Monday, September 29, 2008


Here's Bhimsen (episode 10), Mahabharata from the point of view of the Pandava Bhima , an English-language re-telling of M T Vasudevan Nair’s Randaamoozham, as a series of blog posts, by Prem Panicker.
It’s just brilliant.
Archives in sequence here
(Note: the website is problematic, so refresh/reload a couple of times if it doesn't open at first try.)

I am hooked to it, events unfolding as if real.
Takes me back to childhood days, reminding me of my grandpa, a narrator par excellence. Apart from Ramayana & Mahabharata, which he translated to mother tongue from Sanskrit, he had his own amazing hunting experiences to narrate, which’s still so vivid in my memory.

With the choice of words, voice modulation, gestures and pauses, storytelling is an art tough to master and listening to a master storyteller is such a wonderful experience. Ah, those days...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Road Trip Diary - 8 Days, 8 People, 2 Cars, 2478.3 kms and some 1000 snaps :-)

One of my close friends, Raghu, moved to USA, last weekend and this one's for him, wishing him fun filled times ahead :-)
We had 8 people packed in 2 cars and a draft plan for 8 days, to start with and by the time we were back in Bangalore, we had loads of moments for lifetime.

‘Live For The Journey, Not The Destination’ never sounded more true.

(31-08-08 6 AM) Bangalore -> Belgaum -> Amboli Ghat -> Ganapathi Phule -> Mahabaleshwar -> Panchgani -> Pune -> Ganpati Temple -> Lonavala-> Sinhgad –> Kolhapur-> Davangere -> Bangalore (07-09-08 9 PM)

Instead of covering the entire stuff (which deservers too many words/photos and still can’t do justice) here I recall few moments.

1) 2nd day of the trip, lot of travelling, and not much fun (yet), first spot ‘Amboli Ghat’ wasn’t all that great and we were heading to Ratnagiri. And after reaching Ratnagiri, we realized that we actually had to go to Ganapathi Phule beach. Desperate to hit the beach for sunset, we kept on travelling on the narrow road, heading nowhere. No sign of beach yet. With sun about to set, our energy levels dipping, patience running out asking for directions, inconsistent signposts only adding to the frustration, mood was blue. All of a sudden, out of the blue, road took a curve and then we screamed with glee...

Magnificent Sea, behind the greenary, beautiful sand & beach, Sun turning orange and about to set. Clouds covering half the Sun.
It was like nature wearing a sari, hint of clouds hiding a part of the beauty, or was it revealing the other half? :-)

A moment in memory, that’s forever.

2) 3rd day, driving to Mahabaleshwar through never ending scenery, after lot of stops & snaps at picturesque locations, it was evening and sun was fading, we thought we had seen everything...till we saw it. As the cars screeched to halt, if sky’s the canvas, that’s the most beautiful painting we have ever seen, with sun setting behind the mountain, and sky, and there were all shades of blue, white, orange…well, all colors possible. One of us wanted to see stomach full before taking any pictures and other one quipped, taking a photo is doing injustice to the scene. And then magically there was cloud and mist/fog covering everything. Those few minutes were enough to wash away from the soul the dust of everyday life :-)

In the background nature played music, interrupted once in a while by passing vehicles with their lights fighting to pierce the fog, a battle which fog won hands down. It’s the most wonderful drive ever, with nature revealing herself in all her unhidden beauty and the ghat section roads - silently screaming – 'Come but be gentle on my curves'...

3) 4th day, Mahabaleshwar to Panchagani, lot of view points, but the Kate Point’s the one that takes your breath away. It’s a place which has almost everything you can ask for in a view point. River, mountains, hint of roads through them, streams and waterfalls, a dam, rock, trees & fields, flowers…and of course monkeys make it complete!

We saw the cloud filling in and covering the entire area, clearing again to tease us and re fill and hide the beauty. As we left the place truly on ‘Cloud 9’, there was more. We saw the sky painted with rainbow, well 2 of them together….

Bhagavan Jab Deta Hai, Chappar phad ke deta hai!

This was a day I think we should have gambled! We were walking through famous ‘Table Land’ in Panchgani which’s around 2km stretch. Suddenly, as is the norm in these areas, it looked like it’s going to pour. There was no shelter in sight & we had no umbrellas/rainwear. Just then we saw a sign board pointing downwards, to a cave hotel, right there where we were standing. As we reached inside that amazing place it started raining hard. We had fun inside with tea & snacks, walk through a cave inside and photo session. After nearly 2 hrs just when we were contemplating having to make a dash in the rain, it did stop, just before the deadline :-)
It was one of the days, lady luck kept smiling at us.(As a matter of fact, one of us did gamble and win, a water bottle by throwing a ring :P)

4) 5th day, on the way back from Lonavala - Sahara City, we stopped beside the road, in a scenic location, though it was hard to see anything beyond 10 meters in the mist. As we were making merry in the cold breeze, a voice shot from behind the mist!
“Saab, Chai?”
“YES 8 cups” screamed our collective voices, though we couldn’t see where the voice’s coming from. And we couldn’t actually believe our luck until a person appeared from mist and delivered tea!
Tea can never taste better….as we sipped slowly…well sometimes you really don’t have to die to be in heaven :-)

There were moments aplenty and I have tried hard to relive some of those, but the end result seems to be an exposure of my limitations as a writer :-(

Well, beyond that considering the fun we had, wise man would end saying 'words and languages (& photographs) have limitations...' :-)