Suvarna & Sadanand Mankikar

At the recently held 2022 Konkani Sammelan, Suvarna & Sadanand Mankikar were honored with the ‘Outstanding Public Service’ award in recognition of their over forty five years of service to the Konkani community in North America and abroad, contributions to blood banking with Canadian Blood services and consulting expertise to Institutions in Canada, Europe and India. Sadanand and Suvarna  profusely thank Ashok & Amita Bhatt for nominating them for this award.

In January of this year Sadanand was nominated by the Ontario Konkani Association for the ‘Ontario Volunteer Service award’. This award recognizes volunteers for providing committed and dedicated service to an organization ranging from five to 65 years of continuous service.

For Suvarna &Sadanand Mankikar, the call for community service in Canada came about forty-five years ago. On a fine Sunday morning in 1977, Sadanand got a call from a long-standing member of the Marathi Bhashik Mandal, Toronto telling him that he had volunteered Sadanand’s name for the Mandal’s Executive Committee. Since then, Suvarna & Sadanand have been dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers in various organizations involving not only Canadians of South Asian origin, but also the larger Canadian community in and around GTA, and the Gloucester/Ottawa areas. They have been closely associated with Ontario Konkani Association for over 30 years and have been leading the OKA Seniors Forum for the past several years.

After working for six years at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto as Virology Research Technologist, Sadanand joined Canadian Blood Services in 1979 and retired as Executive Director, Quality Assurance in 2006. He worked as a consultant in Canada, Europe and India and developed Quality Management Systems for Stem Cell Program, International Plasma Fractionation Plant and National Blood Program. Suvarna started her career at Canara Bank, Davangere, and after 38 years with the Ontario Government, she retired as Supervisor in Corporate Finance at the Ontario Securities Commission.

ONTARIO KONKANI ASSOCIATION (OKA) SINCE 1990

  • Member since 1990
  • Vice President (2003 – 2004)   
  • President (2004 – 2005)
  • Established OKA Scholarship during Association’s 15th Anniversary (2004)
  • OKA Scholarship Committee (2004-2008, 2011-2014)
  • Chair, KAO Vision 2020 (2013-2014)
  • OKA Senior’s Forum (Since 2016)
  • OKA.SVBF Health Awareness Program (Since 2018)

ONTARIO KONKANI ASSOCIATION SENIOR’S FORUM (Since 2016)

  • Initiated the Forum to develop and implement socio-cultural programs with a focus on seniors and soon to be seniors in the community to help prepare for and adapt to the changes. It has developed teams of volunteers to provide support and assistance to the seniors.

PROJECTS DEVELOPED AND IMPLEMENTED:

  • Emergency Preparedness Program comprising of
    • Emergency Preparedness Kits
    • End of Life Planning
    • Estate Planning, Wills and Power of Attorney
    • Support during personal emergencies, including death
    • Information about services provided by Government and Non-Government Agencies
  • Interactive forum “OKA Aadhaar Chat”
  • Carpooling for seniors for attending OKA programs

INFORMATION SESSIONS, WORKSHOPS AND SEMINARS:

  • Five Brain Storming sessions and Focus Group Meetings
  • Two Seniors’ Lunches and Get-Togethers
  • Seven seniors’ Information Sessions covering Wills and Power of Attorney, End of Life Planning, Emergency Preparedness
  • Six Technical Support Workshops (assistance in handling emerging technology provided by youth in the OKA Community)

ONTARIO KONKANI ASSOCIATION AND SRINGERI VIDYA BHARATI FOUNDATION HEALTH AWARENESS PROGRAM (Since 2018)

  • Seminars/webinars in collaboration with Sringeri Vidya Bharati Foundation (SVBF), Canada India Foundation, South Asian Diabetes Chapter and other relevant organizations
  • Eleven seminars/webinars covering various health related topics including Diabetes, Heart, Stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia, Mental Health, Digestive System and COVID 19.
  • One webinar on Wills and Power of Attorney
  • One webinar on Seniors/ Retirement Community
  • One webinar on Assisted Living, Home Care and Long Term Care
  • Three Technical Support Workshops (conducted by youth)

OTHER RELATED SENIORS’ ACTIVITIES (2017-2019)

  • Aging with Confidence: Ontario’s Action Plan for Seniors February 2018
  • Member, Seniors’ Community Housing Project, Indus Community Services 2018
  • Member, RetCom/Nirvana – a Seniors’ Residence Project (2018-2019)
  • Scattering of Ashes/Asti Visarjan Project by Ontario Government – Town Hall Meeting and Brainstorming sessions 2017-2018
  • Ontario Liberal Caucus –Indian Friendship Group Meeting March 2017

OKA COMMUNICATION AND LEADERSHIP WORKSHOPS (2010 – 2015) 

  • Developed and conducted five Annual Communication and Leadership Workshops comprising of practicing Communication and Leadership skills, Career Booths and presentations on mentoring, Preparing for University Life, Interview Skills etc.

NORTH AMERICAN KONKANI ASSOCIATION – NAKA (2004-2021)

  • Executive Vice President, NAKA Convention in Hamilton, Ontario, (2004-2006)
  • Director, NAKA Board of Directors (2006 – 2012)         
  • White paper on NAKA Reorganization 2012
  • Vice President, NAKA Board of Directors (2012 – 2016)
  • Conducted Workshop “Now I am a Senior, What Next” at NAKA Convention, Atlanta, 2016
  • Coordinator, “Seniors’ Corner” on NAKA website 2017-
  • Chair, NAKA Board of Director’s Election Committee 2021

JUVENILE DIABETES RESEARCH FOUNDATION (2022)

  • Member, Curriculum Development Committee

SRINGERI VIDYA BHARATI FOUNDATION (SVBF) (SINCE 2009)

  • Volunteer since 2009
  • Member, Maha  Kumbhabhishekam  Organizing Committee 2010
  • Member, Maharudra Organizing Committee 2016
  • Coordinator, Health Awareness Program since 2018

CITY OF BURLINGTON CANADA DAY CELEBRATIONS COMMITTEE (2008-2010)

  • Volunteer, Organizing Committee
  • Master of Ceremonies on the West Stage

JOSEPH BRANT MEMORIAL HOSPITAL, BURLINGTON, ONTARIO (2006-2009)

  • Member, Board of Governors’ Quality Assurance Committee

MARATHI BHASHIK MANDAL, OTTAWA (1995-1996)

  • Founding Secretary

CANADIAN KIDNEY FOUNDATION (1991 -1995)

  • Campaign Volunteer in Orleans, Ontario       

GLOUCESTER, ONTARIO (1991-1992)

  • Organized and moderated Candidates Debate, Gloucester Civic Election 1991
  • Facilitated public consultation on structural reform to municipal government in Ottawa-Carleton (G. M. Kirby Commission) 1992
  • Member, Gloucester Leisure Recreation Board 1992
  • Community Policing Brainstorming Session 1992

CHAPEL HILL CANADA DAY CELEBRATIONS (1990-1992)

  • Founder 1990
  • Coordinator 1990-1992

CHAPEL HILL RESIDENT’S ASSOCIATION, ORLEANS, ONTARIO (1988-1992)

  • President, Chapel Hill Residents Association
  • Editor, CHRA Newsletter
  • Initiated Neighborhood Watch Program
  • Organized Community Health Fair

TOASTMASTERS INTERNATIONAL (1980-2006)

  • Held Club to District level Leadership positions in two different Districts
  • Conducted District Conferences, Speechcrafts, Youth Leadership Programs, Officer Training Sessions, Seminars, Workshops in two different Districts
  • Started a number of Clubs including a Gavel Club for Youth in two Districts

METRO INTERNATIONAL CARAVAN, TORONTO (1978-1982)

  • Member of the Organizing Committee that initiated and organized the New Delhi Pavilion at the Metro International Caravan – a multicultural nine-day festival with over 60 pavilions in and around GTA.
  • Award winning Entertainment Coordinator 1978
  • Award winning Pavilion Host 1979
  • Chairman 1980-1982

INDIAN IMMIGRANT AID SERVICES (1977-1982)

  • Volunteer
  • Planning Committee, of the first “Indians in Canada” Conference 
  • Member of IIAS Board to select author of Report on concerns of the South Asian Canadian Community regarding their place in the Canadian Mosaic.
  • Member of IIAS Race Relations Committee that presented a report to Attorney General, Government of Ontario.
  • Member of IIAS Race Relations Committee that presented a report to Toronto Police Commissioner.

FEDERATION OF INDO-CANADIAN ORGANIZATIONS, TORONTO (1977 -1978)

  • Founding Member
  • Vice President
  • Chair, Education and Social Services Committee

MARATHI BHASHIK MANDAL, TORONTO (1977-2011)

  • Secretary 1976 -1977
  • President 1978 -1979
  • Member, MBM Think Tank Group 2011
  • Member, MBM Think Tank Core Group 2011

For animal lovers, this place is great to see Alpacas of different hues and colors strutting their stuff. The Shed Chetwyn farm is located at 500 Closson Rd, Hillier, Ontario. There are a few parking spots and I found the parking sign amusing. It read” For Alpaca Lovers only”. Only a few yards further on this road is the Prince Edward County Lavender Farm. The best time to visit is late June through July. Our visit in August was a bit too late to see the colorful lavender flowers. Other sites in the vicinity are the Trent Severn Waterway and the Laundry’s farm market.  

Tyendinaga Caves and Caverns

Ontario’s Oldest Natural Cavern, Tyendinaga Cavern and caves is a private network of natural caves and is thought to be the oldest such in Ontario. It is approximately 150 feet long and 45 feet deep. While you won’t see Stalactites and stalagmites, this cave is solid rocks with narrow passages and several levels. Located at 2623 Harmony Road, Belleville this place is worth visiting during summer when you feel like getting out of your city.

Ontario – Yours To Discover

With the Pandemic now in its third year, one would think that all the restrictions imposed by public health and other government agencies would curb our enthusiasm and spirit to discover and experience new things. However, in the last three years even with all the restrictions we traveled and experienced several things within Ontario, some of them for the very first time.

Sunflower farm:

A visit to a sunflower farm is surely a cause for a smile, photo ops, and plenty of sunshine. We visited the Edward Sunflower Farm a few months ago. Located at 1574 9th Line, Innisfil, ON L9S 3Z1 this farm has rows and rows of sunflowers.

Sunflowers are usually in bloom from late July through the middle of August. But always check the farm’s website before you go to make sure they are open and in bloom.

Apple Picking:

In October 2021 we went Apple picking at West Wind Farm located at 690 Baseline Road, Terra Cotta in Caledon. It was an interesting experience going in a tractor-driven buggy to a spot deep inside the Apple orchard. We were given about an hour to pick our own apples. Ladders were available for us to select any tree and climb the ladder to pluck the juiciest of apples. We picked a bag full of crisp Golden delicious apples for under $10.

Point Pelee National Park:

This is a national park in Essex County in southwestern Ontario where it extends into Lake Erie. This spit of land is slightly more than seven kilometers long by 4.5 kilometers (2.8 mi) wide at its northern base. Established in 1918, Point Pelee was the first national park in Canada to be established for conservation. We went to this park and visited the southernmost part of Canada in the month of March 2021. We did not visit the island as the ferry was not in service. However, we did climb the tower and got a great view of Lake Erie. We saw flocks of migratory birds everywhere. 

Badlands:

The Cheltenham Badlands is one of Ontario’s geological treasures, formed at the base of an ancient sea about 450 million years ago. The 36-hectare (91-acre) site is a provincially significant Area of Natural and Scientific Interest and hosts one of the most recognizable and visited natural heritage landmarks in southern Ontario. In October of 2021, we went to this unique place and were fortunate to see a lot of fall colours. Hard to believe we have so many places worthy of a visit so close to home.

Alpaca Farm:

For animal lovers, this place is great to see Alpacas of different hues and colors strutting their stuff. The Shed Chetwyn farm is located at 500 Closson Rd, Hillier, Ontario. There are a few parking spots and I found the parking sign amusing. It read” For Alpaca Lovers only”. Only a few yards further on this road is the Prince Edward County Lavender Farm. The best time to visit is late June through July. Our visit in August was a bit too late to see the colorful lavender flowers. Other sites in the vicinity are the Trent Severn Waterway and the Laundry’s farm market.  

Tyendinaga Caves and Caverns

Ontario’s Oldest Natural Cavern, Tyendinaga Cavern and caves is a private network of natural caves and is thought to be the oldest such in Ontario. It is approximately 150 feet long and 45 feet deep. While you won’t see Stalactites and stalagmites, this cave is solid rocks with narrow passages and several levels. Located at 2623 Harmony Road, Belleville this place is worth visiting during summer when you feel like getting out of your city.

Amgelo Devu – Karkal Sree Venkatramana Devasthan

Dakshina Karnataka is truly Gods own country. It was as if the Gods resided here and blessed this land with bountiful resources, wealth and spiritual leverage.  For all of us Konkani’s Lord Venkatramana is our presiding deity, our guardian and to many our own family member. No wonder, many of us still call Lord Venkatramana “ Amgelo Devu”.

To me I have always been fascinated with Karkal Venkatraman Devasthan and Mulki Venkatraman.  These two blessed areas are actually intertwined in history. I will in this article highlight only the former and Mulki will mentioned in my next E Samachar article. So please read on.

Karkal is situated about 60 kms from Mangaluru. Lord Sree Srinivasa is worshiped as the main and the presiding deity (pattada devaru) of the temple and is popularly known as ‘Chappara Srinivasa’. The daily deity (Uthsava Murthy) Lord Sri Venkatramana is also known as ‘Bhakta Vatsala’ who fulfills our wishes, answers any prayers made with devotion, instances of miracles in answer by the Lord here are cited by many. It has been recorded that the idol of Lord Sri Venkatramana was brought to Karkala by Soma Sharma who is a ‘Vasista Gothreeya’ Gauda Saraswath Brahmin while migrating from Goa along with him. Sohire Prabhu’ family provided him the accommodation. Although the temple was built some time in 1450 AD, the main deity was reinstalled on 15th April 25th, 1537.

In those days there were no Vaishnava temples near Karkala and the only Vaishnava temple near by Goa was ‘Tirupati Sri Venkateshwara Temple’. So Prabhu and Sharma family thought of building a temple. People over here motivated them and supported them. They built a temple and installed the idol of Lord Sri Venkataramana and started worshipping. This may actually be the oldest Venkatraman Devasthan in Dakshin Karnataka.

It is recorded in the temple books that a group of dacoits had attacked the temple during 1500 A.D, the priests of the temple had tried to prevent the main idol of the Lord and certain other valuable belongings of the temple from being taken away or destroyed by the invaders, by casting them away into a well near Mulki.

 After the situation cooled down, the priests went back to Mulki and got back all the valuable belongings which they had cast away into the well, except for the main idol of the Lord. One day person from Mulki found the main idol in the well. By knowing this ,the people of Karbala rushed to Mulki to get back the idol. However by the time they reached Mulki, the people over there had installed it in ‘Shree Veera Vittala Temple’. From this incident, the people of Karkala assumed that the Lord wanted to grace the land of Mulki by his presence there. They found themselves in a dilemma as to what had to be done. They found it hard to believe that the Lord wanted to preside over Mulki, instead of Karkala. As if a solution to their dilemma, Lord appeared in the dreams of the people of Karkala and asked them to hand over his idol in Mulki to the people of Mulki. The Lord told his devotees that in the days that would come by a hermit (sanyasi who used to collect Kanika from the devotees to be taken to Tirupati) would come to Karkala and give them another idol of the Lord in which he would have enshrined himself. As per the predictions, a few days later a hermit from Tirupati, who was an ardent devotee of Lord Venkatramana came to Karkala and handed over an idol of the Lord to the people. That idol was installed in the temple. The hermit laid down a condition that the idol would be taken every year to Tirupati along with the Kanika received and the hermit settled down in Karkala itself.

The Kanika received in the name of the Lord of Tirupati is offered religiously to Tirupati Temple, periodically in a pilgrimage called Rama Dandu.So far five such Yatras in the History of the Temple, the latest being in 1970, have taken place. Once a year in a grand and ceremonious procession Lord Shri Srinivasa is taken out in Golden Mandapa and Lord Shri Venkatramana in the Golden palanquins for Vanabhojana which literally means an outing to the forest in a magnificent Hagalu Utsav,to the eastern part of Karkala. Since Tirupati is in the east, Lord Srinivasa is supposed to have been taken to Tirupati. Incidentally, this is the only day in a year when the Lord Srinivasa is taken out of the temple. Thus, the word given to the hermit is symbolically kept up year after year. The presiding deity over here Lord Srinivasa is called the Lord of Tirupati by the devotees, as the daily poojas here are like the ones offered at Tirupati. Therefore, Karkala is also known as “Padu Tirupati” (Western Tirupati). The gold, silver & wooden “Vahanas” and the other paraphernalia of the temple, speak volumes about the glory and the greatness of this temple.

Karkala Venkatraman Devasthan had their Punarpratishtan in 2017.  Late H H Shrimath Sudhindra Thirtha Swamiji of Kashi Math insisted that the temple can be restored provided every detail to the last letter be maintained as it was before. Rs 21 crore was estimated to be the cost of all expenses. People of Karkala and well-wishers donated Rs 42 crore. Such is the love for our Venkatraman Devu our guardian.

Gen Alphas – Neil Prabhu

This month’s Gen Alpha is ‘Neil Prabhu’.

(His parents Shweta Pai and Varun Prabhu have helped pen his introduction)

Hi everyone, my name is Neil! I’m 14 months old.

It was great meeting many of you during the Ugadi event. If you don’t remember me, I was the tiny one running into you while you tried to hold a conversation! 

I love being outside, playing in the park, and climbing! But that’s only in my free time.

Usually, I’m very busy with everything I do in a day. Here’s a glimpse.

I can’t wait to meet all of you again and to make more Konkani friends to share my ‘Dalitoy and Song’ with. Vaggi melya!!

(Neil, you are such a sweet delight!  We too can’t wait to meet you soon!)

Btw You remind me of the little boy (in an Indian TV advertisement that used to play in the 90s), saying ‘Ghar ka saara kaam mujhe hi karna padta hai…’ I’m certain your parents remember that 🙂

Your parents are blessed, who wouldn’t want to be taken care of by a cute little 14 month old:) )

A KONKANI WINS A JUNO!! Ravi Naimpally now has a Juno

At this year’s 51st Annual Juno Awards Ceremony, Toronto-based world-jazz ensemble Avataar won the award for vocal jazz album of the year (group) for their album WORLDVIEW. Led by Sundar Viswanathan a multiple-JUNO nominated jazz saxophonist, vocalist and composer, the sextet features vocalist Felicity Williams, guitarist Michael Occhipinti, bassist Justin Gray, tabla player Ravi Naimpally and drummer Max Senitt. The record also has contributions from Aaron Lightstone on oud and Todd Pentney on keys.

Ravi Naimpally and his parents Sudha and Late Somashekhar Naimpally have been long standing members of OKA. Most of us know the Naimpally family very well.

Born in Kanpur, Uttarpradesh, Ravi Naimapally lived in Thunder Bay and Ottawa before settling in Toronto.  He completed his High School in Thunder Bay, got his B.A. from Carleton University, Ottawa, and Master’s degree from York University, Toronto.

His father Late Somashekhar Naimpally was a mathematician and his mother was an occupational therapist and both were music aficionados. They moved to Canada in the 1970s, at which point his parents started organizing concerts of Hindustani classical music. His brother Shiv is also a learned tabla player and works as a patent lawyer, his sister Anuradha is a professional Bharatnatyam dancer. 

Ravi gives full credit to his parents for his interest and involvement in music. In his own words “…. music was being played in our house from morning to night every day. His parents would also arrange concerts in Kanpur and then in Thunder Bay, thus Ravi was able to listen to and meet masters like Bismillah Khan, Begum Akhtar, Amjad Ali Khan, Jnan Prakash Ghosh, Buddaditya Mukherjee, Ashwini Bhide and many more.”

Ravi’s main Gurus were Pandit Nikhil Ghosh and Pandit Anindo Chatterjee. He has also learned a lot from Pandit Sadanand Nayampalli and Pandit Sushil Kumar Jain. 

Avataar is a world-jazz group based in Toronto. Their album Worldview was released in October 2021 “which was inspired by the deep musical traditions of India, Africa, and Brazil, rooted within the framework of modern jazz. In an innovative marriage of ancient and modern, driving grooves intersect with cinematic atmospheres and soaring melodies, creating a fresh, emotive sonic experience. Bandmembers share an eclectic range of musical expertise – hardbop, pop, rock, electronica, free improvisation, world, and R&B/Soul filter into the interpretations of the tunes.”

“While Avataar’s debut album, Petal, explored the evanescence of human life and was a call for a return to spiritual connectedness, Worldview attempts to also present a musical commentary on the state of our world, on the pandemic, and on the inability of our leaders to lead with integrity, honesty, and compassion. While the actions of our leaders affected so many, some of the songs started as gut responses to the treatment of children, our most valuable and vulnerable citizens, and act as vehicles of catharsis for the composer.”

The ensemble is a recipient of the 2016 Toronto Jazz Festival Special Projects Initiative award, The group has appeared at the Markham Jazz Festival, Small World Festival, the Sudbury Jazz Festival, and the Brampton Global Jazz Festival as well as at the Lula Lounge, known for playing international salsa, jazz, and world music.

To my question What are your goals? Ravi simply responded, “my goals are to keep learning and getting better and bringing joy to listeners”. Wishing Ravi all the very best in his musical journey.

Compiled by Sadanand Mankikar

Source: Personal communication with Ravi Naimpally and Avaatar website.

Learning Avenues

UPCOMING EVENTS

ABBOTT FREESTYLE LIBRE VIRTUAL CLINIC: Abbott Laboratories Diabetes Care in collaboration OKA and SVBF will be holding this virtual clinic on Sunday, June 26, 2022 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 Noon (EST). All the registrants for this clinic, upon request, will receive a complimentary sample of this continuous glucose monitor. Details to follow.

USEFUL INFORMATION

OKA EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS PROGRAM: Estate, Will and Power of Attorney, and End of Life Planning are two major elements of this OKA Seniors Forum Program.

For preparing Wills and Powers of Attorney you may contact Marvin Talksy (905) 405-0199 ext.  257 or Mary Bojkovski (905) 405-0199 ext. 276 of Nanda & Associate Lawyers. For additional information or assistance, you may also contact Raghunath Kamath or Ashok Bhatt.

For End of Life Planning one may contact Harjinder Bilku of Chapel Ridge Funeral Home at (905) 305-8128 or (647) 966-0093.

Additional information about OKA Seniors’ Forum is posted on www.ontario-konkanis.com

OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION

ONTARIO GUIDE TO PROGRAMS AND SERVICES FOR SENIORS: Please click on the following link for the latest upgraded guide.A guide to programs and services for seniors.

SENIORS HOUSING AND HOME CARE DIRECTORY: Help for Mom has developed this very helpful publication which is about 130 pages, softcover and Readers Digest size.  To get a copy send an email to helpformom.com or call Mary (647) 967-9821.

The following organizations disseminate very useful information either through regular news release and/or seminars, webinars, and workshops:

Canada India Foundation www.canadaindiafoundation.com

C.A.R.P. Canadian Association of Retired People) www.carp.ca

Diabetes Canada www.diabetes.ca

Indus Community Services www.induscs.ca

UHNF (University Network Foundation) www.uhnfoumdatiom.ca

(Articles by and for seniors under this section are always welcome)

Karkal Teru

Normally I would have provided a brief prelude to our Sri Venkataraman Devasthan – Karkala before writing about the auspicious Theru that starts May 1st-May 5th, 2022. That said keeping in mind how big this write-up would be, I decided to first talk about the Theru.

Did you know the Karkala Theru may have started 295 years ago in the year 1827. This is an annual festival that happens during April – May in the Honour of our Lord Srinivasa. It lasts for 6 days with different rituals on each day.

Day 1

The day starts with Vishnu Sahasranamam chanted by the priests followed by Dhwajarohana. Dhwajarohana includes a silver flag that has the Lord’s face on it that is hoisted on the Dhwajasthambha. This marks the start of Theru. This is followed by Suthubali which includes the procession of the idol around the temple. This starts in the evening. The day ends with dinner provided to the whole town after giving offerings to the Lord.

Day 2

Day 2 consists of the same thing except Dhwajarohana. There is Suthubali, Samradhane (the feast to town people) and evening prayers.

Day 3

The day has Suthubali after which the Lord is taken to every house near the temple and placed in front of the Tulsi plant. This is known as Katte pooja. The Lord is brought back to the Temple. The day ends with Samradhane again. These dinners are sponsored by some or the other family every year

Day 4

This day includes Suthubali again. Suthubali happens all the 5 days in the evening. This is followed by Sanmana javan, which translates to honouring the guests. The feast of this day includes special dishes. Every married woman is given Turmeric and Sindoor. Warm sandalwood paste is put on men and kids. While feasting, the people are also fanned with a huge hand fan. This is followed by Mriga bete. Mriga bete translates to deer hunting. People go to Ramasamudra and a man (belonging to the family that has been doing this ritual for years) holds the bow and arrow and hits a wick.(earlier it was supposed to be a deer but now they just hit a wick). After this, before bringing the idol back to the temple, it is placed in Padmavati Temple for sometime. Later after reaching the temple, small chariot (ratha) is pulled for procession with the lord’s idol in it. This day is called “Sanu Theru” or small Theru.

Day 5

This is the most critical day of Theru, hence called the “Hodu” or big theru. After Suthubali, the idol is brought out and is again revolved around the Brahma ratha (the main ratha). The idol is put on the chariot and flowers of gold, silver and bronze are thrown to the crowd gathered near the ratha. The procession starts from the temple and continues only for a few steps. This is followed by the Samradhane. Stalls of food, toys and accessories are put across the streets. Everything from earrings to ice cream is sold at this fair. At midnight, the ratha is pulled by all the people (mostly men) till Gopura and is brought back after Pooja.

Day 6

The most fun of all the 6 days is the last day where people play Okulu. Before this, the Silver flag is brought down from the Dhwajastambha marking the end of Theru. Okulu is the same as Holi. People throw turmeric water on each other and also bathe the idol in it. After playing, everyone goes to Ramasamudra and takes a bath in the water there.

Ref: https://www.svtkarkala.com/

Ancient India’s Contributions to Math

The Indian civilization, one of the oldest civilizations in the world, has a strong tradition of math, science and technology. In ancient times, India was a place of great mathematicians. According to research, India was actively contributing to the field of math centuries before, teaching the world how to count. Many of the old Indian thoughts and methodologies have shaped and strengthened the foundations of mathematical calculations.

The Fibonacci sequence is a set of numbers in which each consecutive number is the sum of the two preceding numbers. Pingala mentions these Fibonacci numbers in relation with the Sanskrit tradition of prosody, and it first appears in Indian mathematics as mātrāmeru. Mathematicians Virahanka, Gopala, and Hemacandra later gave ways for producing these numbers, long before the Italian mathematician Fibonacci brought the interesting sequence to Western European mathematics.

Some of India’s mega-epics, such as the Mahabharata and Ramayana, as well as philosophical works like the Bhagavad Gita, were all poetry. In fact, the Mahabharata has around 1 lakh shlokas in its original poetry form.

As we can see, Pingala 2500 years ago described the Fibonacci Series and its extension, Pascal’s Triangle, as part of Chandas Shastra, with reference to Matra-Meru, and the concept has been utilized by Sanskrit poets for more than 2000 years.

Sanskrit poets, as well as Indian classical musicians (including Hindustani and Carnatic genres), have contributed to this tradition. For example, here’s an intriguing presentation (video embedded below this paragraph) of rhythms in Konnakol form, which is a type of Carnatic music, and you can see how it aligns with Pingala’s Chandas Shastra, which we now refer to as the Fibonacci Series.

Another important mathematical finding was The Chakravala method of Algorithms. The chakravala technique is a cyclic algorithm that can be used to solve indeterminate quadratic equations, such as Pell’s equation. It is usually assigned to Bhāskara II (c. 1114–1185 CE), however some say it was created by Jayadeva (c. 950–1000 CE). Jayadeva noted that Brahmagupta’s method for solving these types of equations could be generalized, and he went on to describe this general method, which was later developed by Bhāskara II in his Bijaganita treatise. The Chakravala technique was named after the Sanskrit word chakra, which means “wheel” and refers to the algorithm’s circular nature. No European performance at the time of Bhāskara , or much later, exceeded its amazing height of mathematical intricacy, according to C.-O. Selenius.

Many mathematical discoveries were made in India, some of which you may know about, while others not so much, these discoveries include; the Binary numbers, ruler measurements, the decimal system, numerical notations, the concept of zero, and much more. These are just a few that I loved researching about. It’s incredible to think that without modern technology, these mathematicians and scientists could achieve such heights that their discoveries are still known and are used today.

This article is part of a series titled “The Ancient Mysteries”

Feature image source

Reference:

Food is music to the heart

“Food is music to the body; music is food to the heart”

 It was a huge pleasure meeting Konkani Bandhawas at the Ugadhi function. There was new found energy and happy faces. “Long time no see” and “coming out of hibernation” were the mantras. There were warm hugs, entertainment and tempting food with Konkani written all over it. Speaking of food, the music group “Culture Criminals” with their soulful renditions of songs from the “good old times Bollywood” enhanced the flavour of the food without even taking a step into the kitchen. That is the beauty of music. Thank you “Culture Criminals”.

Sounds can make eating food pleasant, enjoyable and even change the perception of flavour. I have walked into a low-end pizza place with loud music blaring and compared it to an upscale pizza place with the soft music of Luciano Pavarotti playing. Those notes take you to the heart of Italy and gently guide your senses to a more authentic taste of pizza.

At home, the sound of boiling water and pouring it over tea creates a feeling of anticipation. For Konkani’s it is the sound of the sea, bringing to mind seafood.  And by association, seafood and breaking of the sea surf. For a trial listen to this in the background when you are eating your next meal of fish:

 Mi Dolkara Daryacha Raja With Lyrics | मी डोलकर डोलकर डोलकर दर्याचा राजा | Lata Mangeshkar – YouTube,

At home, we rely on certain sounds that can act as a cue during cooking and give an indication of how to proceed. When preparing the tadka, the crackling sound that arises when mustard seeds splutter in the pan of the hot oil indicates that the oil is hot enough to draw the flavour from the food and it is time to reduce the heat. The popping sound of corn kernels exploding in the presence of heat is a gauge to determine the cooking time of popcorn when preparing a big bowl of popcorn for movie night. 

Is there a connection between that crackling sound you hear and the rating you give to that movie? Of course, sound and aroma go hand in hand with acting and script!

We pick up sound through auditory receptors, tiny hair cells inside the inner ear organ called the cochlea. The hair cells contain stereocilia, a bundle of hairlike processes that can pick up sound. Sound waves enter through the outer ear and travel through the ear canal to the eardrum where the drum begins to vibrate. The intensity of the vibrations depends on the intensity of the sound. The brain in turn processes this information to tell us about the source and quality of the sound and we react accordingly. Importantly, our ear canals are connected to our nose and olfactory pathways.

Sometimes the start of the meal is marked by saying grace or the ringing of a musical instrument, such as a bell. The purpose is to create ambience in which the food is eaten and often sound is a way to make guests conscious of the story behind the meal.

Research has been conducted to determine whether air pressure changes or cabin noise are responsible for airline passengers’ preference for beverages and meals in flight. The studies simulated the air pressure and/or sounds experienced in a commercial airplane cabin at cruising altitudes. In one study people were asked to taste combinations of the five basic tastes – sour, salty, sweet, bitter, and savory. Their responses were recorded in the presence or absence of loud sounds that stimulated airline cabin noise. Out of the five basic tastes, only sweet and savoury were significantly affected. In particular, the perception of savory increased in the presence of loud noise, while the perception of sweetness started to decrease. So sound and its intensity do in fact influence the perception of taste.

The right sound can positively influence your meal, just as the wrong one can have a negative impact. Loud sounds can be distracting and make it hard to concentrate. Not a great way to consume any meal. Next time try for yourself loud blaring music drums versus the soft beat of Santoor on your next dining experience.

Pandit Shivkumar Sharma (Santoor) – Raga Yaman – YouTube

Music has a way of reaching deep inside to wake up your taste buds. It can make you smile; it can make you weep; it can make you hungry. An invitation is hereby extended to share your feast of your ears, great songs that fire your taste buds. As for our household, the go to music is always a version of:

 LEGACY: Asha Bhosle & Ustad Ali Akbar Khan – Pure Indian Classical – YouTube

So, the next time you are eating or cooking, pay attention to the sounds around you and the sounds the ingredients or food make. These sounds may not only amplify the sensation and bring out the best from your taste buds.

 Is it too much to ask for a glimpse of “culture criminals” at all the OKA functions?

About the author…
Madhav Shanbhag moved to GTA in 2017, after spending more than 40 years in Fredericton, New Brunswick. In retirement, Madhav enjoys the luxury of few hours of leisure and nature time