Saturday, July 30, 2016

Photo albums- My cherished possession #CBF16

Sitting on the bed with the family around a spread of physical photo prints is such a wonderful feeling and fun opportunity to bond as a family. Holding a memory in print  or running your finger over a captioned defining moment of your life gives me an amazing sense of satisfaction and is such a sensory treat.

When my kids were still young, I photographed and even recorded with a camcorder their every firsts like their first roll, first crawl, first tumble, their first step, their first holding of the bottle, their mottai( tonsure), first birthday  etc...while the recordings went into a VHS antifungal casette( which eventually got corrupted )..the photos were clicked with an analog Yashica and so the film roll got processed, developed into physical prints. All these photos were organized into photo albums with captions ....that is till i got a digital camera.

With digital camera and later phones, so many pictures are clicked daily from a simple chore like eating to sleeping and all gets easily deleted or uploaded depending on how it is composed.
.Some stored pictures of my children have crashed with the hard disk of my  old computer, some burnt in CD's have got corrupted , But thankfully what has endured all these years are my physical photo albums and i cherish and value them the most. They have so  many incredible family memories and stories to tell.  

I enjoy making the photo albums and captioning them, an art i remember learning it from my mama( maternal uncle). He had a point and shoot camera called Hot shot, he would click us in them and we cousins enjoyed being in his frame. We could'nt wait till the photo was processed and brought from the studio in a cover, then we would sit beside him and help caption the photo. Infact, I looked forward to this activity when i went to his home in chennai and brought out all the photo albums of his sister and brother from the wooden almirah. The sepia toned photos of my grand parents, the black and white photos of my parents, uncle, aunts were neatly captioned as " mapillai vekkapadrar" ( the groom is feeling shy) " mamiyaar muraikirar" ( the mil is staring) etc. We would giggle and laugh at the funny captions.

Photo albums occupy a place of pride in my home, in the shelf of the wall cabinet in our drawing room. Albums of  wedding, birthdays, vacations and photos of other important events/ocassions like sports day, annual day have all been captured into camera moments and preserved in albums. I cherish and value them the most.

Flipping through the pages of old albums is one of our favorite family time activity and it is such a wonderful feeling. We pull out all those albums and scatter them on the beds and then each photo starts telling a story and then nostalgia unplugs when we relive the fun experiences of a trip, function or an important event. we giggle, we narrate, we talk about how things have changed and we never know when time bides by.

Do you have a cherished object? If yes, Would  you care to tell or do you like me want to participate and tell here Cherished blogfest

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Happiness is.......... making a piece of art/craft

There are ups and downs in our lives and in between them, we have periods of steady times which we often term as mundane or  routine. The times that we call as routine are the times generally when we experience life, have fun, discover, create , make memories that  help fill and store blog posts such as this:)..

It was during one such routine afternoon, i tried my hand at  quilling. My daughter who is on vacation at home was making a farewell hand made  gift for her friend who is now selected into IIT. She was  upcycling a few items for her friend and painting them. The quilling set was beside her and i tried my hand at that. I started off with one roll, then quilled another, then was so addictive. Finally, i decided to make something constructive and sat down to roll quills as prescribed in her quilling book and bingo...... this is what i made.I felt happy with what i had done. 

Art and craft are something i dabbled with during school days, perhaps most children of my generation in the 70's and 80's  and before had no other technology distraction except reading books, sports and crafts. Most of us indulged in these as hobbies. Then as we grew our studies, career and family took over putting the creative instincts on a back burner.

Now , I am bitten by the creative bug, the day i create something, may be paint, doodle or even put a kolam on a book. it makes me happy.  I have not professionally learnt any art nor have I bought any art supplies so far except a ' 000' brush.Most of the paints, brushes art books I have used are the left overs of my son, dot and my niece or the backs of invitations or cardboard boxes. None of my work are perfect  and have no master strokes or great finish.  With all the imperfections, they  look  amateurish to even a lay person but i still dare to showcase my work for i am happy when i do them.( And i am not a perfectionist, i have two at home though in my husband and my dot)

Hopefully will join an art class next month when dot goes back after vacation and I will then try to learn the strokes better.

                                    I enjoy folk and native art.

This is the back of the golden ( looks beige in pic) invitation which came from Indiblogger for Colgate "wake up to gold morning". I have doodled with a marker pen.

Today's inspiration :my first art indulgence that came through Amazon yesterday, A mini easel with canvas. I am very excited what to paint on these. Has to be something simple and striking. Any ideas folks??

Post 5/5.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Namami Gange.....playing on loop

Last month Hyderabad got its first 24/7 Bollywood music station, broadcast on 95.0 MHZ, called Mirchi 95 and this is available on my phone. since, then it is music unplugged for me. Before this too, i was listening to the radio but on my setup box. Now with 24/7 music , I  listen to a few songs before going to bed just like I used to listen during my growing years.

I was telling my children about the music during my growing years like  Binaca geetmala, boole bisre geet, jaimala(fauji farmaish), aap ki farmaish etc..such lovely times....The pleasure of listening to songs on the radio with focus more on lyrics since there is no video distraction is a different experience than watching on TV with visuals. In between the jingles and the flawless modulated announcements would be the time keeper "Idhu akashavani, Bengaluru Kendra...hega samaya....pip...pip....pip..... to which the family fell silent especially on Sunday, since appa would hear the time to reset the mechanical clock which had a delay of few seconds everyday.

The interest to listen to radio came from appa and amma only. While appa would listen to Radio Ceylon , amma, an Instrumental player( veena) would tune into Carnatic music. Today, I switch to many genres of music on many media but predominantly I listen to melodius music on Radio and the youtube. The song i am playing on loop at present is a song on Youtube called "Namami Gange" a song made to promote "Clean Ganga Project", just gives me goosebumps when i listen and the proud Indian in me surfs up when i watch the video. 

The song is beautifully picturised depicting the diversity and rich culture of India, covering the flow of ganga  from  Gangotri in Himalayas the starting point of the river, up to the Bay of Bengal where it drains into. The song is soulfully rendered by Trichur brothers to Adisankaras priceless Composition "Gangashtakam"....The following lines so rhytmic and  lyrical are playing on a loop now when I am not watching the video. A song perhaps i will listen to for a long time to come.

Bhagavati tava tira nira matra shanovam
Vighata vishaya trishna krishnamaradayami
sakala kalushabhange swarga sopana sange
Tarala tara tarange devi gange
Namami Gange
Namami Gange.

Today's inspiration: Namami gange video that i received on whatsapp today morning..

day 4/5

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Long lost native nutrition.

One of the plants that grows easily in my balcony farm  ;) braving limitation like lack of sunlight and pigeon menace is Pirandai, a highly wonderful medicinal and native food plant. It is a creeper and easily grows in pots even with less soil and nutrition but its medicinal benefits are immense. Called  veldt grape in english and since it is good for treating in fractures ,sprains and for bone health in Siddha medicine, it is also called Devil's back bone and Hadjod in Hindi.  Many of my friends in my gardening group call it orthopaedic doctor:)

I remember my grandfather making a thogaiyal( chutney) out of this especially on special ocassions when he would take charge of sourcing vegetables, chopping and helping my grandmom and mom in kitchen chores. It was then available in local markets.  He would personally supervise during family lunch that everyone ate atleast a morsel of thogaiyal mixed with hot rice and ghee. Pirandai was considered best medicinal food that helped prevent and cure many disorders like intestinal, gastric, menstrual and treating ear ache, ulcers, sprains,Osteoporosis, regulating cholestorol and it is was also supposed to be an appetizer. 

Not easily available in our local markets anymore, i grew this more for nostalgia and the creeper also has an ornamental look  with its tendrils, nodes, less foliage and lengthy stems. Today  morning, I decided to break the tender pirandai and make a thogaiyal out of it and also bracing up for a war on the dining table with my teens.

Traditional and local vegetables and some forages which easily grow in our climate and have immense health benefits  were a part of daily diet in our elders lives. Most of it has been diluted or lost with time. If we don't safeguard or spread knowledge about the heritage and native nutrition, the value of these and our traditional vegetables will not move beyond our village markets.  Unless money can be made from local vegetable and millet  production they will disappear and so will our traditional native cuisine. We will lose them to the zucchinis, bokchoy  and quinoas .As it is, we only find such english and foreign vegetables in the market today. 

Today's inspiration: the long slender pirandai 

day 3/5


of paper boats and pinwheels:)

We get colorful flyers daily along with our newspaper. As I  open the newpaper out slips  more than two flyers and after a  short swirling flight lands a few feet away. It is annoying to see the flyers and on weekends there are more than  5. Initially, i would stack them with newspapers and put it back to raddiwala assuming it would go back to recycling but the monsoon showers outside inspired me to pull out a few  flyers for a different reason.

When it rains here, it rains in sheaths and the lake and the fountain behind my home gets filled with water leaving no trace of the dry dusty summer we experienced a month back.   One fine weekend afternoon, As I and the husband  watched below from the balcony, the children  were jumping on the puddles and enjoying the splash of water on them. We recalled how we used to make paperboats and float them on the puddles . I remembered how I and my friends  used to scream and shout when the handmade boat floated and a friend would bring out an ant or a beatle from the gooseberry tree and put it on the boat and we would watch the insect travel  with so much glee. Such simple pleasures!!

I  wanted to try making a paperboat, I came in and pulled out the flyers and surprisingly we found our hands automatically folded the paper in the right direction and both of us could make colorful paperboats from the flyers. After so many years we had'nt forgotten to make paper boats.

Only I  did'nt go down to  float them, but I let them be in my little garden.

One thing led to another art of origami, The paperboat inspired me to make the pinwheels. A colorful pinwheel like newton's disc was installed in a home behind my block and I wanted one such colorful one for my garden too. It is so breezy  this season and I thought the spinning pinwheels will add color to my greenery. Last weekend, during our outing, I found a hawker selling them outside a park, but on second thoughts, the weekend colorful flyers flashed before my eyes and i decided to make DIY one. I had completely forgotten to make a pinwheel  and had to google to make one yesterday. I was pretty successful,  Will make more colorful ones. This weekend will be "project Pinwheels" with  colorful  scraps:)

Do you still remember  how to make  paper boats and pinwheels?

Today's inspiration: the flyers - day 2/5

                                                          The boat with the bean seedling

                                   Radish saplings with the pin wheel

Monday, July 18, 2016

The kabali i know

Rajni starrers have always created a flutter before they release on screen. The mass hysteria  and craze this charismatic actor has generated across all ages  is beyond one's imagination. If he is not spoken for films, then he is popular through his charity work, spiritual work and  through his jokes that are on par with Sardarji jokes. His movies and his punch one liners have been made into a book for management students ( I have blogged about his punch oneliners  in "the name is Rajnikanth"). Then it is little surprise to note the mania that his new movie "Kabali" to be released on july 22 is creating. The movie is already marketed well by AirAsia's aircraft serving like a hoarding and  finance companies like muthoot having his photo engraved on silver coins. Not to be left out many small companies in Bangalore and Chennai have declared july 22 as official holiday to avoid piled up leave requests to the HR department. There's already Kabali mania all around so let me allow the world to indulge and revel in it. Ofcourse, i too enjoyed its teaser and am waiting to watch it but for now , i talk about the Kabali i know and relate a memory.

Vacations for me meant going to my grandparents place in Mylapore and as kids my grandparents inculcated in us a value of going to temple and the popular deity of the ancient  Mylapore temple was Kabali or Kapali...actually Kapaleeshwarar but conveniently called Kabali.(in tamil script p and b sound similar).

               Kabali kovil - the soul of mylapore clicked in 1930 ....image source:Madras history group

As kids on vacation who would want to wake up early, have bath and go to the temple? Atleast , not us. We wanted to play and do things beyond time and laze around on vacation but since thatha would insist, all of us would  go to the temple. Sometimes, accompanied by our elders and sometimes on our own, usually during mornings we were on our own. After walking through the lanes dotted withTpotpourri of colorful shops ranging from flowers, pooja items to appalams, we would walk into the huge temple.  After  marking our presence hurriedly  around all the deities  which was more like a play  for us. since we knew not what devotion or focussing on god was, we would play around the praharams and finally settle down in a landing in a corner of the temple where there was a sand pit ( actually  a  space created from the removal of granite from the floor ). We cousins would chat happily around the sand pit creating castles and sharing tales , have the temple prasadam and walk back home at

Again on fridays, There was regular archanai  from our home in kabali kovil. This Archanai would happen exactly at 8.p.m on Fridays which coincided with Oliyum oliyum on TV.( a chitrahaar programme which featured songs from movies. This time paati would insist that we go with mami or chitti to the temple to get back the prasadam. We all would play  hide and seek from elders and hide in wash rooms and terrace and avoid going to the temple and whoever went with mami would sulk and  walk to the temple.   So many such memories flood when the name of Kabali is mentioned that looking back,  Could "Kabali kovil" be the reason for me to love temples??!!

Today, I love going to temples, I love the ringing of bells, the colors, the chanting, the fragrance of karpooram and incense stick soothe me and i love  ancient temple architecture, temple murals, the paintings and keep reading the legends and stories, the sthala puranams etc. Perhaps, all this must have come from those daily ritual of playfully lingering in what we call as the "Kabali Kovil"  .

P.S: Starting today, planning on a self-imposed blog marathon. will try to write for a week,drawing inspiration from daily life, free-writes's post inspired from kabali advertisemnt in newspaper( muthoot finance)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

"Sustainability day-daily" is my choice of day

If i could announce/ dedicate a day  for something i love, it would be  "Sustainability day -Daily ". I would announce this  to create awareness and take and make the idea of sustainability on a day to day basis at every step or choice we make, talk and introduce it as a way of life to bring about a societal impact.

Even as I am writing this post, i am drowned by a deafening noise since today morning. A bore well is being drilled in the corner close to my block to meet the water needs of my Condominium. While most of the  areas and condomoniums in my city were depending on water tankers during Summers especially, i could say with pride my complex was the only one which had no water problem or scarcity but that was only till last summer. This summer we too had to depend on water tankers for our daily needs. We are gettting notices and messages to use water judiciously.

Daily we are cribbing and ranting that the  taps have gone dry or the water  quality is not good and a battery of tests are done on the tanker water before it is fed into the RO plant and then supplied to our homes. There is a huge amount of money, time and human resource involved just to ensure that our taps don't go dry.

The taps going dry is just one aspect, The green cover is shrinking giving way to concrete jungle, ozone is depleteing, the  air we inhale  is disease prone, Sustainable livelihoods and nature is threatened, Carbon foot prints are increasing,  non bio-degradable usage is on the increase. Variety of Chemicals in the form of shampoos, toothpastes and other toiletries, choice of electronics like cell phones , batteries, cells, etc and so much more are bought with our money power.

No wonder, the apocalypse of Climate change is on us threatening and choking our lonely planet and also  putting us to many hardships .The  question is - what can a single person  do about it? can we practice on a day to day basis and still enjoy it. Yes,  we can do it  and Why not?

We can  make sustainability a way of life just like our elders practiced with limited and natural choices  many years ago and left us a better earth. We can practice sustainablity in our everyday choices and avoid plastics and use reusable products instead of "Use and throw" and disposables.. Starting from a small item like a battery used for our Tv remotes,( invest in a rechargeable battery), avoid plastics, chemicals  wherever possible and rely more on natural products.,

Each one of us can initiate and implement this in every choice and step that we take on a day to day basis and create a societal impact . We can introduce sustainability in every aspect of our life like food, travel, occupation business, clothing and through this we can have a better quality of living and live in sync with nature. We have to practice this for our own health,  our gennext and for that unique experience of taking care of  our lonely planet and keeping it in good health.

Written for Indispire prompt- 

Monday, July 4, 2016

An imposing ravine @ Syntheri Rocks

From Supa, we now wind up the Ghat roads towards a tourist attraction Syntheri Rocks. We  travelled for more than 17 kms through deep forests  and then drove up hill. The foliage was more denser and varied  and the colors ranged from dried brown to intense green. I could only identify the tall bamboo shoots some of which were burnt.  Yet again, we could see boards calling out to the drivers to go slow as the wild of the forest could cross the roads anytime. But no such luck for us, infact our driver was telling he saw a leopard and its cub crossing the road the previous day and a couple of days back a King Cobra crossing and when they wanted to show the tourists desperately, they could not. 

After a perfect ride through beautiful driving  weather and fresh forest breeeze, which our open windows of omni freely cross ventilated, we reached Syntheri rocks. Syntheri rock is an imposing  monolithic rock (  description in photo below) supposed to have been formed by volcanic eruptions some many millions of years ago. This place is supposed to have been discovered by an English lady Ms. Syntheri and hence the name. 

The sun which was playing hide and seek then shone brightly when we landed in the clear landing where the more than 200( around 250+) steps descended. Was initially skeptical if i should go down with weak knees but then my family had already descended and so i followed suit. The steps were  comfortably placed in the beginning and then went steep as it led down and finally there were no steps and one had to hop from one steep rock to another to finally reach the little water fall made by River Kaneri. It was amazing to see the imposing rock and the forests it held from depth.It reminded me of another western ghats waterfall but a huge one at athirapally in Kerala.   We spent time walking close to the waterfall( did'nt get down, there was a warning board that the water current had claimed 12 lives), sitting on a rock under the soothing green canopy  and listening to the pleasant gurgle of the the  streaming  waterfall and taking photographs with the fall as a backdrop.  After spending more than 30 minutes soaking the place we ascended back the 250 steps in cloudy weather and drove back to our holiday home for lunch.

As soon as we finished our late lunch at 3.p.m in the rustic gazebo, there was a huge downpour which  cut us off from our room. The curtain of water was so thick that it even lashed crossly under the shelter and blocked the view of our room. We managed to the room with the garden umbrella. 

2 hours later, the sun was shining bright again and there was no standing water in the land where we were. Rain and shine ....So i deal for greenery to thrive, no wonder the rainforest.  And the rest of the time till we left the place the following afternoon, we spent exploring the damp, lush and wild place. In the evening, We walked around the earthy place. Somewhere between smelling the wild jasmine plants  and the  plantain farm, we stopped at a compost heap and took the rich soil in our hands. There was a moment of epiphany. This is what it means to live close to the earth. 

Next day morning, while the teens were still sleeping, we went on an unguided walk into the forests,  walking over the mulch with the calls of the birds and cicadas for company, butterflies flitting,mushrooms on  a tree's bark...was hoping to see a snake slither by ..but that did'nt happen. On our way back, we saw a neighbouring homestay's jeep near a house  and spoke to the driver asking him about the location. 

10 minutes later when we were walking up the lane,, he was honking behind us asking if we wanted to see his homestay. We did't carry our wallet and had no money to offer him, he asked us to join for a free ride. We went 2kms up the road crossing our property. We went into the estate  and saw it was more like a resort with man made lake with activities like  coracle ride, kayaking, burma bridge, paved pathways, landscaped garden but the rooms and washrooms were more glamorous .  We were offered free tea and after going around the typical tourist brochure way of eco-friendly homestay, we were on the road back to our place, when the same guy honked again and  offered to drop us back to the back gate of our homestay but this time, his jeep was full of local villagers going to work. So, a free ride and free tea later( some things do come free), we reached our place for the morning breakfast. 

We idled our time at the place striking conversation with arun and playing till our driver came to take us to Dandeli. We boarded the bus from Dandeli to Dharwad.

At Dharwad, I met an online FB  friend for the first time, who is a very talented and wonderful human and spent some quality time with her for close to 2 hours and boarded the bus to Hubli. From Hubli we reached our city hoarding Ilkals as gifts and Dharwad pedas in our backpacks, a crate of Alphonso which Dharwad is famous for and a heart full of memories. 

 all along the trek down the steps you find such rock descriptions that make up the place with stone benches to rest.
                              Non-stop trek down the 250 steps

             The kaneri river gushing by the 300 feet monolithic syntheri rock

very slippery, supposed to have claimed 12 lives 
                 The forest bee making the rock its home
                                                   a view up from the deep ravine

              on an unguided trek into the forest in the morning
                     an early moning  walk on the road to dandeli