The Shooting Star…An Internal Rollercoaster..

Our long time friend Shivya Nath recently published a beautiful book “The Shooting Star“, about her solo journeys around the world. The Shooting Star has already sold 10,000+ copies in a little over a month of its release and acquired the status of a National Bestseller in India..

Years ago when Shivya stayed with us and explored Wayanad, we never thought in our wildest dreams Shivya will be penning down her story in such a beautiful way. This is not a review but a humble attempt to say what this book is all about.

The Shooting Star  is all about little things…

How a 23 year girl from a little village in Dehra Dun, leaves the safety of her family, the town she knows and her well paid  job to put her faith in total strangers and starts backpacking. In a world full of material possessions, Shivya decided to build life-long memories through exploration. It’s a well-written memoir of a hitchhiker that covers the different emotions, positive and negative, that come to play during solo trips.

It addresses a topic a lot of people are at least curious about; “Female traveling Solo.” This is an internal roller coaster spread across different continents. This is not an epic adventure or a travel diary. This is not a story about defeating fear and being courageous. This is real life.

After the first chapter which is a bit freaky or hallucinating realism, Shivya takes us to the magical land of Spiti where she watches shooting stars. From here the journey unfolds. 

So, do I think you should read The Shooting Star? Well, yes. Shivya has written down her story in a fluent way, not only taking us along on her trip but also forcing us to think about some of the questions she poses herself along the way. 

 

(Picture Credits: The Shooting Star blog)

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Stand With Wayanad-An Appeal

 

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Wayanad is coming to terms with a once-in-a-generation calamity. Torrential rains, landslides, overflowing dams and flooding rivers have devastated many parts of this hill district in North Kerala.

Currently there are around 19000 inmates in more that 200 relief camps spread across the district. Rescue and relief operations are on and the District Administration along with various voluntary organizations are working round the clock to provide relief and shelter to those affected by this calamity.

The army,  the navy and the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF)is doing what it can for Wayanad. Officials from different departments, people’s representatives and NGOs are doing their part for Wayanad. What about YOU?

You can contribute to Wayanad’s cause and help us rebuild our distict in the following ways:

1. Contribute financially to the following account

WAYANAD RELIEF FUND
A/C No.520101255240506
CORPORATION BANK
IFSC-CORP0001426
KALPETTA BR.

Please contribute to Wayanad’s cause by sending the following materials. You may order your purchase through any online shopping site and direct it to the shipping address listed below.

1. Drinking water
2. New cloths (including innerwear, Night Gown, Dhotis etc)
3. Rice, biscuit (To be ensured that the item is fresh)
4. Note Books, pencil, pen, school bag
5. Sanitary napkins
6. Sanitary items for cleaning (bleaching powder, hand gloves etc)
7. Footwear
8. Mattress, bed sheet, Blanket, sweaters
9. Utensils
10. Bucket, mug, Soap, tooth brush, tooth paste, Detergent
11. Other household items etc.

to our Relief Centre at,

District collector
Civil station
Kalpetta – 673122
Wayanad district
Kerala, India.

 

For further queries contact,
Sandeep: +91 9745166864, Sebastian: +91 9746239313

Thanking you for your love and constant support.

Together We Will Overcome This Calamity

#TeamWayanad
#reliefwayanad

 

 

 

 

 

God’s descent on earth…

God’s descent on earth…

It’s a warm misty morning. In the early bright hours, the sparkling environs of the sacred groves at Purakkadi in Wayanad, NorthKerala, grew even livelier with the relentless echo of Cymbals and drums, the Thira, two of them walks in briskly, towering over the mud path.

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Thira brings gods to earth. Thira performers dressed up with ceremonial facial paint and loud clothing started up and down rhythmically in front of the temple. Sight of gods walking side by side with ordinary mortals was interesting. The god’s face and body painted yellow and wide eyes sunken in black pits gave them a supernatural look.

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There is no stage, it is an open space, the devotees standing or sitting around the performance. Women and children gathered tightly around the space while men were dispersed in the rest of the area, changing places as the Thira performers moved from one place to the other.

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Each performer represents a deity. Performers seemed to be possessed by the gods, with devotees queuing up to meet them to share woes and wishes. The gods started speaking in an alien language that could be deciphered only by a few.

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Gods discuss with the tribal chieftain’s reasons for a failed crop or some unfortunate incidents in their fraternity, and readily provide a solution to their problems.

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In between the god pointing the sword at the chieftain’s,   complains about the absence of caparisoned elephants during the ritual and neglect and lackluster attitude of the temple authorities. They listen to the gods patiently with folded praying hands.

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The ritual performed in front of the shrine is not entertainment but has important social meaning and purpose. The elaborate rituals are intended for the blessings of the supernatural. In between the ritual, people approach the living god for personal blessing. Some offered money and others coconuts as offering.

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Coconuts are thrown at a stone placed in the space and they are split into pieces.Breaking of coconut has a great significance.

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The coconut itself symbolizes one’s own head, specifically the person’s ego. In the process of breaking the coconut, the person let’s go of his ego and pride which he might have achieved or is going to achieve. When the ego is broken, only then you can taste the sweet milk of success, or the fruit itself.

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Beating of drums and cymbals reaches a crescendo, and both the god runs in circles sometimes quickly, other times slowly as dazed. In between they shout and shriek and devotees cautiously approach him bearing crumpled rupee notes, pressing them into the god’s hands for a blessing as they  continues to run.

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While i was clicking the rituals from a distance, the one who looked like the main god wading away the devotees, dashed towards me. I gripped my camera firmly. To my surprise he sprinkled a handful of grains on my forehead and placed his hands above it. For a moment he closed his eyes and murmured something. Lol! I was blessed! I sigh in relief as the god quickly turned away and ran towards the devotees.

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These rituals went on hours, until the gods entered a trance. I couldn’t say for how long they performed as time is nonexistent for such entrancing ritual. Finally the gods sits down at the special makeshift area just meant for them.

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Slowly the crowd began to disperse.  A blanket of stillness prevailed over the whole space and sun is at its zenith. Thira ritual is far from over. Maybe the ritual has only begun._DSC9936

 

Goodbye Sir..

Our dearest George Sir, Principal of The Greenhills Public School, after serving the school for 15 years, is leaving us and heading for another place. Though we had a long conversation a few days back, i was not in a position to express my feeling and thoughts. In fact i was searching for words. But words are just words. As a parent initially i was terribly shocked on hearing the news of his parting.  But I always believe “In life whatever happenshappens for good and it happens for a certain reason.”So i m trying hard to convince myself this is also happening for good. Sole purpose of this post is to pay our tributes and express our gratitude to George Sir.

Dear George Sir,

Since you are leaving The Greenhills Public School  and heading forward for another place we would like to express our gratitude to you  for shaping the character and lives of our children and inspiring them to bring the best out of them. Sir, you have been an inspiration to all the thousands of students who have passed through the hallowed portals of this august institution.We feel our children are really blessed to be in this institution during your tenure.

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As a Principal, you have excelled in your work. But you mean so much more to us, Sir. You are a father figure, deeply respected and loved by us. In your eloquent presence, our worries and concerns about our children just melted off. Your words were reassuring at times of crisis.

Good bye sir. You will be deeply missed,  but your legacy will be remembered and your inspirational words like beautiful footprints will remain etched in our hearts and minds forever. Beautiful moments spent in your presence will be in our hearts for sure.

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As you said the other day, we are sure your blessing and prayers for Greenhills will be there forever. Once again, we thank you for always being receptive and for the love and care imparted to our children.

We wish you all the very best for your life ahead.

A heart full of love..

Wandering through the streets of Jew town, brushing past the noisy local tourists, briskly I move towards the tourist boating yard at Mattancherry. Sitting on the dilapidated stone walls along the esplanade, wiping sweat out of my face I glance around. The sight of backwaters was overwhelming. I couldn’t tell where the grey overcast skies ended and the grey waters began. The landscape was every vivid colour, every one of them as fresh as a new painting.

Except for some fruit vendors and a couple of western travelers the place was empty. Most of the vendors were dozing. My eyes fell on an elderly man, seated behind a table of sliced fruit and cucumber.  Our eyes met and instantly he smiled.

After exchanging some pleasantries he pulled out a plastic bag from beneath the table and walked towards pigeons already gathered there. He waves his hand and the flock rises up and begins to fly around him. Sitting on the half wall he scatters the grain from the bag around and waves his hand again at the pigeons to come down for the feast of grains.

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As he fed the pigeons I keenly observed him. The map of wrinkles on his face told of the hardships he faced in making ends meet. His eye lines told of laughter, of warm smiles and affection. His forehead told of worries past and worries present. His twinkling eyes were framed by thick white eyebrows and on his chin were white whiskers. A white handkerchief wrapped around his head.

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Looking at my camera hanging down from the right shoulder, he says with a smile “You can click the pigeons and me too.”

Now the pigeon’s crowd around him, fluttering their wings, hovering above him, each trying to get his fill. Some jump on his hands, some climb up his back as he goes on scattering grain.

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A slow flyer sits on his lap and he feeds it from his hand. “This one is injured and he needs to be fed separately,” he says brushing its forehead gently.

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He enjoys himself by scattering the grain in patterns and as the pigeons follow the pattern, they form one by themselves. He was in a meditative state.  In almost no time the grain is all gobbled up and once the pigeons finish the meal, there is not a single grain left on the ground.

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As we started a casual chat and getting to know each other he reveals he has been feeding the pigeon for years and hopes he will be able to continue to do so. Hearing the Azaan call he holds my hand firmly and says “It’s time for prayer. Insha Allah, we will meet again. Next time you come please give me the photos you clicked.” As he walked towards the mosque I slowly move towards the bus heading to mainland Kochin. At the end of the day I realize there is lot of love and compassion in this world and surely it will win.

One more sunrise…

I stood at the edge of the electric fenced fields, my face soaking up in damp morning dew, as I overlooked the forest. Darkness had not long surrendered to the light, yet I could see the thick grey clouds that were cast over the sky. Snort of deer’s warned something is not right, peacocks screamed relentlessly, and birds chirped in a relaxing tone. I felt a bit nervous anticipating wild elephants emerging from the forest behind.

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The yellow shining sun engulfed by rain clouds started rising from behind the woods. It filled the sky mighty vermillion colour and splashed the clouds with endless rays of pink. It was bright and mesmerizing as it inviting me to stare, deep into the horizon. With breath paused in my lungs, I wished time would halt. The trees shone as if they were wearing golden crowns.

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Bright streaks of red, pink, and orange slowly overcame the dark blue and purple of the twilight sky. The sky resembled a prism; all the colors blended perfectly into each other. I stared into the rising sun, its rays burning my eyes. My eyes are glued to the beautiful pink and orange colour the sky was. I had never watched it like this. I never noticed its beauty.

 

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I marveled at the glistening reflection of the sun in the field and a thrilling feeling of awe swept over me. I have been to this place many time and watched the sunrise but every experience was entirely different. Though this is not the right place to watch and capture a sunrise sometimes its nice to close your minds and take a risk.

Dusk…

For me dusk is always mysterious. Even if I don’t worry about ghosts in the backyard or monsters under the bed, i probably still get a little nervous when the sun sets and darkness creeps over the horizon. On the positive side this is the best time time to click mesmerising photos. This is time i usually venture out with my camera hoping to click the creepiness of dusk.

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Dusk comes sooner than expected, the last of the sun’s rays protected behind soft grey cloud. The surroundings takes on the look of an old photograph, every familiar thing a shade of grey. The trees are crazy silhouettes against a newly silver sky. Their branches sway in the wind, creaking into the gusting air. The first sound of the nocturnal animals comes.

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The darkening sky filled with lavender and indigo clouds, cove up the first stars of the night. The last vestiges of the setting sun disappeared over the horizon, the copper hues giving way to a dusty purple scattered with the occasional glitter of a faraway star.

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This is the time i hate to drive, because i feel a bit dizzy or light headed at this time of the day.  I feel this is the dangerous time to be behind the wheel because the lack of light or rays from the low sun can be hazardous. That is all about dusk…