Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Our London Trip - The National Showcaves, Wales

As I had written in my earlier posts about our London trip, one on Kew Gardens and another on a Small English Town, we continued to explore the rare locations in the U.K. My niece and her husband had planned to take us to the much unheard of, The National Showcaves, in Wales.

The National Showcaves, named Dan yr Ogof, means, 'Beneath the Cave', the Morgan brothers, who explored the cave, have named the cave after their farm (Welsh).

The 17-kilometre long cave system in south Wales, was first explored by two local brothers in 1912, Tommy and Jeff Morgan, using candles and primitive equipment. Completely unsure of what they would discover, they armed themselves with a revolver. Read further...

These caves are mainly famous for their stalactite, i.e. limestone deposits which hang from the ceiling of the caves. We saw this type of cave for the first time here. Later on, I came to know from Swaram's post, that these types of caves are here in India, in Vizag, called Borra Caves.

We started from home early in the morning after breakfast with our lunch packed (Tengaai saadam (coconut rice), lemon rice, curd rice and sandwiches and fruits!). I think we drove for around 2 hours. Both sides of the road to Wales were full of greenery and apart from one car overtaking our car from the wrong side, the ride was smooth and event less. They follow the road discipline strictly, so it is easy to drive in the U.K.

Now, let me write about our exploration of the caves with pictures! The door to the entrance was quite small. We had to bend our heads and enter, though I was lucky because of the height, I went in straight! They gave us some flash lights also because the inside of the caves was quite dark with some small spot lights at some intervals.

The entrance to the caves.

This opening is not in use and covered by bricks, now.

The Morgan Brothers!

Stalactites (type of speleothem - secondary mineral - that hangs from the ceiling of limestone caves. It is a type of dripstone).

This is called Stalagmite (same like stalactite but forms from the ground)
This looks like a family, mother and her children, don't you think so?!

The calcium deposits in the caves after several thousands of years, have joined up from the top and bottom - stalac(ceiling)tites and stalag(ground)mites - and created this huge column.

These drops are chemical drops and they stand like stone strings and it was wet everywhere and a bit skidding too! If people are not around and if we are alone, the eerie feeling will make us get scared! I was worried about the dripping water, for it might contain chemicals too, but my niece said that if it was, the authorities would not let us in, in this area!

These green growths (moss) were found inside the dark caves, near the area, where the spot lights were kept...the heat from the lamp must have helped them to grow!

Morgan must have explored this cave like this, with a lamp in his hand (with suit and hat!).

This area is called 'cathedral cave' (you can see some wedding pictures in the link, click on the name of the cave!) and real weddings take place behind the water fall!

Myself and my relatives stood there in couples and took pictures and drenched ourselves with dripping water from above us! It was fun! My niece said that a wedding took place behind the waterfalls according to the bride's wish, just a week back here and came in the newspapers!

We also took some pictures here, but they are not this clear. So this one is from the Caves link.

We came out of the cathedral caves via this route (the picture above). The water from the lake is flowing inside the cave and it was wet and cold. The border to the 'water flow' is artificially made. My brother in law was saying that we could conduct our grand nephew's wedding here and then use this border as table and have wedding lunch and wash our hands in this water, like typical Indians!

By the time we came out from the cathedral cave, all of us were hungry. The above dining area in the picture was very inviting for us to sit on the wooden tables and eat, while enjoying the green surroundings. We had our tummy-full of our Indian lunch and had English Tea from their canteen, later!

We saw many tourists on that day, though it was a week day. Baby Thomas, a small boy, entertained us during our lunch! All of us played with him. My brother in law gave him an orange. He gave it to his father to peel and ate the fruit happily. Then his father gave him a tissue to wipe his face, he did it and walked upto the waste basket and dropped the tissue in it! We were really astonished at the nature of the small child...even we, elders are not particular about throwing the dirty things in the waste basket!

This is our Thomas:

The toilets also were clean like other places in London! Our ticket included the 'Iron Age Village', the 'Dinosaur Park', the 'Farm' etc. The Shire Horse Centre also was included in the ticket but it was closed on that day. This post seems to be getting looooong, so let me write about the rest, in the next post!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

These are the few of my favourite movies!

Destination Infinity asked me to do the tag 'My top three movies of all time'. I had been writing this post for a few days now, keeping on changing the movies. Even now, I am not 100% happy about the list...tonight more movie names will flash in my dream!

English: I keep forgetting the names of the movies all the time, as you all know by now, my name is 'maradhi manni'! So, I decided to ask my son 'which movies do I talk about a lot?' and he gave a list and I picked up just 3, from the list!

1. Gods Must be Crazy-II:

We repeatedly watch this movie, when some get together is at home or if we are depressed and not in mood, this movie lifts up our mood! Every frame was shot with so much thoughtfulness, in this movie. The story happens in the Kalahari desert in South Africa. The super hero in the movie is Nixau
, who was (he is no more now), from the Kalahari desert itself. His South African language is funny to the ears with lots of clucking sounds. The story starts with his two small children chasing the elephant poachers' truck and lose their way. Nixau starts looking for them and encounters many weird people...the movie is hilarious!

I love the different types of background music which is given for each and every character. Have a taste of it here and please watch this movie if you haven't watched it yet!

2. Rain Man:

Both Hoffman and Tom Cruise are my favourite actors. I don't get bored of watching this movie again and again. Dustin Hoffman has lived the character of a person affected by autism. Tom Cruise is his brother and wonders why his father bequeathed a huge amount in the will in Hoffman's name, whose whereabouts, he did not know, until then. So he looks for his long lost brother and the drama begins. We can understand why the two characters are behaving the way they are, in this story. Truly believable story.

I was wondering if I should name 'Philadelphia' as my favourite too, then thought this one is better.

3. Catch Me If You Can:

This movie is based on a true story. DiCaprio acts as Frank Abagnale Jr., a conman who changes his name and character, at the drop of a hat and the main job of his is, cheque forgery. He became so skillful that the FBI eventually turned to him for help in catching other cheque forgers. Steven Spielberg has directed the film. Tom Hanks acts as the FBI agent and he is a natural actor and my favourite too. You can notice DiCaprio changing from a small innocent boy to an adult with a cunning face, later. A very interesting movie.


1. Ek Ruka hua Faisla: I looked out in imdb for this movie and it says, it is a TV movie, directed by Basu Chatterjee. This is a remake of '12 Angry Men' but the Hindi version is equally good, without any female character or jhatka matka songs. Very interesting till the end. KK Raina, Pankaj Kapur and Annoo Kapoor have acted very well.

Smita Patil and Amol Palekar's movie. Anant Nag, Naseeruddin Shah and Amrish Puri also have acted in the great Shyam Benegal's movie. I can never forget Amol Palekar's eyes, the way he looks at Smita...couldn't sleep at night on the day I watched this movie for the first time. The story of the film is based on a Marathi actress and you can see how Smita transforms from a young happy, innocent girl to a matured, wise, adult woman. A serious movie, though.

Dharmendra, Sharmila Tagore, Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan have acted in the Hrishikesh Mukherjee's comedy movie! I was a great fan of Dhrmendra when I was a teenager. When I think back, I like this movie and a couple of other movies of him, that is all. I wonder how I was crazy enough to collect his photos from the 'picture post' magazine and save them (I have got them even now...feel funny looking at them now!) All the four of them acted very well in this movie, even Sharmila Tagore! The songs are good too! And the famous Om Prakash is also there in the main role!

We watch it again and again, whenever it is screened in our TV!

I was shuffling movies in my mind, whether to name 'Dil Chahta hai' or 'Lagaan' (some friends have already mentioned this movie as their favourite and this movie is in the top place in my heart, but I wanted to mention some other movie) and came to 'Sarfarosh'!

Aamir Khan and Nasiruddin Shah acted equally well. The film is based on Pakistani terrorists infiltrating into our country with arms via Rajasthan. Nasiruddin Shah acts as a famous ghazal singer from Pakistan. Aamir's family members are killed by the terrorists and he quits his medical college and concentrates in finding the terrorists by joining the Police force.

The story develops like a thriller. This movie was released during the Kargil war and became talk of the town. As usual, Aamir and Nasiruddin Shah competed with each other in acting. This movie will have an important place in my heart.


Sridevi, Kamal Haasan and Silk Smitha (Silk Smitha acted very well in this movie, she is very beautiful too!) combination in Balu Mahendra's direction. Superb movie. I somehow like Sridevi in Tamil movies than Hindi movies. Her voice also is natural while speaking in Tamil. Kamal is Kamal always, the superb actor. Sridevi's innocence is natural. We get so involved in the movie that we switch it off during the last train scene because we can never avoid the tears in our eyes. The movie is full of melodious songs.

I was wondering whether to mention 'Vedham puthithu' or 'Devar Magan' or 'Mudhalvan' or 'Muthal mariyaathai' or this one. But Shivaji in 'Mudhal Mariyaadai' should be here, I felt. In Bharathiraja's direction, Shivaji did a mature controlled role and Radha's full potential came out in this movie. But, a big BUT, 'Anbe Sivam' cannot be left out!

In 'Anbe Sivam' (Love is God), Kamal is a communist and Madhavan is a capitalist and both are just opposite in nature. Kamal has a distorted face with a twitch and many other complications after he met with an accident. Madhavan is a chocolate boy, pampered by his parents and who has never faced with any problems until he was stranded this time at the airport because of the heavy rains, in Bhubaneshwar. Then, they show how the two of them clash with each other (many funny occasions are also there!) because of their opposite nature. Madhavan's attitude slowly changes in course of the movie. Sunder, C. has directed the movie but everyone knows that Kamal is the one who has done that. A very good movie to watch.

3. Ramanaa:

I am not very fond of Vijayakanth...don't like his red-tinged eyes and his dialogue delivery at all. But in this movie, he acted very well as an anti-corruption police official and blended into the character. The storyline is superb and we can relate to all the incidents with our lives...esp. the dead body 'being' treated at the hospital with a bill for a hefty sum.

This movie is directed by the now 'Ghajini' famous, A.R. Murugadoss. He has done a very good job. The incidents shown in the movie are so well directed that we feel that they are true incidents. They can happen to us too.

One more movie of my favourite Kamal Haasan! I had to list this movie in my favourites! Kamal acts as a mentally affected person and is in a mental hospital. His room mate tells him that an angel named Abirami will marry him after he gets out of the hospital. So Kamal starts looking out for her and 'finds' her and gets obsessed with her. He is very intelligent otherwise but is surrounded by people who try to use him for their advantage.

This is a beautiful movie which shows the love between him and his Abirami, like a poem. Take a look at this song and you can see for yourself!

Sorry, D.I., I didn't stick to the 3 movie tag! I added one extra movie in Tamil and Hindi! I like most of Manirathnam's movies. I didn't list them here because you have already done so!

Whoever reads this post and feels like doing this tag, please do. If you inform me, I will be very very happy to read and know about your favourite movies and if I had missed a good movie in your list, I can watch it!

Image courtesy: Wikipedia and Google.

Edited to add (19.12.10): If you are interested in the movies, please click on the movie and read the gist of the story.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Ants' Antics!

I was always fascinated by ants, at the way they scent for food and take them away for storing, systematically! If we disrupt their line in some way, they take a roundabout way and reach their storage space, like, if we draw a line with Laxman Rekha chalk (insect repellent), they don't cross the line, like Sita did, but find some other way to take the food outside!

They seem to love my Tupperware plastic?! If the lid is cracked like this, it is easy for them to get in through the crack, pierce the rava (sooji) pack and steal it!

Otherwise, they bite the edge of the lid (you can see so many holes here in this box) and take away the goodies!

They march with white dots of rava in their mouth and store some, in this tray first!

The big group/line of ants are inside the box, collecting the food. They store here and go back, I noticed, to bring some more! A small line of ants, takes the grains out through the switch board frame!

Now, I have found that Tupperware is useless for storing rava or sugar or anything which are ants' favourite food. I keep the packets in the freezer. Tupperware boxes are quite expensive but I feel that they don't serve the purpose of sealing the box completely. I am happy with their freezer storage boxes than these boxes now! Or, we should be particular about what to store in them...not eatables, when the ants are around! Once the lids are damaged, they take months to replace them in the Tupperware outlets and they pressure us to buy more boxes, if we want the replacements early!

Now, back to our ants' antics! Now, I have started leaving a phulka roti or some biscuit, outside the window, on the window sill, for the ants to eat, so that they don't destroy anymore of my expensive Tupperware boxes! Have a look here:

One variety of ant, which we call, Pillaiyar yerumbu (tiny black ants which suddenly crop up from nowhere near the walls, which move about very fast and have white tiny dots on their heads/mouths), if seen at some particular place, my grand mother used to ask us to keep a small ball of jaggery (gud) near them. I have seen them leaving the place within minutes. Even a tiny grain of jaggery could not be seen at the place. They don't select the kitchen, even the veranda is OK for them! I wonder why they chose these places where there is no food!

So, I am following my grandmother's trick...I am leaving some food for these, our house ants, now, so that they don't trouble us any more!

Tell me about your 'ant experience' now!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wordless Wednesday! Melting Peacock!



Thursday, November 25, 2010

KBC, Kaun Banega Crorepati or ABC, Amitabh Bachchan Charisma...!

Kaun Banega Crorepati - We have become addicted to this programme and this is the 4th season. As everybody knows, Amitabh Bachchan hosted this show in 2000 (KBC 1), which is based on a UK game show 'Who wants to be a millionaire?'. I had seen a few episodes of the UK show and ours is a replica of that show. The way the anchor interacts with the hot-seat participants, like showing concerns in their personal lives and prompting them a little to use the lifelines when they give wrong answers (!), everything was there, too!

Still, we admire Amitabh who is conducting this show like a pro, yes, he is a pro, no doubt about that! He has got a fatherly figure, very intelligent, familiar face, everything. We can see him enjoying meeting common people and knowing about their day-to-day lives, their problems, their special qualities etc. Every participant is in awe of him! Harshwardhan Navathe won the one crore prize in KBC 1.

Many of his famous phrases were used in every household, like 'lock karen?', addressing the computer as 'computerji', etc. Often he uses the phrase 'aap oomda khel rahe hain'...I had never heard the word 'oomda' until then!

KBC 2 (2005) was also anchored by Amitabh and because of health grounds, the show was shelved after 61 episodes of the total of 85 episodes.

Then KBC 3 came, which was anchored by Shah Rukh Khan. After some episodes, we got used to him. He had a huge shadow of Amitabh hovering behind him, though!

In the current show, some interesting people did very well, many of them came from very small villages. Amitabh really loved to interact with them. He doesn't seem to have any ego problem. One person won Rs.One crore and the celebration of winning also was done, with flowers falling on him from the ceiling etc., but when he tried to attempt the Rs.5 crore question, he lost and went home with Rs.3 lakhs. Over confidence is not a good nature, Amitabh said.

A couple of days back, a 37 year old woman, Rahat Taslim from a small town of Giridih in Jharkhand, became the first woman to win the prize money of Rs. one crore. She is a simple but intelligent woman, a Muslim from an unknown village, still under the social and conservative norms of the 'purdah'. She was married off very early but did her BA (Hon.) in History, after her children were grown up and taught tailoring to the local women and children that earned her 2000-3000 rupees in order to run the house. Her husband works in a public sector concern with a salary of Rs.6,000. She has got a 17 year old son and a daughter.

In an interview to the NDTV, Amitabh says, "She never in her life had opened even a bank account of their meagre earnings, had never seen the lakhs that came to her in the form of the zero's on her checque (she counted the zeros in one crore... one, two, three, four - seven zeroes and her typical laughter came after that, with 'yakeen hi nahin ho raha hai'!) and had never ever imagined that she would get to the hot seat at KBC".

She never had any doubt while deciding upon using the lifelines or while answering the correct answers. Amazing. Yes, the questions were not that difficult for normal educated people, but even many of them (educated ones, who were always doubtful and used lifelines for ordinary questions!) struggled for replying ordinary questions. This lady answered happily and when she started winning 25 lakh, she started saying 'yakeen hi naheen ho rahaa hai' and kept on repeating the sentence until she won Rs. One crore.

We felt that Amitabh rejoiced more happily than Rahat, when she won the money! He was nearly jumping with joy! He kept on praising her in his blog and even in the next day's show! He said, "What a fantastic moment for the game. What a fantastic moment for women in our country - that given an opportunity, they had the ability to shine like never before. And that the heart of India resides in that little village or town which we know nothing about!"

Now, Rahat wants to open a boutique and study further! Have a look at her and her family with the great Amitabh!

You can watch here, the last 10 minutes of the programme, where Rahat Taslim wins Rs. One crore! I know most of you, must be watching this programme!

We are wondering how to spend the 9 to 9.30 evening time after this programme is over in a week or so! We are 'sighing' like Amitabh, laughing like him and use his phrases, often at home!

Edited to add (28.11.10): I came across this video now. This is the interview with Amitabh about his view of Rahat and the programme. He is still praising Rahat!

Some people said in the comment section that they were not able to view the video of Rahat winning the contest and some people were able to watch it. I have updated again with a better video. Hope all of you will be able to view this and enjoy!

Rahat Taslim family, image courtesy: Now

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wordless (sorry, with some words) Wednesday!

The growing up stages of our Golie!

Baby Golie in the middle!
(Born on Jan.16th, '10)

Very pregnant adult Golie!
(21st Oct.,'10)

Amma Golie with her tiny babies!
(The babies were born on 3rd Nov., '10)

Typical mother, our Golie! Notice how she is keeping her hand on her baby!
(11th Nov., '10)

The three beautiful babies!
(17th Nov.,'10)

Miniature Golie! Notice the claws and baby fur!
(17th Nov., '10)

This one is not very happy because I was keeping them out of their room on my saree and changing their bed sheet! Appa's lungies are very handy now, too, like they were, when Golie was a baby!
Notice the pinky pinky nose and baby claws!

The very bluuuue eyed kitten! Looks just like Jinju, her grandmother!

Her grandmother, Jinju's family is here!
The 11th Nov., '10 photo is added now, an hour later!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Our First Encounter With A Computer!

A couple of weeks back, I had mentioned in one of my posts about how my children benefited from their experience with a 'computer' and now, I am explaining here, how it was working!

Some of my friends here, must be familiar with this computer. We were not living in a city, but in a small town, Hosur, in the year, must be 1987-88. We had very close family friends there who had children of the same age, as my children. One of the friend's husband got this 'computer' from customs for Rs.6000/- (I still remember the price!). Until then, we never knew about computers or maybe had never heard of it or might have come across the word in newspapers. But it was new for us!

It was like a key-board! Mr.P. (my friend's husband) had got some cassettes which contained games, some chemistry and maths problems too. First, the cassette was inserted in their two-in-one, then it was connected to this 'computer', then connected to their TV monitor! The keys in the keyboard (as in the above picture), were used to give signal to the 'computer'! So, we needed three gadgets to operate the 'computer'!

As you can guess, first their children and our children started playing games with that 'computer'. Then, after some days, they started using the educational material(!), which came to very good use, for all the children, later on. The games were like chasing worm, hurdles, etc. For the first few days, my friend was not allowed to use her two-in-one and TV monitor, because of this 'computer'. Some 'keeeek' sound used to come out of the 'computer' often, which, you know, was irritating!

My friend used to say that normally, everyone will go in for a new VCR, which was also a new gadget, in those days, for watching movies, but her husband got the 'computer' first! All of us were hiring VCRs for rent on holidays!

Even now, this Sinclair ZX Spectrum, is used by some, for playing games, I was told. Does anyone here, who is reading this, has got it?

Later on, we shifted to Chennai and then I think, after a couple of years, my son got a second hand computer from a Computer institute (Rs.13,000/-)! It was also a very primitive computer. My son was playing games in the beginning and then started creating designs like forests etc. Then he tried to make it echo back what we speak, sometimes he would make it speak and I was asked by him to decipher what it said! He was happy if I (an ordinary person) was able to repeat what it said! He was compelling me to play games too, I remember!

Now, all of us are so used to computers, but the first introduction to any new gadget, is memorable, isn't it?

Courtesy: Image from wikipedia

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday!

Yamraj's Vaahanas blocking our way to Tirupati!

But Ganesha is with us, to protect us!!!

Friday, November 5, 2010







Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday! Beautiful, Elegant, Royal Birds!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Gifted parents, we are!

We were watching Zee TV's Saregamapa Singing Superstars programme last evening. In this episode, the participants talked about how their parents helped them to come upto this level in this singing competition. Like many of us think, the parents and their family members of the participants, were against their children going into the unpredictable singing career. Then, they said how they changed their mind and allowed and helped their children to make their dream come true against all odds. This is sort of a tribute to the parents by the participants.

Some participants said that their fathers changed their careers to shift to Mumbai to promote their children's singing talent. All the parents were invited to the stage and the judges thanked them for producing such talented singers who would become great singers in the future. The emotion on the faces of the parents was so overwhelming...some were crying, some felt so happy...! The scene should be watched to believe what I am saying here.

Then I and my husband went back in our life (the result of slowly getting older now!) and discussed how our children made/make us proud like this!

As all of you know, we shifted to Chennai from Hosur some years back. My sons were studying in matriculation school in Hosur. That system follows 2 language formula and my sons' second language was Hindi. So I thought I must try only in State Board schools for admitting them in 8th and 5th Std. But accidentally, we met the Principal of a CBSE school and he asked us to send them for the admission test and if they came through it, he would take them in his school, since the third language (Tamil!) was not very important. We took a chance and brought the children to Chennai in Feb. for the test. My son after attending the exam ( for the 8th std.), said that his matriculation books did not cover some science portions which were asked in the current test but since he had come across them in the computer cassettes (oh, I must make one more post about the first computer in my children's lives, which would be very very interesting, please wait!), he was able to attend the questions!

The next day, the Principal said, "Why did you worry so much about admitting your son in CBSE school...he has come first in the test and he is too brilliant and he is admitted in our school!" I can feel how I felt at that time, even now!

I was always attending the School Annual Days of my children until they left school. Both of them participated in the school dramas, oratorical competitions etc. Once when my son gave a speech before the Annual Day celebrations started, the parents sitting near me openly admired the way he spoke. After the speech was over he came and sat with me in the audience. I can still remember the admiring glances the nearby parents gave both of us! I can go on about these types of incidents esp. in their school stage.

I had commented in many posts of other mothers, about children, to always enjoy the school days of their children. In my opinion, those are the happiest days in some way. Then we come across different phases in life which are also interesting, but those days are entirely different!

Now, watch these videos of Saregamapa, where the children pay tribute to their parents, praising them and singing their favourite songs, the quality of which is very high. They are too good. You can hear more songs of different types which they sang in this programme, you will not be bored at all! I am giving the Zee TV link, so that you can hear the other songs of the same singers.

Watch these videos, if and when you have got time!

Sniti Mishra...Surmai adhiyon mein, Sadma film se, Yesudoss was the original singer...this girl's voice is very very good for classical raaga based songs, you will notice!

Kamal Khan: He sings a song which is penned by him as a tribute to his Maa. He has already sang for Akshay Kumar's latest movie! The Mentors, Vishal-Shekhar, were so impressed by his voice that they have made him sing for their film! He is one the best singer here.

Abhilaasha Chellum: This girl's voice is very melodious. This song is from Rang de bansanthi, AR Rehaman's.

Khurram: This boy comes from Pakistan and is a very good, trained singer.

Bishaak Jyoti: This song of Jagjit Singh is my favourite and Bishaak had done justice to this song!

Sugandha Mishra: Sugandha is a gifted singer and Daler Mehandi is a great fan of this girl's voice! Baghban movie song...

Daler Mehandi sings here as a tribute to his mother! Until I started watching these types of programmes, I never knew that most of the music directors sing very well. Here, watch Daler singing...he gave some glimpses of his classical training in music in this programme.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Have goose bumps on my body, hearing this song and Veena Sahasrabuddhe's 'taraana'!

Today morning at 7.30 a.m. I was hearing Sangeet Sarita programme in my kitchen radio (Vividh Bharathi). Hindustani classical singer, Veena Sahasrabudhe was discussing about 'taraana' in different raagas for the past few days. Today's raaga was 'Sohni'. In this programme, different artists discuss about raagas or raaga based film songs or some music directors would talk about their experiences. I had written some posts on this subject earlier too!

In this edition, Veena Sahasrabuddhe discusses about the raaga of the day and then sings for a few minutes. This raaga and the way she sang it, was so beautiful that I had goose bumps on my body. She is one of my favourite singer, she has the best voice and we can keep on hearing her for hours together. As I had said earlier, I can't understand raagas but love to hear them. As soon as she started singing, my husband came running and said this is 'maasila ulaga...' (Tamil version of Kuhu kuhu song). After the Taraana was over Veena quoted 'Kuhu kuhu' as Sohni raaga based song. She quotes one song per day, based on that day's raaga.

Though I have heard this song so many times before, I became very emotional today...Rafi and Latha have rendered the song so beautifully that my husband said that this song will stay for another one thousand years at least as a favourite one for many people. The Tamil version of the song also is very melodious.

The song is from film 'Suvarna Sundari', a 1957 movie. Music is by Adi Narayan Rao.

How do you feel now, after hearing this song? I had tears in my eyes! Now, I know why my grand mother was crying whenever she was hearing her favourite songs! Even if she was cooking in the kitchen which was not very near to the sitting room where our old Murphy radio was singing, she used to come running and sit near the door, hear the song, cry and then leave to continue her work! I remember her sons, my mamas teasing her as soon as 'her Rafi' started singing her favourite song...'nana athye aliyere suru ampuveru' (in Tulu), means 'now, amma will start crying'! I have started doing that now!

I was thinking that this song is in 'raaga maalika', i.e. 2-3 raagas are involved in this song. Does anyone know?

Edited to add on 8th Nov.'10: Shail has given the names of the ragaas used in this song in the comments section from a link, which says "This superb classical duet is based on four Ragas, one each for each stanza, Sohni (Hamsanandi), Bahar (Kanada), Juanpuri (Juanpuri) and Yaman (Yamuna Kalyani)."
Thank you, Shail!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Our London Trip - Kew Gardens, the green heaven on earth!

We will never forget our visit to the Kew Gardens (Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew) during our trip to the UK. We felt as if we were inside a designer forest! The whole area was full of different types of trees everywhere, but very well maintained, it was green, green and green, everywhere!

The Kew Garden, is a very old garden maintained by the English Royal families for the past nearly 4 centuries! The history of the place is very very interesting...I have given the links from wikipedia.

They have battery operated cars to take us inside the gardens (40 mts.). We can go for a round first and then decide which area to spend more time.

The best place we liked at the garden, was Palm House, which houses rare plants from all over the world. The best is the Giant Water Lilly pond. The giant leaves at the pond, we saw there, were amazing! Have a look at the pond:

The Giant Waterlilies, Kew Gardens

This pond is quite huge. We took many photos of the pond, but I found this photo, which is displayed below, of a single leaf here in this link, The leaf looks like a plate with edges. You can see the veins also clearly...beautiful!

Giant Waterlilies - close-up of a leaf

All of us were fascinated by the size of the leaf. And then we saw one sample of the roots which spread under the leaf, upside down! We clicked! We were told that a mature leaf can support 45 Kg. if the load is evenly distributed - we can believe this after seeing the display of the roots here:

The beautiful network of roots, under the giant leaf!

More information about these Giant Waterlilies:

  • The enormous leaves, which grow to over 2.5m across, have a network of protruding ribs on the underside, which give the leaf buoyancy and stability.
  • The flowers are large and fragrant, but relatively short-lived, lasting only 48 hours or so. As each flower matures, it changes colour from white, through pink, to purplish-red, finally sinking below the surface.
Some more beautiful photographs of the leaves and flowers here:

The Lilly flower and the bud!

You can see the reflection of the roof in the water!

A lone leaf and a lone flower...!

The temperature is maintained according to the plants which are housed here, so it was a bit hot. All of us were clicking from all the angles!

I thought this Lilly pond needs one post...such a beautiful place which should never be missed by anybody who visits the U.K.

The full view of the pond is here. Click on it and you will be stunned by the beauty of the place!

This beautiful photograph of the Giant Waterlilly House was taken by David Iliff which shows a panoramic view of the house!

Let me write about the other attractions of the Kew Gardens in the coming posts with lots of photographs!

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