31 August 2009

SLOW DANCE

A beautiful poem forwarded by a friend ...actually she sent several but this one just stayed with me for so long....

Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go-round?

Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Do you run through each day On the fly?
When you ask How are you?
Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?

You'd better slow down
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Ever told your child, We'll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste, Not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch, Let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time To call and say,'Hi'

You'd better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift....Thrown away.

Life is not a race. Do take it slower
Hear the music Before the song is over

19 August 2009

Kabini - June 2009

Had been wanting to go to Kabini Jungle Lodges for dogs years but it aint easy to get bookings there. Every time some friends and I managed to close down on a date we would find to our dismay that the place is fully booked out. Finally we decided to book nearly 2 months in advance and keep our fingers crossed that nothing would come up at the last minute.

So a nice Saturday morning in June four of us set off for Kabini. If some one had a look at the eatables that we were carrying they would think we are going for a week to a place where there would be no decent food! And the moment we got in we were discussing where we are gonna have breakfast!

We stopped for breakfast at Kamaths. Last 50 kms were too funny...every time we asked someone how far we were or tried to guess from the map that we had, where we were, we thought we were 25 kms away...and then we would reach another milestone and realize it was still 25 kms away! Anyways FINALLY reached Jungle Lodges in time for lunch...and immediately fell in love with the place.

The hunting lodge of the erstwhile Maharaja of Mysore it has the most amazing colonial style architecture. And lots and lots of tree sprawl the whole place. The cottages overlook the tranquil backwaters of the River Kabini and just outside the cottages are hammocks where you can just laze and relax! No wonder it is rated by the British Tatler’s Travel Guide as one of the top 5 wildlife resorts in the world. (and the reason why Suju insisted that we go to Kabini only and not anywhere else)

In all I managed to do some 4 safari – 3 jeep safaris in the jungle and one boat safari on the Kabini river, apart from the coracle joy ride. I never expected to see the amount of wildlife that I saw. Though the tiger was elusive as ever, we saw everything else in great abundance. We spotted so many elephants including tuskers that by the end of it there was very little excitement when we saw a elephant. One near the Kabini bank had tusks that were nearly as long as his trunk!

And of course I should mention the tusker charge. A smallish elephant was busy grazing on the side of the track –barely 4 feet away from us. As we slowed down to watch him don’t know what came over him that he started trumpeting and charging at us. While everyone was busy shrieking, I was busy trying to capture him on my camera. Below is the clip from which you can make out how close he was. In fact you can even see Suju’s cap in the clip!
video

Herds and herds of Spotted Deer - not small ones but hundreds of them and loads with antlers too. Now I can believe when they say that Kabini is one of the brightest beacons for wildlife preservation in India today. Apart from the many tuskers and deer with antlers that we saw, we also saw a pair of antlers that would have fallen off in the natural course but were still lying untouched in the forest. (It seems that the antlers serve as food for hedgehogs etc and so there is a new rule that these are not to be picked!)

Sambas, Indian Gaur and Langoors were other wildlife that we saw. On the last morning we were told by 2 jeeps that they saw Wild Dogs but they seemed to be evading us...but I guess not for long. As we reached the bank of Kabini we spotted 3 of them just lazing around quite close to the deer on the other bank. As we were watching one of them suddenly got up. We got quite excited thinking that we were going to see a kill but some how it seemed the Dogs were not in a mood for they made a very half hearted attempt at chasing deer.

The boat safari was very, very good. We were lucky to catch a Crocodile just lazing on one of the small islands. And to complete the show after few minutes he decided to slide into the water and we saw him swim away and for few secs with just his snout and eyes out. Awesome site...

Apart from that we saw what I would call an elephant baraat! Some 13 elephants in one herd followed by another herd with some 15 more elephants. While one herd was just crossing over to the Nagarhole side...one herd swam and came to an island in the middle...and this is when I realized that ‘ELEPHANTS CAN SWIM!’ As we watched them we also saw 2 elephants fighting in the water. It seemed as one was stopping the other from crossing over. We were told by the guide that this is the mating season!

This was not the season for bird watching. In Nov/Dec many migratory birds come here and the jungle comes alive with their tweeting and chattering...but STILL I managed to see soooo many birds...I nearly saw all the Welham birds – Kingfisher, Golden Back Woodpecker, Bulbul and Oriole. Unfortunately missed seeing my own house bird – Hoopoe!

At one point I heard some kind of honking and was wondering which idiot was honking in the forest when we saw the Black Drongo. This bird is known for its mimicry and the honking was his courtesy!

The Eagles looked so magnificent. As we were watching a Crested Hawk Eagle atop a tree we were told that his span is really beautiful. I was like – fly, fly, please fly for us when we were told by the other occupants in the jeep that this bird is not at all shy and will not move. But I guess they spoke too soon because soon after that he flew off. Talk about telepathy! In fact that happened once again a little later with a Blue Jay too. I wanted it to fly so that we could see all his colors. The guide was too good – he was whistling like a bird but it still refused to move. Till I started begging...please move and it just flew off.

Painted Storks, Peacocks, Serpent Eagle, Purple Heron, Green Imperial Pigeon, Cormorants, Egrets were also very kind to us and blessed us with sightings!

I had the most wonderful time...more than my expectation as I never expected to see so much wildlife...and the resort was excellet too...well maintained and very friendly naturalists.

Recommend everyone to make a trip there!

17 August 2009

My Opinion!

15 August 2009

14 August 2009

Calvin and Stars

A lovely Calvin snippet, so apt for my last post.

Astronomy Course/Workshop– May and June 2009

Ruchi and Poorvi often discussed joining an Astronomy course...I wasn’t really interested so never got excited and didn’t really encourage them. But then on a busy day at work I got a call from Ruchi. She had just spoken to Mr Rao from ABAA and there was this 6 weekend beginners program which was fast getting sold out. I was just telling her that I may not be able to attend all the classes but she was like...neither will I, but its only Rs 200/-

I agreed and don’t regret it one bit. I so looked forward to the classes and when I visited Delhi in the middle I planned to come back on Sunday in time for my class!

It was a bit theoretical but Mr Rao, the course coordinator’s passion for Astronomy used to flow in the lectures. Apart from that he is so knowledgeable and would often speak about Philosophy and quote from the Upanishads and Vedas making the lectures all the more interesting.

When in the first lecture he said that Astronomy tends to make you more philosophical, I couldn’t understand how...but a couple of lectures later I started thinking that I should read something on the Upanishads and Vedas.

In between this course The Bangalore Astronomical Society conducted a 2 full day workshop on Asteroids, Comets and Meteorites with Vishnu Reddy. Obviously we decided to attend that too!

It was very good and more focused on finding new Asteroids, Comets and Meteorites. However, that is not where my interest is really, coz I don’t really want to search for new stuff, but just enjoy the beauty of what is already there.

But still the lectures were very interesting. He actually had access to those really huge telescopes 34” ones sitting in some remote place in USA which he accessed from here remotely and showed us some of the objects…quite impressive.

On Sundays we could stay back to look at the sky but May/June are not very great months for sky watching in Bangalore. But October is supposed to be beautiful and ABAA members meet every Sunday at the planetarium and get out their telescopes. And that is where you are going to find me on Sunday evenings in October!!!

12 August 2009

Horse Riding Camp – Summer 2009

During an outing with Ruchi and Poorvi I mentioned that I wanted to learn horse riding...and what a coincidence – both were interested too. So Ruchi was given the task to find out some where we could get enrolled.

She did some amazing R & D and found out that Bangalore Amateur Riders Institute (BARI) which is under the guidance of Bangalore Turf Club (BTC) was organizing a ten day Horse Riding workshop for beginners to promote amateur riding in April-May 2009.
Each day there would be one hour of riding and on 2 days they would add half an hour of stable management where participants would learn how to handle horses and groom them and eventually develop a bond with the horses. A visit to the equine hospital in BTC was also included...sounded quite interesting, so we decided to join the camp.

First 2 days I had a horse called Soldier. There is a person (Srinivasa in case of Soldier) called a 'Side' who leads the horse and so all went well. Managed to get on and off Soldier, do a basic walk and some trotting AND importantly with no casualty. I was thoroughly enjoying myself. Day 3 the sides were asked to let go off the horse but stay close by. I was a bit nervous but luckily again the day was uneventful.

The following day my horse was changed to Al Habib...a young fellow. I just couldn’t get my rhythm with him and unfortunately I developed a severe back ache :-(
Somehow rested for a day and went back on Day 6 after the pain got better but the pain started again and so with a lot of difficulty I decided to stop the classes :-((((

It was really a difficult decision since we all were enjoyiong ourselves so much - some of my friends at the camp even created a blog (Horse Riding Notes) specifically for learnings from the camp and other useful information using mind maps, videos and the works...

And because I was feeling really bad I didn’t even go for the show that was organized for the last day where all my friends participated...

However, what raised my spirits was that Anita organized VIP Race Passes for the 1st day of the Races at Turf Club for us. An SMS from her read – “Tomorrow’s dress code for the races – Men: Jacket and Tie. Women: smart- no jeans, though trousers are allowed”. Hats and summer dresses came out of the cupboard as we got ready for the races.

Loved the VIP treatment ...for people in the VIP lounge they arrange lunch and high tea too!

Great races and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves as we got initiated to the world of horse race betting.

Human emotions are amazing – though we enjoyed the 1st race where we didn’t bet, the excitement levels were distinctly lower than in the following races where some of us decided to bet. At the beginning of the race we were seated but slowly rose from our seats and as the horses came closer to the fishing line we could be heard exhorting our favorite to run faster.

It was a different experience altogether...and one which made me understand how people get addicted to gambling. It takes a lot of will power not to bet in that kind of an environment.

Even though I found myself poorer by Rs 100 at the end of the day, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. But yes...I don’t want to be a regular at the races:-)

11 August 2009

An Idiot For Dinner

Attending this play was nothing short of an adventure. Poorvi booked my ticket for 12th June without actually talking to me. Unfortunately I had a team building outing on 11th and 12th and wasn’t sure if I could make it back from Angsana in time to reach RangaShankara by 7:30.

So I passed on my ticket to another friend but kept feeling bad that I wouldn’t be able to see this play coz the moment I read the synopsis I knew I would love it...I had nearly cracked up when I watched Bheja Fry!!!

12th June 4:45 PM - we are on Old Madras Road moving towards Outer Ring Road and I think maybe I can make it. So on an impulse I call Poorvi. She was on her way. I couldn’t decide if I should ask her to wait for me especially since I didn’t even have a ticket! But she was like…I’ll wait, you come fast...

I tried calling Rangashankara for a ticket but couldn’t get through. So I thought I had better not delay Poorvi, but she wouldn’t listen. Boss and another colleague were sharing the cab with me so I couldn’t even ask the cab driver to step on the gas. Finally after dropping off my colleague I suggested we take a short cut and trust my luck...one stupid truck in front of us moving at 0.5 km/hr grrrrrrrrr.

I was sure I am not gonna make it but finally at 6:30 or so I reached the Bellandur crossing and then Poorvi drove like crazy. And while waiting for me she had managed to get me a ticket too (from someone who was trying to sell off their extra tickets- WOW)

7:15 PM - All well as we crossed Woody’s. I had just started to relax thinking that we’ll make it. But just then on the last stretch we met a massive traffic jam. I thought I would burst into tears...it took us 15 mins to cover a stretch which shouldn’t take more than 5 mins!!! This is namma bengaluru for you!

As we entered RangaShankara the 3rd bell was ringing and our friend was waiting at the door with the tickets. Just made it in the nick of time...one second more and they would have closed the door.

Well...was the evening worth all the tension and running? YES, absolutely. What a knockout performance, totally hilarious and one helluva a de-stresser.

"An Idiot for Dinner" is an adaptation of a French movie titled "Le diner des cons". It was also made into a famous Hindi movie- Bheja Fry with Rajat Kapoor, Vinay Pathak and Ranvir Shorey.

A rich publisher and his friends meet every Wednesday evening, where they each have to bring an Idiot along. They have a good laugh at the idiots' expense. At the end of the dinner the host with the biggest idiot wins, while the idiots never figure who the joke was on.

One such idiot (?) that the publisher finds is Mr. R. Golden Gopu, an income tax officer who has an obsession for making matchstick models of the wonders of India. Just hours before the dinner, the publisher twists his back and has to stay home, and at the same time his wife who is very upset with her husband's idea of amusement leaves him.

Gopu visists the publisher at his home and tries to help him – for the sore back and to help him get his wife back. What results is absolute chaos and pandemonium.
The idiot manages to make Sanjay's back problem worse, bring his mistress home, drive his wife into the arms of a sex maniac and get his income tax audited.

What I liked best was Golden Gopu’s voice message which went as follows (in a sing song manner)
R Golden Gopu
Cannot talk to you
Don’t weep
Leave a message after the beep.


Totally hilarious!

Gopu was definitely the show stealer. His body language, expressions and his acting skills were just excellent. Gopu’s friend Hari whom he calls for help in getting the address of the sex maniac was very good too...just so into the skin with the character.

A must watch rib tickling comedy!

10 August 2009

An interesting intro...

The intro to the play "Day I Met The Prince" was just so charming and interesting...

Take a dot, add a line
Roses in a circle
Stars surround a lonely night
A sky that's magical
Faraway planet with no forest
A land without a sea
Flies in a friend with a shimmering cape
And a bit of aristocracy
Miles across the Milky Way,
stars twinkling through the galaxies
A question in time,
did a goat eat my rhyme?
Or a rose that that?s just a little bit shy?
Chatter chatter, yell and scream,
Dive and swoop and song?
Foxes and wishes, a thousand lost roses,
Will the answer be a hat or a song?

07 August 2009

Bhikre Bimb

In spite of a crazy busy schedule when I heard that Rangashankara was playing a Girish Karnad play I just knew I had to make the time and effort to watch it. The cherry on the cake was that it was featuring Arundhati Nag!!!

Tickets were initially booked for 1st May, then changed to 30th April…nearly didn’t make it…but eventually really glad that I did go for it as it was tooooooooooo good.
Bhikre Bimb is a dramatic monologue and Arundhati Nag as the protagonist was just brilliant.

It is story of Manjula Nayak, a professor of English literature who has been an unsuccessful Kannada writer till she finds international acclaim when she writes an English novel, which becomes a bestseller.

The story starts with her introducing the audience to her novel in a TV studio, prior to a film on it being telecast. She comes across as a proud kind of a person as she mocks the people who criticized her and seems to lash out at them.
After she finishes her introduction, she is confronted by her own image on the screen which poses questions on betrayal of her mother tongue Kannada and identity when she chooses to write in English.

The image or we could say her divided self continues to question her about her personal life and her relationship with her parents, disabled sister and her husband and makes her confront the truth about herself. She tries to brush off everything but at the same she looks helpless and goes on to justify each of her actions. Even though she is the so called ‘vamp’ in the story, one cannot but feel empathy for her. It could also be something to do with Arundhati’s acting which gave me the goose bumps - her dialogue delivery, expression especially the one of helplessness and the look of 'imagine my plight too'

Eventually she comes clean on her plagiarism - the best selling book was actually written by her sister but instead of publishing it in her name after her death she goes on to publish it in her own name. One can’t feel scorn but only pity for her as she tries to put it all down to a misunderstanding by the publisher on the name of the author.

By the end of this confrontation she is on the brink of madness and again Arundhati was so convincing.

Arundhati Nag deserved every second of the standing ovation that she got!