Upākarma “Beginning” (Sanskrit: उपाकर्म) and also called Āvaṇi Aviṭṭam (Tamil: ஆவணி அவிட்டம்), is a Vedic ritual still practiced by modern Hindus of the Brahmin caste. ~ wikipedia

This is the most important ritual observed by the men in the Brahmin Community. Avani Avittam is also known as Upakarma or Yaghnopaveetha Dharana, is the ceremony of changing the scared thread (Poonal). Every year, the festival of Avani Avittam falls on the full moon day of the month of Hindu calendar month of Sravan (August-September). The next day is Gayathri Jappam, where the Gayathri Mantra is chanted 1008 times.

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I enjoy observing these rituals. I woke up early before sunriseContinue reading

ARR (577)

In the above photo you can see my husband ready to go to Kashi yathrai and my anna (elder brother) holding the umbrella for him and trying to change his mind. With extra effects of flowers falling from the umbrella.

Kashi yathrai refers to an age-old Brahmin ritual where the groom “decides” to take up ‘sanyaasam’ (i.e. asceticism, monkhood) for spiritual pursuit. He would ultimately be ‘convinced’ by the Continue reading

I was at the salon the other day for a hair cut. I was listening to a girl’s (who was sitting next to me for a haircut) conversation with her hairdresser. She was talking English with a Russian accent. She was saying: “All of our Russian girls’ hairs are so thin, advice me on growing thick hair”. Well as usual the hairdresser was selling her products: “You should try our volume shampoo, which is about four hundred bucks and the conditioner is 200 bucks….” She kept ‘bla blaing’ a lot more. Well I mumbled too myself and to my surprise that girl heard me. Usually people don’t really hear my mumbles.

She asked me: “How come you Indians have beautiful thick velvet hair?”. I said something along these lines :Continue reading

Mohan and I celebrated our wedding anniversary yesterday.

Traditionally, payaasam and vadai is made for special events such as these. We offer some food to our deities before consuming them. This is called Naivedhyam. In any auspicious menu ‘Vadai payaasam’ is included.

Payaasam is made up of cooked rice as rice is the staple diet of India and boiled milk with sugar. Offering something sweet to God.

Vadai is a savoury dish and a traditional South Indian food known from antiquity. There are two types of vadai – Paruppu vadai made from chana dal (split de-husked black chickpeas), and Ulundu vadai made from urad dhal (de-husked black lentils.) Sliced green chillies, curry leaves and onion are also mixed into the batter, and ulundu vadai batter contains rice in addition to these.  These are fried in hot oil like doughnuts. While paruppu vadai is circular and slightly flat, ulundu vadai is wheel-shaped with a hole in the middle. Ulundu vadai is bland and usually enjoyed with chutney or sambar.

They are more than 2 types of vadai. The above mentioned are mostly used for auspicious functions.

NeivedhiyamContinue reading

I don’t know about you but when I think about Jewelleries the first thing that pops up in my head is Jhumki. Not many people can relate to that term. Jhumki is an earing that has a shape of a bell. I remember ever since I was young, during any traditional events my amma used to put the Jhumki on for me. This Jhumki is a traditional golden jewellery which looks something like this.

Continue reading

Aside: I have reached my century in blogging. This is my 100th post and am so glad I have chosen this topic.

The first thing that comes to my mind after reading the above title is Little Krishnan. Gokulashtami is celebrated once a year. The story/myth goes like this.

Maha Vishnu took various avatars to protect the mortal world from the evildoers and sinners. One such incarnation was his birth as the child of King Vasudeva and Queen Devaki Devi. Gokul Ashtami is the birthday of Lord Krishna. It falls on the 8th day of the dark half of the month of ‘Bhadrapada’ (August-September) and is one of the greatest of all Hindu festivals. Lord Krishna was born at midnight.Continue reading

I remember the apartment I lived in India, I used to stand in the balcony and watch this man sit under the tree and invite crowds of tourists and people who are interested in his Parrots. They were 2 parrots caged in a dark brown box. The box had sticker of Gods and Goddesses.  The 1 parrot was green with yellow beak and other 1 was red with a bit of blue on the wings. They were such beautiful birds. I have to say, these birds were well behaved. They would listen to every word he would say. They were well tamed birds. Those birds’ names were Laxmi and Rani. He would stack a pack of cards, similar to tarots. He would say “Rani, vaama vanthu nalla seatah eduma – Rani, come out and take a good card”. The parrot will come out and pick a card out of the stack. He would give something small into its mouth and the parrots will go inside its cage.

That man made huge business with his fellow parrots. The same man would be seen on the beach during weekends. He knew his niche market. You will find them almost everywhere during tourist seasons, in the train, near huge wholesale shops and so on. I am not too fond of horoscopes, fortune cookies etc. but some people have unshakable faith in these birds and tarots. Some people like me, just like to see fortune telling for the fun of it. Which reminds me of the Octopus Paul during 2010 SA Soccer world cup.

Parrot astrology or Parrot fortune-telling Tamil கிளி ஜோசியம் is a type of astrology popular among the Tamils of Tamil Nadu. India and Singapore. It involves using green parakeets which are trained to pick up Tarot like fortune cards.

The parakeets are trained specifically for this. A parrot astrologer/fortune teller typically sits beneath a tree or by the side of the road where people congregate in numbers. He has a cage which contains one or two trained parrots. The tarot like cards are either spread out or stacked in front of him. They are 27 in number representing the Indian cosmic system. Each card contains the image of a Hindu deity and some cards contain images of Buddha or Virgin Mary with Infant Jesus. When a patron sits before the fortune teller, the later opens the cage and lets the parrot out. He instructs the parrot to pick a card for the patron. The parrot walks over to the cards picks one from the stack or the spread with its beak and gives it to the astrologer. It then walks back inside its cage. The astrologer opens the card and based on the image tells the fortune of the patron. – Wikipedia

Keep Smiling…

Prad