Friday, December 1, 2017

Happy Seventh


To all my dismay, my blog too has taken up roles of a spoilt husband. It can follow me anywhere to everywhere. The moment I am done with cooking 4 dishes, set table, do the chores and put lights off that the husband's taste buds  crave for that very thing that's not on my table. And these days the blog has taken up similar traits. The moment the laptop is closed, lights off and I step out of study, my sensory treat my cerebrum with creative juices in full.  Then I have to treat the blog secretly like how I would treat my Ex.

There's a reason for this madness.

Have you heard of this myth where people believe, couples staying together for 7 years bind themselves in a "Common Law Marriage"?. This is not true yet supposedly believed in few states of the U.S. It's the evidence how and why we often bump into this  messages on social media which says, once a person is connected to you for 7 years then you are together forever. Well, I am apparently trying to connect and apply it to my blog. Because I am committed to my blog! 

Yes. Me and my blog complete 7 years of togetherness. If something called blog anniversary was a term more aptly applicable here.  Last few years I called it my Blog  birthday from time of it's conception. However, as we grow more number of years together, in full commitment, I found self-fascination for our mutual love and preferred to celebrate our 7th anniversary this month.

Now, how I end up taking kitchen-referring cases proves that we women are capable of  bringing out our culinary expertise and kitchen tales in any circumstances.

Because we women are possessively  obsessed with the kitchen.

Send us on a "ladies day out" and we  strike great conversations relating to  kitchen and food first, like offering prayers to our family deity.  Every time I train myself for marathon,  I wake up at 4AM on weekends and run up to 15 kilometers. Although, the main part of the brain is clogged with  strong signals warning me how I might reach my house with kitchen burnt down or flooded with spilled juice and sandwich remains. Now you see whey Ekta Kapoor fancied we women in silk sarees, seated on expensive couches grunting and smiling at family members, yet administering a full control over the kitchen.

There exists these traits why I announce ourselves  the Kitchen Queen. 
Damn the Kitchen King Masala. I protest, it should be renamed as "Kitchen Queen". Although the men can now treat the roosters with the right masala and devour it themselves, and even win master chef awards, we women,  have left no chance to actually give away the original supreme authority  of the kitchen. It is ours.  It belongs to we women of the homes.

Well, being my 7th blog anniversary, when I thought of kitchen tales to feed this post too, I was brainstormed by my self fancy for our kitchen awe.

In fact, what I must precisely be doing now is performing a thanksgiving day in my way. I must be thanking all my readers in my own way.

Yes, I began my journey of blogging 7 years ago in 2010 October-November  by writing little memoirs (Though most old posts are pulled off my blog, for a reason I shall announce early in 2018). I remember Satish and Seethakka's first  comments enjoying my first humour memoir. And there was Chowla Sir, who always showered praises saying I had a winners face and fueled  my attempts to stimulate my mind, creative skills to my fullest.

Soon I was introduced to blogger community called Indiblogger where more readers patiently survived all my writings. Not just that I went on to win a few blogging contests that further triggered  my desires to learn and do better with each piece I wrote.

My acknowledgments will be longish list though (excluding my lovely family), after the first few names mentioned above. Chandrika, Swetee, Manu, Rajesh Kamat, Sahana Madhyastha, Chaitra, Anupama Rao, Archna, Avinash, and ALL-Indiblogger peeps. There are more that I cant thank enough for their constant spirits of liking my writing and also congratulate them in return on surviving my every master piece, be it a poetry, travel memoir or humour posts.  Also, I thank the ones who have extended wishes for my continued journey too.

However there is one person, to whom I would dedicate my writing journey to. My Ajju. Grand -dad. He was indeed a GRANDeur of living, discipline, culture, values, so much full of life with his subtle humour.
He now resides across the rainbow bridge, right near the brightest cloud after the last ray of sun. There are no precise words to exclaim how he was  the first person to take my poetry seriously. Even when I laughed at myself while in my high school,  upon his comments "Baribeku magu (you must write child) " I did not attempt any writing even with he inspired me while being right on this earth.

However, returning promptly to my kitchen before I sign off. For that's our production shop. We produce cuisines, thoughts, blog posts, art work, gardening ideas, complete office projects and more.

If you need me anytime, you know where to find me.

All picture source- Our own google.

Friday, November 10, 2017

From Toon Times To Teen Times

An amazing cake, courtesy Just Bake Mangalore

And again, aren't we are all parasites of nostalgia? 

I was perturbed, recollecting how and when it was that, SHE outgrew my lap to be a owner of laptop,
from cartoon watching to reading books on politics and history, from world of barbies and Disney Land to a teenager with a guitar, from mamma papa girl to a new little own world with her own vision for her future.
My daughter turned 13 this year and please stop guessing my age.

Thirteen, is awesome? Troublesome? 
Whatever, it is, dear moms reading this,
You have a statutory warning,
Never ever prowl and sneak into your teenage daughter's room and flick those branded creams. And if you have, please don't try applying them immediately in sheer hurry without a proper glance into the mirror or the tube in your hands. You might end up smearing some meswak toothpaste instead of vicco-turmeric cream on your cheeks.

With age comes wisdom I heard. Never let it go whenever it comes. Hold it tight to cash it up. For you would face crisis of emotional bankruptcy at times.  You need it the most with the teen aged pair of eyes that keeps track your footsteps, analyzes your overall decibels,  masters the apprehensions how you will react or not before even you know about it. THEY know it better than you. Now this is the age, they understand parenting better than us. Mind it. Remember when we were in  high school and we were damn sure amma was actually wrong when she warned us not to wander alone with friends on the streets. 
Bingo. It's your turn. Now your teenage child knows how you could be a better mom or a better dad.

Mine had a sound advice for her dad in the Birthday card she presented him last week. My husband laughed his heart and then came running to me like a kindergarten child requesting me to actually explain all the words that were dancing in the card given to him. I advised him to take off from work and work on the advice given by his daughter. Why should I apprehend ideologies of a teenager and fall prey in the dad- daughter drama when I had more tasks in my basket.

Verbal combats with teenager and nuclear wars have one things in common. Destruction. Being wiser is to remain a smiling silent puppet till they return promptly to you once all cranky tantrums are thrown off. I recommend a new Nobel Prize being introduced for the moms of teenagers. It is for the best service in "Teenager handling, coping mechanism". And this reminded me of some funny meme a friend once posted on FaceBook. It said " It is sometimes better to keep a dog as company at home when you have a teenager".

Often, on several occasions we bump into discussions on how kids are faring at their academics and how many medals and trophies they have brought home. It is seldom that a discussion revolves around life skills. While a few of us are intellectually stubborn about raising children or culturally bound, we can still make room for some pampering, some luxury and those extra hours of fun. While most are busy arranging a book shelf to the kid, a few are happy with a new WhatsApp story telling App. Our world is changing. We grew up under granny's watchful eyes of how many television hours we got. Currently the trend is pretty much the same. Just the pair of eyes are changed. We are still under watchful eyes of teen aged children scrutinizing how many television hours we take while they can hog on that many number of hours on their gadgets too. Equality is the motto.

Please excuse me. I am such a dolt. But, I would love celebrating my child's birthdays with a handful of Orphanage kids where she would be monkeying around with them. I would not hesitate to take the teenager to a psychiatric ward visiting a relative where in she faces life's realities and not confine her to the pink and purple painted walls of her room decorated with stuff from Ikea. Life's education begins here and ends in books. It can not start and end with books alone.

Huh. Raising a teenager requires life skills indeed. But truly they are the real pets. Best companion for a parent. You bestow your gifts of values on them an you shall be surprised receiving some most unexpected return gifts from them. There is a child in them you  want to pamper. There is a adult in them that accompanies your thought process. You can dance with them, play with them or even quarrel with them.

And among all the hustle bustle, stomping, banging doors, the headphones plugged in the ears, our constant counselling and verbal lectures, agreeing to disagreeing, we grow together into our better selves. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Murughavana - Of Chitradurga

The mention of Chitradurga in  Karnataka state, reminds us of the sprawling fortress straddled with seven hills. It became popular by the name of "Onake Obavva" who single handedly killed the soldiers from Hyder Ali's troop who broke into the fort from secret tunnel in the year 1779.

Chitradurga is a place about 200kilometers from Bangalore and the theme park is about a kilometer away from the Fort.
The best place to relax after wandering in the fort is the "Murughavana Park".  A theme park quiet well planned, well maintained in the rural locale, with stone statues of different taste. Absolutely serene; dotted with huge trees randomly for ample shade; uniquely built stone statues of various freedom fighters, common people, scenes of rural areas and plenty of extinct dinosaurs.  A pleasant park to cool your nerves even on a warmer afternoon. 

This is only a photo based post and all pictures are i-Phone clicks!


YOU CAN NOT AVOID THIS CHIMP'S SWALLOW, AS THIS IS THE MAIN ENTRANCE TO THE PARK 























Saturday, October 21, 2017

Key To Happiness

PS - Beloved friend- Google.
BE HAPPY
It  was yet another normal day. A compulsorily ordinary coffee-less morning for me. I came across this topic called Key To Happiness. 

The morning was already lazier and the topic that is nothing but a illusionary truth called irony that casts spells in our minds. Saying you are happy and if you want to be more..do this and do that. To top it up we have social media full of philosophy and gyaan that makes you supposedly happy. Some even have pictures of pretty dogs preforming jigs with catchy captions reading, like this if you want the puppy to be happy. Happiness these days is  available at the amazon festival too.  eh? Or the Flip Kart big festival. Find your dreams here, find your happiness here, is what they lure you with.


In order to possess more gyaan for myself I started meditating. What an profound discovery I started making. Take deep breath, think of you, your family, your actions. And I could see all were happy. Only I was looking for it somewhere in  closed room with eyes closed. My husband an workaholic is happy by himself. My kids were too happy with schools, play, painting, joining puzzles and book reading. And here I was, researching what is happiness? How does it look like. Is it resembling the big box from the Amazon bonanza festival. Does it have a key then?

Seriously seeing, we are so addictive as well as bored of our life and being our full self that at times in despair we fail to notice that the new green patch in our garden or the first bloom of marigold in the spring itself is such happier moment. 

We are always in dire need of things. Anything that pleases us. The new book in the market , or the new white Lingerie the lady wanted or the extra TV in the house, the man wants . And once we possess it we forget the euphoria too soon and aim at the next set of stuff we are supposed to want. The few breaths that we huffed in between went unnoticed by our scowl. And for God's sake, happiness is not confusion. The illusion of a fake rainbow in your backyard after the sunset is actually what you have to paint it yourself.  The need of material things are like the same. Luxury is a requirement not a happiness criteria. There is a key to the new refrigerator that made you happy. But if you are actually happy and content then please secure the keys in your pocket till the next model of refrigerator is introduced in the market.

Happiness lies in the most under utilized tense- the Present Tense. Rather it's searched in the past tense or chased in the future tense. Pity we are like the asphalt roller, that rolls back and forth and repeat on the same spread. We fail to insist upon ourselves, that happiness is not a milestone.  It is endless. How dreadfully or how enjoyably you take your journey there makes you happy.

And if there's ever  a key to it, then it is you. Do what pleases you. But for gods sake don't ridicule your neighbor if he is laughing to himself. He may be seeing things you don't. 

If at all there is a key to happiness, we are experts in misplacing the sets. Because we are too busy fixing the nuts bolts and the screws of life.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Converses With Pain

You know it, you unsought 
unasked unwelcome emotion, 
you are most disgusting aren't you?
troubling a peace mongering living soul
is what you are known for after all?

you are a treacherous beast
I mused until a moment now
only when I decided to fight you
with my will, love faith all in queue

I resolve, you rather stay close to me
along as long  you define thee
how you articulate my emotions
grow along, my will and you abreast

as I ascend thousand  green brambles
watched, laughed, by unreachable pink roses
hearing faint deep voices so familiar 
may be echoing from a distance

ironically prescribing faith, peace
you do complete my lost part to full
awakening my lost hopes  a cure
apparently, you do care for sure

 I appeal, you are fine,  nested close to me
foster my inner voice to a threshold 
so unaware of my own dreams, 
prick me yet pat my back, 
entrusting me in my whole soul, my realms
- Sush
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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Part 2 - Avani - Reaching The Zenith Altitude





Continuing our journey from Temples at foot hills to the trek. Previous post on this blog featured introduction to Avani and the magnificent temples at the foot hills.


This breath taking view requires a few extra breaths lost as you huff and puff away uphill and prepare your lungs for the fresh fill of the mesmerizing breeze. And also prepare your little hearts to greet few monkey families and tutti -frutti squirrels up there. It is overwhelming to watch the monkeys  just wait for the devotees to beak the coconut outside the temple as a part of ritual and then they could feast on the fruit by chasing the devotee with it's scary growl. And the few squirrels just wait to feast on the left over pieces of coconut or any other fruit.



































Seemed like the avatar of an Hanuman family himself appeared with absolute thirst, to the top of the hill and waited for visitors to pour water to quench his throat to his fill. And there were plenty of them. Remember, they are harmless but definitely defensive. So, never tease them by walking with lot of food in hands.


Now, as you march over uphill, you pass by more heritage spots, each narrating a holy story from the Ramayana that can actually calm your nerves spiritually if you believe in Gods and Goddesses.


A small door-less entrance takes you inside the place where sage Valmiki lived as he wrote the Ramayan. The Ashram is now consisting of a neat stone statue of the sage.







It's a well-known fact , whether one calls it mythology or one believes in the story, that Sita Devi after being exiled sought refuge in "Ashram" of Sage Valmiki. Soon in this stone abode she gave birth to her twin sons. With a mark of respect by married women, locals have practiced hanging green bangles at the top of the entrance door of this stone room which has been named "Sita Nilaya".



A touching glow. An imaginary oil lamp marked with some paints on the rocky pathway outside the "Sita Nilaya" is yet another belief by people from decades ago that it was the spot where the lady placed the lamp after sun set and hence even now the place glows with such tiny remembrances. Really amazing to witness such tiny details from Ramayan coming true and much to some of us who call it mythology it seriously surprises that locals have inherited stories from their ancestors who have supposedly been in the era after the medieval. 



And the popular "DhanushKoti" is supposed to be where Rama's brother Lakshman, who upon learning about the scarcity of water in Sita Nilaya, pulls his bow and arrow "dhaanushkoti" and splits the rock into two, to create a stream of water among the rocks. Again people believe that it never dry, even in perching summer, of today. We simply admired the tiny grey and black fishes in the water that connected us to our childhood rainy endeavors where we gathered tiny fishes in "tea strainers" that were our fish nets, from water streams formed by rain water.


One of the tarn that fascinated me
There definitely is plenty of resting spots on the way to the hill. These tarns are the best. You can not resist picking up oval bubbles, flip them horizontal and throw it spinning in the water. Can you? That's exactly what we did too. The lotus is the proof that it is stagnant water and hence it is not recommended to dip your legs or hands in the water.




Finally as you reach the top of the mountain puffing and panting,  we reach out to  the "Sita Temple" from the side entrance. The landmark where Sita Devi calls for Mother earth to slide open and snare her within her bosom.  This temple is one of the rarest  temples dedicated to Sita Devi in India.  A idol of the Goddess is worshipped every day by priest.

Right behind the temple is where you see two big boulders as mark of spot where Sita devi took her last journey under the mother earth. The picture 2 on the right above is where it is and a tradition of devotees squeezing themselves under the two boulders has been practiced. Call it belief or blind belief, these Hindu praxis leave me as astonished as spiritual.

Whatever is the story about, the nature leaves you in an awe as you fill your lungs with the breeze from the top of the hills watching the splendid bird eye view  of Avani.


The colourful Lingeshwar Temple as seen from the top of the hill



Key - Notes - Remain the same as in part-1 of this post too.
  • Avani is an absolutely cute village hosting no restaurants at all. Warning - Carry ample food. Small shady hotels will provide you scrumptious hot meals but the interiors are pretty puking dirty.
  • Clean water bottles are however available but make it to pick up your Gatorade if you wish to.
  • Don't expect a good connectivity of public transport. Plenty of taxis will be available for hardly an hour and half, drive from Bangalore.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Rock Climbing In The Mystical Avani -PART 1


Myself at the top of the rock mountain of Avani.

AVANI
From the land of gold mines; dotted with varied sized rocks; the Rockies of Karnataka; a reminiscent of Gabbar Singh of the popular Sholay; lotus filled tarns; clusters of compactly packed colourfully painted kutcha houses; mystical primordial stone temples of medival era  in rocky environs. This is a wee bit of what AVANI is.

At a distance of about 100km from Bangalore City, AVANI is a small village in Kolar district of Karnataka. Apart from housing varied ancient temples, it is also a popular location for rock climbing. It has been a heritage site and a not so popular sightseeing site in Karnataka I would say. Probably because of not so craggy mountains which is a fascination for the trekkers or for the reason that most of us believe in the stories of Ramayana as "mythology". Apparently, I thoroughly enjoyed the rock climbing as well as the spiritual vibes around the heritage spots and temples nestled in the huge boulders with a couple of "serene sounding" tarns.



Twinkling Star of Avani

As you drive inside this village, you recognize the colourfully painted small kutcha houses. My fascination of an Indian Fairy tale. The popular scene of a rural Indian village where in beautiful women and little girls cat-walk with plastic pots carrying water from ponds or lakes.  Small shops selling lovely scented candies, local soda in orange and yellow, "beedi",  sachets of pickles, shampoo, tooth paste or mosquito coils hung in the exteriors, line up the non asphalted dung smelling roads. There is  something in these tiny villages. Guess what? The innocence. The loving smiles immersed in brilliant radiance of friendliness spells a cast of our rich social culture. 



Avani received a prominent place mainly due to the legends associated with it. As per the local belief, sage Valmiki, the author of the epic Ramayana was residing here. This is the land where Goddess Sita sought refuge after being exiled by the Lord Rama and eventually gave birth to her twin children Lava-Kusha. It is also said that the war between Lord Rama and his sons Lava and Kusha took place in this village. 



In the center of the compound stands the Ramalingeshwara Temple

At the bottom of the hill, the first shrine that we come across is the  ancient temple compound known as the Ramalingeshwara, Lakshmaneshwara, Bharateshwara and Shatrugneshwara, built by the Nolamba rulers in 10th century. According to legend, Rama was performing Ashwamedha Yaga when his Horse was tied up by Lava and Kusha. Even after repeated requests by Lakshmana, Bharatha, Shatrugna and others, they did not free the Horse and fight took place between them. When everyone lost to Lava and Kusha, Rama himself turned up and had to fight. Later this was disrupted by Sita. This is a sin since the fight was between father and the sons and other relatives. Sage Valmiki then instructed the brothers to install the Lingas in their names for absolution of the sins.  




The back-view from temple exteriors projects the sight of the uphill route to the Sita Temple
The entire compound comes under the purview of the Archaeological Department and is well maintained. I was overwhelmed to be greeted by a lady police officer, a tourist police and became out best guide for the entire day.




A view of the Epic three boulders 


The local people have been believing that spot as in above picture is the one where in Sita Devi climbed onto to view the scene after Lord Hanuman informed her about the battle challenged by her twin sons on her own husband unknowingly about their identity. It has been neatly marked by arranging three boulders one over the other in memory of the embarrassing event.



Beautiful Lotus Pond at the foothills 

Nature's best gift to a rocky hilly area is a serene pond. Feels so full of life. The brightly coloured lotus just adds onto the peace it spreads onto your spiritual trek you look forward to, en-route the Sita Devi temple on the top of the hills.

As you begin your march of almost an hour , snaking among the rocks, sometimes sneaking onto tipsy cliffs or sometimes a few neatly constructed stone steps, you will come across several historical landmarks on your way. Iam afraid we did have no encounters with creepy reptiles other than little cute squirrels or some chameleons under every warm boulder. Most cacti plants attracted swarm of flies and that's a warning to steer clear your way off those thorny little green monsters.





Translation of the kannada text - Way to Valmiki Ashram
In search of gabbar if any



On top of the mountain far away in the background, we see the "Sita Temple" the landmark where Sita Devi calls for Mother earth to slide open and snare her within her bosom.  This temple is one of the rarest  temples dedicated to Sita Devi in India.  


Maha Shivaratri and Ramalingeshwara rathostava are the famous festivals that are celebrated with great pomp and fervor here. 

More on AVANI will appear as part-2 of this post.

Key - Notes
  • Avani is an absolutely cute village hosting no restaurants at all. Warning - Carry ample food. Small shady hotels will provide you scrumptious hot meals but the interiors are pretty puking dirty.
  • Clean water bottles are however available but make it to pick up your Gatorade if you wish to.
  • Don't expect a good connectivity of public transport. Plenty of taxis will be available for hardly an hour and half, drive from Bangalore.