Monday, July 29, 2013

My little superheroes

The moment my children get to know the dates of the release of movies of their super-heroes, we are into constant reminding mode to book tickets for the movie (not that we need to be goaded, as we still enjoy our childhood super-heroes) and that is how this Sunday we landed at the theater to watch "Man of Steel". We thoroughly enjoyed the action, the emotional drama and the histrionics woven into the movie so superbly.

The usual story of Good triumphing over the Evil is something which has been written about since time immemorial. However in this case, the Heroes are coming from an alien planet flying to dizzying heights like Superman, or are born out of a scientific experiment gone haywire to make an ordinary mortal like Peter Parker weave a web of spell around us by becoming the Spiderman, or get dressed in a highly sophisticated experimental suit with which Batman protects Gotham City. One has to just go to the theaters to experience this journey, as irrespective of  age or country that one belongs to, one can find people thronging to embark on a journey of super adventure with their favorite superheroes.

When I was a kid, I never got a chance to read any of these comic books. So sometime in the seventies when the first Superman comic was made into a movie and released, I became a fan of Superman. The love for the super-heroes grew once we started seeing them on Television, Sunday after Sunday. And, I still hum the jingle of Spiderman.

When my children were around three and five we took them to the theater to watch their first ever Superhero movie 'Spiderman'. After watching the movie, there was no respite for any of us, as we were pounced upon from their 'imaginary high-rise buildings' like tables, chairs, and beds and were trapped in their web as they went about saving the world from the bad guys. All my tablecloths disappeared only to be found swooshing and trailing from behind their backs a la Superman and Batman. The day they were gifted with Superman and Spiderman outfits their joy knew no bounds. It became their second skin until they outgrew it. The outfits have now been given to my nephew who now almost eats and sleeps in it!

Even today the saga continues. Every now and then my younger son sighs and tells me "how I wish I could fly like Superman or spin a web like Spiderman, Mama". One of his dream is to create an Ironman suit. Amen to that. I guess we will never ever outgrow these Superheroes, as each one of us has this dream of soaring into a world beyond our imagination.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Tourist in our own city

Vacations are a time when we all look forward to getting away from the rut of life. The first thing even before vacations start, is planning your getaway. We all look forward to catching a few days of rest and come back rejuvenated to our routine, hectic life.

But the hitch with families whose children are in those two crucial years of 11th and 12th grade, vacation is a distant dream, what with all the coaching classes that they have to go to and simply cannot miss.

Hence when my son had just a couple of days holiday during his vacation, we wondered what could we plan for such a short duration? Going to resorts was out of question as just one and half day did not seem  worth the trouble. Then we hit upon an idea - why not take a tour of our very own Bengaluru? As is the case, most of us feel that since we are living in this city there is always time in future when we can visit places that we ought to visit, which believe me does not happen.

So we planned our itinerary, and started at 6.30 am. Children were also quite enthusiastic with this novel idea. Our first stop was the Dodda Ganapati Temple in Basavanagudi. This is a huge monolithic idol which is 18 feet in height and 16 feet in width. Close by, is another monolithic idol of Nandi - which is 15 feet in height and 20 feet long built in 1537! It is astounding when you see it looming right in front of you.

Next from there we went to one of the ancient temples famous in Bangalore - the Gavi Gangadhareshwar Temple again in Basavangudi built in the 9th century and is in a cave. It is as the name suggests a Shiva temple with the Shivlinga with a small nandi in front. The special feature of this temple is that once a year in mid January, the sunrays fall on the Shivalinga for one hour as it passes through the horns of the Nandi. Just imagine the knowledge our architects had, not only about designing and sculpting but also of astronomy? Isn't it amazing? When we were inside the cave we could feel the vibes and could feel such spiritual contentment which is indescribable! We finished visiting these temples in the morning - I think the best time for divine communion.

By this time we were all hungry and went to a nearby restaurant - The Kamath Bugle Rock and had what Bangalore is famous for Idli, Vada and Upma. We had a long time before our next meal so we really hogged. After rejuvenating with hot cup of Filter Coffee, we were back to the next destination - the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum. Children had a good time working out the gadgets displayed and thoroughly enjoyed the Fun Section where one could learn science the fun way. After this the next stop was the Bangalore Palace.

Even after being here for so long somehow we had missed visiting the Bangalore Palace. The best part is the narrowcast instrument we are provided with, with which we can go around the palace and get to know the history of each and every room or some of the significant items that is on display. This was  an enjoyable experience seeing the beautiful columns and arches, rooms with wooden rafters and stairs, the beautiful Chandeliers , the ornate furniture and the artefacts displayed, photographs of the royal family, the paintings of some famous artists and so on and so forth which made us travel back in time to royalty and riches.

By this it was lunch time and lunch was at Cafe Masala at Eva Mall. It was a buffet and all of us enjoyed the wide spread and the food was also good. After a leisurely meal we walked to the Metro Station on M.G Road. Yes you guessed it - our next program was to travel by Metro. Though it has been operational for a long time we never had time to experience it. I must say the people who were involved with the designing and execution of this have done a simply superb job. We bought tickets for the last stop and the ride itself was just 12 to 13 minutes but absolutely enjoyable. Specially when one thinks of the time that one would have taken for the same distance if one were to go by car or bus or bike...... just can't imagine. Once we got down we visited the Gopalan Mall which is quite good I must say and picked up a few things though shopping was not on our itinerary! This was turning out to be better than we expected. We then took the Metro back to M.G.Road and as was our custom when we were teenagers loitered from one end to another on Brigade road. Finally we called it a day and reached home at around 9.30.

I guess all of us had a great time being "tourists" in our own city for a day. It was a spiritual, intellectual, gastronomic as well as a fun experience. Well isn't this what a holiday is supposed to be - a balance that caters to all the senses? Atleast for us this turned out to be the best holiday that we had in a long time. Until next holidays ciao...  

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Being an 'unsocial' generation

This was what my grandmother used to tell us about their times. They hailed from a small village where there were just a few families. All of them knew each other in and out. Nothing would happen nor move without the knowledge of the whole village. Evenings meant the families sitting together on the portico outside and chatting. Neighbors passing by would join in. Almost all the children of the street would play together. Games would be played using materials available. So a wooden plank would turn into a bat, rolled rags would become the ball, stones found lying would be used to play four corners or eight houses. Seeds of trees would be used to play snake and ladder.

If there was a function in a family then it would not just be a function of only that family but the whole village would chip in. All women folks would get together and prepare sweets. Men folk would be busy getting materials and decorating the venue while children would play and have fun eating all that was prepared. When I think back on the lifestyle led by people like my grandmother I feel life was so very uncomplicated and simple.

Compared to those days, the life we are leading now generally is so stressful. Family size has shrunk. People stick to their homes and the sense of belonging in a neighborhood seems very limited. All of us live cooped up without bothering about others. Best friends and playmates of present day children are gadgets that they use day in and day out. In fact the situation is so bad that they hardly know who their cousins, uncles and aunts are. Indigenous toys are out. Branded toys are in.

Family functions are rare. Getting the whole family together to attend the function itself is a big question mark. I feel further down the generation will lose that wonderful human bonding. Will empathy, harmony, friendship, sharing, humaneness and other wonderful qualities that are required for us human beings to function in this society vanish? Looking at the speed at which the world is changing, will we live through this situation during our life time itself?