Tag Archives: PHOTOGRAPHY

Quick bites with Erik Lindner

Erik Lindner is a poet born in 1968 in The Hague, The Netherlands. He has published five books of poetry and the novel Naar Whitebridge (De Bezige Bij, 2013). His work has been translated into many languages and in France, Germany and Italy. He has read on numerous international festivals all over the world and was a poet in residence in Berlin (DAAD Artists-in- Berlin Program), Taipei, Montreal, Athens, Marseille and Paris.According to a critic the poems of Erik Lindner can intensify our patterns of perception and sharpen our senses for what is possible.

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

My first text were written in English and more than poems they were meant to be song verses, texts to sing. But I knew at the age of fifteen or so they weren’t any good, they were clichées. Than I wrote one line in Dutch: “De wereld is zojuist de trap afgelopen en sloeg zonder woorden de deur dicht.” This is maybe also not one of the best or very original lines, but it was different, it had a different sound, it was a little strange. What made me write it is that someone left and with that I knew things would change after.

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

What it means? I don’t know. I have never had high ambitious to become a poet, it is just the one thing I did that I always kept doing, the thing that was the most closest to me. Expressing in words somehow was more urgent than through images or melodies, although melody and rhythm is important in my work, also in the process of becoming a poem, in carrying it to a result. I can have all sort of feelings when I am working on a poem, from joy to sadness, the important is that putting down words again after a phase of contemplating or humming certain words together, is always a liberation. So to write makes me happy, yes. It has more than emotions or inspiration to do with a certain concentration that remains always rare. I cannot always be in that concentration, often have to wait until it is there.

3. 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?

No, poetry doesn’t speak to all kinds of people and indeed also not in all walks in life, if walks are meant to be different situations and circumstances. It could speak to more of them than they think, and also more often, but I have lost the evangelical approach that one would need to convince people poetry is good for them, if they don’t like it, let them do something else. But then again it is very necessary indeed to escape the literary circle, to survive as a poet, to learn from other people, to show it to other people than specialists. When I started in the 1980’s, I worked with musicians and we had poetry readings in youth clubs, alternative or squated theaters. That had quite a following, I could live from that in 1986 at the age of 18. These were audience that hardly read literature. But when my work grew and became less theatrical and more condensed and I was going towards my first official book in 1996, I depended on the inner circle of editors, publishers, specialists. Still, traveling is important, meeting new people, seeing how different poetry is in every culture in the world. And another example, I work with a very good art photographer Stephan Keppel and at openings of his exhibitions he asks me to read some poems. And his audience is not used to poetry readings, they take my words as images without frames around the picture. I like that escape of the inner circle very much.

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

I used to write in the late evening or early evening, but that robs one from having a social life. April 2000 I wrote my first poem waking up in the morning with a cup of coffee next to me. I remember quite well the sensation of concentration it gave. Of course, one must be good awake and not sleepy. What makes me write a poem can be many occasion, just as a poem can be theoretically about everything. But not every line can be in a poem, they must be the right lines on that specific moment. I am building up to it every time, making notes, walking around, trying to see carefully the details. And very prosaic: a deadline helps.

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

I haven’t study it, I must say. It will interest me when a good poem comes out of it. I am not against using new media, that is only good. I have also collaborated on two video poems*. But a lot of these waves are temporary, somehow everyone always gets back to paper, even if other medium are at times more practical to carry.

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

Basically everywhere. I like to go back to places I have been before, create a deeper bound with them. I need to travel more in Asia, Africa and America. But than again, even with how much I was lucky to travel with poetry since 1988, I still need more decent English translations. I have books published in German, Italian and French and that felt as an enrichment coming from a small country.  But a future poetry book in English will take my work a bit easier to readers than before.

Thanks Prakriti foundation for organising wonderful events.

Thanks Kirbaa Karan and charles for the pictures.

All images are copy right protected to Madras Photo bloggers and Prakriti foundations.

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.

The Pen’s Allurement – Poorna Swami

The crowd gathered was already traveling in a world of magical dream and Once Poorna Swami began her recital, the transformation of thoughts unveiled the senses. Clad in a white Saree, peaceful as a dove with a charismatic smile Ms Poorna had the ability to indulge every listener and guide them deep into the jungles of solitude.

Born in Bangalore Ms Poorna started writing poems from the age of six. During her childhood days poems were a collection of words that came to her mind framed to stanzas. Being a quite child, she developed a love towards the language by reading a lot of books and this paved the way to be a poet and express her interest in the language. Graduating from Mount Holyoke College she did a research study on African Studies Review focussing on Transnational Literature.

In her recent series of five Poems, “Poems in Saffron Ink” Ms Poorna condemned the current political situation in India and gave life to slain victims through her words. “The hymn of sword and gunfire” – Scintillating and yet a verse with melancholy, Ms Poorna combines the cold and calm entities to emote the characters of her poem.

“One doesn’t have to be a professional in literature to write poems”. she says, crediting to various malayalam poetry in social media which are being written by everyone with the knowledge in language and no exposure in the advanced literary world. Ms Poorna’s poems have a strong story behind and there is a lot of research behind every composition. Most of her works have a political touch voicing out the struggles and anguish of a common man. General Elections India. 2014, Prayer for Dadri 2015 and Assimilation are few of her poems that had the spark to revolutionize. Among her works she refers to Etymology as her favourite. A love poem written without punctuations it relieved her from the heart when written, says Poorna. Being an avid reader right from childhood Ms Poorna’s all-time favourite is Jack Gilbert’s “The Forgotten Dialect of the Heart”.

Apart from Poetry, Ms Poorna has also been dancing from the age of six. Also Graduated in Dance from Mount Holyoke College, she feels that dance helps to express what poetry cannot. Over the last few years she has been dancing for her own poetry and also performing for theatre events across the world.

Thanks Pakriti foundation for organizing such beautiful event in Chennai

Thanks Sai Karthik for the wonderful article.  All images are taken Kirbaa Karan and Haris Manian.

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

Of style and sensuousness: A Ten Minutes Interview with Navkirat Sodhi

A picture of punk rock elegance, she takes her seat amongst the poets with an unassuming nature and a simple smile on her face. But once she picks up her poetry and breathes life into them, both Navkirat Sodhi and her words thrill you with their secretive allure and surprising depth. Having published two collections of poetry, Ms. Sodhi brings her sarcastic wit and seductive allusions all the way from Delhi.

Having studied English literature and journalism, she was well on her way to becoming a broadcast journalist and even worked with BBC; but a gnawing feeling prompted her to quit her job and take up writing. A sabbatical of a few months created a deep hollow in herself which could only be filled with words that she had refrained from writing all those years. It was not a conscious choice to become a writer or write poetry she says but rather a natural result of the ebb of words within her. Before her move to Delhi, she scribbled the words in her head, and poetry was born.

“Every moment up till then built up to it. Every moment lived, everything experienced”. She was very conscious of not mass producing poetry, grand in quantity but insipid in quality and chose instead to streamline those stark lines that sting and sear as she recites them. Her work is not free from influence but it is free from imitation. She steps away from the people that inspire her and writes in a way that’s unique to her relationship with the language. Dostoevsky and Murakami impact her work but it is only in a subtle and psychological way.

Most of her poetry takes a very short form with most poems only a few lines long. Much like herself, her work does not speak profusely but it does so effectively. “Love was my full time job” she says and she is proud of how much she knows about the subject. Be it a romantic emotion or love towards a particular thing, it is easy to see how through the verses that she often slices short, the emotion lingers on, much like love itself. In her short poem, “Act III”, she talks about the lukewarm decline of a relationship and does so powerfully in less than 30 words. Invoking love, memory and the unlearning of emotion, the poem serves as a modern ode to descending love.

Apart from poetry, Ms. Sodhi also dabbles in art. A self-taught painter, she has been painting for a year and a half and hopes to present her paintings next year. Most of her artwork ties into her poetry and represents the abstract through figures instead of words. Fashion is also a huge part of her personality. She talks of how unlike most poets that walk around with the air of “the artist on the fringe” with their khadi clothes and “jhola pai”, she is very conscious of what she wears and how she presents herself. Thanks to her best friend Gaurav, a leading designer in the country, fashion and design have become an important part of her life. Navkirat Sodhi is not merely the words she bleeds on to the page but also the impression she creates as she walks into the room and it is quite clear, that both will linger on.

Thanks Prakriti Foundation for organizing such wonderful poetry festival in Chennai  .

Thanks Sandhya Kannan and Haris Manian for an amazing article.  All pictures are taken by our team member Hasan Mohammed

All images are copy right protected to Prakriti foundation and Madras Photo bloggers

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

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

Mahalaya Amavasya 2016 in Chennai, India

This year Mahalaya Amavasya falls on sept 30th 2016 and considered as the beginning of dussehra. It is marked as special day dedicated to making an offering to express our gratitude to all previous generations of people who have contributed to our life and it will be celebrated in several parts of India. Some consider it as the most important day for performing obsequies and rites.On this day people donate food, clothes etc to the needy.

In Chennai, It indicates the first day of Navathri which is dedicated to the worship of the deity Durga. On that auspicious day, people perform their rituals near the shore of beach, temple and home. I have documented a series of Mahalayam rituals happened in Chennai. Please check the images below.

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An article and photographs by Srivatsan Sankaran

Indian Youth Conclave Second Edition – Chennai, India

The second edition of the Youth convention popularly known as the IYC, organized by The Climber, on the 25th of September at Chinmaya Heritage Center, Chetpet. The theme of the event was being curated around the concept of “inspiration live and up-front”. The event featured some of the fine speakers and workshops from the conventional and un-conventional fields from music and dance to entrepreneurship and technology.
Coming to the organizers, The Climber is an IIM Bangalore incubated startup and was awarded the best early stage startup by Bzz Wings 2015. The Climber has also been recognized as one of the 10 best startups by TATA First Dot NEN. We have our chapters in 13 cities all over the country.They are a youth driven organization that focuses on helping students discover and pursue their passion. We connect young minds with wacky ideas, to encouraging mentors who help channelize them in the right direction.
The idea was for the youth to get inspired by the journey of people who are successful by following their passion.
The event kicked off with some enlightening speeches from Parvathi Nayar, Vikas Chawla and Sahithya Jagganathan. Their emphasis was solely on inspiring budding entrepreneurs to break outside their comfort zone and pursue their passion with girth and determination.

This was shortly followed by a stand up comedy act by Stray Factory.We were entertainments with some music and dance performances by youngsters.

Apart from this, the backstage events were happening simultaneously. Jam sessions, art and photography exhibitions and micro fiction counters were put up. The eye catcher was however the captain’s corner where the participants could interact with the mentors.
This was complemented by some eye-catching graffiti featured on the walls and photographs.

On the whole, the event was thoroughly educational with a lot of takeaways. It is indeed inspiring to see young professionals conduct events on a grand scale.

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An article by Pavithraa Swaminathan and Photographs by Srivatsan Sankaran. A special thanks to Anirban Saha, Founder Kolkata bloggers for inviting us .

Safest Metros

CHENNAI RANKS SECOND, IN THE LIST OF THE SAFEST METROS IN INDIA

Chennai ranks as the 113th safest place in the world, in a global survey, which was conducted recently, among other international cities in the world. And currently, it is considered to have one the safest metros rails in India ranking as number 2 as against Mumbai which ranks first in this order. This in turn brings to light the various facets of the metro rail which makes it safe compared to the others in the country.

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From a generic view, Chennai is emerging to be one of the cities of choice because of its relatively lower crime rate, less pollution and better education standards. Now with the Metro Rail in tow, the city has climbed one step further in providing quality life to its people.

The first phase of the multi-crore Metro Rail was flagged off by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and was opened to the public on Monday, 29th June 2015. And the eye catcher here is that, it was steered by a young woman, a 28-year-old diploma holder in engineering from Government Dharmambal Polytechnic College in Chennai. Now this became instant news since she was one of the first women to man a metro rail in Chennai. This speaks with great regards to the open mindset of the people of Chennai.

“Chennai has the right mix of conservative and modern mindset, making it one of the safest metros. Also they are more civic minded when compared with other metro cities in the country” says Kishor, a citizen of Chennai who has resided in other metros in the country.

Looking at it on a deeper level, one can easily note that none of the metros in Chennai are crowded. This stands as a glaring difference when compared to the flooded suburbs of Kolkata and Mumbai. Many cite the cost of the travel as a significant factor for this, since on a comparative level, the fares are at the higher end. And compared with other means of public transport, Metro Rail fares are mighty costlier. This makes it safe for traveling especially when one is looking for the comfort of ride etc.

Also when one chances a look into the control room panels of the metro rails, you shall note that they work day and night in shifts without missing a beat. And the trains stand out with strict adherence to timings making sure that the passengers are not made to wait unduly hours in order to board their trains.

And just like an airport terminal, the entire place is covered in cctv surveillance cameras which are manned by security personnel 24*7 throughout the weeks.

So far, the metro rail project has materialized in certain parts of the city alone but the response is really good. Barring higher costs, this accounts for a safe travel to the destination without any constraints.

As Meera, a regular commuter in the Chennai metro says “A hassle free secure ride, a girl could possibly ask for! We could board easily and the compartments were spacey and comfortable due to lesser crowds.  And with additional security, this deserves to be given the tag of a safe metro”.

Photo Courtesy – Focal Frames Photography

Medical

Why Chennai is called the “Medical Hub Of India” ?

Adyar la enga thambi?”, “Cancer institute pakathula na”.

“Madras medical college la kadaicha my life will be awesome”.

“Inga illana kandipa Sugam pharmacy la irrukum”.

“Kannuku mai mattum azhagu illa Shankar nethralaya um azhagu dhaan”

All these are few things every Chennai person could easily hear on a regular basis. All of us know Madras is the cultural cub of South India but how many of us know that Chennai is the medical hub of India?

 

Medicine has always been an important part of Chennai. Starting right from the British times, Chennai has been a magnet for medical tourism. This progress didn’t happen overnight. It dates back to the days Chennai was called Madras.

Let’s get into some facts:

  • First Indian artificial insemination was done in Chennai by Dr.Kamala Selvaraj.
  • First laser surgery, open heart surgery in India was carried in Chennai.
  • Chennai has been termed India’s health capital bringing in about 150 international patients every day.
  • The medical lineage of the city began with the first hospital of India set up at Fort St.George on 16thNovember 1664 by Sir Edward Winter to treat sick soldiers of The East Indian company. The hospital grew in all fields and now stands before us as Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital.

Apart from this, Chennai has a strong base of health care non-profit organizations and NGO’s. One such example is the Indian Heart Association, focused on cardiovascular health prevention.

Institutes like have been Adyar Cancer institute,Apollo groups,CMC Vellore,Sankara Nethralaya have pioneered in their respective fields and have paved way for new medical treatments.

In March 2012, the Government General hospital performed its 1,000th kidney transplant, the highest in any government hospitals in the country.

With low treatment costs to hygiene facilities and hassle free waiting period, the city has been taking care of every single soul with utmost warmth.

Chennai, the hub of life saving.

Written by,

A proud Madrasi.