Monkton Mondays!

Today is Holi – The Festival of Colors! Like all things Indian, there are myriad stories that surround one festival πŸ˜‰ My favourite of the ones surrounding Holi, is the story of Prahlad, son of the Demon-king Hiranyakashyapu. How’s that for a tongue-twister eh? πŸ˜‰

Well, in manner of all Demons – old & new, this one too got so full of himself, that he declared that the World should worship only Him and none of the 36 million odd Gods that were around. However he harboured a fervent devotee of the Lord Vishnu (The Protector), in his own home, a fact that was like a humungous thorn in his demon-hide! The young prince Prahlad was pious and steadfast and under The Lord’s protection – a fact that saved him from several attempts on his Life. I think his Dad once tried to have him trampled to death by a mad bull elephant – NOT cool! Finally King H called on his evil sister (I wonder if she was a twin), conveniently named Holika (you see where this is going?) for help in killing his son. This is why I say – Family is overrated much πŸ˜›

Holika had a magical cloak (move over Harry!), that protected her from Fire. Supercool methinks! So anyway, she sat on a burning pyre, and on her lap sat Prince Prahlad, calmly meditating on The Lord’s name. I’m telling you – Meditation is the way to go People! And Lo and Behold (God, I’ve been dying to use that expression!), the cloak miraculously flew off her and onto the Prince, saving him. Meanwhile Holika was Toast! I must confess I feel a little sad for her, but then I’ve always enjoyed the Demon in me πŸ˜‰ But for the rest of the goody goody World – All’s Well that Ends Well! Good once again conquers Evil and one more festival is added to the ever-lengthening list πŸ™‚ And for those of you who are interested in the end of the story – The Lord Vishnu appears in the form of a lion-man, grabs the evil King, sits on the threshold and literally tears his heart out!! Oh yeah – Beware the Vengeful God People πŸ˜› Then the good Prince P becomes the good King P and everyone is happy except the dead and we all know they don’t count!

The purpose of the tale, other than it took me down memory lane and was fun to write πŸ˜‰ is to explain why we light a huge Bonfire on the night before Holi, and call it Holika! It signifies as always the triumph of Good and a phoenix-like renewal from the ashes of loss. I wonder if Rowling ever read this story? πŸ˜› Last night we witnessed our very own Holika and she was pretty fiery πŸ™‚ And although playing with colours traditionally follows the Holika, times they are a-changing my friends. We played with colours yesterday morning, because it was a Sunday and so – convenient πŸ™‚ It was fabulously fun though and Junior who’s been terrified of playing before, was happy to smear colours on us and himself and even willing to be drenched by water guns πŸ˜€ some of which by the way, could easily be mistaken for army-issue! He’s growing up and it makes me a little teary, but well – c’est la vie.Β 

In other weekend news – finally began Steinbeck’s East of Eden and am already half-living in the Salinas valley πŸ™‚ I’m just about a 50 pages in and already I know this is going to be an unforgettable saga of gargantuan proportions. Sorry for the floweriness πŸ˜› Have been wanting to use ‘gargantuan’ for ages too πŸ˜‰ And so on to Mr. Monkton…I chose this image because it reminded me of how ‘In the Groove’ we were yesterday – dancing to the latest Bollywood numbers, coloured faces grinning maniacally, carefree and happy! It was a good feeling! A Wonderful feeling πŸ˜€ I FELT it! And it’s very clear that Β Ms. Bunny feels it too πŸ˜€


Happy Monday People!

May you always find COLOUR when you need it πŸ˜€

Take52 Challenge: Week 2 – Crisp

Funnily enough, the day the new theme was announced, we celebrated the festival of Lohri here in India, and immediately I knew the picture I wanted to take! Serendipity πŸ™‚

Lohri is a celebration of the arrival of Spring! Like a majority of Indian festivals, it involves a riot of colour, much delicious food, loud music, much Bollywood dancing and fire in some form! This one had a rather gorgeous bonfire that served my purpose beautifully πŸ™‚ Again I used the 50 mm, which is really hard to beat in low-light and snapped away happily at the orangey-gold flames and their showers of bright sparks.

Felt like a real photographer – a feeling I haven’t had in ages – felt GOOD πŸ™‚ I have blogged in more detail and with more pictures about the festival in a previous post – Bonfire & Kites!


If you would like to join the challenge click here or on the CameraShy button on my homepage! You won’t regret it πŸ™‚

Bonfires & Kites!

Last night, I attended my first Lohri celebration πŸ™‚ Lohri is how the Punjabi community celebrates the winter solstice. It is twinned with Makar Sankranti – a day that heralds the arrival of Spring and the transition of the Sun into Capricorn. Whatever the religious and cultural significance – it doesn’t really matter to me. Every festival in India is a riot of colour, a cacophony of sound and a photo-op made in heaven πŸ˜‰ Lohri last night and Sankranti this morning were no different!

Lohri was celebrated last night with characteristic Punjabi aplomb! Bhangra beats filled the air, the crowds lined up to gorge on the yummy eats (chole bhature to die for!), children of all ages lit floating lanterns, and when the Bonfire was lit – it was time to circle it, make a wish perhaps, and dance! There’s an exuberance to a community celebration that is quite unmatched by any private party, no matter how jolly. It’s as if the positive vibes multiply and ensconce all those present in a happy bubble – so that for a while – All is Well. Troubles are Forgotten. Life is Good πŸ™‚

Today is Makar Sankranti – and for whatever reason is celebrated in my home state of Goa and neighbouring Maharashtra and probably in many others – by flying kites. Yeah! Go Figure! We had already bought a kite last night for Junior, and so armed with it, we made our way down to the playground where hundreds of people had gathered for some major kite-flying action! Never mind that we had neglected to buy a spool πŸ˜› Never mind that all of us were kite-flying dummies! Never mind that we were trying to fly the kite with some sewing thread that we tied randomly to it, with utter disregard for the physics of flying πŸ˜‰ IT WAS FUN πŸ˜€ Junior held the kite and the spool alternately trying to make it rise into the air, catch the current – fly! We got it a few feet off the ground for a few seconds at a time and we were so excited you’d think we’d made it to the moon πŸ˜‰ It’s a wonderful feeling – trying something new, having no expectations, just letting go!

And I got more pictures – not quite a Skyful of Kites that I was hoping for, but enough to make this 1 minute film that i’m sharing below! I’m really impressed with iPhoto – my yearning for Adobe Lightroom has all but disappeared! It was a piece of cake, making the slideshow and turning it into a movie. It even told me how long my music piece to go with should be! I see many long, happy hours of experimentation ahead πŸ™‚

And so let me with you all a Very Happy Lohri, A Very Happy Sankranti! May this Spring be a beautiful harbinger to a fruitful Summer!

Happiness Always People πŸ™‚