Friday, August 31, 2012

The New Cricket Hero and His BA.

Unmukt Chand, is the captain of the India under 19 cricket team (this information is for those who are worse than me in keeping up to date with cricket). His team managed to beat Australia and lift the world cup - under 19. Great and congratulations. The whole team is assured of a great future in cricket, fantastic sale prices in IPL, endorsement  offers by  ‘Youngistan’ Pepsi and what not. Very good.  Let them enjoy. They deserve it.

Now, what concerns me is the hue and cry (lead by our media) regarding the captain of the team being denied a chance to appear for and clear his BA exam. I appreciate the college authorities who stuck to rules and refused permission to appear for exams. Chand was playing cricket, no time for attending classes, lack of attendance (less than 33%), and so can't take exams. Right. What irks me is the apologetic utterances by the VC of Delhi university (I don’t know his name) and the Minister for human resources (Kapil Sibal) and their determination to set things right.

I do not understand what is there to set right? Unmukt Chand could have given up cricket and remained in his class like we fools and could have got his BA, BDS or whatever. He was good in Cricket, selected cricket and assured himself of a great career. Fine. But if he wants his BA, he should attend classes, study for exams and pass. That should be the stand of the University. If the university wants a share of  Chand’s glory it can offer him a Hon. Phd. and the minister can recommend him for 'Padmashri', both of which are available to all our cine actors, politicians and other popular folks. 

The university and the government should try to save what little credibility our  university degrees still have. Let we mortals have our degrees and the cricketers their glory.

The VC and minister are not trying to set things right, they are trying to set things wrong. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tamdi Surla - Water Falls

I have written about the first outing of 'The early birds of Ponda pool' (EBOPP) for short, to Dudh sagar falls, a trek of approximately 25 kms up and down some time earlier in this blog. I had also mentioned about the next two outings to Molem and Bondla where the focus was on restoring the energy lost during the first trek by consumption of lots of  fluids stored in different couloured bottles to go with other unfortunate leggy birds and legless swimmers of this universe. Now, having convinced themselves that they are sufficiantly restored, the EBOPP decided that they are in a condition to embark up on the next trek where focus will once again be on the use of their own legs and zeroed up on a visit to a waterfall near Tmbdi surla, a village in Sanguem taluka, South Goa, on the 15th Aug 2012.

Tambi Surla is at a distance of 38 kms from Ponda and is well known for the twelth century Shiva temple, supposed to be the oldest temple in Goa. It is Lord Mahadev's holiday home.

The trek begins single file after paying respects to the reigning deity of the place.

Surmounting the obstacles or tamely going under as it suits each individual

 Crossing  a dozen cool, pleasant, clear water streams in the path

 Keeping in mind that there are other occupants of the place who need to be treated with respect and regard, this one possibly a pit viper, located by one of the sharp eyed in the group,( lucky it did not cross my path, either pit viper would have ceased to exist or Raghunandan. More likely Raghunandan)

getting a first look of the falls from a distance, egging us to move faster

 we are there after an hour and fifteen minutes.

And immediately the swimmers  freak out and enjoy an exhilerating shower

A sedate walk back after an eco friendly trek (note the carry bag carrying tetra packs and other trash)

and after a relaxing swim in tamer waters near the temple, the swimmers return to their daily grind once again.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Reis Magos Fort

Once in a way our family manages to shrug off the built in lethargy and gets out to spend an evening together. Last Wednesday was one such day and the shrugging off of lethargy was aided to a great extent by my wife’s statement/threat that whoever stays back home in the evening will cut the vegetables for curry, mix the dough for chapattis and make other arrangements for preparation of dinner.

We unanimously decided to spend the evening out and were trying to find a place worth visiting when the name Reis Magos Fort sprang up. I had read recently in the news paper that the old fort which was being used as a prison and later was allowed to rot had been restored and spruced up. We did not know if it would be worth going there and since the location map showed it to be on the opposite bank of river Mandovi, close to Panaji, we felt that we could take a chance. A drive along the river Mandovi is always welcome.

We managed to start at half past four and reached the fort at half past five wondering what the timings would be. The new board in front of the fort said that we need not wonder for long and showed the timings 9.30 AM  -  5.30 PM,  and the lock on the gate indicated very clearly that the timing was being strictly followed.

I felt bad for having missed it and we walked to the ‘Three Kings church’ just next to the fort and spent some time admiring the view of river Mandovi from the church.

The gate to enter the fort was closed but there was nothing to prevent me from walking around the fort and while doing so, at one point I found some stairs going half way up the fort.

I climbed up and sat there enjoying the cool breeze when my sight fell on a half open door next to the landing.  I tentatively stepped in to appease my curiosity and found that it opened onto a large terrace from which there was a good view of the fort itself

and another flight of stairs that lead to the top. We had made a back door entry into the fort!

The small museum at the top was closed but we were rewarded by the wonderful view of the Mandovi   estuary and the Cabo Raj Nivas - the Goa governor’s residence. The governor stays at the tip of the land mass you see projecting into the river at a distance, in a beautiful bungalow overlooking the Murmugao port and the arabian sea. Lucky governor!

We climbed down, spent some pleasant time on the terrace where one of my sons got himself occupied exploring the prison cells which now contained paintings of old time Goa and the other  was happy just roaming around  talking on his mobile phone.

My wife's observation and objection always is that we are together just as long as we are in the car and not a minute later. We decided to make an attempt to dispel the thought and managed to sit together a minute for a family photo.

It was getting dark by then and we started back thanking our luck for providing us an entry into the fort and on reaching the door, found it closed and bolted but fortunately not locked.

We offered our thanks to the carpenter who had fitted the padlock in a way that cannot be locked and attempted to open the rusty bolt. It screeched aloud and protested our furious attempts but gave up after five minutes. Even after releasing the bolt it was not easy to push the door open and the use of my children’s might only made it groan and brought down flakes of mud from the roof. We hastily moved back, thought of shouting for help and decided to do so after another attempt. With some gentle but firm persuasion my children managed to open the door keeping the fort intact. We thanked our luck once again for not locking us inside and returned home with a nice feeling and a set of  pictures to keep the memory of a pleasant evening alive for a long time.