Vow - Does God Ask For It?

At times when I see people doing things in the name of 'vow' to a 'God', I start wondering, 'does any God ask for a vow?' Some of the simple vows like fasting, or tonsuring is quite common, well, those things might not hurt much. This is like a small gesture of 'thanks giving' to whatever you believe in. But, when it comes to Kaavadi, where they pierce themselves with spears and hooks, I feel it is kind of violent, and looks like 'self-punishment' rather than a 'thanking gesture'

This time, when I visited my home-town, Madurai, India, I happened to see a procession, that was on its way to celebrate 'Veerakaliamman Kaavadi'. It was quite a disturbing experience and my heart was almost in my mouth, when I saw a motorized chariot, where two men were hooked up high on the poles which is usually meant for bullocks. The most scary part was, the hooked up men were dangling and the pole was moving constantly like a shadoof, meant for taking water from the well. Take a look at these collages:

Skywatch Friday
Never thought that hanging men on hooks could be real, even as a vow! It was a queasy experience...seen only in movies like Dasavadharam. 

The above picture shows people with several piercings on their cheek and tongue. 

Wondering, what would be the motivating factor for performing this kind of harsh vows! 


Cheenavala - Chinese Fishing Nets, Kochi, India

Very little information is available about the origin of Cheenavala, except that it was brought in to Kochi, Kerala by Kublai Khan. The Cheenavala, meaning Chinese Fishing Nets in Malayalam, is the most spectacular attractions of this coastal region. I have not seen this type of nets anywhere in the Chinese fishing villages of Malaysia. As we entered the Fort Kochi beach area, this is the first sight that caught my attention, an idle cheenavala.

Chinese Fishing Net - Our World
There seemed to be commotion around a net and with great curiosity we moved towards that. As we neared the nets, the fisher men saw us with the camera, and asked us to get closer so that we could see how they operate the nets. While a group of men worked on the levers to lower the net, two of them came from behind us and deftly climbed the poles, see the picture below!

Quite an unusual method of fishing by the shore

After adjusting the nets, they came down and waited for a while. They spoke only the local language (Malayalam) and hardly spoke English. So, we decided to just hang around until they lift the nets. Here are the action sequence..

Nets laid down

Lifting the nets

Scooping the fresh catch

When we were about to leave, one of the fishermen tried to stop us and ask $10 for taking pictures. Now, we knew why they were so eager in asking us to come over and watch...somehow we got out of that spot without paying them! This is the first time I had faced the 'tourist harassment' and felt awful about how locals try to exploit the tourists, especially if they carry DSLRs. Whatever, I was able to overcome this misgiving when I watched the spectacular sunset behind these lofty contraptions. It will never fail to bring out an awed sensation.

Sky watch
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