Monday, June 27, 2016

Father's day -a daughter's gratitude

I saw a thought-provoking post  on Facebook on father's day of 2016. This lady thanked her dad saying,
"My mom taught me to be a lady.
My dad taught me to take shit from no-one.
Daddy won".

This is such a fantastic message...especially from a female brought up in the east! Growing up in India of the 60s, and 70s  (even today, things have not changed much), girls were told repeatedly by their 'elders' such as parents, grand-parents, uncles and aunts and even teachers and society in general that girls and women ought to 'obey'; girls and women have to 'tolerate', be 'quiet and put up with whatever is said or done by others especially 'elders', 'parents', 'husbands', 'in-laws' , women have to 'be HUMBLE' and so on. Even the movies and TV serials extolled the women who silently put up with verbal and physical abuse of their 'step-mothers' or 'husbands' and 'in-laws' such as mother in law, sister in law, brother in law, etc. without protest!

There were also messages from society stating either clearly or in a subtle unspoken manner that  a person  from a lower caste,  should meekly submit to whatever 'shitty treatment' he is subjected to by people of higher castes without  protest! Meek submission was the 'praiseworthy' normal behaviour expected in women, children, lower castes and so on in India.

Even today, a female or a lower caste person(especially in villages) standing up for their rights is labelled as  a 'problem behaviour'!

I really admire this dad who brought up his daughter teaching her not to take shit from anyone! We need more such dads in India!

My own family unfortunately always told the females that they should be 'humble', 'tolerant', 'not give back-answers',   'not show off', and so on. My grandmother would repeatedly tell me the stories of women in mythology who were ill-treated by their husbands or in -laws but they put up with it without protest and that these women they are the  'saintly' role models to be emulated by ME!

To fight these beliefs and change is such a challenging task for me and other women who grew up with these messages  drilled into our heads since childhood.  Even to this day, I hesitate to stand up for myself especially if I am having a difference of opinion with an elderly person. I often give in, 'out of respect'. I expect others to do the same and arguments ensue again as the current generation have been brought up with different values.  I have to make a conscious effort to remember that standing up for myself and not taking shit from others is my fundamental right...If I don't make this effort, I forget and the old values instilled in my childhood take over!

Sunday, June 26, 2016


The World famous Hampe ruins in Karnataka in India are worth a visit to everyone . It is a small village at present but  was the rich capital of  the powerful King Krishnadevaraya about 500 odd years ago. Visitors from the east(China) and the west who came to Krishnadevaraya's court have praised his rule, the immense wealth of his kingdom and the beautiful temples.

 KALYANI in Hampe.

 The above two photos are supposedly the immobile stone plates on which food was served! I cannot believe this (how did they clean the plates? ) Also I believe the king and his court would eat off gold or silver plates. The Indian concept of hygiene called 'madi-'mai-le-ge' in Kannada would have made the people of the court eat off banana leaves, which are 'use-and-throw' i.e. used only once and so are considered clean. The King himself would have eaten off silver or gold plates I think. So who ate off these...the common man? 
Hampe is surrounded by granite boulders and hills covered with these rocks.

 The above is another much larger Kalyani with a gopura in the middle of it.

 The above is an immense stone tub---probably a single granite rock whose centre was excavated manually, hundreds of years ago when there was no technology! Below too is another such stone container

 Above is the world famous stone chariot!

Imagine the inguenity of the engineers of those days who designed the stone roof/carved ceiling and the pillars to support them!

 I don't want to sound racist but the sight of the broken trunk of this beautifully carved elephant makes me furious with the Muslim invaders of India! Muslims strongly oppose idol worship and they destroyed millions of carvings all over India. To carve this elephant would have taken immense effort, time, skills and to destroy it is but the work of a minute. Did the guys destroying this stone elephant feel a single moment of shame, remorse of guilt? Did they think even for a minute before raising their hammer to strike? Which God demands that you invade someone else's country, destroy artwork in that country which is  beautiful, created with so much effort and does not even belong to you?
The European invaders were slightly better....they too destroyed but not as much. (They destroyed  parts of the sun temple in the north)They took away many beautiful and rich idols(idols made of gold and covered with precious stones such as diamonds, emeralds and rubies) In Srilanka for example there is a huge statue of Buddha which the British tried to transport but abandoned the wonderful statue half-way as it was too heavy! They didn't have the decency to put it back...and it also was broken in their attempt to lug it...imagine their utter callousness toward what is holy and sacred to the people of Sri Lanka!

To those who don't know, the above is the child Krishna, eating butter as it is being churned from buttermilk by the lady

 Observe the variety of styles for the layer upon layer of stones. This is about 6 feet high and runs for several meters all round the temple

 I took photo of the above to show that several temples are empty i.e. their idols are missing. They may be stolen or destroyed...either by the Muslim invaders or robbers who stole them and sold them to antique dealers. Stone Idols belonging to temples were beautifully carved and metal idols were made of gold and adorned with a variety of precious stones, gold & silver in the past.
 I strongly believe that the engineers who designed these 500 year old temples and buildings ...were more skilled than the engineers of today! Today's buildings, bridges, and roads collapse within decade or less ...thanks to shoddy designs and construction! Above is a close-up of a stone pillar supporting a heavy stone roof!

The above photos are muslim architectural style---later muslim rulers buildings. The above is the place where elephants were housed. 

 Hampe village is by the Tunga river and surrounded by lots of granite rocks and mountains. It is fertile land with lots of agriculture around it. (But terribly hot in summer! If you are thinking of visiting, make sure you go at the right time of the year)

 This photo above is of an empty structure by the river! Not many go here. It is a lovely place to be in to meditate!

 I was fascinated by these carvings on the rocks we were walking on by the river! There seemed to be lots of Linga carvings, done randomly on the rocks we were walking on, all over the place!

 These are probably Jain temples near the main temple in Hampe. NOT Hindu and probably built after the collapse of Krishnadevaraya's empire...but don't quote me! I am not 100% sure
These temples are empty meaning the idols are all missing. Unfortunately they are so ill maintained and I blame the bloody humans who have the shamelessness to defecate in them!
Above is the chief temple at Hampe i.e. the Virupaksha temple. It is in active use unlike the other temples which are in ruins.

Above is a sculpture related to sex. I always wonder why is there sex themed sculptures in Hindu temples!

Above is a gigantic Linga in the middle of a water filled room/temple

This is a world famous gigantic sculpture of Narashima, one of the avatars of Lord Vishnu. When the alien invaders could not destroy this sculpture, they gathered firewood and tried to set it on fire to break it!

I think this was the famous market place in time of Krishnadevaraya where vendors sold diamonds and rubies and other precious they were selling vegetables! This I can believe as the famous Golconda mines and ruby deposits were in south India. As recently as 2001, I had come across in Udaipur city in Rajasthan, a shop where the shop-keeper had kept a whole lot of medium and large size semi precious stones such as Malachite, garnets and so on, in a 'bandli' (large iron pan) on a chair just outside his shop! Any passerby or an interested shopper could examine them. This was a time when there were no cc tv and other such security measures! All the shop-keeper relied on was his shrewdness and the belief that most people don't steal!

Each temple has hundreds of these pillars...There were several such temples in the area. And each pillar has several carvings. The amount of carvings on this tough granite stone is a-m-a-z-i-n-g!

Maybe circus and acrobatics originated here !

the above few photos are statues in a museum near Hampe

A snake charmer, his 'pungi' or pipe(musical pipe) and his probably 'Defanged' cobras....for the tourists! This was at Hampe, just outside the functioning temple

The above is a temple, on a hill a little bit away from the main Virupaksha temple in Hampe. It is quite a climb to reach there (or it seemed 'quite-a-climb' for me as I am not really physically fit and tire easily!

Above are idols carved of soapstone(much softer than granite and so easier to carve) sold by a lady(her husband carves them) in Hampe

Above is an elephant and a snake, worshipping Lord Shiva in the Linga form

This is part of the concrete structure called Gopura on top of the temple. Even though the temple is of stone, the Gopura is of mortar(whatever constituted mortar in those days... before cement)

The above is huge, beautifully carved and inside the temple

amazing carved stone ceiling of the temple

Three mendicants....all are married, have kids, who are studying....and hopefully, not follow their dad's footsteps ...professionally! I have nothing against this profession but it is not for today's world...
I simply loved the above carving! This Nandi has been carved on a rock in the river. I keep speculating why was this rock carved. Did the sculptor want to transfer the rock after carving? Was this rock meant to be left in the river after being carved? Was a student-sculptor asked to practice carving here first and be given proper  jobs after he improves ? Did the people of those days want a Nandi carved here so that they could pray in the river?
I found several such carved rocks in the river where no one goes to worship. Only tourists seem interested in them!

This is a Theppa and used to ferry people across the river!
An ancient bridge in ruins

Above and below are 'teru' i.e. chariot used to carry the deities of the temple in procession on certain festival days. This was in a temple, outside Hampe in a different village.

A palaquin used to carry Idols. Also used to carry Kings, queens great saints, and so on in the olden days by Palquin bearers.

Village women washing clothes in the Tunga river at Hampe

The above carving was on a rock by the river...very few people see this...only those who venture in the path leading to this in the river discover this. There are no signs or any indications for the carvings in the river. Only those who choose to explore and venture out into the river and try to climb the rocks in the river may see these!

Last walk at Sunnybrook park by the stables

Last walk because I can't take the mosquitoes.  I found this tree unusual... I dont know what these red berries are but th...