13 November, 2017

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!!

I have always celebrated Alter Idem's birthday by sharing a short story that comes to my mind when I begin to write the 'birthday post'.

Today's story is from the Ramayana. I thought of it as I was unloading photographs from the phone a few minutes ago. The pic below was taken at Amritapura.

The Amriteshwara temple, like other temples built in the Hoysala style, has carvings on the outer walls depicting episodes from our epics and mythology. And, let me tell you, it is such a pleasure to recognise the anecdotes depicted by the sculptor!!

Looking for Seeta, Rama and Lakshmana reach Kishkinda and befriend Sugreeva. Sugreeva seeks Rama's help to kill his estranged brother, Vali. In return, he offers to help Rama track Seeta.

However, Sugreeva is not sure if Rama could match his brother's strength. To prove it, Rama shoots an arrow which pierces through a row of seven mighty trees. After piercing through them, the arrow touches the earth, and returns back to Rama's quiver! Convinced that Rama can help him, Sugreeva seals the friendship. As promised, Rama kills Vali - from behind a tree while the latter is engaged in a battle with Sugreeva and the story moves on...

Now, it is the snake in the carving that's intriguing. Rama seems to be standing on it. The arrow doesn't seem to strike it. So, what could be the story behind it's presence?

Over the centuries, stories have been added to, and perhaps removed from the original Ramayana.  According to some versions of the Ramayana, a snake was used to align the trees in a straight line when Rama had to prove his strength to Sugreeva. According to some other versions, Rama hid behind seven trees and shot the arrow that killed Vali.  

This version was probably prevalent during the Hoysala period. Because, I came across a similar carving at Halebeedu.


You know, the monkeys in the first picture seem to be afraid and pleading, while the ones in the second seem to be revering Rama! Now, is that my imagination...or are/ were there other versions of this anecdote?!

20 February, 2017

The Story of a Seed

It was a visiting Sunday - six years ago at the Poorna Prajna School, Sangameshwarpet. As usual, all the hostelers were waiting for their parents and the goodies they would bring from home.

While walking through the tree - lined path, I saw this eight year old boy. His parents had not yet arrived, and he was whiling his time by striking a young tree with a stick. The moment he realised that I was walking towards him, the boy threw the stick and ran away....some basic instinct must have warned him!!
Well...... I didn't spoil his day by chasing him and giving him the sermon he deserved!

As I removed the stick from the pathway, I realised that the boy had broken it recently from the powder-puff shrub nearby. While putting the stick out of the way, I found that it carried a seed pod. I decided to save it, and then, forgot all about it......

Till about three years ago, the seed pod was lying forgotten in an unused compartment in my handbag.   Even though I knew that seeds do not sprout after more than an year, I took a chance. Because, well... one can never be sure about these things!

Not-so surprisingly, one of the 5-6 seeds did sprout! And, today, it flowered for the first time - giving me a few moments of reminiscence!

Powder-puff Flower

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!!...