Sunday, April 14, 2013

My Memoirs of Vishu

Vishu is always close to my heart. The first rememberance of  Vishu is that of recieving Kai neetam from elders. Filling up the much needed "Pocket money" budget during a much needed "dry" non school season.. But Vishu means much more than that to me.

For those of you who don't know, Vishu happens to be during the new year based on Solar Calendar followed across Kerala. Similar new years are celebrated in Assam, Tamil Nadu etc as Vaisakhi, Rongali Bihu, Puthandu Piravu etc.

Back to the days when I was young, this was the time when Schools had barely closed. The time when Cashew nuts bloom, mangoes ripen and the summer heat soars!!!Crackers are part of the Vishu festivities. The sales of crackers start around end of March and continues till the 13th and 14th of Apr (Vishu day). Crackers were like status symbol in childhood days. The more you had at home, the more "social status" you had among friends. Then there was toy guns in which we used to keep small carckers (called Caps)Roll Caps Crackers

The toy guns are good for a game of "Police and Robber", like the so called Rajanikanth movies :).
So the big question used to be, how to increase your "Social status". Social status can be incrased only by money. How to earn Money?

Option 1:
Cashew nuts sale: Cashew is a cash crop in Kannur and Kerala. You could go on a scouting spree to the large acres of Cashew goves and collect cashew...Sell it to the local market once you have about 1 kg or so.  Beware if you get caught by the land owner, then you have had it.. .They will chase you out and make sure this is informed back home.. Pretty risky.. :)

Option 2:
Do a small business of toffees, cigarettes etc. But where to find the capital for it? What if we losse and noone buys the items?  Risky again..

Another option ofcouse, is saving money (commission) for items that you would be asked to purchase by your mom and dad. This would be like 10 paise or 25 paise per items.

To be truthful, I have done all the options..

Coming back to Vishu celebrations at home. The previous day my dad used to come in his Bajaj scooter with a packet of crackers, probably 50 or 100 Rs worth or so. The first thing is to segregate what I can try and what I cannot try (like the big crackers). Invariably those would have been in large numbers but will take a long time for me to burst.

We used to have long stick to hold the Koya crackers and the end ... like the one seen below..

And then there are the big ones.. like the Lakshmi ones that my dad used to burst ...

And then there would be flower pots.. Sticks and so on.. seems like yesterday..

The night would be spent in the entrance of the house bursting and seeing others burst.. just to see that your "social status" was not bad ...

The next day morning, we would get up at 4am, and see Kani.. or Vishu Kani.. Hoping the year ahead would be prosperous. But truly the need to get up the next day morning was to burst the rest of the crackers..My grandmother used to wake up exactly at 4am on Vishu. Infact she used to be awake just to hear the fist commotions around (someone bursting cracker or so) and then she would light the lamp. Keep all the Kani and call us one by one.

In the morning we get Vishu Kani neetam, which is a tradition where elders in the house give money to the yonger ones with a blessing (as a symoblism) of prosperity.. I used to think "Gosh what if I had the money earlier, then I could have got more crackers to burst. "

Vishu is also the day when you would get new dresses. a new towser and a new shirt/T-shirt. But the fact of the matter is those never seemed to be the reason why I liked Vishu.. I mean the fun was not the dress but the crackers and the Vishu Kaineetam.

 The Sadya is yet another thing.. My god.. can you think of the variety of side dishes which would be served.
Unline other Kannur friends, at home we used to prepare only Veg during Hindu auspicious days. It would be really startling for some of you at least to know that most of the folks in North malabar have Non-Veg during the Vishu, Fish or Chicken.. Now that is the same case for Onam.

The evening would go by with the thought of bursting the leftover crackers.. The few that remain and the ones that we collect from the scavanging work.. But the real sad day is the next day.. Piling up all the carboard and left over pieces of crackers and burning them.. Thinking about the Vishu that was yesterday and the long wait of 364 days to get to the next one :(.. The good part though, 45 days more to go before school reopening... Yee ha....

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Sunday morning ride to Chikka Tirupathi

Saturday was a really tough day for the ride. Though I had kept an alarm at 5, I could not muster the energy to step out. Had a late meeting on Friday which made it impossible to get up at 5amIncidentally so was the case with the rest of the members of Lucky Cycling club :). Friday Hangover with a few and just tired long week for the rest of them

And so it was decided to ride on Sunday (7th of Apr 2013). Me, Deepak, Koti and Ankur. For the past few weeks our average had dropped to below 50km. It was time to change it. Chikka Tirupathi was set as the destination 

The Route :
ITPL -> HopeFarm -> Left from Thirumalasettyhalli -> Soukhya Road->Right at a Bakery Junction -> straight from Dodda Dunnasandra onto NH 207

I started around 6:15am and joined the group at Paramout Hotel (Near GR Tech Park) around 6:40am). First Break at the Bakery had a cup of tea and few Glucose biscuits. There is a dog (a black colored small one) which likes Deepak. Everytime we have been around at this place it come around and astonishingly he is always behind Deepak. We fed him few biscuits and was on our route pretty quickly..  

The next stop somewhere near Anugondanahalli for a water break around 7:45am. This is early March and the Sun was beating down pretty hard even so early in the morning.. I cannot imagine how May is gona look like. Looks like bad times. Even the lakes onroute as well as Borewells that feed the farms have dried up (per our conversation with villagers in the area). 

We passed by Emperian. For those who dont know, Emperean is actually located not in Bangalore district but in Malur Taluq of Kolar district. And here it is they advertise.. off Whitefield. :). 8:10 we reached Chikka Tirupathi temple. 

The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is believed to have been installed by Agni. For details of the temple please refer the link.

Ride back was pretty tough with the Sun beating down fast on us. We took a break on the way for a Coconut water refill. The toughest part of the journey is the ascend from Channasandra to Hope Farm!!! That too as part of our way back where all our energy is sapped... 

But finally it is the satisfaction of doing a 60+ ride again.. in the heat of the Summer.. 
Way to go folks!!! Deepak, Ankur, Koti..
Jaideep, Satnam are you up for it next week?