I have a dream and I don’t want to

My previous post was about how I related to the latest Dr Strange movie in that dreams are projected as our own mental travels to other meta verses in which we live. It’s a fantastic idea, albeit kaka because I believe that dreams are just the brain’s housekeeping process.

Everyone dreams. Some remember their dreams more than others. I am one of the rememberers. The sad part is that my dreams are seldom pleasant, or even neutral. They are always anxiety-inducing, and I wake up with my chest pounding. There are some standard dreams that repeat.

  1. I am unprepared for an exam. Unprepared in the sense, I have no idea what subject the exam was going to be in, what I had to study, where the exam is going to be conducted, and I don’t have the tools – pens, paper, etc. And I am late to it. I am trying to reach my folks (either my husband or my father or my daughter) and am unable to.
  2. I am naked in a public setting. Usually a bus. Everyone else is dressed, and I have no idea why I am stark naked. I know everyone knows I am naked. And I am late to something. I am trying to reach my folks (either my husband or my father or my daughter) and am unable to.
  3. I am in a large building. LARGE. The various floors are various zip codes of my city. The buildings are usually empty. There are wide stairs that go between the various floors, and every floor opens into another part of the city. I have no idea where I am. And I am late to something.I am trying to reach my folks (either my husband or my father or my daughter) and am unable to.
  4. I am in college, I have no idea what classes I need to take, and where they are conducted (this seems a different version of dream theme 1). I am walking around aimlessly, wondering where I have to go. And I am late to the classes.I am trying to reach my folks (either my husband or my father or my daughter) and am unable to.
  5. (This is more recent) I have travelled to the US, and am in a random place (Maryland? Syracuse? I don’t know). I don’t know where to go from there, but I know I am supposed to go somewhere. And I am getting late for it.I am trying to reach my folks (either my husband or my father or my daughter) and am unable to.

Last night’s dream was motif 5. I was in the US, and am trying to reach my father on phone. I ask him when I am supposed to return, and he says he’d rather not tell me because I’d be upset. I am thinking to myself, I am not going to return this month and am going to wait until after Christmas and New Year, so that I can see the lights and decorations and then return. The idea of returning fills me with dread. And I am late to something I am supposed to be doing.

See the pattern?

I am a stickler to time. I think convent school has traumatised me for life in this aspect. We were punished if we were even a minute late after the bell. I was chided at home if I wasn’t home at the time I had promised I’d be back. It doesn’t help that my job is deadline oriented. Thus, I am anal about timekeeping. If I am supposed to be anywhere (even it if is a self-made plan to buy vegetables at 6 PM), I must be there a couple of minutes earlier than that and I am agitated about it until I am there. The only time I get hysteric at my husband or daughter now is when they delay stuff.

Another thing that has traumatised me and damaged me irreversibly is that when I was young, I had to contact my dad periodically (sometimes by the hour) to tell him where I was and what I was doing. Thus, not being able to contact him stresses the heck out of me even now. When I was married, I did the same thing with my husband -update him about my presence, and he was puzzled – asked me why I was telling him all this.

I wonder if there is a cure for this.

Good night

We just finished watching Dr. Strange – the multiverse madness one.

Me: Finally, a Marvel movie I understand without you having to explain it to me. i think it’s because I relate. That’s what I do all night, you know? I am always dreamwalking into myself in other universes.

Daughter: you know you are lucky where you are? because it seems in other universes you are naked, failing exams, getting lost, falling off cliffs or drowning.

The kid has a point you know.

Ok. Time to dreamwalk into another universe. I wonder which hell universe I’ll be walking into today. Perhaps one in which I don’t prepare for an exam, get lost and jump off a cliff naked into an ocean.

KMN

Being a judgemental arse

I keep searching for new daily food recipes often because (a) I am a terrible terrible cook and (b) I love to eat. I usually make a regular South Indian, Tam-Bram meal for lunch, which is invariably substandard in taste on a good day, but to make up for it, I cook non-traditional stuff for dinner and am constantly on the lookout for new recipes.

The Indian cuisine is humungous. Massive. There are millions (I am not exaggerating) of recipes divided by geography, religion, language, community, caste and style. And that does not even include globalised cuisine. So, my choice is pretty vast, and I invariably find something new to cook every other day. Last night, for example, I made roti (which is standard) with Veg-Kohlapuri, which is a dish from the state of Maharashtra. The day before yesterday, I made Kichidi and Kadhi, of Gujarat. You get my drift.

I have this following complaints against recipe bloggers now.

(a) There is a winding, long, boring preamble to any recipe. See, I have written in a food blog myself, along with my friend. We both used our competencies – she wrote the recipes, while I wrote quirky stuff about food, in separate posts. Understandably and rightly enough, her posts – which were straight recipes with no preamble, postscript and whatever – were read more than mine, because it is a food blog, and people come to learn to make stuff, not read about food, however fascinating the posts are. Many food bloggers write reams and reams of blah before they get to the recipe card. Agreed, some of them do offer links to go directly to the recipe card, but heck, this is the age of instant gratification. When I open a recipe, I want to see the ingredients and method to cook without having to click another time. Especially when I am reading on the phone. I don’t want to know how much your husband or child loves eating this dish, because admit it, I don’t know you, your husband or your child and excuse me, don’t care a darn. And most of the time, the preamble is not even interesting or well written – there is one extremely popular Indian recipe blogger who says “further” instead of “then” – e.g., “further, add salt”, which makes me want to gouge my eyes out. I am a snob.

(b) Goodness, the number of pop-ups in every page. Do people make tons of money out of advertisements in recipe sites? Popups range from advertisements, related recipes, videos of the same recipe, or different recipes, etc. etc., and it is irritating to keep closing popups gazillion times before reading a single recipe through.

I am yet to come across a simple recipe site that tells me what ingredients I need, and how to make them without my having to navigate through tons of irrelevant verbiage (look who’s talking !).

End of rant by a spoilt brat.

Some more pictures from Hampi

Many of the more important temples built by the Vijayanagara rulers had large bazaars – market places – in which all kinds of goods were sold. The locals sold spices and silk both within and to foreign traders, who bartered them for horses and gold. It is said that the spices from Vijayanagara were traded all over the world, especially to the Arabian and Persian kingdoms, in return for Arabic steeds.

The origin and raison d’être for the monuments in the hillock called Hemakuta, adjacent to the Virupaksha temple, are not clear. It is believed that sculptors sculpted these monuments/temples to try out different styles of architecture, before building the outer towers of the main Virupaksha temple.

A couple of the numerous test monuments at Hemakuta

You can easily google Hampi and see all the important monuments, so, I won’t post them all here, except the Lotus Mahal, which impressed me for the following reason. The Lotus Mahal was the conference hall for the king and his ministers, and other visiting royals. It was air conditioned in that the walls were inlaid with terracotta pipes through which water was circulated from an overhead tank. I want to live there.

The Conference Hall with Eco-friendly A/C

The Mahanavami platform is a large square platform in which the Vijayanagara kings honoured soldiers during Dussera. It likely had a wooden mandapa above it, which was burnt down by the Muslim invaders. The reliefs on the lower walls are breathtaking with lines of marching animals including elephants, horses and camels, musicians and dancers, battle procession, couples and scenes of common citizens celebrating spring season by throwing water at each other. Near the great platform is an audience hall, which also probably had a wooden pavilion, evidenced by 100 stone stubs; this too was burnt down by the invaders

The Grand Platform in which brave soldiers were awarded by the king
Rock plates on which the soldiers were served food. I want that.

The empire had an all-women army.

Women practicing warfare
Women solidiers
Woman fighting a lion
Women taming an elephant

Some more random scultpures

Dancer
The ten headed-ten armed Ravana who abducted Sita in the Ramayana
Some wannabe young sculptor was probably practicing. One sees unexpected pieces like this on random rocks if one keeps their eyes open

More pictures to follow…

Hampi

A brief chronicle on Hampi, a historically important town located on the south banks of the Tungabadra river, in Karnataka. A well earned vacation.

Myth:

In Satya Yuga, 11 thousand years* before now, Lord Shiva having vented his fury after losing his wife Sati, sat on one of the oldest land of Hemakuta hills on the bank of a gushing river, and lost himself and the world to the eternal blissful state of Nirvana. Sati, reborn as Pampa, chose to serve her Lord and earn his love in her new life but the Lord would not awaken from his deep oneness.  Fearing the rise of the evil Tarakasura, who could only be killed by the progeny of Shiva, and finding Shiva himself in his oneness, the devas sent the God of Love and Lust, Kamadeva, to disturb his penance and make him desire Pampa.  The flower-borne arrow sent from the sugarcane bow by Kamadeva, awoke Shiva from his state of bliss, but instead of desire for Pampa, built in him a rage that burnt the lord of Love forever more from the fire from his third eye.  As Shiva went back into his oneness, Pampa chose to follow him, and herself performed penance for centuries until the power of her penance awoke the love in the Lord and he married her, begot a son, who killed Tarakasura.

*No scientific dating.  Only faith-based lore

The Shiva at the Hemakuta hills came to be known as Virupaksha – the angry eyed one – and the gushing river came to be known as the Pampa river with the southern banks being called Hampi – a derivation of the mythical Pampa.  

The Virupaksha temple built around the undated (and according to lore, self-formed at the beginning of time) linga (the phallic form in which Shiva is represented) has been in worship at least from the 7th century AD and continues today.

The Virupaksha temple complex
The entrance tower to the Virupaksha temple

Mythology:

About 9300 years** ago, the exiled prince Rama and his brother Lakshmana, in the course of their search for the former’s wife Sita who was abducted by the demon king Ravana, reached the ancient land on the Northern banks of the river Pampa and met with the humanoid monkey population that lived on the rocky area of Kishkinta.  After killing Vali, the two princes crowned his brother Sugriva as the king of Kishkinta, and in return the newly crowned monkey king offered his monkey army to Rama to fight Ravana and rescue Sita.  

Hampi and Kishkita bear temples and artifacts pointing to the Kishkinta chapter of the Ramayana.

** Dating form astronomical events described in the Ramayana, the story of Rama.

The river Pampa is now called Tungabadra

River Pampa. Now called Tungabadra

Prehistory

Anegudi plateau on which both Kishkinta and Hamp are located, is said to be one of the oldest plateaus on the planet, estimated to be 3,000 million years old. Local lore is that Anegundi as the maternal home of Mother Earth.

Recent History

Excerpt from Wikipedia

Hampi was the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire in the 14th century.[3] It is a fortified city. Chronicles left by Persian and European travellers, particularly the Portuguese, say that Hampi was a prosperous, wealthy and grand city near the Tungabhadra River, with numerous temples, farms and trading markets. By 1500 CE, Hampi-Vijayanagara was the world’s second-largest medieval-era city after Beijing, and probably India’s richest at that time, attracting traders from Persia and Portugal.[4][5] The Vijayanagara Empire was defeated by a coalition of Muslim sultanates; its capital was conquered, pillaged and destroyed by sultanate armies in 1565, after which Hampi remained in ruins.[3][6][7]

Historic lore

From here.

Around 1343 A.D,  Harihara and Bukka, chieftains of a shepherd pastoralist community, came hunting to the south banks of Tungabhadra with their army and hunting dogs leading the way to lure animals out of their hiding. After they reached the south bank of Tungabhadra, they saw a group of rabbits and the hunting dogs started chasing them. But miraculously, the rabbits instead of fearing the dogs turned around and started chasing the dogs back. The dogs feared the rabbit’s bravery and ran away. Harihara and Bukka, wondered at the power of this mystic land and on the adivse of their teacher Vidyaranya, started the new kingdom of Vijayanagara, with its capital at Hampi, that was to reign supreme for the next four hundred years.

From Wikipedia:

In 1520, Domingo Paes, a Portuguese traveller, visited Vijayanagara as a part of trade contingent from Portuguese Goa. He wrote his memoir as Chronica dos reis de Bisnaga, in which he stated Vijayanagara was “as large as Rome, and very beautiful to the sight … the best provided city in the world”.[138][139]According to Paes, “there are many groves within it, in the gardens of the houses, many conduits of water which flow into the midst of it, and in places there are lakes …”.[139]

Bath for the Queens
Elephant stables

Even more recent history

The ruins of Hampi remained unknown until the later half of the 20th century. The great Hippie movement of the 1960’s to 80’s saw an influx of free-spirits from the west, who stayed in the ruined structures, and brought in more free spirits, thereby building a tourist economy. The Indian Government took notice and between them and UNESCO, dedicated the site as an archeological treasure. There continues to be a “hippie island” on the North bank of the river.

A hippie style restaurant in Hampi.

More pictures to follow.