Saturday, August 26, 2006

a list for mom.. silverine's tag.

The queen of the blogworld Silverine had tagged me long back. Some where in the middle of my small busy life, I forgot that and when Alexis tagged me, I remembered that this tag of 10 favourite food items that I miss from my moms cooking. I have been missing it ever since I left my home to Pune 3 years back. Whenever I come back for a vacation, I will give her a list of items that needs to me made and she will prepare it one each a day. Now since I am in Bangalore, and go for a weekend, I am not able to give those long lists. However during this August 15 long weekend I was able to give a small list though ;)

1. Fish Curry: The best one I like in her cooking. She makes it the typical Malabary way in earthen pot and using coconut. And I supply her the Ayalas or Mathhi (Chala) fresh from the market. I am an expert in selecting fish.

2. Fish Fry: The fry with perfect blend of masala, which she makes on the grinding stone (Attammi), and oil. Too tasty and delicious especially the Ayalas and Mathhis.

3. Erisseri: The vegetable curry made using raw banana and parippu. Awesomely tasty. At my home I only likes it the best, so she always keep a second curry ready in case Achan or Sis shows a bad face ;)

4. Chakkakkuru and Muringa Leaves Curry: The vegetable curry made using Jackfruit Seeds and Moringa Leaves. Very Tasty.

5. Harisa: This is the normal Egg Burji which she makes it in less dry way. Don't know where the name came from, must be from Libya;)

6. Chicken Biriyani: She prepares this very tasteful. In fact my sis is more fan of her Biriyani. It is the typical Calicut style Biriyani, with that yellow tinge on the rice. With a salda and cocnut chutney awesomely tasty :)

7. Payasam: She makes the Semia Payasam. It would not at be too watery or sweety. With the perfect Kukrukkal she will make it tasty. I love all kind of payasams, but some how I like her Semia Payasam more than any other.

8. Unniappam: I think she learnt this from my Grandmother. And she makes it so soft. I usually ask her tomake it o nthe last day before I leave, so that I can pack some for my roommates.

9. Mampayar Thoran (Van Payar): This is the thoran made of the Big Brown Beans. I was a fan of this ever since I ate this first from my classmates tiffin box in class II :). She makes it with pieces of coconut and makes it dry.

10. Avil Nanachathu: She normally makes this for the evenings with Jaggery and there would be Banana's to mix and eat.

And last but not the least, the Tea she makes for us 5 times a day and also the Black Coffee which I get early in the morning before brushing my teeth. That really triggers the nature calls and makes my day perfect. I miss sitting on the door steps of kitchen workarea, which opens to the courtyard, and reading the Mathrubhumi with that Black Coffee in my hand.

After all these writing I think I am gonna miss this even more and that too writing at 1.34 PM makes it even more worse. Wish I could be at home :)

Its an open tag folks.

Monday, August 21, 2006

a trek to wilderness...

There are some things in life that you wouldn’t ever want to forget in your slightest of dreams. I also have one latest addition to my list of un-forgetful memories. Not because it was an awesome trip to a place which I never had visited earlier, but because of the hospitality of the people who were our hosts on those two days and due to the serene nature that refreshed my mind and body on those days. I had fresh air and lots of new friends.

I went to the wilderness of our God’s own country, to the beauty called Kollangode and Parambikulam – a few hours from Palakkad, Kerala’s Rice Bowl on the last weekend of July 2006.

All were setup by Abhi and his friends and I and PP were just to join the gang. Trip, stay and food were all arranged Ajith, Vipin and his brother Nipin and behind them where Vipin and Nipin’s father and mom.


We (I, Abhi and PP) assembled at the Dairy Circle KSRTC bus stop in Bangalore and waited for the bus. We were joined by Vipin and Vinod who were not known to me before. I got introduced to them and another guy called Sarath, who is Vinod’s colleague. It was strange; we all were meeting for the first time except Vinod and Abhi, who were classmates. The bus came an hour late, and we soon settled into our own seats. Abhi was cracking jokes, Vinod busy selling the extra ticket we had to a ‘girl’ and things soon settled in and we had a tough ride ahead and bad roads. At Krishna Giri we had our dinner, in the form of Thick Porottas and Egg Curry. It was HORRIBLE. I almost had an upset tummy.


It was early dawn when we reached Palakkad KSRTC Bus Stand. We were joined by a small gang from Chennai – Binoy, Sumod and Lajiraj. The dawn so beautiful. I never had a chance to see the dawn with my camera, and I didn’t waste any time clicking a few. After a morning tea, Vipin guided us to his house. The half an hour journey to Kollangode was refreshing and thrilling due to the bus. From Rajahamsa to a local Kerala private bus I was a big change. The one like moving from a PG to a bigger rented house. That journey provided me everything. Rains and early morning cold winds to refresh my mind and soul from hectic time I had the days before (I moved in with Abhi and PP a day before). I could also see the place where Ravi, the protagonist in O.V Vijayan’s Khasakhinte Ithihasam, got down to walk up to Khasak.

At Kollangode Vipin’s father came and picked us in his Jeep. That ride reminded me about the numerous jeep rides I had from my house to my father’s house in Vadakara. Jeep Taxi’s are one good mode of transportation in Vadakara and I always enjoyed them, especially hanging behind.

And as we reached his place, boy it was beauty all over. I haven’t scene nature at its best any where else. A small, but spacious house on the road side, with paddy fields behind it touching almost the horizon. And in the back drop the Sahyadri’s guarding you from almost anything. With those small and big waterfalls adorning her, she looked like a princess with the diamond necklaces around her neck. That was awesome and on the road in the rain, a two bullock carts passed against the back drop of those hills. It was really nice atmosphere.

After a good tea made by Vipin’s mom we were off to the Ambalakkulam (Temple Pond) which was a kilometer away from his house and oh boy the water was so cold and the place was so divine and peaceful. I took a few pics and then jumped into the pond. Even though I don’t know swimming, I am good enough to have an effect of swimming by pseudo swimming. That means I will hold my hands on the steps of the pond and move my legs :) .. Great isn’t it !!.. The bath was so refreshing and it was followed by a rain. Luckily we could enter into the Oottupura and watch the rain and the hills in the backdrop. The temple elephant and the mahout were there with us for a company. When rain stopped we started walking back, enjoying the scenery around and through the rain lashed road, I felt I am back to my school days. The people were looking at me like something from the another world, with a big camera bag and walking through the water streams, they might have felt .. Evidunnu Vanneda Yevan. On our way back, we met Ajith, Nipin and Retina who came by 10 AM bus. After a sumptuous breakfast that includes Idli and Sambhar we were off to Parambikulam that was 2 to 3 hours drive from Kollangode. Vipin’s father had already made the arrangements for the van and that guy was on time, but we left by quarter past 12 only.

In the initial part of the journey I slept and woke up only when we reached the Tamilnadu Border. Interesting part of the forest is that, even though it is in Keral, to enter it we have to go through Tamilnadu there by paying tax for them for seeing our forest. But after all we are all Indians right? At Kerala Check post it was raining and from there Saravanan, a Kerala Forest Dept Official came as guide with us.
They are trained to show us all around the Forest and tt is the department’s duty to provide a guide to accompany every visitor who comes to Parambikulam. So guys who go next time, make sure you have a vacant seat for him.

The ride after that was full of enthusiasm and interest as we could spot any wild animals any time and luck bought us a wild elephant group. As I sat on the wrong side of the van I couldn’t get any close up views. We spotted a few deer also. We had our lunch at around 4PM on the way near the lake side. Vipin’s Mom had packed us rice, Sambhar and chicken curry and that was great. I ate around four small plates of rice, which Pophabhi might say is not a big thing. I have become an eating specialist (aka akkranthan) these days. Hmmm.

We reached the main forest office area at 5 in the evening. Hard luck turned out as we missed the Erumadam (Hut on Roof Tops) by an hour. The Erumadam is a bit far away from the main land and one has to travel one and half our in the boat to the island and that too with food and water. There the food can be cooked after collecting fire wood. It would have been one hell of adventure in the wilderness. Stay on the trees for a night. Huh and we missed it since we were late, it would be even late by the time we reached there and it is not at all encouraged to reach there late.

So we wandered around, went to a small Tunnel Project and then came back and ordered the food. We also went out for a walk in the night. With a good road and ample lighting it was easy to walk but the atmosphere had the sounds of crickets. That irritating sound of the wild night.

After a good chappathi-chicken curry dinner, we retired into our lodge which was big spacious 3 bedroom house. The Bison Valley Lodge. Me, Abhi, PP, Ajith and Laji sat and talked philosophy in night. The philosophy of Oolans.


We had already planned for a trek the day before with the Guide. We had chosen the ‘soft’ trek from the various treks that were offered. It cost us Rs 50/- per head. The trek was 7 km long and will start from the base forest camp and reach the Kannimara Teak, which is considered to be the oldest teak in Asia.

The start of the trek was boring as we mostly walked through the tarred road, but a kilometer into it we were truly surrounded by jungle with us following the way the Safari Jeeps used to go. That was our only direction, and that was the needed one. A few minutes into the walk we saw bison’s and deer at a distance. There was also an Earumaadam setup on the walkway. We all got a better view of it from there. We then walked, walked and walked and kept waking with only the sound of crickets, the bites of leeches and the wilderness of the evergreen rain forests in company. It was tough, but it was exciting – following the trail. The three hour long trek came to an end at the Kannimara Teak. By that time our van reached there. Some of us went and had a wash at the near by river and then we were back to the base station.

We missed the boat ride there as the boats were already gone for a ride with some people. So we decided to have the breakfast and push it off from Parambikulam. The breakfast was dosa, idli, chutney and fish fry. And after some time the hoteliers ran out of dosa and informed us with a great difficulty that the whole of the Dosa Mix is now finished. And after that at around 11 we bid adieu to Parambikulam, before making it possible to visit the Parambikulam Dam.
The Dam was awesome, with wonderful scenery behind.

Next target was Seetharkkundu a place close to Kollangode. It’s a small area where water falls from the high Sahyadri’s and have formed a pool with a small waterfall. It is believed that Seetha, wife of Lord Rama, had taken a dip here during their Vanavasa. To reach Seetharkkundu we had to walk for 15 minutes from the place where our van could go.

That walk was like we were walking into the mountains as we were going towards the mountains just below it. We could see numerous small waterfalls at the distance.

And finally we reached Seetharkkundu. The bath in Seetharkkundu was very refreshing. The water was so cold and it took some time for me to get into the water. Till that time I was capturing the beauty and the boyz. Ajith almost drowned and PP had a fall, but still we were enjoying. We had some fun for around 45 minutes there and then pushed off to Chinganchira.

Chinganchira is a place near to Kollangode where there are lots of big banyan trees and there is a temple also here which is inside a banyan tree. Couples who doesn’t have a kid, come here and offer wooden cradles to the deity. These cradles are then hung on the tree. When we were there, there was a group of people who had finished their offerings and returning back. It was here the few scenes from the film Kaliyattam was shot. We returned from there soon and at Kollangode had a great evening snacks (we didn’t have lunch) at a local thattukada. People had Porottas, Beef, Chicken, Egg and an occasional Biriyani and good high tea. Yea Snacks they were !! And our stomachs were full, we were happy. Because we are happy when we have a sumptuous food isn’t it ?

Finally we reached Vipin and Nipin’s house. By that time the sun was setting and the paddy fields behind were giving a great treat to the eye, with colors of red, orange, blue and grayish black all playing their roles in giving us he perfect blend of nature. It was just amazing. We had our usual photo posing and enjoyed the evening out there on the bunds that separated the paddy fields. It was a once in a life time feeling that I was having.

And then the Chennai Kings were getting ready to go. They left soon and after that we visited Vipin’s paternal house which was a bit far from his house. Had another round of eateries there, with achchappams and neyyappams again filling our stomachs.

We came back and while we were getting ready Vipin’s mom packed us the dinner. God only knew where we are going to fill it. We took the last bus to Palakkad. Got down and got another bus to Olavakkode Junction, from where we were to board the Yeshwantpur Express to Bangalore.

It was just that break we all needed after a lot of idle weekends in Bangalore. Some where far from the city, where there is no one to bother you, no pollution, no traffic, no telephone network. Just you own your own. It was a nice time me, PP and Abhi had since it happened just before Abhi going out of his comfort zone. It was a time that we could be altogether just to crack our jokes and enjoy even though we missed a few of them.

This trip definitely is going to be with me for such a long time. And we may keep visiting that place, may be on our birds. Because that place offers you a lot, a lot that even you cannot think off and you will just end up sitting admiring its beauty.

And that’s why we call her “God’s Own Country.”

PS: I was yearning for a break and a trip all these days, and ever since this trip I have been travelling all the weekends to K-Gudi, Mysore, Home and recently Kochin and Kollam. And thats why this post was late.

PPS: All pictures (c) Dhanush Gopinath 2006 :)

Saturday, August 05, 2006

an open letter to my soulmate...

Dear Buddy,
You are no longer with me any more. Now that I have decided to distance myself from you, I feel that void around me. You were my soul, you were my love. You were my passion; you were the one who unleashed the beast in me. I cared you like my kid, and you were happy to obey me.
It was with you I roamed around. From the day you roared in with me through the streets of Pune, to the days in Bangalore were we wrooooomed at 100 kmph we both were one mind, one soul. You were my machine, the definitely male machine. Sure you were; One macho machine. I could see the hot chicks drooling at your masculine chests when we rode past them. Those Karizmatic Unicorns were looking at you with jealousy. And you enjoyed it, right? Chasing and beating them in the race. Getting that attention from sweet babes, gals giggling and saying ‘You are hot’. Anything on the road you thoroughly enjoyed.

Where all we have covered da? Our first trip was to Malshej, alle? On those Ghats of Maharashtra, were some fool said there was a big waterfall, and when we reached there it turned out to be a stream of water. Then I took you out alone to Mumbai. Another one day trip to Bhimashankar. And the 3 day trip to Mahabaleshwar, were we both chilled. Finally the big trip to Murud, Janjira and Harihareshwar that covered close to 500 kms in 3 days. In all these trips, it was me who rode you and we had a good company.
You never let me down; not a single time. Every time i thumped in the accelerator cable you just roared. And I guess you didn’t like anyone apart from me, right? I could feel your anger for not looking after you last year when I was away. You didn’t like Sreeku rt? Nor you liked Jaat, I know. The grumbles that you produced after his ride told me that you didn’t like his frequent gear shifts. Or rather was I possessive about you? I was; I know otherwise I wouldn’t have interpreted your grumbles like that.
The day when I was shown your dent on the rib cage - that happened in transit to Bangalore - I was shell shocked. And I cried. Your whimper was unbearable when I touched you. Boy, you suffered a lot right? I should have driven you down here. My mistake da, I am sure you wouldn’t have let me down, nor you would have tired me. We could have covered those 800 kms in two days. But da, I was not brave. Sorry dear.
And after that recovery, with a new chest and paint you were simply shining. Bangalore roads were blessed with your presence. You even threw away that bloody bugger on the Unicorn, who made an unexpected entry from the side road. Luckily you were not so brutal, and he escaped. But you lost your face and I was so sad. That was the first time we erred. The very first time in my life and yours too. You were a bit sad about that episode weren’t you? I know, but that’s ok. You just showed what you could do, if some comes across you very badly.
Then that happened. Somewhere in the middle of the life, I fell in love with that girl. That red beauty called Thunderbird. She was beautiful, gorgeous and sexy. I immediately fell in love with her or rather she seduced me to be with her. Her curves, her feminine power, the way she carried herself, that proud look while she stood waiting to take her out, all had a dignity in itself. Or rather she was simply irresistible.
I was very much unsure about parting you. I thought, thought and thought. I had sleepless nights and in one such night she visited me and took me to another world. There she asked me to marry her, for an eternity. I couldn’t give her an answer immediately. But something in me said that I should go out with her. I too needed some one to take out for a dinner, some one charming, and some one feminine with whom I can walk along with my hands around her hips. Some one I could sleep with ;)
So finally I accepted her. But it was not a cake walk. There was resistance from all sides, including you. I could understand that as you too were very possessive about me. But I am sure you are good guy, and you rock man. When that mechanic said that you are an absolute wonder and a well maintained man, I was happy. I was proud since someone had certified you without even driving you and just by feeling how you roar. Boy I definitely had second thoughts about her then, but I had a promise to keep. And thus I decided to part you.
My heart was heavy, when I handed over your keys to that guy. There were tears in my eye, when I said him to take good care of you. He saw it and assured me.
I hope you will be fine with him. Be good and take care of him and yourself. Correct him if he makes any mistakes. And guide him to goodness.
And Finally
Forgive me whenever I have asked more from you.
Forgive me whenever I have shifted the gears improperly, choking you up.
Forgive me for breaking you head light with that freaky accident.
Forgive me for choosing to transport you in a bloody movers and packers instead of driving you from Pune.
Last but not the least; forgive me if I have hurt you.
You the Metallic Blue 150cc DTSi Pulsar, whom I called Blue Pulsar, is now not in my life. But from the depths of the heart I know I still love you. I would rather be a gay than be a straight if The Bird had not entered my life.
You always will have that special place in my heart, for you were my first love, first beast I owned on my own.
Take care da. And enjoy yourselves with him. Travel to the horizons of life and I would be sitting here proud and happy, for I was your first love, I was the first one who touched you for the first time in your life and I was the one who was cared you more than a friend.
Best wishes Buddy.
With Loads of Love.
Your's Me..

Thursday, August 03, 2006

for them... an update..

I love this silence, as it is Golden.
I was made to be Silent, and I remained silent.
But they ask me why I am silent.
They ask me to break free from my chains.
I couldn't.
So I captured and frustrated. Some Craps, Some Good.

But I love them. Coz They are my passions.

It may be crap, but its my frustration :-)