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Quick bites with Ashwani kumar

Ashwani Kumar is an Indian English poet, author and Professor of Development Studies at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Mumbai). His books include Banaras and the Other (Poetrywala; Mumbai), first of a trilogy on religious cities in India; My Grandfather’s Imaginary Typewriter (Yeti Books; Calicut) and Community Warriors (Anthem Press; London) among others. His poems, reviews and columns are widely published. He is also one of the chief editors of London School of Economics’ prestigious publication ‘Global Civil Society’. He has been visiting fellow to leading universities around the world. Presently, he is a Senior Fellow of the Indian Council of Social Science Research.

  1. Can you say something about what made you write your first poem?

“I was wounded early,/and early I learned/ that wounds made me” (Adonis). Don’t remember exactly what made me write the first poem; probably when I loosened the promontory childhood memories and experienced the furious lashing of adult fantasies of vernacular language in the palai(desert) in my backyard.

  1. What does poetry mean to you? What do you feel when writing poetry?

Poetry is like ‘skies with burning funnels’, and poets swim in the thick maelstroms ‘under the terrible eyes of prison ships’ as the French poet Arthur Rimbaud said. I am neither a formal student of literature nor a workshop trained poet.  So personally speaking, I feel like burning in the fire of my own ashes when I am writing poetry.

  1. Do you think poetry speaks to all kinds of people in all walks of life? How do you think we can take poetry out its confined literary circle?

Poetry is not an opaque mystical thing that only so-called Godmen, spiritual healers or over educated  literati  can experience.  It speaks to all. Remember what saint-poet Basavanna said “The rich/will make temples for Siva. /What shall I, /a poor man, /do? /My legs are pillars,/the body the shrine,/the head a cupola/of gold.  In other words, only poetry can heal the wounds caused by Varna divide and quotidian injustices. Thus, poetry needs to be liberated from a culturally impoverished elite minority and neo-middle classes. And we need to create more inclusive mythic and mimetic poetic spaces with million tongues gossiping and quarrelling about the poetry. I am happy that poetry with Prakriti is one such instance.

  1. When do you write poetry? Is there a specific time in a day? What makes you write a poem?

When I am listening my imaginary Granny Maria’s favourite song ‘Picotante, paralysante…picotante, paralysante’ or when I am between my trips to the farmer’s market and making litti-chokha for my neighbours in Bavaria.  But let me tell you the truth, I often fantasize about not writing anything.

  1. What do you think of this new wave of insta poetry of today? Would you treat it as poetry too?

New poetic traditions evolve, and old traditions acquire new indexical and symbolic forms. So wont be surprised if Insta poetry becomes   triumphant messenger in the hubbub of La La land of baby-faced millennials.  In short, Insta poetry is a liquid poetic body without permanent organs.  Guard it from the narcissistic, guilt-ridden trolls and bots!

  1. Where do you want to take your work in d future in terms of poetry?

Presently planning to complete the Banaras trilogy. Hope, my poetry in future remains unvanquished satyagraha against the growing power of ‘lies and more lies’!

Thanks Prakriti foundation for organizing such wonderful event.

Thank you Haris, Gopi, Smita Anand for the pictures.

 

A chat with the Grand old poet of India : Shri Jayanta Mahapatra

A heartwarming Poem reading by a self-actualized soul and a grand old Indian poet Shri Jayanta Mahapatra. He is the first ever Indian poet to win Sahitya Akademi award for English poetry. He is also a winner of Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honour in India. He is physicist by education and commenced writing poems at the age of 40. He has spent his entire life time in Cuttack, Odisha and all his poems revolves around his own land.

Our team had an opportunity to listen to his poem reading and interview the living legend during the part of Poetry with Prakriti, Festival 2017 – 10th Edition. All his poems revolve around facts of life. During our interaction with him he also shared his childhood memories, where he had run away from his home town twice. There were few questions put to him and beautiful answers from him.

The poet says anyone can write poem, quotes himself as a humble example “when a 90-year-old man like me can write poems, anyone can write”

When asked, what makes him write poems, he beautifully said that he don’t choose poems. Situations make him write poems. He said “I write What I feel, What I hear and What I see”.

Also, he added that the poems written by him are his experiences. The Poetry has taught him to love people they are!

He wrote his first poem at the age of 40. When asked, what made him to write his first poem, he said that sadness prevailing around him, made him write his first poem. Most of his poems revolves around grief experience.

As the awareness about literature and culture increasing amongst people, we inquired whether poems create impact in society. The strongly denied that Nobody cares about the poems and it doesn’t create any effect in modern society. He feels that only few readers and youngsters read poems and get influenced by it. He believes people are very selfish and egoistic. They are self-centered and busy with their own priorities in their life.

The poet began his career as a physicist. When provided an option to choose between a poem or physics, he said did not want to choose between them and said that they were like two eyes for him. He funnily said that he loves high level physics and poems because people cannot assimilate the essence of both swiftly.

Since alternate career professions are becoming popular this year, we are keen to know the poets view on new age poems. He told that, it has not taken a serious traction. He added that those poems are not really from inside a person, rather a quick outburst of expression, after reading a couple of poems from the internet by the current generation.

Lot of youngster turned out for the poetry festival. When asked about message to the young poets he said “Read a lot poems, it will inspire you to write more”.

A lifetime experience and moment which shall always be cherished, interviewing Shri Jayanta Mahapatra. Thanks to Prakriti foundation and Madras Photobloggers.

Venkat Suriyaprakash.

Thanks Haris Manian for the wonderful pictures.

All images are copy right protected to Madras Photo Bloggers and Prakriti Foundation.

Inaugural Function of the Poetry with Prakriti Festival – An Orchestra of the Living

When Perumal Murugan met TM Krishna on a fateful evening in 2016, he shared with him snippet of his poetry. Perumal Murugan is an Indian author, scholar and literary chronicler who writes novels in Tamil. He has written six novels, four collections of short stories and four anthologies of poetry to his credit. Winner of the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award, T.M. Krishna is a famed Carnatic vocalist based out of Chennai.
It was in the picturesque temple town that TM Krishna suggested that they collaborate. What this led to was one of the most enchanting musical performances the patrons witnessed.

Murugan hence started writing verses in the arrangement of keethanas. The evening unravelled to six keerthanas and three aalaps of Carnatic music. Seemingly simple verses were transformed into intricate sung forms. The first composition of the evening was titled “Sky”, which was aptly set in the raag “Poobalam” which means dawn, speaking of perhaps a new era in music where music would be inclusive of all of the society. TM Krishna believes that music evolves when diversified- diversified in subjects, thoughts, dialects and most vitally, the people. Carnatic music has been a privilege of the upper class for too long. This is also where TM Krishna’s and Perumal Murugan’s minds met. Perumal Murugan’s verses were interpreted into compositions that transcended the surreal to ultimately attain the “absolute real”, in all its glory.

The subsequent keerthanas were a tribute to the 3 out of five elements of nature, according to the Vedas- water, fire, air, earth, wind, and space. Perumal Murugan would recite the verses first and TM Krishna and his troupe gave tunes to the lines.

T.M Krishna evoked the elements of nature by giving life to Perumal Murugan’s keerthanas crafted on the Kongonadu dialect. The performance seemed to be an orchestra led by TM Krishna’s hands that seemed to paint a picture of the visual of every element.

The mesmerizing evening came to an end with an exquisite piece on love followed by the humble artistes meeting and greeting audience members.

Thanks to Prakriti Foundation for organizing such wonderful event.
The Poetry with Prakriti festival is happening from Dec 3rd – Dec 17th 2017.

Thanks Drishya Sobhana Narayanan for the wonderful write up. Thanks Charles Antony for the pictures.

Lets go for birding in the oldest bird sanctuary near Chennai

Since monsoon is around the corner, birds from various parts start to migrate for survival. No wonder that you could spot more birds in marsh land, rural places in and around Chennai.  Deepak, an ardent bird photographer and Madras Photo bloggers panel team member is sharing his view, thoughts and ideal season to visit bird Vedathangal sanctuary. Let us all listen his view

Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary  – is the oldest bird sanctuary in India. The sanctuary is preserved by the local people for over 250 years as they have found that the water that contains birds’ muck mixed with it can prove as best natural fertilizer for the crops.Vedanthangal bird sanctuary is completely dependent upon the rainfall and faces water problems during the summer season. This is the reason why permanent water plants cannot be seen here. The Barringtonia trees are found here, which are used by the variety of birds for nesting purposes. The sanctuary has a lake with lots of trees in the water. Many birds can be seen on water and on trees Open-billed storks are the main visitors of Vedanthagal bird sanctuary.

How to reach?

Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary is located in Kancheepuram district of Tamilnadu. It is around 60 kms from Tambaram and around 25 kms from Chengalpet. The sanctuary is well connected by road and you can have a smooth ride from the city. If you rely on public transport there are buses from Tambaram, Chengalpet and Maduranthagam. The nearest railway Junction is Chengalpet to which there are frequent trains from the city. The best time to visit the park would be between 6AM and 8 AM in the morning and 4PM to 6PM in the evening when there is lot of feeding activities by the bird.

Who is it for?

Are you a bird lover? Do you find birds  fascinating? Then you are in right spot. Do you have kids? Are they asking you to take them to a new place they have not been before? Then Vedanthangal is a good picnic spot for kids and they would get to know about it.. Are you a nature lover? Then go right ahead and be fascinated by the world of birds and prepared to be surprised. Bird photography skill can easily be honed if you involve. Make sure you carry a good Telephoto lens to frame the long distant subjects.

What birds do we get to see?

Below is a list of birds and Animals that can be spotted in Vedanthangal. They usually vary from month to month. You may not be able to spot a Painted stork in early November but later in the winter. You may not be able to spot everything or you may spot new ones that are not listed below. This is not a comprehensive list and only based on observations over the years. So try to spot as many as you can.

  1. Spot billed Pelican
  2. Night Heron
  3. Cormorants
  4. Darter
  5. Egrets
  6. Painted Stork
  7. Pintails/Ducks
  8. Spoonbills
  9. White and Glossy Ibis
  10. Moorhens
  11. Coucals
  12. Golden Oriole
  13. Spotted owlets
  14. Bonnet Macaques
  15. Indian Roller

 How should I behave?

Finally, the most important thing that most of us fail to follow or not taught about is respecting nature. I have observed people calling out birds or making noises to attract them. Please do not do that. Please do not feed any bird or Animal while you are at the park. Please dispose waste only in bins provided for them. Please avoid plastics. Please do not approach any bird. Please avoid getting closer to or photographing nests. Avoid disturbing other bird lovers or making loud noises. These are few things that can make Vedanthangal one of the best bird sanctuaries in India. Happy birding.

Photography by Deepak, Muralimohan Krishnan. Jeeva Varutharaj. Gokul Raghothaman.Vijay Guru,Radheep Radhakrishnan and an article by Deepak. All images are copy right protected.

MRF MMSC FMSCI Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship 2017 – Round 3 (Aug 5, 2017)

  • Jagan Kumar leads 1-2 finish for TVS Racing
  • Aishwarya, Aravind score second win
  • Dinesh Kumar halts Amarnath Menon’s win-spree

Chennai, August 5: Defending champion Jagan Kumar of TVS Racing put in a command performance to score a crucial win in the third round of the MRF MMSC Fmsci Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship at the MMRT track, here on Saturday and moved up two spots to third on the leaderboard.

A very relieved Jagan Kumar (62 points) though had to fight hard for only his second win of the season that put him behind the front-running Honda Ten10 riders leader Rajiv Sethu (90) who barely nursed his bike to third-place finish and Mathana Kumar (66) in the championship stakes after a race that was cut to a four-lap sprint following a red-flag stoppage due to an oil spill on the start-finish straight and was re-started.

Jagan, starting from pole position, slipped to third due to a poor start as Sethu and Mathana Kumar passed him on the very first lap. However, the red flag stoppage provided Jagan a second chance while Sethu’s bike bled speed and Mathana retired due to an electrical problem. It set Jagan free and he was followed home by team-mate Harry Sylvester and Sethu.

“I am very relieved that I won today, though I was not happy with my pace. In Friday’s practice, I did 1:57 (one minute, 57 seconds) lap and today, I was two second off that lap pace. I had some issues with the bike, but I think I will not tinker with it for tomorrow’s second race,” said Jagan.

Also scoring an impressive win was Bengaluru’s Aishwarya Pissay (Apex Racing) in the Girls (Stock up to 165cc) category to further consolidate her position at the top of the leaderboard with 65 points.

The race witnessed a bit of elbowing among riders at the front before Aishwarya overcame a poor start to clinch a dominating win to move to 65 points, ahead of Indore’s Kalyani Potekar (51) who was docked 10 seconds penalty for causing collision that took out Alisha Abdullah on the start straight and was placed third behind local girl Shruthi Nagarajan (Honda Ten10 Racing).

Aravind Balakrishnan, courtesy a fine victory in the Pro-Stock (up to 165cc) category, caught up with leader and his Honda Ten10 Racing team-mate Mithun Kumar who finished a distant fifth. Both are on 83 points with the second race of the round to be run on Sunday.

In the Super Sport Indian 300-400cc class, Kozhikode’s Amarnath Menon (Gusto Racing) saw his four-win streak ending in a cloud of dust as he crashed on the last lap during hot chase of Chennai’s Dinesh Kumar of the newly-formed Team Alisha Abdullah. Despite the non-finish, Menon is still comfortably placed at the top with 100 points, well clear of other contenders Deepak Ravikumar (51, Moto-Rev) and Vivek Pillai (75, Rockers Racing) who finished second and third respectively.

The results (Provisional):

Super Sport Indian  (Up to 165cc) 4 laps: 1. Jagan Kumar (TVS Racing) (08mins, 06.210secs); 2.Harry Sylvester (TVS Racing) (08:06.370); 3. Rajiv Sethu (Honda Ten10 Racing) (08:12.951).

Super Sport Indian (300-400cc) 6 laps: 1. Dinesh Kumar D (Team Alisha Abdullah) (11:48.208); 2. Deepak Ravikumar (Moto-Rev) (11:55.445); 3. Vivek Pillai (Rockers Racing) (12:08.044).

Pro-Stock (Up to 165cc) 4 laps: 1. Aravind Balakrishnan (Honda Ten10 Racing) (08:30.837); 2. Naresh Babu (RACR) (08:32.463); 3. Aravind Ganesh (Chennai) (08:39.352).

Girls – Stock up to 165cc (5 laps): 1. Aishwarya Pissay (Apex Racing Academy) (11:18.287); 2. Shruthi Nagarajan (Rockers Racing) (11:29.306); 3. Kalyani Potekar (Team Speed Up Racing) (11:37.258).

One-Make Championship – Honda CBR 150 (Novice) 5 laps: 1. Satyanarayana Raju (Hyderabad) (11:08.098); 2. Balaji G (Chennai) (11:22.842); 3. Senthil Kumar (Coimbatore) (11:23.098).

TVS Apache RTR200 (Open) 6 laps: 1. Kannan Karnan (Chennai) (13:16.480); 2. Sivanesan S (Chennai) (13:16.578); 3. Yuvaraj S (Chennai) (13:17.312). Novice (6 laps): 1. Romario J (Chennai) (13:23.636); 2. Anup Kumar M (Chennai) (13:23.803); 3. Shankar Guru J (Chennai) (13:30.885).

Support races (Girls) – Honda (5 laps): 1. Ryhana Bee A (Chennai) (11:26.214); 2. Kalyani Potekar (Indore) (11:41.677); 3. Shruthi Nagarajan (Chennai) (11:41.767).

TVS (3 laps): 1. Aishwarya Pissay (Bengaluru) (06:52.318); 2. Ann Jennifer (Chennai) (07:02.739); 3. Priyamvada Saradhi (Bengaluru) (07:15.431).

Courtesy: AP Media Communications

Photo Credits: Srinivasa Krishnan

MRF MMSC FMSCI Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship 2017 – Round 3 (Aug 4, 2017)

  • Bikers revving up for another round of hot action
  • Keen battles in offing for top spots

Chennai, August 3: The battle lines will be drawn afresh this weekend when the third round of the MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship 2017 commences on Friday at the MMRT track in Sriperumbudur, near here with hectic jostling for leaderboard positions in all the categories.

As many as 19 races are scheduled to be run over three days after Thursday’s practice sessions besides the second round of the MMSC fmsci Indian National Drag Racing Championship which will be held on Saturday (practice) and Sunday evening (final runs).

The spotlight will be yet again on the intense rivalry between Honda Ten10 Racing and TVS Racing riders in the showpiece Super Sport Indian (up to 165cc) class while the path-breaking National championship for girls (Stock, up to 165cc), an MMSC initiative and introduced this season, has thrown up its share of exciting competition with Bengaluru’s Aishwarya Pissay (40 points) of Apex Racing heading the leaderboard from Team Speed Up Racing riders Kalyani Potekar (36) from Madhya Pradesh and Chennai’s Ryhana Bee (35).

Likewise, the Stock (up to 165cc) class for Novice riders has proved to be a resounding success with 50-plus entries requiring two preliminary heats to decide the grid for the point-scoring final race.

In the other two categories of National championship, 21-year old Amarnath Menon (Gusto Racing) from Kozhikode has dominated the Super Sport Indian 300-400cc class winning all four races so far while Mithun Kumar of Honda Ten10 Racing is comfortably perched at the top in the Pro-Stock (up to 165cc) following three wins in four outings.

Country’s top two-wheeler manufacturers Honda and TVS have also weighed in with their highly competitive One-Make Championship in the Open and Novice categories besides support races exclusively for girls who are thus guaranteed plenty of track time over the weekend.

In the two rounds of the National Championship thus far, 18-year old Rajiv Sethu (Honda Ten10 Racing) from Chennai has caused a big buzz with his dominating performances marked by three wins which put him ahead in the Super Sport Indian (up to 165cc) class with 75 points, just ahead of team-mate Mathana Kumar (66), and will be looking to consolidate his position.

Defending champion Jagan Kumar (TVS Racing) has not had the best of starts this season with just one win and 37 points to show for his efforts to be placed fifth behind team-mates KY Ahamed (45) and Harry Sylvester (39).

Courtesy: AP Media Communications

Photo Credits: Srinivasa Krishnan

The Festivals of Madras | Photo Series

Alike the national festivals – Independance day and republic day and religious festivals – Diwali, Holi, Navaratri Eid, Muhurram and Christmas etc ,.A large number of festivals and Fairs are celebrated in madras throughout the year.Also, Chennaities celebrate local festivals like Panguni Urstavam, Ther , Thai Pongal, Music and Dance Festival with great fervor in Chennai city. Below photos represent the various scenes of local festials and backstages. Thank you participants for submitting amazing photos for the festival theme.

Credits : Raghav Prasanna

Credits : Deepak Sundar

Credits :  Kirbaa Karan

Credits :  Lakshmi Ramanan

Credits :  Mukhil

Credits :  Prabhakar Ramakrishnan

Credits :  Ramesh Raja

 

Credits :  Sanath Kumar

Credits :  Shamini Shammu

Credits : Siva Prasad

Credits : Siva Prasad

GRANDEUR OF PARTHASARATHY THEER (CAR) FESTIVAL BY LAKSHMI RAMANAN

Madras Photo Bloggers is featuring  *Story Inspired by the Theer festival* article  by   Lakshmi Ramanan

◊ – words with the mark are explained below the images

Idly◊ was whistling away in the kitchen. The aroma of sambhar◊ wafted throughout the house. Filter kaapi◊ was the befitting beverage for that morning. Big golden silk borders adorned the mamas◊ and mamis◊ of the house alike, simplicity was reserved for another day. Tiny tots who were adorned with Srichoornam◊ ran in as time tickers, giving constant updates. All cousins had gathered under their grandfather’s house, it was ‘thaerottam’ or the car festival which was taking place in Triplicane◊ Parthasarathy temple.

“Keshavaa!”voice called out “Come here”

“Keshav Chittappaa◊! Thata◊ is calling you!” the little messenger screamed at the top of his voice as he rushed across the house

“Thata?” A deep voice responded briskly “Tell me”

“Keshu. Can we leave?” He said pulling his walking stick

“Thata! You have tied the panchakacham◊ very well” he said, “you are as always splendid young man” reaching his hand out to the Septuagenarian. He was someone whom you just have to respect, he commanded that out of people.  His grandfather was beaming with pride as the entire family of the old couple, his four sons and four daughters and the next two generations made their way through the crowd.

They went all the way near the thaer, and prostrated in front of the Lord. It was grandeur all around, The decoration around the Thaer was a league apart. The pagoda like top had cloth draped with srichoornam. Dwarakabalaka◊, Yali◊, and horses surrounded the Lord, while few men also made their way up. Among them were the pandits,◊ nadaswaram◊ and mirdamgam◊ players, playing exclusively to entertain the Lord. The lower half had many idols of the Lord was intricately carved in. The entire structure was supported by large wheels, taller than an average standing man. Streets had a festive look, they were washed clean, with large kolams◊ decorating every inch of tar road. It was a sight to behold. Keshav however looked around nonchalantly.

The procession started with the hymns being recited by the panchakacham clad pandits. Everyone prostrated before them marking their respects. Following them were fleets of photographers weaving in and out of the crowd. The finally chains of people aligned themselves clinging on to the chains dragging the thear. Behind the scenes was always something that was missed. A rod will give a tug to push the Thaer, three men will climb upon one wheel and pressure them to propel the thaer forward. It was undeniably focused team effort. To conclude it all would be a yet group of pandits who recited the vedas.

Keshav stared at the whole scene, his face was expressionless. “Grandeur – but why? Did the God ask for all this? If he is prevalent in everything, this is all meaningless. There is no peace in doing these, they distract us from praying” His troubled mind was never put to a rest. These thoughts kept coming back to him throughout the procession.

***

As the night fell over the tired streets, grandfather’s mind was fixating on Keshav and his disturbed . He went over to engage him in a conversation. “Does Perumal need this grandeur? He has everything doesn’t he? Same case at Tirumala◊. Did the Lord ask for these?” Keshav spoke fast, unable to hold the questions with himself any longer.  Thata took a deep breathe, I’m happy that you are asking the right questions. Thoughtful indeed. Kesu, these do not concern the Lord the least is the fact.”

Keshav opened his mouth, his grandfather held up his hand to silence him and continued

“With that said, why do we have these elaborate ceremonies? These ceremonies help us tune the mind, in fact so much of sastram◊ is to tune the mind. Why do we need to tune the mind should be your next question. Mind gives yo u ultimate control over the self, a great man is one who mastered the mind. To get there we can choose from the nine forms of devotion, Do know them?”

“Oh yes Thata! Listening, chanting, singing, archana◊, prayer, then like deva dasis◊, thinking Lord to be a friend, serving his feet and finally self-surrender. I remember them, but how do these help?”

“Devotion compels you to involve yourself. The drums, the beats, the agarbathhis◊, the abhisheka◊, the alankara◊, the slokas◊, the ithiasas, the puranas are the varied triggers for the different minds. Once they involve themselves into devotion it helps to spread positivity. Stay with me, “he paused , “The arrangement today, Hymns were sung even before the procession would start, leading the crowd through and through. While they dragged the car, they were shouting Govinda◊ Govinda and finally, vedas◊ were recited by a another group of pandits. These calm the atmosphere, spreading the positive vibe. That vibe can be felt when you visit a temple, when you stand in the pooja room, that calming vibe is set afloat. It is harnessing that positivity. Positive affirmation, harnessing that cosmic energy, and to be there one must be satisfied. Their wounds should have healed and they must believe in a greater source of power to keep them grounded.

As for grandeur – Rest assured God never asked for this sort of celebrations, we human would have would have come up with it to break the monotony of life, thus taking care of battling the stress factor. Then to admire the work of artists, what more does the artist want than appreciation and respect. Carpenters, Kolam artists, Painters, Dancers, Musicians, Bhajan Goshtis◊, cooks, the list is endless. This makes people happy, accepted and respected in that society. Society becomes a well-rounded one, people with diverse occupations well rewarded.”

Singing Hymns – A form of Devotion

A Classic Iyyangar style kolam and the view of the forerunners of the procession

A Classic Iyyangar style kolam and the view of the forerunners of the procession

Among the wave of pandits

Intricate carvings on the ratha / Car

Idly it is a south indian breakfast prepared from soaked rice and later steamed

Sambhar is side dish for Idly and other breakfast items; it is tamrind dal gravy with vegetables

Filter Kaapi – Coffee brewed with water forced through grounded beans; favourite beverage of many in Tamilnadu

Mama – A respectable way of calling male, usually who is older than oneself in TamBrahm household

Mami – A respectable way of calling female, usually who is older than oneself in TamBrahm household

Srichoornam – The three lines appearing on the forehead of Shri Maha Vishnu devotees

Triplicane – A locality in Chennai which has the ancient Temple dedicated to Shri Maha Vishnu

Chittappa – Tamil way of addressing Father’s brother or Mother’s sister’s Husband

Thata – Tamil way of addressing one’s Grandfather

Panchakacham – Dothi wrapping style which is usually around 8 meters long

Dwarabalaka – guards who guard the doorway to God

Yali is a mythical animal with a body of a lion but with a trunk of elephant

Pandits are those who are knowledgeable

Nadaswaram is an wind instrument with a long tube like structure with a wide flat base opening

Mirudhangam is a percussion instrument

Kolams are decorations that is drawn in front of the house to decorate entrance. It is geometically complex and is drawn with rice powder

Tirumala – Famous temple at Tirupathi

Sastram – The ideal way of life stipulated by ancient people

Agarbathis – Incense stick

Abhisheka is process of bathing the idol at temple

Alankara means dressing up and in this case refers to dressing up of the deity at the temple

Sloka is prayer

Itihasas are stories as told by forefathers of Hindu religion

Puranas are ancient stories, refers to epics which is Ramayana and Mahabharatha

Govinda – Another name for Lord Maha Vishnu

Veda is the holy scriputures of Hindus

Bhajan Ghostis are those people who sign songs about the Lord

Thanks Lakshmi Ramanan for the wonderful story and pictures. All images and content are copy right protected.

The Vibes On The Beach – Chennai , Tamilnadu

The beach is not only known as a place to relax ,but as a place for the artists. Many of times you see artist portraying the beach with their paintings, photographs or by singing about its magnificence and its splendor. No matter how descriptive nor how detailed the picture is though it can never capture the beauty that the beach really holds. Below curated photographs represent the different moods of the chennai beach in different seasons . Thank you Participants for the wonderful response

Photo Credits : Saravanan Ekambaram

Photo Credits : saravanan krishnamoorthy

Photo Credits : Lakshmi Raman

Photo Credits : Bharath Kumar

Photo Credits : Ramesh Raja

Photo Credits : Mustansir M Lokhandwala

Photo Credits : Siva Prasad

Photo Credits : Deepak Sundar

Photo Credits : Prasanna Rangarajan

Photo Credits : Viknesh Vicky

Photo Credits : Siva Prasad

Photo Credits : Saravanan Ekambaram

Photo Credits : Augustin Samraj

The First Street Video Walk in Chennai | Parrys Corner , Chennai

Finally it happened. Weeks long planning, extensive ground work and result was amazing. We conducted our first Street video walk in Chennai under the guidance of Vasanth Saravanan, Director of Madras Photo Bloggers. Street videography is a very interesting genre.  We Stepped outside the boundaries of the four walls and our comfort areas, with our camera and mobile; smelled and experienced the dirt on the roads, noise, stares and madness of rush on the streets.  The streets on Parry’s corner offered wide opportunities for the amatuer Videographers to take video of streets, vendors, street food, merchandise and many other dimensions of the bazaar atmosphere there. The participant’s enthusiasm was quite high despite it was drizzling throughout the morning. We, Madras Photo bloggers thanks Kirbaa karan, Harish Manian and Charles Antony for the great support throughout the event. Well done Team! Image copyrights: Srivatsan Sankaran

We will be coming up with more  exciting events in a while and will share them . Stay tuned for more updates.

The streets of Chennai | 9-15 July 2017

As madras day is around the corner, people are curious to explore heritage sites, streets and culture to percieve the knowledge despite informations are available in websites sporadically. Madras Photo bloggers thrive to provide the platform for the artist to showcase their work  in the medium of images, words and videos. We, the team of Curators picked ten pictures from the facebook group pool which have depicted the “streets of Chennai”  The Streets of Chennai reflects  the candid moments, the aroma of the place and life style. We will be coming up with more interesting articles and events in a while. Stay tuned.

Picture Credits : Aron Anderson

Credits : Deepak Sundar

Credits : Lakshmi Raman

Photo Credits : Mustansir M Lokhandwala

Photo Credits : Muthu PSM

Picture Credits : Prabhakar Ramakrishnan.

Picture Credits : Ramesh Raja

Picture Credits : Sanath Kumar

Picture Credits : Saravanan Ekambaram

Picture Credits : Siva Prasad

Thank you participants for submitting the pictures and we will be coming up with more interesting articles from next week. Stay tuned.

MRF MMSC FMSCI Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship 2017 – Round 2- Day 2

Chennai, July 9: Riders from Honda Ten10 Racing team put in dominant performances as Rajiv Sethu and Mithun Kumar hogged the limelight even as another young gun Amarnath Menon of Gusto Racing achieved a grand double in the second round of the MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship which concluded at the MMRT track, Sriperumbudur, near here on Sunday.

While 18-year old Sethu, in scoring a double, led a 1-2 finish for Honda Ten10 Racing in the premier Super Sport Indian (up to 165cc) class with Mathana Kumar finishing second, the team, spearheaded by Mithun Kumar, swept all three podium spots in the Pro-Stock (up to 165cc) category.

Equally impressive was 21-year old Amarnath Menon from Kozhikode who extended his domination in the Super Sport Indian (300-400cc) class to repeat his performance of the first round at Coimbatore last month. Menon, thus, has won all four races in his class.

Peddu Sri Harsha (Sparks Racing) survived an incident-filled Stock (up to 165cc) race that boasted a grid of 39 riders and red-flagged after two laps following a series of crashes before re-starting to complete the scheduled five laps.

Much of the focus today was on the Super Sport Indian (up to 165cc) and the Pro-Stock (up to 165cc) classes which were run on a combined grid. Like in the first outing on Saturday, Sethu rode a well-judged race. Starting from pole, Sethu yielded ground to reigning champion Jagan Kumar (TVS Racing) who made a daring pass on the left-hander in the Bridge Complex only to crash out at Turn-4.

Jagan’s exit came a lap after his team-mate KY Ahamed who was shadowing Sethu had crashed. It gave Sethu a clean run up front and he opened up a gap. for a comfortable win ahead of team-mate Mathana Kumar while Prabhu Arunagiri (RACR) finished third.

“I had a tough fight with Jagan initially and after he passed me at the Bridge Complex, I decided to bide my time before trying to regain the lead. But he crashed soon after and I broke free to win,” said Sethu who through meditation has learnt to reign in his aggression and impatience.

Mithun Kumar more than compensated for a horrendous first race where he finished sixth after starting last on the grid due to an errant bike, by destroying the Pro-Stock field for his third win in four races. His team-mates Anish D Shetty and Aravind Balakrishnan, winner of the first race yesterday, came in second and third, respectively.

“I was very disappointed yesterday when my bike had some electrical issues. Today, I started from pole and managed to open up a big lead. In the latter half of the race, I decided to play safe and just cruised,” said 23-year old Mithun who had won both the races in the first round..

About Madras Motor Sports Club

The Madras Motor Sports Club has been the pioneer in developing and promoting motorsport in India since 1953, and we look to further improve in the years to come. It is the club’s endeavor to provide more opportunities for competitors and to this end, it has chalked out a progressive program for 2016. From the days of Sholavaram , MMSC built its own racetrack which was inaugurated in 1979 and secured its FIA Grade-2 international certification in 2015, making it the only club which owns such a facility. The club has organised the Porsche Super Cup, Formula Campos, Formula Asia, Asian touring car championships, Formula 3, Tata Prima Truck racing championship, the Asian 2-wheeler racing championships besides a host of other motorsport events over the years. The club also has active participation for its events from vehicle manufacturers who also use the Madras Motor Race Track (MMRT) extensively for testing their products.

Courtesy: AP Media Communications

Photo Credits: Srinivasa Krishnan

MRF MMSC FMSCI Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship 2017 – Round 2- Day 1

Chennai, July 8: Rajiv Sethu of Honda Ten10 Racing, showing maturity far beyond his 18 years, came up with a stunning ride to win the premium Super Sport Indian (up to 165cc) class race in the second round of the MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Morocycle Racing Championship at the MMRT track, near here on Saturday.

Aravind Balakrishnan, only 22, brought more cheer to Honda Ten10 Racing team by topping the Pro-Stock class that was run on a combined grid with the Super Sport Indian (165cc) while Kerala’s Amarnath Menon (Gusto Racing) scored a dominant win, his third in as many outings, in the 300-400cc category.

In the Girls (Stock, up to 165cc) caegory, Ryhana Bee, the 23-year old from Chennai studying shipping and logistics, pulled off a fine win over pole-sitter Aishwarya Pissay (Apex Racing Academy) with a late-braking manoeuvre at Turn-4 mid-way through the five-lap race.

Aishwarya, winner of the first-ever National championship race for girls in Coimbatore last month, eventually came in third behind Madhya Pradesh’s Kalyani Potedar (Team Speed Up Racing).

Sethu, starting from pole position, yielded ground to reigning National champion Jagan Kumar (TVS Racing) early in the six-lap race. However, in the third lap, Jagan dropped out of contention due to a technical problem with his bike and Sethu needed no second invitation to forge ahead. He gradually increased the lead to win from TVS Racing’s KY Ahamed and Prabhu Arunagiri (RACR) with about three seconds to spare.

“Early in the race, I had some problems with the bike and had no choice but to allow Jagan to pass me, but when he dropped out, I moved in front and did not look back. The team did an excellent job in giving me a winning bike,” said Sethu on notching his second in three outings.

Further down the field, another intense battle raged in the Pro-Stock class after pole-sitter Mithun Kumar (Honda Ten10 Racing) was shifted to the back of the combined grid for having missed the warm-up lap due to mechanical problems.

It left Aravind Balakrishnan and Aravind Ganesh (Team MotoRev) to fight for top honours. The duo kept trading leads before Balakrishnan got his nose in front to win with little to spare.

In sharp contrast, Menon, though starting second on the grid behind Deepak Ravikumar (Team MotoRev), was in a league of his own in the 300-400cc class race once he got into his stride that saw him move up from third to first and then extend his lead with each lap for another commanding win. Vivek Pillai (Rockers Racing) finished second while Ravikumar came in third.

About Madras Motor Sports Club

The Madras Motor Sports Club has been the pioneer in developing and promoting motorsport in India since 1953, and we look to further improve in the years to come. It is the club’s endeavor to provide more opportunities for competitors and to this end, it has chalked out a progressive program for 2016. From the days of Sholavaram , MMSC built its own racetrack which was inaugurated in 1979 and secured its FIA Grade-2 international certification in 2015, making it the only club which owns such a facility. The club has organised the Porsche Super Cup, Formula Campos, Formula Asia, Asian touring car championships, Formula 3, Tata Prima Truck racing championship, the Asian 2-wheeler racing championships besides a host of other motorsport events over the years. The club also has active participation for its events from vehicle manufacturers who also use the Madras Motor Race Track (MMRT) extensively for testing their products.

Courtesy: AP Media Communications
Photo Credits: Srinivasa Krishnan

Chennai Metro Rail Limited Underground Line – Inaugural day

After what seemed like forever, the wish and dream of the Chennai people was fulfilled. It happened on a fine morning of the 29th of june, 2015. The formula for the easy transportation of Chennai people was at last found; the metro was launched. It proved itself worthy of the delay in its launch.  The operation length of the Chennai metro is a distance of 54.1km extending from Nehru part to thirumangalam underground and it elevates to join the airport route from koyambedu.

There are so many specialties in this mode of transport including the tickets which give the only option of smart cards and no tokens. Its very attractive to see the underground doors open only when the train comes. The metro sure is a victim of the modern technology.  The importance this city gives to woman never goes down and this is signified in the specially marked coaches in pink color in every platform.

An article by Jayaroshini and Photographs by Smita Joshi.

Traveler’s Meet at Urban Desi House

On a regular day of Chennai on the 6th of May, the first traveler’s meet of Madras photo bloggers was held in association with Kolkata bloggers , Urban Desi house and with the support of Zeiss and Manfroto

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We held our breath and hoped high for this meet to be a success and today we heave a sigh and smile as our expectations were met in the best way possible.

The day’s highlight was its speakers.

Mr. Srinidhi Hande, an IT professional and blogger.

Mr. Anirban Saha, founder of kolkata bloggers.

Miss. Sai Priya, travel photographer and Mr.srivatsan sankaran, founder of Madras Photo bloggers and Beaumoments.

The day started with Mr. Srinidhi sharing his thoughts on economical travelling and also did he give tips on how one can always stick with passion and career at the same time.

The hall being filled with enthusiasts who want to pursue blogging and travelling sure did find this very interesting!

He advised on how to book tickets on low cost and how to always keep an eye on useful offers and also how to stay in the most economic places.

His session was followed by Mr. Anirban’s, the founder of Kolkata Bloggers . He sure did entertain the audience with his small jokes and kept the crowd alive throughout his session. He spoke on how one should explore all the different corners of India and come in contact with all the interesting celebrations of India which we aren’t aware of.

After this the stage was taken by Miss Sai Priya, better known as Castle mountains, she sure did give a rise in everyone’s heart race when she shared about her experiences as a travel photographer. She proved how big of a struggle is it for a woman to be a woman and walk out bravely. She is such an inspiration for women travellers And photographers

After this the last part of day was taken charge by Mr. srivatsan sankaran who gave useful tips on travel blogging and how to make and follow schedule. It was very interactive.
Everyone wanted to know the lenses he used after looking at his beautiful pictures.

The day was such a wrap.

Indeed it’s a blissful moment when things happen more than we expect it to. The workshop was beyond expectations.

We thank all those who were responsible for this workshop.

Huge thanks to Kolkata bloggers, Urban Desi house, zeiss and manfrotto for their support.

An article by Jaya Roshini and Photographs by Haris Manian.

The End of an ERA

We are Amazed, amused and startled by the way the entire city behaved today. The public, the politicians, and the cops. What a relentless job police and Media has been doing? Complete discipline and a peaceful send-off the most admired woman, late Tamilnadu CM Dr. J Jayalalithaa. Paid my last respects. An Era comes to end.

It is a saddening day for Chennaities who prayed for the last seventy four days. Honorable Chief Minister Dr. J Jayalalitha, the fond Chief Minister of the Tamilnadu who ruled the hearts of the lakhs of people is no more. There will and can never be one more like her. Love politics or not, love her or hate her, she, as an impeccable orator and a charismatic leader, has found a place in our hearts. Dear Madam, when I said as soon as I started photography that I want to take some pictures of you atleast once, this was definitely not something that I wanted to. But, being strongly inspired by her, like the rest of the people, I thought that this is the most fitting tribute I could give you. Thanks for being a woman that other women dream of! Thanks for giving a ray of hope.

An article and photographs by Smita Joshi (Focal Frames Photography),Author at Madras Photo Bloggers
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An article and photographs by Smita Joshi (Focal Frames Photography)

Story Mirror Third creativity workshop, Chennai

In the busy and fast moving roads of Nugambakkam lies the Apparao Gallery.
A place of serene calmness and mind blowing art works.The gallery in itself is very very special, but on this occasion , the 5th of October it seems to be brightly illuminated with talented writers who thrive to write their best sellers.

I,being a writer, was one of those talented lot. The workshop started with a 10 mins discussion on poetry writing, where writers were introduced to different kinds of poetry and how one can excel in them. Haikus,free style, sonnets a lot more types were buzzing in my kind by then end of the session.

This session was quickly followed by a small tour of the gallery. The art works over there still taunt me as I’m this person who can’t draw a straight line even when provided with scale and pencil.

This was followed by a very very interesting session on how to become a best seller by the autor of ” Songs of the Mist” ,Mr.Sashi. He started with Gangnam style and PPAP and ended with book marketing and spreading words about your book.It was a humour filled and obviously too much of information filled workshop.

After this session, was the highlight of the evening, the discussion round of the three celebrities present there. There was Mr.Keshav, The cartoonist from Hindu.There was Mr.Brinda Sarathy, famous script writer and director and There wasMr. Lingusamy ,famous director.
They discussed on the principles of life to success and how difficult was each of their artistic lives before they came to this position of life.
They proved to me that indeed it takes anyone’s hard work to become who they are.
Innovative questions were asked to the celebrities in the panel about their challenging lives.
With that ended the Story Mirror workshop-III.
It was a great learning workshop and it helped each and everyone who were present there the essentials of writing a novel.
It would be a disgrace to the team if I don’t talk about the delicious evening snacks which was provided.

Thanks for everything, Story Mirror Workshop.
Madras photo bloggers would love to join in your 4th journey as well.

With so much love,
Team Madras photo bloggers

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An article by Jayaroshini and Photographs by Srivatsan and Kirbaa Karan

Second Metro Rail Route Inauguration – Photo story

With all the hustle and bustle, the second metro line in the city was inaugurated on the morning of Wednesday by the honourbale chief minister J. Jayalalithaa. The route that connects Little Mount and Airport is 8.6 kilometres long encompassing Guindy, Alandur, Meenambakkam, Nanganallur Road and Chennai Airport. The first train was run by a lady loco pilot, similar to the inauguration of the first line.

This route will merge at the Alandur station in a different tier to the existing Koyambedu –Alandur route. Hence, people traveling from Koyambedu to Airport will have to change trains at Alandur, the process that is expected to be a hassle free one. With the fares ranging from Rs. 10 to Rs. 50, the spending would be much effective with more lines opening in the near future.

The inaugural day saw happy faces of the metro rail officials greeting the passengers who were doing a jolly ride on the first day and guiding them. All the stations were lit up and decorated and the brand new trains also vibrated festivity and positivity.

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An article and photographs by Smita Joshi.

Karthik Arvind Kumar

15 minutes Interview with Karthik Arvind Kumar, the young art Illustrator

Open your eye, widen your knowledge and calm your body to understand an art

And,  Open your mind, enhance your soul and brighten the spark to be an artist.  Only a great prodigy can understand the magical extract of art but it takes a legend to do art.

Professional and high class life schedules of an engineer or a doctor or a lawyer can never beat the adventurous and easy going life schedules of an artist.

The whole of madras photo bloggers team realize what great effort it takes to specialize in art and what more of effort it requires to be an artist by profession in a country where science and commerce are the two available streams.

It was such a privilege to meet, greet and have a small talk with one such inspiring  Chennai based artist, Karthik Arvind Kumar.

Who would describe his interview an eye opener when it was a heart opener?

1)From when have you been drawing? Is there any specific incident where you realized that you indeed draw well?

“Professionally, I have been drawing since December.  I draw from my 9th or 10th grade.

I was a good scoring student in my 10th. I badly wanted to go the USA to do my masters, and my family members put a simple rule to clear in all exams and go abroad with a scholarship. So, I really studied hard for the 4 years and got 9.00 gp in my exams overall. Atlast I went to the USA to later on realize I have no interest in science. My brother and his wife gifted me a micron pen and an art pad in which I started drawing. I took It to all places with me. I started my own profile in facebook and instagram and developed.”, says Karthik, the artist

2) What kind of drawing is your favorite?

“My favorite kind of art is doodling. Everyone has a different story and each one is talented in different kinds of art. My fav is doodling and I do well in portraits”, he says.

3)Being any kind of artist in India and being accepted by society and own family is a Himalayan task. Did your family support you when u decided to take illustration as a profession especially after being graduated as an automobile engineer?

“My parents always support me. It’s really difficult satisfying and impressing my brother. My mom’s the one who gives constant encouragement and professional advice regarding my job and my dad gives me non-artistic advice. But, when I told them that I’m going to take illustration as my profession,primarily, everyone lost their minds. My sister in law was the first one who told me to do whatever I wanted to do and she spoke to my family about it. So, whenever I wanted to start something new I always approached my sister in law who spoke to my brother who in turn spoke to my parents. My parents will be really satisfied if my brother speaks.

But my dad gave a clear warning that I will either be a total success or total failure. I was so sure and clear when I took up this as my profession.” , he says with a chuckle and a sigh.

4) Were there any regrets for art as profession or as passion?

“There are absolutely no regrets. Right from when I was a kid, I wanted to be a cartoonist. There was one moment in my life when I sat on the flight from Chicago to India, staring outside, when I thought whether I’ll ever have regrets. Because I clearly know once started there’s no turning back. But, I decided I’ll never be having any in the future also.”, he says. Sir, that’s enough of Goosebumps for a sleepless nights.

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5) How much of your life do you owe to drawing?

“I owe my entire life to drawing and to art”, he say’s quickly without a second thought.

6) I went through all your work which u have published in facebook. And I must say I loved the harry potter doodle. Did u go to any class or take any course to improve your skills or was it just mere interest?

“Quentin Tarantino, the director said that he never went to film schools but he went to films. Like that I truly believe one only needs pure passion and interest to achieve their aims. I didn’t require classes, I just kept drawing and drawing until I excelled in it.”, he tells which could inspire so many people who can’t afford to carry on their course for their career.

7) What would u like to tell all the artists out there?

“All I would like to say is that: find your passion and pursue it. I regret wasting my time doing my engineering course and wasting my parent’s money. Rather, I should have just joined in some arts college.Just do whatever u like from the beginning.”, he says and ends it in style.

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Cheers and best of luck to Karthik Arvind Kumar , from team Madras Photo Bloggers.

If you like to connect with Karthik in facebook , please click here

For more of his work , please Check out his facebook page 

Interview by Jaya Roshini and edited by Srivatsan Sankaran

Photos by Kirbaakaran

Photography

Vintage portraits of Madras people – World Photography Day

Why are we celebrating World Photography day?

In 1826, French scientist Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, took that photograph, titled View from the Window at Le Gras, at his family’s country home and it was authorized on 19th august 1839.

The term photography was derived from the Greek language in which Photo means the light and Krabi means the drawing. The word “Photography” is universally accepted and used throughout the world.

And with madras day just around the corner, we at madras photo bloggers present you some of the age old vintage portraits from ester years (1870 -1900) . these are shot by various people at various instances at different time frames, but it doesn’t fail to capture the true essence of madras. presenting “vintage portraits””

Women Pounding and Cleaning Rice - Madras (Chennai), Tamil Nadu, India - 1870 Vintage-Postcard-of-Indian-Gypsies---Madras-(Chennai) Vintage-Photograph-of-a-Baker---Madras-(Chennai) victim of famines_madras Two women with a curry stone and a raggy mill at Madras in Tamil Nadu - 1870 Two South Indian Woman and a Girl - Madras (Chennai) 1867 Toddy-Drawers---Madras-(Chennai) The-Dirzee-(Taylor)---Madras-(Chennai) tamil beauty Street-Children-of-Madras-(Chennai) Potters-at-Work---Madras-(Chennai) portraits-seated girl wearing jewellery-madras 1872 portraits1 portrait of a young South Indian woman from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections - Madras (Chennai) 1867 portersmadras Native-Man-with-a-Girl-Child---Madras-(Chennai) Milkman-and-Cow---Madras-(Chennai) madrasgirlwearingjewellery madras_ladies ladyportrait1 Kitchen-Damsels---Madras-(Chennai) How-the-Dhoby-Washes-Clothes---Madras-(Chennai) Group of Village Women with a Musical Instrument - 1890's - 1900's Group of Indian Natives in front of a Statue of Queen Empress - Madras (Chennai) c1880's Gentoo Dancing girls- Nicholas and curths 1870 domastic servents dancing girls carpentary workers

An article by Srivatsan Sankaran and Pavithraa Swaminathan .Edited and curated by Srivatsan Sankaran.