Archive for the ‘scenes from bangalore’ Category

A heritage site, the Bhoga Nandishwara temple is a Shiva temple at the foothills of Nandi Hills. The original temple dates back to the 9th century. There are numerous granite nandi (bull) idols here, sacred to Shiva as it was his choice of transport. Since it was first built, the temple complex has seen renovations made by ruling dynasties.

The temple complex follows a Dravidian style of architecture. So you’ll see sandstone pillars, temples, relief carvings, mantapas (outdoor halls, a kind of gazebo, where dances, music, and festivities were hosted), and dhwaja stambas (high pillars that are believed to protect temples from lightning apart from carrying a religious significance).

A highlight is the large kalyani (pool). The water is a startling green against the grey-beige symmetry of steps descending into it. Some say it is rain water that collects here; others that it is fed by an underground river, and could be the origin of the Dakshina Pinakini river.

© Anuradha Prasad, 2017

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© Anuradha Prasad

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We descended into chaos. There was no time to think or plan as we were swept into the tide of people. At a distance a mosque of white spires and domes rose like a dream. It was 7a.m.

Bundles and bundles of roses lay spread on the streets. Red was clearly the favourite.

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There were occasional daisies, lotus buds, garlands of asters, marigolds, and sandwiches of multi-coloured flowers and round leaves.

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Lines of Holy Basil garlands were strung on chipped walls and rails. On another side, the pavement was heaped with spengeri, which is commonly used in flower arrangements for that touch of green and artistry.

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Most of the flower market circled around a mosque or dargah. It was a small green and white structure with a moon and star rising over it. A smaller, concrete moon was inscribed with Urdu script.

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The flowers made way for vegetables and fruits – trays of eggplants, peas out of their pods, okra, and ginger roots. A broken and forsaken toy car hinted at the presence of children.

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We were in the middle of monsoon. The misty rain got heavier and we took shelter in a building. It was business as usual for the vendors; they opened their umbrellas.

© Anuradha Prasad, 2016

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© Anuradha Prasad, 2016

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© Anuradha Prasad, 2016

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© Anuradha Prasad, 2016

“Wabi-sabi teaches us that we are in a constant state of change and we must value that which is in the moment.” – Keri Smith, Living Out Loud

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© Anuradha Prasad, 2016

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a common sight in bangalore these days – concrete meets art

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© Anuradha Prasad, 2016

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A few months ago, I got into an auto that was driven by an old man. After 20 minutes or so, he started talking.

“You speak very good Hindi. It is really good. Where are you from?”

“If you don’t mind, what is your religion?”

“I am asking because I’d like you to pray for my daughter whatever your religion is. I respect all religions.”

He went on to tell me that his daughter – her name means Beautiful – had a heart problem and needed surgery immediately. She studies in an elite college and the college administration managed to collect Rs.30000 from students. The college principal, he said, advised him to ask his passengers to help out. He went into a lot of details – about getting blood from the blood bank, the hospital expenses, when the surgery was to take place etc.

He spoke well and struck the right note: hopeful, humble. I remember thinking he’d be great in sales/marketing.

He pulled out a wad of thousand rupee notes and told me about a Tamilian woman, another Christian woman…passengers who took his auto earlier in the morning who were kind enough to help him, and he had asked them to pray for his daughter too.

I didn’t have much cash on me and I am wary of such stories. But there is always the chance that people are speaking the truth. So I gave him the money I had when I got off the auto. He asked me again to pray for his daughter.

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Last week, I flagged down an auto and it was the same old man. He didn’t recognize me and I didn’t ask him about his daughter.

After 20 minutes or so, he started talking.

“You speak very good Hindi. It is really good. Where are you from?”

“If you don’t mind, what is your religion?”

“I am asking because I’d like you to pray for my daughter whatever your religion is. I respect all religions.”

At first I thought maybe she is still ill because a heart problem cannot disappear overnight. Something told me to wait and listen. It was the same story that I heard nearly a year ago; the same sequence of events with no variations, a well-rehearsed story. And while he is very good at it, he had forgotten he had fooled me once before.

Once we reached my workplace and I stepped down, he pulled out a wad of notes and told me about a Tamilian woman, a Christian woman… Here, the story ended on a different note.

© Anuradha Prasad, 2016