29 March, 2013

Chasing a skirt!

Not so recently, some of us bore my uncle's tirade - meant for the editor of  "The H...", the newspaper maamaaji reads. Apparently, there's this regular column, wherein, readers are invited to contribute pics showing gaffes in signboards, etc. - especially the gaffes in angrezi.

"Why laugh at some poor, illiterate signboard painter for his mistakes? If he was as educated as those people at the news office, he wouldn't be painting boards. And, it's not like the newspaper wallahs don't make mistakes at all.........."  - the gist of my maama's speech.

Of course, I didn't quite agree with him. I think, the laugh is more for the end result than at the poor painter. At that moment, I didn't say so because I was in no mood to start a discussion. However, after that incident, I think of my uncle whenever I see a gaffe in angrezi.... and that is very often!

Recently, there was this pamphlet with our newspaper, announcing some sale in town. As I ran an absent-minded eye before crumpling it, I saw this....

Obviously, there was a spelling mistake. Now, I was curious - because I couldn't think of the right word. Since I don't like to be ignorant, I decided to ask google, the all-knowing one......

This pamphlet must have been printed locally. And, in this part of the country,  the letter "P" is popularly pronounced "Ph" / "F".  ( Eg :  'Phrize" for "Prize").
So, I decided to google "Riprown Skirt".... No result.

I tried "Ripron Skirt"....and, google asked me if I meant "Rapron Skirt".

There it was! The current trend in skirts looks a lot like the "Wrap-around Skirt", popular during my primary school days long, long ago....  an open ended skirt with cords on the upper ends for fastening.

Wonder if  "Wrap-around" has been shortened to "Rapron"!

In that case, I have a suggestion....

  At the risk of being clobbered by my VeshTi/ Lungi wearing acquaintances, I propose that these items of clothing should be called "Rapron Skirts" in angrezi!!

16 March, 2013

Ganesha's water-pot!

You will not find this place on the tourists' list of places to visit in Chikmaglur. However, you'll find it on my list of favourite places in Chikmaglur. Let me take you there.....

A half-an-hour's drive from home will take us to the not-so-sleepy town of Koppa. From here, onto  the road to Kesave village.  About 3-4 kms on this road, to the right - a rusty arch and the mud track beyond welcome us. Blink, and we'll miss the place!
We are now on private property. This part of the estate is open to all. Because, it is here that the river Braahmi has her origins. The Braahmi is a small tributary of the river Tunga. Infact, she joins the Tunga within 20 kms. from her place of birth. The presence of an idol of the elephant-headed God lends some piety to the place. 


Someone has done a neat job -  making it seem like the water is gushing out of a water-pot. This, and the presence of God Ganesh... the place is locally known as 'KamanDala Ganapati'.
Like all small temples, this temple is open during prayer hours only. But, that's okay...because, we can peep in through the grilled door/ windows. 

From here, the water is channelised and made to fall into a pit that can be accessed... so blissful to drink that pure, cool water straight off the pipe!

Of course, it's fuller during the monsoon months. This pic was taken during summer.

The managers of the temple have been thoughtful enough to keep some open space by the temple for picnickers/ people who want to host small functions.

On normal evenings, you'll find some local kids playing cricket!

I know what most of you are thinking! And, yes, I agree...it is not worth making the trip all the way FOR this place. Check it out if you have some time to spare in Koppa town. 
You know, the first time I was here, I was a little surprised to see Ganesh-ji. Because of the big role played by Shiva in bringing down the river Ganga to earth, one usually finds Shiva temples near places where rivers originate.  I had thought - and, still think - Shiva/ Ganesha/ any other God, it is the life-giving source of water that is actually revered.... What do you think??

02 March, 2013

The Wicked Bird

In most Indian folk tales, the crow is portrayed as a cunning, thieving villain.
And, when Uncle Pai created Kalia, he broke the tradition.  Kalia, the clever crow, was always doing good things like helping out creatures in distress -  NEVER the villain....

 The crow is the vehicle of Shani (Saturn) - the planet that is supposed to cast evil on one's life.
 Perhaps, for this reason, it is considered to be a symbol of bad omen.......
 As with the colour black -  the colour of the crow and the colour associated with Shani.
For the same reason, children who collect birds' feathers are forbidden from bringing the crow's feathers inside homes (especially if grandmas are around!).

To add to its list of woes, the crow has such clumsy ways and an unpleasant cry. Even the nest it builds is shabby when compared to the nests of other birds.You know, many a time, I have felt quite sorry for the crow.

Misplaced sympathies!! The crow is indeed a bad bird!
Sometimes, it pulls food from the mouths of smaller creatures like the squirrel and bullies smaller birds - chases them away from food sources, disturbs their nests,.... Yes! it spoils the nests of other birds. Let me tell you about it........

Meet this shy little bird on the left.... the munia. Here, he/she is searching for the right stuff to build a nest. Twice an year, at least one pair of munias choose their nesting place on the creeper on our wall.

This is a typical nest of the munia. As an admirer of birds and their nest building skills, I find it so fascinating that every bird has it's own pattern for building nests from locally available materials. And, birds of a feather have very similar nests!

Every year, during the nesting season, I spend some time watching birds choose grass, pull out tiny twigs, etc. With amazing understanding, the male & the female birds skilfully weave the raw materials and make their homes - they know what to do without any training (nothing 'bird- brained' about this!).

Once the birds begin to spend time in the nest, I leave them alone, hoping that things go smoothly. Most of the times, things do go smoothly. When the fledglings turn about 7-8 days old, the family abandons the nest.... too small for all of them, I guess.

Early Feb is nesting time for a lot of Indian birds. Every time I see a pair of busy munias,  I wonder if they are the same ones that were here before!
This time though, there was a crow - very determined to spoil things for the munias. Whenever I could, I tried to prevent it from pecking at the nest. Alas! One morning last week, I found this -

                                                                           and, this -

 I also caught the crow pulling out some stiff looking grass from the broken nest.
Now, I didn't think of shooing it away - after all, another nest was being built


Century on the Bronze Anniversary!

This is my100th post, and today is the eighth birthday of Alter Idem !! That's an average of a post per month......1.04 to be precise!!...