Pongalo Pongal

Pongal-o Pongal

Happy Pongal, Makar Sankranthi, Lohri to everyone in India. It is the festive season now.

What I remember of Pongal as a kid is waking up early in the cold winter morning and walking towards the drawing room to catch a few more winks on the sofa half asleep waiting for Amma to call us to come to the kitchen. We would wait for the milk to boil and rise and shout ‘Pongalo Pongal- Pongalo Pongal’ and prostrate before the Pongal Panai (pot) .It was a time to feast on chakkarai (sweet) pongal and venn (salted) Pongal with some other delicacies that Amma would prepare .

Fast forward a few years.

I am the one who is buying the turmeric leaves, applying turmeric and kumkum to the pongal panai (pot), tying the leaves securely to the pot, cleaning the gas oven and kitchen counter top in the morning ,adding the required ingredients in the panai and simultaneously keep calling my kid an hubby reminding them that its time to wake up.  Now my son ambles half asleep towards the sofa and then to the kitchen when its time for the milk to boil and rise up.

I am more than happy and satisfied by the time I prepare both the varieties of the pongal dish and the “neivedhiyam ” is offered to the Sun God!  So the lunch and breakfast of the day is done minus any more delicacies that my Amma would prepare.

Pongal literally means “boiling over” as the milk is allowed to boil over, signifying abundance.

I look forward to this morning every year

Perhaps I manage to follow certain customs in ways convenient to me during the current times with some short cuts . Our beautiful traditions have evolved radically but the essence still remains the same  and they keep reminding us about the beautiful culture that we belong to.

WOW: Look Outside Your Window- “A BREATHTAKING VIEW “

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This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

This is a view from my window in summer. What a beautiful sight it is!! I tell myself  as to how lucky it is to start my morning watching the beautiful bloom & enjoy my cuppa along with the newspaper sitting in front of the window.

The flame of the forest is all over the place now. It was sometime in the first week of April that I noticed tiny buds sprouting .

These Gulmohar trees with their fiery orange flowers in summer seem to be competing with the fiery sun rays to me.

How I wish that I was a sparrow [they are hardly seen in cities these days 😦  ] or any other bird and I could soar up in the sky and be perched on the branches and sit among the orange blossoms & keep chirping to my heart’s content.

Wishful thinking !!

There are some other equally nice things that summers offer apart from the king of fruits. It’s the melodious voice of the koel. I often get to hear their voice from far off while I am in my home. I have realized that summers offer a feast to the eyes, ears and taste palate too.

My earlier place of residence in the city of dreams offered me to enjoy the koel’ s voice during summers apart from the famous Alphonso mangoes.. My current place of residence in the city of pearls offers me an additional visual treat .

The koel’s voice reminds me that the rains are not far off. As I walk on the orange carpet of flowers as I set out in the morning I really wish that the sweepers while sweeping the roads during the course of the day do not remove this beautiful carpet made by nature.!

Just a month or more and mother nature will adorn herself with a beautiful green colour as the showers will bathe the entire vegetation around and it will be time for me to admire the different shades of green.18951434_1342029902513014_7724045216683687700_n

SEASIDE TREASURES – EAST COAST

Seaside Treasures -East Coast

The Marina beach and Elliots beach in Madras were my initial introduction to Sea .

Apart from that as a girl studying in 6th std, I was fascinated by the life near Sea .We had a poem titled ” The Coromandel fishers” by Sarojini Naidu. My english teacher Ms. Mukherjee explained the poem in such a beautiful manner that we could actually visualize the life and feelings of people who stay in the coastal plains. Since then ” The Bay of Bengal” has always attracted me more than the ” Arabian Sea”. In my later years I also learnt it to be much more naughtier than the Arabian Sea. I was delighted when I visited “The Northern Circars” . In a way I felt that the mighty “Bay of Bengal” has beckoned me . I don’t know why I never felt the same for the ” Arabian Sea ” during my visits to the coastal plains in Bombay, Goa or Kerala !!

The view of the sunrise was simply breathtaking and I long to go back to this place again. Building sand castles with my son was so much fun. Be it building sand castles, collecting sea shells, splashing water on each other, writing in the sand with the waves rushing forward to erase it, feet sinking in the sand when the tide was a little high as the waves rushed towards us , every moment becomes a beautiful memory to cherish. The roar of the waves is also so musical to the ears. Even in the stillness of the night I enjoyed the roar of the waves and it seemed so relaxing.

Nature has such a calming effect on our nerves that we forget all the other things when we are in her lap. Isn’t it so wonderful.? The pleasure that mother nature gives is just incomparable against all the modern gadgets of today. As  I watched the sun rise and the fishermen begin their day, it made me think about the bond that they shared with the sea . Its after all their livelihood, their mother, their goddess, their wealth

I actually could recollect the lines from the ” Coromandel Fishers”. Its few lines are:

“Rise, brothers, rise; the wakening skies pray to the morning light,

The wind lies asleep in the arms of the dawn like a child that has cried all night.

Come, let us gather our nets from the shore and set our catamarans free,

To capture the leaping wealth of the tide, for we are the kings of the sea!

the kiss of the spray and the dance of the wild foam’s glee;

Row, brothers, row to the edge of the verge, where the low sky mates with the sea.

The sea is our mother, the cloud is our brother, the waves are our comrades all”.

As I bid goodbye to the sea to visit some other places nearby , I carried back lots of pictures in my mind’s eye which is “seaside treasure ” for me till I visit the mighty “Bay of Bengal ” again.

The submarine museum in Vishakapatnam-INS KURUSURA- is a decommisioned submarine of the Indian Navy for public viewing.The Submarine Museum is Asia’s first submarine museum. Very informative museum as it throws light about the life of all the sailors and officers who live in a submarine for months together.It is a marvel to observe the type of engineering machinery inside the congested place. I could also admire and appreciate the effort that has been put into installing the submarine weighing a few tonnes in sandy soil near the beach and how it also managed to withstand the cyclone “Hudhud”

Thotlakonda Buddhist Complex in Vizag ( Vishakapatnam) has some monastries which are in ruins now. The complex has a number of Stupas, chaityas and viharas. This place was inside the Kalinga region which was instrumental in promoting Buddhism.

I have a fascination for monuments that were built ages ago before the construction machinery of current times evolved and it  has always amazed me. Beauty of nature is also something that captivates me and interests me to no end.

courtesy: some lines from “Coromandel Fishers”

Rise, brothers, rise; the wakening skies pray to the morning light,
The wind lies asleep in the arms of the dawn like a child that has cried all night.
Come, let us gather our nets from the shore and set our catamarans free,
To capture the leaping wealth of the tide, for we are the kings of the sea!the kiss of the spray and the dance of the wild foam’s glee;

Row, brothers, row to the edge of the verge, where the low sky mates with the sea.
” The sea is our mother, the cloud is our brother, the waves are our comrades all”.
the kiss of the spray and the dance of the wild foam’s glee;
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FEAST

A thing of beauty is a joy forever.

Nature never ceases to attract us. Mother Earth is filled with the most beautiful landscapes that mesmerizes us.The ocean,the flowers in full bloom,the snow clad mountains, the greenery near a mountain side after the rains, the deep valleys, gorges, cascading waterfalls, sunrise, sunset, rolling hills, dense jungles, sand dunes, the lazy river, pristine beaches,swaying trees in the breeze, the clear blue sky, rainbow, carpet of flowers on the ground are such a feast to the eyes. Every time I see them I try to  drink their beauty with my eyes.  Nature and its wonder mesmerizes me and takes away all the sorrow that surrounds me sometimes.!!

Sometimes I feel that technology makes us a little crazy when we keep clicking pictures of the beauty around with cameras , how we forget to capture the images in our camera like eyes that God has given us  !!. Do we really get time in this fast paced world to sit and look at the photos at leisure later on???

An infants smile,yawn, activities is also a feast to the eyes. Looking at a baby one forgets all the worries of the world.

I find the architecture of man made monuments of historical importance  also a feast to my eyes.The engineering skills of our ancestors amazes me. Without machinary, lifts, construction equipments there is perfect symmetry in the monuments build a few centuries ago.

I am a great fan  of anything ethnic. Handicrafts, handlooms, textiles, home decor, artifacts ,jewellery  are something that are also a feast to my eyes. Even window shopping for any of them gives a feel good factor to me. Exhibitions sometimes exhibit their stuff and I love visiting such exhibitions. I find it refreshing to just have a look at the things that I find beautiful .Just having a look at them is like gorging on a  feast for me.

Plants, Bonsai, flowers in full bloom ,well maintained gardens, lawns are also feast to the eyes. Anything that relaxes and gives a calming, soothing effect to the mind is a feast to my  eyes.

There are lots of images on pinterest too that are so appealing to look at that people pin them .

Some people are so nice to be with, we enjoy having them around. They bring sunshine to our lives and are a feast to our souls.

Finally beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder and perspective is what makes all the difference.!

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The Gulmohar Tree

GULMOHAR  TREE

The monsoon is yet to arrive . There is a rain deficit in this region. Some days there is a light drizzle & the place cools up like any other place. It feels so good then and then I don’t bother to think of the drought like situation that the newspapers talk about or the more severe water shortage & power cuts.

There are many Gulmohar trees all around. Summer time they are in full bloom with the red and orange flowers. Its a beaut….i….ful sight. All the more beautiful with the red & orange carpet of flowers on the ground. In fact I have started admiring nature all the more since I moved here . I realize that how studies & work front kept me so busy all these years that time just slipped by..
My twenties & thirties ………..time just flew…… I might talk about it some other time.

when I was in 1st to 3rd grade my childhood was spent in Allahabad, nd I clearly remember there were Gulmohar trees on the road in front of our building . We as kids would play under its shade. Then we moved places and the word Gulmohar took the form of the English text book ” Gulmohar Reader” while in school.

Now, coming back to the Gulmohar trees during my walks I have started noticing the different coloured flowers on the different trees, stopping to admire them, trying to take in as much as I can with my eyes. I have started paying attention to the little details of nature with more interest , like there are different times in a year when different flowers appear on the various trees & I realize how I have missed so much in all these years when I look around . I have started appreciating the different hues of the colour green too with more enthusiasm.

Of all the trees Gulmohar flowers attracts me so much. I am totally in awe of the Gulmohar flowers red, fiery orange & sometimes yellow too. They bring a smile , a feeling of joy and they are a feast to my eyes since a few months.
But,
Slowly the carpet of flowers is disappearing & I in my heart of hearts say a small bye to them every day as I see the flowers receeding in number.
Wishing that I will meet you again next summer