Sunday, August 23, 2009


Today is Pillayar Chaturthi - or, more widely known as Ganesha.
right from my school days, i had a fascination for ganesha.
from street corner temples to the one on BIG street [a very narrow street in triplicane, madras] to the huge 'mukkuruni' ganesha in the meenakshi temple in madurai, i am amazed at the multitude of ways of representing ganesha in graphical forms..
from simple modern strokes to traditional renderings, from simple sitting posture to riding a bike - one can find ganesha representations limited only by one's imagination.

i have always felt that ganesha is the first god of IT - with his own mouse!

our home also has a reasonable collection of ganeshas.
or the specialized forms - such as the one to ward off the 'evei eye'

or wall murals like


have you come across any special forms of Ganesha?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

the water concern

Having grown up in Chennai - in the peak of the water shortage years, i have many memories of spending many hours a day - at odd hours, that too - on gathering water.

when water supply was limited to alternate days, we still needed to pump water as the pressure was very low.
i had to learn the mechanics of the pump - and associated techniques. 
for priming - when the water level went down, including taking out the washer and softening it, if it went dry etc, or replacing it with a new one, when the old one wore out.

then there came the more modern versions like this:
we also had to wait for the water tanker and a camaraderie developed among neighbors till the water tanker came and competition when the tanker arrived, to ensure that each family got sufficient water.
i notice that water is also important for politics, where i see that even 'emerging' slums get water supplied in tankers by the local politician towards the welfare of that colony.
recently, when i was looking at the finalists of the engineering contests organized by mondialogo - one of the interesting initiatives that i have been following for the last couple of years -  

noticed that the largest number of entries were related to - what else, water!
not only the Indian entries, but also from other countries!

Some of the smart investors in India have been investing in water. 
as one of the economic theories go, the next major conflicts in the world are likely to be over water!

what is your take on water?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Eclipsed Bangalore

i read how Thomas Friedman - the author of Hot, Flat and Crowded found a scene of an inaugural puja done for a flyover in Hyderabad, somewhat amazing.
his amazement was due to the fact that modernity and tradition co-existed without being felt as contradictions.

that is not only in hyderabad.
bangalore, for all the modernity and influence of foreign cultures - thanks to the IT boom - still has not forgotten old convictions.

i see this every time during an eclipse.
Bangaloreans love food. even on days of bandhs, the first establishments to open and do near normal business soon after.

but, eclipse days are different. not only are the food spots empty, so are the streets.
the fear of being exposed to harmful rays keeps people indoors.

the scenes on the 'mini forest' stretch, which is packed on other days, with morning walkers looked like this:
the stretch inside one of the segments that has many walkers looked like this.

the laughter club, very active and very regular also like this:

just reinforces the byline of an old documentary that India is a place where centuries co-exist!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Mukkani and Sidr Honey..

after a couple of years, got to eat jackfruit grown at home [in chennai].
the last of the fruits this season, was waiting when i went to chennai a couple of weeks ago.
thugh it looked small - it was ready for consumtption in a couple of days.

the day i cut it, we also had the last of the mangoes for the season.

the trio of Mango - jackfruit  - banana [Maa - pala - Vazhai] is called Mukkani [or three fruits].

my mom used to cook almost all parts of the jackfruit.
the fruit, of course - can be eaten by itself or with honey! though both are sweet, this combination is divine!
the seeds are also edible and make sambar taste better.

the skin - once the thorny outside and the stringy inside are removed - is still fleshy and can be used to make a gravy based 'koottu'.

that day was also special because i got to taste the 'sidr' honey - a speciality honey from yemen.
supposedly the most expensive honey - the consistency and aroma are really out of the world. [you might have guessed that i like honey :-)]

you can find some more details here.