Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Word play

Posted: August 8, 2013 in Tales from past, Travel
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During my short trip to the US, I spent most of the time working from the hotel. Sigh! We were given a studio apartment. The ‘bedroom’ end of the room opened into a powder room that had this motion sensor lights.  At first, I was delighted with it but then in night, every time I tossed and turned, the lights turned on. I spent half the night putting them  off. Hmph!

I worked from one corner in the ‘living room’ and I was confined to this place, most of the time.  The only highlight of the day, other than the scrumptious breakfast was the Mexican woman who would come in to clean the place. She turned out to be quite chatty and  I went on to explain her that I was tagging along with The Bloke and that I would be gone soon.  She wanted to know more. I yielded. She spilled her story in broken English.

Then she went on to surprise me with the Hindi word that she had learnt from her friend – “Accha”, she said.  Not wanting to be left behind, I smiled and added “Hola!” (Yes, Thanks to Katrina and ZNMD). She merely smiled.  I was not going to give up easily and I looked up Spanish translation  for “Thank you”. I practiced the word quite few times in my mind. I decided to spring it on her  after her work.

She had proceeded on to making the bed and as she straightened the duvet, she asked. “No kiss?”

To say I was flummoxed is an understatement.   Zillion thoughts ran through me.  What did she see in the bed that made her ask such a question?  Or She wanted to be kissed? Or probably, she thought that I was too orthodox to kiss. As if to wake me up from my stupor, she asked again, “No kiss?”.

It was then that I realized what she meant and I replied, “No kids”.

Ps: Oh, yeah I managed to thank her in Spanish. Erm.. She wasn’t floored. I give up!

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Weekend by the Arabian sea

Posted: March 6, 2013 in The Bloke and I, Travel
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It has been a totally busy February for me this time with each weekend being busier and merrier. The Bloke and I, along with a couple of friends spent a weekend in coastal Karnataka.  The Bloke and I are last minute planners. Most of our vacations in past two years were planned and decided in last moment mostly as late as The Bloke got the email about a cancelled lecture. So unlike all our past vacations, this one was planned much earlier and our friends did all the planning and we just tagged along! And it coincided with The Bloke’s birthday!! So how more wonderful could it get!

So one beautiful misty and drizzling evening (Yeah, they are just so rare now in B’lore) we hit the road. With five of us in the vehicle and with too many things in common, we spoke of all random stuff.  Around midnight, we stopped at a ominous place for Chai.  There in midst of nowhere and in pitch darkness, we celebrated The Bloke’s birthday with a make do cake and lot of gaiety.

The last leg of the journey included ride through the curvy ghat roads and since driver never wanted to slow down, every careless moment, The Bloke and I had our heads bumped into each other.

Our first stop was in Murudeshwar. Our friends, S, MD (yeah, that is how we call him. Lucky, isn’t he?) and T ventured into scuba diving while The Bloke and I stuck to the shore.  We first visited the shore temple. Probably for the first time, we were kind of language-crippled. My Kannada is sadly  limited to dishing out directions to Autowala or on insisting to go by meter fare and grocery shopping.

In evening, we walked along the beach and watched the myriad hues of sunset. The explosion of colors set against the vast s was breathtaking. Amidst all this, there were others going about their routine like the fishermen sorting out their catch and our curiosity led to them and among their catch, we noticed this starfish.

Starfish

StarfishGokarna 198The hues of sunset 

And in some parts, we found  beautifully weaved intricate patterns, probably left behind by crabs?!

The next day, we reached Gokarna. First we headed to Om beach. This beach has some water sports including Banana ride. You know where this is leading to, right? After few minutes of bumpy ride we were toppled into the water. For sometime all that I saw was blue. And I panicked. Since I didn’t spot anyone underwater, probably I was scared that I had drifted too far.  End of it, there were hands reaching out to me and I was shaken and a bit embarrassed as well.  See, I was in a clutter of emotions. A part of me wanting me to try it out again and be brave and the other part that just wanted me to make a self note of my fear of water.

Very close to Om beach is Kudle beach and a narrow path led us to it. While on the way, we caught beautiful glimpses of the sea glistening in the sun, like a zillion diamonds scattered all over.  With the muddy hill in backdrop, the curvy coast line and the amazingly blue water were more than what we could have asked for.

All that glitters

All that glitters

Remember, the last time I was in search of tranquility, this probably is the place one could start looking for it. But while you are at it, you may want to keep a watch on your bedsheets and other earthly belonging which the cows could masticate upon. No, I’m not kidding.

Spot the cow?

Spot the cow?

Though it is one of those quiet beaches (not that I have seen many),  I got the feeling of a party going on – most of them drunk with a que  er sense of contentedness and in a happiness hangover.  It felt like we were in a parallel universe that had no definition of  ‘work’! Strange and nice, isn’t it?

We spent almost the entire day in this beach. We sipped drinks in the shacks, played a few games and watched the day roll by.

Anyone who knows  The Bloke and me well, would vouch for how besotted we are with Kerala!  The Bloke and I happened to visit Kerala to attend a friend’s betrothal. We instantly fell in love with the serene beaches, the people and their nasal language, their *Chaaya , the coconut grooves and the lush greenery.

A year later, we came back once again with a hotel reservation and no itinerary. We strolled around. Asked strangers for restaurants and paths and chose public transport.  We entrusted our lives in the hands of the driver. With the steering wheel in one hand and our lives in other, he snaked through the winding roads in the mountain. It was a joy ride.

In a quaint old  tea shop, over a cup of Chaaya our plan for the day was sketched and led us to Edakkal caves.  It was quite a hot day. The sun was high and so were our spirits. We started our ascend towards the caves. Half way through, I was out of breath. I cursed The Bloke for carrying the backpack. I blamed my slow progress on the extra luggage and the camera. But I knew well that I couldn’t have managed even without them.  We stopped now and then to take in the sight of wild plants and exotic views  and well, to take in breath.

Final set of steps? Probably no!

Final set of steps? Probably no!

We reached the caves after our laborious effort. Within the cave there is a tank that gets filled with a steady thin stream of water. The water was quite soothing.

The descent was quite a piece of cake. We glided down effortlessly. Mid way, we were stopped and questioned multiple times  by others who were climbing. They wanted to know the distance. At first, The Bloke and I ended up disagreeing over the exact distance while people walked off in disdain.  Later, we took turns to answer and made peace.

We had almost reached the bottom of the hill when someone approached us. “Pakkamo?” he asked with hope and out of breath. We laughed out aloud once he was out of sight.

*Chaaya – Kerala tea

*pakkamo – is it nearby?

ps: I still wonder what made us laugh so much? Our ordeal? Or probably coming across someone who was in same state as we were in, sometime back? And yes, “Pakkamo” probably is the only Tamil word, The Bloke understood instantaneously without translation.

From the land of BMTC

Posted: May 7, 2011 in Rants, Travel
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I was in the last part of my journey back home, not from war field, not from the land across the ocean, but from my office across the flyover packed with traffic and interspersed with signals.
The BMTC bus was almost empty for a change. Thanking my stars, I grabbed a seat and was ready to drift into my thoughts but just then a toddler caught my attention.
Cradled by the jerky movements and the lullaby of screeching brakes, he was sleeping blissfully with a smile etched across his face in his mothers lap.  what a sight!
He was clad in a thin shirt faded beyond recognition and painted in mud and the soles of his slipper worn off to a thin wafer and yet the sight of him, did not evoke any pity in me but a wave of tranquility.

After watching him contently for sometime, I threw a glance at his mother. raven eyes and long hair – a typical Indian women you would say but she surely was extraordinary. The red vermilion, the grit that glistened in her eyes, and her indomitable spirit that stood towering above the rest mocking even at her own destiny left me awestruck.
I just recovered in time to get down at my stop.