November 19, 2015

Rabbit hole for the soul

Dark greens, light greens
Curly greens of coffee
Climbing greens of pepper
Straight greens of paddy
Shiny grey-greens of silver oaks
Bright greens of designer ferns
Misty greens of the hills
Shadowy greens far away
Fresh greens of happy shrubs

Red, green, yellow coffee berries
Dots of cheerful yellow flowers
Thick-set lavender bougainvilleas
Tender reds of new leaves 
Bright crimson and cream poinsettias
Bursts of multi-hued wild flowers
Bashful purples of touch-me-nots
Smiling violets of morning glories
Greys of a sky that's friends with the hills
Orange glows when the sun braves its way out

Pitter patter of rain
Bird song, bird song!
Far away, the bark of a dog
The cawing of the ubiquitous crow
The cooing of the mountain imperial pigeon
Faint sounds of dropping leaves
The gentle s-s-s-swaying of areca nut palms
And the delightful quiet of human absence...
Even on Deepavali!

True that, when they say that Coorg is a rabbit hole for the soul.


12 February 2016

Adding to the charms of Coorg...I kept a menu from a small restaurant called, The taste of Coorg because this was written on it, by the person who started it: 
"Growing up in Madikeri was one of the best things that happened to me. Catching butterflies, hunting for crabs, running kites, sailing paper boats in puddles, endless fights with my little sisterand of course, Amma's amazing food (my granny). Here's an endeavor to bring you the flavors of this beautiful place that is so close to my heart. It is the taste of childhood. I hope you enjoy it."   

November 07, 2015

Blog birthday: Being king, queen, jester for 9 years!

It was in 2006 that I started blogging. In my first post I said, "This is my kingdom and I am the king, queen, jester, everything. :)" And so I have been, these 9 years, and the thing I have enjoyed most is having the freedom to write whatever I want.

I realise that one thing about my writing is certain - I write only when I feel like writing, and so I hope I am right when I say that my writing has been mostly spontaneous.

I also like to share my thoughts and my life with people. Sometimes I wonder whether my writing would be considered attention-seeking or boastful. Especially when I write travel posts. I like to experience new places and try to travel as much as my busy life allows me to, and writing about travel gives me as much pleasure as the travel itself, and it is also a record of moments. So the intention is definitely not to shout from the rooftop.

I discovered new interfaces that my children's generation uses for their writing such as Medium, and thought I'd shift from Blogspot to one of those, but somehow this seems like home. And in that respect, I am conservative...I tend to go with the familiar and love my comfort zones! So as of today, I think I'll stick to Lens and Sensibility having the same look and feel, but I might change my mind...let's see.

Looking back on the last one year, I think my blogposts have been very meaningful but quite heavy! So I should probably lighten up a bit...still didn't get down to writing humour!

So a promise to myself to write some humour in the coming year...I will begin with a post titled, "Living with a DIY guy". You think you know what to expect?...NO, you don't!

Love to you dear reader...keep coming back. 

November 03, 2015

These bold, wonderful women...

In the last two months, I either met or heard of smart, sensitive, savvy girls and women who are adventurous, bold and passionate about what they do.

During our Hampi trip in September, while we ourselves were a group of four women travelling together, there were two solo travellers staying at the resort where we stayed - both young professionals who just got away from their hectic lifestyles and personal pressures. While one of them was there for a whole week, relaxing, waking up late and going to see various places at her own pace, the other was there only for the weekend, and they seemed to be very happy being on their own. They had dreams of many more travels within and outside India. They seemed to love the idea of solo travel - something I have never been able to get myself to do...perhaps it is a generation thing.

The other all-women group was from Coorg, and these women were between the ages of 60-75, maybe. They had clearly slowed down, but they were super enthusiastic, and not only did they do most of the things we did, including the 1-hr coracle ride, they also hit the road to go to Badami and Bijapur, about a 4 hour drive away, which I would do on an altogether different trip!

And so, dinner times were full of conversations across the tables, with the solo travellers joining us once in a while for a chat and loads of laughs. Cheeky and full of fun, they told us stories of people's reactions to seeing women travelling alone - the old uncle on the train giving well-meaning advice about marriage, flirting men - from auto drivers to resort managers - and how these girls handled them, and so on. Our resort reverberated with laughter as we exchanged funny felt good to live in a women-only world for a few days, and we too opened up and spoke about various things - travels, random encounters with wildlife, and the khatarnak topic of all - journey through life, including falling in love and stories of how we met our husbands! This is something one does with total strangers only on a vacation! But we learnt from them and perhaps, they from us. And for the four days we were there, all of us took complete breaks from our lives!

Kudos to all these people we met in Hampi. It reminded me of the television serial I used to watch when my daughter was a baby - it was called 'Thoda sa asmaan' and dealt with three generations of women and their lives - a young girl coming to terms with love, a young mother dealing with her changed life, and an old woman having issues with what's left of hers. I used to identify with Deepti Naval who was the young mother, and used to shed bucketfuls of tears watching it!

Now about another level of courage...

On two wheels: 4000 km towards women's safety

My daughter's classmate Anahita Sriprasad, a graduate in Visual Communication Design, is right now making a trip across India (Leh to Kanyakumari) on her cycle, "to promote women's safety in India as well as to encourage more women to travel if they wish to, but are afraid to travel solo!" Having specialized in film making, she will film the entire journey on a mounted camera and plans to make a documentary. Hats off, Anahita, and best wishes for your incredible courage. I have no doubt you will have amazing experiences. 

Six months on the hills in a room with no door
I went for the launch of a book on edible weeds - "Edible weeds and naturally growing plants in Auroville" by Dr Nina Sengupta. Nina was introduced to us as "the ecologist who stayed all by herself for 6 months in the western ghats in Kerala in a room without a door"! She went there for her research on the gaur or the Indian bison. Apart from talking about the interesting book, she spoke about these 6 months when, except for a village woman supplying her with groceries (the woman would turn back if she encountered any wild life), Nina was all alone. A villager usually accompanied her into the jungle and once, she came face to face with a bison. It came charging towards her and luckily for her, it banged into a tree that stood between them, looked confused, took a U-turn and ran back! P-lucky woman - Nina!  

Women as IAF fighter pilots
I read the other day, that the Indian Ministry of Defence has approved induction of women into fighter stream. Selected candidates would begin to train as fighter pilots by May-June 2016, and the first Indian women combat pilots would be in the cockpits in June 2017. The glass ceiling that existed for decades has now been broken!

Even as I write this comes news from Australia that Michelle Payne has become the first female jockey to win Australia's most prestigious horse race - the Melbourne Cup!

Great going girls! May you march ahead without fear and may you find happiness in pursuits you are passionate about, and not in those dictated by a father-brother-husband-son.