Showing posts from July, 2011

The Fishing Fleet …

The story of the ‘bibi’ line and the retuned empties

The world we live in is certainly interesting and many of the tales that enliven it come from books that people do not even know to exist. . I spend a long time with those inanimate objects created to outline periods from the past, marveling at the varied life that man led thus far. This story detailed a period like that and though I did know of this vignette from a couple of books, they were by no means complete. This weekend, armed with some research material, I got into the depths of the story and what you read is a result of that effort.

To get to this story, I have to take you to the Britain of the post Industrial revolution period. The Midlands and London were certainly busy places and a good amount of manufacturing took place. The factories were buzzing, the raw material came in freighters from the newly established colonies in India and the Far East and the British ports were busy places indeed. The educated (but from socia…

The Story of the Pachyderm and Iyer

I have mentioned the favorite animal in Kerala many a time in what I call 'my attempts at writing'. We love the elephant in Kerala and always look at it kindly and with a great amount of affection. But today it reminded me of a story that my friend told me many years ago and at that time, I penned it into my musings and filed it away. Today, as I was wondering what to post, for I was not in a real mood to post anything heavy, I came across this and decided to air it finally.....At that time, some 8 years ago, I had written it as a converstation between me and my second son Arun.For quite some time I did not believe this story after I heard it from my friend Ram. But Ram has always been a truthful chap, and now I am telling it to Arun… I cannot recite the tale like Ram did, it had its own special tones and flavor when told in Tamil and many of the Mannargudi nuances are now missing…nevertheless, it is an interesting tale.

Arun wonders what a pachyderm is and I explain to him tha…

The King and the Dancer

Swati Tirunal, Irvivarman Thampi, Sugandhavalli ,Vadivelu, Bharatnatyam, and Mohinitattam – The fascinating connections

You may have seen a sensuous Mohiniattam by the dancer in the traditional Kerala whites and you would have seen may others in Malayalam movies and sometimes bits in a Hindi movie like dil se..but how did mohiniyattam get formulated? What has Maharaja Swati Tirunal got to do with it? What role did Violin maestro Vadivelu play in the drama and who indeed was Sugandhavalli? Those who have seen the movie Swati Tirunal would have an inkling about the tempestuous days of the young king, in fact his last happy and sad years, but let us try and take another look, for it is a story of persons, and of their simple desires in life, a story of dance, music and love and as we all know, these have a habit of coexistence, and is the formula in many a heartwarming story.

Before we get to Travancore and delve into this story, I have to start in Tanjavur, going back to a time of the r…