Monday, January 30, 2012

Dakshina Chitra

If you have not been to this place, you better go and soon. Its about 45 minutes from Chennai on the ECR.
Very nominal entry fee and a great place to spend a day or so.
As the name suggests Dakshina Chitra is an embodiment of all kinds of art from the south of India (There are separate sections for the 4 south indian states).

From Architecture to Weaving to Pottery to block and pot painting to Mehendi, every kind of art and crafts is represented. They even teach pottery, weaving, block painting, pot painting and a lot of other interesting stuff. You can get your hand read (Palmistry) or stain it with Mehendi  (I am still sulking coz Mom's mehendi has stained so much darker than mine and she has not done a darned thing, while I have been rubbing my palms with coconut oil  :-( ). There are special shows such as puppet shows, folk dances (based on the season and the artists available, I guess. We were able to see a special kind of folk dance from Karnataka called the Yojna Dance)
Cute hand made violins, bows and arrows, marble statues, jewelry, silk paintings, wood carvings, tapestries are all available for sale too.
Here is a very very small sample of the places to see in DC

Tamil Nadu
Ornate entrance to the Chettiyar house

The Thinnai and mutham as seen from the entrance of the same Chettiyar house
 The Mehendi Lady convinced me to get it done at the first house we visited instead of the last one, as we originally planned

 Ladies playing Pallanguzhi. 
 Inside the Cloth Weaver's house
 An actual weaving machine from Sundari Silks ( the weavers had gone for lunch). They are weaving a silk sari, the Pallu alone takes about 15-20 days and the whole sari takes 1.5 months to weave.
The outside view of a Kerala Syrian Christian house
 An example of traditional kerala cloth mural
A traditional wall mural
A Lambani mannequin and a tapestry woven by them
A Lambani residence (They are building traditional houses from Chikmagallur and a couple of more places)
Andhra Pradesh:
The Famous Cheriyal dolls in the prayer room of an Andhra weaver's house
Finished products after the weaving, Andhra Style (not that I would know the difference). We were able to see the actual weaving for this one.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The things my life revolves around....

My extended family and I had some great plans for tomorrow.

It was something that was planned for a whole week by me and I had convinced every one to make their calendars free so that we could enjoy the day out.
You need to be around my family to know what a difficult proposition that is.

So anyways all was set and we got our things ready and what not, when the phone rang!
Apparently this very important gentleman was planning to come to our locality tomorrow and if we were available tomorrow he would come home, else he could not promise any other dates in the near future.

Since the gentleman's schedule was rather packed, we have been strictly told to reschedule our plans for another convenient date. I realized then, the things that my life accommodates and revolves around :-P

The gentleman is coming from to buy our trash, and apparently we have over 3 months worth of old newspapers and milk covers collected at home.

I am hurt - 2

I was not sure if I wanted to put up this post and the one before this, coz while I like to grumble and rant, I generally do not pen feelings close to my heart.

I read recently an interview with Sonam Kapoor about her tough weight loss regimen before she was cast for her first movie and how even her father used to tease her with nick names.

Having been a plump person most of my life, I know what she went through. Some how fat people are expected to take nick names and sly words easily and not get hurt.

When my friend's boy friend used some nick name for me and she told me about it, I was hurt and asked her if she did not defend me and she flippantly replied that every one else teases you and calls you by names, so why should my boy friend not do so.

I am sure if my friend knew how much I hurt by her repeated callousness, she would be shocked. Why? because she thought she was being funny.

But she was not alone. How many cutting comments from colleagues and friends too? They never realized that their wittiness was causing a person to lose her/his self confidence and was making them self conscious. (Some times I think humans are the cruelest creatures on earth)

I recently met a lady who was on the fat side and she was making many jokes about herself during our conversation. I could empathize with what she was doing. She was joking about her plumpness before someone else commented on it, this way she could be kinder to herself.

 I would have been happy enough being plump, as long as I was healthy. Personally I did not have any issues with my body. But the peer pressure was soooo huge to slim down, that I think most of my teenage years were spent obsessing over one diet after another.

Funnily enough, once I stopped obsessing I started losing weight.

But the good thing that came out of it (I would like to think that I would be this way even if had had a svelte figure :-) ) is that I hate jokes on physical attributes of any person.

I am hurt

It must be great to be born/nurtured to have such a firm belief in one's superiority and rightness. Or in the case of women to have a firm belief in, if not one's inferiority, at least the superiority of their partners.

Being a woman and falling in the former bracket, I end up wincing, getting irritated, hurt and/or downright angry a lot of times. When I ask questions they are not able to answer, I get the answer that I don't understand or that I am just getting emotional (grrrr!)

I have recently had a few conversations and heard/read some news which have been like a thorn under my skin. I am sure there are a few people out there who read my blog and I would love to get your opinion

1. Do you think that women are less logical than men (I am still angry and very hurt about this one, as I am not sure this was told to me in jest)
2. Do you think that a woman has to agree to marry the first guy who says "yes"?  (This was told to me by a very close, young, married female relative and left me reeling. After all the astrologer has said its a good match and a girl actually thinking she needs a choice? Atrocious! She was so angry with me)
3. Do you agree with the Andhra DGP Reddy ? Are women's dresses the reason for their getting raped?
4. Do you think being a woman means she has to love cooking and cleaning and wiping her husband's a$$
5. Do you believe women should know their place and act/dress accordingly because men have (uncontrollable) urges and they will act on it unless women take care and don't entice them?
6. Are you a neanderthal who instead of feeling pride at their achievement, actually feels that women will bring down the Indian army?
7. Are you really amused when you read about the troubles faced by women across the world?

How many times have I seen an indulgent smile and been told to not take "it" so seriously coz "boys will be boys"? How many times have I been subtly advised to wear a stole with my jeans or to wear a higher neck or to pin my dupatta, by well meaning relatives?

I am hurt and ever so angry!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Aunties

I've read many posts and articles about the power of the Aunties. You know the Know-it-all busybodies.
But one should not be fooled by the name. This group has both men and women in it. The male aunties, sneaky creatures that they are, act in the background in lighting a fire under the female aunties.

I had forgotten how annoying they are.They have an expert opinion on everything from the music we listen, to our work, to how we lead our lives. grrr!
By some great power of the universe I do not have many aunties in my close relations and friends.

But met one couple today. The female aunty had a host of know-it-all questions, but thankfully I didn't have to answer since she already had the answers to all her questions and all I had to smile and bear.
The male aunty had a host of equally inquisitive and extremely private questions but he wanted my answers and kept staring at me until I started feeling just like I was under a microscope.My bland stare was not very effective.

Then the nosy parkers started asking questions about my family. There is a line that I definitely do not allow any one to cross.
Well! I am proud to say I was rather impressive in my imitation of the aunties in asking about their family skeletons, in turn.

Hehehe! They could not get away from me fast enough.

Would it not be great to be in a place where everyone minds their own business?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


 Happy New Year, Pongal, Makara Sankranthi and all that folks.

Had actually planned to retire this blog in 2011, but could not. After all, what would I do without you people to rant and grumble to?

Is it possible to die of boredom? Coz I have all the symptoms of ennui, an absolutely classic and fatal case of boredom. Boring movies, boring books, boring work.

But boredom aside, I was just seeing this article on 10 places across the world that will be gone in the near future and at least 4 of my dream places are in it :-(

1. Egypt - The Valley of Kings
2. Greece - Olympia
3. Jordan - Dead sea
4. Italy - Venice

With the world at an end in 2012, I better get going and faaast

The other places of interest expected to disappear include

5. Maldives (I wouldn't mind visiting these islands)
6. The great barrier reef in Australia
 7. Our own Taj Mahal (Not only visited it, but also had my pocket picked. Very memorable place for me and for all the wrong reasons :-) )
8. The Amazonian forest in Brazil
9. The Poles
10. Waterlands in US

So what do you all want to do, in this last year of your lives?