I was away in Calicut, my home town, for two weeks. The first two days I could not access the net due to some connectivity problems. That prompted me to take a break from the net, sort of a cyber fasting! I did not even check my e-mail for two weeks. Quite a nice experience, I must say.
I was also sort of busy with some other things for a few days. Many of the readers of this blog may remember that I had a series of posts here, titled Father's Memoirs. They were edited translations of excerpts from the autobiography that my father was writing then. Father turned sixty this month and Natannuvanna Vazhikal, his memoirs, is in some sense his birthday gift to himself! His students, colleagues and friends too had a beautiful gift for him on the occasion. This was in the form of a two day seminar on his works. The autobiography was released at the inaugural session of this seminar. I attended the proceedings, and perhaps this is the first seminar outside my subject that I fully attend. It was an interesting two days. I was very close to many of my father's earlier students, and it was nice to meet all of them together.
R & I, with my sister and her husband, had a wonderful one day trip to the northern parts of Kerala. We went till the Bekal Fort (remember Mani Ratnam's Bombay?) with stops at Kappad beach (where Vasco da Gama landed five centuries ago), Lokanarkavu temple(s), Mahe, Kannur Fort and Karivellur.
Lokanarkavu has one Bhagavathi temple, one Vishnu temple and one Shiva temple. In the Shiva temple there, you are not supposed to do the full pradakshina. You do only the three fourth. I heard that this practice is common in several Shiva temples in Kerala. I do not know how common this is in the Shiva temples in other parts of India. R told me that this was the first time she heard about it. Perhaps this is the custom in certain Tantric temples. And perhaps the thought behind this ritual is that Shiva does not "deserve" your 100% respects as he is considered an "inferior" god -- a "tribal god" with bark clothes and a snake and all that? I do not know.
I also read a few books. One was a collection of some delightful poems of P.P. Ramachandran, a relatively young and now famous Malayalam poet. How I loved reading and re-reading those! Another book that I read, which I should have read years ago, was Jawaharlal Nehru's autobiography. Very few books have moved me to this extent. Of course I'm always a Nehru admirer! I also started reading Philip Roth's I Married a Communist which I found very appealing in the initial few pages, but not so interesting as the story progresses. Did any of you like that book?
I attended one or two public functions. One was a local convention of Purogamana Kala Sahitya Sangham, a left leaning cultural organization. This was held late in the evening in a private lower primary school, a ramshackle building with no electricity, with un-plastered walls, with even un-cemented floors. During a long speech on culture and society in that candle lit night, I glanced across the various charts on the walls. One was meant to teach the kids 'the present tense'. A few sentences there: Ramu takes bath before studying, Rani cleans the house every day, Ramu likes to get up early in the morning, Rani helps her mother in the kitchen. You get the drift. I could have attended two more talks but I came to know about both a bit later. Utsa Patnaik (JNU) and C. Raja Mohan (JNU and The Indian Express) were around.
That's it for now. If I was blogging in my vacation, probably I would have blogged mainly about these topics. Have to catch up with a lot of my favourite blogs. Looks like I have missed a lot of blog action!