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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Away!

Will be away from Blog for about 4 weeks…Will return with my hundredth post! When?, is a question I will not be able to answer....but I will, for sure, as keeping away from writing is unbearable for me.

Hope to meet some of you in Mangalore at the wedding!

Monday, October 13, 2008

My Journey

Last weekend, I was in Mangalore for four long days. Long because in these four days I covered the length and breadth of Dakshina Kannada district (Udupi and Mangalore). As we drove from one relatives home to another to invite them for my wedding and to meet them all made me feel good and several emotions were experienced.

We traveled from Chokkobettu to Kundapura and drove back to Saligrama, Manipal and Udupi one day; Kulshekara, Padu and Pollali on next; Mangalpadi, Vitla, Ujjirey and Mangalore on other; Panambur and Krishnapura on the last day to see my close relatives.

I visited few homes to where I go often, few whom I rarely visit and some where I have never been to before. I traveled to remote villages, towns and even old age homes.

Where ever they were, they all greeted me with joy and shared some of their experiences, especially the old who want and need to be listened. My aunts cooked special foods for me; others made sure I drank at least a small cup of milk and some sweets. Even though I had a hard time, I had to smilingly consume that bit of custom because the intention of it was good.

Some interesting things I noticed or experienced during this journey –

- Visiting my ancestral home and my elder brothers there; admiring the collection of beautiful paintings they had, created by my Guru (Who is our relative also).

- Meeting my cousin’s son, who is my childhood friend and wondering how growing up years distance us and make us look like strangers when met after a gap of more than 10 years.

- Family bonding between siblings looking after their old mother touched me.

- A mother eager for us to taste the Gudbud ice-cream prepared by her son at home and describing the intention of setting up ice cream factory for him. She said that parents need to either provide good education or support the son to setup a medium to earn.

- Observed my mother turn kid while jokingly fighting with her cousin brother, who is elder to her by only 2 days. They still argue upon the superiority of being elder by that amount of time.

- Briefly discussing the book “Parva” with one of my favorite aunts, which she had suggested I read.

- My uncle speaking about one of Yeats poem where he debates on art being superior to nature (though not) with example of flower, kids and some art form. The thought was provoked when my mother compared the superiority of plastic bukey over bukeys made of natural flowers that cannot be preserved.

- Visiting my painting Guru and requesting him for a special painting especially for me. I asked him to summarize Mahabharata with few events from it. He willingly accepted.

- Walking through paddy fields to reach AmmaAmma (Mother’s Mother) maternal home and temple.

- Visiting one of my favorite temples – Rajarajeshwari Temple at Pollai and the priest after hearing my name said – “Ajeya”, always victory, one must be born lucky to have such name. At this moment I recollected how everyone wrongly pronounces it as “Ajay”.

- Driving to a remote part near Pollali temple to a priest’s house and impressed by the sight; with huge Mangalore tiled house in midst an areca nut farm; a vast front yard where they perform Yagas and Homas. Here we where offered water and Jaggery, which is a traditional way of greeting any guest in Dakshina Kannada (now only limited to rural parts). A piece of jaggery and water will drive away the thirst in minutes, so said my Ajji always.

- Visited the house of our Kulla Purohit (Priest dedicated to our lineage) He had no son’s to continue the family occupation, hence directed us to another priest at his old age. His God is now with his daughter and son in law who perform daily abhisheka and pooja with equal devotion.

- Visiting most of my Ajji’s (Father’s Mother) relatives in Mangalpadi, now in Kasargod district of Kerala. We walked to about 4 to 5 houses all around the family temple. My father recollected his childhood memories. A dog in one of the houses kept staring at me and reminded me of my dog Tomy, whose death is a tragedy that I shall never forgive myself for. (I will write about Tomy some day) This look of the dog disturbed me as it so closely resembled to my only favorite dog.

- Visited village home which might not look like the city concrete houses, but interiors of them are very modern and well furnished but still preserving the traditional elements; they stock cold drinks in their refrigerators which is a treat for anyone in humid South canara.

- Strange faces at an old age home in Vitla, where several old men and women kept blankly staring at us, as though all their expressions have now faded away. My aunt though having lived alone for several years now, had strange thoughts about this old age home that she has been shifted to recently for the type of people around and the deaths happening there. She had strange doubts like; they burn the bodies but no final rites are performed. Several things disturbed me there and as a human, I wanted to hide. She doubted her presence in the wedding and hence asked me to come along with my wife after the wedding to which I obviously agreed.

- Next we drove to Ujjirey via Puttur and Upinaangadi to visit my Father’s Cousin Brother and the eldest of our family, presently. Every family has their own share of happiness and joy; every one had their complaints from life, small or big.

- My aunt prepared special dinner for me and I chatted with my college going cousin brother and got myself updated with the present trend among teenagers.

- One of my aunts kept us laughing and entertained with her humors description about almost everything. She had cooked special snacks expecting my visit.

- At another aunt’s place, I chatted with my cousin who is now studying Sanskrit, Vedas and Shastras at a college in Udupi. My uncle also happens to be our family priest now.

- Visited a good college friend and her parents, where they still remember me for a funny incident that happened several years back. My friend had invited me for her brother’s birthday and over the call, I heard it as mother’s birthday (Amma instead of Thamma) so after a struggle of several hours and consulting many friends, I finally decided upon gifting her, idol of Laughing Buddha. I go there and her little brother comes running towards me. I ignore him and instead wish Aunty – Happy birthday! Every one recalled this event and laughed. My friend is now married and has a 5 year old kid and we still share a very good friendship. We cherished some of the college day funs as we were meeting after 7 years.

- I visited another best friend’s house. I felt nostalgic remembering all those fun time spent in his house when we were in college. His mother discussed with me some of their present family conflicts and worries and wished me all the success for the future.

- Visited the Muslim neighbors and got to meet all the daughters too as they had come home during vacation. We all cherished the childhood memories and the best time of my life spent there.

- Almost in every village I visited, the women kept them updated with the happenings in the country and world through newspapers and magazines, perhaps more than an urbanite. This explained me how important media is to our people. I also recalled Girish Kasarvalli’s latest award wining movie – Gulabi Talkies which describes the effect of media on people and forces us to think whether the media is doing its job honestly or is it just forcing opinions? (Kasarvalli had this doubt while watching Saddam Hussein’s sentencing.)

With these variety of experiences I returned to Bangalore. I think this time of inviting people brings back many good memories of the people who have watched you grow or whom you have grown up with and they have interesting stories to share about you. I have more people to meet soon and I look forward for it, with all the enthusiasm.

P.S – I will be personally inviting my Blog friends, who have been a special support to me and my writings.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Busy!

Have been terribly busy with lot of activities in my life, hence there was no much time for me to be on the blog world. Most of the previous month went in hunting for a new house, shifting and some major shopping’s. In between I did attend some excellent performances - Flute by Pandit Vekatesh Godkhindi, his son Pravin godkhindi and grandson Shadaj; Two Yakshagana's.

During one of my visit to Malleshwaram 8th cross, I got to capture these emotions among the crowd. Few attached below are some of my favorite.