Sunday, January 31, 2010

New Year’s Eve Party Photos – Part XIX

The Photos in this article are of the New Year’s Eve Party of 31st December 2001. The ‘Party-Dress code’ for girls was Jeans or Punjabi suit, for ladies it was Guajarati style attire and for boys and men it was Kurta Pyjama.  This was Ravi’s first New Year Party at our house and he was welcomed with lots of applause (He is not in the photographs as he arrived a bit late).
Prior to the party too, it was a busy day for me. After nearly 22 years of service in Praga Tools Limited, a Government of India undertaking and as Assistant General Manager at that time, I opted for voluntary retirement, and I was relieved that evening with  memorable farewell parties. I then rushed home to participate in the New Year Party.
As I mentioned in an earlier post I shall stop posting articles on New Year Parties which I started on 7th December. This is because I feel that after end January it would be irrelevant to still talk of the present or past New Year Parties. Hope you have enjoyed watching the various Fancy dress photos I have posted in December 2009 and January 2010.

New Year’s Eve Party Photos – Part XVIII

These Photos are of the New Year Eve Party of 31st December 2004. Sudheer got married just a month before on 28th November. You can see Lavanya our daughter-in-law participating in our New Year celebrations for the first time. Most of us got dressed as Muslims, Parsi, Himachal pahadi and Sridhar got dressed as a Saudi Arabian. A list of the games we enjoyed that evening is included in this article, for the family to recollect the events of the Party.

New Year’s Eve Party Photos - Part XVII

The photos attached to this article are of the New Year Eve party at our house “Srilekha” on 31st December 1992. Earlier today I posted an article on the largest and brightest full moon of 2010 that we got to see on 30th Jan. night. I am sometimes writing of the past and sometimes of the present in an unpredictable manner. This is because I have no fixed aim for my blog. I am just carried away by my thoughts, which I am putting down in words sometimes supported by photographs. I am not rethinking on my impulse to write on a subject because if I begin to think and then start choosing or hesitating I may not move forward with my regular writing. Especially when I write on events from the long past, like this one from end 1992, I have many memories flashing before me. I have never maintained diaries regularly so it is mostly from memory and through photographs and old letters from my father that I remember many events from the past. I very much regret now for not being regular with my diaries.
Most of my articles on the past are supported by photographs with many family members in them. So a part of this blog turns out to be not only my memoir but that of the entire family and few relatives. Some of them have been kind enough to appreciate my work and that makes me happy and gives me the encouragement to write more.
Dr. Samuel Johnson said: “The two offices of memory are collection and distribution”. And in my case it is more than that, it is a pleasant sharing of the past, present and writing of the family history in bits.

Largest & brightest ‘Full Moon’ of 2010, as seen from our house tonight!

I came to know from today’s newspapers that tonight we can see a lunar spectacle, the largest and brightest Full Moon of 2010. The sky was very clear tonight and we enjoyed watching the bright Full Moon until midnight. I do not know whether there is any astrological significance but being the first Full Moon of 2010, I wish and hope the year ahead will also be bright for all of us.
The above photographs are of tonight’s Moon as seen from the front of our house. The Moon I understand is 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter today than the usual Moons of the year. This is because the Moon orbits the earth in an elliptical orbit with one side closer to the earth than the other by 50,000 Kms. While the Moon’s average distance from Earth is 3,84,800 Kms., today it is around 3,56,630 Kms. This phenomenon may occur once or twice in a year and in 2010 it is just once and that was today.

Friday, January 29, 2010

New Year’s Eve Party Photos – Part XVI

The above photos are of the New Year Eve Party of 31st December 1991. Some of the photographs are clicked after midnight in the New Year. You will see that the children look a bit tired in the photographs. Our New Year Parties start with a variety of snacks at about 8 P.M. This is followed by welcome gifts, and then a number of exciting games with many prizes until midnight. After exchange of New Year greetings we have a sumptuous dinner. I hope the children in the photographs who are today in different places and some abroad would be happy to see them.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

New Year’s Eve Party Photos – Part XV

Between 7th December and 31st December 2009 I posted our New Year Eve Party photos of various years in ‘Fourteen Parts’. My original intention was to complete posting photographs of all these parties by end 2009. That was not possible and starting from 2nd January 2010 I commenced writing on other subjects. But in the recent past I got requests from some followers of my blog to post more photographs of these New Year Parties. This is because they have participated or have knowledge of these celebrations at our house and would like to see them. I shall oblige them but only until end January 2010 as they would become little irrelevant in February. And the balance I shall remember to post in December 2010 to entertain you once again on this subject.
In this Part XV, I have posted photographs from the New Year Eve Party of 31st December 1990. You can see the children, as they looked nineteen years ago - Sudheer, Bablu, Uma, Sridhar, Usha, Srikanth and Srinath playing with balloons. Concentrate a little more on the photographs; I am sure you will be able to hear their laughter and hullabaloo!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Happy Republic Day!

Happy 61st Republic Day. I think we have a very special type of FREEDOM which no other country has. I am not sure how immensely proud I should be of such FREEDOM. I am writing this article based on the history of the place where I live.
History tells me that “We have the freedom to constitute the First States Reorganization Commission in 1953. We have the freedom of not abiding by the recommendations of the SRC. We not only have the freedom to suppress some recommendations of SRC but the will and aspirations of a region. And to pacify this region we have the freedom to announce a Gentlemen’s Agreement. Then to contradict it we have the freedom not to implement this Agreement. We have the freedom to announce more Formulas, Agreements, Committees and Government Orders to pacify this region. Then once again our freedom gives us the authority not to implement them. We have the freedom to kill protests. We have the freedom to announce plans of Statehood to this region in our Election Alliances, Maha Kutamies, Manifestos and Speeches and what not to win elections and then the freedom to forget everything. Once in power or authority we have the freedom to give excuses and sleep over the issue for years.  We have the freedom to silence anyone who would question our actions. We have the freedom to say for years that we will abide by the decision of our Supreme Leader and High Command. We have the freedom to say minutes before the Supreme Leader’s announcement that we have no objection to the formation of a separate State. And when the Supreme Leader and the High Command announce a favorable decision we have the freedom to withdraw our assurances and go against the Command of the so called Supreme Leader. We have the freedom to cause hindrance when someone is rejoicing. We have the freedom to become crybabies when some long pending justice is being carried out. We have the freedom to cheat, deceive and fall back on our promises. We have the freedom to be selfish. We have the freedom of not being ashamed of our actions or intentions. We have the freedom to humiliate, insult and deprive a section of people. We have the freedom to soft pedal one agitation and use brutal force to suppress another. We have the freedom to remain silent and unconcerned as a peoples movement is getting stronger. We have the freedom to play politics and suppress a movement. We have the freedom to sleep or remain patient until problems cease by themselves, hopefully. We have the freedom to run the Nation for some, by some, entirely to our advantage. And for this goal we shall continue to strive for FREEDOM and POWER. Long live our FREEDOM.”
I hope and pray that with some divine intervention the next Republic Day will be a better and happier one for my struggling region, if not the next may be the one after that or the one after that……at least the one before my death, GOD help us, please, p l e a s e, P L E A S E. 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Festivals, Celebrations and Daughters.

Yesterday I posted an article on ‘Ratha Saptami–festival’. In this article I mentioned about Kodalla Panduga and Kodukula Panduga (that is festivals to felicitate daughters-in-law and sons) on Ratha Saptami and Vasanta Panchami days, in the current month of Maaga Masam.  This post made a young follower of my blog to enquire whether there is a similar festival for daughters in our community. There is no specific festival that I can think of in the name of daughters similar to Kodalla Panduga and Kodukula Panduga. But the most important point is that the daughters of the house are most adored and important members in all the festivals and celebrations in a house and some of the festivals are because of them. For instance, the festivals of Rakhi Pournami and Deepavali Harathulu call for their presence. The loving nature of the girls, their sweet talk, their colorful traditional dresses, their mehandi, their ornaments and the sound of their anklets are their contribution to all such festivities and happiness. After the marriage of a daughter, she becomes much more important to the family, every visit to her maternal house with her husband and children is a time to celebrate. And her presence and role at some festivals, celebrations and marriages in her maternal house is of great happiness, prominence and a must as per tradition.
“A daughter may outgrow your lap, but she will never outgrow your heart.” – Anonymous.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ratha Saptami, Kodalla Panduga and Kodukula Panduga.

Yesterday, 22nd January was Ratha Saptami. Ratha Saptami is an important festival observed in the current month of Maagha Masam on Shukla Saptami that is on the 7th day after the New Moon. Ratha Saptami festival is dedicated to Lord Surya (Sun GOD) and on this day Surya Bhagwan is worshipped for better health, happiness and prosperity.
Lord Surya rides a Chariot driven by seven horses and it is in this form he is worshipped during Ratha Saptami. Ratha means Chariot and Saptami means the seventh day. Surya Namaskaram is a ritual practiced everyday by the devout and today it is performed by all those observing Ratha Saptami. Ratham Muggu (Rangoli) is drawn in front of the house. You can see samples of such Muggu in the above pictures. Naivedyam that is food offerings to the idols / pictures of Gods at home are made and later eaten as prasadam.
In Telangana, Ratha Saptami is also celebrated as Kodalla Panduga that is as a festival for the daughters-in-law of the house. The daughters-in-law are gifted with new dress and a sweet is offered along with a festive meal for the entire family. Two days prior to Ratha Saptami on Maagha Masam Shukla Panchami, it is Kodukula Panduga that is a festival for the sons. Perhaps this is the only area in the entire country which has festivals earmarked every year for the Sons and Daughters-in-law.
Those of you who have missed these two occasions in this week or do not follow this tradition may celebrate and enjoy them this weekend! in honour of these important family members.

Sri Shwethambar Jain Tirth Temple, Kolanpak / Kolanupaka.

The Jain Temple at Kolanupaka is very ancient. It is said to be 2000 to 2500 years old. However its history from the Chalukyan period in the 11th Century is well documented. This Temple is an important place of pilgrimage for the Jains all over the country. Kolanupaka is said to be known by different names in the past, Bimbavatipuram, Vyakhyananagaram, Kottiyapaka, Kollihaka, Kollipaka and Kolanpak. This place gained importance when it was made the alternate capital of the Kalyani Chalukyas in the 11th Century. The Temple is 80 Kms. from Secunderabad and 6 Kms. from Aleru. Aleru is on the Hyderabad – Warangal highway. We have been to this Temple thrice during some of our visits to the famous Sri Laxmi Narasimha Swamy Temple at Yadagirigutta, which is along the same route, 64 Kms. from our house.
There are many ancient and important idols of Tirthankaras at this Temple. The grandeur of the idol of Manekya Swami and the idol of Lord Mahaveera which is 52 inches high and made of single piece of Jade is very attractive. The idols of Lord Simandhar Swami and Mata Padmavati are installed on either side of the main Temple. Every year, in the month of Chaitra, from Krishna paksha Thrayodashi to Pournami for three days thousands of devotees come here and worship. Jains believe that 15 visits to this Temple more popularly known as Kulpak Tirth or Sri Kulpakji Tirth on Full Moon days and performing Seva, Tapa and Japa will end all their troubles and keep them happy.
The Temple has undergone a number of renovations in its long history, the recent one being completed in 2008. The beauty of the modern Temple and the ancient idols can be seen in the above pictures.
Apart from the Jain Mandir, Kolanupaka has Sri Veeranarayana Temple and Sri Someshwara Temple, which are also ancient. This place is said to have co-existed with Jains and Saivites in the 11th Century A.D. According to recorded history Kolanupaka is the birth place of Sri Renukacharya the great Veera Saiva saint, believed to be born from the Svayambaghu Linga at this place and absorbed into it after preaching Veera Saivam. The importance and glory that Kolanupaka enjoyed under the Chalukyas was gradually lost under the Chola and the Kakatiya rulers who followed. Today it is just a small village with the Jain Mandir as its main attraction.

On a breezy morning…

On a breezy morning, Amidst plants and flowers, As the Sun was rising, The feeling was joyous! Happily as we strolled, Pic...