Friday, March 26, 2010

Moved

All new posts will be updated in my primary blog page, thegreatthree.blogspot.com until further notice.

How you doin'?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Le Tour de Nilagiri

TFN - Tour of Nilgiris

Trivia: The Only being on Earth which Calvin (of Calvin & Hobbes fame) loathes and fears more than he fears anything else.. Don't know? Read on..

Right from Childhood, I have an enemy. My most bitter enemy. Probably the only soul on earth who can scare the daylights out of me... My first tryst with him was in 1992, and since then, there is someone in this world that I can comfortably call, "My Greatest Nemesis".

Say, till now, I've had close to ten brushes with destiny, trying to face him, leave alone beating the hell outta him. But, I haven't been entirely successful. I lost two of my milk teeth, got scratches all over myself, about a hundred scoldings from my parents and Brother for not having the courage to face him, and more than a thousand insults from acquaintances for not being able to defeat my fear of him, while each of them have successfully made him do their bidding. I knew it. I was psychologically affected.

I couldn't do, what almost everyone else I know could do.

"Ah... Take me to the Psychiatrist."

So, here I am, talking to Dr.Mind, the psychiatrist, with Wardboy Internet eavesdropping. What can I do to get rid of this fear???? Is it with me for life? When will I face him and defeat him? I expected an answer from Dr.Mind. After 10 minutes of shortlisting his favourite quote from quotes.com, he said...

"Keep your friends close. But your enemies closer".

Dr.Mind then googled for 10 minutes. After that, he said, "I know a way you can defeat your fear.. The condition you are suffering from is Bicycl-o-phobia. Affects one in ten thousand.."

How can I get rid of that fear and face Mr.Bicycle??

"Look at this page.. http://www.tourofnilgiris.com .. It's about a gang of Bicycl-o-philes going on a 919 km ride through the last week of December. Join them through the journey, and It may help you get rid of your fear!"

People love Bicycles??? Sure enough, there was a list of Warriors who are taking up that ominous task! And what do you know, the list includes a 11 year old! 919 km, Give me a break!

Buck up, folks.. Nilgiri's chain of stores presents, "Tour Of Nilgiris", the first edition of, probably, a competitor for Tour de France. Except that, this one is not a race. This is a tour, in its truest terms. Many People from India and outside have joined hands to undertake this "Joy Ride" through Bangalore - Mysore - Mercara - Sulthanbathery - Ootacamund (Ooty) - Doddabetta and here comes the best part, the whole ride BACK! (Geez, and I thought I was a weirdo..).

I read more about the adventure in the site and loved everything about it (er.. everything, except the riding part..). The most exotic tourist destinations of the region, a trip of 7 days when you can relish each and every minute of it in Nature's warmth (Actually, the temperature will be in 'Single degree' celsius in most of those places at that time.. Love it!) Sigh.. How I'll love it! And before I forget, the most important part.. During the journey..

Where there's a Nilgiri's store, There's a SNACK STOP!

If only I knew how to ride that god-damn-bicycle! :(

All you guys who get that joyous feeling on riding a bicycle.. who are content with speeding on a trek-bike and make faces at the drivers of the other polluting vehicles you overtake.. who just love nature and feeling that you are a part of it.. who want to see a healthier, greener and beautiful world.. who only ask "Where do I sign up?" when asked if you'd cycle 900 plus kilometres.. You know where to go from here!

Hey, Wait a minute, that's not all.. Another blog post on the site says that I can still make it! I don't need to bicycle. I'll go by ..er.. they haven't mentioned that, but then, something more sturdy and balancable.. I will still get to see those places, half of which I am dying to see... And the other half, I am dying to see again!

There is a list of requirements put up on the site for taking up the role of a Live blogger which I 've done so many times in the past at IBM!

Previous experience of Sports blogging - Yes!
Live Blogging - A Double Yes!
Travelogues - A Triple Yes!
Own equipments - Yes!!! I only have to strike a deal with a friend for his data card yet!
Er.. Nilgiri's stores - Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes and YES!

But then, I am not in, yet. :)
Results on December 4, 2008 :)))

Till then,



Will I make it? Will I not? Will I make it? Will I not?...

Friday, October 10, 2008

...ICED TEA...

It was a Thursday morning.. Jagan Chetaa, the Prince of Vellakovil, woke me up with something between a snarl and a glare. I’d slept a good 2 hours before him the previous night and here I was, sleeping through the day.. well after he got up..

“Hungry da. Kelambu va.. Pongal polaam,,” (Hungry da.. Come on start.. Let’s go to Pongal (a ‘mess’y hotel near our house)). Started lazily and reached pongal by 11. Called up Munish, the one guy who can give Mr.Bean a run for his money, and asked him to come over. The Self proclaimed Don (that’s Muni) said he had to get up yet, and he would make it by 12.30 or 1.00.. Hmm.. How to waste time till that? (This was a day we’d sworn not to utilize. Like every other.) “Iced tea?”, I asked Jagan, after eating our breakfast.

“Deal.”

We had to go to the ATM to re-fill our wallets.. And sadly, almost 3 ATMs on the Outer ring road were out of order. Finally, one worked, and by that time, we were already a good 3 kilometres from our house…

“Dei.. Boring da? Shall we go on a li’l further? Just a drive..”, Jagan said, patting Arvind’s Pulsar.

“Deal.”

11.20 Vrrooom.. I remember seeing KR puram bridge about 5 minutes from then, the railway station seconds later, and Kammanahalli, my old fortress, in another 5 minutes. Soon, we were near Lumbini Park, the boat house, which was just across my old workplace, Manyata. I asked Jagan if we were going to go in, and he said, “Let’s think about that on our way back.. You forgot our Iced tea!”




And then, we continued zooming past a lot of interesting advertisement hoardings, The Parsee Tower of Silence, about which I got to read, and a Gandhi Vigyan Kendra (I don’t think I got the name right..).. I was mindlessly clicking a lot of small hills around, that made good scenery. Minutes later, I looked at the time on my mobile..11.50.. I looked up.. The Bangalore International Airport!

Jagan said, “Solavae illa????”

Nobody told us it was a matter of half an hour to reach BIA from Marathalli! We thought it’d take more than an hour… The Pulsar showed we’d travelled 48 km.




Trust me, if anyone takes a pic there and claims he went to Heathrow, you wouldn’t get a doubt. The Place was so beautiful., so was the road leading up to it. We clicked a few pics and decided to try and get inside. Initially, we thought we’d look odd going into an airport without a single bag. But then, most of the people we saw there were there for a .. er.. picnic perhaps? Gosh, and not to forget the couples, who finally found a place where their parents or relatives won’t spot them!





Amidst all this, we made it to the entrance, and suddenly, Jagan said, “Look!!!”

There, An outlet of Kaati Zone. Which could mean only one thing.

Iced Tea!!! :)


---------------------
1. 00 PM : Marathalli
---------------------

Munish was walking towards the place from where we said we’d pick him up. And we were right there, waiting for him. And the three of us rode back home.

“What were you guys doing till now? You came from the other side of Marathalli..”, he asked..

“Hmm, yes.. We went to get a cup of Iced tea…”


Friday, September 12, 2008

Thursday, May 22, 2008

May 16 2008 - A Day to Remember


The day I wore the sacred thread (poonal) fourteen years ago ,that so distinctly points out to the world that I am a Brahman, that, according to me, also symbolises the biggest Caste based discrimination to date. (Other Hindus are not allowed to wear it) though , to put it in simple terms, there’s no difference to me. I am as devoted to God as I was before.(‘How much’ is another issue :D)
‘Hey, this is ur 1st anniversary’ or ‘13th anniversary’ has never occurred to me all these years.. Somehow I felt different this year. It kept coming back to me, again and again, as I stepped out of the ‘royal’ Sharma travels bus (shucks.. never take it man.. neva eva.. It’s the only legal form of Suicide in India) and took in my first breath of Madurai in many years. Strange that a whole half of my ancestry hail from Madurai, and I’ve been there only a couple of times before. I always had this ‘peelings’ (feeling) about Madurai. This was where my mom was born… and she spent her childhood there. If I tell you she’d told me (plus my uncle + his mom) close to a hundred stories about Madurai, that would be a literal understatement.
I went to Madurai to attend the wedding of a friend’s brother (u’d find “Manage Bharathi” in the Blogs I read column ;)) and landed in Madurai a good two hours after the ceremony, thanks to ‘Sharma’. Spent the rest of the morning at the wedding eating (read - whenever the gang wasn’t teasing Munish). I was also a silent spectator to this discussion on World’s greatest movies led by Ivan ji (read – The Old man of CIT on the blogs I read) and finally came back to the room where we stayed by 2 in the afternoon. As you can expect, everyone hit the pillow soon after. There were these 3 of us who couldn’t get any sleep. The aforesaid ‘anniversary’ thought kept coming back to me, with an additional statement ‘Go somewhere, go somewhere’. Probably the weirdest thing that ever happened to me. That is one of those times when I forget who’s around, what I am talking, where I am heading and a lot more questions that’d interest a psychiatrist deeply. The two of them were talking about going to the infamous Meenakshi Amman Temple which was just about a few hundred metres from that place.
I heard someone speaking, ‘U comin?’
‘Deal.’
So, the trio (Saswat, Santosh & I) started off at close to four o clock. Just as we were walking, S & S started talking about Indian History, Old Indian greatness, Combodia, Ang kor Wat, Politics, Atheism, monotheism etc… All in a ‘space’ of 500 metres, and we weren’t walking slow either. Parallelly, a lot of questions were running on my mind about weddings, Politics, Poverty, Believing etc.. When I mentally asked a question to myself, “Will I be stuck in this %^#% world of IT for ever?”, Santosh said, “No, not more than a few months” to some question Sahu (read - Saswat) asked. I pushed it off as a mere coincidence. Then, my thoughts moved over to the Generator-Overlooker-Destroyer concept and I asked myself, “Am I a believer or am I not?” And I looked at the Gopuram of the temple and said, “I need an answer..”. Just then, Sahu said, “All those great kings were such Believers, weren’t they? Otherwise who would build these fabulous temples?? They believed that there was this force above them..”. ‘Coincidence 2’, I said to myself.
We were told that the temple opens only after half an hour from then, when we started from the room, just as I told myself, ‘Everything will fall into place when the time comes..’ (you can take it in any context). Though I thought of something else, and had wondered how it went as an answer to the question. Coincidence 3, may be? We were leaving our slippers with the counter fellow outside, some guy was saying into his phone, “Kovil thirandhu ivalo neram aachu? Enga irukinga?” (It’s been some time since the temple opened. Where are you?).
We entered through the West entrance, ( Santosh so confidently said it was the North entrance when we were returning and got us properly drenched in the rain.. ) and had to walk to the original north entrance to enter the temple. The Climate was supremely hot till then, and the floor was so hot that even one of those stones would have enough heat in it to boil a litre of milk. I wondered aloud, “Doesn’t it rain in this furnace of a place?” We went in. I’d read someone’s blog on how he had to go round and round the temple a few times before he found the sannidhi (shrine?) of Meenakshi Amman. And I thought, “let’s see how difficult it is..” True, we went to Shiva’s shrine, the hall of thousand pillars and we came to the same place twice, but we couldn’t find Her Shrine. I stopped Santosh from asking anyone else, saying it’s for us to find. I ended up in one of the exits when I finally gave in and told Santosh, “Alright It’s difficult. Let’s ask som..” when I saw the Shrine. Straight from that door.. straight in. I just started walking in and on the second door, we came to face this Golden Lotus pond. I felt the atmosphere change immediately. I suddenly brought my two hands together as if in a prayer (unintentionally). I realized it a moment later and was kind of embarrassed for the believer that I believe I am. (‘How much of a believer?’ I said that’s another issue!! Not now, ok??)







Finally, I saw the deity. Believed to be the most beautiful (statue of a) Goddess in all of Hindu Mythology. Before that, I personally thought nothing could match the grace, beauty and the magnetism of Sharadhambal of Sringeri, who I see as a pencil sketch at home (courtesy, my artist brother). I was thinking just that when I entered the shrine. “Of all days… A Friday..”, sighed Santosh. I looked into see close to 500 people inside. There was no way I was going to get in. Even the ‘special’ queue (which according to Sahu was the bane of India) was brimming. “Let’s see if there’s any way we can catch a glimpse from outside.. We cannot go in.. No way. We won’t make it for the wedding reception if we stay.”, said Santosh. ‘We will go in and we will see the Amman (Goddess)’, I thought. As I kept looking at the entrance and stood in awe, someone came from nowhere and told Sahu, “Give me 100. I’ll take you three inside..”. ‘Give it’, I thought, though I said nothing. Sahu, who was supposedly dead-against special queues, gave him his hundred in a matter of seconds. We went in.
I was inside , as close as we can ever get to the Goddess (read – 50 metres), but I couldn’t see anything but the lamps at the end of the pragaaram (last room where the goddess is). ‘I am here to see you.. but I can’t. Oh puhleez, some light..’ and immediately they showed the Aarathi. I saw the face of the idol, and I was lost. 
“I give in, you win”, I said, to noone in particular.
Suddenly, the outer wall of the innermost sanctum (hee hee) was as if, it was cleaned with water from above. It was a storm (complete with hailstones, I learnt later). We went back to the pond, and sat down in a few minutes of silence (were the others also deep in thought??) and after that, talked about rain, music, took a few pics and Santosh even tried to sing Amrithavarshini Raga, which I promptly caught on my mobile.








The General consensus was to spend some more time there till the rain stops, though I must admit that the real reason was that none of us wanted to leave the place. We stayed there for twenty more minutes before deciding to take the rain on….
And waded through 2 feet high water for the next 20 minutes as we tottered back to our room.
Though I have not described even One of my questions here directly, that day answered so many questions that had been bothering me for years...






When i told my mum about the sudden hailstorm later, all she said was, "What else do you expect when YOU go to a temple???"
How much of a believer i am, you should have a guess now.. or don't u?



Sunday, April 13, 2008

1 - THE OUTER RING ROAD ACCIDENT

Yes , you read it right.. Not an incident.. an accident, literally!


When there are two people quarreling in the middle of the road, or probably an accident... what will the on-lookers do? simple, they'll form a "straight-circle" and.. look..


Come on, they are on-LOOKers, what do u expect them to do? You ain't his girlfriend or brother or sister.. Why the heck should HE come and help u? What the heck does it matter to him when someone dies?? Every second, a baby is born, and someone dies. Why should i be worried about all that? I have seen or known over 100 instances where someone could have helped someone else, but did not. In fact, in only 1 of all those instances, did the help actually come.

It was an accident on the Outer ring road in B'lore, one fine Saturday afternoon in November 2007 , i guess.. or arnd that time. I was going in a cab to a frnd's place, when we saw a lorry literally ROFLing!! (pardon the cruel satire). I guess the Driver died on the spot, i din't even check as i was just crushed by the intensity of the accident. Of all people, the driver of the cab in which i was going (and hey, cabs offering rides at minimal rates is illegal too) stopped, took a water bottle and ran towards the lorry.. There were two others in the cab, and they ran after the driver. For a few moments, i was sitting and staring at the lorry.. Then, i realised i was the only person in the cab. I got down and hurried to the spot too. The Lorry was carrying a lot of stone, and the whole road was like misted by the dust rising. I ran straight to the lorry, and noticed everyone else had just formed the circle at a distance. I was looking at the cleaner fellow (just a guess), he was like bleeding from top to bottom and looked unconscious. I took his hand. It was beating. "He's alive", i shouted at the top of my voice. Noone responded. I shouted again. Everyone looked at me like they were seeing some Martian. I pointed at the cab driver and shouted again, "He's alive.. Neeru bekU!" (Water needed in my broken kannada). The tens of ppl there from all those vehicles who were "irritated" at the traffic block created by the lorry, now looked at my cab's driver. He had no options. He hurried forward, and together , we pulled this guy out of the debris and poured water over him, the guy jus opened his eyes, got the water and started drinking it as if his life depended on it (i guess it was, that literally..) I was shaking from head to toe,seeing all that blood loss, when that guy jus smiled after gulping every drop in the bottle.

"Get the driver", he managed to speak slowly in kannada. I couldn't react, i was overcome with a range of emotions, from the lack of humaneness in everyone around me, to the fact that everyone expected me not to go in and run around shouting, like i were on fire! Honestly, even my parents used to say, "Be selfish , atleast to some extent.. First, ensure you take care of urself, then we can think bout others...". Why, what's the difference? How'll ya feel, if u wer the one bleeding all over, and there are so many ppl standing around and watching you because they wanna see a person die , when they can get you to the hospital and save precious time, that may prove so decisive in the end.. Someone had called the ambulance (thank god atleast one person there had brains, how i wanted to thank him!!) and by the time i was thinking how to get the driver out of the lorry, the ambulance came and took over. I walked back to the cab, and my driver took another bottle and washed blood off his hands. He gave me the bottle to wash my hands. And i guess he asked me to wash my hands.. i don't know more than a few words of kannada. The blood refused to go, and finally, i used up the entire bottle to get the colour of red off my hands. It was all mechanical to me from then on. We got back into the cab and started moving. The two Onlookers in my cab were discussing the probabilities on how the accident could have happened, in Hindi. The driver was saying something in Kannada, and i couldn't get anything that was going on. Only the cleaner's smile stuck to my face. The smile was more like he was amused someone would actually help. Such is the world, i thought. (Or perhaps, i looked funnier with blood soaked hands..)

I reached my friend's place and kept washing my hands for a few minutes with soap. I felt like cleaning the world of bastards who prefer to discuss things rather than helping. They were watching it all as if it was a mega-serial soap venture by Ekta Kapoor.. I felt like bashing up the two cab-mates, and i would have, if i'd known to fight. In case i'd tried, i predict Aswin losing two teeth. And when i told my frnz about all that happened, they said, "Oh..(a second of silence) so... wassup, how's work?"

Puhleez, people... Care and emotions, why are you restricting it to your family.. There are thousands who need it... BADLY need it. Everyone cannot be ur family, but anyone can be (this is the ratatouille effect). Think about it.

Love & care are some of the very few things in the world that increase with sharing... I rest my case.