Sunday, June 26, 2011


After completing B tech in electronics, my son has got a job in the ‘Mission Combat Systems Research and Design Center’ of one of the PSUs in Bangalore. I do not know what they do in MCSRDC. According to what I have read and heard about PSUs, irrespective of the purpose for which they are built, all that the employees of PSUs do is eat Samosas or bhaji (depending up on which day it is and supplied at subsidized rates by their canteen) and drink tea while participating in a hearty discussion on topics of individual interest or (after the advancement in the field of communications) participate in a discussion on the mobile or enjoy a cricket match or a movie on their laptops. I hear some PSUs have changed now and hope they really have. Whatever it is, the name of this center is very impressive and I imagined that it may have something to do with use of electronics in warfare. Rather, it was meant to do something about the use of electronics in warfare.

We, self and my son, were out on some errand and dropped in our friend Nageshkar’s shop. Nageshkar sells batteries, stabilisers and inverters and is rarely seen in the shop. He is always running about attending to his customers and keeps complaining about his running around. He was my neighbor and my morning walk companion. I see him less these days after I shifted my residence and switched to swimming to save what is remaining of my knees. We share similar views, he is as irritated as I am about unpalatable happenings around us, equally disgusted with politicians and is growing to be an irritated old man like me. I was glad to see him in the shop and went in for a short chat. He was reading the morning paper carrying photographs of our politicians protesting the recent hike in diesel and gas prices, waving their hands and shouting slogans, pushing push carts loaded with gas cylinders, burning effigies and in general creating nuisance and scenes on the streets with the hope of catching the ever obliging media eyes.

Having seen my son since he was a child, Nageshkar was happy to hear that he got a job, wished him well and enquired in what capacity he would be working in MCSRDC. I butted in to exhibit my ignorance and also joked “if an aircraft fires a missile and if it lands in Hyderabad instead of Islamabad, you know whose work it is!”

Nageshkar laughed and addressed my son. “Instead of Hyderabad, If you can really make a mistake and get the missile to land on our parliament while it is in session, I will put up your photograph on my wall and worship it everyday”.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mysore - Himavatgopalaswamy Hill

In my last post I said that we were away from Goa for a few days. We made a trip to Mysore and back. I had no intentions of writing a travelogue again, the one I wrote about our US trip last year being enough of travelogues for me and everyone else but I found a few pictures of our trip in the camera and the temptation to bug others with them is too much to resist. I will shorten the torture as much as possible.

After many years, all of us in our family were in a position to take a week’s holiday together and decided to go somewhere out of Goa. We kept hearing people - our friends and acquaintances - going on tours and names like Singapore, Bangkok, Mauritius, Manali, Srinagar, Jaipur and Coonoor kept popping up during conversations making us feel that, being cooped up in Ponda, we were missing all the fun. So, we had to go somewhere. After considering Udaipur,Singapore, Malaysia, Kashmir and Kannur and rejecting all of them, we decided up on the time tested Mysore which has never disappointed us. Since we do not have a direct train to Mysore from Goa, we have to take a train to Bangalore and proceed to Mysore from there. We had thought of a pleasant holiday, I mean as pleasant as four of us (all adults. Children are no more children and have their own mind and can afford to act as it directs them) with different tastes and ideas could make it together and had no intentions of passing through Bangalore which was sure to be far from pleasant. So, we decided to drive to Dharwad and take the night train to Mysore.

We started on the morning of 5th June just as the monsoon reached the Goa border, and since it was a Sunday and there were not many mining trucks on the road to fight with, managed to reach Molem, the Goa border, without damage. From Molem to Anmod is the ‘ghat section’ and the climb starts from Molem. Anmod ghat is wonderful during rains. To see it in its full splendour one has to travel by train from Margao to Londa but travelling by road is rewarding enough. The picture below is just a sample bit.

The road from Londa to Dharwad (once upon a time)was a narrow but beautifully canopied stretch of road through the forests, till the mining trucks carrying iron ore to Goa from Hospet devoured it completely. It took the government nearly fifteen years to trace it again and now it is under reconstruction. Those who are unfortunate enough to have some compelling reason to travel to Hubli - Dharwad by road, take a detour via Khanapur which traverses through a very bad patch of about twelve kilometers to join the Belgaum - Bangalore highway at Kittur, by which time they would have exhausted all the curses they have in their vocabulary. I went by that road once last year and only because I had been reciting Vishnu Sahasranama all the time, managed to come out unscathed. We heard that the road to Dharwad via Dandeli and Haliyal is good though a bit longer and had decided to try that road. It is really good. There is not much traffic on the road and both the sides are densely wooded. The road is smooth though curvy and my son, who was driving, did his best to test the stability of our car and the stretchability of our nerves. He enjoyed himself while I got an ulcer or two. We made one brief halt for lunch and another to look at the Supa dam from a view point and arrived at Dharwad by three in the afternoon.

We rested for a while at our friend Sri Dhakad’s place in Dharwad and having consumed enough fats to last us the next three years through their very tasty Rajasthani dinner, caught the night train which deposited us at Mysore the next morning.
Mysore suites all tastes in our family and we usually spend time peacefully just eating and lazing around. However this time we decided to visit our family deity ‘Srikanteshwara’ at Nanjangud and a nearby hill called the ‘Himavatgopalaswamy betta’ (‘betta’ is a hill in Kannada). The last time I visited lord Shrikanteshwara, I had to stand in a jostling queue for nearly an hour (after buying the privileged hundred rupees ticket- Lord Venkateshwara of Tirupati has taught profitable business practices to all other deities) before I came face to face with him. This time I had decided that if a similar situation prevails, I would offer my pranams from the outer precincts and turn back. Our association is long and I was sure that he would understand. It was a pleasant surprise to find the temple free of crowds and it was much more pleasant to find the surroundings clean and -very important- having a very much usable pay toilet and other facilities.

I said that I do not intend a long write up but the habit does not die easily. I will try to shorten the remaining part.

‘Himavatgopalswamy betta’, one hour from Nanjangud.

A deviation of about twelve kilometers from Gundlupet on the Mysore - Ooty highway.

The deviation bit - Horrible road, beautiful surroundings.

Buy a ticket at the forest guard posted at the base of the hill, who instructs you to be back with in an hour.

Reach the top expecting the tyres to burst anytime and once you have stopped being surprised at the tenacity of your vehicle which survived the road enjoy the exhilarating cool and misty atmosphere said to be so all through the year and hence the name “Himavatgopalaswamy’. (‘Hima’ is mist in kannada).

Splendid view as far as your eyes can take you.

Colourful temple, and a very good looking Gopalaswamy within.

The hill is in a protected forest area and one cannot stray away from the temple to explore the surroundings. One is not allowed to linger around and ‘picnic’ there. You reach the top, take a look and few photographs, offer your prayers to Lord Gopalaswamy and start back. We had heard that if you are lucky, you may see wild elephants roaming in the forest below. We halted at a view point on the way down and tried our best to locate wild elephants. We spotted them only after our driver’s experienced eyes caught them. You may see them in the photograph if your eyes are better than mine.

After a halt by the side of the road for lunch,

Returned to Mysore by three in the afternoon. A very good trip. I hear that there are many such places around Mysore and hope to visit them during our subsequent visits. please do not pray that i never make it to Mysore again.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Ah, Monsoon again!

Rains are here again. I love the rains in Goa and I consider myself lucky to be in a position to say so. I have a roof over my head that does not leak and I do not have to run through foot deep water to catch a bus or ride a two wheeler in pouring rain to reach my work place. I do not have to look for a dry spot in front of a road side shop to spread a cut open cardboard carton to sleep at night. I do not have to hurriedly spread a sheet of plastic to cover the wares that I have kept for hawking on the footpath as the drops start falling from the sky. I do not know if these people can love the rains. I feel sorry for those who suffer because of rain but love the season nevertheless. I thank god for keeping me in a position to do so.

This year we left Goa just as the demarcation between pre -monsoon showers and the monsoon rains disappeared and returned two days back to find the monsoon in full swing. It had been raining for five days and the branches of the plants next to our side walk had bent over forcing one to bend at the waist to reach the door from the gate. The cement floor was getting slippery threatening to break the back if stepped up on carelessly.

There had been a backlog of cases in the clinic and I remained indoors the last two days ignoring what was happening outside. Today being my half day I could survey around the house, clean the side walk, tie up the branches of the plants (with the help of my son who, for once, appeared to be willing), remove the dry leaves which had clogged the water outlets on the roof and then sit in front of our balcony to enjoy a hot cup of tea, enjoying the cool weather, watching the pouring rain. Feels very nice.