Tuesday, November 28, 2006


My rose, if you could just sing,
The melodies unheard.
If the stars would twinkle,
Through the day;
If the lips could just curve up,
Stopping the tears rolling down;
If the sun could put sparkle,
On each rain drop falling down.
And you my love, if you could just love me,
The way I always love you..!!

Monday, November 20, 2006


I have always felt like this; getting excited about something till the last moment, and when the final show-time begins, I am just too lazy to pursue the interest. It was like that when I decided to go for rock climbing, on the artificial rock face at Kanteerava stadium Bangalore.

Yesterday I had a talk with my trek-mate, Nidhi about going for rock climbing. She was more than enthralled to go for it. She has kept amazing me for last couple of treks, a great stamina, and persistence - all in one.

Sunday (19th Nov 2006)

I finally allowed myself to be pulled out of the blanket by around 830am; had a bath and was out of my house by 9.20am. I kept waiting for Nazeeb, another friend of mine; who failed to join me at the last moment. So I just got on my bike and started for the stadium.

I had some trouble finding the entrance gate. I could see this huge wall even from the main road. And by the time I was there, Nidhi was trying hard to clear a difficult section of the climb. She finally forfeited and said that she wants to come down. There are two options to do the same. The difficult way is to climb all the way back, and no courage required. The other option is to rely on the rope attached to your fasteners and let go of the grip to which you are holding. She was shouting that she just can’t let go of the grip. Finally, out of thin air, she gathered some courage and jumped down. When she landed and I asked what the climb was like, she told me to give it a try.

Kaushik and few others, from whom I realized that the group consisted of people with 3-6 years climbing experience, were doing real acrobatics: jumping and hanging on the next point, swinging and all maneuvers which reminded me of Mission Impossible movie.

Finally Nidhi and her friend, Abhishek came to me and gave me the fasteners and instructed me how to wear it. I some how managed it. But from Kaushik I realized that the left leg loop was worn on the right and so for the right leg. But he said it was fine. He gave me a strange kind of knot which I felt was strong enough to lift an elephant. The rope was approximately half an inch in diameter.

So finally my bell rang. It was time to climb. I moved towards the wall. The wall had all sorts of grips and supports. Basically looking like different shaped rock protrusion resembling hard plastic grips screwed into place. The basic structure of the wall is, it has a vertical phase, approximately 5-10 meters high. Let me call it the run-way. Then the wall start inclining towards you at an angle between 30-45 degrees, which I want to call the ascent, and that, I had a gut feeling, is going to take the breath out of me.

The climb started at a slow phase. Since I am so lean, with long hands and legs, and approximately 5-10kg underweight (a secret so well kept with the public); my hands could easily support my body weight. I completed the run-way. Now it was time to take off, start the actual ascent. I felt that the rock face suddenly started looking at me, just like a giant who just got woken up by my comic acts. The phase was really taking the breath out of me. One point I was trying to balance on my left hand and left leg. But just as I reached the next higher grip, my left leg also slipped. Soon I was hanging on my hands. That stunt at the height was a little too much for me to swallow. I could feel sweat drops running down my cheek. Finally, I managed to get back on balance and a few more feet up. Then suddenly at a point, I just started feeling that it is as high as it goes. My legs started trembling like anything. It was difficult to balance any more.

Now come the best part. I was thinking climbing was the toughest act. But seeing Nidhi's stunts to come down, I was having a bad feeling of jumping off. My hands refused to release the grip. I just couldn't ask my hands to leave it. Just like a man unwilling to give off a single penny; my hands just stopped taking commands from me.

Finally, I shut my eyes tight and left my legs and hands all off the grips, simultaneously. The rope was sag by a few feet. So the first few micro seconds of the fall was really a free fall. For the first time I was experiencing adrenaline pump, unlike I have never experienced. Just after that, it was almost like a moderate thrilling roller-coaster ride.

As soon as I was done with, Lekshmi from Kaushik's team started climbing. She went almost to the two-third height and she decided to let go. I didn’t see even a small glare of fear on her face. She had a smooth landing, better than an Indian Airlines flight, I can say.

Just before leaving, I decided to give the wall just another try. All I wanted was to make was to break my own record. This time I complete the full ascent section. Then there was again a small run-way till the next and tougher ascent section. Within blink of an eye I was climbing the second ascent section. Half way through, I felt that the next step where I have to place my right leg is too high for me, and where the left leg could be placed next is having very less grip. So the option open to me was obvious. I shouted at Koushik, I need to jump, and I am jumping. He was trying to inspire me to climb higher. But I just couldn't. Then again I was at the same point, just like an answerless question being shot at me multiple times, the leaving off phase was there. I could feel some one giving me a sarcastic, impish smile at my face. Yet again, out of some reservoir, I gained enough strength to just bounce off the wall. Koushik was shouting at me that it was safe and that I don’t have to close my eyes so tight or even hold so tight to the rope. Finally I too had a smooth landing.

Autobiographies and now-a-days blogs are very good places where you can pour in enough brag, until you stop having visitors. But I must say, the icing on the cake was the appreciation I got from Kaushik and Lekshmi. They told that I climbed good for a beginner, doing it at an above average level. That was just one point where I had an advantage of being light weight (counterweighed by the problems I face, just like finding a jean of my waste size out of a sale). So all gone well and good, I was floating in air of prestige.

Since Kaushik’s team was getting ready to leave, I had to force my self to bid a good bye for the time being and told the wall, in my mind - “wait till the next time I’m here for you!”.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

My weekend escape from Bangalore - I(Thadiyandamol, Coorg)

I was so excited about going for a trek. I heard from Sandeep Edappalli, a good friend of mine and a great trekker, that this is one fantastic place to be. Missing a Bhramagiri trek in near past, I was looking forward to an equivalently good trek.


5.00PM I went to the gym for my regular workout and by 6PM I was out of the office. I did some small grocery shopping as in mineral water, bread, biscuits etc. Had a small dinner and was back at home. By 9.20PM I was dropped in front of KFC on CMH road and from there I moved over to Majestic KSRTC bus stand with a colleague and a great friend of mine, Nidhi. We were at the bus stand by around 10.15pm. There was Arvind and quite a few others already there awaiting the rest of the pack at the stand.

The bus to Madikeri started at 11pm. The bus was ultra deluxe. And the seats were good enough. I had a nice chat with my co-seater Bhargav. The sleep I had was nice. The only break being one at Mysore amidst, at around 1.30AM. The next thing I felt was when we were at Madikeri stand at 4.30am. The bus stand was quite big. The bus stand just like the whole city was uite neat and not littered by the tourist crowds. We went out and had a small stroll to the local bus stand near-by.

I was quite surprised to see a Kannur bus and a couple others with Malayalam boards, at the bus stand. We waited at the stand while Arvind and Samit left for finding a place to get freshened up. We had a tea meanwhile and I happened to notice that the exhalation was having a small foggy attire.

The hotel was very near to the stand - a small one. A narrow pathway leading down to a series of bathrooms, and a heater, into which a person was feeding firewood or coal. We got all prepared and headed back to the bus stand.

We were in the bus by 6am and the bus departure time was around 6.45 am. We had a brief intro session, and in between Nidhi and Venkat started having a Sudoku session out in the cold. That was an interesting sight. I haven’t had a chance to see such hardcore sudoku fans in my life.

The bus we boarded was to Kakabe. The journey time was around one and a half hour. We had a brief session of Antakshari, a multilingual one. And let me brag here that I dared for the first time in my life to sing out loud, at least enough to give my friend, Niyyas a support. So that was my "arangettam" in my life. The fierce competition was subdued with localites filling in the bus. There was a school crowd in the bus. They were speaking in Malayalam and were talking about their examinations. They had Kannada exam and no Malayalam. That made me notice that most of the writings were in Kannada but people were speaking Malayalam, northern Calicut/Kannur accent of it.

The bus had a small halt in between at Napoklu. There we had our breakfast. Idli, chutni and sambar. Happily, for me the sambar was a keralite sambar and i just loved it. I also have to add that the houses and constructions in and around Coorg looks exactly like in Kerala and reminded me that Ivent visited home for long enough a duration.

The bus was at Kakabe at around 8.30am. It made me feel like I have reached the base camp and trek is yet to start in its proper form. First stretch was to Nalkanand palace. It is too small to be called a palace. We spent a couple of minutes there and started walking.

On the way there was a small school and there were few kids playing outside. They were amazed seeing our crowd moving with bags and all. Samit spent a couple of minutes to take the ball from them and throwing it back.

On the way, Arvind enlightened us with the concepts of second wind and the tips-and-tricks of rhythmising the breath with the steps. He was having literally a walk in the park. He was humming some ragas throughout even when i was literally striving to breath properly.

There was dampness all around, leaving a smell of wet soil and leaves. Huge trees all around and there we sighted the peak amidst the clouds - our Thadiyandamol peak. We also saw its siblings, the smaller peaks all around. All of them green, all through.

The first major halt we had is at a huge rock. Few among our group were on the rock well ahead. I was, for long, at the back of the whole pack trying to capture the beauty of the whole scenery and trying to be not so far in the back from the group. I did not want to miss a single photo that I felt, could look good.

At the rock we were hearing a stream flowing nearby. Arvind ordered us to fetch water. So we few went down there and filled empty bottles. The water was very clear and quite cold. A splash of water on the face felt like an instantaneous recharge.

Getting back we started walking again. Arvind showed us the path and told us about the patch of forest coming up. He asked us to keep pin-drop-silence, in that we get to hear the sound of true wilderness. Soon enough we were at that section of the trek. The forest was not like Amazon forest from Anaconda movie or anything. But it was with no doubt an appreciable stretch of forest, dense enough. The track was getting steeper. But soon we were out of the forest.

It was pretty hot when we were out of the forest. There was a well drawn path still up ahead. I was feeling a little tired. But seeing the peak pretty close kept inspiring me. I tried to be in the front of the pack for a couple of minutes through the forest segment. Soon enough, giving it up to the stronger people in the pack and falling prey to my photographic senses.

We reached the last segment of the trek. Though there was a clear-cut path all through; with loose rocks and steep climb, this was to me the toughest section of the whole climb. During a small break, I happened to notice a leech on my shoe sole. I was seeing a leech for the first time, real and alive. I was enthralled. I wanted to check if I got a leech bite too. I had already heard that we won’t actually ‘feel’ leech bites. But I happened to notice just a single leech bite, for the first time in life. This made me feel that I just had become a trekker by all means. But the leech had fallen off, dont know how. So the salt was not required.

The peak, I was feeling elusive; just around a corner; just above the nearest visible highest point. I felt that the peak cheated me a couple of times. Finally I was few meteres from the actual peak. I just ran like hell and I was the 6th in the pack to be on the peak. The time was 12.16pm

The wind was like refreshing and recharging. Couple of minutes there we few started a small stroll to a near-by peak, which was not more than a couple of feet away. It was not higher than the first peak. I was lucky enough to spot a bird which was floating in the air, doing some marvelous mid-air acrobatics. Arvind told us that it was a Kesteral.

It was lunch time. Everyone was busy getting their packages, unpacking and making sandwitches etc. Had a well assorted lunch: chapathi, cakes, sliced cucumber, breads, bun, biscuits, apple etc. The lunch was heavy enough to compell many of us for a good enough nap. The post lunch time on the peak was filled with photo sessions. Solo, group and all sorts; just trying to capture the prestige and ego-satisfaction we all had in conquering the peak, which atleast to me was no less tall than an Everest.

By 2pm we started our descent. By the time we started our descent, there were a couple of other groups on the peak - a few foreigners among them. The descents first section, since having loose rocks, needed a little extra caution. There was one point where I really slipped and required support from Varun to be back on my feet.

In about 20-30 minutes we were back on the rock where we had rested on the way up. We were asked to give way for a few climbers who were on the same path, ascending, by Aravind. Having had the feeling of an arduous climb, I was really appreciating Aravind's command to give way. In between, I saw Vishwa and Naveen running back to the summit, getting down not less than a 100ft. Vishwa had actually forgotten his spectacles on the summit. So Samit our backend leader said he would also wait for them to reach back. Late in the night, on the way, back I got to know that they were not able to retrieve the spectacles.

Reaching the rock we all rushed down to the stream again. We rested for a while, taking enough time to freshen up in the cold water flowing down. The water was really cold. So naturally cold.

The stroll down continued again. On the way I happened to spot yet another bird, which I had seen never before. Arvind gave us the information that it was a Scarlet Minivet. Alas, we were back at the palace at around 4.30-5pm. Taking another break to have some snacks we continued our journey. Finally we were at the bus stop, which I'd like to call, our base camp. Few of us started having a Frisbee session, which did not last long as a bus, to Madikeri arrived soon enough. The next 1.5 hrs I slept like a baby, in between waking up, just to see, Sandeep, Soumiya, Naveen and Kumar still energetically playing their heated game of Mafia, which I, in that state of mind, failed to comprehend well enough.

We were back in Madikeri by 6.30-7. It was already dark and there was no electricity throughout. From the bus stand we walked a couple of meters to a good vegetarian restaurant - Athithi. Most of us had a nice session of dosas and tea. We few had a discussion with Arvind - a post trek performance review. He gave us 7/10 and few pointers on where we faltered and what to be careful about the next time.

There was a foreigner couple at a table next to ours at the restaurant. They had ordered for dosa from the menu and were looking surprised seeing what their waiter served them. I could see the wonder in their faces, as to, how to eat it. They were looking at each other. And in between gave me a glance, as if asking, am I eating it right? I was happy that I had energy left to appreciate the wit.

Leaving our baggages at the back of the restaurant, where they were serving their buffet dinner, we walked around the Madikeri township to a temple near by. It was a small Shiva temple. The construction was almost like a Mosque, with Minarets and Arched doorways. It was very different. But the "prasad" was good – “avil” with coconut grating and sugar. It tasted really good.

We got back to the hotel for dinner. We had a buffet - rice with rasam and curd, where I happened to have a discussion with Nidhi about food habits. North Indians have parathas even for breakfast which was quite a wonder for me and they (I conclude) preferably don’t preferably take rice, which is so different from the habits of the South; just enforcing the slogan - "Unity in diversity".

After dinner we were back at the KSRTC stand, where we had a brief game. The brain behind was Jean. The game was interesting and Varun was the one who came with the answer. Soon we came to the know our bus is there in the stand. Boarded our final bus and we were comfortably seated. Soon enough, my co-seater, Niyyas was well asleep, which I failed to have with the kind of Hindi pop music video which was played in the bus.

The bus took off at 11.00pm and by 530am Saturday, we were back in Bangalore.

And getting back, this is my treasure chest!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

A Page From My Life

There is an incident that comes to my mind once in a while. I was thinking whether I should write it or not, as in, if others will feel it as a gossip or something of the sort. But I decided to go on. Until I put 'real' names to characters, none is hurt...I believe

Almost 2 years back. It was the time I got my first job. Had to shift from home to a place called Pondicherry. The place is an old French colony, worth a visit. Since I was there all alone, the task was all to me to find a decent living area for me. And so to say, I succeeded in finding a good one, in an almost-prime locality.

Now comes the other part of the story. A new chap from my own state, joins the company. He asked me if he can stay with me for a while. I told him frankly, that I can do that till he gets a house. And with an eccentric character like mine, I always prefer to stay alone. So he took my point and decided to join me.

Among the talks we had on those days staying together, I was telling him that I'd like to be fluent in Tamil, rather than the stammering way I used to talk Tamil then. He told me that Tamil was never a problem for him. He was very fluent in speaking Tamil and even reading and writing in the same language. I had the feeling atleast that advantage he had over me.

Days passed eventlessly. I was having the feeling that he was not even trying for a house. So yet again, I had to take up the duty of finding him new house. He was telling of his uncle who already is there in Pondicherry. I asked him, it would be best if he could seek his uncle's help, since he should be having good knowledge of where to look for and all such things. He replied me that he is not so close to his uncle and so he don't think he'd prefer that. I left that talk at that point.

Luckily, I was able to find him a decent accomodation. Now everything boiled down to rent settlement. His rent was lesser than what I was paying then. But he still wanted to go for a bargain. I had a feeling that was not a good idea for me to go for. So I told him, he can do all bargain by his own. So I stood as a casual observer for their talks. My friend, he went over to the house owner and started speaking Hindi. I was surprised. Hindi is a language out of a Tamilian's dictionary. They never (usually) understand even a single word of Hindi. So I had to advice my friend that these people dont speak Hindi, and to speak in Tamil. So he started speaking in Tamil, one or two after-wards he again shifted; this time to Engilsh, and at times a word or two of Malayalam. I was shocked. He had told me that he was fluent in Tamil and now what is this guy doing.... I got the whole picture. How good he is in Tamil and all.

Finally, I went up and told the owner in what ever Tamil I know that he wants to reduce the rent. Owner, after thinking for a while said that he can give some reduction, as much as its possible for him. Now this I told the chap that he might reduce the rent in what-so-ever way he can. He suddenly told me that he has to call up someone regarding this. I asked who it was. Now, he tells me he wants to call his uncle. That was the last thing I had on my mind. I told him ok, he can. He calls him up and comes up with an answer, telling me that his uncle hasn't agreed on him taking that house. And whether he can continue staying at my place. I tried to control my temper (I know how bad it can be if I loss that), and tell him in a nice manner that my kind of life and philosophies are different. I prefer to stay alone if possible. He suddenly shoots at me - "I dont want to hear any of your philosophies. Can I say with you or not?". This gave me the last real shock.

At this turn of events, I was having the feeling, there is no point in me taking this pain anymore. I directly told him - "If you can make a move, please do. I am not looking for a company currently!". I think that was the last word I ever spoke to him or he spoke to me. After that, when ever he sees me, he kept turning his face the other way around. If I remember right, it remained that way for around six-seven months I was there in that job, until I quit it. Nice friend though, he was ;-)

After the whole story, I dont know if I was supposed to feel bad about all these. I still search for answers in starry-dreamy-skies. Among the other infinite questions I keep in my mind. But quite a good experience it was....really!!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

New Age Colonialism

Continuing on my last post; I should add one more word - it was never my intention to say foreigners are misbehaving by any means. It is, but, the realisation of where we actually stand on the globe. Are we proud that we are Indians, born of rich heritage? Or just a waste basket back in the corner of the globe; getting filled with the global waste - economically (with the outsourcing) and by every means possible?

Again, when some fellow Indian comes and tell you - 'Hey..you are an Indian!! You are not allowed here, in this part of India.' - how would that sound? For me it feels like the Indian soldiers who used beat-up fellow Indians during the British regime.

After Thought: How can I say so proudly of Indian heritage, when I myself, wear Levi's Ts...american jeans...and all sort of *foreign* accessories. That sounds too ironic, even to myself. :-) But accepting the best, is a way of making ourselves better. Isn't that so? And all I wanted was to see a better India, by all means.

A Point to Ponder

Last Saturday, we (me and few of my friends), decided to give Varkala beach a visit. Its really an astonishing place. Quite beautiful. For a moment, it seemed that the beauty was more appreciated by foreign tourists than native locals. Anyways, here comes the best part. We thought this "India Maha-rajyam" was still owned by Indians. For one part, there was no board saying some part of the beach was just for foreigners (unlike in Kovalam and places like that). But still when we got into water, one of the guard started blowing the whistle. Called our full group over to the shore. He started telling us that, 'this side of the beach is for our distinguished guests'. So it would be better if we move over to the other side.

I am not sure, if there is some other country in the whole world, discriminating its own native people from strange foreigners. We pay taxes, we abide by the law; everything we do, should earn us the right of freedom. Isn't that so?

I can understand one aspect of it, as in, if uneducated locals start making trouble, the charm of the whole place is lost. But keeping place clean, and making everyone feel secured is not just applicable for tourist places or is it? Yet again, when we visit some foreign country, we do try our level best to go with their customs, and not to standout from the crowd as an uncultured outsider, right? So, why in the world does these foreigners come here and keep people out of the best parts of the beach (so to say) just to get them privacy, or even to lay there half naked. And correct me if I am wrong, the whole table manners, eating with spoon/fork/knife, we learned from these *sayyipps*, right? Now if we dont exercise that, when among them, and start breaking these table manners, they call us uncultured don't they? And so, why dont they return the same respect to Indian traditions?

All these might just be one perspective of the whole discrimination problem (or am I just assuming things?).

Hey...thanks for reaching till here, and bearing with me through a long post. Thank you all for your time....!!!

Jai Hind..!!

An After thought: Isn't it true that these foreigners come here to see a mythical land, of strange superstitions and aborigin *tribal* people. All this reminds me of a previous post in one of my e-groups, of some one being asked, 'if Indians still ride elephants to go to school?'.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Let me sleep again
To bring back my dreams
The ones I left behind
Half way around my life