Of hotels and offers : Random rambling !

While on travel, my mind wanders. Not that, it stays at one place, otherwise. But the travel, accentuates the wandering. This travel was no different. Sample this.

On the way to and from Daman, there are very many hotels. Its a busy highway, with a zillion trucks (and slightly less than a zillion demented drivers. But thats another post).

The names of the hotels on the road, keeps me intrigued quite a bit.

Obviously, a Simla Inn transports the mind to Shimla.

And a Nilgiris takes the mind to Ooty !

Wonder why they have named these hotels here in the Western Ghats after scenic hill stations in the North and the South. Perhaps there are other meanings to the name that i am clueless about.

And then, there is Vegas hotel. I mean, what was that ? When the moral brigade runs out of ideas like Valentines Day, they will get here. And organise a protest against foreign names to Indian hotels. Culture. Heritage and such else will be recalled. I don’t want to go further and sound like a regular newspaper or TV channel. Out to depress people.


Why on earth would they call a hotel in the Western Ghats Niligiris. Or Simla. Or Vegas for that matter.

Thomas Friedman told us that ‘The World is Flat’ . I am sure my geography teacher must have been glad that the book wasnt around when i was a student. She would have had a hard time teaching me that the world is round.

Especially when this Friedman chap, made a mountain of money, proclaiming that the world is flat. ! But still Vegas in the Western Ghats is out of place enough to occupy my thoughts for sometime.

Suddenly, i want to become an IAS offcer with a fancy designation. Like “Commissioner of Appropriate Names”. Or something of that kind. An IAS officer with an Ambassador car and the read beacon light on top, passing orders.

Hmm. Like this : Moutains in the ghats of India, will respect local sentiment and choose names that will have ryhming consonants from the local dialect !‘ Or something like that.

And, then i see this.

Mansoon special offer. And the thought bandwagon jumps.

How do you do that ?

I mean, making of a man.
And that too, soon ?
And that too, under a special offer!
For all of Rs.350/- !

Whats on earth can be on the curriculum ?

Hmm. My mind wonders.

Ideas anyone ?

Of Swiping !

I found this at the office cafeteria. A modern day affair. Where you ‘swipe’ a ‘card’ over a machine, which automatically debits your account. Voila. Your hips richer with fat. And your money in the bank, stands lower. Than where it already was.

And as the lunch was settling into the comfortable recesses of the alimentary canal, that message rankled my mind. That message that called me to check my account before swiping. I chuckled. And thought of how life and times have evolved.

Think about it.

A few years back ‘a mouse’ was something that scurried around carrying plague. Not something that you would cradle in your hand helping you navigate a screen. A ‘screen’ was something that you adorned a window with.

And a window was something that had to be opened to let in some fresh air, and something that would never ‘hang’. And lets not talk of Gates.

‘Monitors’ were people in school, who looked over you. Not something that came in 14 or 17 inches ( or more. Or less ) that you peered into ! Back then, none of my class monitors were ever ‘flat’! Of course, ‘Printers’ were people who ran a business and a laptop was something to with your leg.

A ‘virus’ was something that infected people. Not machines. And when you meant ‘anti-virus’, you thought of a doctor! Not downloadable software! Those were the times when you could ‘enter’ without hitting any ‘key’. And keys themselves were made of metal.

Of course, ‘backspace’ was about space in the rear of the bus. Geeks were a spelling error, when you wanted to write ‘Greeks’ ! And ‘spellchecker’ at best brought back memories of the dictation test that you flopped in Ms.De Monte’s class.

Do you remember Yahoo? It was a jungle cry. And the closest people came to uttering ‘google’ was when they were either saying ‘gooey’ or ‘ogle’ !

Back then, plastic was looked down upon. Used only in the making of mugs, toys and such peripherals. And by no stretch of imagination, was it a stand-in for money. Money in itself was standing in. For gold that that governments kept! Gold Standard !

And we live in the best of times and in the worst of times. A time when money has moved from the gold standard to plastic. And ‘swiping’ is very much an acceptable mode of payment. ( or should I be saying ‘way of life’) !!

Life indeed has evolved. Don’t you think ?

Hits or Touches ?

And there is this lady. Who inspires with such inspiring accounts of personal courage, resolve and a passion to set things right. Driven with love and care. Her blog is here.

A couple of weeks back, she put a message up on her blog. About a free give away of a novel. To anyone who asked. And i did. Only half believing that a book will land at my desk. We lived many seas apart, you see.

Yet, in a couple of days, the publisher wrote. And last week, the book arrived. Roxana Robinson’s COST. Its proving to be an insightful and touching story.

It causes me to wonder about the number of people that i connect to on Kavis Musings ! The happiness that permeates, and the love that comes forth from readers and friends are just beyond measure.

And then, there is this gentleman. A simple soul with a large heart. Who lives in the UK. His blog is here.

The other day, he called. And we spoke. For about an hour and a half. Overseas call. He called. And we spoke about culture. About our pasts. Our families. Our histories. Our likes. And dislikes. Our people. Our surroundings. And so on.

Peels of laughter. Gasps of surprise. Shouts of joy. As we caught up with each other. Under normal terms, this would fit any conversation between friends. Old classmates, co-workers and others, who have gone their ways.

Or perhaps like the lost brother from the Indian cinemas. Yes, the one who got separated at a temple festival, only to reunited by a handkerchief or a song!

It was another matter though, that it was the first time, i was speaking to him.

He left this comment on this post asking for a contact number. He called from the UK. And we spoke. Insightful and impacting conversation. And i realise that good and goodness reside all around us. If only we are are more aware !

I for one, never could imagine that this blog has touched people across so many countries. And shores. And brought a wonderful array of friends and family together.

And i realise, i am often dumbstruck when some one asks me ‘why’ i write. The truth is difficult to state. But here it is : ‘i don’t know !’ It is beyond loving writing and sharing. Or photography. Or technology. Etc.

Like a man or a woman, who is dancing to music that seeps out of an ipod plugged to the ear, unmindful of an audience thats there or otherwise…i just am in the moment ! And thats exactly what happens when i compose a post here !

Having said that, I am ever greatful to readers who have flocked back again and again ! Like Shobha, Rush, Aleta and others who have stated it so. Lou and Balaji just tipped that feeling into a full fledged meandering post ! And there is a new wind in the sails, to get a bloggers meeting going on again.

There is so much life on planet Earth. Wonderful people. Stories of struggle. Wins. Losses. Passion. Persistence. Love. Joy. And just a feeling that we are all in it together. So, go on, keep those posts coming !

One more thing. Frankly the number of hits a blog gets isn’t big deal ! That’s a number that doesn’t matter. If lives are better off, and living is easier, and the soul is soothed, well, the numbers really don’t matter.

Hits are about numbers. Touching the soul is about life.


From afar we see many couples taking a boat ride in the middle of the Kodai lake. And it seems so romantic. So to speak. We follow the crowd. And engage a boat too. For half an hour. A ‘pedal boat’ from TTDC (Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation). And we set off.

As we reach close to the middle of the lake, we realise that all the pedaling is energy draining. And that it isnt quite the ‘romantic experience’ that it seemed from the banks. We huff and puff. And pedal. To get to somewhere quiet. In the lake that is.

We are quick to realise that

a. Pedaling this contraption is not a walk in the woods.
b. ‘Quiet’ spaces are non existent in the lake. (Not that we have any dramatic things ‘to do’ in mind..Just saying. )

And whenever a boat passes by, we see similar drained out faces. And they peer into our boat. And we peer into theirs. Drawing energy from the fact that folks in the other boat are ‘suffering’ as well.

To keep the mind occupied, we strike conversation. Between us. For starters, we wonder why in Gods name, does this boat have to be in the ‘shape of a swan’ ! And that too in pink.

And look around to find ones in deep green, bright orange. et al. Yellow swans with blue beaks. Blue swans with black beaks.

And i quietly slip a prayer of thanks.

One such boat comes close. Another couple. The man is sweating. Huffing. Puffing. All at the same time.‘Tommy’ his shirt says. The lady is no different. She is on the ‘huff-puff ‘ mode too. Her T-shirt says ‘GAS’ or ‘GAP’. ( i am not sure )

They look at us. We look at them’. And the woman says, ‘look their boat has broken wings’. And i look around. To find that there are ‘wings’ to all boats. Wings of a swan. Ofcourse. Plastic. Coloured. Attachments with ‘artistic’ value.

And also find that in our boat, one wing is absent. Puffing and huffing, i wonder, how i missed seeing that we were one wing less. And seem to think that there is a distinct glee in the other couple now.

There we are. In the middle of the lake. The lovely weather above. Pedals beneath. Momentarily thinking of the wing that isnt there. On a boat that doesnt need it. The other couple pass us. They smile. And they keep staring at where the wing should have been.

And it seems to give them some topic for conversation. And some energy too. For their winged boat gathers new found speed. At least, i think so.

We are one wing less. We arent getting anywhere’ i say. And we stop.

We have a good laugh. We stop pedaling. We give our thigh muscles some rest. And soak in the lake and the weather. Boats with and without wings pass by. And we seem to think they are all giving us a ‘what a pity’ look.

While we just sit there with giggle and glee !

We decide to look for them. That couple. Who somehow lead us to a good time. We want to thank them.

I cant find them. They must have flown. They had wings, you see.

The Morning Meeting

Adjacent to where we live here in Mumbai, theres this new apartment complex that’s on its way up. And there is so much life to watch in a construction activity. ( just try watching one)

Different characters adorn the landscape. There are the engineering types. With helmets et al, who stand in a corner and bark. There are the supervisory types who speak both to the workmen and the engineers.

There are the workmen themselves and their wives. Carrying the load up those floors or heaving cement or doing whatever they are paid to do. And activity sees the towers climb up. All the time.

But, there is one group activity that takes place in the morning. And that is the ‘morning meeting’. (I see from the balcony far away from them, and i cant hear a thing of what they say. But looking through the camera’s lens i make my own dialogue. To their gestures and moves).

They sit, usually, in a single file. On those iron rods. And they always seem to be an engaged lot. Often there are the supervisors who seem to be doing all the talking. As the rest of them sip their tea. Or whatever.

Occasionally there are others who point to the building that’s coming up and say something. And then, you can see the supervisors talk for half an hour.

Around them bricks, steel, cement and such else.

Very often, I read my newspapers. with one eye on them and their meetings. Often times, their meetings are far more interesting than the news. For news doesn’t get beyond Swine Flu or dacoity or rape or recession. Or of Buchanan writing a book and every quaint dust particle in the neighbourhood fluttering a protest.

And so, i watch these meetings. One day a neighbour peeps out of his balcony. And sees me seeing them. He smiles at me. ‘Meetings eh !

I nod. And smile.

And then looks into his watch and says, ‘in half an hour, i will be at office. And there will be a meeting there and action replay. And i will be part of the drama’

I want to add..’Perhaps new Scene. Old plot. Same drama ! But he is in a hurry. He is gone. And i tell myself, poor man, he has to play his part. Soon.

And then i hear the missus shout, ‘aren’t you getting late for work‘ . And i look into my watch. And hurry for breakfast.

She spots the hurry. With hands on hips, she asks, ‘so you have a meeting today’. I think of the supervisors below. And let go of a sheepish smile.

Old plot, you see !

Of flowers. Noise. Colour. Fragrance.

And as we sit in Bryant Park in Kodaikanal, the spectrum of colours that stand on green plants are just mind boggling. Theres this endless stream of red and yellow. And then, as we walk a small distance, there is a blue, violet, white mosaic.

I pause to click a few snaps. And in the lens appears what appears to be a Cartoon character. I look away from the camera to admire nature’s fine dance. Many more images seep through the lens’ to the hard disk.

Just then, a bystander says ‘if only these flowers had as much of fragrance like the Jasmine..’ and i seem to agree. Of course, why don’t these flowers have some of that hauntingly waffling fragrance of Jasmine. I think. (of course i love jasmine)

We move on.

In some time we walk to ‘see’ Jasmine meandering by. Peeking from a basket that a vendor carries. And by the time we reach the car, the driver has adorned the rear view mirror too. And the aroma fills the car. The question returns. And i wish there was some more colour !

A few days from then, we reach Madurai. And folks at home wear flowers. And this question of colour remains. Dormant. You don’t speak it.(of course not). Ah ! But the mind resonates with ‘If only there was some more colour to the flower…!

The next morning, i am on my morning jog. At the Corporation Park. They have many signboards. And here is one that i pause to read. ” Every flower has its own beauty, you cannot compare two flowers…. ” And after reading those two lines, i stop. To read the full signboard.

Of course ! Of course ! The Jasmine regains its unparalleled height in my mind. And so do the colourful tapestry of flowers from Bryant Park. Each reigning in boundary less kingdoms.

I laugh. Suddenly i feel handsome. Powerful. Light. Simple. A thousand life events zip by in those intervening second. Even ‘Kavis Musings’ with all its faults seems OK !

I quickly re-pass the resolution that i slip out of. Often. ‘Do whats to be done. And leave out the rest’

And so, i jog on. And as another man sprints by, i tell myself ‘Yes leave the rest out. The rest of it is noise’.

3 boys and many potholes

7.40 AM. Mumbai

Three boys. All seemingly of different age groups stare at me through the windshield. In between their animated chatter. Two of them in football costume.

The goods van in which they travel hits a pot hole. And another. In a short while my tyres hit the same potholes. I wince. And then let out a yelp as the spine feels the shock offered by the pothole.

I look ahead at the boys. They don’t seem to bother. With all of steel flooring of a good vehicle for a seat, and a metal ledge as a support to hang legs…well.. can be pretty painful. Especially, given the size and strategic battlefield like location of these potholes.

I look at the boys ahead. They seem to be discussing something of importance. I cant fathom what. More importantly, i cant fathom how such potholes dont evoke a flicker of the eyelid!

They smile. They chatter. The one boy that sits on the ledge holds a string that hangs from the roof. Occasionally. Almost by reflex. That’s the only sign that the goods carrier didn’t have superior shock absorbers.

And as each pothole approaches, my heart skips a beat. Most for them. Part for me. The goods carrier hits the pothole. They don’t flinch. And when it comes to my turn, it hurts.

Is it age? Is it youthful exuberance? Is it the joy of company? Is it passion ? Is it football ? Is it joy? Is it holiday season?. Hypotheses galore !

I wonder how it would be to preserve this spirit for a lifetime. To face life’s potholes. And they go their way. In some time i stop. But seems that i have taken them along with me. That moment. The car. The joy of living in the moment.

I don’t know if they made it as ‘winners’ or ‘losers’ in their football game. But they sure did make my day.

It seems.

Of the many wonders of the natural world, the one that occupies attention span is what seems to be the battle between man and nature. 

As man goes about burning up the forests, chewing up the last available shark, and overturning the what were mountains and diverting what were waterway, nature seems to grin and bear.  

Amidst man made smoke, machine finished roads, in the thick of concrete buildings, are natures signs of survival. At least that’s how they appear to me : Plants !!! These are not potted plants, grown for the sake of ‘greenery in the balcony’. 

These are plants that have grown with whatever was available. Clinging to the moisture that is available on the sides of drainage pipes and spreading roots into concrete. These are not creepers. These are plants that have taken root in concrete. 

And as man drains out nature’s resources, nature seems to be doing its bit by holding on to his drainage pipes.  Who will have the last laugh is a laughable question. For it doesn’t have to be asked. 

For now, the concrete towers seem to be rising. And the nature resides in the drainage pipe. Forests keep burning. The smoke keeps raising. And diplomats converge in the capitals of the world. And ofcourse, Our Environment is ‘debated‘. 

Alls well with the world.  

It Seems.  


Cotton Candy memories !

There is an unmistakable energy in the air.  You wonder where it emanates from.  You look hard. And discover that he operates his contraption with a practiced hand. Throwing in that odd spoon of sugar and ratcheting up some noise with a small piece of cane.  

You try to stare into his face. And see whats behind that monochromatic stare into his pink produce.  You cant decipher much. 

You stand there, and simply stare into that contraption.  There are furious swirls that are on. And in some time, you see a gathering sponge of pink cotton.  

There is some thing unique here. You think. As your heart begins to beat faster and the saliva props in your mouth from nowhere.  Enough to make Pavlov beam in his grave. Ditto for his dog. 

The gathering swirls seem to pluck more of the pink cotton from nowhere. The swirls seem to have rung a magic in colour.  You watch the  small piece of cane disappear behind a cloud of pink cotton candy. 

The pink in the air makes you think. Of pinks slips. The lay offs. The worsening economy. You wonder where it will lead the world to.  Strips of bad habits that the world picked up gathered up as a huge ball of pink.  

By now, the saliva in your mouth makes its presence felt. The thoughts of the economy or the recession disappear like share prices on wall street.  Its now ready. Your pink cloud of sugar candy. He thrusts it in your face.  Not even looking at you. And moves on to the next customer. 

Your heart continues to beat fast.  You tell yourself. 

The price of cotton candy : Rs. 20. The calories which you would add : a 100 !  The worry on hygiene and such other factors :  Rs.400/- for consultation and an equal sum on medicine. 

The look of amusement on the faces of children, as you lick away the last strand of cotton candy and nudges from the missus, urging you to behave….. is large scale capital erosion ! 

But the memories that come rushing back to you from an earlier time. When you ran about in grey knickers, and treated 25 paise as a heavenly sum, and thought of cricket and cotton candy as proof that God existed…. Priceless !  

That unmistakable energy permeates. You no longer wonder where it comes from ! 


Of Temples & Washrooms !

You are going to look at that image and purse your lips and wonder whats the big deal. After all a picture of a temple from Tamil Nadu, is common sight ! As common as a politician making tall promises during elections. You get the idea, right ?

Well, this is the Shree Navaneethakrishnan Temple in Madurai. Its not one of those gigantic structures. Its just another temple. Frequented by the faithful, used as a landmark to navigate by the newcomer and clicked on camera by a insipid blogger.

So, whats with it.

Here’s what i thought was enough of a big deal. Look closer at the temple Gopuram. And this is what you see.

And right there, is Mahatma Gandhi. With one leg above, above Lord Vishnu. And the other over Hanuman. On the other side there is Jawaharlal Nehru.

Atop an established temple’s gopuram, well, well,well, that indeed was interesting to me !

That they were revered enough to be placed on par with the Gods, says something. Something really profound about that time, that age and them !!! This was a different era indeed. And the folks that were there back then, were made of a different mettle.

Beginning today, India votes. The reactions to the pitches and planks of politicians and their parties have ranged for overwhelming laughter to ‘mild amusement’ to ‘mild disturbance’ to ‘deep consternation’ !

Let me get this straight.

1.Who you should vote for, is your choice.
2. To exercise that choice or to throw up your hands and enjoy a holiday : your choice again !
3. To make a considered, well thought through decision or going by narrow compulsions : your choice again.
4. To actively campaign or passively exercise choice…. well, this is a free country. Its your choice again.

So, it all boils down to you & your choice. Except this : What picture i leave on my blog, continues to remain, my choice !

So what if the picture was found in the washroom of an educational institution ?

PS : My political views remain private. This is not in support of the Congress, BJP, UPA, NDA, DMK, MDMK, ABCD, EFGH, IJKL, MNOP, QRS, TUV, WXYZ of their offshoots / prepoll post poll alliances thereoff.

This is in support of praying hard and using the flush. OK ?