Jan 29, 2022

Journey to Craft World aka The Craft Village at Vellar

It has been flu fortnight here at Karthi, with DH succumbing first, then Ani, then Kunju and finally the nursemaid who was running around with thermometer, oxymeter, meds, hot water, and tissues. DH was tested for Covid twice and the results were negative, even though we have all the symptoms. Karthi is currently like an echo-cave. The cough starting in one room will set off an echo in several other rooms and go on awhile. But enough of that, let us look at something bright and cheery.

Forever on the lookout out for new attractions in this area, I heard a lot about a craft village on the way to Kovalam. A few years ago we did look in, but the place was still under construction and there wasn't much to see. We thought, "Oh, just another 'government undertaking' to waste public resources." I mean, have you been to any of those state craft emporiums that are horribly designed, where items are displayed haphazardly, and where the staff is so demoralized that they barely open their mouth to talk? And the same products: wooden elephants, plaster Kathakali faces, snake boat replicas, and the metal cornered ornament boxes lined with flimsy red velvet ad nauseam

Last year, I saw an article about the Craft Village in the newspaper and got good reviews from my sister who went there once. So we went there on Christmas morning in 2021...


Well, well... this looked nothing like the place I remembered! We got there slightly before the opening time – 10 am – and got parking inside the campus. Waiting for the artisans to arrive and open their stalls, we took a little walk and found this wonderful square to relax in...

 


It was only later that I came to know that the stalls are built around this pretty place. Let me show you just a sample of the things we saw. Starting from Nettippattams of different sizes...

Then chendas and maddalams of different sizes starting from miniature ones that are made with the same materials as those of the original.


Isn't this Kathakali painting beautiful? It's life-size too. Now what if I tell you that it is all made of quilled paper???


You don't believe me? Let us take a closer look...


Just take a look at that detail!!! It took the "quiller" duo of husband and wife around a month to finish this masterpiece!

 


These stalls are also the workshops of these artists and crafters. According to the space required, there might or might not be separate spaces available for the workshop. For example, the ceramic artist who made these...



has a huge workshop behind the showroom, complete with a potter's wheel. They even hold classes there! Of course, there were the traditional crafts if you have a hankering for elephants and snake boats. Cane furniture and handloom textiles are available as well. But then there are also these...

 


and these...


These are beautiful miniature replicas of the uru made in Beypore, the ancient ship-building art, brought to life by one of the traditional artisans. 

Going into the workshop of a wood craft stall, we were awed by a sculpture in progress that was eight feet tall...


This is a depiction of the Viswaroopa commissioned by a well-known actor and with the addition of a final piece above it, will attain a total height of 11–12 feet. I wandered around the piece and caught sight of Sree Krishna blowing the Panchajanya...

 


There are scenes from the Mahabharata worked all over the piece. Just look at this Dasavathara  necklace! Start from the left top and you can see all ten!



I prised myself away from the wonderful piece of art and craft because there was a lot more to see. Here is a stall of metal craft...

 


An example of papier mache combined with bamboo...


Macrame hammocks and swings...



I could go on, but then this post would be too long, and I still have to show you the Emporium.



which housed a two-storey tromp l'oeil painting...

Look at how the railing of the top floor balcony is blended into and continued in the painting. We had to have some fun with it, so here is Kunju stepping into the market...

 

And here is DH waiting patiently for the cobbler to finish his current job...




The Emporium was a veritable Aladdin's cave filled with treasure...





The floor above the emporium houses a painting gallery, of which I will not post photos, but leave you to discover for yourself.

The Art and Craft Village is still expanding with more facilities and attractions to be added soon. The layout of the buildings reminded me of Technopark and the facilities provided are Technopark-standard too—which is excellent for a any institution. There is plenty of space for kids to run around and exhaust themselves while the adults browse through the stalls. It is also elderly-friendly as the stalls are accessible on one floor and there are plenty of places to rest if need be. There is a restaurant on the premises and we would have tried it if we hadn't made lunch plans for the day. All in all, the Village is worth spending at least half a day. 

The life of the place are the crafters whose passion fills the spaces that they work in. If you go there, make sure to talk to them about their work, it is simply heartwarming. I have shown a mere fraction of the items available. There are products for pockets of all sizes.

The cost of admission is Rs.100 for adults and half that for kids. Separate fee for parking.

If only that Village was within commutable distance, I would have taken a teeny, tiny stall for crochet and spent the whole day crocheting and nattering with the other crafters!!!


Jan 23, 2022

New dawn... new day... And the return of a prodigal!!!


My life in the new year has been like the comic video of Jagathy Sreekumar that was doing the rounds during the first five days of 2022...


I have a planner, I have a habit checklist printed out on an excel sheet, I have reminders on my phone, but when it is time produce something creative, such as a post on this blog, I fall back down, slouch, and then mutter, "I'll do it tomorrow."

Which is not to say that I have been completely idle: being a homemaker and a busy freelance copy editor precludes that.

So let me tell you that one of our new year gifts was not quite apparent at all. As you know, the itinerant cat population at Karthi fluctuates almost everyday (Please check my posts with the label 'Cats' to learn about the ongoing saga). As the local cats know, there is always a bowl full of food left out on our porch, not in plain sight, mind you, but behind a jaali, where a cat in the know can access it if they are courageous enough to climb our front steps. Many a time we have surprised strange cats who, according to the level of phlegm in their nature, have either sped away or casually strolled away after flicking a disdainful tail at our inquiries. Our current, somewhat regular cats, are Pirate and her children from several births, Tukey, Topi, and their elder brother Ellesmere (my original name for this cat was actually Ella, until I discovered, ahem, that he wasn't a she, so I borrowed a name from the Outlander series!)

In the second week of January, we noted a new, disreputable-looking tom cat that came in Tukey's company. Tukey is a half-grown tom cat and we wondered how he could have established a relationship with a strange tom cat. One thing we noticed was that this new cat was not at all afraid of us. He shared Tukey's food and lay placidly on our door mat. We tried shooing him away as we felt he would challenge Ellesmere (who is a fluffy, cuddly, darling who barely tolerates our going silly over him). But the new yellow and white cat didn't scare easily. Two days later, Ani called me to the porch, 

"Amma, I think this is Akrami!" 

I reached the porch to see the strange cat ensconced in his lap, making no effort to get down. 

"Ani!!! You should know better than to cuddle strange cats like that!!!" 

"But that's what I meant, Amma! I think it is Akrami. He didn't object at all when I put him on my lap. Would a strange cat let me do that? And look at his front feet, see, those marks look like the injuries he had when the dog attacked him!"

I took a closer look at the cat. He was marked all over with scars of battle and had patches of skin showing through his fur at different places. Especially notable was a slanting slash over one eye that acted as a single eyebrow giving him a sardonic expression. 

"I don't think it is Akrami. He has the same coloring, but it can't be him!"

The child who was the closest among us to Akrami wasn't so easily convinced. This is a picture of them taken back in 2016 or so...

He took pictures of the cat on my phone and brought them to me. 

"Amma, let us check Akrami's old pictures."

I delved into the Pictures folder on my computer and found old photos and videos, and there it was! The markings were uncannily the same!! The yellow on the new cat was a bit darker and he had clicked pictures of the new cat from only one side. So I asked him to click more to make a thorough check...

 





As you can see, he was pretty thorough this time, clicked from almost all angles! So we presented our findings in the family council. The council decided that he would have to undergo a battery of tests to see if it was indeed the old Akrami. Till he passed those tests, DH gave him a provisional name: Akrala. The 'la' stood for 'look-alike'. 

First we administered the Pirate test. We observed closely when Pirate came. She slapped him within the first five minutes! Akrala thus passed test number one. 

We got hot ulli vada from our favorite tea shop. We gave him pieces from a lukewarm one at first. He was not very interested. DH put it in the microwave for 30 seconds and tried again. This time, the cat eagerly fell on the vada and finished off all the pieces! Test number two was passed with flying colors!

He started lording it on our doormat, curling up on it comfortably. That was his favorite pose in his heydays and when Raj came up the front steps, he didn't even open his eyes... Akrala passed yet another test!

He started demanding food from us first thing in the morning, and no cat has been as importunate as that from us except Akrami. Voila, yet another test passed.

Yesterday, I was making dosas when I took a fresh one to the porch and dropped a piece in front of him. He ate it up, looked up at me and mewed. Just like he used to do while asking me for food! I dropped more pieces while DH took care of making the next few dosas. In my heart, I changed Akrala to Akrami in that instant!

Today, while we had our breakfast after giving him his, Akrami was lying on the doormat, pretending that he was lord of all he surveyed. On a whim, I called out, "Akramiiii". He turned his head majestically towards us. I repeated it when he turned away, and he again looked back at us. 

Yet another confirmation came this evening. We had saved chicken scraps from lunch for him. Ani gave them to him and we heard him going, "Nomm nomm nomm"!!!!! The very enjoying sounds he used to make when we gave him his favorite food!!!

No doubt there will be more tests and more confirmations. He has changed a lot. He isn't as chatty as he used to be. He is tougher. Then he used to cringe and go away when he was beaten by Pirate, but now, he growls back at her, and she seems to be in awe of her sire, not impudent as of old. He drove off Ellesmere when he came to visit us two days ago, but we are not complaining. DH scolded Pirate when she batted him on the head today because she didn't want to share breakfast with him!!! Just like old times! 

To think that if Ani had not been observant like he is... we would have missed our New Year gift!!!

Today, I heard DH making up the story of where Akrami has been for the past two years. It started with "Having eaten two pieces of chicken on Christmas day in 2019 and chatting with my family, I decided to sleep it off on the undercarriage of a lorry." To summarize, the next time Akrami opened his eyes, he was in the border town of Punalur and it took him two years and occasional glimpses and near misses till he made his way back to our home! I must tell DH to write it down some time. Might be a bestseller!

Dec 3, 2021

Ten books from my 2021 list

My 2021 reading list stands at book number 112. I almost missed adding the Audible books I listen to during my morning perambulations around Karthi. I sometimes wonder if I walk for the exercise or to listen to the books! Due to the heavy rains of the past month, I have not been able to complete my current Audible book and I look forward to doing it next week. 

So here are my favorites from this year, not in order of excellence:

  1. Layla by Colleen Hoover: The first book I read from this author was November 9,  which intrigued me because it's the date of my sister's birthday. She has the immense gift of drawing the reader right into the midst of the raw emotions of the protagonists. It is so admirable a talent. I liked Layla because Hoover has attempted a paranormal thriller romance. And it is thrilling till the very end. 
  2. A Man called Ove by Fredrik Backman: Backman charmed me with the long-winding title of another book: My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry. Ove is a curmudgeonly gent who is determined to efface himself after his wife's death. He is so crotchety and obsessive that we are tempted to hate him at the beginning of the story. And then the layers are revealed slowly... Beautiful book. 
  3. The Lord Wimsey Series by Dorothy L. Sayers: Do you know that this series is available for peanuts on Kindle? I had read most of these books from the public library, not in order, and skipped a few. But on Kindle, they are available in their complete glory. The difference between Sayers' works and her more popular contemporary Christie's works is that Christie's works are a little more of the cookie cutter variety, while Sayers' books are more literary in nature. And starting in the fifth book is the thread of romance between Wimsey and Vane. I wish they were in print today because I would have loved to buy the last three of the series: The Nine Tailors, Gaudy Night and the Busman's Honeymoon. They are worth going back to from time to time for their prose and the picture of England of those times. 
  4. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein: Ezmo the dog has one ambition, to be as human-like as possible. In fact, he would like to take birth as a human being just to be able to shake his friend Denny's hand. Funny, sad, clever, suspenseful... All that you would want in a book. 
  5. A Short History of the Girl Next Door by Jared Reck: A YA romance, heart-wrenching. Opening is so simple and trivial, one has no idea how it will punch later.
  6. The Traveling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa: Another novel in which an animal is a narrator, only in this it is a cat. The cat and his partner travel across Japan, rediscovering a few old friends. 
  7. Perfume by Patrick Suskind: The sheer revulsion evoked by the protagonist of this fantasy novel is remarkable. After reading it, I became proud of my anosmia as I would have been immune to the nefarious schemes laid by Grenouille!
  8. The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See: Till I read this book, I hadn't known that there were aboriginal tribes of Chinese. Through the life time of a girl from the Akha tribe, the novel covers a wide range of subjects: effects of the One Child policy, attempts to assimilate indigenous people into mainstream culture, child adoption scams, and the overarching story of tea. It was slow-going at the beginning, but I am glad that I persisted.
  9. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett: Now here is an author who paints such wonderful word pictures that reading one of her stories is like stepping into a colorful, many-layered masterpiece. The characters stay around a long time after the book is closed. The house is the main character in this story: it repels some, it attracts some, some cannot get out of its magnetic field, some need to get rid of it and some need to acquire it. The dysfunctional extended family that revolves around the house somehow need it to complete themselves.
  10. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman: If you miss the old-fashioned murder mysteries a la Christie, this is the book for you! A group of feisty seniors in an up-scale retirement home meet on Thursdays to discuss old crimes. But soon enough, they have to deal with murder on their door steps. Red herrings abound and ingenious solutions enlighten. Looking forward to reading the next in the series in the new year.

These are the books I liked the best this year, so far. Other titles that I liked very much: 

  1. Zen in the Art of Writing: Ray Bradbury
  2. The Two Lives of Lydia Bird: Josie Silver
  3. The Flatshare: Beth O' Leary
  4. The Winter Garden: Kristin Hannah
  5. Love Lettering: Kate Clayborn
  6. Recipe for a Perfect Wife: Karma Brown
  7. The Housekeeper and the Professor: Yoko Ogawa
  8. Garden Spells: Sarah Addison Allen
  9. A Little Paris Bistro: Nina George
  10. Needlemouse: Jane O' Connor
Ok, I shall stop here for fear of duplicating my 2021 reading list. I can guarantee you that if you pick any one of these, you are in for an engrossing read. Happy reading!

Oct 15, 2021

Glimpses from two years...


Compared to the photo folders starting from 2002, when we first switched to digital cameras, the one for 2020 is very sparse. Then, to my horror, I discovered that I had even omitted to make a folder for this year - 10 months into 2021! All our pictures are still on our phones and have not been synced. A mistake that I have sought to rectify. Along the way, I saw a few pictures that I wanted to share with you—in no particular order. I've highlighted earlier references to my blog in green. Click on them if you want to read more!


Celebrating my birthday with my sis and nephew (behind the camera) during MBIFL 2020. The last memorable time I visited a restaurant for a sit-down meal, I think.

 

Row of Ponkala pots waiting for the consecration and a line of devotees waiting for lunch... Last public function/festival attended..

.

The streets were quiet, no growling, prowling beasts. So the peafowl chose to cross over from the wildernesses and grace our yard.


My first haircut during the lockdown. Poor Ani was the guinea pig. I had put the trimmer at the longest setting for the back and sides. Unfortunately, Kunju distracted me as I was tapping off the hair on the trimmer and the length went to zero. I kept my head and uttered not one peep when disaster struck in the next swipe. Even while taking this picture, Ani didn't know how his haircut actually looked. It was two days later that he came to me saying, "Amma, I don't know why, but a part of the back of my head feels very prickly." I RAN!!!

 

My painting helper who made the project a breeze. Very protective of his coiffure, as you can see...

 

The black and white kitten who grew up into an exceedingly handsome tuxedo cat with white gloves and socks. He was so fond of snuggling that if he was allowed inside while I was doing Sudarshan Kriya or meditation, he would curl up in my lap and lie there the whole time. It helped center me better. He has since disappeared, but we are grateful for all the lockdown cuddles and candid picture moments like this...

 


Teach a kid to make chappati dough and he will give you this! I screamed when I opened the container to make the chappatis!!!



A picture that I love looking at and a process that I will never, ever repeat! Much as the color gradient is attractive, it was a headache to find books. Yikes!!!

 

Soaped hands are germ-free. Give soap to a teen with too much time on his hands and...

 


My coral jasmine making me smile in the midst of the pandemic. 

 

A pair of Indian cormorants nesting in Thekkady, the only trip we undertook in December before things got really bad Covid-wise in Kerala. 


No words required! Enjoy!!!


Oct 1, 2021

Blooms in 2021...


Phew! I have made it back to my blog before I completed one whole year of absence. Well, just about... Because as you can see, my last post was written on the 2nd of October, 2020. After that, I didn't feel like sharing anything on the blog. Instead, I dug deep into my cozy space and got entrenched in an effort to shut out the crazy world as much as possible. 

We have had our portion of goodbyes, the most painful being the demise of a brother-figure, a standup guy who was just 42. As I write this, my sister-in-law and her family are in their second week of Covid infection, resting at home in isolation. Fortunately, all of them are doing ok after the initial fever and symptoms.

Meanwhile, some things have been blooming here at Karthi...

like this morning glory vine that I have managed to keep alive in my balcony garden which you might remember... I bought this vine back in March from a nursery on the way back from Kottayam.

Then there is this beauty... 


... who came with us from Vandiperiyar when we went there in December for the only pleasure trip we've undertaken in the Covid era. She put out her first, single bloom just in time for DH's birthday in August. This time, there is another branch with promise of more to come...



 

This year, I have been able to take better care of my garden, pruning it back into shape, trimming, mulching and fertilizing on a regular basis. My cousin gave me a mulberry cutting three years ago. Look what I found last weekend!

 

 

Sometimes, I feel that the garden I am trying to grow is the one I am recreating from my mother's family home in my childhood. I have succeeded in getting the coral jasmine to bloom. The mulberry is another childhood favorite. My old friend the mulberry tree is still thriving at Kottayam although when I go there, I forget to visit. You could call my mulberry a granddaughter of that tree, because my cousin took a cutting to her home and grew it there, and I got mine from hers. Now if I could only get the plant that we knew as Nakshatra Mulla (star jasmine), a bushy variety of jasmine that truly looked like stars scattered over a velvety dark green bush. Two of those flanked the entrance to the front yard at my mother's home. Our childhood pictures were mostly taken at the side of either of them. 

Apart from gardening, copy editing, and a little bit of creative writing, here is what I have been up to...



This project has just completed two years in the making and is no where near finished. Gaaah!!!

More on that later. Meanwhile, if any of you love books, take a look at the tabs above where I have listed the books I have been reading since 2017! 

Hope to see you all again next week! Stay safe!



Oct 2, 2020

Remembering the Mahatma

Today morning I woke up weighed down by the political developments in the whole world. In one place, an egocentric bully is shouting down his opponent. In another, a power-hungry dictator is doctoring his country's elections and poisoning strong members of his opposition. Yet another wants to distract its populace from the consequences of crop failure, industrial backlash and other problems by threatening the sovereignty of its neighbors.

And here in India, the common man's last hope, the judiciary, has irrevocably gone to the dogs. That has been the unkindest cut of all. It was with all these burdening my heart and head that I sat down for my morning yoga practice. And this poem burst almost fully formed into my head. It flowed, like a soothing balm over my seared mind and put me back on an even keel. It was only later that I remembered that it is the Mahatma's birth anniversary today...

So here it is...

How I long for a leader...

Who embodies the virtues of justice, service to all and harmony

Who does not mow down, shout down or quietly poison his opponents

Who, even while being devout and religious, can see the good in all creeds

And see the needs and wants of oppressed humanity

Whose strength lies not in brawn, networking or TRP ratings

But the courage of his conviction and principles

Whose tenets of frugality, simplicity and truthfulness

Can ever withstand the test of time

Who doesn't need to posture and prance or create fake news

But gives up positions of power to serve the needy.

Alas, the world has produced only one Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

I hope that if the world has been capable of doing this once, it can do it again. That more will come bearing the spirit of this great leader inside. That there will come a time when the forces of Chaos are in abeyance. That there will be harmony, neighborliness and a world in which differences will be a subject of celebration and wonder rather than inspiration for hatred. 

Meanwhile, what can the common man do? Make a conscious decision to stop spreading hate. Stop making yourself small by assimilating the hatred messages. Recognize that the voice that tells you to hate your neighbor is manipulating you for its own selfish ends. Realize that hatred always breeds more of itself and there can be no end to it, once you give in. 

Bowing before the memory of the Father of our Nation...



Aug 7, 2020

Homeopathy at work at Karthi

The recent ruckus regarding the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies and ayurvedic medicines against Covid-19 is the inspiration for this post today. It seems that allopathic doctors are all riled up due to the state government recommending the use of homeopathic remedies as preventives. It is clear that they fear that these remedies will fail and that people emboldened by having taken the preventives will go out indiscriminately and cause a wider spread of the disease. I can understand their fear. 

What I write here is not a defense or condemnation of any branch of medicine. I also know just enough of the three major medical systems to know that each has different theories of how diseases are caused and how they can be dealt with. My aim is just to show you why I do not think that homeopathy is complete hogwash as some people think and reiterate. If you check the Wikipedia page on homeopathy (which some knowledgeable homeopath should consider rewriting soon), it will show a completely biased outlook favoring allopathic medicine and calling homeopathy a "pseudo-science". I wonder how there are medical colleges all over India that teach this pseudo-science!

The main accusations leveled against homeopathy while I was growing up were that:
1. It is very slow and healing takes a long time, even in the case of colds and flu.
2. You can't trust homeopaths because they give powdered allopathic medicine to speed up recovery.

It wasn't till 2015 when I heard the talk of a renowned homeopath presenting a program on TV that I started thinking of taking homeopathic treatment for my pre-diabetic condition. And that good doctor happened to be my husband's classmate and dear friend. Although we had known him for so long, it was a classic case of familiarity breeding indifference (not contempt, never). Here are a few instances of how he and his wife who is also a gifted homeopath have helped us over the years.

1. My younger son developed small white patches on his skin. I took him to a physician nearby who recommended vitamins and a lotion. Two months, no change. Next to a dermatologist at a reputed hospital. He prescribed a high-dose antifungal medication as well as an ointment. Two weeks later we went back with no change. This time he wrote out a list of six medicines. I was chatting with the pharmacist and casually asked her what all these were for. She said she didn't know the uses of any except one that was for itching. That puzzled me because my son's condition didn't include that symptom. Coming back with the meds, I did a detailed online search. What I found really shocked me. Two of those medicines were carcinogenic and banned for pediatric use. One would cause intense itching as a side effect (so that was what the anti-itching medicine was for). One was a high-dose steroid. When one of those meds was used, the user was to avoid sunlight (we weren't informed of this). Since I was already taking homeo medication, I rang up my doctor and tentatively explained the situation and asked if he could help. My son's case was taken over the phone, the medicines arrived by mail. Within two months, the condition was gone and has not returned.

2. My elder son developed eczema-like sores on his feet and lower legs. I thought it was due to his playing outdoors and applied topical treatments recommended by our local GP. Then I noticed that he was developing thick, raised, dark skin over the healed areas and wherever he had lacerations on his skin. This time I immediately called my homeopathic doctor who asked me to send him photos. He diagnosed it as lichen planus - and sent medicines immediately. But he also asked us to get it verified using a biopsy and blood test. For the test I had to go to a dermatologist. The list of medicines he gave me of course included a host of medications both topical and to be ingested. This condition has no cure in allopathy. So our elder son is on a long-term homeopathic treatment for the same. He still has dark scars on his skin from the early flare-up, but since then, nothing. 

3. One morning I was aghast to see that my urine was blood red. Needless to say, I panicked and called my homeopathic doctor. He directed me to start drinking water, ordered blood and urine routine tests as well as an abdominal ultrasound to rule out uterine bleeding. Yes, I had severe urinary tract infection. The medicine was twelve drops of a remedy in half a glass of boiled water. The doctor then educated me on the symptoms of UTI and told me to take one dose of the same medicine if I felt any of those symptoms coming on. This was amazing for me because after our trip to Rameswaram and Dhanushkoti in 2013, DH had fallen ill. He was first misdiagnosed with flu and treated only with Paracetamol till he was in a very bad condition. When we got to the hospital he was diagnosed with UTI and had to stay there for a week and take high-dose antibiotics to recover.

4. I got dengue fever in 2017. My homeo doctor recommended testing for dengue after she listened to my symptoms. After confirmation, I took only homeo medications and recovered completely. My blood platelet count was below normal only on the day I was diagnosed. On conducting regular followup tests on the doctor's recommendation, it never went below normal again. 

5. In May 2019, we visited a temple town in Karnataka. On the overnight train journey back home, our younger son felt nauseated, had a stomach ache, started vomiting and ran a slight fever. I did my best to soothe him and avoid dehydration. Reaching home, I called my doctor who asked me to give one dose of a remedy. The kid was up and asking for lunch by noon time. Over the course of the next week, the rest of the family developed symptoms of the same disease in varying degrees. My elder son and I escaped with mild symptoms as we took the remedy immediately when we recognized the symptoms. DH was caught outside escorting visiting family members around the city when he developed symptoms. But he too recovered within 12 hours of onset, with just one dose of remedy. This would not have been remarkable if not for what we learned on a visit to relatives in December 2019. A group of ten or so of them had been to the same temple town in May 2019 around the time we had been there and had all been felled by the same symptoms for at least a week each. Three of them required several days' hospitalization due to dehydration and high fever. Even family members who had not gone to the temple town caught the infection and were prostrated.
6. Before starting taking homeopathic treatment, I used to get colds at least once in a month or two and at least two or three times a year, these would blow up into infections (bronchitis, sinusitis and whole hosts of other itises) that would require the use of antibiotics. I am glad to say that I have not needed antibiotics for the last three years, touch wood! At the least sign of colds, I call my doctor and take the recommended remedy. I have found that if I catch symptoms early, just one dose can heal me. If I neglect the symptoms till they are worse, I might need three days' worth of remedies. But that is usually enough. 

7. I once ate fried dried shrimp in a chutney. Two hours later I started choking. At the time I had no cold or any other condition, so I connected it to the shrimp and called my doctor. She told me to take a dose of a remedy and wait to see if the choking sensation eased within ten minutes. It did, I could literally feel my air passages opening up again.

Of course these are only the more spectacular instances and I could go on. It has not been easy to adopt homeopathy for our ailments. Social conditioning has a lot of influence on us. DH who is a worry wort, tends to keep asking me, "Should we go to a doctor?" several times during my illnesses or the kids'. But over the years, he too has become convinced of the efficacy of homeopathy. These days, I can tell that his question is more out of habit rather than actual anxiety. 

Here are the things that I feel are different about my homeo doctors:

1. Detailed case-taking at the beginning to analyze each patient's idiosyncrasies.
2.The use of modern lab tests to confirm diagnoses rather than depending on just the listing of symptoms as in classic homeopathy.
3. Immense patience and readiness to accept the skepticism of patients.
4. Exact documentation on the progress of patients' conditions.
5. Their use of the Target Super protocol that they developed with years of clinical practice.
6. Telling the patients the exact names of the remedies, in most instances. I know this is usually not done mainly to avoid self-medication and consequent inefficacy of remedies. But since my doctors do not live in our town, we consult mostly over the phone. Therefore, we can actually be sure that we are not taking "powdered allopathic medicines."

My personal philosophy regarding the health care of my family has now expanded to include homeopathy in all instances except in dire emergencies or acute infections with sudden onset. I believe that homeopathy has a lot to contribute to medical care. In fact, once the era of antibiotics is over due to the development of superbugs, I believe we will have to turn to alternative medicine, especially homeopathy for help. I hope that all branches of medicine can be brought together, forgetting their differences, so that the most appropriate and effective treatment can be provided for each disease. The first step in any medical course should be the acceptance of other medical branches as well.

Therefore, in these Covid times, I am not very scared. At the slightest cold-like symptoms, I turn to my trusted doctor for help. But even with this ready help at hand, we strictly practice wearing masks, social distancing and sanitizing. And we don't go out unnecessarily even though we miss meeting our friends and family members.

If you want to know the basic principles etc. of homeopathy, you can take a free Udemy course: Introduction to Homeopathy by Ellen Bench, D.Hom, Homeopathic Master Clinician. It is very interesting and enlightening.

Journey to Craft World aka The Craft Village at Vellar

It has been flu fortnight here at Karthi, with DH succumbing first, then Ani, then Kunju and finally the nursemaid who was running around wi...