Thursday, October 30, 2008

Reactions during the news broadcast on Chandrayaan launch.

Ma: (with pride) Oh! Good! Now finally we are on the moon…

Ro: (confused) But….we have been on the moon looong back! Why do we need to go again? We can’t live on moon you know…no oxygen…so why send these space thingie?

Baba: Right! 42% of Indians don’t get enough to eat and our roads are as good as on moon! Why spend 280 crores on this? Silly ego!!

Ma: (looks at me for help)

I: I think they both have a point don’t you think?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Inspiration eludes
Muse disappears
Spark dies
Charade crumbles
Faith waivers
Confidence shrivels
Hope dwindles
Commitment falters
Vision clouds
Goals shift.
So we learn to cope
Each day.
With a vacant smile
And blueberry cheesecake.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

god parade!

One other highlight of my recent trip to Himachal was the Dusheera mela in Kullu. Rustic and steeped in tradition, it was fantastically intriguing. Way back in mid 1600, the then Raja of Kullu brought back an idol of Ram from Ayodhya and established the Raghunathji temple in Kullu. From then on, every year on the dusheera day, the hundred odd villages in and around Kullu participate in the mela where they bring their village deity and assemble in the central ‘maidan’ to pay their respect to Raghunathji. What follows is a procession of all the deities led by Lord Raghunathji. All the village deities ‘sign’ attendance at Raghunathji temple before ‘they’ are allowed to take part in the parade. For the next one week all the deities are kept under ‘house arrest’ in a designated part of the ‘maidan’ before they are allowed to travel back to their native villages. Of course in the course of the week there are brawls among the villages as to whose deity is more ‘powerful’. Then the deities fight it out to establish supremacy. The police 'bandobast' was tight. Incidentally, HP has the highest percentage of hindus according to the last Census and ofcourse the current BJP govenment encourages participation.
We met travellers from near and far who had come to view the parade. A family from Tel Aviv with a tiny tot in tow, an old couple from Scotland, several families who had driven down from Delhi and a bunch of youngsters who were filming the festivities for Discovery.

Monday, October 13, 2008

call of the hills

I have been traveling in Himachal for the last couple of days. The trip was packed with the usual and sundry like Shimla and Manali and the exciting like Rotang and Keylong.

Shimla was a drab. Too many people, too many houses, too many vehicles and too few locals. It is just like any other congested town in north India. You might as well be sitting in Bhatinda or Hoshiarpur except for the comfortable chill at nights. In fact the traffic is as bad as Bangalore, if not worse.

Manali, is a true blue budget tourist destination. Hotels are mushrooming at an alarming speed as are tourist taxis. And there is cuisine for every palate from macher jhol to sushi. I tried the former but didn’t risk the latter, though the local trout (which are farmed extensively in the fast flowing brooks) were good. And no didn’t get my hands on manali cream. Having a small boy and an old man for company is a sure fire way to deter any dope dealer from approaching.

Rotang at 15500ft is a beauty. Icy and cold. Lofty and majestic. Sharp and threatening. But yeah as usual too many people. Yelling families, bawling babies, teenagers munching away and littering the mountains with empty packets of Lays and Kurkure. Goes to show our value system and education are totally awry.

Keylong, the capital of Spiti and Lahaul (between Manali and Leh) is still pristine. It remains cut off from the rest of the world from Nov to June since the Rotang pass closes in winter. An absolute beauty in its severity and starkness. One has to be there to experience the freezing nights and the silence that cleanses the soul. We had planned to get to Leh (2 days of bumpy bus ride from Keylong) but bad weather thwarted the plan and we landed up spending more time in Manali. If I did not have to worry about a livelihood, I would have settled somewhere in the hills inhaling the thin air and enjoying the quiet.

Well now I am back in Bangalore and back at work. Groan!