About me

Am a contradiction of sorts. i love going out and having a good time with friends, and i can also stay home chill out over a book or a movie..

Am very passionate about writing, so give me a topic and watch me float away into wonderland... Love reading books- sometimes i read 3books simultaneously, crazy about music- need it all around me, all the time and ofcourse, i totally am ga ga goo goo over my 7yr old naughty brat- Floppy!! errr, Prince Floppy!! :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

English? not Hindi?

As i hopped on the train from Madgaon,Goa to Chennai [err, the Travelogue will follow, patience!! ], a french couple[FM -french man & FW-French woman-duh!!] also got into our compartment along with couple of others.. A family, assuming Kannadigas[cos they spoke Kannada..Bah] moved to sit in the next booth as their child wanted a window seat... Another man[IM- Indian Man-Pah!!] , was sitting across from me and we exchanged a few words on this train... The train had people travelling to Pune and to Chennai [ a couple who were waiting with me on the platform were convinced i was waiting for the wrong train... showed em dint we... :)]..

We realised the train halts at Londa where the trains are seperated and all that.. While talking, i realised he was from Goa, travelling to a part of Karnataka on work... [all this conversation happened in English.. you'll want to know for later part of the post...]

The light house at Fort Aguada

Few hours into the journey, the FW looked at me and IM[ refer above , it is not instant messaging, follow the post alright!!!] - Can i ask you both a question?
I: Sure thing..

FW: Observed that when you and IM were talking, you spoke in English [with a crazy puzzled look on her face]
I: Right...
FW: How come? Why dint you speak to him in Hindi?
I: Simply cos English is a common language [duh, like does it take a rocket scientist to figure that out!!]

FW: But Why not in Hindi? [aka, Cmon, dont mess around with me, am confused, put me out of my misery wont you look]
I : Well, i dont know where he is from, and so English is the obvious choice of language, and he knew it, so we spoke in that...

FW: Why not Hindi? [am trying to understand,but beats me!]
I : Its not necessary for all to know Hindi, infact English is much more common than hindi here...

FW: [oh, no what are you saying look].. But
But Lonely planet says Hindi is the ONLY language spoken in India... and you are saying English is.... strange!!

I :[Patiently].. you see, in India we have quite a few languages, and only recently was Hindi made the National language.. but its not necessary all should know hindi, ergo, English is used..

Every nook and corner you will find a different language or a different dialect of the local state's language..
FW: Oh, so you are saying Hindi is not spoken across the country by all?

I : right... we each speak the language of our state, and sometimes people are familiar with other languages as well.. and since hindi is widespread, we learn that ... there are people who dont know any language but their regional language...

Anjuna beach....

FW: Arent you all taught Hindi in schools/colleges?
I: Nope.. hindi is a language.. just like english is, and it is upto us to choose the language..

FW: Oh, alright.. That is interesting.. no wonder each one speaks a different language.. In Goa, we dint hear much of hindi as our cabbie spoke fluent English..
I: See..once again English comes to the rescue... :)

FW: that is true, if he dint know that, we were screwed!!
[Smiled and went back to playing the strange game of cards they were playing!!]

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mysore to Chennai.. Coorg Part 4 Finale!!

Read about how it all started and the journey till now ....

After that all fun, driving around, visit to talacauvery, we chilled the  last day at Coorg Hallimane... Woke up, lazed about, discovered the place had rabbits, A jr had a ball feeding them grass, and we freaked out taking pictures of the bunnies... That day, since the place was full, we had buffet style breakfast at the main building.... After stuffing ourselves, and some photo shoots... hehe... we settled the dues, packed our bags and bid adieu... but that was not the end..

Got a call from Hallimane saying we'd once again forgotten our umbrella.. so another here we go round the Kushal nagar roads, we found one of the guys holding the umbrella waiting for us near the tree that was the landmark !! ;)

This time, the road took us back to Mysore... and to the jam packed Hotel Siddhartha, but not before a mini stop at Ginger to see if they had a room [ just maybe...:)].. Just couldnt find parking at Siddhartha, apparently its a favourite spot for travellers/tourists for lunch/eats.. Parked the car across the road and went in to check on the rooms we had blocked!!! Surveyed the room offered[ nice big spacious room, with a sofa, huge bathroom and all at a very decent fare, it is much cheaper than Ginger], decided it was good and
waited for our bags to land before ordering room service lunch...

A jr wasnt feeling too well, so we let him rest up.. Towards evening, connected with another Blog friend- Imp's mom[she was also the guide for cake, which was yummilicous] in Mysore, and realised we better check out the zoo, for there was no time the next day.. What should have taken 5mins, took over 15mkins[was what i deduced going by all the turns we took] cos of all the diversions on the road ... Got tickets and off we went into the zoo to be greeted by the adorable tall Giraffes..

The walk around the zoo is about 2kms,but there are electric tram kinda vehicles as well that ply frequently... We took our time, taking pictures, admiring some of the animals/birds, feeling sorry for some of the others [ actually most of them were in bad shape.. looke like they hadnt eaten in days and their cages hadnt been cleaned in forever].. The bear, hyene, elephants, vulture all looked like they were dead n gone... saw a white tiger lounging on a rock, was it doped, i wondered.. Towards the end of the walk, we reached the reptile cages, and i must say the snakes i think are DEAD indeed... they were just lying there on top of a branch like someone had dropped a rag cloth... Sad indeed.... :(

Here's a slideshow of the zoo and the Palace~!!

Imp's mom called and invited us over to a hotel for some tiffin and hot coffee. That was the 1st time i was meeting her and her adorable daughter, we hit it off instantly... Bonded over dosa n coffee and decided to go check out the Mysore Palace which was lit for an hour or so in the evenings..

Thanks to the crazy traffic, we caught glimpses of the palace while on the move, untill the plan of driving up Chamundi Hills happened... Drove to a view point, and armed with cameras we clicked away to glory!!!  Good fun!!! That was how the day ended.... :)

4th Nov dawned too soon, it was the day we had to get back to Blore and then to Chennai...It was fun till the minute we hopped on the train..no doubts of that!! . Time sure flies when you are having fun!!  and this is one trip i know i shall never forget... vivid as if it happened yesterday!!! :) Thanks guys for an awesome trip....

Adios.. Until we meet again...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cauvery on the go.. Coorg Part 3

Since we dint have any fixed agenda and were taking each day as it came, today was the day to head to Talacauvery in the Brahmagiri hills and it was decided we werent gonna do anything else, since that trip was bound to take almost all day...


When i mentioned Coorg at home, gramma and mom pounced on me - "You have to go Talacauvery, must make a trip... say you will " :).. All i told them was "I shall see"...:)

After having breakfast, and clicking a few pictures of the mushroom waterfall and other sights around the homestay, we piled into the car and began the journey... It was about 80kms or more and so we knew we had a long drive ahead... Thanks to Apar's itouch and our incessant yakking, time flew.. There were the occasional bouts of silence, when A jr would try to get us to behave..hehe.. and then those moments when we saw something interesting, stopped the car to take pictures or just savor the scenery... Filled gas enroute, bought some water and biscuits and off we went...

The air outside was chill, it was drizzling quite heavily and we could see mist taking over the skies, slowly covering the streets as well.. After a point, we could barely see the road... it was a winding path and i guess since Kr had been there before, he knew where he was headed... The scenes that accompanied us during the drive was beautiful.. words fail to do justice... 

After a while, Bhagamandala [it is where the 3 rivers merge-Cauvery with Kanike and Sujoythi ] came in view, but we rode on, deciding to visit Talacauvery 1st..Another 8-9kms took us to Talacauvery [predominantly Ghat roads] ... Heavy drizzle, chill in the air and mist was all that greeted us.. A few kilometers after leaving Hallimane we realised we'd left the big umbrella back in the room.. Luckily Kr had a smaller one in the car. Apar n A jr had raincoats [smart people na!!], Kr bot a plastic cap, and we both managed to share the umbrella, not that it made much of a diff.. we were soaked and freezing... :) But it was good fun!! 

Reached the entrance, took off our shoes, left them safely tucked away under a bench and made our up the steps leading to the tank from where Cauvery is said to rise... There is a bigger tank in front of the shrine, where we saw some visitors taking a quick dip... They then joined the queue in visiting the main shrine... 

A few steps above are the temples for Lord Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu and Ganesha, made a quick visit to all of them before taking a look at the steep steps that led to Brahmagiri hills before making the descent back to the car.  Had it not rained, we would have made the 

climb up the hills.. maybe next time!! 

When we reached Bhagamandala, it was about 1, and the temple was shut.. sat in the car, took in the view, clicked a few pictures and got going to Madikeri for lunch...

but not before stoppping at a small store on the side of the road to buy some Coffee[amazing coffee, shall buy more next time around], and spices.. 
Lunch was at this restaurant, bang opp the Madikeri Fort... [ i have this habit, i see a place and then i get back home/room and try reading about it... to see what all it has, history etc..., this is when i discovered that the Madikeri fort houses a temple, chapel, prison and a small museum] ..

As we were sitting for Lunch, Kr called me and took me to the rear window at the place... What i saw had me stumped...The Omkareshwara temple, in all its glory... What a sight i must say!! That was another place we wanted to visit but was closed ...Built by Lingarajendra in 1820, the temple has both Islamic and Gothic style of architecture. The bars of the windows here are made of Panchaloha and an alphabet lim has been placed in between the bars.. There is also a small temple tank in the premise.. ..

Day was wearing on, and after a bit of driving around Madikeri [ true reason being the search for an ATM] :-)

Nisargadhama, a forest resort by the Cauvery river [about 28kms from Madikeri] comes enroute to Kushal nagar ...  We also saw a board to a spa nearby.infact we'd been seeing quite a few Spa ads along the way.... Apar n i were getting tempted and curious. ;o) ..

As we drove on, we were greeted by 2 giants sauntering on the road, guess they were headed back to their adobe- Dubare... 

Grooving to random music, chit chatting absolute nonsense, we were in high spirits as we reached Hallimane... There was one more day, but we just wanted to laze and soak in the lovely weather and relaxed atmosphere...

 the one on right was our cottage..

 Ok.. shall finish in next post.. its getting too long!! :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tibet comes to town..Coorg Part 2

After a bit of rest, we were raring to go.. Wanted to make the most of our time in Coorg.. Up and off we went.. hit the road that led to  the Namdroling Tibetan Monastery popularly known as the Golden Temple in Bylakuppe.  It is  very well maintained and one feels at peace with this world.  It is a very big monastry, with very well laid out buildings  and fully landscaped. After parking the car, we walked towards the Monastery..

As you enter, there are these huge apartment complexes, which are the monk's home.. Past that is the entry into the overwhelming monastery.. The vibrant colours, large towering structures and beautiful surroundings had us mesmerised... We saw a couple of funny looking birds pecking at a pair of slippers, swans running away and a duck or two straying in the grass.. 

 In front of these statues sat multiple rows of Monks chanting, the words we could not make out but the rhythm resonates in my ears even now..  

The walls were adorned with colorful murals, each depicting different eras and some were about how good reigns over evil... Its a photographer's delight to feast on each of these art works.. 

one of the paintings on the walls 

The pillars loom large, almost reaching to the skies, there were some decorated wtih what looked like huge ties, absolutely breath taking... There were dragons, devil, angels, monks, and so much more filling every inch of space here...  :)

Door handle... beautiful and huge

The Ngagyur Nyingma University is the name of the building... Inside are more majestic statues that are towering high... There were 2 other buildings near it... One had a whole collection of mini Buddha's in it, all placed inside a glass case... 

The other one is a few steps away, with a huge bell right in the middle.. we wanted to ring it, but dint want to be the only odd ones doing it... :) 

The bell

The main building- Zangdok Palri Temple, houses 3 huge statues, all made with intricate gold cladding- Buddha in the center, Guru Rinpoche on his left and Buddha Amitayus on his right.  It just blows you away as you step in through the beaded curtains... Again here too we saw Monks sitting and praying, huge gongs hanging everywhere, walls adorned with paintings and art work... There was also a box with what looked like a giant horn, but we dint know what it exactly was... 

Along the way we kept seeing monks and everytime we saw one i had a quirky phrase --
Monk on a bike
Monk wearing sneakers
Monk outside the theater
Monk riding a bike with keys hanging from his back pocket
Monk at a restaurant
Monk wearing a watch

Monks heading out of the temple

This was driving my friends up the wall, but there was little they could do, finally they too joined in and started reciting more phrases as and when we spotted Monks around Coorg....  :-) 

After spending few more mins walking around the monestary campus, we headed out to the shopping arcade just down the road. Rows of shops selling tibetian ware- pretty mugs, hand fans, toys, stoles and outfits in true cantonese style, and various other knick knacks... It was then time to bid adieu to the place and make our way back to the homestay... however, we did stop enroute at Hotel Kannika International for a cuppa coffee and some light eats.. An incident i cant forget is that we ordered Chai, and ended up pushing it away cos it tasted of curry leaves... But the baby corn manchurian and french fries[atleast the 1st plate] was good... Settled for coffee, enjoyed the cosy warmth inside the hotel till it was time to hit the road... 

What i realised while at the monestary was - the place seemed so pure and it was almost like we were ruining its purity by walking and taking pictures... Infact Apar said the exact same thing... Its truly a magical place.. one must visit... Am glad we chose to stay at Kushal Nagar, its def closer to all these hot spots... Otherwise Kr would have gotten tired just getting from one point to the other... :)

Phew, we were tired by the time we reached Hallimane... Walked to our cottage, and crashed for a bit before thinking about dinner... We did manage to get the guys there  to bring us the Carrom board they had and played quite a few games.. which A jr also played, and some games he played quite well... :) 

Yawn... see ya tomorrow... !!! :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Kodava land, here we come- Coorg Part 1

Where: Coorg

When: 30th Sep to 4th Oct

Who: 3 absolutely wacko souls and one 4yr old~!!

Coorg [or Kodagu] a destination that had been on my “To visit” list was finally going to happen. After wee bit of planning, the journey began on 30th Sep night for us all – 3 1/2souls looking forward to a fun filled weekend.. The plan was Apar, A Jr and I shall head to Mysore from Chennai, Kr will join us there and we head towards Coorg. Kr was the only one who’d traveled to Coorg earlier, so he was our guide as well.  Reached Mysore on 1st Oct around 7.30am, headed to Dasaprakash for a hot cup of coffee and breakfast before heading to Hotel Ginger to freshen up.

Digression alert - Hotel Ginger is a lovely hotel, very chic and modern. The lobby house a CafĂ© Coffee Day and an Offbeat store [where you can pick up quirky T shirts]. There are trolleys to move your baggage around, good fun~!! Anyways, we spent a few hours here, lazing about and surprising Apar with her B’day cake.

As we hit the road towards Coorg, the sights that greeted us enroute were breathtaking… Dark clouds, green fields, bright colored homes. List is endless!! Took us over 2hrs, and finally we found the homestay we were booked into– Coorg Hallimane.. It is right next to Veerabhoomi Resorts, a tourist village in Kushal Nagar.

Okay, back to our journey. We reached around 2ish, requested the kitchen to bring us some basic meal - daal, rice, roti. Food was served piping hot, and was quite HOT as well [read - mouth burning, sweat dripping spicy, so we pleaded with them to tone down the spice quotient, which they very sweetly did] :)

The place is serene, hidden amidst hills, with nothing around.. open space like never before that welcomed us with cool breeze and gentle drizzle. The cottage was roomy, spacious and had all that we could hope for. The entire place was done up quite well - rustic wooden theme that started with the door and went on till the window panes, TV table and flooring.. The rooms in the main building each had a individual theme- absolutely beautiful..

There were also some ducks, hen, chicken scampering about.. Not to forget a cage of beautiful colorful birds.. A Jr and infact all of us had fun going Ooh aah at all of them, and clicking pics left right and center!! :D

That noon, we pretty much just lazed about and settled in..Walked around, exploring the area, and since we were the only guests then it was good fun having all that space just to ourselves...

....What else did we do? well, wait for that.... :)