Thursday, 31 December 2009

2009 - retrospective tag cloud!

Tata Jaagrathi Yatra, Bangalore Cantonment, Chennai Mail 1 hour delayed, Wishing the train engine driver, Dil-Vish-Thiruvanmiyur beach and Marundeeswarar temple, Bro spotted at the beach, Saravana Bhavan cakes and bakes, walk to city centre, bus ride, Vandalur zoo, Muttukadu boat ride, Not shortlisted in JMET, shortlisted in CAT, GD/PI classes, IIM applications, Hyderabad, Kacheguda station with the moon as a backdrop, Eat Street in Husain Sagar, Slumdog, Briyani, Charminar, Golconda auto ride, Shilparama, Andhra meals, Prank goes horribly wrong, Supi's baby girl, IIM B GD/PI, IIM I GD/PI, SP Jain GIs, Anna University Quiz, Annie is engaged, IIM-B selection, Silent Valley, jungle pool, lonely watch tower, horoscopes, bank loan,, resignation from Indya, Annie's marriage, Maddy to get her own football, auto rides, bus stop opp. Subhiksha, IIM-B student life starts, EB 004, resume, PDP sessions, night outs, L square, quant, finacc, RNS, lack of sleep, quizzes, surprise quizzes, CAT race gives way to Rat Race in IIMB, missing Star Bangalore and Indya Interactive, Mancomm bug sex JAM, CulComm, MARS, Business Card troubles, Birthday bummer!, Marina Beach, Landmark Quiz, photos of Kiki's, One year down., more quizzes, QM troubles, Unmaad publicity, MARS mailers, term 1 ends, H 301, term 2 starts, hectic, company PPTs, summers, CorpFin, Kotler, fin shortlists, consult shortlists, summer placement process, successfully screw fin interviews, successfully screw consult interviews, successfully screw most interviews, Gaja Capital, Summer in Mumbai, Qwiky, Aapa Kadai, Lav & Sudha engaged, Veena maarries, MM presentation, MPPO presentation, end terms, Hampi, Revamped Marina, Maddy gives birth, Avatar, Term 3, Core Electives, quater dollar coin from a man worth millions, New Years L-Square party, tending the bar... Here comes 2010

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Hampi and a dam

"It's a hill station right?"

As those words came out seeking an answer from me, the thought flashed through my mind that maybe its a mistake to go in a group to Hampi. A group of 12 yuppies. But the trip was well worth it and the group made the experience unique.

The facts most know... UNESCO Heritage site, architectural ruins, amazing landscape, premier tourist destination etc. So what was I going to experience?

"So this is a university for Kannada?"

Thanks to the good contacts of one of our friends we got some really good accomodation at the guest house of the Kannada University. Downside was the distance from Hampi but the upside was the the acco cost was next to negligible. In fact, it was free.

The distance meant that we had to travel to Hampi from the university by means of a Share Auto and this just made the trip a bit more adventurous.

"Why? Who? How?"

There are a lot of sights to see at Hampi (Well duh!) so its best advised to take a guide from the Tourist Office in front of the Virupaksha temple. (Rs. 1200 for the whole day for a group of 10-15) Our guide, Gopal, likes to narrate using questions. Can anyone tell why the Bahmani Sultanates destroyed all Lord Ganesha idols at the stomach and the trunk? Does anyone know where the pilgrims would go for water in the temple? Why is the Virupaksha temple the only temple where worship takes place? We didn't know any of the answers but he waits for our answers and prompts us and for every guess we make he says - NO, now tell me why? or how? or where? or whatever?

Pretty soon the guys decide to give only one answer for any question Gopal asks - Bahmani Sultans! But Gopal is a really nice guide and he seems very passionate about the ruins of Hampi. Once we finish with the Virupaksha temple, we rent out little XL supers and a couple of other bikes to loaf around Hampi (rental charge is 250 per bike for the whole day)

"So that's the Mango tree."

Its fairly safe to say that I have never ever had lunch in a setting like Mango Tree in my life so far. Awesome food and awesome Lassi. You sit on a mat under a mango tree on the banks of the Tungabhadra. Wish there was more water to heighten the ambience. Quite an idyllic setting for a lovely lunch washed down with Banana-Coconut Lassi, Mango Lassi and Pineapple Lassi. Did I mention that the Lassis are awesome?

"Lotus Mahal has air conditioning!"

Gopal is quite proud of Hampi and the Vijayanagara empire. After showing us broken statue of the Groundnut Ganesha - a magnificent monolith carved out of a single stone, the Lakshminarasimha statue and the Balakrishna temple he takes us to the royal enclosures. I wonder if the Bahmani sultans hadn't destroyed Hampi and ensured that there was no future occupation of the land would the ruins be as preserved as they are now. Would they have been demolished by the Vijanagara rulers themselves and made into better buildings or worse buildings? The bedroom of the Queen in the Lotus Mahal had pipes inside each wall which had water flowing through it and this was Air Conditioning Vijayanagara style.

The Royal Enclosures are quite a setting. The Elephant stables, the museum, the broken down watch towers and the setting sun only adds to the ambience.

"Oh damn! there is water."

The Mahanavami Dibba is this huge stage where the King would watch the performances during the holy festival. In the same compound as the Dibba is a secret corridor where according to Gopal the battle plans were drawn.

The famed Stepped Well, which is in the same complex as the Dibba, was unfortunately filled with water and I could only see till the second level. Damn!

"Pillars can not make drum sounds! Wait a minute, it can! WOW!"

Vithala temple, in my opinion, was the highlight of all the ruins at Hampi. I am not sure if it was the ride through the mud road. Or the long stretch of Bazaar ruins before the temple or the wonder of the musical pillars that quite did me in. I think the main reason was the magnificence of the setting. The temple was a lone structure surrounded by rocky hillocks and no other building in sight. The twilight and the lack of street lamps made me one with the moment and that kind of did the trick. I was awestruck by it all. The stone chariot, the musical pillars, the ride back with only the head lamp and in one bike's case no head lamp.

"Only 9, including the driver, are legally permitted"

Far from the madding cities, the sky puts on its best display of stars and my tired body hits the sack to wake up to a day that does not promise to be eventful. I was proved wrong.

We took a walk across the university campus and spotted some works of art in the strangest of places. The campus is quite unique with a museum and tribal learning centres and its a nice stroll. Our chariot of commute waits for us at the main gate and we start off to visit the Tungabadhra dam. And then the portent of an uneventful day was completely thrown out of the window thanks to the driver who takes a left through what can only be described as a road laid by the Kannadiga cousins of the pitch curator of Ferozshah Kotla. The permitted limit for passengers for a share auto is 9 and we were 14 and the sight of a traffic cop on the highway forced us to take a detour and enjoy some rural scenery and also enjoy the feeling of a share auto nearly capsizing.

A 20 minute ride through sugarcane and paddy fields brought us to a Jaggery factory. It was good to see the whole process of sugarcane juice being boiled and converted to jaggery cakes. We also got to drink some refreshing cane juice and after lunch at a Rajasthan Heritage village in the middle of nowhere, we set off to Tungabadhra Dam.

"Woah that's a lot of water behind this dam!"

I have been to a few dams in my 25 year existence on this planet and this is the largest catchment area I have ever seen. It was like an ocean and it prompted a few to wonder why Karnataka does not give water to Tamil Nadu. Well one of the reasons could be that the Tungabadhra flows to Andhra and not Tamil Nadu. The dam is small with an ordinary garden but the catchment area and the sheer amount of water was amazing. I wonder how they build a dam. Should check on youtube if there are videos on Dam Construction.

The Share Auto (which we had christened Lakshmi) was on its last legs when she dropped us off at the railway station. And as we boarded the train to return to Bangalore I wondered if Lakshmi would still be running the day I write a post of the Hampi trip or would it have gone to the great big scrap heaven in the sky.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Fear of the Intersection of the Friend Venn diagram!

For some reason, I get quite uncomfortable when friends circles clash. I have never quite understood why.

In my mind I tend to segregate friends into ones from school, ones from family, ones from the one year spent in Trichy, ones from college, ones from work and now the ones from management school and whenever an occassion crops up where the 2 segregations intersect my heart starts pumping faster and my knees get weak.

It's almost as if I am a different Vinay in each of the circles and when the circles mingle I am not sure which character I should play and what my lines should be.

I no longer seem to relate to the Vinay I was in high school. The one growing up on a diet of American TV shows and wanting to know all the brands... a wannabe snob! and in my mind I always seem to picturise my school friends to be the same. They could and most likely should have grown on to bigger things but that does not seem to enter my mind at all. Hmmm.

Anyways, I needed to get this blog going with some random post and as I had this on my mind just thought I will waste some Google server space on it!