Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Visting Chennai for Abhi's Upanayanam

The preparation to visit Chennai for Abhi's Upanayanam began as early as a month before in order to beat the Deepavali holiday crowd. Reservations were made well in advance to ensure that all of us had a good travel to Chennai and back.

Amma and Jyothi Aunty left early on the 15th of Oct. Gopinath Uncle pulled along Soujanya, Pooja and Anna on the Shatabdi Express on the 19th of Oct. Kiran, Anu, Naveen, Sowmya, Dwarakanath Uncle, Geetha Aunty and myself took the Night train on the 20th of Oct.

Chennai this time, greeted with moderate heat and sultriness giving us all a lot of comfort. Delicate 'Bangaloreans' that we are, it was still hard for us to bear the humidity of the place.

We went straight to Paddu Aunty's house at Tambaram and got ready to hit the choultry after a quick bath. As expected, Abhi's Upanayanam had gotten over by 5:30 in the AM, so there was nothing much to be done at the Choultry, but to find a suitable location where air was in abundant supply. So we all found that beautiful spot somewhere on the 2nd floor and let ourselves loose to dissipate some heat.

While the most of the male tribe was horizontal, a few of the unlucky ones thought of a brilliant plan to have have lunch early and visit a few places before a few of us left back for Bangalore. Using all the networking skills of Naveena, we quickly arranged for a AC Tempo Traveller and in the mean time finalized the quick trip plan to cover Ashtalakshmi Temple @ Besant Nagar and the Marina Beach.

In the middle of things, we caught Abhi, Balaji Uncle and Paddu Aunty straying from their home range of the first floor and managed to take a few group snaps for posterity.

During the lunch hour, we witnessed the 'Post-Upanayananam' rituals of Abhi. The food was served and must say that it was Umm-mazing! By 3 PM, we had taken a small nap and all set to leave for the trip. So we packed our bags (well, we never unpacked in the first case!) and up we got loaded into the AC environs of the Tempo Traveller. We bade good-byes to Paddu Aunty, Balaji Uncle and Abhi and hit the road for the Ashtalakshmi temple.

We spent an hour or so at the Besant Nagar beach. The sun was shining hard, but the beach was pleasantly less populated, so out came the cameras for a whole lot of pictures. The setting was just perfect and all the pairs in the team wanted to be in front of the camera for once. Pooja had a whale of a time playing with the waves. The difficult part came when we had to pull her out of the beach to move on to the Ashtalakshmi Temple which is right on the shoreline.

The temple was neat, well maintained and visiting the 8 different Lakshmis was a breeze. There was no huge rush and we got ample time to go around the temple and spend some time there.

Once we came out of the temple, the male bastion latched onto a street-side bhelpuri-wallah and later the ladies joined the club. In my frank-est assessment, we made the Bhelpuri-wallah richer than the 'Ashtalakshmi' standing for eternity, inside the temple. Well, the Lakshmi is any ways the goddess of money, so she wont need it as much as the Bhelpuri-wallah!

We got back into our cab and next we left for the Marina Beach. The sun was almost going down and so we quickly took a few more snaps. A few "Shundals" later (Chennai's most renowned Beach-grub), we sat down on the off-white sands of the Marina, on a moon-less evening, surrounded by thousands of other visitors sitting bumper to bumper and watched the waves lash the beach.

Kiran, (Soujanya's maternal cousin), who has started working in Chennai a few weeks back, met us while we were leaving the beach. We pulled him along for a dinner with us. Later in the night, we had a sumptuous dinner at one of hotels near the Railway station.

We bade good-byes to Amma, Jyothi Aunty, Gopinath Uncle and Kiran (Souji's cousin) who would stay back at Chennai for a some more days and the rest of us (Anna, Soujanya, Pooja, Kiran, Naveen, Dwarakanath Uncle and Geetha Aunty) jumped into the train in our designated coaches on returned back to "Namma Bangalore" after a beautiful day @ Chennai.

Here are some photographs and videos that we took during our visit to Chennai.
Abhi's Upanayanam and Trip to Chennai

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Deepavali of 2009

Ah! The festival of those wonderful lights, bursting crackers, meeting people and the wonderful food during the 3 day extravaganza! None of the festivals in the Hindu calendar can beat this one, at least for me.

17th Oct, 2009, was the "Naraka-chaturdashi" day.

This year, Amma had to leave to Chennai for Abhi's Upanayanam ('Cross-Thread ceremony' for those who don't understand our rituals ;-) ). So her absence was definitely felt during the festivity all through.

So Soujanya, Pooja and myself along with Anna, got up early on the 17th for the "Enne Shastra". ("Enne" as in "Oil" not "Alchohol", you perverts ;-) ). For the first time though, Pooja did the Aarthi to all of us. Brand new clothes bought the previous day was waiting for us and we wore them all, looking bright and cheerful for the rest of the day.

Our in-laws had invited us over for lunch along with a whole bunch of fun loving family members including Souji's Chikamma, Chikappa, Kiran, Lavanya, Harish, Sanjana and Soujanya's eldest uncle from Hyderabad.

Delicious food after noon was followed by huge discussions on every single topic under the sun and kept us awake for the rest of the afternoon. All of us then migrated to our house in Hanumanthanagar for the simulated war-zone experience "Deepavali@Vinayadeep" session, which lived up to it's name for the rest of the evening. Every kid on the block was making sure that there was more cracker papers for the next day morning sweeper to clean.

Souji and Pooja decorated the house compound with neat looking "Deepa" (Diyas). Our home looked so beautiful with all of these lights. It was definitely a pretty sight.

Nisha, Deepu and Asha too joined us for bursting a whole lot of night crackers ranging from just ordinary to the ultimate fancy ones. From the hissing snake to the Swastik ground chakras to the whistling crackers to the North Indian imported "Anaar", one after another, the marathon session continued non-stop for 2 hours. Pooja loved the night crackers and wanted more! So did the young at heart.

The most hilarious one was a cracker which looked like a "Post card". It was marked - "To NaraGasura", "Address: Hell". Costing 50 bucks, this was such a hopeless let-off after realizing that it was a rip-off.

Overall, the day went pretty well and all of us had a great time together.

Here are a few photos and videos that we clicked during the event.
Deepavali 2009

Photos from Deepavali of 2008

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