Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Water crisis

Shivratri at home

Last week we had Shivratri Pooja at home. We usually do it on the Shiva Lingams. My father was the designated priest. The Shivratri Pooja entails fasting the whole day........ sometimes the previous day and the next day as well. Depends on the austerity of the rituals you wish to follow. The pooja takes place at the last prahar of the day or anything between 930 and midnight. My grandfathers both side usually did it at midnight....... but dad cheated improvised a little as we were all hungry tired and could not sustain any longer...... and did it earlier than usual. The Shiva Lingams are bathed in milk, yogurt, ghee, (clarified butter) honey, and sugar...... ie the panchamrit and lastly water. The offering of bel leaves and bel fruit is given and then lastly flowers, fruits and sweets. Lastly we pray for peace health and happiness of the whole family.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Getting Creative : Rangoli

Rangoli is one of the traditional art forms of Indians. Decorative designs depicting pics or geometric patterns depicting the religious festival for which it is done. These designs are done in front of the deity or in front of the doors and main entrances as form of welcome.  Each design or pattern depicts a certain deity and other associated things with the festival. Most of these designs have been passed on from generations with alterations over a period of time. The patterns that I have done have been taught to me by my mother who was taught by her mother and grandmother and so on forth. Every Indian household has their own version of Rangoli.

 Rangolis are done with different mediums - Alpana the traditional Bengali rangoli is done with rice and water paste and done with the ring finger (by pressing a cotton ball in the palm by the thumb). There are various differences in patterns among the bengalis itself. Just by looking at the pattern you can say from which part of bengal the alpana is originally from. In my case I usually do alpana during the Kojagiri Lakshmi festival.

Rangoli is also done with colored sand. I usually do this kind during Diwali and Dhanteras. In South of India the Rangoli is done with flowers or rice or other mediums. Geometric patterns are used for the vedic poojas no idols are used. Even the base of every havan there is a certain geometric pattern that is used. A different one for a different pooja. Usually it is the swastik or lotus as the base. More info in Wiki here.

Alpana done with rice and water paste

Rangoli done with powdered colored sand during diwali.

Flower # 25

Posting it in Ruby Tuesday 2


Vakratunnda Mahakaaya 
Suryakotti Samaprabha
Nirvighnam Kurumedeva 
Sarvakaaryeshu Sarvada

O Lord Ganesha, of Curved Trunk, Large Body, and with the Brilliance of a Million Suns,
Please Make All my Works Free of Obstacles, Always.

This is a huge Ganesha idol that has been erected in the outskirts of Pune.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Macaws in Jurong Bird Park, Singapore

I took this pic in Jurong Bird Park. The easiest bird pic to ever take. All I had to do was wait for the bird perched on a tree to scratch........ something....... anything or do something........ anything and I snapped........ thats it!!! EASY!!! Ive never ever had bird pics this easy. Normally I run after them or hide in really scratchy bushes or wait and wait and wait till the damn bird decides to come close and even then most of the shots I get are blurred. Ohhh yeah even climb trees........ I'm sure that tree was crying in pain.  Whats more this bird came with a tag about its name and lots of other details which in normal circumstances takes me hours to google and still I'm not sure about its actual kind and tag the pic as BIRD....... This was really EASY!!!

Birds are really temperamental and I don't think they like me much. Most of them do stuff that I want them to do when I have either lowered my camera or looked some place else for a moment. Like that heron washing its prey before eating it......... I never get shots like that. They never do all the nice stuff that others click when I have my camera ready....... and believe me I have been following all the herons around my place....... They must have already tagged me as some creepy character.

I never take pics of them perched. It is so boring that way....... but with them spreading their wings and tucking their legs and flying that is something unique....... totally out of this world. I always wished I had wings so for me that is really something that sets them apart....... they can fly!!!!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Kumari Puja

During Durgotsav, Goddess Durga is worshipped in all feminine forms - Shakti, Shanti, Mother, sister and Daughter...... Kumari (unmarried girl). Little girls of age 3 to 9 are dressed up in the solah singars with alankars (jewellery) like bangles, earrings, necklace, Maang tika, bindi...... I honestly wouldn't be able to translate all of them for you to sum it....... she is dressed like a bride and then the priest prays to her as he would to the Goddess. She is offered flowers, food of her choice (even Chocolates), incense and arati is done of her like it would be done of the Goddess. The best part of the whole thing is that the little girl then gets to bless everybody. I find it really hilarious when the little girl is asked to hold the shanti mudra and bless people who are more than 10 to 20 times her age.

Out of all the Kumaris that I have taken pics of during Durgotsav this little girl has captured my heart forever. She was so calm and serene all through the rituals....... probably bribed big time by her parents but the end result was beautiful. I was so enamored by her that I just couldn't stop taking pics of her....... very very photogenic I have rarely seen a little girl of her age so patient and calm.

 then, she {snapped}

Beetles Valley

I have a lot of memories associated with Beetle's valley. At one point of time in my life I had fun scaling these mountains. You cant live in Pune and not go hiking....... after all there are hills all round you. This valley is ensconced between the mountains. The best time and also the most dangerous time to go there is during the monsoons..... when it is lush with greenery and waterfalls...... very slippery too........ but ohhhhhh so beautiful!!!

I took this pic this weekend so it is kind of dry and rugged and smoggy especially with the Mumbai Pune expressway emitting fumes like a chimney.

Bundles of Hay

I took the old Mumbai Pune Highway to go to Khandala. In the past I have always passed by on my way to Mumbai...... barely admiring the mountain ranges in Lonavala and Khandala. This time I specifically went there with no other agenda than to spend some quality time in the hills. In Kamshet in the valley where there are farm lands on both sides of the highway, I saw this lady carrying a bundle of hay to the farm.

Posting it in Tina's PicStory : Letter "B"

This pic took 2nd position in Tina's PicStory : Letter "B". Thank you everybody for voting for me!!!

Monday, February 06, 2012

The world goes by BUT he persists

This monk sat on the pavement selling books for a greater cause. The world passed by without casting a glance in his direction but he persisted oblivious of all of the glances.