Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Monkeys teach infants how to floss and us too!

I seem to be writing about people who are and were in politics, maybe because of the election fever. I think, today I will make my readers to smile for a change! My son had sent this video link today. I don't think this needs any synopsis! I enjoyed reading the article along with it. Now, the article:


Monkeys teach infants how to floss:


Did you enjoy?!

Rajiv Gandhi - our ex-PM


Hmm....I still remember teasing Rajiv Gandhi, whenever we saw him speaking in the TV, all of us were speaking along with him...'desh ke kone kone mein...'. Now, when I think back, I feel that he did something good for our country, esp. in the tele-communication field (we remembered Rajiv, suddenly, a couple of days back, when we saw Sam Petroda, being interviewed in some channel, who was Rajiv's, sort of right hand, in those days). He became the Prime Minister after the dynamic Indira Gandhi. I have seen Indira Gandhi in person, I think, it was during the centenary celebrations of the Madras University. After her speech, she came down the dais and walked, just beside me...her blouse was tucked inside the saree and god, she looked so elegant! I was quite young at that time and was talking about her for a long time! She had a very good authoritative voice, too. Now, when thinking back, I feel sad for our country, imagining people without any calibre, who are trying their level best - any method - to sit in the PM's chair. Rajiv was far far better.

Now, let me tell you one interesting incident which happened, when we lived in Hosur (Tamilnadu). My children were in school at that time and we lived in a housing board colony. So we had lots of friends. One day, the news spread in the colony that Rajiv Gandhi was coming and was going to pass Hosur, on the main Road. All of us were eager to see him. Lots of people from the colony were standing on the sides of the road. I remember that I too went there and waited for sometime, to see him, but could not. The daughter of a friend of mine, who was studying, must have been first standard, went and waited there along with her friend, since that day morning. Her mother took some snacks and fed her on the road itself, since she refused to come home, without seeing Rajiv!

Then Rajiv Gandhi came in an open jeep and started shaking hands with the people who were waiting for him ...you can imagine him, with a broad smiling face. This girl went and gave him a flower, which she was carrying with her - a small 'touch me not' flower! Rajiv shook her hands too!

The interesting part comes next...this girl, Priyanka, refused to wash her hand for two days, because Rajiv Gandhi had held that hand of hers!


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Jalsaghar - a Sathyajit Ray film


I watched this beautiful Sathyajit Ray film, Jalsaghar, last week. I have watched some of his other movies too, but I was amazed by this movie, mainly because it contains just around 6-7 characters. The main character, Thakur Biswambhar Roy and one of his servants only come during most part of the film. Still we are made to get engrossed in the movie.

The first scene shows Thakur Roy sitting on the terrace of his palace-like home in a rocking chair, alone, in a long house coat, smoking hukka. After sometime, an old servant comes with a glass of sherbet and waits to give him. Roy gets up slowly and walks here and there and the servant runs behind him with the glass. He just watches the deserted surroundings of the once rich estate. This shows the first glimpse of the old glory of the aristocrats who were losing their control over their legacy slowly. Roy is an old man now, who had lost his wife and son, in a boating accident, four years back. He has become an alcoholic now, with no money in the thijori (locker). He is left with 2-3 loyal servants, a beautiful white horse and an elephant. His lands are eroded by the river, through the years. The old castle with a beautiful Music Room is the only remains of the old legacy. The walls of the music room are covered with the paintings of his ancestors and himself, in princely attire. The huge chandelier polished by the uniformed servant earlier, now is full of cobwebs. It is clearly visible that the old landlord is under severe depression.

Meanwhile, Ganguli, his neighbour who is now, a flourishing businessman, the new aristocrat, land-poor but cash-rich has got electric lights in his house, a motor car, the first in the region. Satyajit Ray, the legendary director, masterfully contrasts the hollowness of the old aristocrat with the shallowness of the new one. Ganguly tries his best to be like Roy and invites him to inaugurate HIS Music Room. He says he has invited the current prominent dancer for the function. Roy burns with jealousy and asks his Estate Manager to keep a musical party, with the last few gold coins for expenditure.

He invites Ganguly also.He asks the servant to clean the music room. The servant is so happy to do the things which he had been doing all these years. He wears his uniform too, proudly. Then the party begins. A young dancer Krishna Bai (Roshan Kumari) who was the then famous kathak dancer, dances and a young male singer sings (a young Shehnai player, Bismillah Khan!). The dance is quite good. Then everyone leaves.

Again, Roy, a lone man, wander in the music room, with a glass of alcohol in his hand and blabber about his ancestors, about the glory of the past and becomes delirious. He lingers in the music room throughout the night, long after the last guests leave. In a semi conscious state, he pays tribute to his ancestors and to his own portrait. However, his bliss turns to hysterical despair when the candles in the music room start to go out. Obviously mentally unsound, his fear of the darkening room mystifies his faithful servant. The servant is able to open the drapes and Roy is comforted by the rising sun. Roy hears his white horse nay outside and claims that the horse is calling to him to ride him. His servant and estate manager are distressed, since Roy's dilapidated physical state makes horse riding dangerous now. Roy gallops off quickly on his horse with the estate manager and servant in pursuit. When he rides to the beach, he is distressed to see a broken boat, which reminds him of his departed family. He doesn't change the horse's course and upon nearly colliding with the boat, the horse flips out and jumps in the air, knocking Roy roughly into the ground. Roy dies on the spot with his servant and estate manager standing over him

The present days of Roy is shown without much background music, which is apt for the atmosphere, I feel. They show a lone dog sleeping outside the veranda, which is deserted. Though we can sense the end, we feel vacant in our heart, when the movie is over.

Roy character is played by Chabi Biswas, who was in real life completely tone-deaf, it seems. His creation of a music-lover is an astonishing accomplishment, both by him and by Satyajit Ray. He plays the instrument (can anyone give me the name of the instrument, please? Sur bahaar?), shown in the photo above, as a pro. A young Begum Akhtar is shown singing in the first musical party.

Ustad Vilayat Khan is the music director for this film. He got rave reviews for this film.

I have watched some of Ray's films like Apu trilogy, Apur sansar, Pather panchali etc. Though the movies are slow for us now, we can see that every frame is shot with great care for the human emotions.

I got a 'you tube' video, showing the last dance programme in Roy's Music Room. Have a look at it - black& white film looks so different and clear.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sheila Dixit - CM, Delhi



My husband switched on the TV today morning and I was cooking inside the kitchen. All the news channels, one by one started shouting about the PMK joining AIADMK and other political/election news. I thought that today, like most of the vexed bloggers, I will do a write-up on these political baffoons.

At about 9.30 AM, he started watching 'Baathon baathon mein' in Lok Sabha Channel. Started hearing some interesting discussions. I had finished the morning's hectic work and so, sat and started watching. Smt. Sheila Dixit's (CM, Delhi) interview. Mrinal Pande, Editor, Hindustan, was the anchor. I think she is a lawyer also (I remember reading somewhere, I might be wrong). Now my whole mood had changed! To hell with the greedy, power crazy, uneducated politicians. I will write some positive things about a politician.

She is a beautifull old lady, doesn't look her age (70 years!). Not much ornaments, just one bangle and a chain (we women watch this, you know!). No hair dye and looks majestic. I had been reading about her for the past so many years and remember only the positive things, not much negative things. Yes, Delhi is not a safe place (she answered for this question), the transport is hopeless there ....She must have done something good and so without much noice, she is doing her third term as the Chief Minister of Delhi. Delhi is full of (mostly) educated people - some politicians also, for that matter!

She looked happy and relaxed during the whole interview, thanks to Mrinal Pandey who speaks very softly. I have watched her interviewing in this programme, earlier, Pt.Jasraj, Amjad Ali Khan etc. Now let me write about Sheila Dixit:

She likes music - melodius, whether classical or pop or filmy music. Filmy - Taare Zameen Par, Delhi-6

Her likes for film actors change periodically!

Classical: Kishori Amonkar, Ajoy Chakraborthy, O.S.Arun (Bhajan) etc.

She reads a lot. She is reading some Lebonese author's book now. She liked Jhumpa Lahiri's book. She did not like Adiga's book! Her house is full of different kinds of books.

Her marriage was an inter-caste marriage. After marriage, there was some tension at home, for some months. Her father-in-law was a great supporter (former Governor and Union Minister) aong with her husband, Vinod Dixit (He was an IAS officer). Slowly, they merged her in their family and had the full support of them throughout her life. They still live with her. She has two children. Both are married. They live alone but has a good rapport with them. She has got two grand children also. Like a typical grand mother, she was praising about their computer knowledge and how fast they grasp things, unlike us! They meet each other often and are comfortable with each other.

When asked about the safety of the women in Delhi, she said that it is not just the responsibility of the Government or Police, but the whole society should come together to make Delhi a safe place. The sons and daughters should be brought up so that they respect each other from the childhood. Now, the children who are very poor or jobless or with too much money to spend and without any aim in life, become problematic in their adulthood. We should try our best to change these things. No single person or leader can do it alone.

Well...it was a nice experience, watching her in the TV, a relaxed, happy politician. She did not look as if she wanted to be in the good books of her viewers - just a natural and majestic looking lady.




EDITED TO ADD ON 9.12.13, after she lost in the election yesterday. I think it is high time she started relaxing with her family.

My friend Partha Sir, gave this link.  We can know more about Sheila Dixit here:

Indo-Asian News Service | Updated: December 08, 2013 15:46 IST
New Delhi:  For 15 years Sheila Dikshit was Chief Minister of Delhi, winning three assembly elections one after the other. On Sunday, the dream run ended. The seasoned politician has lost not only Delhi, but her own election as well, to debutant Arvind Kejriwal.

Here are 10 things you wanted to know about Ms Dikshit:
  1. She started off as a reluctant politician, and cut her political teeth assisting her father-in-law, a veteran Uttar Pradesh Congress leader Uma Shankar Dikshit, who was  a minster in Indira Gandhi's cabinet.
  2. She was married to Vinod Dikshit, who worked in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS).
  3. It was Indira Gandhi who first picked Sheila Dikshit to be part of a UN delegation. In 1984, she became a minister in Rajiv Gandhi's government after entering the Lok Sabha from Uttar Pradesh after her husband's death.
  4. She was later a minister in the Prime Minister's Office before the Congress was ousted in national elections in 1989.
  5. Mrs Dikshit's rapport with Congress president Sonia Gandhi helped her become president of the faction-ridden party in Delhi in May 1998, six months before she led it to victory in assembly elections.
  6. The high price of onions helped Mrs Dikshit dislodge the BJP in 1998. The Congress won an impressive 52 of the 70 seats in Delhi that year. The Dikshit magic continued to work in 2003 and 2008.
  7. Ironically, the high price of onions and other staples this year has been a contributing factor to disenchantment with Mrs Dikshit in Delhi, whose party has come in a poor third.
  8. Born in Punjab's Kapurthala, Mrs Dikshit was credited with numerous people-friendly programmes. During this year's campaign she listed the urban development of Delhi a a major achievement. She was credited for Delhi's growing infrastructure including roads and flyovers, a less polluted city, better public transport system as well as development on the health and educational fronts.
  9. Her son Sandeep Dikshit is a Lok Sabha member from Delhi.
  10. She has often been called an outsider in Delhi, but Mrs Dikshit studied at the Convent of Jesus and Mary School in the capital and then at Miranda House college in Delhi University.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Temples - Trichy II

I wrote about this temple also, in yesterday's post. Something went wrong. These temples are too good and important. So I am writing about them again.


Uchchi Pillaiyar (Rock Fort) Temple:


We had gone to Trichy so many times in the past 35 years, but somehow could not visit this temple.This temple is made of Shiva linga shaped rock and so either we have to go there early in the morning or after 6 p.m. in the evening, because the rocky steps will be very hot to climb - 417 rocky steps! We found out that half the steps are inside the rock (they have carved the temple, esp. the Shiva temple, which is quite huge, inside the rock) and the rest are in the open. We never thought we could climb so many steps, but we did it! Our daily morning walks must have helped!

The Shiva linga is very big and is called 'Thaayumanavar', because Shiva took the midwife avatar and helped a pregnant woman deliver the baby. So Shiva is a mother too, so the name (mother too - translation). When Pregnant women have problem while delivering, they pray for this god - mostly they will visit the temple whenever they can and offer a bunch of banana to the god.


Legend


It was a Friday and so a 'Shri Sooktha Homa' was there in Mahalakshmi's Sannidhi. We witnessed the homa also. Then went up the hill to the Ganesha 'Uchchi Pillaiyaar' temple. The vigraha is beautiful. We could see the whole town of Trichy from the hill top.

I should have taken the children to this temple, but missed the opportunity. They would have enjoyed and admired the architecture.

***


The next day, we visited the Guna Seelam Temple.

The name of the deity is Sri Prasanna Venkateshwara Swamy. Guna Seelam is a small village along the river, Kaveri's tributary and the narrow road is full of greenery on one side and water flows on the other side. This temple is famous for treating people with mental depression. As soon as the morning pooja is over, these people are called inside, near the garbha gruha, and the theertha (holy water) is sprayed on them. The Purohit also talks to them with lot of patience. Only after this ritual, the other visitors are invited inside.

***


Our next visit was to the Purushoththamar temple. - Uththamar Kovil.


This is the only temple in India, where there are sannidhis for Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma along with their wives.

Brahma and Goddess Saraswathi's sannidhis are situated facing South.

Vishnu, addressed as Purushothama here, is in a reclining posture and Goddess Pooranavalli Thayar sannidhi is situated facing east.

Shiva as Bitchandaar (Bikshaandaar) sannidhi is situated facing west and Goddess Soundharya Parvathi/ Vadivudai Nayaki sannidhi is facing south.


Highlights:

* One of the 108 divyadesams and honoured next only to Srirangam in the Divyadesam list

* A temple of Shiva-Vaishnav unison

* The only temple where all the Trimoorthies - Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and their wives, are present in 6 separate shrines.

* Brahma, normally seen only as koshta moorthy in the outer prahara walls of the sanctum sanctorum, is having a separate shrine here.

* Saraswathi, seen in a separate temple only in Koothanur, is present here in a separate shrine with vimana
.
* All the seven gurus - Brahma Guru, Vishnu Guru, Siva Guru, Sakthi Guru, Subramanaya Guru, Deva Guru, Asura Guru - are present here. This is the only temple where Brahma himself is present as Guru, facing South in a separate shrine with the vimana and Uthsava moorthy. In other temples, only Dakshinamoorthy will be present as Guru. So this is a very significant Temple for Guru Worship.


Legends:

Once Brahma was egoistic over Shiva since he also had five heads like Shiva and had the privilege as the creator of all lives. Also once Parvathi mistook Brahma for Shiva because of the five heads, washed his (Brahma’s) legs and served him. Lord Shiva got angry and so plucked his fifth head in order to avoid the identity clash and also to teach a lesson for his ego.

* Due to this, Shiva got the Brahmaharthi Dhosham and the plucked head of Brahma stuck to his palm. Shiva then went around on a pilgrimage to clear off the curse by begging for food with Brahmma’s skull as the begging bowl. But whatever was put in the bowl, vanished immediately. Finally, at Bitchandar Koil, at the behest of Vishnu, Goddess Lakshmi as Poornavalli thayar, filled the bowl, to end Shiva’s hunger.

I saw the worshippers, giving pens to keep near the god, which shall be used for writing the exams!

***

The next temple we visited was, Vayalur Murugan - Subrahmanya temple.

The way to this temple too, is full of green fields. The place is a small quiet village. I have not seen much crowd on ordinary days. So we can worship without much disturbance. The deity is small, but beautiful.

***

On our way back to Chennai, we visited Samayapuram Mariamman Temple,

This is also a very famous temple. The goddess's vigraha is always covered with sandalwood or haldi powder with a huge kumkum on her forehead. This temple is mostly crowded. We should avoid visiting here on weekends and on festival days.

We travelled two full days, but because the roads were quite good, the trip was not tiring at all. Friends who are interested in visiting old temples, can visit these temples.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Temples - Trichy-I

We had been to Trichy (Thiruchirappalli) for two days, to visit some temples. Because of the exam season, we did not face too much crowd and the darshan went on smoothly.

First we went to Srirangam Sri Ranganathaswamy temple.

The deity of this temple is Sri Ranganathaswamy who is in a reclining posture, with his wife near his feet. It is said that as soon as we enter the garbhagruha, we should first see the god's feet. During the Vaitkuntha Ekadashi day, they open the Swarga Vaasal (Door to Heaven) and the crowds barge in through this door. If we want to see the whole temple, it might take at least ten days.

Now, to the interesting thing! The temple has got a beautiful young elephant. She is 25 years old and her name is Andal (Andal is to Vishnu, like Meera to Krishana - she has got a sannidhi in the temple). Her skin is very clear without any white patches (like we see in older elephants). She keeps on moving her feet which looks as if she is dancing! No chains were there. She has got beautiful anklets, the mahout said. He said that she never eats anything here in the temple complex, except the prasadams of the god, that too on particular days. She never dirties the place she stands. Goes home to pass urine also! Takes bath in the morning and the evening at the river Kaveri. She understands the language of the mahout and follows to the letter. No trouble at all. The temple celebrates her birthday grandly - special pooja is conducted in her name! Huh, I just wanted to stand there and watch her. Had some problem with my camera - but imagine the IDBI advertisement - the playful young elephant with a naughty look! This one is a bigger version!

The official website of the temple is here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My goof-ups

This happened some 15 years back. My kids (they were kids, then!) and my husband used to discuss about the Olympic medals' tally (Olympics time).

After they left to school and office, I opened the sports page and saw the medals' tally:

           G    S    B    T
Russia 20 12 9 41
Germany 15 10 10 35
China 14 12 11 37
India 0 0 0 2


My comment about it in the evening: Everyone got lots of TIN medals! (yellaarum naraiya TIN medal vaangiyirukka!)

Have a good laugh at my cost!

P.S.: this joke has gone the world over through my kids and their friends want more!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lijjat paapad - Indian Womens' Co-operative, celebrating 50 years

Eighty-year-old Jaswantiben Jamnadas Popat defies her age.

She seems more agile and active than her grandchildren.

"I don't want to stop working," she says with youthful determination.

Mrs Popat is the only survivor of a group of semi-literate Gujarati housewives who founded Lijjat Papad 50 years ago.

She will be celebrating the Lijjat golden jubilee on 15 March with 45,000 other women who are part of the women-only co-operative.

Mrs Popat cannot believe that what started as a desperate move to "supplement the family income" 50 years ago has come so far.

She says after taking a deep breath: "I feel I am living in a dream world. When we started our business it was not meant to become so big."

I read this article in BBC news website.


7 Women from Gujarat started this co-operative business on 15th March, 1959. And it has grown up in to a $100 million business.

I am so happy to read this news among all the negative news, we hear from world over. These women are not very educated, but take care of their family and earn money for bringing up their children. Indeed the Lijjat women seem to have proved that success does not necessarily need money and infrastructure, as long as there is determination. This is the true 'WOMAN POWER', I feel.

And Lijjat Papad is in India, for which we should be proud of!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Musical tag

I should have written this in my previous blog. Anyway, here it is now:

Shall I tag you people? I know you are all interested in music:

Sai Charan, Soul searcher, R.Ramesh, bum bum bhole, Ramya and whoever wants to do this tag.
The rules (!) are: The songs should be slow, soulful, melodious and in any two languages. The number of songs should be ten. Try this out - it is fun, I promise! Take your time, I did!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Musical tag - Soulful, melodious songs - Hindi, Tamil & Kannada

This is my second tag and it was very very difficult to select just 10 slow, soulful and melodious songs. I have tried my best not to add more than one (!) to the prescribed list! Hindi is my favourite language, I live in Tamilnadu and Kannada is my mother tongue, so instead of 2 language tag, this is 3 language songs' tag:


1. My favourite actress, Nutan in 'Seema' - Lata Mangeshkar singing 'Man mohanaa...bade jhoote':



2. This is my favourite Kishore. I don't fancy the video:



3. Naseeruddin and Rekha - my favourite actors and Ashok Kumar's daughter, Anuradha, I think. One of Asha's best songs:



4. One of my favourite Rahman song, Shreya's is the best female voice now. :



5. I must have heard this song hundred times! Sonu and Shreya are superb:



6. I feel Sridevi was beautiful before her nose job and she got better roles in Tamil films. She looks beautiful and Kamal is Kamal! Ilayaraja's music and this was lyricist Kannadasan's last song, beautiful lyrics:



7. Shreya's beautiful song and the picturisation also is nice:



8. This is one of my favourite Shivaji' song. Saroja Devi is dancing! T.M. Soundararajan and L.R. Easwari are singing. T.M.S. used to change his voice to suite Shivaji and MGR's voices. Great singer:



9. Jayanthi and Rajanand (not familiar with him!) are the actors. S.Janaki and G.K. Venkatesh (I think!) are singing. True to the word 'melodious' song:



10. Here, Rajkumar is singing and acting. He is a very good singer. Saritha is the actress. After hearing this song, I cannot hear any other song for sometime...you don't need to know the language to hear songs like this one:




I had been selecting and deleting songs for some days now! Both my husband and I were discussing about the songs - when we were going for morning walks, while having our morning coffee... even while watching our favourite (?!) 'Balika Vadhu' serial! Selecting good songs from our musical ocean, is difficult. So many songs are there. As I am writing this, I can hear 'Amar Prem' song...shall I change some song again? NO!

My sincere thanks to the persons who started this musical tag and to Shilpa and Renu who tagged me. I enjoyed preparing this blog!

Now, this song is the concluding song. I have tears in my eyes, whenever I hear this one:

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