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Showing posts from 2015

To Paint Everything RED!

Well, beginning to write on this topic itself evokes strong emotions. It's because there is not one but many lost interests and hobbies. Probably I got too busy? Nah. I believe if one really wants to do something, no matter how busy one is, he/she can still find time for it. It's the convenience of the excuse 'too busy' that one more often uses to disguise one's inability to do something.

Black & White

Sharing a set of three photographs here, of common egrets and a crow.  This was shot at a beach in a town called Mukka, about 16 km north of Mangalore off NH 17. This is a very quiet beach, frequented by the local fisher folk, and sees very few visitors. Which means it is devoid of junk like wafer packets, beer bottles, etc. that people usually leave behind. However the area is laden with small-time factories, and these let out their waste right onto the beach (hopefully they process it well to make it less harmful), which lends a very 'fishy' odour. And many of these birds are seen feasting on such waste. These birds clearly were used to human presence, as they didn't seem to care however close I got to them.

PANDEYMONIUM, by Piyush Pandey

I've always loved watching ads more than the actual programme being aired; many a times I would watch TV just to wait for creative or funny ads. So when Piyush Pandey decided to write about himself and released his autobiography, I bought it immediately. I finally got round to reading it now. And I have one word for it: wonderful.

Kaniyoor Mutt, Udupi

Udupi has become a popular pilgrim-destination over the years, and people also find it to be a useful base to undertake short trips to other pilgrim spots like Kollur, Shringeri, etc. In Udupi town, apart from the famous Krishna Mutt, the other Mutts are worth a visit each. Last January we were in Udupi for an official purpose, but we had some time to spare ad we walked a bit around Carstreet area. The annual paryaya (wherein the administrative and spiritual head of the temple is passed on from one seer to the other, distributed among the eight Mutts of Udupi) had just taken place and the entire area was very beautifully done up. The paryaya had been given to the head pontiff of the Kaniyoor Mutt that year. 

A Sunset by the Jhelum

EXIF: 18.0 mm; 1/125s; f/6.3; ISO 100

Into the Woods

EXIF: 28.0mm; 1/100s; f/5.6; ISO 640

Midweek Blues- It's Still Okay!

This is a short take on the day that was today, something that finally made me say- Aaj ka din hi kharaab hai! 
December does not seem to mean anything to Mangalore, and it is still as hot as ever. Not that we ever had anything that we could call winter, but then the temperatures would drop just a wee bit little in the past. This year it just looks and feels like summer has arrived directly after the monsoons.

Park Street ~ A Glimpse of Calcutta IV

During our longish trip to Kolkata, we spent every alternate evening here at Park Street. We liked this area the most of all the places we went to in Kolkata. Oxford Book Store is a fantastic place to get lost amidst books, and a must visit for a book-lover. One can also pick up souvenirs to take back home (mind you, it's a little pricey).

The Gateway Stands Tall!

EXIF: 36.0 mm; 1/500s; f/14.0; ISO 400 
This week's photograph is from one of my favorite places, Bombay. The entire week I've been feeling nostalgic reminiscing good old times spent with folks there, and I've been going through photo archives, which is when I found this. This was during a rushed trip for a wedding, and we snatched time in between all the events to steal an evening walk at Marine Drive, Colaba, etc. We had a long walk around the place, and the evening light seemed perfect for a few snaps. We rounded off the evening with a lovely dinner at 'Pizza by the Bay' with Tiramisu for dessert.

Read also:Nana Chudasama's Pearls

Book Review: AJAYA : Epic of the Kaurava Clan - Roll Of The Dice & Rise of Kali, by Anand Neelakantan

Duryodhana's Mahabharata
BACKGROUND:

After the much acclaimed ASURA, Anand Neelakantan has written this two-book series on the other great epic- The Mahabharat, and consists of two books. As a reader of Asura would’ve expected, the Mahabharata is now narrated from the Kauravas' point of view. This probably is in tune with what the author describes about himself, that he always felt drawn towards the anti-heroes, the vanquished, the downtrodden, and he attempts to tell their story via his books.

Why Blogging?

Around the final year of college I had developed an interest in clicking photographs. And the only outlet at that time I had was FB, which meant I would literally flood FB with photographs. People would appreciate with the ritualistic 'likes' and 'comments', and the cycle would repeat. But somewhere somehow I didn't feel right. The nagging feeling was always there, was I boring people with too many photos? This was when I finally decided to sign up on 'Blogger', which I did, but didn't write my first post till many years after that.

VIJAY DIWAS

Today is Vijay Diwas, observed to commemorate our victory over our illustrious neighbor, back in 1971. A note of thanks to the Armed forces in general, and the Jawans, specially the BSF, for making sure we sleep peacefully in our beds each day. Reading various reports these days of how war has ravaged and destroyed lives of so many people across various countries, I'm just thankful for the little things we have, but almost always take for granted. A salute to our Armed forces.
Sharing here are two photographs of the Amar Jawan Jyoti from two different visits.

RATNAGIRI: Getting There & Around (1/5)

Last summer, with a long two weeks spread out ahead of us and no definite plans being made in advance, we decided to go on a road-trip impromptu, up along the Konkan coast. There was one home-stay (Oceano Pearl) that I'd already added to the bucket list sometime back; hurried calls were made and bookings were confirmed. The rough plan was to start as early as possible on the first day, break for a day or two in Goa, and then move on to Ratnagiri. It was flexible, and everything depended on how we would feel on waking up the next day.

*Total distance: around 600 kms from home
*Drivers: 2 (Dad and me)
*Who actually drove: Dad (the reasons, he gave, were many- "We have a long distance to cover, you drive too slow, can't afford to waste time", "There'll be rash trucks", "Mileage!!", etc.)

Not Forever Does the Bulbul Sing.

She came, had a baby, and both flew away!
This week's picture is of a little Bulbul, who decided to build her home in a corner of my balcony, in the Summer gone by. Those were the post-MD exam holidays, and I was at home waiting for the results to be announced, like a sword hanging on my neck. One evening we heard some soft chirping from the balcony, and went out to see who it was. There she was, sitting on the clothes line; she flew away quickly after, but not before dirtying freshly done laundry. Her visits became a regular affair, and soon there were two of them. Which is when we realized they were planning to stay. 

Half a Century, and hopefully MORE!

The 50th post on this space. Again, a small and a very insignificant number, but for some reason I feel a strange sense of accomplishment. Like a fast-bowler coming in at the 11th position and scoring a fifty in their debut ODI match. And for no particular reason, I feel like sharing this song. I like this for two reasons in particular. One, for the rustic quality of her voice, and two, for the video. It depicts scenes from the Rural Olympics held at Kila Raipur every year. The rural sports, conducted with so much of enthusiasm, and where the sportsmen (I could almost call them Warriors) participate with so much of gusto, would surely be a sight to watch. Which is why, visiting Kila Raipur is one among the many things I hope to do someday!
TUNG TUNG BAJE
Tere mere dil vich loud vajda!

December Hues: Cloud Art

The following set of photographs is from last week, at a corner of the Tannirbavi beach, Mangalore. I'd been longingly looking at the sea from office from the past few weeks, but somehow every weekend would just get over with, and all plans to spend an evening by the sea, never worked out. Last Sunday, with a head-cold that didn't seem to respond to pills, and the cloudy dull evening adding to the blues, we finally ended up at the beach. The sea air worked wonders, and the stuffy nose was clear again.

EXIF: 30.0mm; 1/50s; f/4.5; ISO 100

Book Review: CLIFTON CHRONICLES, by Jeffrey Archer

The sixth book gets published in February next year, and a few chapters will be based in Bombay!

Alright, the above sentence would make no sense in general except for those following the Clifton Chronicles, by Jeffrey Archer.
BACKGROUND:
There are five books of the Clifton Chronicles released so far starting from 2011, one each year. The series follows the life of a young, poor and a talented boy called Harry. His family is based in Bristol, he's never met his father, who he's told died in the War, and his mum works as a waitress for a living. His fate is intertwined with the high and mighty, the Barringtons, who're almost considered the first family of Bristol. Also, things are not as simple as they seem to be. Who is his real father? What was his mother's past?

Calm before the Storm ~ POTW-4

"THERE'S A STORM COMING, MR.WAYNE" EXIF: 33.0mm; f/5.6; 1/3200s; ISO 400

Panjim Diaries

Why do I love Panjim? Or rather, how can anyone NOT like Panjim? It's not a metropolitan city, there are no high-rises, no swanky malls- so all of you who vouch for these, you'd definitely hate the place.

Shadow Art

This is another series I begin (not sure how long it'll last), starting today, labelled 'Midweek Motifs'. Oh the midweek blues! If a graph of one's general happiness is plotted against the days of the week, this point's got to be the nadir! Last Sunday seems SO far away, and the coming weekend looks SO distant. Posts under this label will either be short reflections or thoughts, throwback stuff, or simply some images which I like.
Images for the day are the following two, shot in my village during the monsoon.
EXIF: 48.0mm; f/7.1; 1/125s; ISO 125

Chicken Sukka ~ Mangalorean style

This recipe was given by a lady who works at the same place as I do. In the local tongue (Tulu), it's referred to as 'Kori Aajadina', which simply means 'dry chicken'. Today it's more popularly known as 'Chicken Sukka'. The initial preparatory phase involves a bit of roasting and grinding, so I'd suggest keeping all the ingredients at hand before beginning to cook.

Colors of May

[EXIF: 1/200s; f/8.0; ISO 320; 55.0mm; Canon 60D]
This picture was taken by the Gurupur river (a.k.a River Phalguni) last May, which in earlier times was considered to be the Northern boundary of Mangalore. The Kulur bridge over the river used to be a favorite spot as a kid, which we'd cross en-route the beach. 

Instant Messaging ~ Boon or Bane?

At the outset- this will not be a sermonising post on the evils of instant messaging (IM) apps. As a regular IM user, I have no moral ground to do so. Rather, these thoughts have been recorded following an incident wherein pictures from a private function held at a friend's place, were being circulated by absolutely random people, who didn't even know the person, personally! Which got me thinking, is IM slowly turning into a bane? 

DEEPAVALI CHEER - The Week That Was!

It's over. The time of the year many of us look forward to the most is over. And we have to wait a whole year for it again.

The Diwali week has been such a good break from the routine monotony. Meeting relatives, friends and having a great time together. Lots and lots of fish, sweets and chocolates. Doing up the house and trying to add that extra sheen to the old brass stuff. Painting and re-painting diyas, till you're satisfied with the color. Rangolis on the doorstep to welcome the Goddess home. Giving away sweets and shagun. Whew, it's been quite tiring, no doubt. But the effort was every bit worth it.
Sharing here are a few best pictures from the week that was.

Welcome Back, MAGGI!

The last few months have been abuzz with many controversies, be it the Sheena Bora case or the ink-fling-on-Sudhindra-Kulkarni case. But none of these have touched so many of us at such a personal level, compared to what a ban-on-Maggi did. 

FIFTY SHADES OF RED

[EXIF: 1/160s; f/7.1; ISO 250; FL 32.0 mm; Canon 60D]
The photo of this week is titled '50 Shades of Red' (No, I haven't read the Grey-based books- I did try, but quite honestly, found it too lame). 

The picture was taken right outside the Kalighat Mandir, Kolkata. She was selling sindoor in several shades, and looking quite vibrant herself. 

Maestro Mahadevan ~ Katyar Kaljat Ghusli

Shankar Mahadevan has always been a favorite artist, right from the time when he left everyone breathless. The following video is one his compositions from the movie version of the famous Marathi play, Katyar Kaljat GhusliSur Niraagas Ho
The original play is one of its kind, a legend. Pt. Vasantrao Deshpande had played a key role, and there were beautiful songs (Natya Sangeet) composed by Pt.Jitendra Abhisheki.

Thank You!

I realised today that the number of 'hits' on my blog crossed 10k. Now, that's not a very big number one might say. But when I started this space about two-and-a-half years ago, I never thought it would last this long. Like many other interests of mine, that Dad refers to as "soda-bottle spirit" types- meaning the initial fizz lasts and then it's gone- I thought this blog would go the same way too!  I was highly sceptical about who would want to read simple travel experiences and other random stuff that would be put up. Thanks to strong words of encouragement from friends, I continued to write. And I'm happy to have done so. Writing gives that sense of freedom that probably nothing else does. And when someone reads it, and offers some kind of critique, it's all the more wonderful. So, a BIG Thank You to those of you who follow this space! 
I leave you with a lovely rendition of 'Kashmir' and the theme of the Pirates of the Caribbean series (He…

Do not go gentle into that good night, by Dylan Thomas

This is another poem I came across sometime ago and forgot about, till I watched Interstellar. Quite an inspiring and motivating piece, it asks you not to take things lying down. Here, night/close of day is used as a metaphor for death. The play of words is brilliant, and the message that the poem has to offer, is subtly passed across. 
(Sourced from here)


Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

School Nostalgia

The photograph was taken while driving through South Goa. It was the eve of Independence Day, and I spotted these girls by the highway, chatting away, lost in a world of their own. The sight immediately brought back a flood of memories from both middle and high school, how I used to walk home every day from school discussing myriad topics with my friend.


MUSSELS CURRY & FRY (Neeli Hinga Udda, Phanna Upkari)

We made this curry on the previous day of Deepavali. The technique is the same as previously described for prawn. However the addition of fresh mussels totally alters the flavor, and the resulting dish is extremely tasty.
Also, I have added the recipe of two other dishes, Phanna Upkari (bit spicy) and Rawa Fry. These are authentic GSB specialities, especially the hinga udda curry is something like a hallmark dish of Konkanis. I learnt all three from my Aunt who's nothing short of a master-chef, and shall briefly outline the technique here.

Deepavali Greetings!

It is that time of the year which celebrates the home-coming of Ram from Lanka, after defeating Raavan- since it was a new moon night, the citizens of Ayodhya made sure their beloved king didn't return home to a dark dark place.
It is that time of the year when everything gleams in the house. That time of the year when you take the traditional oil bath early in the morning, and dress in your best clothes. That time of the year when freshly painted diyas are all around you. That time of the year when shopping is legit. That time of the year you go around spreading cheer and warmth. That time of the year when pedas and chocolates are given and received. That time of the year when you gorge on goodies (plus we have a custom of making fish on the night of Dhanteras). That time of the year when some mysterious little devils sew your clothes from inside and they simply don't seem to fit. 
That time of the year when you forget all past misgivings and you whole heartedly say, Happy Deep…

Book Review: SITA'S SISTER, by Kavita Kane

Background:

I've never really been a great fan of the Ramayan, as I've always found Ram too ideal, too perfect to be human (OK, he wasn't- He was God). Hence I like reading different takes on the epic, rather than the usual narration. And like Asura, by Anand Neelakantan, this one is yet another take on the Ramayan, told from Urmila's perspective. 

Book Review: OUR MOON HAS BLOOD CLOTS, The Exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits, by Rahul Pandita

"Humein Kya Chahiye???AZADI"
Background:
I read this book a while ago, soon after the Kashmir vacation. During the time I was there, I used to go for morning walks along the Jhelum, where I once happened to meet a gentleman. He introduced himself as AK Pandita, and said he worked in the state government (durbar). We got talking and he said he was a Kashmiri Pandit, he spoke about the hardships the entire community had faced, the prejudices they still face, etc. He went on to add, the beautiful Rajbag area where we were staying, had once been the very place where they had lived.

My Cemetery Experience (A Glimpse of Calcutta III)

What do you call someone who spends a couple of hours walking around a cemetery that's more than 250 years old, alone?  Well, this is what I did on one of the days on my Kolkata trip last year. At the outset, Dad told me he simply wasn't interested to look around, and decided to just sit at the entrance, enjoying the cool morning air with a cup of Chai. Irritated, I walked off in a huff into the slowly darkening bowels of the cemetery, regretting my decision only moments later. Too proud to turn back (plus a li'l nervous- Granny had once told that Spirits always called you from behind), I bravely walked on. 

THE SAGA OF ONLINE SHOPPING

Festive Sale! Flat 50% off!Big Billion Sale!And what not! It is that time of the year when online shopping portals are abuzz with activity. There are lightning deals that literally appear and disappear at lightning speed. And if you do manage to avail any such deal, you almost feel you've conquered the Universe. Probably that's the whole idea- to infuse a sense of achievement in you, to make you feel you've 'saved' your hard-earned money.

POTTER THROUGH THE AGES (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: Illustrated Edition)

(This post is purely for Potterheads. MUGGLES STAY AWAY!)

And the wait is finally over! The much awaited blockbuster release of the year is here! The Illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Jim Kay has infused magic into the books, and it is almost what one would have imagined while he/she first read it.

Another Change!

It was just sometime ago that I'd finally changed the look of my blog. But I wasn't very happy. Everything looked too cluttered. So I decided to change the look again. Keeping in mind the festive season coming up, I decided to put colorful fonts with a clean background. This looks more elegant, at-least for now. Of course, the look will keep changing in future. After all, change is the only constant!
Putting up a wonderful video I came across this morning, an Indian rendition of the theme music of the Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Harry Potter series. Cheers!




Book Review - ASURA, Tale of the Vanquished - by Anand Neelakantan

I managed to finish this book after 3 months of starting it. The initial few chapters are very slow, and lack pace. As I was determined to read this book, I managed to go through these somehow. And when Bhadra entered, the scene changed.
What is it about?

Coimbatore: Eat. Shop. Be Happy!

This is a post, short and crisp- to the point. I had recently been to Coimbatore for a conference. Hence there wasn't much time to see places in/around. I tried to make the best of the free-time I could manage, and did what I love the most- eat and shop!
(Disclaimer: This is not an exhaustive list- just a small one, with the places we liked)

WHAT TO EAT:

A Glimpse of Calcutta - II (The Hooghly)

On one of the days when in Kolkata (will be addressing it as Kol henceforth), we planned to wake up early, have a quick heavy breakfast and set out for the day. I should have been a little more realistic though. I get up early only on rare occasions even when at home, then why would I when on holiday!
By the time we started, we were running behind schedule, and we went straight to Baboo Ghat (dropping the early-morning-walk-around-the-Victoria-Memorial plan), from where we took the ferry. I tried to climb on the deck and I was told ladies not allowed, so I had to content myself sitting inside the cabin below. The morning was still foggy, which meant I got very poor shots of both the bridges. Never mind, I’ll come back for more later I thought.

Fresh!

So there! My blog dons a new look. I'd been thinking from quite sometime now, to re-set the entire thing. After all, one's taste does change every once in a while.  So now I have a more earthy touch here with earthy colors, and Grandma's quilt for that added comfort. 

Do you like it? Temme if so!

A PSALM OF LIFE-What the Heart of the Young Man Said to the Psalmist

This is one of my favorite poems. Reading through India After Gandhi, I realized how much we can learn from the lives of great men, which is when the line "...Lives of great men all remind us, We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us, Footprints on the sands of time..." came floating into my head.  I thought I'd share this beautiful poem here. A great, meaningful and thoughtful piece of work by H.W.Longfellow.

(Sourced from here)

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,  Life is but an empty dream! For the soul is dead that slumbers, And things are not what they seem.

GIRIMANJA, THE SMILING RESTAURATEUR

Some people come into our lives for a very short period, and in that time-frame, leave a lasting impression. Manjanna was one such gentleman. Enter the place at lunchtime on any given day, you'd be greeted by people already waiting for seats, stewards at express speed serving meals and clearing tables, and in the midst of them all, Manjanna (more popular as Giri Manja) multitasking - managing the cash counter, finding seats for customers, personally going to every customer to ensure he/she is satisfied, taking orders on phone, etc. It was probably the stress of it all that took its toll.
Recounting a few instances:

PRAWN HINGA-UDDA/HOOMAN, the Quintessential Konkani dish!

Writing the previous post made me drool, over and over again. Recently we made this usual prawn curry (called "hooman/human in Konkani) at home which turned out quite good (ahem!). So I thought why not put it up here. For a change I had even remembered to take a few pictures at every step. No, this won't turn into a food blog for the simple reason that I don't know enough things to make as yet. However a few things we love will be put up here, and what better than this simple, tasty dish to begin with! So here goes:

On the Piscean Trail! (Seafood in Goa)

Last weekend with all tripping plans washed out by the heavy downpour, I found myself going through the photographs from previous trips, and the thing that struck me the most was that there were more pictures of food than anything else from all albums from Goa. That's when this post took shape.


Goa. The name evokes different thoughts for different people. The glossy travel magazines and websites advertise the place as being just about booze and beaches. Well, to some extent it is so, but then that's not the only thing there is. 
Now, this won't be yet another ranting post on what all there is to do in Goa that 'tourists' commonly miss out on, rather it will be yet another post dedicated to just one thing - Food, one of the things many people I know are very passionate about. This post attempts to be a small guide to eating out in North Goa. 
Warning: Vegetarians, stay away!

Why I Love Road-trips

Life is a highway, it is often said. I couldn't agree more. You drive ahead hoping for something better than what's behind, the road may be smooth and empty, or there may be an unexpected obstacle forcing you to take a longer route. In either scenarios, there are hidden lessons for life.


Karwar in a Day

The summer air smells crisp. Having rained the previous night, the smell of fresh wet mud is great. 
We set off to Karwar before daybreak. The first stop is at a tiny hotel on the highway, called Hotel Vinayaka near Anegudde temple, right after Kota. It actually is nothing but the kitchen of a small home, with few tables and chairs set. We order the usual, piping hot Moode with Sambar (Idli batter steamed in leaves wound together). The newspapers are abuzz with the return of a certain crown prince of Indian politics from a 55-day "self-discovery" disappearance!

Stomachs full, we set off again. The highway is very busy as usual, and being a single road without 
any dividers and with many sharp curves, you cannot take many chances. At many spots, there are 
hills and rivers, fields and streams on both sides of the road.

A Glimpse of Calcutta - 1

If in Kolkata and you have a day to spare, and a mood for a long walk, you could try walking around BBD Bagh, formerly called Dalhousie Square. Red colored old buildings, surround you on all sides. The best day would be a Sunday, as most offices in the area are closed and the traffic is minimum. We strolled around for nearly 2.5 hours around the place, resting whenever we felt like by the road. Streets were lined with trees on both sides which was very soothing.