Dec 24, 2008

Another year...

So, today is the last working day for this year! Thanks to this company which has a year-end shutdown for almost 10 days!!! Yayyyyy!!! Having 10days off is really a good break.

Lots of plans for the hols, should see what i do and what i procrastinate! Let me list them down here, so that i have some commitment to it, and then i'll review it in the new year. (Yeah, i dont have any plans to blog in the hols, but may be i'll prepare some things for it).

Okie, these are a few things that i want to do.....

  • "CLEAN THE ROOM" - Yeah.... every corner of room is screaming and yelling at me, asking me to clean it. I promise Dee every week to clean and revamp it over the weekend, and the weekend just flies off, with so many other stuff. Dee is still having patience and hope that i will do something about it! But somehow i am not getting the mood for it..... Yesterday i was going through some interior decoration blog, and wow! was i so fascinated??? Hmmmmm... it's high time i do something about it.......
  • Stay and relax at mom's for 4 days?? Now this looks doubtful.... But i have to stay over there to help her as she has injured her hand after a fall last week.
  • New years celebration - Hmmmmmmm...... Not sure what i do about this one..... But i want to celebrate one New Year's eve like people generally do :P - Like partying the night off :P. For me it's generally been staying at home or celebrating with food with family.
  • The trip (or pilgrimage;)?? ) wih extended family - Hmmmmmmm...... I wonder how it is going to be..... hope it'll be good. ImaginJustify Fulle 4 pairs of elders (read in-laws) and me the only bahoo...... But i'm glad there are some good cousins and of course Dee to give good company too :) Hope it'll be good......
  • Meet friends - Uff..... this one's also been postponed from quite some time, planning to meet some at least in the hols....
  • A make over :P - Ha ha... i always dream of getting a makeover but dread about it when it comes to implementation! Have plans to get a new hairstyle at least, let's see if i get the courage to :D
  • Some rest - Err lots of rest, actually!
  • A picnic with Dee - Yeah! he's promised me this ;)

Okie... i'll stop here! No point in just noting things down and not being able to do it!

Wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperos New Year 2009!

Dec 4, 2008

The red leaved plant

After many years, I saw this plant in aplenty again on waysides in Yercaud. This plant has flowers with red leaf-like petals. It actually looks like red leaves (I used to think the leaves turn red in some season!). It brought back so many memories from childhood….

In school days, there was one such plant near a friend’s house. I was deeply fascinated by it, and loved to collect these leaves or rather petals. I remember it used to have these red petals only in one season – may be winter when I used to have Dasara holidays. I used to go cycling all the way till that friend’s place only to collect these petals. We’d carefully save these in between pages of my books and let dry. And I and she would flaunt it in front of my other classmates once the school reopened.... We made up stories that this is a kind of red leaf which is found only to lucky people, and it brings luck, etc.... When asked to share a few petals, we would refuse to! Or give it to only those friends who were very good to us!!! And my sis, in an attempt to compete with me, had once filled her favorite book, with petals of some other flower. To her ill luck, that flower was probably too delicate, and it had got stuck to the pages, instead of drying off. And the entire book had gone waste. Yes, she did get scolding from mom and dad for that!

Ahhh... those childhood days were so colorful……

Well, when I saw this plant again last month, I did again become a kid. Dee was probably wondering what was so special with it…… I was bent upon getting one sapling home and having it grow in front of home. We thought we’d take one just before leaving, but due to the rains, we couldn’t :( And yes, I was upset about it.

But guess what??? Last week when I had been to Chickmagalur with my team on another outing, I did find the same plant, and this time I made it a point to get one home. Planted it myself, and watering it regularly.... hoping for it to grow and bear those red leafy flowers….. and remind me of my childhood everyday........

Dec 1, 2008

A month of change...

Ok! I completed one month in this new workplace..... After working for over four and a half years in the previous place, I had got so resistant to change; but completing a month here, I feel the decision to change was not bad, after all!

Though the kind of work or the amount of it that I do is not much different, here are some note worthy changes this change has brought about:

  • I don’t get an automated mail reminding me that I am late, if I log in to work at 9:00:01 a.m. (ya, late by 1 sec :D) Neither will I get a mail if I work for 8 hrs 59 min 59 sec, instead of 9 hrs! All I need to bother now is about my work being completed.
  • I don’t need to wake up tense, get ready, gulp something and rush to work and wink at the entrance, only to realize I am late by a few seconds (I’m referring to the Iris recognition system to get into the office)
  • I don’t need to put my hand bag, lunch bag on a x-ray scanner, mobile with a hologram on a conveyor belt and pass through the metal detector to make the security guards sure that I am not carrying any electronic storage devices into or out of the office (No, no, it wasn’t any rocket-science that I was working on, yet so much of security)
  • I don’t have to commute 20km one way through the heart of namma Bengaluru city and spend a total of over 3 hours on the road in Bangalore’s traffic; instead, now, I have to ride for 15 min one way on a country-side road, which sometimes I feel is the road only for me, as there is no sign of what traffic is or what a signal is, pass through a couple of hamlets and wonder if it’s actually Bangalore!
  • I don’t have to trouble Dee to drop me and pick me up everyday, making him drive for almost 4-5 hrs a day :)
  • I don’t have a chance to crib that I don’t get time to read, as I have all the time now to read even two books in a week!
  • I don’t have an excuse that I don’t have time for exercise as I do have enough time for it
  • I don't have to wait till friday to go to office in casuals; he he.... anyday is friday now :)

On the other hand,

  • I don’t get those tea time gossips and lunch time walks around the campus with my buddies :(
  • I don’t get a chance to wait for a petty excuse to go to mom’s house directly after work saying that’s so close; now I have to wait only for weekends to go there. Neither can I go there for lunch once in a while, get pampered by mom and get lazy to get back to work :(
  • I don’t get to drive with Dee to and fro everyday, talking non stop and entertaining him; I have to wait for him to get home before I start jabbering :P

Anyway, the negatives are few, as compared to the positives. And I’m pretty much happy about the decision.

Nov 25, 2008

Misty, Rainy, Chill Yercaud

The last time we decided to go to Yercaud a year and a half ago, there was unexpectedly some bundh called in TN. We did bravely start traveling hoping there will not be any problems, but a little before Hosur the road was jammed – as they were not letting any vehicle from Karnataka to TN at the border. So, we somehow managed to turn back and cancelled our trip to Yercaud, with a heavy heart…..

This time again, I was kind of having some doubts, whether we’ll be able to make it or not! And again, near Hosur there was a big traffic jam! Since it had been raining for the past week, a huge bus has got stuck in the slurry and that had blocked the road almost completely. Uffff…. all we could do was to wait till it was cleared off, as we could not even turn back and take any alternate road. After about half an hour, but seemed to be the longest wait, the vehicles started moving…. And here we were on Salem road!
Well, the roads are very neatly laid, and the drive was good, except that at every village on the way, a flyover is being constructed, and since the work was in progress, there were hitches in driving. There was a slight rain for sometime and it was really nice to drive in rain! But one thing we noticed is that the land looks so barren and dry….. No trees at all and nowhere did we feel like stopping for a rest, though we wanted to as there was absolutely no shade. Unlike when traveling to Mysore or Hassan just after we cross Bangalore, the green fields will be so inviting!

Ok! So we reached Salem by noon, took directions from local people there and headed towards Yercaud through the ghat section, with 20 hairpin bends. Well, the surroundings suddenly changed, with more flora now. As we started ascending, the temperature too fell, and it was good. The lake was big and calm, but I felt the place is quite too commercialized now. Lot of small hotels around the lake and the place is not so clean.
Well, we headed towards CM Lake forest hotel, which is on a road off the lake road. It was formerly a British bungalow, now converted to a resort. They have deliberately kept the interiors, etc unchanged, to give a touch of antiqueness, and we liked it.
Well, it was unbelievably colder, and the chillness increased as the day progressed! Food was good and reasonably priced, and having hot masala chai in such a chill place is one experience!

Ok, the next day, we planned for a drive around Yercaud on the so-called loop road. We took the map and instructions from the resort people and started the drive. The first stop was at Rajarajeshwari temple, where they also sell some herbal oils. After that there is a small deviation to the right, which leads to the Shevaroyan Temple. We got to the viewpoint there, and started exploring the surrounding place. The weather which was bright and clear till now, suddenly got colder and filled with fog. In no time, we were in the middle of thick clouds, with as little as 8-10feet visibility! It was an awesome experience.
We waited there for sometime, seeing bauxite ore mining, which is almost destroying the forest. After the fog cleared a bit, we started our drive. I managed to drive a part of it, first time on ghat section, with very narrow roads! I must admit I did get scared a bit, but managed reasonably well. We passed through some hamlets like Nagalur, Kaveri Peak and Manjakuttai. The 30km drive seemed longer, may be because of the narrow roads, and the limited speed we can drive at, but it was one of the nicest drives!
After crossing these hamlets, we stopped at another viewpoint which again had a nice view of the mountains. We got back, planning to visit the lake in the evening, but there was a downpour by 3pm, which didn’t seem to stop at all till it was dark. So, missed the boating :(. We went out for a night walk around the lake, after it stopped raining. It was still drizzling, and pretty cold, but enjoyable.

The next morning we went for a walk in and around the plantations and then started back to Bangalore after a good breakfast. It again started pouring and we drove back in rain and mist! It was fun!

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Nov 24, 2008

The Little House Books

When my friend who was coming back from the US asked me for the umpteenth time what I wanted from there, my usual reply was “Nothing!”. But this time he really pestered me to ask for something, and almost did an emotional blackmail that I do not consider him a good enough friend, etc etc, and hung up!!! I was really confused now, not knowing what to ask him, if at all I should. I am not so crazy about getting things from abroad, and of late I have started feeling that we get almost anything in namma Bengaluru itself. Hmmm......

Suddenly I remembered my favorite book series, which I had been searching for in almost every other book store in Bangalore from many years, but in vain. Yes!! I could ask him to get me a couple of books from that series; I only had the Kannada translations of some of them with me. Anyway he would get me something or the other, though I do not ask him to. Instead, why not ask him to get me my favorite stuff? So the next time he called me, I told him about these books, and sent him the list of the books, in order of my liking, and asked him to get me a couple of them, preferably the ones on top of my list. He again called me up, sounding confused and said “These books look like kids’ books, are these the ones you actually asked for?” Eeeeeeeee, I grinned, yup, that’s what I want! And well, he got me 8 out of 9 books of the series!!
Ok ok, let me tell more about it. Laura Ingalls Wilder was an American author, who lived in the late 19th century and early 20th century. She has written a series of books for children called “The Little House Books” based on her childhood in a pioneer family. There was this old, worn off book at home, “Hullugavalinalli putta mane” by S. Anantha Narayana, a translation of her “Little House on the Prairie”. I remember growing up listening to and reading from this book. Chikki (my aunt) used to read out one chapter for me after in returned from my pre-school, and I would listen to her and imagine all of it, as if it were happening in front of me.

Later on, when I started reading myself, ma gave me the other three old books of the series she had at home. I was so deeply fascinated by them that I had started imagining myself as Laura, and my family as her family she has written about. At times, I’d hallucinate that I am the actually the rebirth of Laura herself!!! Ha ha… I used to enjoy imagining things like that!!!
And recently I did play a prank on Dee saying that I remember about my previous janma, that I was Laura in my last birth, blah blah. I sounded so serious that probably at one point he was kinda perplexed!!! However, I still have this dream of going to the US once, and visit the places that she has mentioned she lived at.

Ok, we hadn’t found the other 4-5 books anywhere, till my college days, when our library had got new re-prints of the entire series. Happily, I had read all of them again, and slowly started buying them one by one whenever I found one. But reading the original books in English had still been a dream. No book store in Bangalore had it, and I had left hope.
But when I googled for it a couple of years ago, found so many links and so much more info about her! And wow!!! The books are still sold in US!!! And now, I have them with me! Yayyyyy!!! I was so delighted last evening when I got them…… wanted to read them all at once!
I surely want my kids also to grow up reading them ;))
PS: my friend has missed the 7th book in the series – “A little town on the Prairie”, one of my favorites. Now, greedy Sum wants that too :D

Updated Later:

Ok! The seventh book, which i thought was missing was in the car itself :). Dee saw it and got it to me the next day. Yayyy!!! I am happy :)))

Nov 20, 2008

Bhadra River Tern - water, water and water.

After a long time, I and Dee set out for another trip. This time it was Bhadra Reservoir, in Chickmagalur district. Chose this place as we were supposed to visit relatives in Chickmagalur town, Kadur and Bhadravathi. Well, we planned to finish off all these for the first two days and have the next three days all for ourselves! And this time, we were going to drive, first time on a long trip (other than a short visit to Mysore).
The route from Bhadravathi to Lakkavalli, where the BRP (Bhadra Reservoir Project) is situated was so refreshing – green fields on either side of the road, no traffic, no pollution..... I was just wishing I could stay there forever.
The JLR's River Tern resort, where we had booked for 2 days, is built on a small island (or rather a peninsula, as it is connected to land on one end!) on the backwaters of Bhadra reservoir. It is surrounded by dense Western Ghats forests, which happen to be Bhadra Tiger Reserve.
Bhadra reservoir happens to be a huge water reservoir in Karnataka, from which drinking water gets supplied to many places up to Davanagere. Sure it is a huuuuuuuuuuuge reservoir, with sweet, potable water everywhere! The reservoir was planned by Sir. M Visvesvaraya, but constructed later on by other engineers.
Like any other dam, even here, many little island villages have submerged under this great reservoir. One such little island is a dwelling of a species of birds by name “River Tern”, the resort thus gets its name. The island is submerged under water most part of the year, when water level is about 185feet; but in summer, when the water level goes down to about 140 feet the island gets exposed, and these birds come here in tens of thousands and occupy the entire island. They breed here, and a couple of months later, go back to where they came from. (They say it’s mostly from Himalayas, not sure of this). Strange part is that these birds come only to that island, and to no other neighboring islands!!! And the River Terns do not allow any other bird or animal to enter that particular island. Sadly, we went there in October, when there was plenty of water, but no sight of these birds. And there is this particular branch of a tree whose roots are on the land 40+ feet below water, but right now, only a small part of it pops out of the water!

Well, this resort built on a hilly island terrain is rather different from most of the other Jungle Lodges’ resorts including Devbagh. Most importantly, my belief that JLR resorts are not maintained well (after seeing Devbagh, where the place is exotic, but the cottages are poorly maintained) just vanished! The service, food and maintenance are all pretty good here, thanks to the Resort Manager. All the cottages/log-huts are placed apart from each other, but ensuring all of them get a good view of water below and mountains in front.

As part of activities, we had canoeing, kayaking, jungle safaris, trekking, mountain biking, bon-fire. The only sad part is that we cannot get into the water by ourselves, due to the depth. We did get in for a small swim with life jackets, so it was fun! Spending evenings watching sunset from a small wooden bridge connecting the neighboring island, is one memorable experience. Overall, it was a great trip, from where I didn’t have any mind to come back at all!!!!!

Link: River Tern Lodge, JLR ( )

Nov 18, 2008

Change..... for Good!

"Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better."
Well, I'd want to fall into the third category..... or at least the second.......
Welcome here! I just moved here from this age old abode!!!