window on the striped wall
window on the striped wall

Even a simple wall with kaavi (red ochre) stripes on a white background is a pleasing sight. Usually, such walls  surround temples and associated structures. You may find them in the narrowest of lanes in Madras. Here is one from Villivakkam.

Red ochre (kaavi in Tamil / Malayalam / Telugu /Kannada and Geru in Hindi) is a natural occurring ore and one of the earliest pigments known to man. Ayurveds also attribute certain healing properties to it.





Ashta Lakshmi

Ashtalakshmi on a hundi
Ashtalakshmi on a hundi

The Gajalakshmi emblem and the heavy hinge are from a steel hundi (undiyal) in a temple. The picture of the full hundi with the handle, keyhole, lock, etc. is given below.Why this garish yellow colour, I do not know.

Gajalakshmi is part of the octet of the Ashtalakshmis – the eight manifestations of goddess Lakshmi. Let me try to list them from memory.

1.Adi Lakshmi or Maha Lakshmi

2. Dhana Lakshmi

3.Dhanya Lakshmi

4. Gaja Lakshmi

5. Vijaya Lakshmi

6. Veera Lakshmi

7. Santana Lakshmi

8. Vidya Lakshmi






Footwear outside a temple
Footwear outside a temple

Different societies have different attitudes  towards footwear. For example, in India footwear is not allowed in most places of worship, doctors’ clinics, and even some small offices and places of business.

On the other hand, the footwears of some divine personalities are revered. The most classic example is Bharata placing Rama’s padukas on the throne as proxy.

In Sikh Gurdwaras devotees clean other devotees’ footwear as a kind of seva.

Another thing I notice is that whenever we leave the footwear outside as a group, it is always in a clutter,  not in a row. I have seen Japanese and other tourists leave their footwear in a neat row outside Indian monuments and places of worship. Is this a culture thing?

Amma is Amma

Wall painting
Wall painting

“Amma is Amma ; all the others are Summa”,  screams a poster on the marina. Incidentally, this is just opposite the Kannagi statue which was removed and reinstated by political rivals.

The Chennai Photowalk #100 Marina

First lesson in composition

Neighbours' envy, owner's pride
Horned cowherd

This is perhaps the first lesson in composition. When photographing people, make sure that there are no lampposts, trees or other objects sticking out of the subject’s head. You can break the law for some unusual effect. Like the cowherd here who is so attached to his herd that he has grown horns himself.

At Agatheeswarar temple, The Chennai Photowalk at Villivakkam.

World Yoga Day

Yoga at the beach on World Yoga Day
Yoga at the beach on World Yoga Day

21st June was also World Yoga  Day (in addition to World Music Day). One could see several groups practising Yoga at  various levels at the marina.

While some were happy doing the Sava asana.


Horse mounted police

Mounted police at Marina
Mounted police at Marina

Horse mounted police force is normally used for crowd control. In Chennai, we see them at the marina in the morning and in the evening.  I understand that the mounted police division of   Chennai police is one of the oldest in the country.Seeing the police on duty early in the morning is a welcome sight.

Statues in Black and Gold

Sivaji Ganesan
Sivaji Ganesan
Gandhi Statue

Last summer, when my 8-year old grandson from the US  was visiting me, I took him for a drive around the marina beach. He was curious about the various landmarks and statues and I was explaining to him in the best of my ability.

Seeing the statues of Sivaji Ganesan and Gandhi he had a legitimate query: “Why is an actor’s statue in gold and Gandhi’s is in black?” I had no convincing answer for him.

Do you?

World Music Day

Sargam Choir of Dr.Sudha Raja at the Marina
Sudha Raghunath and Dr Ganesh at Nageswara Rao Park
Sudha Raghunath and Dr Ganesh at Nageswara Rao Park
Mr Natraj MLA, and Sudha Raghunath at the inauguration

June 21st was World Music Day.

The World Music Day was first celebrated in 1982. The intention was to encourage people to take up music which knows no barriers.

This year it was celebrated in over 700 cities including Chennai. It was inaugurated at the Marina by Mylapore MLA, Mr Natraj and Sudha Raghunath . Dr.Sudha Raja’s Sargam choir made an impressive presentation.

The choir moved to Nageswarar Rao park for another performance followed by naama sankirtanam by Dr. Ganesh and party along with Sudha Raghunath and Shashi Kiran.

Several other programs were scheduled for the day by Carnatica and Samudhaaya Foundation at different centers including, Padma Seshadri School, MGR_Janaki College, Avvai Home, Mylapore Fine Arts etc.

Thumbs up to the organisers and the enthusiastic performers.

Knowledgeable Trio

Two pujaris and a milkman
Two pujaris and a milkman

These three men, a puajri from Agastheeswarar temple, another from Baliamman temple, and a milkman form a veritable knowledge bank about Villivakkam. They were ready with a lot of information about the history of the area and its many events.