Thursday, January 29, 2015

Thamasoma Jyothirgamaya: Beating the Retreat Ceremony

Beating the Retreat Ceremony: officially denotes the end of Republic Day festivities and is performed after three days from Republic Day.

It is a ceremony and performed by the bands of the three wings of the military, the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force. The venue is Raisina Hills and an adjacent square, Vijay Chowk, flanked by the north and south block of the Rashtrapati Bhavan towards the end of Rajpath. This ceremony revives an ancient war custom according to which troops used to stop fighting at sunset. Bugles announcing the sunset would sound in the battlefield. 

As soon as soldiers heard these bugles they would stand still in the battlefield and war would be stopped for the day. Now a days of course one must be prepared 24 hours, one must be on guard all the time to protect our country.

The ceremony opens with a parade by selected contingents of the armed forces set to scintillating performances by the various armed forces bands. The parade reaches its climax with all the bands playing in unison. 

As the bands fall silent, a lone trumpeter picks up the moving tune ‘Siki a mole’. After this performance the hymn ‘Abide with me’ is played by the Massed Bands. It is such a beautiful tune.

This year the Indian tunes flavoured  the 'Beating the Retreat' ceremony here. As many as 20 out of 23 performances have been composed by Indian musicians. This year some 'desi' new tunes were played for the first time like 'Vir Bharat', 'Chhana Bilauri', 'Jai Janam Bhumi' and 'Athulya Bharat'.
Other tunes were 'Deshon Ka Sartaj Bharat', 'Cutty's Wedding', 'Piper O' Drumond', 'Gorkha Brigade', 'Ocean Splendour', 'Blue Field', 'Battle of the Sky', 'Anandloke', 'Dashing Desh', 'Flying Star', 'Glorious India', 'Bhupal', 'Indian Soldiers', 'Hathroi', 'Salam to the Soldiers', 'Giri Raj', 'Drummers' Call', 'Abide With Me', 'Hey mera Watan ke logon' 'Vande mataram' and lastly the ever-popular 'Sare Jahan Se Acha'.

One by one, the camels and the riders who stood stone-like throughout, against the backdrop of the sky, move away from the background.
At exactly 6 pm, the buglers sound the retreat and the National Flag is lowered to the National Anthem bringing the Republic Day celebrations to a formal end.

This time you would have noticed that the flag was lowered by a woman. There is a way to lower the flag and there is also a specific way to fold it, and it has to be handed over to the right person who would keep it safe till the next day.

'Beating Retreat' marks a centuries old military tradition, when the troops ceased fighting, sheathed their arms and withdrew from the battlefield and returned to the camps at sunset at the sounding of the Retreat. Colours and Standards are cased and flags lowered. The ceremony creates a nostalgia for the times gone by.

All at once the whole place gets magically illuminated:

THAMASOMA JOTHIRGAMAYA - from Tamaso(Darkness) take me to Jyothi (Light of bliss, faith, of knowledge)

Watch this Video if you have missed watching this spectacular event.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Happy Republic Day To All Indians!!!

It feels so good to see India as a vibrant country, its diversity, its unity, despite efforts made by certain sections de-establish it: this is  a country that none can break or divide.  Although we gained independence on August 15th 1947, we were still a colony of Britain. 

However, on January 26th 1950, we the people of India were really free from the British rule. On this historic day our constitution was officially enforced, making us a: Sovereign, Secular, and Democratic Nation.
What a proud day, it was, it is, and will always remain so.
For us there is no difference, we  are all one and enjoy living together.

1950 First Republic Day of India speech by Dr. Rajendra Prasad 

"We must re-dedicate ourselves on this day to the peaceful but sure realization of the dream that had inspired the Father of our Nation and the other captains and soldiers of our freedom struggle, the dream of establishing a classless, co-operative, free and happy society in 'his country'. We must remember that this is more a day of dedications than of rejoicing - dedication to the glorious task of making the peasants and workers the toilers and the thinkers fully free, happy and cultured." 

Today, we have at last, realized the significance of India becoming a Republic: we the citizens of India have the power to govern ourselves, by choosing our own government.
Isn't it a great feeling?

gurudwara golden temple Top 10 Most Popular Gurudwaras in the World

Mumbai: Mogen David Synagogue, India, destination, Bombay, Jewish life

Variety is the spice of life: and we have ample of varieties!
Happy Republic Day To Every Indian!!!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

The New Year gives us fresh 365 days to play with –  to fill them up with whatever our heart's desires so that we have no regrets at the end of the annual cycle.

I look back at the year gone by, and feel that it had treated me pretty well, and I am thankful to the year gone by. I have no regrets and I look forward to this year with the same enthusiasm.
I am glad I have so many good friends and it was good interacting with all of them.

I welcome 2015 with a big smile, Cheers!!!
Let this year 2015 bring us lots of happiness and peace!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


There are many gifts under the Christmas Tree
But the best one is the gift of your Friendship.
Merry Christmas, And A Happy New Year To All My Friends!!

I am sharing with you this Christmas Cake, which I made yesterday. I have been looking for a good  recipe for a Vegan Christmas cake, and finally after searching a lot and seeing various vegan cakes, I chose this  recipe. Though I followed the basic recipe, I added my own choice of dry as well as fresh fruits to it, and also added cocoa powder which is not in the recipe. I used more of Multi grain flour than white flour, and instead of soya milk I added coconut milk. I  had soaked the fruits in rum for about a week. This delicious cake contains absolutely no eggs  and no dairy products.
Veganism is from India basically, but the westerners have made it more popular, and are reaping the innumerable benefits from following it. 
I dedicate this Christmas Cake to my son, who has turned into a vegan, and is enjoying every bit of it. Maybe, from being  just a vegetarian, I might also turn  into a vegan some time in future.
It takes about one hour forty five minutes for the cake to bake. I was worried, as the power cuts are pretty normal and unpredictable here, and just as I feared the power went off after about half an hour, luckily I was there, and I could shift my oven to the point where we have the UPS connection.
With bated breath, I waited to see, the final product, which to my great relief had turned out quite well.

I waited patiently for the cake to cool, and was pleased, when I could easily remove the cake from the pan.I was ready with my camera to shoot some pictures of the cake fresh out of the oven. I just can't tell you how happy I was that my cake was safe and good.
I kept pouring the left over rum from the fruits by spoon, so that the cake remains moist.

The next day, I was shocked to see a slice from the cake had been cut: the culprit, was my husband, he couldn't wait till Christmas to inaugurate it.....
Anyway, it did not matter.
I made some Cranberry sauce too, to go with the Christmas Cake.
I also decorated the cake as best as I could to give it a festive look.
Here are the pictures:

I liked the idea of decorating the cake with gold lace, which I had seen somewhere in the net. I was lucky, I found a gold lace, and I was so happy I could use it. (BTW, I am a lace freak, I have all kinds of lace, to be used at some point or other on my dresses).

How do you like my Christmas Cake story?

All I want for this Christmas :
every friend of mine who is reading this
to be healthy, happy and loved!
Wishing You
Winter Cheer!
Happy Holidays!!!!!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Hello December: Today Is My Birthday!

Today, I have completed 55 years, and stepping into my 56th year,
can't believe, more than half a century has gone by. Like everybody else, I too have gone through many ups and downs in my life, many frustrations, many disappointments, seen many dreams come crashing down.........
Many good things too have happened, and looking back at my life,  I feel the downs were nothing compared to the good things that happened in my life.
I am grateful for everything, that seemed to be bad in my life, for I would not have become the person that I am now without the so called 'downs' in my life. Looking back, I can see how things had happened the way they had, and I have no regrets, for there were some reasons for things to happen the way they did. In fact, I could have handled them better if  only I had the maturity required at that time.
However,  the only way to achieve some maturity, is learn from our mistakes, yet make more mistakes, and then come around to understand how to deal with such situations. We are always learning something new every moment of our lives.
I remember getting very  irritated with my kids, during their growing years, for it was also my own growing years. With absolutely no training in parenting, life was difficult for all of us.
Again, I am really thankful, that my bad parenting skills did not turn them into bad children.

There are many things to be thankful in my life. 
Like, I am happy I was born to my parents, and despite the dis-functional family I belonged to, I have learnt from them and survived.
I have a very tolerant husband, and I am grateful, that despite my occasional nagging he has the patience to put up with me.

I find myself being more understanding of people who have a totally different view about certain things- my views and their views don't match at all.
I am grateful my children have chalked out their life in the way they wanted to, despite having a perpetually nagging, and worrying mother.

I am grateful for having Loki, our daughter's dog, with us, despite my initial hesitation.I am grateful we have two lovable dogs who are so loving- their unconditional love is so over powering, making me feel so bad that initially I did not like the idea of having two dogs in our house.

From 2005 I have been blogging, and blogging has given me so many friends, and some of them have become so close, that they always make it a point to come and stay with me, even if it is only for a day.
                      This is with Sandhya who is also a blogger and lives in Chennai

Just now I had a call from one of my blogger friend from Atlanta, her name is Anpu.
Anpu, Padmaja, Sandhya, Shanthi,  Rohini, Mytri, Sharon, Patricia, Joseph..... oh, so many of them- such good friends. I am really blessed to have them as my friends. Plus I have made so many friends through the Cloud Formation Society site, from the Light Stalking site. We have shared so much through our photographs in these virtual sites. I think I have managed to have so many friends because I have become more open to friendship.

 I have lived in very small houses/ flats, and also some good decent houses and flats, but I never thought I would be living in such a beautiful house as ours, which we had built with so much love and dedication. Every time I look around me, the beautiful garden, the lovely dogs, I can only say, "Thank you God"

This year,  I had the opportunity to visit 5 European countries too, and it was so good.

By hook or crook, I seem to have done well for myself, survived all the trials and tribulations, enjoyed all the good things, learnt a lot, made a whole lot of good friends, and intend to be more patient, more loving, and more caring as time goes by.

A Very Happy Birthday To Me!!!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Caged Birds

“Caged Bird

A free bird leaps on the back of the wind

and floats downstream till the current ends

and dips his wing in the orange suns rays and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage

can seldom see through his bars of rage

his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill

of things unknown but longed for still

and his tune is heard on the distant hill

for the caged bird sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze

and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees

and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams

his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream

his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill

of things unknown but longed for still

and his tune is heard on the distant hill

for the caged bird sings of freedom.”

Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Do You Love Me Because I’m Beautiful Or Am I Beautiful Because You Love Me

One Day Man Asks GOD What’s The Difference Between Your Love & My Love! God Smiled & Replied a Bird In Sky Is My Love & a Bird In Cage Is YOUR Love

I really feel it is cruel to keep a bird in a cage, where it can hardly move freely. But who am I to judge, for we do have two dogs as pets, and although they are free all the time, sometimes we do have to tie them up.

I won this Bird Cage in a Diwali photo contest in Facebook. Actually, I was thinking of using it to keep lighted Diyas/ Lamps/ Tea light Candles during the festive seasons.

 This is the photo that won me the prize in Facebook:

    My dear friend Joseph had commented that he was somehow reminded of ABBA song Eagle, So I thought why not place the lyrics of the song here: 

They came flying from far away, now I'm under their spell
I love hearing the stories that they tell
They've seen places beyond my land and they've found new horizons
They speak strangely but I understand

And I dream I'm an eagle
And I dream I can spread my wings

Flying high, high, I'm a bird in the sky
I'm an eagle that rides on the breeze
High, high, what a feeling to fly
Over mountains and forests and seas
And to go anywhere that I please

As all good friends we talk all night, and we fly wing to wing
I have questions and they know everything
There's no limit to what I feel, we climb higher and higher
Am I dreaming or is it all real?

Is it true I'm an eagle?
Is it true I can spread my wings?

Flying high, high, I'm a bird in the sky
(I'm an eagle)
I'm an eagle that rides on the breeze
High, high, what a feeling to fly
(What a feeling)
Over mountains and forests and seas
And to go anywhere that I please

And I dream I'm an eagle
And I dream I can spread my wings

Flying high, high, I'm a bird in the sky
(I'm an eagle)
I'm an eagle that rides on the breeze
High, high, what a feeling to fly
(What a feeling)
Over mountains and forests and seas

Flying high, high, I'm a bird in the sky
(I'm an eagle)
I'm an eagle that rides on the breeze
High, high, what a feeling to fly
(What a feeling)
Over mountains and forests and seas
And to go anywhere that I please.

I too love this song very much. Thanks Joseph for mentioning  it.
By the way, as you must have noticed these are ceramic birds, and they are having fun modelling for me!!!

Instead of writing about my travels, today I have written on a different topic for a change.