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Sunday, November 22, 2020


After our stay in Jaishalmer in our trip to Rajasthan in february 2020 we went to Jodphur by overnight train .

Here too we had booked with our

Club Mahindra resort time share .

Like in Jaisalmer the resort was a bit away from the main city and tourist areas .

We took a cab and checked in to the palatial royal resort which was once home to some royal personage .

It was called Pratap vilas .

We were impressed by the facade the driveway the antique car parked outside the horse farm closeby the manicured gardens and metal furniture .

The lobby too was very impressive the swimming pool the open air tgeater where by evening nimble limbed dancers danced to tune of drums and exotic folk songs .

The rooms were made in great taste with a fine bed ornamental windows with all modern comforts .

We sat in the lawn listening to the lilting strains of the music and dance in tge cold February chill .

In the morning we took a cab to reach Jodphur city .

The city was big .

It had plenty of big institutions like the AIMS,IITJodphur,law institute,national leather institute ,Rajasthsn high court were just a few .

It had lot of flyovers and modern buildings too 


The main market with clock tower  called Sardar market was crowded colourful a bit messy too but offered plenty of shopping options .

Jodphur is famously called Blue city as most of the old town in the shadow of the famous Mehrengarh fort is painted with Indigo blue .

Viewing from the high ramparts of the fort a museum today one could see a fairy tale Blue city lying in front .

Its the beauty of Jodphur that had made it a favourite for film shooting .

Many prominent Hollywood and Bollywood films were shot here .

Jodphur was built in 1459 by Marwar king Raja Jodha .

After some centuries it was captured bt Akbar and later ruked by Aurangazeb after whose time it came back to the Rajput kings .

They continued to rule under British patronage .

In 1947 after our Independence Raja Hukumat Singh agreed to merge the kingdom to state of Rajasthan in India .

The magnificient Umaid Bhavan the palace of the ruling royal family is partly a luxurious hotel today though members of tge royal family continue to stay in some parts of it .

The Jaswant Tada is a very serene monument for the Royal family members who rest there .

It has a beutiful garden bordering on a hillock and a waterbody .


Friday, November 20, 2020

The Madras Medical College

 The Madras Medical College more than 170 years old churned out some of the best names in Indian Doctors .

This college inspired me to join medicine brcause no one misses it if living in Madras  bang opposite the Central Railway station .

The Medical exhibition it held was attended by many and a wide eyed high school student me was so impressed that I decided I would study here .

Though I did my undergraduation in Kilpauk medical college an equally legendary institution in Madras

 (ok Chennai ) did live my dream for my postgraduation in Radiotherapy in Bernard Institute of Radiology and Cancer in 1984 .

Finally I was in the hallow portals of the great college I dreamed of a decade back .

I walked and worked in its wards 

I sat in its lecture classes and ate in its messes late at nights on call .

But my daughter lived my dream in selecting MMC for her MBBS and lived in its hostel for all the five years and more .

Some places are like that .

They direct your life and are in your mind forever .

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Bicycle marathi film

 At times we are fortunate to see rare good films or read a rare book .

Today I saw a Marathi film Bicycle of course with subtitles.

Way back in 1948 Vittoria de sica took the first neo realistic film Bicycle thieves which even inspired Satyajit Ray in his Pather panchali .

This film is definitely not a copy of the legendary one but for the theme of the search of a bicycle which gets stolen .

In this film the protaganist is an astrologer Keshav  living in a small village leading a simple honest life with his wife small daughter and father .

The film starts with keshav taking his daughter back home ftom school in his cycle and daughter wants to hear the story of his bicycle though he had told it hundreds of times .

He repeats it with his daughter filling the gaps as she knew it so well .

Even the villagers know the story so well .

His daughter tells him to give the bicycle to her when he leaves the world !

Keshavs grandfather too was an astrologer and indeginous physician .

He once cures a British officer of his perpetual colic and the officer when he retired and before he leaves India to go back to Britain gives his prized bicyle to him .

The bicycle thus gathers great fame in the region .

The grandfather not only teaches astrology to Keshav he bequeaths the cycle to him to even the consternation of his father .

Keshav loves his cycle and takes meticulous care of it even keeping it inside his house .

Hes a gentle human and treats anyone who comes to him with affection and hospitality and has great concern for the poor villagers whom he knew were innocent simple folk .

During the temple festival when the whole village is gathered in the temple to watch the yearly ballet two thieves break open a house stealing jewelery and while returning see keshavs cycle parked outside his house .

As he had to urgently leave to temple keshav had left it outside for the first time .

The thieves find it convinient to ride away in the cycle .

Its a great shock for the whole village when they hear of the theft and they all turn up to console Keshav who is very sad .

Though the other house had lost costlier jewels theres so much sympathy for Keshavs loss as his bicycle is famously a village heirloom as everyone knew his passion for it ,above all Keshav was liked by all .

After a few days Keshav decides to go in search of his cycle and tells his family he would return only after he gets it back .

The thieves meanwhile get great welcome wherever they go in nearby villages as all recognise Keshavs cycle and question them on it which the younger thief weaves a tale that being Keshavs cousins he gave them the cycle for a few days .

Though this was difficult to believe the villagers were simple folks they accept it and give the best to the thieves because every one of them had some experience with Keshavs kindness.

The thiefs even get invited to adress a school and one of the children even gives her saved tooth to be given back to keshav when the cycle is returned !

In a house of a local big man where they are taken they are asked to stay the night as its late and they were Keshavs cousins .

When they leave in the morning the thieves realise they had accidentaly left  thier stolen jewels  in that house .

They realise thier risk and by now they had formed an opinion of the stolen bicycles owner as all respect they got really belonged to no not to the cycle but to its owner .

So they decide to return the cycle too and so leave it in a shop with a letter to him .

A tired Keshav gets back his cycle but the journey had opened his eyes on attachment to matireal things and he thus becomes a greater human being .

Director Prakash kunte got best director award and it also got best film and best screenplay .

The brilliant photography of scenic Marathi villages should have got an award too I feel .

Such a simple but wholesome feel good film do see this .

Pics from online

Can remove if objected .

Tuesday, November 17, 2020


 Kathakali the dance form of Kerala is mostly associated as a Royal patronised art and a temple related dance form .

Its said to have originated around 17th century .

Krishnanattom was an existing temple dance where  stories from Mahabharatham  were enacted .

 It was sponsored  by Manavedan Raja the samorin of kozhikode .

This was between end of 15th century and early 16th century .

Kottarakara Thampuran once invited a Krishnanattam troupe to stage a perfomance in his court ,he was furious when it was refused so he sponsored another dance form called Ramannattam which though with similarities to Krishnattam was different with bolder costumes and make up and actors making guttaral expressions at times short dialogues .

Stories from Ramayanam were choregraphed initialy, later it took from Mahabharatham and in recent years from other creations even Shakespearan plays .

Ultimately both dance forms originated from the 500 BC to 500 CE written Natyasasthram .

Kootiyattam one of the most ancient temple dance forms played in Dance halls constructed under tenets of Natyasasthra Koothambalams ,mostly in Shiva temples later in Vishnu temples .

It also borrowed from ancient martial art form Kalaripayittu and dance form Chakiyar koothu which was a highly intellectual stylised sanskrit play miming and mono acting where the actor  wears a weird costume of a vidhoosan or jester .

Kathakali and Krishnattam till recently were performed only by male dancers .

The vocal part of the dance songs were sung with accompanying drums and cymbals .

The art form gave great importance to mudras or symbolic hand formations and gestures and facial expressions called Navarasas .

The nine emotional expressions in the face were learnt after years of study with matching movements of eyeballs and these were portrayed in front of the large oil lamp in the days before the invention of electricity .

As these dances started at dusk and ended at dawn the lamp lit face made up with bright colours surreal costumes in the flickering oil lamp in a dark mostly rainy night accompanied to the drums and cymbals and estoeric singing of sansrit mslayalam verses made it an extra terrestial creation where the actors were transformed into the Gods and devils they enacted .

There are two main styles of Kathakali in kerala the southern from  Thiruvanantapuram and northern form from  palghat .

The northern form is followed by the famed institite Kalamandalam in Shoranur on the banks of the Bharathapuzha .

Mastering the dance needs years of hard study physical fine tuning of the body .

 Every single part of it needed great mastery and  expertise be it make up costuming musicians or singers .

In all the art forms of India the Guru is greatly revered and his blessings would be the most important benefit an artiste could achieve .

Chandrasekharan our family friend joined Krishna attamkalli the dance form singular to Guruvayoor sree Krishna temple as a chutti ( make up ) trainee at 15 years .after 4 decades he is the seniormost guru there now 

I had a long chat on Krishnattamkalli which is similar  to kathakali but different too

Male dancers go through years of practice to perform

The crown in front is supposed to have the peakock feather of real Krishna as legend goes the samoodhiri or king an ardent devotee of lord krishna could not stop hugging him when he saw him as a vision and all that he was left with was the feather .the samoothiri wrote krishnanattamkalli

Some photos from online

Can remove if objected

Monday, November 16, 2020


 Malls are malls .

Early in 2006 when I landed in UAE i used to go often to nearby Al Ain mall spend long hours no not in shopping i would go for a film have some coffee and cinammon buy a fancy watch and above all just people watch  .

Slowly malls were visited only with purpose .

Shopping mostly in the many lulu malls and Hypermarts in Al ain more than 6

 I think some as big as one in Ernakulam .

Bawadi mall was a huge mall started on one end of Al Ain mall.

Both were huge but Al Ain mall with its ice rink and chugging toy train was more homely Bawadi mall was just too big .

When i moved into a huge housing complex for doctors in Mercaniya there was an Al ain society mall right in front .

The malls in Ajman where my wife worked post 2016 were nice too .

The malls in Dubai were just extraordinary .

There were city centers like The Deira city center where once i drove on a friday morning from the downtown 5 star i was staying for attending a conference but got confused on returning back and going through half of Dubai searching for the right exit back to my hotel though i could see it till my Guisais cousin saved me !

Ajman too had a city center .

There were malls known more for the companies running them like Jimie mall in Al ain was more known as Carrefour the French walmart 

Most of these were huge with massive multiplexes and food courts 

The outlet mall before one entered Dubai was a great placefor shopping bargains .

Of course Dubai mall was the mother of all malls and Lulu mall in Cochin in  small way resembles it albeit a small version of it 😁

I had stayed in 84th floor of Adress Downtown when Burj khalifa and Dubai mall were being completed .

The Mall of emirates and Ibn batuta were nice second one more of a theme mall

Festival city Midrif mall Mercato mall Times sqaure mall the pyramid shaped Wafi mall .

Kuala lumpur and Singapore had great malls too most connected to metro .

Dubai mall too has an Ac corridor of 1 km from its metro station in Sheikh zayed road to it and both mall of emirates and ibn batuta were connected directly to metro station .

In Chennai the phoenix and express malls are nice .

Brunei too has the Gadong mall the Huaho group of malls Times sqaure and Airport malls etc

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