Saturday, January 31, 2009

Kelageri Kere

One evening I went to Kelageri Lake for a walk...

Buffaloes were getting bathed.



The lake bund is the best place to walk on.


An ancient structure housing the sluice gate.



To know more visit Kelageri Lake.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Kemmangundi

1991 July

Through with final year engineering exams, it was a relief and I was looking forward to a break. Anish, Deepak and I planned a trip to Kemmangundi… we decided to take Anish’s KB100, Deepak’s Hero Puch and my Kinetic Honda DX100. My scooter’s mileage was the worst… maximum I could expect was 35km per liter of petrol.

We started early morning. Took NH4 and turned off at Nelamangala towards Mangalore. Our first stop was next to a small pond. Deepak casually lit a cigarette and Anish shot him smoking. Deepak was just not bothered about it. We carried on with our journey stopping on and off… to see a lake, a flock of ducks walking on the highway, forest nursery, Yediyur… we reached Hassan by evening and we checked into a Hotel Apoorva. Night we had a mini booze session. Following morning we left towards the Halebidu and Belur. We spent some time at Halebidu and then moved on to Belur. Finally we started off towards our destination.

As we neared Chikkamagaluru, the roads were wet. As we enterd the town, it was raining lightly. We were not really prepared for rains. We bought few bottles of rum and whisky. The roads now were much narrow and twisty… it was almost dark, windy and drizzling as we started climbing the Baba Budan Giri Range. We could make out coffee estates in the dim light. After a while, it was completely dark, clouds had blocked out every bit of light from the stars and the moon. We soon realized that middle of the road was slippery because of rotten leaves. We had to keep our wheels in the track cleared by four-wheelers. We had to concentrate real hard not to go off the road which was even more slippery. As we climbed higher, the wind was strong, blowing rain drops into our eyes. Anish had trouble because of his glasses. My Kinetic Honda had a powerful headlamp, a halogen lamp which could blind oncoming traffic. It lit up the road pretty well even in rainy conditions. We were soaked and cold and hungry. To make things worse for us, mist joined the party with darkness, rain and wind. At times the visibility would be just few meters and my halogen lamp was not just useless but dangerous to use… the white screen of mist reflected the light back to us. I used to switch over my normal lights, which was like a parking lamp. Deepak was much better in misty conditions and we followed him closely. It was getting colder and we wished for some warm drink… and lo we found a tea shop in a mountain hamlet. The shop keeper was asking us if we were crazy to do this journey on two-wheeler, in a rainy night like this one.

Feeling little better we picked up speed with Deepak leading us. After a turn, he stopped suddenly and I stopped inched from his rear tire and Anish almost banged into me. There was a stream across the road!! The stream was almost 12 feet wide. The water was from falling from the hilly side on our right and flowing down the hill on our left. What a sight it was. We wished we had done this journey during day. We rode on; the effect of tea wore off. When the going gets tough, the tough get going… we rode on and finally made it to our destination. The place was sleeping and we did not get food but we a got a place to stay. Booze flowed late into the night…

Kemmangundi = kempu mannu gundi = red soil pit, was an active iron ore mine few decades back. Iron ore was transported in rope ways from here to VISL at Bhadravathi. As a kid, when we used to live in Bhadravathi, I remember seeing trolleys moving on the rope-way system. I would ask dad how they moved. He explained but I cannot remember. I loved the place as a kid; it was green, cool and peaceful. I remember climbing up and down the steps and also the only place where we had food. For me, it was as though my childhood was just few days ago.



Morning, we had a good breakfast and thought we’ll go sight-seeing. Deepak’s Hero Puch’s rear tire was flat and the nearest garage was 13km away, down at Lingadahalli. On the way down, we stopped at one the streams and spent some time in the cool mountain water… it was truly refreshing.


We located the garage, got the tire mended and reached Kemmangundi. After lunch, we went towards Z point, the most popular spot for trekking freaks.

We rode through the mountain foot path till a stream across the path. We parked our two-wheelers there and started walking. The path got narrower and wilder. It was drizzling continuously. We enjoyed the fresh cool air… What a feeling it was. One of us pointed out the tiny black earthworms on the pebbles and some on plants too.


We saw more and more and more… We came to a beautiful little water-fall, we spent some time there and took few pictures and moved towards Z Point.


The ‘earthworms’ were thousand now. What! They are not what we thought! They are leeches!!! Oh man!! About turn and we started running and did not stop sill we crossed the path and came to our bikes. We just took off our clothes and searched ourselves and found we had been attacked badly. We pulled at them but they were so damn slippery. We picked small stones with sharp edges and started scrapping them off. We made sure we were free from our enemies but the creepy feeling would not go. Back at the room, with a small ticklish feeling I would check myself. Our booze session started early with a pause for dinner and continued late into night. Anish was sloshed. We had to lift him up and put him the bed. Good night.

The next morning we decided to leave back to Bangalore. This time we took the less adventurous route down; Lingadahalli, Arasikere and then to Hassan. The ride between Arasikere and Hassan gave a creepy feeling, it had a kind of look that gave a feeling that dacoits lurked around here. We reached Hassan dead tired and checked back into Apoorva, not to mention our booze session and blacked out. Morning, we woke up late and rode back to Bangalore.

Kemmangundi, I’ll come again one day.


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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Garag

Garag, something between a big village and small town, 20kms from Dharwad on Gokak road. The place is known mainly for the annual 'Madivaleshwara Jatre' which usually takes place in the months of February or March.


Madivaleshwara, the spiritual leader of 19th century, contemporary of Shishunala Sharif Saheb and Siddarooda Swami, came here from Kittur and established the 'mutta'. Piligrims come to this temple to offer prayers and perform 'pooja' to his 'Samadhi'.




Food for visitors- sheera, rice and saru, prepared by the 'mutta' staff.



It's a less known fact that the cloth used for the Indian National Flag is manufactured in Garag.

Garag has a significant Jain community and also a Basti.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dad's photography - Mekedatu

...I thought I'll show off a bit.
OK. This one, Dipi shot. The rest are Dad's.



Mekedatu means 'Goat's Leap'.






Sometime 1986, Dad, Mom, Dipi and a bunch of my PES classmates.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Badhravathi

The town I grew up the first seven years of my life. I still remember every street... old town & new town. The railway line was the boundary between the two towns and was almost parallel to River Bhadra. New town consisted of Paper town and VISL town. My dad used to work at Mysore Paper Mills and hence we lived at Paper town.

The colony was not big but had most facilities for the time and little away from main town… it was kind of peaceful. The sloping roof tile house we lived in was constructed sometime late 60s. Jayanth was my neighbor… our houses shared a wall and we met in the backyard almost everyday. We used to face each other on our houses' backyard steps early mornings, both us straight out of the bed and…. Guess what??

There was a garden, officer’s club and an open field across our street. I still remember seeing misty mornings and a very big cream-colored full moon on full moon days. The factory was just a kilometer away and dad used to walk up & down most days and some times took his Lambretta scooter (MYS 9524).

Once in a while we used to walk down to Bhadra river … a 2.5km stretch. We got to see fields full of paddy and sugarcane. We used to come to the river every year to send away Ganesha. Dad used to tell there are crocodiles in the river. There was a foot bridge to cross the river over to Sunnadhalli, small village. There were two temples in Sunnadhalli; Anjaneyaswamy temple and a Shiva temple. Close to the bridge was an aalemane, place where jaggery is made. I used to like watching the bright orange flames under the huge pan filled with cane juice. The walk to the river and back home was always fun… got to see and learn so many things.

My school, St. Charles Borromeo was in Steel town and we used to go there by bus… those colorful buses with names of Hindu Gods… Anjaneya Swami, Siddeshwara Transports, Mallikarjuna Roadways, etc. It was a stone building and Father, Mother and Sisters were pretty strict but I liked the school. It had huge open place for kids to play around. It also had a hostel for out-station kids. The church was close to the convent, just minutes walk and I remember the decoration for Christmas… cotton and little dolls of sheep, Mary, Infant Jesus, and many more.

That's Jayanth and Praveen in 1991, in the background is the school building.


Dad used to go on picnics to near by places. I can name a few- Kemmangundi, Gajnur Dam and Lakkavalli Dam. I’ve visited the first two and yet to visit Lakkavalli… Hope to do that one day.

That's Kiran, me, Venkatesh, Arvind and Rajesh Arya (standing below) on a goods carriage at Bhadravathi Railway Station. This picture was shot during our trip to Jog Falls and Kemmangundi. We stayed couple of days at Jayanth's home. I remember watching The Rise and Fall of Idi Amin and Sangliyana.


Even now, I close my eyes and bring back the memories of those days at Bhadravathi.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Nuggikeri

A small lake on the outskirts of Dharwad

Nuggikeri is known for its Hanuman temple. It is said that the Hanuman's image was found n the lake bed about 50 years back and a small shrine was built. Over the years with increasing devotees the temple has become popular. Some people walk down from Dharwad on Saturdays.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ghati Subramanya

Travelling back in our loaded Maruti Omni from Kurnool with Dad, Praveen and Anish, we decided to visit Ghati Subramanya while having tea at a dhaba at a fork on NH7 just after Penukonda. The national highway led to Bangalore, while the branch, a state highway went towards Hindupur, Gauribidnur, Doddaballapur and joined NH7 at Yelehanka. Somewhere between Gauribidnur and Doddaballapur, we left turned into a smaller road leading to Ghati Subramanya. After about 2km, we saw a group of boys lugging survey equipment, as we neared them they waved at us for a lift. I was not willing to stop but on Dad’s command we asked the civil engineering students to squeeze in along with their equipment. The loaded Omni was overloaded now… nine adults and lot of material. …the rear doors had to be left open.

As we crawled up the hilly section of the road in first and second gears, Dad went back to his engineering days at UVCE … told us how he and his classmates spent 5 days surveying the hills. Those days, 1960s, survey was a part of the 5 year course. He’s had one hell of a time! We dropped off the boys at the outskirts of the town close to a dormitory where they were put up and we went straight to the temple. I think we had to wait to for 30 minutes for the temple doors to open.

Inside the temple, close the sanctum sanatorium, we stood with other visitors. Dad and Praveen were in the front. Anish and I stood at the back behind a couple, the wife holding her 2-3 month baby looking at Anish with it’s cute little eyes. I was trying to be serious while Anish found the baby amusing. He started making faces at the baby and asking me look at it making faces in return. Serious! The baby would stick its pink little tongue out when Anish stuck his tongue out. I was little worried, what if the husband saw and mistook that we were trying something… The sound of bells during the Mangala-arathi finally distracted Anish from the baby.

The temple is not a very big structure but the mythological story behind it was quite interesting. The story revolved around the Garuda and snake; the reason for their enmity and all. Any time in the future, if I ever recall the story, I’ll post it. People would visit this temple to offer a silver snake idol to the temple, perform pooja and seek blessings to wash away the sin acquired by harming or killing snakes. Once out of the temple, we headed straight to a mobile cart shop, had bajji & tea and then started towards Bangalore.

During this trip, we had one helluva time. Our journey; Bangalore-Chilamkur-Kurnool-Ghatisubramanya-Bangalore. This was my first venture into the interiors of Andhra Pradesh and I was amazed at the state government’s effort into rain water harvesting… lakes after lakes. While travelling between Chilamkur and Kurnool, we took a small detour to visit a small dam and reservoir; sorry again, I cannot recall the river’s name. We saw hundreds of dead fish floating…

Andhra is beautiful, similar to Karnataka in more than one way.

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

My Academic Journey

It goes like this-
• St. Charles Borromeo, Badhravathi
• Happy Hours, New Delhi
• New Green Field Public School, New Delhi
• Bapuji School, Davangere
• Lourdes Boys' High School, Davangere
• Holy Saint English School, Bangalore
• Vijaya High School, Bangalore
• People’s Education Society College, Bangalore
• Shivananda Sharma Memorial RV College, Bangalore
• BMS College of Engineering, Bangalore
• CADD Centre, Bangalore
• St.Joseph’s Evening College, Bangalore
• AMC, Bangalore

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Dodda Alada Mara ~ Big Banyan Tree, Ramohalli

Dodda Alada Mara’ is one of the convenient weekend picnic destinations for Bangaloreans. I’ve visited several times over the years. The very first time, it was a family trip. We had come in our Ambassador and spent a full day under the tree. When I was studying PUC II, we rode our bicycles, a 23 km ride, I cannot recall the entire group but Ramesh P was one.

The tree, located on the outskirts of Ramohalli village, is spread over three acres with the main stem almost in the center. Plenty of monkeys live on this tree, may be close to a hundred, troubling the picnickers- snatching food stuff. Sometime between 1998 and 2000, majority of the monkeys died after eating poisoned bananas fed by some nasty visitors, probably to take revenge. The monkeys were buried in a mass grave nearby and a small tomb (nothing fancy) is built over it.

During one of the visits with Anish, Anil, Kotesh, Satish and Sunil, we had a good time. We went about 2kms beyond the tree, chose a calm spot and settled down in the cool shade of a Honge tree. We had few beers and munched snacks as we chatted away for a couple of hours. All the while, we saw a sleeping dog few feet away and started to wonder what kind of a dog would it be to sleeping fo… we realized it was dead!

We came back to Aaladamara, had lunch, snacks again. This time walked below the tree. With beer inside, Anish was trying to scare monkeys but they would always come back. One of us got an idea to play football. We had a small plastic ball (empty ice-cream ball), two o the root marked the goal posts and we came up with one-to-one free-kick competition, best of five kicks. The competition was fierce and the match lasted more than an hour. It was less interesting as the effect of beer came down but we enjoyed it. I cannot remember who won the championship.

The sun was coming down and we noticed a bump on the western horizon which happened to be Savandurga. That’s when I said “I’ll climb that hill one day.” That’s the day my affair with Savandurga began.

Big Banyan tree is a popular spot for movie makers. If you want to get a glimpse of the tree 40 years back, watch this lively number from SholayYeh dosti, hum nahi thodenge, thodenge... One full minute of the number is shot under the tree.



The other two big Banyan trees are near Madanapalle, Andhra Pradesh and the other one in Calcutta. There could be many more such trees undiscovered in our wonderful land, INDIA.

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Sunday, January 4, 2009

Hen Factory

Dad, Gulli and I. In our van, on NH7, driving to Kurnool. It was dark and we were near Anantapur. We saw a row of square lights on to our left.

Gulli: Sidda look at the train

me: that's not a train

Gulli: it's a train

me: it must be a poultry farm

Gulli: poultry farm? what does that mean?

me: place where chicken are grown

Gulli: ooh! you mean a hen factory?

me: !*?*!*? yes, hen factory!


Anyway, it was a train not a hen factory.

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Friday, January 2, 2009

Journey of a King's Life

The King's Ring by Theodore Tilton

Once in Persia reigned a king,
who upon a signet ring,
Carved a maxim, strange and wise,
when held before his eyes,
Gave him console at a glance,
fit for every change and chance
Solemn words, and these were they:-
"EVEN THIS WILL PASS AWAY."

Trains of camel, through the sand,
brought him gems from Samarcand;
Fleets of galleys over the sea,
brought home pearls to rival these,
But he counted little gain treasures of the mine or main;
"What is wealth?" the king would say:
"EVEN THIS WILL PASS AWAY."

Mid the pleasures of his court,
at the zenith of their sport,
When the palms of all his guests
burned with clapping at his jests;
Seated midst the figs and wine,
said the king:-"Ah friends of mine,
Pleasures come but not to stay.
"EVEN THIS WILL PASS AWAY."

Woman, fairest ever seen,
was the bride he crowned his queen,
Pillowed on the marriage bed
whispering to his soul, he said:-
"Though no monarch ever pressed
fairer bosom to his breast,
Mortal flesh is only clay:-
"EVEN THIS WILL PASS AWAY."

Fighting on the furious field,
once a javelin pierced his shield:
Soldiers with a loud lament,
bore him bleeding to his tent.
Groaning from his tortured side,
"Pain is hard to bear," he cried.
But, with patience, day by day,
"EVEN THIS WILL PASS AWAY."

Towering in public square,
forty cubits in the air,
Stood his statue carved in stone,
and the king, disguised, unknown,
Gazed upon his sculptured name, and
he pondered, `what is fame?'
Fame is but a slow decay:-
"EVEN THIS WILL PASS AWAY."

Struck with palsy, sere and old,
waiting at the gates of gold,
Said he with his dying breath,
"Life is done but what is Death?"
Then as answer to the king,
fell a sunbeam on his ring,
Showing by a heavenly ray,
"EVEN THIS WILL PASS AWAY."

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Thursday, January 1, 2009

A dream ride...

It's wonderful to watch the Maserati sail through the mountain roads...



And the music is just too good!!

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