Rants & pictures !

They don’t call it Gods own country for no reason. It provided some wonderful opportunities for playing with light and the camera. Here are some snaps from a Kerela trip that happened some time back.

Just as the snaps load up on your screen : My MTNL internet connection is woeful at home choosing to go on strike on a whim. I am hastily pushing through this post, when it has chosen to show me that it ideed can work at top speed and this months bill will include charges for internet !

To compliment that, to blog on such esoteric topics from the workplace, well, err, is not allowed. So, please people, put up with my silence.

In the meantime, I continue to shout out into the world through the twitter accounts and I don’t have a modicum of memory of what all I have shouted out to the world. The chief twitter account I use is @KavisMusings . Well, that’s a subject for another time.

For now, here are the pictures.

Silhouettes have fascinated me since the time I knew they were called ‘silhouettes’. I used to hate the spelling but quite liked the way the word is pronounced. With a twang that has almost an Italian connection !

All these snaps were taken at places somewhere around Kottayam. ‘Panchali Medu‘ is one such. I don’t raise an eyebrow everytime we go far off, deep inside Maharashtra or down into Kerela where there is folklore around the exiled Pandava brothers with Draupadi in tow having lived there for a while. Panchali as Draupadi is better known in the south, has this hill named after her.

She is supposed to have taken bath in the local pond etc etc, details which I omit writing on, and leaving your imagination to do its work.

The modern day ‘medu’ (RTT : raised plateau) has 14 crosses. I wont tell you why. For I don’t know myself. I only know that the place has an extravagance of ‘awesome’. There is an endless breeze, a feast of green for the eye. The clouds rolling over your head and tease you to reach and touch them if you can.

Off Kuttikanum is another green zone : Wagamon. Sometimes spelt with a ‘V’ instead of a W. Whatever, it is , It doesn’t alter green beauty. Green as in GREEN. Meadows. Plateaus. Hills. Throw in some mist. Some people who are ever willing to help. Water bodies that tempt. Well, in sometime, you could have romance brewing in the air.

Value for money romance. For the place is relatively unexplored ! Some unconfirmed news has it that Wagamon is called the ‘Scotland of Asia’. I haven’t seen Scotland. But I can go as far as I can and tell you, Wagamon is a lovely place to go to.

If any of those didn’t get you excited enough to pack your bags and include Kerela a big mindshare for your next travel, here is something that will do the trick. I ooze confidence in stating this.

Chips. Slices of a particular type of plantains. “Plantains” was to give the humble ‘banana’ a twang of fancy. Nevertheless, slices, deep fried in authentic coconut oil. You just cant stop with one or two for that matter. Two minutes on the lips and a lifetime on the hips. For sure.

But those two minutes they are on the lips, they give you a lifetime of yearning for the next time you will head to Kerela !

Earliers posts on the same trip are here, here, here and here !

Washroom Snaps !

Well, that title could sound like a porn peddling paparazzi beating his chest in pride ! If it did sound like that to you, well, there is disappointment in store !

Don’t get stressed. This post is about relief. Well, its actually about stress !

Where is the relief ? The men’s room often gets depicted in various ways. The various depictions by themselves constitute a separate topic ! Perhaps for a PhD (let alone a blog post)!

Signaling, perhaps of the only place a man can think of himself to be a king. Stoking the mind to imagine a band of retinues and such luxuries while he ‘relieves’ himself in the public toilet, is perhaps equivalent to anesthesia for surgery !

Seen at the Mumbai International Airport. A grand sum of Rs.2/- (to be paid specifically before he can bring some ‘relief’ to himself ) !

‘Entry Charges’ ! You don’t have to relieve yourself. We charge you for entry ! And pay before entry !

Perhaps the only things left to be said is ‘punishment for non payment. 15 days jail or setting a Special Investigation unit after you’ ! Sounds plausible !

On the other end of the spectrum, is this collection box with a lock at a restaurant on the Mumbai – Ahmedabad highway.

Donation ! The lock perhaps is to signify the crores that can get collected ! With an appropriate assurance that all
such collected amount would be used for cleaning the toilet ! It can load guilt in the heart if he went without dropping a coin or two.

Especially considering the ‘relief’ thats been brought about !

On another note, there are these queer messages. Like this one that dominated the walls when the movie ‘3 idiots’ was launched !

Whatever was that ?!? Meditate ! Meditate !

Or think of this message seen in a office loo. “Winners are too busy to be sad…and too determined to be defeated” it says ! For Gods sake, the man has come there to take a leak !

‘Too determined to be defeated… ‘ !! What did those folks want him to do. Rush through his business and bolt through the desk to take on his boss ?

5 star hotels raise the bar ! Television sets ! Ok,
that sounds ok.

But a live telecast of the budget presentation by Pranab Mukherjee is not a sensible man’s notion of relief ! Pranab Mukherjee and his English, four inches from the face when taking a leak is not a normal man’s notion of relief !

Relief. Bah !

Madurai musings !

The sights and sounds of home always ring in your ear. But when you are away for a while and get back, the sights and sounds are indeed pronounced.

For when you hear them, you know that you have missed them ! My travels took me home. To Madurai. Of course, it held some sounds and of course, some sights !

For instance, Auto-rickshaws still have this ‘blow horn’ !

Pressed with a certain stylish movement of the hand, there emerges a carefree hoot that could get a deaf year to perk. Ordinary auto rickshaw drivers will of course, think of themselves to share a gene pool with a music maestro and hoot their way through traffic! The mind rushes back to physics lessons, where the distinct between ‘sound’ and ‘noise’ were taught !

Regulars at this blog would have read many a post about the Meenakshi Amman temple at Madurai, which is a regular fixture during each visit. This time was no different.

There are tourists. Foreign tourists. Speaking Italian. Perhaps it was French. Well, it wasn’t English, for sure. And then Marathi speaking rural folk. All walking about in awe. Interspersed with endless chatter and click of mega pixel laden cameras.

The spirit of travel, wonder, discovery and joy awes. Always. Aware that native places have tourists as well. And the natives who call some other place as ‘home’ always come back. And some of them look in awe and wonder. Tourists at their own home.

The roads around the temple are silent of traffic. Paved and cleared. Quite different from earlier times that were punctuated with traffic. Today, there are electric vehicles that run and boards that announce the fare. While the mind rushes to spot spelling errors on this notice board….. Go ahead and spot them too…

And just as you spot them, say a prayer of thanks. The vehicles not being allowed here means that the Gods have been spared of soot from mega horse powered cars and the mini orchestra horns they sport !

Women carrying a basket load on their heads is as common as a paan-spit stain in a government building.

Pushcarts and door delivery boys reigns common here in Mumbai. But these women, with their gait and ease of movement, are an inseparable part of small town living.

Lifting ten odd kilos on the head and walking about 20 odd kilometers a day, is no small feat. Think of doing it day in and day out. Now, think of that feeding the family. Well, if you didn’t swallow hard… perhaps you should try lifting a basket and walking. And try doing five meters

The waistlines of Madurai folks are built in the street corners. Street corners lined with roadside stores that churn out the best tasting vadas !

Deep fried, hot and piping. Served with some coconut chutney on a banyan leaf, they are a riot of a delight to parched taste buds. Of course, they get straight to the hip !

So what ! Home grown hips can indeed be the next rage in town !

Whose name is it anyway ?

Sporting a tattoo that an actor wears. Or growing a goatee like a cricketer. And setting hair like a footballer. They are all easy to do.

Of course, its going to be difficult to sculpt a body like Silvester Stallone or John Abraham. Not forgetting ‘size invisible’ ( or was it ‘Zero’ ?) like those thin lasses. Those are tough asks.

Easiest done is to imitate a ‘star’s outfit. Still easier is to wear a t-shirt bearing the man’s name ! Walk into a store and pick up a T-shirt which says a famous mans name !

Its kind of ironic though. Pay YOUR money, which the credit card company will send to YOUR address in YOUR name. To wear ANOTHER man’s name. On YOU ?!? How interesting !

Of course, this is so common ! The eye brows wont arch one bit if a man with ‘Ronaldo’ written on his T-Shirt is spotted hitching a ride on the streets of Daman.

Or for that matter, if ‘Torres’ is spotted at the Madurai railway station !

The stars themselves, are known to wear those low caps and big sun glasses to hide their identity in public. Perhaps trying hard to melt into the crowd. Becoming more common than common.

And the common man, wears the celebrity name on his sleeve. Actually on his back ! Mankind indeed finds numerous ways to stay busy. But such are the ways of the world.

The eye brows only half arch. That too, in irony. Looking at this ‘Ronaldo’ netting the small fish on a Goan shore !

While the stores rake in the big money, counterfeits rule the pavements. Hollering hawkers, are known to sell such counterfeits to highest bidders.

Just the shirts. With the names, of course ! The stars dont come as part of these deals.

For they have been auctioned long before. To clubs, who were highest bidders too. But that’s a different story. Of a different auction !


Powai Durgotsav ’09 !

Durga Puja has been a festival of intrigue and great happiness. The pomp, the revelry. The gathering. And ofcourse, art and culture. All are on display here ! Check out last year !

At Powai there is this wonderful recreation of the ‘Sun Temple’ at Konark ! Here are some pictures ! All structures here are made out of Plaster, thermocol and wood. And to be dismantled in a weeks time !

Yesterday, there was ‘Anondamela‘. Where people sold stuff that made at home. ( stuff as in ‘food’)!

For a southerner like me, to see chicken Kababs and Fish fry sold in the same venue where there is a ‘puja‘ on, to put it mildly, is strange. But then, when they are sold and they look delicious, they are to be had ! You bet they were delicious.

By the time we reached, there was gathering on stage. And was this mention by a gent ( i don’t know who he was ) about the Times of India carrying a bigger photograph of the Powai puja, than the one at Lokhandwala.

I wonder why that should matter. About being better than Lokhandwala ! Or about… TOI….But quite a lot of people were happy. And they all clapped. Sure there must be reason.

They have an interesting array of programs on the menu over the next few days ! Do catch a glimpse !

While the pictures speak for themselves on what you probably will find there, i can tell you, the festive air and the spirit of the Pujo are to be experienced to be believed !

Lakeside ticket to Mars !


Theres Powai, in Mumbai. And theres a lake out here. Called, what else but, Powai lake ! Fortunately, it has not ( yet ) attracted the attention of politicians or they would have named it after a great grandson of a bloke in power, who is yet to be married !

That’s another story. Yes. No politics here.

The lake is an artificial lake, created in 1799 ! Its part of the ten major lakes in the country that have been identified for revival and improvements. Blessed be those souls who made such an identification.

And God bless the other lakes !

And more importantly, its a beautiful visual treat. And yes, its close to home !


The Indian Institute of Technology has been in the news. For a variety of reasons. The IIT-B was founded in 1958 ! And has produced some fantastic prodigies ! Who contributed to get the alumni building and such else! Where Gulmohar, the cafeteria rocks.

The campus of course has wonderful settings. With fountains, walkways, lake views, and of course, the wonderful Powai lake !

There are stone benches. To sit down and catch the breeze laden with moisture from the lake. For the mind to stay open i guess. And the eyes to catch the pretty girl. Or handsome boy, for that matter !


NASA is carrying names of some people, on a microchip. My nephew’s name is going too. And this nephew of mine knows a thing or two about colours too.

For a young thing that’s barely getting to walk, the Mars must be over the moon ! What a gift for him, and that too, courtesy, this blog ! I am not sure of my nephew but i sure am over the moon !


We met again. The bloggers. Like the last couple of times.

What could i do ?

I had to write about the Powai Lake, IIT and the gifts my nephew got ! Everything else has been blogged about.

Here !

To Suranga ( of the ‘colourful ticket to Mars’ fame) , Vivek, Manju, Sucharita and Harekrishnaji, a big thank you.

The next meet is in December. Tomorrow, the car goes for servicing. The trousers will go for pressing. I am getting ready. I sure will be on time ! The next time !

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’.