Monday, 17 August 2009

What does Independence Day mean to you?

This text was flashing in the LCD screen as I waited near the lift in my office building on Aug 15, 2009. Despite being a Saturday, I had to come to the office to start fresh some tasks which had to be demonstrated the coming Wednesday. We are good indeed, known for the last minute rush, huge planning, a chain of workarounds and what not – all of it just a couple of days before any serious presentation. But yes, none of our demos even look like our earlier ones. So here I was again in the office preparing for another demo saga.

Did I miss the main thread here? I remember quite clearly the independence days which I had celebrated in different stages of my life. I’m proud of one thing – I never missed to go to school on an Independence Day or a Republic day. No, it’s not for the laddoo they give, but I really liked to dress up in pure white and stand for the assembly singing all the known patriotic songs in varied languages, to prepare the flags and bands the previous night to wear to school for the occasion, to see all the cultural events in school, repeated year after year – same songs, same dress, same teachers – only the faces of the kids change. Every year new set of Gandhis, Chachajis and Bhagath Singhs adore the stage. Still the feel was great. This day has another advantage that both my mom and dad will be at home when we go back home before lunch from school. After that it was a routine to watch Roja(Tamil) for the nth time.

I vividly remember the day when Ji was participating in a fancy dress and she didn’t have anything ready for the day – leave the costume, we didn’t even have a national flag by 11 O’clock in the morning. One hour of rush, four of us stormed in four directions, got the things, draped her in a white saree, did a li’l make up, I painted the flag in a chart paper and by afternoon our Bharat Mata was ready. This was for a competition organized by the railway school if I remember correctly. She didn’t win a prize but we thoroughly enjoyed the back stage activities.

As years passed, the day became less and less activity filled. There was not even a flag hoisting ceremony in our office. Except for the big images of tricolour in the newspapers and of course a few people wearing it in their wrists, there was apparently no change. It was just another day. This is one of the many things that I miss being one among the geek gang. If I was at home, I would have at least noticed a difference. There would be flag hoisting events in every nook n corner. Thanks to the Indian Railways, they have a divisional office in Palakkad and the associated buildings like the Railway school, The Railway hospital, The IOW, All trade Union offices the list goes on. These are the things in close vicinity to my home and I wouldn’t have missed the occasion. At least not the march past followed by the dog show of the RPF (Railway Protection Force).

Now if I sound like a typical IT employee shamelessly complaining about everything I see and still willingly doing the very same thing, I’m sorry.

With all due respect to the legendary freedom fighters, I salute the nation on its 62nd Independence Day. Jai Hind!

Monday, 10 August 2009


A good choice for a small outing (min 2 days). We went there last weekend. We were 7 of us and the trip was awesome. The stay was cool and food was amazing….
Just takes 5 hours to reach Coorg (Kushal Nagar being the entry point) from Bangalore. The roads are quite good and we do have decent eat outs on the way. The place as such looks like a small town in Kerala but for the Kannada boards and hoardings. Coorg has to its credit a great choice of Home stays for us to pick. Most of them offer you great scenic ambience in an affordable rate ~ 2k per room per day. The main attraction of these is the food they make suiting the needs of the guest. For people who are interested, they offer local wine that too in affordable rates.

Since we had very less time at our disposal, we chose to make the trip as less hectic as possible.

We started with the Golden Temple in Bylakuppe which is a big Tibetian Monastery. It is in Kushal Nagar itself. The road which leads to the temple is fully surrounded by corn fields. You feel like you are in Tibet. Bylakuppe has several Buddhist viharas, (temples)
The inhabitants, the hotels, the shops, things which they sell, the names of shops and hotels will be more in their style. You will be able to spot monks from Kushal Nagar junction itself.

The Monastery is really huge with accommodation facility on request. It is the second largest Tibetan settlement outside the mountain kingdom, the first being Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh, where the Dalai Lama lives. And you will be able to see their prayers and rituals if you go in the right time. Language is a big problem as they won’t understand a single word of English (I badly wanted to take a snap with one of them, but didn’t know how to ask.) Most of them will give a hearty welcoming smile and that’s it.
A little bit of googling will reveal that there inhabitants there are not the actual citizens of India and that they will have to renew their residence permit every year. They are just Tibetian refugees in exile and are taken care of by the Government of Tibet. It’s good to see the bright colors and golden paints flashing from everywhere once you get into the temple. Their walls are covered with paintings and roofs are colored gold. They have the custom of lighting lamps; their prayed are echoed by rhythmic subtle beats. Everything around including the attire of the monk is bright and colourful. Once you get out of the temple, you have enough shopping outlets where you can get classic Tibetian souvenirs.

Abbey falls – not the biggest or the largest, but since we went in the monsoon season, the water flow was very high and it looked really majestic. It’s around 10 Kms from Madikeri. The waterfall could be seen only from a distance from the hanging bridge since the pathway down was closed ---safety first!

Rajah’s Seat is a small garden offering great scenic view especially the sunset. Legend has it that the local kings of Coorg spent their leisure time here watching the sunset. But since we went in the late morning, we missed the sun set but it really gave a good view from top.

Dubare Elephant Camp Coorg – This is an elephant camp which has close to 150 elephants. We didn’t get inside - No one who has for once seen Guruvayoor Aanakotta would dare to go anywhere else just to see Indian elephants. Beside this camp flows the river Kaveri where you can do river rafting. Now that’s something that we missed but there should be something to do when you go there the next time!

Nisargadhama, a wild life sanctuary is a good spot not to be missed (Beware, there will be monkeys that might scare you). You have resorts inside the sanctuary and it’s nice to see the bamboos neatly grouped giving a good path way to venture through.

We were done for the day after all this and had to start back home. But this trip was indeed a memorable one. Not to mention the Dump charade, the best being Agrahaarathile kazhudha, Kalli chellamma, pakshe and avan chandiyude makan

Nami’s dialogue over the dinner table – the besttttest. For security reasons, I’m not publishing it here. None of us will forget it very soon, especially Kiran, alle Kiran? ;)

Akkru – the best performer. You held the spirits high throughout the trip!!!

Jisha – I have said this before but now in front of a larger audience – you are the best accountant and will continue to be our Finance manager in future.

So I leave the rest for others to complete …

Just like that ...

I have not yet decided on a particular topic to scribble down in this post. It’s just that I’m left with nothing interesting to do on a Monday morning and just decided to write anything that comes to my mind. Oh yes, I was thinking about autobiographies. I believe that only people who have the habit of writing diaries can one day think about writing an autobiography. Otherwise how the hell are they able to remember all the intricate details of a person/incident? Diary writing is something I cherish a lot, attempted quite a number of times and finally decided that it’s not my cup of tea. Well the main reason being the fact that I didn’t feel that I will ever be able to confide everything what I think when I write. Alas, what’s the point in stuffing up hidden meanings in a beautifully crafted sentence just because someone might end up turning the pages of your secret chamber?

Last weekend was another usual one. No happenings. Decided to meet old school pals but thanks to the hartal, I was forced to sit in my room. So once again - movie, movie and again movie. Started with Shakespeare-MA Malayalam, then Sarvam, the Notebook and Love Actually.

Shakespeare-MA Malayalam
: It’s more of a drama than a movie. Avoid.

Sarvam – I took the CD assuming that it would be a not very popular Surya movie.
The side view of Arya in that green shirt which appears in the movie poster makes him look very similar to Surya. But the movie as such didn’t disappoint me. It started as any usual Tamil movie – pathetic comedy and stupid romance. But I got very curious when the heroine dies in the first half and after that it’s interesting. Arya’s movies have a minimum standard I believe…. Except for his voice of course!

The Notebook – I rather not dare to comment on a classic like this. Having read Nicholas Sparks four novels, I had a minimum level of expectation set on my mind. I find his writings to be total filmy kind. And I had heard enough reviews from friends about this. This one is really worth a watch – A very cute love story.

Love Actually – Complete Masala. To be watched with friends.

And did I mention anywhere that I saw Love Aaj Kal last weekend. A time pass movie with great songs. Was really shocked to find that the Punjabi kudi in that movie is actually a Brazilian Model. She looks very much Indian.

So that’s all from me for now, but keep watching – I’m gonna come with a BIG writeup on our Coorg holiday.