Pen Pals.

pen_pal_clubPerhaps that should read as “Because two computers are better than one.”
The internet has made it possible for us to have more pen pals than one would have thought possible when pen pals were all the rage. I had one brush with that phenomenon.

I was all of 13 years old when my cousin Mangala who was the librarian at the United States Information Service Library in Madras put me in touch with a young lad of the same age from the USA named Johny Horrigan Jr.  The USIS had a program to encourage such exchanges and Johny and I exchanged a few letters and photographs taken with our box cameras, during the next two years and both simply tapered off due to other preoccupations.  We had Boy Scouts as the only common interest and there was the  dampener that I did not have a clue about base ball and he about cricket!

After that great experience, all my penning was to people I knew and I was an inveterate writer of letters.  I wrote to my friends, cousins, mother and a few times to the editor of the local news papers too.  But I never got back to making pen pals till the advent of the internet.

I don’t know if I can call my internet friends who I have not met face to face as pen pals but it makes sense to me to.  I don’t put a pen to paper to write to them, but type on a key board I do to correspond with them through emails, facebook, blog posts and comments; and now with the world becoming smaller on skype, whatsap, sms and so on too.

If I am allowed to include my internet friends, then my list of pen pals would run into a very large number and one of these days, I shall sit down and count and give this post an update.  In the meanwhile, I am glad that I have them in my life and I hope that they are happy that I am in their life too.

I hope that you enjoyed reading this post on the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where six of us write on the same topic. Today’s topic was chosen by yours truly. The five other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, gaelikaa, Maxi, Paul, Shackman, and The Old Fossil. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, do give some allowance for that too!

The Break Up.

No, I have not broken up with any one.  I don’t have a significant other to break up with or from.  That is an interesting observation.  Is it break up with or break up from?  Since I can always escape saying that I am an indian, I leave it to the pundits who read this to decide and inform me.

The break up

For some strange reason, two completely different and also disparate people thought that I would like to see this film. Having seen it, I still cannot figure out why they thought so.

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
~ Leo Tolstoy.
And that is the message that this film conveys. The woman wants the man to change and the man wants the woman to change and change both do, but by the time that they do, it is too late.

I enjoyed watching Jennifer Aniston of ‘Friends’ in a movie role. I did not even know that she acts in movies but she did carry herself off well in the role.

Vince Vaughn plays his role with aplomb as he normally does.  In my opinion, this role underutilises his talent. Remember his role in The Jurassic Park?

The end came as a huge surprise and was very well handled by the director.

One rather odd feature of the film is that there are not many scenes where you can see both Vaughn and Aniston together or close to each other.  I wonder if this is due to the former being so much taller than she is!

Another feature of the film is that there is no scene like what is shown on the posters!

A pleasant way to pass an evening if nothing better is available.  Since there is nothing extraordinary about this film I will give it a [rating=4] .

13th Day Ceremony.

In a clear sign of advancing senility, I clean forgot about some photographs that I had taken on the 20th of last month when I had gone to attend the 13th day ceremonies following the death of my cousin at Thane.

The practice in my community is that we mourn for 12 days and finally bid the soul goodbye on the 13th day with a homam performed at home. A Homam is a ritual where offerings are made into a sacred fire. The root word of the Homam is ‘ha’ which means ‘offering’ or ‘sacrifice’ in Sanskrit. In northern regions of India it is called havan and in southern India it is called homam, but the meaning and the procedure is same everywhere. Homam is performed in almost every significant event or ceremony of a Hindu household life. It is an important religious and spiritual practice among Hindus. There are different kinds of homam depending on the purpose and the presiding deity of the homam.

Agnidev or Fire God is the deity in this particular ceremony. Herbs, twigs, fruits, grains and ghee are offered into fire chanting appropriate mantras. The smoke that comes out of the fire is spread far and wide. This purifies the atmosphere. At the end everyone circumambulates the fire and offer obeisance. The dust of burnt ashes is applied on the forehead.

My nephew Jaisundar and niece Meena were great caregivers for their mother Devi during her last days and they sent her off from her mortal coils also with great care and attention to detail. My cousin, that is the brother of the departed Devi and his wife Vijaya had come from Chennai and the occasion gave me the opportunity to catch up with them too. There were five Shastrigals (Tamil Brahmin Priests trained in all Hindu rituals and the Vedas) who performed the rituals very well. At the end of the ceremony, one very erudite priest explained the significance of the ceremony in English to us modern Tambrams who did not have a clue.
Feast 2

The homam was followed by a fantastic traditional Tambram meal served on plantain leaves and it was with great reluctance that I left Thane to return to Pune.

Two photographs are shown below.
with agni

sundar and meena

The top one is rather hazy because of the smoke that is sine qua non for this ceremony. The lower one shows Sundar and Meena participating in the rites. My regular readers will remember Meena the Lion Lady.