Friday, September 28, 2018

What the World Now Needs ...

..... is Love ... Sweet Love ....

It has been a really really long long day for it started yesterday night itself - with just another sleepless night (thanks to our sweet RLS - I still have not got time to get it checked and it has been over a month now) ... and then ... dont ask about the day. I will be really happy when the day I get back to office comes (never thought i would EVER EVER say that !!!! URGH!) .... 

It has been a long week .. Started off with the R leaving for globe trotting to UK on Sunday morning .. Before I could rub my hands in glee and plan my so-called 'free' evenings - the little one goes and wakes up with a high temperature on Monday morning. I think that it must be that should-have-never-eaten-in-the-first-place 'ice gola' that she gobbled the previous evening while I was busy looking at trinkets in the mela in our apartment and leave for work ... I come back to find that she is still the same and has not risen out of the bed .. Worry starts to kick in and I somehow prevent it from turning into the panic monster. Tuesday morning sees me rushing first thing to Cloud nine because guess what - I felt as if was sleeping beside a hot pot the whole night .. The doc has one look at her and suspects to be H1N1 (excuse me those are meaningless letters put together for me ... I mean hello ... do normal people even get such an infection ???) Apprently yes ... later I come to know (thanks to whatsapp forwards) that it is very much in air and totally in Bangalore's air. Even before the suspicion is confirmed as a test she puts her on medication (I love you Doc for that) ... and after confirmation - the entire family gets on medication. It is no easy job taking care of a sick child - I dont need to tell you moms - it is worse when you also get the same sickness (if not fully partial) and you have a fully healthy child to take care of also and prevent her from falling sick. 
By Wednesday, the worst happens - my mom also falls sick with very high temperature - so the one helping hand I had was lost ... Thursday saw the little one getting better but the elder one worsening and there was nothing I was able to do also - as I could not leave a sick one at home and take care of her / rush her to a hospital ... Never felt soo helpless....

Today morning brought good and bad news ... The little one wakes up her chirpy self and is up and about wanting to go to school to write her exam... After much deliberation , I ferry her to school and wait till she finishes her exam, get her back home , make lunch and leave the elder one alone at home for the first time around and take the little one for the follow up to her doc - who confirms she is good to go ...while insisting that after the exams I come back to get both of them vaccinated (not again !!!!) ... 

Come back home to get the bad news that amma has lost her hearing completely... Apparently the infection has affected the nerves in her ears causing temporary hearing loss..... I rush to the hospital to relieve appa and my brave soldiers stay at home alone for 3 and half hours !!!!! I am just such a proud mom - yes - you can see my big beaming face !!! .... You should have seen and felt the hugs I got when I came back home ... It was amazing !!!!! The little one would just not leave me ....  I had a profound time at the hospital and coming back to this just ... turned my evening to something else ... and thus was born this post ... 

Amma... it broke my heart to see her lying so frail and helpless in the hospital bed ... I just could not stop myself but hug her hard..and then realized , I can spend the next hour moping on how bad she is feeling , how horrible the situation is ... or cheer her up !! So that is what I did and I "SPOKE" to her .... first I used dumb charades ( R -> ... I realized - if i were ever to get deaf - all our pictionary and dumb charades practise will come completely useful ) ... but unfortunately my mom sucks at dumb charades ... and then a light bulb glowed over my head (Mister Maker style ..) Mili used to write hand written notes in my cell phone .. I used that technique and for the next hour and half or more .. filled amma with all the stuff that happened ever since she fell sick and some more gossip, general stuff and positive thinking and so on ... Oh! It was such a lovely time we had ... in between the silences , I felt that I have never been silent with my mom .... EVER ... people who know me well , can swear that I cannot shut my mouth .. so with my bestie amma it is impossible to keep quiet .... I cant wait for my amma to actually hear what I can say ... 

While walking back to catch an auto to rush back to the little kittens that were wailing for their mamma at home , I remembered this song .. ... and realized that this is really what the world needs ... a little love ... that is what my mother needed .. a little love .. the medicines, doctors , care and all is there ... but that little love helped her .. 

I came back home to two clinging monkeys who would just now leave me .. it was as if they wanted to make up for all those lost minutes in the 3 and 1/2 hours that I left them ... These are moments that Maya gets into the mood that is precisely why I wanted a baby girl .... Story mood ... stories of my life .. stories of my childhood, my memories , my reflections ... she loves to hear them ... and you know me - i love to talk of them ... I spoke a lot to them about my Paati ... my bond with my Paati - how lovely it was and how just like theirs is with their Paati ... 

My Paati lost a bit of her hearing as she grew old, but amma told me that everytime I called - whether it was from the US or from Bangalore - she would hear every single word I spoke - while at times folks near her found it difficult to speak to her... Especially when her son spoke - mostly in a disdain full manner "she cant hear well" (Well ... god did hear you... that same son is hard of hearing today ... in his old years) ... While I sat in the hospital , I called up the girls and gave the phone to amma (I had told the girls that Paati would not be able to hear you, but you still talk and you listen to what she says)... I told amma to talk whatever she wanted .. and you know WHAT!!! ... she did hear what the girls spoke to her ... See ... What the world needs ... is love ... sweet love ..... 

I could go on ..... but ... for now ... 

Monday, August 27, 2018

Back Again

I was cleaning up my old blog articles and finding the ones that had got lost in my Drafts folder and never got posted and found this one - and felt it deserved to be posted. Because what a coincidence! I was doing something this weekend that resonated with what I just started to write here...
I read an interesting article in The Young World (in fact go to touching the newspaper after a long time) yesterday - which set me thinking. 
We live in times of excess - excess of everything - that we probably dont realize the sweetness of missing something or the value of anything at all! 
I was cleaning up my kids cupboard and found about 7 boxes of crayons - each one of them opened and probably used just once or twice ; 15 pens of different shapes , sizes and types; 34 pencils ; 42 erasers of all different shapes, colors and fragrances ; 16 sharpeners (why would ever need more than 1 sharpener at a given point beats me!) - and all of these are not even bought by me !!! They all are part of the elaborate 'Return gifts' that I have collected over the years for birthday parties that the girls have been invited for!

Of course they dont realize the importance of a single thing! They dont feel the same attachment as I felt for the one and only one "pen-pencil' that I had all the years that I was a student at school and the sentiment that was associated with it as I had worked hard to 'earn' it as a prize for getting good marks in a particular exam!
Or the fact that I still keep the fountain pen that leaks ink every time you use it - but saw me through all of my college years - despite the leak - because it was the gift from my late grandfather!

The same goes for clothes. There is no longer the need to wait for an occasion to buy clothes now-a-days. The need for clothes is more driven by sale seasons or demands of various classes they attend to or worst of all birthday parties they attend to! I still remember how attached I was to the skirt I got for my 8th birthday - one that could stretch from one end of the room to the other - it was much more expensive than my parents' budget and so I valued it more than anything in my wardrobe - for I knew that the next time I got something really good would be about a year later - at the minimum! 

Ah! I miss the good old days!

Bhagwan - Hai kahan re Tu?

The first time I heard this song from PK - I really did not give it much thought. But when I heard it on the big screen again - while watching the visuals, the song just stuck to be like glue. 
Today, when this song plays I cannot do anything else, but just sit back, close my eyes and focus only on the lyrics and the pain of the truth in Sonu's voice.
There are many a times in our own lives, when we have asked this same question - "Bhagwan hai kahan re tu?".. It could be one of those countless times when we are experiencing the loss of a close one, a defeat - professional or personal, or a time when we feel that once again we are having to struggle to get even the basic things correct and that we are tired of having to fight again ; or even those times when we helpless hear of atrocities like rape, murder, mob-destruction happening in the city/country... 

Shots & Movies ...

Maya had her 4th month shots yesterday and I noted something strange.

The night she had her 2nd month shots we watched 'Dasavatharam' - thanks to the Mr. who held Maya all the time.

And Yesterday night we watching a little part of "Kuselan" - thanks to Maya - who slept a bit early (maybe it was the shots).

One starring the "universal hero" and the other starring his rival "superstar" - What a coincidence huh?

The Mr. and I are not a great fan of movies - in the sense that we need to watch every movie that gets released - but are a fan of GOOD movies - old or new and make a point to watch the special and good ones.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Of This and That ....

Once in a while this post comes back ... because there is no specific topic to write about but a mix of many small small things. Why do the best of thoughts and ideas come at a time when I cannot pen (sorry key) them down. I almost wrote the entire blog in my mind while cycling back today and now cant recall a single word of it ! Arghhh!

Yesterday was one of those days that came after a long long time in my life - when I just did not feel like doing a single single thing - could have sat a wrote this then - but just could not life my pen (oops sorry press a key down). 

Life has been whizzing past with various milestones happening, some being jotted down hurriedly in the book of memories, some just lost in dusted pages of my own brain. 

My dad has always hated me listening to bollywood songs , but I have always felt that my life has been connected with just those songs in one way or the other - or maybe I made the connection myself. Can't say - the mind is such a curious toy.

Mind - for the past one year or so - this has been the most prominent topic in my life. From talks with my friend R  to my boss M and my own hubby - this one crops up every time - Mind - do we control it or does it control us ? What is this thing called Mind? I started to read the book suggested by M (and left it halfway - what is it with me and self improvement/ self help books - i just cant seem to be finishing them) - Untethered Soul - a very good read , when I got into the mood, it talks entirely about how the Mind as an entirely different 'being' which is totally seperate from us and how it causes us to do the things that we do and dont want do and think and dont want to think. The book hubby has been behind me to read also talks of the same - What to tell yourself when you talk to yourself. The same concept was spoken by Loiuse Hay - who i got in 'touch' with 4 years ago through - You can heal yourself. But why am I not able to grasp it ? Why am I not able to master it ? The concept is just so simple. I can control what I think ! I can make my life just the way I want it - all it takes is a very very small and simple change - the way I think. Why is it so hard ? No answer ! Is it just my stubborness to getting a better life and getting out of the self pity pool that I am so comfortable in wallowing in like a hippo? 

Today was a milestone. I cycled all by myself to Malleswaram and back. It felt ... sort of liberating .. It was just me , my music , my thoughts , my reflections of what I saw on the road ... Ever since I became an adult, I always wanted my soul mate .. Amma always berated me for wanting that one individual who would be my other half and how I would share every single thought in my head with that person. Maybe I was wrong after all - one does not really need that one person to be 'happy'. I dont know ... Does one need ? Too many confused thoughts! 

Couple of weeks ago hubby left his old workspace and it was a GREAT affair. I cannot put in words - but it felt as if a catastrophic event. So many people affected by his leaving, so many tears at his farewell - it was unlike anything I had ever seen or heard of. Coming back home after the party , alone , I reflected and wondered - I had been part of his journey - every single step - I knew every single person in his life , every single step of his career , every single work person he interacted with ... Where was my journey ? Did I somehow conveniently hide behind the facade of a mother and wife and shirk off the responsibilities of my own life's journey ? Did I use that excuse and never actually think of my own life - my own "growth" (whatever that means - I have never been able to figure it out actually). I dont know ... 

Amazon music has been the latest music addition in our lives and what a wonderful addition it has been ... I just love its playlists. Long long ago , I wrote a post about how I can associate a person with every song that i listen to , or a memory. That still holds good... A good friend P is leaving the firm.. We share many memories associated with songs.. especially 'Ae dil hain mushkil'... It will be nearly impossible to listen to 'Ae dil hain mushil" or "Channa mereya' and not get reminded of that CE outing when he switched the songs that were playing to 'Ae dil hain mushkil' and caught my eyes and gave that knowing smile that we shared something special :) ...

Sometimes I wonder if all of these memories are special only for me, or do those people who I associate these with also think of me at times. Why should I care ? I write the story of my life only right ? Dont' I ? Like Krishna says in Gita - I should just keep doing my Karma.. 

I dont think I ever mentioned this here. 'Enna Sona' - this is one song that I want to be in somebody's memory - somebody's memory of me - I want somebody to me thinking only and only of me when this song plays ... I know for sure R doesn't .. how much he makes fun of me when I ask him to sing this song for me.. he goes like 'aaarrrgggh! can we change the song?' ... ha ha ha ..... 

Ciao for now .. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

I found him .....

.... been searching for him for a long long time now. I had almost lost faith and thought that there would be no hope for me but just to go back to the "old" one only .... but luck-by-chance, I stumbled upon a garrish pink, odd font-ed cover in the not so often visited shelves of blossom book store last weekend - and took a chance and picked it up. It was a book called "The case of the man who died laughing" and read the synopsis and it sounded quite nice. The finicky me did not want to read a series from the middle and requested the helper lady to help me find the first book of the series of detective stories by Tarquin Hall depicting the Indian Poirot - Vish Puri - "The case of the missing servant". And today - I finished it! and BOY! am I glad I bought the book - for I find him .... the replacement for my Poirot dose that I have been searching for years together. 
Tarquin's writing style is not exactly similar to Agatha's but there are similarities - though I must say I like Tarquin's more - probably because it is more elaborate about india and all things indian. But I must admit he is as thorough and detail as Agatha is in describing a place, event , person or incident. Very educative. Tarquin is humorous where Agatha is not. 
Vish Puri is the indian version of Poirot - particular to the T about his dressing, finicky about his food and likes it just as fine as Poirot does, methodical and has the same high opinion about himself as Poirot does. 
I really thoroughly enjoyed devouring this first of the series and cant wait to get back to blossoms to get the second one in the set. 
It has been ages and ages since a book has captivated me so much - maybe not since the Meluha series , or the Potter mania... 
Vish Puri .... you are the man!!! I am glad I found you .. 

Friday, September 08, 2017

R&R during Monsoons

Every time we have come back from a trip, I want to write about it and become so held up with other stuff that it gets relegated to the backend and slowly forgotten too. The other day, I was going through some draft posts and saw a half written post from 2005 about a trip to Mysore with in-laws. It brought back such delightful memories, so this time I decided that come what may I will finish this blog.

This trip was totally different from the trips that we usually have - where the focus is on getting the most out of the place that we are visiting. But this time there was only one thing on mind - I wanted to put my feet up and leave it there for the next 2 days while I am being fed food cooked by somebody else, without having to worry about cleaning the dishes or cleaning the house ... and we did get that sort of a vacation!!! And some bonus features too :)

After a round of debating on where to go, we dropped the pin on Chickmagaluru. Mr. jumped in to do his favourite activity of vetting out the hotels and landed on the most amazing homestay I have stayed in - Nirvana Kutira. Then when he floated the idea with a friend of his and at work, 2 colleagues of his agreed and thus the deal of the vacation was sealed.

As always, the Mr. proposed to start at sharp 5 and set up his alarm for 5:30 😆, while the sati-savitri in me woke up at 5, got ready and woke him up with a steaming cuppa coffee in bed.. I was so charged up for the vacation. We started at 6 with a light drizzle following us all through our initial journey. After a really awesome breakfast followed by deliciously bitter coffee at Swati delicacy , we got a brilliant brain wave of visiting the Hoysala temple at Halebidu, as it was just a short detour. En Route we stopped at our usual favourites - a swing on the banyan trees and photo shoot admist corn fields. 

The temple in Halebeedu is maintained very neat and is very beautiful. I simply loved the architectural beauty of the walls and pillars - the intricate designs on the statues - all carved in stone ...Though I was puzzled why somebody would carve the roofs also - with so much painstaking effort when most people dont even lift up their heads and notice it.
We got some really lovely pictures taken here. Off we got on our way to our destination. 

The homestay is a few minutes away from the Chickmagaluru town. Just after leaving the town, we crossed a lovely cafe called 'Siri's Cafe' where there was a beautiful woman's statue (lying on her hand) carved out of mud and stone I think. It is so tastefully done, that the entire woman's body is covered with different types of grass, thus giving different shades of clothing. The artist has even created accessories for her - two hanging pots form her ear rings and one pot of flowers acts as her ring. The expression on the lady's face is that of absolutely serenity. 

Immediately after the left that takes you to Sithalayangiri and Mullayanagiri mountains, is the entrance road to Nirvana Kutira - which was indeed our "Nirvana" destination. It is a quaint little resort with just 4 cottages - one main building that hosts the dining hall, kitchen and two rooms on the top(which I never got a chance to inspect too). These living areas are separated by concrete pathways that are lined with the most beautiful flowering plants. One of the rooms has a small white picket fence bordering it and a tastefully planted bluebells creeper falling over it - the whole place was amazingly picturesque.

I dont know what to pick the best part of the homestay - its nature abundant ambience, the most awesome home cooked veg food, the courteous and helpful owners and staff or the just rightfully furnished rooms. And us par yeh mausam - hai hai - Kya baat thi!!

After having been on so many trips, one comes to realize that on a  trip which is less adventurous and more relaxing , one of the most important ingredient is food. And this place beats the other places I have been to by aces in that department. While the variety is not spectacularly large, each and every dish is made with so much love that you find it difficult to even justify the small variety that they have - because your are confused - kis cheez ka tenth helping loo? and the best part is even if you over-eat, the next step your stomach is not going to complain - since there are no masala and oily stuff.

The first afternoon we spent inside the room, sleeping off the fatigue of our drive and snuggling into warm blankets befitting the cool rain fed weather outside.
We woke up to an awesome Tea/Coffee (i forgot how many cups of coffee i drank every time they served it) and a plate of hot hot mirchi bajji. While the kids were busy playing among themselves with some games we had brought along with us and the carrom - that was provided by the place, we adults started some ice breaking conversations. When we realized it was darkening, we asked them to light the bonfire and moved out to the outdoors and were entertained with some good performances of songs and dances by children and adults alike. When it started to drizzle, we moved indoors again. Before dinner, started the saga of pictionary - which was the highlight of the weekend. The adults game of pictionary became so loud and interesting that the kids could not resist and barged into our game, demanding to be a part the next night. 

After a lovely dinner and rounds of pictionary and loads and loads of laughter we all were thrown out of the dinning area by the helpers in the homestay and we reluctantly retired to our cosy rooms, with a plan to trek to Mullayangiri the next morning.

The next morning dawned, dark and cloudy and pouring. Still nothing deterred the spirits of the brave trekkers who tucked in a super brilliant breakfast and drove over to Sithalayangiri mountain. The saddest part of India is just how much lobbying is done to not make attraction spots more reachable, clean and organized. The road leading to the mountain top is hardly a strip and it has two way traffic which often gets blocked because there is hardly place for two vehicles to pass. There are no railings on the side opening to the valley and it is very difficult for the driver to judge if you are going to plunge into the depths of death due to one small pass. The Mr. had to get out of the car many a times to guide me to ensure I dont kill us all but still maneuver the car safely on the road when we got blocked due to an oncoming vehicle. 

When we reached the top, the chaos to park the vehicle, though anticipated, was so annoying. It feels like what the hell is the governance body doing ???? People spend so much money coming for a vacation and still everything has to be made a pain ? Luckily we 3 managed to snag some really good parking spots. 

After much questioning folks on where the trekking path is - because all around us people were just scrambling about and we had no clue which direction we had to walk - or to be precise what is it that we were trekking towards or to be even more clear - what had to be done there .. we got some information from the hawkers selling grapefuit and bhutta on where to walk. We climbed over a mountain with nearly zero visibility to reach a top - from where we could see few folks climb down a steep path that was not even seen. Then we realized that is not something we can do with the kids and came down to figure out that there was an alternative route to trek - which was walking on the tarred roads. So, began the long walk to the highest peak in Karnataka. The roads are pretty nice -and I am sure so would be the views - had it not been pelting rain and fog all around us. As we reached the top nearly one and half hours later - must say that the kids did put up an awesome show of not even cribbing a single time - the wind was blowing at the maximum. I had to hold on to the girls for the fear that they would fly away.

It was a blessed sight to find two vehicles parked at the top selling tea and mirchi bajjis - what a balm it was to us wind-blown and rain soaked souls. Nothing like typical snacks to fuel the energy to climb the 410 odd steps upto the temple on top of the mountain. While kids munched on Soya sticks, we adults quickly disposed off the 2,3,4 (i stopped counting) packets of bajjis and gathered our forces again to do a steep climb on the steps to the temple. The steps were more in number, the wind terribly strong , the rain unrelenting and visibility not more than 10 steps ahead - but we still marched on encouraging and pulling each other to reach the top and what an exhilarating moment it was!! After taking the customary pictures we decided to skip the visit to the temple as we were beyond exhausted and drenched to even open our shoes and socks. The journey back needed more motivation than the way up because it was tough trying to make 4 exhausted little ones walk on their own. 

When we arrived back at the homestay, boy! where we glad to be rid of all the wet clothes and shoes and sink into the comfy dining chairs and eat a hot and tasty meal. Then guess what came next ? Absolutely right - zzzzzzz..... ah! the monsoon and comfy beds ... what else does one need? Woke up to the most aromatic and tastiest coffee - we were hoping for bajjis too but were told that they were served only on the day that we arrived. And then settled down for Round #2 of gup-chup followed by pictionary and dumb-charades ... What a ruckus we created !! It was just as well that there were no other families staying over that night. Finally after dinner, the helpers cleaned up and they could no longer wait back and came and politely asked us to leave the place :) .... 

I went back to bed with a big smile of having had a very very lovely weekend. It was really a R&R weekend - thanks to the good food, lovely homestay and the jovial company.

The next morning, we packed our stuff in the car and stopped by at Souza Bakery to take a part of chikmagalur in the form of the tasty bread and plum cakes .. Stopped at Swati Delicacies for a lovely lunch on the way back and said our byes to come back to "Home Sweet Home"....

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Temple Trip - 2

... and the saga continues.
My friends tell me that I associate every small thing into a story and make a big deal out of it. I guess that is what I am doing here, making a 3 hour trip to Malleswaram sound like a 15 day trip to Switzerland 😉...

So, after saying bye to the fishies, the turtles and the 'beku' cat at the Nandi Thirtha temple, we plodded (read M&M plodded) to the next temple - the Laxmi Narasimha temple - which had a big queue lined up to see the god, who got covered with the 'sacred' screen - while the esteemed pujaris had their 'secret' conversations with the almighty. I always wondered why they close the screen and what they do behind - wish we could have a sneak peek sometime. So, at the time of the Hide 'n' Seek, they ran the bell loudly and there was a guy beating a big drum rhythmically. It was so mesmerizing the twin sounds - i felt transported to a place in my mind where I could dance unlimited to no audience except my own self. We waited and waited ... the holy pujaris would go one from one Sannidi to another but didnt show signs of opening the drapes and kids got restless and finally my mom suggested we go around the temple and come back - and as she mentioned - we did so, but still the drapes would not open. So, we decided to give this god a break and bug another one - and walked to the next and last temple - A Shiva temple again...

This time we had to climb up some steps to reach the temple - which hosted probably the smallest shiv ling I have seen and it seemed to have sprouted from the bottom of the earth itself. There I met my 'competitor' - this Aunty (well technically i am also an Aunty now - but she looked older than me) was wearing a beautiful black silk saree with an orange border. She was wearing awesome matching bangles and the blouse was designer - it has such wonderful embroidery work. Amma and I couldnt take eyes off her. By the time we came out of the temple, it was quite dark. The surroundings were so peaceful and calm - the dimly lit Gopuram was fascinatingly serene.

When we came down we peeped into the Lakshmi Narasimha temple, hoping to get a bit of the prasadam that was smelling awesome.. No such luck - guess Ummachi(the name we use for gods when we talk to little kids) was not pleased with our impatience...and decided we should not have any prasadam. But we got to go very very near to the God's idol - oh that was magnificent. 

I was so satisfied, I told amma that this will carry me on for another 6 months, but Big M so done she said no more temple visits for another year!!!

Walking through the lovely narrow houses and shops lined streets we happily reached Maiyas for a yummy dinner. There I realized another Vishnu/Krishna temple that we seemed to have missed :( ... Ah! Well for another time maybe ... We walked through the very very narrow "East Temple Street" savoring the sight of unending vegetable and flower shops, picking one or two veges here and there to reach amma's Holige Mane - where we got some really scrumptious Holiges... coconut, dhaal, badam ... and they had other flavours too which we were not brave enough to try ... 

The wonderous evening ended with M&Ms each getting a cone of Joy chocolate ice cream (and peace in the car for us as they were busy devouring it)... 

I am now waiting for the next exploration of temples in Malleswaram.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Temple Trip - 1

I wouldnt say I am a very religious temple. Infact these days I am wondering if I am going on the path of being an atheist, considering the lack of any religious activities at home. Thankfully this weekend vetoed that out :)... not that I am believer that lighting the lamp daily or visiting the temple every week proves that I am religious.

So, with the Mr. gone to meet mama dearest, I had the Sunday free - so decided to make best use of it - doing something which he probably would anyway not been party to - temple hopping in Malleswaram. Like I said, I dont consider myself too religious - in the traditional sense because I dont know many Slokas, or dont know what needs to be done on certain festival days - but I have a very good relationship with gods in my own way. I love temples in my own way - I love the chanting of mantras, the lamps being shown in Aarthi, the variety of decorations that are done to the gods and goddesses using flowers, the most amazing colored sarees and jewellery, the smell of the incense, the slightly wet floors due to the theertham falling down when people receive it, the ringing of bells and in some temples the beating of the drums and above all not to forget my two most favourites - Kolams and malli poo. 

We started off by visiting the Circle Mariamma temple. I must say I was quite disappointed. Having crossed this particular circle couple of times or more, while cycling, I have always been fascinated by the gorgeous facade of the temple - picturing a very big statue of a Devi. Unfortunately the temple was being repainted, so I could only have peeks of the facade from in between the gaps of the thatched covering around the temple.I was not quite impressed by the inside of the temple. There needs to be a certain kind of structure missing in the inside of the temple. It was not quite clear where one must go next and so on. Also I liked it when there is a bit of fresh air circulating inside and a bit of cleanliness that was missing here. Strangely though
, this was the only temple that gave us prasadam that evening :) .

We took an auto from there to go to the next temple that we thought will be the start of the rest of the visit. The first time we cycled to Veena stores we got a flavour of the galis of Malleswaram - they are all made of roads that are either a steep up or down. The Auto too us through such galis and such narrow ones, it almost felt that we drove inside one home and came out from the other side of the house :).. The kids had never seen such small roads and were quite amazed how people even had cars in such houses. 

We reached the most amazing place I have ever seen. It was like a Temple Square. A big area on the road that houses only temples on both sides. I just wished I could stay there forever. We first went to the Gangamma temple. OMG! the idol of the goddess was so radiant. But a better version of the goddess are the two statues that are outside the main sanctum sanctorum. The life size idol of the Ganga devi on the left side is outstandingly radiant. Dressed in the most beautiful embroidered maroon saree and adorned with two Thali chains admist other ornaments - what stands out are her eyes - they have been painted just so beautifully that they look real. It is as if the goddess can stare into your soul and find your inner desires and soothe all your troubles just by looking at you. Her lips were also painted so lively - they glowed and had the most peaceful smile on them.  The other goddess that was outstandingly cute and beautiful was the tiny version of the goddess - I am guessing which is used for for processions outside the temple. She was wearing the most beautiful orange-violet saree I have ever seen. Though her eyes were sort of mismatched - left eye and right eye did not match ; she had the cutest little feet that I have seen. What the kids loved the most about this temple was that we were given a lemon each along with a flower as a prasadam - their favourite - lemon. 

Opposite the Gangamma temple is the most fascinatingly cute little Shiva temple I have ever seen in my life. The area surrounding the temple is large with many big tall trees and small paths and even some small benches - it was getting dark by that time so we could not explore much (maybe another day during daytime). The temple inside is very tiny, in comparision, and has the most unique layout. It is a two level layout - with a tiny pond right in the center of the temple. Stairs are laid around the square pond where people can sit and watch the fish and the turtles swimming in biss in the tiny pond. From the top level, one can see across at the other end a huge gold plated background depicting Lord Shiva, Parvathi and Nandi and a small Nandi idol on the ground. Water pours out of the Nandi's mouth, which falls through a hole into the floor below into a pot and directly on top of the Lord Shiva's linga to depict as if Nandi is doing pooja to the Lord. It is the most aesthetic thing I have seen I felt. Wonder who thought of this brilliant idea. The water from the side of the Shiva linga then flows back to feed into the pond. The best part of the temple that it is open to air. Sitting there, in the darkening evening, with a slight breeze flowing watching and hearing the sound of the water, while viewing the swimming fish and turtles - it felt very therapeutic. I just wanted to stay there forever. Big M started feeling hungry and they were giving prasadam packets - 40 rs - for 2 laddoos and 1 Holige - both of which were very yummy - because of being shared with two other kids sitting next to us. A small cat came over to sit next wanting to be petted. Very reluctantly we left the temple as we had 3 more temples to cover .. 

.... so to be continued....