Thursday, November 7, 2013

Bilikal Rangaswamy Betta- Weekend Trek


Vachana's loyal hunting boots!
You guys will no longer believe me if I tell you I’m not a trekker. This trek to Bilikal Rangaswamy Betta (let’s shorten it to BR Betta) was my third trek in the last five months; the first one being Kurinjal (read about it here) and second being Skandagiri (read about it here). That’s weird because I believed that I’m not one of those enthu-fit persons. I’m still not. Yet, I have finally found out why I keep saying yes to Vachana (the one who insists on such physically demanding routines). It’s not the trek, it’s the view.

The thrill of being on an elevation, to feel the gusts of wind, to inhale deeply the oxygen and intoxicate oneself with the vistas that the peak provides. That’s why the climb is worth it. And as I realized this time, it’s even more fun when the company you climb with are fun-loving people.


For the first time, I trekked with the Bangalore Trekking Club. I was so skeptical of going on a random trek with random people. I was just being stupid (which is so me!). These trekkers were the most down-to-earth people. A common tie- the love for treks- bonded them together. They are hands-on people, fun-loving, and it was jolly, good fun trekking with them.

The organizer, Sangamesh, did a pretty good job. Early by 7:15am, we, 21of us, were bundled in a Tempo Traveller and whisked away to BR Betta. On the way, we watched the Indian-entry-for-Oscars this year, a Kannada movie called “LUCIA” and yes, I lapped up the movie completely. Go, watch it… It comes with English subtitles!
The trek to the top

Coming back to the trek, halfway through, we stopped for breakfast and parceled our lunch and we reached BR Betta by 10:30am. The sun was a bit merciless, the trek was said to be 7-8kms and we walked on the well-beaten track to the top, ‘interluding’ with water-breaks, shade-breaks and story-breaks!




Fire-wood food!



I guess by 12:30pm, we reached the top. There’s a temple at the top and we saw people cooking lunch on firewood (lovely smell!). It so happened that someone had bought a new tractor (“Sarpanch” brand, no less!) and there was a puja and a feast in progress. The villagers eyed us and we eyed them and then we talked to them and they talked to us and then it was “aa… gale lag jaa”… the pleasantry of Indian “fraanship”.





We fooled around for a while around the temple and they invited us to join in the feast! Awfully sweet of them. We were 21hungry beasts by the time we reached the top. We didn’t want them to exhaust their supplies and insisted that we eat our packed lunch but they had good persuasive skills and after a while, there we were, sitting on the temple verandah, eating and reveling and thanking. Lovely, hospitable people! Such heartfelt warmth you shall not find in the best places that money can buy. Bet on it!



















Now, coming to the view that I yearn for while trekking, on the other side of the temple, is a water tank and a view that is so pristine that all I wanted was to sit on a rock and meditate. The clouds made weird shapes on the green valley that spread all around us. We were at the top, of course, and the wind embraced us and the sun warmed us. I laid on a rock and took a mini-nap. So did Vachana (poor girl was running a temperature), the others sat around and joked about. We sat there for a while and around 3:45pm, we began our descent.




Descending was easy, we strutted along, talked, made each other the butt of jokes (all in good zest, my dear) and in an hour’s time or so, we were comfortably back to square one, back in the Tempo Traveller, watching the rest of LUCIA, playing Antrakshiri and singing ourselves hoarse!

Comrades




What a fantastic way to spend a Sunday! Thank you, fellow-trekkers, for being you and being so comradely! And thanks, Bangalore Trekking Club, for organizing a successful event!

Dead Tired


Vachana and I do the shoe-pose!
P.S. Take sunscreen and shades (which I forgot again!)
P.P.S. My face has swollen; the cause being the sun. Normal people get sunburn, I get sun-swollen. Damn! :/

For more information on this not-for-profit trekking group, visit http://www.bangaloretrekkingclub.com/

Thursday, October 24, 2013

When New Times feel like the Old Times

Bonds 

I wish last Sunday happens this Sunday too. But then again, if every Sunday is the same, then perhaps there might be little charm left. However, last Sunday should happen... someday soon, someday down the line... 

We girls from SMC should meet again.

It is quite a shame that I have been in Bangalore for eight years and I know that there are girls from my school who stays in the city; however, such is the hesitation or business of life that I never once made the effort to meet them. Except for one friend (whose added advantage was that her family knows mine since before we were born), there were hardly any interaction with other SMC people. I saw them on social networking sites, knew what they were doing, knew they were fine, that they were in Bangalore, but never made up my mind to meet them.

And then... like a lightning bolt on a sunny day...
Moramee happened.

Now, if you are someone of my 2003 batch of SMC, Guwahati, there’s no way you will not know about Moramee. She is like a mixed pickle... at least I perceive her so... she can be with anyone and she puts flavour when things are bland. So, she came to Bangalore last week and as soon as she landed, she did the thing that none of the other SMC batchmates in Bangalore did.

She connected.

She gathered all our numbers and addresses, plotted our addresses in Google map to see who lives where and sent out messages to everyone to meet in one common place. I was, to say the least, pleasantly jolted for a sec to see her message... It was unexpected. She coming to Bangalore was unexpected. She, who doesn’t have my number, to message me was unexpected. The meet-up was unexpected!

On Sunday, the twentieth, I met Moramee in the all-familiar Forum mall in Koramangala. I didn’t know who else would be there. But I was pleasantly surprised to see Alpana, Rijusmita and Chandramita standing in a circle with the bubbling-with-enthu-Moramee. After a while, Nami and Minakshi joined us.

That evening I met my classmates and I met people of other sections whom I never had the chance to know in school (yea, 12 years in school and we still get such excuses to mouth-out!) I didn’t feel the usual queasy-feeling in the stomach I feel when I have to meet strangers. Of course, they weren’t strangers. I knew them, though from a distance; we had the same memories of school and same stories to relate to.

Statistically speaking, it has been 10 years since we attended SMC. We have grown up (“laterally, if not, vertically!” was the joke), some are married, some studying, some working... all so diverse, yet so similar. It was, no doubt, the glue that bonds SMCs. Unspoken code of sisterhood... we all felt like we belonged in this little circle of friends, laughing, happy, sharing a coffee, sharing  quirky moments that happened in school, sharing our present lives.


We spent nearly three hours together, we said a dozen good-byes before we finally parted ways, we promised we will keep in touch. I don’t know how much of that promise will hold good, but we had a soulful time and each one of us mentioned how it didn’t feel like a 10years’ abstain from SMC. The memories of school were fresh, the laughter was care-free; it was a beautiful evening.

In a city where I pass so many faceless people, lost in a crowd with no familiar face to smile at, it felt nice to be with them. It was generous of them to come and share their time in the busy lives that this city makes of us. It was a Sunday that was so fulfilling after so long a time.

All thanks to the pickle in our midst, Moramee. Thanks for coming to Bangalore and adding flavour to my bland palette!

Love,

Fellow SMC of 2003 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Ganesh Chaturthi: last in this city



I'm not much of a religious person; I have my personal rites and rituals and sometimes I don't even follow that. Nonetheless, it didn't pass my notice that this time would be the last time I "celebrate" Ganesh Chaturthi in Bangalore. 'Course I meant to celebrate it by sleeping till late and watching Mad Men, except that (with my wedding on the cards), my mom wanted me to visit a temple and present some boondi laddoos to Ganesh-ji.

I had half a mind to just let her advice slip by; in fact, I slept until half a day was already over. Then I watched Mad Men till 3pm. Then, I'm not sure what happened. It was drizzling and I (more than anyone else) wanted to have boondi laddoos and good food.

For Boondi Laddoos, I can rely on the nearby sweetshop but for good food and company, I knew I had to visit my friend's place. I spend most of the festivals at their house. It's like a fine balance between listening to my mother's advice to offer prayers and getting good food and company in return.

So out I was on the streets, packet of moti choor laddoos and boondi in hand, in the high hopes of getting home-made nice food. And surely I wasn't disappointed. Of course, in Ganesh Chaturthi, no household will ever be without good food. At my friend's place, we had masala vada, gajar ka halwa, coconut potlis, and sweets-which-I-didn't-quite-get-the-names. I returned home fully loaded and slept soundly as soon as I hit the bed. Yes, we are all "mini-Ganu"s once in a while. I guess in food lies the true spirit of the festival :P ...
And of course, I did pray for prosperity to all!.... especially the Indian Rupee!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Skandagiri: Conquered

Won't you love being here?
For starts, I'm no trekker. I'm lazy. I'm hedonistic. I am not interested in trekking but I love seeing new sights.

So obviously, I must have been bored out of my brains by city-life when I said 'yes' to a trek to Skandagiri. Before going, I did my usual research online and found that Wikipedia mentioned the trek as 'moderately difficult' (which sent shivers down by spine). Also, my friends' account of their trek to Skandagiri filled me with dread. But braced with a lot of self-motivation and false courage, at 5:30am on a Sunday, I bundled into a car. Yawning, doubtful, worried and sleepy. My biggest worry was death on the mountain, the second worry was slipping and losing some of my front teeth (I have my own marriage to attend in a few months and losing a tooth or two would create havoc on my already jittered family).

Anyway, you'd be glad to know that none of the bad things happened. I survived to tell the story of my trek.

I know that Skandagiri appears to be a favorite for night treks. You start the climb at 3am and try reaching the peak in time for sunrise. But we did a day trek. We weren't sure if night treks were still allowed after a mishap (re: murder? fall?) happened last year and treks were banned in Skandagiri.

Reaching Chikballapur took us an hour and a half from the city, with breakfast in between to boot ourselves up. It was 10am by the time we reached Chikballapur. At around 10:30am, we started on the incline. Lucky for us, the day was pleasant. Sun and shade in parts. The first 30 minutes of the trek was the most difficult for me. My body is not used to climbing huge boulders on an incline. But we were taking frequent breaks. After the first 30 minutes climb, I was feeling so sick and giddy that I let one of my co-trekkers carry my stuff. Yes, I felt miserable that he had to carry extra load from me, but I'm, as it is, a fat female and carrying another 6kg on my body was too much on my constitution! I think my head would have burst if I were to carry that load for another minute. After shifting the load, it was easier to carry on. The frequent stops gave me enough time to steel myself and motivate myself to carry on.




Besides my self-cribbing, the views that the trek provided was gorgeous. The clouds shifting through the valley, the fields at the distance, the constant breeze... it felt good. At one point, we came across a sort of cave, naturally formed by three huge boulders. We sat there, chit-chatted and sheltered from the sun for a while. Then again we went... Aage Barho! The higher we went, the higher my spirit soared. I knew I would be reaching the top soon and hopefully, in one piece. It gave me josh! With our snail-slow climb with very frequent rests, we managed to reach the peak at 1pm.
At World's Edge

The Roof was our Picnic spot
The view at the top was absolutely mesmerizing. All the fatigue we carried to the top disappeared in a jiffy. The peak had ruins of a fort along with an old temple. It was green all around with the ruined structures providing added beauty to the place. There was no one present except our group. Earlier there used to be vendors at the top selling food at exorbitant rates but the police stopped these activities after the mishap. In a way, this was good for us... we had the peak all to ourselves!

After enjoying the green panoramic view, we climbed on top of a ruined structure and had our lunch. We had carried our lunches; bread-omlet, puris, biscuits, beverages and Vachana's Kaya (all the way from Malaysia) with bread.

After that satisfying a meal, who doesn't want a nap? Some of us fell flat on the rock and rested our tired bodies. We laid down on the flat rock and let the breeze blow across us. It is a feeling that can't be expressed, but only felt. I remembered feeling this sort of serenity when I laid on a rock at Athirapally falls in Kerala. These moments are so rare, so tranquil, they make you forget every worry and just be in the moment.



The Wind chimes...

While meditating on my thoughts, I must have dozed off a while; when I did wake up, I realised Vachana was clicking pictures of me! Bad, bad girl!

Afterwards, we explored the area for a while longer and at around 3pm, we started our descent. The descent was, of course, faster. Notwithstanding a few slips here and there, we were intact when we reached the base at 4:20pm.
We were at the top!
At the base, we looked at the hill that we had climbed. 1350 meters... it towered like a giant... I couldn't help but feel a sense of awe mixed with pride. Awe at the hill and proud that I conquered it!

If you are looking for a moderately difficult weekend that is very, very rewarding (in terms of views and calorie-burning), I suggest you take the trek to Skandagiri. ;)

While on it, you might want to carry (i) light jackets (ii) water and (iii) food. Happy Trekking!

Encouragement note # If I, a lazy slob, can do it, then you can definitely do it!

I want to turn the whole world upside down!

And if you require musical motivation, the song "Upside Down" by Jack Johnson should give you a nice, comforting push to the top.

Who's to say/ What's impossible/ Well they forgot/ This world keeps spinning/ And with each new day/ I can feel a change in everything/ And as the surface breaks reflections fade/ But in some ways they remain the same/ And as my mind begins to spread its wings/ There's no stopping curiosity

I want to turn the whole thing upside down/ I'll find the things they say just can't be found/ I'll share this love I find with everyone/ We'll sing and dance to Mother Nature's songs/ I don't want this feeling to go away

Who's to say/ I can't do everything/ Well I can try/ And as I roll along I begin to find/ Things aren't always just what they seem


Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Family Visits-Part II-Bangalore

When The Bunch reached Bangalore at 7AM, I took them straight to my place for breakfast. My apartment is very tiny, though cute (if I may say so!). They somehow fitted themselves wherever they could while they discussed what they should do in the remaining 3 days of their trip. My brother had already made his weekend plan- he was to meet his geeky friends. His friend's family, after brainstorming, decided that they should stay in the city itself. -_- We booked a room for them at the hotel closest to my apartment. By the time they actually got the room, it was 2PM.

In the afternoon, I and my mom went for wedding-invitation shopping to Chickpet. This was the major purpose of coming to Bangalore. There, after an hour of digging through piles of cards, my mom and I unanimously agreed on two patterns. Yay! One major burden off our wedding to-do list!

Rangashankara 
In the evening, we gathered The Bunch and went to a mall near my place. It was weekend, and noisy.

Next day, friend's family was invited for dinner at some place and so it was a perfect day for mother-daughter togetherness since brother was out with his friends.

Bonda & Filter Coffee- The B'lore feel






Mother-Daughter Bonding




Mom and I shopped knick-knacks for the wedding, I made her taste dosa and filter coffee and took her to a play at Ranga Shankara. In the evening, Uncle and Auntie went to Phoenix Market City whereas I, mom and the Manga Teens headed to UB City.

UB City scored high with them. Of course, it is known for its "phoren" ambiance. We sat there, in Cafe Noire, under white umbrellas with candles lit on every table and a colourful fountain in the background. It was a peaceful evening. Later on, I invited everyone for dinner at a Chinese restaurant near my place and we all told each other the adventures of that day.

On their last day in Bangalore, the adults separated from the Manga Teens. The adults wanted to go for Bangalore sight-seeing which the Manga Teens totally opposed. So, the adults hired a taxi and went their way whereas the Manga Teens were left with me to entertain them!
All Things Manga

I took them for breakfast at McDonald's, followed by a 3D screening of The Wolverine. After that, a bit skeptically, I took them to Lalbagh on the pretext of meeting the adults who were already there. I was quite surprised that they loved the garden. The adults took the golf-cart to see the gardens, whereas I made the Manga Teens walk through some parts of the Garden. We walked and talked... umm... actually, they talked and I listened... I do not talk tween anymore... yes, I'm old.

After the walk in the park, it was surprise time. I took them to St. Mark's road and there, infront of a colonial building, I announced "This is Hard Rock Cafe! For lunch, shall we?"

Rock n' Roll Lunch
I guess that was the precise moment I became a hero in their eyes. They gaped at everything on the walls of HRC; they walked as if they were in a museum of god; they clicked everything; they took extra pamphlets and put them in their pockets to show it to their school-mates. Lunch, my fellas, was a roaring success!!

After that, my brother's friend asked if there were any Manga available in Bangalore. Well, I was not sure... I am not into Manga, at all... but... but... there's Blossoms Book Store in Bangalore where you get a-n-y-b-o-o-k! So, we walked in and voila! Stacks of Manga in the stairway! Brother's friend got glued to the stairway and my brother immersed himself in the Computer section. I sat in the corner in the uppermost floor and tried to take a nap. They spent two hours there! I was dead tired by the time they finished ransacking the book store. I took them straight to where the adults were.. Enough of chaperoning for a day!

But my duty-time was far from over! Back in the hotel room, auntie was making a fuss because she could not shop in Bangalore!...

Yes, I fulfilled her wish of saree-shopping by taking her and my mom to Jayanagar. The women went slightly uncontrollable at that point. Their hands were full and their wallets were empty by the time uncle called us for dinner.

On the last dinner in Bangalore, I can safely vouch that each person on that table was happy and satisfied with their trip down south. Goa and Bangalore had charmed them completely. They vouched to come back soon.

Well, I am also quite pleased that I didn't do half a bad job at being a guide. Of course, I was grumpy and snappy at times but for the most part, I was competent and able to make arrangements for most of their needs.

But, man, like I said before, this was not a vacation for me at all. In fact, after they left, I was happy to go to office, sit at my desk and listen to my own calm breathing after five days!!

Thank you for coming to Bangalore. And no... no more open invitations for a few years!

The Family Visits-Part I-Goa

I have been complaining to my mom for close to eight years, bi-annually, of not coming and visiting me in Bangalore. I mean, people just don't dump their wards in Bangalore; people come and visit their wards once in a while. Yet this was not in my case. I have been living here since eight years and the only time she came to Bangalore was during my law-school admissions. Once admitted, she never bothered. Or rather, she did bother and felt guilty, but she is a working woman and she couldn't find the right time to visit me.

Goa: anticipating rain
But now, in a few months time, I shall be leaving Bangalore and so I told her to visit me and see Bangalore before I leave. For some weird reason, she agreed this time.
And we booked her ticket (#happy)
... along with my brother's ticket (#incredulous)
.... and my brother's friend's  ticket (#twomangateens?!)
... and my brother's friend's mom-and-dad's tickets!  (#facepalm)

After tickets were done, there was a frenzy of plans happening in Guwahati. All wanted to go to Goa. Brother wanted two days to be with his friends, the other family wanted to visit another place besides Goa, mom wanted to do some wedding shopping, auntie wanted to go for saree shopping... they had five days in hand and I had a handful of hair in mine!

This vacation was NOT going to be my vacation: I was to be their guide. I don't make a good guide.

Nevertheless, this is how it happened:

It so happens that Indigo airways have started operating a direct flight from Guwahati to Bangalore that lands at Bangalore right at 8pm. The flight landed 20mins early (which is unheard of!), yet my group trickled out at the very end of the flight-crowd.This was a warning of how things could get hold up when there are five people from the "land of laahe laahe".

There was no time to lose because we had a bus scheduled for Goa at 11pm. I packed the entire bunch in a hired Innova and asked the driver to speed it up to Orion Mall for a quick dinner. On the way, we caught up on the news of everyone from Assam, from Assam politics to neighbours' politics and reached Orion Mall by 10pm. They gaped at the Mall like it was a thing from another planet. Frankly, I had never been to Orion Mall and damn, it was huge! I would have gaped too, but I pretended as if every other mall in Bangalore is just as big (*grins*).

For the next 45mins, I became the ring-master of my group, keeping a timer by which they need to finish the dinner and arrive at the bus stop. And sharp at 10:45pm, we reached the bus stand. And the bus? It was late!

Customs Govt. Guest House- Rs. 100 a night!!
The bus showed up a good 30mins late; however, we were all too tired to complain. They were impressed once again seeing the cleanliness of the "night-super" and the cleanliness of the public toilets in Karnataka!

By noon the next day, we were in Goa, settling in the Customs Guest house that my uncle had booked for us. It being August, the Goan rains were in full swing. The rain came and cleared for brief periods. For people getting scorched in the Guwahati heat, Goa was a blessing!

The first day, we decided to visit the Baga and Anjuna beaches. At Baga, I took them to the famous Britto's and made them taste the Pepper Prawns. That was a huge hit! Another bigger hit was the shandy I prepared. A crowd-pleaser everywhere!

The famed Pepper Prawns @ Brittos
The beach had a crazy effect on The Bunch. I guess it is the fact that they don't get to see the beach that often that made them go so crazy! Because of the monsoons, the waves were huge and the beach was wet. Yet it didn't stop them from enjoying the sea. It was just lovely seeing my mom and aunt screaming their lungs out to the sea... the sea must have turned partially deaf :/






Anjuna
Dona Paula
After the beaches, auntie voted that we go on a Goan cruise. I was extremely skeptical but 'course, they voted me out of the vote. So we all went. It was my first time on a cruise and it was extremely bad. The MC sucked, the music sucked and for the cultural experience, they provided three Goan dances with the same dance troupe. Well, it didn't suck for the families present there. They were dancing on stage. Brother and his friend (let's call them the Manga teens) gave one look at the stage and went upstairs on the deck and never came back. The cruise was an hour long excruciating affair; nonetheless, in the end, I was actually beginning to enjoy the part when auntie went up onstage with a group of married ladies to dance. Painful for her son, yes, but fun for us! ;)

The next day, we covered Dona Paula, Basilica of Bom Jesus, Fort Agoda and Calungute Beach. I haven't been to Dona Paula before and I quite liked the place in the early morning. We were almost alone, without tourists around, with the sea surrounding us. It was nice.

We wrapped up the Basilica and Fort Aguada as fast as we possibly could and headed to the beach. There, the Bunch went mad, once again... Knee-deep in water, screaming, plunging... they didn't mind the rain... they loved the sea!
Nuts
For lunch, we went to Souza Lobo's in search of authentic Goan cuisine and we weren't disappointed. The shandy was becoming part of lunch ritual now. Later, we went to a cashew-nut and fenny wholesaler and bought "souvenirs" for people back home.

Late that night, we caught the bus back to Bangalore. They looked at the sea and made promises to come back and visit Goa soon!

Footprints in the Sand
On the 3rd day of their 5 day trip, weary and beaten by the sea, The Bunch reached Bangalore. Continue>

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Naga Kitchen: for Gahori-lovers

Gahori. n. 1. Assamese word for pig, 2. commonly used slang for my dear, beloved friends.
_______________________________________________________________


I have heard of the Naga Kitchen arriving to Bangalore a couple of years ago. In fact, I once had a taste of the Bangalore version of the Naga Kitchen at the Assamese Bihu Function held in Bangalore, and I remembered the food being sold out within seconds after being displayed at the stall. Well, that's what good Naga food does: It disappears... fast!

For those who don't know what Naga Kitchen is- it is simply a kitchen wherein lip-smacking Naga food is cooked. The first Naga Kitchen opened in Guwahati, perhaps 4 years back (not sure!) and I still remember how swollen and stung my lips felt after having their dry-fish chutney. Teary-eyed, relishing, good Naga food.

Though I have been told of the happy news that the Naga Kitchen arrived in the Koramangala neighborhood a few months ago, yet it was not until last month that I had some gahori-lovers (re: pork-lovers) who took me to this place.

I'm happy to say that the place is not pretentious. It is not pretentious from the outside or from the interiors or from the food aspect. The place gives me a vibe of being back in the North East; (I don't mean sitting in the Guwahatian version of the restaurant which was a bit too dark for my liking). I mean, the feel of wood, the sights of bamboo and cane artifacts, the wall hangings of things pre-dominantly Naga, pieces of Naga handloom framed on the wall. The place felt so much closer to home.

And the food... well, I cannot comment on what is available on the menu. My apologies. I didn't want to go through the menu when I knew perfectly well what I wanted to eat. The Naga Thali. All four of us ordered four thalis. Three Gahori Thali vs. One Chicken Thali.



I must say that I was an equal lover of pork and chicken and didn't know why pork-lovers made such a fuss about gahori being superior; however, that's all changed after my trip to the Naga Kitchen. Now I know why Gahori-lovers wring their noses on the mention of Chicken or Gahori-lovers go to the ends of the world to find a kitchen that serves succulent pork.

With both Pork and Chicken on my palate, Pork won hands down. Both were cooked in the same style with onions, garlic, chilli and tomato being the dominant ingredients but it helped that Pork has its own fat that gives a pure, distinctive relish. The Chicken just felt blah!

Besides the pork curry, we were also served with smoked-brinjal chutney, chilli chutney, vegetable stew, fried pork (which was seriously yum) Naga-style dal and steamed rice. We attacked the food in silence with "mmm"s and more "mmmm"s in between bites.

Even while I write this, my mouth slowly waters as I reminisce the taste of that delightful gahori.

Let's just say, all is good at The Naga Kitchen. I was mightily pleased with the thali. Though, if I may add, my lips didn't swell with the sting of chilli like it did the last time. Maybe, just maybe, they did not spice the food enough because I don't remember feeling "comfortable" after a Naga meal. If you know what I mean... we are suppose to feel the chilli-burn gnawing away our intestines after an intensive session of hogging Naga-style gahori (pun, obviously intended!). Nonetheless, it was a damn good meal. We "oooh"ed and "aah"ed with satisfaction. We felt our tummies touch the floor as we walked (rather, rolled) out of the restaurant.

For those still uninitiated into Naga-kingdom of food, you may find the cuisine to be very different from regular Indian food. I cannot explain it. It is not correct for me to explain it. You have to go there yourself and taste it!

The Koramangala branch is at 112, 6th Cross Road, 6th Block, Koramangala.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

This can happen #1

We don't get 'LOL' moments everyday... but then, there are times when your friends crack you up with their crazy antics. One such moment happened on my way back from office.

Tired, bored, I was planning to kill everyone on the road so I could reach home faster. My phone rang and I heard the impatient voice of a friend:

Friend: "Hi, How are you? Listen, I need a help. I heard this song on the radio and I can't think of anything else after that. I don't know the song. Help me figure it out!!"

And so, she hummed... not a bit embarrassed (as true friends of mine are never to be)... I told her it sounds familiar and I shall try to find out.

I did try to find out, when I, in turn, not a bit embarrassed, hummed to my fiance, who with a serious face, said- "It's Eminem's 'I'm the real Slim Shady'".

Well, turned out it wasn't Eminem's song... My friend compared both tunes and confirmed it...

Anyway, as soon as I reached home, I forgot all about it...

At 10pm, she messaged me frantically and sent me a voice-note that I wish I could upload if not for fear of being sued. It was she doing a "pe pe pe pe pe pe" to match the tempo. In the background, I heard her relatives burst into laughs! I, too, rolled over and laughed... but this was not the end of her quest!

Apparently, so desperate was she that she asked this disturbing question on Yahoo! answers:

"Could you tell me the name of the song that goes "Pe pe pepepe, pepepe pe pe pepe"?"

Imagine the answers:
......
....
...
..
Answer 1. What exactly is a pepepe?

Answer 2. lol... I don't know what you mean by pepepe... lol

Hahahaha.... the thread was deleted immediately.

After hearing her desperate attempts, I tried checking Youtube videos. My second video and boom! Answer achieved!

This is, as my friend re-christened, 'the pe-pe-pe' song



Saturday, June 8, 2013

My first trek- Conquering Kurinjal Peak, Kudremukh

Obviously, destiny had better things in store when it decided to cancel my Chikmagalur trip. Destiny had decided that I shall go beyond Chikmagalur to reach the heart of Kudremukh and do my first, ever trek!

Like all good travel plans, this plan happened at the eleventh hour. Knock. Plan. Pack. Go. At 5AM, I met my friend's brother, who rode his bike at neck-break speed to reach the other end of the city where the others were waiting. It was one of those rides where your nose amazes you by still functioning while speeding against cold, freezing winds.

By 6AM, we four were seated comfortably in my friend's car and off we drove to Kudremukh. The landscape was beautiful and at one point, the view was so pretty that we stopped the car, walked up a small hillock and admired the windmills on the green valleys at the distance.





On our way, we also decided to stop by Belur and visit the Belur Temple. I had been here before but this temple's architecture can never satiate me. The extremely intricate designs, the flawless sculptures, the stories behind... It's one of the most beautiful temples I have seen till date.

Belur Beauty



Ek Garam Chai ki Pyali ho
For lunch, we stopped by a small, road-side restaurant serving Fish-thalis. I had to mention this because their hospitality amazed me. They knew we were not from their area, so they made us sit in the adjacent room which was their living room and served our lunch on their private dining table :)

After lunch, the next two stops were a tea-stop with a friendly dog who ran across the park in lightning-speed-rounds and rolling tea estates where we posed before the camera.




With all these breaks, we managed to reach Bhagawati Nature Camp, Kudremukh, by 5PM in the afternoon. It was my first experience of tent accommodation and I was super-duper excited!

But my excitement was nothing in comparison to that my friend who hurried us up as she took us for a "surprise". Ta-daaa....!

I have been here :)
Isn't this beautiful?! She discovered that the River Bhadra runs through Bhagawati's estate. We loved the quaint waters, glistening in the twilight and the serene silence of the woods. It was so very peaceful.

There was also a small 'activity' area where these guys climbed, jumped and swung about from nets, bars, tyres and what not!

At night, we entertained ourselves with dumb charades and  a 'crab' dance recital. Of course, like all night camps, it had to include the telling of ghost stories!

Dinner was simple and tasty, though a bit late. We slept like logs that night.

The next day, by 8am, we were good to go on the trek. Water bottles, eggs, bread-jam et al. We passed through grasslands, dense forests, carcass of a bison... The only rests were the ones that started with "Leeeeeeeccchhh! Remove!!" Yes, nasty leeches of Kudremukh. Blood Suckers! We donated quite a lot of blood to the forest. Salt water hardly helped to keep them at bay. At one point, I had around 20 of them rolled into a globe, inter-twined, partying on my sock. Yes, it was quite a sight! Woman v. Wild!
I walk alone...



The trek was long, but was easy. The only tough part being the last 5mins where the climb becomes really steep. By the time, we reached the peak, it was raining and I was miserably hungry. I felt faint. There, on top of the peak, we ate bread-jam-bananas-eggs with a ravish! We sat there for a while, enjoying the view, watching the dense white fog around us.

As we ascended
After a while, we started our descent. The rain never stopped pouring. Three hours of a continuous drench. Bheegi Billi!

We started trekking at 8am and returned to the camp at 1pm... From our site to the peak and back, it must have been a total of 20kms. I'm not too sure of metrics. But I'm sure my first trek was a whole lot of fun!

I am glad I did this trek... It was an experience I shall never forget.

Never wanting to leave for the city
Guys, let's do one more soon!
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