Monday, August 27, 2007

Carnival of Kerala



Onam, the festival of Kerala is here... It is part of the cultural repertoire of every Malayalee - a festival that celebrates a happy blend of myth and reality. It brings back nostalgic memories of a bygone era of prosperity, equality and righteousness.. This season the whole state comes alive with activities. To add to that nature is divinely beautiful and every inch of Kerala becomes lush green with the spring season. Flowers bloom in plenty and butterflies bring a rainbow of colour. And there is festivity in the air with people decorating their houses with `Pookalam´(floral arrangements on floor) to welcome Mahabali.. The smell of "Onakodi"(new dress) which is eagarly awaited for.. A time for prayers and ceremonies, a time to celebrate and rejoice, a time for fun and sports.. Then the grand lunch - sumptuous multi-course meal served on a banana leaf comprising more than 10 dishes. From the crisp banana chips to the assorted pickles to the vegetable dishes - each dish with it's own unique taste - be it sweet, sour, spicy or piquant. I feel everything about Onam reflects the Keralite's zest for all the beautiful things of life..

Wishing you and family a very happy and enjoyable Onam.. :)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Felt like sharing this..

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.


We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill...

Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.

Remember, to say, 'I love you' to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

AND ALWAYS REMEMBER :

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away..

Monday, August 20, 2007

The transition..

Purpose of the Trip
Then : "We should cover as many places as possible"
Now : "We should just relax and "Chill"!!"

Frequency of trips

Then : "How about this week? We didn't go anywhere last week"
Now : "We went only 2 months back na"

Planning for the trip
Then : Detailed planning by Date,Time,From,Destination,Distance,Duration of journey,Reach by what time, Stay for how many hrs etc
Now : "We will decide the itinerary on the fly"


Kind of stay
Then : "Resorts? Isn't it for honeymooners? Anyway not for travellers like us. We just need a bed to sleep in the night"
Now : "Is the place good enough to relax? What about the ambiance? We might be spending the entire day there"

Room rent

Then : Rs. 500/- per room to be shared by 2-3 people
Now : Rs. 1500-2000/- per Head per day

Food
Then : Anything will do
Now : Food is the highlight


Treks
Then : "Tough trek? Yeh it's a challenge. We'll do it."
Now : "Moderate trek? Nope I can't manage"


Camera
Then : Film PoS , Film SLR
Now : DSLR , Digital PoS

No. Of Photos
Then : Snaps from 2-5 film rolls per head all of which were shared with everyone
Now : 300-5000 snaps in total out of which only 10-20 percent will be shared

If you are wondering what is it all about, it's just a peek into how our "Travel gang" transformed over the years. This gang consists of a group of seasoned travellers most of us from the same office. This "special interest group" was formed way back in 2003 in a training room as a result of our struggle to fight sleep ;) The first successful trip was in 2003 Oct to Wayanad with 10 members and there was not a single person in the group who knew everyone else!! That trip was a huge success in spite of the diverse group and troubles we had with the TT and it's driver.. There was no looking back after that. The gang continued it's journey almost every other weekend and covered almost all places in and around Bangalore most of them multiple times. Of course apart from the "core group" there were some additions and subtractions for each of the trips. Over the course of time the core group also expanded and the initial core members passed the baton (organising part) to some of the new entrants who managed to break the South India territory and took the gang to the top of the world (Leh).

But of late the frequency of the trips has came down drastically. It took us almost 4 months to plan for a trip after the Sikkim Trip that happened in April.. People who know us will certify that this indeed is a very long gap ;) In the last few trips some or other used to be missing and so the goal for this trip was to make sure that everyone could make it.. Finally after much discussions and more discussions , the gang - all the 8 of us - went to Nagarhole this weekend. It was a good trip and we had fun royally. But if you ask me what were the highlights of the trip I have to say "Dumb charades" :P Though we went for a futile safari, most of the trip was spend in the homestay itself which was really wonderful. We have stayed in 3-4 other homestays in Coorg, but this one is really nice . This house is in the midst of a 50 acre coffee estate behind Brahmagiri hills. We took a stroll in the green coffee plantations, walked along the paddy fields , played in the stream flowing behind the estate and devoured the mouthwatering dishes.. But alas all good things come to an end.. Before we realized it, our precious two days in those beautiful vistas came to a close and we were back in the urban rut yet again.. :(

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Yet another day,

but it happened to be my birthday...

When I was small, I didn't know what a Birthday means, thanks to my parents who never believed in celebrations.. And one day during my KG years, I came back from school and demanded that I should distribute sweets in the class next day. I was so fascinated by the attention the kid, dressed in a pretty frock, was getting from both teachers and other friends. Then my parents explained to me that it would be their birthday and I should be distributing sweets only on my B'day. I have no idea whether I really understood what it means.. But from that day I started waiting for my birthday.. And finally when my turn came I was too excited.. An escape from the routine uniform, going proudly to school with the box of chocolates ,thoroughly enjoying the attention from everybody... You would get some new friends on that day and not to mention the fawning, just to get one extra chocolate!

In my early teens, the childish excitement had worn off.. Many a birthdays passed by without anyone (including me) remembering it.. In college , friends started taking up the b'days which meant I would be wished promptly and I even got nice cards and gifts.. They took pains to get the most appropriate gift and the excitement of opening the packet and guessing what is inside - it was fantastic.. Before that I never knew the concept of giving b'day gifts coz I never got any.. Once I was invited for a b'day party of my classmate. Since that was my first time ever, I went there wished her and came back. But I never realised the meaning of the odd look she gave me when I went there empty handed.. Anyway she never called me again :)

When I moved out of home, birthdays started at midnight - calls , wishes , cake cutting.. Sneaking into the dormitory when the lights were off to have a get together (no one was allowed to enter other rooms and so had to really sneak in). In office also there used to be cake cutting , sweet distribution , treat to friends , and not to mention the cake facial.. And then an inbox full of mails and e-cards. At times you will be in for some sweet surprises as well.. Someone long-forgotten calls you or someone totally unexpected turns up or someone just goes an extra mile to make you feel special..

I stopped awaiting birthdays a long time back.. I don't buy b'day clothes any longer, I don't expect gifts any longer.. In fact I am not sure whether I really want another birthday to approach, considering the fact that it's menacingly taking me away from youth.. But still, it's an important day and is always special.. And today was exceptional because I partied, that too with 600 people.. The physical exhaustion of running around everywhere without any proper food for two days can't be put into words.. But the sweetness of Happy B'day Song that the small ones sang,the smile on their faces.. It totally made up for everything.. What more can I ask for?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Yeh Dosti

Today is World Friendship Day.. The day that marks celebrations of friendship all over the world..

When I wished a friend today, he was asking why do you need a day for that. It's true that we really don't need a day to celebrate a concept like 'friendship'. But how many of us really connect with our friends every day unless of course they are geographically close and you have to interact with them in your day-to-day activities? If I have to be true to myself, I should say I have failed miserably here.. I guess keeping in touch proves to be the biggest challenge that any friendship goes through. It can be a course of study, a job opportunity or a family decision that takes you away from your close buddies, but the distance does tear apart the bonds of friendship. Probably that's what we can do on this day. Celebrate this Friendship Day by taking a pledge to never lose touch with your old pals..

Happy Friendship Day every one.. Let the beautiful hues of friendship colour your life and make it bountiful in joy..

Thursday, August 02, 2007

A Forced sabbatical...

...kept me away from the blog, and the internet in general, many thanks to BSNL.. It's been more than a week since the entire series (including the complaint no) have gone out of order supposedly because of some cable fault. Interestingly, whenever I call the exchange, I get the assurance that it will be done "by today evening". But somehow this "today evening" never seems to be coming. So I decided to forget about it and stay in my cocoon for another week. Hopefully that should be enough and they won't test my patience further.. Anyway I don't have a choice here right?

In office, my hands are completely full and I could hardly sneak out some personal time. I have read your comments for the previous posts, but haven't replied yet. I am not able to visit your spaces either. Bloglines is informing me about all your new posts. I feel a little out of touch with the outside world. Hopefully I'll try to get back on track with that. And yesterday, when I opened my personal mail account after a week, there were around 150+ unread mails. Though most of them were newsletters or forwards I had no idea I was getting so many mails every day. No wonder my evenings are always in front of the comp ;) So If you are wondering what I am upto in the evenings now a days (I don't have to write blogs or read mails/blogs u see), here are some of my latest activities..

Last week was completely devoted to Harry Potter. I liked this book better than some of the earlier versions. Earlier, I was disappointed with the meandering Order of The Phoenix and the flabby Half-blood Prince. But in Deathly Hallows, Rowling is back in form and has proved that she is the mistress of story telling. The length of the book is just right with not many repetitions, yet enough to refresh things in your mind. The plot is well crafted with adequate shocks to keep the interest going.. The young boys and girls have grown up into fierce warriors and the book is filled with actions and bloodsheds which makes me wonder whether it still qualifies as a "children's book". In any case, this journey into the magical world was memorable and the experience has been well worth it.. But now that the end of the road has reached and I'm back to the muggle world, a tinge of sadness remains.. I'm going to miss those days where I used to sit up till 3 am to finish a book (and made my aunt wonder whether I'm reading for some important exam).

Now that the book is over, what else am I doing? Of course I have my own pile of other "to-be-read" books and my unfinished craft works. But I have taken up another project, but is kind of apprehensive.. Yet I have decided to give it a shot.. Anyway I'll let you know about it once I am ready with some "deliverables" :P Keep waiting..
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