Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Kula Devatha

Dad and paternal grandfather's temple is Sri Sellandiyamman in Mohanur, which also has navaladi karupana swami temple outside ambal's sannidhi on the left. After a dip in cauvery before sunrise, realized that the Perumal temple would open only after 7:30 am. Was glad in a way, could go to kula deivam temple.

Temple had transformed. The first time, i remembered going there during college days, when my grandparents were still alive. Could not participate in annadhAna there, for the very sight of chopped goat's head impaled on spear nauseated me. My BIL remarked this morning how, i didn't touch food that day and had not let my nephews eat ice creams outside. There are few temples, where even after going till the entrance, can not enter and pray. Would be waiting outside, while my folks went inside for prayers. Thankfully, this morning, no such thing was there in the temple and it was peaceful darshan, with the unflickering jyoti lifting my spirits.

Sri KalyAna Prasanna VenkatramanAr temple

After a peaceful archana and darshan in kula deiva temple, found Perumal temple open. It is so funny, like in Rameshwaram, the pujari thought i was a student blessed me vidya praptirastu. In Rameshwaram, while my younger sister and younger bro got sheegram and adhi sheegram vivaham prAptirastu, it was udyogam prAptirastu for me. Glad to have darshan of Perumal on ekadashi.

Mohiniyur, earlier it was called Vidyanarayanpuram according to the pujari. See this

On my left was Rukmini SathyabhAma sahita Navneetha KRSN which immediately brought ChAyayAm pArijAtasya on my mind, while on the right was a beautiful statue of krishna half male and half female. Kind of krishna in ardhanAreeshwar form, kind of like dancing NatarAjar.

Hayagreevar was very famous here with localites and opposite to him was Medha Saraswathi. In front of Medha saraswathi was Bala Maruthi facing Hayagreevar and Bala Vinayakar facing east. They had done an elaborate Moola nakshatra pooja in front of Hayagreevar with heaps of flowers in front of God.
You had Chintamani Ganapathi, Varaha and Narasimha with consorts with Vishnu durga as koshta devatas.

Thanks to BIL who had enquired for abhishekam for my niece's board exams. Pujari had suggested milk and honey abhishekam on thursday. Am still not able to reconcile why pour milk and honey on Gods. Can't we just eat them and distribute, adding the herbs that are supposed to be in the statues. Need to ask my AchArya.

Trip back to Bangalore was smooth without hassles. Started a little after 8 am from temple and reached PG by 1:30 pm.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Two days by Cauvery

Musiri Puthur is an obscure place, where dad grew up with his maternal uncle since childhood for more than 3 decades. And dad, never mentioned his maternal uncle, even once. Need to dig the place history. Small amlas, papaya, drumstick leaves anything is nearby.
It is not just town folks who slog, till 10 pm, farm hands were threshing paddy, since temple was the only public place that had cemented floor.

Early Morning Visit to River
Akka had made a simple kolam first thing in the morning.

Sunrise by the river was stunning, sunset was even more.

 This was called KokkuUttanParai. When the river flows to brim, storks would be sitting on this rock it seems.

Bro and nephew wanted to make boats and all that was available was Bank of Baroda’s ATM slips, which became two tiny boats, which disappeared in no time.

A lone hyacinth on the river side.
Flowers on the way

Chinna Thottiyam Voikkal History

A brahmin lady married a low caste guy and this asavarna couple were excommunicated  from the village. In village, during construction of dams and such structures, it was custom to offer human sacrifice it seems. So the audacious low caste husband was sacrificed for building this dam.

The distraught wife, jumped into her husband’s pyre. A tiny bit of her unburnt silk dress kept on settling at one particular spot. So villagers invited the soul, which entered the 6 year grandson of the temple pujari. Finally, they built a temple for this lady who rushed into fire and call this temple as theepAnjAl koil.

After decades of eating chikkis aka kadalamuttais, for the first time, realized that groundnut flowers are golden chrome yellow.

The soil around the Plantain was white with fertilizer. Farmers are naturally concerned with yield rather than soil and underground water. It’s a 24/7 job not just in BPM in agriculture as well. Early morning 3 am shifts are for milk hands as well. Each with its own seasonality.

This papaya was just a little taller than 5 feet.

Folks used to comb their hair with this oomathaan fruit it seems.

 On the way. This nonna leave cures tooth decay according to my sister.

Was quite surprised to see passion flowers in a village.

 On the way to the river, thalamalai

Arai nellikas with which akka made a juice laced with a bit of jaggery.

This is a dusk flower.

Piping hot sweet puttu was waiting on Sunday morning.

Evening walk to river with storks settling on the field

 Sunset, water is cleaner on the western side

River bed is 90% dry, with pockets of water here and there. Dams, are for equitable sharing. Who is man to stop the waters that nature gave?

It is the angle of the camera, that shows so much water, otherwise, it was not even knee deep at 90% of the places.

Other Trivia
Dead snake on the river bed, which my nephew spotted.

Children, girls, villagers still shit on the roadside, leading to the river. River is not visibly polluted. At some places, river stinks shit in the morning and cleaned fish in the evening. Dams are closed from Feb 1st week, which again gets opened only during April. River bed was dry with pockets of rivulets here and there, deceptively deep at places. Lone fish kept cruising inside deep waters. At 1 inch waterspots, zillion tadpoles would swarm around, in wet soil, there were tracks of earthworms, in dry river bed, there were silts, to conches and shells to hard pebble deposited along the riverine curve.

Seems like it is procreation season. On Saturday morning, was trying to sleep in the bright light, after a tiring bus journey sitting all night from Bangalore to this place and a dog was noisily on top of a bitch, next to bedroom window, which finally shifted place to behind the temple, which reminded me of the scene in “A Suitable boy”. Later that day, it was two squirrels on the tamarind tree branch by the rear entrance.

Best part was the night sky view. So many stars, not visible to naked to eyes in Bangalore, twinkled in its full glory. From Jupiter in Gemini to Mars in libra to raising venus early morning, the whole star lit night was fabulous under the open sky. Early morning Venus, Navami moon, Antares in Scorpio and Mars were in one straight line. For the first time, could see the rashis as given in internet pictures.

While my niece eagerly looked at Jupiter and other nakshatras I showed her on sky, akka dismissed off venus saying, I see it everytime. Velli mullaicha, mantriki Apathu. (If venus raises, it is dangerous for ministers/politicians) and then dawned the aha moment. How did I miss it? It is so obvious.

The crowing cocks were our alarm clocks. No canned water, it was cauvery water with its natural minerals. After a sunrise and sunset 1 hour walk to the river and back home, piping hot food would be ready for a growling tummy. Every meal had at least 2 green leafy vegetables, plucked from the garden. Vegetables were from relative’s garden. Milk unpasteurized straight from cow’s udder. Simple life, peaceful.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Pleasant Surprise

Am on cloud 9.

Books that came on their own, books that are still close to my heart:
  • There was March 1st distant relative who gave me first colourful glossy Lori Reid book on “The Art of Hand reading” when folks thought I had leukemia after 12th std and this came to me on BHEL hospital bed
  • There was a Feb 15th guy, who gave me a guru shisya samvada – which built my basics in astrology in 2000.
  • After 2000, 14 years later my Dec 9 yoga colleague presented me Vedic Mathematics by Bharati Krsn tirthaji.
Am so happy… This will be something I really really treasure….Glad to get such a lovely gift today.
Just when I was struggling with astrology calculations, simple ephemeris q, to find the year based on sat-ju placement – eod astrology is applied math, was presented with this amazing book. Though was certified in Vedic math in 2010 by e-gurukul, could not apply it beyond competitive exams. I could remember only what I taught to kids, what I didn’t teach, I conveniently forgot. Need to teach to learn actually.

One gets Bhadra mahapurush yoga only due to guru’s blessings for teaching freely what was learnt.

We have a saying that  knowledge in books and money lent to others, in times of need, it is neither your knowledge nor your money. So stopped buying books. I just read voraciously in book shops and move on without buying a book and carrying and adding on to excessive luggage. I share a 80*80 with 3 other girls and lesser luggage, more space to breath and sleep.

Funny, mana prasannatah, utsaah, everything restored now. Of late, had been hurting myself, my right hand index knuckle got slit, deeply nicked my left hand apollo finger tip, that made it keying difficult, this morning, bled my inner lower lip in the left side by accidentally banging on wall, long before my left thigh just below hip. All pains vanished with this gift. Funny!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Kai kaal Mulaitha Rojapoos

Never felt baby pink so close to my heart. 7:30-8:00 am was sun basking for my twin nieces and it was a wonder holding them. 1 month premature, 50 gms plus or minus 2.5 kgs, amazing kids. One kuvaaa sound, everyone was at the cradle. Could not sleep even for 1 hour at a stretch. My sister’s SIL was watching the drips and she was awake till 4 am. Everyone is taking turns to sleep. LSCS means lower segment C-section. Meconium is black as coal tar. Got practical lessons on holding new borns.

Di-zygotic twins
The bigger one had sis’ O+ve and smaller one had big BIL’s B+ve. When I saw those bundled treasures, just melted.

All that is still embedded in my inner eye are the two babies, their soft kuvaas. You just touch them once or hold them reassuringly and they get back to sleeping peacefully, doing all those enticing antics in their sleep. Their images are still brimming in my eyes. Anything for them.

Sis was the largest baby. She is slowly learning to sit, to take few steps, go to the loo on her own. Will be months before she gets ok. The pain in her eyes, would get tears to everyone’s eyes. Everyone was quite disappointed that both were girls. The third girl in the family (including BIL’s sister’s daughter), that BIL has to take care of, 5 if one were to included his sister and my sister.

Doctors’ Dilemma
My sister was concerned, if the skin was fully formed. My BIL was concerned that bilirubin should be ok after the 9th feeding, since twins had a high likelihood of developing jaundice. He had already done all the tests with reports sent to Hongkong for genetic anomalies in 1st trimester itself. So they were doing these post-partum tests as a complement it seems. Funny, to have knowledge of all the complications that could come up.

When Your Super Senior Comes for rounds

Most visiting friends were her batch mate doctors practicing nearby in SRM and the like. So yesterday, when yet another doctor said in her peter English, sorry K, we cannot have more than 1-2 visitors at time, only then, I learnt that my nieces were one month premature.

Then sis started relating story of how a hi-fi batch my BIL’s batch was. The doctor was ss’ super senior and BIL’s senior. BIL’s batch had SRMC Uddayar’s grandson studying. It also had Governor Reddy’s grand-daughter and lots of NRIs. So when BIL scored a goal against the grandsons team in football. For the next round, he and others playing well, were asked to play without shoes and socks. Only during university level football matches, they became friends. Ok leave side stories.

God’s amazing way of inculcating responsibility. Child is indeed the father of the man.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Mumbai Trip

AD was godsend. Never felt so cared for. Instead of alighting peacefully at Kalyan, he came to drop me in crowded Thane, and waited till my friend came. Had the laugh of my life, when learnt that Mumbai had places like Titwala.

Home away from home in Thane
   Some families don't show off religious traditions. They are extremely humble, straightforward and kind. My friends wife lived the principle of athithi devo bhava. She woke up early since my classes started at 9 am. She made my breakfast everyday and roti bindi without onions just the way i wanted. She washed my clothes in machine, inspite of my protests. She was an angel. Never did she make me feel, that i was a guest, she made me feel like i was at my sister's home. God bless her and everyone at home. It is in her family, where her forefathers built free kalyana mantapas and did lots of charity for the whole village.

Thane to Vidyavihar was a nightmare everyday. Once in local, had to sway precariously as the incoming crowd pulled me backwards and outgoing crowd pushed me in ladies compartment. So took buses and autos, rest of the days.

Amazing Information
A ludhiana teacher, a hyderabadi tam and a doctor were my teachers. Am still reflecting on the knowledge gained. Amazing spellbounding people. All the 3 sessions were worth the trouble and travel and 5 days off work.

Gujju Connection
 Bumped into a Gujju in the lift and she joined Gandhiji who also Gujju. We could meet only for lunch and dinner. The last day, Gandhiji's student who happened to be a well off doctor, insisted on treating us for a movie and dinner. Now, that movie craze is gone, was glad, we didn't have time for those mini movies. We had dinner in RCity - Gujju thaali in Rajdhani. Was overfed with jelebis. Was surprised to see our teachers there as well. Doctor dropped me at LTT and took Gandhiji to CST. Gandhiji very sweetly wrongly pronounced 'nee en priyamanaval'. Never realized the saintness in Gandhiji, till doctor touched his feet and addressed him as guruji. And i was letting elderly Gandhiji, lift my heavy luggage and took his kind company for granted thanklessly.

Elderly incontinence
The first q he asked me was bangalora coimbatora? Replied bangalore. He knew gujju, hindi, english and spoke tamizh like a localite. Learnt he was a Ruiya business man in coimbatore. In the morning, his elder sister passed urine in her sari. It was 3AC and no fresh air. Was glad, girls urine does not stink like that of guys. Was the only girl in the compartment and so had to help her with cleaning and tying her sari and inskirt. As i put the sari, she said gujju style. She was crying.  Riches, no matter what, health is the primary thing that matters in old age. There are folks in 93 with shining eyes who cook their own food, with sharp eyes, functional limbs, sound reasoning. And there are  business folks who are unable to move their limbs in their 60s. Health is the result of our own actions, past and present and God's gift. Everyone should live this moment, like they would live for a 120 years. Need to maintain this body, long life ahead!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Basic Varmam Reflections

From late 2010, had been wanting to attend varmam classes, however, either missed the workshop schedule or having known the workshop schedule, could not attend.

After 2-3 years, finally could attend the basic workshop in Salem on October 19th, this year to learn 80 of the 8000 points that our jovial, practical aasaan taught us.

Reminiscing couple of stories that he related for some of the varmam points:

Kavuli Kalam: In those days, people in villages used to stack betel leaves between their thumb and index finger and those bunch of betel leaves used to be called kavuli vetrillai. Hence kavuli kalam

Nakshatra Kalam: Once one of the students asked his aasan, why is nakshatra kalam called so? The teacher slapped the student and student said, he saw stars in front of his eyes. The teacher said, this is the reason, it is called nakshatra kalam. Pressing it indeed shows stars.

Kondaikolli: Not sure, if it was for kondaikolli. But aasaan described how his teacher had parted the wet hairs of a pregnant lady and blown air into this point. Apparently, it was drizzling and the very pregnant lady had been assisting her husband in lifting a heavy sack onto the cycle. The husband in a hurry to hold the sack from beneath, used his hand forcefully and husbands finger had entered the womb. The lady had fainted and after some varmam treatment, the child and mother got well.

KathirKaam Varmam: Two stories. One of a mother and grown up daughter who were trying to pluck fragrant jasmine flowers standing on parapet wall. The grown up daughter slipped trying to pluck a jasmine flower and mother had instinctively caught her daughter. Daughter was safe, but mother could not use her hand after lifting a grown up daughter in one go.

Second story was that of an mid day meal worker. There was a storage place, where sacks of rice were stacked up. A kid had gone to retrieve a ball and accidently all the heavy rice sacks fell on the school kid. The kid was buried under a huge pile. The mid day meal worker, in an earnest attempt to save the child had single handedly, pulled and thrown the rice sacks. Luckily, the child was ensconced in the gap between 2 sacks without even a single scratch. However, the lady, having had thrown aside so many sacks, suffered so much pain, which was cured with this varmam.

Saramudichu: Aasaan started telling about one of his interesting aasaans, stating that he had every right to talk about him. Teacher's teacher was a mixed bag. He charged 50k from Chennai folks for a treatment, and gave all the amount for a girl's wedding next street, just taking Rs. 50 out of it. Another time, that aasan had sneaked plates of fish for all his 4 students from across the street; once, paying money taken from the cashier back to the hotel guy. He was a bit notorious and after his death, it was reported that his spirit was disturbing the villagers. So they redug his grave and severed his saramudichu after which the spirit was not reported to linger around.

My experience: Really works wonders. Compared to pranic healing, where mental strain is more, this physical touch points are miraculous. Be it going to sleep instantly or getting relief from head ache, hand and leg pain, varmam rocks. Varmam has got me interested in the human nervous system anatomy and physiology. Need to learn that first.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Equality and Competition

avidyāyām antare vartamānāḥ, svayaṁ dhīrāḥ paṇḍitam manyamānāḥ.
dandramyamāṇāḥ pariyanti mῡdhāḥ, andhenaiva nīyamānā yathāndhāḥ. (5)

The ignorant, who live in the midst of darkness but fancy themselves as wise and learned, go round and round deluded in many crooked ways, as blind people led by the blind. (I.2.5) source: Swami Krishnananda
Looking back at what i am doing, this verse is what came to my mind...

Self Service
At this stage, i can't even imagine pouring milk, honey, gandha amongst other things over idol reciting specific mantras like my teacher says. I would rather feed someone with that. So decided, rather than pooja parihara, for my own planetary dosha nivarthi, why not serve folks afflicted with my problem to a greater degree like Barbara pijan suggests?

This is the true selfish reason behind my volunteering at an NGO. Initial enthusiasm in teaching visually challenged diminished, since, his availability clashed with my swimming timings and learnt to my dismay that i was not that disciplined to continue what i had started. Am good to go for one time adhoc activity, giving my best in bursts and spurts, but could not assure a long term steady availability of my hours.

A feeling of not having given enough
The NGO had organized a walkathon and could go only for the mock walk and not the actual one due to an out of station funeral and home trip on the same day. In spite of not attending walkathon, in spite of discontinuing teaching to a visually challenged BCom student, in spite of not arranging corporate sponsorship from company, in spite of not onboarding the Indian chapter to our official giving site, NGO invited couple of folks, including me to for thanking tea party. Apart from bus and auto fare on travelling, i contributed nothing from my own purse, it was only $150 per quarter twice, that the organization, I worked for, gave to the NGO's US chapter, since India chapter was not recognized. Was overwhelmed with tea party, two free T shirts (for me and my audio challenged friend), memento and speeches, that i volunteered to write exams for a visually challenged II PUC student.

Scribing for visually challenged
Realized that was the most painful, blunder mistake i ever did. The reason, i discontinued teaching the first visually challenged student, was because, i lacked patience to explain, the very fundamentals again and again. I can be extremely patient the first few times, after a while, a slow intellect frustrates me. The worst part was to realize that i competed not with myself but with others on certain aspects.

Unequal Competition
Typically in the examination hall, every second would count and i remember clutching the dear paper trying to write the last few points, as the invigilator would try to grab the paper and walk away after the exam duration got over. And for the last 3 days, i was here in the examination hall, after having recited sahanavavatu from school and having sung National Anthem after so many years. All visually challenged students had scribes, however, the guy behind me did not have one. The student i was scribing for knew no answer, nothing whatsoever about central tendency, leave alone mean median mode for economics exam. And i was actually teaching him in the hall, instead of scribing for him (not finals). It was so painful to know the answer, and not be able to write them to get marks, because, the student didn't know and could not speak one sentence in english.

The student behind me was simply sitting holding the paper, smiling once in a while like these people who can't see; he simply sat for more than an hour waiting for the scribe who didn't turn up. 30 minutes for him, (since another scribe finished the exam faster and scribed for him); while 1.5 hours for the rest of the people. The second day, the student didn't come for the exam. How can anyone expect a blind student to remember 25+ data points, do statistical calculations in that crunched time? Not everyone is a yogi with perfect concentration. If we were yogis as our culture had once indicated, then of course we would not need these external eyes. And our employers, filter candidates based on marks on that one day, the colleges give certificates based on that one day of exam! The third day, the student did not want to write the psychology exam, he had not revised and could not form sentences. Was equally upset, that i ended up eating mini meals in A2B inspite of having swimming session in another 1 hour.

It was extremely frustrating to think, what and all, specially challenged students have to memorize and write an exam and seek employment from a company, which cares two hoots about world history or australopithecus. How much and what should these kids learn to stand on their own leg, set up a business or be employable without depending on some charity? To wish for a world, without disabilities, old age or illness is like wishing for a waveless sea. Ok, whatever, this too shall pass.

Life and Microsoft Excel
Life is like excel at times. It takes hours to selectively delete rows based on certain criteria, while it takes seconds to copy rows we want. Guess, should not try to bother about perennial problems that have no apparent solution and rather, take aspects of life, which make life beautiful and meaningful and move on.

Great Souls Above
What i know is hardly 1%, there are so many advanced souls above, who would feel the same frustration for the souls below who make the same mistakes again and again and face so many physical disabilities or special challenges whatever over many lives! We have a poem where they talk about evolved teachers who sit disciplined achalam without interfering the natural evolution and individual learning! Greater still are living examples who spend tireless hours, like the sage who helped the scorpion, in spite of being bitten by it so many times.