Sunday, June 29, 2008

Some lunch this...

Lunch time one day...GL's team at workplace trudges to MTR on Lalbagh road(Lalbagh West Gate), Bangalore. Coupons are bought and a nice-ish table chosen to settle down. All other tables host peace-loving folks.

GL gets out of her stupor in stages, and looks around. The place is neat and clean and small, the floor is old-times granite. The folks there are dressed in red-striped half-sleeved shirts and white lungis and bare foot and very polite. Plates are laid out, and glasses of water, and then a small glass of grape juice appears.

after a longish wait, the clockwork arrival of food begins... carrot kosumbari... and cabbage sabzi... chickpeas veggie... and a scalding hot puri that kinda takes up the entire left-over space in the plate... and a curd vada... and a ras-malai... and piping hot rice payasa....and papad.. and multi-veggie pickle.. and a second helping of hot puris... by now, one has already had enough of a lunch... but then, the piece de resistance arrives - veg.pulao with a terrific raita... followed by plain rice and pumpkin sambar.. plain rice and rasam... .. and curd rice... and fruit-salad with a scoop of vanilla icecream... arrival of a paan announces the end of this multi-course meal... thankfully!

back at work.. a bunch of drowsy folks take turns at the coffee vending machine...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

muthatti and mekedaatu

muthatti is a small village, about 90+ kms from bangalore. and further down, is the confluence of rivers kaveri and arkavarthy, known as the kaveri sangama and then a little distance away is mekedaatu.

painted stork:

the waters at Sangam that you walk across and take a bus-ride to Mekedaatu...
at mekedaatu:

the drive to muthatthi and mekedaatu is a pleasant one.. around muthatti, the road runs alongside the river making it all the more nicer. the waters at this point is murky, being used by the village folks for their daily chores(that's one bad thing about villages by the water bodies). also there are boards warning people of crocs in the waters. there's a small patch of sand in between the river and coracles ply people to and fro. since it's very crowded and the water bad, we go on to the kaveri sangama. lotsa greenery on either side of the road, popular for sighting the malabar squirrel. what we found instead were kingfishers and painted storks and a peacock that flew down a tree and quickly hopped away. there are parking spots and a shallow place where we could walk across the waters.. on the other side, hire a jeep to take you to mekedaatu... the bumpiest ride ever and there was elephant poop by the roadside. could not find the spot pallavi had shown me in her pictures. the rocks by the river are as smooth as smooth can be, dead slippery and had weird formations.
A very pleasant outing.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

why GL prefers home to outdoors...

GL's neck-deep and splashing around with her friends, in the cool waters of a river...having a gala time... when she suddenly remembers something.

GL(turning around to everyone) Hey I saw a sign-board saying there were crocs around...
Sb(matter-of-factly): aplenty.
GL: you mean the crocs?
Ht(happiest of the lot): of course the crocs, you stupid!
GL(shocked): and...err... aren't you scared?
Sb(surfaces): Isn't that why i carry this rope.
... shows the rope tied around his waist and goes back plop! into deeper water

GL(relieved): So you gonna save us with that rope should a croc grab any of us.
Sb(annoyed): this rope I carry is to save MYSELF should a croc grab ME.
Vg(to Sb, before GL could react): and I heard there are fresh-water crabs too.
Sb: aplenty.
Ht(brightening up a few shades): I love eating crabs! Did you know, when a crab bites you, all you do is bite it back.
GL(disgusted): You mean, bite it off?
Vg(overly excited): Yup, bite it's head off. I have done it before.
GLs getting blurry-eyed with shock and fear... makes for the river-bank.

Vg(turning to Ht and Sb): and did you see how bold GL was when we crossed the shallow waterway this morning?
GL(turns back and confused): Why do you say so? You were with me when we crossed it.

Ht(offering an explanation on Vg's behalf): Stupid, you were walking almost over a keelback's ridge.
Sb(before GL could ask her stupid question): A keelback is a water-snake and travels just below the sandbed of the river and leaves a ridge in the sand when it passes by.
GL(can't believe a word she's hearing): And I was walking beside THE ridge?!
Ht(matter-of-factly): Right over it.
GL's dizzy now.

Vg: But why are you going away?
GL: I want get out of these grabbing-biting-poisoning waters.
Ht(more to herself): crocs are found more at the banks than in deep waters.
Vg: Crabs too.
Sb: Keelbacks prefer shallow riverbanks than the deeper waters.
GL has no memory of what happened next... she's grateful for the same and for being safe and sound and intact and back home... and of course, she keeps a safe distance from the fearless bunch

another day in the life of GL...

A conversation at the Venkateshwara temple... between a middle-aged Rajasthani couple and the temple priest, after the pooja is over and when most people begin to leave.

Couple(with folded hands): Namaste swamiji... hum chalte hain.
Priest(folds his hands too, smiling warmly): Namaskaara. Naale banni.

GL's closeby and knows that the priest does not understand a hint of Hindi. Wonders if she should volunteer to translate between the conversing parties.

The couple somehow realise their swamiji hasn't understood them.

Couple(motioning with their hand): Nahin nahin swamiji. Hum gaon jaa rahein hain.

Their (en)acting out is perfect. Swamiji's eyebrows shoot up in understanding.

Priest(motions back with his hands): Ohh... oorige horatra? Matte yaavaga barodu?

Perfect again.

Couple(enacting the talk once more): Pata nahin swamiji. Jab Venkateshwara-ji bulaenge...
And touch the priest's feet together.

Priest(blessing them with both hands) Hogbittu banni. Devru valledu maadli.
Another round of heart-warming 'namaste' and the folks go their respective ways.

..... and GL thought they needed a translator?!!!

Monday, June 02, 2008

GL's favourite poem...

Oh! why should the spirit of mortal be proud?
Like a swift-fleeting meteor, a fast-flying cloud,
A flash of the lightning, a break of the wave,
Man passeth from life to his rest in the grave.

The leaves of the oak and the willow shall fade,
Be scattered around, and together be laid;
And the young and the old, and the low and the high
Shall molder to dust and together shall lie.

... The hand of the king that the sceptre hath borne;
The brow of the priest that the mitre hath worn;
The eye of the sage, and the heart of the brave,
Are hidden and lost in the depth of the grave.

The saint who enjoyed the communion of heaven;
The sinner who dared to remain unforgiven;
The wise and the foolish, the guilty and just,
Have quietly mingled their bones in the dust.

So the multitude goes, like the flowers or the weed
That withers away to let others succeed;
So the multitude comes, even those we behold,
To repeat every tale that has often been told.

... Yea! hope and despondency, pleasure and pain,
We mingle together in sunshine and rain;
And the smiles and the tears, the song and the dirge,
Still follow each other, like surge upon surge.

'Tis the wink of an eye, 'tis the draught of a breath,
From the blossom of health to the paleness of death,
From the gilded saloon to the bier and the shroud,--
Oh! why should the spirit of mortal be proud?

When a growing-up GL needed a hero to dote upon, GL chose Abraham Lincoln and borrowed Lincoln-based books from the tiny(and very smelly) government library housed in a medical college, a walking distance from GL's home. This poem became GL's fav since it was Abe Lincoln's fav too.

"I would give all I am worth, and go into debt, to be able to write so fine a piece as I think that is. Neither do I know who is the author. I met it in a straggling form in a newspaper last summer, and I remember to have seen it once before, about fifteen years ago, and this is all I know about it." Abraham Lincoln wrote those lines in a letter to a friend, Andrew Johnston (a lawyer in Quincy, Illinois), on April 18, 1846.

The authorship of this poem has been made known since this publication in the Evening Post. It was written by William Knox, a young Scotchman, a contemporary of Sir Walter Scott. He died in Edinburgh, in 1825, at the age of 36.

Lincoln memorized the entire poem and recited it so often that some folks mistakenly thought he was the author.