Friday, January 28, 2011

Riding the train of my thoughts

Friday evenings are beautiful, you have the promise of the whole weekend ahead of you. Friday evenings are also dreamy where you don't have to keep applying the brakes on your thoughts and force yourself to stay focused on the next task to be accomplished. Sitting here I think of the question a work colleague posed to me when we briefly talked about my vacation in December. She asked me if I vountarily came back. Now for a split second my mind raced through all the great times I had during my vacation and I was at a loss on what should be an honest answer from my side. It was clear that a part of me wanted to stay back home and a part of me wanted to come back  home. Home as in both India and Germany!!! I don't know if she quite understood that. Anyway the meeting went well and on the walk back to my office I continued to ponder on that thought. Well, and today being Friday evening I continued to ride that train of my thoughts. For the sake of this post I will get off the train at a station called Kollur.

A place I had the chance to go back to, once again last December. Kollur is home to the famous  Mookambika temple which dates back in time to more than 1200 years.It was fascinating to soak in the sights around the temple and inside. The long colorful and fragrant flower garlands eagerly waited to adorn the Gods.

The sculptures and statues were elaborate and grand, drenching in a shower of ancient folklore. The paintings on the walls looked very symbolic with a very specific kind of style that I have not seen elsewhere.

 A scene that will stick in my mind's eye is of this cow quenching its thrist from the taps installed in front of the temple.

A great trip and some great memories too!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Puppets @ the Glühweinmarkt!!

Strict instructions to little bunny sitting smug in the backseat to reduce the flow of questions for some time, staying focused on the instructions from lady GPS on which exit to take on the A6 to get into Bad Rappenau and banishing random thoughts running through my head on what I was thinking before making this trip!! Little bunny was oblivious to my thoughts and continued to bombard me with questions ‘Will we be on time Mama?’, ‘Can you repeat the story of Frau Holle Mama?’ And me in response ‘B please!!! I need to stay focused here’. Anyway finally we made it, though I have to admit we were 10 minutes late and when I made little bunny aware of our delay she was not too pleased and asked meto hurry up. Oops, I forgot to mention, we were driving to Bad Rappenau to see a Puppet show for kids of her age in this little town and the whole show was part of a Glühweinfest (mulled wine festival) happening there.  Ha, ha now I seem to have got your attention I guess, yes it was a Glühwein festival (guess it’s an unique German idea) and you see my vested interests in bringing bunny to this particular puppet show, I really wanted to understand what this whole thing was about. 

Anyway first things first, looks like a lot of other children and their parents had the same idea like me. The place was packed and kids of all sizes were lined up in the front benches in this nicely warmed up tent and we quickly nudged our way through the crowd and made some space for ourselves.  Frau Holle in German or Mother Hulda in English is a German fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm and all the children answered all the questions that the man who single handedly ran the whole puppet show kept asking in between.

After the end of the show, it was fascinating to check out the back stage and I was surprised to see how the artist used so little accessories to achieve the overall setup and change of scenes.  Little bunny curiously checked out the different puppets and was not too pleased that the show was actually over sooner than she had expected.

Outside the tent it looked like all the people were warming up to the evening with nice big glasses of mulled wine in their hands. There even seemed to be a contest for the person who could drink the most glühwine. More than 35 varieties of Glühwine to sample from!!! Hmm..this was getting more interesting than I had expected.

The stall selling the cotton candy got a lot of attention from the kids. I was pretty intrigued by this cool cotton candy machine, was not interested in the end product though. After all the only ingredient in cotton candy is SUGAR!!

Little bunny got some interesting gifts from the treasure chest for kids, funny things they decide to put in these kind  of games. Brrr…it was getting cold, realized that it was tough to hang around longer without the help of some mulled wine after all it was -1 degrees.

The whole fest took place in the beautiful Salinenpark, and on our way back to the car realized that there some beautiful sculptures and pieces of art in this park itself. Ok need to come back but for now it was a quick rush back to where we had parked. Goodbye Glühweinmarkt, bis bald!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A trip to Seville and back!

I had never been to a Flamenco performance before. So when I saw P's event invitation on Facebook to this Flamenco performance by Maria Pages I was mighty thrilled. Since P is a connoisseur of arts and culture I  knew the performance would not fail to impress. So last Friday the 14 of Jan little bunny, P and myself found ourselves at the Theatre-im-Pflazbau in Ludwigshafen sitting on the second row all set for the Flamenco performance from this very reputed lady in the Flamenco field.

The whole performance was a reflection of the life in Seville a city in the south of Spain characterized by its Moorish influence and of course Flamenco heartbeat. Maria Pages was accompanied by dancers both men and women who conjured up through their dance, with their lovely costumes, song and the use of the guitar pictures of the Sevillian traditions and cultures. The stage backdrops fit perfectly to reflect the mood and the setting.

I did not understand the language but the songs were sometimes carrying a deep sad emotion reflected also in the faces of the dancers and sometimes passionate love and sometimes a child's joy. When the dancers came out with their brightly coloured dresses with large polka dots and lots of frills, I could not help but burst into laughter when little bunny asked me why they were dressed up like Marienkäfers (ladybugs). I found out later that these costumes were very typical reflecting the influence of the Gypsies on this art form where they sewed small round mirrors into their dresses to ward off the evil eye.

The choreography was beautiful each piece enhanced with the use of special accessories like the Castanets the clappers the dancers hold in their hands or the small colorful fans and not to forget the very typical red or black Flamenco shoes. In fact there was one piece dedicated to the red Flamenco shoes with white polka dots where with the use of lighting it felt like the shoes were cavorting and dancing all by themselves on the stage. Maria also transformed us into a bullfighting scene right out of the Plaza de Toros de Maestranza the historic bullring of Seville, she was half bull and half bullfighter..very beautiful indeed.

At the end of the performance P encouraged little bunny to stand up on her chair and clap hard as a standing ovation to the artist and her entire troupe who captivated us with their enthralling performance and for taking us on a virtual tour to Seville and back!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Almost like a day in Spring!

Last weekend we had brilliant weather!  I mean technically we are supposed to be in the middle of peak winter weather, but looks like we have brought back some great weather back from our vacation. Since we are back, from the beginning of Jan we have been having some sunny Spring like weather.

Last Sunday morning we decided to go to the Heidelberg old town or Altstadt for brunch followed by a stroll through town. Looks like a lot of others had the same idea, the place was bustling with activity and everybody seemed to be in a jolly old mood.

It was lovely to walk over the Old Bridge and little bunny insisted that she cycled all the way which was great. It felt like I spotted the color red in everything that I saw. The red Porsche driving down the bridge, the red blankets on the chairs waiting to warm its seaters, little bunny's red winter jacket, the red tiled rooftops, the red satin ribbon around the wrought iron boards everything looked just lovely and red.

This young man doled out some free music for everybody walking on the Old Bridge.

I really wish that the next weekend which is around the corner is also going to have some promising weather.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

To market, to market, to buy a fat pig, Home again, home again, jiggety-jig.

With the dioxin scandal being so rampant here in Germany I was definitely not going to buy a fat pig, but today being a Saturday is when I usually shop for groceries for most of the working week. As I was walking through the aisles of vegetables filling up my veggie supplies my mind kept wandering back to our vacation time in India and one of my visits with hubby's Mom to a local market or Sante.

It was a pleasure to see rows and rows of vegetables of all types, sizes and colors. Little bunny's standard question would be 'Mama do we get this back in Germany?'

I remember this lady who smiled beautifully as she agreed to have her picture taken. She asked me to try on some of the beautiful glass bangles she had on display along with betel leaves and arecanut.

The sacks of red chillies looked menacingly hot and fierce and the thought of their intense flavours woke me up from my little reverie.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Year's Resolution

After visiting the childrens Yakshagana I was all geared to sample the real fare. The Saligrama Yakshagana troupe was performing in town late at night and I went there early enough to catch the artists getting ready for their act. I could spend hours sitting and watching each of them getting ready to play the characters they would be portraying on stage. I really wished that I was one of them rather than being on the other side of the lens.

Maybe someday you never know, after all if wishes were horses beggars would ride. Some of them assumed that I was a doing my thesis on this art form, wow that was a cool idea as well. I guess when you are on a long vacation you realise that there are so many nicer things in life you should rather invest your time into. This time around I promise myself not to let go of these precious thoughts and get immersed into the regular grind of life. A good new years resolution to make and hope that it does not get broken soon!

I was jostled out of my train of thoughts when one of the elders told me that I should take a seat in the front row where they had easy chairs laid out to watch the play. I wish that I could have stayed until the wee hours of the morning until when the show would last. I guess this would have to wait until the girls are a lot more older.