Tiger Cubs

                                                   

I used to teach from the H.Sc. English text, a delightful piece called ‘Tiger Mom’ by  Sidharth Bhatia, noted columnist,  in which he describes this modern Super Mom who drives herself and her children into a frenzy, pushing them into classes, competitions, sports, music, art and what not.

She waits outside school or classes at closing time.  With other mothers, she will be sharing views on the school, the teacher, the education system, everything. When bell rings and the child comes, she barely registers this.  She is already checking the other children’s books for updates, comparisons and what not.  And back home, she pushes her child to outdo the other.

Tiger Mom knows all that the child is doing.  She knows the syllabus for exams, the best tuitions and coaching classes, the sports, arts and hobbies that the child is or should be into.  She is on edge during every exam and result day, whether it is a routine class test or a decisive public exam.

What about the father, you ask?  He has little say, so what is there to say about him?  Sometimes, he gets minor roles like ATM, chauffeur, escort to parents’ meeting; no dialogues. After some participation in the child’s early years, mostly in play and outings, he gradually resigns into his newspaper or laptop, making suitable ‘hmms’ and ‘haanhs’ when called upon to speak.

The sequel to this – the children grow into their youth. The sons will at some stage escape into games or other inconsequential pursuits. But the daughters?  They become aggressive, competitive, ambitious.  Is it any surprise then that girls outshine boys in academics, sports and every other field?  A complete change from earlier generations when boys had all the opportunities.

I once taught a class of 10-year olds, in an activity-based education plan.  The girls were bright, talented and bursting with ideas for impromptu skits and plays.  The boys, I am sure, had some talent, but were easily outshouted and out-talked by the girls who took up all the meaty parts.  The boys were relegated to shifting benches and desks, arranging sets and cheering at the right moments.

By their teens, most boys become shy and poor communicators.  This continues into adulthood.  Girls, on the other hand, are easy and lucid communicators.  They can read, write, talk, get into make-up, singing, dancing, games, adventure sports anything. But what happens when these girls grow up?  With the role models they have had since infancy, they are indeed fierce tiger cubs.

 

Mothers and daughters easily fit into one another’s shoes. Not just shoes. Clothes, books, CDs, mobiles, TV serials everything.  The mother with all the running around remains trim and fit.  Mentally also, she updates herself with daughter’s friends, virtual and real, latest crazes, fashions.  People think we are sisters, they will proudly say.  At times the daughter becomes the mother, switching roles seamlessly. You can never figure out who imitates whom.

I am sure fathers and sons too exchange shoes, T-shirts.  And even have such role reversals. But I have never heard a man or his son say – People think we are brothers.

In my own parents’ home, we were equal number of sons and daughters.  Girls had all opportunities and were into education, job everything.  But yes, our parents had rules for late nights for girls and fewer such rules for boys.  We, girls, enjoyed higher status at home.  The boys ran most of the errands – to shops, to get cinema or train tickets.  There was never an issue.  Our role models being traditional, we somehow took up traditional roles in adulthood.

But the times, they are a-changing.  Families are smaller, nuclear; traditions are modified to convenience.  When sons grow up, some woman takes over from Tiger mom and trains or untrains him.  But what about daughter?  Tiger mom, tiger daughter.  Tiger daughter outdoes tiger mom.  She is in full form at home, work, play, relations – more equal than her male counterpart. Who can stop Shakti on her stride to becoming Kali?

 

 

 

Waiting for Yama

 

Unlike Godot, this one will turn up.  Preachers, professors, followers and detractors of all faiths and non-faiths will vouch for and agree on this one reality – Death is Certain.  Assuming that one has survived infant mortality, fatal ailments, accident or terror attack, property killing, ‘suparis’ of all kinds, literal and figurative –  and has tricked this stalker for many long decades – now one accepts that the tortoise is going to catch up and win eventually.

Post-retirement and with no great mission in life, I often wonder – should I wait for Death or is Death waiting for me to make the move?  I admire that 95+ woman who fasted to death, because she was bored of living and felt very left abandoned by her peers who had crossed over.   Sometimes, it is like a never-resolving stalemate.  I look at oldies around me.  My adopted aunt, 85, strong and lively until a couple of years ago, now shows signs of fading away.  Alone, in her dark, old house, the shadow of Death lurks around. As it does with many of her old companions. Like playing ‘hide and seek’. The conversation always goes like – God willing, I should die before I am bedridden or become dependent on anyone (‘anyone’ is the arrogant daughter-in-law).  “Yama tarasa na dikhaaye” sings the poet in Anup Jalota’s voice.  If ‘Death be not proud’ is what one wants, one should meet him with Pride and Dignity.

When one of my uncles died recently, my aunt narrated to one and all that his ‘prana’ left from the head – that is supposed to be the sign of a great soul – no further births.  I have heard this – that the last breath escapes from one of the 8 outlets that the body has.  The choice of outlet indicates the greatness or lowliness of the person’s karma and sets the stage for his/her next life.  That night I decided to inform all my close ones, who I think will be around me when I breathe my last, to look carefully from where my ‘prana’ leaves and let me know afterwards.  I laughed myself to sleep!

Work till life ends, better to die with one’s boots on, stay active, healthy, maintain a positive attitude, celebrate golden years, avail seniors’ privileges,  travel, pursue hobbies, meditate, do yoga, donate organs,  connect with family and friends…so many motivating and consoling advices that one sponges on – all euphemisms to disguise the frustration at not being immortal.

The philosophical ruminations go on and on.  There are the practical aspects to deal with – allotting and distributing one’s worldly wealth, fond collections, confiding one’s choicest disposal of the remains and suchlike.  How should one meet death, sleeping or waking?  I had a cousin who at the end of her daily prayers, added a line seeking ‘anayaasa maranam’ – that is a sudden death, leaving you or others no time to entertain morbid thoughts or carry you on that last trip to the hospital.   Lucky woman, she collapsed one day, soon after her retirement from the bank, not yet 61 years!  Is it possible to choose how one dies?

 

My father used to often narrate the story of a revered old man in his village.  Having outlived all his family, he stayed alone, cooked his meals, managed his daily needs and was genial to one and all.  The vegetable vendors raced to make their first sale with him every morning because he never bargained.  Let the poor sellers profit an anna or two, he would generously say.  One morning, he told the vegetable woman that he would not need anything the next day.  Sure enough, he passed away peacefully and quietly the same afternoon.

 

Who would not give their life to die like Kalaam – doing what he loved doing, simply, gracefully?  Like my meditation teacher says – how you die, depends on how you live.  I can think of no better role model.

 

All said and done, how should I die?  Assuming that the all-pervading, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, ultimate conqueror will read this mine humble blog, I request –

 

  • Come in your own time, when I am ready
  • Not on the bull or bullock-cart. It gives a backache.  A car, even Ola or Uber will do.
  • To my house (unlike that silly fellow, I will not escape all the way to Baghdad to find you have scheduled my appointment there)
  • Come when I am decently dressed
  • When the house is neat and tidy, the fridge clean, the papers in order
  • When I have reconciled with all unreasonable bosses, neighbours, in-laws and outlaws. Or settled scores with them
  • All dues paid – (what others owe me).
  • ..
  • ..

The list is a little longer and personal, so I have attached it.

Your move now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Native Place

Suchindrum, (Nagercoil district) a temple town, just 12 kms. before you touch our Land’s end, Kanyakumari.  After many long years of having worked in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, with practically no vacations, my younger sister, recently retired school principal, agreed to accompany me to our native place – where my paternal grandparents had settled, built their home and raised their family.  Their children, my father and his siblings, had long shifted to greener pastures in Mumbai (Bombay, then), Delhi and other cities.  All we knew about Suchindrum was what we had heard from Appa.  He never tired of talking about his simple, childhood days in this town, our huge, long house overlooking the pond (teppakulam), in the middle of which stood the ‘teppam’ (a small mandapam, which was decorated and lighted during the bi-annual ‘ther’ festival (‘rath yatra’), the majestic ‘gopuram’ which could be viewed from our verandah where most leisure hours and after dinner chats were enjoyed at a time when electricity was too futuristic a possibility!

temple

 

He immortalised this view for us with a song:  (He had a song for every person, occasion and even the names of his children)

“Teppa kulam kandein, chutri ther odum veedhiyai kandein”.  (Thyagaraja Bagavathar?  Not sure, I have to check up with Google sir), but since he credited most of his Carnatic classical songs to Thyagaraja Bagavathar, I think, yes.  Purists, scholars, please excuse and correct.

(Translation:  I saw the ‘ther’ and the street around, where the ‘rath’ was taken in a procession).

 Appa also had lots of stories about people in this town, his school, teachers, family antecedents and histories with which he regaled us.  Every single person in his narrative was simply singular and unique, one of their kind – the teacher who would request his students to get a few brinjals or plantains or whatever grew in their fields or backyard, the multiple-attempted, never cleared SSLC neighbourhood boy, who claimed to be a master in history and offered to teach anyone willing to learn from him, the young freedom fighters of his school, burning foreign goods, the ‘rasa vada’ vakils, barefoot doctors – all this happened only in Suchindrum!

 

Flashback over.  My siblings and I had no great attachment to this place, except that, feeling somewhat rootless growing up in various suburbs of Mumbai and then Ahmedabad, we, by default, fixed our roots in Appa’s town, and visited from time to time, as tourists, pilgrims whatever.  In those days, it was an ageless, sleepy, rather slumbering, little town, where time never moved.

My sister, however, had roots a little deeper than mine, because she had lived and studied here for a couple of years (may be 4th and 5th standards) when our Amma and younger siblings re-located here because of financial setbacks in our Thane (Mumbai) times.  So had my paternal cousins whose mother and father were from this same village.  Their maternal grandparents lived here all their lives.  Their grandfather was a much-revered school teacher.  But we found pastures elsewhere.  Now, my sister was here after 50 years.  We stayed at a hotel in Kanyakumari and took a rickshaw for the 12-km. ride to Suchindrum.

The rickshaws in these areas are huge 6-seaters.  No meters.  The drivers quote anything from 400-250 rupees.  One has to bargain. There are State buses also.  In fact, all the buses that go from KK towards the nearest city, Nagercoil, halt at Suchindrum.  It took us about 20 min. to reach.  The route is very beautiful with greenery on either side, small streams and temples.  In fact, the entire stretch in Nagercoil district and around is very green as it borders Kerala.

The houses in this part of Suchindrum (Teppakulam street) surround the square bank of a big pond.  A huge carved, colourful gateway welcomes tourists at the entrance to the town.  This road leads directly to the ‘Sthanumalayan’ (another name for Lord Shiva) temple.  This image represents 3 deities – Shiva (Sthanu), Shiva (maala), Brahma (Ayan).  Perfunctorily, every family had one son named after this deity.  In earlier times, the temple with its labyrinth-like, mysterious corridors did not attract so many outsiders, except for temple-hopping pilgrims.  The devotees were locals and only during ‘aarti’ times there used to be small groups of people.  Young women and girls did not go there without escort.

The main attraction of the temple is a gigantic statue of Hanuman.  On Saturdays, when some or the other family fulfilled their vow of adorning the statue with a garland of coconuts or ‘vadas’ (made of dals and similar to ‘medu vadas’ with a hole in the middle through which strings were drawn), all the children would collect for ‘prasad’.

Some legends also have it that this was where Lord Shiva, on his way to wed for the second time, was halted by Narada’s crowing like a cock, on the instructions of Parvati.  Shiva had to marry secretly before dawn.  The ditched maiden waits in all her bridal finery, 12 kms. away, on the banks of the Indian Ocean.  She is Kanya Kumari.  The temple and seaside town are dedicated to her.

Half a century later, much had changed in Suchindrum.  Mobiles, social groups on whatsapp, internet had made their advent.  The street around the ‘Theppakulam’ (the pond with the mandapam in the middle), is narrower than it used to be.   There is a Juice centre at the corner of the road, where once used to be a small Madrasi eatery run by our Telegu tenant.

The temple attracts lot of tourists.  Though it retains its old-world charm, it is now crowded at all times of day.  On the outside are vendors of flowers, incense, lamps.  There is a footwear stand – quite a change, because earlier most people in this town walked barefoot everywhere and those who had footwear, left them home when they visited the temple.  The walk around the pond is less than half a kilometre.  We go to our ancestral house which has changed hands two times after Appa sold it.  Some rooms are modernised, there is a western toilet and bathroom inside the house.  (Earlier, there was just a four-walled structure with a hole in the middle at the rear end of the long house.  Most families did not even have such structures; the backyard was the open toilet).  Most houses have been renovated and re-constructed with modern facilities and are 1 or 2-storeyed, but our structure and a few others remain the same with brown, sloping tiled roofs.  But one feature remains – the houses are long, one room behind the other.  If you looked from the entrance, you could look through all the doors right upto the backyard.

Some things had not changed.  When we made contact with some old residents who could connect with our ancestors, a small crowd followed us everywhere, taking photographs, telling us about other old people who might know us.  We belonged, and yet we did not.  Appa would have observed that hardly any Brahmin families were left in this once exclusively Brahmin stronghold. Behind the ‘teppakulam street’ is the ‘rettai theruvu’ (double street) which gets its name because there are houses on either side of the street.

Beyond that is a place called Ashram, named after Sati Anasuya who is supposed to have welcomed Lord Rama there, when he was on his way to Lanka.  As an honour and respect to this saintly woman, every third daughter in this town, used to be invariably named Anasuya (the older two having got their grandmothers’ names according to tradition.

school

 

My sister’s school, Government Upper Primary school, stood exactly where it had always stood, outside the gateway, to the right.  Appa, his brother, nephew had all studied in this same school.  Very little had changed here, except that the children had uniforms and footwear.  After interacting with the head mistress and some students we returned to Kanyakumari with mixed feelings – rooted or rootless?  I cannot say.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NIMMA & I

 

Nimma and I knew each other even before we started school.   We were neighbours, the same age and joined the same school, the same day.   She spoke only Kannada and I knew only Tamil.  We used some gestures in the beginning and slowly we conversed in some kind of Bambaiyya Hindi like – ‘aayenga’ ‘jayenga’, using only the masculine gender.  We learnt English, Marathi, good Hindi, in due course, but we still converse in our old Hindi like some kind of code language.

 

We were inseparable, and fortunate to be in the same class. Different sections, at times, and the same, many times.  There were many ‘katti’ batti’ phases – lasting from 30 minutes to 24 hours. We made more friends.  We walked home together – gossiping about friends, teachers, neighbours, chasing ice wagons or bullock carts at the back of which we placed our bags. But in the last stretch, only Nimma and I were left. First, we stopped at my gate and talked.  Then we walked to her gate and talked some more.  After we reached our homes, we called out from the window to check on homework.  ‘Tumhare paas Athavale hai kya? (Maths text).  Dondo hai kya? (French book), Wren and Martin?  These books being heavy, we often took turns to carry them to school.

 

On lazy afternoons, we walked under some shady trees, picking raw mangoes, jamun, some strange seed we ate as ‘badaam’, and a stranger black and red beadlike pip, which we swore were the devil’s eyes.  We saw ghosts under the huge tamarind tree and if we saw someone with heels in the front and toes at the back, we were to run.  Those were days when there was no border between fantasy and fact!

 

When we grew a little older, we carried our infant brothers on our hips and stood at the end of the lane, amusing them with passing vehicles.  We discussed the pros and cons of having brother or sister, the fears their tearing our books when we were at school and many important things.

 

One day, Nimma nearly died.  It was a rainy day, in our fourth year of school.  On our way home, we were both washing our dirty shoes, with our feet inside them, in a wayside ditch which had turned into a pond.  The rain was pouring.   Suddenly Nimma screamed.  She had slipped into the water.   I was sure she was dead.   I screamed too.  In no time, some passersby pulled her out of the water and brought us home safely.

 

That night I slept badly.  Next day I was a changed person.   Not that I understood the value of friendship then, but I certainly could not think of life without Nimma.   Over the years, we learnt to appreciate each other and love unconditionally.   Though our lives ran different tracks, we lived far away from each other, no telephone, mobiles, only the occasional letter or news through family or common friends.  Nimma married, had children, family joys and woes and health issues to boot.  I remained a spinster, busy with jobs, travel, spiritual pursuits.  But we never lost touch.   A minor tragedy taught me a lot.  Sixtysix years later, 2000 miles apart, and in the last stretch, we are still best friends.

POPCORN

POPCORN

 

One of my favourite peeves – cribbing about the cost of popcorn when you go to watch a movie.  You pay 200 rupees for a medium-sized tub – the same costs just Rs.25 when you buy at any store outside.  Samosas which used to be around Rs.70 for 2, are now anywhere between 100 and 120 rupees.  Cold drinks, sandwiches are all priced at almost ten times what they cost in a restaurant.  All this, over and above the high cost of the movie ticket.

 

When the movies shifted from single screen ‘talkies’ to the multi-screen theatres in malls, one was happy to be free of the domination of ‘Lalas’ and blackmarketeers.  The multi-screens also gave the movie-goer a wide choice of films in one venue.  Also, the comfort of being in an air-conditioned space, shopping, washrooms, food courts where one could hang around.  Not that any favour was being done to us.  All these sprouted because of the huge number of footfalls.

 

Everything is priced higher in these malls, but people reconciled considering that it was a nice place to hang out even if one did not buy anything.   But the obscene cost of refreshment in the movie halls beats all logic.  You are not allowed to carry your own food.  When I went to a movie recently with my little nieces, they pointed out that the theatre was extremely cold and they felt hungry every now and then.  The movie halls alone are kept cooler than the lobbies or the rest of the mall.  A deliberate ploy to sell more refreshments.  And what refreshments?  God knows when the popcorn machine gets cleaned.  When you go for a morning show you will see the previous night’s leftover in the machine and more stuff is added and sold.  About the other items – sandwiches, pastries, samosas, coffee – who can tell?  The pressing queues at the counters do not allow a buyer enough time to think about all this.

 

In such a scenario, it was very heartening to read a news item (Mumbai Mirror, 6th April 2018) about a filmmaker who has filed a PIL against the ban on carrying food to multiplexes.  One can carry food on trains, airplanes, so why not to movies?  The case is being heard.

 

It will be a happy day, I am sure, for all moviegoers when this ban is lifted.  The vendors will come to their senses.

 

 

THE OLD AND THE BIG CITY

 

 

THE OLD AND THE BIG CITY

Why does  Sushma look so worried?  I wondered, when I saw her by chance last evening.  As we came nearer, and after the initial greetings,   “Do you live on rent?” she asked me, knowing that I (a singleton in my 60s) had moved out of my married brother’s flat to another.  “No,” I tell her.  “My brother has bought a second flat and I am occupying it.”  She lives in the same complex with her husband and grown-up son and is looking for a second house on rent.  This, for her 80-year old mother, at present with one of her brothers, but the brother is going abroad and the mother has to be relocated.  Can’t the old woman continue to live with her brother’s family?  No.  Can’t she live with Sushma and her family?  No.

 

Increasingly, this is the situation in most urban families in this city (Mumbai).  Either the old do not want to live with their children or the children do not want the old to live with them.  This prompted me to make a survey in my own housing complex, a huge one, with ‘upwardly mobile’ and ‘already there’ urbanites.

 

Mr. D’Souza, a widower, lives alone in a flat, close to his son’s.  He is happy to get all his meals from his son’s home and occasionally visits the family.  His daughter lives in a nearby suburb with her family. He visits both children from time to time, but stays alone.  It is a happy arrangement for everyone.

 

Same is the case with Raina, a widow in her sixties.  She has a married daughter nearby and a married son abroad.  But Raina lives alone, freelancing with an advertising firm and occasionally meeting her daughter’s family.

 

Neeta, a retired professional in her 80s lives by herself in a flat next to her daughter’s. That the daughter is a divorcee, no children, living alone does not prompt them to move in together.

 

Is this a developing trend only in the cities?  Is it that in pursuing individual goals, family is only seen as an intrusion in our day to day lives?

 

The maids, drivers, watchmen and such who are part and parcel of our daily lives do not seem to have this generation gap to the extent the upper class does.  With the quibbling and quarrels, in-laws, outlaws and extended families live in cramped quarters.  Is it the affordability, which turns families nuclear?

 

Most families have turned child-centric, unlike the parent centric families of our times.  The parents, particularly mothers, have to run around and after the children to various tuitions and classes.  This, of course, costs a lot of money, for which reason, most women also have to work.  In such cases, the grandparents escort the children everywhere.  But children grow up and the grandparents are slowly edged out of family concerns and are at a loss what to do.  Some wise ones get involved in social activities or clubs; others hang around parks along with other elders.

 

Indeed, it is the law of nature, that the old move on and make place for the young.  But the moving on takes longer now, what with life expectancy and longevity on the rise.  Even medical insurance advances the upper age limit regularly, considering that people live upto their 80s.

 

Traditionally, our culture is known for the joint family.  But as we do away with so many traditions, the joint family is slowly becoming a thing of the past.  Want of space and changing aspirations, particularly the need to pursue one’s individual interests,   it is no longer comfortable to live in the huge family.   Leave alone the question of living with in-laws and extended families, even grown-up children are keen to leave the nest and experience the freedom of being on their own.  My colleague’s daughter, doing her post graduation, constantly requests her parents to rent a flat for her, close to her college, where she can stay with a friend.  The old family pattern is slowly becoming most unfamiliar.

 

A Supreme Court judge, having dealt with many family disputes, advises the elderly to let their married children move out, even if they have to rent a place.   Let them raise their children as they wish and not offer to be babysitters.  If requested, they should not extend their services to offering advice and counsel.  It is better they plan their retirement and enjoy their old age in whatever way possible.  Above all, he tells mothers, particularly, “Your daughter-in-law is your son’s wife, not your daughter, so when you are at her place, remember you are a visitor.  Whatever problem or character she has, let your son deal with it.  He is an adult.”  It makes sense.

 

All children and grandchildren grow up to be adults.  The older generation needs to do a re-think on the family scene and seek their own pursuits and activities.  Needless to say, one has to also save for one’s old age. The loneliness that accompanies age is inevitable.  When accepted with grace, it is possible that one is able to devote more time and attention to the inward journey.  In our scriptures, it is said, this is ‘Vanaprasthashram’ – the city is also a ‘Vana’ in its own way!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dakshin Chitra

DAKSHIN CHITRA

On way to our native place in Kanyakumari, my sister and I had a 2-day halt in Chennai.  When we asked people about places nearby that can be toured in 3-4 hours, the first options are temples – Kabaleeswar, Parthasarathy, Anjaneyar (in Mylapore, where we stayed), and yes, Kanchipuram, Thiruvannamalai – half day tours.  If you say, one temple is enough, then the alternatives are beach, Mahabalipuram ….  Then someone suggested a different site – Dakshin Chitra. 

Curious, we did some research and found that it was about an hour’s drive from Mylapore, on the way to Mamallapuram, a few metres away from the VGP Amusement park, on the main road.  Though the 3 hours we spent there were not really enough, we saw quite a lot and returned home in time for lunch and to catch the evening train to Kanyakumari.

What is Dakshin Chitra?  It’s a live museum of restored ancient cultures – architecture, paintings, houses, lifestyles – of the four South Indian States, we were told.   We thought it was some kind of artisans’ village.  Anyway we set off and spent a delightful 4 hours – too short a time to see the entire place, but enough to appreciate this unique venture.

The place is huge – about 10-12 acres, spread out.   There is sufficient parking.  No food is allowed inside.  You can carry a water bottle.  You can also eat in the parking area.   There is a washroom and a small shaded area here for drivers.

DK3

At the entrance are list of programmes, workshops, seminars etc.  On that day there was an Andhra dance and drums performance.  Also available is a video about the museum.

Important information:

Timings: 10 am to 6 pm

Days   : All days, except weekly holiday, Tuesday, and some limited public holidays. (It was open on Republic day, the day we visited).

Entrance fee:  Rs.100/- per adult (Rs.120 on festival days)

There is a charge for cameras, but we did not have one, so no question.  We took pictures on our mobile and no one minded

DK 1

 

After a short walk of a few metres, you come to a central area from where arrows direct you to the State you want to see and as you move on there are more indicators giving you directions to the kind of exhibit you want to view.   Along the pathways, there are vendors selling various artefacts, drawings, paintings, jewellery, mementoes and some snacks and soft drinks.

We were there by opening time.  The crowd grew as the day progressed, but there was no pressing or jostling as the area is spread out.  We could walk and view very comfortably at our own pace.

We first took a tour of Tamil Nadu and were amazed to find a replica of our own village house in a Brahmin street.  The house was furnished with the swing, staircase, pillars, cradles, well, pooja room, stone grinders,  even photographs as you would find in old houses.  The outside had a ‘kolam’ (rangoli), freshly drawn and here and there were some lifelike models.   The streets too were well replicated, with temples, idols, lanes where other castes lived including the model of their houses, cowshed, bullock-carts etc.

We were told by our local guide that the curators had actually dismantled the structures of old houses and had them transported to this museum where they are restored and restructured – very, very unique.  When we came out, we felt transported from another age, as though we had been through a time machine!DK 4

 

As we moved to other States, we realised that 3 hours were not enough.  One could spend the whole day in this museum, literally experiencing a century old lifestyle in the South of this country.  Christian, Muslim houses were also represented with their symbols, prayer rooms, the area outside the houses very realistically.   There are also separate exhibition halls displaying period clothing styles, textiles, jewellery etc.

There is a café, apart from small shows and displays here and there.  There are sufficient, clean toilets outside every lane.   The place is very open and well-maintained.

I wonder if there are similar museums elsewhere representing the northern, western and eastern States of our country. If you do happen to be in Chennai, do not miss Dakshin Chitra village.