?
AW - Haan
Me - Kitne paise
AW - Assi rupye
Me - 60 lagte hain bhaiya
AW - Chalo 75 de dena
Me - Meter se chalo
AW - Meter kharab hai madam

Specimen 6: Main Bus Banna Chahta Hu

Me - Rajouri Garden chalenge bhaiya?
AW - Nahi, vahan main nahi jaata
Me - Agar koi fixed route hai to bus ki tarah likhte kyun nahi ho bahar?

Specimen 7: Nocturnal Vibe

Me - Rajouri Garden chalenge bhaiya?
AW - Haan
Me - Kitne paise
AW - Do sau
Me - KYA?
AW - Bahut raat ho gayi hai
Me - Abhi 7 baje hain!
Auto - Nahi madam, do sau se kam nahi
Me - To abhi hi ghar chale jao, der karoge to sher aa jayega

Specimen 8: Detour!

Me - Rajouri Garden chalenge bhaiya?
AW - Nahi, Dhaula Kuan jaa sakta hu vahan mujhe kaam hai, aap vahan se doosra le lena.
Me - Uhh!

Specimen 9: Terms and Conditions

Me - Rajouri Garden chalenge bhaiya?
AW - Haanji chalenge. Baitho.
Me - Kitne paise?
AW - Pachaas rupye.
Me - Thik hai.
AW - Lekin main bidi piyunga raste mein, aur CNG bhi bharvwani hai.

Specimen 10: The Analyst

Me - Rajouri chalna hai?
AW - Mujhe rasta nahi pata
Me - Mujhe pata hai
AW - Kitna dete ho
Me - 50 rupye
AW - Ye to kam hai bada
Me - Aapko rasta pata hai kya.. Meter chalao
AW - Meter to purana wala laga hua hai
Me - !

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

100 Not Out!


The centennial post is finally here. And boy, have I been itching to write this one! For many weeks I pondered as to what this super special post should be about. I finally came to the conclusion that it had better be a medley. Like this blog has always been. It gives me a chance to talk to myself and express what nobody cares to listen to, or things I have trouble voicing. the blog also helps me 
straighten things in my head while enjoying the joy of writing. 

So in this post, now that I get to blog so less, are somethings that I had been wanting to blog about.

Me Holiday: Muchos Gracias

Thank God for creating such a lovely planet! After ten long years I saw a beach, and how! This trip, no matter how hasty and chaotic it may have been, was special for a lot of firsts.

  • The first time I travelled by air.
  • The first time I travelled in a First Class train compartment.
  • The first time I visited an island.
  • The first time I saw and went over a real bridge.

Traveling is such a pleasure. Air travel was great, I didn't get air sick and I saw some gorgeous clouds. Kinda makes one wonder as to how vast our world is and how we are but a speck. (I am a nice speck... hehehe). The aerial view of the Andaman Islands left me speechless, and left me asking for more. I would like to go there once again in my lifetime and explore more of the spectacular majesty.

The heaven we stayed in for most part of our Andaman trip was a place called Havelock Island (though getting there was no picnic, but it was worth it, plus the two Israeli guys who asked for help were hot). A quiet, serene and picture perfect island with waters the shades of blue and green. Such secluded beaches that make you feel like 
the only person in the world and yet when you look back, there it is, your resort. So remote and secluded is the place that it takes 1.5 days for a newspaper to get there. So people rely on television a lot. Aah, the simple life! More than 1/3rd of the island is a reserved forest. And I could just go on and on and on about my favourite place for the moment, but I'll shut up. 
Also, Cellular Jail in Port Blair or 
Kaala Paani jail as it is also known, 
was amazing for 
the powerful sound and light show with voice overs
Naseeruddin Shah. A must see for sure!

Kolkata was as chaotic as it gets, more so as it was Durga Puja time. Endless traffic jams and pollution were a nuisance. But I loved the Victoria Memorial, MP Birla Planetarium and the all the bridges I saw. A 
special mention here about Science City, this place was 
tons & tons of fun. The space theatre, hall of mirrors and what 

not, made for a fun day out. We should have something so fun and 
so mammoth in Delhi too :)

I came home with many regrets. I was unable to buy a Bengali sari (white with red border), I did not swim/ scuba dive, and did not see coral 
reefs on a glass bottom boat.  

Let's face it, the trip was too too too short! 7 days for 3 places just aint enough! But in my lifetime I wish to go there once again and for much longer 
this time. 
Fursat se!

Am a Football!

Not only do I look like a football, my company treats me like one too. Yes, I have been shifted again! Back to the elevator-less building, away from my friends and my gorgeous crush :(  Even though I now sit on the ground floor, its no fun as I end up climbing a lot of stairs everyday for something or the other. Most inconvenient!

I can Do it!

Without my TL and Project Coordinator, I can handle a team of 30+ people (some of whose names I don't know till now). Felt great to know that, and even though I was nervous and it got chaotic with everybody 
seeking me out for instructions, I managed. 

In your face TL! Ha! But seriously, it was a high of the 
professional kind! :D

Must Fight Lizards...

Well here I am, to round things off with the bizarre topic - the perfect guy...

A wish list/ checklist/ of the PURRRFECT guy is a bizarre idea in itself. No one is perfect, especially no guy (hehehe), 
we all know that it is foolish to make lists, but we still like to 
enumerate our preferences just for the heck of it. 
Though I have never really made a list, nor am I sure what should 
go in it, I can give it a shot.

  • Should be adequately adventurous and spontaneous.
  • A good sense of humour is non negotiable.
  • Must be passionate.
  • Should be a balanced person.
  • Must want and provide space, has to have individuality.
  • Someone who is as comfortable seeing a masala flick as he is watching a waltz performance. As with it grooving to bhangra as humming ballads... 
  • Non smoker, non doper and preferably non boozer/ social drinker.
  • Must read, even if he reads only magazines. Bottom line, reading habits should be beyond newspapers, textbooks, joke sms's and home delivery menus.
  • Financially secure.
  • Must drive, I am too accident prone to be behind the wheels.
  • Ego overload not appreciated. (man, this list is longer than I thought)
  • Must love movies and traveling and really wish to explore the world. Somebody who would want to go to the Arctic Circle and Surtsey
  • Broad outlook.
  • Being thoughtful is a must if I am not to cry every week.
  • Has to be classy.
  • Must have ethics, values and integrity.
  • Humility, compassion and decent conversational skills too.
  • Needs to understand that my career is important and that I am an only child and have to be around my parents forever.
  • Last but not the least, must fight lizards for me! I can't!

Phew! Hope I didn't forget anything. Hehehe.

Till we meet again... Adios!

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Mythology and the Art of Story Telling

Mythology, surely an interesting concept, has often led us to believe several things, simply because we don't have certain answers. The reason why we all believe in mythological tales or consider believing them is because humans are curious and need to explain that which is incomprehensible. Almost every religion (each so complicated) attributes the creation of the world to their God or deity. That is why we have the Seven Day Story in the bible. In Hinduism, we have the holy trinity of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva representing the cycle of creation - protection - and -destruction and renewal.

This is where the art of storytelling comes in. These mythological stories, so complellingly told and oft repeated form our impression of how things came to be. When in fact, most of us educated and scientific folks know that what we see today and how we see it, including the our planet and its creatures is a result of evolution, intelligent design, survival of the fittest and what have you.

Why is it then that we still find these stories fascinating? Why do we narrate them to children? Why do we go to places of worship? Somewhere we like to believe that there is a God (who knows, there actually may be one), that someone is watching over us and that the Earth was not formed due to years of evolution and other such dreary processes that are not as wonderful as the fantastic stories of creation that have done the rounds since time immemorial. 
Having said that, it is true that in moments of agony, pain, trauma 
and tragedy, 
we do look heavenwards. Also, when unexpected things or
miracles happen to us, we don't know who else to thank but God.

I personally don't know if there is a God or not. But I like to believe there is a superpower of
some sort. Someone we can pray or appeal to, someone we can thank and look up to. 
I don't find anything wrong with praying, but I do draw the line at excessive ritualism, idol worship and atrocities in the name of religion. 
In today's day 
and age, God is also 
custom fit for 
everyone. Each of us have 
a different 
concept of God and shares a personal relationship with Him/ Her.

At the end of the day, I feel there is just one God. Rama, Vishnu, Jesus, Allah, are just names or perhaps incarnations that may be fictitious for all we know. Nevertheless, mythological tales have always fascinated me. Here goes one I recently read on BBC's portal:


Brahma is the first god in the Hindu triumvirate, or trimurti. The triumvirate consists of three gods who are responsible for the creation, upkeep and destruction of the world. The other two gods are Vishnu and Shiva. Vishnu is the preserver of the universe, while Shiva's role is to destroy it in order to re-create. Brahma's job was the creation of the world and all its creatures. His name should not be confused with Brahman, who is the supreme God force present within all things.

Brahma has four heads and it is believed that from these heads came the four Vedas (the most ancient religious texts for Hindus). Some also believe that the caste system, or four varnas, came from different part of Brahma's body. He has four arms and is usually depicted with a beard. Brahma's consort is Saraswati, goddess of knowledge.

Why is Brahma not worshipped so much?
There are a number of stories in the Hindu mythology which point to why he is rarely worshipped. The first view is that Brahma created a woman in order to aid him with his job of creation. She was called Shatarupa. She was so beautiful that Brahma became infatuated with her, and gazed at her wherever she went. This caused her extreme embarrassment and Shatarupa tried to turn from his gaze.But in every direction she moved, Brahma sprouted a head until he had developed four. Finally, Shatarupa grew so frustrated that she jumped to try to avoid his gaze. Brahma, in his obsession, sprouted a fifth head on top of all.

It is also said in some sources that Shatarupa kept changing her form. She became every creature on earth to avoid Brahma. He however, changed his form to the male version of whatever she was and thus every animal community in the world was created. Lord Shiva then admonished Brahma for demonstrating behaviour of an incestuous nature and chopped off his fifth head for 'unholy' behaviour. Since Brahma had distracted his mind from the soul and towards the cravings of the flesh, Shiva's curse was that people should not worship Brahma. As a form of repentance, it is said that Brahma has been continually reciting the four Vedas since this time, one from each of his four heads.

A second view of why Brahma is not worshipped , and a more sympathetic one, is that Brahma's role as the creator is over. It is left to Vishnu to preserve the world and Shiva to continue its path of cosmic reincarnation.


Vishnu is the second god in the Hindu triumvirate (or Trimurti). His role is to return to the earth in troubled times and restore the balance of good and evil. So far, he has been reincarnated nine times, but Hindus believe that he will be reincarnated one last time close to the end of this world. He is particularly associated with light and especially with the Sun.

In early texts, Vishnu is not included as one of the original seven solar gods (Adityas), but in later texts he is mentioned as leading them. From this time, Vishnu appears to have gained more prominence, and by the time of the Brahmanas (commentaries of the Vedas), he is regarded as the most important of all gods.

Two of Vishnu's incarnations, Rama and Krishna, are also the subject of the epic stories Ramayana and Mahabharata, respectively.

What does Vishnu look like?
Vishnu is represented with a human body, often with blue coloured skin and with four arms. His hands always carry four objects in them, representing the things he is responsible for. The conch: the sound this produces 'Om', represents the primeval sound of creation, the chakra, or discus: symbolises the mind, the lotus flower: an example of glorious existence and liberation, and the mace: represents mental and physical strength.

Vishnu has appeared in various incarnations nine times on this earth, with the tenth predicted. These are:

Matsya (fish) - Some Hindus believe that this is the similar to the biblical representation of Noah
Kurma (turtle) - Churning of the Ocean
Varaha (pig/boar) - In this avatar, Vishnu recovered the stolen Vedas
Narasimha (half lion, half man) - Vishnu managed to vanquish a demon who had gained immunity from attacks from man, beast or god
Vamana (dwarf sage with the ability to grow) - In this story, the evil demon Bali had taken over the earth and had pushed all of the gods from the heavens as well. Vishnu took the form of a dwarf, who tricked Bali into giving him as much of Bali's empire as he could cover in three steps. Vishnu as Vamana grew so large that with one step he had covered the earth, with the second the heavens, thus returning the ownership to the gods.
Parasurama (fierce man/hunter) - Vishnu rids the earth of irreligious and sinful monarchs
Rama (greatest warrior/ideal man) - As Rama, he kills the demon King Ravana, who abducted his wife Sita
Krishna (mentally advanced man) - Krishna is the hero of the Mahabharata, an epic poem. He also delivered his famous message, known as the Baghavad Gita.
Buddha (the all knowing one) - Who appeared in the 5th century BCE. In some traditions, Balarama replaces Buddha as an incarnation of Vishnu.
Kalki - Expected towards the end of this present age of decline, as a person on earth, seated on a white horse.

Vishnu in Hindu Mythology
The churning of the Milky Ocean is the story that explains how the gods finally defeated the demons and became immortal. In the story, Vishnu advised the other gods to churn the Milky Ocean in order to recover a number of lost treasures, including the elixir of immortality and Lakshmi, the goddess of success and wealth. Both of these items would enable the gods to defeat the demons who had taken taken over the universe.

Knowing the gods would be unable to churn the great ocean themselves, Vishnu struck a deal with the demons. He told them they would get a share of the treasures, including the elixir of immortality, if they helped to churn. They agreed. Vishnu told the gods and demons they should use Mount Madura as a churning stick, and the giant serpent, Vasuki, as a rope. Vishnu managed to persuade the demons to hold the head of the snake, which was spitting furiously, while the gods held the tail end. The serpent was then coiled around the mountain. Each side alternately pulled the rope then allowed it to relax, causing the mountain to rotate in the water.

Before they could regain the treasures however, there were many problems they had to face. As the gods and demons churned, the mountain began to sink into the soft sand bed of the sea. At the request of the gods, Vishnu incarnated as a turtle. He placed the mountain on his back to act as a foundation stone, thus allowing the churning to continue. When the elixir of immortality finally rose to the surface, the demons rushed to grab it. But Vishnu assumed the form of Mohini, a beautiful woman who captivated all the demons. By sleight of hand she changed the elixir for alcohol and returned the precious liquid to the gods.

The churning also brought Lakshmi forth from the ocean. She came as a beautiful woman standing on a lotus flower. Seeing all the gods before her, she chose the god she felt was most worthy of her. Vishnu and she have been inseperable since.


Shiva is the third god in the Hindu triumvirate. Shiva's role is to destroy the universe in order to re-create it. Hindus believe his powers of destruction and recreation are used even now to destroy the illusions and imperfections of this world, paving the way for beneficial change. According to Hindu belief, this destruction is not arbitrary, but constructive. Shiva is therefore seen as the source of both good and evil and is regarded as the one who combines many contradictory elements.

Shiva is known to have untamed passion, which leads him to extremes in behaviour. Sometimes he is an ascetic, abstaining from all wordly pleasures. At others he is a hedonist. It is Shiva's relationship with his wife, Parvati which brings him balance. Their union allows him to be an ascetic and a lover, but within the bounds of marriage.

What does Shiva look like?
In his representations as a man, Shiva always has a blue face and throat. Strictly speaking his body is white, but images often show him with a blue body too. Shiva is represented with the following features:

A third eye - The extra eye represents the wisdom and insight that Shiva has. It is also believed to be the source of his untamed energy. On one occasion, when Shiva was distracted in the midst of worship by the love god, Kama, Shiva opened his third eye in anger. Kama was consumed by the fire that poured forth, and only returned to life when Parvati intervened.
A cobra necklace - This signifies Shiva's power over the most dangerous creatures in the world. Some traditions also say that the snake represents Shiva's power of destruction and recreation. The snake sheds its skin to make way for new, smooth skin.
The Vibhuti - The vibhuti are three lines drawn horizontally across the forehead in white ash. They represent Shiva's all pervading nature, his superhuman power and wealth. Also, they cover up his powerful third eye.
The Trident (Trishul) - The three pronged trident represents the three functions of the Hindu triumvirate.
Even though Shiva is the destroyer, he is usually represented as smiling and tranquil.
In other representations Shiva is sometimes represented as half man, half woman. His figure is split half way down the body, one half showing his body and the second half that of Parvati’s. Shiva is also represented by Shiva linga. This is a phallic statue, representing the raw power of Shiva and his masculinity. Hindus believe it represents the seed of the universe, demonstrating Shiva's quality of re-creation.
Shiva in Hindu Mythology
Shiva's consort is Devi, the Mother-goddess. Devi has taken on many forms in the past, including Kali, the goddess of death, and Sati, the goddess of marital felicity. Her best known incarnation is Parvati, Shiva's eternal wife. Hindus believe Shiva and Parvati live in the Kailash mountains in the Himalayas.

Shiva is also regarded as the Lord of Dance. The rhythm of dance is a metaphor for the balance in the universe which Shiva is believed to hold so masterfully. His most important dance is the Tandav. This is the cosmic dance of death, which he performs at the end of an age, to destroy the universe. According to one Hindu legend, Shiva almost signalled the end of this universe by performing this dangerous dance before its time. This is the story:

One day, the father of the goddess Sati decided to hold a prayer ceremony. At this prayer ceremony, all the gods would be invited and offerings would be made to them. But Shiva had married Sati against the wishes of her father and so, he was not invited. Sati was deeply offended on behalf of her husband. In anger, Sati prayed intensely and jumped into the sacred fire that was burning on the day of the ceremony.

During this time, Shiva had been in the midst of deep meditation. But when Sati jumped into the fire, he awoke in great anger, realising what his wife had done. The story becomes less certain at this point, but it is believed that Shiva started the cosmic dance of death. The whole universe was about to be destroyed before it was time. The gods who were present at the prayer ceremony were very concerned. In order to pacify him, they scattered the ashes of Sati over him. This did the trick. He calmed down and did not complete the dance. But he went into meditation for many years, deeply upset over the death of his wife, ignoring all his godly duties.

It was not until Sati was reborn as Parvati that Shiva finally came out of meditation. Through her love and patience, she taught him about family life and the importance of moderation. Shiva and Parvati are held up as the perfect example of marital bliss by many Hindus, and one is rarely depicted without the other.