Wednesday, August 31, 2005


I have a confession to make: I am scared of riding in escalators! I hate the sight of cockroaches. I cannot eat brinjal. Minor stuff really. I am petrified at the thought of escalators. Whenever I go to a mall, I spend an extra five minutes looking for the stairs. My dad has screamed at me everytime but that is when I love to remind him how scared he is of heights! My aunt tells me that very rarely do airports have stairs, especially abroad. I will cross that escalator when I come to it. Gulp!
There, I have said it now.

Climb Every Mountain

This is not my photo though I wish it was. I copied it from a forward my friend got (his fault for letting me know his password!!)
I love mountains, with the same passion that I have come to love my work.
Dont know if I mentioned this but my ultimate dream is to go to Kailash and Manasa Sarovar, the holiest place on Earth for a number of religions. Will get some photos off the net and post them.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


Dont know if I have mentioned it but I write (bad) poetry. Here is one I wrote when I was supposed to be reporting on some feminist lecture recently. I know its not good but what the grow I have always believed that you need to expose yourself to the elements. Remember, ...comments are free (part of a journalism quote).


Down the lane...
Lost a toy
Dont know where
Lost a coin
Slipped off my hand
Lost a tooth
Fell off the stair
Lost a tear
To a scrapped knee.

Further up the road...
Lost ignorance
To many a learned lesson
Lost a soul
To many a sweet word
Lost in translation
Now lost a smile, a laugh
To a memory fresh as dew
That refuses in life
To lose itself.

Paulo Coelho

I love this guy! I am sure you would have atleast heard of his book 'The Alchemist'. I shall not comment on his books, its beyond me. He writes in short, simple sentences. All his stories are classified as fiction but there is a lot of philosophy behind them.
I have read a lot of his books, not all are masterpieces. The Alchemist is any day the best of the lot. It talks of a young boy following his heart, in turn teaching us to listen to our inner voice. Eleven Minutes is good too, kind of like the movie Pretty Woman with philosophy. His recent book is The Zahir, which I am reading now.
The best thing I like about his books is that I somehow happen to read them when I am in a kind of state that he describes. Uncanny, I know, but I always find a message for me in there somewhere.

Read at least one of his books. For more details, check out

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Basava and Woman

Okay, not a very good pic. She was too dark and the light was on her face creating shadows. But I took this pic in front of my house to show the future people what we considered an art.
These kind of people were very common when I was growing up. They are basically nomads from the northern parts of Karnataka (Always wanted to be a nomad, a kind of hippy!!) The bull is called a Basava and is very colourfully decorated. It is taught little tricks like standing on its knees, nodding its head when asked something, etc. These people beg with the bull. It works in India because the cow is very holy.
Sometimes, there is a decorated cow with the bull and upon request, a marriage is performed. The owner asks the cow if she wants to get married to the bull and she plays hard to get. She has to be cajoled till she relents! The entire drama is very entertaining. Folk media had a very special place in Indian society.
It is sad that it is an almost extinct art form today. These people are more interested in using the animals to beg than also entertain. They are not fed properly and I think it has also been made illegal to use animals this way, not sure though. If only the owners would continue to love their cattle as they used to and not use them as a prop!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Dont know what I am going to write!

Ok, I am back. Life is hectic as usual but I have decided I wont complain about it anymore. I am pretty much used to it now, addicted even. Life is the same. I am as usual fighting with one of my good friends here. I have some of these very very cynical theories about life that just irritates the hell out of my friends and I have come to know that the best way to get them off your back is to start philosophising! He he!!
The most interesting thing that is happening is that from tomorrow onwards I will be taking class for my juniors!! Most of them are not familiar with the software we use for our lab journal and to be a littlt immodest here, my friend and I are the only ones who know how to use it. So we are going to be teaching them! God help me! I am not exactly known for my patience.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

This sucks!

Something is up with all the computers at Konaje, that is where my uni is. The one that I am working on right now is slow. Also, I am not being able to post images. Had some photos that I wanted to put up. Cant even change the font!! God technology! Its making me think of 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintainence', a book I was never been able to finish.
All my photos will have to wait.

Monday, August 15, 2005


This one is for you San Nakji!
This is the whole statue of Gomateshwara.
My impression: I had heard so much about the statue, about it being huge, about it being the tallest monolith in the whole of Asia that I had a mental image of the statue before I went there. I was to be disappointed. The statue is 58 feet tall but I did not find it as huge as I thought it would be.
Also, I could not take a better picture and that irritated me. The enclosure inside which the statue is placed is very small and there is no elevated place to take a picture. So I am not satisfied with the picture.
It is worth a visit, just remember not to be carried away by the legend and the stories surrounding it like I was.


This was my paternal grandfather, Dr B K Nanjundeshwara. He was a very well known doctor in Madikeri. He was also a freedom fighter and was at the notorious Vellore and Yarawady jails for over two years before he married my granny, 19 years his junior.
His healing powers are something of a legend here. About two years ago, we had got a call from someone who begged for some medicines from him, this 20 years after his death! It was overwhelming!
He was a Communist leader, back in those days when Communism was not as distorted an ideology as it is today. He loved inviting hippies home, much to the chagrin of my granny. He was an atheist but read the Upanishads, J Krishnamurthy, apart from Tolstoy, Chekov, etc. He had built a veritable collection of books and I grew up reading them.
People say I have a lot of his qualities. He died of throat cancer just six months before I was born and I regret that a lot. I wanted to know him so badly. I not much of a believer in the theory of reincarnation but I like to think at least a part of him is in me.
His immense collection of books made me grow up with a love for literature, religion and philosophy. It gave me an open mind and I was exposed to two extreme political influences. In fact, I grew up with so much Russian books that I think of that place as my second country!


To all Indians and to all the freedom loving people of the world- HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!! At the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, my beautiful country became free from British colonialism. There is a lot I could write about how difficult the long walk to freedom was, the sacrifices... but I could never write it with the passion with which it was fought. I have been free from the day I was born. Even when I was growing up, my parents gave me a lot of freedom, sometimes more than I deserved. More than anything else, I have always been free to think. I can think what I want and even say them outloud, though within some legal parameters.
To me freedom is mental freedom. No body tells me what to think. I am free to go where I want. That means more to me than the freedom. Just like in 'Braveheart', I believe there is no life without freedom. Though to me patriotism is more a word than a passionate feeling, I am free.
Again, happy Independence Day! Jai Hind!

Sunday, August 14, 2005


Home Stays are a new concept in Kodagu tourism. The indigenious Kodavas normally have a British upbringing and palatial bungalows. After the coffee prices plummeted, most were left with little money to keep up their high life styles. I dont know who came up with the idea but some of them came up with the idea to let out their homes to tourists. They are basically bed and breakfast places with a homely atmosphere, guided tours, home cooked traditional food and personal attention. Great for weekend getaways.
I will not write about this more because I have some personal reservations and prejudices. But do check out which is managed by a freelance journalist called Anil H T with whom I am well aquainted. There are some good links about Kodagu in general and I think he updates according to the turn of weather to promote tourism around the year.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Cape Camorin

First things first, this is not a very good picture. Someone's hand has come in the frame and its too long a shot to make anything out clearly.But I took it to see how the very tip of India looks.
This pic was taken in Kanyakumari from a watch tower. As a kid I would always look at the map of India and wonder if the tip really looked like that.
The bit of land you see is Cape Camorin, though it is no longer called that. The very last bit of land is where Indian land ends. The place is very holy because this is the point where the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal meet. Kanyakumari and Rameshwaram are very holy places for Hindus, the latter is called 'Kashi of the South'. They say that your pilgrimage could never be complete without touching the water of Rameshwaram.
That large statue in the pic is that of the Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar. His book 'Thirukural' is a treatise on the philosophies of life and is the favourite book of our President, Dr Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, a Rameshwaram native, pioneer in rocket science, a man of immense genius. (His books 'Wings of Fire', 'Ignited Minds' and 'India 2020' are inspiring reads.)
Anyway, a piece of land next to the statue is the Vivekananda Rock, where the dynamic disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa received the calling of his life. He is known for his very famous address at the International Conferance of World Religions (?) at Chicago in the 1890s which began with "Dear brothers and sisters of America". There is a meditation hall on the rock, the mandatory souvenir shop, a temple, etc. It is said that when the wandering monk wanted to go on the rock, he did not have enough money to hire a boatsman and he had to swim across. Kanyakumari has a musuem, a park dedicated to the memory of the monk who called upon the youth to "Awake, arise and stop not till the goal is reached."
You need to take a small barge from the mainland to get to the Rock. It was very windy there. A couple of weeks later when the tsunami struck, a few hundreds of people were stuck on the Rock (they were all rescued later). It gave me the shudders to watch TV images of waves lashing out at the rocks.
The best thing about the Rock is that you are outside the mainland and I could see India out in front of me. Sort of surreal.....
We met this old lady and her sister who had come from the grand old city of Kashi with her son to complete her spiritual journey. Its amazing how faith can bind people from distant places and connect them for a few minutes at the core, where it really matters.

Sunday, August 07, 2005


Tagged! Here goes!

1. Ten years ago: I was 12 years old, going back and forth between school and hospitals (long story, will make it an interesting post some day). I did not have a clue what I wanted to be when I grew up and passed on from wanting to be an astronaut (actually, the first woman in space but the late Kalpana Chawla beat me to it, God bless her soul), a globetrotter, do my MBA, a doctor and so many others.

2. Five years ago: Was still in school, pre-university college we call it, was still clueless. Read everything I could get my hands on, had an easy pace of life.

3. One year ago: Easy one. I had just moved into the uni hostel and was getting adjusted to being away from home, being the belle of my town and the princess of my parents. Had become more independent than before, much to the horror of ma. Was a reporter for Campus Courier (editor now!), life was really hectic for the first time but it felt good to be so busy. My social life was swinging too, reading habits came down.

4. Yesterday: Usual classes. Almost lost my famous temper at my classmates. Problem with the computers again. Started reading Lev Tolstoy's (grew up reading his books) Resurrection. Listened to a friend's problems which made me think of my own.

5. Today: Boring class. Watched one of Satyajit Ray's classic movies, Charulatha for the Film Studies paper that we need to do this year. Prof cancelled Campus Courier and we might have to do an extra day. My woes will never end in this regard. Finalised my dissertation topic. I will be writing my research paper on "The Role of Newspapers and Television in Shaping the Political Opinions of Youth: A Study in Madikeri Town".

6. Tomorrow: Classes again. Got to go to the library (our librarian claims its the 4th best in the country, we have strong doubts about it though) early in the morning for some research. Hopefully, the Army Major I am interviewing for our special Independence Day newsletter will send in the answers.

7. Five snacks I enjoy: Not too big on junk food, not too big on eating actually, dont have the time for it. (Reminds me of a journalism quote I read somewhere: ...You eat when you can, you sleep when you're done. That's basically me these days.) There is this dry dates that I love to nibble on though. Ma makes excellent food and I love most of it. I cant cook beyond the basics and dont mean to learn in the immediate future. I love coffee (I have said that enough already!) if that counts!

8. Five bands or singers: I used to hate those boy bands that cropped up when I was in high school. I now listen to Mukesh (I love his songs), Bryan Adams, Shania Twain... I enjoy instrumental a lot lately, Mozart, Zakhir Hussein and others.

9. Five things I would do with $100,000,000: How much is that in Indian currency? Anyway, I would travel, travel and travel some more. Would start my own charity, not sure what cause. Show me the money first! I would buy a newspaper or start my own. I would buy a Mercedes (or whichever else he wants) for dad as he is almost obsessed with cars. And I would build a open-air theatre for ma and found a company of artists, its her dream to do that.

10. Five locations I'd love to run away to: This is hard. I want to go everywhere! Off the top of my head, I would say, Africa for the desert, Antartica for the ice, Madikeri for the home and mountains, Brazil for the colour and Kailash Parvat, Manasa sarovar. (As a kid, I had made up this route on a world map. I figured I would need 3 crore rupees and had a list of things I would take.)

11. Five bad habits: A very short temper, great listener (believe me, it is not good for your mental peace!), sort of an introvert, being rude to people I do not like.... ask my friends, I shouldnt be boasting!!!!

12. Five things I like doing: Reading, travelling, writing, blogs and otherwise, trekking and being alone with my thoughts (dont get to do much of it these days)

13. Five TV shows I like: Roswell, News Radio, National Geographic shows,TV watching restricted to holidays and to movies basically. I still laugh at the re-runs of Friends.

14. Famous people I'd like to meet: Tolstoy, Lord Krishna (say what you will), my grandpa (he was famous locally, influenced me a lot though he died just months before I was born), Anne Frank.

15. Five people to tag: I dont think five people read this blog. I would like to see Adam's answers. Also Vaibhav if he's reading this. Like Nick wrote, anyone reading this who wants to answer, consider yourself tagged!

Nun at Gomata's Feet

I know I say this for every photo I post but this is one of my all-time fave ones, spirituality-wise. Its very soothing the way the nun is praying, so spiritual. Technically speaking, there are too many shadows in the image but I use an automatic 25mm camera sans any adjustments and there was no way I could escape the sunlight.
About the pic now: I took this about two years ago at Shravanabelagola. The statue of Gomateshwara is supposedly the tallest monolith in Asia, it stands at 58 feet on a rock mountain. You would normally expect to see such a large statue from a long distance but what is amazing is that until you walk past the last doorway atop the mountain, you get no sign of anything being there on the other side. There are other statues too, dont know their names or their stories.
Shravanabelagola is a pilgrimage centre for Jains. Steps cut out in the mountain make the climb easier but be sure to start early in the morning, the heat later on can be unbearable.
The place, though a famous tourist spot, is relatively peaceful. Of course, the moment you come down, there are the mandatory souvenir shops lining both sides of the street where you can buy miniatures of the Gomata, dolls from Channapatna and other knick knacks. We bought some dolls there which were basically thick wires twisted into shape and woolen wrapped around it. The shopkeeper tried to sell us kits with which we could make those dolls at home but it didnt seem worth the trouble.
It is a temple town and makes a good one day trip if you team it up with a visit to Belur and Halebid, the temples built Hoysala dynasty. Now these two places have fascinated me since I was a kid. I dont know why, I can never seem to get enough of the place. Belur and Halebid is... I could never describe it in words, its too beautiful for that. The history, the stories carved in stone, the dances of Queen Shantala, the poetry... will write in detail when I post some pics that I have.
All these three places can be accessed keeping Hassan as the centre town. Hassan is not too far from Bangalore and offers good hotels, though I have never stayed there and cannot entirely vouch for it. If in South India, you cannot and should not miss these places.
Forgot to mention what is coming up in this place. Every 12 years, the Jains have this festival called Mahamastakabhisheka where the statue is washed with water, honey, clarified butter, turmeric and a range of other stuff. Its a very huge affair but I hear its good. Never been to one myself. The next one is in February 2006.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Too Tired to Think of a Title

mmmmmhhhhaaaaaa!!!!! This is me taking a deep breath after a week. I am back at uni and life has been hectic. There is this daily newspaper called Campus Courier that we bring out from my dept. I am one of the editors for the next two weeks. Learnt to set up the page. Bad luck followed me around this week. One day, I couldnt find the format for the paper and we had to get it cancelled, next it was a virus attack and we had to do it all over again, next it was system formatting time and we could use only a couple of computers. All the days we brought out late issues and I would reach the hostel dead tired after eight.
Next week will be just as bad. I have to begin work on my dissertation. We are bringing out a special newsletter for Independence Day, got to work on a tabloid that we get out...
Missed posting all these days. It should be better though after a week.
Tomorrow is Friendship Day. I have always found the idea of celebrating such 'days' absurd. Relationships should be a cause of joy and celebration at all times. But what the heck, to all of those who read this...Happy Friendship Day.