"I'm going to Savandurga tomorrow for a trek with my friends" announced Gaurav.
There was momentary silence in the Kulkarni household. Everyone was waiting for someone else to begin. No one wanted to be the first to take the blame for starting the whole drama.
"So does that mean you are going to miss physics tuition tomorrow?" sister asked. Gaurav's silence was answer enough. This was promptly followed by a derisive snort, some rolling of the eyes and a few coughs from father, mother and sister respectively.
All knew what was to come next. There would be an explosion of fireworks from four big mouths. Each person would chip in to give very well meaning and very bitter advice to Gaurav. Gaurav would declare he was fed up of being controlled by everyone.
"But you just went to the farmhouse party last week"
"All my friends are going tomorrow. I cannot miss it"
Ah, using the friendly example to evoke feelings of emotional repent. Now mother and sister began to tread carefully, trying to modulate their voice so that they cannot be perceived as being unjust or sadistic. The situation was a little like India Pakistan fighting for Kashmir.... either a constant war or undercurrents of it other times. But no solution in sight.
"Friends or enemies, you cannot go. That’s it." Dad said. So it was decided then. Once dad put his foot down, NO one could lift the handkerchief from below it.
Next Day Gaurav started using the next tactic in his bag of tricks. He began pitching for his upcoming birthday. "You didn’t let me go to the trek, at least get me a nice birthday present" he told amma, the softest target. Gaurav was really competent in using diplomacy.
"You spend so much on makeup. Have you ever considered making up with me by buying me a good birthday present?" Gaurav said to sister.
Gaurav knew such tricks won't work on his father though. Dad was an accomplished diplomat and was a role model for Gaurav in a weird sort of way. Probably he had pulled off similar tricks when he was a kid. But dad had one weakness : studies. "I got 86/100 last maths exam. I need money for books and maths tuition, or else I may not get good marks in the coming mid terms"
Ah, he had touched a soft and wanting-to-help-at-last nerve. "Little kiddo wants to buy books and study! He wants to do well in life!! This birthday I'll will break the rules and give him a present." thought dad.
The birthday dawned.
Gaurav got a home made cake and few Tin Tin books from amma.
Gaurav got an original Reebok sweatshirt from sister.
Gaurav knew he would get nothing from dad for his birthday, but he was to get the money for his books and tuition today. That would be his biggest present! Gaurav's dad came and placed a hand on his shoulder. "I have always thought giving presents on birthdays is a stupid idea. Look I never got presents on any of my birthday's ever (wife glared at him now). Other than from Amma of course..heh heh..Sure... Correct!!"
Whenever amma stared at him, he forget his lines and suddenly became very optimistic in general. "Er..anyway, this birthday I wanted to get you something."
Gaurav's throat became dry after hearing this in spite of the Pepsi he had drained a few moments ago.
"I remembered what you asked for sometime back!" Gaurav also desperately tried to remember what he had asked for last time.
"See you always complain I don’t take any spontaneous actions! So I personally went to Manju sir and booked the maths tuitions for you!! " (When no one clapped, dad continued) Lucky chap! Not many people can afford tuitions for two subjects. Now you will definitely get super marks in the coming mid term!"
Mother and sister looked at dad with mock disbelief. Gaurav looked at Dad with real stomach wrenching disbelief. He was screwed. This was the worst birthday had ever had. What a terrible sirprize!
In these times of recession, praying to God and faith in religion can help only so much. However much you pray, your religion may not help you fix the innumerable bad patches in your life. So it is good to consider the option of having a backup religion. Much similar to having backup offers in college placements during rosier times.
After some searching , I stumbled across this religion called Adityaism. It looks like an ideal backup religion in these recession times. Also many people dont know about this religion yet. So now is a good time to adopt this auxiliary religion, before this religon also becomes big, cumbersome and political. Check it out!
Last Saturday six friends went to see Delhi-6 at Inox, Garuda Mall.And it was there that I got mugged.
Well, not exactly.
But bear with me, Im trying to build some suspense into this post. So after seeing the movie all of us were hanging around in the lobby/atrium area for a few minutes, wondering what to do next. There was some kind of 'show' happening in the middle, where general public was called on stage to do funny things (funny for the watching crowd, not necessarily for the bakra on the stage) and win prizes.
Silly volunteering people, I thought.
No marks for guessing who the next bakra was.
The tall dark and somewhat handsome compere walked towards our group and beckoned me to come near him. Our group was in no mans land, neither in the atrium-circle nor out of it. We were the juciest prey the compere could lay his eyes and mike on.
He called three of us onto the stage, and told us the rules. We were supposed to do a silly gig in which we take out all the contents of our wallets, line them up on the ground for everyone to see (and laught at in some cases) and put everything back into the pockets. The guy who did this first was to win a prize. The whole episode was hilarious , with none of us following the rules correctly. The person next to me was carrying loads and loads of cash, and didnt seem to have any interest in winning the prize. He slowly separated his 500 rupee notes from each other for better visibility. Saleswomen at Garuda mall were lustfully eyeing this exhibition.
Needless to say, the three people from our group finished the gig the earlist, having had the least cash to take out from the wallets. My friend Vikram BP officially finished the earliest, but the compere picked me as the winner, probably I had a better chance to make the crowd laugh (at me).
"So whats your name?" "Hi everyone, Im Nikhil"
"So Nikhil what are you doing at Garuda mall today?" "I came to see the movie Delhi 6 "
"So Nikhil, can you act like Aamir Khan? " "??" Did this guy not know Abhishek Bachchan and not Aamir Khan acted in this movie ? "Uh Huh...I can try ..."
By now he seemed to have realized his mistake and asked me to imitate Abhishek Bachchan instead. Thank God! I thought Abhishek Bachchan didnt really know how to act. I thought I really didnt know how to act.
Having thought thus, I put my thought into action and proceeded to do the silliest sort-of-dance ever allowed to occur in Garuda Mall. In the middle I forgot the steps (step would be appropriate..I kept doing the same thing again and again) and started doing Hrithik Roshan's steps instead. The crowd was pretty dumb, no one got it when I switched over from Abhishek Bachchan to Hrithik Roshan.
In the end , I got a mug with a green frog painted on it for my erforts. By the way another friend Ankith also did a dance on stage, which was very good. Lots of people clapped.
But even he got the same silly frog mug that I had got.
I decided to delete another blog I usd to write - Wanderlust , primarily since the blog had only one post in the past two years. And I was loath to lose that one post , so heres a repeat of it ... basically a travelogue of a trip of Kodachadri Hills and other places during college days. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
We (Manjunath RG, Manoj, Mohan, Nikhil, Puneeth, Raghunandan, Sumedh, Vikram) left Bangalore Railway Station at 11:10pm on the 29th of December 2006. The plan was to visit sringeri, Kodachadri, Jog Falls and other interesting places we came across on the way. We were to spend the last day of 2006 trekking on the Kodachadri Hills. The journey aboard the Shimoga Express was pretty uneventful, we played UNO until midnight, with the occasional company of a drunken policeman.
We reached Shimoga bleary eyed and cold early next morning and took a Qualis to Hotel Mathura Palace to get some lost sleep and to freshen up. We had breakfast at the same hotel and left towards Sringeri at 8:05am on National Highway 13. On the way we stopped at a nearby dam and tested Mohan's Nikon camera on the riverside scenery. Further along on the way we stopped at Elephant Camp.We had a first hand view of the elephants befing given a bath in the early hours of the morning. The mahouts were very meticulous and the elelphants seemed to be enjoying the attention.
We hit the road again and travelled on winding and tortuous roads lined with eucalyptus, arecanut and a host of other trees. The roads were no bed of roses though,they were riddled with potholes.
There was a farmhouse-turned resort on the way :Vihangama Resorts I think, where Sumedh had stayed before, we stopped there for about twenty minutes. The place was very scenic with its plantations, hillocks and most of all, the beach-like sand and rocks framing a nearby river. We left the place conjuring up plans to buy a similar farmhouse sometime in the future.
The next stop was at Kuvempu's (widely regarded as the greatest writer/poet of Kannada language) house. The place was well maintained, the house and its accoutrements gave a glimpse of the lifestyle and culture prevalent during the great poets time. We saw the memorial where his body rests, the place was encompassed by Stone henge- like structures that bemused us, i guess we didnt grasp the full import of it.
We reached Sringeri at 12:30pm. We payed our respects at the Sharada temple (dedicated to the Goddess of learning and wisdom), but could not visit the Shankaracharya Mathin the vicinity. We fed puffed rice to the fishes in the adjoining Tungabhadra river. We had lunch at Sringeri and left for Nagara, the town close to Mohan's Chikappa's farmhouse . On the way we stopped at a nondescript Jain Temple, and then at the ruins of Shivappa Nayakas fort. The views at the fort were pretty scenic, the terraces on the fort resembled the famous and now cliched place shown in Dil Chahta Hai; the one with rocks on the edge of the sea where Sid, Akash and Sameer hang out. We left for Chikappas house , but had to take a detour on the way due to a collapsed bridge. We reached the place at 5:30pm. The route to the farmhouse-Kalkai for the last 30 min was pretty steep and winding, vehicles other than jeeps and SUV's would have found plying it a herculean task. It made us wonder just how different our city life is from that of the locals here. The house was charming and idyllic in an old fashioned way, seemed to be bereft of the noise and rigours of daily city life.
We looked around the place and left for a small night trek to a nearby hillock to catch a signal on our cellphones. It was past sunset, but there was bright moonlight. The sky view was amazing, with no clouds in sight and stars gleaming all over the place.
We ruturned from our jaunt, discussed about tomorrows plans with the folks in the farmhouse and had dinner, which was excellent. We planned to tuck in early as we had a tough day ahead but ended up playing UNO until nearly midnight again. We had breakfast the next morning and left for Kollur at 9:30am. At Kollur we visited the Mookambika Temple and spent some time buying odds an ends we might require on the trek. We had a few heated discussions and squabbles before deciding on the exact itinery for the day ,there were two alternatives to take : a 3 hour trek from Vallur or a 5 hour one from Kollur itself. Finally we decided to walk upto Arasangudi falls and return, and then take the 3 hour trek to reach the temple priest's house Bhattru mane (just half-an-hour before the Sarvajna peak you will find this temple, which is an ideal place for camping).
Here is some general info about the peak which I convinently plagarised: Kodachaadri in Hosa Nagar taluq in Shimoga district in West Karnataka is the highest peak in Shimoga District. At the peak it is believed that ‘Shankaracharya‘ did meditation. And to substantiate the same you will find a ‘Sarvajna Peetha‘ at the top. On the way to the peak you will also find a moderate sized waterfall deep inside the evergreen forest of Kodachaadri, which is called ‘Agastya Teertha‘. The peak presents a not to be missed lifetime opportunity in the evening as the sun sets in the west and in the morning as the sun rises in the east. You can also have a golden glimpse of the Arabian Sea for a moment.
After having lunch we started the trek to Kodachadri from Vallur (a small village which has a single mallu tea shop) along the forest path on foot. The path was pretty well trodden and frequented by jeeps who raised huge clouds of dust that had us gasping for breadth. Some of us decided to look for alternative less treversed forest paths. We soon discovered that the winding "jeep path" had offshoots which cut through the forest and were a little difficult to negotiate (which was how we wanted it anyway). We began climbing these smaller paths stopping now and then to watch the scenery unfold before us. The panoramic sights more than made up for our weariness and we continued with a spring in our stride.
We reached Bhattru mane at about 6:30pm and began arrangements for the night. We entertained ideas of sleeping on the mountain side but with no camping gear and lots of plans for the next day, decided to sleep in Bhattru mane itself. The dinner in Bhattru mane was very good, or maybe our hunger knew no taste. We explored the place around the temple for sometime, there were a lot of other folks with campfires who were welcoming the new year by drinking, dancing and making merry.
The next morning we got up early and left to see the sunrise from a nearby hillock. The sunrise was beautiful and intoxicating, we were thrilled to see the white trail left by what looked like a space shuttle streaking past the sun.
We then walked up to Sarvajna Peetha and spent some time there.
We decided to take a jeep on our way back to Vallur from Bhattru mane as we were tired and had some more plans for the day. We left Vallur in our Qualis for Jog falls, stopping at Sagar for lunch. We spent about 3-4 hous at Jog falls, before we left for Shimoga. We had dinner at Shimoga and boarded the train back to Bangalore at 10:30pm.
We were back to Bangalore at 5:30am the next day, each of us pondering whether or not to go to office that day.
This, my friend is the story of our trek/road trip!
It was a pleasantly cool Monday morning. I walked to my bus stop with a spring in my step and a song in my heart. I had downloaded some good songs on my I-pod didn’t have much work in office today. As I walked, I passed across people in sweatshirts jogging and doing exercises. Dogs some leashed, some unleashed took their owners for a walk. Kids were playing football in the playground. I glanced at my watch and slowed down a little. I still had five minutes to go. The bus was to come at seven thirty in the morning. The driver’s watch was 15 min late and he didn’t know how to change it, because he always came at seven forty five. It was seven twenty eight and I would still have quite some time to listen to songs in the relatively calm bus stop, without the default traffic remix the bus provided. I came to my bus stop and said the customary hi to my bus-mates (if that’s a word).
I was in the middle of my third song when a bus-mate got a phone call from a friend. It appeared that the bus had already left. Amidst groans and boos, all of us began to form groups of two or three. We had to now travel to the nearest bus stop in auto, about 2 km away. The morning was not pleasantly cool anymore. It was chilly.
I got up earlier than usual the next day. I hurriedly had cornflakes and milk, forgoing the one decent home-cooked meal I would otherwise have. Having ironed my clothes last night itself, I was left with ten minutes to spare before it was seven twenty, the usual time I left home. I didn’t spend the ten minutes at home. I grabbed a book and my iPod and left for the bus stop with a song in my heart but no spring in my step, more with a hurried scuttle across crisp black asphalt. I reached the bus stop at seven seventeen and only then could I heave a sigh of relief. I knew I had at least fifteen minutes to spend in the bus stop. Over the next few minutes some more of my bus-mates joined me at the bus stop, all hoping they hadn’t missed the bus. We waited, mostly patiently.
Seven thirty two. No bus at the horizon.
At seven thirty six we finally saw a Pushpak bus weaving its way through small obstacles like cars, bullock carts and potholes. As it came closer, groans and boos resounded again. It was not an ITPL bus.
It would have been interesting to watch how people react to irritation and anxiety, had I not been in the same situation myself. Some stress busting techniques I noticed were quite quirky. A started cleaning his ears compulsively, using up up to six ear buds. B was having an argument with her husband. From what I made out the kind hubby wanted to wait till B got into the bus physically, but B was bothered by this for some strange reason and kept shooing him away without success. C seemed to be unprepared for an important meeting and after several minutes of deliberation, decided to open up his laptop and start working on his ppt. Seeing street urchins seeing him, his face reddened and he hurriedly closed the laptop before the urchins could have a good glimpse at the laptop. I, for my part had taken to straining my neck and glancing up and down the read much like I would probably do in a tennis match. This was because our bus stop was such that the bus could arrive from either side of the road. I’m not kidding.
There was a brief period of time when we all decided that the bus would come at the usual Indian standard time of seven forty five and we relaxed. I say brief because just a few moments later seven forty five passed us. Without the bus. Till now all had kept mostly to themselves. By seven fifty however, there were signs of group protest. Most people probably thought” So its seven fifty now. The bus is officially late. I can speak ill of the driver with a free conscience... ”. A whispered murmuring broke out followed by heated gossip which then culminated in intermittent outbursts of raucous laughter aimed at the driver. All jobless people at the bus stop almost had a very good time with the attention their jokes got.
One or two people decided to take a rickshaw to the nearest bus stop. Finally the bus came at seven fifty. We got in, each of up competing with the other to give an evil stare at the bus driver. We reached office forty minutes late. The timing of our trip was perfect; we didn’t miss a single traffic jam that could have been possible on our 28km journey to ITPL.
The security at ITPL is going to the dogs. Literally.
Today, as our bus entered the ITPL premises, we were pleasantly surprised (some cynophobics alarmingly so) to see a white Labrador and his (or her. I don’t know.) owner climb into the bus. People sitting close to the passage had to hurriedly tuck in their arms legs, briefcases, purses and stomachs in some cases to make way for the dog. Most of the people were curiously amusedly watching the proceedings, almost hoping the dog would find something, just to add some excitement to their mundane lives. But the dog found nothing.
Anyway, the whole episode made me feel guilty. I’m provided with such good security until I’m safety sitting in my cubicle. My body guards have braved all kinds of dangers and done their job of protecting me. Now its my turn. And instead of shaking the world with ground breaking work that I’m supposed to do according to my destiny, I sit and write a post about the bodyguards! I suppose however much you straighten a dog’s tail, its going to curl again…
For a brief period today morning a certain bollywood song 'Desi girl, desi girl' was playing at home. The tune goes something like 'a dessi girll ; a deeeesi girrrrrlllll girl girl girl...'. Ever since , I just cant get the song out of my head. Really irritating. The song has hijacked my brain and ever since I'm wandering about the house aimlessly humming the tune over and over. And over again.
Having a lot of spare time, I started googling to find out more about this and a few searches later, Bingo! A search for "song stuck in head" gave the result, the phenomenon is apparently called earworm. Heres a description of 'earworm' pulled out of wikipedia :
Earworm, a calque of the German Ohrwurm, is a term for a portion of a song or other musical material that repeats compulsively within one's mind, known colloquially as "being stuck in one's head". Use of the English translation was popularized by James Kellaris and Daniel Levitin. Kellaris' studies demonstrated that different people have varying susceptibilities to earworms, but that almost everybody has been afflicted with one at some time or another. A more scientific term for the phenomenon, involuntary musical imagery, was suggested by the neurologist Oliver Sacks in 2007. There have been claims "that earworms may be songs or tunes that become stuck in the phonological loop, the part of the brain that rehearses verbal information in Baddeley's model of working memory. This usually happens when a person sings the song or hums the tune once and then repeats it in his or her mind." However, this information is not supported by any scientifically published information and was presented only as a guess of an unknown author.
Sometimes when things go wrong, the aforementioned things perfectly synchronize with each other to form a deadly sequential combination of wrong things which can make even Gautam Buddha'ish kind of people go completely insane. If I’m not making much sense, it’s because as I write this a furious me is sitting at the footsteps of a rally stupid ATM which having swallowed my debit card with great gusto, now refuses to return it back.
In an instant I'm reduced from a savvy laptop carrying IT professional to a tense blubbering fool trying to desperately call SBI or SBM help lines to report a case of ATM mishap. WITH NO AVAIL of course!! By now I can feel droplets of bile form in my stomach (liver?) as my body prepares for a fight or flight situation. But having about 5 million years of evolutionary catch up to do, my body is totally unprepared for anything in this situation. (don’t correct me about 5 million years if you know better. I’m in front of the ATM now with no Internet access to verify this fact. Not that I verify facts that I otherwise write in my blog anyway...) In an ideal case a human body should have learnt by now that it is clearly of no use producing bile, adrenalin and other such stuff when it encounters either a toxic alien dubbed 'government official', or any of the toxic alien establishments dubbed 'Government offices'. Few notable examples of toxic alien establishments in Bangalore would be the
The toxic aliens and their establishments present a paradox : they claim to exist purely for the benefit of humankind but proceed to suck the life out of every human being upon contact. They have a very brutal form of torture: in todays world where giant leaps for mankind occur every nanosecond, they do nothing. Or they take so long to do something that you forget what they should have done in the first place, thus creating the illusion that they do nothing.
Anyway, my body far from being the ideal one (in more respects than I'd like to admit) continues to produce copious amounts of adrenalin as I wait for the bank to open, making me imagine with much relish how soothing it would be to box the ears of the first toxic alien I come across. Finally at 8:45 am a toxic alien appears. I don't box his ears.I tell him my predicament.
Me: Hi! Good Morning! (have to use this kind of bullshit platitude to put the toxic alien in a good mood) Do you know what I’m supposed to do; my debit card is stuck in the ATM machine.
Toxic Alien: Hmmm. Why are you sitting on the newspaper? It belongs to the bank employees you know.
Me: #@$%^&!! I’ve missed my bus , I'll miss the meeting at office and I’ve been waiting for 40 minutes like a watchman in front of your ATM , all the while shooing away other hapless customers, so that their cards don't pile up behind mine in the goddamn machine, and you’re worried about newspaper ? NEWSPAPER!! Come on! By the way , I’m considerate enough to sit on the classified section listing houses and plots for sale, none of which any bank employee dare buy in this wonderful economic climate that we have. And do you expect me to sit on the dust adorned ATM steps while I’m wearing a shiny black pant that happens to be both washed and ironed today?? Balls to you.... Of course I don’t say this. I was fond of my debit card and wanted it back. I turned sycophant again.
'Oh! Sorry about that. I thought someone else left it here by mistake.'
He glared at me, asked me to wait for five minutes and went into the ATM booth. I stood at the doorsteps of the adjoining SBM branch office. Five agonizing minutes later, he came up to me with the card and said 'Here, it had fallen down under the ATM machine. Our ATM's are very good, they don’t take the cards into them, you know. Next time be more careful'.
I stood there open-mouthed and dumbstruck. I mean, how the hell could the card fly out of the slot and place itself neatly under the ATM machine without me noticing?? The alien looked pretty earnest though (I mean earnest; he wasn’t pretty by any means. To me at least.), and I didn’t think he'd be lying about the card having fallen down. I forgave him for that.
But what about the last line - 'next time be more careful’? Nice move on his part-to put the blame back on me and make me feel guilty? To deprive me of my one source of toxic alienic punching bag? No way. I’m going to hold the stupid ATM responsible for wrecking my tight daily schedule(made tight solely by my inveterate slothfulness and procrastination) And I’m going to hammer out a blog on this , however stupid it may seem! Aaagrh!!
I was going to post some more details about our trek to Skandagiri Hills. Unfortunately we didn't get to see the unique mountain in the sea of clouds photo that is its USP. BUT my brother got these snaps when he went there 2 weeks back! So to hell with my rants about my trip, feast on these snaps from my brothers trip instead.