Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A new rule in temples of Tamil Nadu


Imagine this! You get invited to a party.  It is not a big splash, event of the year party but just a very simple get together party of your friends and you.  Days together we would start planning - the dress, the jewels, the accessories and even the shoes.  We just don't walk in with our plains just because they are our close friends, who really know and understand you.  We really would do every step to enjoy the evening.  So much work and time for one evening.

Again Imagine this! Your star birthday is next week.  The elders of your family ask you to visit the temple and perform a few rituals.  Do we really bother much about anything?  Do we really plan about our dress, the way we look.  We simply enter the temple with the same attire we had been donning since morning.  Why such difference?  Because we really know that people would judge us and God does not.

Recently in Tirupathi, the world famous Hindu temple, there has been a rule to wear only traditional dress otherwise one cannot enter the temple.  It was followed strictly for a while and then they had to be changed only for special tickets.  Tirupathi is a small town only known for this famous temple.  There cannot be anything important for a devotee who has planned the trip months ago, securing special darshan tickets.  Yet people visit this 'kshetram'- holy place with all kinds of trendy dresses.

A similar rule has been passed in Tamil Nadu's famous temple as well.  It has come effective 1st of January 2016.  People were outraged by this atrocity(?!) simply because they could not enter the temple with the dresses they had attended the party with.  Gone was the plan to kill two birds with one stone.  They had to go home and change simply to enter the temple.  What would have happened if this were vice versa.  Would they have attended the party with the traditional dresses.  I don't think so.  They would definitely have gone home to change into stylish, trendy dresses.  Who would want to look like a country bull anyways?? So why this fury only with temple.  why do people take everything granted with temples.

I read a 'whats app' message a couple of days ago.  It says, if a pub says one is not allowed if they don't wear shoes, we accept it.  But if the temple says we cannot enter without traditional dress, we oppose.  Well said.  A temple is a place of peace.  It is a place where we become one with God, through our undivided meditation and chantings.  How bad it would be if trendy clothes do just that.  It would be a mere distraction and nothing more.  If we should want to flaunt ourselves there are other places.  A temple requires no jewels, no make ups, no gaudy perfumes, just sincere devotion.  It is a place where we can be ourselves without others judging us.  So please wear our traditional attire at least in temples.  Please don't get me wrong.  I too wear western clothes.  But I simply cannot understand the need to wear them in temples.  If we can take hours to dress for a party or a function, why not take minutes to change into a comfortable Salwar Kameez before entering the temple.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Pasanga - 2, A Review

On New year's day we went to watch Pasanga 2 directed by Pandiraj.  A lot of good reviews about the film, so had a good vibe about the film.  This is the last of the kids trilogy Pandiraj had been directing.  Pasanga and Marina are among the best kids movie and I was sure Pasanga 2 would not be less of a standard.  But a few comments were made that it was in the lines of Taare Zameen Par or Anjali.  Though the story handles a very similar story with similar emotions, this also explores about the pregnancy, its effect on the child's birth and the child's character.  A lot of research has gone into the making.  Like kids waking the parents as soon as we are in the bed, the long queues for getting admitted int he  top school, report cards atrocities and many many more.

In 'Taare Zameen Par' the child is sent to a hostel and similarly here too the children are sent to a hostel.  This paints a rather painful image as if the boarding schools are prison.  But these kids diagnosed with ADHD get a breath of fresh life with the amazing duo, Suriya and Amala Paul.  Sometimes the kids behavior gets too far like insulting the Secretary of the building because she is a very uptight character.  But other than that the story drives its message as to believe in the child not just in the school to build their future.  It is worth a watch to learn for ourselves the common mistakes that we can avoid and to handle our children better (whether ADHD or not).

My kid thoroughly enjoyed the naughty, witty plays of the children.  The part when Nayana narrates a story to get admitted in a school was the best.  My kid couldn't stop wondering about it even after coming home.  A more thoughtful message would be to learn the talents of the kids and nurture them.  Who knows what great height they could scale with their born-talents?

The climax scene however apt and touching for this movie, makes me wonder and compare with "Taare Zameen Par".  How many ever times that I watch "Taare..." I am bound to cry.  Well Pasanga 2 movie climax could have been better, though it drives a very compelling suggestion to boost the children's morale.  In my opinion the story slumps after the interval.  But a clean movie, worth watching with the whole family and no awkward scenes even for a second.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Twenties Girl

Sophie Kinsella is one of my very favorite authors.  The first work that I had read of her is "The Undomestic Goddess".  I was bound to the story from the word go.  Her story telling can be so compelling.  So is this story "Twenties Girl".  Normally I would wait till the sweet romance starts for the girl.  This would happen at about the second to fourth chapters.  But here the protagonist Sara Lington meets her Great aunt Sadie at her funeral as a ghost.  Yup, a ghost story, but something on the lines of Casper, or friendly ghosts.  Her great aunt requests orders Sara to investigate about her lost necklace.  And what follows is a very adventurous story. 

Sara goes to great lengths to retain her great aunt's body so that she can have her one last wish fulfilled.  But the investigation into the missing necklace leads her to the truth about her family heritage and some really sad episodes of Sadie's life.  Finally Sara successfully unveils the truth and helps Sadie leave a trail of herself for the world.  Being a Guardian Angel how Sadie brings good luck to Sara is a laugh riot.

The bonding between the two was very natural and one can feel a riot of emotions from the start to the finish.  At the end we cannot help but feel the twinge of pain as Sara deals with her loss.  The special thing about this story is the romance between Sara and Ed is very subdued and the bonding between Sara and Sadie is more pronounced.

Reading the title, I thought this would be a story of a twenties something girl.  Yes it was, and it was also because the story revolves around the 1920s Great aunt Sadie who now takes the form of a 20s some thing girl.  Could also be because Sadie forces Sara to wear 1920s costumes at start, which start to become Sara's regular attire.  The dragonfly necklace in the cover is the necklace that gets the whole story running.

This was a very light read with a good message about family bondings.  I am still waiting to read her famous Shopaholic series.  Just waiting till I collect about a couple of books in the series.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Collar neck - a successful attempt



Sewing class was among the best things that happened in my life.  What started out to be a hobby turned into my passion.  My teacher was good in teaching the basics and some more advanced concepts.  Due to family responsibilities and health reasons, I could not enroll for many classes.  But the courses offered are an ocean and what I had learnt is just a drop.
But with what I had learnt, a few things slips out of mind even with some proper notes.  Collar making was one of them.  Though I did remember many of the concept, some basic nuances I forgot.  So one time when I tried to sew a collar kameez it turned out to be a disaster.
      
I had to convert it to a high neck kameez and camouflage the deep neck cut with a patch work.  It worked out great and totally saved my kameez, but I did not have the courage to try it out again and salvage it later.  There are a lot of tutorials in the internet about a collared neck, but nothing exact to the method that I had learnt.  Then recently I discovered this youtube channel, Savi Fashions.  If only she had come a bit earlier, I would have been more confident about my collared necks. 
  
Kameez before collar
The collar piece
Notches at the centre

After attaching
The 1/4" glitch

The final pic of the kameez
How it looks from the back
She described the exact method that my teacher had taught me and I gladly tried it out.  The collared neck kameez turned out very good.  But only a small glitch.  I had taken the measurement wrong.  I measured about a 1/4"  less and so one side ended up a bit less.  But I am more confident now and I will not make this mistake again in my next kameez.
Thank you once again Savitha madam.  Your tutorial really helped me.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Gongura Pulihora



I have already posted one recipe called 'Pulicha Keerai Masiyal' earlier.  The Pulicha keerai is called Gongura in Andra Pradesh and its a delicacy there.  Its used in many recipes that softens its sharp tangy taste.  One such very famous recipe is Gongura Pulihora.

The Puliodorai or the Pulihora which is famous both in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka is prepared with Tamarind.  This Pulihora prepared with Gongura is equally delicious as this green has the tangy taste to it.

Ingredients

  • Gongura - 1 bundle
  • Green chillies - 3 to 4
  • Cooked rice - 3 cups (or as needed)
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil - 5 tbsp
Roast and Grind 1:
  • Dry Red Chillies - 15
  • Dhania seeds - 2 tbsp
  • Seasame seeds - 1 tbsp
  • Fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp
Roast and Grind 2:
  • Bengal Gram - 2 tbsp
To Temper:
  • Mustard Seeds - 2 tsp
  • Dry Red Chillies - 2
  • Fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp
  • Hing - 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves - 1 sprig
  • Roasted and peeled Peanuts - 2 handfuls

    Method


    First pick the leaves alone from the stems and discard the stems.  Wash the leaves well and keep aside.  Heat a kadai and dry roast the 'Roast and Grind 1' ingredients.  Grind them together to a coarse powder and set aside.  Then roast and grind the bengal gram alone.  Now in the same kadai, add about 2 tsp of oil and add the green chillies, broken in half.  Then add the Gongura leaves and keep tossing till they wilt completely.  Grind them without adding any water.  The moisture in the greens will be enough to grind it.

    Heat the same kadai and add about 5 tbsp of oil.  If this oil is sesame oil it will give a good fragrance and the taste will be richer.  The add the ingredients given in 'To Temper' list one by one.  Then add the ground Gongura leaves paste to it and keep stirring it all the moisture leaves it.  Add the required amount of salt to it.  At one stage, it will become one mass and look more like a halwa.  It will not stitck to the kadai.  This is the right stage to add the cooked rice.

    You can preserve this paste in refrigerator for about 2 weeks and mix and serve with rice as needed.  Here I have given 3 cups of rice measurement.  So instead of adding the rice to the mixture, please add the mixture as required to the rice.  This way any excess paste can be stored and used later.

    This goes well with appalam, or potato fry or any vegetable.  But the peanuts in them will give a nice crunch and flavor to the rice that you can eat it without any side dish.

    Monday, October 12, 2015

    PULI - movie review


    Yesterday we went to watch the Puli movie.  It was a matinee show and the tickets were totally sold out.  We had chosen to watch the movie despite its poor reviews for the sake of its director.  Chimbu Devan is the director of '23aam pulikesi' and 'Irumbu kottai murattu singam'.  Though the latter did not fare well at the box office, the former was a huge hit and a turning point for the hero.  This director chooses to play with plots best suited for children.  But then the reviews were true.  My seven year old did not understand the plot and the gory killing scenes were far from any child's entertainment.  It was atlast a love story with interesting twists and turns.  A old wine in a new bottle.  The villain captures the heroine and the hero goes after 'the damsel in distress' and rescues her from the cruel antagonists.

    There are two heroines in the movie.  One being Shruti hassan and the other is Hansika.  Shruti hassan is the love interest in the first half and Hansika in the second half.  In fact Hansika is introduced just before the interval.  The costumes could have been more Desi type.  It is said these 'Vedalam' group comes from a distant land.  So the fact that Sridevi's and Hansika's costumes are more western based could be excused.  But why does the others costumes also have a western touch.  Could have concentrated more on the costumes I guess.  There could have been more cladding for the ladies I guess.  I could see Zippers in a few Vijay's costumes and the fact everyone wears boots and shoes in ancient India... I am not sure if this is true.  Same with the hairstyles.  How does the young vijay get such a military cut when others grow such long hair, including the father Vijay.

    The fact that it is being compared to Baahubali is a bit of a stretch.  There is nothing to compare.  The story line of Baahubali to the costumes to the portrayal of the characters, everything is an exact fit.  And when the defect shows, the story is so mesmerizing that we don't notice them.  But the film makers say that the comparison is made in terms of the grapics.  There is this fact that Puli has 2500 VFX shots while Baahubali had used just 2000 VFX shots.  What these technology terms are and how they are reflected in the movie just goes above my head.

    There were a few times when the comedy part kicks in and the theater is a laugh riot.  For as far as the fantasy part goes, Chimbu devan has done a very good job.  Creating an entire world for the Lilliput, the giant tortoise, the unbreachable fort, the vedalam characters and many more are simply good and the graphics has helped him to turn a dream a reality.  Puli is a film, worth watching once to bring those nostaligic 'Vittalacharya films' memories back.
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