Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Give me some sunshine

Aaditya Hrudayam Punyam Sarvashatruvinaashanam
Jayavaham japennithyam akshayam paramam shivam

These are the first two lines of Aaditya Hrudayam a Hindu Sanskrit hymn praising the sun God. It refers to the sun as destroyer of enemies. Here enemy is not to be taken literally . Lack of confidence, lethargy , stress ,  ill health and a lot of things that harm us from the inside will be wiped out by the power of the sun !

This is not a post promoting religion. Today morning as i was driving , the rising sun had me spell bound. Not hot , but warm and loving - a big orangish yellow circle in the sky and i was reminded of this.

Well yes, i know scientifically there are millions of stars in the galaxy like the sun but to us its a visible beautiful source of energy that hovers over us , illuminating all our lives.

Social media is full of ways in which solar energy can be tapped .There was a time when the only solar panels I knew were the maroon chips at the corners of calculators.Thats about it! Now, we have roads being laid with hidden solar panels to solar panels floating on water. 

I often hear people living in hot humid places complaining about the weather . People living in cold places know the hard reality! .... the grass is not green on the other side....Not metaphorically but even literally because even grass needs sunlight to grow ha ha

Have you seen the movie "Chronicles of Narnia" . The evil white queen removes all the sunshine and greenery and leaves the land white and cold and barren ! When the curse breaks it transforms beautifully!

In fact all our lives revolve around this burning sphere as our tiny planet revolves around it. The water cycle, the rain , vegetation , crops - Every morsel of food we consume and the entire planetary life cycle depends upon it.  Have you seen the first scene of the song "the circle of life" from The Lion King ? The sun the song the singing ....wow !

At a personal level one of the things i love in life is the gentle morning sunshine. The one that gently spreads its rays  through our windows, comes around you and holds you in a warm embrace ! 

There are lots of things recommended to fill our beings with positive energy. Sun salutation is an important aspect of yoga. Traditionally the recommended direction for most activities is east west along the solar trajectory .

Stand facing the morning sun, gently close your eyes and take in as much energy and positivity as you can . You would be filled with enthusiasm and vigour and a renewed confidence!

Of course the vitamin D comes extra for free ! 

I remember reading the story of a king who was perennially sick. Then came a famous physician, gave him a long mallet and advised him to get on horseback and go about hitting a ball with it .  The king got cured and polo was born . 

Let the sun in and your days will be sunny!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Showering Music!!!

6 40 am.
Our home is busy getting ready for the day ahead. Monday morning - worst of all! ...weekend inertia for everyone! The pressure cooker breaks the morning silence with its shrill whistle as it sweats away to make our take away lunch. I go and knock on the bathroom door, and cry out in a quintessential mother-in-the-morning voice "V you are going to be late !."  That interrupts my little boy's (well little is just because i am used to that term, he is ten now) day dream and i hear the shower head going into full fledged force.

After a few seconds, an incredibly soulful " aaa ahaaa ahaa " is heard along with the sounds of the spraying water . His knowledge of rock music is limited but he loves the tamil cinema numbers that border the genre . He goes on singing loud and clear, the lyrics coming in now. His voice is good and so is his singing. It takes all of my self resistance to overcome my guilt in disturbing his morning reverie.

Well, to be honest, i love singing in the bathroom too. Its a kind of meditative state where you hide away from the world and be the performer and the audience combined into one person. Pure bliss ! Trust me, its not an intentional act. It just happens when you are totally "in the moment" . That is precisely what all self-help books ask us to get into, right ?
Image credit: Me myself and Sketch app

My theory is that bathroom singers are those that can stop a minute to admire the flowers on the way and are in no hurry to join the mad rat race we all are embroiled in. Well, may be thats taking it a bit too far but not a bad theory i suppose!

Apparently the hard tiles and confined space of the bathroom provide an acoustic environment that make us sound very good and that is one of the reasons people start singing in there.

Sometimes i have heard people say " i cant sing...i am just a bathroom singer " . Well one should not demean oneself like that . To me, bathrooms are the best place to test ones vocal abilities. A person who sings well in the bathroom loves music , sings well and can put in a lot of feeling in . Outside of that confined space, he just needs to learn how to get his voice into a similar state of symphony.

Have we not seen in the music competitions on TV - the idols, the super singers etc - judges mentioning " there was not enough feel in there . It lacked the intensity " . Well singing is at the epitome of feeling when one is engulfed in the water droplets pouring out of the shower ....

Immersing oneself up to the in neck-deep water and then singing is a traditional practice that is supposed to soften and strengthen ones vocal chords and singing abilities.

As Sanjeev Kumar rightly sang in a movie, " Tande tande paani se nahaana chaahiye...gaana aaye ya na aaye gaana chaahiye" ....translating to " you must bathe in chill cool water and whether you can or not you must sing! "

....vaazhga valamudan!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Good old rotary dial phones

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In todays world, landline phones , i mean the ones rooted to their spots are becoming a rarity.

There was a time when they were the luxury belonging of many a home especially in India.

Before the push button phones there were the rotary dial phones . I was always fascinated by them especially the whirring noise with which the dial retracted to its position . I loved telephone numbers that had the number 9 , that stretched the longest .Even the dial and ring tones were loud and distinct for these phones.

I used to watch in absolute fascination whenever my dad picked up the receiver and started dialling someones number. One thing about these phones is they were lesser prone to error when dialling someones number . You could press 8 instead of 0 or 2 instead of 3 in a push button one. That was a rarity with these beautiful pieces of engineering art.

Those were times when neighbourhood friendships developed through permissions for "your kith and kin to reach you through my telephone"

There are numerous movie songs that have been picturized around the idea of phones. The heroine would be perched on 1 and the hero would climb up a rope from 0 to reach her and they would go " la la la la la"

After some time there were only push button phones and then came the chordless ones.

If i get a chance i will definitely get a rotary dial phone. Wonder if they will still work in todays Voip set up !

Image source : wikimedia commons by Nition1

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Flash fiction - Smoke

The orange of the angry flames was hardly discernible in the trail of dark grey smoke that followed him like a cape. He had his arms flung out wide on either side of him , his claws gleaming menacingly. With a cruel snort emerging from his nostrils, the gigantic dragon furiously approached the little rabbit , as she whimpered and cowered in terror. She still tried to keep her ears absolutely straight drawing the last ounce of courage from her inner self. Suddenly ,from somewhere,a ray of light pierced his belly!He let out a roar of defeat and shattered into a million pieces! The little rabbit smiled and gently floated away.

I continued to gaze at the morning sun and the clouds. Nature paints new stories every moment in the azure umbrella that hovers over us.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Poetry - Just a sight of bliss

Under the sky that was beautifully blue,
Was a little windmill bright !
Its walls were brown and the blades blue,
It was indeed a lovely sight.

Besides the wind mill was a big old tree,
It stood really tall with its branches wide!
On the tree made its home a little birdie,
And sang a few songs with his friends side by side!

The birds finished what they had to sing,
And with a flutter of their wings flew!
Eagerly seeing what the day would bring
A pattern across the sky they drew!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The beaver next to the house

The kids have holidays. There comes a break in their routine when you need to figure out how to keep them occupied .

I got my kids some new paints and color pencils. I also got them some coloring books as well as drawing pads for free hand drawing .

Sometimes i draw pictures for my daughter which she dedicatedly fills up with paint . Today I decided to draw a picture i loved drawing as a kid . A house with a bright sun above , a tree nearby and a girl standing next to it . I have drawn many versions of the same picture .

Here comes a twist in the story. My daughter wanted a beaver there . How on earth am i supposed to draw a beaver ?? God bless Google for it immediately fetched some cartoon images of a beaver .

I drew a picture and the end result was a four legged creature that was born to a cat and a dog with a beaver somewhere in the DNA ancestory.

It reminded me of the picture of a frog i had drawn in class X. My biology sir said that it looked more like a lizard that had devored a nice juicy cockroach for its lunch.

My daughter looked at my beaver and exclaimed " its so beautiful mama ."  So many lessons in there . Making people feel beautiful, appreciation and feeling happy about little things in life .

I am glad that i drew that beaver today and thanks again Google . 

Monday, November 26, 2018


The cafe that i saw from my bus window gave me something to write a post on. Thanks to all the cafe s on planet earth.

Coffee. Its the first tick box in the morning routine of many a person all over the globe.

Of course it has culturally been adapted in different ways as well. Black , white , brown , filter kaapi , hazelnut coffee , latte , cappuccino  etc etc 

My children take milk but my daughter loves dipping her biscuit in my beverage and taking a bite into it. I am not sure if its the taste or the activity that fascinates her . 

We Tamilians love indulging in what we call "tiffin plus coffee " . Some salty and spicy and of course tasty savoury items like idly , vada , dosa , puri etc make its way down our digestive system. While the tongue is soaking in the myriad of tastes each of these items provide , the highlight of the experience comes when a sip of hot filter coffee hits the taste buds .  Its akin to splashing some chill water on your face after a good workout . Or doing a strenuous activity and taking a gulp of sweet cold water . Or going out into the sun and entering a room chilled by an air conditioner . 

We use the "dabara tumbler" for coffee. For some hard core fans the same coffee served in a porcelain mug can never give the satisfaction these two utensils provide.

If you ask my mother or mother in law or aunts or the other reigning queens of Tamil kitchens they could write a big book on the ways to get that one cup of coffee perfect . In fact its the drink thats offered to guests and the only breakfast item on some days when we decide to advance the lunch time by a couple of hours . 

I first came across Hazelnut coffee when i went to the US . I loved it so much that every time i taste it i kind of get transported to the cool winter mornings there and my creamy cup of the beverage . 

I am not a big fan of cold coffee. With or without icecream . But recently i had coffee flavored cake and it seemed ok . 

When i went to Coorg a couple of years ago we got to see coffee plants. Its a fun thing exploring the origins of things we use everyday . 

By the way do u know what luwak coffee is ?  ( hi hi hi hi )