Sunday, January 12, 2014

Beauty in the Quotidian

 The subject of today’s blog is the quotidian (every day, commonplace) existence we have as a members of a community in the deep south of India.  There is usually comfort and beauty in the quotidian wherever you are, and Trivandrum is no exception.  The interesting part of it all is that what is commonplace here isn’t commonplace where I used to live.
Let us begin with an occurrence I just took note of last week, even though I’ve seen it often enough. Please note the picture of the interior of “my” tailor’s shop.  The tree you see in the middle of the store is quite real, and quite lovely. [Although the holly tacked on to it is plastic…not sure why that's there!] As you travel around the city you an see several trees that alter a road, or a sidewalk so they can happily grow.  They are beautiful trees, and deserve the respect, but it’s not something I saw a lot in Iowa City.
Second, there are lots of classical dance and music recitals here, and we’re exactly across the street from the main venue.  As we watched these dancers perform their classical dance form (forgot the name, but it originates from Bengalaru, I believe) we both marveled at the amount of concentration and training needed to perform this style, as the eyes, head direction, fingers, hands, arms, legs, and hips all had separate but specific assignments.  It may be every day to the people here, but it’s an amazing display of beauty to me.
Next as you travel down any street you will invariably find a statue or two or three dedicated to either a freedom fighter from when they were on the path to freedom from the British, or some politician.  This fellow was a former Chief Minister of this state, akin to a governor.  Often these statues are decorated with garlands of various flowers, although I’ve never seen anyone actually putting the flowers on, and I wonder if this is done quite early in the morning, before the likes of me are wondering the streets.
I saw a funny poster the other day when I discovered what was for us quite a “boon”: a Northern Indian kebab/tandoor shop that had some serious skills.  And, they deliver!  Delivery here that we have experienced is fast, and food arrives hot, so it’s a very nice addition to our daily lives.

Finally, the picture of the park at the bottom of our hill on a typical Sunday.  It's a gorgeous free respite from the city, complete with 2 museums, the zoo, flower beds, places to sit in the shade, and a wickedly good mango ice cream. We like to come here to read, and do some people watching.  There are a beautiful array of tropical flowers and trees that are overshadowed only by the women’s saris and, yes, I’m going to admit it, I happen to think the white mundus (skirts) worn by the men with their crisp shirts are quite pleasing on the eye. I’m still trying to get S to seize this opportunity and don one, at least around the house, but he is holding firm to his trousers….for now!

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