Though the Challenge does not warrant a write up, I feel compelled to pen a few lines about this amazing temple, its architecture and carving. The Brihadeeswara Temple complex completed 1000 years in 2010. An UNESCO World Heritage site, it is one of the largest existing temples of India, located at Thanjavur, a sleepy town of the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, built by Raja Raja Chola I of Chola dynasty.
The holiday season: can’t get enough of it, or can’t wait for it all to be over already? Has your attitude toward the end-of-year holidays changed over the years?
Having spent most of my childhood in Goa, I associate this season with warmth and cheer, joy and happiness lots of great food. Christmas Carols and a host of feel-good emotions rush into my mind as I reflect on those years… from Stars and beautiful Cribs and Silent night and Joy to the World and roly poly Santas at every corner. Of course the fact that School was closing also added to the general feeling of well being!
After we left Goa, I have not celebrated X’Mas with the same fervor and so it was sheer nostalgia to go back to Goa about a year ago in December. The twinkling lights, the decorated houses at every corner… I felt I had come home! This time with a new family…. I also had the once- in- a -lifetime experience of meeting many of my lovely classmates for a meal……… Unfortunately today the net is playing up and I am unable to upload pictures clicked on that occasion .
We stayed at a lovely Resort … and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. Lazy days stared with a walk to the beach which was almost deserted at that time of the day….. We would then pick on a place to visit and after the visit, taste the local cuisine at one the many eating joints that dotted the countryside. Yummmm!!! South Goa was untouched by the commercial tourism and it was a pleasure interacting with the fun loving Goans….
A family holiday to me is togetherness personified and we did a lot of activities to that end…. starting with a dip in the pool on some mornings.. eating at nearby restaurants… to playing cards and Dumb charades in the room….sharing music a great “binder” – as I read somewhere.. listening to the music your kids are listening to can open many windows and doors.
I must say, we came away richer for our experience, that Christmas.
The serene beaches, the beautiful sea in many many moods….all were memories we could draw upon for a long long time to come to recreate that feeling of togetherness….
Be It Goa or Pondicherry, Kerala or Shimla, Kanyakumari or Kashmir… family vacations have a way of creating bonds as we get busy creating memories…
I do not know what Santa has in store for me this year… as a popular joke goes, it is important that he gets my prayers right – I want to ask him for a Slim Me and a Fat Bank balance… Last year he had reversed the request !!
Train stations, airport terminals, subway stops: soulless spaces full of distracted, stressed zombies, or magical sets for fleeting, interlocking human stories?
I have traveled extensively and to me, very often these “soulless” spaces mark the very epitome of “soulfulness”. Often, so very often, it is to bid goodbye to a station, a place that holds fond memories – of friendships made and sometimes broken…..of bonds created out of nothing and yet so strong that it is unfathomable to think that they may no longer be a part of you once you leave.
So often, a quick and brisk handshake hides more than it reveals.. knowing that a longer good bye, a hug or a smile may end up allowing a tear to escape. Afraid that the Goodbye might never be “Till we meet again”! Continue reading →
“A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction and at such a speed…It feels an impulsion…this is the place to go now. But the sky knows the reasons and the patterns behind all clouds, and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond horizons.”
My entry to a Cee’s Fun Foto challenge on “ground” – it is a curious rock, 5 metres wide, apparently defying all laws of Physics, precariously perched on a smooth slope. The 3 diminutive figures you see are me and my sisters on our visit to Mahabalipuram, near Chennai.
Lord Krishna, the Hindu God, who loved butter, would steal a handful from his mothers pot of butter everyday. This massive natural rock boulder is attributed to a bolus of butter the young Krishna had stolen. India abounds in Marvels of nature and most are usually linked to a Mythological story and this is yet another perfect example of that linkage. Krishna’s Butter Ball.
As a kid, were you happy or anxious about going back to school? Now that you’re older, how has your attitude toward the end of the summer evolved?
I chose to respond to this prompt because it triggered memories of childhood summers. My summer holidays – a time when “We had joy, We had fun, We had seasons in the sun!”
We went to my Gandmas place to spend the summer break and oh what fun it was! It was a old large house in a rambling courtyard. All my cousins would be home in their respective ancestral houses as we term them in Kerala. We would barely finish breakfast and assemble at the Kolam – a water body, a home pool or man made water tank with a shelter and steps leading down into it that most houses in Kerala are attached with. Not a swimming pool but one where I learnt swimming. We would frolic in the pool, play games, dive, jump and generally have fun unmindful of the scorching heat that would leave its mark on all of us. This would continue till one mother (my mom or one of my aunts) would come out to admonish us and force us to leave! Lunch would usually be a combined affair in one of the four houses. That over, the “afternoon siesta” was carroms or cards or monopoly depending on what caught our fancy that day. Ably aided and guided by my youngest Uncle we kicked up a ruckus that had must have disturbed the adults trying to get some shut-eye.
Kerala is picturesque and my village was no different. In the evenings, we would explore the various features around – from a huge rock to hillocks to just traipsing along the countryside – lush green paddy fields or barren rocky land. We had impromptu picnics with food being potluck- whatever we could forage…. from tender coconuts to jaggery and chips. I was an avid reader. Enid Blyton was a favorite and to me, these trips made me feel I was one of the Famous Five off to enjoy the summer! However no mystery ever presented itself for me to solve! The nights would see me curling up with a book well past dinner time… Bliss! No TV, no mobiles, no internet yet we were one happy bunch that looked forward to the next day of friendship and fun.
However enjoyable the summer holidays were, I had no problems returning to school. I did my entire schooling in Goa. School was fun place as far as I was concerned. Academics came easy to me, I had friends and in general I have very happy memories of school. I was a chatter box, so I had teachers pointing it out sometimes but nothing more strenuous than that. Annual days, joint whist drives with the neighboring “Boys school”, annual picnics, being on the student council, taking part in the Annual days, the School farewell – they are all happy memories. I went back after 30 years and what fun it was yakking away with the friends who had all grown up! Goa was a lovely place to be and Goans wonderful people to be with and that was possibly another reason why school was more fun than stress. Thank you, Goa.
So no August Blues there!
As an adult I try to create a happy world for my family. We love traveling and make small trips to explore Incredible India from the mountains of Kullu Manali to the backwaters of Kerala, as the adage goes- from Kashmir to Kanyakumari! I listen to the music my kids listen to. We catch a movie that they want to see and try to see the movie from their point of view. The world today has changed. The simple pleasures of life have given way to more complex ones , but if that is what they like , so be it. I learnt to be tech savvy to understand their world and ended up liking it a lot myself. There are less of books in their world and that worries me at times. That said, words are still a part of their world, so what if they are electronic – so that’s ok, I guess.Serving in the Army takes one to the remotest corners of this beautiful diverse-but-united country. And we spare no opportunity to use the summer hols to see a new place. Autumn is an ill-defined season in South India and summer is followed by monsoons and Kerala is at her lushest, loveliest best in the monsoons!
In general, summer continues to be fun and a time to creating memories together.
‘Tis the season for road trips — if time and money were out of the equation, what car-based adventure would you go on?
Road trips, you said? Well, as someone who loves trips and a spouse who loves the road we have had our share of “road-trips” and more through the past 27 years plus !
It’s something that binds all of us a family but it’s been a while now since we had one. With one kid at college in another city and another still at school and both of us earning a living at busy jobs finding common “free” time is not always easy. But today’s prompt allows me the liberty of leaving that out of the equation and Oh Boy, money as well… so here I go “a-tripping”!
The place would be Goa, the car, a state of the art luxury one, the time Oct 2014. Goa needs no introduction to most travel junkies. To me, it is extra special as the place I spent my entire childhood in, the place that shaped my thoughts and me through my most impressionable years. Continue reading →