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King Henry 8th. and Anne Boleyn

Monday, April 16, 2012

I am a History buff and since that was also the subject for my Masters I have a very deep interest in it.Besides being raised in the long shadow of the British Raj--even after India's Independence-----British History dominated our studies next to our own.The colourful chapter of King Henry the Eightth and his Six Wives---fascinated me immensely.As a student I read up as much of it as I could but the film "Anne of a Thousand Days" where Genevieve Bujold played Anne to Richard Burton's Henry was simply superb!!!Today I really have a conviction that Anne was innocent----for any woman who could bend the wilfull Henry to her demands wouldn't have let go of her position due to deceit and deception--and never adultery--for there was so much at stake for her!!However the scheming of the Seymours coupled with Henry's lecherous nature and the treachery of Anne's own enemies led to her downfall and execution.
Therefore I was very interested in visiting Hampton Court----the very place where this love story blossomed and endured till it finally culminated in marriage in 1533.Anne first came to Henry's notice in 1526--and very cleverly played him like a fish till he was completely hooked.She asked to be only"his Queen and not his Mistress" as her sister Mary had been earlier and though she gave in to his demands in late 1532 her immediate pregnancy forced him to marry her--to legitimise the baby for Henry was convinced that his male heir was finally on the way!!That the child born grew up to become The Virgin Queen Elizabeth the 1st. is another story!!!On Saturday,14th. April we visited this beautiful Palace.It was really very wonderful to walk along those very Rooms and passages that these two and Cardinal Wolsey--the original owner of this place--had trod on.Henry's Kitchens were immense in keeping with his huge appetite and number 55 chambers in all--along with a Cooking Staff of 200 people!!!These are really well lighted and airy and very well equipped with all the implements needed--in perfect working conditions!!The best part was when actors playing the parts of Henry and Ann walked among us----answering queries with great Wit and Repartee!!!
The magnificence of Hampton Court is unmistakable--built as it is in two parts.The Tudor part is where the huge Rooms of Henry are open to public---and the latter part built by Sir Christopher Wren in the Baroque style in accordance to the wishes of William the 3rd.(Of Orange) and his wife Mary the 2nd.These rooms really reflect the grandeur of their Court and the beautiful Furnishings,Furniture and some pieces of Plate do add to the complete allure of this fascinating place.The extremely beautiful Gardens and Flower Beds are really very eye pleasing--some of the vast areas just seeded with flowering Daffodils----stretched out under the beautifully tended Trees to create the effect of rolling Meadows.The manicured Trees in the Royal Gardens are trained into a conical shape---set beautifully in the manicured and lush Green Lawns!!We took a Tram ride of these in a Horse drawn Tram---and were shown the longest Herbaceous Border and the Hunting Grounds populated by Fallow Deer--the White ones descendents of the original Herds.
It was a beautiful and long day--where the tramping up and down myriad Staircases was very tiring--though the areas that these led me to were very exhiliarating to see and experience!!!We lunched in the Tiltyard--now a covered Dining area--once the place where Henry and his Nobles jousted!!!There is also the Privy Cafe near Henry's Kitchens--still serving some Tudor style Pies and Soups.The wonderful Lamb Stew that we had was very succulent and filled with a large number of Lamb chunks--and the Fried Fish was very fresh,crisp and just right!!!This was a day that Sudhir would have loved--given the sunny Day---good Food and a Train Journey that took us from London to Hampton Court.We passed the beautiful Countryside and saw the type of England we associated with our childhoods----
I missed him so badly that day that it was like a physical ache!!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NITAINMN 4/18/2012 10:14PM

    There are many historic fictions and I too like you having been brought up with convent education was hooked to the British history besides our own Indian Raja's. We watched The Tudors on Showtime which was superbly done! Then, there was a movie about Ann also by her name. There is a book by Jane Feather, amazingly well written you would like, on Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary(named, All the Queen's Players). If you like Mozart, I loved the book about his childhood called 'sister of Mozart' - amazingly well written! Even the movie about Amadeus was well made. Enjoy! emoticon

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ZANNACHAN 4/16/2012 4:00PM

    Oh I'm a bit envious that you got to go there! That sounds like an incredible experience. I'm part of an international living history organization called the SCA and my original persona was a Tudor-era Scot, and I did a lot of research on that period in both Scotland and England--still do, in fact, though my focus now is more 10-11th century Japan. I would have dearly loved being able to visit the home of King Henry and his wives.

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BOVEY63 4/16/2012 1:02PM

    How exciting for you to be able to visit there ~ sure brings history to life!

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SAASHA17 4/16/2012 8:56AM

    Wow I would love to visit that place...BTW if u like that part of history., u should read if u havent already- books by Philippa Gregory. she pretty much covers all the queens. I personally like the story of the Spanish queen who was supposed to be married to Henry's brother. It was quite a sweet story but sad too.


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A Way of Life!!

Friday, April 13, 2012

We Indians live by the Vedas----Hinduism is more a way of Life than a Religion.I grew up in the Punjab and was influenced very early by the Arya Samaj Philosophy of Swami Dayanand. Therefore for me the connection with The Almighty rests in communicating on a one is to one basis---and I'm not a frequent visitor to Temples.My home boasts of a lot of various Statues and Pictures of Lord Ganesha--the Elephant headed God---but believe it or not each and everyone of these 45-50 items was a gift--we never even bought a single one!!My Home Altar too is populated with beautifully carved Silver ,Copper and Bronze Idols set in the prescribed position of the No.5----one Deity to each corner and the main Deity in the centre---. seated on their White Marble plinths---but there is a tacit understanding between my Gods and me---I will perform Pooja only when I feel the urge to----never under any compulsion or duress!!!
I would call myself an extremely religious person--for me praying to The Almighty and telling my Rosary with the powerful ancient Incantations or "Mantras" is best way to unwind and helps me retain my equilibrium---it was this that has helped to give me the strength to face the Future with fortitude!!While earlier I would fast a lot as well as observe long periods of Vegetarianism---being Vegetarian for 7 months out of 12------my Diabetes and later my Chemo Treatment made it necessary for me to eat Eggs (whites only) regularly and that put an end to my Vegetarianism.Sudhir had a hard time convincing me to give up my way of life----trying everything from Logic to emotional Black Mail----and eventually the latter worked--for I couldn't stand it for days on end!!!However I stuck to 3 Fasts that I'd earlier perform only on Water as sustenance but later with Fruits and Milk in deference to Sudhir's wishes!!I also continued to observe Vegetarianism during the nine days of the "Navratris" of Goddess Durga in the Hindu month of "Ashwin" in October and our family Deity Goddess Shanta Durga in the Hindu month of "Maagh" in February.After Sayali moved to the USA in the year 2000 for her M.S. at R.I.T. Sudhir too joined me in eating Vegetarian for those periods---it would be ridiculous for me to cook two different Menus everyday was his reasoning!!!So twice a year we both ate "Sattvik" or pure Food--cooked simply and without Onions or Garlic--in the way prescribed by Ayurveda!!
I talk to The Almighty everyday--telling of my Fears earler--mainly about Sudhir.He was as strong as the proverbial horse and had absolutely no physical ailments--and looked much younger than his age.People would be shocked to know that he was 9 years my senior----and I took it as a compliment--for me looking after him was my life--he was my favourite Doll!!!My entire life revolved around him and his needs--getting him to eat healthy Meals in the latter years meant that he'd binge on the heavy Indian Sweets every night after dinner!!!Actually both of us loved Sweets--but because it stressed him out terribly I'd eat these only when the Sugar dropped--and then I'd "make Hay while the Sun shone" big time!!!Not that he trusted me---he'd count the pieces in the Tupperware Containers each day before he left for the Courts---and after he returned--just to verify that I'd not touched it!!!This was also his way of catching me--because not wanting to stress him I'd not tell him if my Sugar dropped while he was out---and this was the way he'd make me confess!!!!I too wisened up--and secreted a stash of my own to slurp on---because of the stress he took on regarding my health.2009 was an eventful year for us--I almost died in February during a very severe Heart Attack and later that year Sudhir caught Pneumonia in the USA!!!
The only time I bribed The Almighty was when Sudhir caught a very bad bout of Pneumonia in November 2009. Sudhir fell sick a day before our flight from New York---we'd visited the Girls in turn and were at Sayali's where he caught a bad cold.On the flight it worsened and he started running a fever--not too high but enough to alarm me--as those were the Swine Flu days!!!That was when I started pleading with The Almighty--just to get us home safely!!By the time we reached Mumbai he was much worse----because as usual he'd eaten very little on the Flight and due to the Temprature he'd begun to shiver despite his heavy tweed Coat!!!It is with God's Grace that we went through the motions of Immigration and Customs--finally coming into the Reception area to meet Ritu,my younger sister.By the time we reached home he was releved to be home at last but the fever worsened by morning--along with a racking cough being added to my woes!!Our DIL(our nephew Nikhil's wife) is a Doctor and she immediately put the wheels in motion-----the X-Rays revealing a Pneumonia patch on the Lung!!!Treatment began but Sudhir's cough took 10 days to come under control--10 nights that I spent turning my Rosary--and pleading for his getting completely well again!!As a bribe to "Swami Samarth" one of the Triumvirate of Divine Indian Saints I worship----in desperation I promised Him 101 large "Motichoor" Laddoos to help Sudhir combat this successfully.Sudhir already had a spare frame---and during this period he lost 4 kgs. more of his weight--and began looking gaunt and emaciated---this coupled with the weakness induced by the heavy medications made him a terror to live with for a few days!!!There would be a tussle to force Food down his throat---because he was nauseous and being a very nervous person he was a horrible patient to handle---stressed out due to the strain his illness was putting on my"poor" heart and his own nervousness about himself!!!The trips to see the Chest Specialist every alternate day to monitor his progress were a pain--for there would be a lot of sitting in the Waiting Room involved while waiting for our turn and then the rigmarole of his physical check up would really irritate him.However finally once the X-Rays showed an improvement the Doctor suggested a CT Scan to completely clear him.Sudhir insisted that I stay with him during the process--a great relief for me because I'd have gone mad waiting outside----and dressed in protective clothing with "Swami Samartha's" Name repeating like a Litany in my head I stood with him for the 30 minutes it took to finish the procedure.The very next evening the promised "Laddoos" reached the Swami's Matth (Ashram)---in heartfelt Thanksgiving!!! Since then I've constantly prayed for strength to face whatever the Future may hold for me and my prayers were granted when I needed it most--when Sudhir died unexpectedly last year!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NITAINMN 4/18/2012 10:34PM

    How interesting...never thought you were religious, Komal! I was not. No fasting for me having been a Sathya Sai Baba deovotee and He did not advocate fasting. Men can be the worst of patients and best of care givers, as I too see it first hand myself. Knowing this, God took care of us, with disease that is difficult to manage and healthy hubbies that love to care for us! You are right, Sudhir looked very young....just like my hubby, who is 12 1/2 years older than myself. I too pray for three major blessings....that God recieve me at the time of my final moment, to keep me sumangali till the end and to give me the courage to face all that I have to. emoticon

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ZANNACHAN 4/16/2012 4:08PM

    This makes a lot of sense to me. I mean, a lot of the details of our faiths are very different, but the concept of a personal relationship with God (or Gods) speaks to me. I grew up going to church regularly--a very structured religious upbringing--but as an adult I have adopted a personal, informal approach instead. As you said--practice from the heart, not out of obligation or duress!

If you don't mind my asking, what does your rosary look like? I am fascinated with different culture's prayer beads, and have both Christian and Buddhist ones of my own that I use for prayer and meditation (I'm not exactly Buddhist, but there is a lot of it's philosophy that speaks to me).

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BOVEY63 4/13/2012 12:55PM

    There is answer in prayer.

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Our Daughter Sayali

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sudhir and I have been very blessed in our daughters--both Lotta and Sayali.Today however I'm going to focus only on Sayali for Lotta's turn will come later---after the 24th. of April!!Nita's comment on my Blog about having a very loving and caring daughter---is absolutely true about Sayali!!!Today she still treats me exactly in the same way that she did when Sudhir was alive---only the balance has shifted a bit.Then we were the parents and she our protected and cherished child.Today she treats me like a protected and cherished child in the manner in which she looks after me and my needs---providing me with a strong mental support whenever I need it.It pains me to see her becoming an adult like this---her father's death has finally made her more aware of her responsibilities in Life-----and today there is a certain gravity in her towards many things---foreign to her nature--which wasn't there 6 months back!!Since babyhood she has been attached very deeply to Sudhir----and his death shattered her badly.It had been her habit since early School days to give Sudhir a daily report of her day----omitting nothing----as Sudhir used to say it included every comma and full stop of her day!!!These Report Sessions continued unbroken into adulthood---and she'd call every evening--our time in India---to bring Sudhir up to date with her life.
This would be around 6 p.m. India time--when I'd be down in the Compound with my Friends and Sudhir would be at home alone.Most of the time he'd be at his Computer working or dictating via his Dragon Dictation Program which he'd got so accustomed to his voice that there'd be minimal mistakes in copying whatever he dictated---including Indian names!!Sudhir would listen intently at the time but would forget most of it---so Sayali'd call up everyday in the afternoon--around 2 p.m. India time to bring me up to date with all the facts she'd shared with Sudhir earlier the previous day.This was their own special time and if due to certain constraints Sayali couldn't call Sudhir would get restless and edgy---and most often would call her Cell--leaving annoyed and piqued Voice Mails on it!!!
It was during these talks that he confided in her about wanting to take me to various places--in Britain as well as in Europe-----because of the History attached to them.Very early in our marriage I'd expressed a wish to visit Turkey and Greece----both the "Iliad" by Homer and the Ottoman Empire fired my imagination greatly!!Also the geographical division of Asia and Europe by the Bosphorus flowing exactly in the middle of ancient Constantinople and present day Istanbul added to the allure of Turkey as did the Topkapi Palace and the Santa Sophia Dome---the perfect proportions of the latter making it appear like it was "hanging from the Heavens by an invisible Thread!"!!!Europe as a whole has always fascinated me and my idea of the various Sights I'd like to visit would never fit any Vacation or any existing Tour Itinerary by any Tour Company.Besides according to me the Sights have to be enjoyed and lingered over---not rushed through at breakneck speed!!!Besides this there was another---very real problem.Thanks to my enormous number of Medications(I take 20 pills each day as well as 2 different types of Insulin thrice a day) would make it a very difficult and harrowing passage each time we'd need to pass Customs---explaining my Health problems and displaying my Prescriptions do not always work in these suspicious times------for I need to carry a large stock of Insulin--any liquid is viewed with trepidation and distrust--specially in Europe!!
It was definitely easier to take a tour of Scotland--particularly Loch Ness and Edinburgh Castle and visiting the Castles in Wales too were places I wanted to visit as well.These and other parts of Britain were what I really wanted to focus on because since Sayali lived in London she could work out the basics of the various Trips to different Destinations in the U.K. itself.Sudhir had confided in her and also asked her to make enquiries to that effect when he spoke to her barely two hours before he died!!!Today Sayali is fulfilling all those things that her father wanted to do for me---of her own volition just because it will gladden his heart to see me have a great trip!!!Not just that she is gradually pushing me towards self reliance and a mental confidence in my own ability to cope with any and every situation I may need to face on my own at home in India.Physically too she's encouraging me to take on more outdoor and strenous activities like climbing up and down the Staircases in the castles that we visited.In Cardiff Castle alone I climbed up and down 90 steps--as well as a further 50-60 steep stone stairs leading to the top of the ruins of the Stone Keep in the compound!!!Caerphilly and Chepstowe too I climbed up but it was the steep,narrow and uneven Stairwells of Chepstowe that could have been my Nemesis---for in my over confidence I reached an impossibly steep part of the Stairs to climb down---and it was Sayali who brought me down to ground with a very cool head--otherwise I'd still have been stuck out there!!!
Today Sayali's proved to me once again what I've always known-----that Sudhir and I were blessed with a very loving daughter on the day that Sayali was born!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RAIN454 4/17/2012 6:17PM

    Im so late..as always these days...i love your stories but this one really touched me. Im so close to my parents. Im "daddy's little girl" and he treats me like a queen and my mom and I are very close. Even to this day, there are moments when I climb into her bed and have a good talk about random things and I cherish every bit of it...the relationship between each parent and child is unique and precious. I see, through your beautiful words, how special yours and Sudhirs are/were with each of your beautiful daughters. As much as you feel blessed to have Sayali in your life, trust me...she is writing her own "mental" blog abt how lucky she is to have you.

Comment edited on: 4/17/2012 6:17:48 PM

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    That's what daughters are for. To love and cherish their parents.
I've spent my adult life doing exactly that with much joy!
You are blessed, my friend!

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NITAINMN 4/12/2012 6:21PM

    Thank you for these thoughts that you shared with us. This reminds me of my own parents and our own two daughtes that God has blessed us with, in similar way as you, Komal! When my Mother passed away, my siblings became more aware of my Father's needs without him asking ( he was a true saint, refusing to be pampered and wanting to continue to lead a simple living with high thinking - motto of his life). Even I brought him to the USA as a change of scenery in his seventies for 9 months as per mother's wish before she passed away! I know my children would be extra good to my hubby when I am gone....Yes! we all hope for this and in my case, I feel definite since I am on borrowed time - should have been gone 7 years ago, as per my physicians in NYC. He he he!


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TRANSFORM_IN_12 4/12/2012 3:22PM

    It is so beautiful that your husband was thinking about you only 2 hours before he left this world and that your daughter was so close to him that she understood his wishes and that she is so kind and loving to love you so much to make his dreams and yours come to reality. The story about the stairs was also so inspiring. You are getting so strong!

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BOVEY63 4/12/2012 12:07PM

    What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful daughter!

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ZANNACHAN 4/12/2012 10:56AM

    I agree with Saasha... reading your blog makes me want to call my own parents up and give them a "hug" over the phone....

I'm glad that you have had this chance for this visit with your daughter! And I bet she's happy that she had the chance to help you have the trip her father wanted you to have. And I'm really glad that you're enjoying Scotland. My husband and I went there for our honeymoon and I have lots of really good memories from that trip.

I can sympathize on traveling with medications! We don't have insulin (thankfully, LOL), but when we went on the cruise a couple of years ago I had an entire carry on that was pretty much nothing but medications. Everything had to be in it's original bottles, including over the counter medications like Aspirin, and anything that was a prescription medication also had to have the prescription (my inhaler and husband's epi-pen the prescription isn't on the inhaler/injection unit, but on the box they came in). I was just grateful that none of my medications are restricted drugs or anything like that, but I know people who had trouble flying with epi-pens in particular. Thankfully, we didn't have any problems, other than the sheer bulk.

I haven't been getting notifications of your new blogs! *sob* So I'm really far behind. I finally went looking because I knew it was unlike you to go so long without posting; I figured even in the UK you would have posted something by now! So I've gotten really far behind on your blogs but from what I've read so far you've had a pretty good trip (and I *loved* the pictures of the castles!)

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SAASHA17 4/12/2012 9:27AM

    Dont ask me why but this blog made me cry..the other day I was thinking of the situation where I lose one of them...and I dont know how I will take it..I am like that with mom AND dad...And I completely get what Sayali does...We have been given so much by our parents, we dont hesitate to give back..I agree on the taking care part...my parents showed me so much and exposed me to so much out there, I feel like giving back. I cant wait for them to come, so we can take mini vacations and go visit places....:) Maybe even plan a Europe trip with them:)

u take care and have fun

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Castles Chepstowe and Cardiff

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Ancient Main Doors of Chepstowe Castle--over 800 years old!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

XXMILAXX 4/11/2012 4:19AM

    WOw, that's pretty amazing!

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NITAINMN 4/10/2012 4:12PM


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BOVEY63 4/10/2012 12:43PM

    My son and I watched a television show on the top 10 castles in England last weekend and it was so interesting. That you are able to tour these amazing old buildings is wonderful!

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Pictures of Castle Coche and Caerphilly Castle

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Castle Coche

The Caerphilly Castle Pictures

The Room beside the Spiral Staircase leading to the Great Hall

Unfortunately most of the more detailed Pictures of these Castles are not being loaded because of their size--they happen to be too large to be properly downsized!!!That's a real pity--for those are the pictures that show the really lofty dimensions of the enclosed Great Halls--both on the Ground and the First Floors---as well as the beautiful wooden beamed Ceilings--relics of the Past!!!
The Great Hall on the First Floor of the Castle

The Great Hall on the First Floor--Another View

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Wonderful! Thanks.

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BOVEY63 4/10/2012 12:41PM


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SAASHA17 4/10/2012 8:15AM

    wow...beautiful. Its on my hitlist:)

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FERRETLOVER1 4/10/2012 7:11AM

    Wow - I love castles - thanks for sharing!

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