About me

Am a contradiction of sorts. i love going out and having a good time with friends, and i can also stay home chill out over a book or a movie..

Am very passionate about writing, so give me a topic and watch me float away into wonderland... Love reading books- sometimes i read 3books simultaneously, crazy about music- need it all around me, all the time and ofcourse, i totally am ga ga goo goo over my 7yr old naughty brat- Floppy!! errr, Prince Floppy!! :)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Skywatch Friday and 275th post... Welcome to the Blue Hills

It is not often that you take a holiday that leaves you wanting more. I had one such experience recently. Even though it was a trip to a familiar destination, it was with friend and her family, which made a world of difference. I enjoyed myself, visited familiar sites, saw new things, explored unseen sites, spent nights playing card games and word games. Must also mention that this was my 1st time at a Club Mahindra property. :-) We stayed at Club Mahindra's Derby Green in Ooty... 

The temperatures were 12-18 during the day and 5-7 at night. It was heavenly, being able to walk around in a Tee shirt and capri, not worrying about sweat, enjoying a hot cuppa chai and a bowl of maggi after spending hours exploring the Botanical Gardens. It sure was a memorable vacation :-) 

And through the days, the clouds and blue skies kept us excited, the drama, the movements, the shapes, it was sheer magical..... sweet memories....

Participating in Skywatch after long and just realised this is my 275th post on this blog!! Yayy~!!

For more beautiful skies, visit Skywatch Friday ... Well, today is the last Skywatch of this year, see you all in 2013. Wish you a very Happy New year!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Celebrating Chennai... The waves

As the year draws to an end, let me leave you with this beautiful image from the city i call home- Chennai...

Me: What is the one place you want to go to when you come to Chennai/Madras?
Cousin [over the phone from Delhi]- The Beach

I rest my case!!

When she was here, one morning we all rose early[5am] and drove down to the beach, not just any beach, but The Marina Beach... Spent about 2hours walking along the shore, while some played in the water a bit before joining us... What a fun morning that was! And this is almost a routine everytime she visits home :D

Did you know that the Marina beach is the longest in the country? yes, it stretches for over 14kms.... and one has easy access to the water as well, unlike in other places where you cannot get your feet wet :)

These were fishing boats resting before the trip into the ocean. There were a few fishermen sorting out the fishing nets nearby. They had done one round of fishing early in the morning [3-4am] and will go again in a while... What a life!!

Happy New year! see you on the other side

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Celebrating Chennai.. Valluvar Kottam

Dedicated to the famous poet Thiruvalluvar, the Valluvar Kottam [ a moument] was constructed in 1976. All the 133 chapters of the Thirukkural which include 1330 verses are inscribed on bas-relief in the front hall corridors.

The construction of Valluvar Kottam is like a temple chariot, and it is a replica of the temple chariot in Thiruvarur. The hall near the chariot can hold upto 4000 people and is today a location where quite a few fairs and exhibitions are held. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Off to the Blue Hills... and around

This year has been quite good, touch wood!

Rather, this month has been good i should say. I have managed to revisit Delhi, spend time with uncle and cousin, explore a few new places and it was an opportunity to do something for the 1st time, travel with mom. 

And now, another trip is in the offing, am off tonight and back saturday. Yes, it is a short trip, but one that i am definitely looking forward. Yet another 1st, a holiday with friend & her family. During my visit to Kochi, she made me promise them i would join them on a holiday this year, irrespective of where it was. We did make a few plans, zero in on a few destinations, but as always, destiny is taking us elsewhere. No Complaints!
[If you've been on this blog before, you will know this picture and where it was taken... :-)]

Even though i am headed to a destination i've visited a handful of times, am sure it will be different..My last visit to this Hill station was about 5yrs ago, or was it more? I was there for a good 5days, and enjoyed my visit immensely. This time around, i am spending about 6-7hrs before my friends land and we head off to the Club Mahindra resort [ my 1st time at a Resort]. I hope to do some birding, lazy strolls, fun with kids and soak in the nature, apart from the good time i am bound to have with friend and her family... :-) 

See you around...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Celebrating Chennai.. Ride or Repair

Clicked this image during the Chindatripet walk... Wondered if the auto was waiting for its driver or for the doors to open to be repaired...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Celebrating Chennai.... History in stone

Whilst i enjoy the winters in Delhi, roaming through the streets, engulfed by history, i share with you something from Chennai's history.... A man almost forgotten...

Kamarajar, the Chief Minister, the man who spread the value of Education [inspite of being uneducated]. He introduced millions of people to books, and also brought in the mid day meal system to motivate children to go to school. He was also awarded the Bharat Ratna [India's highest civilian honour] posthumously in 1976...

Even today, we remember him, for all that he did for the people! The Kamaraj Domestic Terminal in madras Airport is named after him, and so are several other buildings and roads...

This statue stands tall in the Marina Beach, amongst several others, each of whom have left their mark behind!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Celebrating Chennai..Ashtalakshmi Temple

Thanks to a friend i found in the blogsville-V, i discovered this treasured temple in Besant Nagar in the city i call home. Am talking about the Ashtalakshmi temple situated in the shores of the Bay of Bengal, at the long stretch of Elliots Beach, beyond the Velankanni Church

The architecture at this temple is very unique. The Goddesses and deities are across four levels, the top most opening out to the ocean. As the name states, the Ashtalakshmi temple is home to Eight avatars of Lakshmi.

Santaana Lakshmi (bestower of offspring)
Vijayalakshmi (bestower of success),
Vidya Lakshmi (associated with learning & wisdom)
Gaja Laskhmi (bestower of overall prosperity)
Dhanalakshmi (Goddess of wealth)
On the ground floor is the main shrine for Aadhi Lakshmi,
Dhaanya Lakshmi (Goddess of food)
Dhairiya Lakshmi's (the Goddess of courage, strength & power)

There are narrow flight of stairs leading from one level to the other and it is almost like an adventure making the way to the top.... I was excited and eager to see what was in the next level...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Celebrating Chennai.. Spot it if you can

I carry my camera with me all the time. I dont have a DSLR, mine is a compact Sony Cybershot and am quite happy with it.. Duh, why am I telling you this now? I dont know!! So, couple of weeks back when i was heading out, I took the flyover on Usman Road and voila, what did i spot there, this amazing piece atop this ginormous building..

Here is the piece that caught my eye.. Let us see if you can guess where it is....

For those who are impatient, you can scroll down to see where i spotted this..


It is the Pothees Building on Usman Road :-)  Did you know?  Have you seen it?

Unable to spot it? Well, look straight above the giant P, in that little shelf sits the Kamadhenu piece..

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Celebrating Chennai.. The ITC Grand Chola

This is the new landmark of Chennai.. Identify it? Have you been here? Seen it? Driven past it? Well, if you are still lost, then it is about time you drove out towards Guindy... Stop near the SPIC building and look across the road at this grand building. It is the ITC Grand Chola, that stands tall, oozing with majestic and grandeur. 

I got an opportunity to visit and explore the place, enjoy their hospitality and spend almost an entire afternoon here thanks to Indiblogger. You can read about it here

Spread across 8 acres with over 600 rooms, the hotel redefines luxury and hospitality. There are a few chunks which are being built as i type this, a few additional features being incorporated, but it is sure to be one of a kind.... 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Adios Kumbakonam

"Boom" I hear a cracker burst, beyond that I hear a dog howl and a child wail (am sure they were scared of the sound). Next door, a man in a worn out lungi sits with his legs stretched out. Probably home for lunch and resting his feet a bit. Few door away 2 girls are playing hop scotch with n old frail woman watching them from the verandah. The minute they hear the horn of the bus, they stop playing and wave.. I wave back at them and they grin, from ear to ear..

Oh,look there's a man sculpting a shivalinga idol, knocking on the stone over and over again till it breaks away. A lily pond with nothing but bright green moss covering its surface

A bus drives past, nearly brushing past my window jolting me out of my revere. The bus winds through the roads, honking at other trucks and cars ahead. Celine dione sings "beauty & the beast" - feels like she is talking about what am feeling now- leaving the beauty of the small town heading back to the big bad world called city life.

It has been 2days of sheer bliss, not just the sights and sounds, but being able to spend time with myself.. I am in a new town, a place I have been wanting to visit, but just dint seem to happen.. I guess it was "Time" or "destiny". And now am heading back, not sad, well little sad,but with the smile I had as I hopped on the bus on saturday morning in Chennai .

A loudspeaker plays a tamil movie song as the bus moves along.. 2men walk pushing a motorbike along...cool breeze sweeps my face...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

I arrive in Kumbakonam

After a long journey, a bus ride of nearly 10hours i have finally arrived. This is a destination that has been on my radar for over 3yrs and looks like the time has finally come. Today, i woke up with an itch so heavy that i turned on my laptop and started looking for Bus tickets on Redbus.in even before i had my morning cup of coffee. I knew i wanted to get away, and i knew it had to be either Pondicherry  or Tanjore side. There were no buses available to Pondicherry and so i started looking for Tanjore, alas, none there. And then it struck me, i could check for Kumbakonam and voila, i found the one last ticket. But wait, it was for 10.15am, and the time was already 8am. Could i make it? Was i being foolhardy? I put aside my crazy thoughts and went ahead with the booking. Booked both onward and return and then went and told the family. They were flumoxed, usually i give announcements days in advance. 

Anyways, in their true style, grandparents started offering suggestions of places to see, while mom and dad asked me to be careful, and have fun. Mom's added advice "dont tire yourself out, you come back and are exhausted usually".. haha... 

So, here i am, sitting in the hotel room, typing this post. Just had a good cup of hot Kumbakonam Filter kaapi and ready for some dinner. I havent had a morsel to eat all day [ if you overlook the packet of biscuit and juice i guzzled down], but heck, 10hours and just that? you feel bad for me, right? 

Alrighty, time to sign off and head out..

You can follow my travel tales on Twitter , or check #traveltales :-) 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Celebrating Chennai.. Fort St George

Let us take a walk through history, a place that is quite the landmark- Fort St George... Established in 1653, it continues to remain an evidence to what happened eons ago and a reflection of the rich culture that is part of this beautiful city, Chennai. 

As you cross the small bridge, the first building on the right that greets you is the "Fort museum". Two floors showcasing objects that were used back in 1802, you will see everything from fine prints,a scale model of the fort and quite a collection of military memorabilia. Walking through the rooms, you will be engulfed in history and the time that was..

Friday, October 26, 2012

Skywatch Friday- God meets Crowds meets Currencies

There we were, partying away amidst friends and strangers, while the clocked ticked away. Around 11pm, a friend came over and called us aside. "The cab is here and so is R, quickly have some dinner and we shall hit the road". Where were we off to? We were going to go on a road trip to a few places, not too far yet not too close. 

We were in Delhi, and our agenda was to visit Ajmer, Pushkar, and Jaipur over the next few days. I had travelled from Chennai to Delhi, while A had come from Bombay and D from Bangalore. R was D's friend from Delhi who had initiated the plan. It was supposed to be D & R doing a trip, but we girls had invited ourselves to the gang... 

Around midnight we hopped into the cab after shifting our bags from the friends' car to the cab and got set for the journey ahead. R told us we should reach Ajmer sometime in the early hours of the morning and that we should get some shut eye during the drive. We did, probably slept for about 2 hours, but luckily we were neither hungover from the party nor groggy from lack of sleep. We reached Ajmer around 5am, and the car came to a halt within walking distance from the Dargah. The men told us to stay put in the car while they scouted for a "decent" room. It was so sweet, they would go up and down hotels, checking out rooms, coming back to give us a quick review of each. During the wait, quite a few women and children came knocking on the car windows begging. One woman refused to go and kept throwing curses at us as we dint offer her anything.

Finally, R came over and said "there is a nice hotel few buildings away, but there is only 1 room available". The two of us chimed in " oh, cool, so lets take it". R was stumped " you gals are ok with that?" .. "yep, we are just going to shower, freshen up and head out, so no big deal" we replied. He dint quite get it, but i guess was glad that his running around was over. We spent about an hour getting ready and then landed at the Dargah's door steps. Out of the corner of my eye i spotted that beggar woman sitting near our car giving us angry glances... I wondered if she was going to haunt us till we left Ajmer. 

Breaking into my thoughts, a man wearing a white kurta pyjama came over, introduced himself and said he would be our guide. He insisted we girls cover our heads with our duppattas, while the men had to purchase a cap [doppa- hope i got the name right] and also asked us to purchase a few items at the store within the Dargah Complex. 

The Dargah [Tomb of the popular 13th century Sufi saint, Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Hasan Chisti] campus was huge. It is the place where the famous Sufi saint has been buried and is a placee where people of all religion visit. it is said that you pray here and your wishes shall be fulfilled.  I was reminded of Jodha Akbar and the song "Khwaja mere khwaja" where all the cast is wearing those long flowy gowns and tall caps, twirling.. 

The guide kept rambling on, he told us that Chaddar, Neema and Ghilaph are the most common offerings made by devotees here.  I tuned out and started observing the place, the architecture and the people who seem to be everywhere. The entrance is richly decorated with gold and enamel work as well as with Belgian crystal chandeliers. As we walked towards the main part of the Dargah, we noticed quite a crowd milling around. There were also many standing within the center [almost like priests in our temples calling out to devotees, collecting the offerings and then demanding money].. pretty much the same thing happened here. We were asked to walk around the main site and then offer money, and told that 500 or 1000 was the best offering... ;o) [ya right, God wanted nothing less, am sure].. 

The view of the tomb  from the room we used
 The guide also told us that the crown on the tomb's summit is made of solid gold and the open space in the foreground is a mosque built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. I also saw a huge well of sorts near the entrance, where we noticed sand filled 1/10th of the pit and on top of it was money, coins, jewellery, clothing, and just about everything else you can think of. This is where people made their wishes,  and on top of the well was a long rod that was fixed from one end of the mouth to the other on which people had tied little things with a thread- shoes, keys, boxes and so on. Depending on your wish, you could tie something or drop in some money into the pit.

As i walked around, i couldnt help but notice the small hillock behind the Dargah, and that the land seemed to stretch forever. There was a small village of sorts behind the Dargah, and people were walking in/out/ from every direction possible. It was amazing.. And here i had thought this was a dead end road with the Dargh being the last structure on the street.  

After spending nearly 3hours, the lack of sleep was finally catching up and we got back to the car after saying our final prayers. I wondered what lay ahead on our journey as the car exited the narrow lane.

For more beautiful skies, visit Skywatch Friday

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Celebrating Chennai, Post box

I love writing Letters, sending Greeting cards... Not only that but my postal cards and letters will have stickers, perfume, colour and be lively. I dont know where i got this trait from, probably my uncles - Still remember how they used to send me postcards from wherever they had gone, and i still have most of them. Even today, my uncle in USA sends New year greeting cards to all of us!

I love visiting the post office, picking up stamp, spending a few minutes analysing the stamp, struggling with my gluestick, wallet, phone, and what not as i seal the envelope and drop it in the box... 

I wonder how many people write, send each other notes. I was talking to a friend of mine who's sending a parcel to a loved one who is now across the ocean, and she mentioned that the person carrying it insisted on her sending a note along with it. :-) Teased my friend for being a silly non romantic for wanting to put a post it on the parcel, but she instead said - Nyaah, it was cos I was sending through someone that i dint attach a note... 

I still write letters and greeting cards for friends and family. Now with the newfound interest and membership on Postcrossing, am back to sending and receiving postcards to and from across the world.. It is good fun and am amazed at the number of people who've signed on seeing my updates and pictures :)

This is a post box that stood outside Hotel Dasaprakash on PH Road.. Wonder if it is still there..

Mysore, all lit up for Dussehra

It was either the last day of somewhere near the last day when we landed in Mysore from Coorg. The entire city was abuzz with activities- there were people thronging street corners, vendors with stalls on every footpath and traffic that was moving, rather inching at snail's pace. We had driven down from Coorg, and were going to spend a night in Mysore before heading back to Bangalore and then to Chennai. 

One of my friends mentioned that the Palace looks gorgeous in the evening, all lit up and majestic. Towards 7pm, we drove out to meet a friend & her daughter, and then dragged them along to go see the Palace in all its glory. There was so much traffic, all we managed was a few minutes from the car. Friend who was driving asked if we would like to head up the Chamundi Hills and maybe spend some time up there getting a glimpse of the city below. 

 The city resembled the skies on a night when it was filled with stars. It was lit up, and there were lights everywhere. The view point was near empty, and so we had peace and quiet as we stood there gazing at the city below.. Far away from all the noise and crowd, we were lost in our own worlds. Today, as i remember that day nearly 4yrs ago, the memories come flooding.... The fun we had, the friend i made and the city that i had not visited in a few decades welcoming me with open arms... 

I hope to be in Mysore atleast once to witness the entire Dussehra celebrations!! 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Skywatch Friday... Floating stones and Hanuman in Dhanushkodi

As we drove towards Dhanushkodi beach, our drive suddenly stopped the car and asked if we wanted to see the Floating stones.. Puzzled, i looked at him and asked "what floating stones?"

Instantly he replied "madam, the ones that were used in building the bridge Ramasethu [Adam's bridge] by Rama and the monkeys. There is a Panchamuka Hanuman Temple less than 2 kms from here. I can take you there if you wish".


Dint need any more motivation, nodded my head and off we went to the Hanuman temple.  It is a small temple, with the image of Hanuman etched on the wall in red vermillon. The Hanuman has five faces and looks like he is standing leaning on the wall. There were a few pillars and at the base of one i spotted two large stones, on another pillar was the map of how India was back in the days and the path that Rama had taken when building the bridge. 

As you walk around the main sanctum, there is a small pit of sorts filled with water, and covered with mesh. Inside this tank, lo behold, i noticed there were a few floating stones. The priest came around and told me these were among the ones used by Rama when building the bridge and that the stones really did float. " You cant put your finger in and push them down, but they will surface within minutes, go ahead try it" he said. And much to my amazement, that is exactly what happened.

Legend has it that Rama and his army of monkeys decided to build the bridge under the guidance of Hanuman (Monkey-God) and the engineering supervision of Nala. They wrote "Rama" on the stones and used them to build the bridge over the ocean.  Apparently, even today, in Devipatnam, or Navapashanam, also by the sea, there are nine stones visible at low tide. It is believed that they were set up by Sri Rama to represent the nine planets, the Navagrahas.

The priest recommended i visit the two other temples popular around here- Sugreeva Theertham and Lakshmana Theertham...As i walked out of the Hanuman temple, i wondered if all that i had read and heard in Ramayana was real, and maybe there were more such tales hidden within the walls around us. 

For more beautiful skies, visit Skywatch Friday

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Celebrating Chennai... Casino Theater

There are so many buildings that were part of my mom's life as they were growing up. One of those is Casino theater in Mount road... There were not one but 3 theaters along that single stretch of road- Casino., Gaiety and Chitra... Alas, today only Casino remains, the other two have been brought down and Chitra has become a factory while Gaiety is being transformed into a mall.. 

One of the early photowalks i attended began right here, and we were back here once again during a walk featured as part of the Chennai heritage... And again during the most recent Chindatripet Photowalk, i bid adieu to the group here... 

Have you seen any movies here? heard of any stories? Do share!!

Dussehra in Kullu

Interestingly, after the entire country winds up the Dussehra celebrations Kullu [also known as the Valley of 

Living Gods] comes alive with Dussehra celebrations.  The festival begins on the 10th day of the rising moon, which falls on 'Vijay Dashmi day’ and continues for a good 7 days.  Kullu Dusshehra is a beautiful amalgamation of history, art, culture and customs.

Legend has it that it all began way back in 1637 A. D. when Raja Jagat Singh ruled the Valley. One day, the Raja upon hearing that a peasant Durga Dutt of village Tipri owned beautiful pearls wanted to get his hands on them. Durga Dutt tried to convince the Raja that the he owned no pearls, but the Raja would not hear of it.

The Raja gave him a one last chance. Durga got scared  of the Raja’s wrath and burnt his entire family in the house they lived in. He also cursed the Raja for being so cruel, this in turn led to the Raja contracting leprosy which is when he realised he was wrong to have suspected Durga.

Photo Courtesy: Abasar

Kishan Das [also known as Fuhari Baba] advised the King to install the idol of Lord Raghunath to get rid of the curse. He sent a Brahmin to steal the idol from Ayodhya and installed it in Kullu. The people of Ayodhya attempted to take Ragunath’s idol back, but it became so heavy and they were unable to take it back to Ayodhya, and surprisingly, the idol became very light when headed to Kullu. On reaching Kullu Ragunath was installed as the reigning deity of the Kullu kingdom. This is how Dussehra came to be celebrated in Kullu. On the 1st fortnight of Ashwini month, the Raja welcomes all 365 Gods & Goddesses of the Valley to Dhalpur to perform a Yagna in Lord Raghunath's honor.

On the 1st day- Goddess Hadimba of Manali comes down to Kullu. She is the Goddess of the royal family of Kullu. Lord Raghunath’s idol is saddled around Goddess Hadimba and they are placed in a Rath (a chariot) that has been adorned beautifully. They then wait for the signal from Mata Bhekhli, from atop the hill. All the devotees help pull the rath that has been decorated. Nearly 100 Gods and Goddesses are placed on the several palanquins and taken on procession. It is said that Gods & Goddesses have descended from Heaven to Earth.

Photo Courtesy: Creative Commons/maverickvarun

On the very last day of the festival, the chariot is taken to the banks of River Beas where grass and wood are burnt symbolizing the burning of Lanka [as told in Ramayana]. There is also the local custom of sacrificing animals that follows this ritual.

Being in Kullu during Dussehra is a surreal experience, and  shows the other side of the valley, one that not many are aware of.

This post was featured on ClubMahindra's Blog

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Celebrating Chennai- Fresh catch

It was quite early in the morning and as we walked along Chindatripet, the stench of freshly caught fish hung in the air wherever we went. The lanes we turned into, the shops we visited, the temples we walked into, the smell followed us. 

As i looked around, i noticed the fish market was just a hop away, bustling with activity. Vans were going in and some were pulling out, vendors were walking out with baskets filled with different kinds of fish; some had already pulled out plastic sheets on the pavement and were sorting through the loot that would earn them their daily bread and butter, well, more like rice and sambar maybe.. And then, there was this guy standing near a bicycle, holding a fish that was nearly as tall as him. He stood grinning and beckoned us to come click. 

"Ithu innikku thaan pudichathu.... ithavida perisellam naan pathirukein"[this was caught today, and i have seen bigger ones] he boasted.

Hope he got a good price for the fish and his family enjoyed their sunday meals...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Celebrating Chennai... Waiting..


Just realised I had quite a few images taken around the city I call home- Chennai. Decided to start a series on the blog titled "Celebrating Chennai". Shall share a picture every Thursday!! :-)

Look fwd to comments and inputs!! 

Here is the 1st photograph. This was taken during the recent Photowalk around Chindatripet, near Egmore.. I had attended the Roof top Film fest and so had not got a second's rest, but managed to attend the photowalk, well, atleast 80% of it. 

As we walked along the narrow lanes in Chindatripet, there were so many houses tucked away amidst the shops and street hawker stalls. Many of them am sure were more than a few decade old, and some had a grill door that hid the main entrance and the house. This one particular house had a huge arch entrance, with a platform of sorts on both sides where people could sit on when waiting for a resident to come meet them. On this, i spotted an elderly lady sitting, staring into empty space. I looked at her, asked if i could take a photograph of her sitting there. She smiled [quite a sad smile] and said "Yes, eduthukko"  

When i asked her if she was generally hanging out on a sunday morning, she said she was waiting for her daughter in law to call her when her customary 2nd cup of coffee was ready... If i am inside, the children keep coming to me asking me to tell them stories, she does not like that you see.... Sigh.. felt bad... Just as i was grasping for words, i heard a voice come from within and the old lady slowly made her way to enjoy her cup of coffee.. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Celebrating Ganesha's Birthday- Vinayaka Chathurthi

 It is only fitting that i do this post today, celebrating Ganesha's birthday- Vinayaka Chathurthi as we call it. I have done a few posts earlier i recall.. Ah, here they are  ...

Today, gramma did the puja at 7am unlike the usual 9-10am. We were all up, ready and waiting for the priest by 6.30am..

I love collecting Ganesha idols,  and it has me feeling good every time someone gifts me a Ganesha idol- irrespective of what it is made of or how big or small it is. I wish i had a space to show them off, but for now some are in the living room curio, some in puja room, some near the computer and others in my cupboard.


Ganesha ready for the puja 

3 new ganesha's in my collection... 2 smaller ones are made of glass[shall try getting a better pic]

Ganesha reminds me of my trip to Goa. Why? well, during my visit, one day i headed out to Old Goa- where i also managed to visit an old Portugese house. I wish i had been more interested in history, would have dug deeper to learn about the owners and their lifestyle back in the days..

So, as i wandered through the rooms, noticing the little details on the curtains and sofa corners. As I turned a corner i was in for a lovely surprise. I spotted not one, but 2 small rooms with a towering cupboard fitted with glass doors. What did they hold? Shelves filled with Ganesha idols- small, big, clay, stone, metal, and just about every other material you can dream off, some were standing, some lying down, while others were playing musical instruments. It was such a treat. I spotted a guide leading a group of eager tourists wandering to the very room. Stood ground to see if i could catch some insight into this.

One cupboard filled with Ganesha idols

And lo behold, he was telling them how a Portugese family had once lived in the house, very wealthy family with a Brahmin cook. Years later, when the cook had passed away and they were ready to leave Goa,  the child in the family insisted they leave the Ganesha collection intact... Sweet child & lovely gesture!

Do you have any interesting Ganesha Stories? Do share.... Happy Vinayaka Chathurthi...

Friday, September 14, 2012

Skywatch Friday- Where the sea meets the sky

How I wish i could switch off this life and get away, disappear? Maybe to a place where i know no one and there is nothing but the ocean and clear blue skies for company? The only place that comes to mind is Pondicherry. The last time I was there was a year ago, sigh, time sure seems to fly... Walking along the ocean, as the sun rose into the sky, watching it shimmer in the crystal water was a sight that can only be experienced and not described. 

Early morning walkers and joggers went about their routine, fruit and juice vendors were just setting up their stalls as i strolled along the pavement. The grey walls of the building on the other side of the road shimmered in the morning sun. The ocean played music in my ears, as I forgot the world for a few brief moments. 

Even though you cannot go to the water in this stretch of the beach, there is a certain sense of peace that sets in amidst the buzz. The little town transforms, coming alive as day sets in, more so towards late evening. People are walking in groups, sometimes with a child running along, or a dog trotting beside them. Popcorn, sugar candy, ice cream vendors throng the shore line. Kuri josiyam [ a different form of palmistry] ladies trot from person to person trying to get a client and make them part with a few 100 rupees.

The Gandhi statue amidst the tall pillars stands out, above all the hustle and bustle around. Pondicherry is a town i can visit over and over, and everytime it brings a smile on my face, and i come back with a new experience. 

For more beautiful skies, visit Skywatch Friday

Friday, September 7, 2012

Skywatch Friday... Bridge over the Indian Ocean

I have been wanting to visit Rameswaram for as long as i can remember. But it just dint seem to happen. Gramma told me "Rameswaram & Kasi are places you should not annouce your desire to visit, it will not happen"... Hmm, i dint know if this was true or a myth, but i took a vow not to tell anyone of my desire to visit the place. And lo behold, towards 2nd half of the year, a friend called saying she was planning a trip to Rameswaram and if i would wanna come along... :-)

Imagine my surprise and joy!! I immediately said yes, even though she was going with her aunt-uncle, and few other family members. It dint matter, i knew her and they were ok with me coming along. 

Tickets were booked, plans were made and within a month, i was there, in Rameswaram. We had driven down from Madurai in a cab, stayed over at ISCON guest house and spent 2 days finishing off all that she had been advised to do at the temple. From there, we drove back to Madurai, stopping over for a few minutes on the Pamban bridge to soak in its beauty. The railway track runs parallel to the ocean, and we promised each other to do another trip to Rameswaram via rail. From the bridge, the ocean looked turquoise, shimmering against the afternoon sky, crystal clear. There were a few boats bobbing in the water and a small group of buildings afar. 

Within minutes we heard the tinkle of a cycle bell and spotted a vendor selling raw mango with spice powder. What a treat those were, we gobbled them up like hungry kids and kept running from one side of the bridge to the other to see there was any difference. 

Alas, we realised we had to get back on the road as we had a train to catch that night from Madurai. But the bridge, the ocean, the destination remain in my mind fresh, even today.

Do you see what we saw??? 

For more beautiful skies, visit Skywatch Friday

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Onam with colours...

The one thing i associate with Onam are flowers, i see elaborate kolams made with different flowers for days in advance. We have had Malayali neighbours, i have had friends and colleagues, and apaprently this kolam keeps expanding everyday.. they add a layer to it till the final Onam day. How wonderful is that..

Another speciality of Onam is the Onam Sadhya...The elaborate vegetarian feast.. A few years ago, 2 friends and i enjoyed a Sadhya at Ente Keralam... Watching people all decked up in white and gold saree, the beautiful ornament that is placed on the elephant's front, along the trunk... all of this shows how strong and vibrant their culture is.

It has been a few months since i visited Kerala, and today, on Onam I thought i'll write a post showcasing all the places and sights i have seen and enjoyed in Kerala...

 Padmanaba Swamy temple, Trivandrum

 Varkala Beach, Varkala

The Dutch Cemetry, Fort Kochi

Wishing everyone a very Happy Onam!!