Wednesday 4 April 2018

The Spit water heater

The water heater powered by burning wood debris., it was a common contraption made in those days by buying a heavy base brass or copper large hundi and fix it inside the bathroom where the base of the vessel will be exposed from the outer wall of the bathroom through a chamber which will be laden with wood debris and daily in the morning the elderly would make an open spit fire and heat water in the vessel for bathing purpose as a result at single fill a family of 6 will be comfortably get heated water cost effectively,  also the heat stays much longer and the water gets an unique smoky aroma..
This one is still operational and the fixed copper pot inside is 60 years also doubles as an incinerator to burn dry kitchen debris and house hold throwaways there by fuelling the water heater

Kandan and his Proud Wheels

Kandan's proud wheels: Mr Kandhan was an all round versatile worker in our farm from our grand fathers time, he was the same age as him and right from his early teens he was with us and he was there even before my father was born and he retired at 89 years due to partial loss of vision in one eye and most part of his life was spent in our farm and this cycle was gifted to him 65 years back by my grandfather, then it was a great prestige to own one, he used to recall that he was famous among all other workers from other farms as he was the only one who owned a bicycle for running errands and he used to proudly tell i work in  Village Presidents Periya Thottam...

Now he has retired and he left it one day at our farm telling that he would come back to ride it in all glory as he used to do but till date he hasn't made it...The cycle still awaits its owner in the same place where he left it lastly 7 years back..meanwhile many asked to sell it off as its of no use but we refused, "Word is a word" some decisions cant be made easily as it involves human emotions...

The Legendary 12 Subjects Gajalakshmi lamp

When I first saw this Gajalakshmi lamp in Kamakshi Paattis home it did not attract me so i ignored it went on with her to see her beautiful brass collection; bought some of the best from her & came back home, that afternoon phone was running out of juice so i kept it aside and dived in to my fathers book shelf & found an old book of interesting cover started turning it and an article instantly drew my attention it was about lamps, out of curiosity started to read it, there were repeated mentions about a particular Variant of Gajalakshmi lamp which was  called as 12 Subjects lamp which contained 12 different figures of gods, demi gods and mythical creatures also a super rare lamp, as i had sold many Gajalakshmi lamps myself checked the pictures from my archives and nothing matched the description but i remembered seeing similar somewhere ..Suddenly a lightning struck my mind that i could feebly recollect that Kamachi paatis dark Gajalakshmi lamp may have had similar features which was the one i ignored the same day morning., immediately i ran back to her place, on seeing me back she was confused & feared that i went back to return some articles..I assured her thats wasnt the reason and asked about the lamp, feeling relieved she told it was her grannys lamp now not in use due to a hole and gaining her permission i took a closer look and now the lamp seemed to mock me for ignoring her in the morning, believe me and thats the same 12 subjects lamp mentioned in that old book...Overwhelmed with joy I told i wanted it badly as its a rare lamp..she was happy to give it away without a word and thats how this beauty ended up @indiantiquest..

The twelve subjects are
1 Yazhli (which makes it so rare, as it makes this lamp a prosperity yielder and also a guardian of the home)
2 Gajalakshmis
4 Elephants
2 Annapakshi
1 garuda
2 Dhikku balas
As they always say "Antiques are destined to,  they choose their owner and its not the other way around" and i strongly believe in it as many such moments i had come across in my Quest so far..

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Kaavadi : The happy burden

The Kavadi Attam is the sacrificial offering performed by devotees to Lord Murugan during the auspicious festival day of Thaipusam. The Kavadi itself is a physical burden through which the devotees implore offering prayers for fulfiled or some future requirements from Lord Muruga
Devotees prepare for the celebration by cleansing themselves through prayer & fasting for 48 days before Thaipusam. Kavadi-bearers have to perform ceremonies at the time of assuming the kavadi & at the time of offering it to Murugan. The kavadi-bearer observes celibacy, consumes only vegan food & are on a continuous thinking of God. On the day of the festival, devotees shave their heads & undertake a pilgrimage along a set route, while engaging in various acts of devotion, notably carrying various types of kavadis.
The simplest kavadi is a semicircular decorated twin canopy supported by a wooden rod that is carried on the shoulders to the temple, there are elaborate carved detailed kaavadi depending upon ones capablity..
The kaavadi is reveared as a channel of communion with the lord & every family of kaavadi bearers treasure Kaavadi for many generations and even broken kaavadis are repaired, treasured equivalent to gods and displayed on walls with floral offerings and lamps lit before them daily, thats because the facing of kaavadi is extensively carved with images of gods so it becomes a travel temple..

Krishnas failed parenting

One of the most disturbing stories that we find in the Puranas is the story of Krishna's son Samba, whose mother was the bear-princess, Jambavati.
He dupes his father's junior wives by disguising himself as Krishna and is cursed by Krishna that he will suffer from a skin disease that will enable his wives to distinguish father and son. Samba is cured after he builds temples to the sun. All sun temples in India, from Konark in Odisha to Modhera in Gujarat to Markand in Kashmir, are attributed to this son of Krishna
Samba also attempts to kidnap Duryodhana's daughter and this leads to war between the Kauravas and the Yadavas. Peace is restored, and the marriage is solemnised, only after Balarama, Krishna's elder brother, and Samba's uncle, in a fit of fury threatens to drag Hastinapur into the sea
Then there is the story of Samba pretending to be a pregnant woman and duping sages who were visiting Dwaraka. They sages were not amused and cursed Samba that he would give birth to an iron mace that would be responsible for the end of the Yadu clan
Must not Krishna's son be as noble and divine and wise and loving as Krishna? But that is not so. Samba comes with his own personality and his own destiny over which Krishna has no influence. Or does he? .
Can we wonder if Samba was a product of his father's neglect? For was not Krishna spending most of his time with Arjuna and the Pandavas and in the politics of Kuru-kshetra?
There are hardly any stories of Krishna as father. He is friend, philosopher and guide to Arjuna, but the only stories of father and son are of tension, rage and violence..

Marco Polos Documentation of Pallava Empire

Excerpt’s taken from the Marco Polo’s book, ‘The Travels’ Which gives a brief account of those days Tamil kingdom
Marco Polo arrives on the Coromandel Coast of India in 1292 CE in a typical merchant ship with a crew of 300 men, they enter the Tamil kingdom ruled by the Pandiya’s one of the major trio dynasty who ruled Tamils. Where according to the prevailing customs, ‘The king, his ministers, courtiers and everyone sit on the floor / earth’ when asked the king “why they ‘do not seat themselves more honourably?’ The king replies, ‘To sit on the earth is honourable enough, because we were made from the earth and to the earth we must return.’
The climate prevailing in the region is so hot that all men and women wear nothing but a loincloth, including the king himself, except for the only difference being his loincloth is studded with rubies, sapphires, emeralds and other gems. Merchants and traders abound, the king takes pride in not holding himself above the law of the land, and people travel the highways safely with their valuables in the cool of the night. Marco Polo calls this ‘the richest and most splendid province in the world,’ one that, together with Ceylon, produces ‘most of the pearls and gems that are to be found in the world.’
The sole food grain produced here is rice, which happens to be the staple food. People use only their right hand for eating, saving the left for other ‘unclean’ tasks. Most do not consume any alcohol, and drink fluids ‘out of flasks, each from his own; for no one would drink out of another’s flask’ Nor do they set the flask to their lips, preferring to ‘hold it above and pour the fluid into their mouths.’ They are addicted to chewing a leaf called Tambula a version of Paan made from betel leaf, sometimes mixing it with ‘camphor, spices and lime’ and they go about spitting the remnant freely, using it also to express serious anger, offense or an act of defamation by targeting the spit at another’s face, which can sometimes provoke violent clan fights.
They ‘pay more attention to augury than any other people of the world and are skilled in distinguishing good omens from bad. They rely on the counsel of astrologers and have enchanters called Brahmans, who are ‘expert in incantations against all sorts of beasts and birds.’ For instance, they protect the oyster sea divers ‘against predatory fish by means of incantations’ and for this service they receive one in twenty pearls. The people ‘worship the ox,’ do not eat beef (except for a group with low social status), and daub their houses with cow-dung. In battle they use lance and shield and, according to Marco, are ‘not men of any valor.’ They say that ‘a man who goes to sea must be a man in despair.’ Marco draws attention to the fact that they ‘do not regard any form of sexual indulgence as a sin.’ Their temple monasteries have both male and female deities, prone to being cross with each other. And since estranged deities spell nothing but trouble in the human realm, bevies of spinsters gather there several times each month with offerings of ‘tasty dishes of meat and other food, sing, dance and afford the merriest sport in the world,’ leaping and tumbling and raising their legs to their necks and pirouetting in order to delight the deities. After the ‘spirit of the idols has eaten the substance of the food,’ they ‘eat together with great mirth and jollity.’ Pleasantly disposed by the evening entertainment, the gods and goddesses descend from the temple inner walls at night and ‘consort’ with each other or so the priest announces the next morning bringing great joy and relief to all. ‘The flesh of these young maidens,’ adds Marco, ‘is so hard that no one could grasp or pinch them in any place, their breasts do not hang down, but remain upstanding and erect.’

Dark skin is highly esteemed among these people. ‘When a child is born they anoint him once a week with oil of sesame, and this makes him grow much darker’. No wonder their gods are all pitch black and their devils white as snow. A group of their holy men, called the Yogis, eat frugally and live longer than most, some as much as 200 years. In one religious order, men even go stark naked to ‘lead a harsh and austere life’., these men believe that all living beings have a soul and take pains to avoid hurting even the tiniest creatures. They take their food over large dried leaves. When asked why they do not cover their private parts, they say, ‘It is because you employ this member in sin and lechery that you cover it and are ashamed of it. But we are no more ashamed of it than of our fingers.’ Among them, only those who conquer sexual desire become monks. ‘So strict are these idolaters and so stubborn in their mis belief,’ opines Marco.

Though the king here has 500 wives, he covets a beautiful wife of his brother—who rules another kingdom nearby, and as kings are wont to, also keeps many wives—and one day succeeds in ‘ravishing her from him and keeping her for himself.’ When war looms, as it has many times before, their mother intervenes, knife in hand and pointing at her breasts, ‘If you fight with each other, I will cut off these breasts which gave you both milk.’ Her emotional blackmail succeeds once again; the brother who has lost his woman swallows his pride and war is averted. But it is only a matter of time, thinks Marco, that when the mother is dead and the brothers destroy each other.

The region breeds no horses but imports them from Aden and beyond. Over 2,000 steeds arrive on ships each year but within a year, all but 100 die ‘due to ill usage’ and lack of horse-handling knowledge. Marco believes that foreign merchants ‘do not send out any veterinaries or allow any to go, because they are only too glad for many of the horses to die in the king’s charge.’

Antique Rail adukku/ Kaasi Pathiram from Tamilnadu

Antique Rail adukku/ Kaasi Pathiram Antique Rail adukku/ Kaasi Pathiram/ Adukku Pathiram set, this is the original rail adukku, because 99% ...