Monday, July 02, 2012

Au revoir

Hi Friends,

Been with this blog for almost 7.5 years. It has seen enough of me and I am ready to retire from here. But not from the blogging world altogether.

Its time for a new start for me in all ways and you can find me going forward at
Looking forward to meeting you all there and sharing my life and views.


Wednesday, April 04, 2012

God's own country

Last weekend I had been to the capital of God's own country and may I suggest that if you have any plans to go to just Trivandrum, you rethink it. They have many museums and palaces but even the guides there seem to lack interest in them. We went to this museum called Napier Museum and its attached to a zoo. Enter at your peril. It was a HOTTTTT day and they would not let us take water inside since we had it in plastic non-biodegradable bottles. The whole place had one measly tap right at the middle and each huge enclosure had one very very very bored looking animal, except for the hippos. There were 5 of them and they were so ashamed of being in there that they hid themselves in the water. Did I tell you it takes about 2 hours to go around the whole zoo, by which time you are ready to expire (or kill) thanks to dehydration. The museum was just one huge room. Sri Chitra art gallery was ok. They had some very good paintings especially by Raja Ravi Varma. For a chennaite the beaches do not really hold any allure. sigh!
Napier Museum in the BG on a HOT HOT day
 The Macau monkey wondering who the fool behind the camera is
 The Hippos hiding in their water
The totally bored Rhino doing his thing
The one thing you cannot see in the East facing Chennai - Sun setting in the beach

Second Day: Rather disappointed with the first day, we started on the second day and Wow!!!! 65 KM from TVM is Padmanabhapuram with its ancient palace (The movie Manichitrathazhu was shot here, the original movie from which Chandramukhi, Aptamitra, Bhool bhulaiya etc were taken) It was absolutely awesome and a must see place.  Then we went to the Thiruparappu falls. Had a good time in the water until we went up and saw the source.. Dirty! but still fun. And we ended the day with Neyyar dam. A damn good place (hehe couldn't resist!)

The King's bed made out of 64 different Ayurvedic woods.

This is where Shobana dances for "Oru murai vandhu" the equivalent of "Ra ra". Photo taken from a secret lookout from which the queen mother can see the Navarathiri Mandapam

This interesting piece is in the adjacent archaeological museum. Men sentenced to capital punishment were stuffed into this device and hung
Entrance to Padmanabhapuram palace
King's court

         The Thiruparrapu falls, fun to bathe until you get to see the source :-) 

                                 Water gushing out of a small opening in Neyyar dam

On the final day we didnt have much time for anything, except Sri Ananthapadmanabha swamy temple. It was the day before a 5 day utsavam was to start and the Tantric was doing some special poojas inside and there was also sahasra swarna kalasaabhishekam (Abishekam with 1000 gold pots). So the whole lot of us had to wait outside for over 2 hours feeling just like sardines in a tin can. There must have been almost a 1000 folks and in less than 20 minutes, the temple guys pushed all of us in and out for darshan. By the time I finished a pradhakshina, they had again closed the entrance :-). The black God inside is now golden and it makes my heart feel good to seem Him glitter, even if we could only get a quick glimpse.
The Metha mani found on the edge of the Temple pool,has two lambs kissing a man's face on either side, on the hour. But it has not been working for a few years now.

The Main entrance to the Temple

Oh! and we went to see the house where my dad and his siblings were born and more than 60 years later, the house still stands and even the entrance has not changed. Is that cool or what?

My confused mind

I am ready for a change, more like, desperate for one. But its so difficult.
The rut might be boring but its very very comfortable and gives an illusion of stability.
Can I break myself out of it? Really do so?
I thought I did, but instead have I fallen in to just another facet of the same rut?
Hmm! Time should tell.

Jeez! there was a time, not so long ago, when I fought for this change, so why am I so not excited when its finally happening?
Is this the change I aspired for or am I running away? Would it be a waste of time or an exciting adventure?
New friends or loneliness? Learning experiences or regrets?

One year from now, I hope I look back at today and laugh at myself and say.. "See! how needlessly you worried".

Friday, March 23, 2012

I am the Sleeping Beauty :-)

RS had asked me ages and ages ago to try this one. I did, but didn't put up the results here. So here goes
I am Aurora (a name which I adore incidentally), the Sleeping Beauty.
I am just happy I missed being Goofy by a whisker :-P
So what are you?

You Scored as Sleeping Beauty
Your alter ego is Princess Aurora, a.k.a. Sleeping Beauty! You are beautiful and enchanting, and as sweet as ever.

Sleeping Beauty
Peter Pan
Cruella De Ville
Snow White
The Beast
Donald Duck

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bookie matters

When I bought my kindle, a friend asked if this meant I would stop buying books. I gave her a non-committal answer as I was not sure myself. Since ebooks have been part of my life for the last 8 years, Kindle or no Kindle, I am still happily emptying my coffers on books.

I've been reading "The Twentieth wife" by Indu Sundaresan. Nowadays I have too many things in mind and books have not been able to hold my attention for long. But this one is a compulsive read and I was forced to put down my other books (I am always reading at least 2-3 books at any given time) to finish this one.
The last books that held my attention this much was Amish Tripati's Shiva trilogy. I held off reading them for as long as possible but could not resist and then I felt irritated, coz the third book was not yet available and I was left hanging on a limbo.

Since “The Twentieth Wife” was impressive, I ordered its sequel “The Feast of Roses” at Indiaplaza last night. I've not yet ordered the final book of the Trilogy "The Shadow Princess" in the hope that by the time I finish the second one, either Flipkart or Indiaplaza will offer me a better discount than what they are currently giving. Greedy maybe, but a gal can hope, can't she? :-)

Which brings me to this website I’ve discovered. Don't know if you guys already know and having been using it, but I came across Indiaplaza only recently. I have always been a big fan of Flipkart but Indiaplaza is even better. Where Flipkart gave me 5% discount for “The twentieth wife”, IndiaPlaza gave me a full 40% off and for “The feast of Roses” there was no discount at all in Flipkart but I got a 40% off for this one too in India plaza.

Similarly Jeffrey Archer's new book, The sins of the father, is available to be pre-ordered in both the websites but we get a 5% extra discount at Indiaplaza. :-P

Sigh! It’s been a good week. I got to read some good stuff, I downloaded almost 20 ebooks, ordered 2 books.
The blog world has opened up my life to a whole plethora of ideas and perspectives, some of them so very different from my life experiences that I am not even able to relate, but it does make one realize it’s a wide big bad world out there.
And in news other than books, I breezed through an audit at work just on my reputation, despite not being all that well prepared.
I have a new little niece to play with as of yesterday :-)

I leave y'all with this quote from G K Chesterton, that I can definitely relate to
"A room without books is like a body without a soul"

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Changing the background

Hey All, bear with me as I keep changing the back grounds until I come to one I like. Feel free to let me know if you like any BG.
The old one got to be boring and the new one was pretty, calming and well.. boring too.
But I left it on just to be contrary.. but not any more.
I can't seem to make my mind on what I like. So its going to be a very colorful time for you and me :-)

This Happens only in India :-P

  • The share auto wallahs (SAW) in Chennai are a fierce and possessive lot. The mid point between home to work is a very popular spot to catch shareautos and you see a lot of the SAWs standing beside their vehicles, inviting people to get in. If a fellow SAW comes in late and does not stand in the correct spot in the line, he is liable to get slapped or his vehicle kicked and passengers who try to get into the late SAW's vehicle will be stopped and asked to go to a different vehicle.
          Having given you an idea of how it is, today morning my shareauto stopped at the mid way point and another SAW started screaming at my SAW and came running to .. I don't know.. maybe scream some more or slap him. My SAW calmly waited until the other SAW came near him and told him - " Don't threaten me and don't even think of slapping me, My last case is still pending and I have just come back from the police station, I would hate to go back again". Needless to say the other guy could not back track fast enough.
We were all staring at the man.. not knowing how to react and if we wanted to travel in the vehicle at all. After reaching office, when the SAW asked for a little more than is usual, you may be sure that not one of us some much as peeped a protest :-)

  •  Saw this advertisement behind some 10 buses at least today. I first saw Paul Dinakaran's (the popular christian evangelist) foto on the ad poster and the words "exam" and thought maybe he is calling for the masses to write some exam on christianity. It was only on looking again, I saw he was calling the people to come for an exam prayer meet. What with the final exams just around the corner.  Wonder if there are any special pooja's and prayers at the temples and mosques too?
          As my colleague was saying -  "My son has become very playful and my wife is very anxious about his marks. The last exams he came third in his class and its most distressing". His 4 yr old son is in LKG (People need to get a life.. seriously!)

  • Was reading this old RS' blog and was reminded of an incident at my last work place. My Manager, a male neanderthal,  called up a newly married female reportee and told her that if she did not wear her mangal sutra everyday to work, her annual appraisal rating might suffer. Needless to say I had some choice words to tell  him, which he ignored, of course. The gal quit soon after.  
  • This was also the same guy who told me in very strong words, that a wife should NEVER call her husband by name, because the husband is after all a MALE and his maleness should be respected. :-) And that would probably be the time I almost puked on him.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Who has not heard of the 10 Avatars of Vishnu? He was said to have taken (to take) 10 different avatars in the different yugs to destroy evil and protect good. But the weird thing about the dasavatar is that only the first 7 avatars are kept same in all the different lists that people give. I have seen Buddha included in the list, even Gandhi (for god's sake).
But mostly people include Balaram who was the elder brother of Krishna. Ironically the same people will also agree that Balaram was re-incarnation of Vishnu's snake, Adhisesha. So, if Balaram is taken out of the running then who next? how do we make the navavatar, dasavatar?

Do you know that the last male child in most Hindu families are names Janardhan? This is because Janardhan is supposed to be the last avatar, even after Kalki. Interesting, huh?! I am trying to dig into Lord Janardhana to see if there is more info about him.

So that makes the Dasavathar

Matsya (Fish)
Koorma (Tortoise)
Varaha (Pig)
Narasimha (Lion)
Vamana (Little man)

Do you notice an interesting fact in the sequence of the avatars? They follow the evolution of creatures on the earth to a great extent (and this 1000s of years before Darwin was even born).
The fish, then the amphibian, then the lower level mammal, then the higher level mammal, the small man and the cave man or saint (parashuram was said to have been most comfortable living in the forest) and so on.

our Rights to Freedom of speech

So how are you all this festival season? What festival? you ask. Why, its the festival of Valentine's day, of course. The merchants are going crazy marketing their wares and giving 30-50% off on all products, from shoes to dresses to jewelry to vehicles to you-name-it. But the red balloons, roses and heart shaped everythings are what make me sick. Poor St. Valentine, he died for a cause and it has been twisted to help the marketing world best.

But but but... this valentine's day has been chosen as the Free speech day - To celebrate free speech and to protest book bans, censorship in the arts and curbs on free expression.

All the great democratic countries who have given their citizens the right to speak are curtailing and banning all forms and means of expressions, using one excuse or the other. And in India, what could irritate the government and its opposition alike, more than the firangi "festival" of valentine's day which promotes dirty, immoral western ideas such as love?

There is a call out for #flashreads where folks are all called to meet at a popular public place and do a flash read.  Nice thought.

Ain't it sad that 64 years after gaining independence from the foreigners, we are still fighting to free speech.

Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such thing as Wisdom; and no such thing as public Liberty, without Freedom of Speech. - Benjamin Franklin

“Free speech means the right to shout 'theatre' in a crowded fire.” 
― Abbie Hoffman

“If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”  ― George Washington

“This is slavery, not to speak one's thought.”  ― EuripidesThe Phoenician Women

"Freedom is fundamentally the possibility of standing on a street corner and shouting “There is no freedom here!”  ― Yoani S├ínchez

“The interest in encouraging freedom of expression in a democratic society outweighs any theoretical but unproven benefit of censorship.”  ― John Paul Stevens

(All posters courtesy the generosity of Sanjay Sipahimalani--for all four free speech posters, go to Antiblurbs.)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The heights of ridiculousness is  an aging Jeetendra dancing the snake dance in a snake costume with Madhvi in the below video. *Snicker*

And he used to be such a good actor too. Can't believe this is the same guy who was in Parichay..