A week with work-woes and a movie

Have you ever felt the need to get away from work? That you’ve had enough of it and cannot take the same old boring work-routine for even one more day or hour?! I guess, many of us would’ve been parley to such thoughts several times – especially considering the typically stressful work-styles we follow. Last week was one such for me. The work-days-juggernaut was rolling along nicely and I was working on the usual tasks and going about the boring daily work-routine. There was a planned project change implemented on a Thursday and everything looked fine. That night at 2.35 AM I got a call on the mobile from the night-support team. There seemed to be some issue with the implemented code, due to which some files which had to be generated and sent to the downstream partner systems was empty. Within five minutes I was awake and logged in – trying to decipher what could’ve gone wrong. I figured it out soon enough – I had overlooked some accompanying changes which had to be done and the empty file was a result of this miss. 😦 Amidst the thoughts of all the music I had to face  on the morrow in office, I was trying to check if there was a quick fix solution to generate that night’s file. I did some fix on the QA environment and drew up plans with the support-team-lead that this problem would require an emergency fix to be implemented on the very next day, before the next day’s file would get generated. I promised them that I would get into office early and work on it as priority.

Daylight was already breaking over the horizon and I thought that it was futile to go back to bed then; I might as well get the cooking etc. done and get ready for work. Accordingly I went about the morning chores and was ready for work at 6 AM, an hour before my regular morning start-time. I coordinated with the early shift cab driver and was in office by 7 AM, before most of the other folks started coming in. The rest of the day went by in a blur – the fix wasn’t as easy as it had initially looked, I had totally missed analysing the code earlier and had to figure out the logic, carry out tests and ensure that it would work seamlessly with the other changes. Added to this was the time constraint – everything had to be done within a couple of hours, the change orders raised and all necessary approvals sought to put it out-of-cycle as an emergency fix.

Phew! Luckily everything worked out well and by the end of the day the changes were in, after taking some help from colleagues. I was pretty jittery that night as well and had couple of calls at around midnight with the support team to ensure that the fix indeed worked and the issue was resolved. As they say, all’s well that ends well! But this episode left me drained – mentally and physically. Probably this too was routine a couple of years back, working late hours on deliveries and overseeing last minute fixes by my team were part and parcel of what I did regularly. In fact I remember doing such releases even when I was pregnant! But now, somehow, I found it very very tiring and stressful; I took almost a week to get over the dreadful feeling and get back to my normal working style. For a couple of days after that, I really did not feel like working at all!

What followed was something rather atypical for me – I decided to take off on a work-day, mid-week and for no reason! I just didn’t feel like going into work and facing another routine work-day 😦 I called the hubby and asked told him that he needs to take leave the following day and we would go out – probably catch a movie or just chill doing something else. Poor guy, reacted like a cat caught in the headlights! 😀 But he did some juggling around with his meetings and work-stuff and obliged like a dutiful husband 😛 The next day I was up and about at the usual time – the plan was, we would finish all chores like everyday, drop off our son at school and go catch a movie at the matinee show. The little fella, clever that he is, was surprised to see me at home – normally I am off to work by the time he wakes up in the morning. He seemed confused – what day is it?, he asked. Is it Saturday? Why aren’t you at work? I won’t go to school! 😮 He was even more suspicious when he saw his dad in non-formal clothes! 😀 After side-stepping his tricky questions, we managed to drop him to school and went on our way to watch the movie Neerja.

Neerja is a biographical thriller about Neerja Bhanot, the brave air-hostess who laid down her life in her call of duty. Her efforts thwarted the hijacking attempt of the Pan AM flight in Karachi on 5th Sept 1986 – she prevented the flight from taking off by having the presence of mind to inform the pilots in time for them to flee the plane. Her heroism and calm, cool-headed handling of the dire situation resulted in 360 hostages being saved from the hijackers’ hold. Instead of trying to save herself, she chose to save the lives of hundreds of passengers, showing immense courage and strength of character. The film was motivational and an example of how ‘work is worship‘ for several people – like our brethren from the armed forces and others like Neerja.

I wasn’t too impressed by Sonam’s portrayal as Neerja – she seems more suited and at ease with roles like the one in Khoobsoorat; but the scene-stealer was definitely Shabana Azmi. The feelings of what a child’s loss means for a mother, couldn’t have been brought to life more poignantly by anyone else. She is outstanding, especially in the last scene and one cannot but leave the theatre with misty eyes and a lump in the throat!

After the movie, we grabbed some lunch and walked the shopping streets leisurely – doing more looking-into-windows than actual shopping; but happy to have the road to ourselves sans the crowds, thanks to it being a weekday. And just like that, the little get-away was over! 😦 Soon, it was time to go back – to be faithful to our line of duty, on the home-front and to get ready for the challenges of the work-day on the morrow. I felt much better the next day at office and am now back peering into the laptop screen and trying to tame/ slay the usual work-demons! These little, especially mid-week jaunts, do a world of good, I tell ya! 😀

The first movie experience

Last Friday was a landmark day – it marked one of the ‘firsts’ for our little one. It was his first time watching a movie in the theatre! 😀 Now, many people might argue that 4 years and 2.5 months is too early or too late, but lets just suffice to say that this is what I wanted for my son. My criteria was simple – he had to be at an age where he would understand what happens around him and on screen. Also importantly a child who would listen to when told to be quiet without causing a nuisance to the others around. And I wanted his first movie to be a kiddies movie – one he would be excited to watch on big screen and identify/ relate with a book or story reference. So till last year I wasn’t too keen on taking him to a theatre – if that meant total drought on the movie-watching front for me and the hubby, then so be it! Though there have been some good watchable kids movies this year, I’ve been at fault for not having planned this outing earlier. What caused this sudden plan was an episode from a couple of days earlier.

It was one of those extended holiday weeks and the hubby’s entire family had congregated at the in laws’ place. On that Saturday when it poured cats and dogs in Bangalore and put a damp blanket on all plans for the weekend, the hubby came home and declared that 8 tickets had been booked for the evening show of ‘Happy New Year’ at a nearby mall and the family was gonna watch it together. For all the afore-mentioned reasons, I was irritated and determined that I wouldn’t let somebody else take this simple decision out of my hands. I flatly said no. The hubby was right – the kiddo would definitely have loads of fun playing around with his boisterous cousins, but then this would be his first movie experience – which is not how I wanted it to be. And with due respect to Farah Khan, HNY was not the kind of movie I wanted him to be watching! This resulted in a row between us and I was all the more non-plussed that somebody else’s decision to book tickets in bulk was causing this argument amongst us! :-/ Poor hubby, I cannot blame him – it has been ages since he had a day out watching a movie and he was right in a way… I told him unconvincingly that he could go with his son, but I wouldn’t be coming. Of course, that didn’t happen and we didn’t watch the movie.

That very day I decided, the next decent kids movie that hits the theatres, 3D or not, we’d go to that. You see, another reason for not having taken the kid along earlier was because any kids’ movie that releases these days is in 3D. And my previous experience watching a 3D movie with those glasses hasn’t been great – I ended up with a terrible headache! But this time, thankfully all the ifs and buts were put to rest. I checked out the movies playing on Friday afternoon and saw that there was the Disney movie ‘Big Hero 6’ playing in many theatres. I didn’t have much background, I just read a few reviews and found that it wasn’t bad – it was about a genius kid dabbling in robotics and his escapades with a robot called Baymax. Since I was at work, I couldn’t watch any trailers. I called the hubby and told him about the plan – he checked the trailers online and said yes, it looks good, we can go. I was excited! 😀

That evening I reached home only to see the hubby going about the daily chores in his pajamas nonchalantly! I was like – aren’t we going?! He asks – where to?! *Face-palm moment*! I patiently explained to him that I had meant for us to go that evening, as pushing it to the weekend might result in cancellation as is wont to happen mostly often. We dilly-dallied with the decision a few times and when we had just enough time to rush to the theatre on a two-wheeler, we said – ok, lets go! The bewildered kid was grabbed and soon bundled into layers of jackets and warm clothes and was told to wait for a surprise. We rushed to the mall in time, to grab tickets and get into the movie-screening hall. The kiddo was suitably surprised and was asking questions nineteen to the dozen – where are we? theatre! why are we here? – to watch a movie! what is a movie? – explanation follows! why are there so many chairs? – for people to sit and watch on the big screen! what will come on screen? – it’s like the TV at home, only much much bigger. Is S-akka here? (his S-akka stays close by and is a regular visitor to the mall) No, not now, but this was the place she went to the other day when he was whisked away amidst wails… and so on

We soon settled down with a popcorn bag and 3D glasses – a smaller cute one for the kiddo. It was a blessing in disguise that I didn’t go in expecting more, I loved the movie! The robotics angle appealed to my geeky side and Baymax, the cuddly healthcare companion robot stole my heart! 😀 As for the kiddo – the first half was spent digging his fingers into the popcorn bag and only asking questions about why the characters weren’t coming close to him! (that was the reason given by his dad for having to wear the glasses and he took it literally so!) He did watch the second half more interestedly and enjoyed Hiro and Baymax’s adventures till the end. So all in all, it was one happy amma and kanda who came home on that cold Friday night, with jokes being cracked about appa being the Baymax in the house in his white-banian avatar, what with the pot-belly et al! 😀

Mysore – day 2 – Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens

Well, the ‘next few days’ from my last post has turned into ‘next few months’! I did think of writing about the final part of our August holiday, but never got around to doing it. Not until, my friend A point out yesterday that she had visited this space to check for updates and found that it wasn’t updated in a long time! Thanks A, for letting me know that there’re still people who visit this blog to read what I’ve written! So here I am, saying better late than never!

Considering that it has been a couple of months, remembering the details might be difficult, but I will try my best. We had decided that the last day would be ear-marked for the zoo-visit. This was on our to-do list for a long time now, we’d always put off the visits to the zoo/ national park saying let the kiddo grow-up a little so that he can enjoy looking at the animals. So now was the time, we thought. I’d been saying hurry-hurry, otherwise we’ll reach when it’s siesta time for most animals, but as is always the case, it was already mid-day when we entered the Mysore zoo.

The Mysore Zoo (officially the Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens), as the Wikipedia will tell you, is a 245-acre zoo located near the palace in Mysore. It is one of the oldest and most popular zoos in Southern India, and is home to a wide range of species. It is one of the city’s most popular attractions. It was established under royal patronage in 1892, making it one of the oldest zoos in the world.

We started off by looking at the tall and majestic giraffes and moved on to the birds sections, where there was a huge variety of winged wonders in all shapes, sizes and colours. The kiddo was specially thrilled to see all the colourful macaws and his amma was thrilled to be able to point out the ‘toucan’ from one of his books to him! 🙂 After the birds, we moved on to other enclosures – we found the cheetahs and were thrilled to read that the two of them had been adopted by Rahul Dravid’s two sons. Yes, the Mysore zoo has this adoption scheme introduced in the early 2000s, which has been a success – with celebrities, institutions, and animal lovers contributing directly to the welfare of the zoo inmates. Later we saw that several other animals too were adopted by celebrities as pointed out by the boards. We excitedly moved towards the tigers and as I had feared, all of them were enjoying their afternoon nap! But one of them (Rama/ Lakshmana – not sure which one) did get up, showed us that famous feline stretch and majestically walked down the ramp, only to curl up and sleep at the next platform!

We walked on and caught up with several other friends like the zebra, the white rhino, the chimps,the baboons and others. Most of the animals are housed not in small enclosures, but wide open spaces with lots of room for them to move around and rather than wiring and fencing (except for a few like the big cats) the concept of wide moats and glass etc. have been used, which gives this sensation of openess to the entire zoo. Insipte of this, the one place where I truly felt saddened was when we saw the gorilla. The gentle giant was all alone and sitting/ sleeping by itself while scores of visitors gaped at it’s antics 😦

We then rested our legs a bit before moving on to what we hoped was the final section – little did we know that there was still so much to see! The sonny boy was shown the bears and the hippos, but he was very interested in looking at the hyenas (thanks to reading all about their evil menacing laughter in the story of Simba, the Lion King!), but unfortunately due to some renovation work being carried out, their enclosure was covered. We then looked at the various deer species – the sambar, the spotted deer, the nilgai, the barking deer and also the jackals, wolf, wild gaurs and bisons. Then came  the turn of another of our favourite mammals – the elephants. The sight of two big ones engaged in a tusk war was enjoyed in awe and so also the antics of the little ones welcomed with squeals.Right behind the huge area housing the Asian elephants were their African cousins, but we could only view them from far – their hugeness with the long tusks and big flapping ears were a sight to behold.

After the elephants it was time to look at more big cats – the panthers and the jaguars – and unlike the tigers, they seemed to be ready for action and were pacing all round their enclosures. Their shiny spotted coats and their lissome athletic figures with flashing eyes and adrenaline charged gait – sent shivers down my spine! In cold comparison the king of the jungle and its clan were happy being lazy and slouching and looked to be in no mood to be woken up from their siesta! We infact had trouble getting S to identify these lions amongst the landscape into which they were blending very well!

Just when we felt that we couldn’t go on walking further, we were welcomed into the cooled enclosures housing the reptiles and the birds like the pelicans and storks. There were so many varieties of crocs – with the garhwals and the alligators and there were not less than 6-10 in each independent lake. Some of them seemed to have fallen asleep with their mouth wide open and the little one had loads of fun pointing them out to us 🙂 The lakes were covered with a canopy of trees which housed the several big birds. Also located close by were the various species of tortoises and turtles – some of them so small and wondrous!

By now, we were completely tired out and so was the little one and were happy to note that we were close to the exit. There was only the snakes section to be covered and we stood in the queue. We looked closely at more than two dozen species of snakes in glass covered enclosures and each one was so unique. Each case also a write-up on the name of the species and their specilities. The final ones were the King cobras and humongous pythons – boy! were we glad to be far away from their reach?! By now we were at the exit and once again said hello to the giraffes and bid them good-bye too.

It was a wonderful day, well-spent getting to know our friends from the animal kingdom and more importantly getting them introduced in person to our little one! All-in-all it was a befitting end to our three-day trip – planned to be a relaxing, educational and entertaining trip for each of us and it turned out to be just that! 🙂

 

Mysore – day1 – Venugopalaswamy temple & Brindavan Gardens

After spending the day at the Shimsha waterfalls we headed towards Mysore on the evening of Thursday. We didn’t go back to the Malavalli route and instead took the Kollegal – T-Narasipura route to reach Mysore – the hubby was very happy to drive without the chaotic Mysore-road traffic and kept gushing about the scenic beauty. I must mention that just before we left Shivanasamudra, on the Bharachukki falls road is the Madhyaranga Sri Ranganatha Swamy temple. This the second of the trio of the Sri Ranganatha temples along the river Kaveri – the Aadi Ranga being at Srirangapatna and the Antya Ranga being at Srirangam in Tamil Nadu. The temple itself is along a serene stretch and is beautiful without the usual milling crowd of tourists.

The Venugopalaswamy temple site

We reached Mysore by late evening and checked into our hotel after a dinner stop-over. The next day dawned bright and nice and we were excited to be going to visit one of the jewels in the crown of Mysore – the Brindavan Gardens and the Krishna Raja Sagara dam. But before visiting the gardens we had decided to visit the Venugopalaswamy temple at its new location in Hosa Kannambadi.

The main temple structure

This temple has a fascinating history and you can read all about it here. The temple was originally built several 100 years ago around the same time as the Chennakeshava temple in Somnathpur and was located in the village of Kannambadi before the KRS dam was built. When the KRS dam was conceived and built, the king of Mysore ordered the people to be relocated to the new village of Hosa Kannambadi, however the temple and a few more other temples in the vicinity were doomed to be submerged. It continued this way for several decades where the temple would surface only when the water levels in the reservoir fell – mostly during the drought years. Then recently the Khodays group took up the task of relocating and restoring the temple to its present location near Hosa Kannambadi.

The temple is located in a spacious island-like location a few kilometers off the main road amidst the KRS dam back-waters. The temple complex is vast and pristine, since it is mostly untouched by tourists as of now. The original architecture has been preserved and most of the slabs and stones from the original site have been recovered and used, but the installation of the idols is yet to be done and so the temple awaits its official inauguration.

The temple front view

We spent a good couple of hours at the temple site enjoying the serenity and the beauty of the architecture. Thereafter we headed over to the Brindavan gardens. These gardens have been one of the major attractions in Mysore and were conceived by Sir Mirza Ismail, the then Dewan of Mysore for the beautification of the dam site. The work on it was started in the year 1927 and it was developed in the Mughal style similar to the Shalimar gardens in Kashmir in a terraced fashion – the main architect for the park was G.H. Krumbigal, then Superintendent of Parks and Gardens of the Mysore Government.

Fountain at Brindavan gardens

The gardens are spread across 60 acres – we spent the latter part of the day strolling through them after having a spot of modest lunch at the KSTDC hotel inside the garden premises.We decided to first walk upto the dam end of the garden to check if we could take a look at the Kaveri waters roaring and rushing through the opened gates. Unfortunately we were not in luck and were told that the access to the dam gates was completely shut from the garden end. If we wanted to have a close look at the dam gates, we would have to drive right up to the beginning of the dam-site which was a good 5 kms away from the gardens 😦 Disappointed, we trudged back and walked slowly right up to the other end, where the famed musical fountain is located. The show was slotted for 7 PM and we had gone as early as 5.30 PM. As we waited the amphitheatrical steps started filling up and how?! By the show time the entire area was teeming with thousands of people and there were only flashes going off in all directions, lighting up the night!

Another of the fountains

The musical fountain used to be one of its kind – where bursts of water, lighted up in varied hues, are synchronised to the music of popular songs. Unfortunately the shows now last only for 15 mins and there are 3 shows held with a gap of 10 mins between each show, within the one hour slot of 1 hour. This is quite a deviation from the original shows which used to go on for an hour. Also the songs chosen were quite alarming – the first one was the popular and very apt ‘Kannada naadina jeevanadi’ in SPB‘s delightful voice which gave me goosebumps. But the next two – ‘Babuji zara dheere chalo remix version(?!)‘ and ‘Dhoom machale‘ left a bitter taste in my mouth! Why do we have to cater to such stupid tastes of the populace? Why can’t we have more Kannada numbers which talk about our land and it’s beauty or atleast some good patriotic numbers if you want to reach out to people from other states?

Musical fountains

On our way back, we did stop over at the beginning of the dam to catch a glimpse of the dam gates – the night was dark and the lighting wasn’t very good, but just the sound of the majestic roar of the mighty Kaveri brought in that rush of adrenaline in my body and soul – how I wished I could’ve been there and seen it in daylight! Nevertheless, that wish hopefully will be fulfilled sometime in the future… With that, I will end this looong post! There’s more – Mysore day-2 coming up, hopefully in the next few days!

Shivanasamudra

The mood in the house has been sombre and we have been caught up with running chores and errands almost every weekend. Friday happened to be our kiddo’s star birthday and I had decided to take this day off from work to spend some time with him – especially since on his actual birthday later in the week, he would be at school. Albeit some pressures and discussions at work, I did manage to take off and so did the hubby and we decided to drive down to Mysore. This Mysore trip again was on the cards for a long time now, where we wanted to take the kiddo to the zoo to see the animals and also the Brindavan gardens. We thought this was the right opportunity, especially since it was a weekend dedicated to celebrating having him in our lives!

We started on Thursday morning and took the Kanakpura – Mavalli route, since we had decided to visit Shivanasamudra waterfalls on the way to Mysore. The roads were in good condition and the views scenic and by mid-day we were at the site of the waterfall. we went to the first view point for the waterfall and spent sometime taking in the beauty of the roaring cascade of water. The little one had a good time gushing over the waterfall and pointing to the monkeys around and posing for photographs. I had taught him the names and he in his super-sweet kiddish but clear voice kept repeating Ga-ga-na-chukki and Bhara-chukki all the time 🙂

The Gaganachukki waterfall

The Gaganachukki waterfall

After downing some cool cucumbers and tender coconuts, we drove across to the other view-point which is near the Dargah and which we remembered from our previous visit would take us closer to the waterfall. The area around the Dargah itself was much dirtier than previous times and we had a tough time reaching the actual access point. There again some time was spent getting the kiddo to wet his legs and play with water, while I being the adventurous one wouldn’t be satisfied without climbing down a couple of rocks to take better pics of the gushing waters from close range.

All done and with stomachs rumbling we decided to head the Mysore way. As we were taking the car out of the parking lot, we saw a board which said – ‘Bharachukki – 2kms’ and both of us were like ‘what?!!‘ With questions writ large on our faces we drove across only to find that the so-called twin waterfalls we had been viewing all along that day (and also in past years) was in fact only the Gaganachukki falls and what we had just then driven to was the site of the Bharachukki falls – which we realized was a totally different waterfall altogether and located a good 5-8 kms away from the other one!!

The Bharachukki waterfall

The Bharachukki waterfall

The view of this was just as magnificent and the Karnataka tourism department has spruced up the place with good boards and railings alongside the steps leading right down to the bottom, from where we saw people taking teppa-rides right upto the foot of the waterfall. The sight was mersmerising and tempting but we were already tired and couldn’t imagine going down and climbing up the scores of steps with a mischievous toddler in tow. We decided to revisit the place sometime again, even if it is only to take that tantalizing teppa-ride!

To find the missing links in this mystery of the two waterfalls I decided to google and found that they indeed were two separate segments formed by the splitting of the Kaveri river, surrounding the island town of Shivanasamudra. Wikipedia also goes on to say that we were not alone in thinking that the two segments of the Gaganachukki were two waterfalls in themselves and that it is a common misconception. Phew! there’s always something new to learn! I also checked back on this blog because I remembered writing about our previous trip to the place and guess what – our visit then too was at the same time and infact right down to the same date of the month, a good 7 years ago! Gosh! it’s hard to believe that it’s been so many years!

I will add the pics from home… and also write about the Mysore leg of the trip in detail in another post

Edited: to add pics

Simple aagondu anniversary and more…

It was our anniversary a couple of days ago and after a long time, we went to watch a movie together in the theatre. As my other counterparts would agree, watching a simple movie becomes quite a challenge after one has a baby! After nearly two years, we managed to convince ourselves that it’s ok to spend a day on our own while the kiddo was at school.

We watched the Kannada movie – ‘Simple aag ond love story’. Nothwithstanding the cheesy title, I can say that it was a movie we enjoyed watching – the cinematography and the scenic shots in Coorg are beautiful and some of the songs (especially the one sung by Sonu Nigam and another female solo by Sowmya Rao) are soulfully rendered. But the movie’s biggest strength are it’s dialogues – they’re crisp, sometimes in-your-face, funny, interesting, thought-provoking(?) and hold the story together. Both the lead actors are newcomers – Rakshit Shetty and Shwetha Shrivastav – though the latter is a familiar face on TV I guess. Both of them have acted well and carry the film through, but I thought that Rakshit was especially good – the way he rattled off those dialogues and carries off the different looks in the movie is commendable.
On the downside, though they called it a simple love story, I found that the story was a little too incredible and not very plausible. Also I felt that they could’ve used other people for the flashback scenes which form a major part of the movie – though I must say that Rakshit was equally brilliant in those scenes from the past too.That apart we enjoyed a quiet dinner out with the sonny boy and the day went by in a flash and the anniversary was done and dusted, even before we realized!

Among other stuff, life goes on as usual – amidst hours spent at work and at home with the little one. Now with his pigtails given to ‘maami’ at Nanjangud, he looks and behaves quite like a big boy; who still chatters non-stop though! He goes to a different day-care now which he likes much better and doesn’t mind going to. We’re a month away from sending him to big school and I can’t believe that my little baby is now so grown up that he will go to school on his own in the van with the other kids! He is never short of talk though and I love hearing him chatter, though it does get overwhelming at times! 😀
Some samplers:
Ellige hogtaiddiya? naanu barteeni – whenever he sees his appa or me opening the door!
Ivattu kaalu/palya/chapathi mam-mam madtidyaa? – whenever he sees me getting stuff ready for the next day’s meal
oota madona banni, chaape haakiddini – appa saaku TV nodiddu banni – kanda, ammane first, appa last (or vice versa depending on his mood)
These days all of us sit together on the kitchen floor and have dinner – we started doing this to get him to eat on his own. He has learnt to eat by himself – though he chatters non-stop and makes a mess sometimes, meal-times are a lot less stressful and get done quickly these days!
amma nange jeans pant haaku (anytime that we have to go out, sometimes there are tantrums and I am reminded of my friends telling me this about their sons and how I’d given gyan to them about handling such demanding kids – it all comes back to bite your butt, I tell ya!)
– when we’re watching IPL and shout SIX! or OUT! he repeats saying – six-ante! out-ante! 😀
– he loves listening and dancing to the beats of jhampak-jhapang! says jhampak-jhapang-giligiliye annu!
– he now knows his grandparents’ names and his chikki-chikappa’s names, his dodamma and atte’s names too…and several of his appa’s friends and their sons/daughters names 🙂
– he still loves listening to his amma sing at bedtimes and makes demands like – doni saagalu helu, mungaarina abhishekake helu or sakshatkaara helu… he clings to me like a little monkey and pulls across my hand saying – thatti maadu and falls asleep on many days.
I’m amazed at his grasping power especially with these songs – I’ve observed that I would’ve sung them just once or twice and he would’ve picked up parts of the lyrics even from the antaras and sings them when he is playing or is in a good mood!It has happened a couple of times and I’ve been pleasantly surprised every time.
– If he’s asking us a question and we’re hmm-ing and haw-ing through it, he says yaake, baayi bittu maatadu parvagilla! 😀

Well, that will give you an idea of the extent to which his thought processes and conversations around them have evolved 🙂
However big he talks and acts and says – naanu eega doddavanaagiddini; he still is my puttu-bangaari and even to this day, I am fascinated by his antics and expressions and the ease with which he talks. Sometimes I just look at him when he is fast asleep – that is the sight/ moment when my heart really feels full – with warmth, love and gratefulness for having this blessing in our lives 🙂

Kemmannugundiya pravaasa…

 The high school Kannada lesson by Ms. Shanta Devi Malawada, with the aforementioned title is what first flits across my mind when I think of this giridhaama. That and the fact that I missed attending my close friend’s sister‘s marriage on the first occasion when we visited this place as a happy family of four.

That was no less than five-six years ago, but the memories are as green as the place itself is! No wonder then that this was one of the first choices that popped up when we were planning a day’s team outing. Given the working Saturday to compensate for the election holiday and the fast-approaching last-working-day of a colleague who was leaving us, it had to be a action-packed 2 nights, 1 day trip with travel being the major activity we’d do over all those days and nights!

The start itself on the Saturday evening was far from auspicious. The plan was to start early by around 4 – 5 PM so that we could reach there latest by mid-night, grab a couple of hours of shut-eye and be geared for some action on Sunday. But after delays caused by a team-mate’s late arrival from her hometown and traffic -snarls across the city, the plan remained just that – a plan which didn’t get executed! This led to some major wait-hours for the two spouses who were accompanying us which in retrospect might seem funny somewhere far into the future, but definitely did not on the day! 😀

We finally started off by around 7.30, and reached Kemmannugundi by 2.30 AM, after a dhaba-dinner stop on the way. On alighting from the bus, the night was pitch-dark, it was raining and there was no power at the PWD dorms we had booked for the night. The sleepy lot just trooped into the rooms and hit the sack, while I for some unforeseen reason could only toss and turn while waiting for the dawn to break.  The day dawned bright and clear and the surrounding seemed pristine after the night’s showers – one could almost feel the purity of the air one breathed.

The first half of the day was spent trekking to the Z-point – the trek was tiring but the breathtaking view worth the efforts. After monkey-ing around for a couple of hours and gobbling down lunch, the latter part of the day was spent at the Hebbe waterfall. The journey to reach the waterfall is nearly 10-12 kms and the only mode of transport on the dirt track is the rickety jeeps, unless one fancies trekking all the way. After a back-breaking jeep-ride at the end of which we were covered in kemmannu from head to toe (not for nothing is it called the red-soil-land!) and a half-a-kilometer trek into the forest, we reached the majestic water cascade. Couple of us adventurous ones lost no time in getting into the water, going right up to the foot of the fall. We had a blast playing in the water for a good two hours before heading back to the dorms. A quick shower and change of clothes later, we were all set to leave.

the majestic Hebbe waterfall

the majestic Hebbe waterfall

Suddenly everyone wanted to be on their way back, so that we could at least reach Bangalore by mid-night (the plan again!). One had to report back to work the next day you see! Again after a dinner pit-stop, we could reach home-ground only in the early hours of Monday morning. The next day saw us dragging our legs to work after popping in pain killers and such, while some less-immune ones decided to call in sick and take the day off. All said and done it was a memorable trip – time for some good team bonding amidst all the fun and frolic.