Thursday, February 25, 2021

Neighbor’s Rebuilt Garden and Flowers

The neighbor, from the opposite side, has rebuilt his garden damaged in the cyclone and monsoon. I count this house and garden as one of the unchanging faces of our neighborhood. The home dwellers are always the ones who prioritize their privacy and never socialize with others easily.  As neighbors, for about 40 years, we aren't well aware of either world. Perhaps, because we aren't in touch with them for 12 years, as we relocated from 2005 - 2018, but I don't think they would be socialized even if we continued face to face. 
The view of the house shot from the 3rd floor of our house (by my mom) and the garden view was blocked by the Indian tulip tree before the flood and rain.

Due to the rise of the road, the house and the garden went down, though they raised the driveway, long back, the garden remained to the low level.

The house belongs to a 94-year-old retired wing commander, and he maintained the garden until he was active, and later his son took over the onus. I see he inherited the interest in gardening from his father, and he even overtakes his father in bringing a lot of flowering plants to the garden. The Nivar cyclone that hit us on Nov 26th (the same day of my brother’s wedding) had flooded their house and garden, and the extended rain had further worsened the situation.

I think it's the passion that kept him in the recovery mode of the garden, and man, no one would have spent like him in bringing back the garden when the situation for priorities are different. He had dumped many truckloads of rubble and fertile soil to uplift the garden and the works were going on for weeks before he got back his beautiful garden.

I watched the entire progress of the work from the balcony and also the hall, as our door and the window opens up overlooking the garden; I entertained by the elegant work of the gardeners from the nursery in the next compound. I saw the fall and rise of the garden, and I'm glad he decided to give life to the garden instead of giving up.


After leveling the ground, the instant turf laid at the center of the garden, and many tiny plants were laid around and across the lawn beautifully.  In between this, he bought many plants, as he used to, and continue to do; he replanted them in the new and old pots and neatly arranged them in the front of the garden and close to the gate and along the driveway. I see people stop by the gate and fence to look at the plants, thinking he has kept the nursery.


He has planted different kinds of hibiscus in the pots he had kept close to the fence, and it allows me to look at the flowers and take photos in the camera. As I have only a point-and-shoot camera, I have limited zoom length to capture the flowers at a distance of 20-30 feet doesn't get me fair pictures of the flowers, but still, I feel content with the result of details.



I see different colors of flowers every day, but they last only up to a day, and the next day there's another. I don't know how long they continue to bloom, but I keep an eye on them and take photos whenever I see them bloom. And these are some of the photos I shot on different days after rebuilt of the garden. I wish I could continue to take more photos of the plants and flowers to share here as long it blooms or exists. 

Monday, February 22, 2021

RGB Monday

A couple of colorful Kolam from the neighborhood, shot on the day of the Pongal festival last month. 


Since I took this from my evening walk, the Pongal pot kolam (above) drawn in the morning was scattered a bit at the bottom as people used by.  


Both the Kolams above were from the same house in the neighborhood. 

Saturday, February 20, 2021

A cow and calf

A cow and calf drove down our street on Mattu Pongal – the third day (Jan 15) of the Pongal festival celebrated to thank cattle. Each year we find a cow or two drove down our street after the worship or perhaps to or fro from a temple visit since they are celebrated on this day. I guess the cows are walked down from a nearby slum because they could only be seen at those places in the city.


Linking this post with SATURDAY CRITTERS

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Veedur Dam irrigation and Intake tower


The 62-year-old Veedur Dam (click the link to see the dam post) irrigates about 2,200 acres in Tamil Nadu and 1000 acres in Puducherry is classified as a minor irrigation project in India.  A project designed to irrigate an area of 2000 hectares or less are classified as minor irrigation since India adopted the command area-based system of classification.



Irrigation in India is a network of major and minor canals from Indian rivers, even though groundwater irrigation covers 65% of irrigation in India. 2/3rd of the cultivated land is dependent on monsoons, which is most of the time unreliable and unpredictable.  


The Veedur dam is a major source of irrigation for over 100 villages in Villupuram and the state of Puducherry, through its prime channel and five branch canals for about 17.6 km. And what you see in the images is the Intake Tower in yellow (which drew water to the canal) and a pretty blue and white-colored staircase leading to the same. Since I focused on the left side of the dam, I could capture the open canal on the other side of the road.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

A word to abort

The Tamil word‘**tha’ is becoming trending. Those who knew Tamil will know what I mean. I don't say that the word has never been uttered in films before. Either that word would be muted or beeped. Or the user of that word will be a negative character, so it will not make a big impact. But when the protagonists themselves using that word become trending.

Actor Surya used that word in Soorarai Pottru, following actor Vijay in Master and G V too uttered the word '**tha' in his upcoming film while expressing his anger. I don't know what that means, but it's definitely an obscene word. Heroes are better off avoiding this as it may affect the growing generation.

I have heard some people speak this word casually, but since words like this come up in the films, it too will definitely affect the younger generation when great actors speak that word. I wish they do not create an "F word" culture in Tamil!

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Veedur Dam, near Villupuram

I have crossed the Veedur Dam several times when going beyond Villupuram on the GST road or NH 45 (or NH 138 according to Google maps), and I could only see a piece of the bank of the 4.5km long dam. I mostly took this national highway for long trips, as it is a prime road led to the southern districts of Tamil Nadu, and thus I never had time to stop to look at the dam as we need to cover long distances in travel.

The entrance arch to the dam
I always have an interest in visiting dams and the Veedur dam was also on my list of visits, and I found that the extended monsoon season (post) was apt. to visit. Because the dam receives water only when there is a good monsoon rain, and following last year the dam had reached its full level again, and surplus water was released into the Gingee river.


The Veedur Dam is about 150 km from Chennai on the GST road, and it is located right on the highway between Tindivanam and Villupuram and welcomes by an arch that marks the road leading to the dam and the park. Though the day was sunny, it wasn’t hot (thanks to the winter season and one of the reasons I chose to visit the dam), and the cool breeze was enough to create small waves in the water to crash like the sea.


Since it was Sunday, some people had arrived on bikes and cars, but it was not crowded enough to scare us. There is a road to climb on the dam, though the vehicles are allowed only near the shutter area, it was more than enough for me to get the view of the dam. The water level at the dam was up to the rim, and we could see water spill out of the shutters (when we cross the downstream area) when the wind blows strong.



The Veedur Dam was built-in 1959 during the regime of K. Kamaraj, the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and President of the Indian National Congress, at the initiative of Kakkan, who was the Minister of Public Works Department. Kamaraj, also known as Kingmaker, constructed many dams in the state during his regime, and each one of them was a marvel in engineering. And the Veedur dam was the smallest and last dam he constructed before the end of his regime.

The 3 Tainter gates
The dam is built on the merging point of two different rivers, called Sankaraparani and Thondi, at the village of Veedur from where the dam got its name, Veedur Dam. The dam serves as a source of drinking water and agriculture for more than 100 villages, including Vikravandi, Mailam, Vanur, and Pondicherry. During the monsoon, the dam opens for irrigation of about 2,200 acres in Tamil Nadu and 1,000 acres in Pondicherry.

The view of the dam park and car parking 

The total height of the concrete dam is 32 feet, and the earth dam is 37 feet; and among the 4.8 km long earth dam, only 430 feet is a concrete dam. Besides the 9 spillway shutters, there are 3 Tainter gates - a type of radial arm floodgates used in dams and canal locks to control water flow - which is something I find new. The dam has two little parks, one at the entrance of the road, beside the archway, and another close to the dam provides some nice shadows to the visitors and play area for kids.

Driving down to downstream area through the shadowy park area
I got to see the entire dam area and was pleased by the amazing sights of the countryside while continue to travel on the dam road. We will see further in the next post as this turned to be a long post. 

Monday, February 08, 2021

RGB Monday

A colorful lane on the white town in Puducherry and aka Pondicheery.


Yesterday I traveled to Puducherry, a 150+ km ride after a year, and my last travel to Amrithi Zoo near Vellore in Feb 2020. Visiting Puducherry is an extension ride following the intention of visiting Veedur Dam, near Tindivanam. More detail about the trip will follow in the next post.

Friday, February 05, 2021

Golden Shower

 

The Indian rain tree opposite our house.

The ripe leaves fall off the tree

In the air, the destination undefined

Yet the infinite wind blow

To keep it ground and far.

 

The falling leaves seems a blessing

On anyone under its tree

Perhaps, because these are mature leaves

Equivalent to be greeted by adults.

 

The leaves depart on a journey undecided,

Gives way to emerging shoots. 

Perhaps, because it is called Indian rain tree

It showers in golden yellow.

Monday, February 01, 2021

RGB Monday

Let’s begin the month (February) colorfully!


My aunt’s another colorful butterfly kolam from the Pongal festival.

Kolam considered an auspicious and morning exercise for women in general, as they bend down and connect the dots, they do some math’s blending the body and mind. Due to knee problems and space for drawing, keep mom away from following the custom, so my aunt takes care of drawing kolam daily in front of the house as we share the same gateway. Lately, there was a talk of keeping a maid to do the task daily on our behalf. Not every day we drew color Kolam; so, it won't be difficult in general, and many of our neighbors have such maids, who used to draw simple and same design as Kolam.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

An Island Temple on Palar river, in ECR


Following Kadalur check-Dam (click for the previous post), we visited a little island temple on the other bank of the Palar river. If the left before crossing the Palar river on ECR led to the dam, the right after crossing the river directs you to the temple that rested on a rocky mound at about 150 feet inside the river. The temple is connected by a small bridge that covers the distance between the bank and temple.


The temple called by the name Shri Kailasanathar Kovil has Lord Shiva is a prime deity and is worshipped in the name of Kailasanathar. The inscription at the temple says it was built during Pallava King, Nirupathungan, in the 8th century, and the temple was completely a renovated structure of its original. And the temple is located at a place called Vasavasamudram, about 80km from Chennai on ECR.


The time we visited the temple was closed. Actually, we had no idea about its timing or intended to visit the temple until I checked the dam, and I thought of only taking a look at the place, as we went close to the same. I came to know about the island temple through a vlog by My Sutrula, and I really liked the environment and flow of water around it trigger me to visit.


It was a quiet afternoon, and we drove there after having lunch under the shadows of trees, surrounded by paddy fields and coconut trees. I could easily smell the fragrance of fresh paddy grains every time the wind blows on, sending a nostalgic feel to my senses. The temple beautifully stays in the water on almost four sides, and the road to the temple is narrow through paddy fields and village streets.


While I stayed with the car, others went down to check the temple complex; though the temple’s main gate and the sanctum are closed, people are allowed through a side gate to circumambulate the temple. The images on the temple and river were shot by mom, as I didn’t take my wheelchair, I couldn’t get close, or drove on the little bridge across the water. I really enjoy the view and sound of birds and running water off the paddy fields; it’s a wonderful place to enjoy peace.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Kadalur Dam – First outing of the year

I haven’t planned to go out during the Pongal holidays esp. to avoid the festival crowd, even though the government had forbidden people from visiting tourist places and beaches during the Pongal holidays to prevent the spreading of coronavirus. I went out on the Mattu Pongal day (Jan 15), and this day is usually crowded on ECR (east coast road), unlike the Kaanum Pongal (the next day), with a peak in-crowd, but the closer of tourist places left minimum vehicles on the road. Only the amusement parks were opened, with a fully loaded parking lot.


My brother said, let's go for a ride on ECR, and the idea of visiting the Kadalur check-Dam came on the way. I came to know about this dam from my cousin-sister, who checked the dam last year. And I wanted to check the dam then, but the pandemic made it impossible, and I learned later the recent rain had brought enough water to the dam to overflow.



It's always a dream to see water in the Palar river, which often looks dry, other than little pools of water. The Palar river rises in the Nandi hill of Karnataka and runs into Andhra Pradesh, and then into Tamil Nadu, for a length of 350 km before merged at the sea. The dam is about 75km from Chennai on the ECR, and there’s a signboard indicating the road to the dam (take left) before crossing the river.



The check-dam is built at the mouth of the river for about a km in length, and in between Vayalur-Kadalur village, where the river meets the sea. The road passes through the narrow streets of Vayalur village, ends at the north bank of the river, and then a mud road slides to the dam. When we went, there were already a dozen cars and bikes parked in front of the river, and many people were having fun by sliding through the spillway and taking bath at the river. Despite the slippery spillway and rocks around the dam, this seems to be a safe place to relax and enjoy the bath as a family.


It was noon when we arrived at the dam, and the sun was shining above our heads, so we could not get clear pictures of the place as there was too much sunlight. I even couldn't shoot the flock of pelicans taking flights above the dam site, and they should have come up fishing at the dam. The water stays up to and beyond the bridge of the ECR, which is something I have never seen before – the last flood I saw on the Palar river was in 1997. We quickly moved from there as the sun was quite sharp on us.

The dam is built in 2019 with funding from Kalpakkam Atomic Station and was opened by the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, Edappadi K Palanisamy. And the best time to visit the dam is post-monsoon, the only time when the river sees some flow of water. 

Monday, January 18, 2021

RGB Monday

The four days of the Pongal festival went with the flow and I was just idle watching a couple of newly released movies on OTT and entertained by other programs on tv and YouTube.   As usual, I went for Kolam hunting on our streets on the Pongal evening, but as I expected, I couldn’t see many colorful kolams, and some are in regular patterns to shoot. The Pongal festival wasn’t lively at home, and we miss the Pongal cooked in mud pot right outside the home, what we had done for the last four years, including two years along with uncle’s family. This year’s Pongal was the same as what happens when you eat Pongal – a dull feeling.


But the next day, the Mattu Pongal was good enough as I went on an outing on ECR to explore a couple of places, and what can give me happiness other than the opportunity of travel? I enjoyed the day, except for a couple of disadvantages, and this was my first outing with the sister-in-law, and it went all comfortably. I may write on the places in further posts with photos.


Now coming to RGB Monday, I share my aunt’s colorful pot Kolam she drew for the Pongal festival. Mom’s knee pain stopped her from participating in drawing Kolam, so my aunty managed to draw two more simple Kolams, the only colorful thing we added this year for the Pongal. Hope the Pongal is celebrated with happiness and peace at every house of Tamil people and a wonderful weekend for the others.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Spiritless Pongal Festival?

2020 exists no more, but it took away the happiness and festival spirit with along. I didn’t decorate the Christmas tree or put lights for Christmas and New Year, and now with Pongal, in 2 days I couldn’t feel excited in the usual way.  Pongal is the only festival that leftover to speak the tradition and culture of Tamil people living all over the world and it is a common festival that communicates our lifestyle and unites the people to support and thank farmers for their continuous work of feeding.

Every year we used to draw colorful Kolams, aka Rangoli, in front of the home to add auspiciousness to the festival, and boiling milk and rice in a mud pot, on top of firewood, is another kind of gesture greeting farmers and nature, and also helping the pottery workers.

I always love celebrating a festival beyond its religious beliefs and rituals, as I believe festivals are mean to gather people and celebrate the spirit of togetherness. Pongal is a social festival and farmer’s festive so wishing for their wellness is important and being a pandemic period, we had no option other than limiting our celebrations although our celebration is always restrained to two families. But this year is gonna be celebrated in the kitchen itself. Hehe

Talking about the past year will only make it sadder than happier, and it is a year the world will never forget for the number of losses mankind faced, but the consoling fact was nature restored its place even if it is a temporary phase.  Personally, 2020 is a devastating year for us apart from the pandemic Dracula sucking the life from all over the world, some lives were lost in our family circle and a couple of them were quite unexpected. Though no life is lost for COVID-19, my uncle’s death was the most sent tremors into our family than the cousin who died leaving back two little kids. No life is left to comparable and life is a life that is replaceable by anything but we haven’t been close with that cousin to deeply feel the pain.

This cousin is a good-hearted guy, and kindness would melt in front of his smile, and he had never raised his voice or think to hurt anybody, but he died out of high pressure and cardiac arrest. Perhaps because of this, he hadn't shared his problems with others, and this is a problem with many of our reserved types is to suffer silently. He’s a project manager in a reputed IT firm and an affectionate kid to his mom and with a problematic married life, should I need to define the challenges he got in front of him to cease his life?

My uncle is just 6 months younger than my dad and thus they are like best friends and whatever it is dad only call him first to know his thought before proceeding. I would say he was an iron man who lived among us, and his support to our families is significantly strong and there’s nothing he unknown, and has great grasping power to workout things at observing.  It was him, and it was on his captainship my brother’s wedding in November held successfully. But he couldn’t live less than a week to see them lead their life or any of our future events.  

We meet him frequently or to say at least once in a week or two, it was hard for us to think or feel he’s no more but we feel regret for our aunt who misses him the most as a loving wife. They lived like made for each other and as a cool and casual couple.  They lead any of our functions from the front and now seeing her confined to home hurts really. I hope she returns to normalcy and continues the way she was earlier. I know she too knows life has to move on, more than any of the other, as she already came over her daughter’s demise a decade ago. My thoughts go for her…

Thank you

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Asus Vivobook X441ua

Begin the year with a new laptop as I said goodbye to my nine-year-old companion, the Dell Inspiron 15. It was a journey uninterrupted in any major ways, and it doesn't require service for the last 3 years perhaps it could be a reason for its sudden loss of response. I could have woken it up by changing the motherboard, but I decided to put it rest and went for a new one.  Asus Vivobook is cool and enough for the works I do. It was quite an upgrade for me from Intel i3 to i5 processor, 4Gb to 8Gb ram and 500Gb to 1TB HDD, and Windows 7 to win 10. 

Actually, I thought of creating a record as I believed my Dell laptop would last another year to complete a round of 10 years. But I could have made it if I could spend one-third of the amount spent on a new one. I know it would give me trouble even if I spend the amount as the touchpad lost its senses – I couldn’t be comforting all the time with a mouse and a broken bezel, and I needed an upgrade, so I decided to spend the money on a new laptop. Though I couldn't think of any other laptop other than the Dell, I also no need to say why as its sturdiness is world known, but a friend suggested me to go for an Intel i5 processor and Dell's laptops at this range are out of my budget, so I went for the Asus which came under my budget.

The only difficulty with the Asus Vivobook was its change in some key positions on the righthand side of the keyboard. But the typing is much easier than before, perhaps because of the soft-touch keys, and being a new laptop thing looks easier. I need to install MS-office and photoshop, the prime software’s I use on my computer, separately, and add backup files from the previous laptop hard drive. I’m overall content with the gadget and need to work more to use its various features.  

Monday, January 04, 2021

RGB Monday

 A rainbow walks my street…    Let's begin the year colorful :) 


Hi guys, hope you all doing well and had a wonderful festive season of Christmas and New Year. I wish the year 2021 brings all good things to people all over the world and witnesses the end of the pandemic.  It has been a few weeks since I blogged and this is a long break I took after a long time because of the loss of my laptop. The laptop that was back from service didn’t last a few days and the technicians tried to save the laptop without changing the motherboard but failed to result in buying a new one after days of research.

I wish you all Happy, COVID-19-less, and Healthy and Wealthy New Year