Wednesday, 2 October 2013

"The Cow Jumped Over The Moon!"

A fun post from Incognita:

Krishna milking a cow - sculpture at Krishna Cave, Mamallapuram. She looks ready to take off doesn't she?

This post wasn't planned for at all. I had completely different ideas for today. But sometimes there comes an unexpected tug at your sleeve. This one came in the shape of a comment from Karan on our Freetravellers post.
"obstacle sounds like such a small, ordinary word, but this code of a word simulates one to somersault through one's memory, similarly triumphs takes us to that happy place where mishti appears on but a click of fingers :) "
All these words fell into a jumble and then somersaulted themselves into a pattern from which emerged the theme and the title.

I have often wondered about the proverbial milk boiling over. My mother would make a sprint in the nick of time and all but  leap over the moon  to save it (the milk, not the moon :) )from spilling on the stove, just as it rose in all its cloudlike glory to reach for the heavens and come down fountain-like. She was pragmatic and mostly didn't let it overflow into a mess! It rose to its fullness but she got away with all of her milk intact!
The "creator" of milk too takes this challenge the whole way and surmounts it, presumably doing a not-so-graceful free fall!!

 If  The Cow could jump over the moon - and maybe land with a splash in the Ksheerasagara :) itself - making a not-so-pretty picture of herself as she somersaults through the air and plops down,

Ksheerasagara? Picture of Bay of Bengal at Puri, by Incognita

 we too can somersault over our obstacles to actually land in our coveted pot of mishti doi. (picture the three of us splashing around in a HUGE earthen pot and licking our fingers if not our whole selves)  Perhaps it is the only way we actually get to reach The One that is meant for us, delicious and nourishing like no other.

This seeming obstacle, this diversion from the planned route, are today's gift from my mother Rajam who has been adopted by many after her migration to a world beyond. Today is her 93rd birthday.
Happy Birthday Dear Rajam! Well Rajarajeshwari Tripurasundari Kamakshi to be precise! Neatly compressed into short, sweet, gender-neutral Rajam by her teachers from foreign shores as well as her lazy relations and friends! You always enjoyed a gentle and loving prank on your near and dear. Thank you for this one.

May it be a day of Coalescence!
Let the Kheer bubble!

                            A sacred swirling pool of kheer in Incognita's kitchen!

Coalescence - ready for offering and enjoyment!


PS - Bet nobody thought that nursery rhyme could find a connection with something profound in Indian lore :) Such is the working of Indra's net and such is the nature of "maya"

PS2 - Thanks dear Sue Forman for "coalescence." it is taking us places! Words words words - with all their mystical powers!

PS3 - I don't often make personal posts. This one however I dedicate to my mother. Wherever you are in the Alterverse, this one is for you Rajamma!

PS4 - To those of you who haven't already visited this is our Facebook Link - Give us a Like! We cherish each one of your Likes, we love having you drop by and interact, we look forward to the energy you all bring to the pool. Thank you in anticipation!

We'll leave you with a treat:  Kim Raikes making kheer - she has strict instructions not to let it boil over. Rajam's orders!

Freetravellers .. An Intersection of Lives

 “Aaahh I loved the tiny earthen pots filled with soft melting curd ...sometimes flavored with other times with Saffron..”

   Incognita photographed by Karan, enjoying a singara - you can see earthen pots of Mishti Doi in the glass case

These words from Sridevi Datta reminded me all over again of silken silt from the bed of the Ganges,

                           Karan Vohra standing on the banks of the Hooghly.You can see the silt uncovered near the steps.

 sand from the shores of the Bay of Bengal 

   Bay of Bengal - sands at Chilka Sea Mouth

and all things sacred. 

                                                 Durga Puja clay image in the making - clicked by Kim Raikes at Kalighat
They reminded me that it was time to continue on the journey with our fellow travellers! And this post wrote itself.

Yes – Karan, Kim and Incognita have been missing from view. Each of us was on our own Imramma. But the first tinge of autumn gold in the sun’s rays, the first hint of chill in the air, the gentle turn of the wind,  have once more drifted our coracles  (a word that came to mind subconsciously because of this connection (our namesake and a sacred historical place like the one in Orissa that inspired our name) - towards Chakratirtha.

New energies have entered from new events and surprise  people we’ve come across. Indra’s net is indeed electrified!

   Cris-crossing strings of colored bulbs to celebrate Diwali

In the course of these meanderings we ran into the magazine "Consolidation," which Kim and Incognita had co-edited back in 2008. And it was déjà vu! The story of Consolidation matched word for word that of CTT which tells you that we are part of the eternal swirling tirtha, the inevitable spiral. The moment Sridevi mentioned the earthen pots, we decided to adapt a piece of writing from the magazine – “The Little Clay Cup” -  to tell our story here.
Read on.

Like a river carving its own course.

                       Mary Raikes at Diamond Harbor near Kolkata - see the river winding away!

 Turning up out of nowhere, disappearing and reappearing like the ancient, mystical River Sarasvati of Indian mythology whose lost course has been rediscovered by archaeologists. Our Triple Spiral is always there - in the mind, the heart, the imagination and we hope now in “person.” These have been months of recovery from old hurts and emergence from fresh ones followed by action, discovery, growth and fresh thinking.

Through Incognita’s chance connection with Kim in 2007 was born the idea of interfacing with a larger world through a coalescence rather than through separate gateways. Back in 2008,  Kim's footprints were left on the sands of time - and the sands of timeless India - while timeless India left her imprint on Kim’s mind and heart. As the most fitting symbol of this meeting she carried back with her a little piece of earth in the shape of a tiny clay cup from which she drank. 
                                Clay cup in Kim Raike's palm

One out of the hundreds of thousands that are drunk from over the length and breadth of India by all regardless of station in life, and returned to the ground to crumble and integrate with the soil: the "chosen one," picked as if at random from its countless anonymous brethren, to travel across the ocean and become an ambassador for this ancient civilization and for CTT's philosophy of travel.

While this little mascot  accompanied several other representatives of India in Kim's baggage, a collection of exquisitely colored little yaatris (yaatri is traveller in Sanskrit) who are usually happier sailing and have sailed countless miles across oceans, were airlifted to take up residence in my home. They have been whispering the secrets of their voyages to me over the years. Yes, they are a collection of sea glass pieces from the beaches of Maine where Kim lives.

Both the clay cup and the glass pieces reached destinations they didn’t expect to. And this was only the start of several such journeys and chance meetings. 2011 brought dear Karan into our lives through his wonderful blog. 2012 was a year of meetings again – first between Kim and Karan and then Karan and Incognita.  We are now waiting for the magical coming together of three in one physical place.

 This puts in me in mind all over again of the words in our former magazine team-mate freetraveller's signature:
“Travellers are those who find what they were not looking for...”. 
 They represent the unforseen discovery, the unexpectedgift, the unusual in every good sense. They also represent the transcending of time and space barriers, the universal human spirit and creative energy. They have dropped anchor in unexpected places, hopefully found homes.  It is akin to the spirit of Imramma that the ancient Celts have inspired us with.

We leave you for now with a quote from Karan from our last post on this blog.

"I see a journey unfolding filled with the direction of a lighthouse, the sweetness of mishti and the optimism of the sun. I also see splashes of colour on different canvases singing a story like no other. I see a dish of words* that offers us obstacles and successes in equal measure. I see courage and beauty in Durga. In short I see the lives of three people intersecting rather than one."

Here then are the three people, a bridge across the Ganga,  feet crossing thresholds!

The Four-F Festival tranformed itself into the free travels of the Triple Spiral’s members.  We are at the magical intersection again and we will come back to you with the  "Dial-M for Mishti" post and much more, as we enter the Devi Paksha in a couple of days.  

*we will tell you about that special dish in the coming days*

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Type "Mayalakshmi Rao" to find "Mishti Doi" !

And what do you find along with the Mishti Doi?

A sure sign of the how the essence and energy of Chakratirtha Travels, are starting to permeate the internet. Look carefully and you'll spot our foot emblem, Kolkata's iconic  Durga,  the Mamallapuram Lighthouse at sunset, a plate of sweets, neem-flower chutney from the Tamil New Years' feast, some beautiful paintings by Karan Leo Arts and the 150 year old Butter Dish from Maine, whose secrets are waiting to be revealed!.

In the words of Karan Vohra our Creative Head:

"I see a journey unfolding filled with the direction of a lighthouse, the sweetness of mishti and the optimism of the sun. I also see splashes of colour on different canvases singing a story like no other. I see a dish of words that offers us obstacles and successes in equal measure. I see courage and beauty in Durga. In short I see the lives of three people intersecting rather than one."

Intersection of Three Lives - symbolized as a Tirtha or Crossing Place, indeed a Triveni Sangam.
Intersections that happen as we each wander our own path as a yaatri (traveller) on life's journey.

The pictures you see in this montage are all representative of our venture, those crossings and the synergy of the Triple Spiral.

We invite more people to look us up and be surprised at where their paths lead them.  In the words of a dear friend, writer and Yaatri par excellance - Freetraveller as she is best known -  "Travellers are those who find what they are not looking for." The title of our post says just that! Lives will intersect unexpectedly, journeys will chart themselves out. 

And the first step - Look East!

Her eyes are looking eastward. So ask us more?

Our ambassador Jigyasa (meaning curiosity in Hindi) invites you through a series of posts starting with "Look East," to join in this happening and happy crossing of paths. Join the Four-F Yaatra that we're currently on.! Many readers are familiar with her personification in Karan's painting, through our Facebook Page.  Jigyasa - personified here as the inquisitive and adventurous Yaatri - will travel with you.

But first a Sweet Welcome to readers with a quintessentially Eastern Indian dessert that sums up the essence of our shared experiences. Over to Karan and The Curious Case of The Elusive Mishti. We promise you mishti and more. This post is  the starter. Stay the full course with us. 

And keep a look out for our upcoming post:  " Dial 'M' for 'Mishti' "