Thursday, November 29, 2018

Lyrics of "Pahi Pahimam"

     సురటి(భూపాళ) - ఆట

     పాహి పాహి మాం పరమకృపాళో
  దేహిమే త్వయి దేవసుభక్తిమ్‌॥      

అసురసంహార శ్రీవిజయగోపాల
  అమరసంరక్షణ విజయగోపాల
  వసుదేవతనయ శ్రీవిజయగోపాల
  వాసవాదినుత విజయగోపాల

సంగీతలోల శ్రీవిజయగోపాల
  సద్గుణశీల శ్రీవిజయగోపాల
  శృంగారరసపూర విజయగోపాల
  శ్రితజనపాల శ్రీవిజయగోపాల

ధీరగుణాధార విజయగోపాల
  ధేనుకాదిహరణ విజయగోపాల
  నారదమునిగేయ విజయగోపాల
  నారాయణతీర్థ విజయగోపాల

        paahi paahi maaM paramakRpaaLO

  daehimae tvayi daevasubhaktim

asurasaMhaara SreevijayagOpaala
  amarasaMrakshaNa vijayagOpaala
  vasudaevatanaya SreevijayagOpaala
  vaasavaadinuta vijayagOpaala

saMgeetalOla SreevijayagOpaala
  sadguNaSeela SreevijayagOpaala
  SRMgaararasapoora vijayagOpaala
  Sritajanapaala SreevijayagOpaala

dheeraguNaadhaara vijayagOpaala
  dhaenukaadiharaNa vijayagOpaala
  naaradamunigaeya vijayagOpaala
  naaraayaNateertha vijayagOpaala

(Perhaps I might have heard these songs in the village. We had a unique Ashram run by two extremely ascetic nuns. I used to see the ladies carrying water from the nearby Godavari river waters. They would spend hours training young school girls in classical music and dance. Often such extracurricular activities would divert the young students from the routine school subjects and exams. But where will you get valuable training in arts and morals? I heard this song in a music concert by the Malladi Brothers. These are extraordinary compositions, sprung out of the depths of great saints. Who can compose such gems now? Or how many can sing such songs with devotion, fidelity, and flawless musicality?)

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Lyrics of "vayasa idi na" Song

Movie: Samsaram O Sangeetham
Lyrics: Veturi

వయసా ఇది నా తొలి వందనం
వలపల్లె రావె నా జీవితం

మరుడల్లె  రారా మాపటేళకి
మరుమల్లె పూల పొదరిళ్ళకి
సిగ్గు పూలు  రాలె చీకటింటికి  
ముగ్గు గీసి పోర ముద్దు ముద్దుకీ

చీటికి మాటికి చిందర తగవులు ఏలర (రా) ఏలర (రా) వెన్నెలలో  (2)
మగసిరి జలదర సొగసులు లాలన చేసిన రాతిరి నవ్విన వేళ  

కాటు వేసి పోరా కన్నె బుగ్గని
చేతులంటుకోని తేనె మొగ్గని
వెచ్చనైన ఈడు వచ్చినప్పుడే
వేడి ఎండ పొద్దు రాలినప్పుడే
జారిని పైటలు జావళి పాడిన గాజుల మోజులు సందిలలో (2)
కర చరణమ్ములు వలపుల వలలో బిగిసిన రాతిరి నవ్విన వేళ  

vayasaa idi naa toli vaMdanaM valapalle raave naa jeevitaM maruDalle raaraa maapaTaeLaki marumalle poola podariLLaki siggu poolu raale cheekaTiMTiki muggu geesi pOra muddu muddukee cheeTiki maaTiki chiMdara tagavulu aelara (raa) aelara (raa) vennelalO (2) magasiri jaladara sogasulu laalana chaesina raatiri navvina vELa kaaTu vaesi pOraa kanne buggani chaetulaMTukOni taene moggani vechchanaina eeDu vachchinappuDae vaeDi eMDa poddu raalinappuDae jaarini paiTalu jaavaLi paaDina gaajula mOjulu saMdilalO (2) kara charaNammulu valapula valalO bigisina raatiri navvina vELa
(What a beautiful romantic song! It transported me to the days when we're studying the classic, Srinatha's శృంగార నైషధము in a coed high school. Between the aromatic jasmine blooms, the alluring kewra (మొగలి)groves, the green drooping beckoning champaka flowers, and the carefree peaceful moonlit terrace overlooking at a star-lit sky. We were just discovering the throbs of youth, romance, and some latent pining despair. What a great poet and lyricist - Veturi! I hum many of his songs. Ah, when did I discover Vani Jayaram? In the Temple Town with "Ore Naal"?
A great vocal rendition, except a little hesitation (for the first time) in saying, " జీవితం". Nothing big, me just being a little picky, sorry. She is a born singer, that too a blessed one. I love her Hindi songs too. Like many music fans I got hooked to this melody long ago. I used to hear the tune (raghu vamsa sudha) on AIR radio from a
neighbor's house. Back then I could not identify the original
composer, nor its raga. But with the great maestro Pukazhenthi
the song puts you in a very bubbly youthful mood. Can't
say more, the rest one has to feel it. English translation of the
song will appear soon.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Translation of 'Lambodara lakumi kara' Song

Foremost, I humbly offer my prayers to the (my) guru. Kanchi Paramacharya gave a very illuminating exposition on Ganesa and His essential qualities. Ganesa is unique; like an innocent child He is easily pleased. Yet among all the gods, He is beyond the symbolic form – He constantly teaches us to look beyond the frivolous physical form and beauty constraints. Ganesa is of course, the Para-Brahman, far away from the limits of space, tri-guna restrictions, and human imagination.

Lamba = large; udara = belly; lakumi = lakhumi = Lakshmi (seems it is from Marathi); kara = hand, trunk, give, yield; amba = The Mother, Devi, Parvati; suta = son, child; amara = celestials, those immortals in heaven (swarga); vinuta = praised, extolled;
Sri = Lakshmi, prosperity, holy; gaNanatha = master of all the ganas; sindura = the color of red cinnabar (HgS). (I came across this color first in our village in two situations. The Anjaneya temple murti of Hanuman is fully colored in this oily orange-red paint. People also used locally available ochre stone (iron compound) to paint and decorate their houses and exterior walls. Perhaps that is how most of the Vaishnava temple walls are covered with red stripes.) varna = color, hue; karuNa = compassion, grace; sagara = ocean, the body of water named after the emperor, Sagara; kari = elephant; vadana = face;
siddha = persons with great abilities (acquired through yoga) ; charaNa =wandering actors, flying persons, students of Vedas; gaNa = group of gods (nine classes); sevita = (One who is) served by; siddhi =able to accomplish (any proper, dharmic) goal, also having total control of the eight or more supernatural powers; Vinayaka = a distinguished master, Lord of obstacles; te = thou, you, namo = salutations, respects;
sakala = all types, various; vidya = branches of knowledge (arts, sciences, etc.); adi pujita = offered prayers first; sarva = all; uttama = best, excellent;
Here in this composition, we address Ganesa with various qualifying epithets. Each one speaks to the unique characteristic of this embodiment of ‘innocent childlike purity of Brahman’. The Mother imparted Him with all the auspicious qualities of wisdom, boundless energy, (slight) mischievous playfulness of a child, and infinite compassion. Ganesa also forgives His devotees easily. In the forest nothing can obstruct the advances of an elephant. Similarly with Ganesa’s grace every obstacle can be efficiently overcome with ease. How to illustrate His benevolent timely grace to the devotees? Once He effortlessly transported Avvaiyar to Kailas with His trunk. At another time He arranged a sumptuous meal for Kavya-kantha Ganapati muni and his brother miraculously on a deserted street.

(Faith and morals (truthfulness, altruism) are best taught to children when they are young. In earlier times (we’re truly blessed in this regard) mothers, grandparents, and teachers taught us edifying stories from the puranas. With age one contracts the corrosive disease of “endless questioning and disobedience”. We refuse to listen to others. Some times questioning is good in certain areas (science, math) for exploration – the trait is more like a healthy skeptical attitude. But sheer useless, often endless questioning will not help in developing a healthy personality. Modern man tends to size up all bygone seers, rishis, and philosophers as “ignorant nincompoops”. This is a dangerous vice; in the end he will have no friends in the world. Crass stubborn rationality will not come to his aid when he gets sick, bankrupt, alone, or in despair. Lay people sadly are not aware that even in mathematics, in certain instances logic breaks down (Kurt Gödel). Lucky are those who still can seek the guidance of a ‘guru’ while the day is young!) Copyright 2018 by the author


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

"Lambodara lakumikara" Song - Lyrics in Telugu

లంబోదర లకుమి కర
అంబాసుత అమర వినుత
శ్రీ గణనాథ సిందూర వర్ణ (1)
కరుణ (ణా) సాగర కరి వదన
సిద్ధ చారణ గణ సేవిత (2)
సిద్ధి వినాయక తే నమో నమో
సకల విద్యాది పూజిత (3)
సర్వోత్తమ తే నమో నమో  

laMbOdara lakumi kara aMbaasuta amara vinuta Sree gaNanaatha siMdoora varNa karuNa (Naa) saagara kari vadana siddha chaaraNa gaNa saevita siddhi vinaayaka tae namO namO sakala vidyaadi poojita sarvOttama tae namO namO

(There are several songs on Ganesa. According to tradition,
beginners start with either శుక్లాoబరధరం, తొండము నేకదంతము,
or లంబోదర లకుమి. My favorite song is the one from Vinayaka
Chaviti movie, "vatapi Ganapatim bhaje". I've learnt this
Purandara Dasa song from Smt. S. Janaki's rendition. The
English transliteration is generated by nikhilE. A word by
word meaning will be given in the next post.)

Monday, August 13, 2018

"Mokshamu Galada" - An Exploration

Originally I was very hesitant to write on this well known Tyagayya kirtana; I felt it above my pay grade (as they say here in America!) to talk about ‘mokshamu’.

Mokshamu = release from the cycles of multiple births and deaths; galada = kalada = is (it) there? bhuvilo = on the earth; jivan = life; muktulu = those who are released, liberated from the never ending cycle of births and deaths; gani = kani = not, who are not; varalaku = for such people;

Sakshatkara = the sudden appearance of “Brahman”, Narayana, Siva, or any of the “embodiments of pure compassion and energy” as felt by a devotee. కాదు, ఇది కట్టు కథ కాదు. ఈ పవిత్రమైన విషయాలు పుక్కిట పురాణాలు కావు. నిజముగా తెలుసుకోవాలని ఉంటే, శ్రమ చేసి త్రైలింగ స్వామి వారి బోధలు, జీవిత చరిత్ర, శేషాద్రి స్వామి వారి మహిమలు మరి ఎన్నో మహనీయుల చరిత్ర వెదికి వినయముతో చదవాలి. కొన్ని మంచి అలవాట్లు అలవరుచుకొని, వారు చెప్పినవి ఆచరణలో పెట్టాలి. We have to subdue our burdensome useless ego and first learn humility, try to be truthful and sincere in our exploration. Swami Vivekananda’s words during the last moments of his life are very illuminating. “Brahman” can only be felt, no amount of teaching, reading, or spoon-feeding (except the direct lightning strike of a guru, known as శక్తి పాతము) will help in this regard. The blinding appearance of Devi or the Mother’s hand feeding for Her child (ex: a famished Annamayya) on Tirupati hills - such incidents did happen. The sole purpose of Carnatic (or any devotional) music is to pray and seek such an ‘exalted state’, is to feel that firsthand bliss on this earth. Sri Ramakrishna, out of pure compassion, demonstrated such an ecstatic state (తన్మయత్వం)  to his disciples. The Telugu community can never fully pay the debt to Dr. Balamurali for rendering many moving songs; he sang many pieces without any preparation - totally extempore performances. I humbly bow to such gifted composers and vocalists. There is some sacredness in the Telugu land, otherwise the soil would not have produced many exceptionally talented artists, creative people, saints, and Kuchipudi dance masters. How many Indians know that the national anthem (జన-గణ-మన) was composed at Rishi Valley?     

ni sadbhakati = (your) true devotion towards the Lord (Sri Rama); sangita = music; jnana = the knowledge and wisdom; vi-hinulaku = people who are bereft of (such knowledge), for such unfortunate (hapless) persons. (Is there any relief for such people from the bonds of human life - a life filled with the travails of sorrow although mixed with occasional happiness?) 

Prana = life, ex: prana = this is one of the five bodily “gases” (from the concepts in yoga, prana, apana, vyana, udana, and samana), the (earthly human) body exists and lives with the help of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water vapor. Of course many human beings and animals need water and nutritious solid food also. I have come across two great rishis (yogis and true sanyasins) who could survive exclusively on air. The great Balayogi (not to be confused with the later day speaker Balayogi)  of Mummidivaram lived many years without food. Other saints and avadhutas lived with very little food for days and months. anala = fire, జఠరాగ్ని; sam-yogamu = good (healthy) union; valana = due to; praNava = the name of sacred syllable OM, ఓం; nadamu = a note, the basic sound, it is felt by musicians, poets, and yogis. This is experienced during meditation also. There is no corresponding word in English. This vibration can be thought as a precursor to the musical syllables, “sa, ri, ga, ma, pa, da, ni, sa,”. If I may, to furthur explore, consider this: In writing a poem, composing a song, or preparing for rendition of a musical piece, the artist first feels some inspiration, a vacant state, or pure energy. In that moment, there is no sound, no word, in fact one cannot describe the “feeling”. It just occrs and we cannot put any label on it. That is the most holy state - which exalted beings like J. Krishnamurthi (or Paramacharya and many others) tried to communicate. This state is a prerequiste for any great sculptor, artist, inventor, discoverer, or scientist. Perhaps, one can venture to say, then in that minute vacant state the birth of nascent sound (creative music) happens. I am embarassed to admit - only great composers, creative individuals, or artists can give further elaboration here. But as J. Krishnamurthi had pointed out so poignantly in one of his answers, there is a state beyond ‘measure’ (= విముక్త), a measureless state. So, perhaps we can explore it, with utter humility as our faithful companion.   
If I may, I can dwell a bit on the ‘mokshamu’ (मोक्षः). What is this state of ‘released state’? Perhaps this writer too felt it several times: during a song composing phase, upon hitting on a brilliant idea, in one of the vacant idle walks in outdoor nature, maybe I intensely felt on the gardens adjoining the Ganges during a moonlit night, or suddenly during the foggy early morning coming upon on a stunning autumn beauty with vibrant fall colors all around. I cannot describe now but something indescribable happened at such times (perhaps similar exhilarating moments may occur again). It lifted my spirits and for a brief period I felt supremely elated without any cause or reason. I used to find joy at spotting the stately Brahminy Kite sitting atop on a coconut tree next to the canal in the village. A mere sighting of Oregon-grape holly flowers or fragrant peony bunches would move some times. Perhaps for lesser mortals only such fleeting moments endow us with the meaning of a temporary ‘mokshamu’. There were times when the intense of aroma (of a lotus pond or cluster of stargazer lilies) coupled with heavenly moonlight would suddenly engulf (me).This state, this intensely joyous exalted fleeting of time, one must have in life. A guru may impart to the lucky disciple, but one cannot get it by practice or arduous exercise. It just happens; only grace can give us such invaluable gifts. It is difficult to communicate this word, ‘mokshamu’; only the kind Paramacharya or Sarada mata can precisely communicate its full import. 

“They know not the methods of Lord Siva, Himself a great admirer of vina music.”
What to make of this line? There is one incident in Bhukailas movie where the great Siva devotee, Ravana goes to great lengths to please the Lord. He pulls his entrails out and plays vina on them. Can we ever know what is in Siva’s mind, really? Who are we? Just mere mortals, aren’t we? Siva is also a supreme devotee of Lord Rama. Perhaps the real music must come from inside; a song is born only when there is a perfect union of meaning, emotion, and the envelope of ‘a beautiful tune’. 

One needs a life time to meditate on this complex song. We can only imagine what the original composer Tyagaraja had in mind. Or what meaning the later day legendary vocalists like Shatkala Govinda Marar had imparted to this song. I have immensely benefited listening to the renditions by Dr. Balamurali, Sri Nedunuri, Sri M D Ramanathan and of course, how can I forget the memorable moving vina recital by Dr. Chittibabu? (Come to think of it, Kakinada is just a stone’s throw from my town, just a hop over the Ravulipalem bridge across Godavari.) 
Copyright by the author 2018

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Meaning of "Podaganti mayya" Song

Meaning of "Podaganti mayya" Song
(A classic Annamacharya Kirtana)
poDaganTi mi = We’ve witnessed, we’ve discovered, we saw you, we came across you; ayya = Sir; mimmu = you; purushottama = the best among all the people, the supreme being; mammu = us [memu = plural of I. mammu = accusative case of ‘we’];( n)eDayakavu = not separate, desert, or leave; ayya = please sir; koneTi rayaDu = Lord Venkateswara, the Lord who dwells adjacent to the tank of sacred waters on the seven hills.

kori = voluntarily, by choice, desiring; mammu = us; (n)elinatti = guarding, ruling with compassion; kula-daivama = are you our family’s favorite god? chala = greatly; nerichi = with cleverness, gathered with skill; pedda-licchina = gifted by the elders; nidhanama = precious accumulated wealth, hidden treasure, secretly buried wealth;

garavinchi = with respect, invite (the guest, stranger) with honors; dappi + tirchu = quench the (desperate) thirst; kala meghama = cool dark hued cloud, [a large dark cloud holds lot of water. Approximately a big cloud can equal in weight a herd of ten elephants. We are talking here 100 tons of water!] maku = for us; cheruva = in close proximity, nearby; (ji) chittamuloni = in(our) heart; Srinivasuda (?) = the Lord who always has Lakshmi with Him.

bhavimpa = upon pondering; kaivasamaina = fully accessible, readily available, within reach without any effort; parijathama = a tree in the gardens of Indra, a tree which fulfills people’s (and gods’) wishes spontaneously – just upon thinking, also known as kalpa-vriksha; mammu = us; chEvadEra = quintessential, concentrated, powerful; gachinaTTi = looked after, cared for; chintamani = the celestial precious stone (it fulfills ones wishes instantly), wishing stone; kavinchi = creates on the spot, produces material wealth; korikalicche = showers boons, fulfills desires; kamadhenuva = (is it?) the holy cow, usually stays with Indra;

tavai = as the surrounding oxygen gas with perfume; rakshimcheTi = that protects; dharaNidhara = king, ruler, Vishnu, mountain. (Perhaps there are some unique mountains or hills with special healing properties. The classic ‘Sanjivini Mount’ of Ramayana comes to mind. Just a whiff of perfume from such a mountain can have extraordinary Ayurvedic (life enhancing) power over a person. Even in ordinary instances we come across such relief from pain and extreme bodily exhaustion. For example, on a hot summer day we get temporary respite when we sit on the banks of Godavari, Krishna, or the Ganges. Similarly on a sweltering day one gets peace and rest upon reaching the Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondacks.)

cheDanika = preventing from degradation, destruction; bratikinche = making (someone) alive, bringing back to life; siddha  mantrama = a sacred chant gifted (offered) by a very devout yogi or holy person (such as Sri Ganapathi Muni, Sarada Mata, Sri Seshadri Swami, and others); roga-ladachi = that which suppresses diseases; rakshinche = protective,  efficacious;
divyaushadhama = very precious medicine; baDi = along with, accompanying; payaka = constantly, without break, without interruption; tirige = accompanying, walking with; praNa bandhuDa (?) = a close buddy, most intimate friend, truly a trusting close relative; mammu = us; gaDinchu = gaDiyinchu = earn, create; (In a way we are all created by Lord Srinivasa. We are created and sustained by Him) aTTi = such; Sri = auspicious, Lakshmi; Venkata-nadhuDa = the Lord who gets rid of our insurmountable difficulties (the Lord of Seven Hills).

[I came to know about Annamayya rather late. Of course my own interests and pursuits with Carnatic music started belatedly and haphazardly – with impromptu singings at temples, friends’ gatherings, or local festival programs. I came across one Annamayya kirtana (విన్నపాలు వినవలె)  by Bhanumati in an old Telugu movie (అనురాగం) – that was the beginning of my acquaintance with this extraordinary composer. Did I hear జో అచ్యుతానంద as a lullaby as a child? Later I used to hear many such songs on the radio by celebrated artists like Srirangam Gopalaratnam. Several legendary artists like  Dr. Balamurali, Sri Balakrishna Prasad and others imparted indelible musical stamp on many Annamayya’s songs. 

If I may, add an observation here: Tyagaraja, Ramadasu, and a number of great composers made musical compositions with their views on life, faith, nature, beauty, and romance. Yet no one can match Annamacharya in vivid picturization of romantic feeling, life's hardest travails, or sublime spiritual thoughts. If you have to know what is sheer poetry or beauty, you got to know Annamayya's songs; and know them well, their profound inner meaning (అంతర్గత ధ్వని).  

I humbly dedicate this little article to my mother who was a prodigious vocal artist in her own right. Perhaps I may slowly discharge my triple debts (ఋణ త్రయము) this way!] Copyright by the author 2018

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Echinopsis seminudus

Echinopsis seminudus (subdenudata)

I learnt my gardening skills from my mother and through the local village farmers. Much later I acquired some basic knowledge and practical tips to grow from small (2-4 inch) cuttings from the faculty of a horticultural department. But in the beginning my practical knowledge base was mostly confined to tropical flowering plants, tropical vegetables, a few local cacti, and succulents. Till pre-university (i.e., twelfth grade) I accompanied my mother and grand mother in the routine gardening chores around the house. As an avid gardener I learnt slowly and gradually through purely practical lessons gained from dirt filled finger nails. One learns a lot through meager resources - through hard work and struggles; knowledge acquired through self experience is very valuable, it is the most authentic, though acquired at a slow pace. Yet it is time tested. No amount of dry bookish reading can equal such profound practical knowledge (this is true in any field – from art, music, to applied sciences) and diligent observations (cf. Mendel). Some good natured professors, master gardeners, and farmers can help the beginners. Yet coming across such genuinely nice people in real life is rare – almost like meeting a faithful sweetheart!

My friends and I used to see in the wild and roadside lots of opuntia and cacti bushes along the outskirts of coastal Andhra and dry regions of Tamil Nadu. The local dwellers would use the columnar cacti bushes as a barrier fence around the house; certainly the thorny fence deters stray animals and snakes from entering the premises. We used to pluck ripe cactus fruits and taste ’em right next to the thorny bush. Often I wondered at the vigorous thriving flat opuntia and the carefree spreading fences of columnar cactus. Once I brought into home a few cut pieces of cactus and tried planting in wet sand. I failed in my first attempts, the samples would simply rot and die. Later I understood the reason. The root system of cacti (particularly that of Echinopsis subdenudata) is very delicate. It needs loose soil and plenty of space to breathe and dry out completely after watering (or rain fall). We had one Opuntia microdasys overgrown in a container for several years but I lost it due to negligence. Tiny needles are always painful – though the big thorns can be easily pulled out with a forceps.

In an earlier blog (at Sulekha) I gave details about potting soil for succulents and cacti. Those instructions were gathered from several sources: books, horticultural department cacti collections, and personal experience. I prepared such soils for my own potting. For both aloe vera and Echinopsis, I make the soil loose, free flowing. This is accomplished by mixing the soil with fine sand (or grit) and a bit of lime. Most of the time I prefer clay pots for all cacti. During cold winters the clay pots tend to be too cool. But if you take proper care, you can give ample protection to the cactus plant, particularly to its sensitive root system. The clay pots with good drainage (using broken stones, charcoal, brick pieces) provide breathing space for the roots. Like any gardener, I too lost some precious cactus plants – but it is mostly due to willful (I mean accidental) negligence, due to lack of time and care. Generally cacti demand very little: just a bit of water once a month in winter, plenty of light, and repotting when the plant becomes root bound. In summer times (or when the plant is growing) cacti need more frequent watering. Other non-desert climate plants (ex: hibiscus, crossandra, etc.) can withstand extended periods of water logging; their feet can stay wet for a few days. But not this delicate cactus. It likes a quick shower and fast drying.

Many years back one of my friends (vs) gifted me this cactus plant. It was a small ball like plant sitting in a tiny clay pot. He brought it from Albuquerque (New Mexico). Then it was shriveled, languishing due to neglect. Since then it has gradually grown into an 18” tall  columnar cactus. Although the plant gives numerous flowers during summer season, it has no pups growing on the side. Perhaps one day it will produce a baby. The flowers drop off after several days and they do not produce any seed here in the northeast indoors. Once it settles in a roomy well fertilized soil, the plant continues to grow nicely without any pests or diseases. My rules for watering the plant are strict: Give weekly or biweekly watering to cacti during their vigorous growth period in spring and summer seasons. Reduce watering frequency in the fall. In winter, the cactus plant goes through a period of dormancy. It does not need any water as there is no growth. But once a month I water all the cactus and succulent plants during winter months (December through February). If they are totally neglected they will dry and may end up dying due to the low indoor humidity and heat. If needed, I also spray the plants with clean distilled water (from refrigerator ice cubes, fresh snow, or rain water) in the dry season. It washes the cactus free of dust and keeps the exterior shiny green and wrinkle free. Compared to other (indoor) plants cacti mostly care for themselves. When they are accidentally exposed to rain, particularly to heavy downpours, I bring them inside. I let the plant sit in front of a fan for a quick drying. Or you can use a hair blower. Excess water as well as prolonged exposure to dryness (winter indoor heating, no watering for months) can kill the cactus.

Sample Soil

Equal parts of loam, leaf mold, and sand.  Add a little fertilizer containing almost entirely phosphates (ex: bone meal). This unique plant inspired me to pen a poem titled, "Snapana".
Copyright by the author 2018