Smells of the World

Early on the morning of 19th March we left for the airport. I was going to my brother’s place. We pass through many villages and towns which have small hotels (here we use the word hotel to mean eating place or restaurant).They were getting ready for the morning business. We could smell idlis, sambhar, dosa, chutney, upma and other popular breakfast dishes. These aromas are an integral part of early mornings. On the way we pass a port and our nostrils flared due to a strong stench. My husband told me it was the smell of logs of trees submerged in water for preservation. Some trees have to be preserved like this. These logs are exported to other countries by ship. He remembered those days when he and his cousins, as children, would watch avidly when wells were dug in their village. Intriguingly, planks made from the trunks of gooseberry trees were laid at the bottom of the well. This acted as a strong base for the walls of the well made of laterite stone. This was because that wood does not rot under water.

This reminded me of our visit to Bangkok many years ago. It is a beautiful place, and we enjoyed our stay there. We were fascinated by the number of eateries on the foot paths . Our friend told us that people there eat everything that moves!! That must be an exaggeration! But every morning the smell of cooking meat assailed us, and it was a little difficult for us to bear it because we are vegetarians. The same happens when we go to the beach not far from our home. There is fishing village on the sea shore and everywhere we are acutely aware of the smell of drying fish. We wonder how people live there and they do. They must be used to it or it must be fragrance for them. ‘Matsyagandha’ in Sanskrit means the fragrance of fish. Matsyagandhi is an ancient heroine in the epic Mahabharata.

Talking about fragrances, the word that comes to mind is petrichor: the fragrance that is released when the first rains touch the dry earth. It is literally heavenly. The monsoon season is very important for us. May is the hottest month in our summer and we wait eagerly for the rains to begin. Then we have the fragrance of incense sticks and sandalwood paste which greet us when we enter temples and prayer rooms in all Hindu houses. It is a soothing experience.

There is also an unsavoury side to the smells that we sense in our surroundings. Unfortunately, many of my country people are not concerned about the proper disposal of garbage. It is very sad because India is a beautiful country which is marred by this lack of civic responsibility. We keep wondering why people of each locality cannot clean their immediate surroundings. But at the same time there are many good people who are doing their best to make their environment cleaner. May their tribe flourish.

So much can be written about the sense of smell. I remember the short story ‘Cedric’ by James Herriot. It is a story  about a shepherd who cannot smell anything and gets a good dog because of his disability.

“Smells floating around
Touching us through our senses
Arousing feelings.”
Home 26th

Rain 14th night (20)

(On the 14th evening we had unexpected rains. There was thunder and lightning and it rained for three hours. )

Satyavati – Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satyavati

 

 

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Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Alone

This week the topic is Alone. You can photograph anything that appears to alone or possibly lonely for this challenge. Let’s see how creative you can we can be on this challenge. Have fun with this week’s challenge.

Uliyaru Durgaparameshwari temple

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Maikuri 18th Feb (5)

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 Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Alone

RonovanWrites #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #194 Worship&Goddess

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“In their daily lives,
People worship the Goddess
With complete belief.
For most, she is the Mother,
Who will always be with them.”

In my country the worship of Goddess Durga in her various forms is deep rooted. She is worshipped for her different characteristics. She is called Durga, Mahishamardhini, Umamaheshwari, Gowri, Sharadamba, Kamakshi and so on. The festival of Navaratri is celebrated across the length and breadth of the country. In our place there are many temples of the Goddess and she is an important and integral part of our lives.

Goddess

Mandarthi

Nilawara

Sringeri (11)

(Some temples to the Goddess)

RonovanWrites #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #194 Worship&Goddess

Letter from Home-10 (Slice of Life)

slice-of-life_individual

[I remember those long ago days when we used to write letters to our near and dear ones regularly. Over the years there have been lot of changes in life. These are the days of the internet and we have stopped writing letters. Last year I started writing to my mother and my Doddamma (my father’s elder brother’s wife) She lives with her son and family. My cousin’s wife shows her my mails. My mother lives with my brother and my sister-in-law shows her my mails. My Doddamma is 86 and is not able to go out. My Amma and Doddamma enjoy the mails and the photos. The internet has really changed our lives, it helps us to keep some contact with our friends and relatives, if we want to😊. I am editing a few lines before posting in Slice of Life because it would be difficult to understand without knowing the details. I am also adding links to certain topics of interest.]
26-03-18
Dear Doddamma and Amma,
I was very happy to spend three days with you amma.  Doddamma, on the 22nd, my flight from Hyderabad left at 7.10 and I was in Mangalore by 8.30. Kuvara and Aravinda had come to the airport. On our way back we had breakfast in a hotel in Padubidri. It is a good hotel. We have had breakfast there many times earlier too. After returning Aravinda went to college. For lunch I made boiled rice conji and tomato rasam.

That evening we went to End point for a walk. We like going there. It is called Endpoint because one end of Manipal ends there. If we go down we reach the banks of the river Swarna. On both sides of the road to End point trees are coming up. They are mostly Jamun trees with purple coloured fruits.

Swarna river

There is a jackfruit tree in our back yard. This year there are a lot of fruits. We will be using them at their different stages. We will also share with our neighbours and others.

Home jackfruit (1)

We are getting papaya too. They are tasty. The white star-apple tree in the front has also started giving fruits this year. My husband’s cousin gave us the plant a few years ago. The fruits are very tasty.

Jamun tree

On the 23rd evening, Aravinda had his German class, Kuvara went to a music concert. There is an open-air stage next to Manipal lake. The two singers sang folk songs and devotional songs. It was very good and the audience enjoyed themselves.

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I had my book club meeting so I could not go for the concert. We started this club in 2009 and meet once a month. We talk about books and it is great fun. We talk about the books we have read. Once, we all read the same book and that was a different experience.

I am stitching two shirts for Advaith and some frocks for Kavya. I am enjoying the stitching. While stitching I listen to Bananje Govindacharya’s pravachana (lectures). I like all his lectures. At present I am listening to his talk on The Gita. Other than his vast knowledge and the simple language in which he speaks I like the way he gets so involved in the stories. We can hear the emotion in his voice and that makes everything so personal. I am glad all his talks are in YouTube.

Yesterday we had been to Maikuri to see mava ( my father-in-law). He is fine. I told him you had asked me to convey to him your namaskaras. He too remembered that you had gone to Neerchal school for some days. (my doddamma and my father-in-law are related) According to the English calendar today is his birthday. He is 93. But mava follows the Hindu calendar and his birthday comes later. Till last year we used to offer pujas at home for Lord Shiva and Ganapati. Last year we went Madhur temple. It is tiring for him to sit for the homa and puje.

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( Prayers offered to Lord Shiva by priests, this was in 2013)

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( Homa for Lord Ganapati)

There we came to know that my husband’s cousin, Gopala had suffered brain haemorrhage more than a month ago and was in the hospital. On our way back we went to see him. His right side is paralysed and it was really very sad to see him like that. They will go to their home in three days. They have engaged a male home nurse to look after Gopala. We never know what will happen to us. I think every day we have to thank God for our good health. We reached home by 6.15.

Today evening Aravinda had his German classes. We dropped him there and went to our Cooperative society shop where we buy groceries. Now they are selling millets too. I got pearl millets and barnyard millets. I am thinking of making payasam (dessert made using coconut milk and jaggery)tomorrow from the barnyard millets, they look like like ragi (finger millets) but white in colour.
We are all fine here. I talk to Gayatri almost everyday. She sends videos and photos of Advaith and Kavya.
With love,
Lakshmi
Hindu calendar – Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu_calendar
Hindu calendar is a collective term for the various lunisolar calendars traditionally used in India. They adopt a similar underlying concept for timekeeping, but differ in their relative emphasis to moon cycle or the sun cycle and the names of months and when they consider the New Year to start. Of the various regional calendars, the most studied and known Hindu calendars are the Vikrami calendar …

Madhur Temple – Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madhur_Temple
Madhur temple was originally Madarantheswara (Shiva) Temple and as the lore goes, an old women called Madaru from local Tulu Moger Community discovered an “Udbhava Murthy” (a statue that was not made by a human) of shiva linga.

Bannanje Govindacharya – Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bannanje_Govindacharya

PadmaShri Shri Bannanje Govindacharya, is a great and rare Sanskrit scholar, well-versed in Veda Bhashya, Upanishad Bhashya, Mahabharata, Puranas and Ramayana.

Homa (ritual) – Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homa_(ritual)

Letter from Home-10 (Slice of Life)

 

Six Word Story

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BEING JUDGEMENTAL IS BAD FOR HEALTH

We meet all sorts of people in life. It is a fascinating experience. Here there is an old saying which says just as all fingers are not alike, in the same way no two persons are the same. Many accept others just as they are. But there are others who think they know the best and pass judgements on people. They search for faults and highlight them and do not look beyond them. All of us have our plus and minus points. Why should we judge others? It is certainly not good for our mental health.

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( Trees just give, they do not pass judgements :

 

RonovanWrites #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #193 Chance&Equal

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“A little brown bird
Living near a big airport,
Survival a chance.
Equal to its task in life,
Quietly searching for food.”

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Many years ago house sparrows were a part of our daily life. They used to fly in and out of houses. I remember them building their on top of a clock in my grandfather’s house.  Much later when my children were small a sparrow flew inside our house and hit itself to the fan and died on the spot. My children burst out crying.  We kept the body in a box and had buried it in the yard. But over the years we are seeing less and less of them. They are vanishing. It is very sad. It gives me great joy when I get to see them. I saw this little bird just outside the airport.

RonovanWrites #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #193 Chance&Equal

Letter from home-9 (Slice of life)

slice-of-life_individual

( I remember those long ago days when we used to write letters to our near and dear ones regularly. Over the years there have been lot of changes in life. These are the days of the internet and we have stopped writing letters. Last year I started writing to my mother and my Doddamma (my father’s elder brother’s wife) She lives with her son and family. My cousin’s wife shows her my mails. My mother lives with my brother and my sister-in-law shows her my mails. My Doddamma is 86 and is not able to go out. My Amma and Doddamma enjoy the mails and the photos. The internet has really changed our lives, it helps us to keep some contact with our friends and relatives, if we want to😊. I am editing a few lines before posting in Slice of Life because it would be difficult to understand without knowing the details. I am also adding links to certain topics of interest. This mail is to my Doddamma, I have come to my brother’s home to see my mother. In December she was diagnosed lymphoma and is having chemotherapy. She is responding well.)

19-3-18

Dear Doddamma,

Yesterday was Ugadi and we seek your blessings. We are all fine. I made banana payasa. Evening we went to Mahishamardhini temple in Kadiyali not far from home. We like going to this temple specially for the evening Puja. The Puja is between 7.30 and 8. Many years ago we had been to this temple when you and doddappa had come to Manipal. You were happy to be there for the Puja.

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I am now in Hyderabad . I came here today morning. My flight was at 8.30 from Mangalore, Aravinda and Kuvara dropped me at the airport. The flight left at 9 and I was in Hyderabad by 10.15. Anna’s driver Ganesha had come to the airport. At the airport I was happy to see sparrows. We do not see much of them now.

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Amma is fine. Anna has gone to Rangoon and Cambodia on work.He will return Wednesday midnight. I am returning  home Thursday morning.

On the 14th night we got heavy rains for almost three hours. There was thunder and lightning too. There was a steady roll of thunder all the time. Then there was no electricity too. We have an invertor so we went to sleep, some time during the night electricity was restored. As soon as I got up I switched on the motor to fill water in the overhead tank. I had not been able to so the previous night. There have been rains in other nearly places.

The school of Communication of Manipal has been hosting an exhibition and sale of traditional arts, crafts and dress materials and saris, bedsheets and so on for more than ten years. This exhibition was held on 9th, 10th and 11th. We had been there and Aravind purchased a kurta for himself and one for Advaith and two kurtas for Gayatri. Vinay’s parents are going to Germany on April 10th, we will send these with them.

I had written earlier that we had got coconut plucked and the husk removed. We sold it a few days ago to coconut buyers and sellers. The price keeps varying from day to day. We got Rs 39.25 per kg. It is a good price.

Today evening Amma and I went to the park nearby for a short walk. We sat on a bench and watched boys playing football in the ground adjacent to the park. There are a lot of children in this colony .

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Every evening Amma sits outside the house watching them play. In May my brother, sister-in-law and Amma are coming to our place and Amma will be with us for some months.

I will write after I return.

With love,
Lakshmi

Namma Angadi | Manipal Academy of Higher Education
https://manipal.edu › … › Social Impact

Ugadi – Wikipedia
https://en.m.wikipedia.org › wiki › Ugadi

Letter from home-9 (Slice of life)

 

Silence

We celebrated Holi, the festival of colours, on the 2nd of this month. Students in our university town enjoyed themselves with exuberance. We saw many of them drenched in colours. From behind our home we heard music. It was gala time for them, but for us that music was noise. We thought it was unbearably loud and could not appreciate it. We remember the music of earlier days when the lyrics were beautiful and the music touched the heart and has remained there till now.

On the night of the 3rd a Yakshagana prasanga (a dance drama) was performed in the ground just opposite our house. It was a night-long programme. It started at 9.30 and ended at 5 AM the next morning. We did not think of this as noise but for many it might have been so. The music in Yakshagana is not a subdued one. For two whole days there was ‘music’ all around us!! I woke up on Sunday morning to a silent world. There was a stillness around us with not even the chirping of birds. The silence was welcome. It reminded me of those moments when we would sit on the western side of our hill and watch the sun set on the Arabian sea far away. The setting sun and the gentle breeze created a peaceful atmosphere.

End point (1)

But there is a different type of stillness which is something I would never like to experience. Some years ago I used to go to the cancer ward of the children’s hospital and spend some time with the children and their mothers. It was a different world. There was a little girl who sat very still. She never talked, and that silence hurt me. She must have been suffering great pain in silence. I waited long to see some emotion in her face, but in vain. That stillness seemed very unnatural in a person so young. Then that cancer ward closed as the Oncologist left. I don’t know what happened to that child, but that silence still haunts me.

“Just silence,
But of many kinds,
And they speak a language,
We have to listen with open hearts,
To understand not only the black and white but all its colours.” (Sidlak poetry)

RonovanWrites #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #192 Slim&Chance

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“The bulbul couple
Built their nest among the fronds
Thought their eggs were safe.
Survival was a slim chance
When the pheasant crow found them.”

empty nest (2)

empty nest (1)

(We have a dwarf variety of  areca tree in our garden. A few years ago a bulbul couple built a nest among the thick fronds. They thought their nest would be safe and the mother laid the eggs there. One morning we heard furious chirping. The two little birds were flying around frantically trying to scare away the pheasant crow but in vain. In the evening we parted the fronds to see an empty nest. This was a few years ago. Since then birds have not built their nest in that tree.)

RonovanWrites #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #192 Slim&Chance

Letter from Home -8 (Slice of Life)

slice-of-life_individual

[I remember those long ago days when we used to write letters to our near and dear ones regularly. Over the years there have been lot of changes in life. These are the days of the internet and we have stopped writing letters. Last year I started writing to my mother and my Doddamma (my father’s elder brother’s wife) She lives with her son and family. My cousin’s wife shows her my mails. My mother lives with my brother and my sister-in-law shows her my mails. My Doddamma is 86 and is not able to go out. My Amma and Doddamma enjoy the mails and the photos. The internet has really changed our lives, it helps us to keep some contact with our friends and relatives, if we want to😊. I am editing a few lines before posting in Slice of Life because it would be difficult to understand without knowing the details. I am also adding links to certain topics of interest.]
12-3-18
Dear Doddamma and Amma,
We went to Maikuri (where my father-in-law lives) yesterday morning. My father-in-law and my husband’s younger brother live in the village. A couple live with them to do all the cooking. They have been there for more than three years now. They are looking after mava (my father-in-law, this is not his name but how I call him) well. He is fine and does some light work to keep himself occupied.

Maikuri 11th (12).jpg

This year there are many wild mangoes. They are still raw, we have got some to make pickles. We left at 2.30 after lunch.

In Mangalore we decided to visit doddamma’s younger brother and his wife. He is 84, they lived in their village and have shifted to this town. His wife had told us the directions earlier and we found the house easily. Both are fine and are adjusting to their new life. We were there for nearly an hour and we enjoyed talking to each other.

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Their home is not too much out of our way. We reached home by 6.30.

Aravinda wants to learn cooking. Yesterday he made rice and dal. He has retinitis pigmentosa and cannot see properly from birth. He completed his PhD in English Literature in 2016 and is an Assistant professor in our University. I was telling him that my father’s mother and her sister were blind but very good cooks. So cooking is not impossible. He will just have to be a little more careful.

Doddamma, when we bought the land where we have built our house there were ten coconut trees, three jackfruit trees and two mango trees. The owner’s father had planted them sometime in the early seventies. We are eating the fruits of his labour. About ten days ago we got the coconuts plucked. Coconuts are plucked about four times a year. Nagesh who plucks them works in the engineering college in Manipal. He does this work in many houses to earn extra money. He has been coming to our house from the beginning, in 2005 when we shifted here. He charges Rs 70 per tree. And he also keeps the coconuts inside and the fronds to one side in a heap. Climbing coconut tree or areca nut trees are so specialised, everyone cannot do it.

coconut plucking

coconuts 27-2-18

Today we are getting the husk of the coconuts removed removed. We will later sell them. Praveen who is doing the dehusking lives nearby. The charge is one rupee per coconut. For us it is okay because we do not depend on this for our daily life but for farmers all this becomes very expensive. There is hardly any profit. It is very sad.  Praveen is a good worker but unfortunately, he is an alcoholic. Whatever he earns is spent on arrack. We often see him rushing by to a nearby arrack shop. It is very sad, fortunately he is not married. Life would have been hell for his wife.

Praveen dehusking 12th (1)

On Saturday morning we had been to book releasing programme by the Manipal Universal press, in the nearby MGM college. The author, Dr Prabhakar Acharya had been my husband’s patient for many years. He is now in his eighties. He was an English professor in Bombay University. After retirement he came back to Udupi, his hometown. He also started writing then. I have read two of his books. On Friday night he rang to tell about his book release. He said he would not be there as he finds it difficult to go out of his home. The book is Dhwani and Epiphany, essays on criticism. I don’t think I will understand it. It sounds very technical. Aravind says it is a very good book.

I am now stitching some frocks for Kavya. Kuvara (my husband) will be in Bangalore on 1st April to attend his friend’s daughter’s wedding. Vinay’s parents are going to Germany on the 10th. I will send some dresses and other things with them.
We are all fine here. The weather is getting hotter and people have started wondering when the rains will begin this year. There is a lot of time till June.
With lots of love,
Lakshmi
(My husband is a dental surgeon and was teaching in Dental college in our place. He retired last January.)

Letter from Home -8 (Slice of Life)