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Book Review: On Philosophising, Philosophers, Philosophy and New Vistas in Applied Philosophy, by Dr. Sharmila Jayant Virkar

A little bit of context before you begin reading this book review. I have recently enrolled for an MA in Philosophy at the University of Mumbai. Philosophy is something I have been getting interested in, over the past few years, as those of you who have been reading my blogs and Instagram posts would know. During the pandemic, I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do next, and this is what I eventually came up with. It has been a challenge, getting back into academics as a student at this age, especially in a subject I have no academic background in. However, it has also been very exciting, especially thanks to my wonderful classmates (who, surprisingly, are of all age-groups, including some quite near my own) and my teachers, who have been very supportive and understanding. How well I will do is something that remains to be seen, but so far, I am enjoying this new journey and look forward to where it leads. Now that you know the background , you probably get an idea of how

Karthikai -2009 - Bharani Deepam

Karthik – the word signifies many things – the 8th month of the Hindu calendar, and also the 3rd Nakshatram, or star, according to the Indian system of astrology. Most of all, it is one of the names of Muruga, the son of Shiva and Parvati, a name he earned, having been nurtured by the Krittikas – 6 young girls born under the Karthik star, who picked up the 6 babies born of Shiva’s sparks from the river ganga, and who merged to take the form of Karthikeya.

Karthikai Deepam is a festival celebrating this event, falling in the Karthik month on the day when the Karthik star shines above us. It is, in a way, the south Indian equivalent of Diwali, for we celebrate this day by lighting lamps all over our house.

The first day of the festival falls on the day when the ascendant star is Bharani, and is hence called “Bharani Deepam”. In our house, it is this day which is special, and we prepare a special confection of Nell Pori (paddy flakes) and Aval Pori (puffed paddy flakes). For dinner, we also make Adai (a thicker variety of Dosa) with whole grains.

Here are my pics of the celebrations – mostly my kolam with the lamps…….  Sorry for not taking any more pics, but we were rather busy with Samhith’s classes, and had no time for more…….

Meanwhile, today is Annamalai Deepam, the main day of the festival, where a huge lamp is lit on the Arunachala hill at Thiruvannamalai. We shall wait for the live coverage of the lamp being lit (on Podhigai TV) and then light our own lamps, hoping that someday, we shall be able to see the light directly rather than on TV.

There are quite a few videos of the Deepam on You-Tube, but I found an interesting blog, Living in the embrace of Arunachala , where the author, Richard Clarke, who lives with his wife in the holy town gives a day-by-day account of the festival. The narrative is interesting as well as a visual treat….. Do check it out….


  1. You know so much about the festivals!

  2. Felt like I had visited home!

    I love the nell pori..I am so grateful for being a reader of your blog . Thanks so much for the post about the festivel, the signifcance and photos, The lamps looks beautiful.

    I pray to Annamalayar to shower ur family with his choicest blessings.Wishing you a trip to thirvannamalai soon.

  3. Beautiful Pictures..And I agree with know much about the festivals :)

  4. @ Mridula : well, guess i ought to know, considering my mother and mother-in-law are festival experts, both perform so many pujas and celebrate so many festivals.. grew up with one and found myself in a house with another one..... so by now, its part of me... :-))

    @ Sri : thanks so much!! i have been to thiruvannamalai thrice, but would welcome any chance to visit it.....

    @ Tarun : thanks a lot!

  5. Hi Anu...
    Happpy karthigai deepam to you too....

    Jus lit all velakkus and now waiting to dig into pori... love eeeeet :)

  6. Nice pictures Anu.
    i watched the Arunachala jyoti yesterday. While the jyoti was lit and the Lord made an entry as the Ardhanareeshwara tears were rolling down my eyes.A great moment indeed!


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