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The Pastoral Life!!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Life has a way of flowing---in various modes---but flowing nevertheless ahead.Here in Kolhapur the rhythm is slow and sluggish-------very relaxing.No one seems to be in a hurry----the pace itself is very laid back-----unmoving!!!!!
Here I'm just allowing myself to flow with the rhythm-------no reason to hurry-----no cooking,no deciding Menus,no daily chores--------literally NOTHING to do!!!My routine too has changed----I get up by 7 a.m.----then my Yoga takes about 1 hour 45 minutes----by 8.45 I place an order for Breakfast------delivered to the Room piping hot------we eat that----bathe------and go downstairs to the Lobby to meet our Uncle who arrives by 9.30 a.m.The morning is spent reminiscing about the old days----Family anecdotes and days that were------both Sudhir and I are involved------it is related to both our childhoods and adulthoods too------this town is in our blood!!!!
This was a Principality----hence the people here have a massive feeling of Pride regarding their Town----I feel that it is this Pride which is ingrained in me too.There is plenty to sight see for new comers here---the beautiful Shalini Palace situated next to Rankaalaa Lake,the Panhaala Fort just an hour's drive away,the Temple of "Jyotiba" in the surrounding Hills,The Temple of "Temblai Devi" near the University Campus,the Museum in the New Palace---an imposing place set amongst a huge acreage-----the Railway Station----so many beautiful places built of either the dark Grey dressed Stone or with more modern materials-----developement is showing up everywhere.Then there's my favourite----"Zuna Rajwada" or Old Palace built of dark Grey Stone-----sitting in the centre of the town------imposing and formidable----very solidly apparent.The bustling Market areas surrounding it are full of a multitude of Shops selling a melange of Products-----Iron Woks,Griddles,Wooden Rolling Pins and round rolling Boards cut from the same chunk of Wood-----Spices,Jaggery and Grain Shops all jostling with the usual Copper and Brass Utensil Stores, Gold Smiths,Silver Smiths,Cloth Stores and Ice Cream Parlours.
Just outside the Temple main door is the "Pedha" Shop-----situated in the same place for more than a hundred years-----the stuff they churn out still retains the taste of my childhood-----one bite transports me back in time!!!!It is surrounded by Bangle Shops and Cloth Shops of the same vintage------those multihued sparkling Glass Bangles shimmer like a beautiful Rainbow when the light catches them------so very iridiscent!!!! The cloth Shops here sell the Traditional "Khan"----a handwoven material used for stiching Sari blouses---this is a must for everyone paying homage to the Goddess-----a Khan preferably Green,1 unhusked Coconut,Green Bangles,packets of red Kumkum and Turmeric Powders,Incense sticks,White Lotus or Sweet Jasmine garlands along with roasted Chickpeas and Pedhas----all these are offered to the Deity by the devotees----in return the devotees are bestowed with Fruit and Coconuts as Her Blessings.-
The hustle and bustle of this entire Market area is a quaint mixture of the old and new-----fancy new airconditioned Shops stand next to ancient Family owned ones------still retaining the old flavour carried over from the Centuries that passed!!! The Ice Cream Parlour called "Imperial" still remains as it was all those years ago during my childhood-----both the ambience and the taste are the same----even today!!!!
Spending even a week here recharges my spent batteries----I return home filled with vim and vigour to face the new challenges Life may present me with------it's like being not just recharged----but more like being reborn!!!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RAJASHREE108 5/17/2010 9:53AM

    Aha.. felt like I visited Kolhapur myself.. isn't it funny that I was born and raised in Kolhapur but left home when I was 21 when I got married.. and still after 40 some years consider myself as "Kolhapuri". emoticon

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EACHDAYAGIFT 5/12/2010 9:41PM

    So nice that even though progress marches on, there are still places that haven't changed for you to revisit. You mentioned that this was a "Pricipality". What exactly does that mean? It was ruled by a Prince? (I'm not kidding...I'm totally ignorant here!)

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ATMANI 5/12/2010 11:28AM

    Thanks for sharing. It is lovely to read your blogs.

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ZANNACHAN 5/12/2010 8:54AM

    That sounds lovely. I love visiting old places like that, feeling the history of the place. And laid back vacations are the best kind! I'm not very good at laid back, but when you have a busy vacation it can be a ton of fun but you come back home exhausted.

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Paying Homage!!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

One act takes precedence over everything else---dictated by Family Tradition-------it still is the first thing on the agenda on reaching Kolhapur-------that is to pay homage to "Aai Aambaa Bai" as the Goddess Mahalaxmi,patron Deity of this Town is known.The feeling of being blessed by Her adds a subtle glow to our visit----meeting Her is one of my favourite things----I ask Her to bring me back next year-----to pay homage to Her and to be blessed by Her again!!!However the crowds are growing each year-----till I think it will be impossible to see her face to face in the Sanctum Sanctorum-----each visit has begun taking longer to reach Her presence!!!
In my childhood we'd accompany my paternal Grandma Akka to the Temple-----it used to be a beautiful place those days----no crowds,only the regular devotees present,the huge "Aavaar" or Compound of the Temple open for us to play hide-n-seek in.We loved coming here not only because of the peace and quiet in the premises-----but because we'd pass the Temple Elephant on the way in-----the entire huge Temple Complex exuded an aura----a palpable sensation of the Deity's presence.
Another motivation was the fresh "Prasad" of pure Milk "Kandi" Pedhey available on the main Gate or "Maha Dwaar"-----we could eat kilos of the Stuff----much to Akka's dismay!! then there were those visits to Imperial and Solanki Ice Cream Parlours to gorge on those creamy,freshly churned Ice Creams-----I'm shocked to remember the amount we'd put away----sheer gluttony!!!!Even today that is one thing I must eat----at least once at Imperial's!!!Milk products of Kolhapur are legendary and an integral part of our lives.Each visit I carry back kilos of the Kandi Pedhas for everybody in Mumbai---this too is a Family tradition-----whoever visits Kolhapur returns with Kilos of Pedhas and a spicy treat called "Baakar Vadi"-----hot,spicy,deep fried----but oh so yummmmmmmyyyyy!!!!
Next on my agenda is a trip to the River Panchaganga-----flowing so languidly-----tthe beautiful Sunset from "Brahmapuri" Point next to it is so picturesque----the languid River,the lush Green Sugar Cane Plantations,the tall Tamarind,GulMohur and Banyan Trees casting their lengthening shadows on the ground in the Orange hued Sunlight of the setting Sun-----a deepening Orange Ball as it sinks into the misty Twilight----the River shining like liquid Gold wherever the rays fall----the evening Breeze,the Birds chattering in their nests-----the Temples on the Riverbank gazing at their reflections in the Water----even today the scene hasn't changed----it is this Timelessness that binds me here----I'm still a child,a teenager and a woman---my past,my present all meet here to create the Now-----I know there's no going back----like the River Time too flows forward------still I renew my ties to the old World here---most effectively!!!
We'll be visiting our Uncle and brother's homes----our Uncle just shifted into a new Flat after selling the old home while my brother's home is huge-----right next door to him.Both my Aunt and Ashwini are fantabulous Cooks----Dinners at their homes are just yummy!!!I have a date with my sister-in-law Ashwini this evening----she'll take me to buy all the stuff I need-----fresh ground Turmeric Powder,spicy Methkoot Powder,Kolhapuri Chutney-----all from "Pandharpurey's" near the old House in Shukrawar Peth------besides other stuff from the Market----the Car's going back full!!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MILLISMA 5/10/2010 1:24PM

    You have such wonderful memories and traditions. I look forward to reading your stories. Thank you for continuing to share with us.

Mary Anne emoticon

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ZANNACHAN 5/10/2010 10:22AM

    That sounds like a lovely start to your visit! That's great! I can just see everything you describe--it must be really beautiful and full of love and happy memories.

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ATMANI 5/10/2010 7:34AM

    emoticon to read your blogs, they transport one to a new place each time.

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Journey to my Roots!!!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Genetics is a funny thing-----you're a part of a chain which binds you to certain habits,quirks----and so much more!!!!The Umbilical Cord is invisible but very strong and very much alive-----showing up when you least expect!!!
Yesterday while driving down from Mumbai------the pull for this land of my forefathers was calling to me---each blade of Grass,each tiny leaf in all those Trees we passed,each grain of Soil-----was all so welcoming and familiar---this was MY country----MY land!!!I was surprised at the strength of this pull----it grows stronger each year----as I grow older I long for a connection to my past----maybe it's my fancy but the old connections renew their bond more deeply each time we leave here.
Saturday was cloudy as we drove out of busy Mumbai------the AC cars are a boon-----in the old days we'd tie Scarves round our heads to protect our hair from damage from the Wind and Sun!!!Once we hit the open road on the Highway the beauty of the land opened up to us.The Salt Pans and adjoining Swamps were a beautiful sight-------fishing boats drifting lazily with the ebb and flow of the tides.Past that there was the rugged Sahyadri Range----we wound our way up and down these rocky Hills---through them as well via long Tunnels-----emerging to misty magical Views at Khandala/Lonavala!!!!
From here we drove on with the flat surface of the "Pathaar"or Hill top-----by now the Sun was out-----everywhere there were clumps of Trees------lush and green with dark cool shady spots beneath them------- contrasting sharply with the dried yellow Grass carpetting the rock strewn stark landscape. All of a sudden we'd pass beautiful blazing Red Gul Mohur,deep Purple Jacaranda orbright Yellow Laburnum Tree or Tress-----adding beautifully vibrant splashes of Colour.At some parts of the Highway there were creepers of Bougainvillae in magnificent hues of Hot Pink,Orange and Yellow frohing over the fences in waves----- interspersed with Oleander Trees bursting with creamy White and Deep Pink Flowers-----with the blazing hot molten Gold of Sunshine spilling over this picture----it reminded me of Van Gogh's Pictures of The Camargue------hot,vibrant and ALIVE!!!
As we drove further South the landscape changed into loamy black soiled Fields lush with different shades of Green------Mango Trees laden with unripe Green Mangoes----the tender Sugar Cane a different Green----the Banyan Trees sporting a different hue thanks to the Brown tinge imparted by it's waving Roots swinging around it----multi hued Green belts of Eucalyptus swaying in the Breeze------ranging from a darkGreen to the palest flush of this colour-----God's Pallette of Colours has astounded me again----and filled me with an even greater respect and awe of His Creation---He is the Ultimate Painter!!1
Shadow and Light continued to play hide-n-seek with each other as our route took us past rugged Hill Forts,steep Cliffs and deep Ravines----the Sky ranging from a deep Azure to a pale Cerulean Blue over us-----cloudy one moment and clear in the next!!!!
We reached the Hotel at 6p.m.----and Shyamkaka was there too greet us-----my umbilical pull is stilled for now-------I'm in a place where I still feel I belong-----not my home but still home!!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZANNACHAN 5/10/2010 10:19AM

    What a beautiful and loving description.... I also love your last line.. I hope you have a great visit!

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ANU_20 5/10/2010 2:44AM

    Wow!! ...u must be a poet or an artist! It was simply beautiful ... i live in Pune n was out on Mumbai highway just a couple of days ago ...so cud picturise everything u said ... n it couldn't have been said more beautifully!
Enjoy ur stay in ur hometown!

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SASKATIA 5/10/2010 1:27AM

  That sounds so cool!

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ATMANI 5/9/2010 9:25PM

    Mumbai, my hometown! Enjoy!

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RAJASHREE108 5/9/2010 9:28AM

    I loved your last line.. "not my home but still home"... punha ekda maanas yaatra zali.

Enjoy Kolhapur. My regards to your Mother.

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SRITHI97 5/9/2010 8:04AM

    Lovely! Beautiful Description. Have a wonderful trip.
emoticon vidya.

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MESSENE 5/9/2010 7:34AM

    emoticonWhat a wonderful trip! Enjoy! emoticon

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My Sari Sales

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

I'm addicted to Fabric---Bedlinen,Curtains,Saries,Clothes in general----all have me salivating and drooling over the Stuff.While buying Lotta's Trousseau a Bengali Sari vendor named Kamal was sent to me by Anutai,Milind's daughter Shilpa's mother-in-law.Now this lady and I both share our love for Fabric as a common bond.This Vendor would get exclusive stuff directly from Calcutta-----and so he came to us.
All his wares were simply beautiful---the fine Silk Muslin----so soft,supple and gauzy that one could readily believe that the entire Sari could pass through a ring!!!!The beautifully woven Baalucharis---the Dhaakai Jaamdanis----the hand embroidered Kaathas----even the Cottons were incredibly beautiful--both in Fabric and Pattern!!!He also introduced me to the various names of Bengali Silk---Malai Silk,Kattan Silk,Tussar----touching these was heaven---they had the texture of thick Cream----and were very light and supple as well.Since then he's a regular visitor to our home------and he knows exactly which Sari will have me drooling---none of my Saries bought from him have any duplicates---they're totally exclusive!!!
Seeing my fascination Sudhir decided to encourage me to hold a Sari Sale in the Breach Candy area of Mumbai---this has all the popular Art Galleries!!!So Kamal brought me a stock of 250 saries in various price Ranges and I began.Here I must mention my relationship with Arithmetic----my Addition and Subtraction rarely come to the right answer---Multiplication is my bane!!!!So armed with a Calculator I ventured forth----and had a good week-----I broke even after all the expenses---these included all those Saries I had liked---hence over priced to scare away possible Customers!!!
Flushed with the success I soon became a seasoned Saleslady---learning the ropes-----I became knowledgeable about the Thread Count of Cottons---reading the codes on the Saries written in Bengali-----which Fabric came from where-----and this made me nerdier than ever---Sayali would at times remind me to lecture less and concentrate more on the sales!!!!However the fact that I never pressured folks to buy and was always ready to chat added to the appeal of my stuff---and I continued having good Sales.This exposure was good for me---I need people to interact with------these Sales worked wonders for my confidence and self-esteem-----they gave the polish to handle different situations with greater poise!!!
As all good things this too came to an end---I joined Tupperware in 1997----and my focus shifted to collecting and selling this new Concept of storage!!!Today I need to will away my Tupperware too---but that's another story!!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MESSENE 5/7/2010 5:14AM

    emoticonLove your blog about Sari, I always wanted to buy one. emoticonMaybe someday. emoticonYour blog is emoticonas always! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ZANNACHAN 5/7/2010 12:06AM

    I don't blame you for loving saries--they are incredibly beautiful. I remember spending a glorious afternoon with another American friend and my Indian-American friend going through her family's saries--I wished I were Indian too, so that I could own such beautiful things! And it sounds like you had fun selling them, even if you didn't make much money doing it. Tupperware wouldn't be nearly as exciting, I'd think, though very practical (I don't have a lot of Tupperware, but I love the pieces that I have).

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*MADHU* 5/5/2010 12:54PM

    Another emoticonblog emoticon

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The Rainbow in my Closet

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Each week I have a date----with my Closets!!!Tedious but necessary----these contain my wonderful Treasure of different types of Fabrics---gathered from all over India---and very close to my heart---hence prized possessions!!!
My Steel cupboard contains my real hoard---beautiful Silk Saries from almost every corner of India.The East is represented in the Jewel coloured intricately hand embroidered Kathas, Dhakaai Jaamdaanis,Baalucharis,Assamese Mekhalas,Ikats and Bomkais-----Banarasi Silk ,Kashmiri Silk and Chinon represents the North,shimmering multi coloured Patolas,Chiffon Lehariyas represent the extreme West,delicately woven gauzy Chanderis,Kotaas and Maheshwaris are a symbol of Central India----commonly known as the "Dil" or Heart of India ,The handwoven Paithanis,Irkallis and the traditional "Garbhareshami Lugadis" from my native Maharashtra,and last but not least, the beautifully rich thick Silks of the South----Kanchipurams,Dharmavarams,Gadhwal
s and Pochampallis----all so very beautiful and rich----the wonderful feel of these Fabrics is enough to transport me to a different time and place!!!
Those days I wore only Saries----and just loved these beautiful six yards of Fabric----but what I loved most was the traditional Stuff!!!We used to have Fabric Exhibitions in Mumbai at the time----Pavilions used to be put up of different States----so it was a must visit place for me.Many trips would be made there to pick up beautiful Block printed,hand Embroidered,hand Woven Bed Linen,The beautiful Bomkai of Orissa,the intricately woven shimmering Banarasi------not to forget the delicate Lucknowi Chikans from Uttar Pradesh and the light as Air Kotaas----these would be made from superfine Cotton with a Gold Thread woven into them----very beautiful but so expensive!!!
I began collecting these---Traditional styles which were timeless---Temple borders,pure Siver Thread hand woven stuff---one at a time till today I have 2 Closets full of these and a heart full of Memories associated with them.I still have my beautiful wedding Banarasi "Shaalu"----fully woven with Silk and Gold Thread---still radiant like new!!!Seeing my obsession with these Sudhir suggested that I hold Exhibitions of these after Lotta's marriage.Bad idea---I'd fall in love with the stock and hand pick the ones I liked----then proceed to fix exorbitantly priced labels on them---ensuring that no one bought these----all the profit I made would be poured into buying these!!!!
My switching over to Salwar Kameezes brought me no relief from my avarice---I began collecting wonderful Pure Cotton Stuff----I cook in heavier material though I love buying those for the Girls----again intricaately hand embroidered Kathas,Chickans,hand woven Kotaas---Maheshwaris,Chanderis and Traditional Marathi "Khan" fabrics----these are my truly beloved and prized possessions----in June I've promised myself of drafting my Will---settling the score of my beloved Jewel Coloured Memories!!!!With the exception of my Wedding Sari the rest will be divided between my Girls equally----I'll leave home dressed in my "Shaalu" on my last journey!!!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RAGGARWALAX 5/5/2010 8:50AM

    Komal - you must post pictures of either your closet or of your beautiful sarees ..your blogs are always so descriptive!

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FREDDY1232 5/5/2010 1:30AM

    GOOD BLOG..THANK YOU FOR THE BEAUTIFUL VISIONS.

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ATMANI 5/4/2010 3:25PM

    You have named some saree names that are so tempting to add to my collection. Thanks. Perhaps you should take a picture of them all and post them to your blog.

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EACHDAYAGIFT 5/4/2010 1:59PM

    Have any pictures of yourself wearing these to post? I'm sure I'm not alone in wanting to drool over them!

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MESSENE 5/4/2010 8:12AM

    Wow! So beautiful! Just like wearing soft jewelry. emoticon

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*MADHU* 5/4/2010 5:10AM

    I would love to have a peek at your closet emoticon

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