Music and Music Lovers

I dont even remember when my last visit to a Concert in the December music season was… All i know is it was lost in the past, and this concert i attended 2days back was a whole new experience for me!
My friend who’s come down from Bombay called asking when we were meeting, and during the course of our conversation, she mentioned going for concerts, almost daily. And a secret voice from somewhere within me popped out asking her what the concert was the following day..and before i knew it, i had requested my friend’s hubby to pick up an extra ticket for me…  I recall hearing in a blur “Aruna Sairam”…
Armed with strict instructions from Ar to reach the venue- Music Academy, TTK Road by 3.30pm, i was there at the gates by 3.20pm.. The whole place looked transformed, and looked quite swanky…Ar messaged around 3.30 saying they were on their way and that our place was in 2nd floor… I dint knw there was a 2nd floor..damn!! Went to 1st floor, saw a snake like long queue going into space…
The troops came, joined me in the queue, hugs hi hello follwed by a slow crawl up the stairs that kept going till we reached the rooftop, no jokes!! and then wound into the auditorium, and then again making our way down the gallery to find a spot to sit where we could see Aruna sairam and not something that looked like a dot… πŸ˜€
There were quite a few seats empty around the hall, but they had names stuck on them. N told me those were reserved for members, who invariably either came late or dint show up at all… Dont understand this attitude of people!! Do they become high and mighty??? 
And then there were the hoards of elderly who could barely walk, leave alone climb stairs and they were forced to walk up and down, squeeze into a filled row to get to that one seat available at the other end…  felt really bad…there was this elderly man, who had a walking stick and was made to walk literally all the way to the other end, he was shaking all the way through…  Since there were no seat numbers, it was all First come first serve basis!! 
At 4.15, screens opened and Aruna Sairam came alive…. the next 2 hours went off in a haze, with one song after the other… She has such a powerful voice, so much energy and is simply amazing…. I am not too much into carnatic music, but i quite enjoy her style of singing… 
The violinist had us mesmerised…. “konjithu” as we say in tamil, it was caressing our souls…. The Gatam, Mrudangam were no less…. Before we knew it,  time had flown and it was 6.45 when she ended her last number..
The music lovers were so visible through the evening.. the hand movements, head nods, some armed with books on raaga, songs, and compositions.. The aunties with brochures of various concerts, already planning their next day agenda… Was quite amusing to watch..
There were a few who i am guessing are regulars, armed with their shawls, cloves[to pop in to avoid coughing or as mouth freshener], notebook pen to write down song names, and binoculars [yes, saw quite a few].. 
Wait,the evening isnt over yet… How can we leave without a stop at the canteen to sample a few of the yumm treats… Ordered for Mysore bonda, but had to  settle for Dosas & hot filter coffee, since the bondas were all sold out..
All in all, it was one awesome experience for me!! will i go for another concert? Damn right, i will.. infact, already looking fwd to Kadri gopalnath concert tomorrow evening… πŸ™‚

Where the Lord Rests-Thirumalpadi

It was 10.30am and the priest told us he’ll come open the temple only after the funeral procession had gone by, which would be around 12.30 or so… Arvind then suggested we drive over to another temple, and come back here, but as we got on the road, we called the priest to reconfirm the time when he suggested we visit the Ranganatha swamy temple close by where the Lord was lying down almost like sleeping.
 
That is how we ended up at  Thirumalpadi , very close to Seeyamangalam, Vandavasi in Tiruvannamalai district. We drove by a small lane, and stopped near what looked like a priest’s house. I got out of the car, went over and enquired if the priest was in. The woman who said she was the priest’s wife said he’ll come to the temple in a few minutes and asked us to go wait there… 
Parked the car at the foothills of the nealty laid out steps, we waited patiently…. This was a Ranganatha swamy temple that had been built during the Chola times. We were the only ones there and so got the privilege of going right inside and getting a good look at Lord Ranganatha Swamy resting… 
As we made our way around the main sanctum, it was visible that the temple has gone through many renovations. The most recent one had almost buried its antiquity, the inscriptions and sculptures aroudn the wall. 
The floor level around this beautiful temple had been raised and the floor cemented, all this burying a few rows of inscriptions. The other remaining inscriptions around the current level had been painted over.  
The Hanuman idol in this temple is facing the east, which is a rarity,said the priest. Similarly, one of the pillars inside the main sanctum had a Lakshmi Narasimha on it. He then took us around to show us the various other shrines that were in near ruin stages, home to a few bats and cobwebs. The temple had its own water resource, tucked between two small hillocks.
The view from the top  was breathtaking… All we saw were greenery, and a few small hills yonder. The day was quite hot, and so we quietly bid adieu to the priest and made our way back to Seeyamangalam wondering what other rich heritage sites were hidden away like this temple..

Why do….

Why do people need no reason to give advice
but rarely take the same?

Why do people keep talking
and barely listen?

Who do people assume things 
and rarely wait to see reality?

Why do people “box” certain qualities
and barely look beneath the exterior?

Why do people rush to talk
and rarely think before they do?

Why do people hurt in a flash
and barely bat an eyelid at the pain they cause?

Why do people say something
when deep within they mean something else? 

Why do people 
do what they do???
say what they say???? 


Calm

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.
Buddha

Everytime i see an image or a piece like this of Buddha, it catches my eye,stays in my mind and makes me smile!! There is something calming about Buddha…. I long to bring home a Buddha statue, just yet to find the ONE!! 
This Buddha idol i saw at Odyssey bookstore in Express Avenue when i had gone with a friend on Sunday…. Quite liked the play of colours, but dint understand why there was a strange earring with fake white stones on it… Click Click on my Blackberry i did πŸ™‚

Fishes and Fun

Felt like we were on a treasure hunt, no clues or no directions either.. We kept walking up and down the aisles, crowded with people, and noise filling our ears from all corners… We were at the new mall in Chennai- Express Avenue..  It all began 10mins earlier, when we reached the 2nd floor and A suddenly mentioned “Kenko”, and how her office gets a discount with them, which she had facilitated…  
I pulled out my Blackberry, and found the address for Kenko= S289, 2nd floor.. Alas,this dint really help, none of the shops knew their number or where 289 was… Finally, one soul [security guard] guided us and voila, we found a standee for “Kenko”… 
Standing outside the door, we debated on “should we go in, or not”… Curiosity got the better of us .. We walked into the dimly lit Spa, white comfy looking sofas lined the walls, a curved reception area with a big statue of Buddha behind glowing in the blue light from the ceiling.. 

Kenko, popularly known for its Reflexology and Fish therapy.. Kenko, which means β€˜healthy’ in Japanese, has its headquarters in Singapore and is very popular all over Malaysia and Indonesia.

 Few minutes later, i was getting my feet washed and was guided to a tank filled with a zillion little silver fish… These fish feed on Dead cells, and are imported from Turkey is what Ajit Menon, the man[COO] who brought Kenko to Chennai told us… And with that, i had done one more new thing for the year 2010.. Woohoo! πŸ™‚
 
My friend too bit the bait, and took her place on the platform next to mine… Within minutes, i was over the tickly buzz that the fish were creating on my leg and was floating away into lala land… We had chosen to try the 15min Fish spa treatment, just to see what it was all about… What fun!! And at the end of the time, i actually felt nice, my feet were soft, and felt good..i dint want to walk around, but wanted to put them pretty feet up and lounge… πŸ™‚ 
A also tried out the Ear Candling treatment=  apparently they put a candle in your ear, light it up, massage olive oil on neck and face to help release toxins from inside… They also have quite a few other options and combos for those who are looking for relaxation… 

Other services:: Head Acupressure, Aromatic head Massage, Shoulder and Back Massage, Harmony Body Massage for women, Ear Candling, Head to Toe massage …. 

Ambience: I quite liked the ambience, it was soothing, and the colours added to the atmosphere..
Price: Not very expensive.. The 15mins fish spa was Rs300.. They have some good deals starting from Rs600 [fish spa+ Massage or reflexology, etc] 
Service: Excellent.. Those working here are very professional and damn sweet [indulging in our quirks, soothing the fears]
Location: perfect.. Away from the hustle bustle of the mall, the crowd,and shops, the Spa is located at the far corner [The other end from Odyssey, on 2nd floor]
Suitable for people across ages… kids to adults… infact we saw quite a few members from a single family enjoying and sharing their experiences… πŸ™‚

One legged

You never know what you might see when you are out. Recently when waiting for the train at Bangalore station, i spotted this guy.. I was generally taking shots of various buildings, people, etc when i saw the crow, turned and looked back to see if my eyes were playing tricks on me or if it was for real.


This one legged crow was happily hopping from one track to the other looking for food.. dint seem to be bothered about his handicap… After a few minutes, i saw a train approaching, and kept staring at this guy to make sure he hopped away and dint get hurt… Dint realize i was holding my breathe till i saw his hop onto the next track and keep at his search…. πŸ™‚ 

People

Some people come into our lives and quickly go.  Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same.  ~Flavia Weedn





There are childhood friends
There are friends
There are colleagues
There are partners [lovers, bf, gf, spouse]
and then there is family… 


do people change
do we change
do our expectations from them change
do circumstances change us/ them


they become distant
they don’t seem to care.. 
they go cold
we become cynical
we wonder if they care 


are we hallucinating?
are we expecting too much?
are we being unreasonable?
are they being unfair?
are they raising walls? 


we change
we withdraw
we go distant
we draw a shield around “me”
we know we have only “I”


No, am not hallucinating or i have not lost it.. but just been coming to terms with life and people around me…Realised that with every relationship there is a fine line, some more visible than others… and no one is really ours… are they?? 


What are your thoughts on this??? Do share… 

[Skywatch Friday] Reflections



During my recent holiday , we drove down from Allepey to the Krishnapuram Palace in Kayamkulam. This palace is said to be a replica of the Padmanabapuram palace, Trivandrum.. The palace pond had me captive.. Crystal clear waters and a lone turtle happily swimming about … 





The Palace is a grand reflection of the Kerala style of architecture – complete with gabled roofs, narrow corridors and dormer windows. 


for more beautiful skies, visit Skywatch Friday

The Dargah …

“Are you journalists?” 
“In which paper do you write”
‘You are both travelling alone?”
were some questions that sparked off conversations, helping us kill time, making the bus journey enjoyable. 

We were back on the bus and on the road after a brief stop in Chidambaram for about an hour, just enough time to check into the hotel near the bus stand and grab a quick lunch. 


‘How much further to Nagore?” i asked the man in the seat ahead of ours.
 “Another 10 mins maximum.. you are going to the Dargah?” he replied.
“Yes, sir.” we replied in unison. 


Though Nagore and the Dargah had not been in our initial plan, since we were heading down that road, we decided to make a quick stop here. This was the 2nd time S and i were doing one of our up and go weekend backpacking trips… 

Destination – unknown [ we had zeroed in on Chidambaram to be our base and thought we shall wander around there… maybe as far as Veilankanni church…]

Duration of trip – 2 short days  

Agenda– None πŸ™‚ 

Travellers– 2 absolutely excited souls… me and S 

I was telling S -“My grandparents have been here… apparently people from all religions are welcome here and they visit here- not just for a prayer, but consider the Dargah to have special powers”  when the bus drew to a sudden halt.  Bidding good bye to our fellow passengers we spotted the colorful walls of the Dargah ahead of us just as we stepped of the bus.






A small elephant stood near the entrance blessing visitors. it had a crescent and a star on the forehead and looked no bigger than a baby.



As we walked into the  long corridor leading to the Dargah, rows of brightly lit shops caught our eye on either side of the walk way. filled with little knick knacks, toys, garlands, souvenir from the Dargah. it was quite a sight. 

Nagore One of the popular pilgrimage centres for Muslims in Tamil Nadu is the Dargah at Nagore. The tomb is more than 500 years old. It has a golden dome, flanked by five minarets. It also has a tank called Peer Kulam, which is believed to have waters with curative properties. The Kandhoori festival of the Saint, during the Islamic month of Jumad Thani (Jumad Akhir) is an important festival celebrated by people of all religions.

Situated 4 kms north of Nagapattinam, Nagore is home to the famous Dargah of Sufi Saint Hazrath Syed Shahul Hameed Quadir Wali 



Entering the Dargah, a man came towards us, and asked us to leave our bags near the door and follow him inside. Noticing the apprehension in our faces, he showed us an ID card saying he was an authorized personnel from the Dargah. guided us to a room just outside the main prayer room, and offered us a few packets and asked us to make a donation, minimum of Rs100… We were taken aback, and realized here was another way of making us part with our money… Managed to convince him we were students and offered a smaller sum and rushed to head out of the place… 



Looking for a place to pick up some water from, we looked forward to other adventures that awaited us that day.. 


photographs:
1st one taken on my N95 8GB phone
others on my canon camera[film camera :)]