Monday, September 27, 2010

Our London Trip - Visit to a small old town!

I have nearly forgotten about blogging and blog hopping for sometime now! Will start doing both regularly, hereafter!

This is my second trip to London. We visited most of the important tourist places last time. This time we visited some exclusive interesting places.

The one thing I like most about the English people is, they give lots of importance to their history and preserve their old things - esp. buildings! Let me write about our visit to a small English town, which looks and feel very old! The new box-type buildings have not invaded this town, yet. The town looks serene without much fumes from the vehicles. We were there during the daytime, so we didn't see many people - busy people, whoever we saw, were in a leisurely mood!

The old town Henley is situated on the banks of river Thames. Wikepedia says, 'Henley is a world renowned centre for rowing, each summer holding the Henley Royal Regatta, one of the highlights of the social calendar of the English middle and upper classes. The regatta is held on a stretch of the river that is naturally straight. The event became Royal in 1851. In that year Prince Albert became the patron of the regatta.'

The town might be busy during the times of the competitions, but when we visited, it was calm and beautiful!

Some photographs of the places:

This area looks beautiful from all the angles! The water is clean, no pollution from the vehicles!

This one and many other swans and ducks come near the steps of the river bank as soon as they see people, for food! Isn't she beautiful?!

The real town...I think this place is famous for the beautiful river bank. The economy of the town must be relying on this river bank, tourist town, maybe!

We saw many restaurants spreading outside their doorways onto the pavements, like here!

This boat belongs to an Indian restaurant, Spice merchant, which is situated on the road in the picture before this one!

This picture shows what we had for our lunch...tea, scones with cream and jam! The picture below shows the old English pub which is famous for this tea! I hopped up the high stool for eating this, which was funny for the people who were with me!

The inside of the old English pub!

We saw this beautiful creeper full of flowers in front of a restaurant

Later on, we visited a very old church, St.Mark's church, which is more than 800 years old!

The glass painting inside the church, so colourful!

I noticed many people taking dogs with them, most of the time, esp. older people. We saw many types of dogs everywhere! We saw boards in many shops saying, 'dogs are not allowed inside'! I was able to smile at strangers who were wishing 'good morning' or 'good afternoon', which is unthinkable here, in our country.

Except once or twice, I came across people who were friendly or were in their own world with their ears plugged with the earphone from their ipod! The trains (tube) were very clean and on time, but very very expensive. Comparatively, our country has got cheap and good train services! It is not an easy job to run so many trains for such a huge population and quite a good percentage do not hesitate to burn trains or buses for flimsy reasons. Still, the train fare is quite cheap, here.

One more thing I noticed is, I never saw people throwing things like paper or plastic bags on the roads or floors. It was clean, clean everywhere. And we met Indians everywhere!

One last snap of the riverbank:

More posts about our trip, will follow! later!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday-1

Sunday, September 5, 2010

OMR...the Chennai IT Highway, how it is, now!

Chennai's IT Highway on Old Mahabalipuram Road!
(Photo: Thanks to Wikipedia)

When we shifted to our house on the side road of the OMR (it is called Old Mahabalipuram Road or Rajiv Gandhi Salai), both sides of the road were looking like the normal 'outskirt of the city' area...with some factories with vacant spots in-between and water stagnating in many places.

Then, the OMR IT corridor came and we are very very happy about it. The Tidel Park came first. Now, the beautiful area is slowly becoming dirty and looks neglected because of the general public and carelessness of the IT companies which are situated on the roads. We come to this road for our morning walks because of the clean roads with lots of trees on both sides of the service lane, where we walk with many others. Here are some pictures of the places which look very dirty...

The above picture shows the area just outside the Tidel Park gate. This place looks dirty all the time with garbage and urine. This is the urinal for the Security people of the Tidel Park. I wonder why the Company has not provided a toilet for the Security people, near the gate, inside their compound. We have to close our nose when we cross this area.

There is a modern art at the background of this dirty area...but this was a clean area long back. This too is near the Tidel park gate.

This area comes next to the Tidel park. Earlier M.G.R. Film city (Jayalalitha Film city - she changed the name when she was the CM!) was situated here. Now, TATA is building Ramanujan IT Park with 3/4 bedroom residential area too! This area was full of trees, now, all of them are gone. The lorries use this service lane to take the debri from this site and so broken road (this is not a tar or concrete road but is laid with paver blocks) is horrible to walk now. The Govt. Polytechnic college and some other colleges are situated on this road and still looks green inside their compounds. The Rajbhavan is situated nearby and we have seen some deers near the gates of the college. The South Chennai area is supposed to be a cooler area and so is a posh area, but for how long?

This is a bus stop on the OMR road, near the VHS hospital. Look at the seat here...

and here...this is the next seat without any slab on top of the seat. The slab must have been stolen!

The Bus stop number board is covered with advt. notices!

This is also a modern art on the service lane...some more art can be seen here, on this road! The compound wall had small small lights, throughout the service lane, when it was new. Everything was broken and the bulbs stolen! The flowers on the sides of the roads are plucked by the public, even flower buds are not left on the plants!

This road looks so beautiful from here. But the service lane is in a very bad shape, thanks to the irresponsible people and the huge companies, who are using this lane. When will the attitude of our people change?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Janmaashtamiya Shubhaashayagalu!

Udupi Krishna

Today is Krishna Jayanthi... this festival is celebrated in a grand way all over India. I come from Udupi, which is famous for Lord Krishna's temple. And for us, Gokulashtami is the most important festival and is celebrated in each and every household, in a small or big way but with true 'bhakti'.

When I was looking for an image of Udupi Krishna, I came across this blog of K.Bharath , who has written a post about Udupi Krishna temple beautifully and in detail. Here, I am not going to write about the temple, but how we Udupi people celebrated Gokulashtami, when I was small!

The above photograph is of Udupi Krishna with all the decorations and the one I have displayed below is the one without much decoration! The vigraha is small but beautiful!

Now, let me write about the festival. When I was small, we lived in my grandfather's house, in Udupi. That house was quite big and looked similar to Kerala houses...with a garden for flowers, one had banana trees, one had badam, mango, jack fruit trees etc. We had a Swamy room, which we called 'padsaale' in Tulu language, which we spoke at home.

On the festival day, all the elders followed vrath...some of them used to have only liquid food, some used to take chapaathis with some curry (no onion or garlic were used in my grandma's place!). Some took only moong dhaal paayasam, made out of dhaal, jaggery and coconut milk or milk. The women of the house used to cook, cook and cook with near empty stomach! Did 8 types of laddus (Moong dhaal flour, Besan, Bengal gram dhaal, wheat flour, suji, peanut, til, rice flakes etc.) along with Chakkuli (murukku in Tamil), thatte and some more savories! Avalakki Pancha Kajjaaya (rice flakes with coconut, jaggery, til, banana etc.), one paayasam for naivedya. These things were placed in front of the decorated pooja area with Krishna's favourite butter, non-boiled milk, curd etc..

My mama used to do the elaborate pooja. Mostly, the important ritual of giving 'arghya'... (pouring theertha water via bilwa pathre on the Krishna vigraha) is done at midnight, this time my cousins did at 11.50p.m., it seems.

Later Tulsi pooja was done by giving 'arghya' with cow's milk. Every Kannada household will have a Tulsi katte (Tulsi pot) and we draw rangole (rangoli with rice flour) and light diya in the morning. In the evening, again we light diyas and do pradakshina, singing prayer songs. My grandmother taught us many songs while doing pradakshina, when we, children were small! Once the pooja was over, all of us used to sing Purandara daasara keerthane...songs which are on Lord Krishna.

After the pooja, the elders used to have only the naivedya prasadam with some fruits. The next day we will have 'kadubu' (tumbler shaped idlies!) for breakfast!

Nowadays, my relatives who live in the cities, are not able to follow these rituals but have simplified for the current age! Everyone has to go to office and children to schools, the next morning, so the pooja is finished early...the number of items for naivedya is minimised.

I did Vella cheedai (rice flour, urad gram flour with jaggery), Uppu cheedai (rice flour, urad gram flour and salt), ribbon pakkoda (all fried things!), with paayasam and aval panchakajjaaya (rice flakes with jaggery) in typical Tamil style! We are supposed to do appam, vadai etc. but no one is interested at home to eat so many things, nowadays, so minimal items are offered to god now!

Now let us hear some nice songs...this one is sung by Smt. M.S. Subbulakshmi, the famour Carnatic classical singer...a very old video. Her voice is so powerful!

Chitra sings 'Krishna nee begane baaro' in her melodious voice...feels like hearing a lullaby!

My favourite Kishori Amonkar sings 'He mero Manmohana'. Her voice is so soft and beautiful!

Images and links: Thank you Bharath and Deponti
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