Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Diving into the wordpool again!

It’s been exactly 6 years since my last( which also happened to be my first) blog post. I cannot say what exactly is inspiring me to write again. I’ve fought the temptation often, despite constant comments from friends that I should start writing again. Must be some kind of depraved masochistic pleasure of writing just for myself and therefore avoiding humiliation and feeling exposed to the world. You see, soul entangling stuff!

I decided halfway through 2013 that I wanted to live my life a bit differently. Although these epiphanies are common for me, I took a leap and quit my in equal parts cushy and stressful first job. Embarking on a journey in the creative arts through a unique therapy course, I also decided to start working on an organic farm and teaching at an alternative school. The concept of minimalism had gripped me.. after all what can be better than a zero bank balance, just a rucksack full of belongings on your back and the uncertainty of the future right?

I do mean it though, when I say I have not lived a moment in regret since. Through reconnecting with yoga, trying my hand at Reiki and Taichi, seeing my vegetable patch prosper one season and decay the next, living minus electricity, cooking a meal for 2 hours on biogas and deeply inhaling mountain air, each experience brought me closer to myself.

The interesting part about being constantly broke is one realises that needs are reduced to the bare minimum and the overwhelming wants that control, evaporate away. I started eating healthier, travelling more, meeting different kinds of people, laughing more, admiring the intricacies of the universe more, pushing myself out of my comfort zone and discovering what a marvellous human being I really could be, if only I didn’t interrupt the flow. Now enough with the background check, I’ve established myself as a type. Lets get on to the travelogue.

Who doesn’t like a beautiful beach? Be it the stunning view of the sunset, the sky in pink and burnished orange, the heaps of seafood available, the sensation of your feet sinking into soft sand, creeping on girls in bikinis and swimming far into the ocean. India boasts of some spectacular coasts ( the natural a,a rhyme scheme is unearthed as I currently teach high school English).

5 of the absolutely unmissable ones are:

  1. Morjim beach, Goa
  2. Puri beach, Orissa
  3. Diu
  4. Kovalam
  5. Kudle beach, Gokarna

You might ask with what authority I seemed to have picked the above. Interesting feedback, except these are my favourites and I’m using artistic license here. Yet, if I really must reason it out; you shall find that each beach stretch comes with its own essential quality.

Morjim, although right in the heart of party beach capital, Goa; offers a tucked away effect on account of lazy shacks, fewer parties and limited throngs of people. Albert or Pasco can hook you up with beautiful tent rooms or log cabins, ranging from Rs 500-1200. Here’s a picture to tease

 You can contact them on 07387889667. It’s also in close proximity to Arambol, Vagator or Baga and Calungute, easily accessible by a rented bike which costs about 250 a day cost to the pocket, without fuel which happens to be far more reasonable in Goa. Ideal for 2-3 days (depending also on your financial and status of employment which warrants budget and permissible leave) filled with cheap beer, serene waters to swim, simple food and a complete mind escape. If you’re lucky, it won’t cut you back more than 5 or 6 k.

Puri beach combines the mysticism of a temple town as well as the gorgeous sea scape of turtles, fish and clear waters. The temple is definitely worth a visit as is checking out the seashell industries and handicrafts. The coast in Orissa is fantastic as it combines the waters of the Bay of Bengal as they merge with the Indian Ocean.

Such spots offer a chance to sample unique cuisine and a new culture of the people of Odisha.

I chose Diu since it’s also a port city, literally an hour away from Daman where one can see huge fleets of Navy ships as well as merchant trading and ONGC. Although intrinsically, a port and massive ships in the distance make me uncomfortable at the prospect of Oil spills and mercantilism, the adventurous spirit within me is awakened with the fantasy of voyages, pirates, sailing and the sea sickness that comes with it. It is also marvelous to watch goods being loaded and taken away, thousands of nautical miles away, to a new land where along with goods and services, there is cultural exchange. The word globalization literally comes to life at these moments.

Diu offers white sands and pristine waters as well as a few lagoons, owing to the spectacular landscape along the western coast. Since Diu borders with Gujarat, one gets a glimpse of Kutch and salt banks too.

Kovalam is a typical southern, tropical beach paradise. Coconut trees sway and fan, the backwaters are merely minutes away and combine with the sea at several “Sangam” points. Coastal cuisine is delectable beyond belief with a hoard of seafood, toddy and palm wine and some very interesting preparations of plantain, mango and palm, even for vegetarians.

Watching the fishing boats as they go out early every morning and witnessing both fantastic sunrises and sunsets, are the highlight in this region.

Gokarna is one of those places, I’ve visited 4 times in the last 6 years. The reason for this is partially its convenience from both Bangalore and Mumbai which were my home bases but furthermore because it offers something for everyone. Travellers arrive from Brazil, Israel, the Phillipines and various countries in Europe as musicians, creative artists, yoga and healing enthusiasts  besides much more. It is one of the best places to meet people from all over the globe and spend time on a beach with limited effort. It offers 4 beaches, each having their own quaintness.

Om beach is spectacular simply for its rock formations and the Om symbol that can be seen as one rides down towards the beach from the town. Kudle beach has plenty of shacks, swimmable waters and great food at reasonable prices. Half moon beach is rocky and tucked away in an alcove, making it a great place to boulder or Parkour and free run. It also connects through the rocks to Paradise, a small stretch of beach that’s isolated and perfect for swimming with rock pools, hammocks and trees.

At the end, I shall give away a little secret. If one has 2 or 3 weeks to take a long over due and relaxed vacation, one can road trip from Orissa, into Andhra Pradesh( sampling Vishakapatnam enroute), entering Karnataka, driving through Gokarna, right up to Goa and into Maharashtra and Daman. Although I have not been able to do this personally yet, I hope this year or the next offers a trip on the Eastern coastline. Heaven is paved with dreaming and good intentions. Eat well, sleep well and travel often everyone!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Stop Monkeying Around

Sure Andrew Symmonds looks like a monkey!then again,bhajji looks a little like balu the bear right off Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book and Sachin Tendulkar nothing short of a Bandicoot from our worst nightmares;understandably and in all fairness because we originated from the animal species, more specifically the fish species as my research identifies!

So forgive that one poor bundle of fish born into his proud school who happened to be by some genetic imbalance and mutation, a specimen resembling a monkey!Dear (add worshipping deity/ spiritual powers initials here)!! now this poor creature would be doomed to a lifetime of insults everytime he tried to prove himself, thus squabbling with the great indian pomfret bhajji the medium off spinner!armies will build on either side to create a whole new means of warfare, piercing far deadlier to the human soul than nuclear weapons ever could but something that has lasted from time immemmorial-the war of words.

I agree entirely with Greg Baum, and his opinion in his column in The Age. We trivialise racism to a great extent, demeaning it from a war against injustice to all humans born equal and meant to live equal,to sticking up for one's country and national pride by indulging in such trivialities. surely there are many more things for us to worry about, to put up on worldwide television, news bulletins 24/7 for the last four days.

This post probably makes me anti-indian but im indian all the way, for all my 18 years i have been. The only difference between me and many of us indians who don't leave a sport to thrive in its own sporting spirit, is that i will not hide behind the protective cover of a leader like mahatma gandhi because the apartheid and racism he fought for has nothing to do with the shilpa shetty's and andrew symmonds of today, being indian id like to think it was far nobler a struggle, being indian id like to say we dont need to prove ourselves and we have our pride.

I have no timeline of statistics to say how many billions of times we have faced racism in this past year or decade or century, it ceases to matter because as a fan of not just cricket but of every indian sport i can count our laurels and victories, moral, human, monetary or titled!

And the best part is im not even a die hard cricket fan! but those opinions can be saved for another day! afterall,who knows in 2086 what will be but today its a cricket stadium, not yet a zoo!