There is something to be said about going to school again as an adult. I realised that it brings out some of the nice things in us which we forget as we grow old:
You do not hesitate to admit that you don't know something.
You make mistakes but still keep trying.
You can laugh at yourself with others easily without any hurt.
You prefer to keep things simple.
you are not afraid of failing.

Simple principles but so tough to apply in our day to day life - wonder why?
I have always been fascinated by the picture of the two headed bird on the BMTC buses. The two heads look away from one another and its body seems to be made of gold. It is called the Ghanda Bherunda and it is a mythical two headed bird which was the symbol of the Mysore kingdom and now used by the BMTC in its logo. Not much is known of this bird except that Vishnu in the form of Lakshminarasimha has a shrine where he is worshipped in this form in the Pancha Narasimha ksetram in Andhra Pradesh. It is believed that Lord Vishnu took this form during his Narasimha avatar .
Hindu mythology and folklore has its own share of such interesting birds and animals,
Some of which are very poetic:
Chakora, a Himalayan partridge, the lover of the moon, is said to feed on the rays of the moon.
Chakravaha is a variety of duck. Legend has it that pairs of these birds are souls of two lovers, who are supposed to sleep apart at night endlessly calling to one another:
“chakava,,may I come” and “ No. Chakavi!”
The Chataka bird is supposed to be a type of swallow that drinks only drops of rain as they fall from the clouds and nothing else!
Hamsa, the swan immortalized by Ravivarma in his famous painting Hamsa Damayanthi, was supposed to be a celestial bird that separated water from milk!

But some of the undocumented mythical creatures of my childhood have continued to fascinate me. These were used by the elders in the house to bring disobedient children under control.
One was a man called Poochandi – his name was typically brought out to make children eat, go to bed early or when they refused to do something. My image of poochandi has been one who had matted hair, brownish, with an unkempt beard, red eyes and dressed in rags. Since he was only used to scare children, he was probably some kind of a cannibal who delighted on young human meat! Of course each family had a personalised version of poochandi depending on what they thought was scary enough!!
Needless to say that generations of children in tamil households have heard of him but he has never been seen!
Actually he has been a very convenient invention to make life easy for parents with troublesome children - wonder if he still comes in handy to the parents of today.

Two other creatures that have haunted my imagination from childhood are the vedalam and the pisasu – the former is supposed to dwell on drumstick trees while the latter preferred tamarind trees. They were usually supposed to be active during noon time and after dark! Well these were of both sexes and were disembodied spirits . Only their voices were supposed to be heard. They were usually looking to get into the bodies of bad children!
I have spent many afternoons under the drumstick tree in my house clandestinely looking for this Vedalam character but never had any luck!!
Perhaps he was so lonely that he went out socializing with the pisasu in the tamarind tree in the neighbourhood – who knows!