Wednesday, December 13, 2006

time with friend

"There isn’t much better in this life than finding a way to spend a few hours in conversation with people you respect and love. You have to carve this time out of your life because you aren’t really living without it." [quote]

It's always pleasure to spend time with a good friend; I spent few minutes with my friend today. And I am so happy I did so.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

khoda-hafiz iran!

I am back. And no more return trips.

If you ask me whether I am missing Iran, I guess yes, a bit. Specially my last few days in Iran were too good and memorable. I'll definitely miss all the good people I used to know there; oh-so-gorgeous colleague Setareh, very-kind-and-helpful driver Rahim, Mr. Perfect mountaineering guide Mohammad, & everyone!!

More of mountainside stories of Iran later.

btw, Bangalore isn't bad either. Feeling fully at home.

Monday, November 06, 2006

kurai onrum illai

I don't know much about Carnatic music. But I love music, in any form of it. That way I enjoy Carnatic music too; just the thing is that I don't know rather-boring technical info about it. I don't know why on earth there is this belief that Carnatic music is a 'class' thingy and one should have raaga-taaLa knowledge to enjoy it.

Now that the cynicism part is done, here is the story. I love this song called 'kurai onrum illai' by MS Subbulakshmi. It has got superb lyrics by Rajaji. Singer is telling Lord Vishnu that she doesn't have any kurai (korathe in Kannada, I don't know the English term for this, someone pls tell me), but then going on telling Him that he's not seen in front of her eyes.

I don't remember how I came to know about this song, many be thru one of my tamilian friends. I'd heard that MS' biography is titled 'kurai onrum illai', after this song. I also know that the term 'marai' in this song means 'veda'.

Listen to the song here.

Oh well, the song is in Raagamaalika, n Aadi taaLa. See, even I've become expert.

Add on: while you are the there, you might want to listen to JagadOddharana by Purandaradasaru. Usually classical singers are accused of tampering the lyrics to fit into the aalaapas n stuff, but MS does this Kannada song properly. Check out the way she pronounces '...uddhaarana' after long 'jagadO...'. Well, that's why she is a legend.

Monday, October 30, 2006

lesson learnt: yellow isn’t dirty

I never used to like yellow, n always say ‘dirty yellow’; I don’t say that any more. Not after my trek on Friday. Fall colors were fantastic.

Eleven of us (including guide Mohammad n his wife Arezoo) started from Tehran early in the morning. After taking breakfast break on the way, we reached Taleghan village at around 9.30 am. That was the starting point for our trek. We had to cross the pass to reach the valley which was on the other side. Climb took some 3 hrs I guess, I did reasonably well this time. Descent to the other side was easy, but the funny thing was as the climate was rainy, wet mud was sticking to our boots. It made the shoes heavy, n few girls has bit of tough time there.

Soon we reached the valley n lo!! There was a stream flowing n on both side s of the stream were trees standing tall beautifully, as if someone had painted them with diverse colors! We took snack-n-photography break, n then started walking alongside the stream, feasting our eyes with lovely fall colors.

It was drizzling, cloudy; n there was background music of thunders for this lovely drama. The pro photographers in the group were waiting to catch the lightning in their cams. There was bit of snowfall too. On the way we saw many wild cherry trees & plucked cherries. There were walnut trees too. After reaching Hasanjoon village (our destination) we headed back to Tehran.

The group was very good. There were 2 or 3 pro photographers who’d come to capture fall pictures. There were students too. There was a journalist, who had done a linguistic course in Germany. We had nice chat about lots of things while the bus was moving in snail’s pace, thanks to the heavy traffic on the highway. We spoke about languages, Iran, India, n what not.

I got reminded of the song Veni mentioned in her blog recently - ಆ ಮೇರು ಈ ಮೇರು ಆಸೆಯ ಹೂ ತೇರು… ತುಂಬೈತೆ ಕಣ್ಣಾ ಎಷ್ಟೊಂದು ಬಣ್ಣಾ!!

Because of the hide-n-seek of rain n sun, we got to see rainbow for sometime. In Farsi, rainbow is ‘rangeen kamUn’ which means ‘colorful arch’. Isn’t it similar to our ‘kaamanabillu’?

It was a good trek. And yes, I like yellow now.

Fantastic photograghs by Oshin D. Zakarian. They really are photographs, not paintings.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

ramzan experience in (so-called islamic republic of) iran

I came to Tehran on 25th of September this time (which is my third trip). I was bit apprehensive this time, as the holy (no, I mean it) month of Ramadan, or Ramzan as we call it in India, had just started. To add to that, there were mails from HR about the rules; like how we are not going to get any lunch & things in office, and we should not eat n drink in office, etc etc…

There was no coffee in the office. No lunch, no tea, nothing. We started finding alternatives. Soon the vending machine in the reception started making nice money; but we couldn’t have coffee in front of the building like we used to do earlier. So we started going to the backyard of the building where many generators, n such machines are kept. Picture a den where the climax-fight is done in a Tamil movie, the place looked something like that. That place was used as coffee area, smoking zone (oh, one can’t even smoke in public in Ramadan month), and discussion room. Discussion room because it’s a known fact that wherever there are stimulants like caffeine n nicotine, ideas are bound to flow.

Well, why all these rules? Because our respected Iranian colleagues would be fasting; and it’s not nice to eat & drink in front of them. That’s sin. But the question is ‘were they actually fasting?’ We were surprised to know that only 2% of our staff were fasting!! Younger generation of Tehran doesn’t fast at all. Only people who were seen fasting were old ladies who are pantry staff, and old drivers.

That’s about office. Our office is bit conservative type as Iran government is 51% stakeholder.

It’s the same scene outside. You can’t eat/drink/smoke in public. Restaurants, coffee shops are closed till 6 pm. But people are busy buying sandwiches, cakes, n stuff from supermarkets, and rotis from baker houses. I heard that only 10% Iran population fasts, don’t know if it’s true!!

Well, the point is ‘what you see is not what you get in Iran’. People have entirely different lives than what they seem they have. I know, Iran is pictured n shown as conservative, extreme-Islamic country. But the truth is only the government is extreme-Islamic. The people are not. The rules are imposed on them. Their religion is Islam, but their culture is Persian or Farsi. [Farsi is a religion which is extinct here now. We have quite a few Farsis in India; Tatas, Azim Premji, Boman Irani… to name a few.]

These days I often hear/read in the news that the president of Iran is becoming kattar day by day. But as I said it’s only he and his government. I am very interested in the future of social and cultural Iran.

ps: These days I was often questioned ‘do you have any fasting like this in your religion?’ I get reminded of the software engineer girls in the MNCs who fast on 'samkashti' days.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

ಓದುವ ಸುಖ, ಮತ್ತು ಬರೆಯುವ ಕಷ್ಟ

ನಾನು ಯಾವಾಗ್ಲೂ ಅಂದ್ಕೊಳ್ಳೋದು ಈ ಬರೆಯೋರೆಲ್ಲ ಹೇಗೆ ಬರೀತಾರೆ ಅಂತ!! ನಾಲ್ಕು ವರ್ಷದಿಂದ ಪ್ರತೀ ವಾರ ತಪ್ಪದೇ ವಿಚಿತ್ರಾನ್ನ ಬರೆಯೋ ಶ್ರೀವತ್ಸ ಜೋಶಿ, ಸಾವಿರ ಪುಟಗಳ ಕಾದಂಬರಿ ಬರಿಯೋ SLB.. ಇವ್ರಿಗೆಲ್ಲಾ ಬೇಜಾರು, ಸೋಮಾರಿತನ ಒಂದೂ ಇಲ್ವಾ? ನನ್ಗಂತೂ ತಿಂಗಳಿಗೊಂದು ಸಲ ಬ್ಲಾಗ್ ನಲ್ಲಿ ನಾಲ್ಕು ಸಾಲು ಕುಟ್ಟೋದೇ ಕಷ್ಟ. ಆದ್ರೆ ನಾನು ಹೋದ ಸಲ ಬ್ಲಾಗ್ update ಮಾಡಿದ್ಮೇಲೆ at least 15 ಪುಸ್ತಕ ಓದಿರ್ಬೋದು, ಲೆಕ್ಕ ಇಟ್ಕೊಂಡಿಲ್ಲ.. ಬರೆಯೋ ಕಷ್ಟ ಯಾರಿಗ್ಬೇಕು ಓದುವ ಸುಖ ಇರುವಾಗ!! ಎಲ್ರೂ ಬರೀತಾ ಇದ್ರೆ ಅದನ್ನೆಲ್ಲಾ ಓದೋರು ಬೇಕಲ್ಲ?

ಇತ್ತೀಚೆಗೆ ಓದಿದ್ದು:

ಸಾರ್ಥ: ಭೈರಪ್ಪನವರ ಈ latest but one ಕಾದಂಬರಿಗೋಸ್ಕರ ಇಡೀ ಬೆಂಗ್ಳೂರು ಸುತ್ತಿದ್ರೂ no luck!! ಎಲ್ಲಿ ಕೇಳಿದ್ರೂ out of print. ಆಮೇಲೆ ಈ ಪುಸ್ತಕ ಅಮೇರಿಕಾದಿಂದ ಇರಾನಿಗೆ ಹಾರಿಬಂತು ಸತೀಶ್ ದಯೆಯಿಂದ.
typical SLB subject. strong female character Chandrika, ತನಗೆ ಏನು ಬೇಕು ಅಂತಾನೇ ಗೊತ್ತಿಲ್ದೊ ಇರೋ , ಸಂನ್ಯಾಸದ ಕಡೆ ಹೋಗಿ ಆಮೇಲೆ ಕೊನಯಲ್ಲಿ ಸಂಸಾರಿಯಾಗುವ ನಾಗಭಟ್ಟ. ಸಾರ್ಥ ಅಂದ್ರೆ ಏನು ಅಂತ ಪುಸ್ತಕ ಓದುವ ಮೊದ್ಲು ಗೊತ್ತಿರ್ಲಿಲ್ಲ, ಅದನ್ನ ಬದುಕಿಗೆ ತುಂಬಾ ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿ ಪ್ರತಿಮೆಯಾಗಿ use ಮಾಡಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಮಂಡನಮಿಶ್ರ ಮತ್ತು ಶಂಕರಾಚಾರ್ಯರ ಸಂವಾದ ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿದೆ.

ವಸುಧೇಂದ್ರರ ಕಥಾಸಂಕಲನಗಳು ಮತ್ತು ಪ್ರಬಂಧಗಳು: ವಸುಧೇಂದ್ರರ ಬರಹಗಳನ್ನು ದಟ್ಸ್ ಕನ್ನಡ.ಕಾಂನಲ್ಲಿ ಓದಿದಾಗ್ಲೇ ಇಷ್ಟ ಆಗಿತ್ತು. ಈವಾಗಂತೂ ನಾನು great fan!! ಯುಗಾದಿ, ಕೋತಿಗಳು ಸಾರ್ ಕೋತಿಗಳು, ನಮ್ಮಮ್ಮ ಅಂದ್ರೆ ನಂಗಿಷ್ಟ, ಮಿಥುನ (ತೆಲುಗು ಕತೆಗಳ ಅನುವಾದ) ಓದಿದೆ. ತುಂಬಾ touching, down-to-earth style. ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲೇ ಹೇಳ್ಬೇಕಂದ್ರೆ ತುಂಬಾ ಆಪ್ತವಾಗುವ ನಿರೂಪಣೆ, ಓದ್ತಾ ಇದ್ರೆ ನಮ್ಮದೇ, ನಮ್ಮ ಊರಲ್ಲಿ ನಡೆದದ್ದೇ ಕತೆಯೇನೋ ಅನ್ನುವ feeling. ರಾಜ್ ಕುಮಾರ್ ಸತ್ತಾಗ ಅವ್ರ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಸಾವಿರದೆಂಟು ಲೇಖನ ಓದಿದ್ದೆ, ಅದ್ರಲ್ಲಿ ತುಂಬ ಇಷ್ಟ ಆದದ್ದು ವಸುಧೇಂದ್ರರ ಈ ಲೀಖನ. ಈ ಲೇಖನದಲ್ಲಿರುವಷ್ಟು force, ಭಾವನಾತೀವ್ರತೆ ಬೇರೆ ಯಾರ ಬರಹದಲ್ಲೂ ಇರ್ಲಿಲ್ಲ.

'ಮನೀಷೆ', 'ಚೇಳು' are in yet-to-read list. i can't wait to read them.

ಎ ಎನ್ ಮೂರ್ತಿರಾವ್: ANMR is one my all-time favorites('ದೇವರು' ಓದಿದ ಕಾಲದಿಂದ). ಇತ್ತೀಚೆಗೆ ಓದಿದ್ದು:

ಚಿತ್ರಗಳು-ಪತ್ರಗಳು - ಇದು one-of-it's kind book. ಈ ಪುಸ್ತಕದ ಮೊದಲ ಭಾಗದಲ್ಲಿ ಅವರ ಜೀವನದಲ್ಲಿ ಬಂದ ಕೆಲವು important ವ್ಯಕ್ತಿಗಳ ಪರಿಚಯ. ಎರಡನೇ ಭಾಗದಲ್ಲಿ ಅವರು ಬರೆದ ಪತ್ರಗಳ collection - ಮುಖ್ಯವಾಗಿ ಅವರು ತಮ್ಮ ಸ್ನೇಹಿತ ತೀ.ನಂ.ಶ್ರೀಕಂಠಯ್ಯನವರಿಗೆ ಮತ್ತು ಅವರ ಮಕ್ಕಳಿಗೆ ಬರೆದ ಪತ್ರಗಳು. ಇದ್ರಲ್ಲಿ ನನಗೆ ಇಷ್ಟ ಆದದ್ದು ANMR ತೀ.ನಂ.ಶ್ರೀಗೆ ಬರೆದ ಪತ್ರಗಳು - ಇಬ್ಬರು ಸ್ನೇಹಿತರಲ್ಲಿ ಬರಬಹುದಾದ ಎಲ್ಲ emotionಗಳು ಇಲ್ಲಿವೆ - ಒಬ್ಬರು ಬೇಜಾರು ಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವುದು, ಅವರಿಗೆ ಬೇಸರ ಆಯ್ತಲ್ಲ ಅಂತ ಇನ್ನೊಬ್ರು ತುಂಬ ನೊಂದುಕೊಳ್ಳೋದು, ಹಾಸ್ಯ, ಕಾಲೆಳೆಯುವಿಕೆ, ಹುಸಿಸಿಟ್ಟು, ಎಲ್ಲಾ... the reader can feel the depth of their friendship.

ಅಪರವಯಸ್ಕನ ಅಮೇರಿಕಾಯಾತ್ರೆ - ಇದು ಪ್ರವಾಸಕಥನ ಅಲ್ಲ ಅಂತ ಅವರೇ ಹೇಳಿಕೊಂಡಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಪ್ರವಾಸವಿವರದ ಜೊತೆಗೆ ತನ್ನ ದಿನಚರಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ನಡೆದ ಬೇರೆ ವಿಷಯಗಳು, ಏನನ್ನೋ ನೋಡಿ-ಕೇಳಿದಾಗ ಅವರಿಗೆ ನೆನಪಿಗೆ ಬಂದ ಬೇರೆ ಏನೋ ಘಟನೆಗಳು, ಎಲ್ಲವನ್ನೂ ಬರೆದಿದ್ದಾರೆ.

ಸಮಗ್ರ ಲಲಿತಪ್ರಬಂಧಗಳು - ಇದನ್ನು ಇನ್ನೂ ಓದಿ ಮುಗ್ಸಿಲ್ಲ. so far so good.

ANMR ಶೈಲಿ ತುಂಬಾ polite. 'ದೇವರು'ದಲ್ಲಿ ದೇವರಿಲ್ಲ ಅಂತ ಬರೆದಾಗ್ಲೂ ಅಲ್ಲಿ ನಾನು ಹೇಳಿದ್ಮೇಲೆ ಮುಗೀತು, ದೇವ್ರು ಇಲ್ವೇ ಇಲ್ಲ ಅನ್ನುವ authority ಇಲ್ಲ, ನನ್ಗೆ ಹೀಗೆ ಅನ್ನಿಸುತ್ತೆ ಅನ್ನುವ ಅಭಿಪ್ರಾಯ ಅಷ್ಟೆ. AMNR ದೊಡ್ಡ ವಿದ್ವಾಂಸರು, Enlgish literature, Bible ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಅವ್ರಷ್ಟು ಯಾರಿಗೂ ಪಾಂಡಿತ್ಯ ಇರಲಿಕ್ಕಿಲ್ಲ. ಆದ್ರೂ common person ತರ ಬರೆದಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಮತ್ತೆ ಅವರ ಬರಹಗಳು ತುಂಬ lively - ತಮ್ಮನ್ನು ತಾವು ಸೋಮಾರಿ ಅಂತ ಬೈದುಕೊಳ್ಳೋದು, ತಮಾಷೆ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವುದು ಎಲ್ಲ ಪುಸ್ತಕಗಳಲ್ಲೂ ಉಂಟು.

that's all for now. :-)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

the 'croc hunter' died

Steve Irwin, who used to run famous TV program 'Crocodile Hunter', died yesterday. I've been his great fan. His knowledge about reptiles was amazing. I am interested in knowing about snakes, and Steve's programs about snakes used to be my favorites. I can still picture him explaining about poisonous frogs in Amazon rainforests.

Quoting a report on a website 'he died the way he lived'!! I'll miss him.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

a date with nature

Yet another weekend, yet another trek. For the first time I went in a group for trek in Iran; there were 9 of us including Mohammad and his wife, Arezoo. The team was good (read: the guys were good-looking ;-)). We were supposed to reach Mt. Kharsang (3900 m), but as usual I couldn’t summit it :-(

I have something else to say. After giving up the summit effort I came back & joined the ladies of the group to wait for the guys who had gone up the peak. We were sitting there for 3 hours, near a stream. This stream was flowing in the valley which was surrounded by mighty mountains. The place was beautiful. I walked down along the stream a bit and found a nice place to sit and relax. Serenity. That’s the word for what I felt there. All I was listening was the sound of stream flowing, all I was seeing was the mountains everywhere. The feeling was superb!! It’s beyond words (even now I feel I am insulting that very feeling by putting the boundary of words for it). I mean, I’ve been hearing these talks about meditation, how u bring your mind to one point, and think NOTHING. That was what I was doing there. I was so pleased, that I could sit there forever (well, not exactly forever, may be till they send me back to India). It was like sitting with a good friend for hours silently, and at the end of it feeling that you’ve had the best conversation. You should be really lucky to get such friends with that high comfort-level, but nature is always a good friend with open arms. The thing is you need to go back to the nature.

The mountains here aren’t eye-soothing green like our western ghats, but they got a kinda rustic beauty. The melodious sound of water flowing added just the effect needed. The whole picture looked so mighty, so supreme, and so divine. The whole idea of ‘summit assault’ sounded cheap, I enjoyed admiring the mountains more (grapes are too sour today, I know; but I mean what I said).

Few more things:

We saw this natural spring on the way. People, who think there is only oil in Iran, please change your opinion. This is quite a big spring; keeping in mind that it’s summer here now.

I saw a cow on the way in the village. For the first time I saw cow in Iran. I love cows, and was very happy to see this one.

I went around a bit in the village, and found vegetable garden near a house. They have grown pumpkins & beans. The pumpkins reminded me of home, in south canara most of the farmers used to grow pumpkins in summer, after the second crop (called suggi in tuLu). I guess this practice is vanishing now.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

tunes, n thoughts

Typical working day. Me listening to music as usual. But gave a thought to the songs I was/am listening to, so here they are.

1. AdONa neenu naanu - PBS, Kasthurinivasa, & Rajkumar. Good combination. I like PBS. I feel he is better voice for Rajkumar even more than Rajkumar himself. I like Nee baMdu niMthaaga.. too.

2. Do pal - nice song from Veer Zaara, very melodious. Madan Mohan's old unused tunes were used in this movie. Sonu Nigam is good as ever in this song, but I am not too happy with Lata Mangeshkar. I know she's great singer and all that. But in Veer Zaara she sounds tired, it's time for her to get retired. I feel she doesn't do full justice to this romantic song. There are so many good singers on the block - Shreya, Kavitha, Sunidhi, Alka, n more. Even the great experienced lady needs some break.

3. Konja nEram konja nEram- this one is from Rajani's latest movie, Chandramukhi (i dunno whether the new movie 'Shivaaji' is released yet). It's good. I like Asha Bhonsle, she sounds flirtateous, romantic, n sensual in this song. (almost like Janaki, but no one can beat Janaki with her oomph songs.) Asha - Madhu Balakrishan pair has got this one right. It reminds me of those old duets of Jesudas n Janaki.

That's all. Now I'll go write that boring technical document, well not quite boring when the headphones are on. :-)

Monday, August 28, 2006


ಗ್ರಹಕ್ಕೇ ಗ್ರಹಚಾರ!!

That's what i thought when i read about Pluto's demoted status. Very funny. Feels bit odd too. The memories of 'navagrahahOma' and science teacher (who flashed the cane-stick and made us memorise 'there are nine planets in our solar sytem') are haunting me.

Anyways, as the little monkey says, 'the only thing constant in life, and in solar system, is change'.

Added on 02.09.2006:

Sunday, August 13, 2006

trek to mt. atashkouh

Went for another trek on Friday; it was good as usual. But couldn’t summit the peak; that’s very disappointing. But it was good climb anyways. Though the altitude wasn’t much, the trek was long, I guess I climbed for 7 hrs continuously. And my energy was exhausted after that.

The starting point of the trek was a village which is one-hour drive from Tehran. I saw cherry plantations in that village. It was a nice sight! While coming back to the village we saw people harvesting the fruits n packing them, so we thought we’ll buy some fresh fruits. Those people gave fruits, but refused to take money. nice of them.

Me & Mohammad were talking about mythology while trekking. We exchanged info about Hindu mythology & Islamic mythology. Of all people I was explaining Trimurtis n Bhagavadgita!! Anyways I am quite good at Hindu mythology, so I could take on the questions.

There was some plain land on the way, sheep were seen grazing there. There was also a nice lush-green plateau, which is called carrot plateau. It seems they grow carrots n potatoes there in spring.

I am bit concerned abt my confined ability to take on tough treks, need to do something about it. Get more fit shri…

ps: i love my new Bestard shoes. Super grip! I didn't even slip once while climbing down.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

got tagged

I agree. I got nothing better to do right now. Saw this tag in a blogger's page, thought of doing it for myself. It's long. Fun though..


Male Friend - thought a lot over this.. guess it has to be Daryl
Female Friend - which female wud want to be best friends with a menance like me...
Vacation - all my treks


Time of the day - the moment i get up n think of getting off the bed
Day of the week - nothing of that sort (but right now i dislike saturdays n sundays as i need to work on those days)
Color Crayon - drawing is not for me


Person you talked to who went to your school - Annappa
Person you spoke to on the phone - Mohammad, my mountaineering guide
Person you text mesaged - Shubha, i messaged her after getting inside the flight in bombay airport
Person who instant messaged - SJ


What are you doing now? - doing this crap, what else..
Wearing - T-shirt n pajamas


Is - well, just another day (got reminded of Scarlett O' Hara who always thinks "i won't think of it now, i'll think of it tomorrow, it won't be this bad then. after all tomorrow is another day")
Got any plans - no.. as usual, will go to office but won't work..
Goals? - what's that? iam bad at football
Dislikes about tomorrow - nothing


Number - 7
Song - gimme kavitha, any song wud do
Color - black, i love black


Missing Someone - yes
Mood - lazing, bit bored...
Wanting - dinner (it's 9 pm now)


I am a cuddler - yes
I am a morning person - no way...
I am a perfectionist - what's that?!
I am an only child - no
I am currently in my pajamas - yes
I am currently pregnant -
I am currently suffering from a broken heart - yeah, sort of.. (if u meant love-failure, no)
I am left handed - yes, but partially left-handed
I am addicted to Blogging - no
I am online 24/7 - Yes, but not literally (i eat, sleep, n bath)
I am very shy around the opposite gender - nooooooo
I can be paranoid at times - yes, at times...
I currently have a crush on someone - yes, on 2 men whom i have never met (n no, iam not talking abt tom cruise n likes, iam serious ;-))
I currently regret something - currently? no idea. but i constantly regret something for an year now.
I enjoy country music - indian? yes. western? no
I enjoy smoothies - yes..
I enjoy talking on the phone - depends on the person on the other end
I have a hard time paying attention at school/work - yes, i do
I have a hidden talent - yes, sad thing is it's hidden even to me ;-)
I have a lot to learn - yes, but i am lazy to learn
I have a secret that I am ashamed to reveal - seret? yes, ashamed? no. but then secrets are secrets.


1. Are you currently mad at someone?: no, i'm cool
2. Which of your friends has the worst temper?: haven't given any thought to this
3. Have you ever thrown something at anyone?: yes, stones when i was a kid
4. Ever had something thrown at you?: same as above
5. When you are mad do you prefer to stare angrily or yell and scream?: none, i prefer to stay cool

1. Has anyone ever thrown you a surprise party for you?: yes, on birthdays... n i LOVE them
2. Are you easily excited?: yes
3. What you are most excited about?: abt treks
4. If you won a million dollars what would be your first thought?: wow!!!
5. If you could have anything right now what would it be?: those million dollars please..


1. Name: why is this Q under self-discovery?!
2. Where were you born?: Shivapura, Udupi district
3. What is your main goal in life?: told u not to speak abt football
4. How do you want to die?: is anyone really giving this option to me?

1. Sex before marriage?: No for me.
2. Gay Marriage?: haha... let them go to hell...
3. Lower the Drinking age?: drinking what?
4. Recycling?: YES

1. What was your latest dream?: that i had lost lots of hair on the front of my head
2. Have any of your dreams come true?: i dont know
3. What was the weirdest dream you've ever had? : many, who remembers deams anyways

R U:

1. Straight, Gay, Bi?: Straight
2. Do you have a bf/gf?: No
3. Do you have a crush?: yes, n this queston is repeated

Q: How many beds did you lay in yesterday?: 2 (i know it sounds funny )
Q: What color shirt are you wearing?: Gray
Q: Name one thing that you do everyday?: lots of things. eat, sleep, bath, brush, go to loo..
Q: What color are your walls?: white
Q: How much cash do you have on you right now?: 4,38,500 Rials, plus i have a 100 USD bill :-)
Q: I can't wait till?: till i get back to India
Q: When was the last time you saw your dad?: 4 yrs, 7 months n 2 days back
Q: What did you have for dinner last night?: rice, saambaar, menthesoppu palya, n curds
Q: What's the last piece of clothing you borrowed from someone?: a polar cap frm Mohammad
Q: What website(s) do you visit the most during the day?: dont even get me started with this.
Q: Does anything hurt on your body right now?: no, touchwood.


1. Have you ever failed a class?: yes, in 12th standard. blame it on the world cup
2. Have you ever sung in front of a crowd?: yes, in a group but.
3. Have you ever not taken a shower for 3 days?: yes, when i went for trek at Dalhousie.
4. Have you ever slept with a night light?: i hate night lights
5. Have you ever danced in the rain?: hm..yeah..
6. Have you ever lied? - what question!!
7. Have you ever had contacts?: u mean lenses? yes
8. Have you ever tripped over something stupid?: yes, many times


1. Samosa, Pakora, Kebab: pakoda
2. Bollywood, Lollywood, Hollywood: bollywood, i love drama!!
3. Love marriage, Arranged marriage: had read a saying that this is like asking a person whether u wud like to be hanged or poisoned ;-)
4. Honeymoon, no moon: well, i like moon...
5. How many kids would u like 1,2, 3+ : 2, even 3 is okay, but NOT one.
6. Kulfi, Ice cream: why not both?
7. Shah ruk khan, Orlando Bloom: i loved orlondo bloom in Troy, but can't help it with SRK!
8. Meenar-e-Pakistan, Eiffel Tower: Neither. take me to Amazon...
9. Lahore, Khi, Islmbad: well, it doesn't hurt to go to any of these places, n i love teavelling. let's not be mean to Pak anymore...

Sunday, August 06, 2006

gone with the wind

What a book!! Loved it. I guess I love big books, thanks to SLB (I am used to reading his big books). The canvas big books make for the story to unfold is large, n u not only read a story, u’ll know much more; there will be more space for the characters to make their presence felt. For example, even the silliest Negroes were given so much space in the process of story-telling in this book.

And for the main characters it was even wider space. The story goes on for 12 years (1861–1872), n u can imagine the depth n breadth to which each character is built.

I loved Melanie & Rhett. Melanie was so good that anyone would fall in love with her, as whole of Atlanta did. But sadly Scarlett realizes her value only when Melanie was dying. I liked Rhett’s attitude, he’s cool. And for Scarlett, I can only say hat’s off to the author for shaping up such a character. I guess Scarlett is one of the best characters I’ve read. She’s arrogant, courageous, child-like, selfish, headstrong, n what not.. yet she’s so appealing! As the author says at the end of the book – ‘she loved 2 men. If she had understood one, she would’ve never loved him. If she had understood another, she would’ve never lost him.’ Author says Scarlett didn’t understand anyone, but I think she didn't understand herself even.

American civil war - that was lots of info for me. This book has war as backdrop. So learnt bit of history too.

And it being the greatest love story – yes it is. I can say just that. Classics are classics.

Here are the things I scribbled while reading the book:

on 27.05.2006:
just started reading this book, have hardly read 50 pages (n the book is hefty, 1000+ pages). amused with Scarlett O'Hara - rich, spoilt, teenager who's only interested in getting boyfriends. Anyways she is interesting. She got to be, as she's the main character of the story. Me liking the narration of Georgia countryside too.
on 01.06.2006:
getting to know Ellen n Gerald O'Hara, Scarlett's parents.
on 03.06.2006:
Rhett Butler's entry. things abt barbeques n balls, very interesting. more facinating is the fake manners an young miss has to display to get good beau. very funny. I like the way author shapes up scarlett's character; even though she tells the reader that scarlett is nothing more than a stupid teenager, she makes her very special n interesting. i wonder how she weaves these 2 contrasting things very well together.
on 07.06.2006:
gosh! this book is gripping me... n it's the tragic war story again (which i read many times in my all-time fav book 'Parva'). ashley is very much right when he says 'war is not all glory, it's dirt n misery'. scarlett is just a child as rhett butler mentions. i like rhett bulter, n his sharp tongue. he's as mysterious to me as he's for scarlett. what r his intentions? i really dont understand. n i like ashely n melanie, wish scarlett was as mature as them. but one thing i like abt scarlett is her love for ashley, it's solid n i like her for that. one more thing is her longing to be near her mother. sometimes i feel scarlett is very selfish, but with her great love for ashley, her mother, n her home Tara, she isnt all that selfish; she's quite a character.
more on 07.06.2006:
forgot to add this.. i was quite surprised to find out that even in west there was bad treatment of widows that time, i thought it was/is there only in hinduism; n rhett butler talks abt 'sati' in india. scarlett's marriage with charles - it's completely thoughtless n foolish that she gets married to him just to take grudge on ashley.
on 10.06.2006:
melanie's delivery n their escape from atlanta - this part of the book moves u n make u shed tears.. i was as tensed as scarlett when i was reading this part. scarlett is growing up now, life teaches her the lesson, but the hard way. all she knows now is hunger, she's fighting only for survival.
on 13.06.2006:
i was blank for sometime last night when i cudn't find the book in the house, it was as if i had lost a world (one has to read this book to understand what i am saying); but then i got it. i had forgotten it outside the house, n my colleague had kept it safely in his flat, ah! it was such a relief to see it..
well, things are better now; war is over, but the aftermath is as bad.. scarlett is really strong (as ashley says), but iam loving melanie..she's so sweet, hope scarlett also starts liking her. me too waiting for ashley, for i am curious to know how things turn in melanie n scarlett's lives with his re-entry. where is rhett butler? no news of him..
oh, i finished 500 pages of the book, iam finally half-way thru :-)
on 21.07.2006:
i had to part with the book during my india trip fearing the excess baggage thingy. so scarlett o'hara n co had to stay back in tehran, only to embrace me into their world while iam back here. what's happening with them? ashley's back. high taxes sword on tara. scarlett out there to save her home; but she acts oversmart with rhett butler who's in jail at atlanta.
on 29.07.2006:
my hats off to scarlett for her hard work!! reconstruction is a tough task n she's got it in her, though she's appearing selfish n shrewd.
on 05.08.2006:
iam done with the book. relieved, but not happy that iam done, I cud go on n on with this kind of book.. thoroughly enjoyed the book, n the entirely different world it took me to. one of the best books i've read so far!!

Friday, July 28, 2006

to be smart or not to be..

‘Avru tumba smart aagiddaare kaNe!’ the heroin of Kannada movies wud boast n blush with her confidant back in 80s n 90s. Yes, what she meant was that her fella was good-looking, I know. But, it was back then…back then when u were smart, u were good-looking.

The times changed, and so did the meaning of the word ‘smart’! Just a few years back smart meant clever, brainy , n sharp. ‘A smart businessman’ wud be seen in our cities.

But again, the times changed. Nowadays being smart is more of being cunning n shrewd. The statement ‘he’s very smart’ is most of the times u-know-he’s-dangerous types…

Meaning of a word changed over the years & why didn’t anyone tell me so? Or may be it’s time for me to throw that old dictionary n get smart.

Monday, July 17, 2006

back in business*

I’m back in Tehran after vacation in India. Ah!! It was good time back at home. Coffees n conversations, hangouts in koramangala, PVR, countless walks in CMH road, lunches n dinners out, kannada book shopping, toastmaster meetings, looooong mobile phone conversations, office gupshup… all that in Bangalore.

Rain, rain n more rain, mouthwatering jackfruit dishes & pathrode, trip thru whole of south canara (thanks to my sisters who r living in each n every corner of SK), lovable nieces n nephews… all that back home.

Now set for another stint; ‘bring it on’ should be the slogan this time. Need to do things which I kept postponing last time around. Last time I had the self-comforting justification that I am coming back, but now all I’ve got is 3 months time. Have to go places, do things. And be good at work.

* The title sounds loaded for a person like me who hardly does any work, but somehow liked it. Even monkey business is some business, they say.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

why do i blog?

I’ve been reading quite a few blogs these days. Some funny, some interesting, some thought-provoking, some little personal, some too spiritual … everything. I can see every type of blogs there, in the so called ‘blogosphere’.

I have also been observing one thing. Some bloggers seem to have kind of dilemma about blogging, or may be they have many questions for which they don’t know the answer. Few questions I can see are:

Why do I blog? What if I don’t blog? Who’s gonna bother about it anyway? Do I get enough readers? What’s the credibility of blogging as a writing form? Will anyone consider it as a serious form of writing? and so much more…

Well, that’s about others. All these questions I cud see made me think about myself. Why do I blog? Answer is ‘simply, just like that’. I really don’t have any expectations from this thingy. I don’t intend to change the world thru my precious posts, and I don't really care about number of hits my blog page gets.

Giving it some more thought - I wonder how I hung on to this thing for so long. I wonder because I lose interest in things too soon, and I know for sure that anything that holds my interest for quite long is something i need to think about. Me, being a procrastinating Piscean, haven’t updated my blog page regularly; n I know I am not gonna to do in future either. I am just too lazy for that. Lots of subjects pop up in my head saying ‘blog me’, and I just push them back saying ‘not now, later’. Even at this moment I can think of more that 20 subjects to write about, but I keep pushing the thought to endless morrows.

More thoughts about it, and I have the answer. If I read this blog say after 20 years, I am sure it’s going to bring a smile to my face, n that’s reason enough to blog.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

trek at alborz range, iran

It was a dream, nothing less! To trek in Iran… I thought of it since the day I came to know that I’ll be going to Iran. And the otherwise-just-daydreamer-me worked towards making it a reality too. As a result of it, soon I had a meeting with Mohammed, a professional mountaineering guide, who runs an outdoor adventure organization called MountainZone. He proposed a plan to climb Mt. Kholeno (4375 ms.) in Alborz range.

After meeting Mohammed I got to know that I was not prepared for this event as I didn’t have any equipment, we were to go to snow-zone, I hardly had any warm clothing to beat the cold up there.. but Mohammed readily offered help. So with his encouraging words, there I was, set to go. Had a bit of hard time at getting off for a day; as here at MTN Irancell we only one and a half day weekend, but it was okay (I didn’t bother much about what the boss is gonna think of me) I marked my calendar on 18th n 19th May, n enthusiastically waited for the d-day.

On that Thursday, early in the morning Mohammed n co was at my place to pick me up. What followed was quick round of introduction n Iranian style of greeting with Mohammed’s wife Arezoo n his young friend Nezam. The name Arezoo means ‘wish’ in Farsi, which is similar to Urdu word ‘arzoo’. Nezam, cute, lovable boy, was happy to know that there is a dynasty of kings in India by his name.

The 2 hours ride was good as I was going out of Tehran for the first time. Adding to the excitement was Mohammed’s bits of info about the places n the peaks which were in the view. We reached Laalu village, which was the starting point of our trek. My search for cows in the village went in vain; all I cud find was some sheep. Apparently there are no cows in this part of Tehran province; dairy products come from some far-off place. We started walking after packing our backpacks, n soon reached a place where there was a stream, which was our breakfast point. After having Barbari (a type of Iranian bread) with honey, cheese, n butter and washing it down with tea, we set off.

We kept walking alongside the stream for some time. Then we had to cross the stream, using a thin wooden plank as a bridge. If that didn’t sound adventurous, we crossed the stream again, this time got into the waters n got ourselves wet to cross it. Though it was a small stream, the current was forceful n the water was bitterly cold, which made my legs go numb…

Again we kept walking alongside the stream, but the steepness of climb kept increasing. I was getting tired n had to rest once in a while. But I kept moving, the beauty of the surroundings driving me for more!! The stream, snow-covered mountains, thin patches of grass, wild flowers of many colors – white, yellow, n lavender… it was paradise!

After sometime, there were patches of ice, which we had to cross. It as very slippery to walk on them, n I didn’t have proper shoes. But Mohammed came to rescue; n taught me how to walk on ice. I literally followed his steps, as he wore mountaineering boots n it wud make a deep impression on ice, where i cud safely walk. Even then I kept sliding n had few falls, but Nezam was walking beside me n didn’t let me make big slides down. As we kept moving up there was more ice-climbing, n I started enjoying it. The feeling of ice getting crushed under my feet somehow excited me.

We were set to reach our lunch point, where there was a waterfall. But by the time we reached there, weather started turning bad, with thunders n drizzles. And I was very tired to walk further; I felt very sleepy n dizzy as I sat there. I felt fine only after I had a cup of coffee. By that time, Mohammed had decided that it’s better if we camp there as it getting very windy, stormy, n it was raining. Quickly they dug some ice, n pitched our tents. Though I wanted to help them I couldn’t, as I was very cold n exhausted.

They were soon done with 2 tents, we piled our backpacks in one n piled ourselves in another. They took out a tiny gas stove, n Mohammed started making soup. All four of us were sitting round the stove hoping that we will feel warm; n it was time for some conversation n some snacks. We talked about India n Iran; me n Nezam did most of the talking, with bits of info by Mohammed about the political scenario of Iran. I asked Nezam about his life n career plans, as he is an engineering student. The boy flashed a shy smile showing his dimples n blushed when I asked him whether he has girlfriend, n said no. I asked him what he feels about the dress-code imposed upon ladies in Iran, he said he doesn’t know how it feels as he hasn’t experienced it but said it’s very bad. Then I asked him one question I so much wanted to ask someone in Iran, ‘what will happen if ALL the women in Iran decide n break the dress-code one day?’, n Nezam jus laughed the question away.

By this time soup was getting ready, but I got to know that it was chicken soup! As I was very feeling cold, n so much wanted some hot liquid, I as said I’ll ‘taste’ it. Mohammed said that it wont be chicken though it’s mentioned so in the packet, to make me feel good. When the soup got ready, I did taste it, it tasted like any other soup. Now Mohammed started cooking rice for dinner, n we started talking about India. There were lots of questions from Nezam, n it was my turn to answer. Another subject which was of common interest was the Himalayas. I also shared my trekking experiences in Karnataka, n told them about trekking in jungles n the fun of encountering elephants.

After dinner of rice n canned vegetables, we were done for the day n crawled into our sleeping bags. Throughout the night it as raining, n was very cold; I cud catch very little sleep. The bad weather reminded me of the book Into Thin Air.

Next morning we were to leave early for the summit at 5.30 as per Mohammed’s plans; but none of us were good enough to follow his orders. He didn’t stress on it too much as it was very cold. So we left at around 8.45 a.m., after packing our tents n hiding our bags behind the rocks. We just took smaller backpacks with some food. The destination was another 1000 ms. high, the climb was very steep n the trail was very tough for me. It was sliding mud n stones all the way. After climbing for 2 hrs, I was exhausted n was taking rest every few steps. We were supposed to reach a pass, from where the peak was 375 ms. away. But no matter however hard I tried, I couldn’t manage to climb more. We rested in a place where we were half-way thru to the pass; Mohammed discussed with Arezoo n Nezam, n decided that they both wud go to the summit n he wud stay back with me.

Arezoo n Nezam left for the summit, n I sat there, very disappointed that I wasn’t able to go. I was feeling sleepy n dizzy, Mohammed was quick enough to find out that it was slight symptom of altitude-sickness n treated me with a cup of hot tea n chocolate bars. I was okay after half an hour or 45 minuties, so gathering my excitement back; I asked him ‘what now?’. He told me we can climb upto the pass n go to a peak at the end of it, called Mt. Vezva, if I liked. So, again we were up n climbing. I was demotivated with the fact that I couldn’t anyway summit Kholeno; it was like our cricket team playing last match of the series which they’ve already lost. But Mohammed kept encouraging me by saying that we were at altitude of 3800+ meters, n it was the highest point I’ve ever reached, n he congratulated me for that. I did quite well now, n kept climbing, following Mohammed’s trail. Finally we reached the pass. We walked to the left thru the pass; n reached Mt. Vezva (4050 ms), n god! The view from there was so beautiful! Mohammed wanted me to eat something, but I was lost.. lost there!

To our left was Mt. Kholeno, standing another 350 ms. high. I sat there admiring it.

Mohammed called me to show some thing else. He showed me Mt. Damavand, highest peak in entire Middle-East, standing tall n dignified like a king in the backdrop of other peaks.

We sat on top there for some more time. There were other groups of trekkers too. They spoke to me n asked where I was from. I said I am from India, n more questions followed. As I’ve written earlier Iranians are very courteous n well-behaved; they spoke to me very nicely, one of the girls said ‘welcome to Iran’. I’ve heard this from many Iranians since the day I landed in Iran, but to get it on top of that mountain felt too good!

I relaxed there after eating some food as we had to wait for Nezam n Arezoo to get back from the summit of Kholeno. After seeing them getting down, we too started n met them at the pass. We congratulated them, n spent some time there. It was very windy, n I kept capturing pictures n video clippings. Then we started climbing down. We soon reached the point where we had camped the previous night; after getting our bags, n eating more food there we started clibing down again. I did quite well getting down in spite of few falls. Finally we reached Laalu village, where Araz (Arezoo’s brother) was waiting for us.

After 2 hrs drive, we got back to Tehran. I was at home at 10 pm, with my body completely worn-out but my mind n heart fresh with mountain air!!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

interesting career!

Right now i am in my office which is at 6th floor of the building, n looking at the window-glass cleaners at work outside. They fascinated me to the core, n i took their pictures too. I guess it's very interesting n adventurous work. Those guys who were attached to harnesses which were hung from up, were at ease; hanging, swaying, n yet doing good job. We have clean window glasses now.

They looked like real men, who cud take on the pressure of real tough job. The guys who are sitting in n busy hitting their keyboards look like lambs when compared to them.. jus thoughts.. :-)

Saturday, May 27, 2006

books section

I have created a section in the sidebar called "book I am reading", where i'll be updating about the books I am reading. I won't do the loaded thing called 'review', that's left for experts. I'll just be jotting down whatever I feel about the book, this is purely for my use, for keeping track of books i read.

Just felt like doing it.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

my treks

Just thought of refreshing my memory about all the treks I’ve done, was kinda losing the count so..

1. Soligere-Muththaththi – it was entirely first-timer’s excitement. Loved the view from the top of the hill onlooking the Kaveri river! Fog was playing hide-n-seek which made the scenic beauty more picturesque. Rain n breeze only added more beauty to the whole picture!! Thanks to my friend Imran for re-introducing me to nature. I read this apt quote somewhere “what other people call God, I call it Nature”. Yes, the journey had begun!!

This place is in Bangalore Rural district, at about 3 hrs journey from Bangalore city in Kanakapura road. Many of us know about Sangama, Mekedatu, Muththatthi, Bheemeshwari fishing camp, etc…but I wud say Soligere is a hidden gem!!! Here are some snapshots clicked by another trekker friend Bhagyesh.

2. NagarahoLe-Brahmagiri range – This is my favorite trek among the treks I have done so far. We trekked in Brahmagiri range of hills in Karnataka-Kerala border n ended the trek in a village called Tirunalli which belongs to Kerala state. I saw lots of wildlife - elephants, sambhar deer, snakes, giant squirrel, etc at this trek, main ones being leeches!!! Enjoyed trekking in dense jungles as well as grassland. See the pictures here, again from Bhagyesh’ camera.

3. BR Hills – This trail was closed for trekkers for many years as this was Veerappan area; they opened it only last year after his death. The trek was good, but not-so-good as there were many restrictions from the forest department n they didn't give us permission to stay in the forest, but got to see the famous ‘dodda sampige mara’ (big champak tree) which is a religious place for soliga tribes, heard that Veerapan used to visit this place quite often.

4. Bandipur-Gopaplaswamy betta – This is another best trek I have done. The overnight stay in the anti-poaching camp in the forest at KuLLanabetta (see the picture) was memorable; at night a girl ventured out n ran into a bison!! Next day we encountered an elephant family, I saw wild elephants from a close distance at approx. 15 feet!! Later that day we climbed Gopalaswamy betta n ended our trek at Himavath Gopalaswamy temple.

5 . Tadiyandamol – This trek is special as I did it with my friend Subha, who is as crazy as me about trekking. Tadiyandamol is the highest peak in Coorg district; standing 5700 feet tall from the sea level. Was a quite steep but good trek. Also got to see Naalkunaadu palace (I had read about it in Maasthi’s Chikaveeraraajendra novel) and Iggutappa temple. But what I loved most are the coffee plantations, they are just awesome!!!

6. Dalhousie - My first stint at north India; have written about it already here and here.

7. Kodachadri – was another good trek in my own south canara; western ghats is best as always. The overnight stay near the Mookambika temple heightened our spirits. This temple which is on top of Kodachadri is called Moolapeetha, originally Shankaraacharya did pratishthe (I don’t know the English word for this) of the goddess here, from here the goddess was taken to Kollur it seems. On the second day we visited Kollur, Anegudde, & Udupi temples, n enjoyed the evening in Malpe beach. Pictures are here.

8. Bisle – Bisle is the densest forest i've ever entered. My friend Subha has already written about this trek excellently here. Wish I could write like her..

9. Sakleshpura Railway Track – Any trekker’s dream, very popular trail; but it has lost its charm as gauge-conversion work was going on there. It isn’t secluded n dangerous place anymore. Soon trains are going to start in this route (Bangalore to Mangalore), n then trekking may be difficult in this route. So have the satisfaction of getting to the popular destination; enjoyed crossing bridges n tunnels though.

10. Chembra – Chembra is one of the highest peaks in Kerala, with the altitude of 8500 feet. We camped on plain place, where there was a heart-shaped pond n we had to stay in tents. The view from the top of the mountain was lovely. I did this trek just before leaving for Iran.

And, the journey continues...

Monday, May 08, 2006

flower of gods' garden

Paarijaatha - a delicate, fragrant, cute little flower..

Paarijaatha is my most favorite flower I guess (though I like colorful carnations a lot). Fragrance of paarijaatha is something out-of-the-world. Moreover, paarijaatha brings lots of memories of my childhood. We have a paarijaatha tree at home. Throughout the year this tree is decorated with fresh-looking paarijaatha flowers early in the morning, which is a treat to the eyes! Paarijaatha flower blossoms at evenings, filling fragrance in the air … I am getting reminded of those good ol’ days during deepavali n uththaana dwaadashi evenings when my father used to do tulasi-pooja for which me n my sis used to collect these just-blossomed paarijaatha flowers. Voice of my father chanting “suvarNa pushpam samarpayaami…” still fresh in my mind.

I am also getting reminded of a song my sister used to sing often - “munjaavinali hasiru hullu makamallinali paarijaatha hoova haasidanthe…” I don’t remember the lyrics further n name of the poet, it’s a beautiful song but (will ask my sis abt it when I get back home).

I know mythological stories about paarijaatha too; like why paarijaatha blossoms only in the evenings. Here the story goes…

Paarijaatha was in ‘nandanavana’, Indra’s garden, it was truly flower of gods’ garden, n was not available on earth. Once when Lord Krishna visited devaloka with his family, Rukmini sees it n she wants it in her garden too. True to his reputation of being mischievous thief, Krishna steals the paarijaatha plant n gets it for Rukmini (I don’t know why he chose to steal it; he could’ve asked Indra for it). Anyways, Rukmini is happy with it. But her happiness doesn’t last long, as the tree grows in slanted position n gets inclined on Sathyabhama’s compound which was adjacent to Rukmini’s; causing all the flowers to fall on Sathyabhama’s compound. Rukmini gets angry with the tree n cursed paarijaatha that it will blossom only at evenings.

That’s an interesting story, but it’s true that paarijaatha tree is always in a slanted position; I don’t know why. Also people (in south canara) believe that they have to steal the plant from others’ place (as Krishna did) if they want one for them. They believe that if they get it with the consent of the owner, the plant doesn’t survive in their garden.

In south canara, almost all homes have paarijaatha trees at the end of their courtyards. I have seen few trees in Indiranagar area though they are rare in Bangalore. I enter into a kinda time-machine every time the breeze filled with fragrance of paarijaatha flower blows on me when I take evening walks in Indiranagar, the time-machine in which I go 15 years back n relive my childhood!!

ps: pictures are not mine, got them from net.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

thoughts from tehran

Note: I wrote this article for my company's in-house magazine. My colleagues are the intended audience, so you may feel little out-of-context.

* * * *

"Cud u come down for a minute?" that was Sheela on phone with me. I said "okay", n started moving downstairs thinking that she may have some snack at her desk, which she wants to share with me (good sheela, she always does that). She was waiting for me outside HR cabin when I got there, she asked me to get into the small discussion room next to HR cabin. In there, I saw Venkat, and I got a bit concerned. What on earth Venkat has got to do with me? I wondered as I sat down. My anxiety grew as Sheela n Venkat looked at each other n sat there waiting for each other to start talking to me.

Finally, Sheela decided to break the news to me. She said "Would u like to go to Iran for a short-term work assignment?" Surprise, excitement, relief, sorrow, joy, curiosity - mixed feelings flashed inside my head. But all I could do was flash a smile n say "Sure". With that "sure" I guess both Venkat n Sheela were relieved!!

Next few minutes Venkat explained what my work responsibilities will be n how great opportunity it was. I must confess I didn't pay much attention to him as I was too excited. Then Sheela told me that I will be expected to leave within 2 weeks. But I didn't have passport; I told them so. "Oh, no!!" was the immediate reaction from both of them. But then Sheela picked herself up and told me that I can get passport within 2 weeks through Tatkaal scheme. I agreed and walked out.

Next few days were crazy. I had to give up my precious late-morning sleep to stand in looooong queues at the passport office. However, I managed to get the passport within nine days. Now I can provide consultation service if anybody wants to get passport in such a short duration (of course, I'll charge for it ;-)).

Days were crazy in other ways as well; some people were asking me "You are going to Iran?!" as if I was going to some forbidden land. Some Lifetreeans started giving me 'oh-they-r-sending-u-to-hell' kind of looks. Only person who was as excited as me and encouraged me throughout was Radhika, thanks to her for that. But I refused to be discouraged; I got the facts right from a friend's friend who had lived in Iran for long time, who ensured me that there was nothing to worry.

I was excited and curious as this is my first trip outside India. I was bit concerned about immigration and customs check; but I was happy that Jagadish was traveling with me. Through the whole journey I just followed him, like a calf following the mother cow! Only thing was I had to wait for him when he took smoke-breaks at airports, but that was okay. We landed in Tehran airport after a 12-hour flight.

First impression about Iran was very good, thanks to the taxi-driver. At the airport Jagadish got separated from the group (or so we thought); the taxi-driver, who was to take us to the hotel, helped us to find him & waited with us for more than two hours. It was very nice of him to do so. Tehran is very beautiful n clean city. It is located in a valley with mountain ranges on both sides of it. So we get nice view of these mountains everywhere (many of u wud've seen pics of Deepak n team making merry there). The weather is quite nice, very moderate now as this is spring season. We can see nice flowers everywhere; n the city is beautifully landscaped. People are very well-behaved, courteous, n helpful. They stand in queues even to get ice-cream from in front of small ice-cream stalls!! That was quite a sight for me.

Fine, what's with the work? U may wonder. Our client MTN is launching a mobile service here in Iran, which is called Irancell. The service is going to be up on June 1st. Right now, MTN people from all over the world are here; u'll see Blacks, Whites, and Browns here in Irancell premises. Terms like SMS, prepaid, postpaid, billing, recharge, balance transfer, GSM, network, dealer, subscriber... they echo in busy Irancell office. Me, Jagadish, and Navendu have come here as consultants; so we get to work with MTN, which brings a great exposure. Getting to see a telecom service provider shaping up, getting to know how things work, & working for it - is indeed a great opportunity (Venkat was quite right!).

Meanwhile the E-Care team of Lifetree is working here, Deepak being the key person for that. Everyone seem to be loving Deepak here!! When they pronounce his name it sounds like "Debug" though; he sure is a debugger for Lifetree here. Though I am not qualified to judge a senior like Deepak, I would like to humbly tell you all that he has done commendable job to create a good image for Lifetree with the client. Hope Lifetree will be able to cash on that good image n have long association with Irancell in future too.

Well, it has been a good learning experience in all aspects. Thanks Sheela for that call to "come down", I am flying high now!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

my philosophy

Three things I believe in:

1. Whatever has to happen, will happen.
2. Good things happen to good people.
3. I am a good girl.

Well, I am an Indian citizen n I have right to believe in whatever I believe in. Now if u think that I have good sense of humor, thank you :-)

Saturday, April 22, 2006

i wonder..

Aish got hurt again, that too in our Karnataka (hers n mine). So sad it feels; she got SCRATCH WOUNDS on THREE of her fingers it seems, what a pity!!!

Okay, fine. Let me be serious. I really wonder what this lady feels about over-the-top publicity she gets. Does she get irritated? She really must be. Don’t know what affinity media has got with her. Does she feel "why only me?" Does she feel like screaming "leave me alone..." in loudest of her voice? Or does she enjoy the publicity secretly? They say any publicity is good publicity for celebrities.

I really wanna know what she thinks about all this. If you happen to venture to Baagalkot pls ask her and tell me.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

into thin air

Wonder what is? It's the name of a book I read recently. What a book!! In spite of being non-fiction it kept me soooo engrossed..

It’s a true story about the tragedy that happened at Mt. Everest in 1996. One of the climbers who was in the team which got struck by a deadly storm, Jon Krakauer, has written it. Twelve climbers got succumbed to the thin air at the ‘top of the world’ that year.

Jon, a journalist-cum-climber, joined the expedition team as a correspondent for the Outside magazine. He was among few survivors in his team.

Now about the book:

  • Lots of technical details about mountaineering, which interests me.
  • The way Jon has written it, it’s as if a friend is telling u the story. His way of narration is raw, sincere, and personal. U feel like u r one of the members in the team while reading it.
  • The ultimate truth called death, when it strikes u just can’t do anything.
  • Unpredictable n mighty nature – all would’ve been well, if that storm cud wait for few hours that day when Jon’s team made it to the summit. Human being is too small n weak in front of nature.
  • The craze of mountaineering/climbing/trekking. It gets to u big-time when it gets to u. It’s an addiction. Even when they knew they were n danger, they didn’t want to give up; they wanted to get to the summit.

The tragedy happened when the climbers were descending the mountain. An ice-storm struck n few members just couldn’t make it to the camp safely. The part of the book where 2 of the members who get too exhausted get abandoned from their teammates made me cry. But it’s reality, helping others in such conditions is risking ur own life. Jon writes that he keeps feeling guilty that he couldn’t help his team-mates; but he couldn’t have done much even if he had tried.

I liked the book very much; it has taught me few things. Thanks to my friend who got the book for me as birthday gift.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

the song on friday morning

Another Friday morning here in Tehran (now don't think that morning means 8 am, no.. for me morning is 11.30 am on holidays). Sipping hot cup of coffee while admiring my own coffee-making skills, I was getting mentally prepared for the extensive cleaning job I was about to do. The house was dirty n needed some labour & attention.

As I started my work, it struck to me that I need some entertainment. I can't rely on TV for entertainment here, I can only watch BBC news in TV. So I plugged in my laptop thinking that I cud play some songs. Feeling lazy to take the cable off the telephone n connect it to laptop to connect to the net, I thought of managing without Kavitha, my favorite singer. So I searched for music in my hard-disk. One of my colleagues had copied some songs in my hard-disk, but I had never bothered to play those songs all these days.

I pressed Ctrl+A and clicked play button, increased the volume to max (so that I cud listen to the music in all the rooms) and went ahead with the cleaning work.

The first song started.. and I was... I don't know what i felt at that very moment. It was Rajkumar chanting "Poojyaaya Raghavendraaya". Rajkumar, who had been laid to rest just the previous evening back in Bangalore.

Whoever said he died? He was fully alive in my flat with that Raghavendra Bhakthigeethe that morning. In fact, artists worth remembering never die.

If only 'abhimaani devarugaLu' in Bangalore who turned the whole situation so violent the previous evening knew this truth...

Saturday, April 08, 2006

a day-out, to the glory

With a bit of research on the net, I found contact info of many tour agenies in Tehran. Called one of them n booked for a one-day Tehran tour without thinking much..

It was a one-day tour which took us around the palaces & museums in Tehran. Mainly it gave us an insight about the life of Shahs who were ruling Iran before the Islamic revolution happened.

Sharp at 8.30 that morning the car arrived to take us, when we were busy gulping down the coffee…We got introduced to Ali, our guide & Hameed, the driver.

We headed towards National Museum, which was our first destination for the day. On the way Ali showed us many embassies; including the American embassy which is closed now. When the Islamic revolution happened they captured American embassy and took the staff as hostages (and kept them as hostages for more than a year to win some bargain with US, finally US had to give in I guess; this was a big news sometime in early 90s I think, I didn’t know anything about it). I could see “We will make America face severe defeat” written on now-closed American embassy compound wall.

We also saw oldest square of Tehran, which is now called Khomeini square, which was called something else earlier. Almost everything (airport, govt. buildings, etc) is named after Khomeini now.

The entrance to the building complex which contains National Museum, Islamic museum, and couple of buildings which belong to army looks like this, beautifully done I must say.

The national museum has stuff which is thousands of years old. Persian civilization is one of the oldest civilizations. It also has Shah Period (300 yrs ago) things. This pillar is a royal emblem of some dynasty I guess; doesn’t it remind you of our Ashoka Sthambha?

This statue of a Shah was destroyed during Alexander’s invasion time.

Next to the National Museum there is Islamic Museum, which came into existence after the Islamic revolution. It has beautifully painted and carved handicraft stuff. A jumbo-sized Quran is also there. What interested me is this oil-lamp.

Our next destination was Golestan palace-cum-museum complex. Very colorful one. The inner wall and ceiling are done beutifully with the use of colored glass.

They have extensively used glass, wood, and colored ceramic tiles to do the designs. See this outer wall of the palace which is done with ceramic tiles.

A closer look at those colored ceramic tiles and how they are fixed to get the designs. Ali told us that each of these small tiles are worth approx 10$.

One of the famous kings in Shah Dynasty who lived here is Nasser-ed-din Shah. There were lots of paintings and photographs of this king in the art gallery.

This is one of the ventilating towers a building in the complex has (it has 4 such towers). This tower is supposed to pump in the air inside and keep the whole structure cool; young princes used to live in this palace it seems.

Our next stop was a palace complex in the north of Tehran, which is closer to the mountains. This palace (I forgot the name) looks more modern than the Golestan palace.

These giant legs are the symbol of Shah’s power and strength. They are more than 10 ft tall.

This beautiful thing is a television box though there was no TV inside.

This room is called “War Room”, they discussed war strategies here. See the notepads, the globe, and the pen-stands. I wanted to flick one of those pen-stands :-)

After seeing this palace we went to another palace called the ‘Green palace’, true to its name everything is green in this palace, including the curtons. Ahmed Shah, another famous Shah, used to live here. There was another palace in the same complex where Ahmed Shah’s father used to live. But now army has taken it in for some reason and tourists aren’t allowed. Green palace was the richest palace we saw, with gold fittings everywhere. This dining room looks so fabulous.

Can you see the golden spoons and forks? The picture is blurred as things are inside a glass cabinet and because of the glaring light.

One thing which is very evident in all these palaces is the European influence. Shahs had close relationship with England, France, and Italy. The paintings in the palaces are done by French artists, the furniture is also mostly from Europe.

Another thing is these palaces are not very old (100-300 years old). Shahs were ruling Iran until Islamic revolution happened, which was at around 30 years ago.

Well, needless to say, that was a good trip. Got to know a lot; thanks to our guide Ali, who answered all our questions with great patience in his not-so-good English.

btw Ali’s son wants to go to Bangalore to study computers.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

experience tehran

Few things about Tehran:

The view of snow-covered mountains. Wherever you go in the city, u'll see them. I simply love the view! But I am told that winter is almost over and the snow will disappear in few days...

As this is spring season, there are flowers everywhere. And there are lots of flower shops in the city.

One more interesting thing I noticed is that they sell flowers at traffic signals here (the same way how they sell stuff at traffic signals in Bangalore; but imagine someone selling flowers at traffic signals in Bangalore!!). This guy was more-than-happy to be photographed.

People are well-behaved and helpful. They stand in queue even to get ice-creams in small ice-cream stalls!!

I was most surprised too see Shahrukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai on the covers of Farsi magazines in a book-stall!! I tried to speak to the stall-owner showing the pictures of SRK & Rai, he said he knows about Amithabh Bachhan & Salman Khan too...

My colleague was held in immigration counter for long time at the airport. I was wondering why, but later came to know that all the person in the counter wanted to know was how Kajol is doing!!

Seven scenes: Few days back it was new-year celebration season here. The Farsi new-year is called "Nouroz". They keep the following things in houses.

It contains apple, coins, some grains, dates, garlic, some powdered spice, and egg. In Farsi, the names of all these things start with letter "S". And they keep fish, mirror, milk, water, Quran, and the sprouted grass. They keep this setup for 13 days.

(This reminds me of a ritual followed on Yugadi day in South Canara; they keep rice, vegetables, fruits, and a mirror in the pooja-room. All are supposed to see themselves in that mirror the first thing in the morning on that festival day. Just wondering how the cultures are similar!!)

This grass is sprouted from some grain. On the 13th day they throw out the grass; they believe that it takes the evil things away... Even in offices and hotels they had kept this sprouted grass.

Generally, people seem to have good opinion about India. "You from India?" they ask with a smile on their faces.

The taxi drivers drive so rash here (even Bangalore autowallas can't beat them in this!). Every other car has a dent..

Looks like everyone has cars here. That's obvious, fuel being so cheap they can afford to keep cars. Public transport looks quite decent, i'll try it some day. Also heard that they have metro.

Peugeot, Daewoo, Ford, Benz, Chevrolet - these are the common cars seen. Somehow they don't look jazzy though!! And no big vehicles like Scorpio and Innova here, except for a few Toyota Land Cruisers...

The place is hilly; if I go down to main street from the place where I am staying, it's a mini-trek back!!! Lots of ups-n-downs!!

We get variety of rotis; there are specific shops which make n sell only rotis. Iranians prefer these for breakfast; it's common sight of them flocking at these shops when we drive to office in the mornings.

The money: The value of Rial being very less, we end up paying thousands n lakhs. That feels funny. I am not used to the currency yet, have problem paying at shops...

The language Farsi has similarity to Urdu/Hindi. May be because Urdu originated from Persian. I have learned few words n phrases...

Food is a problem for vegetarians. I wonder whether they have any vegetarian dish in Iranian Cuisine... Just thinking about the special treats we used to have in pizza hut while eating pizza for lunch everyday...

That's all for now, more later if I find out more.

ps: it was lots of pain putting the pictures, so u better appreciate them.