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Showing posts from 2014

When "clouds burst" at the "abode of clouds"...

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Ahead of the Durga Puja, the Goddess was 'helping' sell everything from luxury lats to trendy accessories, even shampoo. (Do businesses employ symbols of other faiths too, during festival seasons as marketing agents and salespeople... Do they dare?) 
Ahead of Durga Puja, also, the Goddess bestowed one form of bounty - copious torrents of the life-giving liquid - water. This time through a cloudburst in India NE. City floods are quite common now, we know, thanks to rampant urbanization and poor solid waste management. Clueless administration demands Central aid, money changes hands from and to clueless Govts, grandiose plans and disaster relief measures get announced (with the media coverage directly proportional to the product of the estimated losses and the promised relief bounty).
Floods in rural areas are as devastating too. When vast open fields end up inundated, there are short and long term losses too. 
Here is a good account of one of the series of 'blessings' - &q…

Dear Mr Abraham Tharakan, RIP

Song of the waves, live on!

A Rethink on the Indian Pledge...

More to the Beach than Meets the Eye...

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Don't these queries make you curious at least, even if they have not created any consternation in you?
If you visit the Thengapattinam Beach between Trivandrum and Kanyakumari, you can see solid concrete octopods (core locs) - thousands of them being stacked to build seawalls and breakwaters to protect the fishing harbour. It turns out that ports and coastal structures are being built along India 5400 km long coastline without getting to know enough about the coastal dynamics.

Cdr Puthur has suggested a theory of how coasts get formed and get eroded, in clear language and with convincing logic. Travel along the coastline "long necklace ornamented with beautiful wave-lashed beaches, with sands white, brown, golden and glittering black" with Cdr Puthur and Google Earth. If you love the beach and the vast open sea, you must undertake this journey to realise that beaches are eroding, and may completely disappear in the not too distant future.

A story so well told, but certai…

To aspire and attain....

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Truly, anyone can ....

The State & The Sea. And The State of the Sea

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Crows are intelligent birds. All you need is a few minutes of your time and plenty of patience to observe the creature foraging for tidbits. I could do just that for a whole hour when I visited a popular beach in the Kovalam stretch on a mildly sunny Sunday morning in February. Several tourists reached the beach and set about such a routine - spread a beach towel or mat, leave belongings, use another towel to lightly 'hide' them, before heading seaward.
My subject crow waited in the wings, hopped down from a perch, stepped and jumped on the sand to reach one set of spread-out stuff, and  tilted the head to delicately peck at the covering towel to try and look for the right kind of stuff - if any - left by the careful tourists. Did I say I watched patiently? The crow beat me at that - he exhibited due diligence, patience and perseverance while looking for what he wanted.







But this post is not about this crow or any other. This is about a different kind of patience that both fascin…

Stop the Cloning of Cities!

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Indian cities have been trying hard at developing into clones of big cities across the world, and succeeding. (Aside: In the matter of solid waste management they are just clones of each other). Bangalore was a laid back garden city till about a couple of decades ago, even though it was the aerospace-cum-electronics hub of India. If we put together all the pros and cons of living comfort, standards of living, and quality of life, we will find that the present Bengaluru has unfortunately lost its overall charm.
We have let globalisation and technological revolutions invade our urban spaces and our mind spaces so much, and at too fast a pace, that entire sections of urban residents have forgotten to pause, look around, smell the earth, and think of whole lots of other people to whom globalisation has meant deprivation, more financial burden and regress.

Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram) is a uniquely endowed, endearing, overgrown village. But it is increasingly obvious that this city is al…

CharadupinnikkaLi

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Profiles of 4 faces up for grabs.... 
See the picture that shows Charadupinnikkali or Urikkali (cord-plaiting dance). This is a life-size exhibit at the Koyikkal Palace near Nedumangad. Picasa Google rather likes the complexions, and asks who they are. If you fancy any of the four profiles, claim it, and I'll let Picasa know. 

Flaminco? Flamingo? Flamenco!... Flamenkarnatic

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Flaminco? Flamingo? Flamenco!
"Spanish FlamincoKalaripayattu Fusion" and "Spanish FlamincoCarnatic Fusion", reads the grand Kerala Sangeet Natak Akademi announcement about an event that was scheduled to take place at the Co-bank Auditorium in Thiruvananthapuram, during the recently concludedIFFK 2013.

Having heard of the SpanishFlamencoand with suitable expectations, we seated ourselves; among other 'expectant' audience. On stage was just the traditional lamp. 

Item Number 1: The singer has a mike, but he stands close to the dancer and, cheek-to-cheek, he chants a few mantras. There are no props on stage, but the 5-ft traditional brass lamp that both artistes light together. The dancer’s costume is a simple 2 piece garment, and her style is a mix of Bharathanatyam and Kathakali. 
Item Number 2: The dancer has changed into a flowing gown; a Spanish guitarist and drummer join them on stage. The singer croons Tulasi-daLa mula in a format nowhere near the classic…

Some 'Bemusings' on Cameras and Photography

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Unobtrusiveness ought to be the first lesson in photography etiquette for amateurs and professionals alike, before they pick up their instrument, lest it becomes a weapon that has the potential to disturb others in unexpected, unpleasant ways.I am proud to have photographer-friends who respect this etiquette.

The concert was about to begin. A piano-cello ensemble. The announcer introduced the artistes, and requested the audience to turn off the mobiles or “keep them silent”. As he walked off-stage, a popular ring-tone went off, so back he came, and reiterated his request. This time he included an extra-cautionary note: “Please note that there are no extra amplifiers, so audience cooperation is truly needed to keep the acoustic experience pleasant.”

The concert commenced. The cello player faced the audience, but with head always bowed down, eyes running over the music notes, even as his hand ran over the strings. The piano artiste sat facing stage left, and presented a demure side view…

Downsides of Tourism, Progress and Development-2 - Holy and unholy truths

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Are our temples too benevolent and too sacred to be maintained physically clean?

Why do pilgrims travel far and wide, in an effort to cleanse their souls while caring a hoot for the surroundings they visit? Be it Sabarimala, or Rameswaram, or any other holy abode of the Lord, pilgrims leave too many tell-tale (tell-truth actually) signs of their visit: used food packages, used clothes, used water bottles, and the worst habit of all: human expectorated spittle all over the place.

There are well over 50 theerthams in the holy town of Rameswaram. 22 of them are located within the main temple and several more are scattered  over a few km distance in multiple directions.

Most of the ones frequented by tourists show plenty of signs of poor maintenance and care, by both authorities and tourists. At the Rama Theertham, no fish survives in the pond, you can see a few live ones struggling in a bucketful of water for the purpose of being fed by the pilgrims.


So what I mean to say is that ther…