Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I am back from Coorg and I am travelling again in a couple of days to Malnad..and how am I feeling ? Like this little girl here who was enjoying the view at Raja's Seat in Madikeri (Mercara), Coorg.
I am trying my best to reply to all the comments and visit all your blogs in these two days....but I guess it would be next week when I will be able to catch up with all of you again . Until then...
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
I'm off to Coorg on Friday . Hence there is a sharp deviation from my posts on the west coast to the green environs of Coorg .
Ive been to Coorg many times..but it was all before the travel bug bit me. Those were days without a digital camera, with friends and families, weekends spent lazing around. But scanned memories do make a couple of trips special and they highlight one feature. That the trips have never been planned.
There is another trip that we made many years ago . We were living in Chennai then . We landed in Bangalore on the weekend and were immediately bored. We are not the partying variety and Bangalore even today tires me... Anyways,on a Saturday evening in late August when the rains had just settled down, we called up some friends and asked if we were game to drive to Mysore. It was 8 pm already as we started and landed in Mysore well past midnight. We all checked into a room and chatted the night away and decided that we will lunch in Madikeri. But as we drove through Nagarhole Forest, we lost track of time. And then we went looking for food and a waterfall. We found both in Irpu .
Located in the Brahmagiri Range , these falls are also known as the Lakshmana Tirtha Falls,the source of the river with the same name. As the name goes, there is a story dated back to the Ramayan days. While Rama and Lakshman were looking for Sita in the hills, Rama was thirsty. Lakshmana in his quest to get his elder brother water shot an arrow into the hills and the river is said to have originated . Crossing a paddy field followed by a forest, the trail led us to the spot which was also a pilgrimage spot. A famous Siva temple, the Rameshwara Temple is situated on the banks of the Lakshmana Tirtha River, en route to the Falls.
We still had not found food. We even found a bar , lots of tea shops in neighbouring Kutta but no place to lunch .So we kept driving around until we came to Ramcad estate and filled our appetite. A great place , I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a simple whole hearted meal with a great view. We wanted to linger, drive to Madikeri, but had a night train from Bangalore to Chennai . And that brought us to the end of another weekend getaway .
The last visit to Coorg was about a couple of years ago when we woke up one Saturday morning and decided that we wanted to go to Coorg ASAP. This time, friends were not available, and so we just drove .. It was more the drive than the destination that we went after and that phase of time, we were willing to give an arm and a leg, just to get out of Bangalore. Nothing to write home about, except that it was a fantastic weekend .
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Sunday Stories are more of a train of thoughts on travel and travelers . I start this new series from a train ..
I write this from my window seat of the Brindavan Express as it chugs along from Madras to Bangalore , leaving behind glimpses of interior Tamil Nadu . A general lull descends as the passengers are caught in a late morning snooze .The door opens and in comes the aroma of a home grown masala vada with a dash of chutney, tickling my nostrils and sending me on a trail of thoughts to my childhood .
We were a motley lot of kids, chaperoned by our mothers , highly excited as ever, en route to Bangalore on the same train. The journey was always the exciting part and the objects of fascination were the vendors and the many goodies that they used to serve - from hot masala dosas, spicy cutlets, crispy vegetable puffs..It is often the vendors who amused us more than the goodies. Their sing a song voices announcing their wares in a chorus, the twinkle in the eye, their costumes with the long flowing cap...all made the journey more memorable. Starved of entertainment such as cartoons on TV or visits to fancy malls or gorging pizzas or chaats at fast food joints, these humble fares at trains were delicacies to us. Lost in the aromas of the past , I drift off to sleep when a voice cuts through my reverie..And then the journey I realize will never be the same again..
A deep throated voice exclaims “Everything is management and we live and die by it!" “ The train jolts a bit as I look up to see if someone had spoken to me. My neighbour rubs his eyes in bewilderment and glances at me with the same quizzical look., But the voice continues like a trombone, “Wear a smile..the man who wears a smile will always win a deal .”We finally locate the voice . It is right behind us, from a fellow passenger . He entertained me to the hilt, though he did not speak to me throughout the journey and his primary audiences were one girl and a boy .
He talked non stop , neither a moment to breathe nor a pause in his monologue to acknowledge their umms and aahs . I first heard him hold forth on astrology, on how to break bad news to someone if you have perceived something wrong . Like a Guru teaching his unsuspecting students the power of positive thinking, he highlighted case studies to prove how positive thinking and communication could even change his own negative (read wrong) prediction ..A boy had asked him if he would do well in his exams. Our soothsayer could not see a positive result, but he told him , “Don't worry, all the best , you will do well.” The boy, according to the story came out with flying colors and my passenger attributed it to his positive communication ... adding that maybe the boy didnt get what he expected , but thats alright...
A great story teller, the man without warning or any transition started talking about engineering colleges, then on how to run an engineering college , to balancing sheets of an engineering college run by his friend and how losses are so common in such colleges and that is usually according to him the way all colleges do business..Then he moved on to articulate his views on corporate life, how to make presentations, who is fit for a corporate life and how and why XXX and YYY are not fit for the same ..case studies punctuated his monologue,ending with his vision for an organization and how he is right and others were wrong and how he has no scruples in saying he is right and others are wrong.. A common phrase is “we will learn..keep learning ..you will understand. Marketing and technology were his favorite topics..In an hour, he had given umpteen tips on how to be a good professional and hold your own in technology - from ISO to IT ! UFFF !! (Im just not able to keep up with his pace )
He knew the nuances of holding an audience captive to his views..The punch lines were dramatic enough, the pauses non existent and the tone was perfectly right to ensure that you listen to him . I have been entertained and enlightened for an hour on how to be an entrepreneur from idea development, to organization management, to capital generation to loss management to organization skills to balance sheets. The monologue moved to banks and loans ,and boy, do I need to an MBA ? “Whats one crore for a bank ? You cant call that a loan..Everything is management ,everything is... he concluded again, only to start a discussion about the” BIG 5 companies and his role there ..”My job is to show the path and way to make money..but if I did that earlier,,what will others do ?
We tried in vain to sleep, my neighbour even tried to exchange seats , but the voice held us “in thrall.” The topic suddenly shifted without warning to handwriting analysis to numerology to language debate between Hindi and English and then with no logic to Deepika Padukone and Om Shanti Om. At this juncture we were interrupted by the vendor who brought in hot masala dosas, We had crossed Jolarpet and half the journey was almost over. I bravely ventured to get a better glimpse of my en lightener and was trying to practise the expression I should portray ..Bored , irritated, indifferent, shocked, angry... my reflections did justice I think to my acting skills and just then I stole a glance at the girl ..and she looked extremely familiar..The masala started tickling my nostrils again when I caught her staring at me and suddenly we both blurted ...arent you .ABC from XXX school ?
So in the midst of management tips , movie stars and masala dosa,.I had discovered an old classmate from school... We let old times interrupt the monologue from her uncle and after some pleasant smiles and a bit of silence while relishing the masala of the dosa, I try going back to sleep when it starts all over again .....Everthing is management, you see...”
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Outside the Mangla Devi temple, the Goddess who gave her name to the town - Mangalore. I was there on transit , enroute to Sringeri . It was a spiritual quest, a moment of togetherness with the divine, but my mind gets distracted by mortals and mortality ..
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Its sacrilege if you dont visit Goa when you are so close..Just an hour drive from Karwar, we came to one of the best beaches in South Goa - Palolem beach..Im told that this beach features in the movie Bourne Supremacy ..wow !
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
We have been planning this for ages and finally when we landed there, it was a pity we couldn't make the most of it .Health became a deterrent, but I am not complaining. It was still one of our best holidays where we did nothing but relaxed and relaxed..Sometimes, holidays need to be holidayed too..
Karwar is beautiful . Just 8 kms to Goa, its quite different from Goa. Neither a party destination, nor vibrant, Karwar is what idyllic beaches are meant to be. On one side of the road is the narrow coast hugging the sea, while the Western Ghats loom across the other. Miraculously straddling both mountain and sea, Karwar is a nondescript little town perched in between, oblivious to its own beauty. It is like a hill projecting into the sea with five islands - Anjudeep, Kurmagad, Devgad, Sanyasi and Sadashivgud protecting the port from heavy winds. Im going to spare all verbose descriptions here and let the photographs speak for themselves.
Our first view of Devbagh was in the dark. It was quite late when we got there. After several stops enroute to Karwar, we got stalled by a traffic jam near the port as well, where iron ores to be exported gets dumped by lorries. The roads at some stretches seemed red. We were staying at Devbagh and we quickly called the manager at JLR to inform him of our delay.A boat was waiting for us in the dark as we made our way to the jetty,which looks like a dilapidated boat house . And in the dark, we sailed to the island. With the sea roaring , we sat on the beach nibbling pakodas and gulping down some beer . This is bliss .
Karwar is said to have inspired Tagore to pen his Prakritir Pratishodh. A beach here still remains in his memory. It is said that the 22 year old Tagore stayed with his brother , Satyendranath Tagore, who was the district judge in Karwar. The confluence of the rivers, the moonlight night when he went rowing solo promoted him to write his ode to Karwar. The quote I read somewhere says - "The sea beach of Karwar is certainly a fit place in which to realise that beauty of nature is not a mirage of imagination, but reflects the joy of the infinite and thus draws us to lose ourselves into it."
I was told that the name Karwar itself is a misnomer.It was originally "Kadwad" and one theory is the British mispronounced the "d" and replaced with a "r". Kadwad is actually a village where the English had a factory which opened out to the sea - from the point where Karwar town now stands, to the south of Kali river.Besides monuments from the colonial era, this ancient beach town flaunts several attractions such as the Sadashivgad Hill Fort with a Durga temple, the one-of-its kind octagonal church and the 300 year old Venkataramana temple with some fine ocher paintings. Well, this post is not about any of them as I could not go anywhere due to health reasons...but sometimes holidays are also meant to simply laze around and see dolphins.
While the British made this their headquarters , Karwar has been claimed by several Europeans such as the Portuguese, French , Dutch. But the influence that remains here till today is that of the Arabians , who have had trade with the localities even before the European invasion. There is an ancient port where commodities were exported and the port is called "Baithkhol" which in Arabic means bay of safety.
Devbagh — the name literally means the garden of gods.A hazy blue covers my eye lids as the waves frolic around my feet. The foam merges with the sand . I leave my footprints on the sands of time and look straight into the blue and white waters, wondering about the timelessness of the moment...
Five tiny islands ring the Devbagh island — Kurumgad, Oyster-rock, Anjudeep, Sadashivgad and Sanyasi. A tale rings around all these islands. The Sanyasi island for instance owes its name to a sage who sought refuge here . The Devgad Island or the Oyster Rock is where the boat ride takes us..It has one of the oldest lighthouses atop .
The Anjudeep or Anjudiv island is the largest of the five islands and it is now home to the navy.Its interesting to note that there is a linguistic connect here ,as we were told that the word "Anju" comes from tamil meaning five and it is supposed to be the fifth island. I am a little surprised to understand the Tamil influence here .
The island has some remains of the bygone Portuguese era, some old houses and ruins of a church .
The Kurumgad island in the shape of the tortoise (Kuruma means tortoise )was once ruled by several dynasties from Vijayanagar to Bijapur and Sonda. The 18th centurt fort here that lies in ruins here speaks of the battle fought by Basalinga Nayak of Sonda dynasty against the British
The island is also renowned for its Narasimha temple atop the hill, which attracts several devotees during the annual jatra, held on Pushya Poornima every year in early January. According to a legend, Lord Narasimha made his way through a long creek leading to a cave near the temple. Geologists, however, certify that an earthquake formed this interesting rock formation over 300 million years ago. Now it is an ideal place to spot seals.There is also the Naganatha temple where an anthill is worshipped. I dont know the reason as yet. But I will go back for sure and this time come back with more pictures of these sites and more stories.