Explore

About me

Am a contradiction of sorts. i love going out and having a good time with friends, and i can also stay home chill out over a book or a movie..

Am very passionate about writing, so give me a topic and watch me float away into wonderland... Love reading books- sometimes i read 3books simultaneously, crazy about music- need it all around me, all the time and ofcourse, i totally am ga ga goo goo over my 7yr old naughty brat- Floppy!! errr, Prince Floppy!! :)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Skywatch Friday... Morning breaks

I could hear a buzz near my head, but wasnt sure if i was dreaming or if it was for real.. It was getting quite annoying and after a few seconds, i came awake only to realise it was my Alarm ringing, rather buzzing.. i had put my phone in Vibrate mode and hence this kind of a wake up alarm!! The time blinked 5.45am... Damn, that was early, that too on Saturday... 

But i had a reason for wanting to rise that early! I wanted to catch a glimpse of the sunrise above the ocean... I was in Mahabalipuram, probably the 1st time i had decided to get away for the weekend with friends... 

Every morning
Is the birth
Of something new
 
As the sun rises
a new day 
is born

Giving us 
hopes
dreams and 
wishes to be fulfilled.. 

The morning sun
in all its glory
guides our lives



Quickly made a dash for the beach few 100 yards from our room and soaked in the calm serene almost stillness in the air.. At a distance, i could see the golden glow slowly creep into the sky amidst a few dark clouds... What a sight that was.... 


 The silver shimmering from the ocean shone so bright in that morning sky, it was a sight to be experienced and something that words dont do justice!! I was alone on that stretch of the beach, and felt so at peace with the world, and with myself... 

As the year draws to an end, this will be the last Skywatch post for 2011.... I wish you all a Very Happy New Year!!! Live it up, enjoy yourself and go for it!!

For more beautiful skies, please visit Skywatch Friday

Friday, December 23, 2011

Skywatch Friday... History amidst nature


This was a journey we had embarked on nearly a year ago, but for some strange reason i was reminded of it today! And so, decided to unearth the photograph and share it as part of the Skywatch post!! 

We had just crossed Vandavasi when the friend who was also the guide told us we need to do a U turn and go into the village to reach our destination. We were headed towards Seeyamangalam, part of the Thellar Taluk in  Tiruvannamalai District. There were a few small houses and we spotted a crowd in front of a house. As we drove by, we noticed there had been a death, hence the crowd. Within a few meters, we spotted the temple on our left, and decided to explore the premises. 

Situated at 80kms from Chennai, Seeyamangalam is home to Stambeshwarar Temple [an avatar of Lord Shiva], After the main temple was constructed, the rulers who came in later [Chola and Vijayanagara rulers] added a few extensions- the mandapam and Gopuram. 



The temple was shut, and when we investigated, we discovered the temple would be open only after the funeral was done with[the death we saw down the road]... Knowing we had nearly an hour, we took a trip to another temple nearby -Thirumalpadi... 

We returned once the priest gave us the Green signal and spent some time wandering the interiors of the temple in Seeyamangalam. On one of the pillars inside, we were shown Shiva in the Ananda Thandava posture, which is one of the early interpretations. On the other side was a carving of Shiva Parvathi on Rishaba[bull]. The priest told us we were free to take photographs inside... 

A few steps from the main temple is a small temple atop a rock decidated to Lord Muruga. There were steps carved out of the rock, going 3/4th of the way. We decided to give it a pass after attempting the 1st few steps... The temple premises was huge, opening out to empty land and the blue skies.


After an hour or so, as we walked towards the car, we wondered what other stories were hidden within these walls. 

For more beautiful skies, visit Skywatch..

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Skywatch Friday... Fiery Skies

 
I walked out of the room towards the beach, there was nothing on my mind and all i wanted was to spend some time in the company of Me! It was December 5th or 6th, and we were on a mini holiday at Mahabalipuram. 3 friends who just wanted to get away from the city, and spend some time along the ocean. The evening sky was beautiful, i was glad to have brought my camera along. Infact earlier when i was getting out of the room, i recall going back to pick up my camera. "Just in case" i told myself.


The cool sand brushed against my feet as i walked along the shore, with the occasional wave gliding over my toes. The evening sun had just gone down for the day, leaving behind a trail of fiery red in the sky. I wondered what the Sun must look like now, and wondered who or where it was hovering about at that point of time.


My mind wandered to the last time i was at Mahabalipuram. It was too long is all i could remember. This 7th century port city that was once part of the Pallava Dynasty is just about 60kms from Chennai, and a treasure cover of history and heritage sights.  There is the Shore temple, the Tiger Caves, Arjuna's penance, Five Rathas, Butter Ball and so much more scattered across a few kilometers that it would take a day to explore them all. I promised myself i would come back and spend some time around these sites and with that settled down near the edge of the water to soak in the surroundings... 


For more beautiful skies, visit Skywatch Friday

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lady of Lourdes Church,Trichy

As we wandered around near the bus stand, the distant sound of a bell reached my ears. I instantly started looking around to see where it came from. An old lady walking nearby seeing my puzzled face touched my arm and motioned towards the further ahead on the road. "Athu church lerundu varumma, poi paaru, atho anga irukku [ The sound is coming from the church nearby, go see it, it is just around the corner]". And true to her words, there it was, the beautiful structure standing tall amidst all the small roadside shops. The Rockfort Temple's tank was just across the road. 

We had reached the Lady of Lourdes Church in Trichy. Apparently this Church of our Lady of Lourdes is an exact replica of the Basilica of Lourdes in southern France and is over 100 years old. The architecture, style, and craftsmanship is overwhelmingly beautiful.


 The exterior is done up with intricate sculptures and the patterns are all so minute, it is amazing that people of those days had so much creativity and skill.  As we entered the church, the sheer space had us going "Wow, to think we almost missed visiting here". The pews are all arranged neatly, and there were a few sitting in silence praying.   As you look up, the stained glass panels depicting stories from the Bible are truly beautiful, and the sun's rays seem to add life to the people in the windows.  


Photo of the sculptures on the exterior taken on Canon [film camera]

Near the alter, we noticed a long pedestal of sorts with flowers and little bundles, what looked like rolled up paper. One of the priests who was there told us it was prayers left by those who came to the church, and told us that we could also leave a note and be assured it will come true! 

I did write a small note and when i was looking for something to tie it with, a woman who i spotted earlier praying gave me a piece of string, smiled and put her hand on my head "May Jesus be with you my child". I stood there smiling, almost sheepishly. 

Photo of the full facade on Canon [film camera]

A hand on my shoulder jolted me back to reality. We then wandered the corridors of the Church before making a beeline for the exit.Just as we were putting on our shoes, A man approached us asking if we had 2mins to spare. Without pausing for a breath he went on about how he was very poor & unwell and needed money to go to the doctor. An elderly man who was just entering the Church shooed the man away and told us "he comes here everyday ma, is piss drunk and takes money from people saying he is unwell only to go get drunk once again".. "have you been inside the Church? where are you from?"... 

We answered him and quickly walked across the road towards the Rockfort temple... 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Skywatch Friday.. Sailing along the Backwaters

The silent waters glistened against the setting sun, adding to the lovely mood of the evening. We were enjoying the ride along the backwaters in Allepey, and it was very evident that the 2yr old in our midst was not the only one excited and high... 

The 3 hour long house boat ride was the highlight of the trip, where we got the opportunity to steer the boat, watch people go about their daily routine on a tiny boat, while many others were seen travelling with their cycles on these boats. Step out of the houses and you were on the shore of these back waters. Wow, what their lives must be like was the only thought running in our heads. As the sun began to go down, we had nearly reached the point that was an indication to do a U turn and head back to our resort. 


The hot bhajjis, tea, and pazham pori [banana-Nendram pazham fritters] that the resort guys had packed along for the ride were sinful. As the boat sailed along the smooth waters, we saw the sun set and the beautiful reflection in the water... There were bunches of water plants floating about, adding to the magic of the experience... relaxed and content, we lost ourselves in the serene surroundings....

For more beautiful skies, visit Skywatch Friday


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Skywatch Friday- Where Mughals rest...


I hopped off the bus and began looking for the entrance gate.. It had been 6yrs since i had visited this place last...Back then i was travelling with college, and it was my visit to this Monument. This time, i was on my own and looking fwd to exploring the place on my own... I was at Humayun's tomb in Delhi... 

This is probably the 1st monumental that showed the world what Mughal imperial architecture was. The tomb was constructed to mark the grave of the Mughal Emperor Babur, Humayun's father, the Ruler who founded the dynasty and one who had requested he be buried in a garden.  



The design is attributed to  the Persian Architects and poets who were associated with the Mughal Courts.  I walked the length of the gardens, along the water fountains in the center towards the South of the Purana Qila to where the main Tomb was located. Like many others, it is also set in the midst of a beautiful garden created in the Mughal char bagh pattern. Around the complex are tall raised walls, it is said that on one side   the River Yamuna flowed by, but now it has been averted...  

I noticed the gardens were divided into four parts by water channels that had paved walkways all through the length.. I overheard a guide tell a couple from Spain that the walkways are called khiyabans. 



The entire monument has been created with red sandstone with white marble engravings and ornementations. Apparently the top of the dome is over 140ft from the ground.  There are numerous high arches and intricately carved windows which add to the beauty of the place.  As i made my way inside Humayun's tomb, i noticed that each of the main chambers has within them eight smaller chambers. When i enquired on the total number of chambers i was told there are nearly 124 vaulted chambers in total.


Humayun's sarcophagus was in the central domed chamber.. His head was pointing south, and the grave was facing the east based on Islamic practices. There were other sarcophagi inside the vaulted chambers, which were added on later- his wives, Princes and so on... There was a Box of writing instruments on top of the grave which indicated it was a male body held within and a slate for the woman. How cool was that! 

I heard a sharp whistle, indicating it was closing time and quickly made a beeline for the gate... I was amazed at how clean and well maintained the Monument and surrounding gardens were... My only regret was not having a digital camera[i had to get the film developed before i could see the images.. sigh]

For more beautiful skies, visit Skywatch Friday

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

dos horas- Sheer Bliss

If you had two extra hours in a day, how would you spend it? 

And that is what Indiblogger asks us to share through this new contest called  Surf Excel Matic #GetSmart Contest 
“Time is free, but it's priceless. You can't
own it, but you can use it. You can't keep
it, but you can spend it. Once you've lost it
you can never get it back.”~  Harvey MacKay
  
With my head resting on the window pane, i let my wind wander as the Dave Mathews Band belted out Rapunzel.. The cool breeze managed to sneak in through the gap in the windows, running a shiver up my neck while my hands searched for the elusive shawl..  I was lost with my thoughts, reflecting on life, wondering if it would have been any different had i realised what i wanted to do early on in life.. I brushed aside those thoughts and decided not to worry about the past, knowing that the Tomorrow was what i need to look forward to..
 
The lady in the seat next to mine was tossing and turning, i could feel her every movement with the little squeaks from the rexin seats, but the momentary disturbance was over and my thoughts engulfed me once more.  I checked the time one last time and noticed the clock glowing 3.15am. Smiling at the prospect of what awaited me, i was off into the wonderful world where there was none but me, and there were no advices, nor where there any chaos. I was in heaven, enjoying this blissful moment with myself. Before i knew it, i heard the bus brake to a halt and all the passengers bustling about within the bus looking for their bags and trying to come awake and alight the bus.

I hopped off the bus with a smile on my face before heading off in search of an auto-rickshaw to take me to the guest house.  Those dos horas [2 hours] from 3.15 to 6.15 was the 2 hours i shall savor the rest of my life.

Every now and then i wonder if ever i will get 2 such hours where i can be with myself and my thoughts...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Skywatch Friday... Amidst the silence


It was the last day and we were finally allowed to talk! Yes, allowed to talk.. My friend and i had just spent 10, wait, it was almost 11days inside a campus, doing nothing but meditating,walking, eating, meditating, washing clothes, sleeping, walking, meditating, eating and sleeping once again!  We were at the Vipassana center in Pune, Swargate! 

It all began with a phone call from my friend asking me if i had 15days to spare in March- April. And when i probed she said "There is this Vipassana course, and i want to do it, but will do it only with you...".. That was it!  i had booked my tickets to Mumbai and booked two seats for us on the course! I came to know via friends that Igatpuri is the best of the centers, but they dint have openings on the dates we had in mind...

We planned the trip thinking it was going to be beyond painful, difficult for us to stay quiet for so long..
We started packing our bags wondering if we would be allowed to sneak in one book 
We bought detergent and clothesline with thoughts of how the rooms were going to be
We hopped on the train with butterflies and their mommies in our tummies
We were excited and nervous
We were scared and anxious
We were assigned to different rooms with strangers for roommates... 
What an experience it was!

The 11 days of Vipassana where we were not allowed to utter a single word [ but for the few minutes spent with our gurus clearing any queries we had] and in the company of complete strangers in a beautiful serene environment went by not so fast, but we did enjoy them! 

Our days began at 4.30 am and ended at 10pm.. 
Amidst sessions of meditation, we had free time where we either slept, wandered the vast gardens, washed clothes or just sat in silence!! 
We were exhausted by the time night came and the last hour of meditation was done!! 

Maybe because there were no strict concept of meditation or that we were asked to chant a mantra, it was fairly easy! And with time, we mastered the art of sitting in one spot without twitching or our feet going numb [well, it was also part of the meditation that taught us to control our reaction to the sensations we felt]...

On the final day, we were given our phones, and money [that we had given up for safe keeping at the center], and after a call to our homes, we were done! I took out the phone only in the evening to click a shot of the beautiful sky when we leaving the center towards a friend's apartment... 

 
We were content being silent and happy, to a point where we were kinda getting irked at all the yakking going on around us. It was a different thing that we dint understand much of what the others were talking as it was in Marathi... Almost all the women were surprised to discover i was from Chennai [and that i had travelled the distance to attend the course in Pune when there is a center in Chennai]

The program was a revelation of sorts.. It boosted our confidence, refreshing our souls and giving us a new lease on life and people!! 

What an experience that was!! 

For more beautiful skies, visit Skywatch Friday

Friday, November 4, 2011

Skywatch Friday... Blues all the way

Walking along the ocean, watching the sun rise or go down is the most perfect moment.. especially when travelling! The moment is when you are surrounded by none, and there is a sense of calm and peace in the air...

That was exactly how i felt when in Goa, as i walked along the shores of Baga Beach with people on boats and jetskis flying past....