Thursday, May 28, 2009

Memoirs 10 - The Insignifance of a Smile

"Some little gestures change your day", he said to me one day.
"For instance, two days ago, one grumpy morning, I was driving to my office. I had worn my perpetual frown for the day to keep pleasant-talk and smiles away. I had to pass through a narrow lane. One disgrace to road traffic had parked his Maruti 800 on one side, and on the other side was a parked lorry.
Just as I was about to squeeze through the gap in the middle, a larger car appeared at the other end. One of us had to reverse, or honk till the driver of the Maruti or the lorry decided to come out of wherever-they-were and took off.
I muttered a curse under my breath and did not wait, began reversing my car and stopped to the side for the other car to pass. I did not do it out of concern for anyone, I just did not want to waste my time till one of us decides to be gracious.
The "cool" guy in dark glasses in the opposite car drove forward and raised his fingers in acknowledgment as he passed. I pretended not to have seen the arrogant gesture that could add to my list of grumpy experiences of the day and looked at the person seated next to him.
The woman smiled at me as they passed, a good small smile, a genuine acknowledgment of road manners.
It was so insignificant an incident that - guess what?- I followed every other road rule that day and did not shout even at the biker who crossed my path and almost got hit."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The ruins of an Empire

It is difficult and painful to see the fall of an Empire. More so, when one had been a part of it, albeit insignificant.

One would wish that someone more influential and capable of taking strong decisions could have pulled some strings - or ropes - to stop the demolition of the Empire. But they, due to indifference or negligence, or because their hands were bound, did nothing but save their own skins.

One would wish that sufficient steps were taken in time to avoid reducing to worthless junk the most loyal and capable citizens, by extracting the best strengths from them to keep the whole structure intact and out of destruction. But someone somewhere along the hierarchy seems to have been uninterested to salvage it and led the whole structure to wreck. Indeed the words used were the most cruel of them all. "Kill the sick babies, so that the healthy ones can survive."

One would also wish that if the end were definite, someone could have warned the blindly trusting people of the impending iceberg and given them an inkling, a chance to survive. Perhaps, in that case, they would not have jumped out to lifeboats themselves, they would have stood back and diverted the iceberg !

And today from the outside - for I am no longer part of it - I see the ruins trying to brave the weather and to stand dignified and together, as it once did. But ruins they are, the walls that still stand are very much aware of. They wait for a chance to sneak out of way of the falling stones and save themselves.

For Loyalty is a thing of the past, it had long ago died.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Day-4: Nisargadhaama

Continued from Day3- Madikeri, Day2- Kushala Nagara and Day1- WonderLa

We checked out from Veerabhoomi Resort before 10AM, and set out for Nisargadhaama which was a few kms away. Our plan was to spend an hour or so and then start for Bangalore. However we ended up spending about four hours there!

Nisargadhaama is a small island wildlife sanctuary, where Rabbits, Deer and other animals(we were told) are housed. We climbed a tree house on our walk towards the Deer, and the bamboos made quite a forest around us. The deer could be fed with cabbage we could buy there, one could also feed the two elephants that were taking people for a ride - I mean a real elephant ride. We too climbed on top of one and made a small tour. However, being as old as we are means we wonder about whether the elephant is well-fed, what it feels to be walking about all day carrying humans in addition to the saddles(whatever heavy stuff they are made of) and the ropes binding them, does it get enough rest in between the rides and so on. They seemed to have resigned themselves to this life.

We had taken tickets for a four-seater pedal boat but when we reached the starting point, a number of people were already waiting and there was only one four-seater. When our turn came and the free boat was a two-seater we settled for it (otherwise we would have ended up waiting for another 20 minutes or more).

It was now time to leave, have lunch and start back to Bangalore. Madikeri-Mysore was covered in an hour and a half (we did not enter Mysore town) and then we hit the Mysore-Bangalore highway at a consistent pace except at Mandya where the town slowed us down with its share of traffic, however all those were nothing compared to what we endured when we entered Bangalore. One and a half hours of moving at a snail's pace, it was all we could do to keep from screaming out our frustration. The fact that our house is in the northern point of Bangalore didn't help, either. I have no idea how Bangalore is going to cope with its ever-growing traffic. I believe someone should stop new vehicles from being brought to Bangalore... no amount of trees cut down is going to make the roads wide enough to cater to the number of vehicles on the road today(and increasing!).

It was good to be back home, to have a cup of tea and dinner and settle in for the night.

The vacation was almost over and it was good while it lasted.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Day-3: Talacauvery, Madikeri

Continued from Day-2 Kushala Nagara and Day-1 WonderLa

By this time our driver had a fair idea of what to expect when we informed him our scheduled time of departure to Talacauvery as 8.30AM. As could be predicted, the actual departure was at 10AM, largely owing to the little three year old refusing to budge from the children's park where he was climbing up and down the slide and the swings.

The first part of the journey to Madikeri, 30kms from Kushala Nagara, was smooth and escaped most of our notice as we were reminiscing old stories and jokes and, laughing our heads off, remembering the foolish games of our youth and all the cheating we did. We stopped at Madikeri for a quick tea and to ground the static electricity that may have accumulated in our bodies. The real Ghat Road began from there. We had to stop many times in the route since some or other of us was feeling dizzy and on the verge of getting sick, though fortunately nothing happened.

Talacauvery is the point of origin of the River Cauvery, where it begins as a dripping spring before swelling in its downward journey and becoming the major topic of controversy between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. There is a temple where the holy water from the spring is worshipped. The temple premise was apparently rennovated recently, for the convenience of tourists.

A climb of 369 steps (as my nephew counted it) would take one to a scenic location probably the highest point in the area and would guarantee a beautiful view on a clear day. I did not attempt the climb because I was already dizzy from the uphill drive, but some of my family did, however they could not get a good view because of the thick mist.

Photography was not allowed in the temple as per a directive at the entrance, however we spotted someone with a video camera shooting away the dieties. There is always someone who is ready to break rules who believes every rule has an exception for him! We did not take out our cameras so I do not have any pictures to share.

There are no good hotels at that height, only small shops where we can buy vadas or packed crispies like Lays or cheese balls. To get lunch we had to come down around 10kms to Bhagamandala. Every other hotel in that area had the name 'Cauvery' in it. Hotel Mayura Cauvery, Hotel Cauvery, and so on... We requested our driver to go slow on the drive down, so that we don't feel uncomfortable after lunch. Everyone started word games to distract themselves; even the ones who were not playing listened and contributed here and there, so the twists and turns did not make a great impact on any of us.

We were all very exhausted by the time we reached Madikeri, but proceeded to Abbey Falls where the waterfall was thin, we were told that after the monsoons it would be heavy and quite a sight to see. We had to travel down a flight of steps to reach the falls and the very thought of climbing back terrified me. But as always the return journey is easier than the forward, and we reached the top where our Qualis was parked, almost in no time.

I just wanted to get back to our rooms and relax, but Raja's seat was just 2kms away from Madikeri town, so everyone suggested that we see that as well. So we had tea and dosas, and proceeded to Raja's Seat. It is another view-point, where the Rajas of old are believed to have sat listening to the grievances of the citizens. The park now has a Musical Fountain, indeed as my sister remarked, there seems to be a musical fountain in almost every tourist spot in Karnataka!!

Then started the next 30kms back to Kushala Nagara Veerabhoomi resort, for dinner and a collapse.

Day 4 - Nisargadhaama, and back to Bangalore.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Day-2: Kushala Nagara

Continued from Day1 - WonderLa

Day2 dawned at Mysore Shree Guru Residency with a fresh set of faces ready for the next leg of the journey. We started an hour behind schedule, the getting-ready and checking-out ceremonies took more time than we thought, and we were finally on our way by 11 am.

The destination was Kushala Nagara, Veerabhoomi Resort where we were to spend the next two days, exploring Madikeri.

Near Kushala Nagara is the famous Tibetan Colony, and the Golden Temple, Nyingmapa Buddhist Monastery. The following text is borrowed from this site.

After the Chinese took over Tibet, the refugees were settled at Bylakuppe Near Kushalnagar and the Buddhist Monastery was re-established here in 1972. It houses over 250 monks today. The monastery not only attracts large number of young Tibetans seeking enlightenment and education, but also draws huge tourists from all over India and abroad.

Our driver suggested that we visit the Golden Temple as it was on our way to the resort, and we could even have Tibetan Lunch in the Colony.

1. The entrance to the Nyingmapa Monastery and the Golden Temple

2. The Golden Temple

3. The spacious prayer hall

The spacious lawn and garden in the monastery are a must-see, one can also pick up some souvenirs from the shops around the temple.

After having lunch from a restaurant opposite the monastry entrance, we proceeded to our resort at Kushala Nagara. However we were slightly disappointed, we were under the impression that Kushala nagara is very close to Madikeri and the resort would be at a very scenic and higher location. There was another 30kms (climb) to Madikeri and though the resort had children's park and swimming pool and other amenities, we did not end up spending much time there, except the evening of our arrival.

Day 3 - Talacauvery, Abbey Falls, Raja's seat (Madikeri)
Day 4 -Nisargdhaama (Kushala Nagara)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Day-1: Wonder La

I am just back after a short family vacation and though we all are tired to the bones and beneath, we all had a good time, especially the three- and seven- year olds in the family.

I intend to bore you with the details of the trip (in parts!), so better escape while you can, or leave me a comment if you (dare) read till the end ;)

Our first visit was Wonder La, the Water Theme Park on Mysore Road, one hour's drive from Bangalore. It was Sunday, and May month means Summer Vacation, so we did expect a huge crowd and were not disappointed. What did disappoint me was the lame security-check at the entrance. Come on, we are a country tormented by terrorists. We have every right to rip open customers' bags and pull out purses to ensure that there are no explosives inside. Even after the attacks on Mumbai in November 2008, I have seen lax attention by the guards at Majestic Railway Station, Malls, and other places in Bangalore. Maybe (Hopefully) I am wrong and they are only pretending to be not watching. But I digress.

A water theme park is a water theme park, one has a fair idea of what to expect there. Pools, waves, wet rides, dry rides. Many, many of them. Screaming flocks of people in all rides, pretending to be not frightened or excited. Insect-like rides on the zenith from which human legs pop out like legs of the giant insect (see the pic below).

If you do your math after spending Rs600/- each at the entrance for eight people out of which only four really use the majority of the rides you would end up dissatisfied. However, if the delight on the faces of your kids is anything, then you forget the charge and just enjoy their enjoyment.

It rained several times during the day, and it was curious to see the people who had been till then getting themselves drenched in the rides and pool, running - to escape from getting themselves wet? ...

There were small rides (Carousel and another one which goes up and down slowly) for children below 100cms height, and it was cute to see the twinkling eyes and excited smiles of the little ones who rode them. My own three year old was one of them, and he was looking around, smiling, at the shrieking girls sitting next to him. He and my seven-year old nephew went together in a "Jumping Frog", and an "Oriental Express" train, the latter helping his little cousin to sit and tie the belt...

There was a "Pirate Ship" that went slowly up and down, in which my son sat next to a little girl who was frightened and was huddling close to him, he put his arm around her and tried to comfort her, even though he himself was terrified when he looked around...

There were other real crazy rides near which none of us approached, I could not even make out why people would want to ride them and get dizzy and get themselves a stomach upset?

Over six hours after we entered, we still had not seen all the rides, but the children were tired and so were the parents so we started for Mysore.

The day ended at Hotel Shree Guru Residency, Mysore, all of us sleeping the night off like logs.

The next morning we were to start for Madikeri.

Day2 - Tibetan Colony and Nyingmapa Monastery (Kushala Nagara)
Day3 - Talacauvery, Abbey Falls, Raja's seat (Madikeri)
Day 4 - Nisargadhama, and back to Bangalore

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Survival tactics

My friend comes to me and informs that she now reports to a new boss.

She has been acquainted with him for long, indeed due to her friendly nature she knows and chats with everyone in the organization. However, since he became formally her Boss, his attitude has changed. He does not find time for casual chat as he used to, he appears not to trust her in the work she does, he feels she needs frequent supervision, despite that she has been into the task for about two years and he is new to it. He appears to be afraid that she will get the credit for the success of the project, and he tries to forcibly take away responsibilities from her that she had been adeptly handling so far. She is frustrated beyond description and the constant breathing down her back is affecting her work. They have been only two weeks into this and already life has been miserable for her and she has no clue whom to turn to. She even contemplated complaining to a higher authority in the organization.

I know the person who is her new boss. "I suggest you try not to get worked up so soon", I tell her. "Wait for a couple more weeks. You see, he is also new to this. Just as you feel insecure about him being your new Boss, he feels the same about you and the rest of the team. He does not know the way you work, he does not know the product. He is much more at sea than you are. He is frightened but does not want to show it, he wants you to acknowledge that he is your boss, he is afraid if the management finds out that you are the spine of the product, he becomes redundant."

"You continue to do your work just as you used to", I tell her. "Take care you don't tread on his foot, though. He is yet to form an opinion about you work-wise, and don't let him form a wrong one."

It's all the question of survival. These are difficult times, as they say. Everyone takes care to protect their jobs. Even at the cost of others'.

Friday, May 15, 2009

First impressions

I believe in the power of the First Impression. Over the years it has never failed me.

I have felt attracted to certain people and repulsed or wary of some others just because of the way they look when they first speak, how they sound, how their eyes slant at times and so on. After a while (sometimes years later), I have also been on the verge of changing an unfavourable opinion when an instance would prove to me that the conclusion I had formed when I was ten years old was correct.

When I was younger, I used to decide only whether I like a person or not.
However I learned much later that though we may like a person for what he appears to us, there may be shades to their character that we may not fully approve of. Like a diamond, the different sides and colours become visible when we change the angle from which we perceive.

He may be very honest and trying to do what he thinks is the best for everyone around him. However, it conflicts with my idea of right and not-so-right.
Or maybe, his view of doing something right is by throwing me out on the street.
It doesn't mean I am right and he is wrong. Or vice versa.

And it doesn't always mean that I stop trusting him or believing in him. Quite the contrary. I may end up respecting him all the more. But it is not necessary that the next person who lands adjacent to me on the sidewalk should also feel the same respect after being unceremoniously kicked out - he would shower a string of unkind & bitter words towards him.

I have already spoken of a different genre of individuals who thrive and flourish on irritating others.

The next category consists of some exceptional, disgusting speci men-and-women, beyond all pretense of worth. Despite our best (or worst!) attempts to drive some respect their way, they deflect it with flair, and repel all politeness and dignity. I would rather not speak of them.Even the most blindest man can easily make them out for what they are - from five metres away!

It takes all kinds, they say, to make this world...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Stairs and Age

I have been suddenly and acutely made aware of my age today, at the most unlikely place called the Commercial Street, Bangalore.

When I was younger, I used to watch my Grandma and older aunts carefully manoeuvre their way down staircases, taking every precaution available to them with their hands and body, taking one step at a time to ensure that they do not have a landing quicker than they wanted. I would have bounced down the steps and would be watching from below.

When I visited Mumbai last month, as I was going down a long series of steps with my hand baggage, I slipped at the smooth corner of one step and went merrily sailing down the next five or six, and came to a halt on my back, at a 45 deg inclination to the Earth. The people around looked duly shocked and concerned (I wonder how many chuckled in their mind seeing my flight) and I reassured them with a smile that I was fine.
My cousin who was with me asked, "Which part got hit?"
"None. It was a smooth landing", I replied.
"I will ask you again after a day", he said.

Sure enough, a day later I could feel slight bruisy sensations here and there, but they faded after a few days. Since then I have been wary of steps, with or without smooth edges.

And today imagine me carefully holding the railings and coming down the steps of a shop at Comm Street, one at a time...
Boy, am I there so early?!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Like the Flowing River: Paulo Coelho

I have just finished reading Paulo Coelho's "Like the Flowing River" - Thoughts and Reflections.

It contains a collection of weird and sometimes miraculous incidents in his life, stories he has come across from around the world, and his reflections on different aspects of Life. An interesting read, one can skim across the pages without much delay, but each of the stories leave a thought in our mind that we can take back when we are alone and chew on, analyse them in our own ways and find conclusions based on our experiences.

It is like reading someone's blog - his thoughts, interesting anecdotes from his life, his views on life.

Throughout the book's many pages, the authors tells us to look beyond the rising-working-eating-slogging-sleeping routine of our lives and to find our true destiny - the purpose of our lives, the reason why we exist here, at this time.

Here are some of the passages I liked from the book: To grasp and enjoy them, one really needs to read the full text.

I am filled by a profound sense of reverence and respect for a man who is, at that moment, reminding me of a very important lesson: that we each of us have our personal legend to fulfill, and that is all. It doesn't matter if other people support us or criticize us, or ignore us, or put up with us - we are doing it because that is our destiny on earth, and the fount of all joy.
(The Pianist in the Shopping Mall)

Everything is all right. But he had been a fraction of a second away from hitting our car and hurling us into the ditch; things, then, would have been very bad for all of us. Very bad indeed.
When I get home, I look up at the stars. Sometimes we encounter things on our path, but because our time has not yet come, they brush past us, without touching us, even though they were close enough for us to see them. I thank God for the awareness to understand, as a friend of mine says, that everything that had to happen happened, but nothing did.

(Marked out to die)

If tomatoes wanted to be melons,
they would look completely ridiculous.
I am always amazed
that so many people are concerned with
wanting to be what they are not;
what's the point of making yourself look ridiculous?
(Meeting in the Dentsu gallery)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day: a story

She said:
My Mother came and sat near me.
I was reading a newspaper.
She had been lying down in her room, and came out to tell me something.
She had just remembered an old joke.
She began to say it. I was absorbed in my newspaper. I didn't listen.
Suddenly I remembered I had to do something and walked away, to my room.
She must have been hurt... My daughter came running to her and asked, Grandma, are you telling a story?
I heard her say, Yes, dear, shall I tell it to you?

Mother's Day

This is not a very positive, sensitive, most appropriate thought on Mother's day. It is just a coincidence that I thought of publishing it today.

It is not true that a Mother can always understand and show kindness to another Mother. It all depends solely on whether their children are involved in the dispute, and how. She can be the most fearsome and cruel or the most kind woman depending on whether her son is for or against the other's.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

2 Harihar Nagar

Take it from me. Sequels are doomed from the very moment someone thinks of making one. Don't create, write, read or watch sequels!!

The only exception I can think of now is "Ice Age2 - The Meltdown", which didn't disappoint.

When my friend suggested we go watch "2 Harihar Nagar" at PVR, the sequel to In Harihar Nagar (released in 1990), it was more the thought of spending a day chatting and shopping at the Forum that made me say 'Yes'. At the end of two and a half hours of paid headache, we came out totally disappointed. (Don't tell anyone - we watched it in Gold class too - what a waste of money!) We could hardly believe that such a movie was made... Has Malayalam cinema-makers totally run out of ideas, are the script writers starving for jokes that they call the collection of all those unbearable utterances as "comedy"?

There is no doubt that Mukesh, Jagadeesh, Siddique and Asokan are very talented actors. But how could they agree to do such a non-existent story and script? Perhaps they expected(hoped) the old magic to work and make up for the flimsy story line. Jagadeesh definitely deserves much, much better dialogues and actions than the ones he has been forced to deliver here. The appearance of Salim Kumar was totally unwanted and added nothing to the story. Perhaps there was no way the climax could be handled, so they brought him in here and there, so that at the end he could come to unintentionally rescue the heroes.

My friend and I tried to laugh so much, in the first half, to do justice to the actors, the memory of the old team and the money we spent. But we ended up looking at the big screen and regretting the time we could have spent gossiping and munching something at Transit or Coffee Day, or rummaging Landmark. There were a total of three scenes perhaps, where we did laugh a bit. And the songs... the old Unnam marannu thenni parannu and Ekantha Chandrike.. made their reappearance to give someone a chance to re-mix the oldies. I believe that the more a sequel tries to bear any resemblance to the original, the more miserably it fails. The characters should not try to do again what they did ten or fifteen years ago - similar dialogues or songs or old antics of chasing women looks absolute nonsense. One should not forget that the audience who loved the original movie have also grown up, they are no longer the bachelors who enjoyed a little fun.

And the plot? Was there a plot? The entire so-called plot was as mixed up as idiyappam. It reminded me of another movie I watched a few months ago, "Twenty20", which had plots upon plots upon plots, and bored and confused me to death. (At least in Twenty20, they had to justify the presence of all the Malayalam actors alive, so cooking up a noodles-like plot was a necessity.) But I hear that there are people who like such movies where every turn provides unexpected and totally unrealistic events. If you are such a person, who does not relate to the old Harihar Nagar foursome, then go watch by all means.

My rating: Don't watch.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Memoirs 9 - Judgement

Don't be in a hurry to judge people. Just wait till they are driven to a corner and listen to what they yell out.
What you see and hear is exactly what they are.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Gone with the Wind

I read Gone with the Wind several years ago. If I remember right, the first time was in the mid-90s. I read it again 3-4 years ago, to re-confirm that my take on it remains the same.

My sympathies are with Scarlett O'Hara. I could relate to many of her feelings, reactions and thoughts (even some of the nastiest ones!). Not every one (except us - the readers) understood her, how she struggled, what she endured for the family and in return, never got anything. Margaret Mitchell claims in several places that Rhett alone understood Scarlett, and I have heard other fans of the novel repeating those words. Rhett probably loved her for what he saw in her but he could never be there for her when she wanted, the way she wanted. His mocking attitude always put her off and kept her away from him, and more than once he dropped her and went his way when she needed him the most. When she lay unwell after her accident, he locked himself up in his room and never went to her. She lay there expecting him every moment, wanting him near her, nevertheless knowing that he would not come. Had he known her well, he would have been at her side through her tragedy.

But we should not forget the fact that he too was human, and could not behave like the perfect (ideal) man. Any man or woman who finds themselves unwanted by those they love would probably react just the way Rhett did.

Whatever feeling it evokes in the reader, the book keeps you entertained throughout its endless pages, and ensures you read till the end to form your own judgment, and sometimes leaves you eager for more. Which is why, despite my belief that sequels generally are not as interesting as the original, I went for Scarlett, the sequel to Gone with the Wind. It was a disappointment, to say the least. The author wanted a reconciliation between Scarlett and Rhett, and ended up making Margaret Mitchell's characters not truly themselves. There was no way in which I could relate the well-defined, powerful characters of the original with the loose, flexible ones of the sequel. And the author of the sequel failed miserably in her attempts to recreate an age that she knew nothing of.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Chasing the Monsoon

The "Monsoon" brings to one's mind deep dark clouds and torrentous rains. However, there is a time between the rains when the sky is at its bluest, the clouds at their snowest, and there is beauty all over.

Here are some snaps I took (the amateur photographer that I am, with an ordinary-something camera) last monsoon (July) from my balcony and in front of my apartment. Photography enthusiasts please excuse the unskilled handling of the equipment!

Monday, May 4, 2009

From the Ramayana

Due to some reason or the other, the google search I did some days ago was on Sita's plea to her Mother (Earth) to prove her purity, when wrongly accused of faithlessness by her husband Rama. Mother Earth opened up below her feet and took her away with her.

There are times when you wish something similar would happen (that the Earth would open up and swallow you) and you can escape, away from all the unfair things in life, not having to make decisions that are sometimes painful, sometimes forced against your will. However, we are all meant to endure and face fairness and unfairness, right and wrong, very often finding satisfaction, strength and pride at the end of it all that we faced it and came out stronger than ever. Every such situation is a stepping stone to the next, there is a series of them waiting for us.

At the lowest periods of one's life, one hears advices like "don't be emotional", "don't be negative", "don't be tensed"... However i am an advocate of being emotional, being negative and being tensed. Because all these so-called negatives exist so that we can overcome them and find our positives.
There are no strengths without realising one's weaknesses.
There is no courage without feeling and overcoming fear.

Now, here is the snippet of the story of Sita I have mentioned above. You can check out the link if you wish to read more.

From the story of Sita and Rama : Ramayana

Sita stood in silence, her eyes transfixed on the ground without blinking. With folded hands she said, "If Rama has always been foremost in my heart, then may my Mother Earth (Bhumi) herself deliver me. If I have been only true to him, wholly, mind, body and soul, then may my Mother Earth deliver me. If I have loved none but him, then let my Mother Earth deliver me."

As she spoke, the earth rumbled, shook and cracked open where Sita stood. Srimati Bhumi devi (Mother Earth personified) then appeared, seated on a throne of incredible natural earthly opulence, surrounded by 'nagas' (snakes), and she invited Sita to take her seat along side her.

Sita, entrusting her children to Valmiki, ascended the throne supported by 'nagas' adorned with fiery eyes and jewels on their heads. There, seated beside her mother Bhumi, Sita disappeared from sight. The earth closed up leaving not even so much as a furrow on the surface as though nothing had happened.