Stuff I Know

Just stuff by me about me and my life, such as it is.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I've Been Shat Upon

I think in my entire life, before now, I have been crapped on by birds once, maybe twice. But since I have been in India, I have been hit three times. Three, in India alone. What? Have I be declared persona non grata by the avian population of the country? Luckily, two of them were on my hat. But one wet juicy load landed on the barrel of my camera lens. Fortunately it wasn't extended, but it was still a pain in the butt to clean. So anyway, if my pictures turn out "shitty" from now on, it's the birds' fault.

The top of a temple gateway.

A small garden Ganesha.

For not being a religious person, I seem to be entering a lot of churches, temples and such here in India. I would have entered a synagogue, but I was wearing shorts that day. Apparently the gods of Jews and Hindus frown on people dressed "immodestly." Yet the Christian churches will let anyone in no matter how you are dressed. Interesting.

Anyway ... Upon entering the churches, a lot of memories and old habits come back to me. I reach for the holy water fount to cross myself; I genuflect when crossing in front of the alter; and I begin to remember some of the prayers and proceedings of the mass. Well I guess it is bound to happen seeing as I went to church, probably from birth, until I was 19-20 years old.

The church of St. Thome. A minor basilica.

I am no longer a religious person, but I have to say it was interesting to actually experience a bit of biblical history. In Chennai I visited the Church of Saint Thome, and his tomb. This is the tomb of the St. Thomas, the apostle. Doubting Thomas, the guy who supposedly wanted to stick his fingers through the holes in Christ's hands. Over the years he made his way to India and was eventually killed and buried near Chennai. And I visited his tomb. The same place Pope John Paul II did. The tomb itself wasn't really that impressive, but hey, I was there.

One of the windows inside his church.

Something a bit more impressive were the temples and structures carved out of the rock and boulders in and around Mamallapuram. Several of the carvings are very impressive and I guess that is why it was granted UNESCO World Heritage status. One interesting thing, instead of carving things and then hauling them around, most of the images or structures were carved in place making use of the natural rock surface or boulders present.

Apparently water flowed over the central crack originally.

Five boulders carved into five "chariots".

And finally, the beach in Mamallapuram was nice also. Though you are not supposed to swim there due to strong riptides, it is still a nice place for sitting, walking or wading. In fact, one night I remember watching the full moon glistening on the blackness of the ocean. Suddenly I could see the blackness rise as a wave began to grow and advance toward me, only to crash into a foamy whiteness as it broke upon the shore. The waves sometimes brought in little luminous spots on the beach that I could capture in my hand. I don't know what it was that was glowing, but whatever it was sure was small, and pretty, too.

A few of these pictures are missing geotags, but they are all from Chennai (Madras) and Mamallapuram. Hope you like them. Boredom warning, I think there are about 172 in total.

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At 2:57 PM, Blogger jmlo said...

Sorry to read that Indian birds have such a low opinion of you.

I find I do the exact same thing when I walk into a Catholic Church...sometimes when I walk into a fancy non-catholic church I find myself trying to genuflect...

I hope you have a good Christmas and fantastic new year. (Not to sound like a page from life's little instruction book but try to avoid slippery dangerous places where you feel compelled to contemplate the time it would take for someone to discover your lifeless body.)

I am really enjoying your pictures and the tales of your travel.

Take care and jama rek


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