Monday, August 29, 2016

Visiting a school for the blind

Lakshmi was always suggesting visiting a school for the under-privileged along with Avani. There was no calling from my end to do that but since she wanted to do it, I let her take all the required initiative and do all needed work. I simply had to tag along.
Through her father she got an appointment to visit the School for the blind run BGS institutions on Bangelore-Mysore road (NH275), just before Janapada loka near Kamat Lokaruchi, Ramanagara. This is a free residential school for the blind run by BGS. Most of the children are from the villages around Ramanagar, Bangalore, Mandya and Kanakapura. Their parents would visit them once in awhile. Some children are orphans.
Saturday evening, the 20th February was the day. Lakshmi, Avani, my mother, my parents-in-law and I were in the school at 4.30PM. Lakshmi planned to give an orange and a biscuit pack for all the children through Avani. I was neutral about that as well. The warden there suggested distributing the stuff at 5PM when the children have their evening coffee.
The moment we parked our car outside the school inside their campus, few children who were playing came running to us and holding our hands asking questions and trying to stare inside our car. I am not fully aware yet what are they peeping in as they are blind. Moreover I was not comfortable they touching me as they were not “clean”. I realized what a jackass I am! They fiddled with my watch. I realize that that they can’t see much. I made them press one of the buttons that made a beep every time pressed. Children were so amused by that sound! They were not ready to leave my hand or the watch. Few children were only partially blind and few fully. Nobody used walking sticks inside the school and the hostel and they were walking as though they could see everything. It was hard for me to make out they could not see and all of a sudden few bump into me as they walk. I realize that they can’t see me and I am not a usual object in their school.
One significant thing that I recognized was that all children were very happy. All were smiling, laughing and playing. And some were being intentional about their chores of the day- washing clothes and so on. No one looked like having a complaint of boredom. On talking to few small ones, they sang film songs, patriotic songs and non-filmy songs, and everything with a smile.
Avani got comfortable with the new children and the surroundings. She started distributing the oranges and she soon realized that they are not taking while she simply having the hand with the orange in front of them. They cannot know unless they were called upon to take the fruit. Every simple activity is different here. It is a different world here. They simply keep walking; I have got to watch my step here.
After this event, all children proceeded to the prayer hall for evening prayer. A blind teacher with her harmonium started the bhajans and all chorused. They sung beautifully. I simply could not control myself. There were bursts of emotions every few minutes. I was simply watching myself through this. I could not figure out the reason for my emotions bursting out. May be I was empathizing with their situation. Very small children of age four years were there without their parents and with minimal support. It was very hard for me to imagine Avani like that, but life is too uncertain. On the other hand, why do I pity them while they were so happy! They have food to eat, safe place to live, education at their doorstep, peaceful sleep. They have everything in their world. Was I feeling something missing in my life that they were having? I don’t know. Some moments I felt like giving off all that I have earned to this place. Then even that felt insufficient. I felt like coming and joining this institution and working there myself. Even that seemed insufficient. May be I can’t ever solve anything as there is no problem at all! May be I simply have to be with them and nothing else is actually needed for them. May be, that’s what I was doing and that could be cause for all those emotional outbursts.
It was a very touching experience of my life. Realizing that those children touching my hands is their way to communicate with me; as some were even deaf and dumb. I would love to keep going back there. I am happy that Avani was with me there. I thank Lakshmi for this initiative.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Rain on Mother earth

I consider rains very divine. It's kind of a bath for mother earth after all the activities that has happened till then. Like we take bath ourselves after going through a day of turmoil and various activities the body is subjected to. Rain on earth is similar to cleaning ourselves.
In this context, there is also a blame the man has put on himself. That is, there is a lot of dirt that man has been generating as a virtue of his activities; as a consequence of which there has been lesser rains in the recent past.
However, I could not completely believe that. On surface level that's what it looks like. Let's look at it like this- When I allow some insects or living organisms to breed on my body and generate dirt on me (for example-lice in the hair or parasitic insects on few animals), isn't it my responsibility to wash and cleanse myself? Likewise while we are a creation from the mother earth herself, and while we create dirt on her, isn't it mother earth's responsibility to cleanse it for keeping herself clean? Probably, the earth is allowing herself to have the dirt on her by not having sufficient rainfall. Probably she's having some other plans to counter it, which we mere humans cannot contemplate or imagine. In that sense I feel the dirt that humans are generating on this earth is a part of the grand plan of creation, maintenance and destruction.
Further, it's superb that some groups of people are also taking actions to reduce the dirt they are generating by being responsible. It's similar to the parasite breeding on my body itself feeling responsible for it's living on my body. But would that make a game-changing difference on me? No! Because I'm still allowing it to breed on my body.
Therefore, in the end whatever is supposed to happen shall happen exactly at the right time and in the right form and that which is defined as right at that moment. And that is not what man created for the earth; rather that's what was destined to happen at that time. And man was simply a pawn in this whole game.

Understanding my Gods

I am born a Vaishnavite and been worshipping Lord Venkateshwara all my life. But since my childhood I have also been fed with stories of Lord Shiva being the original deity in India long before the Aryan race came in propagating Vishnu being the supreme God-head. In fact there are some movies depicting the demon-king (Bhasmasura) who got powerful with the boon given by his deity Shiva, and the former trying to bully Lord Shiva himself. And Shiva fearfully running to seek help from Vishnu, and Vishnu smartly and cunningly killing the demon. Showing that Vishnu is powerful than Shiva. Such stories from Puranas were pointing towards Shiva being side-lined by Vishnu promoters. As a child, I pitied Shiva. In parallel I am also aware from puranas, which say that Shiva’s abode is Mt.Kailash (Himalayas) that is present in real. But there is no such physically identifiable location for Vishnu. For Vishnu who sleeps on Shesha Shayana (the serpent) floating in Ksheerasagara (ocean of milk), which is fictitious. This could be indicating towards Vishnu’s stories are cooked-up and Shiva’s stories are real. As a child I feared this thought as I am used to relating Vishnu as my god! As I grew-up, I started to realize that these are all my interpretations of the stories I had heard. I wanted to understand some facts and find some answers though. Who came first? Who is the ultimate? Why so many created? Why the supreme is a male and not feminine? What is Brahma’s role in between the two stalwarts? Where does Indra fit-in amidst all this drama?
Over years of listening to stories from people, reading, researching and analyzing, I could come to some understanding of my Gods. And these might change as well as time and my analysis progresses.

When the early man started being conscious about his surroundings, the things that he saw were the Pancha Bhootas (the five elements)- Air, Water, Earth, Fire, Ether/ space. So, the man worshiped these five elements and named a character to be the lord of these five elements. He named him Indra. People did worship Lord Indra in ancient India. While time progressed, man started to see that all these five elements are within him; within the boundaries of his own body. His body itself is made up of these five elements. Then who is this inside him who is able to see, feel and experience his physical body. Then man thought that there should be somebody or some higher energy that created this body comprised of the five elements. That’s when Indra was insufficient for the man to manifest him as God.

Then man started to think that these are the thoughts that are emerging in the mind since the stomach is full. When the man is hungry, he is busy looking for food. Once hunger is taken care, his search for life starts. Whereas in case of animals, once hunger is taken care the life ends till the hunger kicks-in again. Then man thought that there should be some link between hunger and God. Then he created the character Shiva. Lord Shiva is one who has outgrown hunger. He who can generate stillness in his mind while the sensory organs are active and seeking attention! He is the Adi-yogi (first guru) who taught Yoga to mankind. Yoga is the technology that tames and synchronizes the body and mind, which enables man to attain higher knowledge of life. Then the man conceived the idea of Lord Shiva being on the top of the coldest mountain the Kailash in the Himalayas. He is made to sit bare chested, for He could generate sufficient agni (heat) inside Him through dhyana (meditation) without being afraid of having His fingers and toes frostbitten. For He who has outgrown hunger, the same prevails around Him. The snake around His neck is not worried about the peacock, which is Shiva’s son Subramanya’s vehicle. The rat, Ganesha’s vehicle is not bothered about the Shiva’s snake being its predator and the same between Shiva’s vehicle the bull and Parvati’s vehicle lion. Having outgrown hunger, there is no prey-predator act. Lord Shiva hence taught to outgrow hunger and bring in peace and stillness in the mind.
The 12th century philosopher from northern Karnataka Sri Basaveshwara, who is the staunch follower of Shiva promoted the philosophy of “work is worship”. Simply do your karma and the life takes care of you.
However, there was still something missing for the man. Man was still struggling with other factors creeping in as family, society, good-bad, right-wrong etc. The concept of Lord Shiva also was getting insufficient to him. Living like a hermit and hermit being a householder was not fitting in all circumstances of life and hence to attain higher knowledge of life or attain Moksha (salvation). And these were way beyond the hunger.

That’s when man created the character of Lord Vishnu. Vishnu is a householder, but thinks like a hermit! He is always draped in silk and bedecked in gold. He is always in peace at the same time fully conscious. Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth sits at His feet. He does not seek her, but she follows Him. He does not resist her. He keeps Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge (or peace) in His head, indicating that while peace is in the mind, wealth at His feet. The vice-versa is not true. Through Vishnu, man realized the importance of balancing the duality that prevails; divine-evil, good-bad, right-wrong, light-darkness, freedom-responsibility etc. The man created Lord Vishnu to realize his current state of evolution of both his body and mind, through Vishnu’s Dashavataara (ten incarnations). Starting from the life in water (Matsyavataara), life being amphibious (Kurmavataara), life outside water with least intelligence (Varaahavataara), life as half human-half animal (Narasimhavataara), life as human but not fully grown (Vaamanavatara), life as full grown man with a beastly mind (Parashurama), life with a matured mind but struggles with dharma (Ramavataara), life who defined Dharma for mankind (Krishnavataara), then the present day man (Buddha/ Kalki).
With these, man finally realized the laws of karma, the complexities of dharma and ultimately attained higher knowledge of life across various eras of mankind.

Indra is the primary form of God within the boundaries of earth, Shiva conquers the bodily senses and Vishnu teaches how to balance duality while practicing dharma.

Neither Vishnu is powerful, as he comes after the realization of Shiva. Nor Shiva is greater as Vishnu is the evolved version. Since there is an evolution of human consciousness, all these characters helped man to stand on ground and play life.

Be it cars, be it computers or be it Gods; Evolution taught man the same theory. Newer one came from the older one. The latter is not better than the former. All played their roles. Space and time is limited.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Auroville belongs to humanity

And that’s what the Mother had declared in the August of 1954. The “City of the Dawn” which was the idea conceived by both the Mother and Sri.Aurobindo of a place where a group of men and women could freely live where the sky is the limit for their creation and expansion. Although numerous attempts were made in the past to create one such habitat by people around the world, it was never successful until the advent of Auroville.
I had longed to stay there, experience and discover the life in Auroville when I ran the Auroville marathon for the first time last year February. Auroville marathon 2015 appeared not more than a reason for me to visit Auroville this year. Along with Lakshmi and Avani, twelve of my friends decided to have a vacation in Auroville after the marathon this February.
Auroville marathon “Runners Adda”
Though the neighborhood I live in Bangalore is pretty much of the same age of Auroville, although our family house in my native has seen more generations growing up, Auroville has a charm that no other mundane township has. I was mistaken initially for the Europeans living there who might have brought about that charm or charisma amidst the rustic muddy roads and greenery, but I was wrong. It is simply the intention behind the creation of Auroville. Mirra Iffassa who is dearly called the Mother had defined the intention:
“Auroville belongs to nobody in particular. Auroville belongs to humanity as a whole. But to live in Auroville one must be the willing servitor of the divine Consciousness.”

This gave way for a barren land about 20kms north of Pondicherry that had nothing but a big banyan tree and a few palm trees to grow into 25sq.kms of thick forest. It is a self sustained township that produces various kinds of fashion accessories, incense sticks, herbal/ organic products, home decors, toys, handicrafts etc. It is a city where humanity takes over currency. For the Aurovillians, there is a currency card (Auro-Card) that is provided, which works like a debit card for all their transactions in the Auroville city. An outsider should pay currency to avail the same.
The Auroville is characterized by the lush green man-made forest, muddy roads, artistic earthen buildings and Matri Mandir. Aurovillians have planted close to 4 million saplings over the past 6 decades that houses numerous species of birds now. Peacocks are no special birds in Auroville.

the muddy roads

Auroville city is designed for 50,000 people, however only about 2,000 currently live. There is an organization created and people employed to manage all the financial transactions, tax payments, registrations of people as newcomers or as citizens of Auroville etc.
I have heard that no Aurovillian fully owns any piece of land inside Auroville. It is all a part of the Auroville trust and the citizens use them to generate revenue for their sustenance. There are guesthouses, homestays, apartments, boutiques, restaurants, bakeries and art galleries. Most of them are focused to cater the European people’s needs as you could hardly see Indian dwellers inside Auroville.
Except for Matri Mandir and an audio-visual show about Auroville and Matri Mandir, there are no other tourist attractions. Since the common philosophy of a common Indian tourist is to watch lot of places during a holiday, a large chunk does not consider visiting Auroville. However, there is a world of its own to discover being in Auroville.
Matri Mandir
We stayed in Auroville for six nights and enjoyed every moment living there. It’s like living in a forest and yet in a civilization. The big banyan tree that is about a kilometer away from Matri Mandir is the geographical center of Auroville, and the Matri Mandir is believed as the soul of Auroville. Designed by a French architect, Matri Mandir has in its center a crystal ball mounted on a lotus made of white marble with twelve petals in a pond of water. Aurovillians strongly believe that all the energy of Auroville is focused in there and is constantly radiating. Though Matri Mandir is free to view from a distance by anyone, one has to take an appointment to visit Matri Mandir. Only 75 visitors are permitted in a day for an hour in two slots where one may choose to sit and meditate.

A host of events, workshops, different forms of art performances and film shows keep happening in various parts of Auroville. Men and women and their families from all over the world come and live in Auroville both on temporary and permanent basis. Life is as laid back as it is in any of our villages yet as forwardly thought as in any of the metropolitan cities in the world.
While busily engaged in the mundane routine of life in the dusty streets of Bangalore, a week’s stay in solitude inside Auroville; woken by peacocks, morning walks in the dense forest trails, our children running through them without being scared of traffic, is an enchanting experience for a blissful holiday.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Purpose of Life

It’s been about nine years since I started practicing rock climbing. Sooner, I was sucked in to climbing, and there was a time when I also started to realize that rock climbing is my Dharma and I climbing is my Karma. Similar to a Kshatriya’s Karma is to protect the society, in-line with his Dharma. In the meantime, I introduced numerous people into climbing and few took it forward but most simply discontinued. However, I’ve the satisfaction that I made something available for a few, when they didn’t even knew that such a thing existed.

Alongside I started long-distance running too. It’s been about six years since I’m doing performance-running. That is- training for the run, timing my runs and keeping track of my personal best runs and improving on them. Over years my training rigor was also increasing, consult experts advise for my training and read literature too.

I used to balance my various physical activities- rock climbing, running, working out in the gym and all other outdoor activities like trail biking, hiking etc. However, everything was still circling around the central core being rock-climbing; until it took a drastic turn somewhere during the mid of last year.

In July 2013, I and my running partner (Abhilash Reddy) took on training about nine of our friends for a 10kms long-run. This is when our running schedules took a definitive program. I started running more and more, and coach more and more. There was also a definitive structure for me to train myself and coach others. That’s when I came cross a point when I preferred running and coaching over rock-climbing. When it repeated a couple of times, I had a genuine concern over my preferences. Just a few months back I strongly believed that climbing is the most exciting activity, which had the potential to engage me for my whole life; it was “then” my expression of life; my Purpose of Life. This entire theory began to shake when I chose to run, over climb! I felt uncomfortable making that choice, as I was seeing that my purpose of life is shaking because of my running. My purpose of life was starting to change from climbing to running and from running to coaching. That was not a comfortable-few-weeks of my life.

When I inquired more into it; something opened-up for me. I engaging in rock climbing or running or coaching people in running were all simply different mediums for me to be in action to recognize the real purpose of my life. When I recognized it, I experienced complete freedom and excitement. Excitement to be in action. Excitement to live. The purpose of my life that I identified was that of “people being healthy around me”. This very statement connected all the dots over years of my climbing and running. In both these activities what I identified was that I was consistently introducing more and more people into the sport, putting them into action and making them physically active and physical fit. Irrespective of the sport I was engaged in, what I was doing was the same; putting people into action and positively impacting their physical health.

What was surprising in this inquiry was, I observed that my purpose of life kept changing or evolving over time- first it was rock climbing, then it was running and then people being healthy around me. While the former was in play, the latter was still non-existent.

It was still itching for me to validate my theory of evolving purpose of life. To find peace in this theory, I took on to observe the life history of Mahatma Gandhi. I was not comparing here but wanted to get settled with the evolving purposes of ones life.

For Gandhi, when he founded the Indian Congress or Pheonix settlement in South Africa, the purpose of life for him could have been merely bringingforth equality for colored citizens in the Victorian Empire. When he returned to India and Gokhale asked him to go around the country, his purpose of life might have got evolved to Freedom for India then. By the latter part of his life, the freedom for India might have got evolved to spreading the message of non-violence to the humanity! Probably if the great man had lived for some more time, something else might have got evolved as his purpose of life and something bigger might have got caused in the world.

In all this inquiry inside me, the one thing that struck me was the fancy-worded Purpose of Life did not get defined clearly unless the service to the other human being or contribution to the community began. Now, I stay excited for the next-bigger purpose of my life to crystallize. However, the key for this is simply to be in action fulfilling my current purpose of my life.

So, come, let’s run. :)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

ರಂಗವಿಲಾಸ್ ಬಂಗಲೆಯ ಕೊಲೆಗಳು- Book Review

1940 ಹಾಗು 50ರ ದಶಕಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಹೆಸರಾಂತ ವಕಿಲರಾದವರು ಶ್ರೀ ಬೇಲೂರು ಶ್ರೀನಿವಾಸ ಅಯ್ಯೆಂಗಾರ್. 1956ರಲ್ಲಿ ಬಹಳ ಧಾರುಣವಾಗಿ ಅವರ ಇಡೀ ಕುಟುಂಬವು ಒಂದೇ ರಾತ್ರಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ನಾಶವಾಗಿ ಹೋಯಿತು. ಅವರ ಕುಟುಂಬವು ಕೋಲೆಯಾದ ರೀತಿ ಎಷ್ಟು ನಿಗೂಢವಾಗಿತ್ತೋ, ಅವರನ್ನು ಕೊಲೆ ಮಾಡಿದ ಪಾತಕರನ್ನು ಹಿಡಿದು ಹಾಕಿದ ರೀತಿಯೂ ಅಷ್ಟೇ ನಿಗೂಢ. ಆ ಪ್ರಸಂಗ ಅಂದು ಬರೀ ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನಲ್ಲಲ್ಲದೆ ಇಡೀ ರಾಜ್ಯದಲ್ಲೇ ಒಂದು ಸ್ಪೋಟಕ ಸುದ್ದಿ ಮಾಡಿತ್ತು. ಅಂದಿನ ಆ ಹತ್ಯಾಕಾಂಡದ ಇಡೀ ತನಿಖೆಯನ್ನು ಇಂದು ಮೇಲೆತ್ತಿ, analyze ಮಾಡಿ, ಅವರದೇ ಆದ ಒಂದು parallel investigation ಮಾಡಿ ಬರೆದ ಪುಸ್ತಕವೇ  ರವಿ ಬೆಳಗೆರೆಯವರ "ರಂಗವಿಲಾಸ್ ಬಂಗಲೆಯ ಕೊಲೆಗಳು".

ಒಂದು ವರ್ಷದ ಹಿಂದೆ ಬಸವನಗುಡಿಯ ಗಾಂಧಿ ಬಜಾರಿನ ಅವರದೇ  ಪುಸ್ತಕ ಮಳಿಗೆಯಾದ "Belegere Books and Coffee" ಎದುರು, ಒಂದು ಲಘು ಸಮಾರಂಭದಲ್ಲಿ ಶ್ರೀ ಮಾಸ್ಟರ್ ಹಿರಣ್ಣಯ್ಯನವರು ಬಿಡುಗಡೆ ಮಾಡಿದ ಪುಸ್ತಕ ಇದು.
ಕೇವಲ ನೂರೇ ಪುಟಗಳ ಪುಸ್ತಕವಾಗಿದ್ದೂ, ಪುಟಕ್ಕೊಂದು ರೂಪಾಯೆಂಬಂತೆ Rs.100/- ಮೌಲ್ಯದ ಈ ಹತ್ಯಾಖಾಂಡದ ಪುಸ್ತಕ ಇಷ್ಟೊಂದು ರೋಮಾಂಚಕಾರಿಯಾಗಿರುತ್ತದೆ ಎಂದು ನಾನು ಊಹಿಸಲೇ ಇರಲಿಲ್ಲ!
ಬೆಳಗೆರೆಯವರೇ ಪುಸ್ತಕದ ಹಿಂದಿನ ಟಿಪ್ಪಣಿಯಲ್ಲಿ "ಇದು ಕಾದಂಬರಿಯಲ್ಲ" ಎಂದು ದಿಟ್ತಿಸಿದ್ದರೂ, ನನಗೆ ಇದು ನಾನು ಹಿಂದೆ ಓದಿದ ಯಾವ ಕಾದಂಬರಿಗೂ, ಕಥೆಯ ನಿರೂಪಣೆಯಲ್ಲಾಗಲೀ, ಸನ್ನಿವೇಶಗಳನ್ನು ಕಣ್ಣೆದುರು ರೂಪಿಸುವುದರಲ್ಲಾಗಲೀ ಹಾಗೂ ರೋಮಾಂಚನಗೊಳಿಸುವುದರಲ್ಲಗಲೀ ಕಡಿಮೆಯಂತೆಣಿಸಲಾಗಲಿಲ್ಲ.
ಶ್ರೀ ಬೇಲೂರು ಶ್ರೀನಿವಾಸ ಅಯ್ಯೆಂಗಾರ್ರರ ಬಂಗಲೆಯ layout ಹಾಗು ಅದರ ನಿರೂಪಣೆ, ಅವರ ಮನೆಯಲ್ಲಿದ್ದ ಅಷ್ಟೂ ಜನರ ಸುದೀರ್ಘ ವಿವರಣೆ, ಮನಯಲ್ಲಿ ಆಚಾರದಲ್ಲಿದ್ದ ಅಂದಿನ ಒಂದು orthodox ಹಾಗು ಸಿರಿವಂತ ಅಯ್ಯೆಂಗಾರ್ರರ ಮನೆತನದ ಸಂಪ್ರದಾಯಗಳು, ಐವತ್ತಾರರ ಜೂನ್ ನಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂದೇ ರಾತ್ರಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ನಡೆದ ಏಳು ಭೀಕರ ಸಾವುಗಳ ಮುಂಚೆ ಮನೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ನಡೆದ ಇತರ ಘಟನೆಗಳ ವಿವರಗಳಷ್ಟೇ ಅಲ್ಲದೆ, ಕೊಲೆಗಾರರ ವಿವರಗಳು, ಅವರ ಕ್ರಿಮಿನಲ್ ಇತಿಹಾಸ, ಶ್ರೀನಿವಾಸ ಅಯ್ಯೆಂಗಾರ್ರ ಜೊತೆಗಿನ ಅವರ ನಿಗೂಢ ಸಂಬಂಧಗಳ analysis, ಈ ಎಲ್ಲಾ ವಿಷಯಗಳನ್ನು ಚಾಚೂ ತಪ್ಪದೆ ಬೆಳಗೆರೆಯವರು ಈ ಪುಸ್ತಕದಲ್ಲಿ ವಿವರಿಸಿದ್ದಾರೆ.
ಅಷ್ಟಲ್ಲದೆ, ಅಕಸ್ಮಾತಾಗಿ ಅ ಪೊಲೀಸ್ ಪೇದೆ ಅದೊಂದು ರಾತ್ರಿ ಕೊಲೆಗಾರರ ಮೊದಲ ಸುಳಿವು ಹಿಡಿದ ರೀತಿ, ಅಲ್ಲಿಂದ ಆ ಕೊಲೆಯ ತನಿಖೆ ಹಿಡಿದ ಹೊಸ ದಿಕ್ಕೇ, ಈ ಕೊಲೆ ಪ್ರಕರಣದ highlight.
ಅದಲ್ಲದೇ ಬೆಳಗೆರೆಯವರು ಶ್ರೀನಿವಾಸ ಅಯ್ಯೆಂಗಾರ್ರ ಕುಟುಂಬದಲ್ಲಿ ಉಳಿದವರ ಇಂದಿನ ಪರಿಸ್ಠಿತಿಯನ್ನಲ್ಲದೇ, ಸ್ವತಃ ಆ ಕೊಲೆಗಾರರ ಕುಟುಂಬಗಳು ಇರುವ ಹಳ್ಳಿಗೆ ಕೂಡಾ ಹೋಗಿ, ಅವರ ಇಂದಿನ ಪರಿಸ್ಥಿತಿಯನ್ನು ಪರಿಶೀಲಿಸಿ ವಿವರಿಸಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಅದು ಈ ಕಥೆಗೆ ಒಂದು ರೀತಿಯ completeness ಓದುಗರಿಗೆ ತಂದುಕೊಡುತ್ತದೆ.
ಒಟ್ಟಿನಲ್ಲಿ, ಈ ಪುಸ್ತಕವನ್ನೋದಿದ ಮೇಲೆ, ಗಾಂಧೀನಗರದ Syndicate Bank ನೋಡಿದಾಗಲೆಲ್ಲಾ ನನ್ನ ಮನಸ್ಸಿನಲ್ಲಿ  ಹೊಳೆಯುವುದೆಂದರೆ "Yes! ಈ bankನ ಹಿಂದೆಯೇ ಇದ್ದದ್ದು ಆ ರಂಗವಿಲಾಸ್ ಬಂಗಲೆ. ಅಲ್ಲೇ ನಡೆದದ್ದು ಆ ಭೀಬತ್ಸ  ಹತ್ಯಾಕಾಂಡ".

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Wayanad! We owe you

The two green coloured Willys 4X4 rattled down the trail in Muthanga wildlife sanctuary. The twelve of us were bouncing in them in all directions. It was a wake-up call for our dozing eyes after a tiring game that Maggi made we play almost the whole night, while we travelled from Bangalore to Wayanad. Yes, we were on the way to Wayanad, the land of I don’t know what but for us simply a get-away with our buddies from the Introduction leaders program. Jerry, Bhavana, Archana, Revathi, Maggi, Rashmi, Ganesh, Prashanth, Sudha, Khussaal, Vivek and I were on an escape.
The optimistic but exhaustive forty minutes trail-drive into the sanctuary that bordered Bandipur and Wayanad with no animal sighting warmed us up for the next two days of action. The sanctuary had given us no more than a cold weather experience of Wayanad summer, however the ILs of Oct batch were unaffected by the breakdown. We reached Sulthan Bathery in Wayanad, where we had a quick breakfast and reached Crescent Residency (CR) and already ready for a new game. CR is a decent retreat with cottage accommodation each cottage named after names of jewelry stones. I would have loved to name it “Necklace” instead of “Crescent”.
All of us settled in three luxurious cottages. The light dust deposit on the furniture and gush of whistling air in the toilet faucet indicated that the cottages were unused in recent times. Hardly mattered for us! All of us battled our turn to fresh-up and literally ran into the covered swimming pool amidst the valleys of Western Ghats. That’s when the reality struck to the boys’ gang. Half the ladies were in no mood for the pool experience. The boys had tired themselves in their swimming gear playing funny games in the pool, while the ladies paraded fully dressed-up. The optimistic boys were in no mood to dissect the situation. The pool games continued while myself, Prashant, Archana & Reva drifted to the swing area for more deeper talks. The swings were tied in varied heights to test the aptitude of the guests to use them. Maggi, Khussal and later the whole gang joined the party by the emus.
Post lunch, the herd decided not to kill time moving ourselves all over Wayanad, but to stay back in CR or nearby and spend quality time with each other. This was one of the wisest decisions made by the gang, probably in the whole of their IL life. It drastically reduced the integrity conversations time for all twelve being somewhere at a certain time!
A short stroll for spices shopping and the desperate photography sessions with the spices was only a start to the glamour virus to bloom. Sooner, all were in focus and on candid frames. We had no idea at that point that, this trip would impact our FB profiles this hugely!
Orchids at CR
The evening went past with non-stop PJ sessions and dumb-C in CR. The bon-fire was guarded by two obedient CR boys while Rashmi and Ganesh enchanted the gang narrating their love-story. That was a picture-perfect chill evening with friends. Reminded me of a typical setting of an intro scene of a Ramsay movie!
The next morning was that of trek to Chembra. I was excited as it was my event. I was responsible for the thinnest to the thickest to get back to CR on their legs after the trek. CR packed for us fruit salad, bread and butter that morning.
At the wake of sun, we were all in the TT pacing thru Kalpetta towards Chembra amidst the tea plantations. The forest check-post issued the permit for the dozen to hike-up the Chembra till the heart-shaped lake and back. The permit also entitled a forest guide. We reached the foot-hill of Chembra and started the hike up. Prashant declared a breakdown with his knee post his recent injury and chose to quit the trek after a short stint of walk down the trail. That was indeed his wise decision, given his knee condition and the uncertainty of the geography up the 2-hour trek.
Morning in Chambra
Chembra had gotten ready herself to welcome the glitterati of Bangalore. The ladies led the wolf pack trekkers while I swept at the end. We pushed through the thick typical sholas of Western Ghats. Dark forest ambience, dense-humid air, soft soil, chirping of crickets- and that’s a typical shola of Western Ghats. The alternating sholas and the grassy bald mountain was a feast for us. Sooner the feast turned into a struggle as the gang started to puff and gasp by mid-way. At the end of about 2.25hours of possibility generation and action resulted in the gang reaching the heart-shaped lake of Chembra. That was our summit. We were ecstatic at our accomplishment. Khussaal declared that he got the confidence to climb the Himalayas next now having clinched Chembra! The crowd forgot that it even struggled to climb the mountain for 2+ hours. The achievement of the summit put them into immediate action of documenting the same, the photographs! The gang posed in varied possible combinations while the digital-cams experienced its peak performance. The gang wanted to shout-out to the world that “they” did it, again after May 9th!
The lake on Chembra
 We then slid down the mountain with lesser effort compared to that of the ascent in less than 1.5 hours. At the foot-hill, we warmed-down ourselves with some stretching exercises before we headed to CR. Walnut cakes in Kalpetta did add a flavour to our fresh summit success. We then rushed to CR and emptied our cottages, ready to check-out. We were all ready to head back to Bangalore, but we were not ready to end the trip. The journey had just begun.
A juice of special relatedness had gelled within us in the past forty hours of our lives. We were no more simply a pack of ILs who had together completed a rigorous six and half month training. At that moment and beyond, we were friends forever, friends for life.
the gang:)
 Wayanad, we owe it to you.