Monday, February 14, 2011

Mohiniattam: "dance of the enchantress"

Left image: Goddess Mohini enchanting the demons and distributing the amrita to the devdas.

Wednesday last week I had my first Mohiniattam class. This dance style from Kerala is one of the eight Indian classical dance forms. Formed by two words - mohini which means 'enchantress' and attam meaning 'dance'.
Inspired by the ancient legend of samundra manthan (churning of the Milky Ocean) - it is said that the devdas (demigods) and the danavs (demons) put aside their enmity and decided to churn the Milky Ocean to obtain amrita, the elixir of immortality. Gods and demigods started this joint-venture by planting the high mountain Mandara as the churning rod and twining the sinuous serpent Vasuki around it. This process caused the mountain to rotate and made it possible to churn the ocean. Unfortunately the waters turned dark blue and black and poisonous fumes engulfed the cosmic breath. Demigods and demons started to scream for help because halahala (poison) started to emerge. As they realized the dangerous situation they started praying and Lord Shiva appeared to rescue them. Shiva drank up all the poison - because of this legend Shiva got the title of Neelakanth since his throat turned blue. Once this calamity was over demigods and demons did not give up this project and worked with more zeal. As we all know hard work pays off - their reward was a pot containing amrita that pop up from the ocean. The pot was unfortunately snatched away by a demon - this wasn't a good surprise for the demigods. Once a demon were to drink amrita - it would become immortal. Demigods were afraid that everything would be destroyed and demons would take power and total control - they immediately - prayed to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu is known for amending situations created by Brahma or Shiva. Vishnu took form of Mohini (Mohini is the only female avatar of god Vishnu). Mohini - a beautiful enchantress - took over the pot of amrita by distracting the demons with her graceful dance of enchantment. She then gave it back to the demigods helping them to retain their immortality. Once the demigods had swallowed amrita they fought off the demons.
Mohiniattam inspired by this legend contains soft and bewitching movements. The waist is the central point on which the upper and lower body turns in gentle curving figures of eight or U-shape. The footwork is soft and delicate and I have to confess it is very hard to remain soft and in a steady position. I really enjoyed my first class and really hope to have soon more.
Here a wonderful two videos (one and two) relating the legend of samundra manthan (churning of the Milky Ocean).

(Disclaimer: Please note that I have written this story as how I understood it from different texts and sources. All content provided on this blog are for informational purposes only. I will make no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site).
Photo source: google images

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My hate towards - a common cold -

I sometimes wonder why we get sick in the wrong moment? I am experiencing a stupid cold since last two weeks - I am just hoping to be better by tomorrow.
GO stupid cold just leave me in peace... I hate you already!!!!!!

A long break

I can't believe that I am posting something after such a long break. I will be having once again a rendez-vous with Mumbai... There are so many things I would like to post now but I don't really know where to start... or to end. And as I wrote today in a message: 'No one runs ever behind schedule for anything'... so tomorrow is a good day to start!!! My promise...Good night!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My rendez-vous with Mumbai...

Yes, I am having a rendez-vous with Mumbai... If you are interested in following me during my stay in 'Incredible India'... you can do it from here and here. Ok... Now I go to sleep is already 12:30 am... and have to get up early to catch my flight.
Am I ready for Mumbai? Yes Sir!
As you can see on the left-hand side pic... I have all what is required for my stay in Mumbai.
What funny accessories am I wearing?
1-Cowboy (ahem ahem Cowgirl) Hat: This hat is from Honduras... What for? It will prevent my hairs of getting weat... It's Monsoon time in Mumbai...
2-My favourite Burberry Muffler... in case of cold weather
3-My Guatemalan-coloured cotton bag... it's a ladies bag... please dont ask what for...
4-A Punjaban Indian Dress (Balle-Balle)
5-Bharathanatyam Ghunghroo... signifies the passion I have for Bharathanatyam...
6- The necklace Jai sent to me (see previous post)...
7-German flag on my head... Oh I will miss my family and friends so much!

und der Rest ist Käse!

What a surprise!!!

I know it has been a long time since I did post something over here. I just wanted to thank through this post: Jai Khalsa for the lovely packet she sent to me... In a previous post I talked about her. I got completely thrilled when I receive such a wonderful surprise. Here some pics...

While opening the package....

...I found a message...

...and many surprises... two sarees...

... and two blouses...

...and a beautiful Bharathanatyam jewellery set...

Thank you Jai!!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wonder of Nature or Pure Coincidence?

Around three weeks back I remembered that while cooking I had a small accident. By misfortune I let one package of TRS Brown Mustard seeds fell right into the floor. Half got wasted leaving behind mustard seeds all over the kitchen. I rushed to clean the floor with a broom and a dustpan. I was feeling really sad about the wastage and was not capable to throw the seeds right into the garbage. Since my childhood I have been thought that food should never be thrown given that food should be considered as sacred. I asked to my self and now where do I throw it?

Mom has always been keen of planting some flowers once the spring and summer starts to arrive. So I saw a pot with very beautiful red flowers. I didn’t give any thought and threw the mustard seeds and all possible dust that I collected from the kitchen floor into the flower pot… (I know it sounds weird but I did so). On Monday this week, my mother called my attention asking where does that strange couch grass is coming from. I then recalled that I had thrown some seeds into the pot.

How wonderful is our mother nature I thought while seeing the little baby plants coming out of the earth. I have been observing their growth in the last couple of days and I have also taken some photos that I would love to share.

Brown Mustard – Plant Information

-Latin name: Brassica nigra

-Category: Dicot

-General Type: Forb/herb

-Growth Duration: Annual

-Plant Nativity: it is believed to be native to the southern Mediterranean region of Europe.

Why do I use black mustard seeds as a spice?

The brown mustard seeds are used in Indian cuisine to get the 'masaledar' taste. (Please note that the word masaledar is a combination of the word ‘masala’ coming from Hindi & Urdu meaning a varying blend of spices).

How to use brown mustard seeds to give dishes a distinguishing taste and flavour?

Just throw the seeds into hot oil and let them pop.

Disadvantages on mustard seeds?

The seeds have a significant amount of fatty oil plus the oil you use making it a Calorie Bomb.

Flavour like of mustard seeds?

I tried eating them without roasting them in oil. The taste is a bit nutty flavour and like the normal mustard or honey mustard used for hotdogs, etc.

One last thing, about the common mustard you find in any shop and you use for your hotdogs and sausages. Whenever you feel you have fever you can apply two spoons of it on the backside of both of your knees. Proceed with tidying it with some piece of cloth and stay with it for half an hour. It will really help…

Now I go back to a pile of books I have to read (not really feeling very enthusiastic about that, but…) I leave you with a quote of Frank Lloyd Wright:

“Study nature, love nature, and stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”

The 'culprit' package

Brown Mustard Seeds

The weird 'Couch Grass'

Simply 'nature'

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

You don't miss something until it's gone...

This is exactly what is currently happening with the King of Pop: Michael Jackson.
When he was alive there was so much controversy surrounding his life. Starting with his unhappy childhood followed up with his skin disorder (vitiligo: the skin turns white due to the loss of pigmentation) and his eccentric life style. He had a very damaged public image and was accused of child molestation; although the last was not proven due to lack of evidence. Now that he is gone we all are making a big deal out of it. We believe almost anything and everything what media serves us on a golden plate. But one thing I know, Michael Jackson was and still is very popular around the world. He is being missed and that shows the fact that you don't miss something until it's gone...
He will always be in my heart and the heart of many others!... Through this post I would like to pay a tribute to the King of Pop. Michael Jackson you were a great musician, an amazing dancer... (Love your moon walk)... and above all the most caring, determined and warm-hearted person to exist. RIP Michael Jackson!!
P.S. If you wanna make the WORLD a better PLACE, take a look at YOURSELF, and then make a CHANGE.