Sunday, April 08, 2012

Let me hide in You
From everything that distracts me from You,
From everything that comes in my way
When I want to run to You.

–Rabia Al-Adawiyah

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Some people come in our life, and make it beautiful, but they and we are unaware that they are in a hurry to leave us all. The best we can do is cherish the lovely moments spent with them. It's long before we can meet them once again! They will always remain dear and close... No one can snatch the memories atleast :-)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Two thoughts...

Read somewhere...

"A fact of Life: It is always at the end of something that makes us realize how beautiful was the beginning."

"Sometimes it's hard to understand how we let go of people when others come in our life."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gaarva...

I keep listening to this song so very often... It has a beautiful monologue followed by the song which is too good... Check the link, if not for the words, one can appreciate and enjoy the music...

Monologue
After it has rained, now my mind becomes like the waterdrops on the window pane.
It crawls on the water towards the horizon.
Raindrops hanging on the dry leaves
After it has rained I belong to the wet trees.
After it has rained my mind is nothing but rain drops and hail
like those kids playing in mud water keeping their mother unaware
I have bashed all the restraints on my mind and am set on a wet roads
After it has rained am a wet moon
who has blown off all he stars and it resting at peace.
After it has rained, my mind is like a free parrot
After it has rained, my mind is nothig but Gaarva.

The Song
Gaarva, like a free parrot
eveything is new, fresh
My Love, the moon in the skies
is all new, fresh.

A song is dwelling is the grass
At green baks of a green river
I am the water pettles
New and Fresh
Gaarva
My Love, my mind is all new, fresh.

The sky is wearing stars
and the winds are all silver
I am the water pettles
New and Fresh
Gaarva

My Love, like your sweetness
which is all new, fresh.

My Love, the moon in the skies
is all new, fresh.
Gaarva.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Things that I remember…

• The Airtel music every time Roushini mam took out her car
• Talking to Peter endlessly any day any time
• Trying to understand what Muniamma spoke to me all about
• Listening to some piece of western classical music on Jyotsna’s piano
• Animated discussions with Amuda, and her lovely smile
• Conversation with chai wala’s wife outside CTS
• The dog attending Sunday mass
• Two pegs with Pramod the property agent
• Aleef Biryani and Royal’s butter chicken
• Sunday crowd at Elliot’s
• Afternoons spent observing the Thiruvanmiyur beach
• Meetings with Barni
• 9 September 2005
• My beach house
• Offering a gift which was not accepted
• Visiting Tiger’s cave
• Chai with Shailesh and Anand, and the investment plans
• Talking to Leela and Joking with Mayuri
• Bugging the team
• Stones on Saranya’s desk
• Playing songs for Kurve
• The green frog inside the basket
• The secret delivery of idli
• The familiar sound of anklets
• The flooded streets in Oct 2008
• The guard’s salute to Dev
• Unwanted gyaan sessions – local google!
• Meetings with Muruga
• The sutta and daru sessions
• Trip to Tirupati
• Hayabusa
• Aadi festivities
• Buying cigarettes while on a test drive
• Browsing at Odyssey
• Meeting friends @ Eden, Giorgio, Dhabba Express, Taj, and Murugan’s
• Umpteen trips to Pondy and ECR
• Hello Moto!
• And finally, the girl with SUPER voice!

Time spent in Chennai :-)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Tarangambadi

This day last year!

The never ending work and our thankless efforts on SQL Server and the online labs were taking toll on our morale, not to say the agony of dealing with non-responsive yet demanding SMEs. As if these were not enough, we also had to stay put with obnoxious personalities who thought it was their birthright to tell us where we were coming from and where we should be going, and the not so normal people who changed opinions and thoughts and orders akin to multiple patch releases for defunct software! All these situations were driving us nowhere.

Even the visits to GLM on certain Friday evenings brought but little solace or rejuvenation – for the discussion with glasses brimming with Signature or Romanov or Caesar in our hands would invariably be about work and all ancillaries attached with it. Whether it was the melancholic pace of projects or the after effects of the liquid devil we do not know but ‘our’ SPB+KJY rolled into one would enthrall us with numbers like ‘jiyay tau jiyay kaisay bin aapkay’ and ‘Kanne Kalimane’. These songs didn’t correlate to our situation, but we did feel like Sanju and Kamal - sadly happy or happily sad.

Resigning to the fact that these were situations and people which were beyond our control - with any hope of a kindle of compassion from them would have been a farce on our normal expectations - we continued projecting ourselves as survivors!

One fine day amidst this galata someone suggested for an outing and Pondicherry was the default destination – 160 kms away, ideal for the available range of liquid devil – the serenity of the place – and importantly our affordability of the entire trip. But then we decided to be a bit more adventurous and embark on a longer and little far away sojourn: a trip which certainly brought a smile on our face and the ever lingering wonderful memories.

At 3 AM we started our journey with sleepy faces, secretly cursing Mamoria for insisting to ‘start early’. At that odd hour also OMR was live with numerous trucks and busses which seemed like competing for a Guinness record to reach before the other. At times it appears their only mission is to eliminate people and vehicles from their route. High beam is one such methodology they use - it gives them a clear view of what lies ahead but it is of little concern to them if those high beams blind anyone traveling from the opposite direction and they go off their rocker!
The first leg of journey was from Chennai to Pondicherry and was spent in darkness and the high beams. The only notable scene was of the moon beam shimmering on the backwaters along NH66.

We moved from NH66 to NH45A to head towards the temple town of Chidambaram which is some 70 KMs ahead of Pondy – all the way passing through Ariyankuppam, Pumamkuppam, and Cuddalore town. With two religious people in the car, I could not overrule their intent of marking their attendance at Natrajar. Not that I was averse to the idea, but well… I have been to this temple earlier and it is one of the rare temples of Lord Shiva where we see an idol instead of the usual Lingam. Lord Shiva is seen in some Bharatnatyam mudra – the cosmic dance. The temple is also peculiar because it also has idol of Govindraja. Two great people within the same compound, albeit under different roofs!

After the morning tiffin in a small restaurant we headed towards the last leg of our journey – Bungalow on the Beach. From Chidambaram we were again on the same NH and the next major town was Sirkazi from where it took around an hour and a half to reach the final destination – the place which we were so keenly looking forward to, to unwind!

From the road leading to Karaikal district, we took a left turn and then a left again and reached the once upon a time magnificent fa├žade of yesteryears – The Gateway of Tarangambadi – The Land of Singing Waves!

The Kings road which starts from the Gateway is dotted on both sides with simple and carved buildings of historical importance. We knew we would have a good time in the area but as we badly needed a wash so headed straight to our hotel.

Bungalow on the Beach was the erstwhile residence of the British Collector in 1845. The property changed hands from British to a Nadar family. Next, it passed on to the Taj group and then finally the Neemrana group. The building was in shambles when it was bought and the group restored it after spending 2 years and few crores. Time did test the patience of the architects (Ajit and Ratna Koujalgi ) and the staff when on the very next day of its opening (26 Dec 2004) the Tsunami waves washed away the area. Nagapattinam, of which Tarangambadi is a Taluk was the worst affected area, and it took nearly 3 more months to restore the building. We saw the pictures of the Bungalow when it was acquired by the group, and the restored pictures; we just could not believe what we saw. A dilapidated building – a mix of European and Indian architecture, almost a ruin about to fall with the next downpour was transformed into nothing short of palatial richness and aura. It gave us some sense of pride to live in a place which was now part of history, and reeked of near opulence!

We felt quite happy to be accommodated in a room which was quite spacious. The four post bed appeared more or less a cousin from the Saxon or Norman era minus the canopy above, and the bed made against the wall. The room also had a tasteful small wardrobe, a writing table with mirror, and a planter chair. While the room was huge, the bathroom was too narrow in comparison. The half glass door opening to bathroom gave us some innovate idea for clicking pictures which we categorized under ‘censored’.

From the colonial window, which I think had louvered shutters; we could see the boundary wall of the Bungalow and the sea beyond that. The urge was to get out of the room as early as possible and explore the area. And this was just when we desperately wanted to get inside the Bungalow for a wash! I guess the aura of the place made us inquisitive to get set go and explore! While one of us decided to wash, the other two opened the French looking double door and stepped out in a long corridor running at the length of which were similar 4-5 doors. This area had cane furniture for the use of the residents. In that hot humid morning, inside the building, in the corridor, sitting on the white painted cane furniture, smoking was bliss! The pebble garden between the boundary and the corridor was well maintained and had some good variety of perennial plants carefully skirted by small hedges. And towards the boundary wall there were some palm and coconut trees lined up.

The left side of the corridor ended near to pool. The pool was so inviting that we wanted to jump inside. My immediate concern was the depth of the pool and I found out it was just 5 feet deep - not a challenge at all. We returned to the pool later in the evening, which is something I will come to later.

Once we were ready to explore the area, we ventured out. Bang opposite to the Bungalow is the Danish Dansborg Fort – a museum now. We posed for pictures and entered the Fort after purchasing the entry tickets.

Ragunathan Nayak or Vijaya Raghava Nair was the king of Tanjore when he granted rights to carry out trade to the Danes in 1620 – this very month! At that time Christian IV was the king of Denmark. In the same year a navy captain from Denmark bought Tarangambadi area in the name of his ruler. The Dansborg Fort was built and was a thriving center of trade at that period. A boundary wall/moat was also built to protect the Fort and the adjacent area – it is now submerged in the sea.

By 1777, Tarangambadi was under the control of the Danes. The first Governor of the territory was Roland Crape and Peter Hansen was the last.In 1845, the British government bought Tranagambadi from the Danes. They built the Collectors office and the Bungalow where we were staying was used as the Collector’s residence.

The museum houses porcelain dishes, Danish and Tamil manuscripts, China, Terracotta objects, Figurines, coins, and weapons. Not much to marvel by a tourist who does not has much interest in history. Shekar and Mamoria were quite engrossed in every artifact they came across – spending a lot of time observing and discussing. By any standards the Fort is not even half of what we see in other parts of India – Amer, Golconda, Agra Fort, or the likes. This is when the Dansborg Fort was built after the other mentioned were either complete or in the process of completion. It appears that the Danes were not in the race to create a better and bigger fort – no competition!

Out of the Fort, we moved towards the other attractions in the Kings Street – the first we stopped at was the erstwhile Governor’s Bungalow which was built in 1785 – wonder where the Governor lived before that! This building is huge and magnificent, and restoration work was on till last year. I am assuming it must be at least 50% done. We wanted to venture in but were politely refused by the security.
Next to the Governor’s Bungalow is the Commander’s house. I do not remember what state it was in, but since I do not remember, I am assuming it too must have been in shambles.

We had spent enough time in the museum and observing the Commander’s Bungalow so we decided to do what three stags can do in a lovely place like Tarangambadi! Mamoria was once again behind the wheels and we crossed the Nagapattinam border and entered Karaikal. We stopped and entered to explore the stock in the first wine shop we saw. Not that great but in every sense better off than TASMAC. We moved further to the city center of Karaikal and decided to sit and drink and eat. It was still very humid and hot, but the thought of spirit had kept our spirits high. Smirnoff Orange, Beer, and platter of assorted veg non-veg delicacies (exaggerated) kept us awake and kicking.

The return journey was a drag and we landed on our queen’s bed and slept the moment we reached our Bungalow.

The area in the Bungalow near the pool has a well manicured garden with climbers, creepers, ornate plants, and Wild Plumeria in abundance. The water as I mentioned earlier was very inviting and Mamoria and I dived in as soon as we got up after our short nap. Shekar joined but half the time he was in a grumpy mood – was it the booze effect or something which we could not understand. 2 hrs were also not enough for people from Chennai to let go of this luxury but we reluctantly came out.

The lovely evening was spent outside near the shore. There were a lot of people who flocked the area and the weather was awesome. Mamoria and Shekar were persuading a fisherman to take us in deep sea in the morning and negotiating cost was what was left for the deal to be finalized. We had heard horror stories of people who were taken to the deep sea and they either lost their wallets to these fishermen or their life in the ocean. Scary it was but thankfully we could not strike the deal. In darkness all around, the glittering Bungalow looked majestic. The blue sky turning to grey and then dark was a feast to the eyes and senses. I was not thinking about anything just feeling and appreciating the beauty.


We were back to the first wine shop that we had been to in the afternoon. Unable to decide what to quench our parched throats with, we ordered beer. On looking back, I think we should have ordered something which TASMAC doesn’t serve. Whatever…this wine shop was on a big piece of land with a boundary wall with cemented benches facing each other and a small slab in between which served as a table. There were circular cemented tables and cemented seats too – and all these were capped by a cemented umbrella shaped roof – the gopuram at wine shop I call these. On the other side of these structures was a long shed with tin roof. There were many who gave us company – some drinking directly from quarter bottles and others with glasses and beer bottles. We spent quite some time there and left the place near sloshed. It must have been a good night sleep for we got up pretty late on Sunday morning.

Pool again, followed by the continental breakfast – Shekar was grumbling because this Tamilian was missing his dosa idly tiffin. He questioned us on how one can have bread and cornflakes for breakfast – I decided not to extend the discussion and tell him this indeed was a luxury for me as someone else was preparing the eggs and toast!

The cheerful staff bade us goodbye and we were out of the place. But not before climbing up and exploring the entire hotel. The interiors had already bowled us on Saturday and what we saw was breathtaking – the lovely view of the ocean from the first floor. The whole ocean and the shore looked mesmerizing – the boundary wall of the Fort submerged in water – visible with receding waves and hiding when the waves rushed to hit the shore. Each of us, though we did not talk for some moment, wished we could spend the entire life there. The view from the terrace of the lush foliage on either sides of the Bungalow added to the beauty of the place.


When we were out of the Bungalow with our bag and baggage, we decided to check out the remaining wonders of that area. We then headed to the Masilamani Nathar Kovil area. The temple was built by the Pandyas and was three levels high as people tell – 2 levels are now under the ocean. The idols have been defaced either by people or by the ravages of time. Wonder how safe is the area now even though heavy rocks have been placed to fortify the remains of the shore.


We started our journey and moved to the T junction between the Queen’s and Kings Street - Between the Commander’s Bungalow and the Zion Church is the Queen’s Street. This church was built in 1701 and while the main entrance to the Zion Church is from the main Kings Street, the entrance to the cemetery is from this street. The carvings on the graves are not ornate yet look pretty. We could not see the church from inside as the Holy Mass was in progress.

Our next stop was the New Jerusalem Church which was built in 1718 by Ziegenbalg, known as the father of Indian Printing Press. He came from Germany in 1706 to perform religious and social service on the behest of the Danish king Frederick IV. During his stint in the area, he learnt Tamil language, gave sermons to locals in Tamil, and translated Tamil text in German language, made paper, and printed some 300 odd books! The Church he built is simple from outside yet it has an appealing aura about it and we were drawn in more out of curiosity. We observed the simplicity inside as well and all we could see was a small group of people interacting with the priest after the Sunday mass. Oh yes, Ziegenbalg’s grave is inside the Church compound.

Alongside the Street we also saw the simple yet remarkable architecture of Van Theylingen’s House; St. Theresa Convent; Rehling’s House; Zeigenbalg Spiritual Centre where people are taught spiritual services of Zeigenbalg; the Maritime Museum; and the other Neemrana property - the Nayak House.

As we left the small town inhabited by some 20,000 people, we spoke about the experience on the way and what a break it was and how we lived on liquid diet. We left behind the Danes, the Fort, Zeigenbalg, Fredric and the likes but the memory of this trip and a day of just fun will remain ever so etched in our mind.

To celebrate our day of unwinding and to the memory of the place of singing waves we had another round of the liquid devil in Pondicherry on our way to the civilization of the 21st century!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

How true...

it is the simplicity that brings excellence.
a woman does not need any ornaments.
no music needs any ornament.
true, soulful music needs no ornamentation.

another rare day when we got some time to listen to begum akhtar...complete bliss... kewal asks which is my favourite... so difficult to answer that question kewal!