Saturday, December 31, 2005
A brief here: I went to Badami, Aihole and Pattadkal first (places of the Chalukya dynasty). Then it was Bijapur with the Gol Gumbaz and the famous Whispering Gallery. Next stop was Hyderabad with the pearls, bangles, the Golkonda Fort and so many others. I had a great time, had many new adventures.
We travelled in a tanga (a horse driven carriage), made friends with the driver, went on a conducted tour in an auto, elbowed by way through the very congested lad bazaar , learnt a lot of history (and forgot most of it!), climbed hundreds of steps everywhere, shouted at someone for being really irritating, ate lots of good food, nearly cried at the poverty I saw in the northern parts, met a guy from Karnataka who was born in Hyderabad, struggled to understand his Kannada but managed to get him to sell pearls for a real bargain...and travelled non stop for sixteen and a half hours from Hyderabad to Madikeri!! Boy! I am tired!
Had a good time though. Sad that it is over. A few days ago, I as looking forward to travelling and now its over. What is all the more depressing is that I know I will not be travelling anywhere in the near future. In a few months, uni will be over for good and once I start working, it will be difficult to go any where. This might just have been the last holiday with my family!
I plan to write about each place over a period of time, starting this coming Monday. I go back to uni tomorrow. See you.
Hope you have a great 2006. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Friday, December 23, 2005
I am leaving on my trip tomorrow afternoon. Since I dont think I will be blogging before the new year, here is wishing you a good year ahead. To all my Christian friends who read this blog especially, San Nakji (and family!), Adam and Don Juan de Bubba, Merry Christmas! To Karthik, Arun Kottolli, Bishwanath Ghosh, Dinesh Soni, Samanth Subramaniam, Iceyez and everyone else, Happy New Year! Thank you for the reading the stuff I write, however it is. Hope you continue to the same in the new year too!
Take care everyone!
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Though I never had a thing for science, anthropology has always interested me. It was further kindled by Jean M Auel's book 'The Clan of the Cave Bear' (Amazing book!). Then, a few years ago, there was this programme on Nat Geo about Dr Spencer Wells' new theory on evolution called 'Out of Africa' theory. According to him, the entire humankind spread out from one set of people from the heart of Africa. He even traced the path they took around the world and discovered some handful of people who carried DNA traces from those people who set out I think over 200 thousand years ago. The story I remember was all over the papers and I spent many days thinking of it. The Nat Geo Society now has a Genographic Project through which you can contribute your DNA for study and even trace your ancestry to the first human beings. Its a five year project I believe.
I must say, reading Roots has made me interested in Africa once again. Wouldnt it be amazing to trace your ancestry to the start of mankind?
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Anyways, I am going on a tour to a Hyderabad this weekend. We (me, my parents and a family friend) will be leaving on the 25th from Mangalore (that road again!) ;-( We will be taking in badami, Aihole and Pattadkal first. These are all historical places. Next stop is Bijapur, the kingdom of the Bahamani rulers. Then we will be going to Hyderabad, the land of the Nizams, Charminar and lac bangles! I will be back at uni on the 01st (what worse way to start a new year!).
I believe that the journey is always more important than the destination. We will be on the road quite a lot. Its a pity we wont have time to stop and talk to people on the way. We are on a very tight schedule. Also, ma is very finicky about the road side tea stalls. I have grown to love eating there and would all along the way, if not for ma. Wonder what it is with mothers and food. There are always after you to eat well, eat at clean places, hygiene, nutrition, blah...blah...!
I love shocking ma. recently, a friend and I had pani puri from one of those mobile stalls. These are guys who operate with a stool, a matka, two buckets of water, a few steel bowls and amazing speed. The plates were not exactly clean but it was one of the best pani puris I had. Ma was disgusted of course! He he!
I dont know why but I have come to realise that street food always tasted better than in a posh restaurant. Maybe it is to do with the fact that our mothers have always forbidden us from eating there, teachers have drilled us on how dirty it is. How lovely the taste of rebellion! Maybe that is what makes the food taste better!
Two years ago, my class from degree college went on a trip to Kochi, Kerala. On the way back, there was a total bundh in Kodagu and we had to spend a whole day in a village called Maakutta. It was just a tiny place with a police check post, a rundown toilet, a school and a tiny hotel. Most of us slept, some tried to catch fish and others cursed mobile networks for not giving coverage there. The owner at the hotel was thrilled at the business he was getting. He got this elaborate meal cooked with large fish something (my friends told me it was delicious). I and another classmate of mine were the only two vegetarians and we had to eat some sort of rice dumpling. Nevertheless, it was one of the best meals I have ever had.
Three cheers for street food! Cant wait to eat some again! Conversation with fellow customers also adds a special flavour, I must say.
Monday, December 19, 2005
I am sure I speak for the majority of the female species when I say that gentlemanly behaviour is always appreciated. Opening doors, pulling out a chair, a genuine compliment given with respect is always great and is always appreciated.
Men should stay men. Wonder who came up with the idea of metrosexuals and the like!
I remember when the internet first came into the scene. Chatting was a major means of passing time. Eventually, the charm wore off when people began to impersonate Brad Pitt and Shah Rukh Khan, claim model looks...you know how it was. Blogging could be like that too. The Hindu newspaper had this story about a blog meet in Chennai and wrote about how one blogger preferred not to attend as she was comfortable with her assumed identity. This is one of the bad things (or is it good? Subjective I suppose) about the web. You can never be sure of people you meet here.
I am glad to say that this was exactly what happened. This blogger turned out to be so much better than what I had imagined. The best thing was that this person is totally devoid of the airs I have learnt to associate with others of the same species (Sorry, I can't tell you what that is!). Over the years, I have seen people I know, good, caring, gentle human beings sell out to become machines sans normal emotion. The need to be "in" is so strong that people I know have lost their individuality to assume a behaviour that they think is cool or rather "modern". I can only feel sorry for such people. They would not see my point of view, but I can only feel disdain and a little disgust for such sorry types.
I am deviating from the main story here. What I meant to write was that this blogger is still a human being. I am glad I was wrong and I am glad the parts of a type are different from the whole (I am not making much sense here, am I?)
We had a good time. We joked about how we had better take interviews of each other as we would one day be famous. We talked about travel, friends, family, work. Surprisingly, we did not talk of our blogs, even though we 'met' first through these.
Every day is a lesson in life. That day, I learnt that not all people turn out to be like what I had imagined them to be, in fact, they are often much better. That people can still be human beings, that a local persona in a globalised world still has its charm. I realised that day that down the line, a blogger had emerged out of the impersonal world of the internet to become a good friend.
Hope you stay that way, palio! :-)
The Roots stop here.
Friday, December 16, 2005
The Roots so far: My heart is breaking. The toulobob have captured Kunta and are now selling him as a slave. Just when he was having happy fantasies about women, sex and planning a trip to Mali with his brother Lamin! I knew it was bound to happen but he was so happy...!!
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
I am into the 120th page and its amazing! I am sure a lot of you have read it but here is what I am going to do. Every time I blog, I am going to write a summary of what I have read so far because it is a great book. A lot of people would not have the patience or the time to read 730 pages of very small print. This is for them.
Roots is a story that spans seven generations. It begins with a birth in 1750, in an African village and ends at a funeral of the author's father. It is basically a story of the Americanisation of an African family.
The story so far: Kunta is the boy born to Omoro and Binta Kinte, a descendent of a very famous holy man. The burden of upholding the family name at all costs rests heavily on him (I can so relate to what he must have gone through!). Kunta grows up in the village of Juffure in The Gambia where he spends time tending his family goats, teaching his brother, chatting with the old Nyo Boto and playing with his kafo-mates. I just finished reading how he goes through very rigorous manhood-training where he and others of his age learn the art of war, hunting and survival in the forests. Kunta is now of fifteen rains (that is how age was counted) and is now officially a man and in the fourth kafo (that is how the stages of life were referred to as). He is now back in his village and is getting a new hut for himself. Await as I read further.....
What I love about this book is that you can actually feel the essence of Africa. The author puts in a lot of African words like kafo, toubob (the white men), drumtalk, etc and does not really explain their meaning. It is left to you to deduce their meaning from the repeated usage and the context.
This is a Thanjavur painting of Lord Krishna, my most favourite God. I am not too religious, though I am spiritual (to me, both are different). I believe in God, not really in religion but when I pray, it is to Lord Krishna.
Anyway, ma made this painting for me for my birthday present. Every year, she makes something to surprise me, but none of her presents are really much of a surprise. This year I could never have guessed in a million years that she would give me this. She told me later that she and my maid had to make elaborate arrangements to hid it away whenever I came home!
This is a Thanjavur painting, the yellow gold jewellery you see in the picture is real gold and some of the stones encrusted are real precious gems. The art is an expensive one. It is a genre of painting that originated in the temple town of Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu. There is a variation of this that originated in Mysore but I think those are not as good.
I loved it. The painting actually glitters in the dark and it is the best present I have ever been given. Ma wanted it to be hung in my present home but no way! I am going to take it as soon as I get a house of my own!
Hmm...should learn more about Thanjavur paintings. I was there in the town last year. There is also another art form there. Colourful strips of paper are pasted on glass plates in geometric designs and can be hung on the wall. We have one at home, looks good under the light.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
The other day, ma, my maid Shailaja and I did some landscaping. There are now terracota horses, a small house, shells... The best part was the new sitting arrangement. There is a history to this.
One of my ancestors was a very good administrator, the Parpathigar, at the Omkareshwara temple that I have written about. The king was once very pleased with his work and asked what he wanted as a reward. The man was so stupid and so content with his life that all he asked for was a cot to sleep on and a grinding stone to help in the kitchen! Can you believe the absurdity? I mean, there was so much he could have asked for!
Anyways, the grinding stone was chipped off after many years and ended up in the corner of my frontyard. It was overturned and I spent many an evening there reading and getting bitten by mosquitoes. The day before yesterday, ma and Shailaja decided they wanted it in the garden. They and a few others huffed and puffed and it is finally in the garden now. I was clever enough to stand at a distance and give directions! ;-)
The moral of the story is that there isnt one. I hate gardening. i mean, i love looking at beautiful flowers, smelling the roses but there is no way I want to get my hands dirty. The other day, I got caught up in the mood and was literally in the dirt and it felt good. That is not to say that I am going to turn in into a habit ma!
Sunday, December 11, 2005
This is Kudroli Gokarnatheshwara Temple (a Shiva Temple) in Mangalore, an amazing piece of architecture. I have always felt a disdain for temples that are built recently as they are more often than not, displays of the wealth of the temple trust than a place of worship. This temple is the same too, very beautiful to look at but didnt really feel like praying there.
This pic was taken during the Dasara festival. During those ten days, the entire huge compound is lit up. The lights are amazing. There are programmes going on, bhajans being sung and devotees throng in the hundreds. The temple is like a one-stop shop for all the major Gods of the Hindu pantheon with little temples inside for each of them. The entire temple is built of marble, even the ground is laid with the cool stone. There is a kalyana mantapa or marriage hall inside that looks like the interior of a palace. My friend and I were so amazed that we wanted to get married right then and there, we were not really thinking of who the groom would be and such minor details! Thankfully, the feeling passed in a day!
Nine idols of Goddesses are displaced inside this hall and are taken out on procession on the last day. The temple doesnt look too beautiful without the lights. Good place. We especially loved the bhajans (prayers that are sung in chorus by a lot of people) and the lights. Never seen such a beautifully lit complex, apart from the Mysore Palace, of course!
Am back people! Exams are finally over with and I have finished my third semester! Just one more to go!
This is my dog Ginger. The pics were taken on my mobile and arent too good. Was just too lazy to scan the others that I have.
Now, doesnt he look so arrogant? Believe me, he is! He is spoiled to the hilt by my parents and acts the way. I could go on about his antics but that would lead to a my-dog-is-better-than-your-dog discussion, am fed up of those.
What can I say, I love this dog which barks only if there isnt anything better to do, like sleeping, which he does for 22 hours a day! Though he doesnt look the age, he is almost nine years old and gets sick a lot these days. :-(