Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Diwali 2013

Diwali 2013

The Sabai gang of KK Nagar successfully celebrated Diwali Dhamaka with family for the third consecutive year this Diwali. This year we packed our bags for a night's stay at Continental resorts in Thirukazhukundram.

Our gang has grown in size to fill up a bus and a tempo traveller. The kids known to each other as neighbours and in some cases classmates too warmed up to each other right away in the bus. The guys who are friends from many many years decided to travel and have fun in the van with only two of them deciding to nobly escort the ladies and kids in the bus. We, the ladies, were discussing clothes and Diwali bakshanam to start with. The journey was about 1hour and 30 min at the end of which we were at the resort. The size of the place was unimaginable with battery cars operating to take us to the cottages. The whole place was beautiful.

After freshening up in the rooms, we met again at the swimming pool area for coffee and snacks. The teenage kids started hanging out with their age group and a few pre teens also tagged along. The guys were thinking of jumping into the pool and we started exchanging information and tips on running the household.

This was followed by the highlight of Diwali, colourful bursting of crackers. We had great fun, ending with lighting circles of sparklers and watching them form a ring! 

After such action packed evening, we were ravenous, not to mention the energetic kids. The dinner buffet was organized in a nice open area and we were eager to start. But alas, only the empty dishes were kept ready for the buffet with the burner ready to be lit, there was no food inside. Understanding it will take at least another 30 minutes for the dinner to be served, we decided to ask the kids to sing. It was such an enlightening experience. What knowledge these kids have! After the initial shyness, the children came out very enthusiastically to sing all types of songs right from carnatic to kuthu paatu, as solos, duets and chorus. We made a couple of knowledgeable ladies also sing.

Of course singing session in the Sabai cannot end without our light music singer Kumba’s performance! He did sing a few numbers for us with a special one for his wife Sudha!

 In between dinner did happen and the food was good, but priority now seemed to be the music and the fun we all had together. As a mike was available, the guys took over, giving speeches, the main highlight being friendship for three and a half decades. Thinking about it, it is not such an easy thing, to maintain a steady friendship over such a long time. It may be possible for 2-3 people to be friends for many years, but not a gang of people. Kudos to you guys!

After a good night’s sleep, the guys and kids were energized to play cricket in the morning and the ladies had to make our own plan. Many of us were interested in visiting Thirukazhukundram temple, but were discouraged about the number of steps to be climbed. We ended up visiting Rudrakoteeswarar temple nearby, thanks to the suggestion given by Sujatha.

We came back by 10 to have breakfast and had a major gossip session for the next few hours which was real fun! 

Post lunch and a very small siesta, we bade goodbye to the lovely resort after a group and family photo session to return home. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Golu 2013

Golu 2013

Yes a blog after a looooonnnnnnggggg time……
This is a photo blog of the Navaratri golus I had the chance to visit this year

First two days of Navaratri went without much activity though I very much wanted to see a temple golu
I called up the Mylapore Trio and they said they were having the golu this year at Madurai Meenakshi Temple. They were kind enough to invite me to see the golu in Madurai as well as the golu they intended having at their residence post Navaratri. 
Unfortunately the same commitments at home and office did not give me time to even go to the golu at their house!
Anyway, getting back to the golus I visited which were quite interesting

My sister Jayashree: I had the chance to see her golu twice – the first time along with my mother and a friend and taking more friends the second time. It was a traditional one with the addition of her craft paruppu thengai koodu.

My sister Sabitha: Here it was a brand new golu with all new bommais. I could notice that there were a few old ones only when Sabitha pointed out.

As usual I missed a few invites as I was not available when people came to call. Despite that, Bhanumathy left a message with Ranga and I went to her block dragging Deepti along. It was a lovely golu filling up the hall. 

On one side of the regular golu steps was the theppa kulam and lovely depiction of Krishna stories.

 On the other side on a table, Bhanu had arranged the traditional toys like maakal choppu as well as artefacts collected from many parts of the world

Bhanu as well as another friend recommended that we visit a golu in E block. Both of them insisted that this family welcomed one and all for their golu as it was very innovative. I believe they won first prize for the golu competition held by Nilgiris the previous year. Looks like I am sitting with my head immersed in my commitments like a turkey unaware of what is happening around me!

This lady along with her family welcomed us warmly and showed us around her golu. Yes, we had to be shown around as there were many things to see - the five steps had idols of various Gods, Chettiar set, etc. 

The lamps were beautifully decorated with flowers right below the steps. On one side there was both Kailasam and Vaikundam. Kailasam had a pradoshakala puja and Vaikundam had all the avatharams of Vishnu! 

There was also a Krishna set and Kalyana set nearby. 

and a cute park

The Kamba Ramayanam with scenes from the episode of Hanuman crossing the sea to meet Sita in Ashoka vanam and then Lanka dahanam was the highlight of this Golu!

It began with Hanuman flying across the Indian Ocean, reaching Lanka, reducing himself in size and hiding on a tree in Ashoka vanam, meeting Sita and then sitting in Ravana sabai on his tail throne. The Lanka dahanam was depicted as a picture. This chapter of the Ramayana was also written on a board for people to read! The Hanuman doll was so cuddly that Deepti and I were tempted to pick him up! 
The greenery for the Ashoka vanam effect was so beautiful with real and artificial plants blended well. They said it was a family job with a few cousins also helping. One should see how humble the lady was after such achievement!

Next was visit to Deepti's periamma's house in L block. This traditional golu had a lovely kundan rangoli

On Saraswathi puja, Amma and I went my cousin Ranjini's house. Here was an amazing golu. My nieces Shwetha and Shreya had taken a lot of effort to create such a beautiful golu. They were also eager to describe in details about the many Ganeshas (their favourite God) in different postures and activities. This was in one of the rooms. The hall had the Goddess in many forms! 
The sad thing was there was power cut when we went and the invertor was quite weak and I also do not have any photographs of this golu. 

Next my mother and I went to my sister Sujatha's house. This was another traditional golu with a few cute marapachis. 

Finally on Vijayadasami, I found time to visit a couple of friends in KK Nagar. 

First was Sujatha - very pretty golu.

Next was Renuka. It was she who motivated me to blog about the golus. Thank you Renuka! 

Here Renuka and her family had taken pains to create Thirupathi hill with clay. The effect was very good. 

The Lord's procession below the temple was also cute.

On the sides they had created shops which were looking very very sweet.

A special mention about Renuka's husband Murali for his effort to create the shrubs on hillside!

All in all it was a satisfying golu visit this year though less in number!