Saturday, December 30, 2006

Trip to Udupi Beaches (Part 2)

DAY 2 (18th Dec 06) : 7.00 am : I was the first one to get up in the morning. Went to the next room and asked Risaf, Nishit and Jayakumar to get up. The reason for my getting up early was because I had planned to pay a visit to the famous Udupi Sri Krishna Temple. I freshned up very fast and set out to go to the temple so that by the time I return back to hotel other guys will be ready for the trip to Malpe. The receptionist at hotel gave me the route to the temple, It was as a walkable distance from the hotel we were staying. It was a different feeling walking through this city and I would like to mention here that Udupi is one of the clean city I have visited. Walking through the narrow street I reached the temple, the religious chants comming through the loudspeakers had a very soothing effect on me. The place is well-maintained, well-managed. It was surprising that even in this huge crowd, the calmness prevails. The sacred tank, MADHVA SAROVARA, is a beauty to look at. The darshan queue was not too long and after waiting for around half hour I got the darshan of the Lord. Here we have to look at the deity through a window. This window is popularly known as NAVAGRAHA KINDI Which represents the nine planets of the universe. From the window one can see the image of LORD SRI KRISHNA as a small boy with the churning rod ( Kadagolu ) in his right hand and rope in his left. The temple was completely roofed and it was dark inside but through some holes on the roof sunrays were comming inside and it looked as if the temple roof is held by these light pillars. There were some other small temples near to the main temple but I did not visit because I felt that it may take more time and will spoil our plans. I bought some prasadam and returned back to hotel room.
Everybody were ready as the prospect of visiting the island was the top priority in everybody’s mind. . We had the breakfast from the Hotel where we were staying as it was free. We then rushed to the bus stand to catch bus to Malpe. On the way Trevor gave the idea of buying a ball so that we can play at beach. We got a bus to Malpe and reached there within 15 minutes. We got down at Malpe with our luggage strapped behind us, the sun had risen above the tree line and gave no signs of calming down.

Myself and Nishit purchased some eatables like biscuit, cake, etc because we knew that there is nothing available on the island. As soon as we walked further we saw a lot of fishing boats at the ferry ghat .

There was smell of fish creeping in in from everywhere. We inquired a person about the booking office for getting boat for St Mary's Island. He showed us the way to the ticket booking office, pointing to a small pathway besides a small ramshackle booth. While walking towards booking office we saw the fishing boats unloading fishes from boats to other trucks. The ferry service from Malpe to the St Mary's Island is done by Karnataka Fisheries Limited and they charge Rs 75.00 per head. The lady at the booking counter informed us that there should be a minimum of 30 people for the boat service to be carried out. Right now there was only 17 people including five of us. we have to wait for 13 more like-minded people to assemble before we can commence our trip. We started playing volleyball near the booking office counter and inbetween inquiring at the booking counter if any more people has come to take boat. It was already 11'o clock and we were running out of patience because all our travel and plans will be spoilt if we couldn't get the boat service. The lady at the booking counter gave us another alternative that the 17 people can share and contribute a total of Rs 2100/- and all can make the trip. We were ready but another group was not ready to give Rs 125/- per head. Suddenly we had a sense of relieve, a bus load of around 50 school students and teachers came to go to the island. We purchased the tickets and boarded the boat. The boat had good seating arrangements, Himesh Reshamiyya songs were being played loudly on speakers, the boat even had a TV and DVD player. We made comfortable in the boat. The school children were making noise like birds.

I was very much energetic as this will be the first time I am going to travel for 25 mins in sea and to a remote island in sea.The boat cruised at an even pace; slowly the sea covered us from all the sides. The deck swayed vigorously at times, enough to make us grapple for the nearby handrail. A small empty motorised boat was trailing behind us all the time which we thought that was for safety purpose. we waited for the events to unfold by themselves. After 10 minutes of travel we got the first glimpse of the island.

There was a clear patch of sandy beach visible in between the rocks and the coconut groves on the back. Our steamer came to standstill some 100m ahead of the island and it was then that we realised that we would now be ferried in the small boat to cross the shallow waters. The island was maintained in a better condition for visitors and I felt that the island is a stage that is ready for a concert. Finally we set foot on the island, the person who was driving the boat announced that everybody needs to be back by 12.30pm which mean we have 1 hour of stay on the island. All five of us did not waste much time and changed our clothes and we went straight away to the opposite side of the island (200 meters from the end where we landed?? The island is that small).. Myself, Risaf and Trevor climbed some steep rocks that had some nicely formed natural steps and took photos. We walked along the length of the island and reached what seemed to be the furthest point into the sea. Then a, khaki wearing guy came and waved his hands to get back more to the middle of the island. The rocks rose up in a stepped fashion, in clusters, following an inherent hexagonal pattern. Amazingly some of the freestanding rock faces had these hexagonal facets right from the top to the bottom, which we all could not help wondering about. The rocks were arranged like a set of cigarettes together in a packet.

On the middle of the island there were a few bamboo framed thatched shelters for the tourists. The rest of the place was the all encompassing sea in its true splendour, the waves were making rhythmic music by splashing against the rock faces. At one place we saw a lot of red crabs. We looked at the time and were surprised that we had already spent one hour and it is time to return. The school children and other visitor were slowly getting on the return boat. Myself and Risaf went to the Boatmen and asked if we can stay longer and if there will be any return trip in the evening , the boatment asked us to contact the office. A few other visitors who wanted to stay back joined us. Risaf contacted the office over mobile and they agreed that we can stay back and there will be a return boat at 4.00 pm in the evening. We straight away jumped into water, for the next two hours it was full of "masti". We played volleyball in water. We were joined by a couple who were on honeymoon trip for playing. We shared a lot of jokes, meanwhile Trevor was giving Jayakumar and Risaf a few tips about swimming and floating in water. Soon it was 4.30 pm. We were tired, the cakes, biscuits etc were over. At 5.00 pm the return boat came and we packed ourselves and started our return journey. On the boat we could watch the beautiful sunset.

Watching the island fade away and the beautiful susnet over the Arabian sea made all of us speechless. We reached Malpe beach and from there we returned to our Hotel room by Autorickshaw. We had a good bath and all of us were feeling very hungry. We packed our luggage and cleared our room bills and went straight to the nearby Bombay Hotel. Everybody ordered for Chicken Biriyani because outside the hotel it was written that "Special Oil-less chicken biriyani Available". You can make out the intensity of our hunger by the speed by which the biriyani and side dishes vanished from the plate :-).. It was already 9.00 pm and we walked towards the Bus Stand. The Bus arrived at 10.15pm and we made ourselves comfortable on our seats. We had a deep, sound sleep and when we opened our eyes, it was 6.00 and we had reached outer Bangalore. We were again caught up in the usual traffic jams and honking vehicle horns. We got down at Majestic Bus Station and parted ways to our home. While riding back home, I could still hear the sound of waves hitting the rocks, the smell of the sea, the sunset, the laughter of my friends, etc....

Monday, December 25, 2006

Trip to Udupi Beaches (Part 1)

Myself and my office friends were planning for a get-together since a long time but unfortunately it was not getting worked out. So during the first week of this month myself and Risaf planned to make a trip. Now the next question was, Where to go? Both of us digged into and tried to get information about some exciting place for visit. We checked details about many places in karnataka also we checked a lot of travel photographs on travel sites. Our main aim was to make this tour a memorable one and should be adventerous. After a lot of search on various websites, both of us hit upon the idea of going to Malpe Beach. The main reason for our selecting this place was because it had a exotic island nearby, called St. Mary’s island, where the rocks have emerged as hexagonal prisms. I was a also excited about travelling in sea for around 20 minutes and going to an island and also enthusiastic about this rock patterns. Finally the trip members rose to six, alongwith Risaf, Trevor, Nishit, Sreejith, Jayakumar and myself. When we made a further search about the bus route and nearby place in Malpe we came to know about Kaup beach which had a lighthouse and also the Maravanthe beach. The captivating photographs of these places and description given by various people in travel sites/ blog made us more enthusiastic to visit them. Myself and Risaf spent a lot of hours getting the details about the buses and about the trip plan like when to go, which bus to take, where to go first, food, hotel details for stay, etc. Here I would like to make a special mention of Risaf because it is he who contacted the other colleagues and managed to make a very good arrangment for the smooth running of the office works for two days in the absence of we six guys. I would like to thank Geetha, Raghu and Hassan who worked extra hours in our absence as without their help this trip would have been practically impossible. So everything was set, It was decided that the trip will be of two days, First day we will be visiting the Kaup Beach and the next day we will be off to St Mary Island at Malpe in the morning and at Marvanthe Beach in the evening and catch the evening bus back to Bangalore. Risaf got the to and fro tickets booked through KSRTC. It was decided that everybody has to reach the Majestic Bus stand at 6.45am on 17th Jan. Myself and Risaf were in night shift duty on 16th Jan, so finished our work and left at 4.45am on 17th Jan. Went home, packed the dresses, loaded the camera and after getting freshed up left to majestic on my bike. On the way picked up Risaf and while we were going to majestic we got the first set back of our trip, Sreejith called up and said that he will not be able to make for the trip as his stomach is upset and not in a state to travel.

DAY 1 (17th Dec 06) : We reached majestic, parked our bike at pay and park place. The other three guys - Trevi, Jayakumar and Nishit came on time. We all boarded the bus and made ourselves comfortable at the respective seats. The condition of the bus was horrible, it was a ultra deluxe bus but the outer body of the bus was full of rust and cracks. The glasses were sealed with adhesive tapes and glues :).

The bus left the Stand at sharp 7.20am. The sound of the engine of bus was very loud and the speed was worse than our local BMTC bus. Risaf and Jayakumar were soon lullabied to sleep maybe due the sound of the engine or due to the night shift on previous day. I was enjoying the sight seeing through the window and once the bus came out of crowded Bangalore city premises, it was a great relief to watch the greenery and the small mountains etc. I was continously taking photos of the scenic beauty through the moving bus.

At 9.45am, the bus stopped at a road side hotel at Adichinchunagiri area for Breakfast. All of us were very hungry because none of us had anything in the morning, not even tea. All of us had idli, vada sambhar for breakfast. Actually I wanted to have a Masaladosa but it seemed that I will have to wait, so switched over to Idli, Vada. The bus moved ahead and we cracked a lot of joke with the bus conductor about the condition of the bus. We had a gala time cracking jokes, some very animated discussions and at times breaking into peals of laughter and also enjoying the beautiful sight seeing on the roadside.

At 10.30 am we got a break at Hassan when we all took time out and brought some snack items and fruits. Risaf and Trevi got hold of sudoku in Times of India, and we were enjoying the fresh air that was striking us and making us feel like a free bird in open space. We reached a place called Nelliyadi at around 2.00 pm and had lunch from a hotel which was horrible, somehow we just had rice and curd and moved ahead.

The bus took the route of Hassan – Sakaleshpur – Mangalore. We continued our journey talking about different subjects. The journey was not different to other journeys until we entered the area of Sakaleshpur. From here the journey was different in two ways; one the quality of roads was not good due to poor maintenance which was a challenge to our backbones and secondly we entered into an area where the beauty of nature is mesmerizing. My eyes were locked at the windows to capture the beauty of the nature. The coffee estates, the pepper plantations, and trees are really good and the roads are horribly bad.

When we neared Mangalore, we had to undergo one more test at BC Road of Mangalore. The condition of the road was also very much worst and somehow we reached Mangalore. I enjoyed the small rivers that were flowing parallel to our bus route near the Mangalore area. After crossing the Mangalore are the bus was amost empty. The bus conductor informed us that the bus stop of Kaup Beach comes ahead of Udupi bus stop, so we planned to get down at Kaup. We got off the bus and inquired the auto rickshaw driver about the beach route, he informed that it is around 3 km. Five of us adjusted in a single auto and reached the Beach. The glimpse of the vast sea and clean beach made us forget all the tiredness and refreshed us with new energy. We enjoyed the sheer beauty of nature, sounds of the waves, sensuously caressing breeze. The beach was not crowded and the sea was also calm. It was around evening 5.00 pm and the sun was slowly going down.

The main attraction was the lighthouse situated on top of a 12-metre-high boulder and the majestic 34-metre tower is painted with white and black bands. We climbed the winding stairs of the tower and reached the top of the lighthouse. The view from the top was breathtaking - the sight of the sea, the scattered rocks and the aerial view of the green land was a fantastic. We watched the sunset from the lighthouse - the hot red sinking into the sea. The waves were hitting the rocks and the roar of the waves was as if the sea was crying.

We climbed down the lighthouse and had a walk along the beach. Walking on the soft beach sand with waves kissing our legs was a different king of pleasure. We then played football on the beach, not with a ball but with a empty plastic bottle. It was getting dark and we went to a small hotel on the beach and had some snacks. We took a auto back to the bus stop and we immediately got a bus to udupi which is only 14 kms from Kaup. It was around 7.30 pm when we reached Udupi bus stand. We went to a nearby hotel named 'Udupi Residency' , took two double bedrooms. The rooms were cheap and well maintained. Our clothes were full of sand from Kaup Beach and we were very much tired of the travel. All of us had a nice bath and freshned up. After taking bath we had a small walk in the streets of Udupi, the city looked very clean to me and the roads were quite wide. All us were feeling very hungry as we did not had good food during our travel, so we decided to have dinner at the hotel where we were staying. We ordered fry, fish curry, prawns, rajali kabab(that was delicious), navrathan kurma (it was horrible), steamed rice, chicken item etc. The dishes were not too good but as we were very hungry we were attacking on the dishes over the table.We went back to our hotel at around 11.00pm and went to bed as we had to get up early the next day for the remaining part of the trip. So I just closed my eyes with the picture of the scenic beauty during the travel, the view of sunset from the light house and the sound of the waves vibrating in my ears.

To be continued........

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Son's Room

It has been quite a while I have touched my blog. But I noticed from the count on the webcounter on my blog that still some visitors do visit my blog. So here I go again .....

Today I watched the Italian Movie 'The Son's Room'. The film is produced and directed by Nanni Moretti. THE SON'S ROOM won the Palme D'Or at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival. The film moved me emotionally and had my tear glands ready to overflow. The movie can be compared to Padmarajan's ' Moonampakkam', and Mahesh Bhatt's 'Saransh'.
Moretti, plays Giovanni, a psychoanalyst and has a group of patients who are sad and hysterical. His beautiful wife Paola (played brilliantly by Laura Morante) works in an art publishing house and is the mother of two teenage children, Andrea (Giuseppe Sanfelice) and Irene (Jasmine Trinca).
The film starts by showing this calm, healthy and happy family, who enjoys the dinner together, enjoy the music together, the father and son go for jogging together. In between we see Giovanni's interaction with different patients. He listens to his patients very calmly and uninterested. We feel that Giovanni is more interested in his family than listening to his patients.
The tragedy strikes when one day Giovanni has to change his plan of going with son for jogging and instead has to attend to one of his patient. The son goes for scuba diving and gets killed in an accident. The family is pushed to the death zone. Giovanni, along with grief, struggles with some guilt because he canceled a run with his son to go on an appointment to patient. He also tries to find out the reason for his son's death, fault in the equipment for scuba diving, but it doesn't give him any comfort from the encompassing grief. Giovanni is consumed by his own grief, he decided to leave his practice. Irene vents her anger with pulling up a fight at her basketball championship game, which result in her month long suspension from the team. Paola finds other ways to fight it, by talking about Andrea but trying to shut the chapter, it too doesn't help. There are signs of family breaking since the happiness has faded away, sorrow pushing the family member to disconnect, pushing them to weep in bedrooms, changing rooms, all alone, secretly. They organize a funeral mass to shut the doors to grief, but the memories tickles into their life via unknown letters, some new pictures, some old secrets, fossilized grief lives pertaining to Andrea.
The film in the end shows that how the family overcomes Andrea's loss.
There are some brilliant scenes in the movie : The scenes where Giovanni interacts with the patients and the patients tells their stories. After the death of Andrea when one of the patient tells the story of her husband and kids, Giovanni bursts into tears.
The scene where after the death of Andrea Giovanni goes to a carnival park to forget his grief but inturn finds himself isolated and left out in the midst of the colourful happiness around.
In another scene Giovanni finds that everything in the house has a crack and he has not noted this during the happy time .
The scenes are very simple but it make a big impact on emotional level. Take for instance the scene where after the death of Andrea, Giovanni goes to his son's room and plays the music on his son's music system. He continously keeps pressing the remote and keeps playing the same music again and again. The background score is also excellent that is with the mood of this film.
The Son's Room, with all the sorrow and grief, shows how the dead never dies, and how we continue to live with them. This was a movie where even though there was some technical flaws but the screenplay and the emotional content of the script is so strong that it overshadows the technical shortcommings.
An excerpt from Nanni Moretti's interview " I wanted to tell this story in a more classical, but not conventional, style. I really care about it and feel it's very close to me. The family's deep pain doesn't unite them, but tears them apart. For the figure of the psychoanalyst, I wanted the sessions with patients to be credible. American scriptwriters, afraid of boring the audience, are always taking him out of the office. I made two definte choices about the film: to set it in a small town and to put the doctor's office on the same floor as his residence. The first was important because, not only have I shot Rome in every possible way, but away from Rome I have more concentration. And when you lose a son in a smaller community, you feel the warmth and solidarity around the family. The studio is on the same landing as Giovanni's apartment to show that for him to do his job, he needed his family and vice versa. In his home, he can't separate himself completely from the suffering he works with. "

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