Posts Tagged ‘birthdays’

Celebrating life, 101214

December 17, 2014

I just posted about the death of children, so I must definitely post about the celebration of life and a return to good health.

I went to Delhi to celebrate the 50th birthday of

(who doesn’t have the time to blog any more…)


She is a true survivor,who’s battled loss and grief, adversity and obstacles, and done it with grace and a smile.

For both KM and me, she’s the only immediate family in India.


She had one big party for her colleagues at work, and her actual birthday was a quiet day, with a visit to an old Shiva temple.

At week’s end, she was able to get together with many of her friends, including several people whom she’s known from childhood and had recently connected up with on FaceBook; it was a Loreto Convent Kindergarten reunion!


The cake, organized by her brother Ravi and her cousin Nishu, was a wonderful concoction


with edible photographs printed along the side!


By the end of the evening, she was loaded with love and good wishes:


And quite tired out, but still with that ever-present smile, even through the yawn!


“AdhA hai chandramA, rAt Adhi” (the moon and the night are both half gone) we sang, as we went home…


A birthday card….STL, 310514

June 5, 2014

KTB drew these for her father’s birthday…

bday card 310514

KTB is on the right, in her “Elsa” dress (made for her birthday by her father’s mother), giving the card to her dad; her mother is between them. Her little brother is very little indeed, and her friends Ananya and Aditi are only slightly larger!

This one seems to have a lot of hearts in it, and a nice message!

bday card 2

She turned five…

April 30, 2014

Yesterday, April 29th, was the day Eli/Biddli/Boodi Ma/Beedool turned five.

a bdi fry

She loves dressing up and is quite the girly girl. Her especial favourites are “sparkly shoes”…she seems to have got a new pair for this birthday!

Her paternal grandparents were there to wish her and cherish her…well, I can’t complain, I’ll be there, too, in the course of time!

Happy birthday, my dear angel fairy, may magic dust touch you all your life.

sadAbhishEkam: celebrating a man’s entering his 80th year

February 27, 2014

My childhood friends, Rajamani and Savithri, celebrated their sadabhishekam on the 26th of February, at the Sankara Matham, Chromepet.


Rajamani Anna (aNNA is “older brother”) was a cousin of the seven siblings who lived right opposite my parents’ home in Kolkata. He lived with them, and their parents, studying and then working, and the closeness has persisted through the decades. I have been quite close to his younger daughter, too, and jumped at the chance to attend the sadabhishekam.

The 60th and 80th birthdays are traditionally celebrated only when the husband attains those respective ages. Hopefully, we will start celebrating them for women, too, but as of now, the winds of change have not blown that strongly!

A beautiful “kOlam” welcomes everyone into the venue:


Agni, the god of fire, is invoked in the homam (called “vELvi” in Tamizh), by the priests:


This perforated plate is a new tradition (I’ve not seen it even 20 years ago), and gold ornaments are put in so that the purified water will pass over the gold, too:


The thirumanjanam going on.


Both of Rajamani’s daughters, Swarnamala and Bhavani, are holding the perforated plate.


The couple, after the abhishekam:


Friends and family gather:


The fruits and flowers, and other offerings at the “hOmam”. The “paruppu thEngAi” (those two cones) are made of some kind of sweet:



Rajamani’s sister applies the “nalangu” (turmeric paste) on Savithri’s feet, as decoration, and puts on the toe-rings:


I was tickled by the juxtaposition of the age-old traditions of “thAmboolam”, ritual worship…and the modern newspaper, with a contemporary headline:


The husband ties the sacred thread (mAngalyam) around his wife’s neck. The sadabhishekam is the third such occasion; the second is the shashti abdha poorthi, or “attaining 60 years”.


The couple then seek the blessings of the audience, which is provided in the form of “akshatha” or ritually sanctified rice:


(this kind of blessing-with-grain is probably the same in many cultures…I see many couples having confetti thrown over them!)

All hindu weddings have to be witnessed by Agni (fire), who is the ultimate purifier. Here, Agni has sunk into ash and embers:


Arattai sabhai (gossip sessions!) go on:


The lunch was delicious:



“panthi vijArikkarathu” (enquiring hospitably about whether the food is good, and if the guest has had enough of everything) is done by the “host” family:


Uncle and niece:


Photographic documentation is obligatory now!


I like this group photo because it also contains the family who are, today, like my family!


These are four of the five sisters (the young girl on the left is the daughter of the one sitting next to her) who raised me, as a child. The lady who is sitting second from right is my music guru; she taught me for over 15 years!


My guru, Meenakshi Rajagopal. How lucky I am, to have a sister-cum-guru!


Let me close with two short videos.

This thirumanjanam, or ritual bathing in sanctified water. The traditional “gowri kalyANam” is being sung:

mAngalya dhAraNam, or tying of the sacred thread (sorry, I had to take stills, so this is VERY short!)

I hope you enjoyed the sadAbhishEkam as much as I did!


February 5, 2014

Here’s the family, on vacation in Hawaii:

DSC08265 ds n 2 kds hwi

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DSC08282 dna fam hwi

Here’s K2 on his actual birthday, the 28th of January:

a booda 280114

With his sister:

booda boodi 280114

Fixing the dishwasher when it ain’t broke:

a booda fork  020214 3

Forking it out:

a booda fork  020214 1

He had a birthday bash with a friend:

bday cake booda 020214 Stl

Hitler wonders what he’s done with his mpustache:


The family with the cake:


Here’s KTB, riveted by her first theatre experience:

a boodi 190114 thtre

Here’s a pic of sibling love:

double ksm

And finally, here’s KTB describing “a shark eating a fish,under the water,eating a fish and two clams sitting on the ground talking to each other, and watching the shark eat the fish, and the pearls never fly out of the clams when they talk.”

My wonderful grandchildren…the great joy of my life! Thanks to the parents for most of these pics.

It’s never too early to spout nonsense at a baby!

June 5, 2013

Here’s KP, cooing and gurgling happily to the nonsense verse I am spouting at him:

(The verse is in Tamizh, about two men, “Muthukrishnan” and “Venkatasubban” who steal peanuts and eat them…!)

And here’s the father, being feted on entering the 40th year of his life, completing 39:

Life is full, life is good…even though clouds pass over the sun at times.

April 29, 2013

KTB’s fourth birthday is tomorrow, the 29th of April So we had a pool party to celebrate:

Her Nanna and GG (Great Grandmother, who turned 90 on Jan 19)are here to help us celebrate:

family 270413 photo DSC05420.jpg

Pool 270413 photo DSC05511.jpg

She chose her cake:

kavya and cake 270413 photo DSC05387.jpg

and here she is, getting sung to:

The FB album is


We’re having a great time…she’s eaten enough cake to sink a ship!

In advance…

March 12, 2012

KM turns 64 soon, but since he won’t be in town, we celebrated with coffee and cake….

click here

for the photos….we are blessed to have such wonderful friends around us!

Shashti Abdha Poorthi Procession….211211

March 7, 2012

When a man in our community (Tambrams, or Tamizh Brahmins) attains the age of 60, he and his wife undergo a wedding ceremony again, this time with greater emphasis on the Vedic rituals, and the spirituality.

Our friends Devika and Anand had the “whole 9 yards” ceremony, with pomp and colour, at


Where 60th, 70th, and 80th “abdha poorthi” rites (attainment in years) are often performed, often dozens at a time.

For the photographs from their ceremony

click here

for the Picasa web album

Here’s a video of the couple being brought in procession to the spot where the abhishEkam will be performed:

Barn Owl Rescue, Thirukkadaiyur, 211211

December 23, 2011

A very eventful and enjoyable week, travelling in Kerala and then Tamil Nadu, attending, first, the COSTIIMA (Class of Seventy Three, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad) annual meet, which was held at Cocobay Resort, Kumarakom, Kerala…and then the Shashti Abdha Poorthi (60th birthday) of Anand, KM’s close friend and IIM classmate (a friendship that dates back to 1971!) and Devika, at the beautiful temple of Thirukkadaiyur, seat of Amrita Ghateeswarar and Abhirami.

However, that will all be described later. One of the good deeds that I performed was the rescue of a Barn Owl!

Right in front of the temple, as we were going in, this Barn Owl flew out into the open, in a befuddled state and sat on the ground:

L brn owl bkgrnd 211211 trikdyr

Immediately, I was alarmed to find that the crows started congregating, and a man started hitting the “bird of ill omen” as he called it, with a stick. The bird managed to avoid the man’s stick, but was just hopping out of reach:

L Barn Owl sid Trkdyr 211211

I then managed to catch the bird (I have the scratches to prove it!) and had the bright idea of putting it in the nearby old building which had a pay-and-use ladies’ toilet, where the men, the local urchins, and the crows could not get at it.

L brn owl st trkdyr 211211

I was rewarded, a little later, by the bird’s flying away through the front porch bars, to a heavy-foliage mango tree, where it seemed safe. I was very late for some of the Shashti abdha poorthi rites, but felt very happy about the rescue..otherwise, this bird would have been the main course for the crows’ breakfast!