Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Dakshin Bharat: Mysuru

The first time I visited Karnataka was in 2014. We landed in Bengaluru, the capital city, and an absolutely stunning weather awaited us.

Stretch from Bengaluru Airport to the city
Coming from Kolkata in the month of July, the weather was very welcoming. We were supposed to take a bus from Bengaluru to visit Mysore that day. We spent the morning with a friend of my sister's and left for Mysore that very afternoon.

140 kms from Bengaluru, Mysore, very famous for its sandalwood, is the third largest city in Karnataka. The historic settlement of Mysore is one of South India's most enchanting cities. It is located in the foothills of Chamundi hills and the weather was equally impressive. The city is well connected by road and trains.

We visited the Jaganmohan Palace. Over 150 years old, it was the home of the Wodeyars, kings of

Jaganmohan Palace
Mysore, when Mysore Palace was being built. It is mainly an art gallery now. The original paintings Raja Ravi Verma which are over 100 years old are preserved here.  Unique artifacts, paintings, coins, dresses worn by the royals are all preserved here.

Shri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, popularly known as the Mysore is one of the oldest zoos of the country.
Entrance to the zoo

The zoo was very well maintained and is one of the most popular destinations of Mysore.

The zoo was created in 1892 and was originally called the Palace zoo as it it was built on 10 acres of the summer palace of Maharaja Shri Chamaraja Wodeyar. The zoo was opened to the public after 10 years and now it is 157 acre zoo. I saw elephants, giraffe, zebras, tigers, leopard, a lot of deer, rhinoceroses, snakes.
I did not get a chance of seeing a white tiger in the zoo. There are anacondas. And it has around 10 elephants which is currently the highest number you will find in any zoo in India. It was raining the day we visited the zoo, still we covered most of it. The giraffes were a delight to watch and could be seen from a large distance, thanks to its height.

Next attraction of Mysore is the Chamundi hills. You can see the city of Mysore while travelling around the steep roads around the hill. 
City of Mysore

The average elevation of the hill is 1000 metres. 

We visited Nandi statue on the hills of the Chamundi hills, followed by the Chamundeshari Temple. I visited the temple in 2016 as well. Here are some of the snaps of the place:

Along Chamundi hills
Big Bull Nandi
Chamundeshwari temple

St Philomena's Church is yet another tourist attraction.
The church was constructed in 1936 using a Neo Gothic style and is also one of the tallest churches in Asia.

Mysore sight seeing is incomplete without the magnificent Mysore Palace and the Vrindavan Gardens.

Mysore palace is the official residence of the Wodeyars.

The carvings and the art work inside the palace is exquisite. It made me stare at the wall for a long time to see the beauty of it. The architecture and the carvings are a sign of what royalty means in India. Some of the beautiful snaps of the palace:

Google Image of the entire palace

Inside the palace (Google Image)

An illuminated Mysore palace. I didn't get a chance to watch this beauty yet (Google Image)
The last spot was Vrindavan Gardens. It is a garden located in the Mandya district of Karnataka.
Spread across a large area of land, it is a beautiful place with flowers and fountains. A large number of tourists were present and we couldn't visit the complete garden since it was getting dark.

The garden lies adjoining the Krishnarajasagara dam, built across Kaveri river. Small food stalls outside the garden gate were crowded with tourists. Gobi manchurian was found in almost all the stalls and it was a delicious snack with red sauce. The smell of boiled corns with butter and masala filled the place.

Things to look out for in Mysuru: Silk, Sandalwood, spices, Mysore pak (a special sweet).

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Can you be the best person you ever met?

We have often heard that Life is short but exactly how short. Exactly how important our lives are, exactly how important our money is, exactly how important our friends are. The fraction of seconds when a person knows that he would die, for example, a seriously injured soldier on a battlefield, a person when sees his murderer along with his weapon targeting him , an old man lying on a hospital bed and sees all his family members sitting with him because they have been told that he has only few hours left, those are the times when people realize how short our lives are. How irrelevant everything is or have I made enough impression for the people to remember me?

Here is something excellent from Wikipedia on Pale Blue Dot:

During a public lecture at Cornell University in 1994, Carl Sagan presented the image to the audience and shared his reflections on the deeper meaning behind the idea of the Pale Blue Dot:

We succeeded in taking that picture, and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there – on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.
[...] To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.
— Carl Sagan, speech at Cornell University, October 13, 1994

An absolutely stunning piece to read on an evening when you are too busy about your office work and not being able to give time to your family, or too engrossed about your friend for not caring enough, or too concerned about your career as to what should you study or where should you work. I loved how Sagan has described the world so beautifully in his speech. Is it very important to live our lives in disharmony knowing that we would die some day and this won't matter then? Even if you live peacefully, it won't matter after you die. But yes, you will live a full and happy life. Those fraction of seconds before you die, you need not care about a single thing because so far you have lived your best. Be the person you would love to meet.

Help a soul, if you can. And if you can't help, please do not destroy one. If you cannot be a source of happiness in someone's life, do not be the reason of their sorrow. That will eat you up slowly if you have a little conscience left in you. Love and care for people around you, it won't cost you much :)

I'll try to do the same.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Happy Ending

Her happiness knew no bounds when she was asked to accompany him. She started believing that dreams do come true.

All her life she was denied freedom and love. She had managed to come out of it at last, at least to her.

"I have brought something for you", Ali told Sheena showing her a pair of beautiful earrings. As she saw them, the reflection of the emerald and the diamonds fell on her glasses.

"Exquisite", Sheena replied with pride.

You can easily find out if a woman loves and respects you, through her eyes. She would return home early from her work everyday. She would change the flowers on the vase. She treated the maids well and would sometimes help them prepare the food. She never cooked full time but made a dessert everyday for Ali.

She would wait at the balcony. She tried to be busy after reaching home but her eyes were always through the balcony to catch a glimpse of his car.

After a few months, Ali asked Sheena during dinner, "Do you remember Muskaan?"

"Of course, your friend"

"Yes. She is working at a school nearby and dad has told her that we stay near by. So I will be inviting her for lunch on Sunday. I hope it's not a problem?"

"No. Why should it be? I will ask the maids to cook something good" Sheena replied without looking at him while emptying the contents of her dessert bowl.

It was a pleasant Sunday and Muskaan indeed brought a 'muskaan' on their faces. Post that day, Sheena would often spend time with Muskaan in the evening. Their friendship grew and Sheena enjoyed being with Muskaan. They would go for evening walks and movies together when Ali was busy with his work. Sheena would converse with Ali during dinner about Muskaan. Ali would never comment anything regarding them and would just ask "And how is office?" He was always soft spoken.

Sheena bought flowers from the florist one day and thought of dropping by Ali's office to give him a rose. It was their anniversary. When she reached his office, his secretary told her about an ongoing meeting with his client. She waited for hours and after the meeting, Ali was surprised to see her and gave her a warm hug when he saw her . She gave him the rose and wished him. His client, Miss Anne, smiled and wished them both. To find her husband with his client for hours threw an upset expression on Sheena's face.

While returning home, she started over thinking again. She always did this which made her all depressed and irritated. In the evening, she went to meet Muskaan at her home and found Ali talking to her near the door.

Sheena looked at Ali with a puzzled look and he gave her a smile, "and there's my woman .. How come you are everywhere I go?"

Muskaan came out of the door and welcomed her with open arms.

"May be you are in every place I go" Sheena replied to Ali, almost inaudible.

Ali was holding a box. When Sheena inquired about the the box, Ali replied "Halwa. Mom has sent through Muskaan".

"Oh. Great. You could have told me. I come here often." Sheena told Muskaan.

"Yes. But yesterday you told that you were not feeling well. Aunty made the halwa yesterday, so I called him"

"That's nice. Did you take some?" Sheena asked by putting on a fake smile to divert the topic.

"Yes, aunty gave to me as well."

Sheena had started over thinking again. Things seemed normal, people seemed normal. She didn't seem though. She wanted to scream that this thing is going all wrong. If I can sense it, how can people be so normal?

Ali's habit of speaking less at the dinner table irritated her now. She sensed a cage around her and she couldn't come out of it.  She began to feel that her husband has changed. She could do very little because he seemed all normal and it was all in her head. Her years of being denied freedom and love took toll on her mental peace. She felt a deja vu and her happiness was slipping off. She couldn't find the jannat she had made for them.

One fine day she couldn't take it any longer. She didn't know why was she feeling this but she couldn't see her beloved husband change. She felt she is being denied her share of love.

"Nothing stays forever here. But I will make sure that it's never changed. We'll be the same as these flowers" said the last page of her diary which was kept beside the vase in her bedroom.

Next morning, Muskaan gave her report to the police as she knew them dearly. The window panes of Ali and Sheena's home were found broken in the morning with their dead bodies inside the bedroom. A burglary case was reported without anything being stolen except two souls!

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Someday with you..

Someday I would like to fly with you
when I don't have to watch the train
when I don't need to be on the bus
or watch you getting smaller on the wing mirror...

Can we just forget and make this moment ours?
Without knowing how or when or from where.

I blame Cupid for being so lazy
and time for being so rough..

I dreamt you watching me sleep
watching me breathe
making a promise to yourself, and
secretly wishing that I was not asleep

I carry your heart with me
and my soul has reached you..

Can you make the wait a little shorter
and the conversations a little longer?

I will wait for the day to be with you,
to look at you
and watch the smile on your face.. Someday....

Monday, 16 May 2016

You never stop learning :)

There are times when we realise that this is not what we want!

Staying alone may seem soothing and relaxing to some!

Random things crossed my mind. Dilemma! I talked to myself more often. A good sleep seemed like a luxury. Sometimes it felt like a temporary phase and sometimes it scared me if the rest of my life was just this! Working and getting back to bed just for a sleep.

Our lives are lame.

Why you should stay alone:

  • You finally know who you truly are. What do you actually like and hate
  • You learn to manage your daily chores 
  • You learn to manage in tough times. You learn to cheer yourself when you are down
  • Most importantly because you learn to value people and the time they devote for you

Why you should not stay alone:

 Because staying alone sucks!!

I had stopped learning and I wanted to get out of it. I realised that learning something everyday is so necessary. I had stopped writing and reading and life was all about earning money. Somewhere down the line, I wanted something else.

I began searching for alternatives in life. Nothing was worth it and life soon got restless. I wanted something else and I did not realise what I wanted.

Bangalore is such a city where every day a whole lot of people become a part of it. Its like a magnet which attracts all the freshers of the country. Everyone had a different story in their lives. It was like every one wants the same thing, the same job, the same salary. Every sentence people speak will have LPAs in it.

I am yet to find my passion. Something for which I would never be tired.

What I did to make myself feel better was to bag another job. I quit my old job, quit the city. I joined another company with a lesser salary. I was asked to shift to Chennai and I came here with a heavy heart. At the end may be all cities are same. People are same and have the same old story. But I have started learning. Everyday something new.

I will always fight for what I want for me, for my family and will never quit. A little faith goes a long way.

Next resolution: Start finding a passion!

Sometimes I'm asked if all these were worth. I guess yes! :) I'm too young to lose anything.

Not a fairy tale!

This is something I had included in my Facebook Notes long back. I had found this piece of writing somewhere and realized that these are some things which every person faces at some point of their life. Its sad how people leave, things end.

"Most people come into your life temporarily simply to teach you something. They come and they go and they make a difference. And it’s okay that they’re not in your life anymore.

Not all relationships last, but the lessons these relationships bring to you do. If you learn to open your heart and mind, anyone, including the folks who eventually drive you crazy, can teach you something worthwhile.

Sometimes it will feel weird when you realize you spent so much time with someone you are no longer connected to, but that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.

You are exactly where you’re supposed to be. We all are. When life takes something from us, it is only to create space for something new to enter in our life. If one looks back at all the failures, setbacks, and conflicts in life, we will see that all of it was required for us to be exactly where we are now.

Don’t let past relationships ruin your future. Don’t let someone or something that didn’t make it in your life continue to hurt you. If you do, you’re still giving a portion of your life to something that no longer exists – it’s like letting your happiness slip into a black hole. Learn the lesson, release the pain, and move on.

Scars remind us of where we have been, not where we are headed. Learn from your relationship lessons, and turn your wounds into wisdom."

Monday, 6 April 2015

I am an extrovert and I enjoy solitude!

Snigdha rushed to close the windows. It was all in minutes when the sky got dark and the earth was wet.  She was elated because she would get a good excuse to avoid the office lunch party. "It's raining so heavily. I'm so sorry, I cannot come to the party. I will try to come as soon as the rain stops" , she rehearsed it well before talking to her colleague over phone.  "Will try to come" was definitely false!

She picked up the phone and spoke to Raya.

"Yeah. Its okay. Come whenever you find the weather comfortable.", said Raya.

"Definitely. Bye Raya!"

Snigdha made a cup of tea and sat by the window. Singing by herself and she saw how a bunch of kids made paper boats and left them in the rain water which clogged the narrow road. She saw the kids intently. How happy they were! Its ironical how paper makes every person happy. Boats made with paper, paper with 100/100 marks, a paper which a man and woman signs for being together for a lifetime, a paper being labelled as money and so much more!

Dancing to the beats of rain is perhaps the best dance form for Snigdha.

She made scrambled eggs. She had missed the lunch party so had to make something. She never cooked that well but could always manage a lunch or dinner for one or two persons.

She ate by the side of the window watching the rain. No TV, no laptop, no mobile phones, just a glimpse of rain could make her so happy. She thought about her family, how she couldn't meet them for a long time because of her job in another city. She was recollecting each and every happy occasion since her childhood, smiling to herself. Every happy occasion, embarrassing incident of past is bound to make you smile after few years if you take the time out of your busy life thinking about them. Being alone and taking time for yourself helps you to know yourself better. There is nothing wrong in being alone and enjoying it.

The phone rang after an hour. Sigdha picked it up.
"Hey, this is Raya. Party has been postponed due to the rain. It will be tonight. Dinner party. You coming, right?"
"Umm okay", said Snigdha

She dressed well and went to the party at 7. There were lots of people who were all friendly. Snigdha laughed and joked with all her colleagues. It was the time out of their busy life to enjoy among themselves. Food was great and its a common thing for friends to become family when you don't stay in your town or city.

"How was the party?", Snigdha's mother asked her over phone after she returned home.
"Party was great. Enjoyed the afternoon too."
"But your party was at night?"
"Yes, party was great, I told you. We had fun. I was at home in the afternoon while it was raining. Loved the rain."

Snigdha's mother laughed and said "Oh! Yeah. You hardly stay alone at home. You are so outgoing.."
"Yes, I am an extrovert and I enjoy solitude. Everyone does, mother."