Wednesday, November 2, 2016

When memories ran amok...

"Don't dwell on the past, live in the present." this preachy line, we frequently  get to hear these days on media by new age gurus. But often, I find myself questioning the above ....and my mind starts debating on that.

The arguments vacillate in support 'of' and 'against' the above statement.  Sometimes, I  think we are the products of our past and therin lies our foundation. Sometimes, I feel the unwanted baggage can hinder our life. Sometimes, I think,  Isn't introspection   the key to awareness? many such thoughts debate on my mind but finally the argument  for the support of nostalgia wins...... And Pray,  tell can I not dwell on  my past  when i have made wonderful, unforgettable memories .... .and so I say,

Old is gold!..nostalgia is empowering!!....Old music is unbeatable !!!,.... heritage buildings are classic!!! ......dejavu is rejuvenating!!!

A song, fragrance, a building, a name, so many such things can evoke memories of loved ones separated by death or distance that the hours one spends thinking about such things suspends the present and one travels back to the past.

Mylapore,  a part of chennai town is one such place which strikes a chord and sends me on nostalgia lane. The very mention of that place name releases from me a lifetime of personal memories. 

During my recent trip, a visit to this place  turned me misty eyed with happiness. I made a visit to this place after some 16 years. 14 years back I visited the Kapali temple  alone which is the soul  of Mylapore, but this time, i went around the mada street, my grand parents home ( sold 17 years back), my mom and aunt's typewriting &shorthand class home, Veena class home( all were taught in homes only). The class cum home still stand hoarding the board. The bank next door, their family jewellers, Srividya manjal shop, the florist shop, appalam kadai, Aavin, Rasi silk store where I still remember my mami asking for the "manjalla yellow border kaatunga"( Show me the yellow with yellow border saree)  and how we cousins were laughing at her and she was looking askance at the salesman and us, not knowing why we were laughing. She did'nt realize she said manjal which in tamil means yellow.Every incident and memory that came alive during this visit felt like it happened just recently. 

 The maadi tailor who used to often get a good dose of scoldings from my aunt for not stitching on time. The pooja and garland store near kapali kovil where we deposited our chappals before the visit, the fights we cousins had at home with elders since we didnt want to accompany the elders to the temple,  Matthala narayanan street sweet stall,where we were sent to get the hot kaara sev snacks, The Bharatiya vidya bhavan where I was refused admission for 6 months, The kumaran school ( no more exists)..opposite Hindu chit fund where I studied for 6 months during my sister's birth., Karpagambal mess, kalathi shop, vijaya stores and ofcourse the Kapali kovil, Mundakanniamman koil .....Except for a few facelifts in the interior of these temples, the place looked frozen in time. . There are signs of decay on some buildings which only heightens the perception of continuity with the passing of time and lends an aura of heritage. Some buildings ofcourse have buckled to lifestyle changes and sport trendy looks. But all those glamour and sheen of the new buildings fade in front of the mildewed heritage stores and shops. 
 With the timing of my visit, I could tick off one more of my bucket list wish. It was on my wish list  to shop for the golu dolls after navaratri around the mada street( around the foot path of the temple) . These are temporary road stalls pitched only during navarathri selling clay dolls. With the golu over, the traditional dolls are sold at lesser rates. A win-win situation where the customer gets at cheap rates and the seller does'nt have to store the clay dolls till the next navaratri. 

Overall  a visit, where my emotional batteries were recharged.

Some pictures from the visit...

sannidhi street housing shops for traditional arts, crafts and weaves and on this lane lies oneof the famous Bharatnatyam dress needs shop which has  dance customers from all over the world.

 Gopura darisanam kodi punyam goes a tamil saying..meaning seeing a temple tower is equal to a crore good deeds. 
                           The ganesh temple as you enter kapali kovil
                                    Many childhood memories buried underneath the flooring of that pandal and that Rasi silks and Giri trading our regular shops..
                                     The flower shops enroute which doubles as free chappal depositary for mami and always the florist would ask mami "Nalla irukkenga akka?" ( are you fine, sister?)

                                 The make shift clay dolls sold during navaratri on the mada streets( the 4 streets around the temple)

Straight and left would take to my mom's school the famous "Lady sivasami aiyar girls high school", kalathi news paper mart famous for rose milk and which has appeared in many travel shows, karpagambal mess, mami kadai...all famous old time shops and mess on this street.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The journey in pictures......

From Karaikudi to Thanjavur to Tiruvaiyaru to Trichy to Chennai....the trip was mostly another temple trail and this time although we visited unique temples again, they were our regular temples except one. The temple visits were more of prayers of gratitude to acknowledge the positives in our life and for the strength, grace and power of god behind every negative or challenge we faced.

 Prayers of gratitude, I   cannot  express here  but the sceneries  of country side during the journey were also of spiritual solace, tried to click a few from a running vehicle.

While most of the journey was thorough NH( excellent toll roads), SH were bumpy, "Under repair", "Men at work" roads,  and since it was in the night, the  headlights of oncoming vehicles were blinding and slightly dangerous if one is not alert.

 But the journey from Tiruvaiyaru to Trichy on Village roads were a sensory feast. We travelled on narrow roads flanked with channels of Cauvery and Coleroon( kollidam) and there were many more little rivulets like kodamurutti ( Tiruvaiyaru means land of 5 rivers all tributaries of Cauvery)...although not in full glory, it was lovely to see water in the rivers and at Grand anicut.

 Little shrines  on the river banks, irrigated lands,lotus and lily laden ponds, traditional thinnai homes,  dung plastered huts, coconuts dried on the road ( for making copra and oil), daily village scenes.... It was very humbling to see such simple life with less comforts  compared to the city life we lead. 

What lovely sights all along!!