Thursday, July 30, 2015

Amazing Force Of Water Has Created This Natural Wonder!

 I read this quote somewhere recently and then decided to write about the Grand Canyon immediately...I had been postponing it for sometime now! Now, the quote:

A soft nature of a person does not mean weakness.
Remember: Nothing is softer than water, but its force can break the strongest of rocks...

This is what has happened here in the Grand Canyon! The force of water of the Colorado river had cut through the rocks and flown everywhere.  So many shapes and sizes in the rocks can be seen now!

I became familiar with the name 'Grand Canyon' long back, in VCR days from watching the movie 'Mckenna's Gold'.  I was amazed looking at the grandeur of the rocky area.  But never thought that I would visit the place one day. We keep on watching this movie again and husband's favourite.  The song from the movie is here.  You can see the rocky desert clearly in the song.  The song is my son's favourite, he was in school then!

Now, to the Wiki link:

The Grand Canyon is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and attains a depth of over a mile (6,093 feet or 1,857 meters).[1] Nearly two billion years of Earth's geological history have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock while the Colorado Plateau was uplifted. While the specific geologic processes and timing that formed the Grand Canyon are the subject of debate by geologists, recent evidence suggests that the Colorado River established its course through the canyon at least 17 million years ago. Since that time, the Colorado River continued to erode and form the canyon to its present-day configuration.

The Eagle Point at the Grand Canyon (Arizona, U.S.).  The rock in the centre resembles an eagle with its wings in the flying posture! This is the best area in the Canyon...the shapes are amazing! Click on the picture to have a good view pl.
We went there by tourist bus.  The guide had shown a film clip of the Grand Canyon before reaching the place.  Still, I never expected this amazing scenery.  When we reached the place, we were tagged in our wrists and for $200, we were picked up by the helicopter.  This was my first helicopter ride.  I was a bit nervous in the beginning.  But once I started watching the scenery and clicking them, my fear was gone! The amazing scenery was overwhelming!

The machine went in between rocks, went down and up...great experience. Later on I came to know that this is a smooth rocky area.  We were taken by bus later...half an hour drive to the Eagle rock, which was breathtakingly beautiful!

After the chopper ride, we were taken by boat on the river for half an hour.  We could watch the rocks closely! The river flowed smoothly without much movements.  The water was 10-15ft deep in the middle of the river, the boat woman said! The chopper had dropped us near the bank and the boat took over for the ride for half an hour and brought us back.  Then we were taken to the Eagle point by their bus!

This photo was taken from the helicopter we travelled by! You can see another helicopter also in the picture!

It is really amazing watching these rocks!

We went by helicopter first and the ticket included boat ride too! You can see other boats too!

The famous Colorado river! The colour of the water was brown everywhere.  You can notice the green growth on the rocks!

This was taken from the boat! It was mid afternoon when we were here and the weather was quite hot! Click on the photos to have a better view!
Lunch was included in the fare.  We had Greek Veg. salad, potato chips and an orange plus water bottle! We had lunch at a dining area...a hut-like beautiful area. We saw many sparrows! Some sea gulls too! Black bigger sized crows which are called Raven here, were seen...many were there.
Looks like small small temples!

The river becomes narrow here.

The hollow is scary! We could have gone for a skywalk.  It is an artificial projected platform  where the floor is transparent and we can see the depth/floor of the canyon here!

Another angle at the Eagle point.  People were going near the edge and taking photographs.  We didn't have enough guts.  Look at the vegetation even on the dry rocks.  California has got drought now for the past 4-5 years.  Still...

The dining area.  Many sparrows were there for eating bread crumbs and other food particles!

A little bigger sized crows which are called Raven were seen here!
I think this tour will stay in my memory for the great Grand Canyon rocks and the helicopter ride! I admire the Colorado river too which flows so silently now but had created this Canyon here with its force from the past millions of years!


Saturday, July 25, 2015

I Know More About My Mother Tongue, Tulu, Now, Which Is A Very Rare Language !


I read this post of a student of my friend, Usha Pisharody! She is a young girl but is capable of expressing herself so accurately.  Here, it is!

I go through the same feelings when I hear people speaking in Tulu, which is just a colloquial language.  No script is there now.  It is all gone.  People write Tulu in Kannada script.  It is spoken by a few percentage of people in Mangalore, Southern part of Karnataka (Dakshina Kannada).  I am from Udupi, Mangalore and my family speaks in Tulu.  Even in my family many sons and daughters are married into Kannada speaking families and so only some of them speak Tulu.  Kannada has become the main language.  Tulu is dying very fast.  We have got a special sing song pattern, people say so! Tulu is also spoken in different accents in different towns of Mangalore itself! Kundapura people and Udupi people speak entirely different types of Tulu! Brahmins speak a separate Tulu.

I remember seeing a book in Tulu.  But I don't remember how the script looked like.  My grand father was running a printing press and he had a few books in Tulu.

Suddenly I thought of looking for it in the net...God, this post has introduced me to the nuances of my own language! Wikipedia says:

Separated early from Proto-South Dravidian, Tulu has several features not found in Tamil-Kannada. For example, it has the pluperfect and the future perfect, like French or Spanish, but formed without an auxiliary verb. 

The above link says that Tulu works are available! Great! I have to look for it!

Mangaloreans are making Tulu movies.  Street theatre is famous in Tulu language.  Light music and folk songs with Tulu lyrics are there.  Tulu people are famous for their sense of humour, I am told! I am not one, sadly! And, the Yakshagana in Tulu is very famous! I remember watching them on the streets from midnight till early morning. The wiki link has got interesting details of this dance/song form.

The Tulu speaking coastal Karnataka area was called Tulu naadu during the Krishna Deva Raya rule.

 Another interesting anecdote about Tulu in Wiki:

The region was also known to the Greeks of the 2nd century as Tolokoyra. The history of Tulu would not be complete without the mention of the Charition mime, a Greek play belonging to 2nd century BC. The play's plot centres around the coastal Karnataka, where Tulu is mainly spoken. The play is mostly in Greek, but the Indian characters in the play are seen speaking a language different from Greek.

I am becoming more familiar with my own language now!

Tuluvas (as Tulu speaking people are called) have a saying: "Oorudu nanji aanda paardh badkodu". A loose translation would be: "If it's tough at home; run away and survive". Tuluvas are true to this character and have migrated to other places in great numbers. Early migration was to neighbouring regions like Malabar (now Kerala), Mysore kingdom, Madras Presidency ( Tamil Nadu now - areas like salem, attur, chinnasalem, thiruvannamalai, villupuram, vellore, chennai and perambalur). The large scale migration of Tulu speaking people from undivided South Canara district to other provinces (regions) of India happened during World War I, but there is no concrete materialistic evidence to prove.

Many people from my family have migrated to many places esp. to Madras (Chennai), like us.  Our town, Udupi is famous for hotels.  Udupi hotels are spread all over the world.  My family came here to Chennai in 1962.  Father was a Hotelier. We studied here, so our colloquial Tulu has got Tamil influence. Another branch has gone to Trivandrum and their Tulu is with Malayalam accent!

Well... this post has introduced myself to my language! I speak Tamil at home, since my husband is a Tamilian.  My sons know a bit of Tulu to speak (I should have taught them...they had been asking me to!), but understand it very well.   I get the opportunity to speak Tulu with my side of the family members.  Maybe I was nostalgic while writing this post.

I forgot to write this: Aishwarya Rai, Shilpa Shetty, Sonali Bendre, Sunil Shetty....oh there are many Tulu speaking people in Bollywood!


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Eid Mubaarak!


CHENNAI, TAMIL NADU, 14/07/2015: Rumani Semiya, a Ramzan speciality made of maida, being prepared at a household in Royapettah in Chennai. The finished product is sold on the streets of Triplicane. Photo: R. Ragu

When I read this link in 'The Hindu', I remembered my friend Mrs. R. She and her family were very good friend of ours.  She used to give us their Ramzaan paayasam (a sweet dish made with semiya, milk and sugar) every year.  It is made out of very very thin Semiya (vermicelli).  She had to be very careful while roasting it in ghee, since it tends to burn easily.  Once when she added milk to the Semiya, it curdled.  If it happened like that on a Ramzaan day,  it is not a good omen it seems.  Her husband was a very very short tempered person, so she came running to my house, which was just opposite to hers.  A fresh semiya packet was brought home by our maid, behind her, who worked for both the houses.  Her husband was sitting in the veranda, reading a newspaper! She was sweating like anything.  Then she told the story and asked me to make the paayasam at our home, because she was nervous to do it again.  She stayed for sometime and went back.  I roasted the semiya slowly and carefully.  I was also nervous to do such an important dish for them. Thank god, it came out well.  I had kept it ready in a thookku, a long vessel with a handle like it is in a basket.  When her husband went inside, she came across and took the vessel. So, that year's Ramzaan was celebrated in their house with our (Hindu) paayasam!

Now, to the interesting, newspaper article.  As per the article, vermicelli/semiya making for Ramzaan is very important to them.  Let me quote some interesting lines from the article:

In a tiny flat in the bowels of Royapettah, (Chennai, Tamilnadu), Mushtaba’s family is carrying out a 200-year-old tradition. Seated on the floor, she kneads the maida dough, calling out instructions to her husband Barkath Ali. 

Making the rumani semiya is a back-breaking task and yet, families look forward to it. “It’s been the same routine as long as I can remember,” says Mushtaba, punching a medium-sized ball of dough. “I would knead three to five kilograms of maida with water and salt the previous night and wake up early in the morning to prepare the semiya.”

The fine vermicelli is made entirely by hand. It’s a fascinating process. Mushtaba pinches bits of dough from a clump in her hand, sticks it back and repeats till the mass is almost elastic. She then pulls it apart, holding the length with both hands, folding it in and out, in and out, till she achieves 12 uniform strips. She entwines them and pulls it like a rubber band — in less than 30 seconds, following a series of elastic tugs, the fine, hair-thin vermicelli emerge, which she drapes on a wooden rod that her husband hangs out to dry under a fan. In a few minutes, he rolls it on his palm and places it on a cot to dry further. The vermicelli can be made with rava as well, but even the most experienced makers of rumani semiya tend to falter if rava is mixed to the dough.

 The wife says, " The consistency of the dough is everything, so is the temperament of the person handling it. “If one is angry, for instance, and sits to make it, the semiya will never come out well. I’ve thrown sway several kilos of dough when they didn’t cooperate"

Mushtaba earns around Rs.20,000 every year from the business. “I use it to buy something for the kids for Ramzan,” she smiles. “Shoes, clothes… It feels nice to buy whatever they ask for.”

It tastes very good!

Happy Ramzaan to my friends who celebrate the festival!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Happy Feeling!

I notice some positive changes in many places now! New trees/saplings are planted in many places (though many avenue trees also are going down).  And I was told that the people in the houses near the new trees are taking care of them nowadays, which was not there earlier.  If corporation plants the saplings, it was expected of them to water them everyday by our people!  Now, it is changing.  Feel happy!

I see waste bins in many places on some roads (it should spread to more roadsides).  Water for animals is kept by people and by the Blue Cross.

We saw this during our morning walk.  Dogs, cats and birds were drinking water from this bowl!

Our street corner was always stinking with overflowing garbage bins. The corporation lorry personnel who were coming to clear the garbage bin used to just drop it haphazardly on the road, nearly in the middle of the road after clearing them.   People too used to throw garbage around them.  Now, the corporation has made platforms with borders and a man comes to pick up the overflowing garbage and dump it inside the bins and spray DDT powder around it. The lorry comes, clears the bins and places them inside the specified area! It looks neat now.  This has been happening for the past 3-4 months.  It is still clean! I am not covering my nose while crossing the area! Feel very happy!

Clean garbage bins and clean surrounding area! Bin is kept inside the specified area nowadays!
Many birds have started looking for nesting places and some have babies already! Some new birds are coming to our area nowadays. Feel so happy, looking at them chirping all the time!

Our home bird, Crow! Looking for a nesting place?! He seems to be roaming here all the time!

Shikra, a new bird in the neighbourhood.
 Oriental Magpie Robin...these birds are nesting inside a pipe on the terrace! I love their sounds!
Myna also is building its nest on the roof of our building!

Rufous treepie...these birds are roaming here! My husband and son also have started roaming with the camera now! The bug has caught them too!

 Music used to make me happy in the mornings, now, these birds have also joined in! This is the main reason I wanted to write this post...the sparrows have come back.  Do you remember my earlier post on them? Here it is! The crows shooed them off later.  That was in March.  After a few days, I saw only the male sparrow.  Never saw his family.  So, I stopped feeding curd rice to the crows which I had been doing for years now.  Suddenly I saw the male and female sparrows back again.  Felt so happy! So, this is a happy post!

Female sparrow in our balcony...Son clicked this beautiful picture!

Male sparrow! Don't know if he is the same sparrow which came here earlier but feel happy to see him with his wife! Waiting for their babies now!

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