எனக்கும் தருவாயா ஓரிடம்?

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மணல்வெளி தன் சிறு துகளை
தோள்களாம்  தேரேற்றி
ஆனந்த நடமாடி
சித்திரமாம் உன் கையெழுத்தில்
தாளத்தில் வரி எழுதி
பதியாமல் நீ பதிந்தாய் மணல்வனத்தில்

காற்றே

சிறையில்லா உன் சிறகுகளில்
தருவாயா
இச்சிறியவளாம் எனக்கும் ஓரிடம்?

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When sun kissed the sands and called it a day….

There is something compelling about the Sharqiah sands, perhaps it’s the emptiness ……or perhaps the fullness…may be its the vastness that stretched far wide to the horizon…or perhaps it’s the color – rich coppery redness splashed athwart playfully by generous someone! ….whatever it be…. found myself mesmerized, enthralled and subdued every time we visited there.

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clouds crowded thither….
a mob of fanatic followers there…..
stifling the jubilant red yellow & orange afar..
for a crepuscular splendor magical

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occasional winds whizzed in
spattering coppery sands amorously

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wind’s scripts tiptoed sinuously 
weaving a layered ornamentation
for the coppered robe earth wore this side.

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Sun & earth spinned on…
an unwavering rhythmic sufi….
on a relentless serene voyage….

and I  sat there on the ornated dais…
drenched in bronzen shimmer…
inhaling desert sands as she 
gently pulled the blanket over….

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Un’desert’ed!

There was a time when silence deafened my ears. I was so seasoned to  the sounds of city traffic, its absence triggered disillusionment and deafness for a short span. It happened everytime I visited our ancestral home. It was in the interiors of a village blanketed by tall areca palms, coconuts, scented jack, nutmeg and sumptuous mango trees. It looked as if earthy maiden sprawled herself leisurely and reclined quietly for an unending siesta there! There was nothing but silence, voiceless winds, noiseless rustles, less talkative birds and homes that stood forlornly solitary and far apart ….and then I longed to go back to the city!

We visited Sharqiah sands in Oman recently for a nights’ stay there. It’s a desert that’s quite old by age. The sands looked untainted, free and quiet. There was nothing but serenity and silence – l felt empty and hollow within …everything around  seemed rich….. I felt light as a feather …. yet there was heaviness within and around…..there was stillness… yet it was brimming with life …..and I sank in the freedom there!

I realize I love silence more now…. sounds and silence of nature make me more comfortable these days!

It’s probably the sea these sands were once part of, that made them free and move rhythmically calm now!

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This is one hike up and down I ventured without me bothering anxiety or anxiety bothering me! I felt safe somehow – desert sands will never desert – she lies there arms stretched far and wide to hold me in fold if I slip, as best as a mother could!

I left behind giant footsteps…to be covered soon leaving no trace!

Lives many there are – desert it may be but never deserted!

silence gathered around
summoned by desert winds
I sat there …. amidst the sea of sands
on the ornated mound

inhaling silence
engulfing serenity
game to be carried as wind fancies

Sands moved
cuddling and caressing the sands beneath
soaring a wee above 
for a soft sufi spin there
for the joy of freedom
for the joy of life ….
…all to become one with the sands beneath!

To be the desert – to be untaut, to be unbound, to let the winds play tunes, play patterns, to be vast, to be open, to just be!

Dreamy matters!

     Clear blue sky and unending horizon beckoned me pleasantly….. no towering concrete structures between me and the horizon to obstruct my view far and wide… I could see the the entire city…may be more from the balcony up there above! With spirits soaring high, inhaling fresh friendly air, I gazed down …. at thinly lined crisscross serpentine roadways beneath …..far far beneath.. …. I heave a sigh, glad to be long long way away! …. Hold on… what do I see here? … Men walking …. in air – just a few there – but …yes indeed walking! Excited and enthused I step out, heaving a big sigh along a beaming smile ……. with unbound happiness surging within…….I slowly step ahead…. yes … I CaN …..WaLK iN ThE aIR … I take a few steps ahead carefully …. rush back overwhelmed … spellbound, euphoric, I smile, I laugh and I turn around, eyes wide open….. !!!…..er…ugh…..!! its dark, oh…..but….how?….oh…. I still feel euphoric……ugh…..!!!…. ….!!! It was all a dream! …..psssssttt….sssttt!!!

     Dream, it’s been like a TV screen locked inside my head – a screen that gets switched on and off randomly in sleep to play shows different. It rarely replayed a show and I’ve been watching shows many since childhood – fascinating, amusing, sometimes frightening!  No, it has not bothered to disturb my psyche yet – linked it to TV for the bizarre drama it presented!

     Dreams are like those clouds on sky! Clouds that doodled pictures different every time! Sky remained serene and plain….  clouds added the drama!

When I was a kid, I was so intrigued once bearing witness to a spectacular array of metaphysical scenes in my dream that I couldn’t help describing it to a schoolmate. I then learnt dreams are not to be shared. It’s absurd. And don’t ramp your absurdity! Mom was the only silent listener whenever she could spare time for my dream narratives and she always asked me to offer prayers before I went to sleep ….hmmm….. I thought dreaming was bad and remembering even worse! I learnt to keep the picturesque madness within!

Dream
my life-size theater where
I walked in air with clouds
climbed cliffs
found barricaded doors I escaped
wandered happily in paradise
felt threatened by creepers
walked sheepishly barely robed

Once in a while, I saw something in my dream which eventually unfolded in reality – it was exciting yet unnerving! Gladly, most of the time, it was just shows different on my TV screen and I kept watching until a few months after college when I decided to dissect a dream to know its source. This happened because a particular show was getting replayed – again and again – that was unusual and I wanted to know why? I wrote it all down!

I realized it was a themed melodramatic depiction of a specific aspect of my life with symbolic props and characters(after all its a show and its gotta be peppy…yep!). Incidentally, it was a plight I was consciously not giving heed to in physical reality, probably it was boiling within! After dissection, that dream just stopped disturbing me. I knew what to do. It brought me not just solace but success!

It’s not that I dream every day. But when I did, I became curious to break it to know the source. No, certainly not all were possible to be tracked. Its not that I remembered every scene either. Sometimes when I woke up in between with emotions still hanging on me heavily, I tried to skim through those scenes consciously just to store them for later dissection. It worked sometimes. It didn’t sometimes. Sleep gained more importance on bed. When prime characters in the show involved familiar faces, I failed in tracking source – I lacked clarity there! I remained consciously blind to something!

Dream
my life-size theater where
self presented to self
its form rudimentary,
desires uncurtained,
emotions uncurtailed,
perceptions unbridled,
to explore, to navigate
vistas unnoticed, uncared within
to know, to be!

Someone did ‘science with dreams‘ and recorded ‘dreams are made of geomagnetic activity‘. Glad I didn’t know about it when I decided to dissect my dream. I might have missed out on the fun, excitement and knowledge!

May be dreams are not totally made of geomagnetic activity, it probably has something to do with what goes on within one’s mind – may be geomagnetic magnificence provoked those bizarre metaphysical streaming and unnerving scenic displays!

But then, what do scientists say for dreams that eventually unfold in reality or dreams that showed past events unknown to you ?  

Photos clicked @ Kochi and Oman

 

It’s all in the game – Playing Marbles

“It’s all in the game”

Fourth in the series on low-cost, nontoxic, less addictive games from the past …. and its about Playing Marbles this time!

In India, this game is more fondly called ‘Goli’, ‘Goti’, ‘Kanche’…. It used to be an all boys game usually played outdoors – on streets, vacant grounds and even school premises! 

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Thinking aback, “Goli’ was one game my brothers took me in without recommendations, persuasions and bargains despite me not fitting in the ‘gender’. Glad games don’t have genders. As for my brothers, I should admit they included me in many games they played within the tall walls of our home – sometimes to fill in the number, sometimes to avoid my silent outbursts later! Thanks to them! They used to play a game akin to cricket indoors and they hardly failed to line me in despite my sickeningly pathetic batting, bowling and fielding – I never improved there! In marbles, it was different- the glow and glitz of those glassy restless spherical balls kind of pleased and elated my spirits. Designs seemed to wriggle within and I was happy to let them loose on ground. When a marble broke, I was curious to know what was inside. I handled them pleasurably, lovingly, less carefully and much willingly.

They say Playing Marbles is similar to golf! I think its strangely connected to billiards – knocking a ball with another ball! In both games, they use stick(golf club/cue stick) and holes/pockets are many. In ‘goli’, a player strikes a series of marbles with one marble to make them all reach a single hole-with no accessories or tools! 

Teach your children Newton’s different ‘Laws of Motion’ playfully!

Advantages in playing marbles are many – whether it be learning basic physics or basics of life per se -one’s action and probable reactions; the need for focus and necessary skill to reach goal – this game provides all!

Movement of marbles, force we use, resulting collision that trigger more movement, external factors that affect movement including breeze, uneven surface and weight of the marble – yes, it’s more interesting to learn basic concepts of physics this way – force, friction, mass, surface and how these factors affect behavior of a marble. Inquisitive child’s mind will learn these concepts at ease playfully.

Therapeutic benefits:

  • Improves fine motor skills (involves coordination of small muscles in our hands and fingers to work together for tossing the marble) – Speed, direction and movement of a marble is dependent on player’s exertion of appropriate pressure on the marble that is tossed. Gradually, player learns to adeptly control his finger movements, force and tossing styles.
  • Develops concentration & focus
  • Improves Gross motor skills (involves usage of large muscles of our body to perform a movement – in this game more specifically large muscles of arms and legs)
  • Improves eye-hand coordination
  • Enhances spatial awareness 
  • Visual processing skills – Understanding distance between his/her tossing position and gauging the force that needs to be exerted to strike opponent’s marble/s to make it all reach hole.
  • Socialization skills  – Players devise their rules and learn to agree for a fair play. It is this agreement of sorts which will help in learning negotiation skills, developing mutual understanding, trust, healthy competition and cooperation. When played in groups, kids learn the concept of equal opportunity and learn to wait and accept.

How to play?

Materials required:
Small glass marbles(about 1 cm in diameter) 2 – 5 marbles for each player

A Shallow (heel-sized) hole is dug in the ground (if playing indoors, create a small goal post)
A stick or a chalk to draw lines
A leveled ground helps in free movement of marbles

Number of Players:

Minimum two. More the number more interesting gets the game as more marbles come into play and available for possession.

How to Play?

Unwritten ‘Agreement of Sorts’

In our mode of play, each player started his/her game bringing in two marbles initially into play. Players brought in more marbles in his/her subsequent turns – minimum and maximum number of marbles introduced per turn per player is decided in advance. A player starts his turn positioning his shooter marble from a predetermined line. Marble that is used to strike or shoot other marbles is called a shooter marble and some players had a special or lucky marble for this purpose.

Every time a marble lands in the hole, player gets an extra chance and his next flick is from the vantage position that his shooter marble has rolled to. If the shooter marble falls in the hole, player loses a turn, but gets to keep his shooter marble with him.

The start

All players toss in their shooter marble simultaneously from a predetermined distance. Player whose shooter marble lands first in the hole starts the game. 

Basic play

First player throws his two marbles near hole. If both lands in hole, then second player gets the chance. If one or both marbles remain outside, then first player gets to strike them. If he manages to flick these marbles to reach hole (with his shooter marble), he wins all marbles in the hole and continues game bringing more marbles into play. Else, he gets the one with which he hit(shooter marble) leaving the other one/two marbles per se on ground.

Second player starts his turn by throwing in his two marbles near hole and flicks his (shooter)marble to strike opponent’s marble/s gently to make them all reach hole. He wins all marbles that gets dropped into hole else gets the one with which he hit(shooter marble) leaving the rest on ground per se. Game continues till all marbles of all players are brought into play and won. Player who manages to drop maximum marbles in the hole is declared winner!

Number of marbles each player brings into the game and whether players get to keep all marbles won by them are decided by mutually agreed rules. At home, all marbles went to one common box at the end – possessions and ownership mattered only while playing -that’s what happens when you play with elder brothers – you gotta listen despite your crazy hunger to possess them all!

Techniques in tossing marble:

Complicated styles make the game more challenging and how you choose your tossing style is your choice.

Knuckle down-player holds his/her shooting marble in the crook or curve of his index finger while resting the knuckle on ground and shoots or flicks the marble with his thumb.

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Flicking-player places his shooting marble between forefinger & thumb. Hold your forefinger back with the thumb exerting little pressure and then flip or snap the forefinger forward. This style of tossing is similar to flicking the striker on carrom board.

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Indian style of playing involved holding your shooting marble in the forefinger/middle finger of left hand (right or left is dependent on the ease of player) and stretching the forefinger/middle finger backwards exerting pressure by forefinger of the other hand while resting the thumb of your left hand on the ground. Marble is held tight between the fingers before pressure is released. A comparatively difficult style that demands flexibility of both hands and it requires practice!

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Different ways and styles for playing marbles are shared in “other links” and “video” down the page.

This post is longer than I intended. It was a little difficult recollecting the mode of playing but hope ‘ve not done injustice to memory and happy times! These old games don’t come with written rules which gives us the wand to make it twisted or simple as our mind fancies – leave it to your kids to design theirs but sure its worth a try! 

How to play marbles- links:
http://www.landofmarbles.com/marbles-play.html
http://www.wikihow.com/Play-Marbles

For younger kids there are options different:
click for Video
http://spaghettiboxkids.com/blog/how-to-play-marbles-part-1/
http://spaghettiboxkids.com/blog/how-to-play-marbles-part-2/

It’s all in the game – ‘Skipping’

‘It’s all in the game’ series continues and this time its about ‘skipping’. Skipping may not be a game per se but what’s in a name or term for a child? Anything that involves loads of fun and energy is interesting and irresistible!

Click here to read earlier parts of “It’s all in the game”

Kids have always amazed me – their curiosity, readiness to explore, utter inability to wait, the will to win and will to forgive … some skills there certainly I would like to relearn and retain now! They’re quite competent in maneuvering small and large screens expertly – that’s absolutely admirable but in the process they shouldn’t go unawares of the ways of maneuvering physical body!

It’s my association and experience with kids and adolescents at two different institutions in the recent past that changed my perception on activities, games and their varying impacts on human body, mind and cognitive skills and this series is a result of the same! 

Kids start by imitating and learn by exploring -whether it be handling gadgets, playing games or exploring nature ………….it all starts with us! So let’s start

skipping

Skipping is a simple activity but it plainly exhibits one’s power to fight against gravity and kids literally love this anti-gravity movement. 

I remember those school days(of ’80’s) when girls smuggled in their skipping ropes to school just to enjoy the fun at break hours. Some of them had more than a pair at home and they brought it all to share(with pride no doubt)! They jumped, not just for the feel and fun, but to challenge everyone to beat scores. It may be a solo performance or a group activity – jumping the rope together emphasized understanding and unity between friends! Ability to keep count and count speedily were matters of some concern but what mattered most was – fun, entertainment and happiness!

For us jumping the rope and skipping the rope meant the same and we did it either ways as per will. (Personally, I bettered at jumping then but now I prefer skipping-I keep losing breath while jumping now!)

skipping sceneAs a child, this game had made me reach my ‘highs’ and ‘feel light’. I was surprised when I found my friends had failed to introduce these activities to their kids now. It wasn’t intentional -it’s just that they forgot! These games are less charming now! Besides, just like me, they too were unaware of the positives! They were trying hard and spending more to keep their kids engaged! I gifted skipping rope and introduced different games. Those happy faces make me happy in turn and …yes, I too have my bit of fun and energizing exhaustion with them! Kids love anything fun, they get bored easily and gotta give vent to their energy! 

And now we get to the benefits of Skipping. This is for all those who value ‘knowledge’ – I appreciate that and here we go! I’m not a professional and ‘ve sought professional help to give a fair picture.

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* Prerequisites for skipping – a child should be able to stand, walk, hop & jump with good balance.  Any child with these prerequisites (above 3-4 years of age) can be encouraged to do skipping.

Precaution:  It is advised that children with heart problem should be allowed to do this activity only under doctor’s advice and therapeutic supervision.

Therapeutic benefits and precautions have been compiled under guidance of Mrs.Nirmala Solanky Venkateswaran, Occupational Therapist, who has been serving kids and adults for over 55 years. She needs no introduction to those who have read the earlier parts of ‘It’s all in the game‘.

Besides fun, skipping helps in burning calories too – it’s a good stay fit exercise. So don’t hesitate…. gear up and get your skipping rope today – not just for kids!! 

Options in skipping are aplenty and you may check the youtube link here:
Different types of skipping on youtube 
and for more options please click here

 

A wanderer’s beach pondering….

This has been in my Evernote for a few days now…. drafted during our drive from the beach. It was not a weekend trip but an in between one to Al Sawadi.

Beach looked deserted being a week day – may be its the Ramadan fasting and warm weather that kept everyone home.

I stood watching shells that were strewn generously on sands – shells and conchs of sizes many, shapes many and shades many that spoke of lives lived and still living in waters -sea seemed to be brimming with life!

You never feel alone amidst nature! Loneliness may be an excuse… solitude is different -you revel and revive in it! 

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its not the sands that tickle your feet all the time – shells do it intermittently…..almost everywhere!  

At Sawadi sands, I get tempted to pocket a few shells every time!

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sands at Sawadi are darker in shade…shells shine sharply here!

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waves churned with unbounded joy
liken a bundle of school kids let loose
bathed and garbed in new found happiness
frivolous, joyous, immensely happy
they raced, they chased, mirthfully bashing one another
falling frailly – giggling rapturously
never wanting to end the fun
they turned aback
to relive it all – all over again!

Sea was relatively calmer last time. May be seas too are prone to mood swings. They need winds to bubble up. They have their high and low tides too – gravity, moon and sun playing their roles perfectly they say!

What am I but elements with 60% water inside and isn’t it quite natural that I too am prone to high and low tides surging and falling within?

 

All images were clicked at Al Sawadi beach, Oman

the bronzen treats

setting beams
of the simmering fireball
spilled silky tenderness
on subjects all –
and I bathed in the
gleaming satiny radiance!

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bed may be a thin rim of rusted iron, matters what?  certainly a soothing beamy spa in progress …..or is this catzy heliotherapy? Saw this cat enjoying heliotherapy same time everyday just as the sun was setting…this happened for weeks together 

surging beams
of dawning sun
stretched arms serenely

scattering shimmering lustre most gently
and I basked in the
radiating bronzy glow!

DSCN3204-7That’s the beauty of setting sun. He can blacken you out from behind.

A silhouette or a soft bronzian glow – all depends on where you place your lens – either way it’s just beautiful! 

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting” (– Ralph Waldo Emerson) 

a mind & its windy affair!

‘Mind’ – this word grabbed my attention when I wanted to write about winds – I wasn’t looking for it… but noticed it everywhere and heard it in conversations – contexts different, intents different – but the word slithered in!

When I was a child I used to think mind was in heart! That was well before my exposure to hypocrisies and vanities of life. Well, heart has nothing to do with mind it seems! Good for me… ….my heart! …. still wonder why people often villainize heart and take it to gallows for mind’s caprices!!

Curiosity made me google ‘mind’.

Mind
Noun
1. the element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness and thought”
2. a person’s intellect.
Verb
1. be distressed, annoyed, or worried by.
2. regard as important; feel concern about.

Researches and journals had pages many on mind’s workings and google listed them in screens many! …….but..where is mind?…….still a mystery? …..!!….. Mind is not confined to brain nor to consciousness they say….. Well …. it becomes difficult to comprehend – once you step on realms other than real, conscious and concrete! May be its better to leave it all to mind  …….to know more…to explore! 

Now that leaves me to continue with what I wanted to share here – wind!

Desert winds are charmers and they can be heedlessly noisy when they want to – may be because they don’t have trees to converse and share! When they get intermittently gutsy they keep howling through window slits and gaps nonchalantly demanding entry and ears.

These winds can raise columns of dust off the arid land creating dust ghosts of sizes many and forms varied – a bizarre performance that may last a few seconds to minutes.

They are unlike dust storms or sandstorms that last for minutes longer blinding the entire space with smokes of dust or sand.

On a windy day, from my window I can see the elemental dance of dry grass and diffident sway of dry land bushes in tune with wind’s blowing beats. As I wonder how those tiny feathery birdies manage to anchor their tender bodies against gushing winds, a sparrow flutters its wings and regains balance in a jiffy landing most softly. So does the bee-eater!

In India, have soaked pleasurably in the pleasing cool breeze that caressed and cuddled coastal parts of northern Chennai, post lunch, all through the year – more in summer. Have happily inhaled calm and cool air of Kochi streets post sunset. Wind in Oman is warmer both day and night between May-October and this makes it less friendly during this time… but plainly its hard to find a more friendlier weather in the Persian Gulf!

at sea
receding waters hurriedly sewed

scaly fringes on shore’s hems  –
water’s autograph endorsing windy affair!

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patterns diverse on drifting sands-
never satisfied with design last sketched…
wind’s desert whims are they!

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hide and seek on mountain ranges  
the haphazard game that winds played 
carving sculptures of sizes several
scribbling stories intrinsic in volumes myriad!

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Winds can be calm, breezy, noisy, stormy, ravenous and so are our minds! It is by happenstance that ‘mind’ caught my attention when all I wanted to write was wind – Wind and Mind – the invisible unbounded wanderers of spaces hither definitely possessing raging skills to create wonders and havoc! 

 

The above images and video were clicked and recorded in the Sultanate of Oman

It’s all in the game – ‘Five Stones’

Click here to read earlier parts of “It’s all in the game”

This is second in the series ‘It’s all in the game’. This time its all about ‘Five Stones’ – a game which was played widely amidst kids few decades ago when there were no electronic gadgets of interest! This game demanded quick eye-hand coordination and good sense of timing – it was quite a challenge! Many a times I messed it up but it was all fun nevertheless…. I used to watch my friends in awe as they quite deftly stole the show with rapid eye-hand movements.

It wasn’t the machine memory that decided winning chances of the player and it certainly wasn’t about winning or losing all the time….. it was about giving and taking too(friend loses a chance to give you one) – it was learning and understanding one’s abilities… and accepting & entertaining relationships!

Not every kid is interested in regular sports, yoga or dance but every child loves to play and games involving physical movement can be total fun and challenge. When played in groups, they are more fun and entertaining. Learning one’s own body and learning to manipulate its movements are skills that can be imparted through games. These movement games need energy in lots and kids have the same in loads! Kids get bored easily and these zero-cost games can keep our kids engaged.

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5 small stones are all that’s required to play this game. When it comes to playing with stones, some of us are quite concerned about kids and their safety. If apprehensive, prepare your own small bags of rice, sand or saga seeds (for model check the video on youtube-How to make your five stones – cloth bags). You can fill in the mini pouch with anything you feel perfect – its your creativity and the game is all yours! To know how to play the game, click on the link at the end of this blog.

I have added in the advantages of playing ‘five stones’ for those who ask why ‘five stones’ now? I did seek professional help to give a fair picture here. Kindly share in your thoughts on these games to help me pen more!

Why play ‘five stones’? – the benefits

  • Tossing the stones  
    • Gross motor development (involves usage of large muscles of our body to perform a movement – in this game more specifically large muscles of arms)
    • Improves Visual processing skills (locating the stone – air & ground)
    • Improves Eye-hand coordination
    • Improves Concentration
  • Picking stones from ground & seizing the tossed stone in mid air (both tasks at the same time)
    • Fine motor development (involves coordination of small muscles in our hands and fingers to work together for precise movements)
    • Enhances reflexes (reflex is an action that is performed as a response to a stimulus and without conscious thought)
    • Enhances Spatial awareness
    • Involves Eye-Hand coordination
    • Improves Focus & Goal orientation
    • Increases Control & Multi-tasking
  • Taking turns & following game rules helps improve
    • Socialization
    • Abstract thinking
    • Memory
    • Alertness
    • Discipline
  • Helps the child 
    • improve sitting tolerance
    • learn sequencing
    • in personality development
      • enhances self-confidence
      • learns to win & lose

This game is suitable for kids aged 5 and above. Therapeutic benefits are compiled under the guidance of Mrs.Nirmala Solanky Venkateswaran, Occupational Therapist experienced in the field for over 55 years. She needs no introduction to those who have read the first part of It’s all in the game‘. Her dedication has been an inspiration to me and she is the one who has been a strong supporter in penning my thoughts on old games and activities. 

I found these videos on youtube, click the link for view:
How to play five stones 
How to make your five stones – cloth bags

click to read further   How to play Five  stones?

 

How to play ‘five stones’

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Click here to read the first part & benefits of playing Five stones

How to play?

Materials required:  5 stones of similar sizes or 5 small triangular cloth bags filled with sand/rice/saga seeds.

Number of players : Min. 2.       Age – 5 years & above.

Method of play:
As with all traditional games, there are no formal or written rules and the steps and rules differ from place to place. The steps narrated below may serve as a guide to frame your own rules. If you find it difficult to follow the steps, please check the video link below.

There are 8 steps to complete the game and the player who completes all 8 steps in minimal attempts becomes the winner.  If a player misses any of the steps, next player takes the turn. Once all players complete their first turn, second round starts and the players continue their turn from where they left in the first turn. 

To start a turn, the player throws all 5 stones in air and tries to catch as many stones as possible on the back of the same hand.  Stones that are caught(on the back of the hand) are then thrown up again from back of the hand and the player catches as many stones as possible in the palm of the same hand. If no stone is caught, the player loses turn. Player who catches the stones starts his turn.

Step 1

  • Throw all 5 stones on ground.
  • Pick one stone. While tossing it in the air, pick one stone from ground and catch the tossed stone before it falls to ground (all in the same hand). Now you will have 2 stones in hand.
  • Toss one of the caught stones into air and pick another stone from ground. Now, you will have 3 stones in hand.
  • Repeat the steps till you have all 5 stones in your hand.

Step 2

  • Throw all 5 stones on ground.
  • Pick one stone. While tossing it up in air, pick 2 stones from ground and catch the tossed stone.
  • Toss one of the stones in hand and pick remaining 2 stones from ground.
  • You will have all the 5 stones in your hand at the end of step 2.

Step 3

  • Throw all 5 stones on ground.
  • Pick one stone. While tossing it in air, pick 3 stones from the ground and catch the tossed stone as well.
  • Complete the toss for picking the remaining stone on ground.

Step 4

  • Throw all 5 stones on ground.
  • Pick one stone. While tossing it in air pick all 4 stones on ground and catch the tossed stone as well.

Step 5

  • While throwing one stone in air, place four stones on the ground.
  • Toss one stone up again and catch it while picking all four stones on the ground.

Step 6

  • Throw all 5 stones on ground.
  • Pick 2 stones and while tossing one stone in air, exchange the stone in hand with another one in the ground.(remember to keep aside the stone you exchange)
  • Repeat the step for remaining 3 stones.

Step 7

  • Throw all five stones on ground.
  • Pick two stones and while throwing both stones in air, pick one from ground and catch the two falling stones one in each hand.
  • Repeat for all 3 stones.

Step 8

  • Throw all five stones on the ground.
  • The opponent selects a stone to be tossed in air.
  • Player picks the selected stone without disturbing other stones, throws it in air and picks up remaining stones on the ground in one clean sweep.

Found these videos on how to play Five stones on youtube, click the link for view:
How to play five stones 
How to make your five stones and play

The steps, methods & strategies differ from place to place. Players choose and create their own steps and agree upon the sequence of steps before starting the game. These games can be made as complicated or as simple depending upon the players. Now go ahead and create your own style.

As a parent, its our personal presence more than material presents that play vital role in our kids’ emotional development. Let’s play these games with our kids and involve other kids too. For children, it’s 100% fun and entertainment. These games would no doubt help you lighten your spirits and ease the relationship between you and your child. More than most – therapeutic benefits of the games are not just for kids, it’s for all! So go ahead and harness your skills further for a better performance at home, work & life.

For further reading on how to play the game you may check the following links on google:

http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/infopedia/articles/SIP_194_2005-01-07.html
http://www.traditionalgames.in/home/property-games/five-stones-kuzhangal-anchankal-kallankal

a piece of self that brought peace!

an impasse infiltrated 
through spaces open 
and crevices unmended
follies and foibles kept the door ajar 
a visible nothingness 
crowded my vision
I stayed calm, deeply calm 

I took to clicking pictures when an eerie emptiness was slowly penetrating my disturbed spirits. Conflictingly, all that I clicked during this period was brightly lit flowers and luscious green leaves – I clicked loads of them! It wasn’t a conscious move – just happened so!  

Saw vibrant colors scattered abundantly, elegantly and thought they turned more beautiful in smaller frames!

From fire to the tiniest grass, to fallen feathers, fallen leaves, barren branches, thorns, insects – I clicked them all slowly.. ……. insatiably! 


The symmetry, gravity, delicacy, creativity – all got me engrossed! Somehow they all seemed to convey something – but never deciphered what… neither pondered to figure that out! Loved seeing them in small frames!  It somehow helped me make peace within!

Dragonflies amazed me with their power to stay oblivious to things around (looked like some kinda meditation). I got hooked on to them day after day. The regular ones never felt bothered with me hanging around!

I’m no photographer but photography helped me stay calm when nerves could’ve wrecked signals across gray matter! It’s solely an unconscious indulgence mind chose to delve in! I was rescued unscathed…more calmed, more tempered! Our ‘self’ always finds its own way out!

May be one day my love for photography will fade just as it bloomed – unobserved! I may sync in tune with the wholesomeness and see no pleasure in capturing them in small frames! But for now, it continues to satisfy and I make peace within!

I thank all who have dropped in earlier and appreciated photographs here…your words have powered my lens more!

 

 All the above images were clicked at home using a basic compact digital camera -Panasonic (Lumix series – DMC FS62).  My interest grew and I moved on to Nikon Coolpix with more options but still cherish this old camera for all the peace it helped me locate!

……….

P.S: I am truly overwhelmed by all the support and appreciation. I never thought that my clicks would attract attention! Honestly, it makes me happy! Definitely it was not a pastime – it meant a lot (an immense lot) more to me – it gave me peace, made me calm and contented! My interest has since grown in plentitude and it’s been a few years now! Looking back and ‘connecting the dots’ – it all makes sense to me now!

(June 9, 2016)

The phantasmagoria of sorts

To call Pooram a festival or ritual may be demeaning –  undoubtedly it’s an adrenaline pumping spectacular display of human vivacity without digital interference!

My fascinations for Pooram are for reasons truly simple – instrumental music – Panchavaadyam and Pancharimelam! (five-instrumental and four-instrumental (percussion+wind) performances played rhythmically in full throttle)

artistes stand in rows facing each other
may be for better understanding between notes,
may be fanning mutual inspiration,
a performance of high volt it is,
they need the synergized energy.

accelerating beats and blows
powerfully shuts off  
all decibels in proximity.

sync in soon with the crescendoing harmony
or feel throttled sooner.

those electrifying acoustic vibrations
inject a wave of enigmatic energy into my nerves,
the overpowering harmony keeps me hypnotized.

all other music are trifling cacophonies
and I revel in the rhythm of encircling euphoria
consuming gallons of amphetamines
impulsively expelled by the orchestrated crescendo

Click here for the magnetic spell this music casts on spectators! 

(Click on the image for larger view)

Pooram is an experience that’s one of its kind – ‘a phantasmagoria of sorts’ – a fascinating, flamboyant experience that leaves me not just exhilarated but restlessly contemplative….

Elephant pageantry
I love the paraphernalia –
decorated umbrellas, ornated golden head cover, ornamental fan – but
I feel uncomfortable
amidst those towering majestic denizens of residence different
ordered to pose poise, assembled to stand unmindful of
orchestrated decibels that thundered high and 

clamoring cacophonies of crowd inimically excited!

They do look majestic and royal ….but they also unsettle me totally! I highly adore their tolerance level – but I implore – this part needs reworking!

Final fireworks – Grand finale that’s connived to speak for the grandiose of events – a series of fireworks of all kinds to showcase the exemplary culmination of the event. It was just once did I witness this final cataclysmic display of pyrotechnics. It lasted just for a few minutes but the accelerated heartbeat lasted much longer!

Earth trembled beneath my feet
as buried balls exploded within
spitting sounds
threatening, deafening, maddening…
cells within rushed nervously…
clicks went jittery…
the show lasted but a few minutes
effects lasted and lingered on!
-a certain death promoting extravaganza it seemed!

The images were clicked during Thalappoli (a miniature version of Pooram) at Kalladathur Temple, Padinjarangadi, Palakkad Dt., Kerala

The lingering gingering Indian Identity!

Its hard to unlearn habits …….harder still to unbecome an Indian! For an average Indian locating a fellow Indian somewhere in the known circle is vital! It makes us feel more comfortable.  

DSCN2063-2.jpgAnd it’s usually easy to identify a fellow Indian (what are we if cannot do at least that much)! The first thought that pops on seeing an Indian is the predominant north-south tag (I often wonder why the east-west tag is not as hot as north-south tag!) – this is done without much fanfare (skin color, features, language & dressing – the last 2 may sometimes be deceiving if abroad). Next comes the search to place the person in his/her State – not the mental state of course  (that comes much later into picture) but the region or the federated state or province to which he/she belongs!  This may go on till we manage to locate the person with someone or some place relatively or distantly or vaguely known to us! This may not be the case with everyone but…. many would agree! The more the age, the more the curiosity, the more the questions!! No complaints! I love my lingering gingering Indian Identity and definitely I never want to unbecome an Indian. 

(Image is a beautiful wooden statue of a woman hand carved by Kenyan artisans)

It’s all in the game

Have you ever wanted to do something very badly but kept postponing? Have you ever played a game end number of times (some long time back) that even a wayward thought of it now brings back a whole quantum of memories?

Games we played as kids – a thought as simple as this has been occupying my mind for a while now and the urge to share my musings has been haunting ever since. There were a series of zero-cost or low-cost games which involved lots of physical movements and I wonder what happened to them now!

Hopscotch was a game that was quite easy to play. It was played indoors or outdoors – I remember girls playing it more than boys! You can play it alone or with a whole lot of friends and siblings. All that you need is good control over your body and you feel everything in the game can be controlled! You feel the power is within you! You win… you lose…. you help and get helped… it’s all in the game…..me writing this here included! 

Kids today are glued either to a small, medium or big screen. While they learn to manipulate gadgets of varying sizes, they fail to learn and manipulate their own physical body – certainly they are not to be blamed

For a child to understand his body, he should learn to use his body. Learning to use the body is learning to move the body as per will. kids naturally love movements. More the movement, more the learning. More the participation, more the enjoyment! 

Our old games emphasized the need for physical movement for better growth. They impart logic, focus and concentration; more than most they improve the child’s ability to maneuver his own physical body! 

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Hopping on one foot is considered one of the most difficult movements by our human body. But certainly, when played as a game there is nothing more interesting than hopping!

This game can be played alone but is certainly more fun & interesting when several players take turns to wait.

Recently, I introduced this game to a handful of children aged between 4 and 10 who were quite versatile on mobile games. Though they floundered initially, kids got the momentum pretty fast. When I joined them in the game, I had to gasp for my breath at the end but delightfully it was great fun! One of the little girls, who was aged 5, found the game so interesting that she tossed in her own set of rules on the spot with additional boxes and more complicated procedures like closed eye hopping. I was astonished by her sense of balance and spatial awareness!

Some of us always prefer to take the toss only if we know why or simply put the benefits behind! And here we go on the benefits of hopscotch! I am not a professional but have tried my best to provide correct information and did do ‘out of my context’ research to do justice. Suggestions and criticisms will surely guide me in penning more games.

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Benefits rather therapeutic benefits of ‘hopscotch’ are compiled under the guidance of Mrs.Nirmala Solanky Venkateswaran, Occupational Therapist who has more than 55 years of experience in the field. She has recently moved to Kochi from Chennai and I had the privilege of seeing her at work with kids (kids with ADHD, autism and varying neurological conditions). There seemed to be an untold understanding between her and the kids and she never failed to bring confident smiles across those little faces! She is a strong advocate of low-cost and zero-cost therapeutic tools for treatment. And when I expressed my interest in reviving old games, she was totally for it. It’s her words of motivation which made me pen my thoughts on traditional games. I shared it with her for approval during my last visit to Kochi and she gave me her suggestions which are carefully added in here.

By introducing ‘hopscotch’ to your kids, you are introducing them to a joyous world of hopping, leaping and total cognitive & physical “exertainment”. Every kid may not be able to enjoy this game, but those who do, let them have real fun!

If you would like to read further on how to play, please check the link below:
https://wordpress.com/post/mridhues.wordpress.com/3590

A word of caution – if your kid has any physical or neurological difficulty, please do consult your doctor or therapist before venturing! 

The tryst before twilight

as winds whispered tenderly
timidly the waters rushed 
puffed with mirth and froth…
as child to mom ..
pumped agog with pocketed joy

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charmed by wind’s whims
rushing waters tumbled gigglingly 
avidly splashing briny spumes
creating fringes many
on the glazing sanded shores

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Seas never fail to allure me – more so at sunset! It is the immensity, the enormity that initially triggers a sense of pride..a sense of elation – know not why so – in deserts I get a similar feeling mixed with a sense of insignificance followed by nothingness!

Air smells heavy with salt, but I feel light! The waters seem playful all the time …. receding waters cuddled the salted sands and my heart bubbled in joy  ……. the settling roar, splashing foams, the borderless concreteless open space, hued horizon that never seem too far away …..they all fill my senses perfectly hushing away all burdening thoughts …..and filling me with nothingness in abundance!  

I wonder why am I so obsessed with sunsets at seas and photographing them! May be because they satisfy all my seven senses most aptly! May be because they numb my common sense most perfectly! May be because they provide the unfathomable escape route!

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Images clicked @ Kerala, India & Alswadi Beach, Sultanate of Oman

The relativity theory of reality

what you perceive & what you reflect
are relative to what YOU really are!

 

just as disturbed waters
reflect distorted image
perception clogged by inhibitions 
reflect infected reality

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disturbed waters & distorted reality

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the shells… the sands… the waters….. & …. the BALLS!

 

 

 

 

Images clicked at Boothathaankettu, Kerala, India & Al Sawadi Beach, Sultanate of Oman

The ‘dent’ in ‘identity’

I wonder what goes on inside those tiny little heads… they are on move ….all the time  …. no strings attached….. no sedimenting sentiments!….. they don’t stick to one place … whole world belongs to them! 

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When you are born and brought up at one place and your parental origin and attachment is rooted elsewhere, you find yourself at odds at both the places … sooner or later … you just fail to fit in fully… for no fault of yours! Everything seem to go fine and everyone happy to accept and accommodate you ….. but just then you say or do something which invariably provokes the pronouncement ‘awww… …. …. ……….. …….’ and you become the epicentre of discussion …even if it is for a miniscule period of time, it exasperates you! Well, yes… this ‘unalike’…. status sometimes saves your face and lets you go less ridiculed for not really knowing something or doing something…. bringing those unique twists to the corner of your lips (the instantaneous upward and downward twist)! 

At school, at college and at workplace you remain ‘unalike’. After marriage your newly acquired family finds your language and culture unalike … (it’s so even if you marry from your own community) but if it’s someone similar to your background …well…. you are saved of the askance looks but then sure you lose some fun there!

Some make fun and you get mimicked, some admire you, some get irked, some envy you(trust me, it’s true!), some criticize you, some imitate you, some try to correct you! Many a times I have writhed and squirmed when my difference attracted attention … the difference which made me ponder over the ‘dent’ in my identity! When you grow with the ‘dent’ it becomes part and parcel of you and you find your den in the dent! I am what I am and happy for the ‘den-t’. It gives my entity identity… the identity of being me!

Life is a journey and it matters not whether I remain unalike…it’s just fine to think I am me! It doesn’t matter if I don’t belong … it’s just fine to be free and different … !

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pics clicked on same day… same place… seconds away… directions apart!!

odyssey continued
as the star descended low
and the satellite ascended high
earth continued its odyssey
the odyssey that commenced eons ago
never reposing
never repulsing
never repudiating

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DSCN3231-7             DSCN3309-7

Images clicked at Al Sawadi Beach, Sultanate of Oman on April 22, 2016
Dragon fly clicked at Padinjarangadi, Kerala

Hopscotch – How to play?

hopscotch

 

This post is an inner-link to the original post “It’s all in the game!”

Click ‘It’s all in the game”  to know the benefits of Hopscotch!

How to Play

What materials you need?   Chalk piece(or anything that helps you draw lines), (or if you are playing on sands – a stick to draw the lines) and a coin/pebble/bottle cap 

Number of Players?    More than 1 (trust me its more fun with more players)

How to play?      Draw the hopscotch grid as a single or plain double grid for beginners & move ahead with mixed grids(single & double) as they progress. (You may check the drawings and links below)

Basic Rules:

There are no hard and fast rules laid down. However, I am sharing the rules which we followed years back:

  • Player’s feet should not touch the lines.
  • Hands should never go down for balance.
  • Player rests on both legs only at home.
  • Player loses turn if:
    • Coin is tossed out of the grid
    • Coin falls on the lines of the grid
    • Coin slips from palm
    • Coin is tossed onto crossed squares
    • If the player lands on a square captured by opponent.
Incidentally, I do not have personal pictures to post in here. You may check the links below for pictorial or video version.

Stage I

  • The player stands behind the starting line and tosses the coin to square one.
  • Now, starting from square 1, player hops over from square to square to reach home (on top) and then turns over and hops back. When on square 2, player picks the coin from square 1 and hops back to the starting line.
  • Player throws the coin in square 2, hops as above picking the coin on way back (when on square 3) and reaches the starting line.
  • Repeat the above till the player completes all the squares.

If a player loses a turn, then the next player starts or continues from where he/she had lost the turn earlier.

As the players become more adept, he/she skips the square with coin, and takes a leap to the next square.  This may not be easy for beginners.

For some the game ends here. But my childhood game continued with following steps:

Stage II

  • The player places the coin on open palm and hops from first square to the last square without touching the lines and balancing the coin on open palm.
  • On reaching the last square, player throws the coin outside grid and hops on it to complete the step.
  • The player then places the coin on the back of palm and repeats the above step.

Stage III

  • The player starts this stage by asking co-players – “Sit” or “Stand”.
  • If the co-players say “Sit”, player sits down with his back facing the grid and tosses the coin onto any square on the grid(without looking). Player loses turn if the coin falls on the lines or beyond the grid. If the co-players say “Stand”, then the player stands with his back facing the grid and tosses the coin onto the grid(by throwing it over his head).
  • The player hops through the squares and picks the coin on way back as in the first stage. But now, the player crosses the square (or writes her name) from which she picked up the coin. This would mean that the player has captured the square and can rest her legs in the square in her subsequent steps. Opponents cannot land on a captured square and they have to leap or jump to reach the next square in their turn.
  • The player who captures all or maximum squares becomes the winner.

 

For those who would like to read further on how to play the game:
http://www.wikihow.com/Play-Hopscotch
http://www.kidspot.com.au/kids-activities-and-games/Games+5/Hopscotch+200.htm

Video on how to play Hopscotch

 

*Read more: http://www.healthofchildren.com/C/Cognitive-Development.html#ixzz3opXs66Xq)

Miles to tread, Heights to mount

Wadi Shab, Sultanate of Oman

Tall mountains invited with arms wide open. 
P
alm trees at the entrance, tall yet puny, planted with care here and there added a twist of pride .. a dash of warmth!
Mountains adorned richly by natural carvings spoke of the craving stories whispered by winds.
Skies above wore shades of blue and stood unblemished, unornated!
Waters below wore the color of turquoise, inviting, ever enticing yet intimidating!
The journey looked long and luring and I moved ahead..
past the g
ravel-strewn path at the entryway and further ahead tickled by the tricky play of desert sands beneath!

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 Mountains Tall, Waters Fresh

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Tall mountains, deep ravines, pristine stream flowing in between,
the twinkling clear water inviting a deep plunge,
Carved rocky alleys, caved hide outs and the tempting desire paths,
warm sun and the wandering shadows…
endearing bright light and the engulfing darkness…
the vastness, the hugeness, the calmness…
cannot express enough the euphoria
standing juxtaposed to everything huge, everything unique!

Pics clicked @ Wadi Shab, September 2015

How I wish nights never existed!

How I wish nights never existed!
The darkness outside doesn’t comfort me

Enveloping eerie silence is silenced by the whizzing fan!
I’ve turned on music on my lenovo A536
Its now playing chosen melodies from Indian light music!
I try to keep my thoughts focused on the lyrics
but find myself focused on the absence of noise, focused on the absence of light…. …..focused or obsessed?

I try to keep my drooping eyelids wide open
just to ensure nothing uncanny disturbs us – me and the lonely night!
I hear sounds popping in between,
a screech of a bed pushed aside,
a heavy thump of something fallen somewhere!
Sounds that assure presence of fellow beings!
I hear a muffled noise,
is that paper rustling?
A door shut somewhere..
Sounds that disturb and comfort!

How I wish the day would last through night!
How I love sleep!
How I love to be cocooned in her comforting embrace!

We love and respect each other – sleep and me!
Why do I distance from sleep now?
Why do I keep sleep in abeyance now?
Why should darkness discomfort me now?

It waits upon her!

Hidden in the dark endless pit within
It’ waits upon her
tamed and tainted
pruned and tuned by forces out there!

Prying and intruding
Unprohibited, unsolicited
Never approving, ever criticizing
crushing and extinguishing the fire within her
Blinding and binding her vision, her path!

It’, waits upon her
It’- the hungry perfectionist, the devouring conformist
tamed and tainted
pruned and tuned by forces lurking out there

It waits upon ‘her‘- ‘she’ the untamed, untainted spirit,
wild and guileless 
rushed by forces within
crushed by forces without!

The setting splendor

Nature rings the curtain down

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The setting splendor sets the stage
casting spells across the skies
scattering hues hitherto hidden
adorning horizon with garbs of radiance

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White, yellow, orange, red
purple, blue, grey, black
shades and grades vary
each passing day,
every sinking moment

garbs of scintillating radiance
never to be reworn
never can be replicated

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The ‘setting splendor’ sets the stage
painting pictures at thither space

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with feathery clouds slithering slowly
nature rings the curtain down!

Images clicked at Fort Kochi, Marine Drive, Cherai, kangarapady, Kochi