Sunday, June 21, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
A flower vendor showed up in the pouring rain, setting his basket down on my windowsill. How fun is that?!
This is the flower vendor heading back down our driveway.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
"Karagam is a folk dance with musical accompaniment, performed balancing a pot on the head. Traditionally, this dance was performed by the villagers in praise of the rain goddess Mari Amman and river goddess, Gangai Amman, performed with literature with water pots balanced on their heads. In Sangam literature, it is mentioned as 'Kudakoothu'.
This dance has two divisions - one, Aatta Karagam and the other 'Sakthi Karagam'. More often it is danced with decorated pots on the head and is known as 'Aatta Karagam' and symbolises joy and merriment. The former is performed only in temples, while the latter is mainly entertainment in nature. This is one of the more popular rural dances today. Earlier it was performed only with accompliment of the Naiyandi Melam but now it includes songs also.
Karagams were once performed for mulaipari ceremony when the dancer carried a pot of sprouted grains on his/her head and danced, balancing it through intricate steps and body/arm movements. Today, the pots have transformed from mud pots to bronzeware and even stainless steel in modern times. The pots are decorated with a cone of flower arragements, topped by a paper parrot. The parrot rotates as the dancer swings along. This dance is very popular all over Tamilnadu, though its birth place is said to be Thanjavur." http://www.tamilselvi.com/Karagam.htm
Here's a video of a Karagam procession that started in front of our house. You can see decorated cones on top of two young men's heads. Soon they stop at our driveway where two women give an offering of food and ritually wash the dancers feet. After the holy man ends his ritual there, another man begins teaching the young men dance steps.
I ended up paying $239 for 3 months, although I only needed two months and a couple days, just to be safe.
After one week in California, I fell and the injury I incurred on one of my toes became infected. To make a long story short, it was a difficult infection to heal, and I incurred hundreds of dollars in bills. Of the $583.78 I incurred, WorldNomads paid $563.96 (97%). I paid the medical bills, then submitted the receipts to WorldNomads in Amsterdam, Denmark. I had the reimbursement by the time I got home to India. I spent $15 each time I mailed them receipts ($31 altogether).
I highly recommend WorldNomads and plan to use them again.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
My flight from San Francisco took off Wednesday afternoon, 27 May; I landed in Chennai, India, on Friday, 29 May at 3am. Needless to say, I crossed a date line in there somewhere. Whew, that's terribly long. So good to see Gopal.
This was one of two solar energy booths
Ishwar, Lakshmi (the cook), Jasoda (Ishwar's mother), Hemanta
Jasoda, Muna, Lakshmi
We are the grandmothers. That little gathering was wonderful for me.
(Does anyone know the singer's name?)
Friday, June 5, 2009
time with the whole family.
On the way home from Hema and Mani's, I pulled off the freeway to film this incredible sunset. The sky was a low ceiling of gray allowing just a sliver of sunset squeazing through. But at closer examination, the wind was roaring along the top of the water of the San Francisco Bay, steam rising off the water. Wow! It was breathtaking.
Tuesday, I said goodbye to my World Liturature class at the Albany Senior Center. This meant saying goodbye to our very special teacher, Bill, with whom I hope to correspond. We have been reading "An International Episode" by Henry James. What a literate and fun group.
That evening I said goodbye to my meditation group, Amy, Barbara, Kathy, Linda (had to say goodbye to Linda last week), and Sherry What can I say. I miss them already.
Had breakfast at John Cornell's Wednesday. John is very gracious and cooks well. Thanks, John.
Thursday I got sick and am still sick here in India. It's just a bad cold, but it didn't heal because of the rugged traveling from 27-31 May.
Friday, I said goodbye to my beloved yoga teacher, Pandi, and had a very sweet picnic lunch with our good friend Stephanie at Lake Anza in Tilden Park. (No pictures there either!) That evening, my sister-in-law Sharon was unable to join Todd and me at the tenth anniversary performance of Somei Yoshino Taiko Ensemble (http://www.taikoensemble.com/), so we took Mike Huhman. As they describe themselves in their website, "Somei Yoshino Taiko Ensemble (SYTE), founded in 1999, goes beyond the beat of the taiko drum to use music, theater and dance as a medium to express the human condition as it relates to its environment, community and its future." They are highly accomplished musicians, and their performances are artful and inspiring. One of the performers, Ellen Bepp, is our friend
This little video I took by mistake, having left my camera set for video, so it's painfully short but gives you a teensy glimpse of Somei Yoshino Taiko Ensemble in action.