Vani’s Musings

Archive for the ‘Events and Celebrations’ Category

Hi People,

It’s been ages since I wrote anything here, what with a bout of seasonal illness and the consequential extra work at office……………

We celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi today on a moderate scale, partly because we are not in our permanent residence and partly because a very close relative is in hospital.

After the feast in the afternoon, I was browsing, and stumbled upon this beautiful explanation regarding Ganesha.

Here it is for all of you, courtesy Ganeshutsav.org.

 

May the good Lord shower all his grace on all of us for the coming year. Hope you all had a wonderful festival too.

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Bhojyeshu Maatha 

Karaneshu Manthri 

Kaaryeshu Daasi 

Roopena Lakshmi 

Kshamaya Dharithri

  

Saluting the Many facets of womanhood. Thanks for all the wishes from fellow bloggers. Wish every woman a very happy Woman’s Day.

By Usha B R

River Arkavathi’s Banks containing white sand would be smeared with guLal and other colors…. …. Yes it was Holi, a holy day and a holiday for my school too.

Holi is a weeklong festival in our hometown. I really do not know how holi became such a grand festival celebrated in our small town. I am talking about the celebrations existed about 20 years back It is still fresh in my mind.

In January as soon as Sankranthi and YeLLu Bella distributions were through, natives of the town would start collecting the firewood and other wood articles and hide in their backyards. Does it sound funny? Yes, I am sure it does, but they had to do so to safeguard their articles…. As Holi was near…

Holi called as Kamana Habba in Karnataka, also called as HoLiya huNNime in some places. I am reminded of a very famous song sung by P KaLinga Rao:
“HoLiya huNNime bandhidhe..idhu bannada kaNNanu tandidhe… JeekuLi OkuLi bandidhe… idhu gokulada savinenapu tandidhe”.

Kamana habba would be celebrated in two phases .A gang of children and teens that are called Kamannana MakkaLu…KamaNNa’s children, would team up a week or fortnight earlier to study the town’s backyards and storage places of the houses where they would get abundant firewood. By the way this gang used to be headed by the enterprising and smart teenager and who would have entire data of the town and this team always used to work secretly and nobody knew how they would collect info.

Their khoofia operations would then attack the collections …. Be it clothes left in the back yard or the firewood .. they used to shout slogans (Kamannana MakkaLu…kaLLa soole MakkaLu.. enenu kaddaru.. soudhe samanu kaddaru… yellindha kaddaru… they would name the house where they flicked it from ) go on a procession after they flicked the articles from each house and deposit them in the place allocated for the fireworks.

All the girls would compete with each other for writing rangoli intrinsic geometric designs of India used for decorations in the front yard of the house or festivities. Rangoli would be drawn at the location after cleaning up the whole place… I used to be amazed with the amount of co-operation everyone shows at this time to decorate the place. These preparations would begin from late afternoon and thee fireworks location would be ready by evening.

Then the procession of boys disguised as “KamaNNa” and his wife “Rathi” would begin asking for help from each house and inviting them to participate for the events … Here my pen fails to express the kind of creativity of humor those boys used to display while talking to people of each house.

I remember one year, the “KamaNNa” and his wife “Rathi” set of in a scooter to meet everyone.. it was hilarious his story that year. He had married her recently , his father in law had gifted him a scooter as dowry. She had since become very demanding and that he is fed up with her torture and that all have to help him to get rid of her and get him a new wife whom he’s already selected.

At this, KamaNNa’s wife “Rathi” started crying and pleading all women to help her save her marriage and if he betrayed her she would ask Shiva to burn him 🙂 etc.

Disguises used to be marvelous and it used to be like a suspense thriller to guess the “Rathi”.

By night all would come back to the location of fireworks, KamaNNa’s pyre would be ready by then. After pooja performed by the priest “KamaNNa” and “his wife” Rathi” would go round the pyre and also chase each other, then the priest would go to rescue them.

They would end up trying to push the priest into the fire 🙂 and he would run for his life.

After these funny incidents, the priest would perform aarathi and once the priest was carried after mangaLarthi before lighting the pyre by one of the boy.

It was fun.

Once the pyre was lit, everyone clapped, danced and went round the fire and later the charpu was distributed. All of the youngsters that day would get to stay up late in the night near the fireworks ,we would continue fun watching hilarious performances and exchange instances which were amazing that day.

Next day, buckets would be filled with water and color ready in each house and kept in the front yard and the gang of Kamannana MakkaLu use to set out in the morning to play in colors and each house were supposed to participate.

Everyone splashed colors, water and dance the whole day in this town and this period the newly weds of the town would be the main targets and the butt of practical jokes; and that house had to supply Juice and fresh eatables to the gang as treat. By the late afternoon all used to assemble near Arkavathi’s banks to wash of their colors and return home …to get ready for the evening celebrations.

The Shetty angadi situated in the corner of our town Main Road –M G Road would have got emptied 2 days and completely clean and ready for arrangements of KamaNNana and other gods. Children of the town would decorate the dolls each day on various mythology topics and everyday upto 7 days the pooja rituals would go on along with the colorful programs.

Truly KaNNige habba, the KamaNNana habba was, and all of us used to eagerly wait for the next year… soon to arrive…. yes yes for “HOLI”

From Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, 1601:

DUKE ORSINO:
If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it…

The Masters - Thyagaraja & Purandhara Daasa

Gosti Gaayana 

 Muktha BaLaga - A Few Representatives

Music, is not only the food of love, it is food for the soul; panacea for a stressed mind. Music has no borders; it transcends language and culture, and is the one binding force of humanity. Nothing else touches a person’s soul more than melody.

 I had the good fortune of being a part of the Thyagaraja-Purandhara Aaradhana celebrations conducted in Usha’s residence. It had been her dream to host one such event at her house, and she pulled it off, quite successfully.  

After a lot of planning the event was scheduled to take place on 25th of February 2007.  The day began with a formal Puja to God and next to the two Pillars of Karnatic music, Saint Thyagaraja and Sri Purandhara Daasa. Students of Karnatic music would know and appreciate these two giants’ contribution to the upliftment of this style of music that is popular towards the South of the Deccan Plateau.  

The event was hosted at Usha’s residence under the guidance of Flute Exponent Sri Venugopal, who also happens to be Dwaraka’s teacher. 

 I reached Usha’s residence around 10.00 AM, right in time for the commencement of the program. Srik & Prashanth were there already, so was Shruthi with her parents.Praneshachar, Bellur, Chaitanya and his mother arrived shortly after me. Srik’s parents joined us shortly, and Veena, who was held up at home came along subsequently.

It began with a vocal recital of Sri Sundareshan, an octogenarian with a wonderful voice, who is Sri Venugopal’s teacher, and belongs to the lineage of Saint Thyagaraja, accompanied by young Varijashree, who has a strong hold over the flute as well.   

After this, we were in for a treat for the ears, with most of the disciples of Sri Venugopal giving short performances. It was great to see and hear kids show so much expertise in their chosen instruments or vocal recitation. We then had elders also showcase their prowess, in the form of Vidwan Shankarnarayan playing the Veena, and Vidwan Prasanna giving a vocal performance.   

Our BaLaga folks took over the stage next and we had the good opportunity to hear Shruthi’s mom render a couple of compositions. Next was Bellur’s turn, and he too entertained the audience to the fullest.    

At 12.00 Noon the Gosti Gayana, the main component of the program began, with most of us participating in the singing.   

The Gosti kicked off with the recitation of the “Pillari Geethe” a set of 4 small songs, but rich in meaning, composed by Purandhara Daasa.

After the Pillari Geethe, the Pancharathna Krithis of Sri Thyagaraja, which are the backbone of every Aradhana, were sung. They are 1) Jagadaanandakaaraka, 2) Dudukugala, 3) Saadhinchene, 4) Kana Kana Ruchira & 5) Endaro Mahanubhavulu  

The Gosti was concluded with a recitation of “Raghupathi Raghava Raja Ram”.  

Here I must specially mention the excellent co-ordination of Vidwan Prasanna who led the group in singing the Gosti. He was effective in successfully bringing together the various voices and making all of us sing in unison.  

The accompaniment was superb, and the percussionists were competing with each other to do a good job.  

After this, a Maha MangaLaarathi was conducted, followed by a tasty lunch that made a fitting end to the program.  

Thank you Usha, for this wonderful day, and hope to be a part of it in the years to come.         

No, This post is not one of those glorifying Valentines Day. I am tired of all the hype surrounding it. Some may think I am naïve, yet others may call me a fundamentalist, but I have reached the point of no return when it comes to the hype surrounding Valentines Day. Enough of those stupid red balloons and cupid’s posters. 

Here is a brief account of St Valentine and how this practice came into being. Valentine’s Day started in the time of the Roman Empire. In ancient Rome, February 14th was a holiday to honor Juno. Juno was the Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses. The Romans also knew her as the Goddess of women and marriage. The following day, February 15th, began the Feast of Lupercalia. The lives of young boys and girls were strictly separate. However, one of the customs of the young people was name drawing. On the eve of the festival of Lupercalia the names of Roman girls were written on slips of paper and placed into jars. Each young man would draw a girl’s name from the jar and would then be partners for the duration of the festival with the girl whom he chose. Sometimes the pairing of the children lasted an entire year, and often, they would fall in love and would later marry.

 Under the rule of Emperor Claudius II Rome was involved in many bloody and unpopular campaigns. Claudius the Cruel was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. He believed that the reason was that roman men did not want to leave their loves or families. As a result, Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome. T

he good Saint Valentine was a priest at Rome in the days of Claudius II. He and Saint Marius aided the Christian martyrs and secretly married couples, and for this kind deed Saint Valentine was apprehended and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. He suffered martyrdom on the 14th day of February, about the year 270.

At that time it was the custom in Rome, a very ancient custom, indeed, to celebrate in the month of February the Lupercalia, feasts in honor of a heathen god. On these occasions, amidst a variety of pagan ceremonies, the names of young women were placed in a box, from which they were drawn by the men as chance directed.

The pastors of the early Christian Church in Rome endeavored to do away with the pagan element in these feasts by substituting the names of saints for those of maidens. And as the Lupercalia began about the middle of February, the pastors appear to have chosen Saint Valentine’s Day for the celebration of this new feast. So it seems that the custom of young men choosing maidens for valentines, or saints as patrons for the coming year, arose in this way.

And, why is Valentines’ Day celebrated in the West? Legend says it is in honor of St Valentine who performed secret marriages for Roman Soldiers who were forbidden to marry. So if they are doing it in honor of someone who did a service to them, why, pray, are we copying them blindly? As far as I am aware, no king in the history of India ever forbade his soldiers to marry.

Personally, I do not think that you need a special day in a year to tell someone, not just exclusively your girl / boy friend that you love them. I feel that it leads to a lot of pretence on both sides, and is not an honest platform to declare their love for each other. 

And teenagers are the easiest to fall a prey to the sidey advertisement tactics of businesses benefited by this hype. If not for Valentines, why would anyone buy a single rose for something like 200 Rupees? From where is this money flowing into their hands? Will no one question them? Don’t we as responsible elders have a responsibilty of ensuring that our children are under proper care and guidance regarding spending money?

Time we stopped this blind “monkey-see, monkey-do” copy from the west. 

I was a guest author on Bellur’s page recently.

Here is the link to the post.

Today is Madhva Navami