What's Up?

 I have been away for a while now, almost a month now. Work and other activities had kept me away from writing. 


I finished a French certificate batch at the university in the end of January. I have realised that working on weekends is not for me, even though it is for a couple of hours. It limits my travels. I have decided not to continue with the university from June onwards. The communication has been already made. The holidays at the university do not match with that of the school. Also, I enjoy teaching kids and adolescents. Teaching adults is no fun. 

Most of us are conditioned so badly for years that we tend to be very conscious of our surroundings, we are filled with inhibitions and are accustomed to a certain way of acquiring knowledge. Language learning needs an open mind. Not just to learn concepts, but to accept new techniques of learning and immerse oneself in a new culture different from one’s own. I shall elaborate upon my observations  in a different post and explain how teaching adults and kids or adolescents are two different things and why the latter is more interesting. 


Whenever I got a free Saturday or a Sunday, I made sure to trek Savadurga. I also visited my favourite store on the way. It is run by a farmer who sells local produce. 

I also got to do some sketches while I was there this time.   

I got two weekends off before I begin the next certification program and I wanted to make up for all the travels I had missed. 


On Friday, the 10th of February 2023, I took an early morning bus to Tiruvannamalai. I enjoy this bus journey as it takes me to the remote places of Tamilnadu. 


At Tiruvannamalai, I got off the bus at Ramana Maharishi ashram and looked for an accommodation. The place was unusually crowded. Foreign visitors are back after Covid. The guest houses were all full. I finally found a descent guest house - Dwaraka Guest house. 


I freshened-up and took a walk to Virupaksha cave and the Skanda ashram. Every time I come here, I analyse why I keep returning to this place. Every time there has been a new answer. But, I think I have finally found the answer. 


It was at the ashram, sitting silently in the main prayer hall along with others, and observing the regular proceedings of the ashram, that I realised why I keep returning here. Neither it is to find solitude, which I can easily get on a mountain top, nor it is due to some imaginary cosmic energy. It is to silently be part of a community, a gathering that is simplistic in its very nature. It is a community that has no interaction and no rules. It is all about being in a state of awareness.  I sit there along with the others, yet I am alone with my thoughts; just like everyone else. That is the beauty. 

I visited Samudram, a lake close to Ashram. It would be great to visit this place during sunset. 

I tried a few local food joints for dinner and lunch. I enjoy the food here - Specially the idlis and dosas of Tamilnadu with their tasty tomato chutney. Saturday, I trekked the Parvathamalai. I will comeback with a separate post on that. 

Sunday morning, I watched a few locals milking a cow by shooing away the calf. In another situation, a calf tried to drink the milk of the cow while they were being taken back home by a lady. She hit the calf with a stick to separate it from the mother but the calf went back to suck the nipples. These two images stayed with me and I finally made the decision to become vegan.

I had been contemplating about this for a long time. The way dairy industry works, the way we forcibly impregnate the cows every other year and extract milk from it, which belongs to the calves has been bothering me ever since I read “Tabbali ninu Adey magane” (Orphaned) by S L Bhyrappa. Moreover, since the male calves are no more useful for tilling, they end up in slaughter houses. 

This feeling of discomfort found traction when I read Gandhi and how he stopped consuming cow milk for the same reason. To support this, I met a professor at the university who has been vegan since 2 years now. She gave me a few tips and told me that it wasn't that difficult.

These two images on a single day, acted as the final straw. I am now a vegan! I do not desire for curd, paneer/cheese, kova, ghee or butter at this age. I have replaced the milk used for my morning tea with almond or peanut milk. That’s about it. Everything else remains same.  I feel good.