Showing posts from 2018

Of bandhs, elephants and melam - Part 2

So I had braved the bandh and reached my hometown.

The festival in Ernakulam Siva temple was on in full swing.  The day we reached was the 5th day of the 8 day festival.  Most Kerala temples have a festival protocol - from hoisting the festival flag to pooram, para, sheeveli, vilakku and finally the unhoisting of the flag followed by aaraattu.

Sheeveli (the circumambulation of the festival idol around the temple compound on caprisoned elephants to the accompaniment of chenda melam) is one of the highlights of the festival and is performed both on morning on all the festival days and evening on days except the first, last day, pooram day and utsava bali day.  Reputed melam artistes participate in the melam.  This is the time melam aficionados are waiting for.  Though I was brought up in Ernakulam and had witnessed the festival for a number of years, I had not had a chance to appreciate the many festival traditions like melam (familiarity breeds contempt).  I was determined to make up …

Of bandh, elephants and melam - Part 1

It has been a while since I enjoyed a temple festival in my home town.  The annual festival in Ernakulam Shiva temple in 2018 was between 22nd and 29th January.  Thanks to the 3 day weekend for Republic Day, I decided to travel home to enjoy the festivities.  Tickets were booked well in advance - long weekends bring surge pricing, premium tatkal and other shocks for travellers.

What we did not factor in was the Mahadayi river water dispute between Karnataka and Goa and the call for a Karnataka bandh on 25th January.   I have not been able to understand how an elected Government can support a blatantly anti-people activity like bandh.  If at all someone is affected adversely, it is the daily labourer.

Schools declared 25th as holiday and decided to compensate on Sat, 27th Jan.  Luckily there was no IAS exam scheduled for my kid on the alternate working day.  Also, the cancellation charges of train ticket is worth a month and a half of milk supply at home - so it made sense to travel!

Fire and Fury - the book

What a book to kick off 2018!  Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff!

I prefer fiction, but seeing the controversy that the book has generated as well as the fact that it got to New York Times Best Sellers list, I decided to read it.

The book chronicles the life and times of Donald Trump (the current US President) and his associates (if I may so use the word) from late 2016 (a few weeks before the US Presidential Elections) to late 2017.   It starts with the last few weeks of the Election campaign, where no one in the Trump camp expected to win, including Trump himself.  Once they realised they were winners, the disbelief transforms into conviction that they were indeed deserving winners. Then there is the scramble to figure out how to run the country with the limited political experience the entourage has.

The soap opera worthy one-upmanship between the two major camps - Jarvanka (the daughter and son-in-law of Trump) and Steve Bannon, the campaign strategist…