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, February 24, 2012

Skywatch Friday.. The Shore Temple

Situated along the Bay of Bengal shore lines is the majestic Shore Temple. Built with blocks of granite, this structural temple today welcomes visitors with open arms. Located in Mahabalipuram, a village  that was once a busy port during the 7th & 8th century, during the reign of Pallava dynasty still stands tall and majestic as ever. 

The Shore Temple is a five storeyed structure unlike the rock-cut temples and structures found all around in Mahabalipuram. The pyramidal structure is 60 ft high sitting on a 50 ft square platform. Recent excavations have revealed new structures that were hidden under the sand.

This temple is a combination of 3 shrines. The main shrine and the 2nd smaller shrine are both dedicated to Lord Shiva. There is also a small 3rd shrine dedicated to Lord Vishnu in reclining posture. The outer walls of the shrine are beautifully sculpted with intricate carvings including that of the Nandi. It is no longer a functional living temple, but is a tourist hotspot...

I wandered the premises with the sun beating down on us and the clear skies keeping us company... There were throngs of people walking around, some posing for photographs while others marveled at the structure.. I left the Shore temple eager to explore more of Mahabalipuram and its hidden treasures.

For more lovely skies from around the world, visit Skywatch. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Glitters, closed gates and an encounter

Am submitting this post for IndiBlogger’s  Expedia - Around The World Contest

Across the road from the ocean we saw was a towering wall and a board that read -Dutch Cemetry and Fort which was the sign we had been looking for.  A fortress town located on the Coromandel Coast in Kanchipuram District, about 70 km from Chennai on the ECR  is Sadras, also known as Sadurangapattinam, and we were standing at the gates [which were shut] of the Sadras Fort. 

It was a blazing hot day and i was dead tired, we had been on the road all day and had just returned from a visit to Kanchipuram and few other places . The gates were all we could see through the locked gates, we took some pictures when we saw a funny looking man come running towards us.. 

He came over and said he was "Anand, the gatekeeper, and that he was a Furniture doctor".. Had golden glitter on his face, was wearing blue shades, pink nail polish and a orange whistle around his neck.. we had a bit of doubt about him, but just played along trying to get rid of him... When Lakshmi asked him about the glitter, he replied- "Oh,today my daughter's bday madam, i am coming from the party" and he even posed for a pic!! i clicked while she was taking her shot !! :D

He said he will take us inside thru the back door[which we had passed by and knew there was no way into the fort there...:)].. this was when a policeman walking past told us "Madam, he is mental".. 

Our man heard this and was like " Tamilians are the reason other Tamilians dont prosper, you come madam, i take you"..."that policeman is only mental madam, see he is not even wearing shoes"... We beat a hasty retreat, trying to sneak into the car and out, but not before he suddenly said "give me Rs10, if i had taken you inside, it would be Rs 30" ... We hopped into the car and asked the driver to speed away... had a good laugh!!!

Phew.. the things we see and people we meet... never ceases to amaze me!  

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Thread Gardens in Ooty

I walked out of the Botanical Gardens thirsty for more.. I wanted to explore Ooty some more.. I knew i might not have time the coming few days and decided to make the most of the day left. Hopped into an auto, and asked him to take me to the Lake.. I had no plans of going Boating, but wanted to walk around, enjoy the place. 

As i got off near the Boat house entrance, i noticed a board across the road "Thread gardens". The place looked run down and unkempt. But i dint let that alter my decision... Few short steps and i was at Ticket counter. The entry is Rs10 and additional Rs15 if you wish to take pictures. I noticed a man standing near the entrance, and the minute he saw people coming by, he got ready. He spoke about the gardens, the items on display and what was unique about them. 

This beautiful garden has been created by Mr. Antony Joseph and his team of 50 workers over 12years. Nearly 6cr meters of embroidery thread has been used in creating this one of a kind garden. And, to top it off, no machine has been used to create the flowers, lawns, ponds and so on. They have all been done by hand. Amazing...  You need to see it to believe it... 

A self invented technology called 'Four Dimensional hand-wound Embroidery' was utilized in creating the garden. There are over 400 different colours apart from the natural coloured threads that have been used across the display.  

Cardboards formed the base for the flowers and petals while copper& Steel wires became stems, all of which have been covered with colourful threads.  In all, there were about 150 kinds of flower and decors which will remain fresh and alive for years to come.  

Infact, as the walk through the gardens came to an end, i spotted a table with a few individual flower plants nestled within glass case for sale. These too had been painstakingly woven from thread....Beautiful.. I couldnt imagine having so much patience, doing such intricate weaving by hand...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Rendezvous of a different kind in Auroville

Am submitting this post for IndiBlogger’s  Expedia - Around The World Contest

The majestic cobra woven around what looked like a torch stood out against the pale yellow background. Sharing space on the wall was another painting that reminded me of a rainbow or maybe a hippie. Must be because of all the vibrant colours splashed on the canvas.  I was in Auroville near Pondicherry, except this time i had decided to explore the place little more than usual.

Curious to know the artist’s name, i peered into the canvas when a voice resounded in my ear, “These are by Hufreesh Dumasia, she is from the Auroville village” she said before i could strike up a conversation. Minutes later, i spotted her speaking to a lady. Beckoning me with the wave of a hand, she introduced me to the other lady saying she was the one who had created the masterpieces on display.

auroville front

Striking up a conversation, i learnt that hailing from Mumbai, Hufreesh is one of the artists who has made Auroville their home. She came here to pursue higher studies, but today has settled here and has initiated a project with the sole focus of bringing together artist from various corners of the country and the world. She is keen on spreading the value of art and its role in a community life.

auroville tee

Auroville is a township created by The Mother to unite people of the world, and there are many who have made this village their home. They work, contribute towards the upkeep and sanctity of the place apart from pursuing interesting careers like art, music, dance and teaching languages to students from around the town.
Hufreesh mentioned there were quite a few who were very talented, had been painting for years and  have had shows across the world. “I am so much at peace and have begin to look forward to every day since moving to Auroville. My life before was such a stark contrast. 

Now when i pick up an empty canvas, i simply let my mind wander, i don’t have an agenda, i don’t have any ideas, i just let my hand weave the magic” she chirps with a big smile lighting up her face. Before i could ask her more, she was called away dashing off with a “Au Revoir” [Good bye in French].
auroville path


Everytime i have made a trip down to Pondicherry, i have spent a couple of hours at Auroville. But this was the 1st time i had wanted to do something different and meeting a resident of the village was definitely a surprise rendezvous. I spent a few minutes looking around at the other paintings before walking down the path towards the Matri Mandir. The gentle drizzle and silence around made it quite an experience.I got back to the parking lot wondering if there was a way for me to spend some time in this Auroville village!

This post was recently posted on Clubmahindra blog

Friday, February 17, 2012

From days gone by..

As I wandered around the vast space looking for Platform No1, as I wove my way around parked and "ready to zip out of bus stand" buses, I saw a few faces and a million expressions, changing with every minute, with every announcement..

Finally, there it was.. "Platform 1" high up above on the ceiling.. There were a long almost endless line of buses, each carrying a whole lot of passengers heading home, for holiday, back to work/college, or maybe to attend a festival/function and so on..

Engrossed I looked at each board seeking the bus that had my name on the list.. Near a pillar, I spotted a man who stood staring at me.. Dont know why, but I paused and smiled..

"you are Aarti, right?" he chirped beaming..

"yep, you look familiar but I can't seem to recall your name" I muttered..

"Am J, from JSS school, Tirunelveli,"

"Oh wow, how are you? Where are you these days..." I shot out

"meet my wife R, we're headed to CBE.. Am based here"..

We spoke for a few mins, gave him my card and we bid farewell promising to be in touch..

I hopped into my bus and memories came crashing in.. I remembered we were both part of the Merchant of Venice play.. I was the Duke and he was Shylock.. :-)

Strange are the places where we meet people from the past..

Every journey has a tale..

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love in the middle of nowhere

I was in Ooty few years ago on an assignment. I had landed a day early, and decided to wander around, explore a bit before i got into work mode. As i walked downhill towards Charring Cross, i spotted this abandoned sculpture sitting on the side wall..

"Love is eternal & needs no fancy place or comfortable surroundings" they seem to say...  Have a wonderful day!

May you find love in everything you do and see.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Holiday Haiku

Last month, Club Mahindra ran a #holidayhaiku contest on Twitter.. I won on the 3rd day and again won a consolation prize... More than winning, the excitment of being able to relive the holidays i had taken, the journeys i had been on was the highlight of the contest. 

The rules of the game:
1. Write only on Travel
2. The verse should be poetic [or something similar]
3. Fit within 140 characters [including the hashtag and CM handle]

Have managed to retrieve almost all the Holidayhaikus i had contributed.... 
1. A lone turtle enjoys the palace pond; hidden stairways lead to water tanks; doors so low i had to stoop;                  
2. Sunset from Matanga hill; Queens bath & Vittala temple standing tall; coracle across to Anegundi;Castle in hills

3. Markandeyan with his parents humble abode; karaikal ammayar blessing on narrow lane; Cauvery river meets ocean!

4. Another brick on the wall;a camel hissing for I blocked its path;river inviting us with gentle ripples,Pushkar!  

5. Riding on a bike, feeling the wind on your face, simply letting go is all that a holiday means to me!  

6. Lounging feet near the ocean; chilled breezer, click click of heritage structures; picturesque, buzzing Goa.  

7. Drenched in mist in Ooty, wandering the premises of Sims park; nutmeg pickle & jams divine;Rum balls in coonoor ...

8. Gandhi statue,Dinner at Rendezvous;Heritage walk along near empty streets; old meets new hand in hand in Pondy!...

9.Climbing the stairs to rockfort temple; silent prayer at Lourdes church;watching butterflies at puliancholai.. 

Do share your comments and feedback while i go collect the remaining .. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Skywatch Friday- Through the ruins

With apprehension, i got out of the car and checked to see if the gates were open.. Phew, they were! This was my 2nd time here at Sadras Fort [well, technically 1st since the last time i landed here the gates were shut and i had an interesting encounter with an interesting character.. anyways, that is another story]... For now, i was eager to explore the grounds within the Fort... 

Sadras or Sadurangapattinam is a fortress town situated along the Coromandel Coast, about 70 kms south of Chennai. The Fort originally built by the Dutch for commercial purposesis today just a land of ruins. The fort walls have crumbled and so have the structures within. There was a huge granary, a stable and smaller structures that were apparently used to mount elephants. The British in their own style raided the fort around 1818 and took over possession. Today, this dilapidated structure is protected monument and cared for by the ASI. 

Near the entrance of the fort is the Cemetry, with tomb stones and an internal chamber that was part of a secret tunnel passage. As we walk through the narrow corridor, a sudden burst of sunlight caught us by surprise. What was once a majestic pillar is now only a small stump, with a gaping hole on the ceiling through which sun's rays sneak in...  

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