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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!! :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Where miles dont matter

There i was, a lone traveller waiting for the tour bus. As the orange bus pulled over, i hopped in only to find all the seats taken. There was just one left, right at the tail end.. Hopped across, and plonked in the seat, and was lost in the sights outside... Few minutes later when i turned towards the Guide's voice, i was surprised to see 3 curious faces staring right at me..

"Did i have a stain, or was there eyeliner oozing somewhere" were the first thoughts. I stared back at them, following it with a smile and a Hello. They smiled awkwardly and turned away............

Oh well, people~!! Guess they are just surprised to see a girl, a girl traveling alone, a girl traveling alone in Goa.

We reached Miramar Beach, and i was all set to hop out and explore the place, especially the peculiar statue near the shoreline. Had my camera armed and ready, clicking away at anything and everything that caught my eye...




And from there, we went to a whole host of other places... With every visit, i noticed the men smile more, and look like they wanted to talk, but were unsure how..... And finally, one of them gave up and said a hello in my direction... That was it... The silence was broken


Man1 : Are you travelling alone? All the way from Chennai? you are single? the questions kept coming... 

Man2:  You love photography? I saw you taking lots and lots of pictures.... I don't have a camera, but wish i could show some of these places to my daughter, she will love them. 

Man 1: Ummm.... dont mind me, but how can i get a copy of these pics ,madam?

Me: Sir, i could email them to you
or i can send the ones on my phone to your phone right away.... 

Man 3: Oh, but we dont know all that... our office has one.. wait, let me call Madam, you speak to the person, and ask for the email address

To my phone? how madam?

Me: after the brief phone chat
Well, you can see emails on your phone right? i shall mail them to you..

Man2:  oh wow, here is my phone. please do take my email and send them no..
 Err.. would there be any cost involved in sending the pics? i'll pay you for it


Me - had a *totally surprised and "wow, such innocent ppl do exist"* moment.
No no, no worries.. it will take few mins.. and no no, no cost
Sent email with few photographs from my phone.... 

All of them: * with big broad smiles* Thank you so much madam...Woww, i never knew this was possible... 
We will wait and see how the photos come from your camera to our computer all the way in Gujarat... 



I got back to Chennai and sent them the photographs...

A single line reply that i checked on my Blackberry " Thank you so much madam, the places look so lovely, take care... xyz"

Simple pleasures in Life~~ 

 
The power of Internet... It is so vast, it is so magical, and yes, it is amazing connecting us to those across miles.... So easy and so much fun~!! 


Am submitting this entry for Indiblogger with Vodafone

Skywatch Friday- Aayi Mandapam, Pondicherry

I've lost count of the number of times i have visited this town, back in the days we used to do weekend trips, just drive down, stay with a friend, enjoy the weekend and head back to Chennai to face Monday. The most recent visit was last year- September, around my Birthday. 

I was back in this quaint French town called Pondicherry, 4hours from Chennai and a place that welcomed me with open arms every time i landed here.  Even though it was September, the sun was blazing down with glory, no consideration for us poor souls melting away here. 


Having decided to see more of Pondicherry and gain some insight into the architecture and history, i had signed up for an INTACH walk. Armed with a bottle of water, camera and thirsty soul i was ready, i walked towards the lobby to find Mr Ashok Pande waiting patiently.
 
Aayi Mandapam

  Two pillars within the park

We started off with a walk through the narrow lanes, most of which looked alike, with houses neatly stacked beside each other, some sporting name plates dating back to centuries gone by, while others had been restored and put to better use today. Whilst walking i mentioned the park that i kept crossing every time i went to the beach or to Mission street, it was almost like the park had to be met at every outing.  

Ashok said "worry not, we are heading there as we speak" and lo behold, there it was around the corner. It is a Government park, that was once open with no gates and through which cars could drive straight through. Now, there are iron gates that are kept shut, and cars will have to go around the park. As we walked in, i noticed the cobbled pathways and beautiful pillars. These pillars have all been brought in from ruins around the city, they looked right out of one of our temples. 

Aayi Mandapam from the other side, can you spot the cannon hidden amidst the plants? [bottom left]

The park is circular in shape, and standing proud right in the center was a Monument, an arch, one that was called "Aayi Mandapam". At first glance, it looked like a smaller simpler version of the Champs-Élysées[no no, not been to France, just seen enough movies to identify the landmark monument], but then upon close inspection i learnt that it has been built in the Greco-Roman architecture. The monument was erected during Napoleon III's reign [Emperor of France] . Situated right in front of the Raj Niwas, the residence of the Lieutenant Governor, the park is quite a majestic place.

When i probed further, Ashok narrated the interesting story behind the Aayi mandapam, that goes back to a  a 16th century courtesan called Aayi. Apparently, the then king was passing by her residence, and on seeing the candle flickering, he assumed it was a place of worship and walked in.  Upon realising his mistake, he begged for forgiveness and was ashamed of his action.  The lady, touched by his humbleness and she then brought down the home and in its place brought up a water reservoir.  Back in the days there was severe water scarcity in Pondicherry and it was the water from this reservoir that is said to have quenched the thirst of the Napoleon's men. When Napoleon heard the story, he took the decision to erect a monument as a tribute to Aayi and that is we know today as Aayi Mandapam or the Park Monument... 

Wow, that was quite a story. While i captured a few photographs of the place, i noticed 2 children running around the garden, with their mother screaming at them to come to her. There was another old couple sitting on the park bench, silently, as if words were no longer needed.. The park was brimming with action, and i walked around it towards the other exit looking forward to discovering more such hidden treasures in Pondicherry. 

For more beautiful skies, visit Skywatch Friday

Friday, May 11, 2012

Skywatch Friday- Temple Towers in Goa

I was just beginning to understand what made Goa so rich in history and culture. It was my 3rd day and i waited outside the resort for the tour bus. I knew we were going to visit a few churches and temples, apart from beaches that day. The one temple that i had read about was part of the itinerary. The Shanta Durga Temple. 

The day was mighty hot and i lost count of the number of bottles of water i had gulped down. But when the bus pulled up into the parking lot, i was the first one out and off.   
 

Situated at about 33 kms from Panajim, The Shantadurga temple is home to the Goddess Durga. She is said to have mediated between Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva during their raging fight. So, in this temple she is flanked on either side by the two Gods. It was quite a walk from the parking lot to the temple, and again another short one from the entrance to the main temple premises. 

The Shanta Durga temple as seen from the parking lot
 
Walking barefoot, i literally trotted trying to manage the heat under my foot and the sun blazing from the sky. There was a tall tower of sorts near the main building, which is a structure i heard was common in temples in Goa [the other famous temple Sri Mangeshi Temple also bears a similar structure]. 

 The majestic 6 storeyed Deepasthamba

A man who was sitting along one of the walls saw me and took it upon himself to tell me a bit about the temple. The temple was built during the reign of Maratha ruler - Shahu Raja of Satara, who had received a request of the Naro Ram Mantri, in 1738 A.D. The shivalinga here at the temple is said to belong to the Mahajans [the community with the surname 'Vorde' who are the Kulavis]. He went on to say the temple is also called Shanteri Temple. 

The main deity in the sanctum was Goddess Shanta Durga holding 2 serpents, one in each hand [representing Vishnu and Shiva]. The original place of Shantadurga devi was at Keloshi. However, during the Portuguese inquisition of Goa, the temple was destroyed forcing the trustees of the Shanta Durga temple to take a decision to shift the main idol to Atrunja taluka for safety. 

The main temple building
    
The tower i mentioned near the entrance is the 6 storeyed Deepasthambha and a Ratha (chariot), which is found in all temples across Goa.  The temple also has a dome, which is fairly unique for Hindu Temples.  This is one of the few temples where Harijans are permitted to enter the main sanctum sanctorum.  I suddenly heard someone call out my name and realised it was time to head back to the bus. I walked down the slope towards the parking lot watching hundreds of tourists and locals march up the slope chattering away. 


 A different view of the Deepasthamba

For more beautiful skies, visit Skywatch Friday

Friday, May 4, 2012

Skywatch Friday- Where they meet

"Poompuhar welcomes you" was the signboard i saw up ahead. We were really here and headed towards the delta. The town bore a sleepy look, probably because it was a Sunday afternoon. I remember studying about Cauvery poompattinam back in high school Tamil lessons.

  

There were a few kids running about, some playing cricket under the blazing sun, while others sat around half asleep. As we drove on, we passed by three arch ways- 1st was Nalan, then came Dhamayanthi, and there was a 3rd one, i cant recall the name on it though [will come back update once i do remember].. Finally, we reached the road that ran parallel to the delta, all the way to a small temple. 



We parked the car and began walking on the sand, the sun beating down on the us the whole time. The sand was nearly black in colour, but fine as can be. At a distance we saw the Cauvery river where a couple of fishermen were taking a quick bath before heading home for lunch. And on the left, we saw the ocean, the waves gently sweeping into the delta and welcoming the river. What a beautiful sight that was. it formed a small canal of sorts with sand shore on either side. A man i noticed came walking from the other side, wading through the water towards us.  



The sand we were walking on was fairly soft, wet, and looked like it would cave into the ocean any moment... It was quite a memorable moment being there, soaking it all in.  With not a single soul in sight, i enjoyed being there with nothing but a few crabs trotting about on the sand and the sound of the gentle waves.

For more beautiful skies, visit Skywatch Friday

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Amidst the Pink walls of Jaipur

It was hot, and no, it was not summer. It was October, and it was hot.. Yes i know i said it before, but i want you to understand how hot it really was. We had just arrived at Jaipur and all we could think off was "where can i get some cold water, or maybe an ice cream.. Damn, its hot". We were 4 of us, actually 5, if you count the nincompoop we had for a driver, a young brat who was supposed to be driving us around, but who ended up putting his legs up [no, i kid you not] on the dashboard and going off to sleep, with the car parked in the middle of nowhere. When one of us woke up from our slumber, we would notice this, ask him to move and then the stranger who became a friend would take over the steering wheel.



Us: Kya hua bhaiiya? [what happened brother]

Him: Kuch nahin madam, bas tired hoon, neend aa rahi hain [Nothing happened ma'am, just tired and feeling sleepy] aap so jao [ you go back to sleep]

Us: Arre, aise kaise? Aap ko humein bhatana chahiye na.. accident ho jaati tho [ OMG, how can you say that? you should have told us right, what if we had met with an accident or something?]

Him: Nahin madam, kuch nahin hoga, mein ek ghanta rest letha hoon, phir vapas hum nikhlenge [ nothing of that sort will happen ma'am. i'll sleep for an hour and then we will be back on the road]

Us: Nahin nahin, says R .. aap ithar aao, sojao, mein ghadi chalatha hoon [ Nothing doing says R, you move over and sleep in my seat, i shall drive] 

And from Delhi, it seemed like a long drive, maybe cos we were all exhausted already- I had landed in Delhi that evening, the others, well 2 of them - 1 had landed that noon from Bombay and the other around same time from Bangalore. We had attended a party, where we drank, sang, made a fool of ourselves, got Mehndi done, danced some more, laughed away to glory [having no clues why we were laughing] and then piled into a car and hit the road with the stranger/friend.. Ah, those good 'ol days...


Let me not digress anymore... We asked the driver to head straight to the Hawa Mahal, parked the car and made our way to the nearest store for some water or something cold. We discovered a Kulfi store, and each of us devoured 2 each. The guy at the store was making nearly 100 in each batch, that sold within minutes. Some had nuts, some had elaichi, while others were plain kulfi. Quite a sight to see... 

"Built in 1979 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh,, the "Palace of winds" was designed by Lal Chand Ustad in the form of the crown of Lord Krishna. The unique 5 storey exterior resembles a honeycomb  and is made up of  953 small windows called jharokhas decorated with intricate lattice work.

Entirely built of bright Pink and Red sandstone, the palace is a landmark in Jaipur, renowned for the rich architecture and style. 
 
We walked around the place, listening to the tales narrated by a guide to a group of foreigners, and made our way to the top, from where the entire city seemed to be visible. Time stood still until we suddenly realised the harsh evening sun was beating down on us and made our way out. 

The city was bustling with visitors and locals, there were construction workers busy with the repair work on one section of the Hawa Mahal.