Sunday, December 15, 2013


The process of painting is beautiful. I really like how my mind is constantly thinking of the painting until it is complete. There's always some debate or discussion going on in my head during this time. As mentioned earlier, our team was spinning off from our parent company and forming a new organisation. While parting, I was leaving back a few good friends I had at work. Amongst them, is Chandra, whom I have known for a long time. Our common interests and a similar sense of humour connects us almost immediately in spite of the long gaps between our reunions. So I did want to give him something special. Since he loves painting, adores Ganesha and is a passionate dancer, I choose this sketch of a dancing Ganesha created by my Guru.

 Sketching seems to be the easiest task for me. In half an hour I had my draft. 

Once the sketch was done, I began debating on what colours I should be using and how I could include some of my own changes to this sketch. As always my favourite colour scheme took the front stage. But I wanted to decide its placing on the sketch. One thing I have noticed is that a light background converges attention to a darker central subject. After giving it a thought my three main colours were decided. 

I had to use a blend for the background as using a plain colour would have made it less creative. And while blending, I realised how a round brush can blend colours much better than a flat brush that always leaves back rough strokes.

Next big task is to give this colours some shade, some effect of light; which happens to be my favourite part - The detailing.  Shading the colours to form features is something that no artist would ignore. 

Finally the minute details such as the eyes, the ornaments, the folds, intricate designs. This is where I really get stressed. The more I observe the more I could detail it and at a point, I simply have to give up and say - "I am done" because this is one process that never seems to end with a satisfaction. There is always something that could have been improved. 

So with around a total of 8 hours spread across in 3 days, I completed this work for a good friend. 

The name "Natya" was almost obvious!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Flora @ Surathkal

So as I mentioned in my previous post, I tried to relax a full day (Nov3rd) at home clicking pictures and eating good food. These are the impressions.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Sodhe Mutt, Sirsi, Banavasi

On the 1st of November when Preethi and I reached home it was 10:00 AM instead of 5:00 AM. Heavy traffic delayed the bus to start, severe traffic jam further slowed our journey and then the tyres got punctured in the western ghats. So i think murphy was somewhere in the vicinity.

ANyways, after a quick breakfast and freshening up Appa, Amma, Preethi and I left in Sadiq's vehicle. It was nice to catch up with Mangalore updates like whats happening in the family, with relatives, neighbours and friends. With only one quick stop at Byndoor for lunch in a local hotel we reached Sodhe mutt at around 5:00 PM. 

My parents love coming here and my mother always wanted me to come here and visit the Banvasi temple. So finally i almost immediately agreed to her proposal when we discussed the trip during Diwali. Sodhe mutt is located in north canara. 28 kms from Sirsi. Its one of the 8 mutts for Madhva brahmins. The place is located in midst the forest and only recently have they developed it a little by having paved roads and a big guest house, which i felt would only ruin the serene atmosphere at this place by attracting tourists who come in search of comfort. 

After freshening up we visited the temple. At 7:00 PM there is a special pooja to some spirit. Being less interested in that, i choose to click some pictures.

Soon after the pooja, devotees were served dinner after which there was nothing else to do but sleep. With cool breeze through the window and only a mat it was one of the best sleep after years.

Next morning we got up early and by 8 had delicious breakfast at the Brahmin mess near by. Home made idly and dosa was brilliant. We left around 8:30 AM to Sirsi where we visited the Marikambha temple. I loved the murals and the very attractive idol of the goddess. 

Next stop - Banavasi temple from Kadamba dynasty. Some interesting architecture to observe.

We stopped at Sirsi to try some delicacy such as Sihi avalakki, Dahi vada, Mangalore Bun etc. We thought of going to Murudeshwara but the temple was closed and it was extremely crowded so instead we stopped at Edgunji cross to try some Mosar avalakki. 

Sadiq wanted us to see this new discovery. A beautiful location called Vathinane near Byndoor, which is under forest range. They have some cottages and from top of the hill the beach looks beautiful. One could stay overnight with prior permission. 

On our way we stopped at Saligrama to visit the temple (Family god). While in Saligrama, I had to visit my aunt. They were busy packing as after 7 years of stay in South canara, they were planning to return back to Bangalore.

After two days of good travel and family time, I enjoyed the last stay staying home and clicking some pictures and reading books.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Sometimes along the way we get so busy with work and family that we almost forget what it is to party. What it is to enjoy an evening with friends, what it is to just live a day totally unplanned, as it comes.

The month of october was a treat to me. With a trip to the vineyard, trekking and a quick trip to meet family at Surathkal, the month started off with loads of fun. But what arrived unexpected was an evening at Arbour brewing company to meet fellow couch surfers. 

However the evening was nothing like my idea of socialising. I wouldn't want to meet 40 people on an evening and never get to know even one a little better. So even though the evening was fun chatting with travellers from around the world, i don't think i would return there every week.

Thanks to a French band playing at Opus and then an unplanned get-together at AFB and cloud bar, it was nice to meet up with French class friends and enjoy the moment with some tequila and good talk. 

The party mood continued at office too. With our team spinning off to form a new company several parties were arranged and as a team we danced to the DJ music! Party with CAB mates, party with "The UB group" (Team of 15 engineers who have been together since almost 8 years) and another party as an entire team.

We were to leave our Bidadi office to setup a new one in the city. Being a small team, we did most of the setting up work. I was mainly involved with the interiors of the office and every visit to the site was fun and knowledgeable. 

But then after a lot of party, you realise that it is time to settle down and get back to serious stuff. however once in a while a break such as this seems the most wanted. So for me a trip with family was awaiting. I was planning a three day trip to north canara and Mangalore. I eagerly looked forward for that to balance my emotions.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Varsha & Vibhav!

From the trek, I travelled eagerly to Surathkal to meet my Niece and nephew (Oct 14th). Having left Nittoor at around 10:00 AM, I reached Surathkal at around 2:00PM. After a delicious lunch prepared by my mother, I took a good nap until my naughty little nephew arrived at 5pm and woke me up. It was good to meet sis and the kids after a year. Vibhav and Varsha were fun to talk to.  We finished Vibhav's story that he had started the previous year and i volunteered to make an illustrated version of it. I read Varsha's story and she sketched a beautiful flower for me.

After dinner, we decided to watch the Sharada pooja march. I was able to capture some interesting images.

Next day, we left home at around 8:45AM and went to Mangalore to watch the film "Gravity". The film is amazing and could be easily called a work of art. For the first time, I actually liked a 3D  film and was happy to see that the 3D effect was effectively utilised. 

I returned to Bangalore the same night. They were leaving to Mumbai the next day and then to LA. I enjoyed every bit of my stay in Surathkal. It was great fun and a good conclusion to my long weekend.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Kodachadri Again!

To read my previous visit - Kodachandri Trek

When my colleague Prem suggested a Trek to Kodachadri during a long weekend the timing seemed so perfect that i could not refuse. Having dedicated two and half years to French learning, I had begun to miss out on real treks in the Western ghats. So with the plan allowing me to skip only one of the classes during the weekend, seemed like a great getaway. 

On Saturday, the 12th of October, at 9:30 PM, I met Prem and his German class friends at SRS bus stand. I quickly got introduced to Amrutha, Rajesh, Balaram and Priya. 

Ideally we must have taken Durgamba bus directly to Nitoor from where the home stay would have arranged a jeep to pick us up. But as we delayed the booking, seats were sold out. So instead we took a bus to Kollur. The bus reached Kollur only at 9:30 AM. Another jeep drive of 20 kilometres brought us to the home stay. A local Shetty runs this home stay. The rooms are okay but if you are a little hygiene conscious this might not be your place to stay. You can also opt to pitch tents in the front yard. 

We were ready by 12:00 PM after freshening up and breakfast. We were assigned a guide called Manju. All through the trek I recollected my story from the previous trek that I did in 2008. There are more than one ways to reach the peak. Last time we had taken the jeep route of 13kms. This time the route was via a waterfall and was supposed to take us around 4 hours. As soon as we began the walk it started to rain, so my newly bought raincoats came handy and my first trek in the rains made me feel nice.

The trail takes us up the hidlumane waterfall. It was very tricky with slippery rocks and soil. But it was challenging and interesting. 

During the trek I got to know my co-trekkers a little better. Amrutha is a marathon runner and narrated her recent trek to himalayas. Priya and Balaram are marathon runners too. Rajesh on the other hand was new to this and did find it hard but Prem kept his spirits up. 

Finally at 4 we reached the Bhatra mane area. At the now closed for renovation, guest house we had our quick lunch. 

We immediately hiked up to the peak, another 1.5km trek. Along the way we met several devotees from Kerala visiting Shankara peeta. You can take a jeep from Kollur to guest house and then walk up the last 1.5kms to the peeta. 

One of the main reasons for me to be here was to visit Chitramoola caves, where Shankara is believed to have meditated back in 8th century. I still remember the serene atmosphere from my previous trek and conversation with two swami's who lived there and their peaceful smile with a positive energy radiating from within. 

So in spite of our guide cribbing about how difficult it is and the darkness catching up, I had to visit it. Amrutha, Balaram and Prem joined me. Chitramoola is a 1.5 km trek down on other side of the peak. And its very steep so you have to run all the way down. 

A beautiful cave at a height that can be reached using a bamboo stick support. A continuous source of water from a natural spring (Origin of Sauparnika river) keeps the place always alive. However i was disappointed to see that the new two devotees resting here during ten days of dasara had brought all the facility along and the place was filled with plastic and other trash. 

But nothing can beat the view. It still felt that the beauty of this place was untouched. The mist covered and uncovered the dense Ambha vana that spread before us. After a fulfilling experience and a talk with a student from Kerala who had just arrived the previous day, we decided to return.

At the guest house we requested for a jeep. We returned from the peak at around 8:00 PM. In spite of being extra careful all along the trek, I was bitten by two leaches near the jeep stand at the guest house as we waited for the driver to replace the tires. 

The trek was amazing. We reached home, freshened up and had dinner around a camp fire. I preferred a room while others choose to pitch tents in the front yard. That night, I slept like a child.

Next morning I was up early and among others only Amratha was awake. So we decided to go on a short walk behind the home stay. Almost a kilometre into the forest we found a house. A lady came out and spoke to us. 

At 9:30, after breakfast we were dropped at Nittor where I parted from the group and started my journey towards my hometown Surathkal to meet my sister, niece and nephew.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Le Vignoble!

Over the years, I have learnt one important thing. Do not say no to anything unless you have a valid reason. Because the best happens when you least expect it. A trip to vineyard was very tempting to be rejected. So when Alliance Francaise de Bangalore announced this event, I had no second thoughts about participating in it. Sangeetha and Gowri joined my enthusiasm. 

On Sunday, the 6th of October, we met at AFB at around 7AM. It was a pleasant surprise to have Aman (A friend from French class) and Shalini (My classmate in school who studies French too at AFB) in the trip. We set off at around 7:15 towards Mysore on a bus. 

Midway during the drive, Sangeetha, Gowri, Aman, Shalini, AFB director Philippe and I moved to the back seat and began playing dumb charades. Soon we became friends with some other A2 level students - Sathya, Arshad, Mir, Ravi and Abhinandan. Anthakshari followed and suddenly the bus turned lively. We quickly bonded with our new friends and the fun continued. 

Our first stop was for breakfast at Maddur and then we took a deviation towards Talkaad. After several village routes we landed at First agro Organic farm. An ex-Army, ex-pilot, runs this place and he gave us a brief introduction to the concept. We enjoyed walking around the farm and tasting some delicious cherry tomatoes. 

While others went ahead to Alpine vineyard in the bus, Gowri, Saneetha, Aman and I drove with Nithesh on his jeep with cartons of Zucchini. We enjoyed that drive. Sitting behind the jeep and enjoying the breeze, we discussed future plans to cultivate, party and travel. 

At vineyard, Abhay, one of the employees explained us the location and different stages of Wine making. We then tasted 3 types of white wine and 3 types of red wine. I liked the first white wine i tasted as it was sweet. My preference is always Port wine.

We had some excellent starters with salads, salsa, cream and peta bread. The vegetables came from the farm and they tasted like heaven. We next drove to the vineyard where a BBQ was setup. All through our drive we laughed a lot pulling each others leg. Wine on empty stomach was doing its effect. 

After lunch, we were taught to prune the vines. We had to cut after the fourth bud. Apparently only the third and fourth produces grapes. We were assisted by several workers who guided us and laughed at our mistakes. They had good fun teasing us.

After the hard work we returned to the plant. We decided to walk back. On my way back I spoke to Abhay who had chosen to learn wine making in France. Even though he thinks that the job is not paying him much he is happy to have done what he wanted to in life.

We bought some bottles of wine. tried their pink wine and called it a day.

On the way back we enjoyed Dumb charades again and the laughs did not end till we reached Bangalore. 

What an incredible day this turned out to be. We had a great experience at the farm and the vineyard plus we got to make interesting friends and bonded even more with the friends from class.