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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Manoj's LiveJournal:

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Saturday, June 10th, 2017
6:03 pm
Science Express

Our visit to Kengeri Railway Station to watch the "Science Express Climate Action Special" [SECAS] not only elevated our knowledge on the climate change and its challenges, but also gave us a first hand experience on how the climate of a rather silent railway station become noisy, crowded with thousands of students, teachers and parents, often leading to stampede sans control. It was a Saturday and I was expecting such a crowd and a traffic jam. So I parked my car half a kilometer from the railway station and walked. Asserting my assumption, there were many school buses trying to sneak in and getting stuck in the rather small road. I did not see any sign boards about the entry and exist, but saw hundreds of students from many schools sitting and walking on all the the 4 platforms. Several people were crossing the tracks. The "SECAS" was visible on platform number 4 and the crowd was walking away from that side of the train. I guessed, that could be the exit and walked on the opposite side passing thousands of students waiting.

We reached the front part of the train which had around 16 compartments. The access to the train was blocked from all directions except the over-bridge on platform 3 which was packed with students with all ages. The organizers were allowing only 20 people at a time from the other side of the over bridge once in 10 minutes.  We [rather legally] crossed the tracks at the end of the platform and joined a small queue waiting to climb the over bridge. After a few minutes, students flew from all directions and multiple queues became a huge river of people pushing to climb up. Some parents with kids gave up and scrambled to see how they can get out of the crowd which itself was a laborious task. We decided to continue and started climbing up or rather were pushed up by children. A flock of children were stuck in the crowd waiting for friends, which made further chaos. Others surpassed them by pushing as if a furious river get passed through an obstacle tree. Often I urged them to move forward. Adding to the chaos, several high school students joined pushing to fill up every possible gap. Teachers accompanying the children were not seen or they might be hiding. A local train passed beneath the bridge and I felt shivering on my leg thinking about a collapsed over-bridge. After an hour we reached platform 4 where volunteers instructed to have another queue which was rather peaceful. We saw several children crying and their hair and dress tumbled in the chaos of pushing.

After 15 minutes, we were able to enter the train. The train had well arranged posters and artifacts, but very less time was allowed to view and understand. Arranged in two lines, we were often pushed by volunteers [who are supposed to explain the exhibits]. I felt it is the crowd to blame. But we were able to get a glimpse of the climate change, its impact, daily life examples, [with a huge pile of plastic bottles!] its mitigation, negotiations and preventive measures, etc. My daughter’s eyes caught the earth smilies, a huge tortoise and a tiger while my son was busy watching some of the posters, the 3D model of Vittala temple [Hampi], and several exhibits in glass shield showing the landscapes. I did not understand why there was an exclusive section of biotechnology exhibits including syringes, etc; though, from a leaflet I came to know the importance of conservation through the biotechnology advances. The kids and activity section was closed, again, possibly because of the crowd. Overall we spent around 30 minutes and moved out.

I learned a very important sociological lesson in this visit. When lot of people [especially kids with the mindset of “I want it right now, otherwise, the train will go away in a few minutes”] are interested in a time bound or limited resource, it is really difficult to have control unless there is a well established procedure and effective restricting facilities. One of the causes of climate change is similar exploitation of limited resources without control.

Sunday, May 14th, 2017
8:04 pm
The Devotion of Suspect X
A novel by Keigo Higashino, picturizes a logical and psychological fight between a mathematician -to cover up a murder- and a physicist for uncovering it. The pace of the novel was great and keeps the reader engaged without loosing the focus. At the same time it draws many aspects of maths in simple way to highlight the thoroughness of the mathematician. I felt that the ending could have been better; may be I was biased towards the mathematician. The movie "Drishyam" is alliged to be an adaptation of this book [which was denied by the director]. Though murder and its cover up were common themes of both, I did not see much similarity in the way the novel went and the movie "Drishyam".
Sunday, January 8th, 2017
12:46 pm
The Temple Run
The temples in Goa are beautiful, spacious and clean, but architecturally different compared to temples in Kerala or Karnataka. Goan temples has structures similar to domes, apse, narthex, altars and sacristy. The presence of a concrete-multi-storied lamp tower ["deepasthambha"] on the building entrance is a common sight. There are small deities installed on the  outer walkway which circles around the whole temple building. The building entrance has huge hall with narthex where a picture or carving or idol-representation of main deity is held. Then comes another entrance leading to a second hall, with tree-shaped lamps, thick pillers and interiors picturizing tales from the epics [Ramayana or Mahabharata] in colourful way. The place is meditation-worthy-silent, cool and clean. The apse [called gurbagruha] has the main diety installed, with all kinds of decorations. Entry inside is restricted to the priests. The dome on top is seen from outside and nothing is visible from inside. The devoties can circle around the diety through a narrow passage around apse. The walls around apse are very thick, but the ventilation is provided with narrow and slanting windows with designs. Sacristy on both the sides have some sub-deities. I felt that, the priests used a language different from sanskrit to comunicate with the deities. The deities are happy and pampered everyday, while the huge chariots used for procession only at festival times forced to sleep outside, covered with thick cloths.

After waking up at 3am on 22nd December 2016, and cursing the scheduled ola cab driver for not turning up, we were lucky to get another ola and reaching the Bangalore airport just in time for the flight. The air-asia flight took us to Vasco, Goa in 45 minutes. My time read 8.45 am when we reached "Shree Saunsthan ShantadurgaChamundeshwari Kudtari Mahamaya" in "Kepem". [as in our taxi driver language. But officially the place is known as "Quepem"] It was situated away from the town in the midst of a residential-only village without any shops. The temple appeared in rose-meroon color combination with a 6 storied deepasthambha and two deities : Shree Shantadurga and Shree Chamundeshwari. After prayers, we had a great breakfast in the small temple canteen, which served idlis, mangalore-buns and tea.

Next we visited "Shri Damodar Temple" at Zambaulim or "Jaambaawali" situated on the banks of the Kushawati River. This temple was green and with an outer wall having residential rooms surrounding the temple. The sanctum had the idols of Sree Lakshmi Narayana and the Lord Damodar. Though "Damodar" is Krishna's synonym, the name is used to represent an incarnation of lord Shiva in this temple. I read from the internet that, "The deity was originally based in a temple where the Holy Spirit Church in Margao now stands and was moved to escape from the Portuguese inquisition in 1565 when the temple was destroyed and the church was built on its site. Both Hindus as well as the Catholics alike revere it. It was originally founded in Mathagram later known as Madgaon." On the right side of the temple, there were small temples dedicated to Lord Ravalnath. The huge banyan tree outside temple was house of lots of birds.

"Chandreswar bhoothnath" temple is on a nearby hilltop. The road towards the hilltop was lonely with cashew trees grown on the steep slopes. At one point of time I felt that the taxi driver is hijacking us to a lonely place to rob. There were around 30 steps to climb for reaching the temple. The temple was simple and small and we were able to get a view of some parts of Goa from the hill top.

By the time we reached "Shree Shantadurga Saunsthan, Kavale", it was 1:00 pm. The temple has a holy pond on the left side and was in the middle of small businesses. We reached at the right time to witness the diety illuminated with the sun light reflected from a mirror kept near deepasthambha. The place was crowded. We had lunch from the temple canteen.

"Shree Ramnath Devasthan" was in a stone's throw from this temple. Here, Lord Ramnath stood with Shanteri and Kamakshi on both sides. There was a wall-sculpture of elephant and Ox with a single head.

Then "Shri Nageshi Maharudra Temple" and "Shri Lakshminarasimha Temple" were with huge and green ponds. The Narasimha temple had a water stream called "Narasimha tirth".

"Shri Mahalasa Narayani Temple" claims to be have the highest deepasthambha with 7 stories and additionally it has brass lamp tower along side a brass flag post as seen in Kerala temples.

For reaching "Shri Manguesh Temple" a long walk is required.  Both sides of the street has small shops selling souvenirs. There were many foreigners here because, there was NO board reading "foreigners not allowed".

We left the place at around 5PM. After passing over Zuari river, a few shipyards with small ships and huge boats, we reached Vasco to settle in a hotel room. We had south indian dinner from restaurant nearby.

The next day, we visited Bogmalo beach. Waves were small and the hot sun got cooled with sea water spray and winds. People played in the sea, thanks to the shallow waters and mild waves.

After spending an hour, we visted nearby Indian Naval Aviation museum. Many Navy-serving aircrafts along with arms, medals, and several instruments were shown. The 'Viraat Hall' has a scaled, wooden model of the aircraft carrier INS Viraat, complete with its 'Birds' on its deck and hangars.

We left the place at noon for  "Abyss Marine Fish Aquarium" which also had a "horror house" to entertain children. The aquarium contained more than 50 tanks with many kinds of fish, turtle and crabs. "Kissing gourami" caught the attention of my son. He showed the lips to the fish and the fish started to move inside as if it is trying to kiss him!! We had lunch and went to Margaon railway station to catch train to Kundapura. While in the railway station, I felt that we missed a few temples [especially Tambdi Surla Mahadev Temple], Panjim and the Dudh sagar falls.

The journey from Madgaon to Kundapura was picturesque thuogh it got dark early. The train went through 23 dark tunnels, some of them dragging our patience for more than a few minutes. It was suffocating and sometimes filled with windy smoke and dust. A train carrying around 50 goods-Lorries was an amusing site on the way. [Later I came to know that the arrangement is called "RORO" or Roll-On/Roll-Off by Konkan Railway. It operates between Suratkal and Kolad, near Mumbai. This trip is cheap and saves 18 hours, fuel/pollution and maintanance costs of Lorries] We saw the Kali river and lights from Murudeshwar temple gopura also. We reached Kollur at 9PM.

Next day early morning, we visited the temple and got darshana around 7.30 AM. Then went to the banks of Souparnika river. Our next destination was Dharmasthala. The way was partly ghat and forest where the driver took no mercy on the vehicle or the road, zooming at more than 80Kmph. Going through the Dakshina kannada towns Shankaranaaraayana, Karkala [we were able to see  Venkataramana temple, Anantha shayana temple, Bahubali and Chaturmukha basadi from the road, but did not get down] Belthangadi, we reached "Dharmasthala Sri Manjunatha Swamy Temple" at 12.30 taking 3.5 hours covering ~170Km. We had the prasaadam and special darshan as the day was crowded very much. "Shri Bhagwan Bahubali Digambar Jain Statue" was nearby. It hosted a huge statue of Bahubali with beautiful sculptures on the rock. Owing to the hot sun, and "Keep footwears out" rule made me run over the burning pavement made of rock.

Our final destination was Kukke Subramanya at a distance of ~60Km which took 1.5 hours to travel. On the way we saw retail and wholesale shops selling coconut oil and spices. After reaching at 4PM, we kept the luggage in the temple luggage-room and visited the temple. The entrance was decorated 3 huge chariots. It was Ekadashi day and no prasaadam was served in the evening. So the hotels were crowded. We roamed around and at 9PM we were ready to depart by "Subramanya road" railway station. The small station was filled with people who visited the temple expecting the trail at 11PM. There were not enough chairs and was very cold. Many of the people with family put their mats on the floor to sleep comfortably. There was confusion around 2 trains scheduled exactly at the same time. There were no coach position table also. From the security guard, we came to know that, boggies from the train from Kannur and another train from Karwar gets joined at Mangalore and goes to Bangalore via Subramanya and Mysuru. Same arrangement is made in the reverse direction also. After a nights sleep by train, we reached Bangalore at 8AM.
Saturday, October 1st, 2016
5:44 pm
Maggi and Tomatoes
"The company said that pursuant to withdrawal announcement and ban order on June 5, 2015, Nestle India Ltd had recalled stocks of Maggi Noodles and till September 1, 2015 destroyed around 38,000 tonnes of Maggi Noodles."

I am not a maggi fan, but at the same time doesn't hate the people eating maggi. The popularity fact and the competition is driving them to produce more and push into the market. They produce bulk with less cost. The preservatives and "airtight covers" help increasing the shelf life of the product. Are they producing more than what the world can consume? I feel this is related to tomato produce and agony of farmers who just threw away their harvest because of low cost.

“After soaring to almost Rs. 80 per kg a few months ago, the price of tomatoes dropped to Rs. 20 and this week, it came down to Rs. 8 and then to Rs. 5. This is because of an increased supply due to the high yield in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka,”

Is it because, there is no central control and management over the production and consumption?

Current Mood: awake
Sunday, August 28th, 2016
5:40 pm
Olympics 2016
The olympics games caught my son's attention this time. Though Ussain Bolt become his hero, he was cheering the participating Indians in the other games. We saw the shuttle badminton semi-final where P.V.Sindhu won and the final where she lost. There were discussions in the media on why India did not win lot of medals though India holds the second place for population. After seeing such news, my first response was anguish, with thoughts of the importance of education which results in "good job", "money for good living", future etc. After a few minutes, it transformed into a positive perspective on media, because that is the truth. The present economic and sociology aspects force the people to groom their natural-talents and personal-interests on sports/arts as time-pass activity instead of active practising and demonstration. Some people tried to break the barriers [eg: Kutraleeswaran] but then, is it the so called "bad-luck" struck??!! May be Kutraleeswaran still keeps the "spark" inside for next generation. But will the "luck" point here be a gross injustice to the wizards like Dhyanchand? The same applies to other areas of arts like music, dance as well. The way Pandit Bheemsen Joshi sing, has a differnt tone compared to Shenkottai Harihara Subramanian. Both sing great Bhajans in their own way. And same applies to the singers of popular programs like "Idea Star singer". But some people get famous based on their contributions while others live in the minds of a few thousand. If it is the question of education versus sports/arts, it is immaterial, seeing the way guys like Bill gates and Steve Jobs dropped out of their formal education to catch their destiny. Does this mean there is something beyond education or interests or talents controlling things??!!. OK, Let us go back to olympics.. Personally I liked the way Srikanth Kidambi played, though he did not win any medals.

Tail Piece: P.V. Sindhu and P.Gopichand got showered with prizes from all over the country. Is that the return on their investment? This definitely adds value to their sponsors and hence will lead increasing in sponsorship. Though, there was a controversy on the yellow "lucky" t-shirt Sindhu worn during the finals which had yonex logo instead of the sponsor li-ning's logo.

Current Mood: confused
Friday, January 8th, 2016
7:55 am
Seaplane channel in Bangalore
Yes. there WAS a seaplane channel, according to a photo from the "HAL museum". I was happy to see that the museum is in open air, calm and has a well maintained landscape, all in the middle of busy and polluting roads. The "calmness" was except for the voice of a helicopter which started flying from the next door airbase, but I can excuse that as I took that as part of the show. There was display and a simulation chamber for the public [with a cost] inside the building as well.

Pic: 5MIG's

Seaplane channel
Thursday, July 30th, 2015
1:19 pm
The "operation"
There was pain in my abdomen for about 6 months. It increased as time passed. The pre-tests for diagnosis are painful and irritating for my body which practiced its fixed routine. The syringes in my arm, revolving scan chamber and some alien fluid roaring into my veins heating them up made me shout. Then the journey of a snake fitted with camera inside my larger intestine made my brain cry. But I went with doctor's opinion. A huge metallic chamber appeared, having the anastasian with a prick on my spine. I lost sense of my legs and abdomen. My eyes filled with tears because someone else is controlling my body. I felt only some movements in my abdomen. Something has been removed and something else is being added. I felt the same agony of my father who underwent a cardiac surgery, which might have been more painful. I was awake, but immobile. My brain resisted any attempt to stand up by blocking the eyes and cutting the senses. After a day it came back normal. Then happened the routine checkups. I realized on thing. I can withstand the change in my body. It need not be on a routine. May be I am not exercising the concept enough?
Friday, March 20th, 2015
8:55 pm
The watch doctor
There sits an old man repairing wrist-watchs behind a busy bus stop. I saw him several times as my bus stops in that shelter for picking up people. The only work place he has is a desk behind the bus shelter and a big suitecase kept opened where he keeps all his watch, parts, batteries, tools, etc. His suitecase-wall becomes the only showroom cupboard. Several types of old watches with steel, gold, plastic straps are hanging from the suitecase wall. Most of them half repaired and dusty. His tools are dirty and his desk is wet owing to previous night's rain. He keeps himself busy with a watch's steel band. The watches he possess have been abandoned long back. But the old man still repairs it and decorates it in his showroom. He has an uncut and unclean mushtash and beard. His eyes have gone deep inside his heavily wrinkled face with a huge nose with dark moles. His hands shiver when he eats a cup of meat-rice given as charity from a nearby shop. But when he picks up his tweezer and point to the object of focus, his hands are stable as commanded by his brain and eyes are sharp at the piece. He uses an aluminium single-piece lense fitted on his eyes.

Once from my bus, my eyes met his lense-fitted eye. I saw his eye balls are huge and it invited me to his past. In the past, he was a busy repairer in a shop near the bus stop with glittering lights and glass cupboards full of watches. Wealthy customers come with expensive watches needing precision work. He got praise making things work and became famous as "watch-doctor". He had to employ a few more people because of the crowd. Watches with precious gems inside costing more than 20000 rupees and having complex mechanical parts were his common playground. But gradually the crowd came down. The watches became common man's piece. People started wearing less expensive plastic watches. The battories costed half the price of watch. So once the battery exhausted, people started buying new pieces and doesn't bother repairing. Though he started selling watches along with repair and service, only a few were sold. The wealthy crowd, though they are having expensive pieces, always went to the big malls with dedicated customer service.

One day, his shop was burgled. He lost many of the expensive watches which were given by his loyal customers for repair. He had to sell the shop to take care of the debt. He started his second career with a lonely suitecase behind the bus stop. Initially there were customers because everyone has a watch and repair shops were a few. The mobile-phone revolution changed the world again. Very few wears watch now. Whoever has watches doesn't goto street repairers. And now, they have watches for mobiles. They are fully electronic sans the possibility of wearing-out or repair. A mobile-phone repair centre with sim sales ran by some kids has replaced his old shop. He is aged, but still knows and does in the best way, what he learnt. But there are few takers! He literally struggles to meet his needs and lives on charity. But not giving up. He still keeps his suitecase showroom and repairs some watch from his collection.

I suddenly woke up from the dream when he took his lens-eye away from me. When I looked around, I shocked to see the expensive Apple Watch advertisement. May be the old-man was cursing it. My bus continued the journey.
Saturday, January 10th, 2015
8:36 pm
2014 was a great year! But looks like I need to write more. I saw many movies this year. Some worth mentioning in malayalam are "Drushyam", "How old are you" and "north 24 kaatham". I liked songs in "ivan megharoopan", "oru indian prayanakatha", "thomson villa", "Om Shanthi Oshana", etc. Several of the movies are "re-made" to other languages [like Hindi/Kannada/Tamil etc] and an interesting thought was that, "who would be the best to perform the key role in the re-make?".
Among the english movies, I liked "12 angry men", "ship of theseus", "A perfect world", "Patch Adams", "lifeboat", and several animation movies. I saw the Hindi movie "The Lunchbox" partially over the flight to SFO. Though I was not a "reader-on-the-move", the increase in time I am spending on the bus to my office made me an active reader in the bus. In that way, I can spend 1.5 hours to 4 hours a day, both direction. Though it is stressful for me to read while the bus is on the move [hitting gutters and speed-breakers] the long signals and "jams" made me relaxed. In such manner, I completed "Autobiography of a Yogi", "Edward de Bono - Lateral thinking", and several articles. I started liking the advertisements in the TV, though some of the themes have no relation with the product.
We went to ISKCON Bangalore after a long time. Nearby, there was a Srinivasa temple and as part of it, there is a building with six floors containing the sculptures of characteris in the stories relating to Lord Srinivasa. Sculptures are arranged in the sequence of stories starting from sixth floor. Entry fee was Rs 20, but there were hardly anyone inside. The place was clean, with the sculptures look lively with natural colours.
Thursday, July 31st, 2014
10:20 pm
It has been more than a year since I wrote something here. In between I tried to update, but several factors in life prevented me posting it. So, let me start with where I left. We lost my father. He fought 4th stage lung cancer for over a year [possibly more than that because we came to know about it late] and passed away in October. A month before, while checking the scan results, the doctor told that the disease has come back strongly.  "We have only two options: either try another cycle of Chemo/radiation [the pain and tiredness which my father might not be able to tolerate] or leaving him to an NGO-home for his peaceful final days." But we choose yet another option to have him at home and treating him as possible as we can, while the family is around. On those days, I learnt several things from him. In fact I strongly believed that he will come back, seeing the way he behaved and sought help when wanted, but in a tired way. And on his last day, he was happy, as if he knew about it. He lived a pretty peaceful life except for the last week of his life.

None of the books or movies I read was able to lead me to such an experience I had with my father on his last week. Nor my friends with their experience. And mere reading and passing by never substitute the real life experience. [quote: Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle: Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent.  .... it [life] would make all fiction with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions most stale and unprofitable.] As an emotional outbreak, I stopped reading books due to the same reason. Rather I found my painful end in all the books I read in the past, possibly influenced by my father's illness. Anyway, I have a long way to go through the path lead by my father and similar experiences I had. I realized that, when the mind becomes a brittle rock by accumulating its own theories, the life hammers and breaks it revealing those theories just baseless. 

Current Mood: moody
Thursday, June 6th, 2013
10:15 pm
In my childhood, asuras were portried in stories as well as books as dark and huge fellows with horns on the forehead and teeth stemming out from the mouth. They are bloodsucking, doing all bad things, steal the nice things which the brahmana's possess, and disrupt the brahmana's rituals. I often asked, why are they doing it? Do they have their own "Asuraayana" like Deva's "Ramayana"? What do the asura children get taught? no one answered me until some time in my teen-hood when I got an expression about the Asura's as the ones who do every sort of things to come into power., to conquer the world, etc. Sometime I tried to compare our ministers in the parliament as asuras. But the soft appearances of several ministers made me think otherwise. Though Sita was "born" out of the earth, was she abandoned by her parents? if so who were they? Why Ravana was so interested in Sita?
"Asura: Tale of the vanquished" was a good read, answering several of my questions. Though it is mentioned that, "The content of this book is the sole expression and opinion of its author and a work of his imagination and does not claim scriptual authenticity", the author Anand Neelakantan from Thripoonothura, narrated the events, almost in parallel to the Raamayana. He portried the story of common men who were inspired, led, used and betrayed by the villian's and hero's of the great epic. In this book, Devas and Brahmanas are treated with contempt and are cunning by nature.  They followed the "Dharma" & complicated rituals drawn upon by themselves without allowing competition. And asuras were the competition. So asuras were treated as "against the Dharma" and considered to be banished and eliminated. Devas and Brahmanas tried to expand their reach by conquering the "non-devas" and "non-brahmanas". Asuras resisted that move in a healthy manner. After Mahabali, the initiative of uniting Asuras came from Ravana. Ravana's knowledge and skills were well accepted and the common Asuras treated him as king. Though able and strong, several of Ravana's victories were attributed to the initiatives of common men, like Bhadra. I treat the figure "Bhadra" as not a single person, becasue there were a lot who was fed up by the raids of Deva's and castism. They saw no way of improvement in such a life. The asura men loved material things. Asuras too has caste system, but it is not based on birth or skin color. Anyone could reach a position of power through hard work and luck.
Why Ravana is called "Dashamukha" is also narrated in Ravana's own words. Ravana has to defeat Kubera and then Varuna to setup his kingdom in Srilanka. Like any ruler, Ravana also tried to expand his kingdom and on the way got blows from others kings Karthiveeraarjuna and Vaanara king Baali. But at the same time, he conquered Yama. Ravana was a devotee of Shiva. Shiva is treated as the Asura god. Though Shiva is termed as "destroyer" in the scriptures, he has given boons to the asuras who then built beautiful kingdoms like Srilanka. With his worship, Ravana achieved boons which made him so strong and knowledgeable that, he was able to capture all the nine planets and made all of them to be in lagna bhava in the birth time of Meghanatha, his son, the greatest of all. Ravana had a daughter, which he loses and this is the first book that I am finding her mention.
Rama is shown as the keeper of Dharma, which means he is also a slave of dharma. This is clear when Rama agrees for Sita's purity test after the war and also when Rama kills Shambuka, a shudra practising brahmin-rituals. Rama gets in war without ethics. This is well shown when he killed Baali from behind. Rama used several of Ravana's resources to defeat Ravana. Rama called Ravana "Mahabrahmin" after the war, which implicitly means that Rama was tightly tied to his dharma and was a slave of dharmic rituals while Ravana was a free thinker and explorer. Though several of the Raamayana books I read end with either the war or later after Sita's "Bhoomi pravesha", the cycle of life in Srilanka or Ayodhya and elsewhere continues.
I see several similarities of the present ruling system, competition and the life that we are going through, via Bhadra. Though a person is capable of proceeding with his life with his strengths, the surroundings are capable of making good or bad impact. And the impact could be too little to notice for a short term, but will be strong in the long run, which might change his life altogether.

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013
3:19 pm
aero india 2013
Jayadev and myself went to watch "Aero-india-2013" at Airforce station, Yelahanka on 9 Feb. We wanted to see the aircrafts in a hands distance. We carried minimal items to eat and my camera due to the "restrictions" on items which the visitors can carry. But on reaching there I saw people carrying food baskets to cater for the whole day, umbrellas, mats for sitting on the red-sanded ground and all such items. There were children from some schools in uniform. The whole place was crowded in such a ways that, it is very difficult to see the flights taxiing on the runway. Adding to our confusion, we went to the gate 1 for "ADVA parking" [taking a left turn on the airport road, as indicated by the signs] which turned out to be for Rs 500 tickets. But I had taken Rs 1000 ticket which included entry to exhibition as well, for which I should have gone to gate-5. Meantime, the show was started promptly at 10AM, so we decided to watch it from outside for sometime before going to gate-5. We saw small helicopters, the debuting Rudra helicopters  Tejas, etc flying. Jayadev was really excited about the giant fighter jets with ear-breaking noise, performance of various Red-bulls which left colored smoke behind. The performances of pilots demonstrating the capability to control the red-bulls in all possible directions was breathtaking. The main bird Jayadev liked was the US-Airforce C-17, the fat and fast carrier. Despite its size, the bird took off from a small runway, leaving a cloud of red-dust behind on the ground.
We left the "ADVA" area and went to Gate-5 in the category of "more-expensive" tickets. On the way, via the outskirts of Yelahanka, driving through some gated-plantain-grove [where the runway ends] we saw several people flocked to see the show "free-of-charge"!!. The sky-play was seen even from a distance very clearly. We returned to the airport road, and drove to Gate-5. Both the sides of the ring-road were occupied by thousands of people. After reaching gate-5, we had to drive another mile to reach the parking. We saw an ocean of cars and it was struggle to find a good parking spot in the dusty red sand. we had to walk a lot to reach the registration counters, further to which a BMTC-free-shuttle took us to the exhibition area. After 2 levels of security checks we reached the stalls. The "Rudra", "USAF C-17", "Indian Airforce-Hercules C130J", the small nishant on a huge truck, "Tejas" were a few of the ones we saw in a hand's reach. While we were checking out the birds on the ground, the Russian knights team were busy with the fire performances in the sky. There were people running mad to take photographs of the planes and the show. I felt, there were more cameras than people.
We returned at around 4PM fearing that, the ocean of cars in the parking might become a tsunami for the traffic. But it was not too bad while we started back, in my car covered with red coloured dust. I heard Sunday was very bad for traffic in airport road due to the "ticket-less" viewers on the road side. But it was amazing to watch the birds, pilots and the people doing all things to watch the show.

An album here:

Friday, January 6th, 2012
12:04 am
New year trip
We visited T.Narsipura "Sangama" [place where 3 rivers join] and Somanathapura during the new-year weekend. We started at 7AM in the morning, went through mysore road to have good break fast at Kamat Lokaruchi. At Maddur, we took a left turn for Malavalli. After Malavalli, we came across huge, blue "Marehalli Kere", fields cultivating paddy, raggi and sugarcane and enjoyed the smell of hay. We saw bullock carts all over our way, being used as "taxies"-to transport people, "trucks"-to carry load of sugarcane, "school-bus" to carry children, etc. My son shouted with joy when he saw a line of around 30 carts passing our way carrying sugarcane. We kept asking people for right way at junctions, not to miss the route. After around 3.5 hours we reached the sangama, and we had to go over two narrow, but long bridges to reach "Tirumakudalu Narasipura" Gunja Narasimha Swami temple. The place was not crowded much. On the way in, we saw some people climbing over a ladder on a piller to touch something on the roof-bottom. After "Darsana" we come to know that, there is a carved-lizard on the roof near the piller. The legend is that, whoever touches the carved-lizard gets freed up from the fear/attack of lizards.

We took a ride in a metal-coracle to cross Kapila-river. My son was very happy playing in water.

The coracle riders

The coracle-"driver" lead us to Agastheshwara temple, which looked very old and deserted, smelling the old, but somewhat neat and peaceful.

Agasteswara temple

We further moved on to the same coracle to reach the rocky-piller placed in the middle of the river. That is supposed to be the sangama of 3 rivers Kapila [Kabini], Kaveri and Guptha gamini. Then we moved further, and saw a rock having a natural-shivalinga, in the middle of the river. We took a turn around and returned. People were taking bath on the banks of the river. Cows were crossing the river with no fear, as the river was only a few feet of water.

We moved on to Somanathapura chanakesava temple, built by the commander named Soma in 1268AD. The place is now managed by the Archeological Survey of India. The temple has 3 sanctums, with dieties Kesava, Venugopala and Janardhana.

Venugopala, Kesava, Janardhana

The cells are surrounded with carvings everywhere. Huge cylindrical pillers and rocky flowers on the roof are amazing. The sculpturers have made sure to fill every inch with their stamp.

Govardhana giridhaari, Krishna kills the snake-daemon, and Bheema's Baka vadha carvings

Happy face

Outer wall is decorated with elephants, soldiers, scenes from epics like Bhagavatha and Mahabharata on the bottom layers. The top part was full of gods and goddesses in various shapes and forms.

Lakshmi Narasimha & Prahlaada

The Lakshmi Narasimha statue made me travel back to the deep-past when the art was made.  My ears filled with the sculpturers' thuds and tinks on the naked rock. Slowly the dark, lifeless rock got draped by the artist, to become the deity brimming with life. The artists made sure that every one should get amazed by their creation. I came back to the present, leaving my humble tributes to them, back in the past. we took some round abouts to the temple, with lotus-base.

Temple : rear view

While we are about to leave, I felt that the dieties inside the sanctum are kind of imprisoned, without any offerings. Usually, the sanctum is treated as holi-place, where no one except the priest is allowed. Even the priest has to follow strict discipline before entering. But here, people entering the sanctum in flocks, are just making noise without any respect. What will be your feeling if you are forced to do your daily work for 2 days in a cage being watched by the world? I bowed apologetically for a moment in front of the temple.

We started back to Bangalore and decided to go via Kanakapura road. Soon, we realized that it was a bad decision. There were no good restaurants to have lunch. The towns we passed had BAR attached hotels, but no good vegetarian hotels are present on the main road. We had lunch from kanakapura.
Road to bangalore via Kanakapura was good but not wide. At the same time, it was not crowded compared to Mysore road. we saw pipelines from TKHalli conveying water to our city on the way. We reached banalore at 5.30 PM after a nice trip covering ~300KM.

Friday, December 9th, 2011
1:16 am
A vacation
We had a wonderful trip to Kerala. We started by train on 18th and reached Kanhangad [near Kasaragod] at around 10.30 AM next morning. My son was impatient after he woke up early in the morning and wanted to move out of train. We stayed at my Aunt's place.

Where's my destination??!!


On 19th, we took a round to the ashrams [Nityananda Ashram and Ananda Ashram]. The cave like structure at Nityananda Ashram is like a maze.
On 20th, we went to Ananthapuram temple near Kumbla. The Road leading to the temple was narrow and shattered. Our omni-van has to jump into several gutters breaking our bones, before reaching this calm place. This temple stood in the middle of a green lake. The lake is home for a "vegetarian crocodile" named "Babbiya". Though this temple is the "Moolasthaana" [root] of Sri Padmanabhaswami temple in Trivandrum, we did not see any crowd.  The temple-Priests were narrating stories about the idols, temple and the crocodile. Inside the temple, I felt like I am standing in a small boat.
The crocodile has moved to another small pond around 100 meters from temple pond. No one knows how the crocodile travels between these pond and whether it eats anything other than what is given by the priest. We went to the other small pond and saw a huge crocodile sleeping on a side. We also visited small temples and a huge banyan tree on the same temple-compound.

The lake temple with Five elements:
" On the top is the infinite blue sky.
The bottom limit is dark-rocky-earth.
Just above the earth is the green lush water.
Just below the sky is the green breathing vegetation.
In between the water and the breath is the fire!
The fire of divine worship and life!


Banyan's root

See.. this is a big butterfly!! Will it fly??!!

We left early from there to visit Madhur [Sri Madanantheshwara] temple. The deity is Ganesha, and is drawn by a kid. History also has mentions about Tipu Sultan who wanted to destroy the temple, but got sick. When he drank water from temple-well, his sickness went away. But to make a mark of his attack, he made a cut on the roof of the temple-well-enclosure. It is still preserved.
We had feast ["Prasaada ootta"] from the temple. We had planned for Bakel, but the sun was buring our calories.

We had a picturesque evening near my Aunt's home. Several kinds of grass including fountain-grass were grown on the street side. They became melting golden in colour while seen through the setting-sun.


The burning gold - fountain grass

The golden bath

We visited Irinjalakkuda next. I was disappointed on our futile trip to watch a movie. The theater was on strike, thanks to some fight between film distributers and theater owners. So we went to the "Grand Central Circus" playing at the temple-grounds. The event took me 20 years back. I felt there is NO change in the circus-industry. It is the same tent, same band-stand, similar tricks and sweating professionals. And the circus-tent was at least half full due to the theater strike. Another thing I observed is that, there were very little claps from the audience to encourage the artists. We enjoyed for around 2 hours.

"Specially" abled plantain [വേണമെങ്കില്‍ വാഴ വേരിലും കായ്ക്കും??!!]

Red-beads from Red beadtree [മഞ്ചാടിപ്പയ്യന്‍]

We visited Alappuzha and it was starting day of festival in the temple. We had a "Samaradhana" [feast] before we left for Kochi and further to Irinjalakuda. We returned to Bangalore on 26th.

Current Mood: awake
Saturday, November 12th, 2011
8:10 pm
"99 thoughts on Ganesha" & "7 Secrets from Hindu calendar Art"
"Within infinite myths lies the Eternal Truth. Who sees it all? Varuna has but a thousand eyes. Indra, a hundred. You and I, only two!!"
I liked the way Mr. Devdutt Pattanaik wrote. I am becoming a fan of his books. Not because there are several repetitive sentences, and not because the way facts & stories are mingled with philosophy. But I am enjoying the facts/myths in a different way compared to how I conceived them 20 years ago.

His books are an effort to reason the myths through facts, a mix of scriptures and life! I recalled several stories heard only from my mother and some of the Harikatha tellers at temples. It was really a refreshing experience. The illustrations are done by Mr. Pattanaik himself and are simple and fabulous.  I took almost 3 months to finish the "... thoughts on Ganesha".
More details at http://devdutt.com/ and http://www.flipkart.com/author/devdutt-pattanaik

Current Mood: accomplished
Saturday, September 17th, 2011
12:01 am
Bad becoming worse
  1. Petrol price is increased and it is now 75Rs/Litre.
  2. My car used to take me 480KM on 30L of petrol approx, till 2 months back.
  3. Thanks to 3 flyover constructions on my way to office and evil-treated roads, my car takes me only ~450KM now on same fuel.
  4. WHY should I still pay road-taxes/check for "smoke-test"?
  5. I felt pity for a traffic constable drenched in rain struggling to control vehicles all around. On top of that, seeing a truck driver's destructive acts, I called up 100 and 103 out of frustration. The "network" was either busy or no body was picking up the call. I am praying now, "oh! God, Please dont create a situation to call those numbers again!"
  6. Unplanned construction and under-estimated traffic makes life irritating even after 10PM at night, on the road. Roads are becoming funnels.
  7. Because of 3 hours spent on the road daily, I am treating everything as "bullet points" to count on! Everything else is dissolved in the brain.
  8. I am often feeling to kidnap either the sleeping ministers or enjoying commissioners. I want to take them around the fly-over construction places at peak-traffic hours, and give a free ride over the gutters [especially Kadubisnahalli] to break their backs. They are still cowards sans the guts to ride on such roads.
  9. I agree, we need roads and water pipes. But we have to be alive to enjoy such amenities. If the construction starts killing, we better stop construction, or find another way to make it. 
  10. Am I living in a Metro??!!

Current Mood: frustrated
Wednesday, June 29th, 2011
11:28 pm
My daily trek

There were very little problems when I was walking to office. I made some friends on my way. A cat sitting on a wall murmured while I pass-by. Doody, the-stray-dog comes waving his tail, and a lonely Peeku, the parrot-in-the-cage said "Good-morning". Things changed when I started using BMTC bus, as my office went far from my home. Though, the bus-conductor smiled at me because I was the only passenger till the last stop of the bus. My not-so-planned office hours and broken-bus-service along with long waiting time made me irritated. Fed up with the auto drivers, I bought my car. Problems were solved for then. I had a smooth journey for almost 2 years. Once a week, I travelled in the bus. But now, not sure if I am getting aged, I always get irritated on the road while driving. Sometime my blood pressure raises. Hope I don't need to stop eating salt soon. Over a period of time, I was able to form an A2Z trail on the road. I don't mean to hurt anybody because I also have to play my life as a driver, pedestrian, or sometimes a violator. But I am dissolving my frustration out of my mind. Also I may be the cause of irritation to somebody else. For fun's sake I've included some google maps to chalk out irritating points. I often thought to catch pictures or videos of these irritations, but I don't want to have any accidents because of such attempts from driver's seat.

Full Trek Map


a) I start my journey from B.Chennasandra by car, via RamaMurthy Nagar ring road junction. From Chennasandra Main road, there is a left turn towards RamaMurthy Nagar. I have to be careful there because, a bus might jump suddenly from my left side. Sometimes, this has caused jams[shown as point1 in the following map]. It looks like a wrong way, but it is the only way with slight adjustment. A weived-off traffic-rule-violation of "drive on your left", to make it "drive on your right". Otherwise the police man standing at the junction will shout. Waited on the ramp to catch ring road. Often, the way leading to R.M.Nagar Main road jams up [shown as point2]. This irritates me because, I can see the empty road on the other side, not even 25 meters far, but reaching which might take 10 minutes. This happens because, a bus would have stopped picking up passengers and parked there for more than 5 minutes, leaving the road a kind of one-way, piling up honking vehicles behind. And I am amazed to see the way vehicles crisscrossed the junction.

Start [a]




b) Got the Green! Took a turn over the bridge and joined the ring road. Peaceful! Sometimes, a tipper used to park on the road side. Do you know what??!! it causes traffic jams, closing one lane, leading to slow moving traffic. People traveling on that "tipper"-lane slows down, try to overtake it, slowing down other lane also. My joy was short lived.. I can see vehicles piling up in KRPuram railway bridge. oh! god!! Jumped over 2 humps, to join the "infamous" jam. I call it "infamous" because I have to swim over it almost everyday. I have no other way.[shown as 3] The bridge is full of piled up vehicles!

map [b]

c) It is fun to watch the vehicles go in the jam. two-wheelers go in such a way that, they deserve each inch of the road. my car often got scratched by such squeezing-in drivers. I am very scared of trucks, because at the elevation, before they move forward, they slightly reverse, almost hitting my car's bonnet. Traffic is stand-still for several minutes, so I switched off my car engine. Slowly others also, leading to a perfect silence. Now comes the fun part. A train passes under the bridge. The bridge starts shivering!! I can see the sand [filled in the gaps of bridge-deck], breaking clearly with the shivering. Just imagine what happens if the bridge collapses due to the vehicle pile-up!! Scenes from Movies Inception/2012 went into my veins making my feet hot.

d) Sometimes one lane gets slow and pure luck decides which lane it is. I desperately watch many vehicles zoom past me on the very next line, while I can't move an inch for more than 5 minutes.

e) After several halts and moves, I am near the end of the bridge. [approaching point5] oh! Here is the great Indian circus of merging and crossing. From RingRoad many people and trucks move to NH4, while several buses/cars move from OldMadrasRoad to Whitefield direction making a perfect cross of competition. At point 5, everyday, a long truck or several private buses park, creating traffic which lead to point4, sometimes well beyond point3.

f) Point6 has a famous temple and several cars stop there for Pooja, especially on Friday, leading to the same "infamous" jam. Point6 is also a huge junction of NH4/RingRoad/Old-Madras-Road/Whitefield-road. There are 2 bus-stands right in the middle of junction. I see policemen bathing in sweat trying to control the traffic. But no one including the government does anything to clear the cross or junctions here. BMTC buses try to stop in the middle of the road to pick-up passengers. People try to cross the road running, as if they found free gold on the other side. Cab drivers try to zoom in overtaking every other vehicle and end up in front of me almost hitting my car. I call this as HOLE-1, because, the hole leading to Whitefield, can't bear the traffic flowing into it, because of the bus-stand. Few meters beyond point6 towards whitefield has some metal/bricks go-down on the left side. Long trucks carrying heavy-metal or huge lorries carrying cement used to turn left, **in the peak traffic time**, creating the "infamous jam". They don't have any other time to bring material to the go-down. Funny part is that, those poor drivers get confused about where and how to park always, leaving the truck in the middle of traffic for more than 5 minutes. This is the same case with the earth-movers and bulldozers moving around slowly in the middle of peak traffic, creating a long trail of vehicles behind. Tractors carrying “Drinking water” are not different, by they are slightly faster.

g) Few feet in front is a petrol pump, where vehicles leave the road slowly and re-join after drinking petrol. Left most lane is faster here, [towards point7] though slightly dangerous, because everyone try to squeeze in. A tractor collecting debris often blocks this lane. Most irritating moment is when 2-wheelers/auto-rikshaws with the headlamp lit, coming against you, as if it is their birth-right to violate traffic rules. At those moment, I try to put-on myself in their seat. They are trying to avoid a travel of 1KM to reach their neighbor, living just few meters away, because the road is a one-way!! So they save petrol and time.

h) point8 is the second HOLE under KRPuram-Hanging bridge, near the railway station. This is the next place with 2 bus-stands right on the junction. Commuters to/from the railway station run across the road scaring me almost every time. I remember that, when I return by train, I run carefully, but scared of vehicles.

i) Point9 is the starting of relief. A battle between vehicles going to Whitefield on the left and RingRoad on the right still takes place, but irritating factor is an autorikshaw trying to take a u-turn to come back to Old-Madras road. Otherwise the Auto has to travel 1 KM to take a u-turn. We make our own reason to violate the rules here!!

j) I travel via the second ORR bridge towards Marathahalli. The bridge has severely uneven tarring at several places shaking my vehicle and my spinal-chord everyday. Pont10 is a smooth ride.

k) Point11 near Mahadevapura again pains me due to the recent fly-over construction. [FlyOVER-1] The road has become narrow and bad. The construction people bothers just to create holes on the road and they do not bother to put at least some tar to fill it in. Day-by-day, I feel like the support-materials and metal bars occupy the very-busy-road. 3 lanes has squeezed to one and ALAS!! there is a bus-stand also!! AGAIN! One bus has stopped means the traffic is stopped. Trucks stop at one lane to unload/load causing further irritation.

pic [k]

l) My car joined back to ring road, But the service road on the left side is dug up for installing huge pipes. So one half-lane is full of mud and sand. I remember once, a heavy-truck carrying sand overtook my car on the right side and suddenly took left turn to stop at construction-site on the left. I ended up on the left-most lane which was uneven with sand. I break-ed the vehicle, but I felt flying with the dry-sand beneath my wheels. It took almost 5 meters to stop. The truck stopped and the driver went out like nothing happened.

m) Now, at this stretch sometimes I see a "traffic-interceptor" stopped to monitor speeds of vehicles. People who know abt this place slows down to 55-60Kmph, from 80Kmph after seeing a Qualis with its back-door opened from a distance.

n) EMC2 junction or Dodanakundi junction or now "Target junction" is another place of competition. recently they have installed traffic lights. Each junction like this is actually NOT a cross. It is a complicated maths puzzle with 2 service roads on both the sides.


o) Now, a railway lane going on top and further ISRO junction. There is a contention between vehicles coming from Marathahalli taking u-turn and the ones going towards Marathahalli. Soon a huge unnecessary hump welcomes my car with its bottom touching the hump's peek.

p) Now comes Marathahalli bridge, followed by Marathahalli junction. Again a mix of vehicles trying to turn left, right and u-turn. Usually a BMTC bus tries to take a u-turn blocking both the sides of ring road. I often felt, There is no other place where the BMTC buses can turn back and go. Or they need to take back from the bridge itself.

q) Now the traffic is smooth, until the "e-zone junction" where a BMTC bus stops and blocks a lane. Further down is another place where "traffic interceptors" stop for watching speed. Another irritation here is about some drivers smoking, and throw up the ashes through the window. Once My front glass got a sparkling fire-work when a cigarette slipped out from a stupid driver running fast in front of me.

r) I can see again vehicles piling up for Kadubisnahalli [Cisco junction] fly-over construction. [FLYOVER-2] The classic problem of a heavy-traffic-serving 3-lanes converging into 1.5-lanes, with a turn/diversion. I am going through this for past 1 year. 300 meters like this and I join back to ring road.

s) At the "New horizon college" junction there are lot of cab drivers and techies taking the road to all directions. This is the place where I see a lot of slow-moving cab drivers. why are they slow moving? Usually cab-drivers drive too fast. They slow down while they talk in their mobile phone. Though it is illegal, I see this at least 3 times a day.

t) The Intel junction is with another flyover [FLYOVER-3] construction. I usually take the service road towards my office, but I have to be careful for vehicles stopping suddenly to turn left towards their office. I am well “beware” of the humps/ponds on the road. But I get irritated when another vehicle is stopped near the hump or pond, so that, I have to run over it with the world going upside down. Especially the road in front of "Brindavan techpark" has a huge pond. Last week, somebody has erected a signboard in the middle of the pond, but nobody cared to fill the pond. So it is like a pole in the pond, with vehicles struggling to go on either side, still felling into the pond. The cabs and buses overtake without any mercy, creating the service road just a one way, leaving both sides jammed. Often I felt that, there should be a divider for the service road as well. I get jammed there switching off my car for more than 15 minutes, when I can see my manager on 5th floor office clearly from my car.

u) The road near my office, and often inside the office gets muddy due to the trucks ply with mud. Their huge wheels are covered with dark mud, and when the lorry speed up, [they are without mud-guards] throw the mud out which travel several meters behind them. I saw several instances when two wheelers struggle avoiding them, but their helmet covered with mud. The mud gets settled on the road making the journey really shaky, leaving our wheels bad. And once the mud get dried, the place gets full of dust. I remember in Singapore, before the truck leaves a construction site, the wheels are cleaned, so that, the roads are not spoiled.

v) I felt it irritating when the buses ply on the service road to drop passengers, and creating jams. They could just be on the main road, but not sure if somebody request them to go on the service road. Now, jumping 3 bridges, 2 underpasses and 3 flyover-construction-sites, I am in my office. The google maps says I can reach office in 20 minutes, but it takes 45 minutes to 1.25 hours to reach office.

w) The way from my house to office is still better for rainy days. The other way clogs down with few feet worth water on rainy days, because the water has nowhere to go! I pity the pedestrians and two wheelers who struggle with these issues.

x) On the way back what I can remember is an "S" like turn where I waste close to 500meters worth petrol. I imagine about everyday how many vehicles follow this plight wasting fuel, mind and health, getting irritated, suffocated and lost! Adding agony, I have to avoid big-bricks fallen on the road from the median, because, two wheelers and trucks go over the median to avoid a long way back. This phenomena is there at places where a construction activity is in place.

y) KR Puram is still the bottleneck for me to go back, because vehicles from ITPL and ring-road gets joined at a narrow passage. Further it goes near the hanging-bridge, and then the main Tin-factory junction where Old-Madras road also joins. It is like 3 vehicle-streams joining, and explode their way to either ring-road for Hebbal or continue to old-Madras road towards the city.

z) It was always fun traveling in Bangalore. I take bus once a week, to understand the plight as a pedestrian or a passenger. But I felt, it has no difference compared to my car. I still get irritated when the bus gets delayed or canceled altogether, or when the bus driver does a violation. But I feel it is still better for health, money and mind.



Current Mood: accomplished
Sunday, December 26th, 2010
10:38 pm
The white-man
Back to year 1991: [rough guess] At TD-high school Alappuzha. Inauguration of some event is going to happen. As planned, some selected good-looking girls in the school are dressed in neat-uniform, standing in 2 rough, careless lines, talking to each other, with "taalappoli". Police jeeps were parked inside the school compound with a few policemen roaming around. A few were deployed near the gates and corners. Several people sat on the fold-able iron-chairs, in front of a temporary stage. The stage has a few of cushioned chairs and rest all ordinary chairs. All the teachers were running around, tying a round badge with ribbon to showcase the event and their part in it. Some teachers along with a few girls were standing near the gate. They were probably discussing about who will welcome the guest first by garlanding him. Several fellows, not from the school are gathered in white-and-white attire, with the tricolor in their hands. A few minutes passed by, and the number of people whom I never saw in the school increased near the school gate. In another 10 - 15 minutes, I saw everybody running towards the main gate. The "taalappoli" girls ran to form 2 strict lines preparing for the welcome. I heard some "Sindaabad" slogans, and after a few moments I saw a small man with full white attire, with white head, white mustache and a big smile, walking very fast  in between the 2 lines, along with a flock of teachers, several unknown people and policemen. I amused seeing this guest "white-man" and his speady walk. The flock went to the teachers room. An announcement came regarding arrival of the guest and that "the event will start in a few moments". When I turned, I saw that there was no place to sit. People started climbing on the wall. I tried to get a place to watchthe front stage, but ended up near the teachers room door. Suddenly the guest "white-man" came out on the way to the stage, and in some push from the behind, I ended up in front of the guest. I smiled at him, when he looked at me and patted on my shoulders and cheak. This was the first [and last, so far] chief-minister-touch I got. The white-man was Sri. K.Karunakaran. I never felt anything special, but my friends were amused telling that "Eda, mukhyamanthri ninne tottteda..." ["the chief minister touched you"] The white-man went to the stage and programme started, but my feelings were around the "touch". I think he did a nice speech, because I head a thunderous clap after his speech. The only thing struck my mind then was "kuttikale, ningalaanu naale keralathinte manthrimaaraakendatu., ividem bharikkendatu.. ningalaanu ividathe doctormaar, engineernumar, teachermar"... ["kids, it's you who will be the ministers of Kerala, and should rule here., you are our future doctors, engineers and teachers"]. I was bored of this sentence as it was used by every speech in the school for many years. But I liked the way he put it. I don't remember anything else from his speech. After his speech, he bowed everybody and walked fast with the flock and went away in his short convoy.
Today: For past 2 days, all the TV channels are showing live news about the veteran leader's death. Despite the frictions inside the party, everybody [including the Prime minister, several INC leaders] paid their last tributes. I was astonished at the way people standing in the queue to see their leader for the last time. Anyway, I feel slightly depressed that I was not able to completely fulfill what he said 19 years ago, and I inherit same words to my kids now. He was indeed a Leader.

Current Mood: determined
Sunday, December 5th, 2010
8:30 pm
Kollur to Kozhikode
We decided to combine my cousin brother Mahesh's marriage, with a trip to Kollur Mookambika temple. We started on 25th night 8.15 PM to Kundapura [by Karnataka RTC, via Hassan, Shakleshpura, Mangalore, Udupi] After journey through bad roads, bus reached at 8AM toKundapura. Luckly there was another KSRTC bus to Kollur at 8:15 AM which took another hour to reach Kollur. We took a room in "Chitramoola" lodge in front of the temple for 200 Rs. There are several other loadges which charged much higher rates, but we were interested to finish the morning jobs, than staying overnight. The temple has same properties of Guruvayur temple in terms of spirituality, size, shops and lodges nearby. A small stream was flowing in front of the temple.
We got Darshana very quickly and we got out around 11AM. The "prasada-ootta" [daily holy-feast] in the temple starts only at 12 noon. So, we decided to do some shopping and to check the buses to Kozhikode to attend the marriage. We missed our breakfast, visit to Souparnika and Shankaracharya's temple with cave because of the running around. We have excellent
feast in the temple. Also has the luck to witness the "Pallakku pooja".
 We caught a private-bus to Mangalore at 2.30 PM, which took 4 tiresome hours through NH17. Later I found that, there is a railway station in "Mookambika road" as well as in Kundapur, and trains travel faster compared to buses. Our aim was to reach Kanhangad, but it was around 7.30 when we reached Mangalore. So, we stayed overnight at Mangalore and next morning took Coimbatore passenger [7.40AM] from Mangalore to Kozhikode.
The train reached Kozhikode at 12:00 noon, and we were welcomed by an autoriksha strike. Luckly Aradhana lodge, where our accommodation was planned, was just-10-minutes-walk away from the station. We visited the "Mithai teruvu" ["Sweet street" :-) ] and got some "Kozhikodan Halwa" as well. We celebrated Mahesh's marriage on Sunday and got back to Bangalore on Sunday evening.

Pallakku pooja

Jayadev riding the chariot
Sunday, November 7th, 2010
11:05 pm
Journey to BangaraTirupathi and Kotilingeshwara

I took my car for a day trip to Bangara-Tirupathi and Kotilingeshwara temple on Sunday at 7.30 AM with my family. The places are around 90KM east of Bangalore, via Hoskote. Passing several under-construction flyovers on NH4, we reached Kolar from where we took Bangarapet road towards right. An unexpected rain was accompanying us all over the journey. Around 9Am, we reached SN Veg Restaurant. The place was quite and cold with not many people around. But they served us with very good breakfast of Idli/Vada, Masala dosa and Masala tea.

The road from Kolar to Bangarapet is great with several straight stretches, moderate greenery and with a little traffic. After reaching Bangarpet, we took left turn towards Bethamangala. We passed by the BEML, and Kotilingeshwara temple [we thought of stopping there while returning] we reached Bethamangala. The ride further, taking a left turn after a small sign indicating Bangaru-Tirupathi, was lonely without many people on the way. In an occasion, I thought we lost the way, but the temple appeared suddenly from solitude. It was a small place with rocks, with a few shops and temple.

Temple was not at all crowded. The welcome signs inside the main Gopura are the Pushkarani [almost one-fourth size of that in Tirupathi] and a photo showing the head-shaving provision. After second Gopura and Navagraha mandapa, steps to the hill-top Sanctum start. It was not steep, but there are around 50 steps, wet due to rain, but not slippery. The deity, Lord Venkateshwara blesses everybody through a small window with 6 holes. After coming down from the hill and surviving a beggar-flock, we visited temple dedicated to Godess Padmavati, situated on top of another nearby hill.

We returned from that place and reached Kotilingeshwara temple. There was paid car parking, and place was crowded despite the rain. The place was well constructed and guided unlike Bangaru-Tirupathi. Several shops selling toys, pooja items and dolls are present on all sides of the temple. After entering the temple, I felt like I am in the middle of ocean of Shivalingas. Temples dedicated to Brahma, Vishnu, Maheswara, Venkiteswara, Parvati, Ganesha, etc stood in that ocean. A huge Shivalinga and Nandikesha were the main attractions. The Annadaana hall has prasada-lunch every day from 12.00 noon till 2PM. The food [comprised of sweet-pongal, curd-rice, pulao and rasam-rice] was simple but tasty.

Ocean of Shivalingas


We started back at around 1.30PM. I decided to drive back via Tekal/Malur/Hoskote. This was appeared to be bad with full of potholes. The incessant rain added to my agony. But I enjoyed the drive, especially the Tekal stretch. At one point of time I felt like the road has come to an end with the huge hillocks and rocks in front of the car. It was just a dream though!! I was not able to photograph several parts due to the rain hitting hard on my glasses, but when it subsided a little I took a snap. I have edited the same to show my dream. In another occasion, I got scared as there was not a human-being around for miles and just vacant land and rocks staring us, with the pot-holed road in the middle! We reached back Bangalore at 5PM. I wanted to visit Antharagange and Kolaramma temple/lake at Kolar, but the rain washed my dreams away.

Tekal: Edited/imaginative


Thanks to Mr. B.V. Prakash for suggesting this place as a weekend getaway. Following blogs also helped

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