Trip to Kerala

Kerala – an inspiring state

It’s difficult to bundle all my feelings in this blog post about how I felt after visiting Kerala. But let me try my best to narrate my experience.

Bang bang !! It had to be a heavy alarm as its difficult to wake up at 2:30 am when you have slept at 11:00 pm. Woke up my spouse Amy and got ready to move. The taxi (Taxi for Sure) came on time to pick us and drop at Airport on time as the flight was scheduled at about 5 am.

Indigo was on time as usual and the sunrise welcomed us in Mumbai thereafter. We waited for about an hour then caught Spicejet to fly to Kochi. The scene from the window was really amazing. The skyline of Mumbai was visible, although it was a top view but one can get an idea about the complexity of it. After an hour or so we saw coconut trees lined up outside a building and almost everywhere. Kerala, this is!img_20151129_105850.jpg

Mr. Abraham from Evergreen Holidays received us at Cochin Airport and introduced us to the guide Mr.Georgee (Straight forward person with slight smile). I really had a good time travelling with him in a Verito.

The first thing I noticed about Kerala while enroute to Munnar was the tendency to do business and development in harmony with nature. Plantations were present everywhere while we traveled through turns and dips to reach a beautiful little waterfall by the roadside.

img_20151129_135219.jpg

We moved on to visit a nice Spice Garden with various Ayurvedic plants. After getting a lot of knowledge about possible Ayurvedic cures for headache, diabetes, chronic pain etc, we traveled higher to witness the beautiful hills of Munnar. At about 5:00 pm, we checked in to Seven Springs Resort which is situated on Manakulam road. After little rest we went on for a stroll to gasp in the refreshing atmosphere.img_20151129_174324.jpg

The dinner at the resort was really delicious. I loved the Kerala Parantha by the way. Next day was Jeep ride in nearby areas of Munnar. We also went off road during the ride which became more than thrilling due to torn path from downpour previous night. The first stop was a mild waterfall. The whole surrounding was full of spice plantations across the river. I tasted a fresh pepper, shiny green; but it pierced through my nostrils I must say. Next was an old bridge made of metal and hanging on reinforced cable with no pillar. This was made on a dry valley in line to a stream which came from Ponmoodi Dam. We visited the dam and went to the far end of the reservoir which looked like a giant lake.img_20151130_115521.jpg

We also saw the other side of that reservoir which was way down in a valley.img_20151130_124536.jpg

Then we went to the highest point of the region. View from the highest point of surrounding region was breathtaking. On one side we saw banana plantations and cardamom plantations and on other far side it was Munnar. The jeep drive was a really nice experience. We had a light lunch then. Of course I was ready to gorge on Kerala parantha.

Next was Dreamland fun park. We did a lot of acrobatic activities there. I walked on a rope way; of course with a harness on! There was Camel ride as well. After spending a couple of hours at Dreamland, we returned to the resort and had some snacks. We had a sound sleep before moving on to Thekkady next morning. After breakfast, Mr. Giorgee asked me if we wanna go for Speed Boating. I promptly agreed. The view at the Lake was amazing and the boat rider was a veteran in his own style. While I was clicking some photos, he asked me for my Mi. He clicked at many places for us to have a great background view in the photos. He took acute turns to give us thrill.

Speed Boat.PNG

After enjoying the speed we moved on to Thekkady. Persian Paradise was the title board when we took a left turn just before reaching the Kumli town. We took an elephant ride over there. We took the ride on Rupa according to Mahawat. That was the only activity that I didn’t enjoy/like.  I believe it was because of the setup (Location), an artificial circular path of about 100m. Afterwards, we checked in the hotel to keep our luggage. We booked the tickets for Kathakali and Martial Arts Shows at evening while we were going to “Periyar Tiger Reserve”. We entered the reserve and the next minute we spotted a big dear resting in the shade of a tree. From parking lot, we had to walk about a quarter mile to reach the boating ticket counter. The walk was blissful, I must say. 100ft long trees on both sides and chirping of birds to make it more dramatic. We booked the tickets and spent some time in a caged restaurant. Why Caged? The Macaques were the reason. They must be more than 50 in numbers, I think. In fact one of them tried to snatch the soft drink from Amy’s handbag.

There were about five boats to travel the lake. We started in little overcast conditions and thence the atmosphere was most comfortable. Of course we didn’t spot a tiger as they generally live in far deeper zone of the forest. But we saw bison, deer and a monitor lizard other than many Kingfishers and storks. Our first show was of Kalari Martial Arts at about 6 in the evening. It was nice to witness the heroics of the Kalari warriors but it was difficult for me to gulp the claim by them that Kung Fu and other Chinese arts are based on theirs. Next we saw incredible eyes and facial expressions used in Kathakali. The show was a good one. We went to Kumli market after a great meal comprising of Butter Chicken, Biryani & Kerala Paratha (Once Again 😉 ) We rested and then early morning next day we were off to Kochi. At noon we reached Kochi and then I checked in a hotel near Ernakulam Junction. Okha Express for Ahmedabad was scheduled at 8:10 pm and so I had some hours to roam Kochi.Fort Kochi.PNG

First we went to the Fort Kochi beach. As per the reviews, it was not at all clean. There were many fisherman using Chinese nets to catch fish and many restaurants selling sea food. I hate sea food, so we had Chicken noodles at a restaurant. He told us about the timing of ferry to Vypin. And Google guided me to Puthuvype Beach which was in Vypin. A so called island near Kochi can be reached by ferry. An auto then dropped us near Puthuvype Beach. “That’s what you call a BEACH!” came out when I stepped on the clean shore.

Puthuvype.PNG

There was nice silence I must say. Just another couple enjoying the waves other than us was present. There was also a vanity van standing by one end of the beach; and many boats for fishing. We moved farther towards the lonely part of the beach. I really felt dismay that I didn’t have much time to spend there. Though we enjoyed the breeze for some time and also made sand castle. Then we had to return back to the road. The vanity van we saw earlier was of a crew preparing to shoot a Malayalam movie shot. Charlie is the upcoming movie. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to wait and watch, so we moved on. A bus dropped us near the ferry point.

We traveled to Ernakulam via a ferry from Vypin and then reached the hotel by an auto. After light dinner in a Punjabi restaurant, we went to Ernakulam junction to catch our train to Ahmedabad. Complete a journey of 35 hours and then one can reach Ahmedabad via train from Kochi. This is how it ended. An unforgettable experience !!

Munnar.PNG

Advertisements

Back in the Heritage City

Ahmedabad HD[22-41-32]

Having lived in a metro region for 2 years made me eager to get back to the city I love so much. It’s late night and I am dozing in the bus while the rain welcomes me in Ahmedabad. I see dogs running, cows on the edge of road and peddlers sleeping on the carts. This is old part of the city; a heritage of India. The bus rides up the bridge and then I see a grid of wet rail tracks on my left and wet clothes in the balconies where residents are sleeping unaware of the rain. The bus station is here and the auto drivers are running to get the first passenger off the bus; shouting aloud: “Wo hari patti waala t-shirt mera hai”. Then, I’ve to say: “Bhaiya, ye t-shirt wala paas me hi rehta hai”; to hear his response: “Hat saala!! Ae Yousuf!  ….. leja isko.” I board another auto and get to my home for a sound sleep.

The next day I get the chance to roam around in the vicinity before I move to the newer (so-called Modern) part of the city for a meeting. Wandering in the streets, I see kids running with a small plastic bat or ball in their hands; there’s an old man smoking ‘beedi’ and abusing the annoying kids; a butcher sharpening his large knife to start his work and innumerable vehicles rushing by. Although, I was little uncomfortable at first as my recent life was totally different but the city took me in its arms and pampered me.

Ahmedabad HD[22-42-59]

After a short stroll in this part, I got an auto to move to another part of the city. The folks here are actually down to earth; they may sound foolish sometimes but that’s the simplicity that might be interpreted in such a manner. The auto-driver seems to tell me about his whole life in that half an hour. Then I see the river that cuts the city into half: Sabarmati. The riverfront is built now and is altogether different scenery than it was a couple of years ago. Moving on, I enter the part where you feel that: “May be I haven’t left the metro life, it’s almost the same. People rushing in haste, signals all around, honking cars and ……

Though there’s this unexplainable sense of feeling that you’d get if you live here for some time that would draw you back here again and again. The feeling can’t be articulated but it can only be felt. I am pleased to be back in the heritage city.

Ahmedabad HD[22-44-28]

Photo Courtesy: A video by Cineman, Ahmedabad : Click to watch

ये कैसी खामोशी . . .

कभी कभी ज़िन्दगी कुछ सवाल पूछती है,

जवाब सामने होते है और……खामोशी

मुस्कुराती है और मेरा नसीब पूछती है,

जवाब सामने होते है और……खामोशी

 

कभी अश्क बनकर जज़्बात उठते है,

वजह सामने होती है और……खामोशी

बेगाने हसीन खयाल उठते है,

वजह सामने होती है और……खामोशी

हसरतों की कशमकश मे गाफ़िल हो जाते है,

ख्वाब सामने होते है और……खामोशी

मसर्रत के माय्ने हम बदल देते है,

ख्वाब सामने होते है और……खामोशी

 

ज़िन्दगी के सवाल मुकम्मल हो ना हो,

जवाब सामने होते है और……….खामोशी

मै चलता रहा ……

मै चला उन रास्तों पर,

दगमगाता हुआ, टकराता हुआ,

गिरता हुआ, गिरके उठता हुआ,

निगाहों में लिये कुछ हसीन सपने,

मै चलता रहा ……

 

कभी लगता मंज़िल करीब है,

कभी झट से ओझल हो जाती,

मुझे आगे बढाती रही मेरी प्यास,

मंज़िल को पाने कि, दिल मे थी आस,

मै चलता रहा ……

मेरी आंख़े उजाले से छुपती कभी,

तो कभी अंधेरे से मूंह चुराती,

कभी उठ्ती तो कभी झूकती,

मेरी निगाहें चमकती रही,

और मै ……

      चलता रहा, ….  मै चलता रहा …..

It does make sense

I woke up with a smile on my face,
A beautiful dream with a loving trace.
Tried to recall about that space,
Found nothing, but my life’s brace.

My identity and its significance,
Neither by luck nor by chance.
It’s a build-up so dense,
But without any fence.

It was once a race,
But I reduced my pace.
To feel the life’s embrace,
To admire the beautiful space.

Emptying my mind apace,
I found peace and solace.
It was a coup de grace,
But I became an ace.

I felt for an instance,
That it does make sense.
Neither hatred nor vengeance,
No regrets, but LOVE immense.

More than just a flick

Have you ever felt that you’ve been struck by a thunderbolt but still you are getting mesmerized ? Or have you ever felt that you’ve not been able to admire the beauty of nature ? That’s what I felt while watching one of the best flicks I’ve ever seen in my life. “Life of Pi”.

A kid’s mind is generally full of questions but rarely do they question the existence of God and authenticity of faith. Co-incidentally I found my traits of this agnosticism in the lead character of the flick and that’s when it drew me in. The traditional India is always fascinating for world. And as many parts of India have not been able to cope with the modernization, one can have a feel of it here too. Be it the caring nature of your parents or be it the empathy in every soul, one would experience it.

From the biggest mammal to almost extinct meerkats, one can devour the beauty of wildlife even without getting a feel of Nat Geo documentary. Above all, the essence of movie gets down to the relationship between the big cat and Pi. Understanding the importance of another soul in your life, be it your mother, your wife or your friend but the best companion that gives you a reason to live; one can connect to it. Many a times, it’s hard to accept the unusual realities of life but that won’t change the very truth. Still, a person’s conscience makes him believe in what his soul can connect with.

And at the end, I felt like: “Does it really need to end ?” Can’t I carry on for longer time ?” . I’d applaud Yann Martel for writing such a beautiful story and Ang Lee for directing it in such a skillful manner.

Because of all its beauty, simplicity & serenity, I’d say: “It’s more than just a flick, a delightful journey.”

Thanks to my pals  !!

Thanks to my pals !!

A canoe speaks …

I fell into Himalayan stream that day,
Furious and violent, it made me sway.
I felt, I’d collapse; but I continued to glide,
Be it waterfall, woods or frozen river slide.

I cried for some days and felt awkward,
My body became fragile, like a piece of junkyard.
That day I reached a holy place,
With colorful canoes and shiny space.

Expressed gratitude to temples, I glided to woods again,
Gliding became smooth; it was no more a strain.
Lying on a shallow bank, I was in my fantasy,
Before some children came to me & showed intimacy.

I flowed down to the woods of Bengal,
And flowed through the delta spread in a sprawl.
A beautiful journey in the holy river… free-and-easy,
Now; Lying on my back in Bay of Bengal… Ecstasy !

Other likewise poems ……
A river speaks….
An old tree speaks…
Heaven speaks…

Confusion made my Life!

Confusion led me to live,
Gave me a reason to smile.
I thought she liked me,
And, hence I survived.

I considered that smile as mine,
Her charming face made my eyes shine.
The time we spent together,
I wanted it to stay forever.

I thought fire was on either side,
But that was a confusing stride.
I went close to her,
And asked her to be my bride.

Though, I was just a good friend,
But also the best companion, at the end.
Very often, we look back and smile,
Now, Life is beautiful and virile.

Thank You…O’ Teacher !

Stepped in the school,

Tears in my eyes,

Fear in my heart,

Frown on my face.

Came up to me,

Took me in her arms,

Sobered me up,

Gave me a chocolate.

Took me to a lab,

And showed me the universe,

Taught me the solar system,

Told me about stars.

Found out my love,

Guided me to pursue,

My guiding light, O Teacher !!

Thank You, my dear Teacher !!

 

Feel the Feelings

Love, Infatuation, Crush,

Passion, Ambition, Desire.

Feelings or mere illusion?

Concrete or temporary?

 Whatever or howsoever,

Drivers of the life.

Be it strong or minor,

Writer of your destiny.

 Appreciate or disgrace,

Can’t live without them.

Like minutes in hour,

Like feelings in Life.

 Crush brings joy,

Ambition rushes the adrenaline.

Infatuation brings smile,

Excerpts of journey.

 Love with passion,

Fulfill the desires,

Pamper the feelings

Live your life !!

Courtesy: Sreeniviews.wordpress.com