Sunday, September 27, 2009

We are moving to a new home in Coonoor on 28 September 09

We are moving tomorrow to a neighborhood in Upper Coonoor called Brooklands. We are renting a two-bedroom apartment on the ground floor with a three-bedroom guest house above us. We have a view of the hills and a small valley out our front window. The new place is larger than our present apartment, is not on a busy polluted main road, is clean and quiet, has fabulous walking places, and has more people who speak English. Our yoga teacher practically lives next door, and the landlords (a couple) seem to be wonderful.
However, leaving Lingama Colony is extremely hard, and I am hoping we will be able somehow to continue our relationships with our friends here. But we know that things will never be the same. In fact, my closest friends here have all left before our moving day and will not be back until we're gone. And, I am leaving Shaggy here. Difficult leaving so many people I love.
Our landlord stopped by this evening (the night before the move) and told us that work is still being done on our house so we will be his guests in his guest house until Tuesday night. In fact, because of Navaratri holiday, they will not be able to hire a truck and people until Tuesday. So, we will go to the new house tomorrow (Vijayadashami*), a date chosen for its auspiciousness by the landlord and do a ritual of boiling milk in our new home. Krishna and I will be wearing saris, and Gopal will wear new pants and a white shirt. Bala Chandar, our landlord, will serve us lunch. Then Gopal and I may come back here to finish packing and preparing for the movers.
* "Dusserah, also known as Vijayadashmi, is celebrated on the tenth day, which follows nine days of Durga Pooja, some time in September / October.
The Tenth day of the bright half of the lunar month of Aashwayuja.
This is among the most auspicious days in the Hindu calendar and comes as the finale of the nine-day festival, Navaraatri. This festival of victory is preceded by worship of Saraswati the Goddess of Learning and of Durgaa the Goddess of Strength. Grand processions of all Gods and goddesses are taken out in every town and village on this day, signifying the victory of the forces of righteousness over those of wickedness. Various have been the names of the Goddess of Strength - Durgaa, Mahaa Kaali, Mahishasura Mardini etc., under which that supreme protectress of the good and the holy put to rout, time and again, the demoniac forces and established the supremacy of the righteous. " from

Suhail and Laddu

Suhail and Laddu are our neighbors and are spending more and more time with us. Laddu's name is actually Gosunissah (p?), but her family nickname is Laddu, a popular India sweet.

We love them. Suhail is 8; Laddu is 5.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Shaggy's puppies

This video was taken 22 September, and on the 25th we found out that someone took the brown puppy. We have no information, but I am assuming she has been taken home by someone (I hope). They are only 4 weeks old, so I think the transition for the puppy must have been pretty rough, diet-wise at the very least. sigh

Krishna comes from Delhi, 16 September 09

Krishna's train came into Coimbatore at 5:45am, three hours down the mountain from Boys Company. We hadn't seen her for almost a year, so it was good to see her.Krishna and I in the taxi from Coimbatore to Boys Company, up the mountain
After a week, we decided to take a trip to Ooty and Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary. Here is a picture of the tea estates en route to Ooty.

Mariama and I on a boat on Ooty Lake

After Ooty, we decided to head toward Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, stopping here at 9-Mile which is a hill with a wonderful view. Here I am with Mariama and our driver, Rajan.

Rajan with Gopal

Krishna and Rajan

Monkeys near the car at 9-Mile (in fact, we had muddy monkey footprints on the taxi windshield)

From 9-Mile, we went on to Pykara Falls.

It is impossible for Krishna to stay out of the water, so here she is with her feet in.

In front of "my house." This old house is now abandoned, but it must have been wonderful since it overlooks these falls and the lake.

Driving through the mountain to Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, we passed this outlook.

"The Famous Mudumalai wild life Sanctuary is situated at an elevation of 1000 meters and extending over an area of 321 sq.kmts lies this sanctuary between Kerala and Karnataka states. This is one of India's best sanctuaries. Nature has been lavish in providing this sanctuary with thickly wooded hills, plateaus, deep valleys, waterfalls, rivers, marshes and streams. The varied flora and topography meet the ecological requirements of several species in habitating the sanctuary and give the visitors a sense of satisfaction.The vegetation is quite varied in this region. The hilly terrain of the Western Ghats, clothed in dense mixed and moist deciduous forests, make Mudumalai (the ancient hills) a most attractive wildlife reserve. Bamboos (Bambusa Arundinacea) Natural teak (Tectona Grandis), Anogeissus latifolia, Terminalia, Crenulata/Terminalia Tomontosa, Grewia, and blooming trees like Indian Labumusum, Aredesia, Solanancea are some of the flora. The fauna include Elephants, Gaur, Banner, Macaque, Common Langur, Tigers, Leopards, Chital, Panther, Sloth Bear, Python, Barking Deer, Four Horned Antelope, Otter, Crocodiles (Mugger), Giant Flying Squirrel, Sambar, Hyena, Wild Dog, Wild Boar, Mouse Deer, Spotted Deer, Jackal, Hare, Porcupine and Mongoose. The birds listed in this sanctuary are Peacock-our National bird, Grey Jungle Fowl, Red Spur Fowl, Grey Partridge Quails, Goggle Eyed Plower, Malabar Whistling Thrush, Large Racket-Tailed Dronge, The Magpie-robin, Spotted Babbler, Small Green Barbet, Green Pigeons, Brown Dove, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Bulbuls, Mynahs, etc. Among birds of prey, Eagles, Hawks, Buzzards, Harriers, Falcons and King Vulture are predominant, besides some migratory water birds."

"Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary & National Park is situated at the tri-junction of the three southern states of Tamilnadu, Kerala, and Karnataka. Mudumalai wildlife reserve is a continuation of the Bandipur National Park. It was the first sanctuary in South India and established in the year 1940. It covers an area of 321 Sq. Km. comprising of pristine tropical wilderness. The place is rich in its bio-diversity especially the avifauna (Birds). The river Moyar that flows along the border or Tamil Nadu and Karnataka separates the two. The Mysore - Ooty highway runs through the park.
"It is included as part of the Nilgiri Bio-sphere reserve which is the first of its kind to be declared as a bio-sphere reserve in the country. A variety of habitats ranging from Tropical Evergreen forest, Moist mixed deciduous, Moist Teak forest, Dry teak forest, Secondary grass lands, Shrubs and Swamps exists here. The bird diversity in these habitats is unbelievably rich and is a welcoming place for bird watchers from far and wide. This park harbours over 200 species of birds from 48 families and is one of the richest bird areas in the State of Tamilnadu. Some of the rarely seen Birds of prey like the rufous bellied hawk eagle can be occasionally seen in this sanctuary. Nights are fascinating especially during the month of April, when the whole sanctuary is illuminated with millions of glow worms. "

At Mudumalai, we saw an elephant, these Cheetal (spotted deer) (sorry you can't see them well), Common Langor (black-faced money), Sloth Bear (barely), and Peacock (Indian state bird). We saw some from our taxi and some from a Mudumalai tour bus.

All day we had been blessed with gorgeous light and views. After all these inspiring nature views, our ride home was poetically beautiful.

Yoga Class

Gopal and I have started going to yoga classes in Coonoor three times a week. For me it has been wonderful in many ways. For one thing, Gopal is coming too, which has NEVER happened. Very nice for him too. And, there are English-speaking people there. And, my body is so happy to be moving and stretching like this. At 65, it's a blessing and a miracle really. And, we are becoming friends with the teacher, Vinod. And, Vinod kept telling us there was a rental in his neighborhood in Brooklands, but we told him we were very happy where we are and want to stay and save money. He kept telling us we couldn't find deals like this and please come look. We did and are moving to Brooklands on the 28th!

The yoga class is held at The Coonoor Club.

Yoga teacher, Vinod Kumar

Gopal doing a shoulder stand.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Dance Recital, 6 September 09

We received a very formal invitation to attend the dance recital of a friend's daughter. One of the dancers in the performance was Anupa, the 14-year-old daughter of my friend Jayanthi's brother-in-law, Anil. The recital took place in the Cultural Center at the Cordite Factory here like many performances in Boys Company. (The Cordite Factory manufactures munitions for the Indian Army and is a major employer here.)

Anupa, in costume and makeup. (I never saw her out of the makeup, so not sure if I would recognize her, ya know?)
Anupa is in white on the left. The bharatanatyam dance they performed is very complex. They performed well and danced for us for three hours. I don't know how they do it.Anupa's mother, Gowri, Jayanthi, Anil, Anupa

We were invited back to Gowri and Anil's house for dinner after the performance. The whole evening was really wonderful.