25 September 2006
Mummy Can I have an ice cream ?
In this pouring rain ? No way
Mummy please !!
I said NO
Mummy Can I have an Ice cream ?
I don't know what it is
What Do they want ? Papa wants to know
They want an ice cream, new generation chicks !
Told you not to lay your eggs in this neighbourhood.
You built the nest here remember ???
They get vocal and the demand gets louder if they don't get what they want.
They always get what they want, Mummy will get you no matter what.
Stopped raining mommee! , can WE go and have ice cream ?
OK lets go !
Hug is tighter now, please look at the first picture
18 September 2006
Not again, Not another boat race ! This is the last one I promise, no more boat races. But this one is different, not like Alleppy boat race you saw last month. This is more religious and ritualistic. Infact this is not a boat race at all, more like a procession.
The place is Aranmula, near Chengannur, Takes place after Onam, Harvest festival of Kerala. The festivities go on for a week throughout Kerala. Very colourful, lots of flowers. The boats also more colourful than the Alleppy boat race which takes place on backwaters, where as this is a river, don't know the name.
Here, devotion to gods is involved, Perhaps thanking god for a good harvest, Its like they are rowing for god. Then why do you call stupid politicians for the function ? They go on ranting non stop,delaying the race, I didn't have lunch, just wanted to take a few quick pictures and run
Don't know if there is any prize money involved like Alleppy boat race, they were rowing peacefully, no frantic efforts like Alleppy, afterall they are rowing for god, no hurry, god has time.
Nirmal asked a question, What happens to the boats rest of the year ? No one asks such a question. I never thought of that.
Good question Nirmal.
They are pretty useless actually. Can't be used for transport, can't be used for fishing when it takes so many to row, they lie in cold storage right through the year. Took this picture last year.
They take the boats out during the festival, take the rain water out, wash it, clean it. Some get a fresh coat of paint. This picture was taken a day before the race.
All the members of a team offer prayers at the Aranmula temple before the race, here they are entering the temple. Non Hindus are forbidden from entering. There's a warning board there. I walked in, took a few quick shots, I was out before somebody could jump on me, they are pretty allergic to the cameras. Men are supposed to remove their shirt before entering the temple.
The team members walking towards the boat singing, chanting mantras.
The pujari, the priest, is carrying fire in a deepam, he may not be a pujari, perhaps the team leader and this could be the team leader's wife carrying the fire.
They place the fire in the boat, not a very good idea, and offer puja, prayers and make other offering to god like bananas, bananas ?? for the fish ? I don't think so , perhaps they eat it themselves after the race.
All geared up, Ready to go, after the prayers, I told you this is more religious when compared to the Alleppy boat race. More rituals involved.
Not very oderly, they all go to the starting point, far from where I was standing, They all wait for the politicians to arrive. I heard the announcement that the chief guest whoever he was, is going to be late. Not a good news for me, just look here at this picture below, things were not looking too good, it was getting dark early afternoon and the sky is just about to open up.
My friend Sathyaraj gave me an umbrella for Alleppy boat race, here I had no umbrella, had to look for some shelter.
After a long wait came the long and killing speeches of the politicians. Then came the songs, some poor chap screaming his heart out, what a torture it was. I was hungry, not the right time to enjoy music and it started to rain. Ran for shelter.
I completely missed Mohini attam, Kerala's classical dance, very graceful, being performed in boats, it was very far from where I was standing, they were supposed to dance for god, here they are dancing for the politicians. Main event is something else, they were like cheer leaders, I don't like cheer leaders concept. Its an insult to the art of dancing. Cheer leaders put in such great efforts to practice and it involves great deal of dedication, and they perform before or during a game. What a waste of efforts !
They were going and going and going, went out of sight, don't know where the finishing line was, I did not stay as it started to rain again, I was hungry, You get pretty rotten food there, never eat at places of pilgrimage or at any place where crowd gathers. I am not strong and I can't fight my way into a bus, so had to leave fast, and I left.
13 September 2006
My jeans are tearing off, my shoes have holes in them. There are holes, please believe me, there is one hole, not in this one but in the other one which you don't see here. Jeans are dirty, wearing the same for the fifth day. Its very hard for me to throw the jeans away which fit me so well and traveled with me for so long. Same for the shoes. I can buy a new pair but it takes long to feel comfortable in them and I don't like wearing new jeans.
I am in a train and I am sitting by the door, the train was crowded and I wanted to take pictures of the breath taking journey.
Yes it costs eight rupees, less than 20 cents ?? three hours of sheer ecstasy and I love the company of villagers.
I have posted the pictures of the most romantic railway stations in Blunt knife
The journey is from Punalur to Sencottai and back. It was raining when I left. I have already written about it some months ago in Blunt knife. I took an early morning train from Sencottai then and it was pretty dark. This is my second visit this year.
This picture could be misleading. The train goes pretty slow, not much speed, good for me. Here the train is entering a tunnel, only a few of them. It was pretty safe to sit by the door and lean out of the train and take pictures. I did not take any kind of risk. I just had to watch out for approaching rocks.
Last thing I wanted was rain. And it rained, had to pack the camera back in to the bag. No space to move inside, the train was packed.
This is me. I asked one villager to take my picture who probably is touching a camera for the first time in his life. When I saw the picture I was very jealous. A man who doesn't know where to click can take such a clear and well composed picture. This is one of my best. I don't look this good in person. I showed him the picture, he was very happy.
I was listening to Simple Minds.
This a gift from my friend Krishna. Its a very good MP3 Player can store about 500 songs. 1GB.
The train is coming out of a tunnel.
This perhaps is one of the most beautiful bridges of south India. Shot the same bridge while coming back
Sweet Smiles, Here a couple of old ladies came out of the house to watch the train just like children. I would do the same. I'll sit there for the whole day and count the trains passing by. It looks like the train is passing through their back yard. Lucky people.
All the pictures are taken single handed as one hand was engaged in holding the bar.
One chap was holding my collar the other one had his fingers through the belt loop of my jeans.
Don't worry sir we are holding you tight. But they were holding me a bit too tight, I was afraid all three of us could fall out of the train. Oh ! these villagers are so helpful. sweet gentle folk, who risk their life to make me secure.
Last time I took an early morning train and it was pretty dark. I had to brighten the pictures and it was raining cats and dogs.
Had a tough time selecting the pictures, I mean tough time rejecting the pictures.
The sun was playing hide and seek. suddenly it turned very dark.
I was slapped on my face by an approaching banana leaf. I turned my other cheek but the banana leaf was hundred feet away in a second.
This is where I jumped to the other train. My destination was one station away but I had to wait for nearly 3 hours for the next train. I saw the station master waving the flag. The train was about to start. I rushed to him and asked for a return ticket. He dropped the flags came to the office and issued me a ticket. Eight rupees again. Usually it is a one man show. No other staff in the stations. I saved three hours of waiting. Sweet guy he was.
Please don't be scared by this picture. This is not the usual situation here. Only Tirunelveli bound trains are crowded and it was a sunday. Trains that terminate in Sencottai usually run almost empty. Last time I was a lone passenger in my coach
Please click here to see the most romantic railway stations on this route