Posts Tagged ‘ganesha’

Ganesha in the flames

September 3, 2008

This is the pooja that I did at home:

But I was photographing the pooja that we had downstairs, on the lawn, common to all the apartments in the building; and I like to fancy that Ganesha was present in the flames of the hOmA:

With a little imagination, I can see the the elephant fan-ear on the right, the head, the single-tusk (Ganesha broke off the other tusk to write the epic, Mahabharata, as Vyasa declaimed it), the swelling belly (full of devotees’ offerings!) to the lower left…!

VinAyaka Chathurthi

September 15, 2007

These lines are from Muthuswamy Dikshithar’s song, “Siddhi VinAyakam” in the rAgam ShanmukhapriyA:

“bhadrapada mAsa chathurthyAm
brAhmNadi poojitham”…(one who is worshipped by brahmaNAs and others on the fourth day of Bhadrapada month)

and these from “mahAgaNapathim” in nAttai rAgam, by the same composer:

“mooshika vAhana mOdaka priyam”…(one who rides on the rat, and is fond of “modakam”)

Today IS the fourth day of the waxing phase of the moon, of the monsoon month, Bhadra. Today is the festival of GaNEshA, GaNapathi,vighnEshwarA, and the many other names that the elephant-headed god is known by…he is the son of Shiva and Parvathi (in my city, the mother was also worshipped as Gowri, yesterday), the elder brother (agrajA) of Karthik, a benevolent, pot-bellied God who removes all obstacles, and is hence worshipped at the beginning of every enterprise. He is Ekadantha or the One-Tusked, having broken off the other to inscribe the epic, MahAbhAratha, at the dictation of the sage, VyAsa. He has a noose and an elephant-goad in his hands, and wears a snake as a girdle. He is GaNapathi/GaNEshA..the leader of the masses, the people (gaNa).

Here’s the puja that I did at home:

Vinayaka chaturthi puja, 150907

You can see the little silver figurine under the picture of GaNEshA.

And here you can see the fruits, and the “mOdakam” that I have made as an offering:

vinAyaka poojA 150907

And the speciality offering for this festival is the “modaka” or, as we call it in Tamizh, “kozhakkattai” (yes, practice saying it…it has that “zh” sound and is a little hard on the tongue at first!)….

Kozhakkattai ...3 types

These are made of cooked rice flour, into which different types of stuffing (poorNam…the word means, “full”) are put in and then shaped differently, and steamed till they are done. I think they are like the momos that one can get in Tibet, but those have vegetable fillings, too.

There are (to my knowledge) three varieties of stuffings for mOdakam; two are sweet, made with coconut/jaggery/cardamom and gingelly seeds/jaggery.The third variety that I know of is savoury; it is made by soaking uLutham paruppu (udad dAl, a kind of lentil) and grinding it with salt, chilies and curry leaves, and then steaming it until it is done. Then it is crumbled and used as a filling. This is actually MY favourite…the eLLu poorNam (gingelly) ones are the “mercedes benz logo” ones; the classic “mOdakam” shape are the thEngAi poorNam ones; and the scallop-edged ones (fun to make!) are the uLutham poorNam ones.

So here are the “vella kuzhakkattai” (sweet; vellam is jaggery) and “uppu kuzhakkattai” (uppu is salt, so savoury) for each of you…

along with my hope that GaNEsha blesses you with happiness and peace of mind.

This is particularly for all my readers, beginnning with my dearest daughter, who are far away from their homeland, or home town, studying, working, living happily, but missing things like this…I am thinking of every one of you.

And purely for the Tamizh: “innikku, shamayal….uruLaikkizhangu roast, chinna vengAya sAmbAr, carrot kOshumalli, veLLrikkAi thayir pacchadi!” (today’s lunch menu..the vegetables used were cucumber, carrots, potatoes and shallots.)

We have a saying in Tamizh, “Aadi azhaitthathO, Thai thudaitthathO” which means that the month of Aadi (mid August to mid-September) brings a lot of festivals, and the month of Thai (mid-January to mid-February), brings them to a close.

Next on the list will be Navarathri, I had posted a picture of my friend with the Golu last year…

Mungaru Male (Monsoon Rain)

September 14, 2007

For the past couple of years, I have felt that the rains in Bengaluru (I *do* prefer Bangalore but vottodo, the bunch of clowns in charge the government has decided that’s the name of our shitty city) begin about a month late..and then, after a weak start, suddenly descend from the skies with a vengeance..and the summer monsoon just seems to carry on, with just a little break in October for Navarathri (just when we are all dressing up to visit each others’ homes, it is stuffy and not-comfortable), it just carries on into the winter monsoon!

Yesterday we had gone with our friends to a wedding reception; on the way back, they dropped us home…and found the traffic backed up so much that they couldn’t even get on to the main road. So they came back to our place at 10 pm we sat and chatted and played “28” ( a card game ) and several hilarious rounds of Boggle (KM: “You mean I can’t write ‘juize’? That’s the way we say it after all!”) and it was past 12.30 am when, from our balcony, we felt that the traffic had abated enough for them to make an attempt to go home….and this is an arterial road that we live on…what must be the fate of other, smaller roads?

Lake beds are dried out to build houses on, the ground is covered in concrete, storm drains are not cleaned properly…and the average Bengalurean pays the price, every time it rains hard.

Tomorrow is the Ganesha festival (today is the Gowri festival; first the mother, Parvathi, is venearated, and then the son, Ganesha) and the markets are probably washed out and trade must be miserable. (I went yesterday and did my shopping, enjoying every bit of the festive atmosphere….but I have already taken the same pics last year, so didn’t take my camera at all!) Feel very bad for those whose living keeps them outdoors…


July 18, 2007

I love calligraphic images, and love the Islam calligraphy that is so intricate..but recently, I find a lot of good examples in the Hindu idiom, too. Here’s a sticker I found at the back on a van near my home; the calligraphy is of the various names for Ganesha, the elephant-headed son of Shiva and Parvati, who is the remover of obstacles:

vinayaka 120707 miniforest

The names are (from the crown level,downwards, reading left to right):

gaN nAyak















The name that is the form of the Mooshik, Ganesha’s vehicle, at the bottom of the sticker, I can’t make out properly….or is the name one more synonym for Ganesha? Would appreciate some help on this…

All names are in the Devanagari script, which is what Sanskrit and Hindi are written in.

You want some beautiful abstracts taken during the Ganesha festival?

August 29, 2006


check out deepsan. He spots, unerringly, the geometry in the scenes around him (and takes some great “ordinary” photos too. A sample of his work…photos which he too shot at a market before the Ganesha Puja…

woot, as these youngsters would say…!

Thank you, deepsan!

Vinaayka Chathurthi (Gowri Ganesha Pooja), 27 Aug 2006…mainly flowers

August 28, 2006


Well…here are a few pics that I took at Gandhi Bazar, one of the large market areas in Bangalore, today. But first,my disclaimer….

Apparently the camera was set for indoor shots (we were going to attend a wedding) and since I decided on the spur of the minute that I would take pictures, KM had no time to re-adjust KMC (KM’s camera). And of course, I was in a rush and didn’t aim too well either. So please excuse the general technical terribleness of the shots and just see the scenes!

I took a lot of pictures of flowers this time, because Bangalore is known as a floriculture centre, and is known for the wide variety of flowers on sale here.


Here’s a shop selling different sizes and representations of Ganesha….

more pictures if you click on this

Show and Tell at the Business School, University of Southern Maine…and about sambandhis

August 24, 2006


I had emailed my sambandhi, L S, an architect,  about going out to photograph the market which will be looking festive, with Ganesha Chathurthi approaching, and she emailed me back. Her husband, J S,  is the Dean of the USM. J and L are American, I must add– and as my neighbour’s kid put it, “american Americans”….
Here’s her account:

Ah, Ganesha.  He has done very well by J this week.  J had a difficult meeting coming up with his Leadership Council for the business school.  They had met last week about a strategic plan and the meeting devolved into turf battles.  J was very frustrated.  He asked everyone to come to this week’s meeting with an object which they felt was somehow representative of themselves or the business school – or both.  J wanted to take Ganesha and called A to make sure he understood what Ganesha stood for:  new beginnings.  A added that he was also the remover of obstacles.  Perfect!  So Ganesha went to the meeting and, lo and behold, the meeting went extremely well with the group coming together around the strategic plan and the future of the school!  Maybe I should have taken him to the planning board meeting when we were trying to get the garage/guest house approved for my clients.  :-/.

That’s such an unusual, impressive thing to do, as far as I am concerned… would it occur to me to use an object or an icon outside my own culture…. or learn so much about it…?

My daughter’s lucky to have this kind of family!

For my non-Indian friends….in our culture, we  have, very often, a close relationship between the parents of a  married couple, and we are each others’  “sambandhi”(sambandham means, tie, bond, relationship.) We do believe that two families come together through the marriage.  I enjoy my close relationship with my sambandhis.

However, let me clarify….the sambandhi relationship is not always smooth in Indian society; it is often vitiated by dowry demands (oh yes), ego clashes, mismatched expectations, and perceptions of superiority….but perhaps this is so the world over, even if the relationship doesn’t have a  formal name…..I used to watch a serial called Dharma and Greg, for example….a child of two ex-hippies marries a typical upper-crust  New England scion, and the parents’ tussle formed much of the sitcom….