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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Tagged!

I normally don’t like tags but this was about travel – a word that excites me the most. So when Mridula tagged me, I quickly accepted it. I have changed the rules slightly for the people whom I tag.

Rules of this Tag:
1. Name the person who tagged you.
2. 8 Things about you. (Pick Any Topic)
3. Tag atleast 4 people.

1. Name of the Person who Tagged Me.
Mridula – I enjoy reading her travel stories and to view the mind blowing pictures from her journey that beholds beauty of nature with touch of human spirit.

2. 8 Travel Things About me!


1. I enjoy traveling in groups but once in a while I prefer going on a journey all by myself. Undoubtedly such trips become the most learning experience of all. One such trip that I regard as the best one I have ever had, is my expedition into a Tibetan Settlement. Got up at 6 one morning and decided to go on a totally unplanned trip to somewhere. A journey all alone is something that makes you notice things that otherwise goes unseen or unattended.

2. One thing I hate in a trip is people who do not share the same spirit as the rest. One dull person can spoil the spirit of entire group. So I try my best to keep the group rolling with fun and laughter.

3. I enjoy driving in USA, but I prefer to relax and watch out of the window as the car follows the winding roads near a mountain or a straight never ending road to nowhere, or a marine drive.

4. Even though I enjoy reading, I hate to take books while traveling. Because, nothing can be more exciting for me than a journey.

5. When I go to my hometown, I always take a walk near the beach either with friends or alone. And when I do so, I feel that I have been on a very long trip. Every time I go there it’s a new experience and I am sure, I will never be bored of any number of trips to the beach. I have been to several beaches in India and America but none has fascinated me as the beach near my house.

6. I love to plan trips and at the same time I also like to go on unplanned trips. One such interesting trip was a trip to Sakleshpura with a few friends from office. On this journey we traveled by every possible means, Bus, Train, Auto Rickshaw, jeep & Lorry. We planed to trek on the railway track but ended up taking a jolly ride on a test train, the engineers in which thought we were really tired of trekking. But the fact was that, we had just started walking few seconds before the train arrived. More than anything, what excited me the most was the spirit we four shared. It’s always fun to be with like minded people.

7. My dream is to hitch hike to some far away place, may be in some other country; may be all the way from Europe to India. Well I wish one day that dream would come true.

8. Traveling to some place, knowing people and the culture there makes me feel somewhere close to being a complete human being. One can enjoy the spirit of life to the fullest when on a journey, through one’s own experience as well as other. At times, Traveling also acts as medicine to me.

Every individual is in search of something more serene, something more beautiful and something more peaceful. After all what’s important is not what you do but how you feel at a given point of time. Traveling allows me to explore myself; experiment with myself; learn some lessons and most of all to live in the moment without past or future in mind. I would like to end this by repeating my favorite dialogue from the climax of the movie “The Beach”
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“I still believe in paradise. But it’s not some place you can look for, because it is not where you go. It’s how you feel for a moment in your life when you are a part of something. If you find that moment, it lasts for ever.”
3. I Tag –

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Another Visit

I am in the US now, Came here this Wednesday. Until I landed in US, until I reached Colorado Springs again, I was not sure whether I need to be happy about this visit or not. Well, lot of fun in Bangalore, close to family, friends and relatives, fun and party. Was I prepared for another trip to a land so far away? But of course I had reasons to feel good about, to meet couple of people whom I met 2 years back. People I liked or admired and learnt a lot from. It would be a nice time to refresh my memories of the place were I have spent one long year of my life and I must say, I had lived that one year to the fullest. Of course there were some ups and downs as in every journey of life, but still, I regard it as one of the most satisfying experience of my life. That one year was my time of self discovery after a very troubled time; A perfect opportunity to develop myself personally and professionally.

Anyway, that was my first visit out of my country and I had all the good reasons to be excited about even though my main intension was to escape from what ever I knew back then. And now, it’s so different, for some explainable and some unexplainable reasons. Anyway, I did set off on yet another journey of my life; let’s see where it takes me.

After a rigorous shopping, buying everything I saw anywhere (that’s how I react when I am in crazy mood of shopping), after buying some gifts for friends in the US, Mahesh & I were supposed to leave home by 9:00 PM to airport, ended up going early after some calls from taxi driver saying that the airport road was blocked due to an accident.

A long wait in Bangalore airport; a not so good sleep in Bombay airport; motherly service by some nice middle aged airhostess in Air India flight who left no chance to scold the travelers, which actually appeared really weird; :-) A short waiting in Frankfurt airport; a long wait in Chicago Airport due to flight delay; laughing at every small joke that we could create on our way; all this and much more brought us to Denver.

Our friends were there to receive us. And as I stepped out of the airport and as we drove from Denver to Colorado Springs, I felt really good being back, it’s probably nice to be back for just 2 months rather than a year like last time, I convinced myself.

It’s been 3 days and I feel really good to be back, to meet couple of my colleagues and friends. Called mother, who is leaving today back to India, spoke to my sister, went on a long drive till Glenwood Springs, a place that I had come across on an unexpected trip1 year back, which has stayed with me still as one of the best places in which I enjoyed every accept of a journey – the nature, mood and weather.

So anyway, I am here now and will keep posted on what I do here, during weekends. Here are some pictures from today’s drive.
Snow Again!
Who Wouldn't Love To Drive Here?
And A Walk Here? (Thats Me)
Glenwood Springs

Friday, October 13, 2006

Being Host

Day 1

Bangalore to Mangalore - A Roller Coaster Ride.

I assured Mahesh that we will get tickets to Mangalore in KSRTC buses, at that early hour of dawn, very easily. It’s only after reaching there at 6:20AM, we were shocked to see all the Raja Hamsa (Deluxe Buses) full with people who had reserved tickets much earlier. I should not have forgotten that it was Dasara festival time, and people who could not make a trip previous night, would be also brave enough to travel in the first bus next morning, like us.

Some one told me that we could try the semi deluxe buses, for which we needed no reservations. Luckily for us, we happened to find two seats in a bus. Both the driver and the conductor were kind enough to locate some seats for us. So there began our ride. The journey was very tiresome, especially near the Shiradi Ghats, where the road condition is pathetic. One or two traffic jams and blocks delayed the trip further. Of course it’s always a treat to drive through hills and forest. So we both enjoyed the wonderful scenery along the way but had the roads been perfect, the journey would have been less tiring and less bumpy.

The Traffic Jam In the Shiradi Ghat Did Do something Good Too!

We reached Mangalore at 4:30 PM, after a much horrible stretch of road from BC Road. Straight away we walked into Pabbas ice cream parlor and treated ourselves with some cool ice-cream, definitely made for Mangalore weather and such pathetic road trips.

Reached Surathkal at around 6:00PM. Missed mother again (She is in the US with my sister Anu). Sadiq Who had been our driver for several years, came home to visit. It was nice talking to him after a long time. We got food from the mess and had a good dinner. At 8:30 PM we left to the beach. Met my friend, H on our way. H & I took Mahesh to our Private beach. (Well the one that we usually go to, always less crowded, unknown to tourists) We walked on the beach for a while, enjoying the breeze and the sound of waves that always is a serene music to my ears. After a small walk, Mahesh and I went to watch yakshagana (Folk dance of Karnataka). In two of the temples near my house, Yakshagana performance is conducted during all nine days of the festival. As kids all nine days were a treat to me and my cousins. When ever I go there, I recall memories from childhood, so many to haunt me; so many to make me smile, laugh and even miss them so badly. I bored Mahesh with some of the stories.

A Fight Sequence Between Godess Durga And Demons, Chanda And Munda.

It was a nice performance by a set of girls. After the yakshagana, we were too tired from the long tiring day so we returned home and collapsed on to bed.

In spite of the bad road trip, Mahesh loved Mangalore; the greenery; the tiled roofs; houses with large front yards filled with coconut groves and all sorts of trees and flowering plants; the beaches of course. And as a host I was glad that he did.

Day 2

Got up early and got ready. We had to meet my friend J near Mulki at 8:30 AM. But we got late by an hour, then all three of us took a bus to Udupi. Of course we both had many stories about Mangalore to be told to Mahesh. My college, buses in Mangalore, how dangerous driving is here and about the weather. We met another friend V at Udupi. After a light breakfast, all three of us took a bus to Malpe. Malpe is about 3 KM from Udupi. We got down at Malpe harbor which was filled with fishing boats and then we walked to the place from where we can catch a ferry to St. Mary’s island. This place was crowded with tourists as it was a Sunday. Normally they run boats to the island only till noon, but probably looking at the crowd they alter it slightly. The ferry tickets are RS 70 per head for a round trip. Thanks to my cousin A and my friend Vasu for providing me with all the necessary information regarding the place and necessities during our trip like water and food, because you will not find a single shop in the island. Probably that is why it is so beautiful, so untouched by human greed and if there is any bit of impurity there then it’s because of us throwing plastics, bottles and what not.

The ferry trip was for about 45 mins. Loud music was played to entertain the already enthusiastic crowd, even more. I bet this is a perfect one day trip if you visit Mangalore. We passed by few untouched, beautiful islands starring at us blankly as it would to any tourists. We had to switch to another small boat few yards from the shore as the jetty would not be able to go so close to the shore. Altogether the first few minutes of the trip itself, brought us to a feeling of total excitement and we could not wait to explore the island.

I felt very bad about the fact that living so close to this place, I had not been to the island before in the past 26 years. Plenty of coconut trees, awesome columnar rocks, heap of shells everywhere and of course the waves kissing the shore welcomed us to the island. Probably these pictures shall explain it better than the words.

View Of The Island From The Boat

Columnar Rocks Contribute To The Beauty Of Island

After enjoying the beauty of silence in midst of the roaring waves and wind, we took the ferry back to Malpe. This trip will always be a memorable one for me for so many reasons and the impression that the island left in me will provoke me to visit it again and again.

We returned back to Udupi, had a good food in hotel Diana and then returned back home. That evening, I took Mahesh to Mangalore, to his uncle’s house.

Day-3

We deserved a good sleep and much ordinary and simple day in the life of Mangalore. So I did not have any plans for this day except for a walk to the light house and beach near my house. Morning I took Mahesh around. Banana leaves spread wide, shinning bright with the sunlight; tamarind tree with its tiny leaves covering yet uncovering as though playing with the sunshine; variety of flowers, just beginning to wake up after a good rainy season; peacocks & peahens crying aloud. We tried to spot some peacocks, but they were probably hiding somewhere behind the bushes, midst the fields.

Around My House

During Dasara, in Mangalore many people dress up as tigers, lions, or some characters from Mahbhratha or Ramyana or simply as a skeleton or ghost and they walk to every house and perform. As kids we would run behind them and follow them to every other house. And this time, I was lucky to see a few come to our house during my last two visits. A group of people dressed like tiger stopped by our house to perform a Mangalore special tiger dance.


Evening at about 4:00PM, we walked to our village temple “Sadashiva Devastana”. I always love going to this temple, it’s on top of a small hill and the rear door opens up to beach in the west and gives you the best view of the sea. We had some nice time taking good pictures. Climbing up to the lighthouse was not allowed that day since it was a national holiday. But otherwise, the light house is open for visitors from 5-6 PM everyday.

We then had a nice walk on the beach, captured many moments in our camera. Sat on a rock and loved the play of colors on the evening sky. The mixing of colors always fascinates me, they mix with each other and then suddenly you are left with one dull color, grey. Sitting by the rock, with waves splashing on it as hard as it can is the best treat for me during the evenings. One could sit there alone or with a company without speaking a word and then walk away with a feeling of having spoken so much. The sound of waves; the mixing colors on sky; sun turning softer and softer and wind blowing crazily yet so rhythmic.

Suratkal Beach, View From The Temple

Man With Nature Complimenting Each Other

Every trip to the beach is special for me; I can sit there silently for however long and come back with a feeling of having learnt another big lesson about life. It fills me with lot of confidence and zeal for life. This walk was special as well. My thoughts drift from one to other and this time I spoke them out to bore Mahesh. :-) I have noticed very often that when ever we walk or spend an evening in beach we open up very easily, we begin to express ourselves in a much better way; I have seen this happen to me and also my friends. No wonder most of my poems and story concepts have evolved while I was in beach.

Beauty In This Wildness, Silence In This Roar.

The weekend was over; it was end of a nice trip back home. After dinner we walked to Surathkal, on the way we also saw a procession on Sharada Utsav, with lot of performers again dancing and enjoying the night. I never miss my trip to Mangalore during Dasara festival, because it’s the best time for me to recollect all those fun filled old days and experience all that fun again. Surathkal is lively as never, during this time of the year.

Being a host, I have enjoyed every bit of this trip, because it gave me an opportunity to identify so many new things about my own hometown, our culture, people and life here. It has given me an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of my own place through the eyes of another. It has allowed me to explore my hometown even further and refresh my memories, the past and bore the visitor with those stories. :-) And as for Mahesh, I bet he loved Mangalore. Isn’t it Mahesh?