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May 5

Written by: Jennifer Kumar, LMSW, Cultural Adjustment Coach/Mentor
Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Beauty of man and nature is the theme of this month's photo showcase.

The first photo I want to share is actually a scan of a page from Outdoor Photography Magazine. Last year, Krishna submitted a photo to Outdoor Photographer Magazine's "Mystical Adventures" contest and won 'honorable mention.'  We found out completely by accident, but his photo was published in the magazine recently. The photo of Vaikunta Perumal Temple in Kanchipuram, a structure of human and natural beauty, is printed on this page, the second row, right side. Click here to see the bigger size of this photo.



Temples in India, I feel are both a natural and manmade wonder because of the fact many temples were created from rocks and boulders and made back in the day elephants were required to move these structures. If not for the elephants and humans sharing that experience, many such temples may not be in existence today. That being said, there are many festivals of the world that continue to mix the beauty of man (humans) and nature to create beautiful decor that inspires us to have great times ahead. One such display is the Vishukkani. Vishukkani is the wonderful display of decor which is the "first sight" (kani) on Vishu or a new year of sorts for Keralites in South West India. In this display, I made, I was inspired by the beauty of things in our natural world and in our lives that we like. One could also say that I was inspired to mix the cultures of India and America to make this very unique, atypical Vishukkani.

Traditionally, this arrangement has coconuts and special flowers with other ornaments. I decided this year not to add the coconut and ornaments because though they may be beautiful and Malayalee symbols of fortune, luck and beauty, unfortunately for us they are not really things we use in the house. I did not want things to go to waste, so that is why things like chocolate milk and bread are in the arrangement. Traditionally gold coins and money should be prominently displayed to highlight abundance in the upcoming year. There are some gold items in the arrangement; including real gold coins or jewels, vessels (urali) and also statues of Lord Krishna (not present, again not at all typical), oil lamps, yellow/golden colored fruits and flowers and money. I did put a roll of quarters in the arrangement (usable for my husband's requirements at work to buy water) but it may not be noticeable. For more on Vishu, read this article by my father in law.


This last image captures natural beauty that encompasses us. Of course, without man made roads, I doubt I'd ever reach this scene! Here, I am walking along side a road in Utah among the rock cliffs and mountains that jut out of the earth. It is such a mystical, magical place. When I see this photo, I almost fail to see me in the photo. I seem so small compared to the scenery. This photo reminds me of how big the world is, even within this much smaller scale (as compared to the whole earth, an entire mountain range, etc.) and how small I am in this whole scheme. Us humans are small compared to the universes we create for ourselves but we have pumped ourselves up and made ourselves bigger by conquering it. If the conquerors had not come before me to pave these roads, I know for sure I would not be sharing this photo with you! (I also must thank my husband for coming into my life to make that experience, this photo and so much more possible!)


See Utah Road Trip Photo Album.


Thank you for looking through this month's photos. Feel free to click on the photos to go into Krishna's photostream.



Copyright ©2010 Jennifer Kumar, LMSW Cultural Adjustment Coach/Mentor


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