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!! :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mridula prepares for Antarctica

Like many others, I've spent hours looking at videos and photographs of Antarctica and wondered "will i ever go there?"  Oh well, i dont know the answer to that question, but what i do know is Mridula Dwivedi, a traveller from Delhi is all set to embark on her journey to Antarctica.. Yep!

Who is Mridula?
Dr Mridula is an academican from India. She blogs at Travel Tales from India and her most recent big trip was to Everest Base Camp. She is joining the International Antarctic Expedition 2013 with Sir Robert Swan's 2041.

Who is Sir Robert Swan? Sir Robert Swan is the first person to walk unaided to the North & South Poles.

Whats so special about this expedition?
The International Antarctic Expedition is all about raising awareness about Antarctica under his leadership.  As to why 2041, that is the year the no-drilling no-mining treaty comes up for review. The expedition also aims to address the key issues related to the treaty and how it will impact the environment. 
I got curious, and visited the 2041 website.What I read left quite an impact, which is what prompted me to do this post... 
Robert Swan and the 2041 team will lead an international team of corporate leaders, environmentalists, entrepreneurs, teachers and young people on a journey through the Antarctic Peninsula, visiting incredible locations and sharing his insights and personal experiences of this unique continent along the way.

Wow, that sure sounds exotic and adventurous..  And this is what Mridula is going to be doing..  That is if she is able to raise about $22,000 [not including airfare & gear].. She is requesting people from all corners of the globe to donate, to contribute and help... She infact says "Even if I personally can't make it to Antarctica I would leave all the money collected from this page to 2041. After all the cause is much bigger than 'me'. I need to raise $22,000 as the expediton fee plus air fare and Antarctic gear."

I knew someone else had been to Antarctica recently on a similar venture. Ah, yes, it was   Dr.Priya Venkatesh. I remember Lakshmi mentioning her preparation, and experience!
Mridula has written about this on FirstGiving.com, a site through which people will not only come to know of the expedition but learn how to contribute..  So, why dont you do your bit- spread the word and help!!

Get going!! If you can do good, help a person, do it now!!

Many thanks for your support -- and don't forget to forward this to anyone who you think might want to donate too!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bhoothathan Kettu Dam, built by the Bhoothams

Every journey we embark on has its share of surprises and adventures. This trip of mine to Kochi was no less. It was Saturday and i was busy shuttling between calls making plans to visit the Salim Ali Bird sanctuary in Thattekadu on Sunday. Vishesh, a friend of mine was coincidentally in Kochi and he mentioned another friend Binny, who was from Kochi was interested in the trip. 

There we were, standing on the banks of River Poovar when a sudden splash of water broke our reverie. There were giant fish playing around in the water, enjoying the feast of peanuts a bunch of kids were throwing at them. It was almost like a cue for us, time to leave Thattekadu and head back towards Kochi.

After a brief stop at a roadside Tea shop, we piled into the car, reminising of the birds we had sighted and how calm the place had been. Our Driver Bobby [yes, that is his name] asked if we would like to make another quick stop at "  Bhoothathan Kettu Dam". Neither Vishesh nor i had any clues of this place, but we nodded yes, especially Bobby mentioned it was only a short detour and a place worth a visit.


The place is about 10 kms from Kothamangalam town and about 50 kms from Cochin. Along the drive, our driver started giving us a brief introduction to the Dam. . It is called Bhoothathan Kettu and there is a legend that says it was built by the demons. There is a tale that goes with the Dam, though not many are sure it is what really happened. But, the small makeshift temple of sorts made with boulders on one end of the  Dam proves otherwise. We finally reached the village of Pindimana where the Dam is located.
The car pulled into the parking lot and we got out, carrying our camera, phone and water bottle towards the majestic entrance of the Dam. [It is more like a bridge with the dam on one side]. A step onto the path and we could feel the fury beneath our feet. The entire road shook against the water rushing beneath it. We quickly ran to one side of the Dam where the gates were located and saw what looked like a mini version of the Niagara Falls rushing down. We could feel the cool water on our faces and held on to the railing, for fear of slipping over the small wall. As we walked along each of the sections, the water flowing out of the gates seemed like a bunch of school kids running out of the gates once the school bell rings [a sense of madness].
Wow! What a feeling it was standing there.

The entire bridge was built beautifully, very neat, and lined with fancy looking light fittings. As we crossed the path to the other side, the water flowing out looked like it could kill [force was too high], and then within minutes it mixed with the river and calmed down. We stood there staring at the water for nearly an hour, walking from gate to gate, and catching a glimpse of what seemed like a gazillion tone of water.

The Legend..

Apparently, the natural dam like structure was entirely built by Bhoothams (Spirits, Ghosts, Demons).It is said that Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi lived here. One day Shiva went into the forest to meditate saying he will return in a month, but he dint return even after 3months. When Parvathi went enquring, she was told that he was in the forest having an affair with Ganges. Getting angry, Parvathi decided take revenge against Ganges. She is said to have called on the Bhoothas requesting them to build a dam across the big river. This would change the direction of the river sweeping with it Ganga's village, Trikkariyoor. Since the Bhoothas were scared of Shiva and yet dint want to anger Parvathi, they started building the dam [with the one condition that they will build only till dawn breaks]

Shiva came to know of Parvathi's plot and decided to take matters into his own hands. He took the form of a Rooster and cock a doodle doo's announcing that Dawn had arrived. The Bhoothas instantly dropped the boulders and disappeared from the scene, leaving the dam unfinished. The people are said to have complete the dam thereon. Infact, we did notice the rougly piled on group of boulders on one end of the bridge as we walked back to the car. 

As we got back on the road towards Kochi, i could still hear the water flowing out through the gates and wondered if the Demons were still hovering over the Dam!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Into the blue waters

Oh wow, guess what? We won we won, she announced.

It was one of those SMS contests run by Airtel. I wasnt an Airtel customer back then, and so had sent in an entry through my friend A's phone. And much to our surprise we'd won the 1st prize. It was a one day all expenses paid stay at Taj Fisherman's Cove. [it has been rechristened as Vivanta by Taj Fisherman's Cove]..

She then went on to say "am thinking of giving this prize to P & C [ a couple friend of ours] since it is for 2 people.  I replied "yes" and forgot about it till a few days later. As we were winding up for the day, my friend said "C has just discovered she is pregnant and so they are not keen on taking up the one day at Fish cove, what say we take off and go?"

Whoopie, i was excited. It was the 1st time i was getting such an opportunity. Soon after, we called and booked the date, packed our bags and drove out to Fisherman's cove along ECR.

Greeted with a garland made with shells and a welcome drink, soon showed to our room. It was beautiful, the walls were Blue, with a fish painting and another landscape adorning the other wall. The room, like every other opened out to the ocean and what a view that was....

We strolled along the beach, did a bit of work out in the gym [before dinner] and enjoyed a "on the house" dinner. A night stroll and an hour or chatting up while the waves lashed made the day magical. We decided to do something fun the next day, and as promised, we did. 

The morning dawned bright and beautiful, and we were high. Enjoying the luxury, pampering and the chance to unwind, we soaked it all in. Around 11, after breakfast and some walking, we walked along the shore, further ahead where a guy jumped down from a tower of sorts and greeted us. He then took us to a catamaran and introduced us to Senthil, the guy who was going to be our guide/and saviour... :-)

We were gonna go on a Catamaran Ride... Took off our shoes, i removed my specs, handed over the camera, and bags to the man in the tower and headed off towards the Catamaran. With butterflies and their grandparents doing the tango in our bodies, we hopped on to the wooden plank, holding on to the rope praying we got back safe. Oh, i forgot to mention- we were wearing life jackets and Senthil promised there was nothing to fret about.

"Ya right, tell that to 2 very frightened gals, neither knew swimming".... Within minutes, we forgot our fears and were screaming away in excitment, atleast i was. The water lashed onto the catamaran, drenching us, it was cool, it was sweet and it was salty. Boy, what an experience. After about 10mins, Senthil stopped rowing, and said "This is it, Jump"

"Say what?"

"No way, i aint jumping into the ocean, what if that is the last time i see anybody... what if i jumped, and went straight in and never came up.... "

A bit of coaxing was all it took for us to slowly slide outta the catamaran into the deep ocean. Senthil gave us the rope from the boat to hold on to, and in a matter of minutes, we were floating in the ocean.

I could feel the chill from the water under me, while the Sun blazed down on my face. The only glitch was i couldnt keep my head down straight, the water would go into my ears, and that was not a pleasant feeling. I kept my neck a bit above the water, and well, did end up with a slight catch. Allowing the silence to engulf us, we got quiet, i was holding onto the rope tight and listening to Senthil talk [he was generally chatting away, letting  us know he was right there]...

Closed my eyes, and allowed myself to relax, and that was it... Time went by, and i felt like i was floating. 30 -40 mins must have passed, i opened my eyes to see the boat was well, quite a distance away and i was safe and sound.. Paddled my way back to the boat and not too gracefully jumped onto it... Phew, what an experience that was.....

The next few hours were spent talking about it, how awesome it had been and how scared i had been... Few hours went by, we were back home and slowly i noticed my face turn a deep shade of beetroot, thanks to all the sun soaking i had done... :-)

Ah, good ol memories............

PS: These photographs were taken during a recent visit to Fish cove [well, i think it was over a year ago]... This experience happened way back in 2004... :-)