Friday, August 17, 2007

… And then, the teardrop cried

The teardrop was talking excitedly to his brethren, the spirit of adventure burning brilliantly in his heart. “I have decided to go on seeking the unknown; the World, strewn with surprises, mysteries, adventures beckons me, this typical life is surely not for me. We only get a lifetime, which I believe is inequitable given the fact that is there is so much on this earth, yet undiscovered, but nevertheless I would make the most of my time I have, I am starting now.”

As the teardrop announced this, the fellow tears looked at him in alarm, they had feared this for quite sometime now, but still the finality with which he had announced his decision had taken them by surprise. An elderly teardrop tried to dissuade him “My son, you know not what monstrous creatures abound in this world, beasts that can swallow anything in a gulp, beasts that can breathe fire and reduce anything to ash, beasts that are huge…” but he was cut short “These are all nothing but figments of our imagination and I am no coward to be intimidated by the unseen, I am going for sure.”

The elderly teardrop looked hurt but did not snap back. Having said this as he made to go, already feeling guilty at having talked so rudely, he was stopped by the pleading voice of his friend, a teardrop he had grown up with and with whom he had spent many salad days. “Won’t you miss us all? Don’t you enjoy it out here? We will miss you.” He blurted out with difficulty. His heart went out to his friend but there was nothing he could do to alleviate his pain. “Of course I will miss you! I might even come back from time to time. But I don’t know where life would take me and so won’t give you false hope. But the memories of you all would never leave my heart, you will always remain with me and I with you.” He said hoarsely as he hugged his friend, voice barely coming out of his throat, because even he was saddened by the thought that he might never see his friends again.

He thought he had inured himself for this moment, but he had not imagined that it would be so difficult. As he started to go, waving to his brethren with a smile on his face, ready to take the plunge. All the fears, which had stopped him for so long, which he thought he had long since overcome, came back to him in a whoosh. The happy expression on his face belied the turmoil within. “You are a dunce, an absolute dunce. Why would anyone leave this peaceful life for a life of utter uncertainty? You would be completely alone in the big bad world, completely alone! It is not late even now, your brethren would be more than happy if you decide to stay back, think!” said a voice from within. But then, another voice, which was more assuring, spoke “This is what you have always wanted to do, to explore, to discover…you would always live with an incompleteness if you don’t do this now. And don’t be scared, you would make friends on the way, you would not be alone.”

Pacified a little, he slipped out of the eye of the sailor he was contained in. And as he fell he could hear the increasing thunder of the sea beneath him, see its mighty waves crashing on the ship’s hull. Scared to death he closed his eyes, submitting to his fate, nothing could be done now, nothing! Then he felt himself being gripped in a tight embrace, “Welcome, Welcome, my brother! What brings you here? And why are you so out of color, tiny fella?” inquired the sea with concern. With his eyes barely open, the teardrop looked around, he was perfectly safe, and the sea didn’t look even a wee bit menacing from close. A warm feeling of relief swept over him, he had been right after all, the world is not all that bad as it made to be, he hugged the sea (who rolled his eyes in amusement at this.) even more tightly now, and then out of relief and happiness, the teardrop cried.

Monday, August 13, 2007


The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

From 'Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening' by Robert Frost.

P.S.- The pic was taken during the Brahmagiri trek, our guest house was in the middle of nowhere with woods overlooking it. And the pic was not taken early in the morning though it looks so, Brahmagiri was misty all round the day.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A trip to Ranganathittu, Somnathpur and Shivasamudram

Last weekend I had gone on a one-day tour with my colleagues, Neeti and Amod. The tour was organized by KSTDC and covered three places near Mysore; Ranganathittu, Somnathpur and Shivasamudram. Here is a detailed description.

Ranganathittu bird sanctuary

The tour started off with Ranganathittu, a small bird sanctuary around 10 Kms from Mysore.The sanctuary has a lake with a group of islets, which are home to many exotic bird species and more so during the monsoon. I was initially skeptical about the boat ride, as our guide had informed us that the place is infested with muggers or the Indian marsh crocodile. But the sight of hundreds of birds flocking on the islets and the thought of watching them from even close made me change my mind instantly.

The boat we hired didn’t look like it could carry ten people but it did, and to think that this guy steers it everyday in a croc infested lake, he sure is brave!

The ride offered many such picturesque views, and the birds flying majestically and their कलरव made it even more beautiful.

A couple of painted storks, but their private moment didn’t last for long as they were joined by more of their kind after I clicked this pic.

Actually sleeping or pretending to sleep? Crocs are very good at pretense I am told; remember the phrase ‘crocodile tears’.

A cattle egret, our guide was right after all, he said it was an egret but I thought otherwise.

The boat ride lasted for around half an hour; the other birds spotted were white ibises, cormorants, open billed storks and little egrets. The sanctuary also has a viewing tower but the birds are best viewed from the boat ride.

Keshava temple, Somanathpura

After stopping for lunch at the ‘Ideal restaurant’ in Mysore, we headed for Somnathpura temple, which is around 40 kms from Mysore. The Keshava temple at Somanathpura was built in the 13th century and is almost completely well preserved. It is an excellent example of the unique Hoysala architecture also seen in the Belur-Halebid temples. It’s a dead temple though, as the deities are defaced and so no religious rituals are performed, but that in no way diminishes the splendor of the monument.

The infinite, bound.

The temple is star shaped a characteristic of Hoysala architecture and has three sancta, the idols of Keshava, Janardhana and Venugopala adorning each sanctum. The Keshava idol seen in the pic is not the original; the original idol it seems is gracing a British museum.

Notice the attention given to detail; the elaborately carved canopy under which the deity stands, each and every jewel chiseled flawlessly, the eyes and the curve of the eyelashes. It’s almost unbelievable that the idol has survived such an immense span of time so perfectly well.

The pillar is one among many inside the temple, each circle chiseled so perfectly and intricately, as if they were turned on a lathe. The lace like feel is because of chlorite the stone used to build the temple.

Bejeweled elephants adorn the platform on which the temple stands. The platform is broad allowing the visitors to perform pradakshina of the temple. The temple is enclosed within a courtyard, with steps leading to the temple and to the chambers along the wall.

Motifs on the outer wall to make sure that the pradakshina in no way gets boring.

I will also remember the temple for the audacious crows that reside here, one crow had the cheek to snatch a biscuit right from my hand! I actually felt its beak and feathers! I promptly threw the biscuit packet I was holding lest I would be attacked again, and the crow happily flew away with the packet!

Shivasamudram Waterfalls (aka Shivanasamudram, bluff, shimsha)

Our last stop was Shivasamudram; it’s the name given collectively to the twin falls Gaganchukki and Bharachukki formed by the Cauvery River. They are second highest waterfalls in India. The two falls lie at a distance of 1 Km from each other; we could only manage to visit the fiercer of the two, Gaganachukki. Shivasamudram is also famous for the first hydro station in Asia; it was built in 1902 but is closed to visitors.

Gosh! So much water! Notice the tiny specks on the rocks on the left side; people look even smaller than insects. We could only witness the waterfall from the viewing gallery , you can go close to the waterfalls from the Dargaah side. But there is no way you can enter the waters without coming out alive, the force of the current is tremendous, as the water strikes the rock the dense mist itself rises to several feet.

This is the other stretch of Gaganchukki, which looks rather calm and has comparatively lesser volume of water. But look at the height from which the water tumbles, it’s easily above 300 feet.

Just uploaded the video of the waterfall on youtube, watch it here.(listen to the gurgling and splashing waters!)

We started for Bangalore at around six, the bus journey was nothing short of a roller coaster ride due to the fact that we had got the last seats .The oldies playing from Neeti’s and Amod’s cell were intermittently impinged by shouts of ouchs. We were lucky that though it had been raining constantly for last few days, we didn’t meet heavy rains on the day of our tour else the trip would have been marred completely.

Monsoons is a good time to see waterfalls, they’re in full splendor because of the rains, you will miss out on the fun of playing in water, but the spectacular sight you witness will more than make up for it. There are many waterfalls around Bangalore and I have decided to make the most of my time by visiting as many I can during monsoons. Will keep you all updated, till then!

Happy Traveling!

Ranganathittu, Somnathpur and Shivasamudram Album

P.S.- The names of birds are as told by our guide(or Khevaiyya) and some of the historical info about the temple and Hoysala architecture is googled.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Misty eyed

The right eye was winking rapidly eagerly drinking in the beautiful vistas of the hillside. “Wow! This is great! What a welcome relief from the daily bore?” it said to its neighbor. The left eye, who was barely able to keep itself open, yawned.“Hmph, It’s like any other hillside, I would be rather sleeping peacefully back home.”

“But the mountains veiled by mist look heavenly. It looks more like a painting in water color crafted by a divine hand, hey lefty have a look man!” Said the right eye. The mention of painting seemed to have aroused the left eye (lefty had an eye for paintings) it goggled around excitedly but then settled down in disappointment. “Are you wearing the contacts? Because I see a pretty normal sight, a few clouds shrouding the distant hill yes, but no mist covering the hill in front of us.”

“Of course I have the contacts on, I ain’t of much use without them, and you know that very well. But this is strange, isn’t it, we don’t disagree normally.” Said the right eye. “There could only be two possible explanations, either I am wrong or you are wrong, simple.” Offered the left eye. “Truth has many faces my friend and all the faces are well…true, it’s just a matter of perspective, you see. And anyways I can’t be wrong lefty, I am the ‘right ’ eye, remember.” added the right eye in an attempt to joke. But the left eye was in no mood “Of course you are always right, righty, you are becoming some kind of a philosopher too, I should say. I would have lent an ear to your philosophies, but as I am the left eye, I would appreciate if I would be left alone, do you get that?” saying this the left eye settled for the droopy gaze, which was its favorite.

The mote that was the cause of all this trouble (It was the mote, which had made the right eye all watery, and caused it to believe that the mountains were veiled in mist.) had enjoyed the conversation so far. But after the eyes had stopped talking, it was getting bored and so it silently left the right eye alongwith a teardrop. And as far as the eyes are concerned, both of them were so miffed after that day that to this very date, they don’t see each other in the eye.

P.S. This post was an attempt to play with words and phrases, so it’s fine if you are not able to make head or tale out of it. (Ya, I know it’s tail not tale.) I know my posts are getting weirder by the day, but you would’ve to bear with them for some more time coz’ I still have a lot of weird story ideas bubbling inside me waiting to come out.