Unusual Occupations

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A to Z challenge - Theme reveal



Been there done that ...


It has been a crazy busy year.  

My A to Z theme is normally conceived a few months after I close on the previous one  and gets a shape and form over several months before the theme reveal in March.  

This year I have been on an overdrive at work  and I was beginning to fear that the creative side of my brain was possibly dead. 
And here I am in the month of March, determined not to give up on this year’s challenge.

This will be my fourth one in a row if I make it.  

2014 - No theme 
2015- Four Generations:Three continents : Two world wars : One village 
2016 - Unusual Occupations
2017 - Been there, Done that ... 

Truth be told and I had no theme in mind and was going to let it pass.  

Off late I have been day dreaming of retiring from the cubicle jungle and travel the world.  
( I can see some of your skeptical smiles  out there … oh well … we are all entitled to dream are’nt we !!! )

On a serious note while the Practical and Reasoning  head  has been at logger heads with the just- go- out-and-do-it heart,  I stumbled upon photographs from the past and my almost dead creative wings started fluttering.

After all  I have done some fair bit of travelling , taken tons of photographs,all only to be tucked into that Google drive and my own hard disk.  It was time to uncover the digital dust on the photographs and let my creative juices flow.     

So here I am bravely announcing my theme for the A to Z challenge.

Been there, Done that ... 

It is a travelogue of sorts – reminiscing little stories and anecdotes that happened along the various travels through the last  14 years. 


Been there Done that …


The posts will appear in alphabetic order but the travelogue does not follow any such order. 

It flits from Platform nine and three quarters and kings cross in London to Musings across the Manhattan skyline sometimes  just to fit the alphabetic order. 

From an early morning Malai makhan in Benares to the joy of  eating fresh and raw Zuchini  in an antique  market in Florence , these are the not so interesting gastronomic adventures of  a starved vegetarian travelling  across the world. 

Stay tuned for more ... on the 1st of April. 



Sunday, February 12, 2017

Walk across the Brooklyn bridge





Brooklyn Heights - This Newyork’s Posh neighbourhood has been the watering hole for over a century for budding and successful writers from all over the world.   

Two of my  favorites – Amitav Ghosh and Jhumpa Lahiri have made Brooklyn their home and that was enough of a reason for me to take a walk across the neighbourhood.

A guided walking tour that starts at 2pm from Brooklyn Borough Hall on a cold January afternoon is’nt exactly  a great time in this time of the year to venture out on a walk.

That Saturday afternoon at the stroke of two, as if by cue snow flakes started descending as our tour guide and local historian John started off with telling us about this island that set the standards for many a social change in the United States of America.

Abolition of slavery being one of them.


Oh well … he started off with something like this.  He said, ‘this is my last walking tour of Brooklyn Bridge under the Presidency of Barack Obama, pchhh… such a classy President we have had’ and he chuckled. That explained a lot.


The walk across some of Brooklyn’s historical neighbourhoods was peppered with the revelations of American celebrities who brought property in Brooklyn heights for astronomical amounts.  Not surprising from our tour guide who claims to have worked in the real estate business before he became a walking tour guide.

Among many other things we learnt that day was that the first Haagen Dazs outlet to ever open was in Brooklyn. And you thought that a posh ice cream brand like that has to have a European origin !!!   

The snow had intensified and there was atleast an inch of snow all over the streets.  We stepped into a small café called chocolate factory, that made brisk business as we walkers helped ourselves with the rest rooms and some hot chocolate to keep us going in the cold weather.




The bad weather played spoil sport in what would otherwise have been a breathtaking view of the Manhattan skyline stretching from the Statue of liberty up until the tall glass skyscrapers across the river that formed the famed Manhattan skyline.

The walk ended at the Quaint Brooklyn Icecream factory right underneath the Brooklyn Bridge where we stepped in to take refuge from the snow as well as for some warmth and hot coffee.  ( certainly no ice cream in that weather. )

As I sipped my chai ( yes that is the American brand name of tea bags spiced with cinnamom and cardamom) I watched through the window  the view of the Breathtaking Brooklyn bridge from underneath while heavy vehicular traffic moved over it and across the city.

I promised to be back the next day to walk across the Brooklyn bridge, weather conditions obliging.

On Sunday afternoon the weather was more than obliging.  It was sunny clear sky by New York standards and the temperature on the mobile phone indicated a 2 degree Celsius, which was cold by a non New Yorker’s standards.

Much to my surprise Tourists thronged the Brooklyn bridge. Getting down from the nearest subway station, a leisurely walk across the bridge can be a good 45 minutes with plenty of photographic moments capturing the Manhanttan sky line and the bridges across the Hudson river. 

Faraway at Staten Island stood Lady liberty dressed in green.

And that is when you miss a good DSLR camera. 

As you walk across Brooklyn Bridge watching the breathtaking view of New York skyline you cannot help but feel the energy and determination of those millions of migrants from all over the world, for well over two centuries who beckoned Lady liberty and arrived at her shores and built this magnificient city from where the world’s wealth passes through.
           
                               
Here is a poem written by Walk Whitman written before the Brooklyn Bridge was completed. He clearly felt the area’s energy on  ferry in 1856, years before the bridge was built.  ‘Crossing Brooklyn Ferry’ sings directly to us, its future readers, and is an enthralling document of Whitman’s physical and metaphysical crossing of the Bridge. Through its themes of spiritual ascents, moral doubts, and sublime conections , it foreshadows everything that this landmark would come to represent.




Flood-tide below me! I see you face to face! 
Clouds of the west—sun there half an hour high—I see you also face to face. 
Crowds of men and women attired in the usual costumes, how curious you are to me! 
On the ferry-boats the hundreds and hundreds that cross, returning home, are more curious to me than you suppose, 
And you that shall cross from shore to shore years hence are more to me, and more in my meditations, than you might suppose. 

Others will enter the gates of the ferry and cross from shore to shore, 
Others will watch the run of the flood-tide, 
Others will see the shipping of Manhattan north and west, and the heights of Brooklyn to the south and east, 
Others will see the islands large and small; 
Fifty years hence, others will see them as they cross, the sun half an hour high, 
A hundred years hence, or ever so many hundred years hence, others will see them, 
Will enjoy the sunset, the pouring-in of the flood-tide, the falling-back to the sea of the ebb-tide. 


Crossing Brooklyn Ferry




Saturday, February 04, 2017

Dal Khichdi in Gurgaon



Gurgaon – a city that has always been fascinated me. Everytime I have visited the city over the last 12-15 years I am amazed at how the landscape of Gurgaon that was once upon a time farm lands, has  changed over the years. 

Tall Glass buildings, a throbbing night life, young call center workers, immigrants from the south, east, west and north-east of the country along with those illegl immigrants from across the border integrate into this hub and figure out their survival strategy amidst the adrenalin rush of the  Harayanvi and Punjabi locals. 



In that melting pot you find those neo Gurgaonites, still nostalgic about their Old-Delhi lives, that they left behind and migrated to Gurgaon.
You will spot that not so wide generation gap that divides the middle aged and the millenial, between those who go all the way to Chandni chowk and Sarojini  market to shop and those who have comfortably adapted to the funky malls of  Gurgaon. 

No other satellite city speaks so loud about the changing Indian middle class like Gurgaon does.

It is a Milton Keynes of the east, I said to a fellow colleague who had travelled from the UK.  
It was a business trip with a packed agenda.  We had checked into Westin Gurgaon. 
I was nervous and prayed for nothing to go wrong.
 
And voila Murphy’s law proved itself to be so true.

Motion sickness and lack of fresh air due to prolonged exposure to closed air conditioned spaces had been causing havoc to my digestive system every time I would travel. My worst fears came true. A throbbing headache followed by violent bouts of nausea and I was out of action. 

I survived the first half of our meetings on day one, frequenting the rest rooms and barely able to hold myself up. Beyond a point I realized I could not hold up and I quickly excused myself and returned to the hotel. 

The reception at Westin Gurgaon, sent over a staff to ensure I was all right. 

A doctor was summoned and he prescribed me medicines. A member of the staff ran down the local pharmacy to get me my medicines and very soon I was feeling better. I still needed to rest.   

Just as I was reclining into the bed, wondering when to take the medicines, the Chef knocked at my door and asked what I would like to have. I shook my head and said I just would not want to eat anything and would like to go to sleep.

Much to my protests, the Indian hospitality prevailed.  An hour later, at about dinner time, he sent over with the room service a tray with food. Complimentary from the kitchen, the room service said to me as he wheeled the tray into my room.

With trepidation I opened and looked up the tray. It was the pithy  and watery ‘khichdi’ with very little spice and salt that I would have expected my mom to make for me when I was ill.
The smell of hot freshly cooked food permeated the room and whipped up my appetite and my almost numb taste buds. As I set the plate, I saw something that made me smile. There it was … a ‘get well soon’ card from the Chef.

Tears strolled down my cheeks. What better could one ask than your typical comfort food and the warmth of people around you caring for you when you are sick and far away from home.

That was unexpected luxury from strangers, that too in a five star hotel.   

And then I slept like a child. 

I had heard that Westin chain of hotels, the world over are known for their comfortable luxury pillows.  There are different types of pillows to choose from.  And truly they take the definition of comfort mattress to a new level.

The next day morning, armed with intake of light juices, a mild watery khichdi ( a repeat of last night’s menu prepared by a different Chef who was instructed by the previous one before he left for the day) for breakfast I was all geared up to hit the road for the day two meetings.

The strong dose of doctor’s medicines, kept my digestive system under control and I was pulling through.

That evening, with a feeling of accomplishment, I came back to my room and took a long relaxing bath in the tub.  I was feeling better although I knew the medicines were holding me up. 

As I looked through the window of my 9th floor hotel room, that moon lit night, the city of Gurgaon pulsated and throbbed with life.  The glass buildings that housed the service centers of the global multinational corporations were brightly lit all night, the highway that connected the satellite city to the national capital twinkled with red and yellow lights of moving traffic that felt like a necklace laced with pearls and rubies.



When I checked out the next day, I could not thank the staff enough for their thoughtfulness and making my stay a comfortable one.   A day later when I was back home I received a call from Westin Gurgaon asking I was feeling better with a special instruction from the doctor to complete the course of medicine that he had prescribed. 

I vowed to stay there the next time I visited Gurgaon. Hopefully I may not have to summon the doctor and instead enjoy the luxury, comfort and warmth of Westin, Gurgaon, knowing fully well that I would be cared for like a special guest.    

              




“I am blogging about my luxury stay experience for an activity at BlogAdda in association with MakeMyTrip

Saturday, December 17, 2016

What will be ...will be... The future is not for us to see...


It was a trip that was conceived in the subconscious mind many years ago.

Those were the tumultuous years of our lives.  A lot had happened in the past and good deal of healing and reflection lay ahead of us if we were to move on with our respective lives.

It was not about taking a holiday, going on detox, trekking up a hill or meditating that could have made us see things in a different perspective.

Life is'nt about finding yourself ... perhaps it is about creating it all by yourself ..
.
As they say time is the greatest healer of all.  Sometimes you just need to let time take its course.

And thus went by the many years in the pursuit of  healing and moving on. That visit to ‘Kukke’ that was perceived and conceived had just found its right time to materialize. It felt like the entire universe just conspired to make things happen.  

We took to the road at about seven in the morning  on the thanksgiving weekend.  Equipped with clothes, mobile(s), charger(s), power bank(s), credit card(s), Driving license(s), RC book, insurance papers, emission certificate, in case of emergency contact number(s), and some new cash we speed off and away from the city.

The roads away from Bangalore were such a breeze at that time of the day. It is true; Bangalore roads instinctively know when Americans celebrate Memorial Day, Independence Day and thanksgiving weekend.  The first surprise awaited us the Nelamangala toll. As the queue of vehicles approached the toll gates, one could see the barriers lifting up faster than they normally would, every time you pass by the toll gate.

As we readied ourselves in the queue, pulling out old ten rupee notes in order to tender the exact change and approached the toll, we were pleasantly surprised to know that the toll charges had been waived.

Bolo Modiji ki jai... we say as I  press the accelerator of my automatic  gear Hyundai i10 2010 model  and speed off into the high ways.

And thus was born the tag line for the trip... ‘Bolo  Modiji ki  jai’ …

My Hyundai i10 – the main Protagonist of this long post deserves a better introduction and a better name. She is six and a half years old and has been a highly domesticated vehicle.  Like that chaste Virtuous Virgin girl  (hereinafter referred to as V V Girl) who never crosses the line that her parents laid out for her (except occasionally when parents were not watching), my i10 has only done trips within the city. From home to office and back to home on weekdays. And then to buy groceries and to visit the neighbourhood temple  over the weekends. 

*Barring those occasional trips to Salem, Dharmapuri  and Mysore that have been a well guarded secret in all these years.


Virtuous virgin girl aka V V Girl has been serviced unfailingly every six months for the last six and a half years.

Feeling like the father of the bride, it was with trepidation that we prepared the Virtuous Virgin girl aka V V Girl for the long trip that awaited her over the thanksgiving weekend.  A visit to the car servicing centre to check the wheel balancing, tyre conditions, air pressure, engine oil, coolant and what not was done to ensure she was in perfect health to take on the stress on the ‘D-day ’

And boy!!! Barring a little detour around Tumkur where we lost our way after the breakfast, the next four hours was a wild rush of the odo meter. From 80 à 100 à 120 and occasionally a 130 … mmm  aaaacctually 140 … our V V Girl  really ran wild.  It was an orgasmic rush of adrenalin like never felt before.    

The monsters of the past that loomed like a storm of grey clouds in a dark cold night in our heads were clearing away. Well… at least temporarily, thanks to that adrenalin rush.  A sense of adventure that brought us together all those years ago was rekindled. How long ago that was … I do a mental math…. 

It was indeed many many years ago ... a lot had happenned in the world that surrounded us .... 

I remember clearly ... my niece was born in that year.  but for us ... It was as if time had never passed by.

Miles and miles of high way lay ahead of us. It felt like we would cruise the 100 and 120 speeds for ever.          

That is how it felt all those years ago. Of course we knew there would be barriers and bridges to cross along the way. 

But we blindly believed we would  cross them when they came on... and cruise along ... 




This was the national highway - NH75. And yet there were road humps and toll gates where we had to slow down. We crossed  the barriers that no so long ago were buzzing with toll fee collections and uttered loudly ‘Bolo Modiji ki jai ‘  and cruised along.     

We had decided that we would cover the longest haul of the trip first. And thus it was to Kollur, a good 700 kilometers from home that we headed for on Day one. A quick stop for breakfast, lunch and snacks at roadside eateries saw us through the day.  Our Virtuous Virgin girl was loaded with full tank at the start of the trip and so she happily roared along the way until Kollur when we reached there in the evening.  

Barring a twenty kilometre stretch of pot holed roads; it was a decent drive all along.  We were sceptical if our Virtuous Virgin girl and her chassis would take to the pot holes kindly, but we need not have worried. She was made of sterner stuff and stood her ground through the onslaught of craters and ditches. The second half of the day was through the tree lined State highway (sh14) where we had to slow down to speed limits of 50-60. But it was well worth it. The quaint villages along the way and the tree lined state high ways soothed us like a pleasant perfume wafting along the way. After all speed isn’t the only thing when you venture out on a long drive. 

How we wish we had known this  all those years ago. The bridges, the barriers and the pot holes did come along and it was such a bumpy ride.  Sadly no one had warned us about it then. Everytime the ditches and potholes of life hit us, we shuddered. Life felt like one long haul full of pot holes and ditches and the prospects of surviving it over a long haul  looked bleak.   

For a very long stretch, life felt  like a one way street and the U turn was nowhere in sight.  Truth be told, we did want to take a U turn but were terrified to look for it.and missed many along the way. In all those years we consulted the google maps of life from time to time. They came in the form of Astrologers, psychiatrists, and counsellors. But we were too confused to trust them.         



In our country especially when in the countryside no matter how much we rely on Google maps, we find solace in consulting the locals for reassurance. Every time we were at crossroads we listened to the voice from Google maps for directions. And there she was, for want of a better name let us call her Google Girl - G G Girl for short. She has a nasal voice, as though she was just recovering from a bad cold and has an accent that struggles with names of Indian towns. But she kept us company all through and gave us our directions in no uncertain terms. And yet, we stopped by and consulted the locals. Oh well, sometimes we got directions from them that would contradict the one that G G Girl  gave us, but we trusted them nevertheless. 

We got lost many a times, went around in circles and the journey seemed like a frustrating drag.
 A very long drag with our destination nowhere in sight. 

It was on day three that we decided to take a detour and visit Sringeri. But before we tell you about our trip to Sringeri which we decided on the spur of the moment, we will pause and tell you about our stay at Doddamane in Agumbe.

Two years ago, in a inter office quiz contest, this question got passed and came to our team. 

If Kaziranga was for Rhinos, Corbett for tigers what was Agumbe for ?

That was the first time I had heard of Agumbe . 

Perhaps due to enhanced application of a quizzers logic (endangered- wild- life - kannada-sounding name-western- ghats) or perhaps because I felt like I had a subconscious connection to this place and them, I replied... ‘snakes’ and quickly corrected myself and said ‘cobras’. . 

The quiz master nodded and our team got the points.
 
That is what brought us here.

Google Girl says we are approaching Agumbe in four kilometers.  Ahead of us is a steep hill with a mobile tower looming at the top. From that  distance it feels like we would hit a dead end. As we approach closer the road winds itself up the hill through steep Ghats and I worry for the Virtuous Virgin Girl.  She has never been driven onto steep hilly terrains like this one.  This is her first time. But then she surprises us yet again. As we drive up the hill to Agumbe, we worry if the drive downhill would be safe. The inflow and outflow of traffic is dense in these narrow winding roads. There are trucks and plush cars going up and down the steep hills. A good half hour drive up the hill and we emerge on a plain stretch of plateau.  Agumbe is a small town located on a plateau above a steep hill on the Western Ghats. No wonder it is called the Cherrapunji of the south.  There are boys plaing cricket on an oversized cricket ground at this altitude. 

As we pass by the sunset point, we decide it is time for us to stop by for a quick late afternoon lunch at a road side eatery. It is past three in the afternoon and the woman at the road side eatery tells us she could quickly prepare us some hot Dosas if the cold Idlis are not to our liking, only if we are ok to eat it with ‘saaru’ and coconut chutney prepared in the morning. We are famished and know that we could gobble up just about anything that is doled out to us.

She bears a striking resemblance to someone we know, especially when she smiles. We take an instant liking to her and are intrigued by her sense of enterprise. A small tricycle parked near the cart makes us guess that she is a mother of a small child.  An ‘American sweet corn – very TESTY and HEALTHY’ cart is parked just outside the shed. It is perhaps what is wheeled across to the sunset point in the evening, where tourists help themselves to some hot and spicy sweet corn while watching the sun set amidst from atop the lush dense forests of the Western Ghats.

As we finish up our lunch, we ask her for the directions to Kasturi Akka’s house which is known locally as Doddamane – the big house and discover it is just about 200 meters along the road.  We are thankful because we realize this was our last point where we could have grabbed a late lunch before checking in.  Not that we could not have got lunch at Doddamane. In fact we had called them earlier in the day and let them know that we would have our lunch since we would be coming in late in the afternoon.         

Agumbe is a detour from Kollur and is set deep and high up inside the Western Ghats. Since those bonus points from the quiz, a visit to Agumbe has been playing on my subconscious mind.

A Google search familiarized my conscious mind with Agumbe.

Agumbe is known as the Cherrapunji of the south.
Agumbe is where the king cobra research institute is located.
Agumbe is where the rain forest research station is located.

None of this would have appealed to us in its entirety but for that last bit of trivia that dived us down a nostalgic trip of our childhood days.




Agumbe was the location where ‘Malgudi days’ was shot.   The cherry  on the cake – Doddamane was the house where ‘Malgudi days’ was shot.             





Doddamane  takes you down to an era 30-40 years earlier and can help you experience life of the days you might have had at your grandparents place when you were a child.  Preserving a way of living like that despite the onslaught of modernity takes will and commitment and that is what Doddamane is striving to achieve. 
After a heavy breakfast of Kasturi Akka’s dosas followed by her kashayam we pack up and get ready to go to Kukke.

That is the plan as per our excel sheet.   

As a parting comment Kasturi Akka suggests that we stop by Sringeri via Horanadu, as that is a very scenic route to drive by.

As I have said earlier in the post, we  trust the locals to give us the directions but always verify with Google and go more or less by what the Google girl tells us with her nasal voice and un-Indian accent.  

A quick tap on the smart phone and Google girl confirms that Kukke is about 3 hours drive from Agumbe and Sringeri would be on the way only with a few kilometres detour.  We have the entire day ahead of us and Virtuous virgin girl had also been rested for more than 18 hours by now.
That is how we set out and diligently followed Google girl.     


The roads were narrow but extremely scenic. The Tungabhadra river bank was close by and we skirted the river bank and the bridges very often. The greenery surrounding the mountains, the lush paddy fields on the plains and the tree laden state highway was a pleasure to drive by.

But for that massive mess up by Google girl.

Perhaps some overworked, oppressed, sleep deprived and frustrated software programmer from an offshoring sweat shop made this massive mistake in the middle of the night at some point in time.  

And we paid the price for it.

'Sringeri Mutt' is wrongly programmed as 'Bhadravati' on Google maps. In reality they are a 120 kilometers apart,  What was supposed to be a two hour drive turned out to be a much longer one.  

We straddled many by lanes and after three hours, since we blindly trusted Google Girl and her not so infinite wisdom, we realized that we were going in circles. We checked with the locals and got contradictory views. 

With the blind faith in Google girl’s navigating capabilities we ended up at Bhadravati steel plant, where the barrenness of the plains and stress of city hit us suddenly and very hard.  

We were driving for four long hours and Sringeri was nowhere in sight.

We had been working on our relationship, year after year. 
We straddled through life and after many years, realized that we trusted the social norms that we believed came from centuries of wisdom. , Every time the pattern repeated itself we came to the conclusion that we were going in circles. It was only getting stressful as the years passed by. The negativity that it generated was making the very act of daily living a big chore. 
Despite good intentions and advice, there have been times in life when we did not end up where we should have ended up.            

It was time to take a pit stop. Look up the map and not just listen to directions. First things first we needed to grab some food and start off a with a fresh perspective. After all Google girl was not god. Perhaps she had been wrongly programmed.  

And here we were throwing accusations at each other and repeating the same patterns of blame games. 

It was a time to take a pit stop, look up the patterns of life from a higher plane and look into things with a fresh perspective. 

After all the society around us was not god.  Norms - social, economic, cultural and moral  norms have changed  over time. The ground beneath our feet had shifted drastically in our times. 
Perhaps our upbringing handed us down a set of norms that were wrongly programmed for our circumstances and the times we are living in... 
      
And here we were throwing accusations at each other and repeating the same patterns of blame game.

The sun had set and the sudden darkness that fell was scary.
The road ahead was gloomy and dark. 

The prime years of our youth had passed and it  was a hopeless feeling to look forward. 
The life ahead was gloomy and dark. 

We were nowhere close to our destination.  Driving through the Sakleshpur’s treacherous Ghats after dark to reach Kukke was something we wanted to avoid.  
This was not how we had planned it. 
We had come a long way and had taken a long detour. But Reaching Kukke was non-negotiable.

We were not getting anywhere in our relationship.  We needed to make conscious decisions about where we lived, where we worked, our jobs, about our choices, and most importantly about our inner calling. 

In all this we felt paralysed. This was not how we had planned it. 
We knew we had come a long way and had taken a very long detour.  But making peace with life was non-negotiable. 

And here is where the conscious and the subconscious met. 

And here is where the conscious and the subconscious met. 

One of us had to take the Driver’s seat. Drive us both through the dark, and get us to reach 'Kukke'. 

One of us had to take the Driver’s seat.  Take life changing decisions and get us to embrace peace. .

Driving the mountainous paths that lay ahead of us was scary. It was dark and lonely.

Navigating through life ahead of us was  scary, and the future looked lonely.

And yet it was a conscious choice.

And yet it was a conscious choice.

The stress of driving through the dark took its toll and just as we reached Kukke, we broke down and lost it. 
No… no…V V Girl was all right.    She is a kickass car. (And no Hyundai have not paid me anything to write this post)  

 The stress of living through hell had taken its toll and just as we reached the point of going separate ways, we just lost it. Life from the outside looked perfectly all right. We were made of sterner stuff.

Kukke Subramanya was suggested as a place almost five years ago by a colleague who said he found a deep sense of peace when he was at Kukke and recommended a visit.   

Ever since then I have been looking for an opportunity to visit. Kukke. The Subrahmanya temple is nestled in a deep valley winding down through the Sakleshpur Ghats on the banks of Kumaradhara River.   

It was a trip that was shelved somewhere in the list of to do things and when the circumstances surfaced I was overjoyed and looking forward to it. I hoped that this would be where we would find our peace.  

Kukke was the last stop down our road trip itinerary. 

It was already Saturday and in another day the thanks giving weekend would come to an end.
By the time we checked in at Kukke, we were exhausted and emotionally drained out. Tempers ran high, blame games began and shouting matches followed. Weeping, crying, slamming the door and the usual pattern followed. Where was the peace that we came looking for, I began to wonder.   

It felt like visiting those terrifying years all over again
But this time around we were wiser.  We knew we could not afford to repeat ourselves all over again.
We were by now familiar with the patterns and we knew that we needed to let go.
What was not to be … Was not to be.


Perhaps  like Sringeri and Bhadravati on google maps, we were wrongly programmed.

Kukke is where we made peace with ourselves.
Life was not  about finding yourself ... perhaps it was about recreating it yourself ...

And then began the long drive back to Bangalore. From down the Valley of
Kukke Subramanya, and up the Sakleshpur ghats, via the coffee  plantations of Coorg, and then through long barren highway to Bangalore.  All toll free, Thanks to Modiji

As we passed by the toll gates, we uttered ‘Bolo Modiji Ki Jai’ and drove on.

Every time we had to take a leak we did the same.  We stopped by the fields hid behind the trees and said ‘Bolo Modi - ji ki jai’. 

Forgive us Modiji… unlike in the cities, a little bit of it into the lush green wilderness will only make it more fertile. That is how we Indians have been programmed. We are country bumpkins at heart.  It will take us some time to adapt to the urban way of life.  

We will get there Modi-ji. We will get there. 
We all like watching Vidya Balan. She is pretty.   

V V Girl was now cruising like she was born to be driven like a formula one car.
On the music system, as if by cue the tune began .
Que Sera Sera … What will be will be …
The future is not for us to see …   
Que sera .. sera…

And then the phone rang.  Oh my god … I totally forgot.
Happy birthday Jaanu I said  … it was my niece’s 15th birthday. 

It took us 15 long years…to make peace with ourselves...


  

Que sera sera … whatever will be will be
The future  is not for us to see… 






Sunday, December 11, 2016

OXFAM TRAILWALKER EVENT FUNDRAISING


 

For the last one month I have resisted eating out ( except occassionally), Occassionally I have walked to work (it is faster than driving these days in Bangalore) , cleared up my clutter of books that i have collected over the years to sell them for a charity.  For those who can see me everyday I am going to exchange some great collections of classic old movies in exchange of a small donation to OXFAM. 
No .. I am not in dire financial crisis. 
Far from it .. this is my payback time to all the opportunities that I have had and others have not ... 
Talk about a challenge!
In the month of January I along with Sowmya, Merlyn and Praveen will be walking 50 km (31 Miles) to raise money and awareness for Oxfam India.
 The event is Oxfam Trailwalker. It is starting from the edge of a beautiful valley of Nandihills near Bangalore and along the trail is a walk that is all set to give us a challenging rural experience. 
The trail will take us through more than 30 villages including checkpoints, farm lands of grapes, vegetable, flower and valley around the trail.
Click here to see my reflections Last year's OXFAM Trailwalker  over a small one minute movie. 
Teams of four enter this event and have 24 hours to walk or run the 50 km trail, although our team is hoping to finish in less than 15 hours .  It’s very likely that we’ll walk through the night (with little or no sleep) until the end. 
Through this event we raise vital funds for Oxfam India.  Oxfam is an independent, secular, non-government organization working in more than 28 countries and Indigenous India.
My team .NOMADS, is hoping to raise well over INR 70000 ( USD 1000) to help some of the world’s poorest people. Our fundraising enables Oxfam to continue its work delivering projects that support orphans and also the money we raise builds the lives of some of India's most poorest communities but people we support don't want to survive on aid and assistance forever. They have the right to lead a dignified life. Oxfam India works in partnership with over 60 grassroots NGOs to address root causes of poverty and injustice.
My Oxfam Trailwalker team, Sowmya KB, Merlyn Fernandes and Praveen CR and I will be going the distance and hope that you can support us in this massive challenge. Please consider how you may be able to get behind us, either by sponsoring us directly or referring us to others.  If you would like to sponsor us please follow the link: https://trailwalker.oxfamindia.org/
The work that Oxfam does is vital to so many people worldwide and  50km is a long way to walk!  But putting ourselves through months of intense training to walk  50 km is worth it for the impact our fundraising has on others through Oxfam India programs.
Remember no amount is a small amount and you do not have to be embarassed donating a small amount.  It is your support that counts. We count on friends like you to please give generously if you can and consider how your donation can make a real difference. And if you cannot that is ok as well.  
Do not hesitate.  Pull out that credit / Debit card of yours right away and Donate.  Be assured that your money is making a difference to the lives of the underprivileged somewhere in India.  
Thank you!
Steps to be followed for donation-
1.       Click on the link https://trailwalker.oxfamindia.org/
2.       Scroll down to select support a team>> in the pop up window click donate
3.       A page will open, select contribute to team>>select City Bengalurur>> from the drop down for the team name select –Nomads(Statestreet)
4.       You will then see the details of team members, followed with details to fill in the amount you wish to donate and your personal information. Fill that
5.       Proceed further to donate either through credit/ debit card and make payments of your  choice.

 Keep in touch. We will let you know how we fared by the 22nd of January.