Shinto is the dominant religion in Japan, though it is more of a way of life than a way to worship.Visitors to Shinto shrines can purchase small wooden plaques called ema, upon which they can share their hopes and dreams. Then, they hang them amongst other ema from people who have come before them, in the hopes that spirits will grant their wish This week, show us a wish.
“World without hatred
And violence of all kinds
A wish we all wish.
Quiet and a serene life
A wish that is but a dream.”
The serene waters of the lake in our place makes me wish that life everywhere could be as serene. A dream, no doubt, but we can always wish.
Reading in the newspapers
Here, there and everywhere.
And then about
The destruction of
For the never ending
Greed of man.
To make matters worse
Politicians who are
A class into themselves
And live for power and wealth,
Are bent upon
Making money for generations.
It seems as if there is
Chaos across the world.
But there must be
Something good everywhere,
Life goes on
With all its ups and downs.
There is always
The good,the bad and ugly.
In spite of everything,
It is good to believe
There is not enough
Darkness in the world
To extinguish the
Light of a small candle.
Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “opt.” Use it as a word or find a word with “opt” in it and base your post on that. Have fun!
Life is filled with options . We have to choose. Some decisions are made consciously and others , we are not even aware that we are making decisions. We just act. At that moment we believe our decision to be the right one. It is only much later that we come to know whether they were right or not. Many a time we are given a second chance but some times we have to deal with what we have opted for. I believe we have only two options when life deals us a problem, either run away or face it. For me, running away is not at all an option and when there is no choice it is better to deal with problem positively. Life becomes easier.
Writing about options, I remember this incident which happened in 1965. My mother recalled with a smile the scene very vividly, even after decades. That year my parents decided to go to Darjeeling for a holiday with their two small children. My father was posted in Calcutta.
In those days there was no railway bridge across the river Ganga. When the river enters Bengal, it splits into two, the Hugli and the Padma. Just before the breakup, a barrage was constructed- Farakka barrage. The train stopped to the south of the barrage and the passengers crossed the river in a steamer and then boarded a meter gauge train on the other side. That day they reached the place quite late in the evening.
Those were the days of trunks and holdalls, no suitcases 😊. The porter was rushing ahead with the luggage and my father rushed after him. My mother followed with two of us. At one place, some people went to one side and others to another. My father was nowhere to be seen! There were two steamers by the bank. My mother was faced with two options, either to follow the ladies who been in their compartment or walk on. She opted to walk behind them and climbed up the waiting steamer.
To her dismay my father was not to be seen, she immediately climbed down. And there was my father coming towards them with an anxious face. The porter had not slowed down and he was worried about the luggage. Reaching the correct steamer my father turned around thinking his wife and children were behind him. Not seeing them he rushed back the way he had come and soon saw them. That was a happy reunion 😊.
The steamer on which my mother had gone left soon.
On the 20th my mother was admitted to the hospital. Her operation was scheduled for the 21st at 9 in the morning. The doctor decided to do mastectomy. My mother was a little anxious but most of the time she was calm. I talked to her that morning, she was quite calm and said we have to face whatever comes our way and this operation had to be done. Her doctor was very happy at her response to the surgery. She was shifted to her room afternoon. Later my brother made a video call and I talked to her. Yesterday she went back home but she has to rest and take care as there is a tube attached to her chest and it will be there for a week. I had told some of our close relatives about the operation and they all talked to her. She was very happy about that. She lives with my elder brother and sister-in-law in Hyderabad.
Yesterday evening we went for a walk around the lake, it is always a pleasure to walk there. It takes half an hour to walk around it and of course I cannot resist taking photos. It is the same place but there always seems to be a difference. The birds look so delicate and beautiful.
One evening we went to the park opposite Venugopala temple. There is an old ‘Ashwatha tree’ (Peepal tree) in the yard of the temple. The leaves have fallen and the tree looks different but beautiful. We do not have the autumn or winter season and leaves of only some trees fall but the colour does not always change. The dry leaves of the Ashoka trees in the park looked like a carpet and we enjoyed walking in them because they make a crunchy sound.
At that time in the evening we always see some women walking back home from work. What is fascinating is seeing them walk with such grace balancing a bag or a sack on their heads. They do not hold them with their hands and I had to take a photo😊.
Saturday night I had a wonderful time listening participants of our International Book Club. There were six of us. Todd Tyrtle organizes it, he and Elizabeth are WordPress friends. Each person reads different types of books and that makes it very interesting. I had missed the previous meeting. I started listening to War and Peace in September and am still listening to it. It is a fascinating book.
Aravinda wanted to give homemade sweets to his colleagues for Deepawali but we could not make it then. We made this milk barfi on Sunday, post- Deepawali sweets. We got the recipe from Hebbar’s Kitchen. All his colleagues enjoyed it.
Our granddaughter, Kavya, goes to kindergarten, my daughter and family live in Germany. Kavya’s classmate tested positive for Covid and all the children in two groups are in home quarantine. There is lockdown in Germany for whole of November. My cousin in America was saying cases are increasing and there are protests against restrictions in both places. Two community health workers had come the other day, they said the number of cases in our locality is very less and even those who are getting the virus are getting only a mild infection. But it may not be the case everywhere. Cases are increasing in north India due to winter season.
I prepare curds at home but once a month I get a packet of it from the milk shop. I find it better to change the curd culture once a month. Each morning I remove the layer of cream and keep it in a bowl. When it is full, I churn it in the mixer to remove the butter. Long back a wooden churner was used.
This is a beautiful photo of my husband’s grandmother churning curds. That was a daily ritual in most homes. Buttermilk was and is an important part of lunch or dinner. Actually, we eat curds for breakfast, lunch and dinner 😊. We use it or buttermilk in certain curries too.
When I think of curds and buttermilk and butter I remember the tales of Lord Krishna. My paternal grandfather read aloud to us from Krishnavatara, stories of Lord Krishna. I can still picture him sitting in a cane chair and reading to us.
Our town, Udupi, is home to one of the oldest temples to Lord Krishna. Writing about temples, I remember our trip to Rajasthan in 2008. We went to Nathdwara, a very important temple to Shreenathji, the infant Krishna. I still remember the atmosphere of devotion there. Devotees were immersed in Lord Krishna. Two days earlier we had been in a hotel and got a ten rupee note with a seal on it. I asked the owner about it and he told me with great excitement that the note had passed through the temple at Nathdwara. He said it was a good omen.
Then we went to Chittorgarh fort, home to Meerabai, one of the greatest devotees of Lord Krishna. The temple where she sat and sang her bhajans is beautiful.
It is fascinating how the mention of curds led to butter and to Krishna, who loved butter. Our grandchildren too love curds and butter 😊
The last two days have been very cloudy and the weather very hot. Humidity is very high in coastal Karnataka. I remember our vacation in Amritsar in January this year and it seems like a different lifetime. It was so cold and we thought the heat was better than the cold and now we are longing for the cold 😊.
Today evening we went to my husband’s cousin’s home, we were visiting someone after a long, long time. He completed chemotherapy two months ago but he is not well now. We used to meet them regularly earlier. My mother is having an operation this Saturday. She will not have mastectomy but the lump will be removed. She will be in the hospital for two nights. My sister-in-law will be with her. We are all praying for her recovery.
On the 11th my husband started watering plants in the garden. The rains have stopped completely. One morning I prepared everything to bake wheat flour masala buns and there was no electricity. I searched in Google 😊 and found that I could bake in non-stick pan. The taste was good but the buns were not round and fluffy. And I also made tomato chutney pickle. It is tasty with dosas 😊. The original procedure to make this pickle is a lengthy one, I prepare a faster one but we cannot keep it for long.
One evening we went the lake after many, many days. There had been a lot of rush and we were apprehensive to go there for a walk. A few days ago my friend told me there are only a few people walking. It was after 5.45 when we reached the place. And by the time we walked more than half way around the lake the sun set, the atmosphere is so different at that time. There was breeze and waves. The birds were resting on the branches of the trees on the island. Many other birds were flying in v-formation. It is fascinating to watch them.
On the 14th we offered monthly prayers to my father-in-law’s departed soul. We do this till the first death anniversary. We invite a guest for lunch and prepare certain dishes that have to be prepared. My husband cuts the vegetables and I do the cooking 😊.
The whole country celebrated Deepawali. We heard some crackers around us but not like other years. We lighted ‘Diyas’ on three nights. Deepawali is the festival of lights. On the 15th evening we went to the temple of Lord Shiva. We were going there after a long time. It is one of our favourite places. This year we have not been doing many things which we usually do.
The river Swarna flows towards the sea not far from our place. We love to watch it from EndPoint but this year that place is still closed to public. We had seen a bridge being constructed across and we decided to see the bridge. Earlier people used to come by boat to this side for work, now they use the bridge. The river looked so serene and soothing.
Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “ring.” Use it as a noun, a verb, an adverb, or an adjective…use it any way you’d like. Have fun.
Where have the circuses gone? They were the fun part of childhood. I remember we sat not far from the ring and watched with awe the acrobats swinging far above or walking on tight ropes. The jugglers and all the animals were an integral part of the circus life. The clowns made us laugh and I remember ‘Mera Naam Joker’ , a movie all about circus life by Raj Kapoor. The film did not do well at the Box office but I liked it very much. The songs are evergreen. Enid Blyton was a part of childhood, I enjoyed all her books and my children did too. Now our grandson is enjoying The famous Five stories, but in German 😊. The Circus of Adventure was nice.
My father-in-law loved going to the circus, he went with children and grandchildren whenever he got the opportunity. He enjoyed all that happened in the circus ring. I still remember the smile on his face when he said that he had gone to the circus. But it seems as if the circus has become history.
And I also remember the rubber ring with which we played and enjoyed the evenings . It was a hard ring and we played it like people play frisbee. I don’t know whether people still play this game or has it too become a part of history ? I just checked in Google and the game is called tennikoit, I did not know that 😊, we just called it the ring game.
Wells are an important part of life here. Most houses have their own wells. They have concrete rings to keep the sides of the well from collapsing. But earlier instead of concrete rings laterite stones were used. My husband tells me that planks of the gooseberry tree were kept at the base of the well. These planks were believed to be water resistant. But they are not used now. Borewells are taking the place of wells these days. Many believe that the groundwater is being sucked dry by the borewells. In our village, water rarely dried in wells. But with the coming of borewells, there is no water by March and people have to wait for the rains.
Lastly, engagement rings come to mind. When we got engaged in 1982, we did not exchange rings, in fact, in those days only the elders of the family took part in the engagement function. But now the engagement function is like a small wedding function and exchanging rings is a very important part of it. But this year the Covid has changed so many things, there are smaller gatherings at social and religious functions.
Changes keep happening in life. It is fascinating how one word can be used in so many different ways and with different meanings.
Today is our granddaughter’s third birthday. It seems like just recently I was in Germany waiting for her delivery in the hospital waiting room. I loved those two and half months there. I experienced my first snowfall 😊. I still remember that early morning when I looked out of the kitchen window and saw snow everywhere and light from the street lamps made the place magical.
Advaith is in 1st std, studying in the school just five minutes from their home. Kavya has joined the kindergarten where Advaith had studied.
The rains have stopped for this year and the weather is a little hot and someone said this is because of the trees that have been cut. And in yesterday’s paper we read about the government’s plan to cut thousands of trees to make an expressway! Humans will never learn. And I think this has been stated across the ages. I remember all those science fiction short stories about the future and the life on earth then. I always wonder what we are leaving behind for future generations.
On Friday, I went with Aravind to his primary school. He had been invited as chief guest for Children’s day which is on the 14th. Jawaharlal Nehru’s birthday is celebrated as Children’s Day. The Vice Principal of the school was Aravind’s class teacher in 7th std, in 1997. This year students have not yet come back to school and everything is online. He was asked to talk for a few minutes and it was recorded. Aravind talked about his school days and the teachers were happy to listen to him😊.
My mother went to the Oncologist with my brother and sister-in-law. The doctor has started a treatment and if she responds to it well, she may not need mastectomy. I talk to my mother daily. Some days she feels why this has happened, other days she says she is fine and will take each day as it comes. Her only wish is she should be physically active till the end. I think we all pray for the same. She is going regularly for her walks and reading books and helping in whatever way she can.
Corona virus fills a major part of life in my country but life is going on as usual, the only difference is seeing most people wearing masks. Though some wear it on their chins, and some cover only their mouth and others remove it while talking !! Many IT professionals have returned to their home towns from cities as they have to work online. Maybe they feel life is better in smaller places. It is ok for people with their own houses but for those people living in rented houses, they have to pay the rent even if they are not living there.
I am enjoying studying different courses in the last five months in Courseera or Edx. I am now doing Shakespeare and his Works. It has been a long, long time since I have read his stories. After many years we got a citron fruit in our plant. We call it ‘Mabala Huli’ in Kannada. We make pickles and I have salted it. We eat it raw too. It is not very sour.
Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “jour.” Find a word containing “jour” or use it as is. Bonus points if you start or end your post with that word. Enjoy!
‘Jour’ puzzled me because I was reading it for the first time. It is fun to come across new words and look up their meaning. It comes from French and ultimately from Latin. It means daily or relating to one day. Its meaning is found in words like journey, journal and such words.
Journal brought to mind Slice of Life. I have been posting there since early 2017. Every Tuesday we have to post a slice of our life. End of that year I started writing letters to my Doddamma My Slice of life post was an edited version of my letters. It is a journal. We think that there is not much happening in life but they make us realize that every day is different. There is a sameness too which feels good.
In the late seventies, my paternal grandfather wrote his memoirs at the insistence of his elder daughter. He described so vividly all that had happened to him decades earlier. He wrote about life in the first half of the 20th century and his description brought those times alive for us. Anyone would have thought that he had kept journals through the years and had written his memoirs reading through them. But I remember all his worldly possessions filled a small trunk and a bag. He had a wonderful memory.
Every year he and his younger sister went with their mother to their maternal grandparents’ home about twelve miles from their home to attend the death anniversary rituals of their maternal grandfather. Those were the times when there were no buses or cars or bicycles. There were only mud roads for bullock carts. The enjoyed the journey and what a journey it was ! They had to cross flat lands, climb hills and come down, cross small streams and it was impossible not to play in the flowing water.
They left home early in the morning with two servants. Their mother carried tender coconuts, beaten rice and jaggery. They reached ‘Kochchi Gudde’ ( gudde means hill in Kannada), about six to seven miles away at about 10 o’clock. They rested under a tree on top of the hill and ate what they had brought. By afternoon they reached my grandfather’s cousin’s home. After lunch they set off again. On the way they walked through a forest and crossed a river in a boat . A boatman was always present with his craft to ferry wayfarers. They reached their destination by sunset.
Their sojourn with their grandparents, maternal uncles, aunts and their families lasted for a month. They visited their relatives and had great fun with all their cousins. These visits took place during the closing years of 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century. Fast forward to the 1960s and 70s we journeyed to our maternal grandparents’ place by train and now in the 21st century our grandchildren who live in Germany come by aeroplanes to the nearest airport and from there by car to our home. 😊