Thursday, June 24, 2010

Another leisure zone - Hosur

It is a pleasure as well as a pain to travel on the 6 lane national highway called NH7. (Bangalore to Hosur)

Pleasure because you can see the successful MNC companies of enterprising and inspiring Indians , electronics city etc., pain because of the traffic locks, fumes,soot and dust spewn by HTVs. It takes nearly 90 -120 minutes( by bus) to reach Hosur while it should be just 60 minutes. Of course, we utilize the time as it becomes a sight seeing trip cum story time for us.

The first few times, I travelled on this route, I narrated the success story of Kiran Mazumdar (biocon)and Narayana murthy( Infosys) to my son and daughter, but during successive travels, when they saw Biocon and Infosys, they ended up telling the story. Hope they get inspired by them.

The climate at Hosur is so similar to Bangalore or relatively cooler for which reason this Industrial town is also called Little England. The residential colonies boast of beautiful independent houses with a lovely garden and are located in serene environment away from industrial pollution and noise.

We had some special moments at my sister’s place by having nila sappadu ( having dinner on the terrace on a full moon night), lying down on a mat on the roof top and gazing at the star spangled sky, ( which is not possible in my city having multistoreyed apts), swinging on the big wooden joola in the portico overlooking the temple on the hillock and narrating funny incidents of our ( my sister, cousins and mine) childhood to S,S and J, walking downhill and enjoying the dewy terraced vegetable fields ,chatting away to glory with my sister’s friends etc.

Unforgettable moments also came in the form of a family function ( my cousin’s son’s poonal) in which we met all our family and extended family members after 5 years in one place. All the 9 cousins (out of ten) were present. ( the youngest of us all has just completed his master program in the US and was unable to join us)

Two days of stay in the function hall helped the next gen to connect and bond with one another. Games like Dumb charades, anthakshri and mock singing contests bridged the 3 generations. ( my mom, aunts, cousins and our children). The venue for the above was the huge open terrace of the function hall , overlooking the famous chandrachoodeswarar temple on a hill, with a lake nearby.

We cousins travelled back to our childhood days and recalled all the fun we had at our grand parents house. Times like these don’t come often, so enjoyed every moment and froze those moments in my heart.

All good things come to an end and so did my laid back vacation. I’m back now in my city, all geared to face my fast paced life.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A fairy tale vacation

After a tiring 3 day tour at Neyveli, it was now time for our annual retreat - Bangalore. B left to Hyderabad after two days leaving us back to enjoy our break.

One whole month at my parent's home was nothing short of magical - pure leisure. No morning hurry, no monday morning blues, no bills to be paid,no glancing head lines, no dead lines, no early morning school bus.

Life was in a gentle pace. I woke up leisurely (would be up by 7), had the pleasure of drinking morning tea slowly, had a brisk walk in the wooded and landscaped 9th main park without worrying about my daily menu, read most parts of 'The Hindu', 'Dinamani' and sometimes 'Bangalore Mirror'. Simple pockets of joy like these were aplenty without costing me a fortune and this is my idea of an holiday.

This kind of life is possible only during holidays outside your own home. I'm sure if many led their lives like these today, the doctors treating lifestyle diseases would be out of business.

The children too had their share of joy and fun. Shre, Shar and Janu( my 7 year old smart niece from Hosur) spent their time enjoying the company of their grand parents listening to stories of their childhood, playing cards,chess and chowka barah( dayam). They learnt simple cooking, helped their grandparents, read books from BOOKMARK Library, drew, painted and relished the good food made by their grandparents (my appa and amma are great cooks).

The trio creatively staged a mock fashion show which was crafted and choreographed by Shre, anchored by Shar and the ramp walker was the cutie Janavi. The threesome provided cutlets and nimboo juice made by them as refreshment during the show. All their creative work was possible because of the restricted TV time. Thanks to BESCOM( Bangalore electricity board) for their frequent unscheduled power cuts.

Inspite of the power cuts, we did'nt feel the heat and sweat at 34 deg ,( our body was seasoned to the 43-44 deg of Hyderabad) although appa and amma used their hand held palm fans for fanning.

Outings were few but enjoyable and memorable.

Children were not very keen on Lalbagh, Cubbon park / museum as they had already seen in their previous visits. Even the workshops at the leisure stores which we visit regularly had nothing new to offer( last time we attended Rob's(pogo fame) workshop at forum mall). But they enjoyed and forged good bonds with my aunts, uncles and cousins when they came over or when we visited them.The kids specially enjoyed the company of 16 month old Sanyuth, my cousin's son.
We missed going to the newly opened 8000sft children's book mall which was closer home.( we did not know its exact location)

We (I and my sister) relived our childhood memories with our childhood friends, who had also come down on vacation with their kids.

We also has some spiritual and divine moments at ISKCON, which we visit every year. The kids preferred to walk through the Hari Nam Dwar here. The hari dwar has 108 slabs of Granite measuring 2x2 feet. As you step on each slab you have to chant 'the hare krsna hare ram' mantra. This way, you chant 108 times and ascend the steps and reach the temple top. Had a nice experience watching 'Krishna and Poothana story' at the mini theatre in the temple.

We also visited the new TTD devasthanam at Vyalikaval( was inaugurated on May23) and our regular Sai Baba temple at Malleswaram.

The experience of Rasalok (still theatre) at Bimba- the art hut( near Gandhi bazaar) was simply extraordinary. It was a combo of divinity,art and culture. ( will blog about it later).

Also had very precious and memorable time at my sister's place in Hosur.

Hosur times to follow.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Time out at Neyveli- Part III

My 3rd and final post on Neyveli this season.

After two tiring days, we woke up leisurely on our 3rd day. We had planned to rest the whole day.

After our brunch, as we were chit-chatting with our aunts and uncles, we suddenly decided to go on a long ride to Pondicherry. It had rained the previous night and the weather was excellent for a long drive.

Shre and Shar wanted to enjoy the beach at Chennai, due to lack of time we could not meet their wish in Chennai. Instead we decided to take them to Pondi beach.

We started from Neyveli at 11.00 in our Uncle’s Santro to Pondicherry. Enroute, we deviated towards Thiruvahindrapuram.

Thiruvahindrapuram is the abode of Devanatha Swamy. It is one of the 108 divya desams of Vaishnavites. The temple is predated to more than 3000 years. River Gedilam flows near by, the sthalapurana book states that Gedilam is a river brought down to earth by Garuda.

Opposite to this temple is the Hayagrivar temple which is on the hillock Aushdagiri. This hillock is supposed to have fallen from the Sanjeevini mountain while Lord Hanuman was carrying it to Lanka.This temple closes by 12 noon. So we quickly ascended the 50 steps to reach Hayagrivar temple and reached just in time for Mahamangalaarti. We offered the traditional yalekka malai(elaichi garland) and honey bottle to the god, and took prasadam.

After the darshan we exited through the rear door as the main door was closed for darshan. Many devotees had to go back without darshan. We were lucky indeed.There are many colorful and beautiful paintings from our epics inside the temple which need maintenance.

We came down the hillock and visited the Devanatha Swamy shrine. Here too we had a good darshan, though I regret not enjoying the beautiful paintings on the ceilings as it was closing time here also.

It was 1.30 when we came out of the temple, and reaching Pondi would take time. We also had to drive home early as we had to board the night bus to Bangalore. So we changed our plans and drove towards Cuddalore Beach which was just 4 kms away.

Silver Beach is one of the most beautiful and unspoilt beach, I have ever seen. It was better than Cherai in Cochin which I considered was the best among I had seen.

No noisy holiday crowd, no sea-side bars/eateries. It is supposed to be one of the longest beaches in Asia. This area was the second most affected when 2004 Tsunami struck. It bore no Tsunami scars. The Periyar Arts and Science college just a few metres away stood majestically. I was envying the students for having such a beautiful hangout close by.

Shreya and Sharun thoroughly enjoyed the water waves and built sand castles on the shore, while mami,Bala and I were enjoying the beautiful nature around us and munching the home made goodies. The weather was too pleasant for a summer afternoon in Tamilnadu. It was cool and cloudy due to the night rains.

The few people around us happily squatted on the beach water enjoying fanta. They enjoyed being tossed and displaced by the waves.

The children enjoyed the beach and wanted to spend more time but we had to get back home.

We came back home and packed our things and boarded the Bangalore bus.

Now, our traditional vacation begins at Bangalore

Monday, June 7, 2010

Time out at Neyveli - Part II

Next day we started off at 6.a.m, to our family deity temple at Siruvacchur from Neyveli. This is on the way to Tiruchy.(If interested,to more about this temple,dig my archive and read the post dated sep 24,09 - Why the delay?.) Every year we make a trip to the temple and light the traditional ‘maa villaku’. We returned back to neyveli by 10.a.m

In the evening we went to my favorite place in Neyveli- The natarajar sannidhi. It is a beautiful temple, very spic and span. It has a huge Nataraja (dancing shiva) made of Panchaloha (alloy of 5 metals) crafted somewhere near Kumbakonam by master artisans. It measures 10 feet in height and 8 feet wide. The idol of nataraja is placed in the meditation hall. The very presence of the huge idol arrests your mind, very apt for a meditation hall.The temple has small temples around of vinayagar, durga,navagraham and 108 alwars. On one corner of the temple is the model of ‘Manu’s needhi Mani’( the judgement bell of King Manu). The story behind the bell was narrated to shre and shar by Sundari mami (I will blog about it later).

After some beautiful moments we left to Villudayan patti Koil (temple of murugan). On the way to the temple, my husband showed shre and shar his school, his cricket ground( sharun envied his father since he does not have the luxury of such a huge ground to play in our apartment) and the quarter they occupied while he was young. The blue berry tree in his house compound reminded Bala of his childhood memories. He recalled how he and his friends climbed the tree and after plucking the berries, stocked it in the pockets of his white uniform. The berries had stained the white pockets purple, and his cool and gentle father who had never beat him, struck him for the first time on seeing the stained pockets. He told shre and shar that his father had never ever shouted / beat him except for this incident.

Villudayan patti koil is the abode of Lord Muruga. It has colorful frescos and murals depicting Lord Muruga’s life. Shre and shar knew most of the stories, thanks to Amar Chitra Katha. They did not know the story of Avvaiyar’s sutta pazhama/sudada pazhama. So, sundari Mami narrated the story to Shre and shar. After our darshan, we headed back home.

Next day night we had to leave for my parents place at Bangalore and so decided to rest the whole day since we had seen hectic days ever since we started from Sec’bad. But that was not to be……

Await my report on Thiuvahindipuram and cuddalore.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Time out at Neyveli - part I

We are back from our 40 day vacation and since I visited a lot of places and people, I decided to note some important and interesting points which I came across as this would help me to blog. Every time I sat with a pen and paper, my thoughts were suspended. Looks like my thoughts flow only in front of the monitor and through the key board.

Well , now to the chronicles of my summer fun at Neyveli , Bangalore and Hosur. We boarded the Charminar Exp on April 27th and reached Chennai next morning. After a few hour stay at our uncle’s place in T. Nagar we left to Neyveli to attend a family function( Ayush homam of my husband’s cousin’s son).

Neyveli the beautiful township is where my husband’s uncle stays. This place on the midway between Trichy and Chennai , is totally owned by Neyveli Lignite corporation and hence only NLC employees are allowed to stay.

Neyveli is very special to us since this is also the place where my husband schooled from nursery to class XII and my Father –in- law was the chief engineer at NLC. This place is a far cry from the Tier I &II cities of our country. This township sees no powercuts and water shortage since they are the power generators.

The employees are blessed with a beautiful quarter depending on their rank in the company. The quarters generally are a duplex house with a servant quarter(rear end) and a beautiful garden consisting of mango, goosebeery, jackfruit,coconut and cashew trees. These trees fringe a beautifully landscaped garden . Depending on the house owner’s needs one can embellish the park with swing , bench and canopy. The broad tree lined roads have never seen traffic. NLC people perhaps might hear of the word ‘heavyTraffic’ , ‘ Traffic jam’ only outside Neyveli. For people like me, staying in a multistoreyed apartment facing another multi storey complex and having a traffic jam around the ben d of the road, these sights are pure visual luxury.

The ayush homam ( the first birthday of the child celebrated according to the Hindu calender) was attended only by close relatives numbering 30.

Since the lunch was cooked by the family elders, we cousins pitched in by helping make vadais and papads while discussing lives in our cities.

After the function we(B,shre and shar) drove out of neyveli to drop our oldest cousin (60+) who was staying some 20 kms away in Vadalur. Since I have visited her place before, I was looking for the huge mango orchard which was opposite her house. But I was in for a surprise when I was told by our cousin that the barren land which was staring in front of us was the place of the mango orchard. Land sharks have not spared the smaller towns . They have chopped the huge trees to make way for plots. There were small stone pillars to mark the measurement of sites and a sign board read ‘ Plots for sale ’with a mobile number beneath.

We spent some time in their house . Shre and shar had some fun times drawing water out of the well in their house, plucking huge golf ball sized juicy lemons and fleshy drumsticks from the trees. We beat the summer heat by sipping fresh tender coconut water which were specially axed for us by our cousin’s husband.
We drove back late in the evening to Neyveli. The next day was our annual visit to our family deity temple at Siruvacchur.