Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Compulsive Disorders

Why is it that the very things you chided your mother for when you were a kid, becomes a compulsive activity for you too? Also, funnily enough, this seems to be the case more with girls, than with boys! Makes me wonder whether it's some strangely fashioned, genetically modified, gender thing!!!

I remember the many times I've blown my top when just after we're all out of the house and the door has been securely locked, my mom would want to check whether she'd turned off the gas knob! The three of us (dad, sis and me) would plead and grovel to not make us open the door again, but, to absolutely no avail! My mom would hear none of it!!! So, out the lock would come and mom would triumphantly troop inside, only to find everything that can be securely locked or switched off, exactly in that state! Did that serve as a lesson the next time? Absolutely not! Did it at least serve as a lesson that I shouldn't imbibe this trait? Woefully, no! <sigh>

Now, when I leave my house, I lock the door, then check, double-check, and triple-check whether it has really, truly been locked, pushing it with all my might, leaving me to wonder how it's still stuck to its hinges! As for the switches, don't even get me started on them! I sometimes wonder whether doors and switches have been specifically made to be the bane of my life! I mean, I can see that the switch is off, why then do I have to switch it on and switch it off again, or at least touch it to make sure it really is off?!? Do I really think the switch can camouflage itself to look to be switched off to me, when it is actually inwardly smirking at how easily I can be fooled!?!

Try as I might, I don't seem to be able to do away with this irrational, compulsive disorder of mine! I can see in my mind the future; my kids and husband pleading and grovelling to not make them push the door any harder, and me triumphantly marching in after the poor door has been rooted off its hinges by all the shoving and pushing, only to find the gleeful switches all laughing uproariously at me!!!

Pic courtesy: Google

Monday, October 30, 2006

Friends for Life!!!

From the last few days, I seem to be in a very "poetsy" mood! I actually set out writing this post in a nice, prose form. Alas, I had hardly written a complete sentence, before I decided to unleash another of my poems on all of you! So, here goes!!!

My friends for life,
My sweet solace,
Take me in their arms,
And, with my mood, keep pace!

Never an angry word,
Never a sour glance,
Always a welcoming smile,
They're not my friends by chance!

Come rain, come hail, come snow,
I always find them at an arm's reach,
Ready to ever curl up with me,
And, the wonder of words, they do me teach!

Histories and mysteries and thrillers,
Quaint psychological quirks,
Unravelling the complexities of the mind,
Or, the Universe and its works!

For letting me loose in this amazing world,
Indebted am I to my father and sister,
Where treasures flow in unending abundance,
Each one a cure for my every blister!

I turn to these friends time and again,
In some, I mend my broken self,
With more, I marvel on the joy of life,
Each one for me, the shoemaker's elf!

Come one, come all, i say,
Partake of this chest of treasure,
Unconditional, the love they pour forth,
Each second with them, beyond measure!

Don't discard them without a thought,
They'll serve you always in good stead,
You may one day have no time for them,
But, they'll wait for you patiently, by your bed!

I know no better path to sound sleep,
Manifestations of them on the screen, you may view,
In the end, what it all boils down to, is this,
They will still remain as fresh as morning dew!

Flip their pages again and again, you can,
Dog-ear them, carelessly toss them away,
Mark my words, give them a hear,
In times of gloom, they'll be your shining ray!

Be their friend, as they are yours,
Treat them with love, handle with care,
Give them a home, a sense of belonging,
Don't ever let them rot with wear and tear!

As a last word, this I have to say,
All you people who don't have these friends,
Know not what beauty you're missing,
A helping hand for sure, at each of life's bends!

Pick up one such treasure of words,
It's never too soon, it's never too late,
Your friends for life, you still can find,
As I did, time and again, many a soulmate!

Books are for eternity, books are for good,
Books stay by you, through every day of your life,
A nice collection of short stories, with me, by my side,
At present, Jeffrey Archer helps me combat every strife!

Pic courtesy: Google

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Of Restless Days; Of Sleepless Nights

So many thoughts floating in my head,
With one almost always reigning supreme...
Have you ever wondered why the wise said,
"A watched kettle never boils", even in your dream!

Time and tide wait for no man, they say,
Then why is that I often find it standing still...
Push it with all my strength and might, I may,
But, still find some more time to kill!!!

It's not that I don't have things to do,
At most times, my beloved books are my all...
But, often times I hear my heart softly rue,
Be with me forever soon, near enough to hear my every call!

Distance makes the heart grow so much fonder,
But, out of my sight, and you're out of my mind...
Two contradicting statements; an oxymoron?, I ponder,
And, divided in its opinion, may be the whole of mankind!

For me, however, only one holds true,
A truth that encompasses my entire being, my life song...
A vessel am I, in which your love I brew,
Till we're together and beyond, no matter it takes however long!!!

Friday, October 27, 2006


A friend of mine, Gopakumar (www.gops.in), has always had a penchant for notes, tunes and all things musical! After harbouring the dream of releasing his own music album almost from the age of reason, he has finally set upon doing just that! The album is in its finishing stages now, and all his friends and well wishers are with bated breath, awaiting its release. It gives me immense pleasure to say that I've had the honour to write the cover page for the album. The title of the album, Upaya, is both intriguing and thought provoking. Gopakumar came up with this title to encompass in one word, a dream that has been his, for eons now! Upaya signifies the beginning of the attainment of his dream in life, his all-consuming goal, his music!

Gopu, as he is fondly called, is at present busy with the post-production and pre-release work, as also with getting the official web site for the album ready. Check this space for more on that in the near future!

Not only does Gopu compose music, he's also an absolutely fabulous singer! Unfortunately, he's crooned only part of a song in this album, preferring to boost the talents of other new entrants, like him! The album boasts of an ensemble cast of wonderful singers, including Unnikrishnan, a playback singer of considerable repute. All in all, it's an album that you'd surely not want to miss!
I take this chance to wish Gopu all the best and success like he's never imagined in his wildest dreams!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Diwali at K

I was at IIM-K for Diwali. The students quite enthusiastically lit up the entire campus with candles, than the more traditional diyas!!! Not to be outdone, I lined up a train of candles outside A's room, having got hold of them from one of his friends! One of the candles was exasperatingly adamant. It just refused to remain stuck to the floor, falling like it was one of the proverbial nine pins. I tried all sorts of tricks; chanted mantras, evoked divine help, even threatened the measly candle; all to no avail! I even tried hoodwinking it, removing one finger at a time! It caught on to every slight movement of mine, crashing down if I so much as sighed a trifle aloud!!! It reminded me of two lines from Robert Frost's poem, Mending Wall, where the poet futilely tries to balance ill-shaped boulders, to mend a wall that has broken down!!
"...We have to use a spell to make them balance:
'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'..."
Finally, after minutes and minutes of perseverance, I came out victorious!!! It stayed, and how!!! I even got one of the students to click a picture of my artwork! <grin>

The Little Devil at the Far Right!

We then went for a stroll around the campus, and a friend (Anil) took a picture of us near the lawn.

The celebrations that had been planned at K were simple and nice. It kicked off with a traditional puja, for which a priest performed all the customary rituals that mark such festive celebrations. The puja was performed in the campus canteen, all the chairs and tables having been removed, to provide ample space for the ceremony. The students turned up in large numbers, many sitting on the floor in a semi-circle, around the priest, while some more plonked themselves on a narrow ledge that ran all along the sides of the walls of the room. The ceremony lasted a little over three quarters of an hour, with a few volunteers distributing prasad at the end of it.

The Devotees!!!

After the ceremony, it was time to satiate our growling tummies. A more than usual sumptuous dinner beckoned us, replete with yummy ice cream, which, I must say, was more than enough to satiate my tummy!!!

After the dinner, the fun began! The night sky was soon lit with the glorious lights of tons of crackers at a time! Before we knew it, every breathable inch of air was taken control of by the cacophony of thundering sounds and brilliant, fluorescent colours!!! How I wish they'd make noiseless crackers, with only colourful lights streaming out of them, to showcase their beauty! I mean, is it necessary to have these earth-shattering and eardrum-bursting decibels that I'm sure are unbearably loud for even dogs! To top it all, a few students strung together a long line with every firecracker that they could lay their hands on and ignited one end with a tiny flickering flame. The deceptively teeny weeny flicker absolutely belied the monstrous, resounding thunderclaps that erupted from the crackers, which seemed to be filled with the bomb that wreaked havoc on Hiroshima!!! A small ball of fire? even flew over to where we were cowering, with our hands firmly over our ears, and landed thonk on A's head!!! It took him completely by surprise, and I <sheepish> erupted into giggles!

The Monster in Action!!!

Lighting Up the Night Sky!

All in all, an evening I won't forget in a hurry!

Varanus Bengalensis

Ever heard of the Bengal Monitor? Thanks to a friend (Beta), I've found out that the Iguana-like creature that I saw was actually a Bengal Monitor, also known as the Common Indian Monitor. It is a monitor lizard with the scientific name, Varanus Bengalensis. Apparently, this reptile is commonly found in India and Bangladesh. Also, unfortunately, like most other species of the animal kingdom, this lizard too is killed for its meat and skin! So much so that it now leads a threatened life because of all this mindless, senseless hunting!

These humungous reptiles have extremely strong claws, which provide fodder to the myth that they can securely cling to any kind of surface. An interesting legend that has been doing the rounds for time immemorial is that Tanaji Malusare, one of Shivaji's (the founder of the Maratha empire in Western India) generals, attached ropes to one of these lizards and climbed the walls of the Sinhagad fort! Lovely tale, eh?!? Wonder whether there is an iota of truth in it!!!

Bengal Monitors feed on small terrestrial vertebrates, ground birds and their eggs, arthropods and fish. It looked to me as though as it could eat a whole lot more!!!

I found an image of the big fella in surroundings that look strikingly similar to the hills of Kozhikode, where I saw it!

Here's a closer look at His/Her Majesty!!!

See those claws?!? Methinks it can give any mountain climbing gear a run for its money!!!

Pic and Information Courtesy: Wikipedia and Google

Research Starting Point Courtesy: Beta :-)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Blessing from Above!

What is it about rain that makes me want to be bang in the midst of it!?! Monday evening saw the heavens break open in Kozhikode, Kerala. I was delighted beyond imagination! To top it all, there was no silly umbrella to prevent me getting completely drenched; what a lovely feeling it was to be soaked through and through! Many people have told me to go stand under the shower whenever I feel the urge/need to get "rained down" on! I've tried it, but it's just not the same! There's nothing like the whole sky becoming my shower for those few minutes! Pray, God, when do you plan to open the taps and water the plants again? Can I take a teeny weeny bit of that lovely pansy's share?!?

All I crave are a few drops of rain,
Falling on my head, falling on my mane.
Moments of bliss, moments of pain,
All entirely worth the happiness I gain!

Pitter patter, pitter patter, on my head they plop,
Blessings from heaven, a blessing in every drop!
Down on the irate motorist, and down on the stern cop,
And down on my patiently waiting, welcoming mop!!!

My flowers need water today, thinks Almighty God,
Every little bud, and every inch of muddy sod.
Safe in his good books, and spared every rod,
I bask in the glory of being another pansy of the Lord!!!

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Been at IIM-K for the last two days. Haven't been doing anything much; just eating, sleeping, and generally having a whale of a time! Aah! This is the life!!! So much so that I refuse to acknowledge the fact that I return home in another two days.

A and I watched Don yesterday. It was pretty okay, with a nice, proverbial twist in the tale! Well, the theatre was no great shakes, but I'd watch Shahrukh Khan mouth "Don ko pakadna mushkil hi nahi, namumkin hai" anywhere! The crowd was unruly to say the least; hooting, cheering, applauding and whistling at anything and everything! I mean, they even got excited when an advertisement for some gas cylinder was displayed on the screen during the interval! A far cry from the ooh la la audiences who frequently haunt Inox in Bangalore! Although, I must admit that apart from the noisemaking getting on my nerves when it made it virtually impossible to listen to the actors speak, it was quite entertaining in its own cacophonous way!!!

Once back from the movie, I got all dolled up to celebrate Diwali at IIM-K with A and the other students. (More on that later!) I must take this chance to mention that everyone here refers to the institute as just "K"! Sounds cool, I guess!!! Or maybe, it's an Ekta Kapoor or even a Rakesh Roshan syndrome/hangover, call what you may!!! Before I get hollered at by the 'K'ites (K'ians?), I better stop digressing and fixating on this particular topic!

Oh, before I forget, we even spotted a humungous reptile, <a cross between a lizard and an iguana, or so I thought!>, on our way up the hill to the campus, after one of our outings. Unfortunately, neither of us had the presence of mind to take a shot of the creature. We were too stunned by the sheer size that it oh so proudly seemed to possess and display! The autorickshaw driver told us what its called in Malayalam. That doesn't help much as we don't know what its English equivalent is. I shall, however, put my research skills to the test and try and find out what exactly it was that we saw! :-D

All in all, it's been the nicest two days in a long time. It may well be my last or last but one visit to K, and I intend to make the most of it. How?!? Eating, relaxing, playing the fool, and driving A up the wall, what did you think?!? :-D

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


There was absolute mayhem on Airport road (Bangalore) and other adjoining roads last evening. News of a disastrous accident had started filtering in around 4:00 pm yesterday. A colleague of mine said that he'd heard that a Volvo bus, one of those humungous red monsters, had rammed into close to 15 pedestrians, killing all of them! Are you kidding?!? That was exactly what the expression on everyone's faces conveyed! I mean, it sounded like a massacre!

The many of us who left from work at the usual hour had no clue what lay in store for us. We were caught in slow moving traffic, well, almost standstill traffic, for more than 2 hours. The usual journey from work to home that takes about half an hour to 45 minutes at the most for me, ended up being a veritable long haul!!! As we sat in the company bus, twiddling our thumbs, news kept flowing in of how the bus had apparently manoeuvred way out of control because of the brake not functioning. What I found surprising was that the radio channels seemed to concentrate only on how the traffic was not moving at several places in the city, rather than on the loss of human lives! These channels were even asking people to send in reports of where they were stuck, for how long they'd been stuck, and such other comparatively less important problems! In the wake of the human tragedy that had taken place, the least they could have done was to devote some air space to the people who had so unwittingly lost their lives, and to the many more battling for theirs as a result of the catastrophe that had ensued!

Finally, after a journey of well over 2 hours, most of which entailed a lot of waiting, I got home. I rushed to switch on the television and tune in to one of the news channels. NDTV was covering the tragedy. What was heartwrenching was that most of the people who had been injured were employees of HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited). Those poor, unsuspecting people had just been coming out of their workplace after their share of the day's work, when before they could realize what was happening, the monster of a bus had rammed right into them! Can you even fathom something like this happening to you or any of your loved ones!?! Those people would have also got out of their homes in the morning, fairly sure that they would be back to the comfort of their beds, after a hard day's work! Little could they have in their wildest dreams imagined the events that followed.

The news further reported that the bus had first rammed into an autorickshaw, the driver of which had been severly injured and was battling for his life at a nearby hospital. It then rammed into a pole, before tolling the death bell for the people coming out of the HAL office. Though the official report was that 2 people had been killed and many many injured, angry HAL employees claimed that most definitely more than 2, at least 3 people, had lost their lives! They also said that they'd asked for a traffic signal/traffic policeman at that very spot an umpteen number of times, only to have got no adequate response from the administration. An angry mob had burnt down the bus and also completely cut off that road to any kind of traffic, which accounted for the chaos on the adjoining roads.

This morning, there were still a large number of cops milling all around that place, doing all sorts of inspections and questionings. Can any of these after measures account for the lives that have already been lost, for the lives that have been maimed by this incident, for the sense of fear that has been instilled in the minds of the victims and their loved ones? Is anyone safe on the roads anymore? Even today morning, on my way to work, the cab driver had to swerve rather suddenly and unnervingly, to avoid hitting two young girls crossing the choc-a-block road, with traffic flowing from both sides! Has life becomes so less valued? Or, has the race against time become so important that we'd rather risk dying than waiting a few minutes on the sidewalk, just a few minutes till the signal turns red and the traffic halts to let us pass!?!

Rather than sermonize on the perils of reckless driving and carelessness, something that has been attempted by countless others, I only pray that the souls of the deceased rest in peace.

Monday, October 16, 2006


What a long, dreary day this is turning out to be! Is this what they call monday blues? Maybe it is, then again, maybe not. I'm just too bored and impatient today. Well, I guess I'm impatient most of the time. Will this impatience of mine be allievated come February? I think so. Countdowns seem to be dominating my very existence in a big way! Well, not exactly in plural! Come to think of it, maybe yes, in plural! In between all the waiting that I do for next February, I also wait for those small, little interminable moments of time that we're together, maybe once a month, maybe once in two or three months; each one more treasured than the last!

I have heard innumerable times that one should not keep waiting for something. "A watched kettle never boils." I can't say that I agree with this "wise" old idiom. I like the feeling when what I wait for finally arrives! Who doesn't, for that matter! I mean, what greater joy can there be? Don't we all wait for something or the other all our lives? When we are kids, we wait to grow up. When grown up, we wait to find our soulmates. Come summer, we wait for the rains. The pregnant mother waits for the day when she will lovingly hold her baby. Lovers wait for the hour when they'll be in each others arms. The school girls wait for the vacations. The tiger waits for his prey. God waits for us to remember him. I can go on and on and on. If the Almighty is not spared of the activity of waiting, need I say much more about us lesser mortals?!?

There is one thing that doesn't thankfully wait for anyone or anything. Time. Time is my saviour now like no other. I am confident that it will steadily tick by, making my wait that much more fruitful and fulfilling. Then again, time is what continuously tests my patience too. If only I could make it go faster. But, it passes for sure. Time is what gives me the impetus for my countdowns. Time is what keeps them going, maybe not fast enough, but steadily decreasing for sure, and that, surely, is what keeps me going...

Friday, October 13, 2006

Leave Me Alone!!!

I hate these headaches that I get so often! They ruin my day! Throb-throb-throb they go, somewhere deep inside the recesses of my head! Feels like someone is hammering my head to a meaningless lump of pulp! "Leave me alone", I scream; to absolutely no avail! The headache always has its own agenda! It's akin to a parasite, refusing to let go of me till it has successfully sucked everything out of me, thoroughly sapping my energy for the day! :-( No number of consultations with doctors, no number of medications, have helped get rid of this menace! These headaches have been my companions from time immemorial, or so I feel! I mean, I remember having them right from the very age of reason! It's sinusitis, say some. No no, it's migraine attacks, opine others! Oh well, whatever they may be, methinks, they're here to stay!

Maybe, I should befriend them! Yes, that's what I'll do! I'll sweet-talk it; you know, flutter those eyelashes and charm my way into its heart! :-D Better still, I'll declare open war on it! You hammer me, I'll hammer you more!!! I can actually hear it smirking at its victory! There it is, giggling away to glory at my plight! You think it overheard us, the eavesdropping dolt!?! :-O

Thursday, October 12, 2006


One of the things that I absolutely and vehemently loathe is a visit to the dentist. I so dread it!!! So much so that I take extra care of my pearlies to avoid visiting Mr. Dentist! In my mind, all dentists are horrible monsters with hairy hands, waiting to explore the inner confines of my mouth and wreak havoc there! What is surprising is that no number of nice, sweet dentists seem to change this perception of mine!

Anyway, if you're wondering why I've suddenly started this tirade on visits to the dentist, it's because I had to go to one yesterday! Well, the experience was pretty uneventful. He was a nice man, who did not have hairy hands (he was wearing those surgical gloves :-D), and he did not fiddle around inside my mouth much! But, is that going to make me more amiable to dentists and not squirm thinking about even routine dental checkups?!? No way!!! I still plan to keep all dentists and their horrible little instruments and tools at an arm's length! I mean, have you seen the tools they carry in their deceptively sweet, little tool boxes?!? They are veritable pandora's boxes, waiting to be opened by an unsuspecting, gullible patient!!! A glimpse at the assortment of tools (oh yes, they are tools alright!) in them is enough to cause a cardiac arrest in any moderately sensitized individual! They resemble miniature versions of things that maybe, carpenters, or even machinery builders, would use!!! The first time I heard the whirring sound of the dentist's drill, I almost jumped out of my skin!!! I mean, does he really think he's going to use that inside my mouth!?! What does he think my mouth is? A hole in a wall of cement, made using a similar drill or something!!! :-O

When I was a kid, my mother and an aunt decided that I needed braces! I kicked and screamed and ranted, all to no avail! I was promptly taken to the dentist! What followed resembled a scene straight out of a Hollywood children's flick! I kept a sullen face throughout, and it was a miracle that I did not snap the poor man's hand right off!!! Then, he started sharpening that menacing little drill of his! I almost bolted from the chair when I heard the whiiiiiiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr; my worst nightmare was coming true! Also, what is with those chairs!?! They make you recline all the way back; makes me feel like a goat laid to slaughter! Or, like one of those chairs the psychiatrists make you lie down on!!! Creepy!

Well, as I live to tell the tale, it's obvious that I somehow got through the ordeal! But, I made a vow; a vow that I would never ever let anything even closely resembling that little devil of a drill, anywhere near my teeth! With my teeth all nicely wired and braced, I was almost certain that I would never set foot in those horrible premises ever again! As luck would have it, I returned in a couple years time! :-( I had played hookey and refused to wear my braces after the initial few days. After being on my back for a loooooong time, my parents gave up trying to make me wear them. I was convinced that the matter had been put to rest! Unfortunately for me, that very same aunt again decided that I'd been comfortably happy for way too long, and before I knew it, I found myself sitting on that very same reclining chair! I was let go only when I had been nicely wired up again! Of course, I had learnt my lesson! I kept them on till asked to remove them, when I promptly refused to do so! Well, before you shake your heads in disbelief, it was just that I had become so used to them that I felt something was amiss in my mouth when they were finally removed! Nevertheless, I was a free soul again! I didn't ever want to see the inside of a dentist's clinic for as long as I inhabited this earth, and I truly believed that this time, the vow was for keeps! My bubble burst yesterday! Oh well, actually, a few years earlier! I've realized that there is no escape from routine dental checkups, but am I one to accept it?!? Heck, no!!! After having gone through the ordeal yesterday with much trepidation, I've renewed my old vows! Never again am I setting foot in a dentist's clinic! Hrrrmmph!!!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Bheemeshwari Fishing and Nature Camp

Bheemeshwari is a quaint little fishing and nature camp tucked away in the forests of Karnataka, India, along the majestic Cauvery river. We (my team at the workplace) made a trip to this beautiful haven a few weeks back. It is situated at a distance of a little over a 100 kms outside the city of Bangalore, Karnataka.

On reaching the place, we were shown to our log huts; cute little wooden houses, slightly elevated with the help of small wooden pillars. They are so built to provide against sudden rises in the water level of the Cauvery. Oh yes, that reminds me of the scenic view that greets you if you stand on the small balcony of the log hut. You will witness the calm beauty of the gently flowing river in all its glory and magnificience! Each log hut is provided with its own hammock, where you can rock away to a blissful sleep, or even enjoy a calm evening of quiet reading.

My Log Hut

One of the intriguing things about this camp is that the log huts are situated on one side of a small stretch of the river, whereas, all the other things, including the offices, are situated on the other side! This warrants a small coracle ride everytime you want to get to the other side! Coracles are small, round boats that bob along the surface of the water in a delightful manner!


The camp is said to be home to a number of wild animals, although, unfortunately, we didn't spot anything other than deer. I guess you need to go in a particular season to be actually able to see some leopards, jackals, and the like. The sight of the deer scrambling through the underbrush was a treat in itself, though! They went by so fast that no camera could catch the beauty of their flight!

Other than the sheer bliss of lazing around and soaking in the beauty of nature in all its hues, Bheemeshwari offers a number of other activities to keep you on your toes! A long and exciting coracle ride, over the ripples of the mighty river, puts to shame the small rides you almost get used to, going from one part of the camp to the other!!! If you're lucky, you may even spot a crocodile or two, lazing on one of the rocks in the water! We were lucky to spot one, doing just that!

Geared Up for the Coracle Ride!

Rippling Through the Water!!!

The camp also arranges a barbecue late in the evening, serving a wide variety of drinks and snacks. A perfect way to unwind at the end of a long day!

Early the next morning, we set off on a nice, long trek. It is during this trek that we managed to spot the deer running through the woods! The trek was a highly rejuvenating one! The mountain track that our guide took us through was extremely steep, to say the very least! Although we did stumble and lose our foothold a number of times, we managed to come out of it, unscathed, well aware that a fatal drop would have resulted in at least a few broken bones!!! Our guide was absolutely amazing! Nimble on his feet, he made me feel like a clumsy fool!!! The destination, on our way up the mountainside, was a nice tower, which gave a panoramic view of the entire landscape. The view from that tower was absolutely breathtaking! The mountains, the greenery, the river, all seemed to come together to form an amazing amalgamation of beauty and splendour!!!

Up the Tower!!!

View from the Tower

The fag end of the trip included an elephant ride; a ride that had us squealing with fear and giggling with excitement, all at the same time!

Elephant Ride

There was a cute little baby elephant that followed his parents, wherever they went! He was an absolute delight to watch, what with his capering around and his antics! He even picked up a fight with the resident dog!

Baby Elephant

In all, the trip was an absolutely amazing one! Before we knew it, it was time to get back to the concrete jungle of the city! What a far cry from the two days spent in the lap of bountiful nature!!!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Lucky Draws!

What is it with me and lucky draws? Once upon a time, I would never ever win one, even if I succumbed to doing penances and such! Now, I seem to have won two in a row! A few months back, I receive a call from this lady who claims that I've been shortlisted for a trip to Goa! Considering that's the one place I'm waiting to go back to and actually see the sights this time! Anyway, more on that later! After having checked it out carefully, we (A and me) concluded that it was indeed a genuine win, and we intend to make that trip sometime early next year. Well, as luck might have it, I received another call today. Again, a lady on the other side of the phone, albeit a different one this time. She asks me some mundane details, to which, before I provide the answers, I shoot a volley of my own questions!!! She answers each patiently, making me feel quite sheepish about my instant mistrust of such things. :-/

Nevertheless, with every sundry nitty gritty out of the way, she promptly declares that I have won the opportunity to avail the comforts, along with my husband and (two children?), of a five-star stay for a period of three days, again, in Goa! My my! Am I on a roll or what!!! Well, as the kids are not here yet, I intend to make full use of their share too! :-D

You know the one thing I've observed about these lucky draw!?!. Almost always, at least for the few recent times that I've been shortlisted, (as they call it!), the first question posed to me is whether I'm married! The sweet lady on the phone goes on to further explain that this offer is only open to married couples! Is this some kind of a strange prejudice or discrimination against unmarried people! "You can't win these lucky draws if you're still single! Hard luck!" Strange, eh!?!

Anyway, I won, I won, I won!!! <grin> I'll keep you posted on how it all works out! If it's not all a sham!!! Sigh! The skeptic that I am!

Monday, October 09, 2006


A few months ago, a friend (G3) and I planned a trip to Hampi (in the state of Karnataka, India), a tiny village located within the ruins of the old Vijayanagara empire. We debated a while on whether to go to Nandi Hills or Hampi, finally settling on the latter. We, of course, planned it at such a time when Arvind (my husband) was in town too, so we could pull him along as well. Well, he had given us the leeway to choose any place and just let him know! Guess what! We did just that!

Arvind, as a rule, is pretty meticulous and likes to plan before embarking on a travel of any kind! But, G3 and me, the scatterbrains that we are, just run helter skelter, pell mell, into anything and everything. So it is that we set out without doing any stay/hotel bookings of any kind! There won't be the minutest of problems, we assured A!!! The bus journey to Hampi was quite uneventful, unless we count a certain driver's fascination with G3's head peeking out of the window!!! Ahem!!! The ride took about 8 hours, for the most part of which, we were awake, what with all the humps and potholes that the driver compulsively had to drive on, and our (mine and G3's) imsonia that's a part and parcel of any bus travel, which invariably didn't let A sleep too!

On reaching Hampi, and after having successfully fended off a dozen unwanted touts, we set off on a search for a place to dump our belongings; for a roof over our heads for the night! The first few rooms that we looked at sure gave us the creeps! Rat infested, with cockroaches and lizards running all over the place, the rooms looked straight out of a desi horror movie! Thankfully, before A could embark on an "I told you so" tirade and we sheepishly admit that he'd been right after all, we managed to spot a decent place, with a room that looked like a palace when compared to the earlier ones! We hungrily lapped it up, raring to start our sightseeing. After having had a bath and made ourselves presentable, we set off to explore the place.

Hampi is an absolute delight to the eyes. The delectable ruins, the huge boulders, the umpteen number of temples, ranging from teeny tiny ones to huge bustling structues; all capture the glory of the bygone era of the Vijaynagara empire. The architecture of these buildings, or what is left of them, is absolutely breathtaking! You can glimpse its grandeur even in its shreds, visible on those once gloriously magnificient structures!

There were many villagers milling about in one particular temple. I'm not sure whether they were natives of Hampi, or had come to witness its beauty, not unlike ourselves. The picture below was taken at their request that we photograph them with us! It was very satisfying to see the glee on their faces when we complied. :-)

One of the things that we were really kicked about was the existence of secret passages! I was thrilled to realize that such things really existed! We found as many as four of them, though I'm sure there must have been many more scattered all over the place. In the picture below, you can just about see our excited, bobbing heads, down the flight of stairs leading to one of the secret passages that we stumbled upon!

There was also an extremely beautiful and tranquil pond, (or maybe, it was a swimming pool), bordered on all four sides by even more ruins! An ideal spot to rest your tired feet and let your mind wander uninhibited! Here, you can spot A doing just that!

Here's a dekko at the huge boulders that made us look so triflingly small and Tom-Thumb like!

The one thing that got on my nerves during our stay at Hampi was the absolutely disastrous weather there! It was sickeningly hot and sultry, rendering us tired even before we were halfway through the day! If any of you are planning to make a trip to this otherwise beautiful spot, I suggest you steer clear of this place during the summer months! Unless, you're someone who adores the sweltering heat!!!

Another thing that struck the fancy of us girls, was the Queen's Bath! This was a huge, absolutely enormous sunken area, in one of the rooms in what was once, a palace! Legend has it that this was where the queen, along with her entourage of maids, took one of her long winded and royal baths! There was a small outlet to let out the used water and fill the pit again with crystal clear, delicious water! The picture shows us girls trying to usurp our share of the royal treatment! :-)

We also came across two huge structures relating to Hindu Gods. One was a shiva linga, and an enormous one at that! It was surrounded by a pool of water, albeit a trifle murky. However, that didn't deter from its breakthtaking beauteousness, as was amply proved by the spectacle of the water reflecting on the linga and on the walls surrounding it! The photograph below has not been able to capture all that, but the magnificience of the structure is for all to witness!

Another structure that caught our fancy was that of Narasimha! The area surrounding it was cordoned off, and rightly so! Statues like these need to be protected as much from human elements, as from the forces of nature!

Also, what deserves special mention here is this quaint little restaurant that was strategically placed at the end of a long stretch of a narrow, unpaved dirt road, fringed by lovely, cooling palm trees on both the sides! I think the place was called mango tree or something similar (A and G3, correct me if I'm wrong!). The prices were surprisingly exorbitant for such a place, but they had nice rope swings and a lovely, panoramic view that more than made up for the steep prices! All the other places that we ate at promised to provide delicious fares of every kind, only to leave the "delicious" part to our imaginations! I particularly remember having a chocolate milkshake that tasted like diluted bournvita! :-D

Here's the grove that led to the quaint little restaurant that I've been so harping on!!!

Oh yes, the last lap of the trip included the bus journey back home, which was horrendous, to say the least! We had to first go to a town called Hospet and then board one rickety, old bus! Nonetheless, in hindsight, the trip was worth it all!

Sunday, October 08, 2006


The subject matter of this particular post of mine is exactly what its title conveys! Exclamation marks! I just adore them! I use them at every available opportunity, almost bordering on overkill!!! There I go again! Methinks, at school, they didn't teach me the importance of any other punctuation mark! Why do I use them so much? Oh, I actually managed to squeeze in a question mark! Not bad!!! Uh-oh, only to be followed by an umpteen number of exclamation points!!!! Help!!!!!!!

My goodness, look at the number I've already used in this post! :-O Unabashedly continuing to do so too! I guess I can't help it. It's like some sort of a disorder within me, perhaps?!? Oh, did you see that? An exclamation within two question marks! I must admit, they are one of my favourite kind! I use a lot of variations of these nestled punctuation marks, mostly exclamations and question marks. In one, I use two question marks as a cocoon, the exclamation mark being the cocooned one, not unlike the one I used earlier in this paragraph! Yet again, I use a question mark safely nestled between two exclamation marks! Lets see if I can give you an example. You actually think I can!?! :-D I use this when I am more excited than actually asking a question, and the former when I'm more questioning than excited! I wonder whether this tirade of mine makes even a wee bit of sense!!! Oh, I forgot to tell you the most important thing about my fetish for exclamation marks! I believe in safety in numbers, and I looooove putting two, nay, three of these together, whenever I can get away with it!!!

Okay, enough about my strange obsession, fetish, call what you may! I'll just believe that I'm a hyperactive person, waiting to unleash a truckload of exclamation marks on poor, unsuspecting souls!!! The poor period must be feeling so left out and neglected, nay?!?

Do I really exist?

Have you ever felt that this life that you're living, all the things that are happening to you, is all one BIG dream??? That, one day you'll wake up and realize you've been asleep all the while? A la' Sleeping Beauty! :-D Or maybe, you're just a character in someone else's dream/nightmare! Man, do i really, truly, exist?!? :-/

Seriously, it's a feeling I get pretty often! I can see many of you smirking and making a mental note to send me to the nearest mental asylum! Although I'm hoping a teeny weeny number among you will be able to relate to this feeling!

What is funny is that I get this feeling not only when things are not going well, or when things are all going well! I feel it in spurts, with no discrimination between the good and bad events in my life! One good thing that comes out of this feeling of alienation is that I tend to be pretty objective during such moments. Alienation! Yes, that's what it is! It's a feeling of alienation, of being separate from my own life! I feel like I'm standing outside the periphery of my life and judging/misjudging whatever is taking place. Not that I come up with any brainwaves or extraordinary solutions by doing so!!!

Well, I guess this feeling is here to stay! Not that I'm particularly perturbed by it! It will just do good to be pinched once in a while to be woken up to the reality that this life that I'm living, is actually real, and not a long drawn dream!!! Or, is it? :-)

Friday, October 06, 2006


I've been wanting to do this for so so long now!!! To begin penning down my thoughts, if not for anything else, just for the sheer joy of being able to read it a year or two years later; what the heck, maybe 10, 20 years later, and see how my thoughts have been moulded with the passage of time! Why I didn't get down to doing it up until this moment, I don't know! Maybe, it was just sheer laziness on my part! But, deep down, I think I know what the real reason is. I've always wanted to travel, to see every inch, every nook and corner of this world, and maybe beyond! :-) I guess, at the back of my mind, I always thought I'd start blogging then. Regaling people with the memoirs of my travels!!! I don't think much has changed on that front! Except, of course, that I finally decided that there is no better time to start writing than now! I've dilly-dallied long enough!

Well, there it is, my very first post! At least, as far as the world of blogging goes!