Sights, Sounds, and Scent of Kukkarahalli kere

My husband is from the South and I am from the North of the our hometown, the district of Kodagu. Generally, other than very personal matters, we have agreed to disagree on everything. That’s something my little granddaughter (3 year old Arya) terms as “Gpa and Nana are only pretending, not fighting!!” Perhaps this is one of the reasons we still like, enjoy and tolerate each other’s company after 40+ years of marriage.

Whenever we are in Mysore my husband goes for a walk at Kukkarahalli kere (lake). Kukkarahalli Lake is one of the 3-manmade lakes of Mysore city and is more mystical and beautiful than words can explain. Sadly the water is not fit for consumption because of man’s stupidity and exploitation. And the government… let not even to go there!! Home to thousands of migratory birds and different flora and fauna is a feast to sore eyes was dug in 1864, thanks to the generosity of Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar of Mysore Dynasty to provide water for the nearby villages’ irrigation.

I join my husband on his daily lakeside walks sometimes, but our purposes vary slightly. For my husband, like the thousands who tread the 4 km path around the lake, it’s purely for physical fitness. But for me, it’s more to do with refreshing my mind and learning about things around me. So once we are at the kere, we walk in different directions on the path and almost always he finishes his usual round, walks an extra kilometer, and then waits… We get to hear about each other’s walking experiences too, and the idea for this article originated from one such moment….

One day he told me that some gentlemen were talking about bones that are likely to show-up in the lake because of the reduction of water and about a “female ghost”. I told my husband that this female ghost is a big joke! Why would a dead soul that killed itself come back to this humanly world filled with selfishness and cruelty… Perhaps even the crocodile in the lake are better than humans, who are inspired by all the text book knowledge from around the university campus. Eventually I told him that I will prove it to him that there is no female ghost and well, I had only five walking days in hand as I was leaving town for some days!

First day was cloudy and misty so one day gone!! In the four days that remained, I took more than a hundred pictures… sadly I can’t post them all… If any of my readers know the names of the flowers, birds and/or any other interesting and peculiar matters around the kere that I may have missed, please write to me to help better this article.

I now ask you to join me on this visual journey around the Kere!

The swarm of activities on the lake path starts much before the break of dawn and Mr. Sun shows his smiling face as many walkers and joggers in all shapes, colours, and gender with various linguistic back grounds including German and French speaking folks that have come to learn yoga in the city. The first one to greet the kere’s visitors is the call of a Tawny Eagle (Aquila rapax) with its shrill calling and also you can hear the meowing of the peacock sometimes. Even though I could not capture it in a picture, it always made its presence felt. Then the band of music starts with numerous other land birds of different calling and sighting. The only thing perhaps missing in the crowd is the sparrow that seems to have mass migrated to Middle East (I’ve see them in large numbers) Occasionally joined by different aquatic birds and cicadas, the morning music gains ground to its peak before most of them fly out in search of food. The stray dogs which have made the lake path their home, fed by the kind walkers, jump around happily. Quite a few cows graze here, and are followed around by white Cranes waiting to get a treat from the cows’ bodies or insects from the disturbed grass. Grass cutters cut loads of fresh grass and old ladies collect firewood for the day. Somehow mysteriously everything seems to be harmonious and orderly and in rhythm with the Mother Nature indicating that the day is going to be just perfect.

Outside, there are vendors selling papaya, watermelon, guava, health juice, tea, coffee, etc/. etc. Often, some new products are sold at introductory prices – I saw Palmyra fruit jaggery and honey. There is a horse carriage station built by the Central Government… there are more human sleeping there than horses and at times more vehicles parked!! While taking my own sweet time walking around the lake, I pick up bits and pieces of interesting conversation around me. Two such instances:

On the first day: Mr. A was talking to Mr.B about Mr.B’s SiL, “You know that Bikanasi your son in law he never helps anyone… and never even gives a paise to any one… bewarsi nan-maga”….

On the last day: The police had put a warning to people about thieves “sara-gallariddare eharike” (beware of chains thieves) and besides it was the picture of the Chief Minister of the state!!

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1 – Sunrise… on a misty day a dreamy reality

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2 – “Who is more beautiful, the Sunrise or me?” The brilliant yellow couldn’t look better elsewhere.  The tubular Bignoniaceae or Caribbean trumpet flower has no smell yet pulls everyone closer with its brilliance.

4.jpg3- “I am big and my flowers are pretty” A century plus old magnanimous Mimosa tree with a broken branch… looks like a heart… ..and its beautiful flowers. Wow!

5.jpg4- Wedding procession. Pelicans congregate daily in different parts of the lake as if a wedding party were in motion.

6.jpg5-“Are we there….. How much longer?”

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6- This baby owl seems to be confused if it is day or night….

8.jpg7- “I am a vegetarian, why do people make me eat their waste?” Till I saw one of these lovely bird (at the bottom) run away with a mimosa bean that looked like an extension of its beak, I always thought these birds catch fish!!

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8- Not pasteurized but sewage-ized (I made up the word) milk. There are many cows roaming free and grazing on the grass. And cutting the grass to make a living…. Tell-tale signs of heavy sewage from yore… plenty of plastic around too… grass grows on sewage, cows graze on it, and produce milk, humans consume the milk and eventually contribute to more sewage.. It’s a vicious cycle!

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9- The sewage being leaked even to this day.

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Kerya niranu kerege chelli… means lake water poured back to lake.. here human waste is given back to humans… fish from the lake is sold here. Thank God I don’t eat lake or tank fish!!

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10- Burden of old age…. Renewable energy that keeps the area clean and also helps old ladies make a living while staying healthy too. However, like thousands more parents it’s sad and shameful to see them struggling, neglected and discarded like old garb by their children!

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11- Old and wise… I am here to stay for generations to come (Aladamara or vat vriksha or banyan tree begins its life as an epiphyte, germinating in the crevices of a host tree or other structure (eventually killed or choked, its power can be witnessed at Angkor wat temples of Cambodia!!) The national tree of India known for its longevity is considered immortal (it’s difficult to determine the age due to the fact that the original trunk is usually hidden by years of arial/support root growth) and sacred (where Sri Krishna rested) in Indian culture. However, I see the banyan tree as to symbolizing one too many aspects of human life… for example a doubt in human mind or revenge or anything can grow and destroy life itself. The biggest one in India is located at Kolkata botanical garden and in Karnarnata, Dodda-Aladamara near Bangalore.

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12- Ants seem to love this tree I wonder why? Their very own sandal perfumery?

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13- The Oriental Anthill (sorry Mr. Termite). I called it so because it looks like the roof of a Pagoda and is different than all the anthills I have seen before.

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14- A demonic offspring of a gentle pollen eating parent!! An ant being caught in the pit of the soft bodied, innocent looking fiercely Nela-ame (antlion larva). These crafty veracious predators build funnel shaped nest in fine grained soft soil and catch whatever prey (mostly ants) bumbles into the ditch sucking the life juice out. As the prey tries to free itself from its jaws of death, it shoots sand nonstop and forcefully to prevent it from sliding out. The adults, also called lacewings look like dragon flies and mostly eats pollen and nectar!! Even though the life span of the adult could be between 4 to 6 weeks, it is said that these larva could live upto 3 years in larva stage… I was fascinated at the sight because it brought the nostalgic memories of my childhood.. Whenever I was angry with my mother for not letting me do what I want (usually over eating) I would barge out and go near the cowshed. Besides the outer wall always there was tiny antlion pit and would blow in it till the larva showed up, take it out put them on the palm and watch the softest body moving in reverse order. It was a game all of us kids played from time to time… we believed that if it bites we could hear the elephant trumpet from sky!! What an irony I did not know about the demonic eating habit of the larva!!

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15- Beware of crocodiles… No one knows how they got here and they are rarely seen – grass cutters even peacefully cut the grass around them. According to my husband, a couple of years ago a crocodile laid eggs and no one was allowed to go to a certain part of the lake. I joked with my husband because of the heat in Mysore most eggs must have hatched into male croc babies, so family planning is in order!! My husband also told me that last year one day all the birds resting on the tree were screaming and hovering around in circle perhaps the crocodile must have tried to devour one of them or they were warning all the other residents of the lake about its presence.

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16- Rows of wild bamboo, telltale signs of a creek and village that once existed. On the other side of the Lake is a hybrid variety that practically does not allows any plant to survive underneath.

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17- An ancient Acacia tree oozes resin…. Black as tar!!

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18- I was weighing the option – if to take a picture or not… Men are men…. Sorry guys… Public toilet not far away but a man just finished watering the tree under the cover of mist…. at one of the by-lanes of the area. Oh boy.. that’s called organic farming!! This also confirms that many people don’t wash their hands after visiting toilets… remember the survey at New York of street food vendors? Think twice before eating out… hahahhahahah

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19- Honge tree (Millettia Innata) renowned for its shade under which at least 2 or more degree cooler rained flowers. Traditionally known for medicinal properties, the “pongam oil” could be the potential alternate to fuel!!

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20- The parasitic Dodder ( Cuscuta spp.) which looks like a discarded ball of wool, flourishing on its hostess called Hooker’s Weed from the family Convolvulaceae. Almost always, the Dodder picks the same creeper to settle down on and has tiny little flowers of the same colour. I have seen bees hovering over those tiny-tiny flowers.

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21- Bush Passion (fruit) flowers with tender fruits in brackets

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22- Silky morning glory smiling all over followed by large beach moon flowers too large for it tiny leaves and numerous other creepers

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23-The uniquely and mildly fragrant beautiful Shivalinga Pushpa or Nagalinga pushpa (aka canon ball tree – named so because of the size and looks of its fruits resembling the cannon balls), is a sacred flower in the Indian culture symbolizing Lord Shiva, bloomed in one tree while the other just opposite bore none…

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24- Yoga time.. What a way to start the day in the presence of rising Sun. My husband said it’s an invasion of privacy. Well no one can see his face…

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25- Cycle of life… as a female dog feeds the Pups, the male tries to mate. Unfortunately, the pups were abandoned the next day. (My husband did not want me take this picture)

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26- Healthy juice time – While one saves the time and trouble of making this at home, the other makes a living out of it. My husband told me that within an hour the entire juice will be sold out.

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27- California drought ends and the Mysore one begins… Receding water level (20th March 2017) telltale signs of an impending draught. White and green lines indicate the normal water level. Sadly due to contamination this water is not potable either…

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28- Another glorious day and a new beginning… what better way to start than walk towards Mr. Sun

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29- Last day and the last sight… The ugliest and saddest rotten act of human mind… the steps of NCC Boating area is being used as the platform for black magic offering. May God push it back to the offer-er itself. I landed there to get a good picture of the Pelican procession, but this is what I got!! One of the handsome young men in the picture explained it to me!! The way they behaved around it, guess it’s a common practice by the evil minds. I took the picture of the offering along with unlit agarbattis… but decided not to post… you can see it at his knee level of the young man in the middle.

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30- Crawford hall, the pride of Mysore – the cleanest city in India, showcases the sad reality. The iconic building of the University Campus stands elegant in the early morning sun while the backyard tells a different story…. both the pictures were taken just a day apart and I call it hindu-mundu (back-front). This building means a lot to me as all except one (Bangalore) of my entire family have connections to this university!!

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I told my husband… I took loads and loads of pictures, spent more than one and a half hours daily, I saw very few people, paused briefly to say hello to Ms. Chamundeshwari (temple on the hill) at the sight of the light and looking at my enthusiasm few stopped to take the picture of birds in the water… otherwise sadly everyone is so busy with their mundane life including you.

So where do you think the female ghost finds solace or psychotic help? And do you really think they will come here??

Potable or not please help to save the lake… it’s too precious to lose.

Dear readers, you need a break from never ending, ever living mundane problems, take a break at least for 5 minutes to breathe in the precious sun light…. feast your eyes with all the greens… do it for yourself.. and guess what it’s all for free! Time passes on whether you and me are in it or not… we are not ajji kolis (old lady’s hen) and we don’t aid sun rise!

Last but not the least….  If you see me stupidly running around with my camera please say hi to me… Have a great blessed day.

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Changing face of South Karnataka… are we headed for a severe drought?

I hope i’m wrong about the title’s question, but the signs are everywhere. Kodguku poopo (going to Coorg) always brings me a feel-good feeling. It’s like melting chocolate to the mind.  As soon as we enter the Anechowkoor border gate, my husband will say do you feel the change? Then I would add I was about to ask you!! The sight, the smell & the sounds stirring suddenly awakens something coiled up somewhere perhaps in a Pandora’s box. Nostalgic memories are unique to each individual, once a Lebanese colleague of mine told me, you will not believe me if I say I love the smell of burning garbage… it’s the smell of childhood freedom from before the Civil War. Now if I see anywhere the burning garbage, her face pops in front of me reminding the word freedom!

Even though I keep visiting India, I have been away from home for too long & so much has happened in between & unfortunately the total scenario is different today. What Kodagu once was seems like from a different dimension altogether. Kodagu, once the green paradise is painting a different scenario today. I had to make trips to Mangalore, Kodagu & Chennai within a short span lately & the change in topography made me wonder if there is something seriously wrong somewhere.

While driving from Mysuru to Kodagu almost all the keres (lakes) have dried up. Belikere, once filled with original pink lotus dried up more than a decade ago but many others have joined the wagon in recent years. The big kere near Periapatna which always stood the test of time has lost its battle. So does many small ones. Some of them practically bone dry without a trace of its past. So what is going to be the future? There is practically no flow in the pole (rivers) & todu (creeks), the wells are showing the signs of drying unless they are close to the rivers. The Lakshmana Tirtha River flowing through Hunsur looks like a river from Mars with big boulders popping out & the almost stagnant water exploding with unlimited green weeds. I have no idea if it is good as it prevents the evaporation or if it is bad which might contaminates the drinking water. On the other hand the South Canara seemed greener & the lakes still wet, if not in a larger scale.

The scenario from Bangalore to Chennai is worlds apart & paints a different story. Most of the water clogged paddy fields are green & smiling with freshly transplanted paddy. More over almost all the Lakes are alive & pleasure to tired eyes. Some of the lakes might be fed from the Kaveri River but I am sure all of it is not. Even though Chennai is warmer than Kodagu, the evaporation seems to be less… that means it’s not Mr. Sun to be blamed but the depleting ground water level. So why is it losing the ground water so rapidly?

On the 11th of February 2017, we traveled from Madikeri to Mythadi around 11:30 pm after attending a wedding. The visibility on the way was almost near zero making it very, very difficult to drive. However I was happy to see the fog (or mist?) but when realized that the fog was sans moisture I could not believe my eyes. It was the first time I saw something like that as fog & mist known to me always left droplets on the plants & grass which gleamed like diamond in the rising sun, windows & wind screen. The weather pattern is surely changing.

River Kaveri originating from Kodagu joined by several tributaries becomes the life line of Karnataka & the Tamil Nadu. If the source is dried up or supply is curtailed then both drinking water as well as the crops will be disastrous. So I had to make a trip to KRS to check for myself the status of water level. In front of the nearby petrol station, the Nale (canal) seems to be barren & someone (a trader) was using the bridge to dry their consignment of blankets or carpets while hung as a colourful display as the herd of goats walked past with their herder. There were few transplanted wet lands dotting here and there. The dam level has retreated drastically & a gang of young men in trunks who had gone to take a dip were seen as little dots. On the way to new Kannambadi, a little drama was amalgamated on a pool of water with water tankers (supplying drinking water) moved on the rugged surface shaking its butt, men & women washed their cloths, someone was having bath, while someone else washed the buffalo, yet another washed the vehicles, as what seemed like few army personnel looked on. God protect the ones who drink that tanker water!! Meanwhile as usual my husband & I argued over taking a picture!

On the rugged tar road, 3 men were drying the hurali kalu (pulse) in the old fashioned way depending on the occasional vehicles going to the new Gopala swamy temple. We had a chat with them & as well as a group of men & women from the nearby village who came to spend time at the new temple (idols are not consecrated yet). They were telling there is no water in the bore well & new ones even upto 500 feet no water!

Even though certain level can be seen in the reservoir how much of the water can really be used? How much of it is silt deposit? No one can tell precisely.. sadly I don’t see any where anyone is controlling the consumption of water… seems like business as usual & everyone virtually behaves like there is no tomorrow.

Interestingly the Kukkahalli keri within the premises of Mysore University Campus, home to many migratory aquatic birds, which used to be full for as long as I can remember is been shrinking drastically. Inspite of that there are plans to turn it into money making machine by introducing boating, kayaking, etc. Bangalore is gone to dogs with the greed of blind politicians & builders, & ever increasing human waste & plastic. Sadly Mysore seems to be the next victim…

While I was growing up, my dear Kodagu had a good environmental balance. This balance was achieved by practicing harmony with the nature & flora & fauna in the form of a good relationship between human settlements, forests & water resources. The traditional cultivation of cardamom & coffee had kept the trees standing tall. The floor of the cardamom plantation never even saw sun light in the mid afternoon… kept the moisture safe {of course along with umbulu (leech)}. Deva-kadu (sacred groves) along with the reserved forest by the government made the district green & kept the fresh air intact. Punda pada (Bamboo bush) along the River & Creek banks kept the water from heavy evaporation & the banks being eroded. The expanse of paddy cultivation helped the ground to absorb the water leisurely along with the grass from the plains acting like sponge to retain the rain water. Cattle grazing maintained the bane (plains) like mowed landscape along with producing milk & organic fertilizer.

Birds sang & bees buzzed… The beautiful sound of everything happened around at dawn & dusk were a synchronized/rhythmic act of people & the nature in harmony. Evening watching the flock of birds flying home was a feast to eyes & their murmuration echoing around still echoes in my ears. The sunset had its own rhythm with the walking home of the herds of the cattle, mothers sometimes calling for their calves & the gante-mani (bell in the neck) ringing along their movements & the cicadas announcing their presence with tymbals. Early morning along with the fresh cool breeze came in the dawn chorus of birds creating an unusual melodious symphony with so many different specifies, as if they competed with each other in announcing to the universe I am the happiest & I am the happiest… the drops of water collected on the leaf of grass from the night long mist gleamed on the early morning sun like diamond with myriad of colours…

However sadly the entire scenario has almost vanished or vanishing into thin air like the moistureless mist I experienced on 11th February 2017 night. Now the excessive use of artificial fertilizers & pesticides seems to have not only sucked the insects & birds but also the land out of its natural immunity along with increased usage of land with ever increasing population. Cattles are a thing of the past & even the crows do not come for the rice offering for the soul.

So where does the fault line lies? Whom to blame for this environmental disaster? The human lives have become like the plastic flowers without smell or texture or soul. Should we blame the people who have changed everything around them in the name of modernization? Should we blame the pesticides & artificial manure & the countless hybrids popping around? Should we blame the increasing tourism & the ever increasing garbage & plastic? Should we blame the politicians for the greed of money-power-votes changed the scenario or the sand mafia or the paper making & matchbox making or uncontrolled population growth? I remember my parents grumbling every time a loaded timber or bamboo lorry passed by making a heavy engine sound while climbing uphill… there goes another load & mercilessly cutting the mother’s womb, chopped as if their father had planted them.

Either the strategic importance of Kodagu is underestimated or it is utter ignorance & short sighted, the use-misuse-abuse on Kodagu haven’t seems to be ending any time soon. Sadly in 2015 the state government played havoc with Tippu Jayanthi, hurting the psyche of the Kodavas & death of an innocent person in the name of vote banking drama. Now they want railways then high tension wire to pass through which will result in tree felling & link the streams & rivers, perhaps flooding part of the Kodagu in the bargain… The unreasonable state government (blinder than Kaurava parents) plans does not seems to ending any time sooner. There is a say that one life is not enough to make all the mistakes & learn from it… I think it’s time to use the God given common sense & work wisely than filling their coffers.

Last but not the least, to add further from old fashioned thinking, there is a belief in Kodava culture that Goddess Kaveri had promised them to keep Kodagu blessed with all her grace as long the Kodavas lived there. Now that many Kodavas moved out of Kodagu & also the traditional culture seems to be taking a big U turn. Did the rush to modernization & beautification of Talacauvery back fire?

Or perhaps a major earth quake is brewing underneath? Or perhaps even heather to unknown underground volcano sucking the moisture? Whatever may be the reason if the rain God does not smile on us, & no proper planning for the future (whatever left of it) is done, Karnataka’s future is seems bleak… no drinking water.. no food.. no electricity.. while the population fought with each other, the jobless politicians can either sleep or instigate naked rain dance.

Kali’s home – Carnal pleasures

USA is the world’s Super Power,, and Manhattan is it’s soul & crowning glory , a scion of of diversity & opportunity. Manhattan, perhaps the most well laid block of land in the world, where even a child big enough to read the numbers can navigate, is yet a paranoiac place… I believe Mr. Kali had finally seems to have narrowed down the place for his modus operandi… Manhattan, where even after the 2012 Super Storm Sandy (an unusual phenomenon not seen in decades), could not deter the spirit of Manhattanites!! There are many similarities… between the scenario… then & now!

Kali has unlimited powers compared to an average human & a capable shape shifter who can transform at will. Kali is not really a physical entity or body that we could perceive with naked eye but it has the ability to mentally remote control the flora, fauna and people. Kali is like an alien, a virtual power machine which can spread like virus without cure. And humans & machines are the ones really used by Mr. Kali as tools to control the world for example the GM food, DNA modification, computers, mobile & other devices which has reached the remotest corners of the world. It has taken millenniums to bring the rule of Mr. Kali to get into final shape & it almost seems on the verge of completion.  Once mind is hacked, with the digital handshake, thegap between the humans are narrowed & the task will be completed once the information is overloaded taming the brain, which loses the ability to think!!  End of it there will be no religion (that’s why I kept seeing the different religious connections), no caste bar, grey gender differentiation (that’s why the “T” in LGBT is growing), nothing remains. The world population will turn to Zombie like state under the influence of Mr. Kali till the arrival of the savior, the Son of God in human form. That has to be in human form as man rather Zombies can understand & believe only what is seen or known to them.

Mind is the most important aspect of creation & every being has its own mind. However, man is called the intelligent being because his mind & thinking capacity is deemed superior. Yajur Veda says: When you know a man, you know the universe. Charaka (born 300 BC), the main contributor to the Indian medicine Ajurveda says: Man is the epitome of the universe. There is in man as much diversity as in the world outside, & there is in the world as much diversity as in man.’ When the individual becomes aligned with the universe, the lesser cosmos functions as a harmonious unit of the greater. Man is ruled by the mind. It is said that those who control the mind will control the universe. Also every mind (individual mind) is connected to everyone (collective mind) & that’s why when things done in unison the effect can be noticed – for example while praying you can feel the energy as most minds are connected towards the divine.

 

Individual mind – Collective mind – Divine mind.

 

Even though the creator has the overall control such as the birth & death, the in-between choice is given to the individual mind as creator also has bestowed the thinking capacity to the created. Every being has the thinking capacity but the degree varies. The in-between is something which could come under the control of Kali. It is the individual evil mind is what influenced by Kali. For example, if you can enjoy hurting an innocent fellow being such as a child for personal gain of any kind, then they have to be evil. Even the strong willed King Parkishtha came under his influence.

Also the human mind is a soft target when it comes to Religion where Mr. Kali could have the easiest influence. In a country like India where the thugs such as the Great Empire (& other barbarians), made sure there was division among the people supported by the succeeding politicians whose main target was to bag votes to gain power & money. That was furthered by the roughish Sales men of the Religion. The religion around the world has been divided subdivided & fragmented over the years, so much so even trivia part of the human body, the facial hair (hair – dead part of the body) is used to identify the religion & hate crimes are committed!!

According to Mahabharata, Kali’s arrival on earth coincided with the death of Sri Krishna (Vishnu). However, he was not active until the death of the mighty & righteous Kuru King Parkishit, (grandson of Arjuna, one of the Pandava brothers & best friend of Sri Krishna). Strangely Mr. Kali had obtained permission to enter the Earth… in other words it was Legal!! Parikstha, son of Abhimanyu was a unique child from the Middle Vedic period, who while still in his mother Uttara’s womb, was killed by Ashwathama, using Brahmastra, the ultimate weapon of that period, in retaliation to the killing of his father Drona. Sri Krishna brought him back to life, hence the name Parikstha (tested one). His grandmother Subhadra was Sri Krishna’s younger sister.

Mr. Kali had tricked the King who sat on his horse, to let him enter the kingdom & the King had given him permission to dwell only in 4-places including gold. The symbolic Lady Virtue was his strength & constant companion. Strangely, the King himself became the first victim as Mr. Kali entered his golden crown & master minded the King’s death as he could not conquer the humanity with the righteous King still ruling the land. The King died when he took a single bite from the apple which floated towards him in the water just a fraction of a second before the time was up.

Whats the connection with Manhattan? Like Parkisthit’s watch tower in the middle of the water body, Apple showroom stands transparent with clear glass in all 4-directions, aloof among the concrete jungle! {an interesting story & I will write about it later…}

Like the King was tricked & entered without his knowledge, the slaves of the virtual software are gripping the generation without their realization, sinking in quietly … the mania increasing day by day hour by hour & minute by minute & second by second… oh Lord…both fear & relief passed through me pushing to shudder… it has already beaten the records of whatsapp & facebook mania.. with all the personal information about anyone who could access the internet is saved under google… {every persons alphabet under Alphbet Inc… coooool} control will not be difficult too.. all that the hegemonic Kali had to do was just find the right portal!

Late Mr. Steve Jobs (of Middle Eastern origin – Syrian) had opened his glass Apple cube showroom with 15 monolithic glass panels right opposite to the Plaza hotel, with his iconic one bite missing apple. When under construction, the showroom had made a controversial curiosity sensation as the rumours ran amok that it was an imitation of Kaba itself! There were debates on it till it was unveiled…

Central Park is almost a forest or oasis of green/trees in the middle of the concrete jungle surrounded by bars with all sorts of activities where the King had given permission for Mr. Kali to dwell. The main entrance has the General astride on the horseback lead by the Lady Victoria holding a palm frond, all in gold, symbolizing victory, triumph, peace & eternal life. The video was playing too fast in my mind & wondered what was happening & why – without any answer.

Strangely in the middle of the night the couple above our flat with the wooden floor started their carnal action… it started with a thug… as if there was an elephant amok which brought the thought of the elephant in heat which I had seen few months ago & felt sorry for it. It got nosier & nosier as if they were pumped up with Viagra & had a death erection. These basic needs are stretched too far by man leading into all sorts of activities & expectations… everything was happening around me & I was wondering what the hell is it all leading to? I am a grandmother & I can understand how the world works but this was confusing. I wondered why I had planned a short trip to New York out of the blue forcing my husband to accompany me? He simply hates short trips to long distance…

In the middle of it all I thought of the Dajjal, according to the Middle Eastern belief the anti-Christ will be born on earth (location unknown). It is something similar to Mr. Kali… & his actions. It is said that the Son of God in yellow robe will kill Dajjal. He is expected to descend near the white eastern minaret of Damascus, clad in two yellow sheets, leaning on the shoulders of two angels. Perhaps the two angles are the 2-wings of Garuda his official vehicle? One cannot lean on two persons at one time right? Since, the Sanatana Dharma has no specific single book, they are not included in the terminology of Middle Eastern believes. So it is always said that Lord Jesus will come back as he is said to be the Son of the God. But Lord Jesus never wears yellow & not two pieces too… he wears white single robe… so who is that Son of God who is coming back? There is no other prophet or anyone wearing yellow… the holy colour of Indian beliefs.

The thought of Dajjal & Mr. Kali was making me uncomfortable & then I realized that Lord Vishnu is to appear towards the end of the Kali Yuga. Lord Krishna, an Avatara of Lord Vishnu himself says in Srimad Bhagwad Gita that … Yada yada hi dharmasya… Whenever virtue subsides & wickedness prevails, I manifest Myself. To establish virtue, to destroy evil, to save the good, I come from Yuga (age) to Yuga. Kalki is the tenth & final Avatara of Lord Vishnu during Kali Yuga. An avatar means a divine being born in a human form usually to sustain law & balance of nature when it grows out of control.

Lord Vishnu is known as Pitambaradhari (the one who wears yellow!! – see the concluding part for more details) & the thought of those smiling eyes gave me comfort. So is it almost time for his arrival… Mr. Kali will be ridden by Sri Vishnu.

I thought who is going to win the Presidency & who could play a major role? That’s when I could see the monkeys jumping around scratching & screeching themselves, as if mocking me. Monkeys in Manhattan… then I remembered seeing them at the Louis Vuitton showroom as window dressing just around the corner between Apple showroom & the Trump Towers during my previous trip!!

Colostrum: Is it the ultimate gift to new born from the God Almighty?? New Mothers PLEASE make sure to feed it to your babies.

When I wrote about ‘Ginnu’ (colostrum) in my previous blog, a colleague of mine from Kerala showed distaste for the ginnu & also said that they don’t eat it because of hygienic reason…they considered it unhygienic!! It touched a chord in me, because when I was growing up, we were encouraged to eat it as much as possible. In those days almost all the households in Kodagu had their own herd of cattle. Since I have a sweet tooth, I would eat till there is no space left in my tummy & would joke that if I put my finger through my throat, I could touch it!! My mother said it was very good for health & every drop of it was worth more than its weight in gold!! Also, I firmly believe that God almighty is both the cause & effect of everything, & that everything created by God has a purpose. Just because we don’t know does not mean that things don’t have a purpose!! So to substantiate myself, I asked around, and surprisingly none of my other Keralite friends knew about it either.

In the bargain I managed to ask people from different states & religions and hear their responses. Generally the quick response from those who are used to eating Ginnu: “oh I love ginnu” or “it’s my favourite”. Almost all (Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra & Pakistan) seem to prepare*** it the same way. When I spoke to a sweet old lady from the Lingaygat community (from North Karnataka) about ginnu, she smiled and said: oh I love it & mentioned an age old proverb: “Honna kottaru ginna sigodilla”… which means even if you give gold you can’t get ginnu. She also added that the orthodox from her community especially from the Karvar (Mangalore) side & the Brahmins will not eat ginnu & instead, they pour the colostrum under trees (due to madi.. something like suddam in Malayalam.. sorry I have no idea what is the English word). My elder daughter, born & raised outside India, finds the colostrum not up to her taste (feels the same way about country eggs too). So if she finds me eating (happens once in a blue moon), she ends up arguing with me because I over eat & sugar is bad! So overall it’s a mixed perception, either according to an individual’s palate or passed on in the culture.

So what is colostrum? Colostrum is the slightly yellowish coloured pre-milk fluid produced from the mammary glands of female mammals during the first 2 to 3 days after birth before true milk appears. Most often, this fluid is taken in the first twelve hours of a newborn’s life. It is a rich mixture of natural source of antibodies (immunoglobulins* designed to fight disease-causing agents like bacteria & viruses) & essential nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, & minerals for a young one to grow & develop. It confers immune protection to the newborn from infections. In simple words, it is produced naturally in the new mothers’ breasts to help the helpless young ones to kick-start their lives & surely a perfect testimony for the sophistication of the Creator himself.

Colostrum seems to be the natural weapon that equips & prepares the young ones in the wild to stand up & face the world against all the odds in every terrain. It is mind blowing to imagine how potent it must be in order to offer such multitude of benefits & sustain a new born. Next time you see a new born Wildebeest (gnus) calf following the mother (herd) in the long arduous journey, or a Polar Bear cub following the mother on the ice or a Camel calf on the desert, close your eyes for a minute & learn to appreciate the glorious creations of God almighty.

Neonatal care varies from communities to communities for both the new baby & the mother; the baby will breast-feed only on the 2nd or 3rd day. Although breast-feeding in India is traditional, colostrum rejection is also equally traditional. Colostrum is produced by every female mammal since the dawn of creation yet not much is known about it. If some communities were particular in giving the colostrum to babies, most shun it. Many give boiled & cooled water to babies or give a raisin tied in a mull cloth to suck till the milk appears. Some say that the babies are very alert at this stage & eye contact with the mother is needed for lactation, while others believe that the babies do not understand anything!! New mothers are often encouraged to feed the babies & insist that the child to be brought to the mother & be placed on her bosom.. others say that the mother needs to rest…

Colostrum is relatively new as a nutritional supplement and gained grounds only after the resurgence of breastfeeding in the Seventies. The powdered supplement known as Pedimune is administered to boost the immunity & is mostly produced from the cows. This is known as the Bovine (related to animals) colostrum..guess there are no human donors!!

Lately colostrum has caught up with the mass as highly nutritious (for both infants & adults) & a must for the immunity of a child. With the modern ideology kicking over, many mothers are willing to give colostrum to their offspring. After all, anything pricey should be good right? This also makes me wonder how many really know what colostrum is? Do they really know the true value of colostrum or are blindly administering it because their pediatrician or friends told them it’s good for their child? Or simply the old medicines look good in a new package?

Since the bovine colostrum is tailored to the needs of calves in particular, it is hard to say how much it (the antibodies) can help humans**. However, colostrum also contains substances that might offer general benefits, such as growth factors (which stimulates the growth & development of cells in the digestive tract & perhaps elsewhere) & transfer factor (which may have general immune-activating properties). Then again, humans have been drinking milk through the millennium & our systems are adapted to it. Similarly the cow’s colostrum might vibe well with human system.

Colostrum is even becoming popular with athletes. It has been used as a dietary supplement to treat diarrhea, infections, colitis, & to improve athletic performance. Studies say that it possesses anti-inflammatory & chemo-preventive properties. Regular consumption is said to play a protective role for infantile gastrointestinal immunity due to its direct effect of promoting & developing infantile gut-associated lymphoid tissues which are responsible mainly for pronouncing infantile gut immunity. It is also being considered for prophylactic treatment of recurrent upper respiratory tract infection (URTIs).

I am glad that my colleague squirmed… so that I could write this & encourage the young mothers to feed colostrum to their new born… including my future grand children!! Until now I was under the impression that in India, Keralites are the pioneers of using the natural resources & slowly I realized that there are no masters of anything in this world!! I wish & hope one day maybe scientists will decode the amazing full value of colostrum & in the mean time all the New Mothers will make sure to feed their newborns. There is so much to learn from the experiences & knowledge from our fore-parents

*Immunoglobulins, also known as antibodies, are glycoprotein molecules produced by plasma cells (white blood cells). They act as a critical part of the immune response by specifically recognizing & binding to particular antigens, such as bacteria or viruses & aiding in their destruction.

 **I read that efforts have been made to create a special form of infection-fighting colostrum (agent) called hyper-immune colostrum by inoculating cows with bacteria & viruses that affect humans. The cow in turn makes antibodies to these bacteria and virus, & secretes those antibodies into its colostrum. How effective it is, well we have to wait & see… I am always apprehensive of hybrid products!! Also, commercializing this makes one wonder how much will the new born calves get to drink what is rightfully theirs…

 ***Ginnu (Colostrum pudding) is the easiest pudding to prepare. Mix 1 cup colostrum, 3/4 cup (or as per taste) powdered jaggery or sugar in the vessel. Stir until the powder dissolves completely. Strain through the strainer to remove if there are any impurities. In the steaming vessel pour (preferably in a plate) the colostrum & steam for 20 minutes. Once it is steamed it sets like pudding. Let it cool completely. After steaming it oozes out very little water which is absolutely normal. You can collect & drink the water. When it is completely cooled, cut it to neat squares. Refrigerate & enjoy. Sprinkling a pinch of cardamom powder or nutmeg powder or saffron is absolutely optional but personally recommended. Mostly every one prefers it plain. Water-buffalo colostrum is very thick so the pudding turns very hard. In that case you can add 1/8th of a cup normal milk to make is soft.