Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Yelagiri bike trip

It was the onset of the winter monsoons in Chennai. My phone rang on busy Tuesday. It was my friend Raj. “Are you free this weekend?” and my answer was doubtful. He told me about the two day ride to the Yelagiri, its mountain range quiet in the Vellore district, Tamilnadu. And this happens to be quiet near to Chennai. And I made up my mind that this is the plan for my weekend. After a lash of heavy rains across the city, it was calm. I was asked to fill the registration forms and it read – ride in the torrential rains of Tamilnadu. As I read further, the list of safety equipments ran on. On any bike trip it is important to dress up properly and carry the below necessities along –
·         T-Shirt
·         Comfortable pair of trousers, Jeans is the most advisable
·         Helmet
·         Elbow and knee guard or a biking jacket
·         Pair of glove having knuckle protectors.
·         Raincoat (as it was a rain ride)

As for the pillion, the gloves can be avoided. I did have the first three of the requirements but had no idea what to do for the elbow and knee guard. Later I found out that there were quiet some people who had to buy it. So we planned to meet up the day before the trip.

It was evening and I was waiting for all of them to turn up at the spot. Thanks to the change in weather, I was already suffering from cold and fever. While I was still waiting, I saw a few people staring at something on the sky. I turned to look what it was and saw a beautiful rainbow arched above, and its reflection formed another lighter version. Delighted at this rare sight in this crowded city, I continued waiting. Finally they turned up and we bought the stuff and I met some people with whom I was going to travel. That’s the beauty of traveling, you always get to meet new people and learn new things. When we parted ways the rains started pouring again. I was scurrying to find shelter and Raj said “This is how the whole trip is going to be.”

Next day, Raj came to pick me up at 5:30am. We were supposed to reach the meet spot at 6:00am. I was not even ready with my biking gears. After wasting time there getting myself ready just like a school girl, we started to the meeting point. I thought we will be the last ones to reach. When we stopped to fill out monster, we called up the organizers Sandhiya and we came to know that she had slept off. It was a good start. And we ended up first at the Toyota showroom near Koyambedu. After half an hour slowly we ganged up waiting for the organizers. I already knew Sandhiya, an amazing biker. Who says biking is just for guys? The other organizer arrived on his R15 wearing an orange rain coat. One just couldn’t miss out on that color. A doctor by profession and biker by passion – Arun Jayabalane. Who thought that doctors can actually be so cool? The only cool doctor whom I knew was from the band Euphoria.

After the headcount we started the journey. The climate was pleasant and breezy; thanks to the light showers we were receiving now and then. We made a pitstop at the Murugan idli shop, near Kanchipuram, to refuel ourselves with the daily dose of coffee. Having coffee is a ritual in Tamilnadu. In a day they simply have 5-8 cups of coffee. And without a coffee their meals don’t seem to end. After this fueling up and a few clicks, we embarked on our journey again. When I was peacefully enjoying the surroundings, I heard a whale calling. I looked around and realized that it was my tummy asking for food. No amount of coffee can replace food. We made stop at a tiny shop. It had our humble breakfast – idli, dosa and puri. What else do you need? We grabbed our plates and waited. Sandeep joined us on our table. His luck that the waiter just won’t serve what he asked for. After getting neglected for a while, we passed on what he asked for.

Our first stop was in Javadhu hills. It’s an extension of the Eastern Ghats. We were to see have lunch and visit the falls nearby. Vegetarians and non –vegetarians separated. On the way uphill, we were stopped as there were boulders which had fallen down that morning and they were getting blasted to clear the way. It seemed pretty much like the Roadrunner show dynamite. After blasting them the rubble had to be cleared. That halted us for quiet sometime. Photo session started and we got acquainted to each other. We saw a worm of an inch length. If you touch it, it curled itself into a tiny little ball. It would get camouflaged among the seeds. Amazing are the creations of nature. Raj was playing with it so that he could capture a video of it in motion. While sitting we heard a bus honking. The bus went past us and we were wondering how come they let the bus pass and not our bikes. When we went to see, we found that there was another bus standing on the other side of the boulders. People simply changed the bus and travelled to the other side. Simple enough! Finally the roads were clear enough for us to move. We reached our spot and it was lunch time.

After the lunch we went to check out the Beemanmadavu falls. But our luck, the falls were closed as some people were drowned due the heavy currents as a result of the heavy rains we received the previous week. After a lot was begging and pleading all we received was some cucumber (I don’t remember what we ate exactly. Please change). After getting disappointed there, we moved towards the streams. I was highly drowsy. I was so excited about the trip that I didn’t sleep the previous night and it was showing up. That’s what comes outa being a nocturnal. I was dozing off now and then. Finally when we reached the spot we saw a lush green surrounding and a stream flowing by. On the corner of the road was a huge tree. Perfect spot to ease out a bit. I was busy clicking selfies when I heard guys going into the water. They screams and laughing on how cold the water. Soon Sandhiya joined them. I was so tempted to go into the waters but I stopped myself coz of the cold and fever I had the previous day. But I thought to myself that I have 2 doctors around and there are medicines discovered for sniffles, enough a license to fall sick. “Wait guys I am coming!” I screamed and went inside. It was super cold. My teeth were clattering but I dint stop posing for my shutterbugs.
After this refreshment we started back to the Javadhu hills for tea and snacks. It’s bliss to have ginger tea at cold times. I was famished and as soon as I saw hot medu vadas I just jumped on it. I had no counts of how many I had. Who cares about dieting when good food is being served?
In cold something that bothers us ladies is going to the loo quiet often. It’s always a big trouble to find clean spaces to answer the natures call. It was already dark and we had to find toilet. No public toilet was open at that hour. We kept searching and ended up in a tiny shop where the owner was kind enough to let us use the washroom. When hungry, the one who gives food is the God. But when you wana pee, the one who offers a clean bathroom is God. After finishing our business it was tea time for me. I was dreaming of a sip of ginger tea but alas only normal tea was available. Well, something is better than nothing. I ended up having 2 cups of tea.

That’s when I came to know that it was Arun’s birthday. We were supposed to stay at an NGO called SODEWS (Society for Development of Economically Weaker Sections). It is an NGO that caters to the need of children’s education based upon the rule of free education for children below 14. They provide premises to 106 children for living and they send them to the nearest schools. They facilitate in the overall growth of these children.

The guys went to buy cakes for the kids. We were waiting and were talking randomly. They came with 2 huge boxes of cakes cut into pieces. One box was handed over to me and the other one to Apoorva, the other doctor I was talking about. We both were the only pillions, thus this humungous responsibility. And this came with a standing instruction – “We are keeping an eye on both of you to make sure you are not eating any of it… :p”

I was struggling to keep the cake intact. I guess I was too sleepy and was seeing things in the dark. I saw a man walking by and that happened twice. It seemed like the same person crossing us twice. Darkness plays with your head times. And Raj made sure to add spooks to it. But there is no need to feel scared with good company. India is marked unsafe for female travelers but if you ask me, no place in this world comes with its safety tag. If something has to happen it can happen at any part of the world. One needs to be wise in choosing their travel companions and work on their instincts.
We waited at one of the last forks of the day and someone came to show us the way to our destination. We had to do a bit off roading in the muddy outskirts of the nearest town, ‘Vaniyambadi’. Without skidding or falling we made it to the destination. We were swarmed by a bunch of kids who were readily helping us out to the premises. Sandhiya and I changed into dry clothes and went to the birthday celebrations. The kids were so enthusiastic and they already knew Arun. They seemed to be very fond of their anna but were prompt enough to tell his age as 47 when asked. We told them about us and what we do. Kids have innocent hearts and they get attached so soon. There was one girl called Revathi. I can’t forget her name coz she has the same name as my sisters. And somehow we gelled pretty well instantly.

We were served with huge quantity of mixed rice for dinner. I was rather sleepy than hungry. I was just waiting for the dinner to get over so that I could sleep. As soon as the dinner got over all sat and started talking. And I was like ‘do I really need to participate? I wana sleep.’ Raj noticed this expression on my face and just asked if I wana sleep. I went in promptly. On one side Sandhiya was on a call. I didn’t care about anything. I just took a mat and a bed spread, used my bad as a pillow and in within seconds I was sleeping. I got up around 4:30 am. I felt I will be the only one who is up. But when I peeped outside there were two more people up.

Bharani sir and Lokesh were up since sometime now. When enquired I came to know that they were not able to sleep coz of the super snore sound. And I asked where? I didn’t hear anything. When I listened closely I heard it from inside. Charles, Apoorva’s friend, had been snoring loudly the whole night it seems. Well somebody did have a good night’s sleep.

Soon Leel Prasad got up and sun started spreading its rays. Mahilan also got up and we decided to take a stride along the foot of the hill. We asked around and came to know that there is a temple on the hill and it has a falls up in the hills.  We decided to make a go as we didn’t see on yesterday. We kept walking and slowly heard the noise of water. We kept following noise and reached a stream. The climb looked a bit steep ahead. I hesitated to make a move at first but again temptation took over me. I weighed the options and it was feasible to make the climb. I lifted my tiny feet and with the help of my fellow mates I finally made it to the large rock face which had the tiny temple. Mahilan kept complaining that he didn’t bring his camera. All we had was phones and a GoPro. That seemed more than enough at the moment. The sun had already risen but it was so cloudy that we couldn’t feel the heat at all. Drank the flowing water, washed face and enjoyed a lot at the spot. There was a particular rock face far on the other side. The rays touched it in such a fashion that it looked nothing less than Kilimanjaro. It reminded me of the movie Lion King. It’s one of my favorite even today. I am particularly fond of the places it shows. I was beaming with joy to be in one such place.
We realized that all others would be up by now and they would kill us for enjoying leaving them behind. We were manufacturing excuses to keep them while walking down.  I was walking too carefully. We reached the stream and Leel whooped “Success” and I fell down on my butt. Similarly sometime back when he had screamed Lokesh fell. I guess it has something to do with him screaming.

We rushed to the premises just to find all of them searching for us. They already had tea and were getting ready to make a move. I was again looking for my ginger tea but ended up with a normal tea again. I got ready in a jiffy as I had kept my bags packed last night itself. There was someone who was still not out of the bed. Sandeep was the last one to wake up. We all went around checking out the place and houses where these kids lived. There was a German lady who was their sports instructor. She had a unicycle. On our request she showed how she rode it. She was doing it beautifully. Our guys made a try. It takes lot of observation and practice to ride it. I stood behind as I know my riding skills very well.

Sandhiya asked her to show her dread locks which she had neatly covered with a dread lock bag. She had made the locks when she was 17. And they were quiet long by now. We showed her our monsters and she wished to learn someday soon.

After bidding them farewell and making promises to come back soon we left for Yelagiri. From the country side we went on with the journey and were among the hills. Due to the rainfall all the streams were full and every 5 mins we saw some falls.

Finally we were on the road to Yelagiri. This Ghat road had 10 hair pin bends. We stopped on every curve to click some spectacular shots. Mahilan was super excited and clicked some exotic shots. It was almost noon by the time we reached the top. All were hungry. We found a tiny shop. All went and started ordering and cooking by themselves. This is a liberty a tourist will never understand. We had our breakfast and formally introduced ourselves. It was tea time again and finally I got my cup of ginger tea. Arun said “Please give her a cup of ginger tea or else she will say that organizers didn’t even get her a ginger tea.”

We finished our lunch as well and started back home. It was very misty and we could see the clouds floating below us. This is where you actually live and breathe. We bid adieu to the hills went towards home. After a long non-stop ride we stopped at Ambur. This place is known for its biryani. We halted at the Ambur Star Biryani. We had a sumptuous meal and went looking for coffee which was not before the same murugan idli that we saw yesterday. After a lot of twists and bends and badam milk we reached Chennai in heavy rains.

We can either spend money on weekends and buy stuff or spend time and gain experiences. Choice is yours.





Friday, October 23, 2015

#CaveBikers Trip 1 - Trip to Belum Caves

Busy days in the concrete jungle, makes me yearn to escape to a paradise where there is no noise during the weekends. A week full of heat, pollution, noise, stress n fatigue I finally live up in the weekend. I live the week in reverse. Weekdays are full of workouts n rest and weekends are the days I look forward to live. 

One such escape was to the Belum Caves of Andhra. Biking through the dry lands of Eastern Ghats we went on a journey of 400 kms. The most awaited Saturday came. Raj and I started from my place to meet the remaining bunch to Koyambedu at 0400 Hrs. This was supposed to be my first ever bike trip and my excitement was natural. Best part I didn’t have a bag to pack my essentials. Raj got a tiny little bag rolled up into a ball. I was wondering how m I gona fit my stuff into it. But it unrolled into a bag sufficient enough to carry my stuff hassle free. So this is how I was all set for the journey. We reached the usual meeting spot in 20 mins where already the bunch was waiting. This was the bunch of guys with whom I was gona spend my rest of the 48 hours. Mani, Dinesh and Khaja were here and all the bikes were here. But we were still waiting for someone.
And that someone was Sudharshan. He arrived in a car and was late. On top of that he didn’t have his helmet. And the day began with Raj giving it nicely to him for his great thinking. It seems people were counting on him for riding as well. I was enjoying my sips of a hot morning tea with all this going around. With all the travel songs on my playlist and full volume on my fone, this patakha guddi started for the trip. 
It was a little cold as it was the beginning of March and also due to the speed at which we were riding. Raj and I were on the bullet, the sound which seemed like noise on the normal days sounded like music today. We were on the way to Nagalapuram when the day broke. We didn’t even leave the Tamilnadu borders when I started feeling the first rays of the sun.
The highways of Chennai are beautiful with trees on both sides and smooth and wide roads. It makes the riding much more fun. Unending roads, just to enjoy the fun called travel. I felt that I don’t need the travel songs to enjoy the ride. Took off my earphones and kept all my gadgets in the bag. I was able to hear the birds chirping after a long time. The surroundings seemed so beautiful. It felt like I was experiencing the vivid colors of nature in HD vision. And all the old Hindi songs started making sense. 

Crossing Nagalapuram, we reached Tirupati around 0700Hrs. That was the place where the fork divided into pilgrimage and our destination. But this was the break time for the hungry travelers. These highways offer really lovely food. Much cleaner and tastier than what we get in the city. We all hogged like pigs and fueled up the tummy for the rest of the journey and were set to start again. Our GPS started acting funny and kept showing longer routes. Somehow, after all the wrong bunch of turns we figured out our route and were on track.
Some experiences just can’t be described in words. These are just meant to be felt. Trees forming themselves in the form of cave on the highway, the dry mountains all the way, the dry heat, the sand, the empty roads, the occasional passing of villages, the fields, and the bumpy rides everything was simply the way to get myself connected to the nature in its raw form. I have had the privilege to visit a few countries abroad, but my India never fails to surprise me. Just keep going and you will always find something new and breathtaking here. I have the serendipity of meeting amazing people and visiting the places that I have dreamt of. This reaffirms my faith in dreams and its coming true.
At 1200 hrs we were still on the roads of Andhra searching for food like nomads. Dry, thirsty and dirty, we were in perfect shape to be called the hooligans of India. We found ourselves at a tiny shop where they were selling coconut water. The coconut water was equal to elixir at the moment. We all had a couple of drinks and embarked on the journey again. But once thirst is satisfied hunger pangs are on. As soon as we reached the next village we started searching for some eat out. We were a bunch of wanderlusts who didn’t even know the native language. But the best part about traveling in India is that that if you know even one native language down south and Hindi, you have got the all India permit to go around. It’s always fun to know new things. And the one new word I learned in this trip was ‘Majiga’. ‘Majiga’ is the Telugu word for Buttermilk. Buttermilk is a necessity to me and surely this word goes down in my travel dictionary. At least am not gona suffer without my daily dose of ‘Majiga’ if I get lost in this part of India. LOL
After this refuel we made it a point to reach the destination and make a stop or else the caves will get closed. Now we crossed Kadappa. Lots of cement factories placed near to each other. The whole side way was filled with special ‘Kadappa Kallu’. This place is known for the limestone deposits and thus lots of quarries and cement factories. There were so many tiny huts made of these stones. We now reached Jammalmadugu from where the fork went to Belum Caves and Gandikota. We decided to go towards the caves and camp in the Gandikota fort.

The uphill biking was pretty tough as the roads were very smooth and we had to slow down. Finally we started seeing signs of nearing Belum Caves. Finally we reached the mountain where it was written ‘Belum Caves’. Time for a click – Say cheese.

This is supposed to be second largest caves in the Indian subcontinent. And is one of the tourist attractions in Andhra. This place has its own historical importance which can either be googled upon or be searched on Wikipedia. Not much of a research is needed for that. ;) We were welcomed by a large limestone Buddha. These caves are made of limestone and have amazing stalactite and stalagmite formations. 

It’s hot, stuffy and suffocating inside. It’s said that there were some monks who have dwelled in these caves and you can find places where you can find remains of theirs and places of meditation. But you will truly wonder how they actually lived inside this tiny barren place. Nowadays, as this is developed as a tourist attraction, they have put up lights, made pathways and ventilated a few places. Or else it’s difficult to get enough air to breathe inside. The popular spots are the Banyan Tree and Patala Ganga . But there is still quite a lot of cave unexplored. We tried going to those spot but it was quiet slippery to walk. But my eccentric bunch of unknown people whom I was quiet familiar by now had to explore somehow.  

We explored the depths of the caves and came out. I have heard people saying it’s comfortable traveling in a pair of jeans. So wrong. I guess it was coz I wore my normal pair of skinny jeans. It made the hot trip unbearable. Happily changed into my shorts. Phew! Such a relief.
After resting for a while we started for Gandikota. We still had to ride at least 50 kms and the sun had started setting. We reached Jammalmadugu and refueled the bikes and started for Gandikota. It was pitch dark. We could lights only at a distance. There road was narrow and still busses were coming and going. We finally reached the APTD Hotel. The fort was just 2 kms away from there. So we thought it’s a good idea to halt there and finish off the dinner there. As soon as we went inside we all were searching for chargers. Finally food arrived. It always awesome, to relish the meal after a great day. We camped in the parking lot. Saw the stars shining bright above me after a long time. Ghost stories, history, chatting and nobody slept. 
It dawned and we rushed to our bikes. We had to be at the Gandikota Gorge to experience the sun rise. It was a one in a million sunrises over the Pennar River and breathtaking view all around. I love experiencing the sunrise in all possible ways. And this was so captivating a moment. 

This world is an amazing place to live. And if you ask me, this is the heaven. I feel so lucky to be able to experience life everyday and in every way.


The Gandikota fort is an ancient town having its archaeological importance. There were 2 temples and a mosque in the same place. The ancient grain silo and other monuments were kept well preserved over these many years. This village is very dry but at one point of time it surely would have had lot of greenery due the proper channelization of river water around the fort. This tiny place is beauty in its own way. There is a lot of history that has its own story to tell. But we had to bid adieu this place. 
It was already 1000 hrs when we started back. Now only one stuff was left on our to do list. We were searching for the sun flower fields now. But we were all worn out and I finally understood the phrase ‘Pain in the Ass’. We were just looking places to sit down for a while. But we had a distance of 420 kms to cover. Finally we reached a Punjabi Dhaba where we had a refuel and we just slept off there for a while. We were still looking out for the sunflower fields. Finally we found one and I was able to wish the lovely ladies a Happy Women’s Day from the fields.

The trip concluded in the next plans to be executed as soon as possible. Lots more to come from my Jolly good world. Life is amazing. And this women’s day I learned that there is much more to explore in life than just sitting and dreaming.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Understanding

The understanding of a human being is far beyond the capacity of himself. What he thinks, what he perceives and what he understands? Even he doesn’t know. Think for a while, everyone lives a similar life. They are born, grow up, they eat, drink, sleep and die. Nothing is new. Even then people don’t understand each other. There is an old Hindi saying:

Samajh samajhkar samajh ko samajho
Samajh samajhna bhi ek samajh hai
Samajh samajhkar jo na samjhe
Meri samajh me vah nasamajh hai
Translation:
Understand the understanding for understanding the perception
Understanding the understanding is an art in itself
Even after understanding this if one doesn’t understand
He is a stupid in my understanding

Too much of a tongue twister isn’t it? The meaning here is very simple, each and every one in the world has his own opinion, priority and perception. If people understand this simple fact then there won’t be any room for fights. Misunderstandings will be always be there but that doesn’t mean anyone is wrong.

What a man thinks and what he understands are two totally different things. He thinks something and understands something else. It’s like – he thinks he understands, but many times he fails to understand the thought. Understanding is that supreme power which defines everything in this universe. Just imagine, it is the same heaven and earth since ages but our understanding and perception has given it a new identity.

This rational thinking ability is what we think sets us apart from the fellow creatures on this planet. And we proudly call ourselves the superior being for the same reason. Well, is this true? It’s time to do a self-check.  All these animals don’t need instructions manual like Gita, Quran or Bible to enjoy their lives, but we do. They travel the world without boundaries and communicate without any fuss. They co-exist peacefully. But when it comes to us, we see and perceive what is told or shown to us. We don’t take time to think and understand.
The three major survival instincts for a peaceful life are – thinking, understanding and belief. Without these it is very easy to lose control over the life.

But these are Greek and Latin for everyday life. Lemme give you a simple tip. Many people complaint that – nobody understands them. But the answer to this problem lies within. Self-belief is the key to life. If you don’t understand yourself then nobody will because nobody cares. And if you understand yourself completely then you need not wait for the opinion of others. Understanding thyself is an art.

At the same time, you cannot live whimsically based upon your own perception. To coexist you need to make peace with the surroundings. Understood? Or your understanding limits itself?

Keep your senses open. Life is wonderful and magical and nothing less than a miracle. That’s how stories happen.




Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A day out to Nagala

Had heard about Nagalapuram from my friends many times and every time I heard about it, the craving to visit this place just kept increasing. I have a big appetite for adventures that brings me one step closer to the nature. And this wait was finally over on Valentine’s Day when I went for the Social trek. Its gona be a year now since I got associated with Chennai Trekking Club, thus I had a few familiar faces. But as usual, the beauty of these outings is the new faces we meet up. Many were pretty new to this trek and had the same conundrum in the head regarding the unfamiliar faces. Ah! Nostalgia. I still remember writing about the unfamiliar faces becoming good friends by the end of the day, and yesterday I was hearing the same for myself. 

The day began at 4:30am when I started from home. People get blind dates on Valentine’s Day. I got my blind date in the form of unknown new friends. Picked up food on the way and reached Nathan CafĂ©, Koyambedu by 5:00am. This trek was specially organized for kids from Bala Ashram. And we all were eagerly waiting for them. Finally our very own Pons arrived with them at 5:30am and we started off. After battling with the city traffic for some time we reached the quiet highways. Within no time I could see Telugu writings on the walls and hoardings. Happy realization that Andhra is too close to Chennai. After a few twists and turns I could see the mountains having big rock face. Those mountains stand majestic covered by mist. Beauty past compares. We suddenly made a halt. When I got out I came to know that we had to pay a toll for going beyond. We felt as if it’s for the road construction and stuff. But when we entered that road, one of the worst ‘Kachha’ roads you could ever get in. We all had an LOL moment. After some bumps we reached our base camp. By this time we all were super hungry. It was time for the home made breakfast from Rajasekaran. Awesome idlis and vadais. One of the best breakfasts ever. The kids were busy fishing the tadpoles from the stream nearby. Nambi was the smallest child among them. ;)

The kids were of varying ages. The little ones were of about 5 years old and the oldest was probably in his 10th or 11th standard. After refueling ourselves we started for the trek. When climbed the embankment we saw a lil dam. It had some water and some burnt trees. It looked like a place where these Bollywood romantic songs are shot. We crossed that and were treading n the trail. At first it looked like a path way. But slowly we were climbing the boulders. The biggest task was not only being careful of the steps we take but making sure the kids coming with us are fine and enjoying this trip as much as us. But it turned out as if they are leading the way for us. Amazingly energetic kids. Keeping up with their energy was a tough task but was super fun. After reaching the first pool we relaxed and it was snack happy time. Delicious apples filled our tummies. And we started the climbing again. Now the boulders were a bit bigger and little smooth. We were losing grip here and there. Some edges had spaces only enough to keep one foot. In no time we reached the spot marked X for us for the day.


A beautiful pool and a little water fall, nice shade. Superb spot for picnic. Within minutes we could see not 20 but 40 kids around. And ya we had our very own Scooby Doo around us all the time. No no. The headcount of kids didn’t increase, but we all were one among them as soon as we saw the water. There were rocks that seemed like slides and with life jackets we swam across to the falls. I drank the purest water ever. Slipped many times on the rocks, while trying to stand by the falls. We got free fish pedicure thanks to the little biting tadpoles. And our very own friend Kamal had a scorpion sitting on his head. He was the one giving shocks now and then to all of us. We lost the track of time. We all left the waters only after hunger pangs started. Puli Sadam or Tiger rice never tasted so awesome before. After a sumptuous meal we had the nanari sherbet.
Sindhu started with the antakshari and dumb charades. Saw myself in those kids. Reminded me of the trips my mother used to take me. As kids we don’t have any inhibitions. As that’s how we all were today.
We started back by 4:00pm and the return journey seemed much smaller than onwards journey. Groupies, selfies and photo time. Astonishing view. 
By the time we came down we could see the sunlight fading away. Numbers were exchanged. New friends were made.


It’s said that “a weekend well – spent brings a week of content.” And I am sure that all were content.





Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Rare Shades of the Evening Sky

This evening I happened to witness the beautiful strokes of some rare colors. There was a patch of fluorescent green and violet in the twilight sky. Call it art, call it science or call it miracles it is spread all around the world and every moment something completely delightful keeps happening around us. But in the midst of the entire conundrum we are missing some precious moments called marvels in our life. In the golden hour I witnessed the magical and colorful sky in the city of Chennai. I was amazed and awestruck with the magical shades of green and violet.

If I talk in scientific terms, it is the reflection of sun rays at the sunset. But these colors are of rare occurrence in the equator. Kept looking for the angle of reflection and refraction but there are something which the human being still can’t imitate.

If I talk art, the colors blended in such a smooth fashion that even artists would just stop and admire the sheer beauty of the magnum opus of the almighty.

Nature is full of mysteries and miracles. And the ease with which things occur and co-exist in nature is a mystery and miracle in itself. No words can ever do justice to this master piece which we call the Earth.

For instance, we admire the beauty and strength of the huge rivers and waterfalls. Ever wondered where they originate from? How does water reach that height? Is the mountain high at some place than others? No human can ever be able to replicate any of this enchantment.

“There is a thin line of difference between fantasy and reality.
 All depends upon what you believe.”

If one wants to enjoy nature in HD then he simply needs to embark on his own journey. Nobody can own or possess the nature. We all need to just simply exist with it in our own space and time. Only then can this everlasting beauty can be enjoyed peacefully. I must say I enjoyed my HD nature moment today. Such little moments brightens up the life every day. Just keep looking.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Ainthinai Tree Plantation Drive

Since childhood, I have always looked at this world completely awestruck because it is so beautiful and abundant of riches. Used to wonder how long we are gona keep developing and why to develop so much?  What are we finally gona receive after development? What is the ultimate goal? I always found the concept of development quiet bizarre because we develop to save time and end up thinking what to do with all the free time. Time passed and I too became a part of this system. Working and walking aimlessly, looking for comfort, taking a refuge to the tasty junks available all around. Villages and farms had become childhood stories to me. Then finally I ended up living in one of the most beautiful cities, Chennai. It used to be my dream city with all the trees and temples around. But it became a nightmare when I saw the filth around. All I could hear was the noise of horns. The city's lifeline, one of the best public transport system in the whole country, getting stuck in the middle of a mindless traffic. There was no escape from this concrete jungle. Went to St. Thomas Mount and saw the massive city. It had expanded beyond boundaries. This was actually a heart breaking sight because the whole city was nothing more than a pile of bricks.


Somehow I found my way to CTC and ended up working in a farm in Mailai. Met many likeminded people and the day started with the traditional Tamil breakfast of koozhu. Instead of having it in the modern mans instrument made up of metal, had it in the palm leaves. Felt that in the name of recycling we are still just using papers, rather than looking at the marvelous ways of nature for recycling and reusing its waste. Went ahead and saw many varieties of plants and trees. They are the habitats to so many different creatures. Man has built his habitat taller than the trees and yet it’s not self sufficient. Dug the pit, mixed the manure and fixed the sapling. Such a small gesture to Mother Nature. She was doing all this by herself till we poked our nose and tried replicating nature’s model to build a new habitat in the name of development and making this a better place to live.

Its ridiculous that people find it weird to live in villages nowadays. India is a rich land meant for agriculture but no. We want tar roads, glass buildings, pollution spewing vehicles all around. All the modern man inventions were made to make the life easy and not lazy. Going into economical language, the human life is following the famous bell shaped curve [Ref. – The Third Curve – Mansoor Khan] Development had made the life style reach the peak long back. Now we are the beginning of the unfortunate generations where all these riches are gona decline. Statistics show that how on the name of development we are successfully creating new diseases.

Oops. Too many thoughts shared by my fellow mates. But when we went for our lunch we all had the sense of satisfaction of having actually earned the meal that day. Not to forget our little star Jishnu who was a part of all the action and captured all these delightful moments.

With all these heavy words am just trying to convey that we have done enough damage to earth already. What we are doing now is just a little bit of effort to make up for the huge damage we have already done. If one wants to see the Jesus Christ mentioned in the Bible, then please look around. We have poked so many nails on the body of Earth and yet it is giving us more than we can ask for. If you want to see Lord Krishna for real, then look around for shower of all the riches in the world upon you from Mother nature. Take any other mythological character and you will find that it was all just our very own Mother Nature described in human form. Because it is always said that God is always around us and if we take a look it’s just nature.



Tuesday, June 10, 2014

CCC5

On Sunday, I was a tiny part of the 5th Phase of the massive cleanup drive, The Chennai Coastal Cleanup 5. That’s when I realized that the biggest bio-hazard on earth is the human race. Marina Beach is the world’s second largest beach. We feel so proud hearing these words, but how does it feel to have these beaches completely filthy?
That’s how I felt when I was ready with my gloves and bag in my hands. I and 6500 other volunteers were all set for today’s cleanup. I was a part of the group cleaning up the Ashtalakshmi stretch of our beloved Bessy Beach. A beautiful temple on the sea shore is what we picture. But just look a bit down and you find plastic bags, bottles and fishing nets. Brush aside the sand a little more and you can find the little treasures we have left for our future generations – Plastic spoons, Paper dishes, Rubber balloons, Thermo cols, Bottle caps, Oh! The list goes on and on. Public started coming and sat around watching the day begin at the beach and I found them strangely staring at us. That’s when I felt reassured to what I have always thought –
We all are literate but not educated. The ability to read and write is just not enough if you can’t put your knowledge to a good use.
In the school days we all have studied a compulsory subject called the Environmental Studies. Am sure all of us would have found it to be the easiest to pass. But the question is what have we learnt? People have happily made the sea a dump yard. We are the creators of our own doom. We have not discovered enough cures to the number of diseases we created on the name of upgrading the lifestyle.
With all these revolutionary thoughts I filled three big bags of garbage and went to the dumping point. We all were finally able to clear 50 tons of garbage in those few hours. Well this is not a matter of pride but shame. Just imagine if we were able to collect this much rubbish in those few hours, how much is still lying there. God knows how much debris is still left behind.
What we have done is a very small part. It’s high time we mend the damages we have done or else nature has its own way of clearing the environment in a jiffy. People who believe and worship god should start respecting the nature, which is God. God is here there everywhere right? So all better show some respect and stop offering dirt and filth to the sea. It is time we co-exist with the nature.

This is not an event. This is how beaches should always be – CLEAN!!!!