Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Pearl Valley

I met my friend Srik after a long time last weekend. We were roommates a few years back and I have always enjoyed his company and the long debates and discussions we have had in the past; they remain to be one of the best ever. We both share the same craze for traveling, trekking and adventure. So when we met it was decided that we would go on a ride on his new bought Royal Enfield Bullet.

After a lot of talk we left to Pearl Valley at about 1:30 PM. This place is only 40Kms from Bangalore after Bannarghata national park, near Annekalu. The busy traffic on Bannarghata road bothered us for a while but once we passed the national park, it was truly an amazing ride. Wide spread farms; flowers, vegetables, creepers all surrounded us to create a perfect picture. It’s a scenic ride only at an hour’s drive from the city. The place is really cool. We walked down the valley to the falls. But to our disappointment there was absolutely no water flowing from the top, may be a very thin stream, less than the tap water flow, was awaiting us.

A small Shiva temple in front of the falls, midst the dense forest created a very serene atmosphere. People still enjoyed the area without any water flowing. A family was even cooking their food there in the forest.

Srik brought it up first, to climb up to the other side of the valley. I looked at him and saw the enthusiasm to explore. I knew all that was needed at that moment was a nod from me. I shared the same spirit as him thus said an obvious yes. The walk up was not difficult at all; we made our own way to the top. The view from the top was amazing.

We returned and rode back. On the way stopped at the beautiful Meenakshi temple. Srik and I speak a lot on spirituality. Srik has a lot of knowledge on our Dharma and Karma and I enjoy discussing it with him.

All together it was a short but very nice trip, away from the busy city life and traffic!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Hogenakallu Falls

Few weeks back, I had been to Hogenkallu falls (Of Chinna Chinna Asse fame from film Roja) which is about 180Kms from Bangalore, in Tamilnadu (Via Hosur-Dharampuri). The trip was initially planned by Kavlz and me as a bike ride but then another colleague who was planning to take two of the Chinese delegates on a trip planned to join us. Thus we booked a Qualis. The drive was good, of course only after we leave the city limits. I will allow the pictures to talk more about the scenic view and mighty waterfalls and the coracle ride.

One disappointment was - the people at the falls (Localities). They kept following us and irritating us for taking a coracle ride and oil massages. They did not stop following us even if we scolded them rudely. After half an hour of avoiding them, we finally had to argue for a good price for the ride. We paid 100 per head, which again is a little too much, I think. But it seems totally impossible to argue with those guys. But the coracle ride is all worth it. He took us pretty close to many of the falls and then to an island.
Another drawback in the place was people again asking money for some ticket. We paid entrance fee twice, parking fee, fee to walk on a bridge and fee to take coracle ride and one guy was offering tickets if we had to cross from one side of the river to another. :-)

Interesting things noticed –

1. People continuously bothering you for coracle ride and massage.

2. Tickets for almost everything.

3. Fish, Sweets and what not, being cooked all over the place. The dishes are cleaned in same river water and they even drink the same water and of course not to forget that we enjoy the same falls.

4. Small kids waiting to dive for just Rs 5.

5. Small coracle shops.

It’s a nice place apart from these small backdrops that man has created.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Trivial Matters!

I love how the curtain flies with the wind; should I call it as slowing of the winds flow or the inspiration from the winds touch? May be the later; sounds positive.

I love the soft music playing on my laptop, as I write on the pages of my diary or maybe simply clean the house.

I love the moments with a book that takes me to a different world; a world of writers imagination blended with mine.

I love the small tasks, such as weekly cleaning of bike, house or my belongings; they bring me closer to things I own.

I love the smell of the food I cook on a Sunday; the coffee that I drink when the evening breeze smoothly brushes behind my ear.

I love the sense of doing nothing, but relaxing on a Sunday. In spite of doing nothing it seems as though I have worked all day.

I love the sight of the flowers in the plants housed in two pots; they make me realize that they need me, every single day.

I love the lazy evening, watching down at my neighborhood, people walking, talking, smiling and leaving the day behind as it melts away.

I love the thoughts of the past, childhood may be or of college perhaps or anything that brings a smile on to my face.
I love to arrange my books, my shelf, to throw the unwanted and feel less burdened from those papers, those thoughts, and those past to which we unnecessarily are attached to.

I love my morning walks, looking at the house built fabulously, gardens so well maintained, or just at the early morning sweeper or the people whose day starts early.

I love the silent prayers, at a temple or at home; they make me feel strong from within.

In short, I love all that they call as “Trivial”. They, I say; as I know not who gave them the right to name it so. It is these small things in life that brings us joy at lonely times to change them to - “loneliness by choice.” We long to have such moments; as they allow us to discover ourselves; to notice them or to call them trivial; to love them or to ignore them. I crave for them at times when I get too busy and stressed. Yes for me, Trivial matters!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Film Festival On Water

I am a member of a film society and thus became aware of this film festival on water from June7th till 10th. When I realized that the festival was being held very close to our office, I had no second thoughts about being part of the event that was inaugurated by Nandita Das and Girish Karnad followed by some villagers singing folk songs on water. My friend Krish joined me too. After their wonderful talk on water and the importance of preserving it, a documentary from Nepal, called – “We corner people” was shown.

It was a lovely film about a remote village in the Himalayas, were any comforts is far from access. The glacier burst takes away their boulder that connects two villages and also a life. The film explores how they form a committee to build a bridge across the river. During that process, the film also unravels the silly to major issues of the village. Silly such as, a man complaining that he has been ignored by the committee to major issue such as how Nepal politics, the Maoists affect the villagers, the religion, conversion to Christianity, issues with education etc. The best thing is that the movie is very raw and touching. Also showcases the cruelty of humans when the guy whose wife got washed away with the rage of water says – “they point at me and say, hey it’s his wife etc etc, but all I know is just that my wife got carried away with water.”

After the movie there was short discussion with the director. A stupid old guy asked – “Where is water here? Its only bridge?” luckily the director could not hear it, meanwhile we all starred at him rudely to express our anger, another guy from audience replied – “Because there is water, there is bridge.” This man realized the anger in the room for him, so he stole the question from another guy and while the mike was given to him asked that question instead. It made me think, why Indians view things in a very cynical and criticizing perspective. Most of us tend to look down upon other people insteadof appreciating their work.

Next day, Krish and I did not want to miss the film”Dweepa” by Girish kasarvali. It’s a movie that I have watched many times, and can never get tired of. I will write a review on it some time. We only got to see half of it. After this, there was a talk on flood, from two villagers who had travelled from West Bengal. They shared their sad story with us, of how the changing course of river Ganga is sweeping away the land nearby. They also blame the dam constructed, as a reason to worsen this condition.

After this, there was a short film again on Agariya tribes of Kutch called – “The Lost water”. These villagers live in a land where water has never turned back for several years, a canal runs dry and they are left with no option but produce salt. Since this land is now recognized as Wild Ass sanctuary, by Indian government, they are being asked to move out of the place. They are also referred as criminals and are also harassed. The director of this film, who also is from the same community expressed his concern for the people and asked the audience, who blog to write about all this so that it could make a difference somewhere or the other. My decision to write a post on this got confirmed without any thoughts, then.

“Mountains in the mist” was another movie on Cloud Mountains of Costa Rica.

On 9th I reached the place at 3:30 PM and I watched some more documentaries and a talk from villagers of Bihar sharing their story of rain harvesting and its benefits. But one movie worth mentioning is “Do not disturb the water” It is an excellent movie of a family in Iran migrating to somewhere and they form a shelter at a mountain top. They use pebbles to smoothen the ground, they build shelters and then go in search of water, to the caves. They get huge pieces of ice from caves and then place it on a rock and allow it to melt by the sunlight. When water collects in the vessel below, the days routine start, the goats are milked, cold milk is drank, the water is used for pots, cleaning and feeding animals etc. It’s a fantastic movie simply from a day from their life.

Another good movie watched on same day was – “Village of dust, city of water” Which talks on how villages in India are suffering without water and at the same time we use water in cities so creativitly, for fountains and rain discos. Also the water from these villages is being taken away for supply in major cities thus creating scarcity there.

On the 10th of June, again Krish and I went there at 3:00 PM. One of the movies had won president’s award. There was lot of fight during discussion on that, the poor director could not answer the questions properly, partially his inability, partial the wrong type of questions. The villagers from Bihar there got outraged because of that and they scolded the director for being unable to represent their village, they even went on to comment on his president’s award and mentioned that he has not shown the complete story. The whole atmosphere got a little tensed there for a while.

That night the festival ended with an excellent film “Bara” directed by MS Sathyu. A movie on drought in district of Bidar and the corrupt politician’s controlling there. Excellent movie it is. MS Sathyu was also present there after the movie for a talk.

The festival has surely brought awareness in me on water conservation. But not only that but also the issues that our fellow countrymen are facing which never gets highlighted were brought to our notice. A gory picture of the politics behind all these issues was presented to clearly depict the corruption level in India. I am inspired by the NGO’s present there, who continuously work with these villagers for their betterment. Hope a day shall come when I decide to take a serious step on this as well, but as of now at least I can spread awareness through this blog.