Day 20: The voice of my subconscious

When I wrote this post yesterday, I had a lot of questions kicking up a mini-storm in my head, derailing my otherwise logical thought process. When Varsh commented that if only we knew all the answers, life would be much less complicated, I told her travel was the answer to everything, especially if to somewhere in the Himalayan region 😉

Which is true, of course. But, when you are not all set for travel, there is another source for answers to these kinds of questions! And, that’s in Hobbes. If you follow Calvin and Hobbes, you’re probably nodding your head right now. Haven’t you wondered how Calvin always asks these philosophical, highly intriguing and seemingly rhetorical questions, only to have Hobbes respond with the simplest answers? Little surprise then, that the answer is in yourself 🙂 In the rare chance that you actually get it from another person altogether, then be assured that person is, in essence, your subconscious!

Anyway, after I posted this yesterday, I got well told off by my subconscious, who then sat me down and took those questions one by one.

Here are enlightenments from my subconscious (up for debate, though not for agreement, because my subconscious is mine own and might think and perform differently from yours for good measure)

Q: Reflections, when ugly, are never the mirror’s fault. It is the fault of the “object” and the “light” that reflects off it at a bad angle. But you do need the mirror to show that to you. Unless you choose to never look in the mirror. Is that wise, though?
A: Not at all. Though, if in your search for ugly reflections, you’re missing out on the beautiful ones, then you’re defeating the whole purpose of reflections and probably should stop it right away! Or, look for the beautiful ones instead and see how they weigh against the ugly ones. Whatever you do, make sure the outcome is a good one. Else, don’t attempt it. It gives you no returns in the long run.

Q: Looking back at the past and drawing lines to the present…is that a good thing to do? Does reflecting on the past and regretting not acting on a certain intuition then…make it sensible to consider that decision now?
A: Yes, it is a great thing to do to help you spot potholes from afar and steer away from them. But unless the people, situations and feeling are the exact same now as they were then, that decision from then is irrelevant in the now. It’s got to be a fresh, well thought out one that will consider and help you brace against impact from all angles.

Q: Are intuitions any good, or is it just a fancy term for a comparison at different levels? Are they just bad feelings to brush off with Hope and Faith, or are they things needing serious thought?
A: Intuitions are good, to be listened to. They’re not fancy or to be brushed off at any time. Please, always listen. Never walk into something you have doubts about. If you’re not convinced, don’t do it.

Q: How much, what kind and when is it OK to forgive? If you cannot forget, what’s the point in forgiving, when memory serves to rekindle the same feelings many times over? How genuine, then, is that forgiveness…and how fruitful?
A: If it didn’t include physical abuse/violence and deliberate false accusations/character assassination, the rest could be considered forgivable. This is a matter of personal choice, of course. But broadly, if it is in someone’s character to accept fault and be corrected, then they deserve that chance at forgiveness. But, just one chance. It’s good to not forget, because if life slaps you in the face again, you know what and how you survived previously. It makes you stronger, wiser. Forgetting something is not in anyone’s immediate control, but the forgiveness can be truly genuine if it is from the heart, with no unhealthy intentions…and highly fruitful in salvaging a lot that matters in life.

Q: How can you weigh the unknown repercussions of your decisions against your future happiness? What if your intuition fails you and you don’t take what could have been the best decision of your life?
A: Everyone knows the answer to this 🙄 It’s the future we’re talking about! Don’t, and you can’t, plan it.

Q: How trustworthy can today’s promises be, when tomorrow is a whole new day?
A: Go ahead and trust – it will do you good. It does make you vulnerable, yes, but not if you’re in the right hands. So, before you call on your heart and trust someone (again), call on your mind and make that smart assessment of whose promises will be kept and whose will not. But please, do trust. For people cannot rip open their hearts and show you that they mean it – they can only tell you and hope for your trust.

Q: Does anyone know how the scalded cat, that feared even cold water, finally got over its fear? Is fear a good reason to not believe?
A: Well, this is a secret of my species; I’m not really allowed to divulge it to your kind. But for you, and only for you, I shall. We just got thirsty. Think about it…if we relied on fear as a good reason to believe that water (in all forms) was going to burn us, we’d have all died of thirst and become extinct. So, no – fear is never a good reason to not believe; fact is.

Q: In an attempt to stay positive, is it wise to brush the unknown, unexpected and unhappy under the carpet?
A: No. Well, the unknown and unexpected are not in your control. The unhappy, however, is. Goes a little back to the first question, really. But if the attempt to stay positive is supported by fact, faith, trust and hope, then maybe (just maybe) brush it under for now. Because, there will always be an opportunity to lift that carpet and clean it up for good.

Q: How late is too late?
A: It’s never too late, for anything. No decision you take is the final decision of your life, unless it is to take your life itself. Which I, as your subconscious, will never let you do: because your life is mine too…and I am, because you are.

If there is one thing I’m grateful for in life, it is my subconscious 🙂 What would I do without you!?

Been a while since…

…I blogged last — not just posting on mine, but commenting on the million other posts I religiously read.

…I cooked a proper meal. Like, a complete lunch/dinner the way I used to.

…I really got down to gardening. I force myself to water them frequently to keep them alive.

…I spoke to my best buddies from school.

…I sang a full song, loud and clear.

…I’ve met some ex-colleagues I’ve been really wanting to meet (some things just do NOT happen).

…I’ve gone about taking random photographs. The camera is dying under a layer of dust (not literally).

…I’ve been fired by anyone for a really weird reason.

…I’ve done something mindless.

…I spent some real good time with family.

Been a while since I’ve been me. Sucks. Bah.

In Life. Just be fair.

I’m tired of writing come-back posts. So, don’t count this as one. For, I’m almost sure I’ll go off again.

Blogging, when in a bad state of mind, is not something I do or even want to do. Hehe…too many people may get hurt, shocked, whatever. So I’m not here to explain why I have been hibernating, for the umpteenth time. I just wanted to tell you…

I’m still kind of reeling under the effect of a major insight into what we fondly, angrily, exasperatedly and hopefully call ‘Life’! That no one has any right to judge another person—no matter what that person may have done or said.

I’m not the kind who sees or meets someone, judges them immediately (as being funny, nice, trustworthy, full of attitude, creepy, and so on) and compartmentalise them. I take my time, give them their space and study them well before I decide if I like them, love them, trust them, dislike them, hate them… But yes, over a period, I do end up judging them—as being good or bad. If they do/say something that is so against my principles and what I consider ‘right’, I do judge them. I suppose it is human.

And when I say we should not judge “no matter what that person may have done or said”, I mean it quite literally. Now, if you ask me if we should not judge someone who has committed a heinous crime—such as a murder for instance—well, I still think we shouldn’t. While you may judge someone for a physical murder, you may reach a point in life where you murder someone’s spirits, kill them mentally. As long as you destroy a person, it does not matter how. The end result is the same in both cases.

So yes, whatever whoever does—there is always a reason. The only thing is that their right maybe our wrong. What we cannot fathom, must have come so naturally to them, thanks to a lot of catalysts. Someone hates his parents, someone cuts off her best friend, someone falls out of love, someone cheats on a partner, someone walks out on his marriage, someone takes another person for a ride, someone steals, someone kills… They all have their reasons which we may never even be a million miles close to finding, ever.

So, when we judge someone, I think we need to know that at some point in time, invariably, we will find ourselves in that spot—the spot where that person we judged stood. At that time, our eyes will open wide, something will go smack in the head, make us stop in our tracks, feel our body go limp, sense our jaw drop…and we’ll be like ‘Oh my God…I never thought I’d ever be here /do this /say this…”

But one day, you will. We all will. I did. And I’m still shocked. I did NOT have this in mind, ever. I did not think I’d ever be where I am right now. But the fact is that I am…and I’m really shocked.

I guess the best we can do in life is to be fair—to the ones we love, hate, hurt, respect, bear with… Just be fair. Be fair, but don’t be sacrificial. Give them their chance at life, but not at the cost of yours. Grant them their happiness, but don’t lose yours.

OK, this is a little strange right now. I’m bad at these kinds of talks. So let me just admit I’m shocked, but I’m not sad about it. It could not have been avoided. Really. I did try. Quite many times, in many ways.

God, I’m shocked. 😐

when life throws lemons at you…

I haven’t been blogging for quite a while now; life got on to a roller coaster (which has happened before) but got derailed this time (which has never happened before) 😀 No major casualties, but definitely left a few bruises will stay for quite a while.

Too many changes happened. Some were planned, some were expected (but hoped not to happen) and some just took me by utter surprise.

I don’t take too kindly to that kind of utter surprise. Sudden changes in decisions, plans, dreams, life, so on and so forth, do not really fall in my list of “I love”s. I am the kind that actually needs time to accept a change and adapt to it well. Even an unplanned movie plan can put me in turmoil. I’m not kidding, it really can. Ask Suraj, if you need evidence 😀 As someone who absolutely LOVES giving surprises, the poor thing has to think a million times before he can give me one (and finally, he always decides not to). 😀

I always need time to prepare myself to major changes: like job changes, relocations, letting people come into and go from my life…

So, when life suddenly throws lemons at me, my first instinct is to duck under the table, rather than make some lemonade out of them.

To start with, I had to quit a job I liked because of certain people and reasons. Then a relocation was briefly considered, which I finally decided will NOT happen. Then my parents relocated back to Trivandrum (and took Pumbaa with them for a while). And then we decided to move houses, which further depressed me, for I’m quite comfortable in the house we live in, and is totally in love with Koramangala (I now totally understand what she meant when she wrote this. And then a few other things happened, which I really do not want to talk about here. So basically, life’s not been too good so far. I don’t think I like 2012 too much 😀 2011 was fun and generally stress-free.

The good things: I’m still in the same house; I’ve got myself a new job (which also gave me a laptop, though I still miss my T410…but well, it serves the purpose well enough); I’m still in my ‘initial days’ at work, making me generally jobless and helping me get back to my blog; I participated in a Blogstar competition at work, and both my posts got featured in the top 15 of a total of 56 posts (yay!!) :D; I’m back to my travel-by-volvo days, and enjoying it much; I am back in charge of the kitchen, since the senior chef ran off to Trivandrum forever…and I’ve held on for a month and half now, without eating out most days like we used to before the parents came to B’lore (makes me pretty proud of myself 😉 ); I’m back to gardening and talking to my plants and making sure they’re happy—which is actually because of Pumbaa’s absence (he used to make sure he got all my time and attention).

So yes, there are a few good things that make me happy; but the bad ones are quite phenomenal, and damn depressing. I try to push them to the bottom of the pile, but well, they keep coming up for air every now and then. Basically, am not very good company now 😀 So, be happy none of you are we-talk-daily friends with me 😀

I’ve been reading all your posts, ‘liked’ some of them and just quietly left without making my presence known on some others. While it makes me happy to know happiness is happening to many of you out there, I’m also quite frustrated that I’m not in the frame of mind/life to be able to be blissfully happy that way.

While we are at it, I’d like to thank my brother, Hobbes, and Vimmuuu (without knowing at all that I’m in no mood to tolerate his nonsense), for making me laugh like mad in some of my down-in-the-dumps moments and making me momentarily forget that I’m dodging lemons. 😀

Life, I tell you! Sigh.

Pongala: for the Devi, by the devis

Looks like if I’m not travelling, I have nothing to write about 😀

Well, not entirely true. I did write a love letter, for CB‘s latest contest “love is in the air”. There were two parts in the contest: on was to create badges, and the other, to write a love letter. Well, halfway through the design, I realised the deadline had passed 😀 so i gave up. Which meant I also gave up on the yet-to-begin love letter, till CB extended the deadline. (Damn! There was no excuse i could give after that :D)

Today is Pongala, and I thought I might write about how we celebrated it.

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For the uninitiated, Pongala is a religious festival celebrated by Hindu women. ‘Pongala‘ means ‘to boil over’ — and on this day, women devotees get together for the ritualistic offering of payasam: a porridge made of rice, sweet brown molasses (or sugar), grated coconut, nuts and raisins.

It’s celebrated across a few temples in South India, but it’s been made famous by the Attukal Temple at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. It’s the one time when the sleepy Thiruvananthapuram city witnesses a night that’s longer than the day 😉 Women from all over South India (I guess there are people from all over the country now) gather in the city, near or in the temple premises, stocked with the ingredients, round earthen pots, bricks and tiber from the coconut trees.

On a day or two prior to the festival:
Women travel to the city and set up temporary homes on the roadsides. They book their spots on the roads, lanes, footpaths and shop fronts in a radius of several kilometres around the temple (fighting for the one nearer to the temple). The bus stands and the railways station are NOT the place to be, if you’re not a devout devotee, and especially of you’re a member of the male gender 😉

The roads are filled with vehicles bursting with their occupancy. The city dwellers don their hospitality hats and wait their turns to help the devotees. They let their courtyards be used as tent spots, let the devotees use their precious toilets, offer excellent home-cooked suppers and comfort elements — for they consider the very act of a hospitality a means to please the Goddess!

A visit to the temple is mandatory on the previous day; so is a fasting. If you are a man, you will not be allowed anywhere near the areas where the festival is in progress—unless you’re a badge-donning member of the temple volunteer group or the police force.

On the Pongala day:
All the arteries of this tiny town—less than a hundred and fifty square kilometres of land area—becomes look-alike rows of make-shift stoves ready to be lit. No vehicles ply within the city; the police and volunteers stop them at the outskirts. Volunteers set up free food-and-lemonade stalls at every 500 meters!

Security is the biggest concern of the government on the day—what combo could be worse than crowds of women and fire!? Over 5000 police men and 500 women constables plus more senior officials. Volunteer organisations work around the clock to provide medical aid, food, water and help. And the day experiences an uncanny pleasant demeanor by all people, and there is no bossing round, no bad attitudes, no negativity.

A cannon sound reverberates when the priest lights the hearth within the temple. The flame is quickly passed from the sacred hearth to others, and in an unbelievable and superb gesture of community participation, over a million hearths burn up class, creed and sects on this day, as the Devi replaces everything in their hearts with devotion and prayers.

The city is then enveloped in a cloudy cloak.

While some struggle to light a hearth and handle the smoke, sun and the streaming eyes, there are others who, having participated for many years, handle up to a 101 hearths: an auspicious number for everything divine. Another cannon announces the “boiling over” at the temple, and then the wait begins — for the temple representative priests to sprinkle the offering with scared water, as a sign of the Goddess’ blessing. Once the holy water is sprinkled on each one’s earth, they’re ready to head home.

Women also use this opportunity to exchange addresses and goodies. Traffic begin its craziness and vehicles make a slow-moving bee-line to various parts of the city and out of it.

Over 2 million burning hearths and twenty square kilometres of land! Fire, gender security, pollution, traffic problems, the concerns are numerous. But they’re all overcome and the pongala continues to be a success year after year.

After the festival:
The city is a mess after the festival: miles of blackened bricks, firewood and earthenware. You may not have seen where the food-and-lemonde stalls were, but the left over cups and the paper plates will tell a tale. And before one knows it, its time for the sanitation workers to jump in for the rescue of the roads. By late night, the city is back to what it was two days back 😉

A ceremonial rain (which has marked its presence every single year) washes down the pollution and the smoke: Nature’s certification of a festival well-celebrated.

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Of the pongala tales I’ve heard, the one bit that has been vivid is that it used to be a festival for the poor. Apparently, in the olden days, the house helps were the ones who used to participate in the festival. It was considered a festival / a day off for them, to revel in the Goddess’s blessings and attention. But over the years, as the festival became more popular. it became a matter of ‘participation’, I guess. And today, like everything else, we have a pongala that’s commercialised. Media channels interview ‘stars’ who ‘share space with the non-stars, the lesser mortals*rolling eyes*! It’s no longer a day that allows the “poor” to have a dedicated day with the Devi. Sigh!

Anyway, today being pongala, Amma was busy and ‘not-on-kitchen-duty’. Though initially she had been all sad she wasn’t at Thiruvananthapuram to be a part of it, when we decided “God’s everywhere” and she could easily “boil over” up on our terrace, Amma was thrilled 😀 Well, heaven was just a little further up than three stories high 😉

Amma's little terrace-temple 😉 and the pongala payasam in the making 🙂 Pic courtesy: my brother

After a long time, I was put on kitchen duty for the day 😀 But of course, I woke up late, and Amma had to take care of breakfast. Boy, was she pissed!

After all the scoldings and everything for ‘almost’ spoiling her day, I went to the kitchen 😀 And while she sat out in the hot sun, lit a fire and made the pongala payasam, I stayed back in the cool kitchen and made Mushroom Biriyani for lunch 😉

The Mushroom Biriyani I made and we binged on 😉

Pumbaa binged on it too 😀 He wagged his tail, licked me and (almost) said “Pumbaastic lunch that was!” 😀 😀 😀

Took the recipe from Nag’s Edible Garden and added my own 2 cents (i tnd to do tht all the time; mostly, the result is yumm, but i’ve had my share of yucks too) 😀

Personally, I’ve never quite liked this festival — only because pongala, as far as i can remember always constituted an off-work day for Amma: but she’d be out the entire day and would come back in the evening tanned, tired and tyrannic 😀 Well, she had a migraine problem and over 5 minutes in the sun could give her a headache…so imagine a whole day out there in the heat, smoke and pollution. Pongala evenings were always of payasam, and “be quiet, i have a headache” and us tiptoeing around to give Amma a quiet time. No, not a good, ‘fun’ festival 😀 And a sun-hater myself, I’ve NEVER been out there for a single pongala!

The only good part was the holiday at school and college — but again, since the traffic comes to a stand still the entire day, the ‘holiday’ always went for a waste and we were all stuck at home. I really don’t think such things should be imposed on the entire population. What of the people who do not participate, the ones who do not believe in it, the ones who might have an emergency? life cannot come to a standstill just for the sake of a celebration 😦

Anyways, after a rather long time, I enjoyed this year’s ‘pongala‘ — one that was minus the crowds, minus the pollution, minus the smoke, minus the heat, minus an Amma who comes back home in the evening with a bad headache and a badder mood 😉

The payasam was extra tasty this time! 🙂

two thousand t(h)en: the year that went by :-)

2010. It was good, it was bad.

The year began with a long weekend, with JANUARY 1 falling on a Friday! Most of the month kept us busy house hunting. I had completely given up on blogging, and had not blogged at all, after 15 October 2009! Had joined a new company in November 2009, and was finding myself in a whirlwind. Though the designation and the job was the same, the medium was online (and not print) media and I was very new to it. Shifting from the house in J.P. Nagar, Bangalore, was a difficult decision. But the commute to work was taxing and we figured Koramangala was a mid-point for both me and the husband from our respective offices. By the end of Jan, we chanced up on the house we are at now – and the so-don’t-want-to-move decision became a can’t-wait-to-move one. To add to it, the owner of the previous house became a nag and started bargaining on the advance he had to pay back: finally, he paid us 15k less of what we had given! In a financial crisis ourselves, we almost wanted to smash his head, and waked out of their in fury 😀

We moved into this house in the first week of FEBRUARY and fell in love with the place. As for the owner, one gem of a person! A philanthropist of the highest order. Will need a complete post to describe him! 🙂 Anyways, most of Feb was spent settling in, and parents visiting, and making friends at work, and meeting neighbours, and other mundane stuff.

MARCH came in rather quickly, and I was completely settled at work. I made three real good friends there, and the 4 of us hung out like fevicol buddies! 😀 But apart from office and home, I realized I wasn’t having a life. And so, I came back to blogging. I had had one too many blogging breaks – and I was almost sure I’d be ignored, not read anymore and the like. But to my disappointment, most of the lovely bloggers I’d known and loved had left the blogville! That only made me more worried.  I’d have to start all over again, and make “blog friends”. I’m glad I decided to go ahead. Though I still miss the old “gang” (I still have ALL of them in my blogroll, in the hopes that they’ll come back someday, like I did), the new people I got to know are the best on the planet! 🙂 So, exactly 5 months after my previous post, I made my first post of 2010 on 15 March! It was also then that a school mate wrote me a lovely mail that took me all the way back to school. Thanks MC!

APRIL slowly rambled in and bought in its wake the loss of the husband’s dear mobile. I’ve never seen him so depressed! And I made a post out of it and got labeled ‘the wife who laughs at the husband’s misery’ 😀 Three days later – after a gap of 4 months – I called up one of my closest friends to know she’s pregnant! Again, all the way back to school I went. Those were the days! It made me think of how much I’ve changed in all those years—and I came to the sad conclusion that I hadn’t changed much. Andthat’s when I listed down some of my LOL stupidities in life—one of my favourite posts so far. April is also the month when the husband and I celebrate our ‘unofficial’ anniversary: and to spice up our life, we decided to go on a week-long trip. A getaway from everything else. Anyways, the father-in-law was retiring the next month, and he also wanted to go on a vacation with us: for gelling-better purposes 😉

We were on vacation all of MAY first week. We went to Coorg and from there to all of his relatives’ places in Kerala and then to Poovar, Tihruvananthapuram! We reached back, got back into the home-work-home lifestyle and I decided to go on a trip every month. Weekend trip, long trip, half day trip…I didn’t mind. I also took a few resolutions: swimming, driving, music classes, gardening and monthly trips. The first three didn’t work, while the last two worked for the most part. My parents relocated to Bangalore and took up the 1BHK on the ground floor of our house. So, we have the whole house to ourselves now! Yey! End of May, we also went ahead and booked our first-ever car: the Tuscan Wine Fiat Grande Punto 🙂 At work, things were getting bad. All four of us were fed up and was planning to move out. Personally, right from the day I rejoined after the vacation, I’d been fed up 😛

JUNE was an exciting month. My blog turned 2 and I was mighty proud 😀 At work, all four of us got new offers and things were being processed. We couldn’t be happier. I was the one who decided to move out, and pulled the other 3 into the bandwagon! So, when there was a plan formulated for a meet-up of us college friends, I couldn’t be happier. The day before our trip, I rushed out from office, requested a dog to excuse me and literally ran home to pack! We were off to Munnar! Cousins, Uncle and Aunt came for a week to Bangalore from Trivandrum, and we all had a great time! We went to Mysore and Srirangapatna – my first time to Mysore after I came to Banaglore 3 years ago 😀 Well, on the flip side, my uncle had a heart attack (!), my mom’s BP rose high, my aunt had a bad fall and my bro (alone in the UK) had a baaaaaad fever!

JULY came and saw us at Manipal: a most lovely place! It was also a month of so many changes: the Tuscan Wine Fiat Grande Punto came home, I got into IBM—new work timings, new sleep timings, new friends, new work profile… And I posted my first and last ever Thursday Challenge. It was ONLY to show off that photograph: I’ve never participated in a TC or a WW before or after that 😀

Starting 15 AUGUST, we celebrated the 10 days of Onam and made the pookkalams on all 10 days:
Atham, Chithira, Chothi, Vishakham, Anizham, Thrukaetta, Moolam, Pooraadam, Uthraadam and Thiruvonam. And after falling badly ill, the week after that, we went off to Wayanad: one of the best places I’ve been to! We trekked up to Edakkal Caves and the Wayanad Heritage Museum, went to Pookkode Lake, Banasura Sagar Dam and the Jain Temple @ Sultan Bathery and went for a safari to the Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary.

SEPTEMBER was a fun month, blog-wise. Chatterbox ran the Finish It To Win It contest, and it was a load of blogfun! I finished it to win some prizes! Was too caught up in this, had no time for a trip! 😀 😀 😀 😛

Now OCTOBER was horrid. Horrid, simply, indescribably horrid! Caught in a mad man’s world, we suffered a load of mental tension, sleepless nights, unproductive work hours and insult to injury! And if all those weren’t enough, there were even nightmares for rent! Was the WORST MONTH of the year, and filled us all with a lot of hatred and negativity! To ease some of that negativity and bad moods, uncle, aunt and two brats came from Delhi for a week-long vacation and we had fun. We went to Ooty and Mysore—didn’t want to break the trip-every-month vow 😀

NOVEMBER, every year, had always been my fav! That’s when my birthday is—and since the past2 years, the wedding anniversary too 😉 November 2, the day I turned 26, I got Pumbaa and the Canon EOS550 DSLR Rebel T2i: two of the most precious gifts ever…from a totally precious person—a husband who doesn’t just SAY “anything for you darling”, but DOES something about it too 😀 It was also the month when I ‘discovered’ an unknown relative through the power of blogging 😉 Of course, there were no trips in November—except the ones to the veterinary clinic with Pumbaa 😉

All of DECEMBER literally flew, with Pumbaa keeping us all busy—why, he even had visitors coming in, with appointment, to see him and play with him!!!—and the upcoming end-of-december vacation keeping me super busy at work—result? No time to blog! And on 24 Dec, wrapping up work and packing up clothes, food and Pumbaa, we were off to our Kerala-Goa vacation! Yep, travellogue coming up soooon!

So, a very good year in all, except for the dampner in October—which is like a dampner for life. Everytime we see the scratches on the Punto the blood boils!

Sorry for the boring post, but it’s a record of 2010—for future references, just in case 😀 😛

Anyways, here’s wishing you all a
FUNtastic, grace-filled, prosperous year ahead.  Let 2011 be the year of your dreams! 🙂

Ooty: a travellogue

When I signed into WP yesterday, I accidentally clicked on “Random Post”, and I was led to this post, where I listed a few things I had decided to do something about, to avoid getting back into the rut of a monotonous life.

And I noticed that I had written “Vacations are life’s necessities”, and had sworn to go on one every month 😀 And then I again checked up my blog to see if I had stuck to my decision, and I realised I did it without fail from April – August, and had failed badly from September – November. [September was a month of break from the monthly travels 😀 and November, well, Pumbaa wobbled in].

No, not December, because I’m off on vacation now: from 24 Dec – 1 Jan 2011! 🙂 It’s a B’lore-Kerala-Goa-B’lore road trip, with Dad, Mom, Bro, the husband and Pumbaa! 🙂

Anyway, while checking the blog, I again noticed (!) that there was a trip in October, to Ooty, and I’d completely forgotten to update my blog with photographs and superlatives. Well, it wasn’t mere forgetfulness. It was also the fact that the trip wasn’t all that great and I had no superlatives to remind me of it with. 😦

I had high expectations of Ooty, and they all crumbled down all the way to the valley! I think Wayanad is the culprit—the root cause for this “hmmm…this place is nothing in comparison with Wayanad” attitude!

Anyways, let me not let the trip slip into the little wedges between the neat piles of good memories and travellogues! 😀

So, here it is: the Ooty travellogue.

Uncle, Aunt and the two brats were coming down from Delhi for their first ever Bangalore trip. Their usual agenda is Delhi-Trivandrum-Adoor-Delhi; and it’s been just that ever since my aunt got married way back sometime in the early 90s 😀 Anyway, this time, they broke the spell and decided to get off the train before it touched Kerala 😉

Now, this is an aunt who loves being crazy – and has raised two equally crazy brat-girls. The elder one is the embodiment of the word ‘tomboy’ and the younger, as feminine as any girl can get. And the Uncle, for as long as I’ve known, is as strict as anyone can get and has successfully completed 50 years, in spite of living half of that in a house with three crazy women 😀 So, while I was soo looking forward to have them all home, I was a bit anxious about what might and might not upset him. Turned out, he’s a new man 😀 He was the most fun to have, this time!!!

Yea, so they reached Bangalore on a Friday morning. After loads of hugs and laughs and leg-pulling, I came to work, dreaming of just a trip to Mysore on Saturday. At about 8pm, the husband turns up at office and says, “we’re going to Ooty tomorrow early morning, so come home early. I’m here to pick you.” Ooty!? Yippeeeee! The first and only time I’d been there was in Dec 1999. Over 10 years! I was super excited—and immediately wound up for the day 😀

We had planned a quick Bangalore-Ooty-Mysore-Bangalore trip for the weekend. and set off early Saturday morning. The four of us ‘kids’ in the Punto, and the four oldies in the Alto 😀

As is customary, we had a quick stop at Srirangapatna, to pay respect to Tipu and his ‘tharavaadu’ 😀 Well, with the senior brat around, respect was just NOT a possibility! 😀

The body of TIPU SULTAN was found here

Entry to Colonel Bailey's dungeon

The dungeon's story...

The King's Battery -- now called "Sultan Batheri" -- which hides the dungeon.

A view of the many arches "under" the vault. The stone slabs on the far end of the pic, where prisoners were chained to. the part of a canon, just a decorative piece (per what I overheard a guide say :D)

After a quick tour of Colonel Bailey’s Dungeon, we stopped at Tipu’s favourite mosque, the Masjid-e-Ala built in 1784 (whoa! 200 years before I was born :D).

Twin towers of the Masjid-e-Ala

The open terrace, near the entries to the prayer hall.

After a quick tour of the mosque (it was closed), we drove on towards Ooty. The weather was splendid, and we had a good drive—light drizzles, sunshines, rains, drizzles and more sunshine.

The harbinger of rains...

Rains that splashed all around...the car 😀

View from the shielded side of te windshield 😀

When the rains left, and only the droplets remained 😉

Anyway, on the way, we passed through Bandipur National Park and spotted a few animals (unlike the experience at Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary.Oh, but nothing “wild”, anyways 😀 😀 😀 😀

The elephants and a little one.

The "dears"...

The monkeys...

The python that crossed the road...

...and the long, winding road.

The brats were thrilled to see the animals, the various other animal safety signboards, the sexy, winding road and the greens on both sides. And of course, that was no python. It was just a piece of log, which did NOT cross the road 😀

And it was then that a trip plan for December was formulated and agreed up on. I was explaining to the brats how this National Park was spread across 3 states—Bandipur in Karnataka, Mudumalai in Tamil Nadu and Muthanga in Kerala—and the name Muthanga just COMPLETELY avoided me! We all kept wondering what the name was: one that starts with M, had a tribal case in Kerala long time back in the name of that place, a tribal female involved, etc. And finally, the husband said some name and was sooooo sure he was right. I was soooo sure he was wrong, knew it was a longer word, though I couldn’t quite get the right name. Finally, he agreed for a Delhi trip end-of-Dec if I could prove him wrong.

The next 15-20 minutes, I was super silent. All I had in mind was a violent and sad tribal police case known by the name of this place, the letter M and this tribal lady’s face and her curly hair :D.  It was almost a half hour later, while in the midst of photographing a group of hyper active monkeys, I dropped the camera, dug my nails into the husband’s shoulder and said “Muthangaaaaaa”!!! For a moment, he was so blank-faced, I felt like apologising! 😀

I won the bet. So, the plan was on for Destination Dilli in December 🙂 “Before that, where to, in November?”, I asked. To which he smiled slyly and said “That might not happen, and you might not even want to”. It was a mystery to me then. But when Pumbaa wobbled in, I knew! 🙂 Of course, Dilli plan changed the day Pumbaa came in—and just a week back, we finalised Goa plans:D

As we began the climb to Ooty, the beauty of the Western Ghats slowly unveiled. It was soothing and a prelude to better things to look forward to.

First sighting of the Ghats...

The mingling rain clouds and the emerging sun gave a captivating image...so we stopped for a few clicks.

This is when, the teenage senior brat got into the ro-ro-romantic mood a love song and a backdrop of cloud capped hills can get one into. And she, in a most dreamy way, said “I think I’ll come to Ooty for my honeymoon…with a horse.” “You marrying a horse!?”, we asked, to which she said “Yea. Free horse ride all over the place.” “Hmmm…and horse power advantage too”, I said. She was shocked, and immediately regretted the horsey honeymoon idea. And we teased her no end about it.

We stopped at a view point a little further up to see these:

From the viewpoint...

We reached Ooty by about 6pm and settled into a decent hotel.

Oh, in between, let me not forget to mention that Amma was feeling nauseous the previous night and feared dysentery—and her fears were met the next day! In spite of which, she was trip-ready! 😀 The poor thing threw up so many times, and was totally exhausted by the time we reached Ooty! 😦   After freshening up, we took Amma to the nearest hospital. Bad news greeted us: Amma was badly dehydrated and had to be put on a double-bottle-drip treatment! Poor thing 😦 We stayed with her at the hospital till about 11, leaving only to have dinner, that too, in shifts! Took her back, and we all had a good night’s sleep.

Amma was all healed and completely rejuvenated the next day morning, and we set out to see Ooty: which wasn’t much. We went to the Honeymoon Boat House, had a good round of boating (throughout which I, highly disappointed in the scenery, kept bragging about the boating we had at Pookkode Lake, Wayanad).

The Honeymoon Boathouse

The lake and more...

The brilliantly blue sky is what made the lake look this good!

They grazed the occasion 😀

And that’s when the senior brat noticed a few horses nearby. “Horse ride next”, said she. In between peals of laughter and more leg-pulling, it was then rounds of horse rides for the two brats and the uncle! And me, the photographer, had to trot, gallop and out-race the horses to get pics from all angles. Phew! Was that tiring!

The boat house was maintained very well, and had some really beautiful flowers that adorned the place. The blue sky and the towering trees added their bit too 😉

We then headed for the toy train which we spotted from the lake and had a joy ride–yelling “chayey…chai”, “vadey vadaa vadey”, “meals meals meals”, etc. We created such a din that the folks in the other “bogies” were either laughing, or cursing us 😀 No one joined us, though. Kill-joys!

Spotted this from the boat, and just HAD to have a ride 😀

As we chugged this way and that...

...and even went squealing through a tunnel!

Then, we headed to Doddabetta, the highest peak in Tamil Nadu (2634 mts above msl) that lies near the meeting point of the Eastern and Western Ghats! The thing I loved the most there were the bisi bisi bhajjis and the cold cold ice creams 😀

The view tower, which promised a telescopic view of the Coimbatore city, was a complete scam. I even told the operator that much. Said “Anna, even without my glasses, I can see the city more clearly than through your silly, unfocused, scam telescope.” He soooo didn’t like it, and almost shooed me off the pedestal, to make way for the next! 😀 But seriously, such a waste of time and effort, I tell you! Why, there was even a long queue to be eligible to view. Bah! I even discouraged quite a few people joining the queue, much to the operator’s chagrin 😀

The scam centre 😀

This is what we COULD NOT see through the telescope! 😛

Way to Dodabetta...and back.

Ooty was done. We bought a couple of bunched from the dry-flower vendors outside the Botanical Garden, and were on our way to Mysore, stopping only for a quick lunch.

Mysore was brilliantly decked up: all lit up and crowded. It was the 10-day Dussehra period. And to add to it, this year it was specially special. It was the 400th Dussehra being celebrated!Thanks to a stupid camera and a milling crowd, all pics taken were blurred!

One of the two royal "chariots" on display

One of the two royal "chariots" on display


But honestly, the palace stands like a real jewel when the surrounding areas are dark! It seemed to lose some of its splendid beauty in all the light! But beautiful it was, nonetheless. The crowd was overwhelming, and we decided not to go into the palace, after the disappointment a couple of months back! I recently got this by mail…a 360 degree view of the Mysore Palace—interiors and exterior. Probably filmed ages back, or maybe as a means of getting people to visit, in spite of all the missing artifacts!

So, after more pics , by about 7.30pm, we decided to head to the Vrindavan Gardens which was slated to be open till 9pm, thanks to the festive season. But well, like last time we tried to reach the Palace from Chamundi Hill to catch it lit up, we went around in circles for almost an hour, with every single of the 12 people we asked directions for, sending us in opposite directions! That all the roads were blocked up at different parts because of the festival, traffic and finding the route became a chaotic nightmare! Finally, by the time we were given the right directions, it was just too late and we’d have no way reached the Garden before closing time 😦 We gave up! And by about 8.45, took the road back to Bangalore. We reached home tired, exhausted and unbelievably sleepy by about 12.45am!

.

The trip was not just disappointing, it was hectic as well. Our mistake. We should’ve either taken an extra day, or left Mysore for another day. But well, even the time at Ooty wasn’t all that exciting. Sigh.

Nightmares for rent

“Where will I keep the garbage? Will someone come to collect it?”
*no…we usually used to eat it the next day*

“Can I move the furniture around?”
*dude, you decide. Stop calling me for every simple thing*

“Who hung all these pictures here?”
*they got bored and hung themselves*

“Whose picture is that?”
*go figure instead of wasting my time*

“The stars in that room scared me. Who stuck them here?”
*thank god you’ve never looked up at the sky!*

“There’s a weird sound every night. What’s that?”
*probably the neighbours’ reaction when they saw you*

“What have you told the tenants upstairs about me?”
*the truth…which explains the weird night sound*

“What will I tell them if they ask me how I know you?”
*there isn’t much, is there? :P*

“Blah blah blah…”
*tearing my hair out*

“You know what? I don’t have Gtalk or Gmail at office :(”
*overjoyed at the prospect of limited bugging*

“I took a phone connection with 400 free messages and low-rate calls.”
*tearing the remaining hair out and thinking ‘why oh why did I do this!?:roll:*

“Blah blah blah…”
*keeps telling him my parents are the house owners, not me, but he doesn’t seem to hear*

.
When you know a crazed man, you generally stay away. You try and be polite (though you snub him every chance you get), but you generally keep away, keeping your family also away from him. You try to limit your connection with him to a few words over a chat or across a blog.

But at times, your sense of judgment fails you, and you break those rules, become friends, introduce him to your family… and WORST of all, rent out your house to him! 😮 That too, a good house in a good locality. And what’s more!? It’s fully furnished, fully furnished, fully furnished (there you go: three times over :P) too!

Damn! Now, before long, the house would be virtually invisible. All that passers-by would be able to see would be a huge blob of cobwebs 🙂 Serves you right, Priya, for renting out your house to that wannabe, pseudo-spiderman whom you’re always at war with.
😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

Oh…  Hi Vimmuuu… hows life? It’s always a pleasure talking to you!

I Finished it to Win these ;)

Like I wrote here, I had also participated in CB‘s story-finishing contest – Finish it to win it. I finished it to win…these following awards. Well, my story was so lame, but I had fun participating, writing, commenting and then commenting again on the first prize winner’s post 😀

Here’s the link to the first half of the story. And here’s what I wrote, the second half 😀 Bear with me (and the story).

And here are what CB gave!!! Yey!

For participating...and writing a story 😉

...and for guessing who wrote which one 😉