Monday, November 9, 2009

Move on

Move on, there is nothing here
Move on, you scrummy beggar,
The bleary eyed beggar goes on,
Seeking alms in the same passive tone.

Some give it to him grudgingly,
some give it to him with a sense of duty,
Some hate and spit at him,
Some despair at his fate and move on.

Work was something he couldn't get,
theft was something he couldn't do,
Still life demanded things he couldn't forget,
thus Seeking alms drowning in the river of shame.

Hunger often knocked at his doors,
Laughing madly at his shame,
Days were now just a motion,
Daily eating out a part of his own soul.

Finally his life was no more
A mere lifeless form,
rotting in the dark retches of the city,
Ah..A meaningful life of repentance.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Memories of Travel in Bangalore

When I lived in Bangalore as a Kid in the early 90’s, traffic was never a problem. I used to always reach my destinations without ever having to bother about a traffic hold up. It is another matter that I wouldn’t have bothered about it anyway, what with all the tensions and problems a 9 year old kid faces in his school and home. My school was located about 5 Km from my home and was considered to be a highly reputed one going by the amount of donation they collected. My daily means of travel to school was an Auto-Rickshaw which was stuffed with kids to the brim. Back then most of the roads were potholed and our Auto-Rickshaw driver would diligently run over all of them giving us a thrill which is unfathomable to this day. I used to call him Auto-man whereas the other kids called him Raju uncle, I don’t know why I chose the name Auto-man over uncle but he didn’t seem to mind it, probably thinking that I adored him with the likes of He-Man, Superman, Bat-man etc. Well, a highly unlikely possibility considering that the only man I really adored was Newman, whoever it was. A classmate of mine had described Newman in grotesque detail as having a steel body and laser eyes and I fell in love with him.

Auto-man had a chain of 3 Autos using which he catered to the students living in all parts of the city. He used to run one of the Autos himself and for the other two he had hired drivers. Even though he was always short of money, he used to occasionally treat us with a snack of raw mangoes or an Ice cream from the road side vendor. My mother would have fainted if she had seen me lapping up the ice cream with gusto. This was one information that I always kept out from the “What did I do today” speeches that I gave to my mother in the evenings. On rare occasions I was given the honor of sitting next to the Auto-man when he was driving. That was one of the most cherished locations in the Auto and every kid would die for a chance to sit there. Usually the high chair was reserved for the big boys but on a couple of occasions I did manage to corner it.

On quite a few occasions Auto-man didn’t turn up on time, putting into disarray the peace and tranquility of my family. I not wishing to lose out on a chance to get back on the adults and seeing the possibility of a holiday would scream that I would be punished for being late. Finally I would be bundled of into another Auto, pouring cold water on all my plans.

Sometimes my father would turn up on his Bajaj Super scooter to pick me up and to surprise me. On those days I was the envy of all the kids in the Auto, there was no comparison of riding on a Bajaj Super to that of an Auto. Couple of kids who stayed near my home would invariably jump ship to the scooter.

One fine day we moved into our new home built at the outskirts of the city. Auto-man didn’t have a network for this area so I ended up in a mini-van. The kids in the van were not kids but they were all mini-devils, fighting and bullying was common place. One day a kid brought a syringe with a needle attached to it inside the van. He sucked up water into the syringe from his water bottle and then declared that he was a doctor’s son and he can treat anybody. Finally it was the unlucky me who ended up getting treated, with the syringe stuck to my thumb. At first I cried and the others started laughing, seeing this I flew into a rage and banged the boy black and blue, the driver had to stop the vehicle to separate us. That was the final day for me on the mini-van. I’m sure that if I visit any jail today I will come across one of those guys there.

Next came the BMTC bus travel. With only the mini-van catering to my area this was the only option available. My mom would give me two 50 paisa coins for the to and fro journey and would instruct me to get in and out of the bus only through the front door so that the driver can ensure that I have climbed in or out safely. The bus conductors as usual were as unpredictable as they are today. Some of them used to give me tickets, some of them would just take my money and would not give me the ticket and some of them would take the 50 paisa coin and would give me in return a 25 paisa coin. I loved this third group of conductors the most. In a week I used to save a couple of 25 paisa coins this way. With this money I used to buy stickers from the forlorn sticker seller who used to sit outside our school gates or sweets and toffees from a nearby sweet shop. I started to love this arrangement more than anything else because now for the first time I had money power.

Finally as they say, all good things must come to an end. After only three months of enjoying the BMTC travel my father got transferred to Ahmedabad. It was time to say good bye to a phase of Bangalore, which I never found again when I returned back.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

On the Top, Over the Hill

With joy and vigor in our steps,
we start off towards the far mountain peaks,
The cool breeze, the forest air and the silence,
coaxing us into a reverie unmatched.

Sometimes a river runs along for company,
humming its tune to the silent world around,
Sometimes it is just the dead leaves crunching,
creating illusions of danger from all directions.

Sometimes the rain drenches out the tempo,
bringing out the lecherous leeches for their share of fun,
Sometimes running out of our stock of water,
tempera-ting our wills to more human levels.

Sometimes the humidity saps us,
drinking and gurgling as if from a large open keg,
Sometimes it is just our minds,
that starts playing its own little games.

Finally the forest opens up to grassy planes,
bringing with it the relief of fresh air,
The sun now starts to shimmer and dazzle,
swooping down on our necks with tyrannical intent.

Every step is a barrier that needs to be overcome,
Every breath is a nectar to be relished upon,
The body is creaking and groaning with the passage,
Zombie like swaying and stumbling over the path.

The mind is all ready to give it up,
But the heart keeps us all going.
Taking in the natures beauty, and
applying it as a soothing balm to the frayed mind.

Finally the destination is reached,
The objective has been achieved,
It was not a competition of reaching here first,
It was a competition of beating our mental barriers in the company of others.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

BMTC Volvo Payana (Travel)

It has been almost four months now since I started going to office by BMTC bus. My office is situated at Varthur which is near Whitefield and my home is at Chikalsandra which is 2 k.m from Devegowda petrol pump. Thus the total distance from office to home amounts to around 28 k.m. For the last five years I have traveled out this distance on my Bike, but with the introduction of the Volvo services and also with the increase in frequency of the Buses, I decided to give it a try. Though there was the other option of office cabs but I preferred my Bike over the cabs based on comfort level of travel vs time taken.
There are no direct Volvo buses from Chikalsandra to Varthur, leave aside Volvo, there are no direct ordinary buses on this route. My home and office are located in such a way that I have to change three buses to reach office, this was one of the major reasons that I didn't try out the bus earlier. But finally one day a major traffic jam tipped me over to try out the bus. The Volvo bus which plied on my route was 500K, this bus came to Devegowda petrol pump and went to a bus stop called Kundanahalli gate which is about 4 km from my office. Thus for the major part of the journey i.e close to 22 km I was traveling by Volvo. Also for the rest of the 6 km, if luck had its way then I traveled by Volvo, but most of the times I get into any bus that comes along. For the remaining 6 kms, the frequency of the buses on both the routes are so high that I usually wouldn't have to wait for more than 2 minutes at the bus stop.
The number of 500K are close to around 24, I travel in a 500K that comes to Devegowda petrol pump at around 7:10 in the morning, Surprisingly the bus usually maintains it's time. But based on the driver, the time I take to reach the destination varies. On some day's I will be in Kundanahalli gate by 8:10, on others it can touch upto 8:30. In the evenings I don't have a fixed timing, thus my waiting time can vary based on the time I start. If I start after 7, then waiting time can be as high as 20 minutes before a bus comes along, otherwise from 5 to 7, a bus will be there for every 10 minutes. Some buses labeled 500C also come to DG petrol pump, their last stop being the Kamakhya depot. The cost of the ticket is 30 Rs, but I prefer to take the Gold day pass which costs 75 Rs, by buying a pass I overcome the common hassle of providing change to the conductor in each and every bus.
The Volvo bus is a pretty comfortable vehicle, The smooth ride and the AC are major pluses. But there are also some negatives, the legroom can be slightly cramped up for taller people. If you are standing in the bus then it can get pretty irritating when the driver starts experimenting with his disk breaks.
Finally I would say that BMTC has done a great job by bringing out this service which caters to the middle class public. For me it has been especially useful as I can catch up on my studies in the bus.

Volvo bus numbers:
Chikalsandra to D G petrol pump : 210 IA (This goes to Majestic, very less in frequency)
DG Petrol pump to Kundanahalli gate: 500K (Starts from Vijayanagar and ends at ITPL)
Kundanahalli gate to Varthur kodi: 333p, 328M. (Frequency is decent enough).

P.S: New bus from chikalsandra to ITPL 500P has been added.

Friday, June 5, 2009

It's not about the bike - Lance Armstrong

Well, what if one day you get up in the morning and you don't feel that good so you visit your neighborhood doctor, only to be told that you have a deadly disease called cancer and the chances of your survival is very bleak. The whole world becomes topsy-turvy, Almost all of life's priorities undergoes a drastic change.
This book is an Auto biography by the famous cyclist Lance Armstrong that talks about his initial days as a cyclist, his fight against the deadly cancer and then finally his journey back to life and what a comeback he has had by winning 7 tour-de-france races. The writing style is a bit brash hence in the beginning I failed to connect with the writer, but again the story is something that will make you think about how fickle life or fate can be. The book also gives some insight into the world of cycling. All in all a very good read.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Silent Horizon

The sun is rising, after a bitter cold night,
Its golden rays touching and caressing everything in sight,
I wake up to the chirping of the birds and
walk down to the stream for a gentle scrub.

The craggy path winds down the mountain,
treacherous enough to keep others out of my way,
I douche myself in the silvery stream,
Loosing my thoughts to a silent dream.

I move back to my cave near the meadows,
Walking through the woods under the silent shadows,
I sit down under the shade in silent contemplation,
Mulling over my thoughts in deep rumination.

It has been days since I moved to my mountain abode,
Away from the noisy din that humans usually associate,
Nature has healed my scars inflicted by civilization,
Filling my heart with the pure nectar of the soul divination.

Man lives in a caged world, with his laws and pursuits,
Unable to break free and always in fearful apprehension,
The world of silence and peace is always on the horizon,
But nobody moves towards it lest it should turn turbulent.

I have taken this path towards the silent realm,
Finding peace and quiet in the starry beams,
Learning to loose myself in the path,
And gaining the whole world in the process.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


It had been some time since my family had gone out for a vacation, except of course discounting the trips for attending marriages and family functions. So on a spur of a moment we decided to go to kodaikanal on the April 10,11,12 weekend. Kodaikanal is around 500Km from Bangalore and 90% of the journey is on the NH7 which leads out to Hosur from Bangalore. The roads are really good, though in between work is underway on bridges and bypasses, but still it is an enjoyable drive. We left Bangalore at around 5:30 in the morning and we reached Kodaikanal at around 4 in the evening. The route we took was Bangalore-> Hosur-> Dharmapuri-> Salem-> Karur -> Dindugal-> Vathlagundu-> Kodai Road and then Kodaikanal. Diversions from NH7 needs to be taken at Kodai Road which is around 90Kms from Kodaikanal.
We had our lunch in Bathlakundu and it was a decent fare. We had some difficulty in finding rooms as it was a long weekend and people had come to the hills in droves.
Finally after searching for some time we managed to get a double room at a lodge called Rahaat for 1200 bucks but since the room was spacious we were able to easily squeeze in extra beds the lodge owner provided.
After checking in, we went to the famous Kodai lake which is at the center of Kodaikanal. The weather was very chilly with light showers of rain falling now and then, Coming from the summer heat of Bangalore this was a very pleasant experience. The lake was quite beautiful , It is a man made lake modelled in a star shape. We decided to take a walk around it, but finally it turned out to be a very big lake too as the total perimeter came up to around 6Kms. After dinner we retired for the day. There are plenty of restaurants in Kodaikanal and more or less all of them serve decent fare.
Next morning we went for sight seeing, Most of the sight seeing places in Kodaikanal are on one single route, forming a circular loop which again ends in kodaikanal. The route starts from the lake, and is the one that goes on a bridge towards the observatory. The first stop was a pine tree forest, where some film shooting had taken place.
The next sight seeing point was the pillar rocks, a panoramic view point. Three huge boulders rise up straight from the bottom. There are some caves nearby, which it seems runs deep in to the hills, but the entrance to them have been barricaded to prevent any adventures from the tourists.
Green valley view or the suicide point comes next, this again gives a very beautiful view of the valley and the plains below.
On the way down we get to see the Kodaikanal lake from an elevation.
Finally we reached a spot called Coaker's walk which is a half a kilometer walk during which we get beautiful views of the town as well as the valley.
After lunch we visited a park called Byrant's park which is just opposite the Coaker's walk starting point. The park has a beautiful collection of orchid's and other exotic flowers.
The famous Kurunji-Andavar temple is around 2km drive from the lake and after the visit to the park we payed a visit to it.
In the evening we went for the boat ride, which was fun and relaxing.
That night the temperature seemed to have fallen further compared to the previous night. The chill and the cold reminded me of the Sarpass trek that I had done last year.
Next day we started out from Kodaikanal at around 10, and came back on the same route. We had our lunch at Karur at a hotel called Valluvar just opposite to the bus stand, The food here was good.
At around 8 in the night we were back in Bangalore. Kodaikanal was a welcome change in this summer heat, though maybe a touch far from Bangalore.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Tandiandamol - a revisit

We had initially planned for a trek to Brahamagiri peak which is situated near to the town of Srimangala. Upon calling up the forest office for permissions,we were informed that two days trekking in the forest will not be allowed in this season because of forest fire problem, but single day's trek was still possible so after getting this assurance, 10 of us landed up in srimangala at 5 in the morning. A local police beat showed us the way to the forest office. This place was locked and we were informed it will open only at around 9:30. Since we had the mobile number of the forest officer whom I had called earlier, I again called him up to en quire about the situation. This time he informed us that trekking to Brahamagiri peak has been completely stopped for the time being but he gave us an option to trek to a place called Aa bayalu, A quick google search on a friends mobile phone didn't throw up any results for that place, hence deciding not to take any chance we all decided to go to Tadiandamol peak. I had trekked this peak around 2 and 1/2 years back, and had enjoyed the place very much.
Srimangala being a small town didn't have any decent hotels, so we caught a local bus to Virajpet and had our breakfast there. Then we caught a bus to Kakkabe, and after a journey of 1 hour the bus dropped us off at the starting point of the trek.
The initial 3-4 Kms from the bus-stop is a tarred road but has a continuous upward incline, those of you who want a strenuous climb can start from the bus-stop, otherwise it is better to start the trek from the palace from where it is a 4-5 Km climb to the peak. Since we started the trek around 11:15, the conditions were pretty hot and humid. The initial 5-6 Kms from the bus-stop was through forests and estates and doesn't provide any views, Only after the jeep tracks starts converting to a trail path do we get to see the beauty of the place. The grassy areas were gutted out due to forest fires, but still the brownish peaks were also quite majestic and beautiful.
A water point and a camping site can be found after a few meters into the trial. From here onwards the path takes a more steeper inclination. A final stretch of the forest before reaching the peak is the most arduous part of the trek as along with climb, the humidity saps all the energy out.
Finally we reached the peak around 3, and took in the magnificent view before resting and having the snacks that we had brought with us. the peak unfortunately was littered with plastics, one of the drawback of this place becoming a popular trekking spot. There were more than 6-7 teams that were climbing the peak on that day, with almost half of them camping. To my surprise I also saw three groups of foreigners.
Finally after spending an hour at the peak we started to make our decent. The occurrence of a blister in my feet started causing a lot of discomfort. Finally we reached the bus-stop around 7 in the night and caught a bus which dropped us off at Napoklu. A private bus (Poornima travels) to Bangalore was standing at the bus stand, so we decided to return back to Bangalore that night itself. Thus finishing of the travel in one day. The bus was pretty comfortable and the driver stopped the bus in Madikeri for dinner, We all went to a restaurant named choice, which in fact served a very good vegetarian fare.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Supremacy of Human Life

The street in which my house is located is also home to four dogs, and since last month their count has increased to 10 with the addition of 6 newborn puppies. Due to the presence of a big hearted old lady, who feeds the dogs diligently twice a day, a meal comprising of lovingly cooked meat, eggs and rice, neatly wrapped in plastic bags, so that each of the them can feed peacefully without fighting each other, these canines have no worry whatsoever in their lives. So to pass time they carry these plastic bags and place it in every corner of the street, and if they get too bored with this activity they decide to try their hands in playing with the children of the street, sending the poor kids scurrying back to the safe confines of their compounds from where they start their counter attack by throwing whatever stones they can lay their hands on.
The friendly neighborhood dog catcher arrives regularly twice a month and surprisingly whenever he arrives, the dogs are nowhere to be found. Either he has a peculiar odor which the dogs can smell from quite a distance or they always manage to get the inside information, the result of which is that none of the four dogs have undergone any birth control operation since they were born. The magnitude of the problem has resulted in worried discussions in all the homes of the street, off course except that of the gentle hearted old lady.
Ruminating over the problem, I suddenly started to think in an altogether different direction, We as humans take our place as the supreme life form completely granted. But what if there is a species somewhere in the universe which has more intelligence than that of man and the ratio of its intelligence to that of man's is exactly the same as that of Humans to dogs, what if this intelligent species attacks earth and colonize it. Also let us assume that this superior species is also as heartless as we humans are, then what may be the situation?
Almost all of what man has built may give way to completely different structures which cannot be comprehended by us, We maybe reduced to the posh streets of superior beings, some of them might keep a few of us as pets for their entertainment( Here we may have to fight for the spot with the dogs), most of them might find our flesh very palatable and some may hit upon the idea of human farms, wherein, the way we do with poultry, humans will be bred for large scale consumption. Some of us humans, who value their freedom very much may go back to jungle life, But the superior species may occasionally hunt them down for sport, etc etc, this list can be an endless one, because the sufferings that we are piling on nature is unfathomable.
So does it mean that as supreme beings of earth we have a right to do whatever we like? Certainly in the above discussed situation, life can be very bleak and that is exactly what we have inflicted on the lesser animals. Being supreme doesn't mean a right to exploit, but it stands for a sense of responsibility towards the lesser creatures, We have the capacity of wisdom, let us use it to leave everyone in peace.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

On happiness

What is the one thing that everyone either consciously or unconsciously wants? I think it is happiness. The primary instinct in any animal including man is survival, once survival is not a major issue then the second most important instinct, the need for being happy takes over. Though most of the animals are pretty much satisfied if their primal instinct is met, man is most likely the only exception. The desire of being contented and happy is infact the major driving force for majority of mankind. But what exactly is this happiness that we are running after?.

I decided to introspect to find out when was it that I felt really happy? The day when I got my first job, The day I got a good salary hike, The day I came first in the class, The day I got my Engineering seat, and few more such things. But the novelty of all of them faded within a few days, that is I got used to them and the situation came back to normal. Also the momentary happiness that you experience at an achievement or attainment is directly proportional to the amount of sorrow or hardship that you have endured to get it, say if a person struggles for a long time to find a job, then the joy he experiences at finally getting it will be manifolds greater than the person who gets a job without much struggle. But is this the right kind of happiness that we are seeking? Personally whenever I struggled to achieve something, I always felt that I will be happy after achieving it, but as most of us know through our experience that it is not true. Life is a constant struggle, our achievements will only determine how well prepared we can be for the next battle that is around the corner.

I have also felt another kind of happiness, When I have tried making others happy, when I have helped someone etc, acts done without any expectations. Though in terms of intensity it may not be able to match the momentary delights but still a positive vibe gets generated in the mind after such acts and a sense of fulfillment is ever present. Acts of compassion and love whether be it towards other people, animals or even to nature, from time immemorial has been linked as one of the pathways of attaining god and in fact the advaita philosophy says that subconsciously we are ever trying to seek god the true and complete happiness, but deluded to take the right paths. Also children are said to be closer to god as they enjoy each moment of their lives without any burden of the past or the future.

So what should we do? should we dump all our ambitions down the drain and become social workers or a sanyasi. It will certainly not be an option for many of us because unless there is a strong inclination to become a sanyasi, we may just be deluding and piling on a new problem on ourselves. The best option would be to continue what we are doing but with a realigned outlook, Let us constantly try to purify our senses and cleanse our mind of all the impurities, while still performing activities which we are inclined to pursue. Taking some time out for meditation, for exercise to keep body fit is also very essential. Reorienting life towards discipline and god consciousness will make life much more enjoyable and help us in enjoying life's fleeting moments more rather than being engulfed in a state of fear, greed or avarice.

Armed with above road map, I have started treading the road, Hope will reach the destination soon.