Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year - 2013!



Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Wordless Wednesday!


Friday, December 14, 2012

Next Phase In Our Life...Shifting From House To A Flat!

I will miss my garden! 

Everybody must be familiar with my house by now via 'my garden', 'pets' and other posts.  This is my husband's dream house.  He built it at the age of 50! Until then we were living in rented houses! So, this house is special for us!

When we built this house, it was in the outskirts of Chennai.  Now, it is inside the city. This area was an industrial area, so it had less residential houses.  It had started developing then...i.e. 16 years back.  Now, this is an IT hub and many IT staff live here and naturally, many new colonies have sprung up in this area...Perungudi, Old Mahabalipuram Road.

Our house is in the main road and all the vehicles and people use this road to reach their places. The dust is so much that even if I clean the furniture in the morning, they will have a coat of dust by evening! When we go out of town for a couple of days, we keep all the windows closed. Still, when we come back, the whole house will be full of dust...we start sneezing and our throats get irritated. Everybody was asking us to shift to some cleaner atmosphered area for a long time. So, we decided to move to a flat, a couple of years back.

The flat is in a 'gated community' and is in a dead end road.  We will get good sea breeze which will make the area less polluted. But I will miss this house for a long time...until I am active and healthy at least! This is quite a big house.  It is not easy to get servant maids to clean it.  I don't have many close friends here...well, not even one 'close' friend!

I will never have a pooja room as beautiful as we have, here. Though we are trying make a replica of this pooja room in the new flat! Though I am not very religious, this pooja room gives us a nice feeling when we enter our house. Everybody says so! I love the ritual of going round the house and upstairs with my cats in the mornings, to pluck flowers. I love watering the plants.  I can sense the plants' happiness when I spray water on them to remove the dust! I will definitely miss my garden. I will miss watching the butterflies which come to suck honey from the exora flowers.  Though I don't hear the sounds of birds as much as I heard when we moved in here, still some koels and humming birds and brown sparrows make enough sounds.  The crows which come everyday to feed on the curd rice from me, will miss me, I am sure! We have a coconut tree, a teak tree, a huge neem tree which attract birds all the time. I love watching them in daytime when I am alone at home to entertain myself!

We did the gruhapravesh function of the flat recently.  This Kaarthigai month is good for doing the function, it seems.  The flat is not yet ready for occupation.  It will be ready in March/April.  We invited just a few close relatives but did all the homas...Ganapathy homa (Lord Ganesha should be worshipped before starting anything), Vaastu homa (asking nature to pardon us for disturbing her...cutting trees, disturbing the birds, digging the earth etc.), navagraha homa (to pacify the stars which influence our lives), Dhanvatri and Mrithyunjaya homa (for peace at home and good health) and Sudarshana homa (read the link for detailed description of this homa pl.).

But the function started with Gopooja...'Go' means cow... for us, Hindus the animal cow is very sacred.  We believe that Goddess Lakshmi resides at the back of the cow. We do pooja first to the cow along with her calf.  Both of them should enter the new house and sanctify it. Govisarjan is treated as a purifier in our religion (in the early days the cows used to eat lots of herbs in the fields or open space along with grass and so their urine was treated as green grass is not to be seen in the city and they eat dry grass/straw and sometimes paper too!).  Still the rituals continue! And I forgot to tell you one thing...we do Gruhapravesh when the house is 80% to 90% complete/ready for occupation, as far as possible! If we are buying a ready-made flat, we ignore this point! My son laughs when I talk about the rituals.  I just ask him to take everything easy...'we had been following these things and have not lost anything and these are harmless easy rituals too! Just enjoy even if you are laughing inside your heart!'

Gopooja...cow and calf! The mother ate the bananas with skin but the son wanted me to remove the skin and feed him! I did happily! He had a nice, shiny coat of fur!

We had arranged for food with a caterer, Aiyyar Caterers.  One plate of breakfast food costed Rs.100 (Idly, Vada, Khichdi, Sevai, Halwa for sweet with saambaar and 2 chutneys).  The cost of one plate of lunch was Rs.200 (the normal 2 currys,avial (mixed vegetables cooked with curd and coconut), 2 salads/pachchdis, mixed rice, appalam, chips, thayir vadai (dahi vada, which is his famous item!), Paayasam, Saambaar, more kuzhambu, rasam with a special sweet, Kaaju Mysore paak! Everybody said that the food was superb.  I write this in detail for people to know how we serve food when we conduct a function at home! If anybody is interested in good food, you can call him in this no. Hari (9840027800).  The food was so good that I am advertising him!

We follow another custom here.  When we build a 'house', we feed the workers on the day they put concrete on the roof.  It is tradition.  Most of us follow.  When this house was built. I made paayasam in a big vessel and brought here and distributed in paper cups.  We had asked a few workers to cook veg. biriyani to feed them.  Now, in this flat we fed around 110 workers on the day of the Gruhapravesh. Our lunch. I felt happy to see their happy faces.  Some of them told me that the food was good.

Another reason for us to leave this beatiful house is the ditch which flows close to our compound.  Let me write about it later.

My feeling is sort of 50/50.  This is a nice house but difficult to maintain/with all the pollution.  The flat is a 'flat' but in a cleaner area.  We have stopped going for the morning walks because of the heavy traffic on our road - IT taxis which come to pick up their staff.  Hope to resume it in the new area.  Everything looks green green now.  We will know how life is going to be once we move in, in the flat.

Wish me luck, friends!

Sorry, my story has become tooooo long!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I Got An Award...Sunshine Award...lallallaaaaa...!


Haaa...I got the above 'Sunshine Award' from Destination Infinity  recently with a beautiful note on me!

About Sunshine award:

The Sunshine Award is an award given by bloggers to other bloggers. The recipients of the Sunshine Award are: “Bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.” The way the award works is this: Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them. Answer questions about yourself. Select 10 of your favorite bloggers, link their blogs to your post and let them know they have been awarded the Sunshine Award!

Am I inspiring somebody? If so, I am very happy! This is a booster to me, D.I.! Destination Infinity alias Rajesh (I address him as Destination Infinity always because I came to know him by this name!) is a serious blogger who covers all subjects like music, travel (which is new!), short stories etc. and many more.  His auto-biography is talk of the town (bloggers') now.  He has got a great sense of humour.  I remember reading some stories which made me laugh a lot! The short stories are old I think. Write more D.I.! And I should not forget to mention about his posts on cookery! I had been reading his posts for a long time now!

Ten questions (and answers) about me:

1. Favorite Time of the year?

Chennai's rainy season which we get occassionally!

2. Favorite festive movie?

Same like D.I. said! I haven't seen any movie based on festivals! My favourite movie list is long in English, Hindi and Tamil! I seem to write often on 'Sound of Music' and quote 'Gods Must be crazy', 'Chupke, Chupke', etc.!

3. What’s your passion?

It was reading earlier, then music, now blogging  and reading others' blogs! Passion of cooking is slowly slowing down! Music is still there!

4. Favorite colour?


5. Favorite time of the day?

Early mornings!

6. Favorite flower?


7. Favorite non-alcoholic beverage?

Fresh juices!

8. Favorite physical activity?

I would like to say sleeping like D.I., but it is evading me nowadays! It is or anyother way! Walking too!

9. Favorite vacation?

Would love to visit the places near the Himalayas!

Now, awarding the award starts.  Most of these people don't do tags.  I also don't do tags often.  Am very lazy about it.  Anyway, let me acknowledge them.  But D.I., you come first! The others follow:

1. Kavita I love to read her posts about Assam...their foods, interesting places etc. I came to know a lot about North eastern countries because of her!

2. The Cyber nag I started reading her posts recently.  Her writing is amazing...clear thoughts...writes to the point on different subjects.  I am learning a lot from her.

3. K.Parthasarathy He is good in writing short stories with interesting twists.  The narration is always interesting.  An interesting person to interact!

4. Bikram  He is everybody's favourite person here, in this blogworld! He writes about anything and everything passionately! Very soft-natured person!

5. Rama I have read just a few posts of hers and she visited me once, I think! But I like her writing....I enjoyed reading the post ... series...How I met my husband!

6. Saritha Saritha used to be a serious blogger earlier.  Used to write a lot about her daughters, nature etc. She took a break and now has started blogging again.  She writes everything emotionally...a simple soft-natured person.

D.I. has covered some of my friends who write well and are active in this area.  They are already tagged.  Anyway, this was a good experience writing about others and thanking them in a way. I admire Ashok (for his art and poetry), Bhagya (for her beautiful, day to day happenings' stories), Suranga (Poetry and interesting posts), SG (I love his travel posts) and SM (as D.I. said for his latest news posts).  Some more are there but they have nearly stopped blogging but are active in facebook.  I miss them a lot. Thanks friends!

Thank you, once again, Destination Infinity!

Edited to add:  I remembered early in the morning (next day!) that D.I. had 'awarded' an award and did not ask me to do just a tag! It is not that if D.I. awarded an award to some people whom I admire, I can't give the award to them! And I missed to mention some very good bloggers whom I admire and keep them in a pedestal, like Manju! The way she links different subjects to blend into one to give a message, is beautiful! I tried to do a couple of posts in that way, but it was not that good! Please remember people,  I must have missed some about some friends  to mention here, I am 'maradhimanni' (queen of forgetfulness!).  It won't be nice to add more 'edited to add'!

I would be happy if the people I have mentioned that I admire them too accept this award! No need to do a post on it! Thank you!


Sunday, December 9, 2012

December Concert In Chennai - Pt.Ajoy Chakraborthy And Kaushiki Chakraborthy!


The month of December is 'Music season' in Chennai! Music lovers...classical music lovers from all over India and abroad come here to enjoy music.  It was just Carnatic music season until a few years back.  Now, we seem to have Hindustani classical singers also singing in our numerous sabhas.  Mostly Hindustani concerts start from November itself.  We attended Pt.Jasraj's concert, a couple of weeks back.  The sabha was full! Yesterday we attended Pt.Ajoy Chakraborthy and his daughter, Kaushiki Chakraborthy's concert at Music Academy.  We had attended Ajoy Chakraborthy's concert last year too.  It was a full fledged concert by him, then.  

This time, Kaushiki was the star attraction.  Her voice is from out of this world.  It is crystal clear with lots of beautiful gamakas.  I thought I was hearing young Parween Sulatana...this girl's voice reaches the highest octaves like Parween's without any stress! The first song was in raag Hansadhwani.  Though I have heard Kaushiki's voice in You tube, her voice hit me when she started to sing yesterday! Again I have to say that it is crystal clear! Both father and daughter are desciples of Dr.Balamurali Krishna, the legendary Carnatic singer.  So, the father wanted his daughter to sing one Varnam in Carnatic raaga 'Sourashtra'.  Kaushiki's singing is good but her accent was not suited for Carnatic music. So it didn't make much impact.  Then it was 'Pahadi' which is a beautiful raag.  The 'thillaana' (Dr.Balamurali's kriti) was good.

We came out of the sabha discussing about Kaushiki's voice and her beautiful rendering.  Ajoy Chakraborty impressed us last year!

Now, enjoy Kaushiki's songs from You tube.  You will know why we praise her so much! I love this raag 'maund'.  I recognise this raag because of the famous song, 'Kesariya...baalamu', which is my favourite!

Kaushiki is singing Dr. Balamurali Krishna's  'Thillana' in raag 'Yaman', I think. 

A very young Kaushiki is singing a Thumri here:

Pt.Ajoy Chakraborthy appreciated the way the concerts are conducted here in Chennai esp. by newspapers like The Hindu and Indian Express.  Thanks to them, we are enjoying good music every year!

P.S.: Begum Parween Sultana's Bhajan is HERE. Kaushiki in the now famous Coke Studio is HERE.  This is not a classical song, light song.  Everybody will enjoy it! Classical training makes people to sing any type of song.


Friday, December 7, 2012

If There Is A Will There Is A Way!


I had been to a relative's house yesterday.  While entering their flat, I saw this man. I didn't notice anything abnormal at first sight.  Then I noticed...the man/tailor was sitting on a tricycle with a sewing machine and stitching clothes! 

My relative said that this tailor visits their street every Thursday. He repairs dresses for minimum Rs.10 according to the work.  Next day to the next street.  He honks a horn as soon as he comes in and honks again before leaving.  The honk looks like a bus honk! It is easy for him to take the machine by his tricycle! I asked him how much he earns a month on an average...around 6 to 7 thousand according to the work he gets, it seems! He looked like a happy person... he posed happily for the photo...'yevlo photo venaa yeduththukko!' he said...You can take as many photos as you like!

If you have got the will you have got the way!

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