Thursday, September 29, 2005

Another One

This is a poem I wrote today during a seminar. Was meaning to write this for quite some time and mean to rewrite if given some time :-)

A Traveller's Song of the Road
There is a story
A tale of myth and wonder
For every stone, an upturned leaf
For every mile, every town
A memory formed
For every journey.
The sky its bluest ever
Cotton clouds gliding by
Soothing meadows, tall hills,
Emerald ponds and dusty lanes
Stripped walls and shy villages
Each a cover for another journey
An prelude for life's symphony.
Travel I must
The road tempts too much
Many a legacy and myths invite
To read their tales
If not in miles, in mind at least.
Spirit is too free
The chain of rules too weak
For the destination, I care not
The journey beckons urgent and fast
And those stories I shall tell.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Small Joys

Photo by Arun.

I was reminded of appreciating the small joys of life recently. No, I did not have a brush with death or suddenly get a flicker of enlightenment. Life, the say, is the best university you could possibly attend to experiment with human relationships, work on assignments of your personality, fail sometimes in your tests and get through the exam of survival, having learnt the lessons the hard way. (Actually, nobody said this, I just made it up!)

Anyways, I promised myself that I would find time every day to appreciate any one little thing in my life, smile to myself and thank God for it.

The above photo is a close up of a tree trunk. I remember reading somewhere that you can count the age of the tree by the number of rings on the inside of its trunk or the number of lines on its bark. Just look at the beauty of creation!

After a long time, I was in the hostel this afternoon to have lunch. I had a large mug of curds in front of me and drank it at one go. There was this cute white whisker of curd on my upper lip that made me smile. :-)
I cant really call that a blessing but you know, life would be so less uncomplicated if each of us found time to smile at something small and seemingly insignificant, the very things that turn an existance into a life!

Evening Sky

Photos by Arun.
Dont you just love the evening sky? The myraid colours, the hues..out of this world. This was taken in Madikeri after the sunset. There is this one great view-point that not many people know about. Compared to the other places, this is very quiet and especially great to catch the sun set. You can very well sit for hours thinking and just looking into the beyond here except that it gets very cold...brrr!! The place opens out into a range of mountains, which towards evening begin to look like old grandpas just waiting to take their pampered grandchildren into their warm folds, like mute spectators to a history being created, they who are older than history themselves.
(I am going to dedicate a whole post to mountaing one of these days!)
I love the moon in the second picture.

My Coozhin!

For those uninitiated into my weird style of writing :-), coozhin is but of course cousin! I had been on a trek organised by the Youth Hostel of India a few months back. We were just five, the guide, me and my cousin and a French couple. The French guy kept asking questions about India and kept talking about coozhins! But this is not about my trek or the French guy.

This post is to give a link to my cousin Arun Kottolli's blog. Go to All his entries are on tech-marketing, most of which I dont even try to follow :-)

He is a grrrreat photographer and a good writer. He tells me he reads my blog regularly, so Arun, tone down and include some articles for us commoners. And I would like to see your pics too...How about it? Looking forward to it.....

Friday, September 23, 2005

A Little Smile Is All It Takes

T-shirts with little messages on them are back in fashion I hear. Some are saucy, some cliched, some really good. When I was little, the most common messages would be 'Smile is the opposite of a frown', 'Smile- it improves your face value'.... you know, the ones with the word smile somewhere.

The point I am trying to make here is how useful a smile can be. And i dont mean it in the sense of a smile to heal a fight....blah...blah...the cliched stuff. The greatest use of a smile is when you have no clue as to what the person in front of you is saying. I have done this and seen it so many times.

There you are talking to your mother's second cousin's brother-in-law's son talking about who attended his sister-in-law's wedding and what the menu was or some uncle you are meeting for the first time telling you how good/bad your profession is and how absolutely amazingly talented his daughter is.....(or any equally unenviable situation you may find yourself is!). The other person is going on about God knows what and your mother has taught you to be respectable to your elders no matter how irritating they are (atleast my ma did grrrr!). What do you do? You think about what you wish and plaster a silly grin on your face to look like you are actually interested.

No, dont feel guilty. I have done it more times than I want to remember, more times than I have confessed to Lord Krishna. So this is where a smile comes in handy...when you dont understand, when you dont want to understand....when you dont care... when relatives are a pain in you know where... :-) when life is a sucker... works.
And they need to start putting these nuggets of my brilliant advice on t-shirts too!

I am thinking of going to Madikeri tomorrow. Ma was talking about this great slide show of Kailash mountain. And I have promised myself a break from writing and technology. See you on Monday (?).

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Hmmm..... here I am in front of the computer. I thought I would write something but my mind seems to be blank right now. What do I write.... am open to ideas people! ;-)

We watched Akiro Kurasowa's 'Rashomon' today. Good one about how people lie to others and to themselves to save their skins. Watch it for the portrayal of the bandit Tajumoro who is superb as the uncivilised, brutal villain. Unlike New Wave Cinema in Italy which hardly had any emotional portrayal, this had the characters oozing out emotion from their eyes. The film ends with a question but the story is unimportant here. The story of who murdered a man is just a medium through which Kurasowa tells us that all of us have the vestiges of a primitive nature that we think civilisation hasdone away with. In those ways, we are no different, if not worse, than the most cruel of animals. Movies that make you think this way are not just a way to claim to be more intellectually superior than the next person. Instead, it has to make you accept that some things are just inherent in human beings, some bits of primitive behaviour that will not vanish even after millennia of "civilisation".

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

What I Learnt Today

We watched the Italian movie 'Umberto D' directed by Vittorio De Sica today. Good one. Its about an old pensioner and his dog. The dog was especially cute.

Had some free time today. Here is what I learnt today:

1. Dry wine is that wine which is fermented till the natural sweetness is gone. Dry wine is had with dinner and sweet wine is had after dinner.
Dont ask why I read that. I dont drink but the pics with the article were very good! ;-)

2. Manchala is a game played in Africa. It consists of seven holes dug out in the ground or is wood. Seeds are placed and the objective is to scoop up as many seeds as you can to win. There are variations s to how the game is played. It is a game I used to play with my granny when I was little. We call it 'Chenne Mane'.

3. Discover India is a really good travel mag.

4. Just checked out Really cool website. It is a mag started by two software engineers Nikhil Velpanur and Abhijit Prabhakar. I am yet to see the print version but by the looks of their website, I am sure its good. By the way, it was Karthik who gave me that web address.

5. I learnt how creepy some people can be. (Sorry, wont be writing an explanation)

Sunday, September 18, 2005


Okay, this is not at all a good picture but this is the best I had here at uni.

This is home. The entire house is not covered in the pic though. My house is named "Minuguthare" which in Kannada literally means 'shining star'. The house was bulit by my grandpa in 1962 and the family moved in in 1963. My granny tell me that back then, a bulb burning in the veranda could be seen from the other side of the town. There is this slope just before you enter Madikeri, in front of hte head post office. It is here that you can see the proper town of Madikeri in full, with sloping roof tops and billboards and mosques and all the other trappings of a town. It also happens to be my favourite part of the town.

Now, this is the place from where you could see the light from the house. It would look like a star from that distance and that is how it came to be called that. I love my house, obviously. The best thing is that it is within the town limits and the main town is just about a 10-min ride. But right in the middle of the town is our little estate. We dont cultivate anything here. The entire place has the ambience of a village house, though it is anything but that. There are our fields in front, an estate, our own view point from where you can see half of Madikeri, an emerald pond, a few turtles, two huge fishes, an old well where a huge frog used to live, cows grazing nearby (not ours), trees that I love climbing, fig trees that I am very attached to, a clearing which is made for partying and a mountain called Stewart's Hill! So it is something out of a picture postcard, a true beauty. There was even a long tunnel that I had discovered, though that is gone now.

To be frank I dont miss my family as I talk to them every day. It is this mix of village and city life that I miss the most. Among my favourite pass times is roaming in my estate, sitting on the edge of the pond, looking at the bluest sky ever, gazing into the pond, the colour of precious emerald and just thinking....

They say that you can take a girl out of the mountains but you cannot take the mountain out of the girl. That is how it is with me. Madikeri will always be in my blood.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

A Nation Without Women

We watched the Hindi movie 'Matrubhoomi' today as part of Film Studies. It was very very disturbing. The movie makes you sit up, shakes you by the neck and commands you to think. It is very crude and that is what you should watch it for.

The movie presents a futuristic concept where there are no women left in a village. The story is set in a village in North India where female babies are killed habitually. Female infanticide is a reality even today where a male baby is what most parents pray for as they think a son is their path to heaven. Anyway, after a point of time, there are no women left. A family of five brothers and their father is at the centre of the story. The sons are desperate to get married but the father is unable to find a girl. Finally, he 'buys' (thats right!) a girl from the neighbouring village for five lakh rupees and five cows and gets all five sons married to her (a referance to the Pandavas and Draupadi?).

A very disturbing scene is one where the eldest son sits after the wedding with a calender in his hand alloting the days of the week to each brother to go and sleep with her! The worst is when the father demands his right to sleep with her as it was him who paid the money!

Thus Kalki, the bride, undergoes marital rape every day. Only the youngest son shows some concern for her and they fall in love. The jealous brothers kill him and a servant boy who helps Kalki to run away. Kalki's punishment for her audacity to try and run away is further rape in the cow shed where she is tied up. Even the uncle and brother of the servant who is killed rape her for revenge!

She subsequently gets pregnant and a fight starts when everyone tries to determine who the father of the child ought to be. The father-in-law and the sons are killed. She gives birth to a girl child and the movie ends with a hope and a smile on her face.

I know what you must be thinking. That such movies are just exaggerations. But female infanticide takes place even now in many parts of rural India. The female to male ratio is decreasing every year. Sure the scenario may be an exaggeration but that is what you need to drive home the point.

Watch it if you can. It is very disturbing. The way her body is used is really bad. But though it is classified as an adult movie, there is not a bit of vulgarity in it.
The director is Manish Jha.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Omkareshwara Temple

This is Omkareshwara Temple in Madikeri, my most favourite temple. It is the place I go to to pray, the only place where I feel some really devotion. Not that I am not religious. I believe in God, not much in the institution of religion. Well, that can take up another post.

I did not take this picture, some professional photographer did.

This temple was built in 1823 (I think) by the then king of Kodagu, Lingaraja. The story goes that his eyes fell upon the daughter of a priest and he abducted her to make her his daughter-in-law! Her father brought her back and naturally the king was enraged at this. He got the priest killed and misfortunes began to fall on him. In atonement of having killed a brahmin (which then was the highest of all crimes), he was advised to built this temple.

The temple is that of Lord Shiva and the linga was brought from Kashi. The architecture is unique because unlike temples with gopura, this is shaped like a mosque. The style is Indo-Sarcenic. The tip of the dome is gold plated.

The premises are vast. There is a pond in the front where there are hundreds of fishes, big, huge ones. Most temples in Madikeri are in the middle of the town and dont present you with the serenity the mind craves to pray in. But Omkareshwara is very peaceful. The inside walls are full of paintings from mythology. A lot of cultural events take place in its premises. Every year, there is a 'teppotsava' where the idol is taken around in a boat around the pond. The above pic was taken during one such event.

My extended family was once closely associated with the temple. My dad's uncle was the parpathigar here, sort of like the administrator. It is in some one else's hands now. We are no longer associated with it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Another Poem

Another of my bad poems. I wrote this in class during some boring lecture!!


Up a mountain
The world in myraid
shades of green
And a turquious blue above
The wind from far away
Through my hair
Makes me wonder
Yonder to look,
Where to head
The compass shows
Many sides.

Up the mountain
Many seasons past
A wiff of soft breeze
Awakens a thought and
Clears up a path
Albeit one strewn with
Thorns, an untried way
Amidst the blues and the green
There lies a direction
My work is my way
My life is my work.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Movies, Films, World Cinema...The Whole Deal!!

We have this paper called Film Studies this semester. The person who takes this paper is a great movie buff and has an amazing collection of world cinema. In one month, we have seen Satyajit Ray's Apu trilogy, DeSica's 'Umberto D', 'Citizen Kane' and this amazing documentary called 'Nanook of the North' which I will be talking about today.

This docu, directed by Robert Flaherty in 1922, is said to be the first docu ever made. It is a silent film about Nanook, an Eskimo. It shows the hard life they lead, their daily struggle for survival and the way they manage to be happy throughout everything.
Some facts: The docu shows how the Eskimo catch fish, how to make an igloo. Walrus spells fortune to them in a land as vast as England but inhabited by just 300 people. Rubbing noses is the way the Eskimo kiss. Every morning, they have to chew on their boots to soften them as sealskin gets very hard overnight. The Arctic snow is as dry as sand.

Now I dont know if all this holds true even today. The movie is amazing for the way it shows the life of the Eskimo with an exploratory approach. The desperation for food in such a beautiful barren, stark landscape is heart-renching. It had a lot of still photos in the end. A picture of Nanook in a warrior pose was especially good. Maybe I could get the DVD cover from my lecturer and scan it...

Nanook died of starvation just a year after the docu reached all corners of the globe.

K V Subbanna, a stalwart in Kannada theatre, passed away recently. In his memory, we are organising a film festival in the uni the coming week. We shall be screening world cinema, five in all.
Subbana, an agriculturist, set up Ninasam, a theatre institution, in Heggodu, a tiny hamlet in Shimoga in North Karnataka. He brought to the villagers the entire world. Ninasam has a one year diploma course in theatre. Every year, it conducts a 10 day workshop in culture appreciation where you will get to rub shoulders with the giants of the art world. This year it will be held between Oct 12 and 18, I think.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi!

Today is Ganesh Chaturthi, the birthday of the most popular of all Gods, Lord Ganesh. There are many legands about Him. The story goes that Goddess Parvathi, the consort of Lord Shiva, wanted someone to guard the door when she took a bath. She created a boy from the dirt in her body. He failed to recognise Shiva and did not allow him to enter. Angered, Lord Shiva cut off the boy's head. Upon Parvathi's insistance, he sent his guards to bring him the head of any other person. Finding no one in the vicinity, they brought him the head of an elephant and that is how Ganesh got to have the head of an elephant. In repentance of his mistake, Shiva granted special status to Ganesh and His name came to be invoked first on every occassion.

Ganesh Chaturthi is very popular all over the country, especially in the state of Maharashtra. The freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak started the practice of taking out processions in a bid to spread his political messages as the British would not ban a religious event. All over the country, idols of Ganesh are installed. At the end of a stipulated number of days, the idols are immersed in water after being taken out in a procession. Thus, the entire festival is one of immense joy, devotion and most of the time, plain fun!

The uni is closed for the festival today. Usually, it is normal practice for children who live outside to go home, the entire family gets together. But since it is the middle of the week, I could not cut classes. Instead, my parents are coming over with all the festival sweets. A feast awaits me! Yummmm!!!

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi to all of you!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Coffee!!! (Again!)

I seem to have found my online blog heaven. It was on the dashboard. Look up Such amazing photos!!!

Dog Photos... Drool.....

I have melted. I am as soft as butter right now. Tell me honestly if you dont feel the same....
I got these and some more pictures in the mail and I cant seem to stop drooling over these.
I love dogs, in fact, I am crazy about dogs and I melt at the sight of even the dirtiest of them. I am an only child and ever since I was born, dogs have been my constant companions. I have a dog called Ginger now and he is one 'person' (we consider him member of the family) I miss the most at uni.
It had been very long since I cuddled a dog. Today, a dog near the uni canteen came up and got me to feed it. It was so cute. My great love for dogs is another case of great amusement to my family.

Friday, September 02, 2005


This was one story I absolutely loved doing. It was in my first sem when we had not yet learnt to get assignments done the easy way. I was to do a feature and I came up with this idea to go to a tribal colony.
These are Jenu Kurubas, literally meaning honey shepherds in Kannada.. They do not tend cattle though and earn a livelihood collecting honey and other forest products and today by working as coffee estate labourers. They are supposedly nomads of royal lineage from Tamil Nadu, though there is no documentation.
Tribals usually have a distinct culture of their own but these people are pretty much integrated into the mainstream society. Their Gods are called Komaralinga and Kannambadi Taayi. They live in 'Haadis' or a close knit community which are known for their cleanliness.
According to some government officials I spoke to, there are around 814 families of these tribals in Kodagu.
The women in the picture are all from the same family. Friendly and very sweet all of them.
That was about them. I had a tough time going to their camp or haadi.The men are always drunk and get into serious fights. One man, with a very prominent sickle tucked into his waist, was particularly bad. He thought I was from the government and began to tell me about the problems they faced, how they were abused and tortured, how poverty was killing them, how they were not given the land they were supposed to get..... One line he said still reminds me of the helplessness of my profession. He said, 'You will fill your white paper with black ink and walk out of here, what of us? Our situation will always be the same.' This got to me. Those were the days when I was still thinking of how I could change the world and the like. I was still ideological and too sensitive towards such issues.
(For my own sanity, I have improved to such a large extent that I have learnt to look but not see now. In other words, I am now fit to be a journalist.)
Nevertheless, it was a good experience. Sadly, I could not make a good story out of it. Now that I look back, I suppose I was too affected by what he said to exploit them for a good story. I know it is with such sadness that a good story is born but I was only trying to maintain my integrity until commercialism demands otherwise.