Wednesday, June 30, 2010

where I belong

I get to see new things,
I work to experience the unknown
to learn, to share and evolve
In the process, I create myself
out of nowhere to a certainty
where I involve in relationships
and outgrow to my targets
with the fear of competition
till I get to see uneven results

I appear to be fine and well
to do, well to be with or not
or to those who I care about
with less strength to protect
myself, and others, if any
depending on a territory
where I never believed
that in my living dreams  
I belonged here ever

doing is all good here and
being is a far imagination
mind works with commitment
and heart is real, not here
but there, is life, mine
of my dreams and heart
that I wait for everyday
I am not, yet not there
where I do belong


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rain, Rain and Rain

Now that I am talking and writing too much about monsoon rains, here is one more. After my wonderful monsoon bike ride, I was all set for a drive and a good trek in the rain. And I think I was lucky enough to get a wonderful wedding package. It was a friend’s wedding at Udupi on Thursday (17th June) and seven of us decided to visit the same. Since the wedding was on Thursday, and Udupi is almost 8 hours drive from Bengaluru, we decided to drive on Wednesday evening. And considering the return journey on Friday will not be a worthy bet, we had to plan for some activity for three days starting Friday. That was it! 

Blissful encounter happened when we reached Hassan. We were welcomed to the Western Ghats with a heavy downpour. It was raining so heavily that we could not see the road while driving. When we were almost nearing Udupi, we noticed a huge python painted with black and white stripes crossing the road. By the time we stopped the car and went near to it, it had crossed the road and reached its bush. Thrilled by sighting the python, all of us got much more excited about our trip. 

We reached Udupi at 2:00 in the morning and rested in the guesthouse booked for us. In the morning we witnessed Theju’s wedding. I was really happy to attend this particular wedding because it was very simple and hence beautiful. I like simplicity and it was almost ages since I witnessed a simple wedding. The event started in the morning and it got over by afternoon. After the grand South-Canara cuisine, we had all and enough time to do any activity. We wanted to visit Padukere beach but because we were not sure of the approach road for the same, we ended up at the Malpe beach. We had some good fun time at the beach and good time spent on photography as well. After enjoying at the beach, we drove to the most colorful town-Manipal. We partied well at Manipal and were back at the guest house by 23:00.

It was Friday morning and our schedule was to reach the Bhagavathi Nature Camp and spend the rest of the days with some good time in the nature. We left Udupi on Friday morning at 9:00 and started driving to the Nature Camp via Karkala. The road was so beautiful that we could not believe that it was not our dream. We were literally driving in the clouds and amidst the green wet rain forests. Rain gods were playing with us at frequent intervals. When we were about to reach the Bhagavathi Nature Camp, at the forest check post, we bought a lot of jackfruits. While I was eating a jackfruit, a big (huge) bee came inside the car through the open window and bit me on my back. We all got scared to look at its size; we stopped the car and ran out of it until it flew away.

We reached the Nature Camp at 13:00 and were stopped at the gate by the watchman. We were asked to get the approval letter and payment receipt from the Kuduremukh forest department. So we had to drive further 10 km from the camp to get the letter. Our booking details were already entered in the register and it took only 10-15 minutes to get the letter. While we were driving back to the camp and were almost near the gate, we spotted a Cobra crossing the way with a frog in its mouth. We got down from the car and watched it until it gulped the frog completely. That was a terrific sighting and we were sure of more such thrilling moments.

We reached the beautiful camp which is inside a lush green forest and on the bank of the Bhadra River. We were excited to see the place which is so wonderful and more than anything it’s a place for all nature enthusiasts. Unfortunately, the camp is not being managed properly and is not supplied with adequate staff members. There are only 3 staff members to take care of such a huge campus. The camp has dormitories, guest house and the tents to accommodate visitors at very reasonable cost. For our food, we had to take the cook to the Kuduremukh market again for him to buy enough groceries and vegetables to cook for us for the next two days.

Because it was raining continuously, we did not do much on Friday except for short walks and our usual fun talks. After the heavy dinner, we thought of going for a walk. In fact the person in-charge of the camp asked us to walk till the gate so that we may spot some Bisons and Sambars. Out of the seven, only four of us headed for the walk with our head torches and a camera in hand. It was a very exciting and thrilling walk because, we spotted some amazing frogs. While we were photographing the frogs, the person in-charge of the camp came towards us and asked us not to photograph. He was under an impression that we are doing some research on frogs and he said we are not supposed to do it without special approval from Forest Department HO in Bengaluru. No matter how much we tried to convince him, he did not let us continue our walk. We were pulled back to the dormitory. That was the saddest part but Suz was excited about the fact that we were being seen as Researchers. Sigh!

In the morning, we were all set to do the Kurinjal trek. Since we had to take the guide compulsorily, we had to wait for the person in-charge to assign us a guide.  Because it was raining heavily, we were discouraged to do any treks. And we being WE, did not leave them at peace till they assigned a guide. We were all ready to do the trek without the guide as well. But more than the rain, the major concern for them was the Leeches. Yeah! Leeches. We somehow convinced them that they are our friends wherever we go and they will never stop us reaching any peak! And finally with all the pre-trek adventure, we were all set to trek the Kurinjal peak. 

We started our trek at 10:00 and it started raining as well. It was not heavy though. On the way I spotted some cool orchids and colorful frogs as well. More concern was to take care of our cameras protecting it from the rain. When we entered the forest route, our friends welcomed us. It was a crazy mass of leeches. I must say, they were really big and were absolutely desperate for our blood. Each step would pull out close to 40-50 leeches from the floor. It was that crazy. Suz being known for his blood donation to leeches had I think more than 50 leaches per feet at one point. But the most amazing part of the trek was the forest route. The beautiful canopy was so wonderful that I did not notice much of the leeches for some time. The whole route was misty and filled with life. Rain added more for it to look much more gorgeous. It started raining heavily by the time we reached the peak. Because of the rain and leeches, we did not waste too much of time. Instead we were running back to get down to the road as soon as possible. And while running we were carrying hundreds and thousands of leeches with us.

While returning, Sandy, without noticing, kept his leg on a vine snake and all of them got scared and ran away from that place. They even spotted a few Sambars as well. Suz and I were walking very slowly along with our guide Cheluva. In the end, it started raining heavily and we walked in the rain for almost 3 km to get back to the guest house.

As soon as we reached the dormitories, our next plan was to get into the river and play for some time. While three of our friends decided to sleep, the remaining four of us, being crazy about it, decided to do it. Since it was raining since 10 days in that area, the water level was too high and the force was too much. I thought of not getting into the river. But what to do! We had no option other than being crazy. There is a small check dam built over the river. The water was flowing almost 2 ft above the dam and we had to cross the dam by walking over it to reach the other side. Four of us, holding hands, slowly crossed the dam. And after crossing, we walked through the river from the other end to get to the middle of the huge river. It was a crazy decision and a thrilling walk in such a force of river water. All of us were very happy and we could never forget that amazing experience. We played for some time and it started raining heavily. After some time, we were back to our dormitories.

The nature was so serene that I could live there any longer doing whatever it takes for me to keep it serene. The camp was so beautiful that none of us liked to stay inside the room. We were out most of the time enjoying the rain and the green wet forest. Rain had washed away all the dryness in the forest and given its way to many beautiful living beings to witness it. Even though there were not many birds because of the rain, we spotted a few Kingfishers, Barbets, Wagtails and Scarlet Minivets. The minivet couples were looking so pretty and colorful as though they were dipped in the orange and yellow colors afresh. 

Having shared about our thrilling river experience with the folks who missed it, we had a wonderful evening playing Uno and cracking some fun moments. Capsicum bajjis and hot tea served us well for the evening and to end the day, dinner was just about good. The next day (Sunday), Sandy and Sudhi left early to take care of their personal commitments in Bengaluru and the rest of us visited the Hanumanagundi Waterfalls and Sringeri. We did some good photography at both the places and drove back to reach Bengaluru by 19:00.

So that is how we satisfied ourselves with a monsoon drive and monsoon trek that we were dreaming of all these days. Now, we are back at home scratching our legs because of the leech bites!


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Monsoon bike ride!

It was my crave since 6 months that I should do a bike ride. It was time for my bike to get serviced and change its wheels to get set for a long ride. It was time for the speedometer of my bike to touch 80s and 100s. And it was time for me to enjoy the rain and ride on my bike. 

The much awaited moment arrived over the last weekend and I was very excited to do it. Saturday evening I was done with all my duties in the city and was free to do anything on Sunday. Since I had got my bike serviced and new wheels were waiting to see some rough way, I decided to do a biking trip. As soon as I think of a bike ride, I think of my granny’s place. It is almost a 3 hour ride from Bengaluru and will be good fun riding on the NH7.

Initially I thought of doing the trip alone. But then I have a friend who does not join for most of the treks I do and hence I wanted to take him. I checked with him and he was ready to get on my back seat. I had not told him where we are going. And he did not ask me either. I planned to leave on Sunday morning at 4.30 am. Before I slept in the night, I was talking to my friend Ravee on the bike ride plan. He suggested me a place called Maidanahalli Black Buck Sanctuary and I even read about it on his page here. Since it is closer to my granny’s place, I decided to go there first and then go to my village.

We started at 4:45 in the morning and by 5:20 we were out of Bengaluru. Sudhee did not know the destination and I kept it as a secret. All I promised him was, wherever we see a Deer, we will stop the bike. So that was it. My bike was just like a horse, and the rains were welcoming us to the road.
 The Road Via Doddaballapur
Our route was via Doddaballapur, Gowribidanur, Madhugiri and then Maidanahalli. We reached the Black Buck Sanctuary at 8:30. As we entered the forest gates, two of the black bucks looked like they were dancing to welcome us. They were running faster than my bike and crossed the road. It was a great welcome for us. After that, we were loaded with some beautiful sightings. Jayamangali Black Buck Sanctuary is a very beautiful place and a perfect habitat for these black bucks. According to the forest guest house warden Narasimha Murthy, there are about 1200+ black bucks in the sanctuary. Not many people visit this place; but at the same time, there are many challenges in maintaining the reserve area as well.

We sighted many beautiful black bucks and I enjoyed photographing them. Also the place is full of beautiful birds. I sighted almost 12 species of birds and I am sure there will be many more. Forest guard Narasimha Murthy was very helpful to us and he offered us to go there once again and stay overnight so that we would get to see many more beautiful bucks during the morning and evening time.

Male Black Buck Running (above). Female Black Buck (below)

I was never aware of this place until Sunday. And there are only two Black Buck Sanctuaries in Karnataka. One is near Madhugiri and the other is in Ranibennur. I could not believe myself such a beautiful place exists that is so close to Bengaluru. It is a worth visit for me. Hopefully the forest department will take measures to maintain it well and conserve these beautiful wildlife which are truly the gems of this place. 
Bee Eaters enjoying the rain 

By 13:00 we left the sanctuary and started riding towards my Granny’s place which is in Hindupur taluk of Andhra Pradesh State. It was almost 80km from the Sanctuary and we reached my granny’s village Budili at 14:30. By then, hot food was waiting for us. It was a very long time since I had visited my granny. And she was waiting to see me and was complaining to my dad that I hardly visit her. She is an 89 year young lady who is staying in that village alone. And no surprise that, she feels like seeing us very often. I paid my respects to my granny and started from there by 16:30 and rode back on the NH7 to Bengaluru. It was almost 370km bike ride and was satisfied by the end of the day. Even though there was not much rain, it did rain just to make us happy. Sudhee enjoyed the 50km stretch covered in 30 minutes while returning back.
NH7: Hyderabad - Bengaluru Highway


Sunday, June 13, 2010


Gubbachigalu (Sparrows) are almost extinct and very difficult to find them in cities like Bengaluru. And the reason is just that the habitat doesn’t support or in simple words, we failed to keep them with us. Actually, when we hear someone saying ‘Gubbachigalu’, we get excited and will soon get back to our childhood thinking about that. That’s what happened to me when I saw the poster yesterday in front of the Suchitra Film Society. While I was in the bus, I saw the poster, got excited and then thought I should somehow make it to the movie. As I reached office, coincidently, I saw a mail from my friend with details on the movie. I enquired with the Suchitra film society folks over the call to book the tickets. But the guy said “Oh no problem, sir! You can come 15 minutes early to the show and you will get tickets. No need to book it now”.

Well, when I reached the venue at 6 pm today, there were very few tickets left. Fortunately I got the tickets and my other friends also joined on time. But, it was houseful. They simply could not believe that the hall was full and there were no seats left. People had to stand and watch the movie and some people without any hesitation, made use of the floor.

The director of the movie spoke for a few minutes before the movie got started. Abhaya Simha, post graduate in Direction from Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, a debutant with this movie into his direction career. He wanted to do this film because he was very much in fond of Sparrows when he was a kid. And the fact that the sparrows are almost extinct in cities these days, triggered him to do this movie and communicate this message through the children who would lead the future. Apparently, the original story was given by his friend NAM Ismail and they both believed in looking into the matter through the eyes of the children.

The story starts off by showing two children, Ila and Anirudh, cute littles of a happy family. And their curiosity in knowing about everything that looks interesting to them. One day, their eyes lead to a tree at their backyard and they will be surprised to see a sparrow nest. Their curiosity will get a beautiful strength and they start asking questions and they try to see what actually is there in the nest. But they will be stopped by their mother saying, if they try to do any harm to the nest, the mother sparrow will never come back again and that is a bad thing to do. So these kids will remain curious doing nothing for some time.

But their curiosity will never let them fail. In their second attempt, where there is no one else at home, they try to see what the nest has. When Anirudh climbs up with his camera to shoot the nest, he will see two sparrow eggs and he will be ecstatic to click pictures of it. While doing that, he will lose balance on his camera and one of the eggs will fall down and break into pieces. That will be the saddest turn in the movie. And actual movie starts from there.  Because of guilt and remembering their mother’s words that ‘the mother sparrow will never come back’, they will decide to go and search for mother sparrow somehow and get it back to its nest. I must say, the characters introduced in the movie are very good. There are quite a lot of animated characters and some amazing performances as well.

So amidst the hustle-bustle of the concrete jungle of a sprawling city, two children go on a quest to find ‘their’ missing sparrow. They will be off from home without informing their parents, with guilt that they are responsible for the mother sparrow’s disappearance. They will meet some unusual people and visit some unusual places to find the sparrow. Their curiosity never ends. Their journey will be of a good learning and discovery as they encounter their crazy moments. Every individual they meet will be wondering about what are these kids up to and why are they trying to search that is not there really. Everyone will just say that they are really hard to find in cities just because the habitat doesn’t support. But they will never give up to those words.

There is also one more interesting aspect that is projected in this movie. Just like how these two kids search for the mother sparrow, there is one character in the movie where that person will be in search of his mother. In the end, both mother and the son will somehow meet. And that was the hopeful end for the movie as well. The kids will finally hear the sparrow sound near the nest and that brings smile on all the faces both in the set as well as for us who are watching the movie.

I really liked the movie very much. It was very educative for me and I am sure it will be even more for the children. Hopefully they will take responsibilities towards these challenges of the environment and be sensible enough to safeguard them. This movie brings into a great relief the realities of urban life, curious children and a dwindling biodiversity.

The movie has got good international recognition and awards as well.  

And I go on searching for a sparrow now! I actually bought a sparrow nest. Only sparrow is missing in that. Well, hopefully one day, I see a life in it!


PS: For some of you who may want to watch, the screening is happening again tomorrow (Sunday) at 6.30 at the Suchitra Film Society. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


monsoons are back,
so are strong winds,
green trees are wet,
and birds in their nest

sun is unknown,
eyes are pleasant,
rain drops on my face,
and moon is smiling

city sounds quiet,
but rain is heard,
road looks lonely,
only am walking, slow

the night is dark,
only clouds are lit,
back in the street,
lights on, and off

am back at home,
my feet is damp,
silence all around,
and cat is still awake

doors are closed,
a window is open,
my mind is outside,
tis’ a great feeling!