Monday, July 21, 2014

Not sure why or when it started, this undeniable fascination for trees.  Yes, trees the ones you see along the roads gardens and well, all around you; IF, you are lucky enough.
Being in a place where your eyes have been deprived of, for a sustained period of time, a vision of a beautiful tree, has a strange effect, when you behold a whole lot of them.  Your mind (at least mine did), goes berserk. And what followed was this. . .

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Know what I did this summer (II)

Pune, a visit after a gap of two years. Changes, yet, familiarly unchanged. It was gladdening to weave through the once-familiar roads and haunts, and memories flashing by. And the best part was catching up with friends. Precious friends, untouched by distance or time. Realised how true the adage that goes, some leave footprints in our lives, never to be erased.

The usual rounds of shopping, (and yes have to concede that Pune’s fashion sense is awesome!) got tad boring, and so went for a small drive and up the hill, to the Murugan temple. The drive along the Bombay-Pune highway was again suffused with memories, and the fresh, green trees and foliage, which followed us all along was a beautiful sight, to be etched and relived in the desert land.

Goa in the monsoons, well, enough has been said I guess. It was a leisurely holiday at home with family, and a short break at the resort. Love the place, and enjoy the walks and cycle rides immensely. 

Went to this 'Saptaha mela\ at Vasco, and it was fun. The bustling crowd, the quaint little wares spread out, the entire scene was very endearing. And the lunch at a small but popular joint I gathered, was amazing. The ‘fish-thali’ was finger-licking good, and vowed to make this place a regular, next time around, and ofcourse the solkadi was the icing on the top. Loved the spread. Lazily walking back, in the drizzling rain, was a wonderful way to wind up the holiday, gratified.

As an old proverb goes, 'He who returns from a journey is not the same as he who left', and so it seems. Feel filled, enriched and blessed.

Know what I did this summer? (I)

The much awaited vacation did eventually come, and now it's as good as done and over with. Just a few more days of indulgence, with scoops of lethargy and gluttony thrown in for good measure. Am not complaining. The very thought of back-to-the-grind scene looming large, seems to instil a sense of despair - the eventuality.  But then yes, the grind keeps us going, and definitely look forward to meeting and catching up with dear old friends. Still, nothing like the seamlessly endless days, with no early-morning alarms, crushing deadlines, cramming-in-breakfasts and the forever persisting thoughts of 'isn't the day over yet?!' or the equally maddening 'The day is done?!' So savouring each hour of the tail end of this summer.

The best part of the July-August period is the pleasant weather, be it in South or the West. Trichy I would think is at its best, with the 'Aadi Kaatru' (the winds accompanying the month of Aadi) gently whirling around, rustling up the leaves and swaying the branches. It never did get too rough, which usually heralds the downpour. And so there was no drizzling or showering or pouring. It was not to be. But had a wonderful climb up the famed  'Malai kottail', the Rockfort, with family. The skyline seems to change each time around, save the serpentine Kaveri, which sadly looked desolate and barren, as if stripped off its right and might. Yes, just not fair, holding back a colossal, throbbing, gushing life-source, curbing it, impeding its journey, towards its pre-ordained  destination. Well, enough said, at least here. 

The trip to Thiruvanai kovil, with a close college mate, was memorable too. Walking through the crowded precincts of the Sattram Bus stand, hopping in and out of the local buses, and catching up, was an amazing walk down memory lane, and seemed to reiterate the truth that some things never change, and aren't we glad for it.

The wedding in Madurai, was so interesting and exciting! Attending a close family occasion after a long gap, felt good, meeting (almost)all cousins, and checking out the latest in saris and jewellery, of which i was never, ever an authority. And I seemed to have just skipped a decade (thankfully!), in the fashion realm, and realised, even if you've been outside the current, you can sidle in any time, with a few right moves. The trip to Meenakshi Amman Temple was sobering, after the glitz and  glitter. Was filled with a sense of calm and tranquil. A sense of being in the right place, a place where you will always belong, wherever you've been. 

And this was followed up by a quick trip down South, (covering Kovilpatti, Tirunelvelli, Kallidaikurichi and Rajapalayam) which never fails to drench me with memories, and gladdens the heart, to be with aunts and uncles who were an integral part of childhood, even if we are strewn all over now. And then the usual regular trips of shopping, what with the Aadi and Ramzan sale going great guns, you are but drawn into the whirlpool. Loaded with bags of knick knacks and goodies, set forth on the eventual train journey to Pune.
The strange phenomenon that happened to manifest was that, the place where I propose to land in, is always forewarned and the rain gods, relocate. So was it in Pune and Goa.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

An enchanting journey

A movie at the big screens, Cinescapes, after a longish while. And it was so worth it. The plan to go on the New Year's eve wasn't entirely intentional, but well, was a nice way to wrap up the year, with just family. As always the crowd here, (yes it does make for interesting watch, in any cinema hall, i guess, here it's a notch higher!) never fails to amuse and entertain me. It was an eclectic mix!

The glasses donned, you slip into this ethereal world, where you cease to breathe for a while, lest you startle the characters or the moments unfolding on the scene. It is undeniably a breathtakingly beautiful work of art. I think it did more than justice to the book, it was like a tale that has been sprinkled with dusts of shimmering magic.

I was left wondering as I walked out,  how many would have really loved it, the way I did. I don't think it is a movie for everyone. Not all would have been touched or stirred by this small yet exquisite world, built around leaping tigers and flying fishes. But I truly was. It would definitely appeal more to those who have grown up with pets around, or who rather have this instinctive bonding with the zoological species, while to others it may come across as a lengthy psychedelic documentary sorts. Mebe.

(Started writing the review, what seems to be ages back, and had almost given it up, but then continuing with it, because some things tend to fade away with time, things which you would like to hold on, if possible. And written word just about manages to do that.) And as an afterthought loved the music/background score, (ofcourse, you may say), but surprisingly wasn't too impressed by the 'famed' lullaby; it somehow just didn't strike a genuine chord. Came across as more of a laboured effort, especially the lyrics, didn't  seem to fall or gently caress you as sweetly as it should have! Judges at the Oscars thought otherwise I guess. Paradise by Coldplay was hummable and likeable though.

And so, 2013 did manage to sneak in, and before you know its gonna be March. It's been personally a hectic year, would think one that whizzed by, and looking back, wasn't a bad one! We learn, forget, re-learn a zillion things, through the years, as we allow ourselves to be etched and chiseled, a process that makes each individual, fascinatingly interesting (most of the times!), as they allow themselves to emerge or unfold, every single day, into an entity entirely new, if they are fortunate enough! 

And so my heartfelt wishes, that the journey of self discovery, this year be, as enchanting and as engaging, as Piscine Patel's was, to all of you out there! :)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Let me to the Valley go...

It's been a real long time, since I jotted down something, here. And it feels strange as I go through the process, acutely aware of the fact that, words flow less freely, and sense the same strangeness that creeps in, when you get back with a friend after a long lull.

But then, it feels wonderful to be back in India, and with family, slowly relishing and savouring the moments. Capturing them in words or pictures would seem to morph or distort or define the actuals, but then you get to capture them for eternity, which may otherwise dissipate (even if not all) into disjoint figments, which may again be a better alternative for some! Well, the intention of this post is to try and relive that wonderful time capsule, during which we made a short trip to Coonoor, and record few impressions which may otherwise become progressively obscure and faint.

Enroute our six hour journey, we took a short break, which was pleasantly refreshing, especially as we had a go at the swings, and the local 'bondas'. And then set off on our uphill ascent, from Mettupalayam, up the expansive Nilgiris, standing tall and impressive, 2,000 metres above sea level. Seated (clinging to our seats for dear life) in our vehicles, watching the drivers ease their way through the tantalisingly dangerous 'hairpin bends', with consummate ease was a nerve-rackingly exciting experience! And finally  found ourselves at Coonoor around lunch time, a tiny little bustling town interspersed with lush green mountain slopes and an abundance of  towering trees. The 'De Rock' took time reaching though, tucked away, almost along the edge of Lamb's Rock, from where the view down was breathtaking, and a sublime sense of tranquility pervaded our senses.

The stay at the quaint, red bricked cottages was an interesting one, with campfire and barbecue enlivening our chill evenings. The Coonoor Railway Station was a veritable scene lifted right out of a Movie, with its misty backdrop, the noisy steam engine chugging in, the ancient stone structure and the pretty wooden benches. It was a delightful experience, atleast to me. 

The Pykara Lake , the Botanical Gardens, the Kodanad View point,were the other places covered. The Kodanad had an impressive, what is termed as 'Panaromic View' and the Rangaswamy Peak and Pillar (picture) was a prominent part  of the vast landscape, with the Moya river meandering its way across the rocky terrain. Had small doses of shopping by way of Home made chocolates which much to our surprise were delicious, unlike the brittle sand like stuff dished out in Kodaikanal. Few herbal remedies, and books at the local Higginbothams,  were picked up too.

The short trek along a gurgling stream early in the morning, was the icing on the cake. Moments where you truly feel you are one with nature, when you realise how much we intrude upon her space, with scant regard or thought; how dark and mysteriously beautiful she is and how inept and insignificant we are.

The trip was a memorable one for several reasons, and truly glad and blessed we got to do it. I got to ' Stand and Stare' and ' I gazed and gazed but little thought, what wealth the show to me had brought'! 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Passing Clouds

Winter seems to take leave, with a flourish, making an exit with a roar and a flash, accompanied by bursts of torrential rains. It turned bitterly cold towards the fag end of January, and we're in for some intermittent showers and strong bellowing winds.

Come to think of it, it happened last year too. Temperature plummets, before it gives way to a short but pleasant spring season. It touched around zero degree this time, and maybe lower in the wilderness. But was thankful when it slipped back to single digits, and led me to wonder how people get on with long dreary winters, putting up with the brutally harsh cold, for days together!

Skies here, are generally a huge dull blanket of greyish blue and sightings of clouds are a rare occurrence. And so when I came upon them (couple of weeks back), as they seemed to drift along and hover for a while, having lost their way, was filled with sheer, simple joy!

So tried to capture the blazing sun in its westward journey against the lovely backdrop, while racing across the desert in designated concrete paths. Was reminded of the countless mesmirising twilight scenes captured or witnessed, in India. Dusk always evokes a sense of awe and bliss, and was left with lingering thoughts as, how nature fills and paints our world in different hues, and back home led me to these immortal lines by Keats  :

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its lovliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkn'd ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon ...


Of the few movies watched this month, nothing struck me as incredible, but wouldn't say it was disappointing too, except for Life of a Tree, which was. So thought shall put down my two cents, with scores.

~ Rango - Characters were adorable; could've been better. 7.5
~ Hugo - Was like an old fairytale, the little girl was charming. 7
~ Tintin - Good light entertainment, impressive transformation of the characters we are so used to in print. 6.5
~ Return of the Planet of Apes - Surprisingly liked parts of it, leaves an unsettling feeling. 7
The Tree of life ~ Well, somehow was left untouched, by the gravity or the sensitivity, as it should have. 6.5

Wanted to watch Descendants, but haven't as yet. As an afterthought, liked the last part of Harry Potter, the way it was wound up and absolutely loved Midnight in Paris. And how is Agneepath, honestly?