'(The Blog) With No Name', perhaps best described as a stream of notes and thoughts - 'remembered, recovered and (sometimes) invented'.

Friday, March 30, 2018

The First Quarter - Images

As this blog is poised to enter its 'teens' (it began in April 2005) and to complete three years as a blog with pictures, we collect some images from the last three months.

A poignant vision from the last evening of 2017 - a colossal 'Paappaanji' at Palluruthi Veli. Santa Klaus, apparently stricken with 'grahani', seems to be contemplating his impending fiery end (wonder when and why this ritual of burning Santa came about).


Two wood carvings from the walls of the Vazhappalli Mahadeva temple near Chenganacheri. These pics were taken rather surreptitiously and with trembling hands, and it shows.

First up, a belligerently majestic Krishna and his consort Satyabhama returning triumphantly on Garuda from the battle with Narakasura. The lady seems to be holding up a branch of the Parijata tree. A different working of this group is the principal image in worship at the Pundareekapuram temple.

Now, it is Krishna's turn to contemplate his end. In his 10-armed Yogeswara form, the lord plays the flute and waits for Jara's fateful arrow. A bit of doubt: how could the hunter have seen and aimed at Krishna's foot mistaking it for whatever, if the latter sits in padmasana like this?


Sometime in February, I saw this photograph on display at the Durbar Hall art gallery. Cardinal Alencheri, now caught in a sad controversy over some real estate dealings, snapped with his face 'eclipsing' the face of St Thomas (whose picture is in the background) and with his head surrounded by St Thomas's halo. But, in a wicked bit of detailing, the pointed end of the saint's lance now rises behind the Cardinal like the tip of a Devil's Tail. The photographer: a certain Mr. Aji.


As was noted in an earlier post, the sculptures at Subhas Bose park are being renovated. Dripping with a fresh coat of aggressive red, Raghav Kaneria's thunderous bull bellows...

The day the work on the sculptures ended (further landscaping is in progress as I write), veteran artist Nambuthiri visited the park. As he settled on a waterfront bench, lit by the sinking sun, shutterbugs swung into action...


In post written around 4 years ago, I had mentioned the Koothattukulam Mahadeva temple and its impending renovation. A recent revisit there yielded no clinching evidence of any serious renovation having happened. But a small subsidiary shrine has been built within the temple enclosure and the following Nagayakshi (Serpent Goddess) image has been installed (Note: I have a vision of a coffee table picture book devoted exclusively to the Naga images of Kerala).


Tripunithura is where Vishnu is worshipped in his regal Purnathrayeesa form. Here is an image of the interior of a car that I saw parked near the temple. The lord sits stiffly on his serpent-throne while a perky belly dancer struts her stuff nearby.


A very curious clay mask made by Mahesh, who studies English literature. I particularly loved the double helix horns - to my knowledge, there isn't and there has never ever been any beast with such a fantastic feature (although there are deer/antelope species with single helix horns and there are species with 4 horns (a pair on each side)).


A brief visit to the Konkani quarter of Mattancheri yielded two very curious pictures, both on display at the YNP hall (thanks to Rahul who snapped them for us)...

The above pic, done in Kerala mural style, shows sage Shuka (blue-skinned and unclothed, as he is often shown) as he narrates the Bhagavata Purana to king Pareekshit (right foreground). Pareekshit too is facing his end, having been cursed with death by snake-bite but he looks anything but pensive here - perhaps the power of the purana.

And here is a grand 'group photo' as most divinities who matter assemble at Vishnu's wedding to Lakshmi. This wedding is as rare a subject in our art as the Siva-Parvati wedding is common.

Curious details abound in this picture but none strikes me as much as practically every face therein (especially every female face) having been given essentially the same (and very Gaud Saraswat Brahmin) features. And among the very few exceptions to this rule is the somewhat droopy, parrot-bodied apparition to the right and it is again sage Shuka (let us note that the word 'shuka' literally means 'parrot' and that even in the earlier Pareekshit pic, the sage is flanked by two parrots)! Among the figures I can't identify is the central male figure apparently performing the 'kanyadanam'. The picture is signed by a certain 'N Kumar'.


A glimpse of the the interior of a Kochi metro train in rush hour - 9 am on a monday; picture taken in early March 2018.


A few days back, I happened to walk past 'Indian Guest House' a century-or-two old colonial building in the heart of Ernakulam.

This building is still in residential use. Over the generations, many of my relatives have lived in it. My earliest memory of the place is as a four year old, of an evening on those expansive steps, relishing my earliest remembered experience of ice cream (vanilla of course; pop had brought a big pack from nearby 'Woodlands').


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