Thursday, October 27, 2011

The day after

The past one week,  got myself into close encounters, of the oily kind! There has been an assault on the senses, mind, soul and the waistline.  Took upon myself to create these beauties, with love and pride poured in ample measures, (in equal proportion to the oil/ghee), eyes sparkling, dil dhadaking, with images of a perfect platter of goodies. Well, life is not perfect. Nor was my platter!

Well, lessons learnt are aplenty. Perseverance, not giving up even when thought creeps in, of  impending plight of poor unsuspecting visitors; and not giving up because you finish what you started out to do, no matter what, for festivals are all about prevailing over tides.

The curly twirly murukkus,  The enticing  laddoos, the fiery red jalebis, the colourful tangy mixture, the sedate kaju kathlis, the irresistible ghujiyas, the sober dahi vadas, and the ubiquitous gulabjamuns, on display, to satiate year long yearnings, to relish and remember yesteryears, with a resounding promise of goodies yet to come, even if not perfect.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Golden Stag

A saga of five generations, drawn beautifully on a canvas set in the deep regions of South India, the author leads us through a journey, dotted with sharply etched characters, coming alive through bold brush strokes of tumultuous emotions that surge and pulsate, all along the narration.

The Western Ghats serve as the essential backdrop, and with graphic descriptions, one becomes almost familiar and at-home with, the locations; be it the Mayan's humble thatched abode under the harsh scorching sun, or Manickam's sprawling bungalow along the dusty lanes of Chitur. Great care has been taken to capture the essence of life  lived in this part of the world, the everyday instances, the attitudes ingrained and adapted, the tenets held since eons, the tug of the roots, and the quest for the unknown, and sadly for many it turns out to be a hunt for 'the Golden Stag'.

The author has delved deeply into subjects as Siddha and Hindu Philosophy, that seems to have a tenacious hold on two of the protagonists, Naren and Nagalingam. It serves to soften them, but also confound them with innumerable questions and undecipherable qualms, that plague them incessantly. And as a stark contrast to these characters, are Manickam and Vasan who are impeccably practical, business like and feet firmly on ground. And there is Chandrasekaran who strikes one, as having shades of both, and trying to establish a workable mean, and successfully does so; or so I would think.

The author through the lives of these five main characters, and sub-characters weaves an enchanting tale that subtly brings out, the deceptive vagaries of human nature, even as man tries to wage the battle of life, with his own set of arms; it uncannily reminds me at this point, of the battle scene in Kurukshetra, where Lord Krishna advocates Karma Yoga to a despondent Arjuna, " Therefore, O Arjuna, surrendering all your works unto Me, with full knowledge of Me, without desires for profit, with no claims to proprietorship, and free from lethargy, fight."

The "Golden Stag" leaves one with a sense of having lived life, along with the characters, experiencing their emotions, and identifying oneself totally with it, as we do know, emotions, relationships, death, love, touches all, deeply. And Ms.Sivasundari Bose has managed to touch the reader in more ways than one, and that bespeaks of her success, in bringing out a piece of art, that edges the reader to ponder and reflect on the multifarious facets of life.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Magic Wand

If only I had a wee little magic wand...
I would swish and sway it around
With infinite style and great aplomb
If only I had a magic wand.

Aba..r.a.c.a..d.a..., and ofcourse it would
Dust the shelves and clean the room
The kitchen sink, the carpet and the loo,
As I drift into a corner, curled with my book.

Meals on the table, Mr. Wand,  if you please,
Finish the washing and a break after, is fine.
Piping hot flavoured tea and chips before nine
For I  need to wind up this so called poetic piece.

P.S. Sorry to trouble my (if any) readers with this pathetic attempt. Have willed to put in something every Thursday, so thought mebe poetry is easier than 'prose'! :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A very Happy Dusshera to all!

The 9 day long festival Navratri, did not do much wonders here, but then of course it does not mean there was no impact at all. I have heard from friends that there are Dandiya Raas programmes held every year, and would have loved to be a part of it, but it never did happen. The swaying rhythm, the soothing beats, the mesmerising fluid movements, is a treat to watch. In Pune, used to set off at nights, lugging along sleepy kids, to join the slowly thronging crowd, even as the participants  assemble in their chosen shamianas (colourful and well lit tents), with palpable excitement. The youth, in their best garbs, trying to put their best foot forward, and the elder generation turning up with gusto, allowing themselves to slip into memories of yesteryears, I suppose.  It was fun, and must be more so being a part of it, this ritual of losing oneself to the beat of the dandiya sticks, a sense of magic seems to pervade, even as they strike each other ever so gently.

And then the southern version of Navarathiri, includes the adorable display of dolls (Golu), accompanied by a veritable feast of sundals for the entire nine days(a savory dish of tempered dals) and rendering of divine classical music by accomplished and not so accomplished, singers. I have faint memories setting up the steps and unwrapping the dolls and deities, and deciding or rather awarding the prime positions to the dolls along the steps. The chettiyar pair with their wares before them was fascinating then and now. You would have to see one, the Golu display I mean, to understand or appreciate the effort and passion that goes in, and which sustains this yearly ritual, much to the delight of many a household in Southern India.

So, when the invitation for one such Golu visit, came my way, grabbed at it with both hands. Yesterday being the last day of the Golu display, managed to go and feast my eyes on a wonderful sight, which fills ones heart and soul. Being away from such things for long, sort of invokes an yearning for them I guess. Well, am posting along some pictures, as the Tamil saying goes, yaam petra inbam, peruga ivvaiyagam!( the joy I experienced, may the whole world partake!)