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Saturday, 24 January 2015

Some Captured moments In Puducherry

The road never looked so long when I was in good spirit. I could walk miles on end, alone, deep in my thoughts, not realizing how much path I had traversed. I had always loved walking, specially on a smooth path or on a muddy track. It gave me the opportunity to be with self, to think clearly. But today, every step was difficult. The pain in my foot protested. "Stop" it said "I cannot go for long" After every small step, I winced in pain. Should I ignore and move on? Was it worth it? I could take my medicines at night but I must go on…how can one stop living?….Pain was no excuse…..time does not wait……This moment would never arrive again….pain always returned but it had never hijacked my life...….."Stop" said the pain..pulling my nerve till I could acknowledge its presence. "Ouch!"…I turned around to look for a bench…..

What I liked best abt our guest house in #Puducherrywas the rock garden with the waterfall n small pond where colorful fishes swam fearlessly.. The food was good so was the comfort. I went with a big yoga group from Mumbai so we were clubbed into dormitory with ten women, it was like Bigg Boss experience with 50 shades of grey.....all other rooms were occupied so we had no choice but sit back n enjoy the live show of entertainment during early morning hours.

While we fussed around looking for a clean table to have our meals, the group of women sat comfortably on the floor enjoying their meals . There was no fuss over non-availabilty of fork n spoon or over a leaf of tissue paper. A simple Satvic food of ragi juice, lentil soup, pilaf and sprout salad was all they cared. Easily, they sat crossed legs, contentment writ on their face. I admired their attitude of enjoying each morsel of food n thanking Lord for this day.....

Thursday, 22 January 2015

The Amazing Sea Shell Museum At Mahabalipuram

The trip from Puducherry to Chennai is not very long unless you stop by some interesting places of interest on route. I loved the road trip, because it was very scenic, specially during sunset when the red globe reflected on the calm waters that ran parallel to road. There were many interesting places we saw on route but ‘India seashell Museum’ was the highlight of this trip. 

Seashells museum is located at southern side of Mahabalipuram. A short walking distance from 5 Rathas (just follow the sign) although we did take a longer route by our vehicle.

There was entrance of course, Rs50 for the seashell museum and Rs30 more for the aquarium and an extra Rs100 if we wished to click pictures. But we spend more money in the seashell boutique that had amazing handcrafted thing made of shells like vases, boxes, key chains, fridge magnets, flowers, frames and also wall hanging.

It was sunny afternoon, the beautiful bright white entrance with rock garden and pond on one side and large shell installations displayed in the compound and on roof top of each building was very inviting, the compound itself had tiles in the shape of waves with embossed sea-animals and fishes. All around were the murals and graphics of shells in different shapes and form.

Far end, at the back side was a sea food restaurant, which we didn’t visit cause most of my friends were vegetarians.

The AC salon has amazing shells of different shapes and sizes, all in their natural form.

They were just cleaned and exhibited in large showcases against the wall and the tiny ones in the center showcases. There were display of wide range of sea shells, about 40,000 of them, collected by the founder (K Raja Mohamed) of the museum and their history. 

How beautiful must be that bed of sea where they grow in cluster. The divers are so lucky to be able to go underwater and find them in their natural habitat.

This shell really amazed me. Inside the shell were compartments shaped like a leaf….nature to be admired!!

There were four sections of display and in every section was a large handcrafted piece.

The aquarium was a smaller room with just few fish tanks with rare kind of fishes.

But the most interesting part was the shopping area and fish pedicure corner.

Came back home with few souvenirs from the shell boutiques, that included a shell box too.

Monday, 19 January 2015

21st Yoga Festival at Puducherry Was Informative

The 3 days yoga conference seemed a good opportunity to visit Puducherry. Train tickets booked, accommodation arranged, my five friends and I reached the White town in good spirit.

Initially, sharing the dormitory with ten women seemed impossible, I immediately rushed to the concierge to ask for a private room for smaller group of my three close friends, but the place was full, and hunting an alternate accommodation in another hotel seemed a difficult task after our long train journey.

Comfortably settled, we settled on attending the festival

Two days were spent attending lectures and workshops on yoga techniques, during evenings there were cultural shows. More that two thousand delegates attended this festival. There were competitions held for children of different age groups in different postures of yoga and prizes were given to the best performers.

I was not in very good health, therefore, I did not attend all the sessions. I feel bad at having missed SuryaNamaskar, an event where two thousand children participated at the beach road at 5:30am. My friends, who attended, told me it was a spectacular show.

But the other events were equally interesting. Some of the exercises were demonstrated on the stage and the audience did participate. “Stand firmly on the ground with equal balance on both feet” they said. We don’t realize that we tend to shift the weigh of our body on one leg more than on other.

During the cultural show in the evening, there were great control of the dance steps and flexibility of the dancers. The dances were performed with great skill, the eye-expressions distinct, movement in coordination with the music, an amazing performance that requires concentration and controlled breathing.

2014 proved a significant year for yoga in India, with the United Nations declaring June21 as the International Day of Yoga, following a proposal made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Yoga is not just breathing techniques or meditation; it is actually a discipline of mind and soul. Different speakers spoke about different diseases and how they can be cured by simple exercises. 

Points to bring home:

In five stages of yoga, the mind and body can be brought to a perfect balance.

First - We need to relax our body. Lie or sit still, relaxing each muscle of the body. Part by part, starting from foot, relaxing of the body, gradually bringing attention from foot to head. This helps to bring down the stress.

Second- Follow a proper diet of fresh vegetables and fruits. One must never overeat, because that brings imbalance in the body. The most effective way for food consumption is to fill the tummy with fifty percent solid food, twenty five percent water and the remaining to be left for air to circulate and help in digestion.

Thirdly- Body requires exercises like walking, swimming or yoga. In yoga there are many stretching exercises that release the toxins from the body, makes body flexible and makes one active.

Fourth_ It’s the pranayama, the controlled breathing. The inhalation and exhalation that purifies the blood stream, improves energy in the body and activates the cells.

Fifth - To calm the mind, meditation helps. Sit with yourself, watch your thoughts and concentrate on your breath.

Hundreds of thoughts come into our mind when we sit with self. The trick is to bring the mind back to focus, concentrating on sound of mantra that one can chant with eyes closed. After chanting repeatedly for several times, body gets tuned and mind comes to stillness and then there are no thoughts playing games.

Stress is normal, only dead bodies have no stress. But to minimize the stress, there should be control over discipline and attitude, our reaction to the outer stimulus, to the society, to accept other’s behavior as the part of their nature.

Yoga is stopping the thought process, concentrating on mantra and to bring peace of mind.

When the mind is relaxed, the diseases automatically exit from our horizon……and good health sets in.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Puducherry Is All About Spirituality

Puducherry had been on my agenda since last three years, every time I planned a visit, something went wrong and I had to cancel it. This year too, I fell and sprained my foot, one month before the visit but I decided to go even though I was in pain.

Most of our time was spend attending 21st Yoga festival. Lectures, workshops and cultural programs drained out three days of our visit but it was enlightening and a good learning experience. Learnt a lot about meditation and the exercises.

During the last two days of our visit, we did spend time touring around the city visiting temples, beaches and also went for a boat ride.

We were staying in the White Town, that has the French influence everywhere. There are bistros and quaint restaurants all along the promenade. It is soothing and comfortable to spend the evenings sipping cups of coffee, dining or walking down, closer to the sea, for an evening walk.

We stayed in the Ashram’s New Guest House and really loved the solitude and the cleanliness of this place. There was a waterfall and rock garden in the center of this house, just outside the canteen.

We spend a day walking around Sri Aurobindo ashram. This Ashram has played a significant role in socio-economic-spiritual fabric of Puducherry. We went to embroidery section, dining hall and also to handicraft boutique.

We were not allowed to click pictures inside the ashram, but it was very beautiful. There was a Samadhi in the center of the compound and great variety of colorful flowerpots everywhere. There was a sweet, heady fragrance of fresh flowers. People sat all around in meditative posture, silent and calm. We entered a small bookstall; the librarian briefed us about the methods of spiritual practice of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother and introduced us to some of the books on display. 

About 12 kms away from Pondicherry is the Auroville – the town of peace and humanity, we visited the next day. The peace there was, everywhere. Since I had hurt my foot, I could hardly walk but few steps.

The bus dropped us at quite a distance, and I walked slowly with support of my friend into the interiors along the muddy path, passing through nursery of potted plants, into the vast area that housed library, exhibition hall, restaurant, we reached another bus stop, to take the transport towards the golden globe called Matrimandal.

This is the place, one can spend the whole day, walking or cycling. There is so much peace and tranquility. I saw many people cycling around, which is a perfect mode of moving around in this town that can actually accommodate 50,000 people.

I took a jeep to go towards the Matrimandal but it dropped us at the gate and there was yet another long distance to walk.

I walked halfway, but returned to sit down under shade.

Soon my friends came back disappointed, they didn’t know that one could enter inside the dome only after 2pm and a special permission had to be sought for entrance inside the Matrimandal.

The main purpose for visiting this dome is the 70cms spherical crystal, about the size of a beach ball. This sphere sits on a gold plate base in the womb of the Buckyball. The effect is theatrically mystical, with light and mirrors adding to the effect. 

Seems like I will have to go back to experience the city of puducherry all over again when I am in better health and have more freedom to explore the city...

"I shall seize the fate by its throat....

"I shall seize the fate by its throat....
"I shall seize the fate by its throat....It shall certainly not bend nor crush me completely"

Out of Box


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