Time of Renewal

Time of Renewal
When I come back
From where I go
I will know
Where to begin
Like lizard shedding skin
Renewing same old lizard.

This no doubt ancient verse always occurs to me on Returns, however often – like now in India 2015, there is no fan-fare-special orientation.

I continue wandering paths both familiar and unfamiliar, encouraging people and patting small ones on the heads sometimes . . . being the White-man seems to be my role.

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Do you notice the handsome Lions’ heads at either side of  the portraits of handsome young Tamil men?  Nice with the peuce-pink background, don’t you think?   This kind of balance is characteristic of Tamil culture but I won’t go into details here, you will have to imagine.

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I include this beautiful image so you will recall the context in which we in the so-called West use the word ‘austerity’.  Notice that the beautiful tree hacked down last year by Highways Department has finally found the courage to regenerate.  Time of Renewal, you see!

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This last image is of the new home of the happy sadhu and his wife with one arm who appeared in Gross National Happiness as well as Social Insecurity . . . You are getting to know them well.   This new camp-site doesn’t seem to be so private does it, not so sweet as the homes he makes from bits and pieces, but the benefit is related to the thunder storms at night lately, brought on by intense daylight heat enabling sufficient rain perhaps to bring beams to farmers’ faces but great inconvenience and difficulties for temporary dwellings. Stone mandapams like these were originally built to provide shelter to pilgrims walking around the hill-round-route, which they continue to do for beggar-pilgrims.  Notice also the little relief of a pilgrim couple on the stone pillar . . . another nice touch!

Today I cut through the forest to emerge near the Hanuman Temple, careful not to disturb a sleeping sadhu:

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They were everywhere although it was quite late I thought. Some were upstanding though:

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Notice the spectre of the flashy teeth behind the water pots down there? Shades of Arunachala Lodestone!'
. . .  Some were ordering breakfast already even.  Notice the spectre of the flashy teeth behind the water pots down there? Shades of Arunachala Lodestone!

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The missing audio component of this image is deafening. Bells are essential to any shrine.
The missing audio component of this image is deafening. Bells are essential to any shrine. The sadhu in Orange standing in the Mandapam is pulling the long bell chord.
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Unnamalai is the deity to whom the lingam in this Mandapam is dedicated . . . That’s why it is all so gorgeously feminine. The Tamils have always paid particular homage to the Goddess.

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What you see here are the sole possessions of somebody in Orange. And Crow.

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Executive sadhu has gone for breakfast again it seems.
Executive sadhu has gone for breakfast again it seems.

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Here you have Darshan.
Here you have Darshan.
We'll stop calling these guys Business-man-Sadhus . . .
We’ll stop calling these guys Business-man-Sadhus . . .
These are The Entrepeneurs. And Dog.
These are The Entrepeneurs. And Dog.
Some sadhus seem to memorise from little books. Their lips move silently.
Some sadhus seem to memorise from little books. Their lips move silently.

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Whole beggar- families like this you don't often see. Can you see there is a little baby here.
Whole beggar- families like this you don’t often see. Can you see there is a little baby here.

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This is one of the adorable quirky little Tamil details that I love: the pujari nicely wraps a clean white dothi around a strangely graphic penis-cum-lingam. We are in the executive shrine area here where the police jeeps feed the monkeys.
This is one of the adorable quirky little Tamil details that I love: the pujari nicely wraps a clean white dothi around a strangely graphic penis-cum-lingam. We are in the executive shrine area here where the police jeeps feed the monkeys.

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As my daughter remarked: these picnicking pilgrims have brought everything but the kitchen sink.
As my daughter remarked: these picnicking pilgrims have brought everything but the kitchen sink.
I thought you might like a zoom in to the little hammocks nestling little stones representing babies that wishful-would-be-Mothers entice the goddess with on their way around the embodiment of Lord Siva.
I thought you might like a zoom in to the little hammocks nestling little stones representing babies that wishful-would-be-Mothers entice the goddess with on their way around the embodiment of Lord Siva.
This is the goddess who bestows babies wished for on the baby-wishing-tree that stands behind her.
This is the goddess who bestows the babies.
These little cairns are built by women pilgrims on their way around the holy hill. I've asked but nobody has been able to enlightened me as to why they do this so I guess it's just a tradition now.
These little cairns are built by women pilgrims on their way around the holy hill. I’ve asked but nobody has been able to enlightened me as to why they do this so I guess it’s just a tradition now.

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Back-breaking womens' work. Men used to do it but somehow they transferred the tradition over to the women. Maybe the women needed financial emancipation.
Back-breaking womens’ work. Men used to do it but somehow they transferred the tradition over to the women. Maybe the women needed financial emancipation.
We are back at the junction of the Hill-round-roadway and the Bangalore Road in the land of a worshipful people.
We are back at the junction of the Hill-round-roadway and the Bangalore Road in the land of a worshipful people.
Underneath all these stickers is a Highways Department information board giving valuable directions to motorists, but the Tamils have no civic sense you see.
Underneath all these stickers is a Highways Department information board giving valuable directions to motorists, but the Tamils have no civic sense you see.
Here we have yet another advertisement for the hugely inflated Tamil male ego, as if necessary.
Here we have yet another advertisement for the hugely inflated Tamil male ego, as if necessary.

Perhaps you are interested in Romance. But perhaps you didnt realise that this board is the invitation for guests to attend a marriage? – no? – well it is.

And when you’ve digested that you are probably wondering about one hugely visible absence here so I will explain for you: the bride’s friends aren’t there because she’s expected to leave everything behind when she marries – including women friends. She will make new friends from . . . you guessed it: her husband’s friend’s wives!   So now you know.

Further elucidation on the complexity of Indian Romance under the Bollywood table can be found in the posting called Romance elsewhere on this blog.

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On that sweet note this Time of Renewal posting will close and perhaps be continued further down the track.

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