29 December 2008

Mondays' Mirage - 8


Victory....
A sweet memory
A hard-earned prize!
It is after a herculian effort you get to taste it.
It remains etched as a brave tablet, a memoir.
Similarly, this is an year-end and
A victory symbol for all of us.
That we have crawled past another year, another milestone!
We've learnt from it, as much gained from it.
Good, Bad memories are always there to carry forward.
We need to learn from them and keep
Applying our unique ideas to tackle the situation that
Arise in future.

Only point to remember on 31st Dec is
"I won".
Have a victorious week ahead, and a Grand New Year, friends!
@in pic: My friend Sathish on top of a pillar standing on a hill, posing after a victorious attempt at it

25 December 2008

Thought For the week - 7

“Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.”
- Mother Teresa

This was said about the patients she was serving. If you broaden that perception a bit, very close to "Aham Brahmasmi" - Everyone is Jesuses in disguise! We just need to have a wide perseverance to distinguish and experience God in all. God is not an entity, but a perception, a behaviour, a talent, simply a "ME"!

Merry Christmas.

@Mother Teresa was an Indian Christian missionary who ran "Missionaries of Charity" in Kolkata. She was an Albanian in birth, but embraced India as her Motherland; and won Nobel prize for peace as an Indian.

22 December 2008

Mondays' Mirage - 7


GO HERE
Monday is here....and a long weekend is in the offing!
Forest calling and Mountains inviting!!
Trek on offer, and a village in sight...

Yes... Weeks in and off...
There is no special time than this for a dreaded trek, walk, hike, ride, cycline, drive, joy, beach, holidaying!!
People.......... plan fast, implement and feel light!
This is the time of the year you've been long waiting for.

HAVE A GO, SOON :-)

18 December 2008

Thought For the week - 6

You can never understand one language until you understand at least two.
-Ronald Searle.


Not only about the language, but in any aspect, this is a true sentence. Until you know the other, you cant know the one you possess. Similarly, Happiness is of no value if there is no sorrow!!

@Ronald William Fordham Searle is a well known British artist and a cartoonist. He is best known for his drawings on the World War II.

15 December 2008

Mondays' Mirage - 6

A Sunday!
Time for friends, time to
read, write; play, self expression!
Time to reunite, make merry.

Its a time to dine and wine,
Over moon and rain!

With Sun and water,
It is to swim and scream!
Let the child in you come alive!

Let's have a refreshing week, friends!

@in pic: Children beating off a Sunday afternoon heat by playfully diving and swimming in Mahamaham lake at Kumbhakonam, a town in central Tamilnadu.

09 December 2008

Thought For the week - 5

One should not kill a living being,
nor cause it to be killed,
nor should one incite another to kill.
Do not injure any being, either strong or weak, in the world.
- Bhagawan Buddha

Thru this quote Budha states that one should never incite another to kill, nor he indulge in killing. That is, dont kill any animal (Not only humans) directly or otherwise.

I am putting this up just when the killing of millions of sheep is in site on the eve of Bakra-eid. No amount of religious notes can justify this destruction. After all we are humane, and cultured! Dont kill them in the name of religion is what I want to tell thru this message.

Grow them to eat, and butcher them for the same reason, but dont add up 'God' factor to such a nonsensical tradition. For the same reason, I am putting this thought up here, a couple days in advance!

Please Note: I am not rediculing any belief or tradition, but only putting forth what I feel. I really dont know why this tradition is in place, and the history behind that. I would be interested to know further.

08 December 2008

Mondays' Mirage - 5

Climbing A Ladder to the Heaven

A ladder to the Heaven,
Was a precarious circus.
A weak lymp climbs up so easy
While a healthy bump makes it lossy!
It was a rust metal, with sloppy steps;
Order there was none, and the slant, eerie!

A ladder to the Heaven,
Was indeed a pleasurable ride;
Who makes it full, takes a pride.
Climb,
Was difficult, but not estranged!

A ladder to the Heaven,
Calls him me and Thou, Alike;
Make no mistake, treatment belike.

A ladder to the Heaven, with its steps
Some slippery, some firm;
Some round, some not bound!

Those steps, step on me whilst-
I plunge half the transit, pruned!
- Srik

Have a step-up week, friend!


@in pic: Me 7 years ago at Talakaveri

04 December 2008

Thought For the week - 4

"So far as I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Nothing seems to have been forgotten, nothing overlooked."

- Mark Twain


Nothing more we need as an explanation, isn’t it? That great country, that most celebrated place on the planet is home to the historical, quintessential, living civilization. History of India is the history of humanity! From the vanaras(apes) of Threthayuga (Rama’s age) to the modern man, India has celebrated everyone; India has benifited from every one too.

India welcomed Islam, housed its most famous monuments, was ruled by its kings, most of them cruel in behaviour. India welcomed Christianity, and was made to be colonised under Christian rulers for centuries. Yet, the local culture was preserved; The country woke up after every of such physical, mental invasions.

The present day India is seeing invasions of Technically adept enemies who have waged a war on her in the name of a religious war (Jehad). Indian woes doesn’t end with the terrorists who are outsiders, but we have an internal terror organisation called Politics, which is breeding terror mongers called politicians who are equipped with good words and which is enough for them to divide us along the religious, and ideological lines.

India will wake up from that too… And when she does, we will see prosperity and peace, not only here, but all over the planet.

This thought is as a respect to that great country called India/Bharata, and also as a protest against the terrorists and politicians who vow to end her. I openly challenge these elements that they can never take the pride away from this extrordinary country.

Jai Hind

@Mark Twain : was an American author and a humourist. He is considered as the “Father of American Literature”. His work, The Adventures of a Huckleberry finn is called the Great American Novel.

01 December 2008

Mondays' Mirage - 4

Spirit... The thing that rules the world.
Spirit... Drives motives to action.
Spirit.... transforms a barren land into a green valley.
Lerts pledge to transform ourselves, and take a step towards a spirit filled land!

Have a spirited week folks.

@in pic: Students of Al-Ameen school on the outskirts of Bangalore, planting a sappling on their school's dry and barren land. They pledge to grow the sapling to be a fruiting tree, and eat from the same!

27 November 2008

India is a hostage under impotest politicians, incomepetent intelligence agencies

What is happening in Mumbai is a National Shame. The country is already a hostage to shameless politicians, and now.... we have our cities being awarded to terrorists.... like never before.

The buildings are being bombarded, lives being run thru, national pride shattered.

The 'real' terrorists have won the Gateway of India, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Surat, Azhamgarh, Delhi and all the places that make India!! What else are we left with? It is better to die in a battle with those terror mongers than to live in a shameful state.

I pray in God for Peace, not only to the souls that left us today in that holocaust, but also to those who are living in shame today.

Instead of keeping such enemies away, Indian Govt is busy torturing the local religious heads calling them terrorists and framing them in all the way possible. So, I say that the country is a hostage to the politicians.

We need not less than a ruthless youth movement that can erase this shameful chapter from our histories for ever.

I sometimes hold back when I call our police 'brave', but in the case of Mumbai, and too today, I have no option but to say Go 'brave men', kill the terrorists, rescue our cities (and if possible, please dont give it back to the politicians)!

Thought For the week - 3

"Keep your friends close. Your enemies, closer!"
- The Godfather.


Enemies are the ones whom you have to recognize and keep an eye on, earlier for better. So, keeping them with one always makes him aware of their moves and motives. Friends are close to one, and they are there to be trusted, and the enemies.... deserve a closer look! I feel there cant be a better statement depicting the chillness of a revange, as it seeks.

@The Godfather was a path defining novel that caught the imagination of a whole generation, in the US and elsewhere too. Written by Mario Puzo, this gripping novel was made into a motion picture in 1972 and proved a huge success. The story depicted the plight and imagery of Italian immigrants living in the USA, in a place known as a Little Italy. The lowly people indulging in mafia activities to make a living....and the story continues with a chilling tale of goodness, badness and revange. Reading it is a remarkable novel experience in deed. The Godfather, Vito Corleone advices his son, Michael these lines to shine in the family 'business'.

24 November 2008

Mondays' Mirage - 3

A Rock, the solidity,
A Rock, the cradle of life!
A Rock, a stagnation,
a timeless movement!

A Rock reflects the human spirits when going strong, reflects human mind that looks ahead.

Guys and gals, have a Solid week ahead!

@in pic: A rock, as seen cradling life on the hills of Parvathamalai.

19 November 2008

Thought For the week - 2

ಮಾಡಿ ಮಾಡಿ ಕೆಟ್ಟರು ಮನವಿಲ್ಲದೆ I
ನೀಡಿ ನೀಡಿ ಕೆಟ್ಟರು ನಿಜವಿಲ್ಲದೆ II
ಮಾಡುವ ನೀಡುವ ನಿಜಗುಣವುಳ್ಳರ
ಕೂಡಿಕೊಂಡಿರ್ಪ I ನಮ್ಮ

ಕೂಡಲಸಂಗಮ ದೇವ II

- Jagajjyoti Basaveshwara


People indulge in a lot of things; some to gain popularity; some to please others; some to make a living; some to show to the world that they are capable. But amidst all the things they do, if they with conviction, commitment and commandment, from deep within the heart, those are near to the God.

It could just be simply put as "Whatever you do, do it with your heart, mind and body in unison with it"!



@Basavanna was a 12th century revolutionary who defied all the barriers of caste and system inside the Hinduism. He lit a flame that spread as a fire across Karantaka to unite people against the horrendous caste system. He said all Gods are one, and so are all people. He also brought the literature out of the royal courts, to the common people. He wrote philosophical poems known as "VachanagaLu", which were easy to read, simple to understand, and full of philosophical teaching. What more, they were written for the common mass, unlike any celebrated poets. He lived to prophet the existence of God in all of us. It is sad and inevitable, that he is also been reduced to 'another God' by our people (us) today!

17 November 2008

Global Crash....implications?

Purely from a point of view of a small person in this huge monetary game..... read on.

I received this supposed 'joke' as a forward. I guess it is more of reflective types of this economic slump. Decide yourself!!

2007: Raju: Chacha kaise ho ???
Chacha: ab kya batau....
Bada beta share broker hai...
doosara beta Jet Airways mein hai
teesara software mein aur

sabse chhota ruk gaya PAN WALA banke...

2008:
Raju: Chacha kaise ho ???
Chacha: Ab kya bolu...
bus ab chhota hi ghar chala raha hai,
uske vajeh se toh hum zinda hai.... :)
Raju: @#$!#$#$@$$

Well.. It is not uncommon now a days. Isn’t it? This 'joke' reflects what we see in papers everyday.



Now read this 'real' story:


Sharath (name changed), is a young achiever. He joined an MNC straight after the college. He had set himself few tough targets in life, and he achieved one by one of them in style. His high paying job was also going great.

Once he 'settled' in his job, he took his parents to live with him in the city, deserting their village home. All was well, and his brother too joined them in city for higher education.


He shifted jobs to make sure that his ever growing economic expectations were met, just like any of his classmates. And he did good in every place he went. People were envy of him, and why not!

One fine day he was offered a trip to the client place in USA, which he agreed to handle. He had a US dream since a long time, and that was fulfilled.

Three full months he stayed there before coming back to India. He was awe struck at the way westerners lived their lives. He started complaining about India, crib about almost every thing here, just like any other young man. He was itching to go back there, and make more money.

The dollar dreams were too much to bear. His parents, satisfied with his position in life, found a suitable bride for him, and he got married to a beautiful young lady in no time. It all happened as if in a dream, and it was fabulous.


He was just back from a satisfyingly wonderful honeymoon at Bangkok, when he heard of a consultant who would help him find a job in the US. He was thrilled at his luck.


The consultant processed his Visa, and supported him to land in California. He told his wife to wait for a month or two before he found his job and 'settle' down there.


Initially it was tough for him since there was no satisfying offer he was getting. After some three months, and just when his savings were wearing out, he got an offer of job from his college time dream firm! His joy found no bounds.


Four months down the line, he took his wife to live with him. His earning of the first few months was spent to show his wife the country. He bought a car on EMI and roamed around the dream country in it. The couple had their second honeymoon with pomp in this great country.


In the meanwhile he was getting awards every quarter for being a superior performer in the company. His talents were widely appreciated; the way he handled a difficult project and lead the team to perfection in delivering it on time was hailed even by the CEO. He was a happy man.


One fine day his manager calls him and says that he felt sorry to be informing Sharath that the company needed him no more! Sharath was shocked. Manager also said that the company was proud of Sharath's achievements, but since the company was thru a rough patch in terms of its economic holdings, he had to take this extreme step. He also stated that the company in last two weeks lost two of its mega budget banking projects, and he had no other option but to down size its strength.


He was immediately relieved, Sharath was given no option but to leave. He had ignored a few clauses in his employment offer, which was used against him now. He was not to be given any notice to terminate and he would not be entitled for any company benefits, what so ever! He was not even given a relieving letter, since he continued to be a consultant!


Shattered Sharath comes home and looks depressed. His unsuspecting wife tries to soothe him, which doesn’t help. Sharath is a worried man, he hides the emotions from wife, until it becomes unbearable. His wife joins the worried wagon now.


The families back home are unaware of what is happening there, and they are satisfied with their usual online chats and occasional calls with these NRIs. But back there, Sharath and Sumalini think a lot about what is in future for them.


The consultant offers to pay him for another month and he was encouraged to find another job in that time, or return home with whatever he had earned. Wherever he went, his belief of an economic turn over was slumped. He failed to get a good job, and his Western Dreams are almost but over!


One fine day, after a couple of months, families back home were treated with switched off cell phones, and full memory answering machines. Worried them, logged in to gtalk to see them off line.

A week later, the families got together and lodged a complaint at the police out there. When the Police barged in to their apartment, they recovered two decayed dead bodies, which had consumed poison, a week before!

The shocked parents, demanded justice, and the police were helpless too. The parents could not get hold of the dead bodies too since the un-American couple had commited suicide, and their EMIs and loans were unpaid for a long time then!

Parents could not accomodate such an astronomical sum of money to get the bodies. Their hopes of at least a respectable creamtion for the bodies was shattered; and they were left in a state of depression.

The bulging EMIs, overflowing credit card limits and eroding financial resources forced the couple to take this extreme step. A jobless punter couldnt return to India thinking of the shame he had to undergo at a crunch time in the global market. He was not sure of getting a job back home as well, for the same reasons. Meaning, all the doors were closed for him, and he had to take this extreme step.

Forget about money, think about the social implications of a 'loser' in such circumstances. Quiet depressing. What Sharath did, seems to be the only way for thousands of immigrants out there, in the midst of such a huge economic recession.

Every day we get news of Stock markets crashing, banks shutting down, insurance companies announsing bankruptcy, software companies reducing head counts.... what not!

And the implication of all these things on the tender minds of deleted employees is irrevocable. No one is safe now a days, and like Sharath, no one can bear a straight humiliation. Where is a way to escape from that? And how long would that stay?! How many more Sharaths be martyred in the game of a few rich investors and some directionless banks.

I think we will get an answer in a short time to come, and till then we need to be patient enough and remember that "Huttisida devaru hullu meyisodilla" (God will always be with us and he would not leave us hungry)!

Mondays' Mirage - 2

A river rushing down with renewed spirit in her quest to reach the sea sooner.
In her effort to reach the Annwn, she goes places and fertiles the land and souls she flows by.

Thanking that huge energy and blessing, lets move ahead in our quest to realise that Utopian dream hidden in us!

Have a blessed week people :)

@in the pic: Cauvery energises herself as and when required to accelerate her journey towards the Bay of Bengal. This is a show of her selfless joy in working for others! As seen at Shivanasamudra during monsoon.

13 November 2008

Thought For the week - 1

Another series here.... starting today.
I share with you the pearls from my quotation treasury, one every week, every Thursday.

" The greatest way to live with honour in this world is to be what we pretend to be."
- Socrates




We get to meet a lot of preachers, and what they preach, seldom they carry to their lives. Its a human tendency to give free advices to people, and move on. When one wants to see others lead perfect lives, he forgets to be a perfect man himself. Socrates' quote can be interpretted as "Do What you say and Say What you do"
@Socrates was a classical Greek Philosopher known to be one of the founders of the western thought process. He is believed to have lived in pre-Christ era and known to mankind only thru the works of other people, mainly thru his devout students Plato, Xenophon, Aristotle and Aristophanes. He is known by his most popular saying "I know that I know nothing". What a genious he was! He was tried to be a gadfly, and misleading and corrupting the Athenian youth. He was forced to drink to death hemlock, a poisonous mixture.

11 November 2008

Adieu Jumbo, Dada!

Two legends of our times chose to end their illustrious cricketing careers this month, Anil Kumble and Sourav Ganguly.

Anil Kumble, older of the two and the most hardworking chap the Indian cricketing field has ever produced, bid adieu in a dramatic way on November 2nd. His passion for the game was awe inspiring, and a motivation for the whole of a generation. He would be remembered always for his Commitment, Grit, Passion, never-give-up kind of attitude. Personally he was a soft and gentle person, but on field, a “Jumbo”, a terror! I share a special bond with this fellow, yes; I went to the same college as Anil Kumble, though much later in times. That way, I will be very much proud of him, my senior in college!

His performances for the country….just tremendous! He is arguably the best bowler India has every produced. He has won more test matches than any other bowler in our times. When I started watching cricket, he had started his career. And went on inspiring the nation even to today… Today, he has ended his career as one of the games’ legends, the only one who shared the stage with the legendary likes of Shane Warne and Muralidharan! He spearheaded the Indian bowling attack for over 16 years, invented new ways to bowl, delivered occasional quicker flickers, the googlies, feasting the opposition batsmen for lunch tea and dinner. He was insatiable throughout. The fact that he once ran over all the ten batsmen of Pakistan stands as a testimony to that statement.

Sourav Ganguly, aggression personified; a brilliant off-side player, and a gritty captain, has called his day today. He was a champion, named fondly and rightly by fans as the Prince of Kolkata! He had that royal spine which crafted the Indian team to be a superpower in the sport. His constant encouragement saw the advent of younger players into the team, and his aggression on field saw records being fumbled and created for India on home turf, and foreign land alike. He took the Indian team from a mediocre 7th position on ODI charts to too close to the world cup in 2003. For being the most favourite and most successful Indian captain, he was fondly called “Dada” (Elder Brother) of Indian cricket.

I’d tribute with my “Hats off” to these legends at our most depressive cricketing moment; Depressive because, we wanted them for more time, but as they say… all good things come to an end, and Yes.

To see both going away from International arena at the same time is something cricket lovers of India can not digest easily. Yet, it is our duty to thank them for every single joy they gave us, for every moment they made us proud, for every smile they created on all the faces of this lovely country.

We say Good Bye with our utmost heartfelt contention. Wish you luck and glory in your life after cricket. Thanks for all the glorious moments; those were enough for this lifetime!

Great quotes on these two legends:

"To become another Anil Kumble one will have to work really, really hard," - Sachin Tendulkar
“On the off side, first there is God and then Saurav Ganguly." - Rahul Dravid.

@To be aired shortly: Wait for a series of articles, writeups on my favourite test and one day moments from the era gone by, here on the backbencher's page!

10 November 2008

Mondays' Mirage - 1


This is a new series that is on air from today on this backbencher's page.

Come Monday, here would be a post card with a promise of an adventurous week ahead.

A Monday represents a horizon, a dawn.
A Monday brings with it a new Hope, new energy.
A Monday assures a new beginning, kind benevolence!
A Monday opens up an avenue of possibilities, an avenue of opportunities.
Well Always.... there is a tomorrow. And Monday brings that tomorrow to life, to today!

Monday shows a Mirage.... that comes alive on the Backbencher's page, from today.

People, Have a Thunderous week ahead!

@in the pic: A new attempt of recreating life on a gory land of Dhanushkoti. Dhanushkoti represents an end, as well as a new beginning. Lets start the Monday with an iota of captivation and dreams unlimited! Get on to it!


21 October 2008

Chandrappa Circle

You might have heard of this name of late pretty much : ByaalaLu.

If you have not, here is a brief of what is wrong/right with the place:

ByaalaLu is a rustic sleepy village amidst breath taking calmness just about 30KMs away from Bengalooru, the happening IT city. It is occupied with the characteristic villagers who are busy ploughing their fields, planting food grains and growing them. As well they have cattle rearing as a hobby too!

The whole area is amidst an amazingly serene atmosphere. If you venture there, you wont believe that you are just out of the bustling city! Such is the addictive calmness of the place. The village has another wonderful natural feature to it, and that…. Is making the village proud and as well as putting its name on the world map for ever!

The village is protected on all sides by scenic and highland mountains. Mountains of Savanadurga and others hide this village from the outer world. Such a beautiful naturally created structure has been identified by our scientists to suit to erect something that can talk to a thing 4 lakh kilometers away from it!!

Yes, you read it right… 400,000! And the structures we have erected here are two huge antennas, one of 32ft diameter, another of 18ft.
Why are they used? To talk to a satellite that is going to revolve around moon. You read it right…moon. India’s first ever endeavour in the outer space has brought this sleepy vilalge into the universal frontier. The Chandrayaan is all hyped up as a great leap of India into the outer space, and also this is an exploration that is eagerly awaited and watched about by the scientific fraternity across the globe.

The mission Chandrayaan I is starting tomorrow. This is an exclusively made in India mission that is projected to find out truth over the myths about moon, our own satellite.

Though Moon is our closest celestial element, he is reachable only after crawling 384,400 kms in a no-air condition. He has in him, visibly, all answers from the formation of our solar systems to why no life is possible outside earth etc. He can also be a help to us, if we plan to use him as a base to venture outside earth’s gravitational pull.

Baring only four other nations, no one has ever attempted a trip to moon. And India, with this historic trip, will become a scientifically complete nation that has gone away from earth too.

Well…. To enable us to reach to moon, we should be equipped enough to receive his call from 4 lakh kms. Any “artificial” signal would weaken itself if it travels such a far in distance. The receiver must be strong enough, and the place we receive them, must be entirely free from any other radiation. In that view, ByaalaLu is tailormade location for this historical entagle of moon’s voices with our own.

I made a trip to Manchanabele recently, and was surprised to find two huge antennae en route, at an abandoned location. On returning home, and browsing a bit, I found the real intensions of those antennae. They were ready to speak with moon, and so are Indians. We are all waiting with bated breath, for that moment of talking to our erstwhile, ageless, best friend, Chandamaama.

Well…. All the very best.... wishes to my country men who are on the verge of this historic fete.

You believe in coincidences? Then it must be a celestial coincidence…. There is a junction near ByaalaLu, which joins roads from Magadi, Bangalore and Manchanabele. That junction is known as Chandrappa circle, named after some kind person who lived in that area. And now ……. what happens tomorrow is…we’ll speak with the real Chandrappa from the Chandrappa circle…?? That’s an eerie coincidence?!! Hahhahaaha!!

09 October 2008

Navaratri Namaskara

Hi all, Sorry for being away for so long.... and let me not delay any more....


Here are the wishes for a wonderful Vijayadashami to each and everyone.
Let the divine Mother bless everyone of her sons and daughters with Prosperity and Happiness.


Lets celebrate the Vijaya Dashami here, at this Backbencher's corner with a visit to a stunning temple dedicated to the Holy Mother Saraswati.


To be straight, it is not common to worship Mother Saraswati in her original form. She is being worshipped across the nation in many forms like Sharada, Brahmi, Vagdevi and Maha Mayi. But as Saraswati.... there is no one temple that is dedicated to the Saraswati element of Mother.


In every home, every village Saraswati pooja is celebrated during the Navaratris. It was common for us to conduct Saraswati pooja just before our final exams during our school days. Yet, there is no one 'ancient' temple that is purely a dedicated to her! I had just known about one destroyed Saraswati temple at Hampi.


Wait... that was what I knew until I stumbled upon the name Koothanur while planning a trip to the Navagraha temples. Koothanur has an ancient, wonderful, huge temple dedicated to Mother Saraswati. Goddess here attracts thousands of devotees since this is the only known ancient temple of Saraswati. This temple is none less than a discovery for me!


The Idol has an effervescent smiling face asif the kindness has embodied before us. Amrita Kalasha, Chakra in the upper hands, with lower left hand holding a book and the right showing the Abhaya Chinmudra. The right upper hand holds an Akshamala as well, as a mark of alphabets(from A to KSHA). She has compassion filled eyes, with a Jnana Chakshu situated at Ajnachakra. She sits majestically on a lotus in Padmasana adorned with a white silk saree.

Koothanur or Poonthottam is a small, serene, beautiful village on the banks of Arasalar river. The Goddess here is magnetic in nature and is attributed to many a miracles like dumb people gaining their speech, illustriously ordinary person gaining higher levels of knowledge to become a great poet in Tamil, etc... all by the grace of this divine Mother.


Saraswati idol also holds a veena between her lower hands. This denotes the supremacy she behodls over all the arts. Veena is a divine instrument that represents a human body. One who masters the Veena gets nearer to divinity. Saraswati's veena vadana is supposed to be of the highest order, and the resonance to which causes one to attain divine powers. Many musicians have emerged from this village is an illustration that the whole area is filled with Saraswati's magical powers.


Since Saraswati is the Mother of all knowledge, all arts, in this temple people offer the Mother with sevas in different arts. Every evening there would be musical concerts, every day there would be Vedic chants filling the air with a spiritual vibration. The Dramas, bharata natyam etc are performed occasionally too. Navaratri is the time of annual fest here, Vijayadashami being a grand celebration.


The shops outside the temple sells pes, slates, books etc which can be bought to offer at the feet of Mother Saraswati and take back for personal use after the worship here. It is said that on Vijayadashami day alone 100s of children get initiated with their Aksharabhyasa here. Students offer pens, and books here, and worship the Goddess. Later they carry back the pens to be used in their examinations. It enhances their chances in the exams, it is said.


So, friends, let me make it more clear... This is the only known Saraswati temple that has about more than 1000 years of history. Koothanur is a sleepy village that lies on the banks of Arasalar river on the highway connecting Mayilaudurai and Thiruvarur. It lies in Thiruvarur district of Tamilnadu, at about 20 Kms distance from the district headquarters, Thiruvarur. It is at about 25 KMs distance from the famous Shani Sthala, Thirunallar in Pondicherry.


Though not known to many, this temple stands out with its particular set of visitors and devotees. Hats off to the teple management who have preserved the sanctity of this place to this day so that devotees feel the Love of divine Mother and feel blessed.


Come Lets visit such a divine world, and be blessed by Mother Saraswati.

22 September 2008

10 EASY STEPS TO "CONVERT" TO "SECULARISM"

WHO IS "SECULAR" in India?

The following are the traits of a true secular. If you do not have at least one of these, then you are at a risk of being labelled “Communal”.
  1. Become a Christian by taking a holy dip in an artificial pond created behind a Church.
  2. Go to an Idgah and hug a Muslim man and get printed your photograph in a leading English news paper
  3. Come to streets to protest only when Churches are being attacked; give a statement that people are utilising a terror attack for political gains when big bomb attacks happen in the country.
  4. Threaten the Govt to face dire consequences if a bomber or master terror planner is hanged.
  5. Give excuses of post-Godhra violence even after 6 years of it, for every bomb blast or for everything that happens on moon/mars whatever!
  6. Protest on streets to stress Govt to frame and arrest a Hindu swamiji for some nonsensical issue.
  7. If born in a Hindu family, eat beef and declare that in public.
  8. If a Hindu, Brahmin man, marry a Christian lady, but don’t convert to her faith(!).
  9. Don’t complain to Human rights commission when a temple is attacked, and devotees are dead. But don’t leave the Govt. alone when a window pane of a Masjid or a church is damaged by a Hindu cleaner(!)

If you can not do any of these, don’t worry; Don't lose heart yet. You still have a bright chance to be a true "Secular". There is another easy and fascinating way!!

--------------------------------------------

10. Blame Narendra Modi for everything that happens in India.

31 August 2008

Let the music Rock On!!

Rock On!! is stylish, rocking and different. Yet, far from being extrordinary!

It is very difficult to make a movie on music, whatever form it is. One requires a heart that syncs with the music, one's heart must get absorbed in the music to make such an attempt. Abhishek Kapoor and Farhan Akhthar attempts one with a rock solid love for the rock music.
Each and every scene is a testimony to their love for music, and how!

First things first.... "Rock On!!" is not another "Dil Chahta Hai", It is different, less matured and pretty much of lower quality. Yet, what sells the movie is its look and feel... the 'magik' of music and its effects on people.

Four highly ambitious young men from a college form a band to make Rocking music with their indigenous talents. A Rob, A Killer Drummer, a singer poet and a Joe the lead guitarist represent an energy, a dream, a passion! They all dream the same, a life that is musical and dedicated to music. But the energy of the team get subdued with the energies of individuals subsequently, and the band disperses with a shame, Just when it was getting a proper shape. And the life moves on with everyone ending up in some life that they never wanted, a life of compromises!
As Ramstein's

On and on towards disaster
We have to live until we die
Man makes compromises with life so much that he forgets he is a social being and often ends up as a solo warrier. To live powerfully is not to live alone, and when we understand this, we live as a team, we'll then live for ourselves. Our prosperity is in others' joy! Thats a simple motto of leading a powerful life. The message of this movie is straight and that.

When they come back to perform, that only for once together, they live for themselves, living for others! I am a winner in the race of life when I make my friend a champion! How simple our lives could be!!

Rock on is made bang on these principles. With an amazingly different plot the movie qualifies to be called a 'superb' flick.

When the movie is on music, background music takes the hero's position. That scored by Shankar-Eshaan-Loy is pretty much in sync with the energy of the movie, and its intensity too. It is brilliant, and electrifying. Same can not be said about the lyrics by Javed Akhthar. I am a no big to talk about the lyrical abilities of Javed saab. He is a genious at it, and he does write well. But the lyrics in this movie, doesnt go well with the Rock genere. It should have been more spontaneous. Singers have done their act brilliantly, but I still feel Farhan's voice should have sounded mature for a Rocker! However, thats my view.

About the cast, brilliant performances by Prachi Desai and Arjun Rampal. I have seen only a few other movies by this actor, he seem to be more matured and looks balanced as an actor in this one. He talks little, but makes one feel contented with the silence alone! Shahana Goswami has delivered a stunning performance as Joe's girlfriend turned wife. Farhan and others have done well too, but the characters could have been bettered by the script.
Yes, the script spoils an otherwise a brilliant movie. Script is good too with lots of wonderful moments, but not stuffed enough to make the movie a great one! What covers the pitfalls are the brilliant cenematography, extrordinary editing and the mesmerising music.

A little bit of extra homework by the script writer and the director could have made this one a milestone movie for Bollywood. Yet, this one is watchable, and is different. Check it out soon!

Now you know
That I stood outside your window
Just a little too long.

What you're gonna do
When the hours pass away
And you know that I'm gone.
Well, it may be a week, It may be a day, I'm six blocks over
And I don't know what to say to you.

However, Let the music Rock On!!
My rating - 85%

24 August 2008

The taste of India

click on the image for higher resolution
@disclaimer: I have not compiled picture, but received it as a forwarded message. Thought of sharing it. If you happen to be the creator of this, please let me know.

18 August 2008

Rameshwaram - a letter digitised

Yes.. I write letters, not e-mails but letters.

In one of the letters written to a friend, I had explained my journey to Rameshwaram and the feel of being there. I digitised the same to present here. Read it as follows.

Trip was fantastic :-).

We visited the very tip of India from where Srilanka was at just about 13miles distance. Here, at Dhanushkoti, the actual Ramasetu starts, and also it is here that the Indian Ocean grabs Bay of Bengal in its strife!

Another beach we visited, which doesn’t have waves at all. Obviously, this must be the safest beach in India which looked like a river with salty water. The Bay of Bengal is silent only at this place, which is gigantic elsewhere. The sand here is of unique black colour, that you won’t find anywhere else across the globe. This strange phenomenon is attributed to Rama’s anger against the King of Sea who did not help Rama initially, but later he succumbed when Rama threatened to dry him off. Thus the sea became silent and the sand got its colour as a representation of anger of Rama. Quiet mysterious and belief has no bounds.

Rameshwaram is a small island connected to Dhanushkoti by land. Initially they had a railway connection between these two villages and a shipyard situated at Dhanushkoti from where local ships used to ply between India and Srilanka! And in 1965, a great cyclone swept the whole village of Dhanushkoti. The rail bearings stand as a testimony to the ‘gata vaibhava’ of this place. At that juncture, people from Dhanushkoti moved to Rameshwaram, I mean whoever survived. Today, a gory town of Dhanushkoti with fallen churches, dharmashalas, railway stations and houses, stands affirm. Half the town is buried in the sand that swept it then. A few fishermen still make a living here, and they are not bothered about the visitors who come there. It is said that the Srilankan refugees and drug peddlers, smugglers from the island nation land in India here, stealthily and without anyone stopping them. Crime starts after it is dark. A jeep ride on the sands is a fantastic thing to experience here!

After 1965, people realized they can not rely on the ships to reach Rameshwaram and then they built a railway bridge across the Sea, to Rameshwaram. Eventually, a drivable road was constructed as well. So, the experience of driving on a bridge with water surrounding you is again a uniqueness of Rameshwaram, at least in the Indian context. The railway bridge is named Pamban Bridge, named after a neighbouring village. Specialty of this bridge is, it used to act like a gateway for the ships to cross this part of sea in that era. I mean, the bridge has a gate that used to be opened so as the ships passed thru and closed when the trains would pass! Anyways, now, no ship passes here, so, the bridge is an antique piece that is used only as a train bridge. One can experience this bridge today by taking this fantastic drive from Madurai.

The religious Importance of Rameshwaram is visible in every turn and corner of the place. This has a huge temple with the longest corridor in the world. That corridor makes an amazing 1.3KMs walk in total. The temple complex has 22 sacred wells; those get the water generated as much you remove it from. Each pilgrim goes around the temple and bathes in each of these 22 wells. An extraordinary phenomenon that is unique only to Rameshwaram. The water in each of these wells tastes different and most of the times sweet, though these are situated barely 100 meters away from the sea!

The main deity, Ramanatha Linga, is made of sand, but that has become rock solid. Each and every day hundreds of pilgrims get Ganges water from Kashi and does the abhisheka to this linga. Tough it is sand made it sustains the abhisheka and stays intact, even after ages of existence!
Srik.

09 August 2008

A ride thru the enchanting mountains.....and an anticlimax!

The alarm was harsh and not welcome.

It seemed as if I went to bed just a moment ago; but, there was no scope for more delays since we had to be back in Bangalore before it is night.

We had a few different routes to choose from, and we chose the Shiradi ghat road. We were worried since we didn’t know if they allowed any traffic there since the developmental work was underway according to the newspaper reports. Uncle was sure that the two wheeler traffic was allowed, but not the bigger ones.

We started by 7 AM, on that pleasant morning, after stuffing ourselves with a good breakfast. It was chilling outside, and as we dented further on the National Highway, the visibility was dimmer! We could hardly see a 50 yard ahead of us. This prompted us to slow down in pace, nevertheless, a wonderful experience to be riding in the morning mist on a National Highway. Traffic was not much at that hour.

Our first stop was on the banks of the Kumaradhara River. River was flowing with its majestic norm; we had a good break from the chilling environs with the young rays of Sun kissing us.

We started again after some 15 mins, and soon we entered the Shiradi ghati road. There was a deviation for bigger vehicles from there, but for the two wheelers, there was no stopping. We ventured ahead on that road which seemed highly mysterious.

The Shiradi ghati has been prettily immortalized by the popular Kannada writer Poorna Chandra Tejaswi. His stories depicting the lives here are amazing, and so we had an interest to experience it ourselves.

We next stopped at a small stream that was descending slowly on a boulder. The road condition was bad all thru the ghati, but of course… the contractors were busy building it afresh.

We had tea at a petty shop on the road side almost at the end of the ghati road. Here, we saw a huge venomous snake that was green in colour. He was busy hunting for food, I guess. He took a note of the curious eyes and hid himself inside the bush! Huh!

We continued our journey and stopped at Sakaleshapura for a quick visit to the temple there. Here, I received a call from my office. The Manager wanted me to rush back to work in the evening, when I was expected to demo a part of my project to the clients!!

The call ruined my joy, and made our next leg of journey a run of the mill kind of ride. We stopped at a few places on the way for lunch and giving a break to the butts. But, the thought of office pissed me off, and I hated myself for picking the call that moment very badly than ever!

Managed to reach Bangalore by 4:45 in the evening; pretty fast ride considering our initial plans. We initially thought of stopping at some more places on the way, but for the call!!

As soon as I reached home, Mother gave me coffee, I gulped the whole cup in a moment and virtually ran to take an auto to office. I dint want to ride anymore that day!

So, a Four-day long ride turned to be a pleasure ride at the beginning, a tense one in the middle, and a teasing one in the end for a perfect anticlimax.

What I got from this long ride was… an education about taking care of myself, handling any situation with patience and peace of mind.

My aunt’s neighbours warned it seems, “When two riders on different bikes, they tend to over take each other and that could be dangerous.”

What my answer for it would be, “Prashanth and I compliment each other, we don’t run a competition, but work like a team”!

Here ends my epic West Coast Ride story.

Thanks for being with me all thru, and be prepared for more breath taking stories in future too :-)

Day I:

Bengalooru -> Nelamangala -> Kunigal -> Chennarayapattana -> Hassana -> Belur -> Yagachi -> Chikkamagalooru -> Balehonnuru -> Sringeri -> Agumbe -> Hebri -> Seethanadi -> Udupi

Day II:

Udupi -> Malpe -> Bengre -> Udupi -> Udyavara -> Kunjarugiri -> Pajaka -> Katapadi -> KuLayi

Day III:

Kulayi -> Mangalooru -> Manjeshwara -> Ananthapura -> Madhur -> Kasaragodu -> Bekal fort -> Kasaragodu -> Manjeshwara -> Someshwara -> Mangalooru -> Kudupu -> Polali -> MRPL -> Ganeshapura -> Kulayi

Day IV:

Kulayi -> Mangalooru -> B C Road -> Uppinangadi -> Dundya Check Post -> Shiradi -> Sakaleshapura -> Hasana -> Chennarayapattana -> Kunigal -> Nelamangala -> Peenya -> NICE Road -> Kengeri -> Bengalooru

08 August 2008

A marriage beyond all the conservativisms and cultural barriers

A christian, native of America, born and brought up there, fell in Love with an Indian girl hailing from a conservative family. He met her at work.

He followed her all the way to India, and was successful in convincing her parents to get her hand in marriage. Only condition of her parents was that the marriage happens in the Indian style!

He went back to USA, got his parents to India, and the marriage preperations were started.

Meanwhile his friends, wellwishers and neighbours got interested in this strange tie of cultures and booked their flights directly to India. All in all 17 families discented in Bangalore for this extravaganza.

The curiosity they all had for the culture of this land finally turned to Love, looking at the affection locals showered on them. They prepared for the wedding as if it is a celebration of this new found affection.

The Hindu bride was busy shopping sarees for not only her, but also to her in laws and their friends. Her to be husband was to be coronated to brahminism officially with the thread ceremony just before the marriage.

All went well, the groom and his party had a definitive plans to attend the marriage with utmost interest and were fully prepared to patiently follow each and every aspect of the Indian marriage.

The bride's family was nervous on the other hand; this was not only a question of the prestige of the family at stake, but also that of the country at stake! They took cautious steps in arranging for everything related to the marriage. They contacted a host of vedic exponents to learn about what sorts of procedures to be followed, what was the plan in place in sacred texts etc. And every thing was set right in time and the marriage was perfectly organised.

Right from the brilliant fusion of Nadaswara orchestra to the vedic chants mesmerised the visitors. The luncheon contained carefully chosen menu prepared by the best in the business. But not sure how much it appaled the visitors, since they came from a differnt fooding culture. Yet, they all praised the quality of food to be the best.

And the wedding contained all the ceremonies that is performed in a usual south indian marriage; the visitors participating in every thing patiently, and smilingly of course.

Now coming to the point... the "moral of the story" is, the Hindu community is changing, and changing to open itself to that dawn which never sets.

What makes me say so:

  • A few centuries ago, Indians had never known of any conversions.
  • A few decades ago, there was no conversions to Hinduism.
  • Once converted away from Hinduism, there was no question of behaving with that person normally, lest taking him back in to its fold.
  • Once the conversion to another religion happened, Hindus would not even consider drinking a drip of water from his hands!
  • Even if the convert doesn't eat beaf, nor touch the non vegetarian food, he would be considered a taboo from the society.
  • The converts were made to feel neither belong to here, nor to there, and end their lives in the confused state of faith, hatred and sagacity.

Such a community waking up to accepting and allowing 'others' to have a feel of its divine practices....is something miraculous. The good thing about the whole stuff here is that it happened in the Brahman community which is the most conservative of all the internal communities in Hinduism!

I totally appreciate the brave initiative by the groom and her family to honour the real essence of the Vedic living, the "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam"!

Could this well be a beginning of a change that was in waiting for a long time to take place or are the people gaining proper senses to live life like its sacred texts, finally?

31 July 2008

Let’s live with peace, not die in pieces!

Only one?
This was the first question that arose in all minds of Bangalore last Friday. Some sounding relieved some disappointed; some more with disgust, and some with disregard!

The question “Only One?” was the reflection of how much we have grown in the sixty years. The nation that was unshaken with many summer winters passing by is rock solid even in the disaster.

Bangalore was put thru a stringent test of its mental character that day as some terror mongers planted bombs across the city in different parts. With reports of blasts one after another, Bangalore was horrified; Panic spread in no time; Police, Govt., people and businessmen were alerted with the same shock across.

But the initial reaction was temporary since the news reports stated that the intensity of bombs was on the lower side, and not much damage was caused to the property or the lives. Relieved? Happy? Safe? No. Bangalore was still in a sorry state.

People there showed their usual tough character and they didn’t let the bombs hinder their activities thru the day.

The famed IT city was terror struck when the whether was damp and rains poured from above. Here the rumours traveled faster than the 24 hour news channel crew. And one woman was killed by one of the bombs. But, the question ruled on all the brains….. ”Only One?”

This speaks about how much we value the lives here. It is a common phenomenon in India that people plant bombs and people die. People die because of accidents and no one takes any action to prevent them; People die of hunger and no one cares a damn about it; People die of lack of medical attention, but the hospitals doesn’t admit for the lack of money and no one has time to look into the matter; People get killed since one wanted to marry another belonging to a different ‘caste’ and it is termed honour killing!

Strangely enough, We, as a nation fail to stand affirm clutching against the terror.

The communal clashes, the community clashes, the regional fights, protests supporting a Govt., protests against a Govt., the Naxal movement, the border disputes, political turmoil, now the terror…. List is endless. An Indian day has all the ingredients of a masala movie flick.

But then, why can’t we stand as a Country, just keeping aside all our differences, keeping aside our individual feeling of faiths, notions, and egos? Why can’t we just have one ‘Indian’ community rather than ‘Hindu’, ‘Muslim’, ‘Christian’, ‘Dalit’, ‘Buddhist’ etc communities? Why don’t we celebrate the living, why do we mess it by calling it names? Why don’t we believe in ‘One for All, All for One’ slogan? Where did our own ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ concept perish? Finally, why should we kill our fellow human beings in whatever name be it?

Atrocious is the fact that it is done in the name of religion, honour and faith. The fact that no religion teaches one to fail the tolerance, is forgotten; the fact that no religion offers to kill innocent people to teach others, that no faith teaches to barbecue the others’ faith, is all forgotten. And hence, we can’t avert the miss deeds of some abolished minds.

I hope and wish soon the sense prevails in all of us to stop behaving in such shameful manner and work towards making our society a free fable for the coming generations. Lets passé at least the remaining phase of our lives with peace.

Act now.... begs a 15 year old

"Addressing the UN senate, a 15 year old girl speaks her heart out inspiring everyone to act immediately!"

Should I add anything to it?!

25 July 2008

A little Karnataka in Kerala - Kasaragodu

l The green valley l Agumbe l Udupi l Malpe l Udyavara l Kasaragodu l Shiradi l

A taxi came in front of the house next day morning exactly at 7:45 so that we leave by 8, as planned. And so we did. Our plan was to experience the Kasaragodu district of Kerala.

My aunt was against us riding again that day, and so the taxi programme had to be put in. Our bikes had got a nice day’s rest amidst the hectic schedules of run for them, though reluctantly. Aunt and cousin joined us in this expedition.

We drove past the bridges and under-construction flyovers of Mangalooru to reach the Kerala border. And so we entered Kasaragodu, a district in the neighbouring state.

Originally, Kasaragodu, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi were three districts of Tulunadu. But when the states were carved on linguistic base, Kasaragodu was put under Kerala while the rest two going to Karnataka. Even today, there is a cry to unite these three sister districts.

Kasaragodu has given Kannada its first Rashtrakavi. A poet who has written widely appreciated classic poems those could be compared with any of the best in the country would be conferred this title. One such was Manjeshwara Govinda Pai. Such is the legacy of this tiny district. Many laureates, social activists, dramatists, artistes, musicians have emerged from this land over the age. And even to today, Kasaragodu’s destiny with Kannada and its culture is not done with. People there speak Kannada, Tulu and Malayalam alternatively, and cleverly.

So, we never felt that we were out of Karnataka that day, though we were about 100KMs away from the borders.

Our first stop was at Ananthapura, a small village that has a beautiful lake temple of Lord Anantha Padmanabha of a strange order. I call it strange because of two reasons. One, the deity’s idol worshipped here is not carved out of stone, as in millions of other Hindu temples, but was being constructed out of 108 varieties of different herbs and natural material like the conch shell, dry fruits, salt, and so on. Second strange thing here is the most popular one, and that is a croc! A lonely crocodile that lives in a small pond is being said to be the God’s messenger. This is named as Babiya, and when priest or some one calls fondly ‘Babiya’ it shows up, floating and gobbles the vegetarian food that is offered to it. It doesn’t harm anyone, nor does it require anything else!! It doesn’t even need a companion. A 20th century legend says that a British officer had once killed this with his gun, but when priest called its name the next morning, mostly out of habit, it turned up, as usual!! And since then, it is recognized as God himself or God’s messenger, and it is considered to be a Chiranjeevi, one who lives for ever. So, people ask for blessings from her, and share their problems with her with a hope that she solves all of them.

Such mysterious visuals before us, and how can not we be left mesmerized, and we did! Let me write about Ananthapura in detail some other time.

We moved on to have the darshana of another astounding temple of a huge size called Madhur Anantheshwara temple. Madhur is another small but beautiful village on the banks of Madhuvahini river.

Though Anantheshwara is the main deity here, there are shrines devoted to other Gods and Goddesses too; most prominent of them all was that of Maha Ganapathi. Ganapathi statue here was huge in size, and the atmosphere in the temple was very divine. It was around 11:30 by then, too early for a lunch break. So, we moved on towards Bekal fort. Bekal is the biggest fort in Kerala and is spread over 40 acres. The fort is on an elevated hill that has an opening onto the Arabian Sea.

This fort has all the majestic features of a structure like a tank right at its entrance, an underground tunnel, an interior storage house, the highland view point from where one can get a total view of the surrounding area.


This fort was built in 16th Century by the Nayaka rulers. And was put under the rule of different dynasties over the ages like the Wodeyars of Mysore, and lastly under the British.

Today, it is a well maintained fort that serves the visitor with a scenic visual of the Arabian Sea one side and the coconut groove on the other, with the town of Bekal. The fort has a temple of Hanuman at the entrance, and a wide area to walk on in its foray.

As we walked from end to end here, though thrilled to be at a popular Bollywood hotspot, we were dehydrated enough by the crouching Sun up above. The mid day it was, and thus we were running out of energy to face him as well.

A respite from the hot Sun was of course the time spent on the Sea shore. The Arabian Sea was in full foray with its wild and menacing waves on the fore. It was fun though. The view from the fort was splendid, and the beach experience, marvelous!

Coming out of here, we drank enough waters each one of us to fight the humid heat. And we decided to rush to the Kasaragodu town for our lunch. By then it was around 3PM.

After a lazy lunch at Kasaragodu, we had ample of time more to explore this dry Sea side district more. As a part of it, we stopped at Manjeshwara. This has a huge Anantha Padmanabha temple, which is particularly known for its Nagaraadhane (snake worship). Though the temple was closed, we spent some time in researching the uniqueness of temples in this part of the country.

We moved on…and reached back Karnataka. We had a good time in searching the Someshwara beach. As in any other beach in Mangalore, this also had a temple of Shiva on top of a hill that opens in to the Sea at its backyard. Though we didn’t explore the temple, we had a walk on the famed beach at this evening hour.

We could have stayed there for the Sun set, but with sudden change of plans put into effect, we drove off Mangalore to the other side of it, to Polali.

Polali is a village with a wonderful temple of Sri Rajarajeshwari. Goddess statue is made by sand, and its huge statute is a pleasant experience. One prostrate before the Goddess will ease you off all your worries! The temple here makes you believe that the supreme Mother is watching us, who will relieve us of all the evils, and provide us with anything that we seek at her lotus feet.

This one temple impressed me so much that I sat there for some time, not knowing how much a time I spent there! High with spiritual vibrations, this temple is a must visit for any devotee of the divine Mother.

A post specifically on this temple, some other time.

Moving on, we went past the illuminated MRPL and Bajpe airport to reach back Kulayi. It was 9PM by then.

Before calling it quits, my uncle treated us with a nice dinner at a hotel nearby.

We came back walking past the bus stop where we had met Venu Vinod the previous day. Remembering that meet, tried reaching him. Since he was busy at work, he was working till late that night; we returned home.

Ooops…. I dint tell you about our meeting with this exciting young journalist the previous day. Yeah. Venu, whom we knew by his blog, was before us in real. He was rushing back home from work pretty late night. And we had a brief meeting with him at a bus stop (!) Thanks to the fact that he stayed in the same locality of my aunt’s place. We had discussed about his work, experience in traveling, more on blogging, etc in that little time we got to spend there.

It is a nice feeling when we meet bloggers of all the people. It is like we know them, and we don’t know them. We know their half real face; but the face behind those words, we get to see only when we end up meeting thus! BTW, Prashanth and I met thru blogs of course!!

Thanks to Rajesh, Srikanth and Venu for making this trip an amazing one.

To be continued……….

Day I:

Bengalooru -> Nelamangala -> Kunigal -> Chennarayapattana -> Hassana -> Belur -> Yagachi -> Chikkamagalooru -> Balehonnuru -> Sringeri -> Agumbe -> Hebri -> Seethanadi -> Udupi

Day II:

Udupi -> Malpe -> Bengre -> Udupi -> Udyavara -> Kunjarugiri -> Pajaka -> Katapadi -> KuLayi

Day III:

Kulayi -> Mangalooru -> Manjeshwara -> Ananthapura -> Madhur -> Kasaragodu -> Bekal fort -> Kasaragodu -> Manjeshwara -> Someshwara -> Mangalooru -> Kudupu -> Polali -> MRPL -> Ganeshapura -> Kulayi

l The green valley l Agumbe l Udupi l Malpe l Udyavara l Kasaragodu l Shiradi l

17 July 2008

Thought for the day!

In a day, when you don’t come across any problems – You can be sure that you are
traveling in a wrong path.
- Swami Vivekananda

14 July 2008

Hampi...... sad tale of a world heritage site

Hampi brings back a bunch of memories, memories of great pride, and some, of sadness. Happy memories of a thought that such a huge celebration of life ever existed; sad memories of inhibited imperial brains destroying such a wonder, both run in our minds when we think back about Hampi.

Today, Hampi is a graveyard of an infinite energy that hides more than what it displays. The huge perpetuation of the stony marvels here are a testimony to our greatly famed heritage.

The monuments that are available to us are a treasure for researchers, history enthusiasts from across the globe. They provide an open museum to the enthusiasts and teach about an interesting and one of the most important phases in Indian history. These monuments are no more 'Hindu' monuments, but are more of National in nature.

Such precious and priceless monuments are today orphaned and are being vandalised. Last weekend there was a disturbing report of a few idols being fractured by some idiotic degage rascals. There were reports of young visitors roaming around the streets of Hampi drenched in the shall of drugs, alcohol and open sex.

Hampi’s sanctity is at a high risk today. The world heritage sites at Hampi are under a threat of losing out again to the carnal pleasures of its fancied visitors. Any attack on Hampi is an attack on the integrity of the country; it’s a direct attack on the virtues of Hinduism.

Today, young men from Kashmir are said to be involved in drug peddling, secretive terrorist activities, cases of infidelity among others. There were arrests also of a few of them in the regard.

Today, some of the Hindu temple monuments have been occupied and turned into dargahs off late. The popular ‘Purandhara mantapa’, from where Sri Purandhara Dasa contributed immensely to Karnataka classical music, is today used for cooking the beef!

The history will never forgive us if we lose out these ancient, priceless monuments for the heck of a small money, pleasure or pride. We need a mechanism to safeguard them and feel proud of at least having them in our history.

A visit to Hampi is like reading a huge history book; is like traveling to the past in a time machine. I sure hope we, as a community come to our senses fast and educate ourselves of the pristine value each of these monuments, idols hold. And I also wish and hope that we do preserve them to gift our next generations this enormous beauty of heritage value.

I stronly urge the respective departments to take corrective and preventive measures to ensure these monuments are practically protected.

JAI HIND

Also Read :

1. My Hampi experience.

೨. ಹಂಪಿಯ ಕುರಿತ ನನ್ನ ಕನ್ನಡದ ಲೇಖನಕ್ಕಾಗಿ ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಕ್ಲಿಕ್ಕಿಸಿ.

08 July 2008

Getting beached!


With a sumptuous meal stuffed in the stomach on this lazy Sunday afternoon, we thought of continuing with our journey, and no rest whatsoever.

Our next destination was my aunt’s place in Mangalooru(ಮಂಗಳೂರು). But as described earlier, Rajesh had given us route maps to a few exciting places on the way; we, deciding to get beached more, took a right at Udyavara(ಉದ್ಯಾವರ) to reach Pithrody(ಪಿತ್ರೋಡಿ).

@image : River side at Udyavara Padukere.

If one enquires for Udyavara beach at locals, no one would actually help. This is because, no body visits Udyavara beach and the beach is on a wrong side of it. Udyavara Padukere(ಪಡುಕೆರೆ) is its actual name. Padu in Kannada means west and kere a water body. In Bangalore, kere means a lake, but what that means here….a Sea!!

We have to cross an overflowing river to reach the majestic beach. How do you cross the river? With a rower, rowed by a kind old-man.

@image : Crossing the river in a boat.

The river Udyavara is inhabited by varieties of birds ranging from billed ones to ducks. Thrill is when you see not many people around, but only these chirps and a river. A tar road is nicely laid in between the river and the beach. How good that looks can’t be explained here! The joy of exploring a lonely beach, with Arabian Sea roaring high, and a river rushing for its holy maté. We heard that the river met see at about 3KMs distance from this place.

The place was joyful, enchanting, exhilarating. The Arabian Sea looked excitingly royal here, than at Malpe.

@image : A distant island on the river at Pithrody.

We spent a lot of time on the river side than on the Sea shore. Sea shore looked monotonously same, but the river gives life a new meaning altogether. Rivers are the lifelines of humanity, whereas Seas, a meaning for the lives of these rivers! River was huge in width, it flew surpassing a couple of islands and it rushed pretty fast too.

Maravanthe(ಮರವಂತೆ) is another such place that is located on the National Highway with Sea on one side and the river on the other. People flock there to witness this beauty where a National Highway dissects both the water bodies. A similar scene was available to us that day, though only a country road distinguished the river with its huge partner; the whole visual belonged to us, just the two of us! Our joy found no bounds.

Spending about an hour in this brilliant deafening encounter with nature, we moved ahead. The rower waited for his lonely passengers of mid day, and we made our inroads into the river again to reach our parking area.

@image : Kunjarugiri darshana.

We then rode to Kunjarugiri(ಕುಂಜಾರುಗಿರಿ), a small hillock amidst dense forest range, where an age old temple of Sri. Durga Parameshwari exists. Temple was open for darshan, and we had a good time with monkeys checking on our luggage curiously, until we drove them off.

The temple is a simple structure, built in the trademark Dakshina Kannada style, decorated with Mangalore tiles for roofing. Sunset visuals are a treat from here, they said.

@image : Sree Pajaka Kshetra.

We then rode to Pajaka(ಪಾಜಕ), the place where Sri Madhvacharya was born. So, a Vedic school exists at this very place, with a temple like structure built around the main house. The caretaker took us around the place explaining what happened when and where, when Sri Acharya was studying there. It is a nicely maintained spiritual place, where one can feel the divine vibrations making this place really a special one.

On our way back to the main road, we visited another temple called Parashurama(ಪರಶುರಾಮ) Kshetra, which is on another hillock opposite to Kunjarugiri. Though the temple was closed, we felt good at this place, and continued with our journey not waiting for the priest to come.

Our next halt was my aunt’s place at Kulayi(ಕುಳಾಯಿ), a few KMs before Mangalooru. And as we reached her place, it was dark and all were waiting for us there.

They had a different plan for us, to take us to Panambur(ಪಣಂಬೂರು) beach to witness the sunset. But since we reached there after sunset, we missed a fair chance of getting beached again!

Day I:

Bengalooru -> Nelamangala -> Kunigal -> Chennarayapattana -> Hassana -> Belur -> Yagachi -> Chikkamagalooru -> Balehonnuru -> Sringeri -> Agumbe -> Hebri -> Seethanadi -> Udupi

Day II:

Udupi -> Malpe -> Bengre -> Udupi -> Udyavara -> Kunjarugiri -> Pajaka -> Katapadi -> KuLayi

To be continued……….

04 July 2008

A ride, on a beach!


Marriage was at around 11 in the morning. So, we had all the day to spend in Udupi. Udupi, a religious town, has innumerable temples in and around it, Krishna temple being the best known landmark.

Kanakadasa(ಕನಕದಾಸರು), a saint in 11th century AD was not allowed to enter the temple, since he belonged to an untouchable community. The singer saint didn’t leave it at that; he worshipped Lord Krishna from out side the temple, when the Lord heard his devotee’s voice. And the idol turned to its back to face Kanakadasa. Untouchability was vanished thus by the Lord himself. The legend says so.

@image : The Majestic chariot for Udupi Krishna, see Kanaka Gopura in the background.

As a testimony to this fact, a Kanaka mantapa stands facing the Krishna idol just outside the temple, and it is said that it was here Kanakadasa got the divya darshana of Krishna, the Lord. Kanaka Gopura and Kanakana kindi are two other landmarks of this temple that speak about saint Kanakadasa. It is thru this Kanakana kindi(ಕನಕನ ಕಿಂಡಿ) that one is to take darshan of the Lord even today.

Udupi temple is not only about the legend of Kanakadasa, but also about various other saints and scholars who has stood firm to uphold the Sanathana dharma. Udupi temple was installed by Madhwacharya(ಮಧ್ವಾಚಾರ್ಯ), a scholar who founded a major school of learning in Hinduism called Dvaita(ದ್ವೈತ). Udupi has maintained that holy atmosphere even to today.

We had a relaxing visit to the temple early in the morning, and by 8:15 we were out on the streets again! There was a scattered plan in place that we had drawn with the help of Rajesh the other day.

Malpe beach was the first on our list. We rode straight into the Malpe fishing port(ಮಲ್ಪೆ ಮೀನುಗಾರಿಕಾ ಬಂದರು) where the early morning crowd was either busy with unloading the fresh fish stock from sea or in buying them from vendors. We were lost for a while seeing at this huge stock of Bhutaya, a seasonal fish variety found in this dry season. I was told that the fishing boats leave the port by 5 in the morning or earlier when they get more fishes. Each boat had fishes in thousands of numbers that are sold in kilo grams just like any other commodity out in the market.

@image : Huge stock of fresh fishes at Malpe.

Bewildered at the site, we ran out to have a beach experience, to Malpe beach. I couldn’t believe that no one stopped us when we rode the bikes straight into the beach, pretty close to the dancing waves! Of course it was tough to get the bikes on sand, but fun when riding along the coast with water rushing to chase us off. It is definitely a ride to remember. We rode for about a kilometer on this sand platue of the Malpe beach. People there stared at us, but they cared very little about our adventures.

@image : The sand ride on Malpe beach.

Later, with the help of locals on the beach, we got our bikes out of the sands, on to the road. Enquiring how to reach Bengre(ಬೆಂಗ್ರೆ), we ventured ahead. By then it was all just 10AM!

@image : River Suvarna - Never tired of running.

Bengre in Tulu(ತುಳು), language spoken in this part of the world, is a place where a river meets a sea. Such a place is called as Alive(ಅಳಿವೆ) in Kannada. Malpe beach has two such Bengres, one on each side. We were now on our way to the one on its left. As we reached Bengre, we got suspicious whether we had come to the right spot, after all. We thought so since there was no noise at all, and the village looked like a normal movie setup of 1970s. But it had no visitor, no activities around. We confirmed that we were at no wrong place by enquiring at a few locals. All the noise here was that of the Arabian Sea(ಅರಬ್ಬೀ ಸಮುದ್ರ) and the river Suvarna(ಸುವರ್ಣ) merging with it forever, none else whatsoever.

It was for the first time that I ever got a chance to witness this pretty natural phenomenon of a river getting absolved in to this huge body of water. Astounded with the visuals, I tried getting into the water, exactly where the merger happened. One thing I observed was the Sea had a sloppy appearance and the river had a sudden depth. The enigmatic green look of the place transfixed into the royal blue as my eyes moved away. The seemingly motionless huge water body overflowing to grab a hapless hyperactive river was all we had there. The water, sand and we two, there was no third human being around!

Slowly the locals came in one by one to enquire whether we were shooting for any film, since Prashanth’s camera on a tripod looked like a filmable camera to them, no surprises at it.

@image : Arabian Sea at Bengre.

Spending about an hour in this deafeningly silent atmosphere with the Arabian Sea and river Suvarna in the background, we headed back to the town. We then realized that we had not had breakfast that morning. So, had refreshing teas at a petty shop before being back on our bikes again.

We had to reluctantly call off our Barkur(ಬಾರ್ಕೂರು) plans owing to the time running against us. We had an old Jain temple in Barkur on our list of places to be visited. But since the major reason of this trip was to attend the marriage, we had to return to Udupi, where the marriage was being held.

We had a tasty breakfast at a local Udupi hotel before getting into the marriage hall. Marriage hall was huge and there were too many people too. We found some place to sit and enjoyed the event by making some comments this side that side, around. We were asked to lunch before meeting the couple. We did so, and wished the couple a happy long life together, and continued with our mega journey.

Our next project was to reach Mangalooru.

Day I:

Bengalooru -> Nelamangala -> Kunigal -> Chennarayapattana -> Hassana -> Belur -> Yagachi -> Chikkamagalooru -> Balehonnuru -> Sringeri -> Agumbe -> Hebri -> Seethanadi -> Udupi

Day II:

Udupi -> Malpe -> Bengre ->Udupi

To be continued……….