#DecorDialogues with Architect Siddharth Shirur is now LIVE on the Home-N-Interiors page! CLICK HERE TO READ!
"To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect." - Oscar Wilde

Monday, 20 January 2020

#DecorDialogues with Architect Siddharth Shirur

Hello lovely Home-Owners,

As promised, Relax-N-Rave  is here with its brand new series - DECOR DIALOGUES! 
Presenting, rendezvous with interesting, creative and immensely talented individuals from the field of Architecture and Interior Design! 
Here you will get to know more about creative professionals, their trademark designs and projects, their peeves if you will 😜, their modus operandi and also great tips on emerging and in-trend design bytes.

It gives me immense pleasure and honor to host my very first guest on this series,

Architect Siddharth Shirur 

Architect Siddharth Shirur is an extremely dynamic, charismatic and versatile professional that I have personally had the good fortune of working with. 
He is a founding partner of Vistaar Architects & Planners and has been with the firm since the past 19 years. 
He completed his G.D. Arch from the reputed Academy of Architecture, Rachana Sansad, Mumbai (1996).
He has to his credit numerous projects in residential, commercial, educational, sports, industrial, institutional etc. fields. 

One of his great achievements is winning the First Prize in the Design Competition for the proposed National Tax Headquaters in New Delhi - Rajaswa Bhavan along with Design partners CSA Partners Ltd.

Proposed National Tax Headquarters -Rajaswa Bhawan, New Delhi

Some of his other projects of distinction,
Rajasthan Bhawan, Vashi

You can know more about Architect Siddharth Shirur and his work at,

Now, let's get a bit more well-acquainted with Arch. Siddharth Shirur, shall we? 

1) Tell us a little about yourself beyond your resume, maybe something about your personal background, family, hobbies, passion, quirks...

Sid Says: My wife calls me a 'multi-tasker', which probably I am. Whether that's a good trait to have or not, is a different question. Of course that goes with my varied interests apart from architecture, to name a few - reading, trekking, running and managing Lakshya Shooting Club founded by my wife, Suma Shirur (Olympian and Arjuna Awardee). 

2) What was your inspiration to take up your chosen career?

Sid Says: Well, in those days there was not much awareness about architecture as a profession. So my understanding of the profession was limited to Mumbai and its sights and sounds. And I had this creative streak in me that told me somehow that architecture was the right profession for me. I actually gave up my confirmed seat in Medical through an All India Entrance Exam, in favor of a seat in Architecture in the Academy of Architecture of Rachana Sansad, Mumbai.

3) Name one or more projects that you are proud of or that is close to your heart and why. 

Sid Says: Rajaswa Bhawan - The National Tax HQ in New Delhi is a design competition that my firm Vistaar Architects & Planners won in design partnership with CSA Partners. This project will remain special for me because it was a National level competition that saw 158 entries from all over India. Another project close to my heart is  a small farm house modern villa in Alibag for Mr & Mrs. Baljekar.

4) What would you say is your signature style – any particular design element/material?

Sid Says: I believe in responding to the context for every project as per the demands and needs of the project. But the underlying principle that guides my design process is - 'Simplicity in design and purity in materials used define a good building'. I strive to adhere to this principle; at times I am successful, at times I am not. 

5) How important do you consider it to be – an Architect/ Designer - Client relationship? Also tell us what would be your vision of an ideal client?

Sid Says: Hmm. If we only lived in a perfect world, there would be that perfect client - and that perfect architect! So let me put it this way; the day I become the perfect/ideal architect, that day I will deserve to have the perfect /ideal client. For now let me say that, I am my ideal client! Well, that would be a partial lie, as I did have 'near ideal clients' in the past who gave me considerable amount of freedom to design for them. But they have been few and far between. 

6) Do share some goof-ups, candid moments or anecdotes you may have encountered while you were doing a project.

Sid Says: Goof-ups? Looks like you want to embarrass me! But seriously, there are things that may happen on site at times, that are completely out of your control and you are left wondering!!

7) Please share some insights on some latest design trends in the home décor scene.

Sid Says: I think a design process can only be eternal, and not latest or outdated. Of course, materials come and go. Also as newer lifestyles demand newer thought processes and a design trend, or rather, a material trend that responds well to the current scenario, and that has environmental benefits should be the material an architect should look for to use in their scheme of things. I am excited to see the resurgence of decent quality marble mosaic flooring  making a comeback in the market to give you one such current trend that has caught my attention of late. 

And now it's time for some...

🔥 Rapid Fire 🔥

1) Favorite color: Black

2) Favorite designer/architect: Luigi Snozzi

3) Favorite artist/musician: A R Rahman

4) Favorite book: Annihilation of Caste by Dr. B R Ambedkar

5) Favorite movie: Pyasa

6) Favorite food: Maa ke haath ka khana

7) Favorite holiday destination: The Himalayas

I am sure you folks enjoyed this tête-a-tête with our esteemed guest for his unique flair and insightful responses. 
I am extremely delighted to have hosted Arch. Siddharth Shirur on DECOR DIALOGUES and I wish him the very best in all his endeavors!

You can know more about Architect Siddharth Shirur and his work at,

Stay tuned to the Home-N-Interiors Page on Relax-N-Rave to meet more such talented and creative personalities from the world of Architecture and Interior Design.

Till later,

Beautiful homes, Happy Homes! 

Architects, Interior Designers and persons from the Decor industry may connect with me for collaborations: relaxnrave@gmail.com

1) Relax-N-Rave presents #DecorDialogues
2) #DecorDialogues with Architect Siddharth Shirur

Copyright © 2020 KALA RAVI

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Relax-N-Rave presents #DecorDialogues

Hello lovely Home-Owners,

Do you feel awe, wonder and delight when you see beautiful man-made structures? 
Do you marvel at the cleverness of design, the smooth flow of shapes, the unexpected play of lights, colors and textures? 
Do you feel curious about what goes into the making of beautiful homes, the creative intellects behind these aesthetic delights?
Then, you are in the right place! 
Relax-N-Rave is proud to present a brand new series on the
Home-N-Interiors page:

DECOR DIALOGUES - This exciting new series will feature regular rendezvous with interesting, creative and immensely talented individuals from the field of Architecture and Interior Design.
You will get to know more about their skills, their trademark designs and projects, their peeves if you will 😜, their modus operandi and also great tips on emerging and in trend design bytes.

So folks, please stay tuned to my blog for this upcoming, exciting new series. I am sure you'll be interested to know more about the creative minds and faces working behind beautiful creations!

Architects, Interior Designers and persons from the Decor industry may connect with me for collaborations: relaxnrave@gmail.com

Do subscribe to my blog to receive my latest posts right in your Inbox, absolutely FREE!

Till later,

Beautiful homes, Happy Homes! 


Kala Ravi

1) Relax-N-Rave presents #DecorDialogues
2) #DecorDialogues with Architect Siddharth Shirur

Copyright © 2020 KALA RAVI

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Makings of a Happy Diwali

The Mother of all Indian festivals - Diwali is finally all done with. Phew, relieved! Yep, Mother of all Festivals, fathers cannot possibly be credited for festive buoyancy of such epic proportions! 
I am inordinately vexed with myself for being bitten by the festive bug ever since I can remember. It is doubly irritating that I have no one but myself to blame for this maddening fervor. Pre-festive jitters and post-festive blues are real enough conditions, at least for me! And still, year after year I let myself get swayed and carried away in the tidal wave of colors, lights, sights, smells and jubilation of the celebrations.

The tiny seed of festive fervor is planted well in advance as one glances casually at the calendar. 'Ah, Diwali next year comes early,' you observe and put away that bit of info in the back burner. Unlike the Gregorian calendar by which a festival falls on a fixed date year upon year, the Hindu calendar follows the vagaries of the moon and dishes out new dates for festivals every year. Dates vary from a few days to even a month forward or backwards.  

Diwali this year is early and just around the corner! How could you've forgotten, you chastise yourself.
The seed of festive fervor had gone into dormancy, post last year's exuberant and tremendously tiring celebrations. The year flew past in the comfortable companionship of monotony, inertia and lethargy. 
All of a sudden you catch sight of adverts, hoardings and all the online and offline shops going berserk with deals and steals galore. 
Good God, it is pandemonium time you realize with a rush of excitement and trepidation at the amount of planning, cleaning, decorating, shopping and cooking that come together as a festive package deal. 
You see, the harmless dormant seed is the crazy magic bean, one that bursts open and unleashes the giant beanstalk of endless festive chores. 

On an optimistic note you start with the Planning, after all it is pretty easy to draw out lists. You proceed to embellish and fine tune them, sort them alphabetically, doodle them prettily and admire your orderliness and creativity. The List becomes List 1, 2,....Final List, Final List 1, Final List 2...Finally Final List, Grand Final List, The End List....and then as time flies, you start revising the chores in the order of urgency, which finally narrows down to simply, IN and OUT.

Whoever dreamed of the idea of Festive Cleaning was definitely a sadist. In India, Diwali cleaning is a ritual just like spring-cleaning everywhere else. The difference is that, other than the family members, okay only me cleaning the house, the domestic help is also included in the grand plan. Before you declare that to be a fortunate bit of luck, let me assure you there is catch to it. The Diwali Bonus. Try what you may, this is one gift that can never satisfy the receiver however hard the giver tries. 
The Help and her...erm..."Helping Hand", albeit half-halfheartedly, joins the cleaning venture envisioning a Bumper Diwali Bonus. Your troubles are doubled in the effort of outlining her To-Do-List while not overwhelming her mercurial attitude towards the injustice of feudalism.
If you thought you could motivate through example and involvement, you are sadly mistaken. You are left scrubbing the chimney and hob, with your help looking on with a running commentary of insightful suggestions on how best to get rid of the stubborn grease. 
You will not believe the number of homes besieged with no house help post-Diwali simply because their Diwali bonus did not exceed expectations! 
The trouble with cleaning is that it is like opening pandora's box, with this particular box having its bottom connected to a black hole, never-ending! As soon as you are done with one bit of cleaning, the next one beckons and the next. You've practically scrubbed, scoured and polished every inch of the house, with no end in sight.
The family's contribution to the upheavals at home is to express their angst with lame memes on social media or worse, making observations like, "You mean you cleaned this? It looks just the same," quite similar to their response after your 6-hour stint at the beauty salon.

The post-cleaning aches and pains, in joints you never knew existed are not the end of your woes. The cleaning spree gives way to the Decorating nightmare. Dreamy Pinterest and Instagram handles flaunting vibrant, eye-popping festive homes haunt you as you look at your own rather sepia-toned home in comparison. If untangling bunches of lights and decorations frazzled your nerves, setting them up in position only to find most of them not working is teeth gnashing. Outsourcing the chore to the better half only reminds you of helpful Uncle Podger!

The growing pile of items in the OUT column of the List is disconcerting to say the least while Shopping still looms large with very little time left to do it in. You fervently look into cupboards and decide to allocate each member an unopened new set of clothes as their festive gear. Ah, good that was easy! Next comes, navigating crowded aisles at the super markets to buy gifts for the near and dear, scouring streets for miscellaneous items like lanterns, rangoli powder, diyas and more till your arms are aching lugging all that shopping. 

For some reason you cannot at present fathom, why you kept Cooking - making the eagerly awaited festive treats to the very end, with just two days to go. "It's the Final Countdown..." plays in your head on an endless loop. As you come up the lift to your apartment you get tantalizing whiffs of goodies from each floor. Folks at home are anxiously peering into empty dabbas in the kitchen and returning empty-handed. You finally remember that last Diwali your overeager self had made a humongous batch of treats a good week before the festival which disappeared to mere scraps by the time the big day actually came, which prompted you to postpone sweet-making to the very end of chores this year, sigh Planning!

The sweet-savory trail begins with big plans and ear-marked YT videos of exquisite dishes. All you need to do now is follow the videos and voila! As you check out the videos, one by one, your heart sinks looking at the eclectic ingredients you've never seen and elaborate processes you've never attempted. Well, it's back to basics ain't it? Simple, tried and tested trumps over esoteric, exclusive and exotic. 
A few failed attempts nevertheless make mandatory festive appearances. You are covered in a fine layer of flour, sticky sugar powder and oil hunched over a pan stirring a stubborn blend to the right consistency to pour out into the barfi trays. As you jubilantly cut through the rows upon rows of the favorite sweet, you are wondering who on earth is going to appreciate your back-breaking labor when the very same sweet is churned out in tons by the Haldirams and Bikanerwalas. You still have to make the rangoli, make up goodie hampers, doll up, buy crackers....will the List never end?

The better half walks into the kitchen, offering a sympathetic suggestion,"Why didn't you simply pick up a few boxes of  Haldirams with the brilliant Buy 1, Get 1 offer we saw last week at S-Mart?" 
THAT DOES IT. You calmly set aside your diligent labor into a fresh box. You walk out to the living room, sink into the sofa, put up your bone-tired feet, pick up your phone and drown your sorrows gazing at the gazillion pre-Diwali wishes. An epitaph floats into your mind, "She died trying to make it a Happy Diwali," as you drift into an exhausted slumber. 

The room is dark by the time you wake up. As you squint open your eyes stretching the aching limbs, you realize the house looks beautiful with the twinkling lights and smells divine with the lit up scented candles. The family is tip-toeing around, the kids outside the door arguing in hisses and shoves on how the lantern should hang. The better-half is shuttling from room to room with the mounds of gift boxes. 
Somewhere along the line, I'd managed to inflict the folks around me with the same festive affliction! 
I continue pretending to sleep while blissfully watching my lazy elves finally embracing the festive fervor. 

"After all, the best part of a holiday is perhaps not so much to be resting yourself, as to see all the other fellows busy working." 
- Kenneth Grahame (Wind in the Willows)


This post has been featured on Women's Web online site:
A Homemaker Looks Back At Her Hectic Yet Happy Family Diwali That Just Went By... https://www.womensweb.in/2019/11/a-homemaker-looks-back-at-the-makings-of-a-happy-diwali-that-just-went-by-nov19wk2sr/

Copyright © 2019 KALA RAVI

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Why Suffer, When You Can Be Safe? #TogetherAgainstMeningitis

We live in an era where we are subject to numerous health risks due to modern lifestyle, air/soil/water pollution besides the already existing diseases in the environment. Doesn’t it make sense therefore to avail of safe and preventive measures such as vaccines that modern science offers us, to safeguard ourselves from potentially life-threatening and debilitating diseases?
I recently came across some chat forums on twitter discussing one such disease: Meningococcal Meningitis, a highly unpredictable and life-threatening disease that can be safely prevented with the aid of vaccines.

What is Meningococcal Meningitis?

Invasive Meningococcal Disease (IMD) is a rare but potentially devastating bacterial infection caused by Neisseria meningitis.1 It commonly present as an infection of the brain (meningitis) and/or infection of the blood (septicemia or blood poisoning).1 One in 10 people who develop the disease can die from it in as little as 24 hours while 10-20% of survivors suffer from serious complications such as amputation, scars, deafness or brain damage. 2, 3

How is it caused?

Around 10% of the population carries meningococcal bacteria in the back of their throats at any given time (carrier). Occasionally the bacteria defeat the body’s defenses and cause infection. Meningococcal disease is spread from person to person through respiratory droplets (e.g. coughing, sneezing, kissing).4

Who is at risk from Meningococcal Meningitis?

Children below 5 years of age, adolescents and young adults (15-19 years) with the highest carrier rate of the bacteria are at most risk. Increased risk factors include living in community settings, participating in mass gatherings. Basically, it can affect anyone, anywhere in the world, even healthy individuals without identifiable risk factors.5

What are the symptoms?

The early symptoms can be misleading as they are flu-like in nature (e.g. irritability, fever, loss of appetite) 6 and make diagnosis difficult.7 Signs of meningococcal meningitis include fever, headache, stiff neck, vomiting, sensitivity to light, confusion etc.6 However it is important to react as the disease can lead to death within 24 hours of onset.7, 8 Diagnosis involves testing samples of blood and cerebrospinal fluid for the Neisseria meningitis bacteria.7

Can Meningococcal Meningitis be prevented?

Yes! Vaccines can be given to infants as young as 9 months and works as the missing link for comprehensive protection against acute bacterial meningitis!11 Vaccines available in India can prevent four different types of bacterial serogroups that cause meningococcal meningitis.

Should you get Meningococcal Meningitis vaccination?

Armed with all this information, I am ready to take a stand against this dreadful disease. I plan to visit my doctor along with my teen son, discuss this life-saving vaccine and avail immunization at the earliest.

How about you? I strongly suggest that all parents get more information on meningococcal meningitis and how to prevent it by having a talk with their doctors. A simple timely vaccine can spare your family from this devastating disease.

It is after all, always better to be safe than sorry

Join the movement against Meningococcal Meningitis today!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the blog content are independent and unbiased views solely of the blogger. This is a part of public awareness initiative on meningitis supported by Sanofi Pasteur India. Sanofi Pasteur bears no responsibility for the content of the blog. One should consult their healthcare provider for any health-related information. This article is meant to help create awareness and spread knowledge. Any decision regarding your health and child's health should be done after consultation with your doctor. While all efforts are made to keep articles updated, the speed of research in these fields mean the information often may change when more research knowledge is available. Relax-N-Rave or the authors should be in no way held responsible in that case.

1. Meningitis Research Foundation. What are meningitis and septicemia
2. CDC Meningococcal disease: Recommended vaccines
3. Meningitis now. After-effects of septicemia
4. Meningitis now. What is meningitis, types and causes
5. Martinon-Torres, F. Deciphering the burden of Meningococcal Disease: Conventional and Under-recognized Elements. Journal of Adolescent Health 59. Volume 59, Issue 1, March 2016. Pages 12-20.
6. CDC. Meningococcal disease-Signs and Symptoms
7. CDC. Meningococcal disease – Diagnosis, Treatment, and Complications
8. Branco, R., Amoretti, C. and Tasker, R. Meningococcal disease and meningitis. Jornal de Pediatria. Volume 83, Issue 7, 2011. Pages 46-53
9. CDC. Meningococcal Disease – Prevention.
10. WHO. Meningococcal meningitis.

Monday, 14 October 2019

Those Cold Days

I am dabbing ineffectually at my unstoppable nose with an overburdened handkerchief and wondering dispassionately, what happened to the good old course a common cold was supposed to follow? It's been a good two weeks and this dratted cold along with aches and pains galore, doesn't want to leave me!
The mutant common colds today are like unwanted, pesky guests with no due date of arrival or departure. You have no clue what to expect from them. Are you supposed to ignore, worry or pamper them? Are your symptoms just those of a common cold or is it dengue or chikungunya? 
Trying times, I tell you. Why can't germs follow prescribed or known norms?

Common Cold Mami saga

Once upon a time, when you were afflicted by the common cold, you expected a set pattern of events. The cold of yore started with a ticklish, irritating sensation in the throat. The head began to pound at loud noises. Eyes watered in bright light. The body ached at all places and your appetite went down from 5 helpings of everything to meager 2 helpings. Amma would be the first to discern that you were coming down with something. Your over-bright watery eyes, warm forehead and lowered enthusiasm for her special potato roast curry alerted her right away.

The first patient of the common cold season, always instigated the latent medical genius and patient, caring nurse in amma. Later patients weren't as fortunate.

No time to lose! You are hustled off to sleep under her watchful eye while appa could decide to sleep...wherever! The cure-all Vicks Vaporub came out from the medicine box which amma liberally rubbed over your forehead, nose, throat and chest. The fan was switched off, the thick rug brought out and a glass of the mandatory manjalpodi paal (turmeric latte, ahem!) thrust in front of you. Your annoying sibling was promptly told off to be less annoying, find shelter in another room and avoid the contagion. Ah, the sweet perks of sickness! 

Next morning you woke up with a frog in your throat, a blocked nose, feeling hot and cold simultaneously and an anxious amma peering at you. By laying her thermometric cheek to your forehead, she instantly declared you were officially unfit enough to qualify for a school leave and she hurried along, mentally planning the alterations to her usual schedule. 

The aroma of tulsi, carom seeds and ginger being boiled into a kashayam wafted in the air, proclaiming the home to be sick bay. Before you had any thoughts of brushing your teeth, a tall steaming glass of salt water awaited you - Have cold, Will gargle, period. If your face creased in distaste, you are reminded that had pati been around, you'd be harboring a piece of kadukkai in your mouth along with burnt turmeric paste on the forehead. 

The tried and tested formula for any known ailment in my family for generations has been the "milagu-jeera rasam" that makes an appearance irrespective of whether it is a cold, indigestion or general lassitude. This particular rasam is genetically embedded in our DNA (along with thayir sadam) and thus qualifies as soul food. A hand-mashed bowlful of steaming hot rasam sadam warms your insides while the pepper-induced streaming nose, clears all blockages. 

If you still waddled around with a stuffy nose, out came the dreaded tall vessel. Hot water was boiled in this vessel and generous scoop of, what else...Vicks Vaporub was added and you were forced to bend over it, a towel thrown over your head and made to inhale the healing vapours. While the nose promptly got blocked again by the time the water in the vessel cooled, the "Vicks vapour" inhalation sure gave your face a sheen like nothing else.

After a cozy nap, by late afternoon, you were done with sufficiently warming your bed and now your stomach growled for some attention, what with the milagu-jeera rasam having accomplished its job of improving your digestive capacity so well. When amma offered you a couple of slices of dry bread toast, you told her to add a few couple more topped with a generous flourish of Amul butter. Amma's ante immediately perked up. She quietly watched you polish off the pile of toast engrossed in the dog-eared volumes of Indrajal comics and ask for a refill. Uh-Uh! The saintly mother nurturing the sick child quickly vanished. "Aha, so now that you are well enough, you better call up your classmates and ask them what you missed at school. Better still, go over to their house and bring back lessons to copy and homework to complete."

Darn, I didn't want my "coldiday" to end so soon! Meanwhile, the door bell rang and since I was trying to pretend to be weak and wan still, I refused to answer it. Cursing about how she was the only one in the house doing everything, amma went to answer it. It was appa, he was home early. He told me to move over from the cushy diwan. He needed to lie down, he sniffed loudly and asked amma to get him some piping hot kaapi for his splitting talavali
"Make the kaapi extra strong and extra hot...cough, cough, achooo!"Appa quavered. He asked me to fetch him some extra pillows, the newspaper, his reading glasses, his bottle of Amrutanjan, the thermometer, his muffler, his large handkerchief...

Good God, appa had caught the cold! Time to flee! I scooted to gather my school bag stuffing a couple of comics into it and headed to my friend's place. Uff!! What a big fuss over a common cold!


kadukkai - a dried fruit from the tree Terminali chebula used as cough remedy
pati - grandmother
milagu-jeera  - pepper-cumin
Thayir sadam - curd rice
milagu-jeera rasam - Watch this one!
Kaapi - filter coffee
talavali - headache

Enjoyed this post? Read more southern-spiced pieces from,

The Mami Saga:

1) Common-place Curd Rice

2) Kaapi-ready

3) Of Dangling Drumsticks, Wily Vadus and more

4) Idli Seria Vanduda?

5) Mamievolution

6) Buzz Fuss

7) Yours Generously

8) Those Cold Days

Copyright © 2019 KALA RAVI

Saturday, 5 October 2019

The Festive Spirit

Wherever he looked, Ramesh saw hoardings and advertisements of electronics, clothing, food and everything under the sun. The beginning of the festive season was when the whole world eagerly awaited the chance to splash and splurge, while he dreaded it. Shops overflowed with goods and people. 
Whatever he earned was never enough, not with six mouths to feed, shelter, clothe, educate, and treat for ailments. The festive bonus he’d received was sent to the village to help his sister’s family who were having a harder time than him, with a second consecutive year of drought. There was no question of having that extra money to buy new clothes and treats.
As he entered home he could hear his 8 year old son complaining to his wife when she reprimanded him for constantly pestering her for a pair of denim pants. “But aai, it's just not that special time of the year without new clothes! You know all my friends get new clothes for the festival!”
Ramesh called out, “Come here, Kunal. Tell your friends, it's not THAT time of the year by just wearing new clothes. It is THAT time of the year to be kind and generous. Do you know because of our little help, Anu athya’s family will have enough to eat for this whole month? If we had bought new clothes, they would all be sleeping on empty stomachs. Won't they be glad to have enough to eat and bless us? 
We will be going to the village for the festival. You will have plenty of fun with Varsha and Ajay lighting hundreds of diyas that kumbhari kaka makes.”
The child was thrilled to hear this. Ramesh continued, “And you know what? No one in the village has seen your clothes, anything you wear there will look new to them! Now that you both have grown so tall, you can collect some of your old clothes and toys and give it to the village children, they’ll be so happy to receive it. Now run along.” Kunal excitedly dragged in his younger sibling who was playing outside.
Ramesh exchanged a look of relief with his wife as they watched their two boys rummaging in the old trunk holding their belongings, searching for things to gift their lesser fortunate village friends.

Featured Image

aai - mother
athya - aunt - father's sister
diyas - earthern lamps
kumbhari kaka - potter uncle


Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
- Buddha

Buddha quote

I am participating in the #WordsMatter Bloghop. The prompt this time was "It's not that time of the year without..."
I received this tag from Mahati Ramya at Fantastic Feathers. It’s my pleasure to pass on this tag to Suchita Agarwal at Tales of Suchita. There are 38 of us on this Blog Hop and it will be spread over 3 days – 4, 5, 6 October  2019. Do follow the #WordsMatter Blog Hop and prepare to be surprised!

Dear Friends,
Currently my blog is facing an issue with the sharing buttons not having my twitter handle embedded. Kindly bear with me till I sort it out. My Twitter Handle is @KalaRavi16

Copyright © 2019 KALA RAVI

Sunday, 29 September 2019

The Two Sons

I love old folk tales. Simple tales. Tales from childhood, that warm your heart. 
There is this one tale, I've never forgotten, one my mother used to narrate.
I don't know if this is the original tale or there is another version, there well may be. Maybe you've heard it before, still hear it again. I'll share it just the way my mum did years ago.

Folk Tale

The Two Sons

Once upon a time, there lived a farmer in a small village. He had worked hard all his life to build up a good fortune with a large farmhouse, lots of cattle and acres of land.
His wife had passed away a few years ago and now he was sure his old frail body wouldn't be around much longer.
The farmer had two sons, Ajay and Vijay. He loved them both dearly and they in turn revered him. The father wanted to ensure all his property was equally divided between the two sons. 
The farmer came up with a plan. Early one morning he called Ajay and Vijay. Looking at their curious faces he explained, "Ajay and Vijay, you know I am getting very old, I don't think I'll be around much longer. Before I leave to join your mother, I have divided the cattle, the land and the money. Only this house remains. I'll be giving you two a little test. Based on the result, the winner will get the house, it it alright with you two?" 
The obedient sons nodded respectfully with downcast faces. They really loved their father.

The father continued, "You know we have the two identical, tiny, empty rooms on the upper floor? Here, take this," he said, giving them each a hundred rupees and continued,"Now I want you both to listen carefully to what I say. With the money I gave you, I want you each to buy whatever you can think of and fill up the room. That is all. I will decide the winner based on what I see. Now go on both of you, you have till today evening." The sons were puzzled with this strange test, but nevertheless set out to fulfill the task.

Ajay was sure he would win the task. He knew exactly what to buy, his father would be proud of him for having filled the tiny room the best.
Vijay was thoughtful on his way to the market. He thought hard. A hundred rupees to fill a room...yes he needed to think harder.
It was evening. Both the sons and the father went up to the first floor. The two rooms were on opposite sides of the staircase with a long corridor in between. Ajay and Vijay were both eager to show their rooms to their father. 
"Ajay since you are the elder, we'll see your room first," said the farmer.
Ajay was beaming with pride as he led them to the room. He was sure his father would applaud his efforts.
With some difficulty, Ajay opened the door to the room. It was dark and filthy. A cascade of dry hay fell on them. Ajay had spent his money on buying bundles of cheap hay and stuffed every inch of the room, from top to bottom with it.
The father looked stunned. No doubt, his elder offspring had passed the test, the room was certainly filled to the brim.
Next the three headed to the door on the opposite side of the corridor, Vijay's room.
Vijay unlocked the door and invited his father and Ajay to come in.
The room was neatly swept and was filled with the divine fragrance of incense and jasmine flowers. Placed against the wall opposite the door, there was a beautiful framed image of the smiling Lord Krishna adorned with a jasmine garland. The room had a warm glow from a small lamp lit in front of the frame and incense sticks were wafting the soothing fragrance. Vijay handed his father a bill of all the things he had purchased with the hundred rupees.
The old farmer's eyes filled with happiness. He hugged Vijay. 
The winner of the test was obvious, wasn't it? 

The elder son's untidy, unthinking, hasty choice of hay to fill up the room reflect his inherent nature. 
The younger son's thoughtful, neat, pleasing to the senses and careful choice of the God's picture frame along with the lamp, incense and fragrant flowers to fill up the room reflect his inherent nature. 

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