Monday, June 27, 2011

Talakad

We drove to Talakad from Muthathi. The town is famous for ancient temples from the 16th century and before. We visited the famous Vaidhyeshwar Shiva temple. The temple looks really really amazing from the stone age times. There were bunch of guides eager to explain us the temple history but we were too late to return so we just walked through the temples and took some pictures for my blog. After I got home, I was curious about the temple because the guides were explaining something very interestingly. So, I googled Talakad! To start with I learnt that the town gets its name from two brothers Tala and Kadu, who were the ones that found the Lord Shiva Lingam with great effort due to which Lord Shiva had granted them immortality. The entrance of the temple holds the statues of the two brothers on each side.
Main Entrance on the right of this picture
As I searched more, I learnt there is a legendary history about this town, a curse that people even today believe and follow to ease the effects of it. The curse was spelled on the Royal family of Mysore – The Wodeyars. The story goes as – In the 16th Century Raja Wodeyar ruled Mysore and the Vijayanagar viceroy named Tirumala held court at Srirangapatna. Raja Wodeyar attacked Tirumala after knowing about the planned plot to kill him. Raja Wodeyar took over Srirangapatna and Tirumala fled to a village of Malangi with his wife, Rani Alamelamma.
Side entrance
The Rani/queen had taken all the royal jewelry along with her which Raja Wodeyar wanted to get back. So he sent his soldiers to seek the queen. The queen was taken by surprise when the soldier found her at the banks of Talkad. As the soldiers pursued her, she made a quick escape and jumped off a cliff into the River Cauvery. But before jumping she let out the curse –
Talakadu Maralaagali
Malangi Maduvaagali
Mysuru Dhoregalige Makkalagade hogali!
The literal translation would be –
I curse Talakad to be submerged under creeping sands
May a cruel whirlpool be a scourge of Malangi
And the kings of Mysore suffer the pangs of Childlessness!
And to ward off the ill-effects of the curse, devotees from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala perform the Panchalinga darshan once every four to 14 years, to appease the five forms of Lord Shiva. Again the date for this darshan is a complex calculation. The first day should fall on a new moon day in the Hindu Kartika month. It should be a Monday and the sun sign should be Scorpio. Such a combination occurs every 4 to 14 years. The last darshan was in 2006 and the previous one in 1993.

Temples
 As dramatic as it sounds I went ahead asking my grandmother. First, to my surprise she knew the story, the people, their names, everything! I asked her if really the curse was true that the royal family has been childless and she said yes, for the past 20 generations they have had no children and hence they adopt heirs to the royal family. Today I wanted to study more about this curse. Of course there has to be a scientific explanation for the 3 layers of the curse – the sand burial of the temples, the whirlpool near the village of Malangi and the heir-less royal family of Mysore.
Lingams out in the open
I found a wonderful blog link and it was just as interesting as the legend itself. Read along J
Dravidian Architecture
Of course the superstitions we follow have some scientific background but the stories woven around them are so interesting they make me find more information about them. As I read the above blog, I had a mental picture running in my mind like a movie about the queen and the curse J. 
Temple carvings
 Of course there are other versions of the story too - http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/art-culture/the-legend-of-talkad
Carvings of Tala and Kadu at the entrance of the temple
Now I am eager to go back to the town of Talakad and look for other ancient temples for the sake of art and history.

Muthathi

 
Mini coffee :)
Last weekend we went on a road trip with our aunt’s family. We had a Sunday and 10 people (6 youngsters). Quick discussion resulted in visiting Muthathi, a tourist spot that has River Cauvery banks; about 100kms south of Bangalore. We booked a Qualis for 10 + 1 driver. I was very skeptical about the whole idea of travelling all jam-packed. Returning from US, Indian driving styles are pretty scary & surprising! Suddenly it feels like “How can we drive like this? No safety!!!” Well, I can say nothing went wrong at all and it’s kinda the Indian way of having fun! Jam-packed cars, loads of food, crappy music which no one is listening to, fights to grab the coolest spot in the jam-packed car!
Good Roads
The roads are really good all the way; ample greenery; typical huge rocky mountains of Karnataka, the village side is just beautiful in India & living in busy cities like Bangalore, these drives are very refreshing.  30 mins on the road and everyone was hungry! Out came the chapatis and yummy chutneys, puliyogre rice, jack fruit!!! After a while we stopped at some town for some coffee. The coffee cup I got was super small like may be 2 big sips for 3/-; can’t complain! After a 2.5 hours long ride we finally reached Muthathi. Quite a crowded place with mostly village/small town people; It was a camping place with cooking everywhere, no tents as such! But cooking, yes! In the old style of bricks & wooden sticks as fuel, huge utensils to make rice & curry! Frankly, the place wasn’t very appealing to me! There was too much of littering and most of all that turns me off, the people cooking meat right then & there bringing in live chickens! I literally was walking like those horses with blinders, trying not to see anything gory.
Beautiful landscape
The view of the place is really very beautiful with the smooth round rocky banks, constant river current. The river banks were crowded with the men & boys from the villages; frankly I am not very crazy about jumping into water with such a crowdJ! My husband and I decided instead to go a bit away where it was less crowded and cleaner. A 5-10 min walk; walking up and down over the rocky banks was fun. The rocks are so smooth and round in shape, I wasn’t very confident of walking with my shoes on so I went bare foot! We found a good spot to sit and see little fishes in the water. It was a typical village side view, with people bathing, swimming, washing autos, jeeps, cows everywhere!

Sedementary rocks...I believe!




The scenery is gorgeous with clear waters flowing & tall thick green mountains in the background. We had time so we decided to driver further to Talkad – an ancient town which has an amazing legendary story in the next post.

Natural pot holes

Serene village side

Friday, June 24, 2011

I scored?

I met one of my mothers-in-law last weekend. Meaning my mother-in-law has 3 sisters who in turn become my mothers-in-law more like aunts-in-law. But it strikes only when they refer me as THEIR DAUGHTER-IN-LAW!
Remember Indian marriages? It is not a marriage between a boy and a girl; it is the marriage, the union of the two FAMILIES more importantly! Read Chetan Bhagat’s Two states? Nobody cares if the girl boy like each other, the families have to like each other. So it makes sense I am the daughter-in-law of the whole family! And the expectations are equal from all; there are no levels of rights in demanding respect or anything. An aunt-in-law is just as important as THE original mother-in-law.
I am just saying what I realized over the weekend; that no matter what, an Indian woman has to carry off the burden of both, her original family and her new family in regard to respect, expectations & social status.
The aunt-in-law who saw me for the first time was over-delighted to meet me, know me! In India, no matter how much a woman is educated, she shouldn’t show how smart or intelligent she is! Down to earth is not the right term, more like timid is what is expected! So the aunt-in-law was very glad that I was educated, from a good family yet so friendly and down to earth (not timid), following traditional things like touching her feet for blessings. There is no complain here about her, but the realization of how many expectations a girl has to satisfy in our society! It feels good to know that someone likes you at the first meet; but does it count that much?
Technically, my relation should be closest to my husband and his parents & siblings, anyone beyond them should be secondary! In reality it does not go like that. Now this aunt-in-law will spread good words about me which will directly make my in-laws and my husband look good in the so called ‘society’ that we have to constantly impress, even if we have to pretend! Not to mention how it looks good on my own parents! They would be blessed to have a daughter like me, bringing in good name to them! That is all that matters in our ‘society’!
How come we don’t have so many levels to impress for men? Sons-in-law are GODS here! We are a hybrid couple trying to get away from these old traditional rules to impress society trying to make our own way of living! It’s good to have a husband who realizes all this is bogus and does not need attention!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Malleshwaram

Entrance to Nandi Theertha Temple
I have been busy for a while, and hence haven’t written much. Work wise I am free as a bird as we have some of our systems down lately; which is not at all fun! Personally, my mother visited me; I didn’t really take any vacation to spend time with her because I am still new at my work place. One day I went home early to go out with her. We went to Malleshwaram, a rich cultural part of Bangalore with many Hindu temples, schools and large Tamil Brahmin population; a place with great history!
There are numerous famous old temples in the area. We visited 3 of them which were right in front of each other, on the same street. Frankly we drove down to visit the new Tirupathi temple which is supposed to be equivalent to the original Tirupathi temple in Andhra Pradesh. But we were unaware of the temple schedule of rituals; we reached at 5.30pm when they close the temple for an hour of “Naivedya” (offering food to gods, which is distributed to devotees later). Hence we thought of visiting other temples in the vicinity. 
At entrance of the temple - Nandi Theertha temple
The first temple we went to was NandiTheertha Temple. The attraction of this temple is that the Nandi (Bull) performs continuous abhisheka of Shiva Lingam. As I studied more about this temple online, I learnt that this old Dravidian architecture temple built in 17th century was buried for about 7000 years and was discovered only recently in 1999 when the old residents resisted the land from being sold out and stated it was holy in some way. The temple is made out of ancient stone and it’s more like an underground temple; we have to step down to see a small pool of water behind which resides the Shiva Lingam. There is a floor above the Lingam where the Nandi sits and the water falls from the Nandi’s mouth onto the Lingam through a copper pot. As I read more about it, they say no one knows where the water comes to the Nandi’s mouth to fall on the Lingam.
Water flowing through Nandi mouth onto the Lingam (notice pipe in the mouth :) )
Frankly, I have clicked pictures of a pipe visible in the mouth of the Nandi that drops the water. And I also saw water pipes going in and out of the water pool. And my understanding was that it was a setup to have the water fall from the Nandi’s mouth onto the lingam and the pipes in the pool were to recycle it. Oh I forgot to mention, the pool has more than 30-40 tortoises of different sizes. Very cool attraction for everyone. Behind the Nandi is the big golden plate with engraved family of Lord Shiva – Lord Ganesha, Shiva & Parvati and Lord Karthik.  

Lord Shiva-Parvati, Lord Ganesha and Lord Karthik carvings
I am not so sure about the myth of the mystery of the water falling from the Nandi’s mouth, but it was a good experience like any other temple in India. It was very calm and the surrounding is very green with huge trees including those of Jackfruit J.

Temple
After this we visited the temple across the street, Gangamma Devi Temple-Goddess Ganga (River Ganga) that flows from Shiva’s head, mythological story! The best part of this temple was the idol of Ganga which is stored for display; it is used for the festival procession. The statue is painted & decorated so beautifully, it embodies the ideal Indian woman image, ideal in the sense with respect to mythology. Amazing piece of art! Looks very divine! 
Goddess Ganga statue

Divine looking statue

And the third temple on the street we went to was that of Lakshmi Narshimha Temple, we all know the story of Narsimha!

After 6.30pm we came back to the new Tirupathi temple. As it’s a new setup, the place is very clean, still a bit under construction, less crowded! As per usual boards, you see no photography, switch off mobile phones boards; some of the boards said to drop the donations ONLY in the Hundi (donation box). As the priest came with the Aarti to each person, some did give money to him and he accepted. I had two questions in my mind – why do people not follow what is mentioned and secondly why don’t the priests act honest and refuse to accept it saying it should be dropped into the Hundi only? As a matter of fact, I was very curious, where does the priest put the money after going back into the ‘dark, dim-lighted’ sanctum! I also saw one of the priests tuck in something in his robe and walk out hurriedly. Of course I didn’t question him, as it would be enormously inappropriate! 
Colorful garlands outside the temples
I read the wiki on Goddess Ganga before drafting this post. I knew the stories of Ganga in bits; reading the whole wiki is like some drama. Whoever wrote our mythological stories is the pioneer of all the bollywood, drama and crazy family drama TV shows. Even the gods get angry, jealous etc! Sigh!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Google Eclipse

Today's google doodle is for the lunar eclipse that occured yesterday. Each time Google is raising the bar of their creativity!
The lunar eclipse doodle is interactive too; moving the progress bar shows different instances of the eclipse. Good for those like me, who missed watching the actual eclipse!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Adoption for Animal lovers

Here is a cool blog I found from my husband that shares information of adoptions of pets. They share information of stray abandoned pets that need better homes. Do read the “Please read this first!!” column on the right to get a better idea of this blog.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Nature Show

My Saturday evening was national-geography – Animal Planety! I took my mom to visit to my new house in Electronic city, Bangalore. The area is quite under development and it’s more like farm lands that are being used to expand residential space. Lot of construction sites are under development. We were standing in our gallery on the third floor, looking through the new apartment constructions discussing rising real estate business in Bangalore, the high cost of land and apartments etc.
Suddenly out of the wild plants came out a swirling serpentine snake, swooshing so swift! It was chasing a garden lizard like a chameleon. It was one of those fast car chase scenes in the Hollywood movies! The lizard was super fast to out run the snake and it reached from the field to the road, when the snake stopped and stood in the air like a cobra. Was a beautiful wild scene! It stood in the air for like 3-4 seconds, after which it slid into the bushes! The whole event lasted for about 6 seconds!
I was thinking what each of the wild animals might have felt like. The snake was so close to getting food, all the speed didn’t help it though! And the act of it to stand up in air to look for the lizard was really awesome! Very Animal-Planety! The lizard of course must have had his lucky day! Must have been breathless after that amazing escape! J

It was all so quick, I wished I had a camera to record that event or at least grab some cool pictures of the desperate snake! May be in the future there could be some kind of technology we see in sci-fi movies like Minority Report etc, where you can record things you see by your eyes and then download that information! That would be so cool!

The other incident was that of the phenomenon of TWO RAINBOWS! It is quite a frequent one these days, but I got to see it too! After a quick shower of rains, there was the first rainbow in formation, as it got bolder with the VIBGYOR colors more easily recognizable, we noticed a second one in the background that was being formed. It never got as bold as the first one, but it was pretty cool. There are so many tall buildings in the area, that a far away building almost was “rainbow-ed” in my view! J
Two Rainbows
We discussed what would be the scientific reason of two rainbows phenomenon. We came up with conclusions that the sun rays were refracted due to the small clouds in between which caused the two rainbow effect. Well, apparently it is because of double reflection of sun rays inside the raindrops.
The RAINBOW-ED apartments :P

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Picasso of India ....dead!

I went to the cafeteria to get some lunch. It is my habit now to pause and watch the latest news being displayed on the big screen TV. Every day, I get my latest updates about the 2G scam, Kanimozhi, Maran, Anna & Ramdev news. From a far distance I had noticed the picture of MF Hussain being displayed on the TV screen and I thought to myself, “yet another controversy the old man must have got into, sigh!”
I waited until I got my lunch packed to go and then stopped close to the TV when I saw the flashing news “Funeral preparation not yet decided for MF Hussain” and it struck me then that the Picasso of India was gone!
All the frustrating news flashes of scams & Ramdev were gone & the news channels were flashing MF Hussain’s news of death.
I personally like to draw and paint. But the work that artists like MF Hussain or Picasso do is obviously out of my understanding; for most of us! It needs extremely high level of imagination to think, understand & then draw such paintings. And paintings are like poems, the interpretation? - to each, its own. I have known this artist only for controversies more than for his paintings. Frankly, I just now took a look at his controversial paintings, where he has drawn naked Indian deities and his own interpretation of the Bombay Blasts in 1993.
Freedom of speech is too relative! As humans, we support everything that is favorable to us. Moreover, religion is always too sensitive a subject! In a country like India, a Muslim artist drawing naked Indian deities HAS to be super controversial. Of course we are supposed to ignore the naked sculptures we have in our Indian temples. I have seen so many of them and frankly, they do raise a question on the list of taboos that we HAVE TO follow which don’t go in sync with the temple sculptures. This is called hypocrisy!
It is always a juicy topic right? A Muslim painter insulting Hindu deities! Even when I looked at the paintings now, I came up with my own interpretation & understanding which probably wouldn’t be the same with another person or Mr. Hussain himself. Like we say, Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder; I think the same for Hussain’s paintings. The interpretation should be left to you. That is what is ART! It’s vague & ambiguous; it’s not a written text with ONE meaning.
I don’t wish to have a controversial message here saying that he is correct in his drawings about Indian deities. To me he is just an artist. An Artist who was famously known for his controversial paintings, his craze for prominent Bollywood beauties like Madhuri and Tabu and his recent citizenship of Qatar. As I mentioned artists are complex, and the movie Meenaxi he made with Tabu; I failed to understand it, miserably!
It was sad to read news flashes saying he always wanted to return to India.
As Indians, I think we should be proud to have an artist, a painter of his caliber in his field.
A link to his painting: http://www.mfhussain.com/paintings/
Rest in peace Maqbool Fida Husain.

Google Doodle

Google always amazes us with the doodles they create. The recent one was that of the first world’s fair magnifying glass, where it was conceptualized like magnifying glass/loupe to see through the expo.
Today’s doodle again amazes me that celebrates Les Paul, pioneer in the development of the solid-body electric guitar. The doodle is interactive where you can move your cursor over the strings to create music. And there is a modulator too which when clicked turns red, but it didn’t seem to change the music.
Amazing work Google! Enjoy before it’s gone. Here is a snapshot of it me pulling the strings on the virtual guitar!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Senior Citizen TEXTING CODES

The internet chat and mobile texting lingo have evolved to such extent now; we merely talk with combinations of the English letters that look like LOL, AFAIK, IDK, ROFL, ASAP….and the list goes on. I was chatting with my friend in the US and she gave me a list of new abbreviations her mom gave her, for the older senior citizens. I found it really funny that I was ROFL!!! Thanks Cheryl for the humor.
Read along…
Senior Citizen TEXTING CODES:
ATD - At the doctor.
BFF - Best friend fell
BTW - Bring the wheelchair
BYOT - Bring your own teeth
FWIW - Forgot where I was
GGPBL - Gotta go, pacemaker battery low
GHA - Got heartburn again
IMHO - Is my hearing-aid on?
LMDO - Laughing my dentures out
OMMR - On my massage recliner
ROFLACGU - Rolling on floor laughing and can't get up
TTYL - Talk to you louder
Disclaimer: Not meant to make fun of the old. In fact, it is for the more gracefully aging men and women. I hope it brings a smile to every reader J

Friday, June 3, 2011

Lady Gaga - Weird Al Yankovic

I have heard and always loved Weird Al Yankovic's songs...They give such a hearty laugh..one of my favorite one's is the Eat it version of MJ's Beat it! Cracks me up everytime! I just thought of hearing to some of his songs and I found this latest Lady Gaga song...and needless to say, it rocks!  Enjoy my friends!

Surabhi

I happened to see an old video of a rare video of AR Rehman on a friend’s Facebook profile. When the video loaded it was a clip from the most loved TV show on Doordarshan, Surabhi. I remember every Sunday, 9pm! We would wrap up all our tasks before 9pm. My mother would hurriedly finish cooking, so we can lay down our dinner plates watching the show. Study schedule would be in order to not miss watching the show. An amazing, interesting show that appealed to all age groups! A show of general knowledge of our country. No other show was as diverse as Surabhi, digging through the diverse culture of India. It was a treat of Indian people, culture, traditions & history! A tour of India sitting at home! And the show hosts Siddharth Kak and Renuka Shahane, were perfect. Their faces are still fresh in my memory.
I still vividly remember the episodes of ancient locks! They would sometimes be part of the quiz section, where they would show us a really old antique lock system and the quiz would be to guess how to open the lock. The quiz section was really interesting.
Why don’t we have such original Indian shows anymore? Frankly, we never had the cable TV, until I was working in my first company at the age of 23! And I am glad we never had it. Doordarshan was doing well until all the channels flooded Indian TV entertainment. And right now there is hardly any creativity in Indian Television. All the shows that run are a copy of the American hit shows like who wants to be a millionaire, Dancing with the stars, Big Boss, American Idol etc … Why aren’t the Indian mass communication students doing pure Indian shows with Indian ideas?
Today’s kids are missing a show like Surabhi. How much of an over-dose do we want of saas-bahu serials; the exaggerated relationships? Normal people do not have such extreme dramatic lives!
I miss Surabhi! How is this to be communicated to the Indian TV board or whatever committee they are! Bring good informative shows than passing repetitive family shows!
On another note, they should probably release DVDs of the show so people can buy and learn from the past episodes. If we can invest in F.R.I.E.N.D.S DVDS, Surabhi is worth more! And Bharat-Ek Khoj too!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Communicate

Sometimes, simple things bring so much joy. Communication! We all are so very busy with our lives! We all have our responsibilities with respect to work, marriage, children etc. And we are being sincere attending our needs! We don’t even realize when we lost touch with old friends, real best buddies who know every little thing about us; those friends we were used to so much, we’d talk and meet and laugh and cry together.
I did a very simple thing; sent personal hello emails to couple of my old college friends. We all are still friends, only caught up in the game called LIFE! The replies was immediate; they were glad to get an “actual” email than forwards or Facebook comments or Orkut scraps! We all want to share and love and wanted to be loved. A simple mail brought me close instantly to my friends, got to know updates...good or bad, but I am a small part of their life again! And to know that I am a friend they still look forward to meet is a great feeling. Little acts bring so much happiness; I feel so close to them, though physically they are far away. We all are married but sometimes old friends are what we need to speak out our hearts.
Like my friend replied with the dialogue from the movie Rang De Basanti, “Gate ke is taraf hum zindagi ko nachate hain aur us taraf zindagi hume.. Tim lak lak de tim lak lak” (On this side of the gate we dictate life/destiny and on the other side life/destiny dictates us), we never know what will happen. But it is nice to share that we careJ; that we remember them!
Take some time and believe me, it’s totally worth dropping an email to some of your old friends. You never know who needs you or how you can make someone’s day! Take a chance!
Sharing this beautiful soft song from Nouvelle Vague. One of my favorite bands!