Mar 22, 2009

Chalo Coorg!

The Coorg part of the trip we made... read on...

We headed to Coorg from Msyore. The drive from Mysore to Coorg was enchanting. There were plantations on both sides of the roads - stretches of coffee, bamboo and pepper plantations.

We visited the Namdroling Monastery at Bylekuppe. The gilded statues of Buddha in the Golden temple were simply awesome. The quietness in the campus brought a sense of calm and peace. Apparently this is the largest Tibetan civilization outside of Tibet. It was interesting to see the monks dressed in maroon robes go about with their life on the campus. I bought some interesting bags from the Tibetan market.

The best part about the Coorg trip was some really interesting things that I did for the first time.
  • We put up at one of the home-stays at Coorg - a different quirky experience.
  • I tasted some Manglorean specialities for breakfast - puttu, kori roti et al
  • I plucked coffee (and ate the fruit too :P). Contrary to the bitterness associated with coffee, its fruit is really sweet.
  • I sat around a camp fire that we set up ourselves and gazed at the stars endlessly.
  • I got the water to boil using firewood every morning. Geysers have taken over today... but the firewood heating experience was one of its kind.
  • I saw the sun set from Raja's Seat and captured every bit of it on camera. On hindsight, I find it quite funny how we urbans stare with mouths wide open and cameras on focus at a sight as routine as a sun set!!! In a way it reflects how we take things around for granted. The sun sets everyday and looks just as awesome everyday... we just don't take the time out to catch a glimpse!
  • I saw a bamboo forest – a place called Nisargadhama with an enchanting hanging bridge over the Cauvery.
  • I climbed up a tree house at Nisargadhama. Exciting!
  • The trip was good fun except for the dearth of good vegetarian hotels around and the heat during the day. Never expected it to be so warm at Coorg in the month of January. Global warming to blame?? Where have the environmental warriors gone??? :(

Overall the whole Coorg/ Mysore trip was good fun, a nice break and just another reason to blog :)

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Mar 11, 2009

Mysore Mazaa(la)

I have been long waiting to blog about my holiday to Coorg/ Mysore in January. I've finally mangaged to get down to that

I was between jobs when I took this trip - that kind of took away the excitement of being away from work :)

Here's the Mysore half of the trip. The Coorg experience will follow in my next post.

Mysore - a clean and beautiful city that immediately charmed me. We spent a day and a half there but saw almost everything that Mysore personifies. Here are a few quickies on what I saw or did at Mysore:

The Mysore Zoo - This is the best zoo I have ever been to. It spreads over a vast area and is home to a whole lot of animal and bird species. I'm sure anyone would enjoy a trip to the Mysore zoo - irrespective of how old you are or how old you feel! The magnificent tall giraffes were our hot favourites. This was the first time I ever saw a giraffe for real - and not just one. There were four of them standing tall. I almost couldn't take our eyes off them :)

St. Philomena's Church - We made a quick trip to this church built in the honour of St. Philomena in the Diocese of Mysore. Brilliant architecture, beautiful stain glass interiors and a stoic silence inside the Church made the visit worth every minute spent there.

Brindavan Gardens - Sprawling gardens and the beautiful water fountains are simply soothing. Once it was dark the fountains glittered in various colours. The musical fountain was beatifully choreographed. It was a very relaxing experience at the garden. Superbly maintained.

Mysore Palace - Awesome interiors. Left me in complete envy :). I could almost imagine the Wodeyar clan walking around in the huge palace (effect of an overdose of Jodha Akbar maybe :P)

We saw other places like the beautiful Karanji Lake (including a pedal boat experience), the Chamundeshwari Temple, the magestic Nandi and the Cave Shiva temple on Chamundi Hills, and the Lalit Mahal Palace.

The other good part about Mysore were the yummy dosas. Never had such tasty crisp dosas before.

What impressed me most about the city was it's people. I found almost everyone around to be extremely courteous - including people like traffic policemen who are otherwise so rude and grumpy. Almost every one of them we interacted with were ready to help - with a smile on their face. Something that has gone amiss in our bigger faster cities.

I sure am going back to Mysore soon - for its people, clean wide roads and its yummy dosas :)

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Be an Alchemist

I had heard loads and loads about Paulo Coelho's 'The Alchemist'. One of the most common reason this book was recommended for reading was its extremely positive remarks about how it pays to remain in pursuit of your dreams - no matter how long it takes.

I happened to chance upon a copy of 'The Alchemist' at my aunt's place - picked it up for reading instantly.

I believe in omens and I am always on the lookout for them - in my own small way. Some of the dialogues between the shepherd boy and the people he encounters are so striking. I am not sure whether this book would have the same impact on everyone. I loved the book! Never felt so positive and charged up about my own dreams ever before. I am not sure if I am over-reacting; but somehow I can relate to almost everything that the shepherd boy goes through whilst pursuing the treasure of his life. I don't know... maybe this is an omen by itself!!! And I chose to believe that it is a good omen!

Coming back to the book; I think Paulo Coelho has drawn a brilliant parallel between human dreams and alchemy. Relentlessly trying till you're smiling about what you've achieved is common to both. The metaphor is striking and leaves an impression.

I've compiled some of my favourite lines from the book and what I feel about them. Here goes...

When you really want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.
This one's the best... has inspired many included our very own SRK in Om Shanti Om :P. I blindly trust my conspirators... whoever they are, wherever they are!

The world’s greatest lie: At a certain point in our lives we lose control of what’s happening to us and our lives become controlled by fate.
This one's for those who have stopped having faith in the earlier line :( We cannot let fate control our lives... it's just not right!

Most people see the world as a threatening place, and because they do, the world turns out indeed to be a threatening place.
Lesson for me... and maybe a couple of you too.

There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.
Another gyaan byte for us :)

Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.
Especially true of all nosey uncles and aunts who somehow have an opinion about everything we do or want :P

If what one finds is made of pure matter, it will never spoil. If what you had found was only a moment of light, like the explosion of a star, you would find nothing on your return.
Beautiful simile!

It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.
I agree totally... your dreams are your only true companion for life!

Never stop dreaming.
Believe me... it serves as enough motivation to keep on trying till you get there someday! Don't forget to keep the fingers crossed too :)

Every search begins with beginner’s luck. And every search ends with the victor’s being severely tested.
I don't mind... all's well that ends well.

Everyone on earth has a treasure that awaits him.
Makes me feel special! I'm waiting for mine.........

Wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.
Wow... Paulo Coelho even gave us a hint :)

If I really am a part of your dream, you will come back one day.
Some call it emossional atyachaar... some call it pyaar :)

“Even though I complain sometimes,” it (heart) said, “it’s because I’m the heart of a person, and people’s hearts are that way. People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel that they don’t deserve them, or that they’ll be unable to achieve them. We, their hearts, become fearful just thinking of loved ones who go away forever, or of moments that could have been good but weren’t, or of treasures that might have been found but were forever hidden in the sands. Because, when these things happen, we suffer terribly.”
How true... we subject our poor li'l hearts through a whole lot of what not. I actually found this dialogue between the shepherd and his heart really really sweet - almost like an innocent kid giving an alibi! Let's stop being mean... let's be good to our hearts!

Life really is generous to those who pursue their destiny.
One more reason to keep going.

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