Poem ‘Summer’ by my daughter

This summer vacation, my daughter wrote a few lines as poems. Her first two poems, I posted them here just a few days ago. I am glad many of you liked them and left behind your encouraging comments - thank you! Together, she and I read all of them. She is now thrilled about getting “published” here.

Here’s her 3rd poem titled ‘Summer’:

In the summer season
there is no school
playing in the house
so much of fun

Eating fruits like
mangoes, apples, and grapes
swimming in the pool
in the water so fun

The Sun shines so brightly
it is very hot
you should drink water
or apple juice

Climbing trees in Summer - Chitra Aiyer Photography

Here she is climbing a tree with her brother …. this summer

Forests, safaris, waterfalls and rocky river beds

… that was the theme of our summer vacation this year. Lot of new sights and experiences for the kids; they loved seeing the many animals in the wild and trekking on precarious, slippery rocky river beds. All of us enjoyed being amidst nature’s thick vegetation and pristine waters. Standing/sitting under beautiful waterfalls, wading in rivers and streams, having a waterfall only to ourselves, trekking through forests, teaching the kids to do adventurous things while being careful were all fun and rejuvenating.

It was a long road trip; we covered Irpu, Nagarhole, Tholpetty, Kuruva islands, Thirunelly, Soochipara, Bandipur, and Mudumalai.

Some pics from the trip. Will write about these places in different posts.

Daughter enjoying the flowing waters

The kids waving at a deer. We saw many many spotted deers in their natural setting - the animal that we sighted the most.

The kids enjoying the climb up to a tree house

The trek up on a rocky river bed. We had a nice stretch of river in a private property all to ourselves one evening. Splendid.

Our stays were in homestays and cottages; we always love interacting with the local people and eating the local cuisine. Since returning to India, during most of our trips, we have typically stayed in homestays and have had pleasant stays in beautiful settings.

Husband and I have always been on the road a lot – the one way to really see life and culture from close quarters. The easy way to shop local, the easy access to talking to the folks on the streets and in their native tongue as much as possible. The kids have gotten used to the rhythm of being on the road too. And I enjoy seeing things from their points of view.

Daughter goes back to school in less than a week. Son is home for a little longer. And with that we start another year. Daughter will start 2nd grade and somehow it is harder for me this time around, since the class no.s are only going to go up from now on. Kindergarten and Montessori years are so much nicer; their growing up doesnt stare you in the face.

Melukote Kalyani

A kalyani is a temple tank, which is usually near a temple and used for temple activities. The kalyani at Melukote (more pics from Melukote here) is huge and is at the base of the hill - the temple is at the top of this hill. (Read here about the climb up) Stone steps lead to the water on all four sides and the pillared shelters that border the steps give this kalyani a rich cultural feel.

What makes the kalyani interesting is also its backdrop – the hill with the temple tower at the top.

The temple tower from the kalyani, Melkote - Chitra Aiyer Photography

This kalyani has been used for shooting many Kannada movie sequences. Even when we visited it last month, there was a film crew that was shooting from across where we were - the gathering that you see across the tank in the 2 pics below.Film crew, Melkote - Chitra Aiyer Photography

Film crew, Melkote - Chitra Aiyer Photography

Kalyani, Melkote - Chitra Aiyer Photography

, Melkote - Chitra Aiyer Photography

This family was throwing puffed rice into the tank for the fish.

Puffed rice for the kalyani fish, Melkote - Chitra Aiyer Photography

Kalyani structure, Melkote - Chitra Aiyer Photography

Kalyani steps, Melkote - Chitra Aiyer Photography

Kalyani, Melkote - Chitra Aiyer Photography

The kalyani steps offer a nice seating area for a relaxed break - you can sit here hours on end, noticing the little happenings around you and nobody will bother you. Watching the gentle ripples in the water and getting the sense of time standing still is a welcome relief to any city-dweller.

Outside the Kalyani, Melkote - Chitra Aiyer Photography

Just outside the kalyani, at the foothills ….

Sringeri Temple, nestled within the Western ghats

On our trip to Koppa, where we stayed at the charming homestay, Ammadi, one of the places we visited was Sringeri. Sringeri is small town located in the western ghats in Chikkamagalur district. The beautiful ghats and the river Tunga make this town quite idyllic. We visited the very famous Sharada temple here. After we parked the car, and as we waked to the temple, we passed many little street shops and hawkers. One of the things sold is the puffed rice to feed the fish in the river Tunga; the temple complex stands on the banks of Tunga.

As you enter the complex, the structure that takes away all your attention is the very beautiful Vidyashankara temple built in stone. Very intricately designed niches and sculptures adorn the exterior temple wall and is said to be a combination of the Hoysala and Vijayanagara architectural features.

Vidyashankara Temple, Sringeri - Chitra Aiyer Photography

Vidyashankara Temple, Sringeri - Chitra Aiyer Photography

Husband and daughter walking towards the temple

The main temple hall features 12 pillars designated for the 12 signs of the zodiac and placed in such a way that the first rays of the rising sun fall on specific pillars with the zodiacal symbol corresponding to the position of the Sun. I would have loved to see how this works, but we learnt of this only when we were there, and we were there during mid-day. Also apparently, the windows and doors along the temple walls have been designed such that the rays of the equinoxes sunrise touch the deity. The northern and southern gates enable the sunrise view from the hall during solstices. I am guessing those are also the days when the temple will have its maximum visitors.

The architectural beauty offers nice setting for many photo enthusiasts. Seen below is a girl posing against a beautiful doorway.

Photography spot - Vidyasankara temple, Sringeri - Chitra Aiyer Photography

Though it is the Vidyashankara temple that took away most of our attention in the first go, we learnt that it is the temple that is next to this one that is the main Sharada temple, dedicated to the Goddess of learning and wisdom. This was a simple shrine during the time of Adi Shankaracharya. The original sandal wood idol was replaced with a gold idol in the 14th century. The temple itself was a wooden structure till a fire damaged most of it in the 20th century. Now, in its place, stands the more modern structure.

Sharadamba temple, Sringeri - Chitra Aiyer Photography

The environs are beautiful and peaceful. Along one of the peripheries are steps that lead to the river Tunga. We visited right around the time that monsoon was ending. It was still raining that day and the river itself was gushing in full flow and muddy. It was rich brown in color and the fish that apparently you see very clearly, were not seen that day. People were dipping in the river for their holy baths and many of us, threw the puffed rice into the muddy waters for the fish.

People at the Tunga river banks, Sringeri - Chitra Aiyer Photography

Tunga river banks, Sringeri - Chitra Aiyer Photography

The Sringeri Sharada Peetham is one of the four Hindu Advaita maths established by Sri Adi Shankaracharya. It is right across from the temple on the other bank of the river. See below. The Sri Vidya Teertha Setu is the bridge that connects the matha to the temple complex.

Mutt, Sringeri - Chitra Aiyer Photography

The temple complex as seen from across the river.

Sri Vidya Teertha Setu across the Tunga river, Sringeri - Chitra Aiyer Photography

My son jogs on the bridge when we return back to the temple complex.

As we leave, it is still drizzling, making the whole surrounds a typical malnad setting in the beautiful western ghats. The main attraction to the kids, of course, were the temple elephants. Here’s a little one with its mahout.

Temple elephant, Sringeri - Chitra Aiyer Photography

Vidyasankara temple, Sringeri - Chitra Aiyer Photography

One last look at this beautiful stone marvel that has stood watching the river flow by, for centuries together.

Personalities come alive …. at the Manjarabad fort

So, along the Manjarabad fort wall are little minarets from which one can look at the vast landscape through the slit like openings. The tunnel like passageways that lead to these little minarets are short in height and are dark.

You will get a sense of that from the first pic, where I have already gone in and my daughter walks to the entrance and finds me inside. Her pose is very telling of her personality, where when she is up against something new and different, she is going to wait and watch. Yes, this is even if it is mom who is on the other side. Considering that it is the mom, you would think, the girl would walk through and join the mom? Well, no, she has to gauge the tunnel walkway to see if it is something that she can venture into.

Gauging the task on hand - Chitra Aiyer Photography

In the next one, she is analysing and is just not sure about taking the first step when I ask her to join me.

Hesitant at the entrance - Chitra Aiyer Photography

In the 3rd one, she knows it isnt something that should be scaring her, since mom’s already on the other end; but yet, there she is …. and starting on the whine.

Hesitant at the entrance - Chitra Aiyer Photography

In the 4th, after enough of a pep talk from me, she is now gearing up for her adventurous jog in. Notice also, how my son has walked into the scene.

Gearing up at the entrance - Chitra Aiyer Photography

In the next one, when I call my son in, he simply comes. The daughter is mildly amused …. I am guessing by his daredevilry act. :)

Son running towards me - Chitra Aiyer Photography

After a couple more times of him going out and coming in, she eventually “braves” it out to come in.

Coming in at last - Chitra Aiyer Photography

And while she is inside for a brief bit, son continues to jog in and out.

Son just enjoying the going out and coming in - Chitra Aiyer Photography

While this may look like an isolated incident, this is something that brings out their individual personalities literally and pictorially. I see this same pattern happen many times. I am not saying one has to be like the other, just that this is the way they are. And I am ok about that and I now have a photo-story that brings their distinct personalities out step-by-step.

I hope you enjoyed this little photo-story. Are you a parent with children with very differing personalities? Do share.