Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Wordless Wednesday!

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Happy Happy Holi!


For us, South Indians, holi festival is still new esp.for people who have never stayed outside their state in South India.  Until a few years back, we knew about holi only via books, TV, film songs etc.  We had seen some youngsters, esp. Hindi speaking people, roaming around with colours on their faces, hands and clothes.

I had the first taste of holi, when we were in Hosur.  Hosur is an industrial town (border town of Tamilnadu and Karnataka).  Many industries are there like Ashok Leyland, English Electricals, TVS and many many more.  People from all over India came for working in these companies and had their families in the (mostly) housing board colonies.  We too were like them. So, we had Maharashtrian, Gujarathi, Bengali friends, apart from people from Karanataka, Andhra, Kerala and Tamilnadu. My children too had classmates from different parts of India.  So, we became familiar with different customs and rituals.  Common language was Hindi and English.  I learnt to make Maharashtrian cuisine and Gujarathi cuisine! Am familiar with a few Bengali cuisine too.  We had a Bengali friend who invited us to Durga pooja (during Navarathri festival) prepared pooris fried in GHEE  and channa without onion/garlic! I still remember the taste.

A Maharashtrian friend used to keep a huge Ganesha in her house during Ganesh Chaturthi and their Maharashtrian friends used to come and do bhajan and aarthi in her house.  We used to join them and learnt to sing 'Ganpathi bappa moria' with them!

Learnt to make sweet pickle from a Gujarathi friend! In that way, we are lucky.  If we had stayed in Chennai, we wouldn't have known/or come in contact with so many cultures.  But on second thought, the times are changing and it is not like 20 years back.  Thanks to IT industry, we come across the whole of India in our neighbourhood in Chennai itself plus Japanese and Koreans who work in the automobile industries.  When we were children, after we shifted to Chennai from Udupi, my mother started celebrating Pongal at home, by making sweet pongal on the day of the festival! So, we gradually change according to the surroundings we have.

Well, now let me come back to holi festival.  I joined the holi celebration with my Maharashtrian friend's family.  I went to her house with my usual saree.  As soon as she opened the door, I was covered with colour powders....people were standing inside and throwing colours on me! I was a bit taken aback.  After a few minutes, I was normal and joined them!  Children also had joined.  When I came back home, walking on the road (it was a housing colony and very few people were playing holi there) and entered my house, my husband was shocked to see me full of different colours!  Everything was new to us.  I still remember the way I enjoyed playing like children, throwing colours at others.  Can't imagine doing so at our circle!

I forgot to tell one thing, we used to hear Amitabh singing the holi song at least
5-6 times in the radio, TV etc. on the day of the Holi and do so even now!





 And this song too!



Shahnaz Husain has given some handy tips to enjoy the festival without damaging one's skin and hair in today's 'The Hindu'(click here pl.) newspaper. It should be very useful.

Enjoy the colourful festival! 
Happy Holi!


Holi photo courtesy: Google

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Sunrise Sunday!

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Monday, March 7, 2016

Vaalpaarai Trip - Lion-tailed Macaque Monkey Darshan!

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This is the third post on our 'Vaalpaarai Trip'.  Have a look at the First part here and the Second part here!

As I told in the earlier post, we started very early with Sachin, to have a look at the rare birds and animals at the Briar Tea Estate.  It is still green green (!) literally, in my memory! The misty air, the sounds of different types of birds...heard Elephant's sound (trumpet) also from far away! Heavenly feeling! Saw a few grey horn bill birds which live mostly in this region, we were told. We saw some Elephant stool also on the walking path in between the tea plants.  It was still wet and Sachin said that they must have walked on this path just a couple of hours back.  He had seen tiger also once, it seems! No, we didn't see...I should be an athlete to run away if I see one! He showed where he saw...it was very close! And now, to the 'Lion-tailed Macaque' monkeys! They are one of the endangered species.  They are seen mainly in the Western ghat forest area.  Since the forest area is becoming less and less, the animals which live here also are diminishing day by day.  Human greediness. They don't fancy humans, it seems...naturally! But here, in India, the population is not alarmingly diminishing because of the positive steps taken by the State Governments, Wiki says.

Wiki also says: It primarily eats indigenous fruits, leaves, buds, insects and small vertebrates in virgin forest.

Notice the long snout and the fluffy mane! Click on the pictures pl.

I like the gait with which he is walking on the tree...they live mostly on trees, it seems!

Notice the fluffy tip of the tail! Lion-tailed macaque monkey, this is!

Relaxing!

Itchy?!
Singing?!

Posing!
Playing!
Naughty children! We saw many young ones playing there! They were moving very fast and so it was very difficult to click!
Sachin, the Naturalist, who took us here said that most of the days, they are not visible to tourists.  We were lucky on that day! We had a good darshan of Hanuman, the Hindu God(s)!



P.S.: I would like to add my friend, Jeevan's comment here: 'there’s this place before entering valparai town, you could notice foresters have made hanging bridges for them to cross the road or prevent hitting from vehicle. It’s really good to see the forest department taking action to preserve these monkeys'.
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