Saturday, May 18, 2019

Godse, Gandhi and us.

Kamal Hassan stated :  “Nathuram Godse was independent India’s first terrorist”.  
Stupid of him. He is a good actor but that’s about it. He doesn’t know the difference
between an assassin and a terrorist. His statement should have been ignored.
But we have a tendency to attach some value to every thing our stupid celebrities utter.

Sadhwi Pragya reacted : “Godse was a patriot”.  Personally, I don’t find anything wrong
in her statement. That is HER opinion.

I read that BJP forced her to apologise for making that statement. I can understand.
Here, votes are involved. One phase of election is still pending. There are voters
whose fingers may shift to other buttons on hearing a BJP person speaking in
support of Godse.

Now what is surprising is our PM getting wild and saying “can’t forgive Pragya for
Godse remark”. Does he really mean it ? I was under the impression that he has
better mental abilities.  Or, did he make that statement with the pending phase of
election in mind ?

Gandhi is a great man. Agreed. We call him father of our country and revere him.
Right. And he deserves the respect and reverence. But can’t someone - Godse in this case
- for whatever reason - hate Gandhi but love India ?  

Why are we mixing up things?

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Mangalore - In Summer ??

Our walking/Swimming group made a trip to Mangalore last week end.
No one in their senses will plan a trip to Mangalore in the middle of summer.
And Mangalore is not such a great holiday destination. But we went anyway.
Because, for this group, it is the company that matters. Not the place !
My friends would have a good time even if lodged in Aguada jail !!
I don't mean that they are likely to be lodged there sometime. Don't read me wrong.

I enjoy all the trips organised by our group. I love going somewhere but hate
1. Deciding where to go 2. Making arrangements for travel. 3. Arranging
accommodation 4. Planning what to do once you get there.

Here, I am not involved in any of these activities.

Some of them join together and decide the place. Someone makes travel
plans and arrangements. Some one else takes care of accommodation.
And while being there, all activities are planned similarly and I just have to
follow others! I have an absolutely stress free trip and I love it !!

So it was, this time too. As I said Mangalore is not a great destination but I liked the
city. It is reasonably clean, roads are good and wide, traffic tolerable and prices
reasonable. As I have mentioned earlier, we had a very good time!

My blog is a sort of record of all my activities and
I have posted some pictures with captions. All in random order.

As It happened most of the Mangalore trip seemed to be centered up on Fish, Chicken and Ice cream and we did roam around a bit when not engaged with the above three !

Group goes gaga with the varieties of Dosas on offer. Khali dosa, Masala Dosa, Ghee dosa, Onion dosa, Neer Dosa, Tomato dosa to name a few. The picture here is neer dosa. 

Durgaparameshwari Temple at Kateel. Having nothing else to do, we visited umpteen temples and earned enough goodwill of all gods to last two lifetimes !!

Machali restaurant - The high point of Mangalore trip.

Though it looks like any place in Goa, It is mangalore. Bengre beach to be precise. 

Usual day and usual Sunset, posted here to fill pages. 

Gadbad icecream in Pabba's ice cream parlour. Biggest ice cream parlour I ever stepped in ! Unfortunately, at that moment I wasn't capable of eating that.  

Gokarnanatheshwar temple, Kudroli, Mangalore.  Picture above and a few below. A very old temple, in the present shape after a political renovation to play to the galleries ! All marble, all gold and all gods ! Janardhan Poojari of Cong  has left no stone un turned! We have Gokarnanath of course and then the goddess, Krishna, Hanuman, Ganapathi, Navagrah ( the nine planets), Ganga, Saibaba and Narayanaguru. Each one in his/her own Golden abode !! Could have very well included Our Lady and a Sufi saint !

The tired pilgrims from Goa. Left to right Rajaneesh, Triambak, Virendra, Raghunandan, Sandesh and Rajesh 

We visited so many temples, that I lost count. Venkataramana, Ganapati, Mahammaaya, Narayani, Katyayani, Hanuman to name a few. This should be Rajarajeshwari at Polali. 
The Fish god 'Visvan' at the temple called 'Machali'.  You eat the visvan prasad, ask for the bill and offer a prayer ! A Goan's pilgrimage to Mangalore is not complete without a visit to 'Machali'.

Hanuman at Gokarnanatheshwar complex

This is Polali for sure. No mistaking the 'dhwajasthambh'

My friends in a plaintive mood after booking a five seater car for six people and for half a day instead of full day ! 

Monday, April 29, 2019

Sacorda - Bondla - Bison

The road from Darbandora to Sacorda is  a very nice stretch and one of the
best routes we have walked on. It runs right next to the Bondla Wildlife
Sanctuary. While walking, we saw he back gate of the wild life park and were
tempted to explore. We walked in and tried to look sharp in the hope of sighting
some wildlife. About two kilometres deep inside, we were very happy to meet a
herd of Gaur. But the moment one of them stood still and stared at us, we realised
that we were trespassing on their property, were on foot and vulnerable if they
decided to take us to task. Fortunately they watched us for a moment, turned
and kept to their track and we hastily retreated.

Posted some pictures of the walk ( apologies to friends Pramod Sawant and
Shankar Naik, who had expressed interest to join us. Could not inform them in time )
on    I am keeping a record of our activities
( for whatever it is worth) through my blog.

The video and pictures of Giant squirrel and Me are courtesy my friend Triambak. In
my excitement on seeing the animals, I forgot to click on the 'video on' button!

My friends Rajaneesh and Praveen are just two spots, way ahead, followed by Rajesh, Viren and Triambak. I am slogging slowly behind. 


Unguarded entry to the wild life park, welcoming us !

Path passing through the park 

A stream, dried up in summer. 


A green arch on the road, made by the branches.

Wild flowers on the road 

Indian Giant squirrel - A beautiful animal but just a blurred image here. 

I think we can call this a forest. 
The dark blotch in the centre is the Bison, Majestic in stature, looking at us. 

Friday, April 19, 2019

Sunrise In Loutolim and the Dogs.

I got these pictures while passing through
the village of Loutolim, on my way to Ponda
from the airport.

Loutolim is a beautiful place, with the river
Zuari on one side - next to which, the road
passes - and the slopes leading to Verna
plateau on the other. In between we have
backwaters, green fields and coconut groves.
I love the place and invariably stop at one or
two places whenever I drive through.

I would have lingered on a bit longer, walked
around and enjoyed the sunrise from few more
spots if the dogs of Loutolim were not very
keen on having me for breakfast.

The last line is with apologies to my friend Annie
Sengupta and his wife Anjali, whose heart is full
of love for street dogs. All dogs, rather. I
understand that these dogs do not mean any
harm, nor they harbour evil intentions when
they bark at you but that’s what it seems to
me! Something wrong with me, not the dogs.
I wish my blood had some of the constituents
which make up Annie’s blood but it doesn’t.
It is made up more like Bill Bryson’s.

Recently I read these lines in his book ‘Down Under’.  
He says this while writing about an unexpected
encounter with dogs in an urban wood.  

I quote, “Dogs don’t like me. It is a simple law
of universe, like gravity. I am not exaggerating
when I say that I have never passed a dog that
didn’t act as if I was about to help myself to its
Pedigree Chum. Dogs that have not moved
from the sofa in years will, at the sniff of me
passing outside, rise in fury and hurl themselves
at shut windows. I have seen tiny dogs, no bigger
than a fluffy slipper, jerk little old ladies off their
feet and drag them over open ground in a quest
to get at my blood and sinew. Every dog on the
 face of the earth wants me dead”.     

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Anmod on a summer morning.

It is two months since the Anmod Ghat on the Hubli - Goa route is closed for
traffic. Some major road work is being done. To walk on the Anmod Ghat road
when the traffic is on is probably just short of suicidal. The trafficless Anmod
was a temptation. So we took the opportunity to go walking on the ghat road
this morning. Anmod will be a green paradise during rains. Summer is not the
time to see the place. It is mostly dry. But some of my friends decided to go
there for a walk/run today. The walk on the empty road in the early morning
was very pleasant. I walked half way up - 17 kms up and down.
(feet are still aching). Those who could, ran the full length of the ghat road. Since I had my phone with me, I took some pictures and posted it here.

It was still dark when we started 

Morning sun lights up the eastern slopes

The empty ghat road, which prompted the walk

The dry slopes of summer

Triambak, Rajesh, Self, Sandeep and Praveen - from left to right.

Triambak at Molem Check post, the point where we started.

Different hues of the summer greenery. 

Friday, January 25, 2019

Camping on Siddhanath Hill

Gentleman ‘A’, a citizen of UK, who thought that he was an outdoors man,
purchased a tent, hoping to enjoy the outdoors and camping. It was
lightweight, easy to set up and provided protection from mild drizzle,
snow and small creatures. The tent slept in the attic and ‘A’ in his bed
for the next four years.

During one spring cleaning, he saw the tent in the attic, wondered about
its presence and being an intelligent individual, soon recollected it and realised
that he is not going to use it. He brought it down and handed the tent over to a
friend ‘B’ who, he thought, was a better hiker and camper.

After enjoying the presence of the tent in his garage for an year, ‘B’ realised
that he is not going to use it either and decided to put it to better use.
He gifted the tent to his cousine ‘C’ in India, who he
knew, liked hiking and cycling.

‘C’ lugged the tent on his back on few of his hiking expeditions but never
erected and slept in it as there were better options everywhere. He did set
it up once but later slept in a nearby building as his companion was too
scared to sleep in a flimsy tent in a forest area.

I was keen to experience some camping but was not so keen as to go buy a tent.
When I heard about the availability of the tent, I offered ‘C’, who
happens to be my friend Triambak, company for camping.  We selected the top of
Siddhanath hill near Ponda as a suitable place and ended up there last
Tuesday by seven in the evening.  Rest of the camping trip, in pictures
and captions.

Care of the stomach comes first, followed by mosquito repellent and lights. It was a fullmoon day, but we had taken enough lighting with us to illuminate the whole hill ! 

My yoga mat, for use as bedding and a bag full of blankets and jackets. Nights are chilly these days and we expected it to be colder on top. It was, but the tent provided enough protection against cold.

It was already dark when we reached the top. But suprisingly there was a light bulb burning on top of the temple.  The moon was yet to rise and it was dark all around.  The lights seen at a distance are the city of Ponda. We sat on the bench in front of the temple waiting for the moon to rise. 
The moon rising behind the temple. It was nearly half past nine by then. We were eating the stuff that we had taken and decided to put up the tent after that. It was absolutely silent and suddenly there was a loud clang like aheavy vessel falling down from a height. It was from a room built next to the temple. We wondered if there were anyone living there. I wanted to suggest that we go and check but was scared to go investigating dark empty rooms on top of an isolated hill. Who knows ? it could be a leopard or a ghost !  We ignored the sound and continued to eat.  We heard the sound again after about an hour and quietly came down the steps and busied ourselves with the tent. 
Triambak unfolds the tent and tries to recollect what goes where. There was moonlight all around but we were in the shadow of trees. We hung a battery operated bulb from the side of the car for light. There is a flat surface where the road ends at the top of the hill and the temple is a climb of about fifty steps from there. We decided to camp on the flat surface. 
The tent is almost ready but there are some un used parts. Later we realised they were some hooks and rods meant to stabilise the tent in case of strong breeze or a storm. 
Got all the buttons in proper loops and all the rods in proper sleeves.  

A satisfied Triambak poses with the tent, sweating a bit inspite of the cold and patting himself on the back for a job well done. 

I tried to make the interior as comfortable as possible and did a reasonably good job. But could not sleep well because I have difficulty going to sleep in a new environment.  I could have sat outside and hoped to see some of the nocturnal creatures like porcupine, jackal, wild boar or even a leopard which I have heard are some of the residents of the hill, but was too scared to get out alone.  Triambak was sleeping sound. 

Siddhanath Temple (taken from the net)

Lord Siddhanath

Our tent photographed the next morning. 

Early morning view from the hill top 

Morning sunlight  seen on the upper half of the eastern part of another hill at a distance and in front of Siddhanath. We were on the western face of Siddhanth hill. 

After the sun rose, we dismantled the tent and decided to go back. Now that it was bright all around, we decided to investigate the source of the last night's noise. We peeped through the window into the room and found that it was full of cooking utensils, probabaly used for preparing food during the annual festival. There mst have been lot of rats running around the un inhabited room, disturbing and pushing down the utensils from the shelves. There were a number of large utensils lying on the floor. 
We solved the mystery and headed back home, promising ourselves that we would go camping again and I hope to sleep better next time.