Thursday, December 30, 2021

Welcome 2022

The sun, setting between the row of trees in the neighborhood, Besant Nagar. The sunset here to rises somewhere as a brand-new morning or a day, as well as a year, to dismiss is impossible. However, let wish and welcome the new year to bring a lot of positivity in lives (better not to be covid positive); cheers to mind, the goodness of health and prosperity for everyone to sustain and progress in life. Wish you all a Happy New Year, 2022.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Christmas décor 2021

Last year covid has spoiled the mood of celebrating or decorating for Christmas. Though this year also the situation isn't far different. The practicalities of the mask and the vaccine have allayed concern. But still, we aren't coming out of protective wear as Omicron is speeding up in the country. I have done a simple tree decoration and put some serial lights over the balcony and indoors - the LED light from Deepavali retains the living room.

As usual, mom decorated the Christmas tree on my behalf, or to say, she did everything, on my instructions. To add fun, I bought a set of Santa caps, specs, and a band for my nephew Jeswanth to dress like a Santa. He already has a red dress to match the accessories, but he is interested in playing with those rather than wearing them for the poses.  

A candid of dad and mom with the little one

I share some photos of the decor and Santa Jeswanth here. And I wish you all Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Let the new year brings hope and ways quittance of the Covid. Stay safe and celebrate safely. 

You can see the gingerbread house and birth of christ I made with popsicle sticks in 2018.

Tree in the living room, before it put on balcony.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Prohibition to Laughing

If there is something unique that belongs to the human race is laughter. Though animals do laugher sometimes like the simian, it's the sense of humor that enriches our human lifestyle. Insisting we love and care and bring happiness to others and relieving stress like us. Life isn't and shouldn't be serious always; to keep it away, laughing is a great gift the human could have. 

(My happily laughing nephew Jeswanth)

They say there is no better medicine than laughter and that laughter is scientifically proven to help release certain hormones and help reduce stress, the leading cause of heart disease. And prohibiting such great cause laughter is an inhuman act and the prevention of natural ways of treatment.  

I think you have now guessed what I am talking about, yes North Korea's ban on its citizens from laughing, drinking, and shopping for 11 days! Drinking and shopping can be secondary, but laughing is a basic sense of being human, and banning it can not be brought within any definition. Simply a foolish act of inhuman. 

There is no wonder the announcement coming from a country ruled by a dictator, although I feel sorry for the plight of the people of that country and would like to condemn this act. What is worse was they also banned crying loud (and moving out the body) if anyone dear to us dies during the 11 days - the mourning period of former Korean leader and father of President Kim Jong Un's 10th death anniversary. 

Laughing is a natural tendency towards anything that moves us in a light-hearted way and an emotion that infects anyone (in good nature) who comes across. Banning laughing is a force you could not implement at all; since crying and laughing have been the only acts child could do, and prohibiting it is quite an offense against natural law and the pinnacle of oppression. I wish the lifestyle of North Koreans changed and they experience freedom from the stubborn kid Kim! lol 

Friday, December 17, 2021

Do people care or advise?

I observe most of the time, people advise rather than show care. I do not complain here, and my concern was that in place of care, why do you do log advice. For someone who suffers, only kind words and emotional support would comfort, in the first place, and that does not mean you shouldn't advise; there are places, where rather than being wise, warmth upholds life. 

I believe advice helps in the development, and that comes along with the experience is worth listening to, and care is what reassures our presence and those in need, often those in distress. But in the name of advice, some criticize people when they are in difficulty -  piercing the existing wound rather than applying a gentle ointment over them. 

For a crying child, the mother's warmth is the first and best thing to console; an adult is no different from a child when he broke down, and his anticipation is a few comforting words, and after that, any kind of advice would be appropriate. In the world, there isn't an easy thing as advice - a thing that everyone gives us, or we give others either we or the other like it or not. 

In place of emotion, how could you place knowledge? There should be advice based on improving one's condition rather than worsening in a tone of accusing someone. There are ways to measure or test one's mentality, but the level of emotion is relevant to heart and love, and your intelligence does not work when looking for relief from the thing that clings to your heart. 

Some people anxiously wait for someone to fall to make fun of them. Finding fault in everything someone does could be a disease, and nothing is possible without a failure; just because you are right in a few instances does not mean you should always be, and those who make mistakes will do only that. 

I think love is the basis of care, and no one could care without the same. Even those who advise us, have based on our care, the way they express themselves can also be harsh at times, as pointed out before comforting the person listening. I think this from the point of most of the time because someone needs or anticipates care when they feel down, our words and comforting should raise their spirit and courage to stand up rather than fed up with our advice. 

Take Care

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Natural Leaf Art!

The last trace of green illustrates a Christmas tree before yellow cover.

A ripe leaf from the Indian tulip tree (opposite our home) bears a design inked in green, which gives me an illusion of a Christmas tree in an outline of green. I hope you guys agree with my perspective.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Breezy Afternoon and Bird Watching at Kanyakumari

(a following of previous post)

The afternoon and sea breeze always move me, and how could I miss the pleasure when it blows from three sides of the sea; Kanyakumari bestows me the same when I stay back in the garden of the guest house after lunch; the wind was enough to send for a comfortable and lazy sleep. I never take a nap in the evening, so to beat time before we get ready to visit other places, I chilled under the shadows of trees, and in one corner of the guest house complex, cops were relaxing from their parked vehicle and on the park benches. 

Garden space of the guest house complex.

The place we stayed was very close to the center of the tourist destination. The junction from where the roads lead to the beach, boat deck, and other monuments line the shore. The paths further from there are congested by shops; all the buses and other vehicles parked near the junction create a roar. And besides that, the cops on the microphone occasionally blare, controlling the crowd and vehicle. 

Clock tower at the junction.

The rooms allotted for us were a little further from the noise except for the cop's alarm; it was quiet and peaceful to let everyone relax around. By later afternoon we moved out to explore other places, leaving mom and grandma, who were to board the cruise to the rocks of Vivekananda and Thiruvalluvar. 

I visited the Vattakotta fort, a beautiful square-shaped fort on the shore of the Bay of Bengal - 6km from Kanyakumari in the northeast direction. Vattakotta is a conjoined Tamil word of  Vatta and Kotta, meaning Circle Fort. But in my observation, the fort looked more square than a circle! I will make a detailed post on it later, now leave you with a couple of birds shots. I shot it along the driveway of the guest house.

The mynas and egret were foraging along the driveway of the guest house. I shot the birds before checking out the guest house the next day. I did not mind leaving that place; the majestic monuments along the coast and the grand view of the three seas fascinated me. I want to come back one day, but that day is still away.

Wednesday, December 08, 2021

December and My Trip to Kanyakumari (10-year completion)

December is a cold month in India, and post-monsoon, the earth is so wet, and the winter adds coldness to the season. December is my favorite month and season to take outdoor trips due to the coolness that prevails during this time and the following month of January is best to explore and experience places in light warm weather. 

Rather than saying December, it's the winter that makes things work for me and keeps me at a pace than lazily cuddled around, which many generally prefer during this time of cold.  The trips I had during this time were remarkable and memorable, and one such trip was my trip to Kanyakumari in 2011.  Ten years have passed, and December always reminds me of that travel, the longest one I ever had. 

We then fitted our SUV with new tires. We even serviced the vehicle - as we were going on a long trip - it started to wobble when we went for a 100 plus km and further driving up, we even decided to give up the trip or stay a night at Pondicherry and fix the problem, then continue the journey. Because the way the vehicle shook scared us. 

Our SUV, Mahindra black Scorpio, parked aside the guest house in Kanyakumari overlooking the sea. We bought the vehicle the same year as a 3-year-old then.

But we managed to drive to Trichy, slowly at 80kmph because the wobbling starts, only when we cross 100kmph. Our actual plan was to halt a night at Trichy before heading to Kanyakumari as we took our grandfather along with us - who could not sit long. We have already booked rooms at Trichy, so we decided the fix the vehicle while staying there.

But still, we couldn't fix the problem, and the mechanics did some work, and it felt better, but the wobbling happens occasionally. Finally, in Madurai, we checked the wheel alignment and solved the problem. It was about 9.30 or 10pm when we reached Kanyakumari - the southern tip of India - traveling about 700kms; my cousin arranged two rooms in the government tourism house there, overlooking the confluence of three seas, the Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean, and Arabian sea. 
The guest house, and the elegant door of the same.

The morning was like never before, and waking up to see the sea was the first time in my life and was too special. Kanyakumari is renowned for its sunrise and sunset; since we traveled the previous day, we were too tired to get out to watch the sunrise. The next day, my mom and grandma went to the terrace of the building we stayed to watch the sunrise. But they were disappointed to see the cloud covering up the magnificent sight. 

Sunrise obstructed by the clouds. Mom captured the view from the terrace of the guesthouse overlooking the Thiruvalluvar statue and Vivekananda rock.

The guest house we stayed has located close to the beach - the convergence of three seas -  and despite the slope, since the landscape of Kanyakumari has slightly elevated from sea level, I easily accessed it in the wheelchair. Thankfully they had laid ramps till the pillared hall and the rocky shore that marks the southern edge of India.

At the convergent point of 3 seas along with dad, mom, and grandma.

I enjoyed watching the waves crashing the rocks - and some daring guys confronting the rushing waves against the forbid - and also the much-awaited view of the majestically standing Tiruvallurar statue on the rock offshore. At 133 feet height, the stone sculpture of the Tamil poet (the tallest statue of India, when erected on the millennium day of 1 January 2000) and author of the classic Tamil text Tirukkural stood facing the Indian subcontinent like a sentry of Tamil Nadu. 

On the rock beside the Vallurar statue is the Vivekananda Rock Memorial (the rock where Vivekananda meditated or have attained enlightenment). The monument has built (in 1970) in honor of Swami Vivekananda, who swam across the sea to reach rock against the threat of sharks to meditate for three days. 

We thought of trying the cruise ride to the Vivekananda Rock before getting down to the shore. But climbing the cruise boat doesn't seem a good idea for a wheelchair person; when it is a challenge to ordinary people. But my mom and grandmother took the boat ride to the rocks in the afternoon; while I went on exploring other places with my cousin, grandpa, and dad.

While being on the shore, I could not stop thinking of the 2004 Tsunami, a deep wave that wrapped the coast of South Asia, killing thousands of people, and the towering waves that rocked the Tiruvalluvar statue. The roaring of people (that time) echoed through the rocks with each crashing wave, and that being a December month - that tsunami shook the coast on Dec 26th - grief the heart further.

Sculpture built in memorial of victims of the tsunami, on the shore of Kanyakumari

That evening I visited another area in Kanyakumari that faced havoc with the tsunami, which I think of making another post along with other places in Kanyakumari. I like to stop here as the post grow bigger. 

Monday, December 06, 2021

RGB Monday

Some colorful houses

"Methai Veedu" or "Maadi Veedu" is a Tamil term used in village sides of Tamil Nadu to call houses with terraces, and these are a few such houses I shot at Palamathi hills near Vellore. 

Palamathi is a small hilly area located to the southeast of Vellore city, and a beautiful winding road leads from there to a renowned temple known as Balamathi Murugan temple. 

Saturday, December 04, 2021

Sheep Farm and The Sheep

Kodaikanal upland villages bore a lot of grasslands and sholas around them, providing a great feeding ground for cattle. So, sheep rearing is a natural habit; and to enhance the custom, the Central Government has established a sheep farm in a village called Mannavanur to produce wool from the sheep. 

Recently, I watched a video on youtube on the real purpose of the wool produced here: Sheep farm set up after India's defeat in the war with China in 1962. The main reason for the loss in the war was the cold that prevailed at the India-China border. Indian soldiers couldn't bear the cold because of the lack of woolen cloths available at that time, and keeping that in mind, the government brought the sheep farm on the 1340 acres of rolling grasslands at an altitude of 2000 meters MSL.

I visited a part of the grasslands during one of my trips to Kodaikanal in 2009 - that time, I came close with a herd of sheep from the farm. A little boy was driving those sheep, and they were simultaneously grazing the ground (heads-down like new brides) and kept moving that way. 

I captured the sheep (in the picture above) in 2019 on the roadside near Poombarai. One of the scenic villages of Kodaikanal, on the way to Mannavanur. A rope and bell tied to the neck of the sheep show it belongs to a villager, and the sheep was munching on cabbage leaves from a sack left beside. 

The sheep was cute and dirt as well and smelled not good. Its fur was a tangle, perhaps because of that, because it smelled, or due to the munching of cabbage. Anyway, it cooperated with shots. 

The sheep in the farm produce wool once a year, and every year in March,  the sheep goes through fur removal after growing enough of the same. After removing, the fur transports as a raw material to a place (I forget) where the fur collected from elsewhere goes into the process of making woolen blankets for soldiers defending the country against cold. 

The view of the sheep farm and sheep enclosures

Each sheep produces 1 to 3 kg of fur each year, but in the process, they are halved. The Sheep farm (Southern Regional Research Centre)  in Mannavanur is a regional center of the Central Sheep & Wool Research Institute, a premier Institution of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi. (source wiki)