The long waiting for the marriage of my friend Atul Sadhu ended today at Jaiprakash nagar hall when Atul put garland (var mala) around the neck of the groom, Aditi Andhare. This was the top Indian marriage of 2009. There were whistles and screams, the moment Atul put the garland with his shaking hands controlled by his unstable mind. Atul Sadhu appeared to be tensed than Aditi Andhare; sorry I should now call her Aditi Sadhu after this marriage.
(Atul Sadhu weds Aditi Andhare)
The train journey was a time pass and was spent happily watching movies on my laptop. There were a group of passengers who gathered around to watch the movies and forget their boring sessions on train missing their families. It was middle of a last movie when Nagpur station came and I had to shut down my laptop. I could see a lot of sad faces behind me who wanted to spend their time on movies. My parents were at the station.
(Jaiprakash nagar hall)
I reached home and took my bike to leave for Atul’s marriage. I called Mayank to ask the route for the auditorium where the marriage was to commence who further gave the phone to Siddharth, a simple smart boy who assisted me to reach the hall. I remember Siddharth was being called as mummy ka boy by the classmates as he was depended on his mother a lot. I think he will get married soon and will become wife ka boy. :)
I reached and called Siddharth to confirm my presence at the hall. Mayank rushed at the entry to welcome me. It was not a welcome given to a VIP but a welcome given to a friend whom he met after 7 months. We went inside and saw Atul with Aditi and a group of ladies (young and old women) laughing and discussing on something unheard. He saw me and smiled without any astonishment that I was expecting from his face, may be he was tensed speaking with the ladies. I looked a round and found all colorful unknown faces. From the crowd Mayank was the only person I knew. I never like to go for weddings that have all strangers surrounding me without any known faces.
From the very start a lady, sorry a girl was in my view wearing green sari and yellow blouse. She I suppose was 23 or 24, 5 feet 5 inch in height, fair complexion, and with a sweet but confusing smile that caught my attention several times. I heard my inner instinct saying, “Abhilash beware! She is a marathi girl and Bala thakrey wont let you fly with her”. That very thought let me stop staring at her and watching in opposite direction. I don’t know why but whenever I want to get away from someone, the same thing approaches me again. Wherever I turned I could see her smiling and confusing my thoughts. amme! I hope this is not going to be start of a next leave, NEVER.
(Atul Sadhu in the room)
I was feeling lonely that made my spirits loose the activeness and strength I possess. I had my dinner with Mayank and his friends. The dinner had chappaties, rice, curry and some sweets. It was a nice dinner. Later all guest troops left and Atul was back to the room where we started discussing about school and college days. Most discussions were above my head as I was away from Atul for 6 years and never knew what happened in his life. I could only laugh at some of their jokes that never appeared to me as the laughing items. Soon I felt sleepy and slept covering me with the blanket Atul gave me and Mayank sleeping besides me.
Day two started with the sound from Atul’s mother who was calling Atul to get ready for the wedding and haldi pooja. Atul rushed into the bathroom after insistence from his father and was further dressed by his friends with Kurta paijama. Mayank tied his paijama and he was one of the leading members assisting his mainly for the marriage.
We went to see Atuls haldi pooja which was held in the room where the ladies were staying. I saw Atul sitting on the groung folding his legs and his mother applying haldi(turmeric) mixture on his legs and face. I do not know why they did it but I know it is part of their tradition. Atuls mother welcomed us and allowed me to take a couple of his snaps without any knowledge that they are going to be LIVE tonight.
(Atul sadhu's mother applying haldi)
You can see Atul tensed and worried even during the haldi pooja.
(Atul is now a haldi boy... oh sorry! a healthy boy :) )
Then we had the breakfast with vada, rava ladoos, chivda and mixtures. Mayank had more food than me and he said not to speak about the food as he is afraid of loose motions that appear further to peoples advises on food intake. We discussed some of the old school and college stories and our mischiefs. We were missing Hanish who is in America to complete his studies. We went in to the room after the breakfast where Atul was getting ready for the marriage.
(Atul sadhu dressing for marriage)
A group of friends and relatives surrounded him to make him ready for the marriage. They made him dress with his new shirt, pant and blazers. He tried several variations of shirt-ins and then finally was happy with one combination. I took the privilege to make him wear the suit that is considered the main part of dressing for north Indian weddings.
(Adjusting suit for wedding)
Atul was then made to wear a thread with hangings on three ends.
(Atul wearing the rope crown)
After tying the threads a hat was placed on his head. This hat was made of fur and covered his head clean.
(A fur hat for marriage ceremony)
I wore a red shirt and black pant without blazers to be a extinct organism in a group. Mayank forced me to wear his white colored coat for the marriage that covered my waist tight. Prabhat arraived in 15 minutes and had his breakfast from the hall. Prabhat was with me in diploma and went to another college in engineering. He is a very kind hear ted and great personality. Mayank likes him a lot and Atul admires him the same way.
(Prabhat Gupta in crazy cool looks)
I went outside and then conversed with Prabhat and asked his whereabouts. There were a couple of other guys who also posed for a photograph.
(Prabhat and other friends in wedding)
We went to the entrance of the Auditorium where Atul’s car was ready to take him towards the temple. The marriage yatra called in my words started with some drum beats and trumpeting.
All rushed towards the crowd and started dancing like jumping-jacks. I was feeling a bit shy to dance in the crowd and that too with this bulky suit. I managed to get in and move my hands pointing upwards and then down again.
I turned around and saw Atul inside the car. After a second turn I could see “kangdi” jumping in the mob like the spider man, sorry spider woman. I know you don’t know about kangdi. She is Atul’s friend who was with him in engineering. Her name is Manjiri and people kept her name as kangdi due to her thin figure. She can no longer be called a kangdi as she is healthier than me in appearance. She astonished me with her blashting performance. I hope this was better than Hrithik roshans dance in the film Koi Mil Gaya.
Mayank pulled Prabhat into the dance group and they started the never called salsa. This dance was the creation of the Hydrabadi boys who were making it their unique creation. I moved to a side by shade and shot several pictures. I focused my camera on the yester night’s girl and shot her picture too. May be I can keep this for future reference.
The group moved around the temple with ladies dancing on one side and my boy’s dancing on the other. I called them my boys as some of them were familiar to me by now. I don’t feel them close enough for a friendly talk but yes privileged for my smile.
Atul came out of the car and went towards the girls group which had his relatives dancing. He joined them and started dancing like a wet hen. I saw such dance during a competition which had two cocks jumping and hitting each other with their beaks and claws. Atul Sadhu was wearing a white hat with fur on its top and three threads surrounding it.
The crew then moved into the hall and Atul went towards the stage where his marriage was to commence. We were given packets with colored rice to throw on Atul Sadhu and Aditi Andhare when the lady standing besides stops singing.
(Atul moving towards hall)
A priest then said something that I can never translate for you. Might be he said “parda taka aani chup basa” (please put the curtain and keep quiet). A curtain was then laid in between Atul Sadhu and Aditi Andhare and some songs were further sung by the ladies. As soon as the song ended, we aimed Atul’s head and threw the colored rice on him.
Aditi was standing on one side with her head faced on the ground. I fear she lost her handkerchief on the floor or she was pretending to be shy, I never know. She was looking beautiful and a real match to the handsome boy, Atul. Atul was still tensed on the other end of the curtain with his face searching for Aditi like google search engine.
After some songs and rituals the curtain was removed and both of them could see their face. The next task for Aditi was to put the garland on Atul’s neck which he used to pull up to prevent her from doing so. After several turns she finally succeeded in accomplishing the mission and placed the garland on him.
Then both of them sat on their seats located on the stage and the relatives and friends started giving their gifts. We were waiting in a group to find our turn and meet him. I was to leave tomorrow to Cochin so I was planning to leave early from the marriage. Mayank and Prabhat further decided to wait until the marriage ends and then they can leave back to Hyderabad.
I saw Atul and notified him about my intention of leaving early. He insisted me to stay but I had no choice. I was also damn bored with no one speaking around. I don’t know how I could resist this situation for one night and one day. This was only for my favorite friend Atul. I can never say No to him as I know he considers me a friend from his whole heart and anything for a friend like him.
So keep waiting for such marriages. I hope next in the queue will be Prabhat, Hanish and mayank. Don’t ask me questions about my marriage as I do not have any plans for it until 4-5 years.
I am inside Kerala express typing this post. There are children running, shouting and screming around me. A family from hyderabad is opposite to my compartment and they have a lot of small children with them. The children are roaming in my bogie and it feels a time pass to see them.
The train was to arrive at 3.30 PM and I rushed to the room, packed my luggage and told the driver to drop me at the station. I had three black bags and a cartoon with some coconut, chips and some snacks. My parents want me to take coconuts there as they say the coconuts you get better in Kerala as compared to North India and the cost is also less. For me it is a heavy weight that I would like to avoid for any reason. I reached the station and started waiting for the train. I took one of the seats in the station and there comes a voice from the loud speaker above my head “We regret that the train 2625 kerala express is late by 45 minutes and is expected to arrive by 4.30 PM”. I was for sure, not happy to hear it. I passed my time at the station watching children play and people busy walking and others adjusting themselves in the platform.
Sorry I forget to tell you that I am going to Nagpur for the marriage of My friend Atul Sadhu. I received a call from Atul 7 months ago inviting me for his marriage that is to be held on November end. This call was followed by an e-mail with a formal invitation written, “ATUL SADHU WEDS ADITI ANDHARE”. I discussed about his marriage and the love stories in my earlier post. Atul was with me from 5th class until engineering and is a very helpful and kind person.
The train arrived at 4.40 PM and I read the board that says Trivandrum-New Delhi Kerala Express. I rushed towards B2 coach and started searching for seat number 36. I took the ticket from Kayamkulam but I boarded at Ernakulam so there are chances for the ticket to be replaced in my absence. I placed my luggage and started searching for the Train Ticket Collector to confirm my presence. He noted my number and advised me to inform Railways from the next time to avoid problems.
I got a company with a fellow passenger, an uncle who will also leave the train in Nagpur. We started chatting , discussing life and kerala. He is working in Bhilai steel plant in Madhya Pradesh and his wife is in Kerala. He has two sons one of them is in Mysore and the other in UK. The one in Uk recently got married in Kerala and left for UK. I also shared some of my thoughts with him regarding the differences of people in Kerala and North India. It was a nice chat and then I plugged my laptop after having my food which I bought from the Palakkad Junction. The next stop is in Coimbatore Junction and I think I am going to see a movie then.
This time the Power outlet is working in the train. This was not the case the last time when I had to find the mechanic and wait for them to repair the outlet. I will not be able to read all of your blogs and respond as the internet connection is restricted to some locations and the dial up connection is low too. Reliance has to also provide continuous connectivity within moving trains for users like me to surf the net.
It was my first day in the diploma course that I joined with a genuine reason I had for my parents, “My friends are going to study computer science and diploma is a chance to get admissions in direct second year engineering”. It was not because I was an engineering enthusiast but only due to my love for my friends and my intention to be with them. I was never a studious book worm but an average student who never kept any papers pending for the next semester.
I was always a class level artist and got several small state level prizes in drawing competitions during my school-days. I used to draw pictures of my teachers, dogs, cats and everything around me. Whenever I used to study about the working of a microprocessor to an operating systems working; all I used were drawings that could make me remember the way I have to write them.
I entered the first year and started involving more into studies as my vehicle partner was a studious guy. I always used to sit in the back benches and as always draw caricature of my teachers and show it to the friends after the class was over. We all used to laugh and make fun.
One day while walking towards the library I saw a figure, tall and attractive that took away my heart in the first glance. I turned once, then again and again. I could never restrict my eyes to revolve around her and she used to pass a light smile in return. It was like printed in my heart and my artistic mind shifted towards drawing her, as a masterpiece. I filled a number of engineering drawing sheets with her photographs portraying her hairs, her face, and her overall posture. It was not hard for my friends to understand that something is wrong with me. I was running on a wrong track which I never did in my life before but then it was a young age and I was immature.
My parents were never happy about my hobby for drawing always and no serious studies. Soon a resolution was passed in the house approved by my father to stop me drawing until I complete my engineering. That made an end to my artistic career.
So, that was my first story and last story of first love in life and that too as an artist. There were several girls that entered in my life after this incident but I was never attracted towards them. All I could still remember are the memories of her smile and my drawings. You all might wonder why I discussed this incident today. This is because I saw vaaranam aayiram today and that reminded me about the old college life. This is something I can never forget.
Today I am too far from drawings and caricature, and girls too. I do not find time for anything mentioned above after my work hours or to be frank I am not interested to spend more time on such activities but yes I have a lot of memories that I can dig and make myself satisfied.
This weekend I decided to go home and joined Jk and Biga on Ernakulam-Kollam passenger that reached Kayamkulam Junction at 6.30 PM. I called my uncle and he said me to wait at Kattanam junction so he can accompany me home. We reached home and I enjoyed there with the boys (Children of my aunt and uncle). The dinner was made grand through vegetable biriyani which was a group effort of the family members. Today I had to go to my grandmother’s home and the only bus from this place was at 11.30 AM.
My uncle’s house is situated in a village called as Payyanalloor in Kerala where there is less transportation available. I reached the bus stand with Nandu (the elder son of my aunt and uncle) and began waiting for the bus. Nandu was on bicycle as he had to go back tomorrow for his daily-schools. I waited until 12, noon and understood that the bus which was scheduled to arrive at 11.30 is not coming today.
I asked Nandu to bring a bottle of water; umbrella and we decided to walk. It was hot and humid outside and my laptop made my shoulders pain. I gave the laptop bag to Nandu and told him to place it at the carrier on the back of his bicycle. We started walking enjoying the sceneries on the road.
Walking in a village is fun but at the same time a tedious job because there are too many hills ad slopes and the ways are zigzag. We reached the junction and Nandu asked me the route we should choose. There is a route that makes the journey easy but it requires walking on a mountain generated road. We decided to go a easy path and started walking upwards. We reached the top and by then we were wet in sweat.
We drank some water from the bottle and continued the journey further. I could see ponds, cow, goats and birds around in the background. We stopped and took several snaps and continued the journey further. Nandu started dictating me different jokes and stories about his neighborhood club of which he is a member. This made the journey more interesting. I do not like to travel if it is just boring looking around the birds and talking their language.
We reached a slope which had a path leading us to a shortcut to grandmothers home. This route went through a farm with rubber trees. There were footprints that were created through constant human-marches. We walked through the rubber farm and it was dense inside. I tried to put my eyes up on the top and could see only some light piercing the leaves of the trees that surrounded the sky making a natural roof.
The route ended on another footpath that was the way to grandmothers home. We walked along it and finally made it to grandparents. We had our lunch with fish curry, fish fry, rice, pappadam, moorucurry, vazha koombu thoran, chcka thoran and merukuvarutty. The lunch was superb and the after-hours were spent watching movies followed by snacks.
I have a train tomorrow at 7 AM and will have to wake up at 4 AM. Buses are limited during early mornings and time is an essential criterion you should meet. I packed all the baked items my grandmother has for me. The days ahead will be spent with my friends in Ernakulam.
I am riding my bike through the streets of Tripunithura with a helmet on my head. I took a U-turn from statue junction moving ahead, towards the poornathrayeesa temple. I can see people inside their shops that are ready for the ulsavam in the temple. There are police men on both sides of the streets vigilant to act in case of protest. I shifted the bike to first gear and started exerting a push- pull pressure on the clutch to give me pickup and drop for a zig zag turn, sliding the bike through the mob watching the utsavam. I managed to park the vehicle in front of a shop and started walking towards the temple with Jk.
Tripunithura is decorated like a newly wedded wife with jewellery replaced by flowers and decorative lights. Children are eating mulaku bhajiya(chilly bhajiya) and buying toys from the shops on both side of the street that end at the temple entrance of poornathrayeesan sree Vishnu. For Poornathrayeesa utsavam 2009, girls are busy watching boys and boys are busy watching the mob : ) ha ha… no comments. I am not looking for either of them but a shop that sells sugarcane juice. I remember the location of the shop in 2008 and to my surprise I located it at the same position in 2009 .
Jk and I had the sugarcane juice and bought a red colored chocolate made by local sellers. I asked Jk to test some eatables but he resisted due to his malfunctioning stomach which suffered the problems during Mumbai visit. He said that we can taste it tomorrow with a hope of getting his stomach to normal.
I can also hear sweet melodious sounds coming from a shop nearby that is selling audio DVD’s. I looked upwards and I can see the temple decorated with lights making its structure glow in the night. Poornathrayeesa temple is a popular temple in Ernakulam based in the hearts of Tripunithura, the land of royal blood. Poornathrayeesa ulsavam is a eight day celebration and with the visitors increasing day-by-day.
The ulsavam begins with a kodiettu followed by pancharimelam, cacheris, kathakali, Chakyarkoothu, Ottanthullal, musical concerts and bharatanatyam dance. Great artists from around kerala gather at the temple to demonstrate their skills before lord poornathrayeesa . Lord poornathrayeesa is believed to be residing the temple as child Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. His presence reflects positive energy and growth to the residents of Tripunithura. Previous year I met Jayasurya, a Malayalam actor who came to view the utsavam. Ernakulam is not scarce of celebrities and they are often visible here.
I did not go inside the temple as I was not fresh after a journey from MG road to Tripunithura. We have decided to go and visit the temple tomorrow morning. I do not plan to wear a mundu or a dhoti but I am happy that I got rid of a bulky tummy which was there a year ago. I had to hide it with the shirt half covered over my chest and make my stomach shift inside to avoid the laughs from girls. I am now pleased and willing to run a body show LIVE in the temple. Kidding…
I also would like to invite you all to the marriage of my friend Ananthakrishnan that will be held tomorrow in mavellikkara. We will leave Ernakulam at 8 in the morning. The marriage is at 11 am and we expect Dileep to land us at the place before the marriage begins. I think tomorrow is going to be a busy day for me as I will have to spend more time in office, working on the tasks I wont be able to attend in the morning.
I will keep you updated about the rituals in the ulsavam and temple. Also I hope to visit the temple and view the dance and elephants LIVE. Celebrations start from 4 in the afternoon and continue until the morning. Utsavams in kerala are the energy exhibitors for the citizens worried with their daily activities.
Friends and parties, they were the things to do this week and I could not write or read the blogs. I really miss the posts from the bloggers that I read daily. Biga and I were alone in the house this week due to Jk’s meeting in Mumbai. We decided to watch movies, eat food and enjoy. I was reading the newspaper; sorry I would like to correct my sentence, I was watching pictures in the newspaper when my attention went on an advertisement from Thailand food festival (Reading is a hard job for me and I don’t do it unless it is interesting). I discussed it with Biga and we decided to try a dinner at Thailand food festival in Hotel Renaissance Cochin.
A question asked by my fellow colleague was why I was going to eat Thai food. I think a person should try everything in his life (here I am not supporting the fellow drinkers who give me this reason. I would say try everything that is not harmful to your body). My theory says to eat different recipes each time and ensure whether you need to have it again in future.
We reached the hotel and the first question asked to the waiter was about the toilet. We washed our hands, face and went inside the restaurant. There was a long menu of Thai foods. We ordered Tom Yum Soup, Seafood cartho, Yong chong rice and Wok Tossed roasted pork. We started with the starter-soup and chips. It took 60 minutes for the items to be arranged on our table. We had the food and Biga went to wash his hands. I ordered to bring the bill. The waiter placed the slip and I was not at all astonished to see the amount. At last the food was good and the hotel properly maintained.
I decided to wash my hands on the arrival of Biga. I went straight to the toilet and opened the door. I could see a mirror in the front. I admired myself and walked in a heroic style towards it. I saw a door opening nearby and as always I turned to see the business man coming out from it; may be someone I know. Hotel renaissance is a posh hotel with businessmen and bureaucrats visiting it daily. I placed my eyes on the figure coming out from the toilet and returned it in a second with at most astonishment. The figure was a lady dressed in red salvar kameez. For 5 seconds I could not think or utter anything.
I turned at the lady with wide eyes wondering why she is in my toilet. She walked out cool opening the exit door. I thought the lady has entered inside the hotel for mistake. I followed her out of the toilet and confirmed the board. It was written Queen. Soon a tube light turned on in my mind and I was able to recognize that I was the one who made a mistake. I jumped towards the door next to the Queen written as King. I washed my face and returned to normal senses. I could not believe that I made such a mistake. I asked Biga to rush out of the hotel as I was completely shy and could not face the lady again.
I discussed this incident today with Mahesh and he told me about a similar event that happened with his friend who gets down at Amsterdam airport. The man landed on Amsterdam airport and thought to visit the toilet to refresh himself. He entered the door and found the room was dark. He went inside and then ran with his life. The women inside were screaming and cursing him. Due to people following different languages and from different countries visited the airport, there were signs used on the doors that the man could not follow.
There was an arrow symbol on circle for woman's toilet and a plus symbol on circle for man's toilet.
Signs and symbols are always a problem for the people who do not follow them. Toilet symbols will be the important things I will take care in future. Even if I do not check the menu I will make sure I check the toilets physical locations.
The banana plant in the garden fell down due to the wind yesterday. Biga reminded me about the bananas in the plant and we rushed out to the gardens to confirm whether they are still with the mother plant protected from fellow neighbors. Biga used the biggest knife in the house (vettukatti in Malayalam) and cut the bananas apart from the plant. We carried them home and thought to wait till they are ripe and capable to be eaten. I thought to interact with the bananas and being a good listener I asked them to narrate their story about their birth and their existence in Kerala.
The bananas started explaining their story. From here onwards I am away from the story and leave it to the bananas to narrate it. I hope they are good writers and will explain their journey of life in a better manner.
We have a long story that is not possible to narrate within this limited time but we will try to explain you what happened with us and how we came into existence in kerala. Our mother, the great banana plant was planted by a farmer born in Kerala using the banana rhizomes. Rhizomes can be found growing on the side of a matured banana plant.
The mother banana plant, when child(banana rhizome) was taken off from the soil and dipped in a water solution of DDT(dichloro diphenyl trichloroethane) to protect itself from the insects and worms. The farmer had experience at handling similar children before and was a well known plantain father. He placed our mother into the solution for 15 minutes.
The next process was initiated by his son who digs a hole of about 30 centimeters and placed sand, ash and salt into it. The farmer hit on his head since he was singing the song from Malayalam movie ‘four the people’. This was one of the songs the father used to hate. The boy turned around and started laughing in a feeble voice.
Next the farmer took our mother out of the solution and cut the roots short making them adjust in the hole. He then placed the mother banana plant into the hole and the farmer’s son started covering it with soil until it was covered to the ground level.
My mother was fed with water regularly to make it healthy and living. Enough sunlight and sufficient air made her breathe and digest well. Within a time period of 10 months she was holding us. A small flower called the banana flower was seen in the front of us. This was then cut by farmer. Upon insistence our mother replied that we will not become healthy if the flower exists.
The farmer used banana flower to feed his family. They prepared a thoran called vazha koombu thoran from it. We still remember the boy smiling and satisfied while having the food. We know mothers prepare sweetest food in the world and it is never comparable.
We started growing and reached a stable state after 3 months. Now it was 1 month remaining for us to be young and leave our mother plant. Everything was working fine until yesterday’s wind that led the mother plant loss control and due to the heavy weight she fell down. This was our story of growth and prosperity.
I hope you enjoyed the story by bananas. Bananas are still not in an eatable state and we plan to follow the traditional rules to make them ripe and yellow. Cutting bananas from their mother plant is a skill and the way of cutting facilitates its traveling and further life. The stem of a plantain should be cut in a ‘U shape’ that makes them easy to carry. We were in a hurry and cut it straight.
These bananas along with the stem can be hung on a rope tied to a ceiling facing the floor. They have to be covered with a coir sack and tied in such a way that they are in complete dark. People also apply mineral lime over them and tie using sacks to ripe early.
The other way is to cut bananas from the stem and place them in a muddy pot with incense sticks and covering them with a lid for 1 day. The smoke inside the pot due to incense sticks will enable the bananas to ripe faster.
We plan to follow these traditional steps and eat the bananas as soon as possible.
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All the matter and ideas are copyright (c) of Abhilash