Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Revisiting Shoranur in Palakkad, Kerala


Recently, I had attended our annual "Kudumba Sangamam" (family reunion) in my native place in Kerala. The place was Mundakkottukurissi at Shoranur. The function was attended by more than 100 family members, who had come from different parts. This time I had spent a little more time in this village and I was able to attend some important functions and visit many relatives and places. Visiting some of the temples was a great experience which brought me some nostalgic memories of my childhood and adolescent days.

Kunnathu kavu, Mundakkottukurissi


We used to visit this temple regularly as a part of our family rituals and light deepas for chuttuvilakku (lighting deepams around the temple). As kids, we used to wait eagerly for Uchar Vela, the pooram festival of the temple, to see the colorful chariots of our own village and the chariots coming from other nearby villages, for this event. We used to dress in our best attires, to compete to take the thalapoli, (arathi) to welcome them. This festival is celebrated on a particular day of the year, which usually falls between 15th January-15th February, as per the star.

Paddy field


In the earlier days, harvesting of the field, was performed by the womenfolk of the village, cutting the paddy yield and bringing them on their heads, which used to last for a week or more. Now this job is taken over by the machines and would be finished within an hour or so. The paths for walking through the fields were very narrow, not more than two feet in width. As kids, it was fun for us chatting while walking on the narrow paths without dancing and falling down to the fields, holding the school bag and an umbrella. Without expertise, one wouldn't have been able to walk on these paths, especially during rainy season.

Kayiliad Kavu, Kayiliyad

This was another temple where we used to visit only once or twice a year. The womenfolk in groups, used to go there with the required ingredients and vessel and cook payasam there, using firewood. I used to accompany my mother. The Payasam, (a rice pudding cooked with jaggery and added coconuts scrappings) was the nivedhyam to offer the deity, following a pooja there. After the pooja, the devotees can take the payasam home. This was usually performed once a year, during the month of the main festival of the temple.

The main festival was called Pooram. Then on the main Pooram festival day people from the same village and the nearby villages, come to see and enjoy it. During that festival night, Pava Koothu (Puppet show), a traditional art form of Kerala, was also played in the Koothu Madam in front of the deity, Bhagavathy. The performance starts at about 10 p.m. and goes on till day-break. Those days it used to be a popular entertainment for the public.

Other attractions include the colorful chariots and well decorated kalas (oxen) made out of hay and clothes, called kalavela (( check a sample here ) -

Also watch this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVwO-tPK_0M

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Why writing - 10 interesting quotes from famous writers


1. “Writing is my way of expressing – and thereby eliminating – all the various ways we can be wrong-headed.” – Zadie Smith

2. “That is why I write – to try to turn sadness into longing, solitude into remembrance.” – Paulo Coelho

3. “I write with a sort of grim determination to deal with things that are hidden and difficult, and this means, I think, that pleasure is out of the question. I would associate this with narcissism anyway, and I would disapprove of it.” – Colm Tóibín

4. “I write because I love writing. I think I became a writer in order to explore my ideas and responses to the world around me, which I often found it difficult to share with others. Also I liked my autonomy, and a writer can choose his or her own working hours – midnight to dawn or whenever. The difficulty of becoming a writer never bothered me. I knew it was going to work for me sooner or later. And if you’re a writer you don’t have to retire but can keep on doing the thing you love till you drop off the chair.” – Alex Miller

5. I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions. - James Michener

6.“I just knew there were stories I wanted to tell.” – Octavia E. Butler

7. “When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art.’ I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing.” – George Orwell

8. “I want to write because I have the urge to excel in one medium of translation and expression of life. I can’t be satisfied with the colossal job of merely living. Oh, no, I must order life in sonnets and sestinas and provide a verbal reflector for my 60-watt lighted head.” – Sylvia Plath

9. “I believe there is hope for us all, even amid the suffering – and maybe even inside the suffering. And that’s why I write fiction, probably. It’s my attempt to keep that fragile strand of radical hope, to build a fire in the darkness.” – John Green

10. “Why one writes is a question I can answer easily, having so often asked it of myself. I believe one writes because one has to create a world in which one can live. I could not live in any of the worlds offered to me — the world of my parents, the world of war, the world of politics. I had to create a world of my own, like a climate, a country, an atmosphere in which I could breathe, reign, and recreate myself when destroyed by living. That, I believe, is the reason for every work of art.” – Anaïs Nin

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A visit to Pondicherry


Pondicherry is a Union Territory in India, formed out of four enclaves of former French India. It is located in the southern part of India, on the banks of Bay of Bengal. Since 2006, Pondicherry is known as Puducherry in Tamil (meaning New town) and also known as The French Riviera of the East" (La Côte d'Azur de l'Est). Pondicherry was earlier under the French influences (from 1673 until 1954), and when they left the place a great legacy was also left behind.

This tiny land of Pondicherry (Puducherry) has some great attractions such as the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, the international city of Auroville, the French boulevard town, world class beaches, beach resorts, backwaters, fishing villages, and more. Recently, we had a weekend trip to Pondicherry. These are some of the best places we visited.

1. Auroville

2. The Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

3. Museum -

4. Botanical garden

5. Chunnambar Lake-

6. Paradise Beach

7. Auroville Beach

8. Promenade Beach

9. Immaculate Conception Cathedral

10. Manakula Vinayagar Temple

(Vendors selling lotus flowers near the temple)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Happy Onam 2014


Wish you all a very Happy Onam.

This year, we had a wonderful Onam, inviting some of our relatives and friends. "It is going to be a memorable Onam," said my niece while having our Onam sadhya. "It is after such a long time we are celebrating Onam together," said my daughter, who took the keen interest to celebrate it in a memorable way. The girls (my niece and my nephew's wife) took almost 3 hours to make this pookkalam.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Happy Ganesha Festival 2014


Wish you all a very happy Ganesha Festival. This important festival is celebrated in all parts of India today, the 29th of August 2014. It is also known as Ganesh Chaturthi and Vinayaka Chaturthi. The festival to celebrate and glorify him is called Ganesh Chaturthi (Ganesha Festival and Vinayaka Chaturthi).

Lord Ganesha (also known as Lord Ganapati) is the Lord of Wisdom. He is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi. The elephant headed God is worshipped first in all the pujas performed by the Hindus. It is believed that He removes all the obstacles and evils on the way.

If you are interested to know more about Lord Ganesha please check this page.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Book Tour: Incantation Paradox By Annamaria Bazzi


Blurb:

Magic is an illusion. It doesn’t really exist. Or does it?

A horrible car accident destroys Dolores Reynard’s life. But instead of waking up in a hospital bed, she awakens in a teenager’s body. Soon, she discovers she is at the heart of the murderous mystery surrounding the death of Mona, the young girl whose body she occupies. Caught between an evil greater than she ever imagined and a wizard who heals her tattered heart, she is forced to play a dangerous game of intrigue in the hopes of finding a way to return to her previous life.

Will magic be her ally, or will it lead to her demise once and for all.

About the Author Although born in the United States, Annamaria Bazzi spent a great deal of her childhood in Sicily, Italy, in a town called Sciacca. Italian was the language spoken at home. Therefore, she had no problems when she found herself growing up in a strange country. Upon returning to the states, she promised herself she would speak without an accent. She attended Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan, where she obtained her Bachelor of Science in Computers with a minor in Spanish. Annamaria spent twenty years programming systems for large corporations, creating innovative solution, and addressing customer problems. During those years, she raised four daughters and one husband. Annamaria lives in Richmond Virginia with her small family where she now dedicates a good part of her day writing.

My interview Annamaria:

1.What inspired you to write this book?
This book was inspired by a moment of craziness. Have you ever gotten out of bed from the wrong side? I did that morning, and my entire day resemble Dr. Suess’s Wacky Wednesday. That morning when I sat at my computer I sent an email to a good friend telling him, ‘this morning when I looked in the mirror I saw my younger self’. He takes everything literally and seriously. The back and forth of emails made me thing of Freaky Friday, the movie by Walt Disney featuring Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis. Why not, I thought, audiences seem to love the switching body syndrome. That’s how the idea was born, on a crazy, wacky morning.

2. How did you come up with the title?
The original title of the book was Trapped in a Nightmare, but when I googled it, I found another book with this title. I wanted mine to be unique. Although I have the creative juices to write a novel, I didn’t seem to be gifted in the department of title choosing. I asked friends if they had any ideas and Michael came up with Incantation Paradox.

3. What was your first published work? How did you feel about it when it was published?
The first works I published were two short stories, A Simple Matter of Justice, a paranormal short who was brutally murdered, and Revelation of Abaddon, a paranormal romance. Publishing the first work was like experience the biggest high ever, like walking on cloud nine and never wanting to come back down.

4. What are the challenges you faced while writing this current book?
At times, it was difficult to reconcile the feeling of the woman stuck in the teen body with all the young hormones cursing through it.

5. What form of marketing works best for promoting your work(s)?
I’m still new at this and haven’t really found the best way to promote my works. But, I have realized that reviews sell books. The more positive reviews a book has the more sales it has.

6. What is your preferred time and place to write?
I love my great room—kitchen, breakfast nook, and family room, a nice 30-foot long room. I sit at the table, turn the ceiling fan on and I’m good to go.

7. Where do you get your ideas?
A great many of my ideas come from the desire to fix world problems in a way that make sense to me. All too often, events around the world, especially political, don’t make sense. I take these problems and place them in a fictional world so I can solve them in a way that satisfies my need for both justice and order.

8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I have a few authors I admire and love reading, Orson Scott Card, Terry Goodkind, and Frank Herbert. These are the authors that have shaped who I am as a writer. Although I must admit that in some ways Jane Austen as also influenced me. I do believe my novels all have a dash of romance because of her.

9. Do you write daily, and if so, approximately how many words? Or only when the mood strikes?
I do try to write daily, although sometimes it proves impossible. I don’t necessarily write on my novel since I have two blogs I maintain and I’m constantly interviewing authors for my Round Table Chat, one of the features on my blog, annamaria’s writing corner.

10. What are you working on now?
At this time, I’m working on a collection of short stories that take place in the after math of a world disaster that destroys most of the world. It’s the stories of some of the survivors and how they cope in their new reality.

11. Have you felt any special moment in your writing career, which made you feel worth your struggle of writing?
I’ve fallen in love with reading and writing at the age of eight and have always thought the struggles are worth it. My goal has always been to make kids and teens read. If I bring even just one of these none readers to start enjoy books, I’ve accomplished my goal.

12. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
The only thing I can say to my readers is I hope you enjoy the story I create for your enjoyment and I thank you for your support and for reading my novels. I do love hearing from you so stop by my website if you want to talk about my novels and if you want to discover new authors stop by my blog, annamaria’s writing corner.

You can visit Annamaria at:

blog http://annamariabazzi.com
website http://www.annamariasbooks.com
facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Author.annamariabazzi
email annamariascorner@yahoo.com
twitter https://twitter.com/AMBazzi
goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6890526.Annamaria_Bazzi
Check in on Kendíka’s facebook page https://www.facebook.com/kendika.burkeshire

Giveaway

2 Digital Copies of Incantation Paradox is up for grabs.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Universal Link to your amazon book


Do you use a universal link for the promotion of your kindle books? I was not, but hereafter I'm going to use it.

Many times we post links of our books on our websites or for twitter promotion with just about one store link. i.e amazon.com or amazon.in etc. If we post links like this, some smart ones may change it to buy from their country's site. Others may not even check it, thinking that it is not available in their country. Thus, you are likely to lose your potential customers from the other parts of the globe.

If you have made your kindle book available worldwide the best thing is to use a universal link, so that your potential customers worldwide can click on that link and they will be able to find the correct store available in their country.

How to make a universal link for your book in amazon?

Just use http://www.booklinker.net/ and then you can get your universal link.

It makes easier for the buyer to buy from their particular store.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Sweet & Sour-1


I was so thrilled to see that as I am writing this blog, my short story ebook Sweet & Sour-1 is ranked #311 in Amazon.in Best Sellers list. I know it won't stay there for long, and it will keep fluctuating. Still at least for some time it is nice to see it ranked there.

http://www.amazon.in/dp/B00IKFNAZY