Saturday, December 24, 2016

Pinnawala Sri Lanka - Elephant Orphanage And Their Poop To Paper Affair

Tea Estates En route Colombo-Nuwar Eliya
An unfathomable saga of my Sri Lanka vacation gala is still fresh in my mind and I can throb even  four years after it. Probably the encounter with the loving pachyderms, icon of Sri Lankan tourism, the elephant family was quite an experience. Or playing with the pythons made it different, or greens and sun forming myriad colours in the wide ocean. Or that, this was holiday where we did not make serious agenda. Holidays should be flexible. This one was. Especially after an affair with these elephants and knowing even that their dung was used to make paper, we got hooked onto the place.

Ocean View from balcony of Hotel Mount Lavinia
Here is the link to the old brief travelogue I had written. - A Week At Ravan's Place. Exploring Sri Lanka.

Pinnawala -Elephant Orphanage

A Place that was originally was found in 1975 for holding best disposition of ex-situ animal care. In 25 acre coconut plantation jungle, adjacent to "Maha Oya " river, elephants are bred and well taken care of. Just as name holds, the set up was founded to care for abandoned elephants. Those that strayed away, or fell in mining pits or who ended up spoiling farmers crops . A splendid encounter it is in such close quarters with these jumbos and little jumbos.


Elephant was a friend always. For me from Udupi the temple town. There was always this mammoth friend with it's fascinating trunk  in the Sri Krishna Temple premises whom I talked to as child. This brief interaction in SriLanka was a delight. Kissing another being felt like being human.


Bottle milk feeding activity to keep tourists engaged! Pinnawala mahouts feed the baby elephants less than 3 yr of age with bottle milk. Also encourage the friendly visitors too to indulge in feeding activity. As for my experience this little jumbo gulped up the bottle before we could have our camera shutter buzz. Timing maintained are for thirty minutes twice a day. 9.15A.M and 1.30 noon.


Baby elephants are left in their play pen for few hours, especially as exhibit for visitors too! With the their favorite veggies hanging on the rails the babies stay there for few hours of the morning after their bath. The lactating mothers are generally very very compassionate toward their calves and nurture them lovingly in their presence.


While most elephants march in herds to the river for their daily bathing ritual, a few are isolated. Either the wounded ones or the aggressive ones and trained with hose of water to bathe themselves. Spectators are welcomed too to view and accompany them. A few naughty ones would splash some water on you too.


Every morning bathing sessions are regimen essential. So, the jumbos stay hale and hearty. They are guided by security personnel and the mahouts and march towards river at 10 AM only to return by 12 noon. A pleasurable scene, the brown pachyderm march to the river. Alongside the street are laid those small vendors who sell souvenirs. All the types that we can expect. Clothes, caps, mugs with the jumbo picture on it.



Poop to paper -

Have you ever had any idea seeing the elephant's rear end, that it's dung could be a raw material while paper the finished product?
I was drowned in poop heap thoughts.

While millions of trees are chopped down in the world, few environmental enthusiasts have found eco-friendly solutions. The elephant dung to make paper indeed! "Fibre" is the keyword, as their diet and dung both are rich in it.
  • Collecting the dung - is collected from various elephant stables. 
  • The cleaning of the dung - Dung is washed thoroughly with water in large tanks. At the end, all what is left is the fibre. 
  • Cooking the poo - To get the fibre ready for the next stage of pulping, it is cooked in water for over 4-5 hours with salt and then washed with hydrogen peroxide to complete the first stage of making the paper bacteria free.
  • Sorting - The water is drained out and the dung is left to dry out in the sun. Once its dry, it is sorted and any non-usable fibre is removed.
  • Pulping- After the fibre has been softened and sorted, it goes into the Hollander Beater, to be beaten to pulp. This process takes about 4 hours. The fibre goes through the process of being beaten into very fine pulp and also being washed again.
  • Lifting UpThe pulp is then taken to cement/ wooden vats filled with water. Depending on the weight of the paper to be made, the required amount of pulp is mixed with the water. A flat sieve-like mould is used to lift a layer of pulp out of water. A sheet of paper is made.
  • Moulding -The sheet is then placed on a muslin cloth by applying gentle pressure onto the mould. This process continues till there is a heap of about 100 sheets.
  • Drying - The heap of interleaved sheets is then placed in a hydraulic press and compressed to drain out as much water as possible. The paper is then dried on lines, in a shady area. Direct sunlight is not good for drying the sheets unless they’re white as the colour fades under the sun.
  • Rolling -Paper sheets are then rolled in d to make them smoother and writable. 
    The sheets are then cut to the specified size, packed and sent to their required destinations.
Products range includes books, flip-flops, hand bags, picture albums, tags, gift bags, photo frames, and whole lot of funky stuff. 


You have a big range of products available on various sellers, most popular being -One of the seller on Amazon








Few called me daring, then a few called the python daring!!


At the exterior gate of the Orphanage we encountered these slithering friends. First time ever, I held this spineless yet creepy python in my hands. Bit squeamish, but overtaken by confidence of excitement.


Few Key Notes: -

  1. Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is open to public on all days between 8Am to 6 PM
  2. A huge place to explore, so remember to tie your shoes tight.
  3. About 2 hours drive from Colombo city.  
  4. Other places of interest around colombo are -Nuwar Eliya, Kandy ,The Seetha Temple, The Ramboda, Few national parks, tea estates and much more.
  5. A suggested place to stay  would be Hotel Mount Lavinia in Colombo. See their website for information - http://www.mountlaviniahotel.com/
  6. The Auto Rickshaws there are called "tuk tuk" and are a pleasurable rides like the ones in India!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Kodial Teru, The Mangalore Car Festival As I Saw

PS- Memegenerator.
Translation: Look kids- exams happen all round the year, the teru comes only once in an year
I came, I saw, I loved it!
The wooden chariot with tiny flags, flowers and lights; Priests and their chants; The floating mass of people in high reverence, older generation with folded hands; Complete spirits of  Lord Venkataramana; The gongs, cymbals, drums, conch, the lamps,  flowers of variety; Aroma of authentic temple prasad food; Folks in their ostentatious finery; The visitors with their cameras; Such divinity in a ironical melody of a cacophonous crowd and I was witnessing the Kodial Teru for first time in my life.


The princess city of Western Ghats, Sahyadri Range of Karnataka, popular for beaches, betel nuts, port, hometown of Bollywood shetty's is our own Mangalore. Kudla for the Tulu speaking folks and Kodial for the Konkani speaking folks

"Car festival/Rathothsav/Kodial Teru in konkani" the popular festival of the GSB (Gowda Saraswath Brahmins) community of Mangalore is about a week's festival, falling in mid or end January. Celebrated in the Car street premises of Shri Venkatesha Temple. 

Mangalore is a multicultural potpourri of folks from all parts of India. Though not originally a GSB by origin I have been adopted by my husband and the community so well, I belong there now. A divine affair at the car festival has been my very first experience recently. Only to realize how the community folks flock from other side of hills for this festival.


I call this Mangalore's Times Square. PC - Here

I've coined the term Times Square of our Mangalore. I could even call it Times Now square. The loud noises of drums and the sea of people there automatically makes every body an Arnab there!

Car festival, is that time of the year when we ladies wait to show case the best of our finest yellow ornaments. How heavy are our ears, wrist and neck is how pretty we want to be. Fortunately the January weather cooperates with us as we drape ourselves in our 5 foot best silk saris and huff and puff in front of the mirror till we can faint.  The men dressed in their best will be found walking around in the car street showcasing their fully charged battery performance.

It's an absolute feast time for the sense organs. The genuine perfume of the jasmine flowers the women wear, can outdo the axe deodorant commercial made for men. The entire car street fills up your nostril till your lung with the exotic smell of chats, the sugar cane juice, the green mango pachadi (authentic mangalore salad), the churmuri and much more. The food stalls are the main attraction in the evening hours. Small vendors calling out to buy those lovely coloured balloons or colourful plastic toys make big dashing camouflage of a street. Chants, hymns and bhajans played in the stereophonic background makes the air more spiritual. 

A satisfaction of being my charitable element happened when a little girl came tugging my attire. Not only money but when I offered her food and few balloons, she soon returned with a big gang of hers. Serving each of them at the temple premises left me smiling thoroughly. 

The evening food in temple premises called Samradhana Jevan (Samradhana Food - Is the konkani term for the meal offered as Prasad) is where you get our statistics. And we hate our Prime minister for making us stand in queue in banks today. Trust me, we south Indians take pride in our finger licking etiquette, be it sambar or the sweet dish. I am completely convinced that eating with hands is integral to good eating. It heightens connection of sensory to food and has been scientifically proven too.

Well, to know about the serious affair of this festival, on the first day the religious rituals marks a start with   Morning Prarthana. The priests get busy with formalities and the people lend their hands in all possible arrangements. A flag is hoisted at the "Dhwaj Sthambh" marking the beginning of the festival.
PC -Here 
The next two morning proceedings conclude with the Utsav deity being worshiped in the palanquin. A series of Arti accompanied by vedic recitals, bhajan and Bhojan form the important part. "Hagalutsav" or the "morning utsav" signifies the fourth day proceeding. With the deity in the small chariot, a graceful procession is taken round the surrounding areas.

"BrahmaRathotsav" the big car is completely set for the fifth day. Lord Venkatesha is decorated with jewels and fresh flowers, worshiped in the golden palanquin and later on moved on to the giant car which is rolled round by thousands of people shouting chants and praises of their beloved Lord. A scene much worth pausing and replaying if one could.


"Splash of colours"! Yes, the concluding day holds a unique bust of energy from people of all ages who gather in the temple square premises for the much awaited "Okkuli". The Lord himself is first adorned with pink colour followed by sea of people in spirits of the same holi of colours. People play with colours and water the entire morning. Most local schools are announced closed for the festival on this day.

Last day of the festival is again concluded by the flag hoisting as indication. The week's eat, pray, love and live marks an end. For most houses the kitchen officially opens full time from part time. The  parking areas in surroundings suddenly seem wider and bigger. Roads will heave sigh off the beeline traffic. And one accumulates nostalgic memories as they wistfully await the next January.


This post has been featured on ManipalBlog.com -Click Here

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Grave Of Life



Rendezvous between the,
soul and the earth.
Devour me in full,
As I today fail life's story,
Edged the soul.

Earth laughed,
times  shall fail not.
Your  spirits shall live up till the sky,
Dust covered layer and ashes,
Resting in the grave of life.

Friday, December 2, 2016

A Peek Into Enormous Ellora Caves

Every travel has it's tale. Every place has it's place in our memory. My visit to the Ellora Caves left me astonished. An enormous stone carved mansion with rich heritage and carvings all around. One would be left exhausted yet the place keeps you hooked on. Someone enthusiastic about archaeology would love to spend a few hours of hiking here. As for a scheduled traveler like me, it was a day well spent in the largest rock cut cave with my family, which also happens to be the UNESCO heritage site.


PC




A quick introduction to the cave, located about 25km away on the outskirts of Aurangabad city of Maharashtra State. The very entrance welcomed me with a warmth reclining me into the ancient times of kings and queens, gods and goddesses. Spread over an area of 2 km and more the monasteries and temples include scriptures belonging to Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. About 34 caves altogether and some water bodies including a water fall is the grandeur of the place. 

Maharashtra tourism should be lauded for the arrangement of the tour buses that take you to all the spots with scheduled time frames.


Entrance to cave #16

My visit was limited to two caves in the three hours that exhausted my energy. The first being cave number 16, centrally located and popular for the Lord Shiva Temple. It has been carved from top to bottom so beautifully and has taken several decades and generations of hard work. I was left amazed at the intricacy of the architecture.





The Kailashnath Temple in cave 16 is an epitome of architecture. Designated to recall Mount kailash which is the abode of Lord Shiva the Hindu God. This temple holds the distinction of being the largest monolith structure in the world. It has been carved out of a single stupendous rock mountain. I never knew about it! All my school history lessons seemed to vanish in thin air.


 


Lord Shiva in his form of "Gajanthaka" where he kills the elephant headed demon. On his side sits Goddess Parvathi.  


The serene interiors of the stone mansion did add some spiritual energy in me. As for the rainy weather that day, I was left with the camera in bag and had to rely on my phone camera. I have some random pictures herewith that depict the rich heritage of ancient India.



Ellora was earlier called Elluru and is a master piece. 1000 plus years ago, when no modern engineering technology existed, these enormous rocks were cut and carved. Hand made beautiful stone paintings leaves me with no words to express. Just glad that these were not during the regime of Shah Jahan!


Notice the cave being numbered.
The second cave I gave a quick visit was cave no 32. This belongs to the Jainism culture. This cave presents the temple of Lord Indra. It is believed that Jain community followers worshiped Lord Indra just like the Hindus and the Buddhists did.




Though famished, we left the caves thrilled. It was not the end of the journey for the day. But we started with spiritual energy again. Touring around the city of Aurangabad itself can consume minimum of 4 days. However, in the scheduled one day tour, after the caves we could only visit following places (mentioned in key notes, but hardly have pictures to share) on our way towards Nagpur by road.

Ever heard of the duplicate of the wonder monument wah "Taj Mahal"? Well, I had not heard of too, till I was doing my homework on the "places to visit" around the Aurangabad City. My Aurangabad visit itself was enroute Shirdi from Nagpur and I ended up grinning seated at the Bibi Ka Maqbara.




This Taj of the Deccan as it known as, is the tomb of Dilras Banu Begum wife of Aurangzeb. And it is built by their son Azam Shah.

This is a short random video taken at the Ellora caves. Don't miss the last for a glimpse of the tour bus inside the caves.


Few Key Notes:-
  • Ensure your backpacks have ample water bottles all along the touring.
  • Please do not carry any snacks in your bags that can attract monkeys. Yes, there are plenty of them!
  • A summer travel avoided is best.
  • Tuesday is the weekly HOLIDAY. Cave entrance is open on all Sundays and national holidays.
  • Other tourist spots around Aurangabad city that are worth seeing are Ajantha Caves, Daulathabad Fort, Grishaneshwar Joyotirling Temple.
 Note:- All pictures are iphone clicks and hence the clarity accordingly.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

A Re-Sorting


Do you beat your legs and scream under your shower, when you do not hear from your inner voices anymore? It's like a state of threshold that holds your body away from your inner voice and only submerged in your frenzy routines. Routines today are much faster than those years of our childhood. We have turned smart.

Like, we have turned into e-humans. Haven't we?

But our soul needs the re-sorting that the smart world cannot provide. 

When we are almost going crazy with out rat race routines and want to feed our body some solitude and rest, feed our soul some spiritual intimacy, we look out for that weekend gateway for the much required break.


Sea Line Beach Resort in Doha is that popular hide away, the heaven on earth, for we Qatar residents to hog on some freshness and get away from the smart world.



The vast sea is the best place to reward your soul and wash your sins off those perplexing routines. There is always something in a sea that I see. Most do. Do you see too? It's the stretch that sharpens our positivity. It's the charm that gets the romantic galore in us. And you end up devouring the entire sea with your naked eyes.


Each step you take in life decides who you are.
Step off the negativity.




A well organised hotel room just does the job of arranging your spirits that fled from the homes beckoning more routines. A perfect view of sea from the room, frequent chirps of the sparrow and the fresh winter bloom. Such an aura works effortlessly as cleansing of the soul and mind. 
When you are all alone, on that beach reclining chair admiring the myriad colours of the sea, playfully lapping at the shore. The waves seem to mischievously run towards you for a moment and pull away. The excitement just chills down your spine. You are at the mercy of the sea, the sands and the fresh air. Make the most of it and get on the do nothing mode. Your body is not made for such abuses called 'no rest routines". Nor is your mind.

A day well spent doing nothing.  But it's this nothing that is everything sometimes.

Absolutely one such visit to the resort, a day's stay doing nothing, and the following day, I was feeling stressful to leave the peaceful destiny. Stress is a bitch. 

My mind refused to leave the room. But my wallet wanted to.

The resort visit was my genuine birthday gift. No big plans. And it was a gift after a gift. The birthday that was celebrated a day before. We had celebrated with no friends. Only us, a cake and a lovely gift. Only the murmurs of the family inside the house.There was peace in silence. What a celebration it was. Wow is much less a word.




Simple things teach you real life
Small pleasures fill up voids
Little laughter, silly and all
                                                     The best birthday ever, it was

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

Learning From A Flower


Friday, November 18, 2016

The Drama Was No More Her

That another morning,
Yet unfamiliar air, colourless.
Fog sang a cold poem,
She dropped a tear after another.
I was humming soft lyrics,
Empathy denied, her war on.
She dropped another tear,
My soul screamed aloud.
Leave her alone,
Unable to, I gently touched her.
Sheer adamant as she seemed,
Dropped her tear.
Was my love eluding?
Query of my soul it was.
She zealously brightened,
Stood tall, tears vanished.
But, the magic was him,
The sun who kissed her.
Lovely green, her highness.
The drama was no more her.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Method To My Madness - My OHD



My decision to discontinue my 8-hours daily job, after my second child seemed to show up big differences in me. 2 years on and no signs of getting out of the house and rush to the office. What a relief. But wait. Something was terribly wrong, somewhere. I was turning into a big bully at home. 
In the pretext of tuning into an comfortable housewife I was turning obsessive. Tiding up the entire house meant a must do ritual to wash my cursed sin of having some disorder. I did not mind doing the bed a hundred times a day. Disorder eh? Apparently I was going through an higher version disorder of OCD called Obsessive Housewife Disorder

In my school days I always believed in cleanliness. It sprints in genes for me who is born in family of priests. Cleanliness was holy. I could dust away the study table each time I passed by. Watering the garden meant washing every leaf of my granny's greens. I could not tolerate a speck of dust on a leaf. One fly on a chair, and I would bull doze the person sitting on it. House flies should be banned from entering my house. Else vampire inside me would spring out pestering me to turn into a treacherous murderer. Often I would turn into spider man evacuating the cobwebs on the walls, jumping over high windows fighting with every dust particle settled on it.

Clearing up cupboards, shelves and nook and corner stuff was my favourite task. Stacking up stuff to be thrown away, waiting for no body to watch me and then quietly tip toe out to do away with the dump. This was an art. And then turn my mute on and turn deaf when other members found stuff missing from their cupboards. 

From then messy places and dust filed in as my sworn enemies. I could not stand their presence with mine. But it never happened that I was cursed having a disorder. I was often applauded and cheered by older members of family. What a girl my mom had raised. Cleanliness is holiness.


Much before the honorable Prime Minister of India declared Swach Bharath abhiyan, I myself practiced it. Surroundings of my house would be cleaned by me promptly. We then dint have trash bins on every road, yet I would showcase my leadership capabilities and do away with trash in local bins.

I continued racking up my plaudits even when I got married. My in laws were at once impressed with my love for mops and brooms. One speck of dust and I would sprint to reach it, pause with screeching halt and whack it venting out all my vengeance. Doing up my house was my mission 24 X 7. Even an egg shell would not be wasted but used to decorate my money plant. Each morning my plants would have holy bath, shine clean and bright to dance like Raveena Tandon of Tip Tip Barsa Pani! Why, I had always decorated my office space with plants. 

Sigh! The windows, the walls, the furniture they all feared my whacks.
There was a method to my madness.

Steadily, the realization came upon me. Yet, I continued on my mission with all my enthusiasm. I had all the support required.

The year we moved to this giant sand pit called Qatar, life dint ease much for me. Similar bull dozing and cleaning continued. The occasional sand storm added to my pitiable state. Dust storm meant war for me. I would zoom around my house with mop excavating heaps of dust bullying every family member to stay grounded on the couch till I concluded in accomplishment, my surgical strike on my enemy.

Life is going on so. Normalcy is  not too different as every day I am seen in different avatar. Some times behind curtains, under the cot, over the windows, picking up ants in the backyard or so. And the kitchen fears my scrubbing and spraying. The refrigerator is hot with anger. I ridicule it's shine each morning by over doing my scrubbing. Each time the door of dish washer or washing machine opens, I see demon's mouth wide open yelling at me "lady we know our job well'. My neighbour however is overjoyed by my zealous cleaning. Ask why? Not convinced by just watering my door step, I clean theirs too. Poor water bills are now embarrassed at my obsession.

 But my family has accepted my disorder as it is. What a pity.

Unfortunately, it cant go on like this. I had to come out of it. Immediately I sprang to the fridge, picked up my cola and logged into blogger abandoning all my chores. What a relief. I almost want to take a oath not the whack my furniture again or hate the dust for no fault of it.

May be I should leave the house alone and get out to office. Whenever my husband lovingly says, Sushma start visiting office often and assigns me some work, my criminal mind calculates what he may think...."God knows what cleanliness awaits today and one day my wife will excavate all my life's secrets off my ward robe, fabricate a nice tale into what stuff we wanted and what we dint. And throw my treasures right in trash".
Ouch. Apparently he has declared me an PhD in OHD.   

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Death Of A Sexist

On Blogadda





PC - Google
Has any of you with sons there, walked into baby stores and picked toys bright pink and purple? How about pink and purple clothing? No? Well, wait till you want to prove the paradigm wrong. I have been doing so. Few years ago, I used to buy gorgeous Barbie and thousands of her accessories for my little girl! Also bought Barbie her boy friend, castles and what not! I thoroughly enjoyed watching my girl spend hours dressing and undressing Barbie and cooking plastic meals for a party. Now, imagine my son doing the same!

Wondering he will soon come back to his senses. He must only be doing his job. Pile up toy cars and trucks, fire few bullets from his toy gun and box me right and left. Well, that's what he is expected to do, right?  

Now, If i called it sexism, would you agree with me or not?

On other hand, in our self absorbed sane society we have gender specific roles. Woman has to cook whatsoever happens, and the man is the head of the family. We are assigned rules by our normal society and we ought to behave in that sane fashion. Men definitely cant use lip balms, except for the fair and lovely unless it is certified by television soap or commercials. Women can take decision, but,  with the permission of the man. Irony died! 



Don't blame us.  It is the norms of our society substantiated by ourselves each day each moment. This is the rule 1 from stone age times, except that, then the women were not found in pink bikini's and the men in blue "langoti".

There is a sexist in our inner self. Yes. We do. That’s the way we have been brought up. These are essentially  men and women rules in our society. That's our normal.  We can brag about our girls riding a bike, travel alone for work, but we fuss about our little boys dressed in frocks. No they are to be brought up like "real men". They cant cry! They cant play in the kitchen. No. 



I have begun to come to terms with changing times. We  women can head companies and our men have won master chef awards, worldwide. Man, can change diapers, rock a baby to sleep, cook meals enthusiastically while woman can run projects and drive a car in the middle of night. Male and female qualities have performed very well and are now in the reversal way. Activists are proposing a  new phenomenal era. Our Bollywood "ke sitare" are empowering women through videos. So much so that one of the star goes to extent of  making this popular video. My Choice .
Woman has her choice! Be it sane or not!



But lot many viral stuff are loaded on the internet every morning. Funny jokes on men, on women. The bad drivers on the road are the women or the bad multitasking men. Stereotyping the colour code. The sexist in us is the living devil for the functioning of a normal society. But on the contrary the changing society has presented few wonders. I often see a woman running champion who posts pictures of her biceps on face book and receives 1000 plus likes. I see men doing the baby sitting while the women run late from office. For the granny's and aunties, this must seem like a insane idea. What a shame, she cant be home before the man and make a cup of tea for him. What a pity, aunty, times are changing. And those of us who dare to think and behave differently are worshiped as aliens. It takes decades for the aunties to realize they are not wrong but we are right too.  However aunty cant stop saying "yeno appa egina makklu". (The children these days...you know...!). Single woman are still looked upon with raised eye brows. Call it the curiosity floods or the society norms, whether is successful in life or not. she has to be tagged a Mrs to attain the nirvana of our sane society norms. Is it?


When a child is born in the hospital, the nurse plunges into tying a pink ribbon if a girl and a blue for a boy. This is mere a colour code! Not a program to be run for entire life. 


There are no rights and wrongs. There is evolution. There is knowledge, and education. And until we come to terms that the gender specific evolution is head long, we ought not declare the death of a sexist in us.

Friday, June 10, 2016

A Sixer - A Shot

PC- www.bbc.com


First ball of the Cricket match, the bowler ran long on the mud pitch. The ten year old batsman, popular hitter, [A boundary or Sixer shot is what is termed hitting, perhaps in the cricket-pedia] waited steady with bat held tight in hands  for first ball. A full swing, full motion, what a sweep and yes! He had hit!! How's That!!

There were loud noises all around, most boys fled, some towards him and some ran hither and thither. There was more of a commotion there. The boys had been playing in open ground with boundaries stretching on to the roads connecting to local residences.The ball was not the lucky one to be kissed hard and sent for a tour in the open stadium , call it sixer. The unlucky one was a limping old man who emerged out from no where and was knocked out by the batsman in full swing. In the ears of the astonished boy rang not loud applauds but the moaning grunt of the old grumpy man. Old man was attended well by the boys until he managed to reach home. But what about the batsman?  Needless to say, he had fled with heart in his mouth. 


The unity among the boys protected the true act of honour of the boy. The hitter had made a big but the wrong hit. Alas. Few days and  his friends updated him on the old man's health. Each time his friends took turns to go to his house & inform him pieces of news, the boy's nightmares found different horrific stories. "No chance, old man is not out of bed, bhai yeh tho gaya, iska ticket ho gaya".

It was that cursed evening when a friend came puffing and panting into the boy's house and in bated breath narrated his news in bits of words. Half eaten sentences. But the boy got the point. 
The old man was dead. 

Because the hit was on the head, and remember it was a hitting-shot. So the time had come for confession. The boy gathering all his guts revealed the story to his father. His father listened to him as he chewed his paan, spitting in between and also smiling now and then. Boy's nerves were calming down upon confiding and realizing that the father understood him and would make all efforts to help him. It was not intentional after all. It was a mistake. Boys were just playing. Soon came the shock instead. 

"Alright, now you can continue to play cricket-but carefully.  As for the old man, he is hale hearty and fine"- told his father.
So the nightmare had to end. Pals played notorious prank on the poor boy including his dad in the melodrama. Like the railway engine that halts moments later after you pull the chain, all the feverish pains of the boy were more jolted and his nerves did not soothe or agree to his ears, or the brain that was manipulating the information received. Few anxious days spent speculating excuses out of false alarm of an unintentional murder he had supposedly committed, seemed to hook on to him. The pain dint budge into a laughter in spite of continual convincing from pals and father. Boy felt itchy. Brains took time to waive off the fear to replace and believe real truth. Truth had changed for him, yet so hard to believe. The old man was not dead.

Zor ka jhatka haaye dheere se lagaa.

I would sing this number if I were there then instead of today. That boy, today my man, narrated this, 12 years after married life first time. After ages I enjoyed the popular tonic ROFL, rolling on the carpet holding tight onto my tummy and laughing like a child. I enjoyed. Once  a devilish laugh, once softly, once muffling. Discovering a secret of his childhood that had  frightened him to hide under his skin, proclaim a self exile, or may be to vanish like a puff of smoke of Aladdin's lamp. I really had to admit how on earth did he not mention it to me all these years. 

Those golden days where kids played on the roads and the open grounds is definitely a rare scene today. Gone are the days when family played cricket on streets, shared little giggles and laughter. Broke neighbour's window but ended up making friends with them. We now have sophisticated grounds. Yes it is more disciplined and safe. Today we sit on our expensive couch and watch IPL on television. Also our kids enjoy this.  
But those little fun moments definitely are left out in those open grounds. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Holiday In DDLJ (Deadly Dead Sea of Lovely Jordan)

Petra City - Jordan
Happy Birthday mom. For your birthday, we are taking you to ……
The mall? Dinner? Aqua Park?
No it’s a big surprise. 
Where? 
Jordan ………Joooorrrdan... finally!
Surprised me, my daughter. Surely it was a lovely gift. First the 99 wishes on FB and  now the hundredth being the surprise trip to my dream vacation, planned by the dad daughter duo.

My mind had begun floating, visualising  floating in the Dead Sea.

Visiting the home town of the Dead Sea was different excitement. We packed  on the 22nd night and flew on 23rd morning of October 2015. Like always my one year old son had thrown a chaos in the flight. We had to survive his tantrums in the four hours flight, hence we had to check in online on  Qatar Airways Web Check in  to save more time and to book my usual bassinet seat for the baby. Travel with naughty little one was big time adventure by itself. Fiddling like desert penguins, we safely landed in  Amman the capital city of Jordan.

From the crabby  taxi, where my son made friends with our tour guide to a luxurious hotel where we made friends with an Indian family from Oman. We decided to rest entire day and explore the closest malls or parks in evening. We had to sleep early for a big day, the next day. It was an hour's journey to the Dead Sea.


The dead sea was a blast. Imagine no waves in the sea. Imagine you lie down and your body does not sink but floats like a log. A log. You try to feel like a dead body in the dead sea. This sea showed what a good friend water was to my water phobic hubby. He also manged to get the dead sea mud on him which is good for skin. We had a photo shoot of each one of us floating, while, the cross eyed looks by my son from a distance alerted us to give a break to water adventure. Little children are banned entry into water as it was rich in oil
which makes it possible to reduce the gravity. Oh! You get off water and an oily you  comes out. The water park made up is for kids entertainment as alternative. After a mesmerizing day in the sea without sinking or carried away by no waves, we finally had to move on.

Petra City was next in the list. En route we did cover random places. Mount Nebo (In connection with Moses mentioned in the bible) was one. Madaba was next. Where we relished a lunch that I still cant stop polishing. A special dish called the upside down in other words it a huge stove full of Arabic Biryani with a bunch of different veggies in it.


In Madaba - Foundation of Handicrafts
Handicrafts -Madaba

After lunch we traveled some more to a beautiful place in the middle of no where. A museum / mini shopping complex, called Foundation Handicrafts. We bought a lot of dead sea products and a stoned bracelet for my daughter.
Soon, a little after sunset we checked into a five star in Petra. We woke up  to a breath taking sunrise next morning. Multicoloured mountains! Never witnessed this beauty before. 

Old City Of Petra



The five star buffet breakfast served as fuel for the tough day to a long car journey to the most awaited "Rock City". 

The tour guide had filled us completely with a lot of information, that we breathed and even burped history. 

The excavations in this city had  let to stories as old as 2000 BCand to the Romans in early 100 AD. Main religion of the inhabitant -Nabataens worshiped Arab Gods and goddesses. but not Islamic. The tombs, the water ways, the treasury, the stadium of those times. were main attraction spots. Two to three hours of walk among these rocks and then we retired in the rooms.

Wadi Rum -Desert








 That very afternoon we had check out to reach our next destination  Wadi rum . The Sands. 
It was known for its popular sunset with rocks and sands building up the sun's beauty,  but we missed it , due to heavy  rains.  However most thrilling time was the golden chance to spend the shivery night in a tent house that too with WiFi! Following morning were spent travelling across the sands in an open gypsy discovering the rock city, its sands while the clouds danced on our heads. 
Next morning we headed to  the city Amman which was a last stop and the last strip of my gift wrap. The tour in the hill city had more history to unearth. The Roman pillars of Hercules, temples and tombs, Panoramic view of the city built of white stone, museum displaying the antiques. Eye popping moment was witnessing the 6000 capacity stone stadium of the Roman times intact. She was a beauty. 

Amman City

That night ended the gift session of the Yatra (holiday). From the "present" to memories that would soon become a past a glorious past. A perfect holiday. Mesmerizing experiences. We packed and left the rainy rock city to the airport on the 28th night of October. One different vacation away from hustle bustle of city chaos. The unique experience from day 1 to  day 5 .