Thursday, 29 December 2011

18. Rest

I was traveling from Nagpur to Amaravati.
On the way, saw this.

It was so peaceful and still .. for a moment, I thought  Time has stopped running. Looked more like  a painting than real.

A well deserved rest indeed!
What would be they thinking about? 

Friday, 23 December 2011

17. Bull Temple

I had half a day with me in Bangalore.
One friend advised me to visit Bull Temple. 
The view at the entrance was beautiful.

It was more visible when I actually approached the entrance door at the temple.

Very refreshing.
And the Bull idol is huge.

Well, if God is everywhere, no harm in worshiping IT in the form of a bull.
Outside the temple, the pillar carvings are great.

Overall, it was a very peaceful experience.

Friday, 16 December 2011

16. Subsidy for Mule?

Natadol is a …
Well, by habit I was going to write it is a small village.

But in the hilly area of Almora district in Uttarakhand, a village with 239 households is certainly not a small village.

The road from Almora had many turns and enchanting view. The road seemed good until we approached Natadol, then it changed dramatically.

It is easily about five to six kilometers. The dust makes walking difficult when it rains. On the way, I saw many Apple orchards – so , transport is absolute necessity of this village.

But nothing seems to have been done.

The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) – a prestigious scheme of Government of India – website mentions Natadol as a ‘Location with no approved Work’ – with many more villages. (Go to, select Uttaranchal (is it the right name of the state?), select Almora district, select Lamgara block, in Alerts, click Locations with no approved work.)

I see a man with a Mule. Mule is the common means of transport.

Interestingly, the man has given a name to this Mule. It is Hira – beautiful, isn’t it? I mean the human touch to the relationship was a good aspect to know.
How much a good Mule costs? As much as Rs. 40000/-
No exaggeration.

In remote areas like Almora; Nano is not required, Mule is; Nano is not useful, Mule is!
The government  subsidizes Tata Nano – would it not be a good idea to subsidize cows, bullocks, horses, mules, donkeys too?
Why not? 

Sunday, 11 December 2011

15.Unknown Artists

While roaming in Tripura (mostly around Agartala), I came across beautiful expressions of artists.
For example, while entering one temple where many Gods are worshiped together, (forgot the name of the place), I came across this.

The Kamala Sundari Temple at Kashba, also shows a beautiful wall painting. What story the artist is trying to tell, I do not know.

And another one. This could be named a Rock Art. Again, I do not know the story, nobody with me knows. 

These artists must not be from past, they might be somewhere around.
But they remain unknown. 
To me, To many. 

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

14. Contrast

Visit to Kanyakumari Vivekananda Rock Memorial is a five minutes ‘sea journey’. After spending about half an hour in the queue (if you are not so lucky, you spend more time in the queue)  tourists get ride in a  good looking boat; with roof protecting people  from Sun and rain,; with proper sitting arrangements, people helping getting in and out of the boat.

Tourists pay for and get amenities and facilities. Right.

The ‘life jackets’ seems to be a recent addition – though looking at the conditions of life jackets one can understand that it is  not very recent and it is only a ‘tick mark’ activity. Most of the life jackets are in such a condition that they would not save any life when situation demands.

On the other hand, there are so many people out there in the open sea – without any safety measures, without any security assurance, without any protection, without place to sit comfortably and of course they don’t have life jackets – which they actually require.

Luxury is taken care of; livelihood is not.
Life around shows so many such contrasts.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

13. Urge

Last week I was in Bassi Pathana - a Block Headquarter in Punjab.

I was visiting one office and came across a very beautiful old building. I liked it very much - though I did not know anything about it - its past, its importance- nothing. I don't know anything about architecture and was visiting the place for the first time.

 There is fun in loving the unknown, loving something just for the sake of its existence out there.

While others were exchanging some ideas after the meeting, I sneaked away. I wanted to be with that building alone for few moments.

And at the left side what I saw amazed me more.

Human beings have the habit of making things complicated.
Nature has simple rules - be born, try to live, die when that moment comes.
No pain, no thoughts, no attachments, no dreams.

No past and no future - only the present.
But at the same time don't give up easily.
Show the urge to live... because life in any form and every form is precious. 

Sunday, 27 November 2011

12. I Wish ...

They seem to be very creative.

They manage to achieve their goals even when the situation is not conducive, even when the resources are scarce.

They seem to have some rare skills.

They seem to have strong will power.

They seem to have a mind which can see things differently.

They seem to have attitude for change.

Their number seems to be amazingly large. The fraternity seems to have a ‘code of conduct’ – if that can be called a code! But they seem to follow the same rules.

I meet them everywhere.

The more famous the spot, the more dominant presence they have.

I met them in September at the site map of Golkonda fort.

In the same month I met them in the passage that takes tourists from jetty to Vivekananda Rock Memorial at Kanyakumari.

Earlier, in the month of May, I had seen that even a 200 year veteran tree was not spared in Lalbag at Bangalore.

I wish:  they use all their skills, dreams, goals, paths, attitudes for making things better. 

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

11. Limited Space

Mumbai means crowds.
People everywhere.
Coming form all directions.
Rushing to all directions.

I was at Bandra Terminus after a long time. This is not the best of the Railway stations, so I never look forward to visiting it. But whenever I have opportunity, I become nostalgic.

And what do I see? Even at 6.00 in the morning?
Platforms full of heavy items. Making crowds more alarming than they sometimes actually are.

Maybe I was there at the wrong end.
Or wrong time.
Or wrong place.
Or all of that.

Whatever it was, it certainly did not make me smile.
We are not only over-populated, we are over-materialized.
Our space is getting squeezed every day - nay, every moment.

What happens to us when we have limited space?
To our body? To our mind? To our spirit?
That too becomes small; that too becomes limited;  I guess. 

Thursday, 17 November 2011

10. Fog

I wanted to start early at 6.30 from Almora.
The driver politely asked me to start little later.
It was early November, so I did not expect fog.
Moreover I like fog so I was looking forward to have it.

Still I accepted his request as I knew driving would be difficult for him.
By the time we started, it was already 8.00 am.
And I met the fog.
From all sides.

It accompanied us for a long time. I was happy with its presence, but was bit worried for the driver.

And the driver said it was not much trouble for him.

So, I relaxed and enjoyed: the loss of direction, the forgotten sense of traveling, the feeling of being lost in the midst of unknown country, the consciousness of being alone..
And still being happy ....

That is how I like it. 

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

9. Security Check

I know during security check at the airport, we are asked to throw away water bottles.
However, I badly needed water today. Once the flight is delayed, you never know how late it would be.
So, I pulled out the bottle, put it in the tray to pass through the X ray machine - or whatever that machine is.

One security officer objected to water bottle. I explained. Other security officer seemed to be convinced by my argument. However, they made me drink the water in front of them so that only the 'permissible' volume of water was inside the bottle.

I respect security officials and their sense of duty. I generally follow the rules, never argue with them.

For safety and security reasons, I won't name the city ... if you have visited, you will know!

Only few hours earlier the same morning, I had captured the airstrip from a coffee shop.

This still seems to be okay.
Have a look at the second snap.

I don't have to elaborate.
Isn't it scary?
Do those who must know this, know?
If yes, what actions are they taking?
Along with throwing water bottles - don't we need broader 'security check?'

Friday, 11 November 2011

8. Sugarcane Juice

I was waiting for the bus on the road in Hyderabad.

Even though it was September, the heat and humidity were making their presence felt.
The road was crowded.
And I saw him.

The stall was clean and well arranged. He was using paper glasses and there was a garbage bin to throw those.

Initially he was engrossed in serving the customers. Slowly the crowd disappeared.
He realized that I was taking his photograph.
A minute of leisure for him - because the next moment another customer arrived on the scene.

I wanted to ask many questions about his occupation.
Maybe, next time. 

Sunday, 6 November 2011

7. T 3

"During your one year stay in Delhi, which place (spot) have you visited most?" one of my friends asked.

Well, home was the place I visited most and then office - but I know this was not he was asking.

Then suddenly I remembered: T 3

Well, I know, this was also not the right answer.
However during last one year, I have been a frequent visitor to T 3 - and what is important is I like to be at T 3.

It is beautiful. Is it clean. It is well maintained. It has good services. It is specious. It is comfortable.

It is artistic too!! Though I confess I do not understand and do not appreciate the art they exhibit there.

There are many shops. But I hardly see people purchasing anything except for food items. The obvious reason is: the cost. Even a cup of coffee costs more than one hundred rupees. I do not know how the cost of the product is calculated here!!

There are two runways. Still the following scene is indeed very frequent. On that evening, our captain announced that the earlier captain had noticed some pieces of tire on the runway and it was being cleaned. So, this queue!!

Overall T 3 is an experience worth having!!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

6. Public Transport

Using Public Transport is a good Reality Check.
So, when I had to travel from Marthandam to Kanyakumari and onward to Thiruvananthpuram, I decided to use Public Transport.

To begin with, I had to pay only Rs. 17/- (Yes, you read it right!) for  Marthandam to Kanyakumari, - a distance of approximately 40 kilometers.
Marthandam to Kanyakumari Bus Charges

The roads are good - narrow but in good condition. The driver and the conductor were friendly. They did not speak either English or Hindi and the bus board was only in Tamil, but I could manage to convey them my destination.

The condition of the bus was very poor. See what supports the board.

What did 'SSS' indicate I did not know. From where this bus was coming, I did not know. Somehow I could read 'Kanyakumari' written in Tamil and did run for the bus, then the driver and conductor helped me.  The journey was bit 'fast and furious' but enjoyable.

While returning to Thiruvananthpuram, I chose Railway. My favorite train is 1082 Up Kanyakumari Mumbai express. Now it is numbered something else - five digit number - something like 13682 - I am not sure.

I always like to visit Kanyakumari Railway station.

Especially early in the morning at 5.00, the sea breeze is very cool and that is the time I generally leave  Kanyakumari. So, I was bit nostalgic. This photo is taken at 11.00 am and not at 5.00 am.

Well, and the ticket costs just Rs. 31/- This distance is 87 kilometers. If I had hired a car, I would have paid at least Rs. 2500/- for the same journey.

Public Transport does not save only money. It opens our eyes. For  example, in this train journey I met a group of 7 people (6 women and 1 man) from Saran district (now called Chapara, Bihar) who were visiting South. They were happy to speak Hindi with me. None of them spoke English, how did they manage in this strange part of the country?

"Did you enjoy the food here?" I asked.
"We don't know. We are carrying Sattu flour with us" - they told me.

What do we need when we travel?
Maybe, just a place to sit. That is all.
Public Transport offers that.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

5. The Angle

I was downloading photographs from my camera and suddenly came across this photo.

For a moment I wondered what it was about. Then I recalled.

On my way to Mumbai, I was watching (and enjoying) Sunset - from Aircraft window. It has its special beauty even when watched from 11000 meters. This photo - rather like an abstract painting - is a photograph of the setting Sun. The windowpane must have some spots/stains on it..  .. which changed the actual scenario - which was something like this.

The same Me, the same Camera, the same Window, the same Aircraft, the same Sun, the same Evening, the same Sky ... still two different pictures within a gap of few minutes.

What makes the change?

The bias that one carries? (in this case the stains on the glass!!)
Or the scene really changes?
Or just the Angle? 

Sunday, 16 October 2011

4. Sea at Daman

Last month has been bit crazy .. I mean differently crazy. I had opportunity to visit four coastal places - and all the shores have its special beauty.

Daman I am visiting for the first time. Being ignorant about geography, one afternoon after lunch I could just smell the sea (without knowing the existence of Sea). I am right. We are at a walking distance from the beach.

The sand is blackish ( I have been through red sand experience earlier week) and it seemed to be a fishing hub - to watch this I must come here early in the morning.

Are these some kind of shops?
What are the people doing there at 2.00 in the noon when the Sun is shining? 
Well, I do not know.
Had no time to go and speak to strangers.

And the board creates another image of the Sea - not an 'all time friend' - but one that could turn out to be dangerous without any warning. What are the causes? What is the history?

My questions remain questions.

What is different about this board is - local language is the priority language!

I wonder how do authorities convey this message to people who cannot read? 

Friday, 7 October 2011

3. Moving Sand

Prior to this visit I had traveled from Patna to Chapara number of times.
It was during September 2010, I observed something different.
I had always watched Ganga water flowing and was surprised to see the sudden appearance of the huge amount of sand there. It was as if I did not know the road.

As we moved on, I saw it more closely. There were few small boats and they all seemed to be engaged in some kind of urgent work.

I was still clueless about what was happening. I thought maybe, people are using boats as a means of transport. We kept on moving and through the car window I could capture some more images.

After few more snaps, I realized what it was all about. I am a 'late' learner, by the way.

This is not a Natural Sand Movement.
It is actually Sand Mining.
Whether legal or illegal - I do not know.
What price people pay for such activities, we all can imagine.
But who cares? 

Saturday, 1 October 2011

2. Mathur Aqueduct

Because of my association with Kanyakumari, I feel I know a lot about its surrounding. However it is not the case.

Yesterday I was in Marthandam in Tamilnadu. In between two meetings, we had some free time. I was taken to a spot whose name I was told as Thottipallayam.

We walk  across the bridge  and the view  is stunning.

The place actually is called Mathur Aqueduct. You read it right – it is Mathur. Initially I thought it must be the name of Chief Engineer who constructed the Dam . No, nothing like that. Mathur is the name of a hamlet.

As always, we all think that it must have been constructed by British! However, it is constructed in 1966 by Indians . You walk across the bridge and get surprised to observe a canal running parallel to it. That is amazing. The river downstairs is Pahrali . The canal is named as Pattanamkal – which carries water from one hill to another – above the flowing river.

It is now a tourist spot – entry fee for human beings is Rs. 2/- and if you carry camera you have to pay Rs. 5/- extra. Who is more valuable – camera or human beings – that is what I was wondering about!

 On the way, traders try to lure tourists – it is like a small mall. You name it and you have it.

Well, don’t  get scared. It is only Honey. Marthandam is famous for Honey production.

And women continue to carry the burden.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

1. Golkonda Fort

A visit to Golkonda Fort yesterday evening was a treat.  Just 11 kilometers away from Hyderabad, this famous fort was built in 13th Century by Kakatiya king. 

To avoid crowds, we started climbing form right side instead of left, and came across many enchanting views. It is a stone and mud fort and certainly a place worth visiting.

The Sound and Light Show at 7.00 PM everyday is good enough to create more interest in Golkonda.

As my team was not interested in History we went exploring without a guide and except for one information board, the visitors are left alone to find out the information.
I do not  know what many of these structures mean and what they were used for.

A second visit is a must.