Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Wordless Wednesday!



Friday, December 25, 2015

Foto(s) Friday!


Friday, December 18, 2015

Foto Friday!

You can read more details of this rocket launch here! Click on the picture to enjoy more!

My earlier post about another PSLV launch in July, '13 is here!


Monday, December 14, 2015

The Beetle at Pratapgad Fort!


An insect is sitting on my son's thumb! It sat for a long time and looked comfortable! It was cleaning itself...its back, front ....Interesting to watch!
Profile picture of the insect!
Try to watch the video in full screen.  You can see the Fort also in the background.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Rain Started With Us Drenching/Giggling And Then....

It was 'walking in the rain' for us today morning! Mild drizzle was there when we started. After half an hour, it was quite heavy with a strong wind. Our umbrella pushed us to running mode! Some youngsters were 'jogging in the rain'...It was fun. Came back half drenched!

This was my status in Face book on 1st Dec. '15 morning.  My friend's comment and my comment:

 Zephyr Nag Did you sing a rain song, or not? How about this one? Lovely Waheeda and dashing Dev Anand.

 Sandhya Kumar Love this song, Zephyr Nag but we were giggling all the way, even my rigid husband enjoyed and SAID SO too!

And then how the days turned out to be later!!! We had the heaviest rainfall of the century.  Our Chennai had this much rain in 1901, I read.  Never imagined Chennai facing this type of rain...ours had always been famous for heat and sweat.  People were scared of the heat here, esp. my friends and relatives from Bengaluru always said so!

As Zephyr said in her mail, 'It is the middle class in inundated places that are suffering as relief efforts are concentrated more on slum and lower income clusters. The affluent are able to find other homes to shift to and use their resources to get their houses back in order.' people from middle and upper middle class will take longer time to recover. They have been living a secured, comfortable life.  Disciplined, systematic life.  This type of calamity is not easy to face, for them...they are not comfortable for taking 'help' from others. 

One of my relative, a very old couple, had to go by boat from Velachery to Royapettah (to her relative's place) by army boat.  They have come to spend their retired life here after living in the US for more than 40 years.  Daughter is in the US.  They live alone and their siblings are scattered in Chennai.  She has got arthritis and her husband also has got many health issues.  It was not easy for them to climb the boat.  Their whole complex was inundated by flood water, cars were drowned completely, no power, no phone, no drinking water... Flood water is not just rain water, it is mixed with drainage water.  It is not easy to make up our mind to wade through ditch water.

Another relative in West Mamblam has to spend a hefty sum to repair her car...they are retired people.  A teacher in MCN nagar (outskirts) is living in the I floor now, since her ground floor rooms are flooded, even now.  She has got a 95 year old mother.  Had to carry her upstairs.  No young member is there in their house.

Another relative is the owner of a hotel, has got a house in ECR in a good locality.  Most of the houses in their locality are flooded.  They have left to his brother's place which is also surrounded by flood water.   They have arranged to send lot of food to stranded people in Semmanjeri area, which is in a very bad shape.

Our own flat has got 4 floors and the lifts are not working even now.  Water is oozing/seeping and stays in the ground in the lifts' well.  It will not dry for many days. The ground is full of water already. We pumped it out and it gets filled up again and again.  It is not easy for many people to climb up 3/4 floors.  Our complex has got many retired people like us.

Rain has started again after a 2 days' break.  Hopefully, the rumour about more heavy rains stays as rumours.

 Many more stories are there...

We thought it was a happy day and occasion for us Chennaiites to drench in rain and enjoy and how it turned out to be.

P.S.: Many areas are still flooded and people are still trying to clean their houses and start living from scratch...this post is just to show that no one is above nature's fury.

Friday, November 27, 2015

She Came Into This Profession By Accident...Now, Is The Famous Daadisa!

Surekha Sikri in a different costume other than 'daadisa'! (courtesy)

I watched this programme, 'Guftagu' last Saturday in Rajya Sabha. It is very good.  Felt like watching Door Darshan programme, without the loudly dressed up anchors shouting or 'I know all' type of interviewers, never allowing the guest to 'think' and express themselves. Syed Mohammad Irfan, the interviewer here, is the best person for this type of programme, I feel.  He was looking at Surekha Sikri, the actor about whom I am writing here, with lot of respect and admiration.  He was prompting her whenever needed.  Otherwise, he was just listening intently.  Along with Surekha, I admired him too, here!

When did I first notice her? Maybe in Tamas, a Govind Nihalani television film/serial.  It came in Door darshan in the 80's as one hour series for four hours.  I still remember, the plot was so strong that my husband didn't even wanted to hear the background music and closed the door of his room when I was watching it.  A memorable film for me.  I noticed Surekha Sikri then.  And next, in one Rajasthani based story where she lives in a desert with her husband and loots the travellers who come to stay in their house as guests.  She kills her own son who came there as a traveller, without knowing that he was their son.  I can never forget her character in that movie.  Anyone remember the name of the movie? Then I noticed her in 'Mammo', a Shyam Benegal movie, where she acted very well along with another of my favourite actor Farida Jalal. She has acted in many other movies but I remember the above mentioned movies vividly.

Now, she is acting in a famous television serial, 'Balika Vadhu' which is running for the past 7 years, I think.  I and my husband had been watching it from day one! No, we are not couch potatoes watching many serials.  We watch only one or two serials at a time.  Now, it is Balika Vadhu and Ashoka.  And some musical reality shows.

This serial, Balika Vadhu, has got small small incidents and all of them give a positive message to our society, from child marriage to adult education.  Surekha is the strength/pillar of the serial.  She learnt Rajasthani language just to act in this serial.  Very strong minded character.  Her character changes from a strong minded, old fashioned woman to a modern, a 'full of love' woman here.  Have a look here

She is from Uttar Pradesh.  Father was in the Air Force and mother was a teacher. Studied in Aligarh and later became an NSD (National School of Drama) graduate.  Acted in theatres with NSD Repertory company for around 15 years and then shifted to Mumbai.  Then her movie and television career started.  She loves Hindustani music, can sing quite well and a bookworm too!! You can hear her giving more details of her life here:

'Mujhe stage pe khada hona nahin aathaa thaa'...she says, she is the pinnacle of acting! She can act in any type of role now, whether it is a good lady or a bad, cunning lady! Everything comes natural for her.  She gives her 100% to the role, body language, expression in dialogue, everything.  

In another interview here, she says "The process of acting is a continuous learning experience. What I could do five years earlier, I can do better now. My growth as an actor reflects in my work. I have tried to give the character many shades; she is not a cardboard character. She proves that it is not necessary for a negative person to remain that way forever. That if she examines herself, does some soul-searching; she too can overcome her rigid mindset. Her character (as Daadisa in Balika Vadhu) proves that it is possible to change.”

She married Hemant Rege after a long courtship during 'Tamas' days.  Happily married couple they were.  He expired in 2009. Her only son is an artist and lives in Bombay.

She has done films like Sardari Begum, Deham (malayalam), Sarfarosh, Zubeida, Raincoat, and Little Buddha and won the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress twice – for Tamas in 1988 and Mammo in 1995.  She has also won the Sangeet Nataak Akaademi Award in 1989 and the ASSOCHAM Ladies League’s Mumbai Women of the Decade Achievers Award, earlier this year.

Our whole family had been admiring her for the past many years.  I am so happy to write about her today.  These types of women influence us and it might reflect in some way in our life.  She is in my 'People whom I admire' list now!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Crows' Story!

 I think I am writing about crows for the third time...first was about them in my old house (link).  Now, we see many of them in the new house/flat too!

Morning breakfast, curd rice, for the crows! My husband had put a granite slab here just for this purpose!

This one steals clothes clips often!

Towel stealer! I lost two towels...I don't hang the towel here now...changed the place!

He got it! Tries to pull out threads from the towel, may be for cushioning his nest!

The towel was hanging there for a couple of days!

Holding bits of chapatis in his beak!
'Sitting' crow!

You can see the water bowl outside the window.  I was pouring fresh water thrice a day.  They were drinking and then some of them used to ring bread pieces and other eatables, dip them in the water and then eat! The water started stinking later.  Then one day, they pushed down the bowl and it got broke....I stopped keeping water. The stench was unbearable! But always leave some water in a lid on the terrace when I go up to water my plants!

'The girl who gets gifts from birds!' The young girl in this article gets small small gifts in return for the food she gave the crows.

I think my crows also gift me in their own way with neem seeds (they keep them in a row of 6-7), some long leaves and small stones on my kitchen window sill! My son says 'they are gifts for you'!

They sit very close to my husband on the clothes line in the balcony and just look at us without making any sound in the mornings when we have our coffee! They are used to us and we are used to them now!

P.S.: I thought this photo should be included here! This is in the other balcony.  The crows have gifted me 'pedigree' pellets! Added this now! (8th Nov.)

Monday, November 2, 2015


We had been on a tour to Srilanka, a couple of months back.  I had written some posts about the place here (link).  We had visited the famous Royal Botanical garden at Peradeniya, near Kandy.  It is quite huge and has got some rare trees, flowers and plants.  I was fascinated by the huge roots of some trees and thought my friends might be interested to see them too!

Wiki says this about the garden:

The origins of the Botanic Gardens date as far back as 1371 when King Wickramabahu III ascended the throne and kept court at Peradeniya near Mahaweli river. This was followed by King Kirti Sri and King Rajadhi Rajasinghe.

The name of the tree is written as Mora!

One more close up of the roots! I have never seen roots like these anywhere else.

We saw many trees like these at the Botanical garden, Srilanka

Canarium Indicum is the name of these trees!

Don't know the name of this tree but the roots look beautiful!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Our Hindu Rituals! Should We Change Some Now?

Godess Durga idol being immersed amidst piled up garbage at Kalindi Kunj Ghat.

The above image is from The Hindu and the next one is from google. Painted Durga idols are immersed in water bodies after Durga Pooja in Bengal, Odisha etc.

 Image result for Durga immersion

I am not happy looking at the 'to be broken' or 'broken' idols of gods.  So much effort is down the drain. Yes, this is a ritual followed by many for the past many years.  But we are adding pollution to the river and our earth cannot take it anymore.  Population has increased...instead of one idol, hundreds of idols are being immersed.  We don't have many water bodies anymore! Clean water is becoming scarce.

'Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) senior scientist Dillip Behera said: “Metal compounds of elements such as lead, cadmium, chromium and nickel are largely found in artificial colours and if so many idols are immersed in the river, they may cause carcinogenic or cancer-causing toxicity in the water and affect people downstream.' (link)

Earlier vegetable colours and colours from stones were used to paint the idols.  But now, cheap paints are used. 

Same thing happens when we immerse Ganesha idols also.  At least, we, in Tamilnadu, use clay idols which blend with the water easily.  And when I was in Bangalore, I used to immerse our Ganesha idol in a bucket of water, leave it for a couple of days and throw the water in some corner of the compound.  I did the same in my previous house too though we had a well at home, since I worried about the clay's origin!

Clay idol at home! (link)
This way of disposing off idols is ideal I feel! In Bangalore, they had built a huge cement tank at Raagi Gudda temple, filled it with water. People stood in a long queue at night and immersed the idols there.  Many idols were clay idols! And many were painted with organic paints, I was told! People were 'placing' the idol inside the tank, not throwing them in the water, which I liked! After all Ganesha is our favourite god! Have a look:

Clay idol with organic colours, it seems.  Looks beautiful.
Tank for Ganesh visarjan. People stood calmly in line and immersed the idols here. All flowers and other things which adorned the idols were dropped in one place.  Just the idols were immersed here.
The crowd waiting for Ganesh visarjan, chanting Ganapathi Bappa Moriya and singing some bhajans.

People can drop the idols in the tank and go out via another gate.  One hundi was kept there.  People who are interested to help this scheme can drop money in it.  This is done by a group of people for the past few years, it seems. The debris is removed from the tank later.

Clay idols and immersion tank are ideal to celebrate these idol visarjans.  Nobody is hurt in this way. Let us all think about it!


Monday, October 12, 2015

This Is To The Lovers Of 'Reader's Digest'!

Stories you read when you are at the right age never quite leave you.
You may forget who wrote them or what the story was called.
Sometimes you will forget precisely what happened,
but if a story touches you, it will stay with you,
haunting the places in your mind that you rarely ever visit. 
Neil Gaiman

When I read this quote today morning, I felt that this is very true.  And I remembered one of our favourite books of those days, the 'Reader's Digest'.  Yes, we were reading a number of fiction books too, but some small articles which came in the Digest, still pops out of our memory bank often.  

We had subscribed for the book after we shifted to Bangalore, well, now, Bengaluru, in '77.  We started getting them from '78.  Our kids were small and so it was read by just by me and my husband.

Then the kids grew up and we shifted to Hosur, as all my readers know by now.  Still the book was coming home.  The kids also started reading...first the jokes in laughter section.  Once they reached the higher classes, all the four of us would sit together and solve the 'word power'.  We used to tick different symbols for each, check and know the level of our intelligence after checking the answers.  The rapport was there and our knowledge also improved! I think my children also learned a lot from these books and they too will always remember some things from their engaging childhood, right, sons? Have a look at the books! 

The collection of 'Reader's Digest', a monthly magazine, here, is from 1991 to 2006.  I had given the earlier issues to our maama who is very old and wanted to read the old issues when he got time.  We must go to him, collect the old lot and give him the next set of books!
This is a close up of the books!
These are some old issues.  Click on them to know more pl. Content list was on the cover! Last page had paintings of renowned artists...Indian artists too!

Our favourite section, 'It pays to enrich your word power'.  This must have helped the children in their growing years and us too!
I still use this 'Quotable quotes' facebook!
I used to order for my nieces too as a birthday gift...the yearly subscriptions! I was famous for giving books as birthday gifts to all the children.  They still have got them at home! Some girls are married now!
Another favourite section...I started reading and remembered about writing the post.  These books never bore me!
All of us used to read these and laugh together! After my elder son left for the States for higher studies, to do his under graduation, I used to write letters by hand (it was the norm in those days...'95,'96...), some 12-13 pages at a time! I used to fill up the margins with these jokes and tick them too, for not repeating them later! I did this to humour him! I did this for some years and then came the 'hotmail'! Then personal touch was gone!
Another favourite, 'book section'.
True stories were very interesting. 'Humour in Uniform' also used to be interesting!
I miss reading these books, new ones, but I still have the old stock to read again and again! Friends and relatives who come and stay at home love to read these books...old issues!
Later on, the quality of the writings started deteriorating...they started offering gifts in 'millions'! But the book was not interesting...So, I had to stop the subscription reluctantly.  But will remember many stories, articles from them always, at least in bits and pieces like the quote above, says!

I suddenly wanted to know what our friend, Wikipedia says about this magazine!

'The magazine was founded in 1922, by DeWitt Wallace and Lila Bell Wallace.'
'The magazine was started by DeWitt Wallce, while he was recovering from shrapnel wounds received in World War I. Wallace had the idea to gather a sampling of favorite articles on many subjects from various monthly magazines, sometimes condensing and rewriting them, and to combine them into one magazine.'
'The first international edition was published in the United Kingdom in 1938 and was sold at 2 shillings. By the 40th anniversary of Reader’s Digest, there were 40 international editions, in 13 languages and Braille, and it was the largest-circulating journal in Canada, Mexico, Spain, Sweden, Peru and other countries, with a total international circulation of 23 million.'

Now, we read everything online.  But you won't get this thrill of seeing old books physically and feel nostalgic!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Monkey Business!


This would have been a normal photo of three monkeys, but they posed like this in the end!

A close up of the fellow!

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