Sunday, January 18, 2009

Night trek to Skandagiri Hills : Part 1

Finaaaly, after about one and half years of slothful city life , I went on a trek with office colleagues last Tuesday. And that too in the night! It was to the mighty mountain range far away from Bangalore - Skandagiri Hills! Ta-Dan Ta-Daa!!! (its actually a small hilltop just 60-70 km from Majestic Bus stand, but Im loath to let the truth get in the way of a good story)
Anyway, here are some pics from the trip...all of which were taken by Mani. Accompanying them are rants from yours truly.

Skandagiri Hills is(are?) now becoming quite popular with IT folks in Bangalore as a quick weekend trekking destination. The commonly followed itinerary is to climb the mountain in the night (statrting time varying from 12.30am to 3am), brave the cold winds on top for a few hours, look at the glorious sunrise and climb down again. The trek should take about 2 to 2.5 hours IF
1) all people in the group are at least slightly athletic.
2) you either know the way to the top, or go with a guide who basically just walks with you to the top of the hill or if lots of people are trekking so you can follow other gangs of trekkers.
Above is a picture of our gang at the base of the hill. Just behind us is the tea stall where you can get tea (obviously) and bread omlette.
The initial part of the trek was ok, but we started getting quite tired as we climbed higher and higher.

The gear (shoes, baggage, tents etc) can play a big part in the trek too... its important to use compact,comfortable and tried and tested stuff on the journey, to prevent any surprises. The green bag Im carrying in the next pic is a tent big enough for 5 people, weighs just about 2 kg or so..

For the first half hour or so the night was full of natural crystal clear moonlight , a far cry from the light-polluted Bangalore skyline. We could also literally see white hazy clouds forming at the top of the hill. However, most spectacular was the star studded sky. We couldnt get this on camera so you'll just have to believe us in the next pic...

As we got closer to the hill top it became more and more chilly and damp. We realised we were now level with the clouds and were surrounded by zillions of minuscule water droplets. The torches threw light less further now. They even resembled the swords of a Jedi knight...

Monday, January 05, 2009

5 Things You can do in Nagpur but not in Bangalore

5) Cough up Rs 45 for a shady looking Masala Dosa in a shady looking roadside hotel.

4) Travel in any vehicle in any direction for not less than 40 minutes and find yourself out of the city.

3) Buy sweets for half the cost compared to Bangalore.

2) Get up at 9:30 am,decide to watch Ghajini at 10 am, leave home at 11 am , reach the theatre at 11.20 am buy tickets at 11.30 am and wait patiently for the movie to start at 12 pm.

1) Ride a bike like crazy at top speed on heavenly roads without wearing a Helmet !!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Art and I

So here I was, a couch potato half asleep watching TV on a Saturday morning. I zeroed in on HBO and started seeing a documentary Art-ish film 'My Kid Could Paint That' primarily since no other channels had any meaningful movies going on. The initial part of the film was about a 4 year old girl 'artist' whose paintings won much acclaim and sold for large sums of money. About the later part.. I didnt know anything about.Why so ? Read on...

The first few parts consisted of interviews of Marla's (the child artist) parents and other people closely associated with her. The really good part was the footage of Marla painting. The scene was very natural and sort of pure: a little girl sitting on a sheet of canvas, taking out colors of various hues in oodles from toothpaste-like tubes and spreading it on, using her paint brush, hands, feet and what not to make cute patterns on the paper. The documentary nature and background chat with her parents made you feel like you're sitting there in Marla's living room, watching her and her kid brother play with colors. I felt just like a child, I could almost smell the paint on my own hands, and I felt a little jealous: grown ups really suck at having fun..

So I decided to be proactive. I decided to paint. What the hell, if a 4 year old can do it so can I.. I stopped the movie in the middle, went to the nearest stationary shop and brought some white chart-paper and Oil Paints, and sat down for some serious arting. And by mid-afternoon I had 3 masterpieces ready !!

This one is pretty amateurish I agree.... Depending on your mood you may think of it as
1) green and blue grass on an alien planet
2) a group of teenage snakes at the disco
3) how Bangalore buildings would look like in 5 years time
4) a traffic jam nightmares are made of...
Any other suggestions?

This one may appear ugly to the untrained eye. But don't be fooled, as you are well aware all art especially modern art needs a fine asthetic sense to be appreciated. Only a trained eye (like mine, probably the only one) can percieve the fine melange of colors, the sensuous brushstrokes and abrupt and dramatic use of fingers in the art form to evoke a sense of helplessness as one tries to grapple with the inherent meaninglessness of the picture. Some of you people may even be sorely tempted to tear your hair out in frustration. Therein lies the difference. You think I created the sense of meaninglessness by mistake. I know I created it on purpose. A true abstract artist am I eh?

Aaaaand finally the Picasso! The jewel in the crown !! I present to you ..this! Well dont ask me what it is-I dont know myself , but it sure is hot property. I am willing to part with it though, for any sum above Rs 500..

By the way, see 'My Kid Could Paint That' if possible. And let me know how the second part goes.