Saturday, June 27, 2015

Le Gamin Et Le Minion

I paint only when I want to and perhaps thus this process gives me immense pleasure. This time it was to gift a dear friend at work who was quitting the company. I affectionately call him « the kid in red ». The word kid here is meant metaphorically relating to childlike enthusiasm, innocence and liveliness that unfortunately very few can sustain till adulthood. And the colour red having its own significance.

Considering my friends buoyant personality and the metaphorical references that I draw from it, it was clear that the kid in red had to feature in my painting. He had to wear a red shirt and had to hold onto a red balloon as a symbolism (Well, it did not necessarily have to be a red ballon. It could have as well been a treasured and preserved jar of home made pickle). But that did not seem to complete this painting. Something was missing; with that which shall attract the kids attention and curiosity resulting in a display of enthusiasm. Minion seemed like an appropriate choice that always appears to live in the moment and enjoy the simplest of pleasures. The video of the minion and the banana came to my mind and I knew almost immediately what could complete this painting. The minion attracts the kid into the moment as he still holds on to his favourite red balloon.  

The colours were almost decided but I experimented a little with the minion based out of a reference I found on the internet. 

In a single stretch of five hours, the painting was completed. 

On a surface-level, a painting might not be apparent as might be a speech. But if we take a moment and observe every subtlety involved, it is shocking to notice that paintings can convey the emotions that a speech can only ruin and words can never do justice to. Because a speech would dilute away with the emotion, with the moment, with the time and losing eventually its significance but art seems to lock the emotions forever and tend to remind us of who we once were and how we once felt; even if time has changed and we have moved on.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Savandurga Trek Again

This day, began very early. Gautam, whom we thought needed  wake up calls,  called me at around 4:40 AM to tell me that he was awake and would shortly leave to pick up Prajna. I called Rohit to check if he was ready. By 6AM All four including Pradyumn were at my place. After a cup of tea, we left in my car towards our meeting point on Mysore road where we met  20 other colleagues of ours. We had idly for breakfast and headed towards Savandurga. Gautam insisted on taking the Manchinbele dam route; so we did that. The view of the backwaters as you climb down the hill was formidable and called for some pictures.

After crossing the dam we took a right deviation towards Savandurga. There are several ways to reach Savandurga that google maps sure can help you with but this one is very beautiful and would pass through small villages, narrow roads and lush surroundings. 

We had a small incident on this road with a collision between two cars. But it was sorted out very quickly and the damages were not major. 

We reached Savandurga base by 8:30 AM. The trail is almost evident and there were already several trekkers on their way up. There are arrow marks on the rocks to guide you as well. The climb is slightly difficult in the beginning as they are steep but we took our time. 

The view of the surrounding villages was beautiful. Monsoon showers had turned the place so green that it made a spectacular sight. 

This is my second visit here. The post on previous trek could be found Here.

I tried to share my trek time with both the fast climbers and the slow first time trekkers. In doing so, for a while in between, I was alone. That was when I came across this small collection of water with a colourful plant at its centre, swaying to the wind. I took a small video in which you shall see or hear several simultaneous occurrences. A rhythmical movement of the plant, reflection of the blue sky, a dragon fly passing by, a bird chirp, a tadpole kissing the surface of the water and creating ripples. There was something very alluring about this moment that I don’t think I can ever decode. Perhaps it is not important either. 

We reached the summit at around 10:30 AM and shared some food - Buns, Banana, chips and bread. Sandeep played some music on the mandolin enriching further this perfect atmosphere to relax. 

Climbing down was easy and faster. The climb and return was filled with interesting conversations and laughs but it would be laborious and most of all pointless to list them  down here. But something that was surprising and possibly unheard of and thus gaining prominence to be recorded is that two goats at the summit got over friendly with us. They tried to grab buns out of our hands, bags and even mouth. They accompanied us on our way back and gave occasional push by its head or its stomach. Which was funny because it appeared as if they were trying to push us down the cliff but I thought it was perhaps their way of expressing friendship like a "high five" or a "fist bump". So, I returned one and they never showed up near me again. Perhaps I was wrong or may be I did not do it right. 

A Tender coconut stall was very inviting at the base.  After that we dispersed in our respective cars. We stopped at a KFC to grab a quick lunch before returning home. 

It is interesting to notice that an event does not summarise itself in the duration of its occurrence. It perhaps would have begun much earlier. For example a trek cannot be encapsulated by narrating the events of that particular day when it took place. It must have originated long before as an idea or a discussion and then traveled with the minds of people who were part of it and followed different subplots to reunite again on the day of the event but only to diverge again. All I want to say is that it would be inappropriate to think that this story begins and ends with the day of the trek. From the origin of the idea to its different interpretations, to the execution and its memories and may be repercussions, the story shall continue; may it be in the discussion where the idea originated,  the reason behind someones acceptance to join, the story behind the food that was brought, the drink that was prepared, spectacular views that it bestowed, the sun burns and pain that was brought back, in what this trek meant for each one of us, the viewing of the pictures, a conversation recollecting them all after several years and God knows how many other such branches would finally complete this story that from a surface level may seem so simple. This post could only be a tiny part of that story of this trek. And then my thoughts orient back to the stagnant water where I might have made only a surface level observation. There is so much more to it than what I saw or felt and yet we tend to presume that we have ceased the moment. Therefore it would only be right to say; as appropriately conveyed in the movie Boyhood -  It is always the moment that ceases us. If that was a confusing stream of consciousness, it was meant to be thus!

This one’s for you kid!

Friday, June 12, 2015


So after lunch at a restaurant near Nisargadhama, we headed to Hunsur. On our way we stopped at the Tibetan settlement at Bylakuppe.I had previously visited here in 2006 and explored this settlement over a weekend. (Here) Since then, I have visited here a couple of times and its a different world out there. I never get tired of observing the details in the paintings, beautiful sculptures and intricate design. We spent some time admiring the magnificent architecture. 

On our way back, we stopped at Hunsur. My Brother-in-law hails from this town and we stopped there to visit his family. Next, we drove straight to Ramanagara where we had our dinner at Kamat Yatrinivas and then returned back home by around 10pm. 

This trip around Somwarpet was excellent. I had never explored this part of Coorg before and the trip surprised us every time with a new and different type of attraction that this place hides. From waterfalls to discovering the Dolmens; from elephant camps to river crossing; from driving to the summits to reaching the rivers filled with friendly fishes, this trip was an "all in one" kind of a package. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Cauvery Nisargadhama

I had never been to Nisargadhama before. Not that I wanted but that we were anyway so close by (Near Dubare elephant camp), I decided to stop by. The place is supposedly an amusement park but has less to amuse you. It was terribly crowded as well. 

You have options such as boating, Zip-line and elephant rides. We took a walk around the park. The wooden tree houses were impressive.

A couple of animals around pose for good photographs. And a few painted trees give this place a lively appearance.

Varun and Deeku enjoyed the Zip-line. 

Its not a great place but if you are around, no harm stopping by. Also most of the shops there sell home made chocolates here. I won't say they are tasty though. 

Dubare Elephant Camp

Next morning, we left the home stay at around 9 AM and headed towards Dubare Elephant camp near Kushalanagar. On our way we saw a domesticated pig relaxing beside the road. First we thought it was injured but a villager told us that they tied sticks around its neck so that it would not enter the fenced areas of a farm and eat or spoil the crops.

I choose to drive via Harangi dam and backwaters. The drive was scenic despite a dearth of water in the river.  

At Dubare camp too the water had dried and so we did not need a boat to reach the island were elephants are trained. We crossed the river by foot. Lots of tourists followed one another stepping carefully over slippery rocks to reach the island. It was challenging and adventurous. Deeku and Varun enjoyed it a lot and so did we grown-ups. 

At the island, the elephants were taking a good shower. The Mahoots were cleaning them as they lay relaxing. Some were naughty to spray water on the tourists. A little one was camera shy and hid itself behind its mother. 

We then took a walk around the area where the other elephants are trained. One of the elephants was undergoing rigorous training to move logs; perhaps a way to tame them.

Looking at the crowd, we decided to skip the elephant ride which anyway was a small round around the area and was rather unimpressive. The river crossing again was lot of fun.