Everyday Moments – Slice of Life #2020

slice-of-life_individual

My weekly Slice of Life are my letters to my Doddamma. She is my father’s elder brother’s wife. Doddamma literally means ‘elder mother’. She is 88 years old. She cannot hear properly if I telephone to talk to her. So, I have been writing letters to her since October 2017. I enjoy writing letters and she is happy to read them. They are only about the everyday moments in my life. I post my letters to her every week.

24-03-2020

Our state, Karnataka is in complete lock down and our neighboring state, Kerala too. Our village is in that state and we cannot go there. The borders are closed. We last went on the 8th. We are just praying that my father-in-law will stay healthy. But nothing is in our hands, we have to take what comes our way. Till yesterday we were going for our evening walks to Endpoint where there is a wide road with no vehicles and very few people too. All colleges of our University are closed and students have gone home. But online teaching is going on. From today there is curfew and we will be confined to our homes. How life has changed ! Everything has turned upside down. Yesterday someone was saying it is time for us to go inside ourselves and think about our life. God knows what will happen in the next few months. Yesterday a photo was being shared on WhatsApp showing the globe and on it the words ‘closed for maintenance’. I wonder what will happen after the maintenance.

A little after I wrote the first paragraph we got a phone from my brother-in-law that my father-in-law was not well. At 11.15 he passed away. He would have been 95 on the 26th. Today morning after taking his bath he got an attack and my brother-in-law made him lie down on his bed. After a short time, he passed away. Due to the complete lockdown in both states my husband had to get special permission from the Police chief of our town. We wrote a letter asking for permission to travel. He also told that he would not be able to leave Kerala in the near future due to the spread of the virus there. Aravind, our son, has online classes to conduct and it is not possible for him to stay alone. Actually, since Sunday he has been learning to cook. In spite of being blind, my father’s mother and her sister were wonderful cooks. So I told my son learning to cook is not a problem at all. It is good to know basic cooking.  But, in these times of strict curfew it would have been difficult for him to manage alone.

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So, we both decided to stay back. My husband reached our village safely. The cremation will take place soon.

My father-in-law was loved and respected by all his near and dear ones and the sad part is only those who live in our village will be able to attend the last rites. In normal circumstances so many would have come to pay their last respects. What to do? We have to take life as it comes.

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( This was on March 8th)

Everyday Moments- Slice of Life #2020

slice-of-life_individual

My weekly Slice of Life are my letters to my Doddamma. She is my father’s elder brother’s wife. Doddamma literally means ‘elder mother’. She is 88 years old. She cannot hear properly if I telephone to talk to her. So, I have been writing letters to her since October 2017. I enjoy writing letters and she is happy to read them. They are only about the everyday moments in my life. I post my letters to her every week.

16-03-2020
Aravind was to go to Netherlands in May to teach for a week in Netherlands. He is Assistant Professor in the Department of languages of our university. He and my husband went to Bangalore for the visa on the 9th night. Unfortunately, their bus had been cancelled, my husband had not checked the messages earlier in the day. Fortunately, they were given seats in the next bus. They reached Bangalore early morning on the 10th and went to my cousin’s home. Troubles never come singly. His appointment was at 11.30 and when they reached the given address, they found The Netherland office closed !! He was given appointment for 8.30 on the 11th morning. They reached the office at 7.45 and were told they would have to wait as the Netherlands visa officials had not yet decided about the revised visa fees. Both waited and waited, they had booked a day bus at 12.30 from the main bus station as they had been told work would be completed within two hours. But it did not. There was no time for them to reach the main bus station but the conductor was kind enough to tell them to go to another stop, my cousin’s driver took them to that stop and they got the bus😊. They reached home at 9.30. As I had said troubles never come singly. Now the whole trip has been cancelled due to the outbreak of coronavirus. The visa fee was non-refundable! My Doddamma always says we should learn to take life as it comes.

While they were away, I went to Asare, Home for the mentally challenged spent time there. I have been going there thrice a week since 2011. On the 10th evening I went to my friend’s house to meet her mother who is her nineties. I have known her for a long time. Old age brings so many changes. We are lucky if are able to have the same interest in life that we had earlier. I watched Roman Holiday 😊, it is such a beautiful movie. I love all the scenes in it.

My neighbor gave me sour sop fruit which we call Lakshmana phala in our language. I like the taste. We had planted some seeds and saplings are growing in our garden. The curry leaves plant in our garden has got fresh leaves now. They look so green and beautiful.

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On the 13th we came to know there will be complete shut down of educational institutions in our state and elsewhere too.  Our grandchildren too are having holidays. Our grandson told his mother that they could come to India now 😊, why waste the holidays. Then she explained to him why it was not possible.

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The coronavirus has become a world wide web.

We are going for our evening walks, either to End Point or to the lake. We very rarely miss them.

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I am stitching  a blouse for my sari, I enjoy stitching 🙂

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https://www.chikitsa.com/lakshman-phal-benefits

Everyday Moments- #SOL 2020

slice-of-life_individual
My weekly Slice of Life are my letters to my Doddamma. She is my father’s elder brother’s wife. Doddamma literally means ‘elder mother’. She is 88 years old. She cannot hear properly if I telephone to talk to her. So, I have been writing letters to her since October 2017. I enjoy writing letters and she is happy to read them. They are only about the everyday moments in my life. I post my letters to her every week.

10-03-2020
On the 7th I talked with my Doddamma. She cannot hear properly. She said she was very happy to read my letters. I felt very nice when she said that. She is my favourite relative.
This week, on the 4th ,I went to the hospital. I was having an uncomfortable sensation in my right ear. Fortunately, it was a minor problem. Waiting for my turn I read The Indian Empire at War  by George Morton Jack. A fascinating book.  On the 6th I had to go for a dental check-up. Fortunately, minor problems. Hospital is a different world and we always hope that we never have to go there.

On the 26th morning a friend and our book club member passed away. She had been suffering from cancer and was in lot of pain. On the 18th I had gone to see her. In spite of the pain we talked about books. Earlier she wished to read some Enid Blytons. I had taken them for her. She donated her body to our Medical college. She had told us her father had done the same. On the 5th her husband and close friends had organised a wonderful evening celebrating her life. So many spoke about her. She was just 61, certainly not an age to die.

20200308_082241About two weeks ago bulbuls were trying their best to build their nests inside the house. I kept the windows closed for some days. Now they are not coming, hopefully they have found a better place to build their nests.

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On the 7th we sold our coconuts at the shop in our town. We got Rs 35 per kilogram. This has been the best rate that we have got for a long time. We have ten coconut trees in our garden. We sold a little more than 80 kgs. It is ok for us because we do not depend on it for our living. But for all those farmers life becomes difficult when they do not get good returns for all their hard work.  Tender coconut water is very tasty and the soft white fruit is tastier. We sometimes buy them on our way back home. The water and the fruit are very refreshing.

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On the 8th we went to our village to spend time with my father-in-law. I don’t know whether he recognised us. My father-in-law was listening to classical music in YouTube. I was sitting near him after finishing the cooking . He has cataract and cannot see. At his age he cannot be operated. A few years ago he had been operated in one eye but it did not really help him. He was such an active person, I was feeling very sad looking at the changes that age brings. God knows what is in store for us. All around us changes are happening. Anyway, we have to face what comes our way.

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Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.
Lao Tzu

Everyday Moments, SOL 2020

slice-of-life_individual
My weekly Slice of Life are my letters to my Doddamma. She is my father’s elder brother’s wife. Doddamma literally means ‘elder mother’. She is 88 years old. She cannot hear properly if I telephone to talk to her. So, I have been writing letters to her since October 2017. I enjoy writing letters and she is happy to read them. They are only about the everyday moments in my life. I post my letters to her every week.
My letters to my doddamma are about our trip to Amritsar and Dharamsala between 1st and 9th of this month. So I am sharing the same in my Slice of Life post.

Last two days of our vacation- 8th and 9th January, 2020

We had an early breakfast in the hotel. We tried Tibetan bread. It would have been good as a snack with a cup of evening tea but not for breakfast. It was raining and we had been told that if it rained for some more days it would snow. We could see that snow had fallen on the hills nearer than the previous day.

8th (20)

8th on the way to A (4)

We wanted to leave at 8.30 but could start at 9.30. The driver was Rajesh, who had taken us around the previous day. As we left the hills the rains too stopped. We stopped for a cup of tea at a roadside eatery.

8th tea stop

We drove through small towns and villages. We saw fields on both sides. Oranges and guavas fresh and from the trees were being sold on the roadside. We bought 2 ½ kgs of oranges for Rs 100. Two big guavas weighing a kilo for Rs 100. We did not stop for lunch but drew up at a roadside cart where an old man and his grandson were selling guavas. He cut them into four pieces and added chat masala. It was very tasty. This is one of my favourite fruits.

8th way back to A (6)
We had booked a room in the same hotel near the Golden temple. The driver had to ask for directions but we reached the hotel 😊. Aravind had got two books for our friend, Shri Gurjinder Brar. We sent them by courier because he lives far from Amritsar. One was a book by Prof H S Shivaprakash, titled The Word in the World. It is a collection of essays on Indian culture. The other was Dhvani and Epiphany, a collection of essays on Indian Aesthetics by Prabahkar Acharya.

8th square (2)

We rested for a while and then set out to the square outside the Golden temple and to Katramal Jaimal Singh wholesale shopping area. On the way we were stopped by cycle rickshaw drivers who charged Rs 10 per person for the 1-km ride but we preferred to walk. We were told the shopping area was near the Partition museum. We walked with the crowd looking at the shops. It was so crowded. We did not buy much except for a cotton shirt. Many of the shops were the branded ones and there was no point in buying clothes as those shops are to be found in our place too.

Earlier we had read about Brothers Dhaba. It was nearby and we walked in. Being in Amritsar we wanted to taste chole bature. But that day what we wanted was not on the menu. The waiter was very nice enough to tell us about a very popular eatery called Shri Krishna Mishthan Bhandar nearby. He told us we would get chole bature there. The place was just two minutes away. There was big tree and in its shade were chairs and tables. Snacks were being fried on one side and sweets were displayed and packed on another. The place was packed and food was being consumed at a furious pace 😊. A little away a dog was barking away demanding food. We decided to have samosas, lassi and chole bature. They were tasty 😊. I liked the carrot pickles. It was very cold and we walked back to the hotel.

8th (2)

We rested for some time and went to Harmandir Sahib. We sat near the Akal Takth till 8 o’clock. We were feeling too full to go to the langar hall for food but we could not resist Kada Prasad. It is very tasty.
Sitting in the Golden temple complex is an experience of a life time. We were happy that we could experience it almost everyday of our stay in Amritsar. This was possible because our hotel was just two minutes away.

8th (6)
On the 9th morning we left the hotel at 6.30. There was so much fog that we could hardly see the road but the driver knew his way. We reached the airport safely. The honey bottle was in our hand luggage and we were told that we should check it in. We packed it well in another bag and checked it in and kept our fingers crossed. The flight left at 8.20 and we were in New Delhi by 9.15. Our flight to Mangalore was at 2.05. But time passed quickly and we were on the last leg of our journey. I enjoy looking out down from the window of the plane. The clouds look like another world. As we were nearing our destination, it was a pleasure to look at the greenery and a little further on the coastline and rivers joining the sea.

9th from plane (3)

We landed at 4.45 and collected our luggage. Keeping our fingers crossed had not helped 😊. There was no bottle, only fragments of glass soaking in honey inside the cover. I was worried the glass pieces and honey would have spread and ruined my shawl but fortunately that did not happen. We were not destined to taste honey from the Himalayas ☹.
We took a pre-paid taxi from the airport at 5.15 and were home by 6.30. It was good to be back after a wonderful holiday except for the lost honey !

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guava
https://www.tarladalal.com/Chaat-Masala-(-Chaat)
https://www.tarladalal.com/Chole-Bhature

(Yesterday morning we were surprised when it started raining. The weather had become very hot but we never expected rain. It rained from 7 to 8.30. We later learnt that it had rained in different parts of our state. It is very unusual to get rain in march.)

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Everyday Moments- SOL 2020

slice-of-life_individual

My weekly Slice of Life are my letters to my Doddamma. She is my father’s elder brother’s wife. Doddamma literally means ‘elder mother’. She is 88 years old. She cannot hear properly if I telephone to talk to her. So, I have been writing letters to her since October 2017. I enjoy writing letters and she is happy to read them. They are only about the everyday moments in my life. I post my letters to her every week.
My letters to my doddamma are about our trip to Amritsar and Dharamsala between 1st and 9th of this month. So I am sharing the same in my Slice of Life post.

Around McLeodganj 7-01-2020
We set out from Norbulingka to our next destination. It was raining and my husband was uncomfortable in his wet shoes. We asked the driver to stop at any shop where we could get Hawai chappals. It was raining and we passed many small villages and towns. We stopped in front of a small shop which was selling all sorts of things. My husband bought the chappals and also an umbrella. But we were not sure if it would be of any help for three of us. 😊

7th Karamapa

7th Karmapa (2)
We reached Karampa Monastery or the Gyoto Tantric Monastery temple. The buildings were symmetrical and we had to climb wide stairs to reach the temple. The yellow buildings with green roofs and the wide red staircase looked beautiful. There were not many people about. We rushed up the stairs because it was raining. Inside the big hall there were different statues and seats in rows for the monks. There was notice that no one should sit on them. It was beautiful inside. At that time we did not notice the beautiful mountains in the background. It had been cloudy and raining. We walked around but did not sit there.

7th Karmapa Mon (8)
Our next stop was the Chamunda Devi temple on the banks of the Ban Ganga river. Here we could not really appreciate the place as it was pouring and one umbrella was not enough. We walked to the temple, a small one. Inside devotees were singing devotional songs with religious fervor. We walked around the sanctum and received prasad.

After this we went back to the car. My brother had told Aravinda that he should not miss eating piping hot Maggi noodles in the hills. We told this to our driver and he stopped at a small roadside eatery. He seemed to know the shopkeeper. We had tea and a plate of vegetable Maggi noodles. We had not eaten it for ages but it did taste good. We were lucky to purchase a bottle of local honey there. But unfortunately, we were not destined a taste even a drop of it !! ☹.

7th (84)
We next proceeded to the famous cricket stadium of Dharamsala. It is a beautiful ground. We bought tickets and went to the stands. My husband enjoys cricket. I used to enjoy it long back. We took many photos of the soggy cricket ground. As we were walking back we spotted three men ahead of us. We asked one of them to take a photo of us and it turned out that he was from Gulbarga in Karnataka. His friends started making fun of him because he was happy to talk to us in Kannada. From there we went on to the War Memorial in a garden. We did not step out because of the rain but took some photos from the car. Our last stop were the tea gardens. The tea bushes covering the hill sides looked beautiful but I knew that tea-pluckers’ work was hard and back breaking. We don’t think of all that when we drink tea every day.

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Aravind’s friend had told him about Café Illiterati not far from our hotel. We asked our driver to drop us there. The ambience of the café was fascinating. There were floor-to-ceiling book shelves filled with a variety of books. The café was on the hillside and the view was beautiful. We ate a pizza and drank tea. Aravinda had double espresso which I secretly I could have made at home at 1/10th of the price he paid 😊. There were many people about. A little dog was warming itself in front of the fire.

7th (6).Cafe Illjpg

From there we walked up to our hotel. The distance was not much but we had to walk up all the way. At one point I thought it would be difficult to go but we did, good aerobic exercise 😊 and reached the hotel at 5.30.
A wonderful and rewarding day. We asked for hot water to drink and relaxed. We did not go out again as we had to finish packing. We had dinner in the hotel and retired for the day.

7th (75)
https://kagyuoffice.org/office/
http://www.himachalresorts.com/temples-of-himachal/chamunda-devi-temple.html

Everyday Moments, # SOL -2020

slice-of-life_individual

My weekly Slice of Life are my letters to my Doddamma. She is my father’s elder brother’s wife. Doddamma literally means ‘elder mother’. She is 88 years old. She cannot hear properly if I telephone to talk to her. So, I have been writing letters to her since October 2017. I enjoy writing letters and she is happy to read them. They are only about the everyday moments in my life. I post my letters to her every week.
My letters to my doddamma are about our trip to Amritsar and Dharamsala between 1st and 9th of this month. So I am sharing the same in my Slice of Life post.

Around McLeodganj 7-01-2020

It was drizzling yesterday and today morning too the rain is coming down. We were told the day was going to be a rainy one. It is so in the mountains, it may start raining suddenly and stop after a while or it may continue raining for days. We did not cancel our day trip. Our hotel organized different day trips by taxi. We selected the one which included a visit to the famous cricket stadium in Dharamsala.

7th (2)

After a good breakfast in the hotel we left at 9.45. Our driver was Rajesh and the car a new one. He said we were the first passengers to ride in it. He had yet to place mats on the floor of the car and had put a lot of newspapers there. We were careful not to dirty the floor but it was raining. 😊
Our first stop was the Kangra Art Museum. It was a small one but had beautiful paintings, miniature paintings, thangkas and other artifacts. We spent more than an hour there. While describing some of the paintings to Aravinda we observed that Radha and Krishna were shown with a palace as the background. I had always imagined Radha in Brindavana and not in palaces. Thangkas are beautiful paintings on cloth, many are on silk brocade, showing scenes from the life of the Buddha. When we came out it was still raining.

7th Norbulingka (15)

Our next stop was Norbulingka Institute. It was founded in 1995 to preserve Tibetan arts and culture. We bought tickets at the entrance and walked into what seemed another world. A cobbled path led us to a beautiful building called Norling House. It was a guest house. From there we climbed to a slightly higher level and saw small streams on either side under the shade of big, beautiful trees. Students learn the different crafts in the workshops. People are allowed into the workshops. We first walked into the woodcraft room. Many craftsmen were carving beautiful scenes in wood. There were a variety of instruments. We watched them carving intricate designs. In the next room the wooden artifacts were being painted.
The Losel Doll museum had over 150 dolls showing different scenes from Tibetan history. They reminded me of the Doll museum in New Delhi which had a beautiful collection.

7th Norbulingka (27)

In the metal workshop, students were busy drawing and working on metal. Two of them were kind enough to explain to us what they were doing. They showed us the instruments we were using. They were happy to learn that we were from Karnataka. They were from Bylakuppe, the Tibetan settlement in our state.

7th Norbu (1)

We then went to the temple, a large hall with the statue of Buddha Shakyamuni. It is the largest outside Tibet. There were beautiful thangkas on the wall and one very large one hanging from the ceiling. We sat there for some time. It was very peaceful. It was still raining as we came out. We ran for cover and reached the institute’s shop. There were beautiful works of art made in the institute for sale. Aravind purchased an embossed painting of the white conch, a propitious symbol, and a wooden carving of the endless knot. This symbol is thought by the Tibetans to be the most important symbol. As we were leaving my husband found that he had left the bag in the temple. It was still there when he went to get it.

7th Norbulingka (1)

7th Norbuligka (6)

It was now time for us to leave. A beautiful place and we were glad to have been there. It was past lunch time but we were not hungry and decided to skip lunch. We then proceeded to our next destination.
(To be continued…)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thangka

https://www.norbulingka.org/visiting-norbulingka.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radha

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Everyday Moments, Share a Slice- #SOL 2020

My weekly Slice of Life are my letters to my Doddamma. She is my father’s elder brother’s wife. Doddamma literally means ‘elder mother’. She is 88 years old. She cannot hear properly if I telephone to talk to her. So, I have been writing letters to her since October 2017. I enjoy writing letters and she is happy to read them. They are only about the everyday moments in my life. I post my letters to her every week.
My letters to my doddamma are about our trip to Amritsar and Dharamsala between 1st and 9th of this month. So I am sharing the same in my Slice of Life post.

Exploring McLeodganj (6-01-2020)
Today morning we went upstairs to the restaurant. It was very cold. We ate a good breakfast and went back to our room. Getting ready we walked along the narrow road. We were going to explore on our own. We had decided what we were going to see.

The Dalai Lama temple complex was our first destination. The temple was on the first floor. We removed our footwear and circumambulated the shrine. Half way around we stepped inside. At the feet of the statue of Buddha there were offering of fruits, flowers and even cake and biscuits. No one was allowed to sit inside. We came out and continued our walk around the shrine. Adjacent to the walls there were drums called chakras with ‘mantras’ to Avalokitheshwara Buddha. We turned these wheels. It is believed that turning them purifies the individual’s karma. More the number of revolutions the person achieves, greater effect.

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There were wooden handles beneath the drums but I saw that most people were touching the drums to move them instead of the handles. A monk was walking by lost in his world. I wonder what he thought about all this. Maybe he is used to tourists 😊. We could see the beautiful mountain peaks in the distance. We sat for some time and then walked down. We had read about the Tibetan museum inside the temple complex. Unfortunately, it was closed. Near the museum were three fascinating statues and we asked a boy to take our picture.

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We then walked to the centre of the town which people called ‘chowk’. On the way we saw a lady selling hot vegetable momos with spicy chutney. We had a plate. It was very tasty. I have looked up the recipe and hope to make them some day.

6th (15)

We walked along the winding road to the town of Bhagsu, 2 ½ kms away. It started drizzling and we had no umbrella. A man was selling beautiful black figurines made of powdered stone. We bought one of them, a statuette of Lord Ganapati. It was raining continuously when we reached the temple. A small and beautiful shrine. Beyond the temple was a site of a waterfall but no water. I am sure it would look beautiful in full flow.

6th (17)

We took an autorickshaw back To McLeodganj. We asked the driver to take us a church called St John in the Wilderness. It was located in a beautiful place, unfortunately it was shut. We came back to the town centre.

6th church (1)

We had read about The Library of Tibetan Works and Archives located in the vicinity of McLeodganj. We hired another auto rickshaw to take us to there. It was three kilometres away. The entrance to the building looked beautiful. On the ground floor we walked into the reading room. The librarian was very helpful and showed us around. She was a Tibetan and told us she had been born and brought up in Bylakuppe near Kushalnagar in our state. Many Tibetans have settled on lands given to them in Karnataka. She was happy to meet us. The museum upstairs was very good. The curator, Mr Namgyal was very enthusiastic and explained to us all the exhibits. We enjoyed listening to him. It was pouring with rain outside. Fortunately, we got a taxi in the campus itself.

We returned to our hotel tired but happy. People readily agreed when I asked them if I could take their photo. They are friendly. At night, we had dinner in the hotel’s restaurant. The food was very good, fresh and tasty.
In spite of the heater it was very cold and it was nice and warm under the woolen blankets. At that moment we felt the heat of our place is much better than the cold 😊.

6th from hotel (2)

https://www.tripsavvy.com/tsuglagkhang-home-of-the-dalai-lama-1458245https://hebbarskitchen.com/veg-wheat-momos-recipe-atta-momos/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._John_in_the_Wilderness_Church_(Dharamshala)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bylakuppehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_of_Tibetan_Works_and_Archives

Everyday Moments- SOL Tuesday #SOL20

slice-of-life_individual

My weekly Slice of Life are my letters to my Doddamma. She is my father’s elder brother’s wife. Doddamma literally means ‘elder mother’. She is 88 years old. She cannot hear properly if I telephone to talk to her. So, I have been writing letters to her since October 2017. I enjoy writing letters and she is happy to read them. They are only about the everyday moments in my life. I post my letters to her every week.
My letters to my doddamma are about our trip to Amritsar and Dharamsala between 1st and 9th of this month. So I am sharing the same in my Slice of Life post.

4-02-2020
Amritsar to McLeodganj       5-01-2020

We left Amritsar at 9.30 for Mcleodganj. Our driver, Nishan Singh had taken us to Dera Baba Nanak the previous day. He asked us whether his cousin could come along as he would be returning alone. We gave our consent. It was a pleasure to watch the green fields rolling by on both sides. They stretched away as far as the eye could see. At some places, farmers were sprinkling something from a bucket. We saw Poplar and Guava trees plots of mustard plants in full bloom.

5th dhaba (1)
On the way we stopped at a roadside dhaba for breakfast. The aloo parathas and side dishes were tasty. One of the popular combination with paratha is thick curd. I remembered my school days when my Punjabi classmates got parathas and curds and we got dosas and idlis. We exchanged the food and all were happy 😊.

We passed Patankhot at 12.40. We wanted to pass through this place because my father-in-law used to tell us about his visit to Patankhot on the way to Jammu and Srinagar. He and his nephew, Subraya, went together. A person whom they knew lived in Patankhot and he made all the arrangements to go further. A special permit was needed to go to Jammu and Srinagar. This was in the early sixties. My father-in-law loved to travel and see new places. In his day he travelled a lot. We bypassed the city. In one of the small villages on the foothills we purchased oranges and apples. They were tasty.

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We started climbing the mountains and after some time the car engine started heating up. We had to stop many times as the gradient was steep. As we neared our destination we rang the hotel for directions. The final stretch was very steep and was scary. 😊We wondered whether the car would make it. We were to climb the same stretch three days later. It was an experience to remember.

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It was almost 4PM when we reached our hotel. It was good but it was very cold. We asked for a heater. We could see the snow- covered peaks of the Himalayas from our room. Most Indians are fascinated by the mountains which beckon them. The view was beautiful for us but I wondered about the life of the people.

After a little rest we decided to explore. It was getting dark too. We walked up and it was good aerobic exercise 😊 One of the hotel staff told us about Ananda Dhaba where good vegetarian food was served. We walked up the hill. Most of the shops were closed. We saw Ananda Dhaba and walked in for an early dinner. It was cold and hot tea was a pleasure. The food was very good.

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Feeling very full we walked back slowly shivering with cold in spite of our woolen clothes. From our room we saw lights go on in the houses on the hill sides. We were also able to glimpse the white glimmer of snow on the far peaks before it became pitch dark. It was also very quiet. Then we read a framed notice on the wall. One of the rules was that no noise would be tolerated after 10PM.

https://www.mcleodganj.com/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pathankot
https://www.facebook.com/Ananda-Dhaba-1916105918507205/

(On 2nd morning we attended a Hindustani classical music concert in our place. The singer, Siddhartha Bellmannu is only 23 but such a good singer. We were all taken to another world.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindustani_classical_music

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“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”. ― Plato.

Write. Share. Give. #SOL20 , Everyday Moments

slice-of-life_individual

My weekly Slice of Life are my letters to my Doddamma. She is my father’s elder brother’s wife. Doddamma literally means ‘elder mother’. She is 88 years old. She cannot hear properly if I telephone to talk to her. So, I have been writing letters to her since October 2017. I enjoy writing letters and she is happy to read them. They are only about the everyday moments in my life. I post my letters to her every week.
My letters to my doddamma are about our trip to Amritsar and Dharamsala between 1st and 9th of this month. So I am sharing the same in my Slice of Life post.
28-01-2020

Amritsar 4-01-2020
The first two days of our vacation were wonderful. On the 3rd day, we had planned to go to Dera Baba Nanak (DBN). It is a very important place of pilgrimage for the Sikhs. We wanted to see the country side and a friend suggested DBN. This friend lives in Muktsar. We came to know him through Aravind’s teacher. We have exchanged WhatsApp messages, and talked to each other. It was he who suggested the hotel we were staying at.
I am not very sure how big the city is. But one thing which was very apparent was the absence of tall buildings, specially apartments. They may be present in the newer parts of Amritsar. The houses we saw looked pale and dusty. We hardly saw bright, colourful buildings.

We hired a taxi for the day and set out at 9.15. We saw miles and miles of wheat fields stretching on either side of the road. Dakshina Kannada is a hilly region. Level land is scarce. But in Punjab it was different. There were not many trees but the fields seemed to stretch forever. Vegetables too were being grown. There were mustard fields in full bloom.

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My husband’s student is in the army. He had asked his friend, also in the army, to arrange for a guide to show us around. DBN is on the banks of the river Ravi. The Jawan joined us at a check point. I forget his name. We first went to Gurudwara Darbar Sahib. We sat inside for some time. It was bitterly cold for us. In front of the Gurudwar a new Gurudwara building was being constructed.

4th DBN, border (10)

We were told the more money had flowed into this place due to the Kartarpur corridor. We then went to the Langar hall. Our taxi driver had told us we could breakfast there. We were served Chapati, Chole, Dal and seasoned rice. We walked around for a while. Here too there was small sarovar which was being renovated. We saw a man selling books about Sikhism. Most of the books were in Hindi. But we got one in English. When we asked the book-seller the price, he said that we could pay the amount we wished. The money from the sale of books would be used to support the homeless. He also gave a few Hindi books and told us to read and pass them on. My mother is reading them now.

We next went to Gurudwara Chola Sahib. Two people were reading the Adi Granth. This Gurudwara is connected with a chola or cloak believed to have been presented to Guru Nanak by a Muslim devotee at Bhagdad. The cloak was brought to DBN on 1st march 1828. Later we learnt that there are certain streets and houses in DBN which have been preserved since the time of Guru Nanak. We missed seeing them.

4th DBN, border (15)
DBN is situated about 1km from Indo Pakistan border. From the gurudwara we went to the border near ‘Kartarpur corridor’. Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, Pakistan is one of the holiest places for the Sikhs. It is about 4 ½ kms from India and it seems that on a clear day people can see it through the binoculars. But on this day it was misty. We stood on high ground and below were rich fields with a barbed wire fence running lengthwise across them. A sad testimony to human stupidity. In the Partition museum we had learnt that Cyril Radcliffe, the lawyer who was tasked to carry out the partition, simply drew a line on a map without considering the realities of Indian life.

4th DBN, border (20)

From DBN we came to a cultural village just outside Amritsar called Sadda Pind . The place highlights the different aspects of pre-independence Punjabi village. It is tourist oriented but we liked the place. We have to buy tickets at the entrance. The ticket includes food in the restaurant I was surprised to see brass glasses exhibited on one shelves. My mother has similar glass which she said was with my father from before their marriage. We used to wonder about the glass. My father must have got it while on his tours. He worked in the Indian railways.

4th Sadda pind (57)
Just inside the entrance there were pots on a water pipe all along the path. They were adapted fountains. We walked on to see many people watching a magician. He was doing many tricks and had a good way of talking. We walked into a weaver’s house, then a carpenters and so on. There was a very large ‘charpoy’. We owned one long back when we were in Delhi. Charpoys are very comfortable to lie on. In one of the houses a few ladies were sitting in an open kitchen and cooking ‘makki ki roti’ on a chulah and were serving ‘sarson ka saag’. Both are very tasty. Sarson is mustard and a dish is prepared from the leaves.

4th Sadda pind (27)

We drank spicy lassi which was very tasty. Beautiful hand embroidered materials with the famous Punjabi work called Phulkari were available. But we did not buy anything because they were too expensive. As we were walking we heard drums and saw gymnasts doing a balancing act on a tight rope stretched between two poles. A man was on the tight rope. I had seen such acts long ago, they used to be shown in movies. I was just checking about this and saw they are still being performed in village fairs. We also watched a rustic puppet show. There was a giant wheel and a ride was included in the ticket. It had been a long time since we had enjoyed a ride on a wheel. The operator gave us some extra rounds I think 😊. We told him that we had enjoyed the ride. From the top we could see fields in every direction. The soil here is black in colour and very fertile. We then walked into the restaurant for lunch. There was a buffet with many Punjabi dishes. I enjoyed ‘dahi vada’. Curds and lassi here are very tasty. I also liked the taste of raw radish. We had spent many hours at Sadda Pind.

On our way back to the hotel we stopped to buy some fruits. Later in the evening my husband’s student came to see us in the hotel. We enjoyed his visit. My husband was seeing him after many years.
After he left, we went to GT again. I am glad our hotel was so near the temple. It was a pleasure to visit the place again and again. Our friend had told us about a very old book shop near GT, Singh Brothers. He said there was very good book about the travels of Guru Nanak. It was Walking with Nanak by Haroon Khalid. It seemed to be a very interesting book, Aravind purchased it.

4th night (3)

We walked on to the square. Adjacent to GT is a huge square with a marble floor. There were benches and a fountain in the centre. It was very cold. There are four entrances to GT, one of them is from the square. Through that entrance we can see the golden walls of the shrine and it appears as if it is very near the gate. It looked beautiful. We walked a little away and from one of the shops bought ‘papad’ and ‘Amritsar wadi’. Even at that hour there were lots of people and in their midst we saw a very old temple, Temple of Shri Sheni. It was established in 1761. We wanted to see it during daytime but somehow we could not. A lot of poor people were sitting outside the temple. Maybe they were beggars, I am not sure.

Lunch had been very heavy and we decided to skip dinner. We ate some fruits and retired for the day. It had been a long one.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gurudwara_Sahib
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gurdwara_Darbar_Sahib_Kartarpur
https://foodviva.com/punjabi-recipes/makki-ki-roti/
https://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/sarson-ka-saag/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phulkari
https://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/dahi-vada-recipe/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amritsari_Papar_Warian

Share a Slice #SOL 2020

slice-of-life_individual

Everyday Moments
21-01-2020
My weekly Slice of Life are my letters to my Doddamma. She is my father’s elder brother’s wife. Doddamma literally means ‘elder mother’. She is 88 years old. She cannot hear properly if I telephone to talk to her. So, I have been writing letters to her since October 2017. I enjoy writing letters and she is happy to read them. They are only about the everyday moments in my life. I post my letters to her every week.
My letters to my doddamma are about our trip to Amritsar and Dharamsala between 1st and 9th of this month. So I am sharing the same in my Slice of Life post.

Amritsar – 3-01-2020
The weather was so cold and it was a pleasure to sleep under warm woolen blankets. This morning we got up at 8.15 😊. I don’t remember when last I woke up so late. Vacations are meant for relaxing. This is one of the reasons we do not like going on organized tours. On our own, we can spend the day as we want to.
Amritsar is famous for its food. Before leaving home, we had read articles about what we should eat and drink, and where while in Amritsar. Wherever we go, we enjoy the local food.

3rd (2)

We set out from our hotel in search of a very famous ‘dhaba’ called Kulwant Bhai Kulchewala. The dhaba was not very far from our hotel. We walked through narrow streets to reach it. It was a small place, crowded and people were enjoying the food. My husband and I had Aloo (potato) kulcha and Aravind had Paneer kulcha. Chole, onion-tamarind chutney and gooseberry pickle were served as side dishes. We also drank the famous lassi of Amritsar. It was very tasty.

3rd (7)

Feeling full and satisfied we set out towards the main square. It was a cobbled square teeming with people. The aroma of delicious snacks being fried came from all sides, mainly pakodas. We sat on one of the wooden chairs, just looking at people. A small boy came selling ball pens. He kept insisting that we should purchase from him. We bought two. They were good. There were shops on either side. Some were selling clothes, mainly salwar suits with Phulkari work. Others were selling shoes called Punjabi Juttis. Woolen clothes and pagdis (turban) were on sale. Wagah border between India and Pakistan is a popular tourist attraction. Taxi drivers were calling out to people to hire them. But we did not want to go to the Border. We never even considered going there. We entered a Tibetan handicraft shop. Aravind purchased a Singing Bowl and a Pashmina shawl for his sister.

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( To the right of this gate is the Partition museum)

From there we walked on to the Partition Museum. It was opened in 2016. Every step inside the building was an emotional experience. People from South India can never truly understand the horrors of the partition of our country. We came to know about the life of those people affected by the partition stretching from the early 1900s till after the division of the country in 1947. The seeds of the partition lie in 1905 and 1906, when initially Bengal was partitioned on religious lines, and later there was a rift between the Indian National Congress and its Muslim members. I am really grateful to all those people who got together and carried out the research to make the museum a reality. It would be wrong to forget some events in life. We spent several hours there.

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The historical Jallianwala bagh was at one end of the square. That was the place were innocent people were massacred one hundred years ago. We grew up reading about it.

It was time for lunch and we set out in search of another eatery called Kesar da Dhaba. We asked one person the direction and he told us about another restaurant nearby. He said it was a much better one. We went there but no one seemed interested enough to ask what we wanted. We walked out. We decided to search for Kesar da Dhaba. We walked along narrow roads and people told us to go straight and then left and then right and so on 😊. It was a veritable warren of lanes. There were small eateries selling pakodas and carrot halva and so many other things. The lanes were very narrow and on top of that two wheelers were parked on one side. Shops on either side were selling many glittering things, I think mainly for tourists 😊. Cycle rickshaws and motor bikes were being driven here. We had to be very careful while walking. At last we reached the place. It was very crowded. We had to wait for ten minutes for a table. The waiter told us that my husband and I could share a plate. It was good of him to tell us that otherwise it would have been a little too much for us. There was two chapatis, dal, rice, boondi raita and pickles. We drank lassi. Aravind had aloo paratha, lachcha paratha and kadi. The food was tasty but too greasy for comfort😊. But it felt good in the cold weather. At home we use very little oil and in Punjab we felt too much of it was used in their cooking. But it is good to taste the local food.

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We walked back to the hotel and rested for a while. At 6.30 we went to GT. We walked around then sat on one side, just soaking in the atmosphere of the place. We took Kada Prasad again 😊. This time we did not go into the shrine. There are hundreds of people going in at all times. We went to the Langar hall for food. Today we were served roti, black dal, rajma and rice kheer. We walked back slowly to the hotel. A wonderful day.

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https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g303884-d7221908-Reviews-Bhai_Kulwant_Singh_Kulchian_Wale-Amritsar_Amritsar_District_Punjab.html

https://hebbarskitchen.com/amritsari-kulcha-recipe-aloo-kulcha/
https://hebbarskitchen.com/chana-masala-recipe-chole-masala/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhaba
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paneer
http://amritsardekho.com/amritsar-food/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jallianwala_Bagh_massacre

The World’s First Partition Museum


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kesar_Da_Dhaba
https://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/lachedar-paratha-recipe-lachedar-paratha/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phulkari
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jutti