December 13th, 2010


Pulicat Lake, 121210

Google GPS, on our friend Raghavan's i-Pad, gave us the WORST possible route to Pulicat Lake....we were practically off-roading, through roads that were completely broken donw in areas, winding through lorry container terminals and piles of plastic trash....but it was a hilarious trip because of that....and the sunset was lovely:

pulicat lake sunset 121210

We were running out of daylight by the time we reached the lake, and we
also stopped at one point, where we watched two Pied Kingfishers playing with eacht other, and then fishing in the reeds.

We bargained with the first person who offered a boat ride. Though he didn't, I think, know too much about the birds, he did give us a great ride, up to the sand bars close to the open sea. We waded on to the sandbars to watch some painted storks, some duck, some gulls and perhaps a couple of sandpipers (it was too dark by then, to be sure.)

We came back watching the light of the lighthouse reflected in the waters of the brackish lake.

After our return, Antony treated us to tea at the local tea-shop, and we wished him and his son Winston Jarvis, and the rest of the family, a very merry Christmas in advance.

The fishing is mainly carried on by three villages in the area, the residents of which take turns to go out fishing. Tiger prawns, says Antony, fetch about Rs.400 to 450, as do rare species of fish and eel.The ramilies are predominantly Christian, belonging to the Church of South India.

Unfortunately, we didn't have time to explore a very interesting-looking, 500-year-old Dutch cemetery that we passed.

Here's a quick video of the fish jumping through the air as our diesel-propelled boat passed:

here are more photographs

which show Antony, the sunset, the lighthouse, and the tea-shop owner making "tea by the yard".

Pulicat seems to the be Anglicized version of "Pazhaverkadu". I must say, the fishermen's colonies are filthy, and plastic trash prevails everywhere. :((((

The best route to take from Chennai would the NH5 (National Highway to Kolkata) , to Ponneri, Sulur and onward. We took the Minjur route (about 20to 30km extra, and incredibly bad roads) and nearly didn't make it there.

It's just struck 12 and become the off to bed! Driving back home some time later today....

My kApi

On a mailing list I belong to, someone asked:

Can the 'fresh brewer' experts recommend a reasonably priced (<$1000)
> coffee machine? One that makes 2-3 cups ber brew.

My response:

I find that a

Vietnamese coffee filter

has some of the features my south Indian coffee filter lacks (bakelite handles to lift the hot top container off, a plate to rest on the glass into which the decoction will drip), and packed with

2. my nice freshly-bought coffee powder....secret ingredient: the Cotha's coffee factory is a few doors away, and grinds fresh coffee powder at about 2pm....

(that's also the reason my

darshini, Park View

has excellent coffee in those lovely thimble-size "baitu" steel tumblers )

where was I....oh, yes, I am very happy with my coffee, . That filter delivers enough for one or two cups of coffee, African (black) or Eurasian (brown, mixed with milk.)

The devotee....

AS we drive on the Bangalore-Chennai highway, there's always something to interest, amuse and entertain...and sometimes provoke thought, too. I passed this devotee:


I do not know which temple he is bound for...but usually, when a devotee undertakes such a pilgrimage, it's quite often one of penance, too. After taking up the penance, the devotee will usually have restrictions on the diet, clothing, and even, sometimes, the way of sleeping (on the bare floor). The pilgrim often has to go barefoor (and, needless to say, no non-veg food, or drinking or smoking). The start of the penance is often marked by a pujA (worship) at the end of which the devotee wears a mAlai (any kind of bead necklace)...and the period is usually for 40 or 45 days. Devotees smear themselves with vermilion or holy ash, decorate themselves with garlands, and carry the prescribed articles, such as a kalasham in this instance, or "iru mudi"...and walk to the temple, often accompanied by others (here,you can see one person with an offertory plate, asking for donations.)

The devotee often makes a tour of it, visiting several temples en route to the temple that is the final destination.

Very often, the penance is marked by even greater austerities, or piercing the body, sometimes even the tongue, with small spears.

here's one such pilgrimage/festival

that I photographed in Kodaikanal a while ago.

Such penance/pilgrimage is very common in the month of mArgazhi (between Dec 15th to Jan 15th.) Devotees of sabari malai wear black; those of mEl maruvatthUr wear red...and so it goes. This pilgrimage is often the only way a person can tour around and see places without the guilt of having "taken off" from routine work.

I think faith often also demands a lot of self-discipline.