Sun, Sand, Stars and Dreams

The chronicles of a misfit Indian teen


August 2012

High School Survival Guide


I just couldn’t believe how quickly the summer vacation ended. Now, for many of us, it is back to school or college.
So, this is a kind of guide on how to go through the school year without major mishaps.
First of all, be yourself. Those who don’t accept you for who you are, are not worthy of you.
Next, accept that change is natural. Those who were your best friends last year might ignore you this year.
Then, nothing lasts forever, whether friendships or relationships. But, enjoy it while it lasts.
Fourth, this is high school, so dramas do happen. Nothing can be done except trying to keep your cool and not hurt the others much.
Then, on the academic side, try to do your best. Don’t think that it isn’t cool to study or something like that. Do not while your time away with out studying for fear of being called a geek or a nerd. In the end, the geeks and nerds turn out to be the most successful people, while the popular ones mostly end up working for the ones they made fun of at school.
But, this doesn’t mean that you should always keep studying and not devote time for other activities. After all, you only live once.
Even though all is said and done, sometimes difficult things do happen, it is a part of life. But, take it as it comes and learn to cope up. All will be right sometime or the other.
Sometimes the principle of “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”, might turn out to be true. Last year in my tenth year of school, i.e. the sophomore year, I went through a bad experience in school which changed my whole perception of life. I almost broke down, but instead decided to stay strong and deal with it like a fighter. I am proud to say that I successfully overcame it and now I am a different person. It made me stronger, even if the experience was bad and at that time, I almost gave up.
And for those going through a bad time, there is always a bright light at the end of a dark tunnel. So, stay strong. There will always be something or someone better waiting for you.

And finally, do have fun!


The Indian festival of Onam

Today is the day of Thiruvonam, a major South Indian festival. It is celebrated by the Malayalam speaking people of India. It is a harvest festival.
Since Chennai has a large number of Malayali immigrants, the Onam festival is celebrated here too with great pomp and show.
It is a harvest festival and celebrates the end of the harvest and selling of the crop. (in turn getting money)
Originally, it was a 10 day long festival, but the modern Indian (who works in offices and does not go for agricultural work) cannot afford to waste 10 working days and so shortened it to just 3 days or even just 1 day.

Legend tells that a long time ago, there was a king named Mahabali who was immortal. But, he was very kind and good. He was also very generous. And during his reign, all the people were so happy and healthy that no one ever died. So, Mother Earth couldn’t bear the weight of these many people, so she went to Lord Vishnu (one of the 3 main Hindu deities) and told him her problem.
So, Lord Vishnu took his fifth re-incarnation, Vamana, the dwarf.
Vamana then went to King Mahabali and asked him for his help and to give him as much land as it would take for Vamana to take three footsteps.
King Mahabali agreed.
But then, Vamana started growing taller and larger. Then, he took one step which covered the whole Earth and another step which covered heaven.
Then, he had no other place to step upon to take his third footstep. So, King Mahabali, who was a man who kept his promises, told Vamana that he could take the third step on his head, which would push him off to the underground.
King Mahabali then asked Vamana only one thing, that he be allowed to see his subjects at least once a year. Vamana, i.e. Lord Vishnu agreed before King Mahabali was inevitably pushed into the underworld.
So, apparently, Onam is celebrated to welcome King Mahabali on that one day he could visit the Earth.
And that was the myth. Now, on Onam morning, everyone wakes up early, has a long bath and wears new dresses. Then the children go to pick and gather flowers (in villages) or they go to buy colourful flowers from the market (in cities).
Then, the children and teens, sometimes everyone, arrange beautiful flower carpets in various designs outdoors.
The adults would have started the preparation of a grand, multi-course lunch. This lunch, known as the ‘Sadhya’ is one of the main highlights of Onam.
Then, after the lunch is served, people sing songs and visit neighbours. They also play games, like tug-of-war with friends and family during the Onam time.
Around this time, the famous Snake Boat races of Kerala are held.
All together a jolly and happy mood is created.
But, to really enjoy all this, we must visit the villages, because, the urban Indian is far too busy to engage in all these activities and so, the spirit of Onam is much less in the cities as compared to villages.
It seems like the rich culture and heritage of India is on the verge of being lost. We must do our best to ensure that it doesn’t happen, although change is inevitable.
And with that, I bid you Good-Bye for now.

The flower carpet and the sadhya

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P.S. The underworld in Hindu mythology is NOT hell. For those interested, try searching Wikipedia for Patala and Naraka. King Mahabali was apparently sent to Patala and not Naraka.

Snapshots of my hometown, Chennai, India

Here are the photos of my hometown Chennai taken by me. I haven’t photographed any great landmarks, these are just the daily snapshots. Please excuse the photo quality as I am just an amateur with a point-and-shoot camera. And please do provide your very valuable comments and suggestion.
Until next time,
AnuImageA highway in the city.ImageA poor woman carrying a pail of water to her hut.
ImageA middle-aged couple enjoying the evening at the Marina BeachImage

The skyview from my house.

A glimpse of my hometown, Chennai, India

This is my very first post and I thought long and hard about what to write. Then, I thought why not write about my hometown, Chennai, in India.
I haven’t lived there for long, I only went there once a year for vacations, but the colour, liveliness and charm of the city fascinated and mesmerised me and so, I present to you, this blog post!

Chennai, formerly Madras, is one of the metropolitan cities of India. It is a city on the southern part of India and is located on the Eastern Coromandel Coast. It is home to the second longest beach in the world, but the people here are pretty conservative, so NO bikinis.
It is crowded but not as much as the other metros like Mumbai in India.
Most of the people here own their own vehicle (which contributes to the horrible traffic jams each day) but the main mode of public transportation is the city buses and the auto rickshaws. The autorickshaw drivers here are notorious for charging exorbitantly high rates. But if you know the local language and know to bargain, the rate gets reduced by more than fifty percent.
The next thing is the cuisine. Like most of the Indian states, the cuisine here is spicy but really tasty too.
This place is famous for its idli, vada and sambar. As well as masala dosai, a sort of stuffed pancake. And lot more. The cuisine here itself is a whole blog post- worthy.
The local language is Tamil but now-a-days most of my generation (i.e. teens and those in their 20s) speak fluent English thanks to the spreading of English schools and education. So, if you know English, you can easily navigate around here.
Most of the people here are very friendly. Majority of the people in the Chennai city are highly educated, as the South Indians are famed for their brains. The city also has a high tolerance to immigration. So, you can find people from all corners of India

The people here are very fond of their cuisine, cinema (they almost worship film stars), and cricket (ever since the Chennai team won the Indian Premier League Cup for three consecutive years).

The city has a deep history.
It was once a small fishing town which evolved into the capital of Madras Presidency during the British rule and finally to what it is today.
The Central Railway Station, The Marina Beach, Parry’s Corner, the Anna Nagar Tower and Fort St. George are well-known old landmarks. But, now as pop and modern culture spread, it was the beginning of the rise of the new city. Now, it is sprinkled with high rise apartment blocks, huge shopping malls selling stuff from Paris and London, nightclubs, etc.
Yet, the old city’s charm was really something to behold.

I don’t think that this small blog post has done justice to the charming Chennai city. So, you can expect detailed posts of various aspects of this city in upcoming posts. (not necessarily in a row)
In the next post, I shall post some photographs of the Chennai taken by yours’ truly.

Hi There!

I am sun-sand-stars-and-dreams a.k.a. Anu. I am a teen girl from South India though I live elsewhere.
I have lived in various Arabian countries throughout my life and this blog will be about my experiences there. It will also contain various random thoughts and ideas.
Right now, I am located at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
I am an amateur writer and photographer.
I also enjoy music.

See you soon with a proper post,

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