Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Trip To Talakadu

Photos from the trip to Jaladhama, on the banks of rivers Kaveri and Kapila at Talakadu, about a couple of hours drive from Bangalore.

Flower Power

Photos taken during the breakfast stop-over at the Kamat Upachahra on Mysore Road.

Scattering of Light?

Barb Wire?

Photos of the fields on the way - the Well Fielded Series

I am quite pleased with the way these photos of the clouds came out. This is the Cloud Cult Series, dedicated to Cloud Cult, an indie rock band whose song Love You All I really like.

Photos from the resort.

Love As Seen in Bollywood Movies

Drops of Jupiter

Drops of Jupiter (on green leaves?!)

Leafing Through the Past

Contrasting Focuses

Coffee - Bean There Done That

What are these called?!

The Lonely Soldier

What Are You Getting Antsy About?!

And we all went dinning at the end of it!

All these and more pictures of the previous trips on Flickr - here.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Mysore Dasara Trip 2008 Or Why I Can Now Die A Happier Man - I

The Theory of Happening Trips has been proved once again. That the best trips are those which are decided at the spur of the moment with minimum fuss about the planning, stay, travel and the company. And that the ones that are planned and thought over, over and over, never quite happen.

The Mysore Trip for the Dasara celebration started by proving the The Theory of Happening Trips right. Plan Zero was that Ashutosh and I weould leave from Bangalore on his bike either on Wednesday night or on Thursday depending on how fried a day Wednesday would be. Plan Zero never took off as Ashutosh found out that he was the only resource for a project that would save the world from global warming and end poverty. Plan One involved asking Joshi if he could come and turned out that he had to work the next day on a project to bring about world peace. I cannot blame him too, for he'd have only a couple of hours to decide. But then all of us are not like and me, who set out on the Wayanad Trip with just a day's notice. The rest, of course, were too busy with more important things in life. Taking inspiration from them all, I realised even I could not waste more time on trivial things anymore and did a very important thing - start on the trip rightaway. After a quick call to Prasanna (THE man, the selfless friend, philosopher and Mysore guide, gracious and tolerant host, and to be called as SP henceforth ) informing him about my late-night arrival in Mysore, followed by a packing of trip essentials and a quick bath, I found myself jostling for space in the Bangalore City Volvo bus, since 67% of those working in and around Airport Road were heading towards Majestic area to take buses or trains to travel to their homes.

Kempegouda Bus-stand, Bangalore ~ 10:30 P.M

On reaching Majestic, I realised that 73% of Bangalore had arrived there, looking for a bus to travel out of Bangalore. I know 73% is exaggerated as it can get, but looking at the current economic downturn and the threat of massive lay-offs in the IT industry looming large, will there be a day in the near future where we could possibly see such an exodus out of Bangalore? I'm sure the copywriters in the media would be salivating at such a prospect. I can bet my left index finger that at least 38.2% of them would have thought of such a headline - [Insert well-known IT company name] Shuts Down Bangalore Operations, Employees Asked To Log Out. Even that, I think, is a fairly exaggerated scenario. That of a mass exodus of those working in the IT/BPO industry in Bangalore. Definitely not the copy-writers, they have their copies ready I'm sure.

I pushed, shoved, shouted, tripped over, bumped into and apologised my way through an ocean of people and reached the area from which buses depart towards Mysore. Discovered that KSRTC has launched a low-cost version of their popular air-conditioned buses named Sheetal(meaning cold). These buses run at a fairly good frequency and I did not have to wait for too long to find one with a comfortable seat. At Rs. 137 per passenger with comfortable seating and air-conditioning, I'm sure even those at Capitol Hill will have no problems in voting for this deal.

With Radio Indigo giving me good company and a refreshing coffee stop-over at Maddur, the journey was smooth and comfortable.

Maddur Bus-stand. ~1:30 A.M

On entering Mysore, I called up SP so that he could reach the bus-stand by the time I reached there. And by the time I finished the call, the bus stopped and I realised that we were already at the bus-stand. I was glad that Mysore wasn't like Bangalore that it would take one at least an hour to reach the bus-stand on entering the city, even though it meant that I had to wait for SP for about fifteen minutes to come and pick me up.

Mysore Bus-stand ~1:00 A.M

The warm and thoughtful man that SP is, he had brought a jacket for me in his room-mate's car that he had come in to pick me up. Now this is non-sense and I'd advise you not to read further as the previous sentence made no sense except that I tried to play on the word warm. But yes, it was really thoughtful of SP to have brought that jacket for me.

After straight and few cover drives through the deserted streets of Mysore, which only a few hours from then, would be teeming with people wanting to catch a piece of the Dasara action, we reached SP's home. Again, there was no reason for me to mention to the straight and the cover drives because we were not on a cricket field, but then I plan to go to watch the third and fourth day's play at India-Australia Test match here in Bangalore. That thought was playing on my mind while we were driving and I was hoping that I'd get to watch Dada's cover drives and Sachin's straight drives, Dravid's defences and Laxman's drives and defence. Hence the drives find themselves tossed up into this post. But then before this post goes on to become a post on Dada's retirement, which is definitely coming soon, I better get back on track than queer the pitch. We reached SP's place with out wickets intact(it would be redundant and cliched to say that there were no maidens on the road to bowl us over and hence our wickets were intact) and danced to Koyal Si Teri Boli from Beta. No, we did not do any dancing and I'm writing all non-sense. I'm really exhausted now and will continue writing this post once I've returned to sanity after a good night's sleep. Now, are you really reading till this point? Then there's one more thing I want to tell you and want you to listen. Listen, not to me, but to Mar Jaava from Fashion. I think Shruti Pathak will go places and I should go to bed. I promise to keep the next post relevant and write about what we saw at Mysore the next day. Till then, Mar Jaaava..

Monday, October 06, 2008

Sri Lanka, Lakshadweep or Kashmir?

It's either the top or the bottom, and nothing in between. Before you start getting any ideas about this tongue in cheek(or tongue in whatever else) remark, a clarification that the remark is an observation about the options for a possible trip towards the end of this year with Pole.

2008 has been a fairly mixed year, and in some cases probably the Blankest. But it has been a good one for travel. Varanasi, Kurseong, Darjeeling, Tiger Hill and Gorkha War Memorial, Gangtok, Chhangu Lake, Siliguri, Nepal, Bhutan, Kolkata, Delhi and the Wayanad Trip. And of course, the trip to Mysore and Srirangapattana with family. There's a feeling that I get, when I look to the west that even the travel that has happened till now isn't quite enough. So while we plan the year end trip to either the top or the bottom, here's looking forward to the Mysore trip for Dasara in a couple of days from now. And also looking forward to finally sitting down and writing about all those trips.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Why I Can't Have Enough of Gujarat

I find it quite strange that during the four years I was at Surat and even during my trips to Gujarat before that, I had not come across Sanedo. I had not even heard or discussed about it with any of my friends from Gujarat. It was only at the Garba here in Bangalore that we went to last night that I actually got a first hand experience of what Sanedo is. First hand experience is very essential, especially when one's talking about Garba!

The garba was great fun. Among other things, the gentleman on the mike ought back umpteen memories of the goof-ups of our teachers and those emceeing on the stage during various events in the college. During the break between Sanedo and Raas, I kept on hearing Pregness over and over again and while I was wondering if it was some unknown power indicating a person's prowess to get someone preganant (Old article. Nevertheless, read on - Condom sales up by 50% during Navarati in Gujarat) and turns out someone was shouting out for one Pragnesh. My jokes on Gujarati names began and ended with Hitess, Jigness, Paress, Naress being brothers of Business, but now I have Pregness as a welcome addition to the list. Jokes apart, I played Raas for the first time and I believe I've begun to understand how such events provide a casual and an informal environment for young men and women to meet and interact Not that I did not know of it earlier, but again, it's like that dialogue in Munnabhai which goes something like Life mein bahut kuch first time hota hai maamu. It was a really enjoyable and a very interesting experience. And Ms. Nimmi, I hope you had a good time too!

And how can any garba be complete without the garba remixes of the latest hits? Hare Krishna Hare Ram from Bhool Bhulaiyya was fine, but I found it quite funny playing raas with small children singing Zara Zara Kiss Me from Race with more energy than the quintessential male garba singer - fully blonde hair, a blazer made out of the material Kajol's blouse was made out of in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai(chiffon?!) and an uncanny ability to catch dancers unawares by shouting praises of the Godess during the music pieces in a song, lest they forget why they are dancing in the first place. It was a pleasant surprise to hear Main Koi Aisa Geet Gaaon and Chaand Taare at a garba event and dance to it. Couldn't have asked for a better end to the day, which though came at 3 a.m the next day, after a very satisfying quiz at BrewHaha with Chirag.

Thank you Gujarat. Thank you Surat. Thank you Arvind Barot and Maniraj Barot. Thank you Kaka for getting us passes to the indoor stadium in Surat. Thank you Fagun. Thank you Viral. Thank you Nilesh for making that phone call and trying to get me closer to Ms. Nimmi. Thank you Mehul.

PS. Mental note: Blog more often!