Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Kolkata, Jorhat, Kaziranga, 07-130517

May 19, 2017

We visited Kolkata

IMG_1542

had an evening admiring the Victoria Memorial,

IMG_1575

IMG_1602

enjoying puchka

IMG_1641

jhaal mudi

IMG_1650

and visited the family who brought me up.

IMG_1657

We visited Pradeep and Sulakshana Barthakur at their home in Jorhat, where they run a centre for children. (Pokamura, 7km from Jorhat)

IMG_3064

The location is

here

Their home is a veritable garden of Eden which they share with all kinds of beings:

IMG_3014

Bronzeback Tree Snake

IMG_3049

Blue-throated Barbet

IMG_2007

We went to Kaziranga National Park, staying at Wild Grass resort.

IMG_2355

Hog Deer

IMG_2423

Red Jungle Fowl

IMG_2444

Elephants

IMG_2553

Rhinos

IMG_2721

Swamp Deer (bArAsinghA)

IMG_2829

Here’s K1’s beautiful depiction of the elephant safari,

IMG_2745

IMG_2730

where we saw so much of wildlife.

IMG_3098

IMG_2783

The Flickr albums are:

Blr-Kol and visit

Kol, Science City and Gariahat Mod

Kolkata-Jorhat

Jorhat, 100517

Wild Grass, Kaziranga, 11,120517

Jorhat, 130517 morning

Jorhat-Guwahati-Bangalore, 130517

It was a memorable trip and I enjoyed it very much, through my own experience and that of my family.

Visit to Shivamogga, Mathur, Kudli, and Sakrebailu, 080417 to 100417

April 19, 2017

Kiran Kannappan and I went to Shivamogga to help conduct a summer camp for 85 rural children, under the aegis of

Vatsalya

IMG_0652

run by Shaila, Shruthi and Adarsh

IMG_0687

IMG_0942
Morning prayer

Story-telling, some Sanskrit shlOkAs,

IMG_0950

nature around the campus, basic birding

IMG_0948

Red-wattled Lapwing on the school campus

basic origami,

IMG_0671

basic cartooning

IMG_0957

…these were some of the things we went through with the very receptive children.

IMG_0962

On the 9th evening, we visited

Mathur

where Sanskrit is taught, and still used extensively. We visited a couple who have settled down there, having built this beautiful house:

IMG_1026

IMG_1031

IMG_1074

Lakshmi Narasimha temple, Mathur

We then went to the shAradA temple at Kudli

IMG_1086

as it was about to close.

On 100417, we visited the Sakrebailu Elephant Camp.

IMG_1136

IMG_1144

Kiran decided that we would return by the afternoon train rather than wait for the overnight one…so a memorable visit to Shivamogga came to a conclusion!

IMG_1090

Colourful buses….

April 11, 2017

One of the things that interest me very much is the wonderful colours of the buses that ply on our roads….the mofussil (sub-urban) buses, and those that connect the various towns of our State.

I had a bonanza when, on our way back from

Sarkrebailu

after seeing the rehabilitated elephants, we came to the Shivamogga bus terminus.

There were a whole row of colourful beauties. I won’t say anything more, but let the colours, the images and the words talk for themselves!

IMG_1223

IMG_1221

IMG_1219

IMG_1216

For a break, here are a row of apples (iPads?)

IMG_1212

IMG_1211

IMG_1210

Another break with the co-existence of two species:

IMG_1209

Some more children:

IMG_1208

IMG_1207

IMG_1206

The Tiger Fighter bus had a lovely pic of Tipu fighting the tiger:

IMG_1205

IMG_1200

I feasted my eyes as I took an ordinary-coloured bus to go back to Ayanur!

A most unusual young man….Rajdhani Express encounter, 131214

December 15, 2014

I always meet the most interesting people on train journeys (another reason why I prefer them to quick-yet-painful plane journeys in India.)

I got talking to three young men who were travelling up to Kazipet; they were working for Punjab National Bank and were on their way to a small town in Andhra to conduct training programs for other bank employees there. They would, they said, be continuously posted from town to town, when their final place of posting would be decided.

As I chatted, one of the young men, Ashwini Jha,

ashwin jha rjdhni 131214

talked more about himself, and I learnt some astounding facts.

He was extremely interested in electronics and was excellent at his studies.
At 11, inspired by the biography of the Ashok Chakra winner late Lt.Puneet Dutt of 11, Gorkha Rifles, developed an interest in firearms.
At the age of 12, developed ankylosing spondylosis…and was confined to bed for 4 incredibly pain-ridden years.
At 16, the family had to sell their property to enable him to have an Aortic Valve replacement surgery in Delhi, as the heart had been badly damaged by the disease (which still does not have a cure.)

In his own words, from a document he emailed me.

I am quoting:

“Why anyone die due to lack of a rupee for medicine when the other one spending Rs.10 or more on his onetime smoking?
Now to get rid of these all problem became the purpose of life for the boy. He determined hat e will serve the humanity and will change the scenario. He believed that if even a street dog is doing something for the society by eating roadside litter than why can`t an individual can do something for the betterment of society. He began searching the solution of these all problems and got that in the typical Indian way of living if a single person has the employment it can change the life of at least five other ones, means a single employment can address at least five persons problems (food, cloth, shelter, health and education) and with the good education those dependent five can address the problems of other 25 in the long run in the form of their own family, means few employments and a school can revolutionaries the life of hundreds of people….”

A lot of books that he read motivated him and “to know more about poverty, money, economy and finance” he took a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.

He took up a job, but “in November 2012 he went through Hip Joint Replacement in which he faced serious troubles due to Pre – Cardiac problems”.

He took up a job again and quit in July 2013.

Once again, he studied for competitive exams and landed his (present)nationalized bank job. His thoughts are very different; instead of the usual elation, here are his words:

“Parents satisfied, the colony envious and villagers` proud….hahahaha…What a pity with India..a 30K p.a. job decides an individual’s worth,character and everything
else 😦 sad…his zeal ,concepts and dreams worth nothing but 30k!”

And now, this courageous, adventurous person says, “Now comparatively with good health …modern medical science ..hell pricious medicines,yoga..vipassana and physiotherapy is doing good with mind body and soul…Lets` see what next!”

Here is what he dreams in poetic form:

Dream Great

Ideas are not born in streets,

But they arise in your mind.

What they only need is the great dream

And a daring attitude

Now when the world badly needs heroes,

What are you looking for…

Come on dream great, do hard

And if you have the fire in your heart

Snatch the stars from the sky

ULTIMATELY, IF YOU CAN DREAM ANYTHING

YOU CAN DO ANYTHING

**************

Each person I meet on a journey is a story, but some stories are more amazing than others…I hope everyone is inspired by Ashwini Jha’s!

Economic development and its dependencies: different lifestyles

December 15, 2014

Visiting any large city,and observing the different worlds that co-exist, is always a thought-provoking experience. Gurgaon is no different.

Here’s the view of one of the thousands of high-rise apartments that have come up in this was-a-sleepy-village:

IMG_7026

To me, however, what gives character to this photograph is not the high-rise..but that cluster of buildings nestling below it, with the spire of a temple as well.

In those homes live the people who make life convenient for the occupants of the high-rises; the faceless people who provide so many services: maids, ironing-wallahs, drivers, security guards, gardeners, the innumerable tasks that the relatively cheap labour in India takes on.T The prosperous middle-class would collapse without these services that take away some of the strife of daily living in this country, rendered by people who do not have other people to take away their own strife.

Motorized fossil-fuel transport, of course, is the backbone of this kind of residential area, but right next to the motorized transport in this photo, is a greener option: the cycle rickshaw, which does not depend on electricity or fossil fuel. I was happy to see many plying everywhere.

IMG_6974

Here’s someone delivering large PVC pipes somewhere by cycle rickshaw, this one modified for cargo:

IMG_6946

In fact, I was tickled to see some motorized transportation being consigned to a dusty oblivion:

IMG_6981

Here’s someone who fills mattresses with cotton (or is it some artificial filler, I wonder) and then sells them:

IMG_6982

Some provide services by carting away the deteritus of a consumer lifestyle:

IMG_7055

Some get excellent exercise while commuting:

IMG_7056

Here’s a “chik” (bamboo-slat blind) maker, whose blinds will add to the ambience of so many “ethnically” decorated apartments:

IMG_6986

Other people provide services for those who provide services. Everywhere, mobile carts catered to the needs of those less financially well-endowed than their high-rise brethren:

IMG_6985

Here are the people who tend to the the little greenery that surrounds each high-rise:

IMG_7004

Here, a mobile cycle-rickshaw, so ingeniously fitted with a pressure pump,that allows car, van and truck tyres to be inflated:

IMG_6988

This is Indian

jugaad

at its best…no more waiting at petrol pumps to inflate one’s tyres!

The urban scenario is not a pretty one for the lower economic strata:

IMG_6989

Pollution and litter seem to be part of their lot, and yet they manage to exist…and thrive, and have a blue-eyed vision of their future:

IMG_6990

Here’s a night view, with the building (in the first photograph) to the left:

IMG_6960

Fascinating to see how, in the same space, so many different lifestyles go on!

Another unexpected hunting scene, Gurgaon, 131214

December 13, 2014

I have made

this post

about taking an infant for a walk in her stroller, and coming upon a raptor with a kill.

Little did I know that history would repeat itself!

It is cloudy and gloomy at Gurgaon, and instead of sitting idly in the 19th floor, apartment, I decided to get some exercise by climbing down, walking around the building, and then climbing back.

As I walked on the pathway around the building, which is shaded by small tree, I was thrilled to see a Shikra which had just made a pigeon kill!

IMG_7188

I dared not go too close.

IMG_7190

It looked around for a bit, and then carried the pigeon across the barbed wire fence to the ground of the adjacent apartment building. In the process, it dropped its prey.

IMG_7193

However, I was able to click it, waiting for several unheeding people to go past before it dropped down out of my sight, presumably to pick up its food and go off.

IMG_7196

That was quite an unexpected bonus of the walk, and I never felt the 19 floors I climbed up, afterwards!

The photos are on my FB album

here

Thoughts on landing…

December 12, 2014

What does a wasp feel
When it’s about to land?
Does it feel a sense of relief
To alight on the leaf?
Will it land on toe or heel?
Will it fly off, or will it stand
Still, for a while..?
I wonder all this…with a smile!

IMG_7034

This proves that Nature can be observed even on the terrace of a hotel!

The heights a job can take people to…..Gurgaon, 111214

December 11, 2014

I went for a walk today, and was awed by the size of the highrise buildings all around me in Gurgaon, Haryana…now a suburb of Delhi, the capital.

As I climbed back to my sister-in-law’s 19th floor flat (boast, boast…I can do 19 floors after an hour’s walk!), it suddenly occurred to me, as I crossed the 7th floor, that I could take a pic of the view from each floor and make it into a movie. So here’the 7th to the 19th floors:

I saw a few garbage collectors doing their jobs on each floor; I didn’t photograph them out of sensitivity…I don’t think they would have liked it.

While on my walk, I saw this incredibly tall fire-fighting crane:

IMG_6980

IMG_6992

It belonged to the DLF Firefighting Service (apparently each Phase of this residential complex has one, this is Phase Five)

IMG_6993

I imagined a firefighter, high up on that small platform on top, going to the rescue of residents in apartment buildings, quite high up.

Then, I found something that I didn’t have to imagine. A speck on the building opposite me caught my eye.

IMG_6999

Can you see the window-cleaner?

IMG_6994

I zoomed in:

IMG_6995

Dangling by that rope (though it seemed a safe piece of equipment, it certainly gave me vertigo), he was busy with his work:

IMG_6997

IMG_6998

I walked home, musing that those in “high places” in the pursuit of their jobs or careers need not always be the object of our envy. I salute people like this, who take up “high-level” jobs where they live with danger every working day, and take it in their stride.

The things that Go Wrong during a long absence….

November 19, 2014

1. Gas disconnected. For “my protection”, I am locked out of my connection if I do not book for 180 days since the last booking. I am consuming less, and so I should be praised, shouldn’t I? But no…I get locked out instead.. I have to give a letter of request, a proof of address, and a proof of id. Several visits to reactivate it, and waiting for the cylinder to be delivered.

2. Electricity disconnected, and no proper reason being given for it,giving rise to the worry that it will happen again. Multiple visits to bank and BESCOM office. This is one of the biggest messes, with different BESCOM personnel giving me widely varying reasons why the power was disconnected. One lady at the office asked, “Since you’ve got the power back, why are you complaining?” All the contents of my freezer lost.

3. Driving licence expired, since I crossed 60. Process of renewal under way. I have to apply in the “prescribed form” and stand for a photograph (which is not shown to me). I cannot take delivery of the licence, but must wait for it to be delivered by Registered Post, and hope I am at home when the postman comes.

4. UPS batteries died…it was not just the distilled water in the batteries going down, but the batteries themselves had run down in five months. Since I don’t have cell phone on which I can access the numbers of the battery repair people, the process of getting them home to check it took a while. Batteries have been taken away, recharging under way. Waiting for the people to come and re-install the batteries. Then, if there are still problmes, will have to call the UPS people and go through a similar process.

5. Cable TV set top box died. Contacting the cable guy took 3 days, getting him to come home, Replacement set top box given and process of repair under way. Will have to wait at home the day he comes to reinstall it.

6. Landline cordless phone not working properly. Have to find time to go and buy another one. It is very irritating to find the handsets suddenly dying in my hand. Have to find someone to try and repair it, or get another one.

7. Cell phone died in the US and still under inspection, I may have to buy another phone, because I am not sure, even if I get this lemon repaired, if it will continue to work. Multiple visits have been made. Not having a cell phone that can access my Google contacts means a lot of inconvenience.

8. Printer died. Friends want to buy me a new one as a birthday gift, so I’m waiting for them to find some time. Meanwhile feeling the lack of a printer.

9. State Bank of Mysore account ( the one in my name alone) made inactive. I was so disgusted I went and closed the account, which I cannot do with the Vijaya Bank accounts. (Even closing the account took 4 visits as the Branch Manager was never around.)

10. Good tenant vacated. Have started the painting of the flat now. Getting a plumber and an electrician to check out various problems in the flat.

11. Sleep pattern, always bad, now completely spoilt, thanks to terrible jet lag. Neither melatonin or lorezepam is helping in the least, I’ve stopped taking them.

12. Decided not to fight Airtel who charged me for International Roaming for 5 months and never activated the service. Just don’t have the energy for it!

I never know whether to go out and do the chores or wait for the people to come home for the repairs, delivery, etc. At every place, I am told, “Ask someone to be at home for the delivery (of gas, post, batteries, etc.) I *don’t* have someone And I want to do my own chores, not take obligations from others.

But… I did manage to see two good plays, attend a wedding, volunteer for a children’s event in Bandipur, go for a birding outing, and interview a bookstore owner, meet friends from out of town, make a start on cleaning up the flat…

It takes 2 to 3 weeks to get the systems in place after a long absence. Moral of the story…don’t go away for more than a month. Or if you do…don’t come back!

November 19, 2014

1. Gas disconnected. For “my protection”, I am locked out of my connection if I do not book for 180 day. I have to give a letter of request, a proof of address, and a proof of id. Several visits to reactivate it, and waiting for the cylinder to be delivered.

2. Electricity disconnected, and no proper reason being given for it,giving rise to the worry that it will happen again. Multiple visits to bank and BESCOM office. This is one of the biggest messes, with different BESCOM personnel giving me widely varying reasons why the power was disconnected. One lady at the office asked, “Since you’ve got the power back, why are you complaining?” All the contents of my freezer lost.

3. Driving licence expired, since I crossed 60. Process of renewal under way. I have to apply in the “prescribed form” and stand for a photograph (which is not shown to me). I cannot take delivery of the licence, but must wait for it to be delivered by Registered Post, and hope I am at home when the postman comes.

4. UPS batteries died…it was not just the distilled water in the batteries going down, but the batteries themselves had run down. Since I don’t have cell phone on which I can acces the numbers of the battery repair people, the process of getting them home to check it took a while. Batteries have been taken away, recharging under way. Waiting for the people to come and re-install the batteries. Then, if there are still problmes, will have to call the UPS people and go through a similar process.

5. Cable TV set top box died. Contacting the cable guy took 3 days, getting him to come home, Replacement set top box given and process of repair under way. Will have to wait at home the day he comes to reinstall it.

6. Landline cordless phone not working properly. Have to find time to go and buy another one. It is very irritating to find the handsets suddenly dying in my hand. Have to find someone to try and repair it, or get another one.

7. Cell phone died in the US and still under inspection, I may have to buy another phone, because I am not sure, even if I get this lemon repaired, if it will continue to work. Multiple visits have been made. Not having a cell phone that can access my Google contacts means a lot of inconvenience.

8. Printer died. Friednd want to buy me one as a birthday gift, so I’m waiting for them to find some time. Meanwhile feeling the lack of a printer.

9. State Bank of Mysore account ( the one in my name alone) made inactive. I was so disgusted I went and closed the account, which I cannot do with the Vijaya Bank accounts. (Even closing the account took 4 visits as the Branch Manager was never around.)

10. Good tenant vacated. Have started the painting of the flat now. Getting a plumber and an electrician to check out various problems in the flat.

11. Sleep pattern, always bad, now completely spoilt, thanks to terrible jet lag. Neither melatonin or lorezepam is helping in the least, I’ve stopped taking them.

12. Decided not to fight Airtel who charged me for International Roaming for 5 months and never activated the service. Just don’t have the energy for it!

I never know whether to go out and do the chores or wait for the people to come home for the repairs, delivery, etc.

But I did manage to see two good plays, attend a wedding, volunteer for a children’s event in Bandipur, go for a birding outing, and interview a bookstore owner, meet friends from out of town, make a start on cleaning up the flat…

It takes 2 to 3 weeks to get the systems in place after a long absence. Moral of the story…don’t go away for more than a month. Or if you do…don’t come back!