Saturday, October 22, 2011

Greenery, Scenery and the Great Godavari

This is going to be one of my(or only) long blog post. So if you've just wandered here to pass time between running codes or bored of seeing the same facebook updates and looking for more excitement in life or just stumbled here because of my brilliantly worded blogsite, which draws a lot of Akon fan traffic here, I advise you just skip the crap and directly go to the pics. On the other hand,if you are serious about taking a boat ride on Godavari or most likely just too jobless in life, go ahead.

I've always wanted to go explore places (I know. Like who doesn't?). Went to a few with family. Let me see now: Ooty - Coimbatore, Mysore - Banglore - Hospet, Kothagudem - Kinnerasani, Kurnool - Ahobilam - Nandyal, Mumbai and around: all mostly when young. And then there were the trips I put to Banglore, Pondicherry, Goa, Delhi with dosths. I know, not very extensive. A regret of my life. But a deeper and greater regret has been not seeing the Andhra part of my own state. So when my mom told me that they were shifting base to Vizag, I was actually kinda glad. Finally, the coastal districts. I can now tick off one other part of A.P.

Clouds, Hills and the Great River
Vizag was a nice change from Pune and I loved the August weather there (pun intended). Our house was on the slopes of a hill, in a place named Seethamma Dhaara. For a person so very used to the corrupted names of Hyd localities, the names here sounded like poetry.(The names of localities in Hyd actually deserve another post. Will do that in future. And don't get me wrong, Hyd still is first love. No body can beat names like Neem Bowli Adda, Kacheguda, Koranti, Seethaphalmandi, Tirumalgherry and such)

So you are right, this post isn't about Vizag and Hyd and the never ending debates which usually crop up while comparing cities. Its about this launch (Boat) ride I took from Rajamundry to Perantalapally (If you are a Gult, lol with me). We started from a place called Pattiseema. Now if you come from a parched placed like Hyd and have only seen villages in an around there, this place looks like a green paradise. The closest I can compare this place is with the pics of Kerala backwaters. The greenery just overwhelmed me. But this was nothing. The actual boat ride was even better.

The boat was good. So was the food. We took an A.P tourism managed one but you can choose from other private operators too.The first stop was at a small Lanka (Island, in the river). There was a Rama temple there, but I spent most of the time strolling on the river banks, trying to soak in the rivers vastness. Man it was huge. Like a giant moving lake. The tour guide was telling me that the best time to undertake the journey is when the monsoons aren't too rough. The river usually has very strong current after a good monsoon and the steamer cannot navigate or its usually dry during other seasons and the steamer anyways cannot navigate in shallow waters. So usually August to November is a good time to be there.

The lake like river, after about an hour jounrney became a vast but stronger moving current. There was an opening, about a kilometer wide in between the hills from which the river comes from the valley. That's the Paapi hills welcome gate. I originally thought the name had something to do with some guys sin, but apparently, it comes from the telugu word "Papidi", meaning the hairline partition of a woman. The river is like the "papidi". I remember another story the guide told me about the hills. There were some hill rocks on top of one of the hills making it look like a man, with a long nose. The story he told is long and like most mythological stories involves Rushis' and curses and rakshas and Godavari cleansing sins etc (Ok.Ok Guilty. I forgot the story.Sorry!). The guide made a snide remark saying nowadays they are calling it the K.C.R hill (refer long nose part:D).

There were some people on the river banks making small pits in there to collect water. They were using it as some sort of filtration technique. It was a tough life, filtering water like that and then transporting uphill. I din't understand why they were doing it until I realized that was another river island. The journey upstream next took us to Parentalapally, which contained a Rama Krishna ashram. The setting was absolutely serene and I wasn't at all surprised to see an ashram there. In fact, I was kinda expecting more baba's at those locations. There were also lots of "Tribals" , mostly selling forest/tribal stuff. God how I hate commercialization at such places. But guess we got to accept them with the journey

The journey down stream was much faster. All those CAT problems about upstream downstream boats suddenly made sense;). Since there were no stops, the guide was playing very loud music from the PA system. I soo badly wanted to just spend time sitting and staring at the never changing hills and the fast flowing water. But the boat setting made me think. Instead of going to Goa or a costly resort for office parties et all, hiring a boat on Godavari makes lot more economic sense, and trust me, with enthusiastic people, it is great fun. There is one small island in between which has lots of tents and stuff by AP tourism. A stop here can make the whole journey two days long. Ofcourse, even with my parents it was good fun. In fact, I would term the experience a perfect family time.

At the place where we start, i.e Pattiseema, there is the huge Polavaram project coming up. I don't think there is any danger of the journey being spoilt because of the damn cuz,come on, the political situation makes sure the construction just won't happen. The dam may spoil the fun by cutting short the journey once its up so I'd say the next 3-4 years are the best time to undertake this journey.

Although I'm not much of a photographer, I'll still leave you guys with some pics. The place has great scenery, good food and will give you some peace of mind. An experience worth trying and especially for Rs 600, its a steal. My only regret was that people around used plastic bags and cups indiscriminately in the river and in the islands. There isn't much littering yet, but I can see that once tourists pour in, these places are bound to get screwed up. We as a nation should collectively improve our civic sense.
I wonder why they don't have races on Godavari.
The place looked very pretty

Early morning clouds on mountains

The Polavaram project. Somewhere here

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Reading it wrong

The starting was simple
He was reading a page now and a page then
When there was free time, it was always there
He din't understand all but he was sure he was going to read it again
Spending time with it became a daily affair

The chapters were humble
Each giving him a new outlook
He went with the flow
Enjoying both happiness and grief of the book
Greeting every new turn with a happy hello

But then there was this rumble
The episodes became slow
The thrill was low and the depth was more
It made his impatience grow
His brain was clouded and feelings were sore

He took the gamble
He could not contain it any longer
He wanted the pages to turn fast
That nothing would be lost and things would be stronger
Desperate to get to the excitement of past

There was a lot of fear
He was here, she was there
The things between them were never really clear
The book ended because they could not persevere

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Indore Incident

Reshared from FB:

This happened while I was coming from Indore to Hyd on a Jet Konnect flight. The flight was completely full, with a marriage party, a bunch of IPS trainees and some random other people like me on it. The Airhostess was a Punju, strong looking, teacher types.

The marriage party was apparently travelling for the first time in flight. They were very noisy and moving all around the flight immediatly after the take off. The airhostess, irritated, was trying hard to calm them. She lost her cool after a while and started scolding an elderly man in the group, pointing out that there were other passengers who also paid and needed their peace of mind.

There was one guy in the group who took extra offense with the airhostess. He kept pressing the "call stewardess" button above the seat and started asking for water, permission to roam around and permission to go piss. It was as if she was the teacher of a school struck with a bunch of naughty boys. She wanted to scold them, at the same time, had to comply with her fake smile duties as an airhostess.

Since this was an budget flight, the food was being sold on a trolley. Also, this being an ATR , there was no microwave/heater and hence no coffee/tea. The Punju lugged the food trolley and these people insisted on chai. They were positively agitated when she said there was no tea. It was as if she was denying them chai on purpose.Then they asked for a sandwitch. She said it was Rs150 for a veg sandwitch and Rs 200 for a non veg sandwitch. Shocked, they again looked as if the bloated prices were a ploy by the airhostess to keep them from eating.

As soon as she left, our group hero went for his cabin luggage and took out a huge bag, containing lots of chips packets and buiscuit packets amonst other things. He openly shared all the food with his group and started walking down the aisle saying."1 packet, Just 100 ruppees. Khareedoge?". There was wide spread laughter in the flight. Everyone was enjoying the show.The airhostess came running down to him. She was totally helpless. She then ran towards the headmaster(pilot) and came out of the cockpit after a while, came to them and said "Abhi captain tak pahunch gayi baat. Meine complaint kardiya".A few moments later, there was this annoucement from the captain saying they were expecting heavy turbulence and that all people should wear their seatbelts and stay put. Since it was official sounding, every body went back to their seats.

Ofcourse, there was no turbulence. What could have been an even more eventful journey was cut short by that wily pilot. But still, it was my best flight journey ever. Go Indori's.

My first rage attempt

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Neutral Gear

He was in love with his new cool bike. This bike, he thought had everything. Amazing power, great torque, unparalleled stability, 6 gears , spot on disc breaks and so on. Above all, it had the looks to even make a lean guy like him look good.The only problem he felt was with the neutral gear.He used to achieve awesome speeds on the bike. He felt as if the other vehicles on the road were stationary when on it. Lightning was the nickname he gave it.

Inspite of all its awesomeness, he always thought about the neutral gear. True, the gears changed ever so smoothly on his lightest touch., but getting on neutral gear was always tricky. It was somewhere between the 1rst and 2nd gear and always needed that perfect touch to get it into neutral. At signals and intersections, he used the clutch and first gear instead. But damn, he so badly wanted to master the neutral. So badly wanted to see the green neutral light on the bike display glow.

And then one day he was again on his godly ride. Whizzing past vehicles without care. But as is usual with the Indian traffic, there came a bunch of buffaloes on the road. He stopped, for he was experienced enough to know the whims and fancies of the animals made them unpredictable.One of the buffaloes, a young one, caught his eye, and even it just kept staring at him. There was something about those eyes which caught his attention and even he stood transfixed momentarily. Beyond them was a speeding truck, demanding the animals to move by showing of its sheer size. The solitary buffalo , quick in its senses moved aside. Coming back to the moment, he observes the speeding truck coming out of nowhere. He knows he has to move , but somehow the bike doesn't budge. A second before the inevitable end, his eye catches the bike display. The green light is on. He finally figures out the neutral gear.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Song of a regretful heart

If you are reading this, I urge you to read without stop or start

For this is the song of a regretful heart

First of all, to write this verse, I do not have the right

For trying to redeem, I should not even be in your sight.

Even if I sing this sad tune and shout my voice hoarse,

I don’t think It will convey the tiniest bit of my remorse.

On that fateful night, on the way there were warning bells,

My mind stopped processing, mistaking mere banter for all wrong signals.

With a remorseful sigh,I took an ugly bend,

And forever I feel lost a fabulous friend

Hopefully one day, after we put between us enough miles,

On your face there won’t be any anger or hurt, but bucketful of smiles

I know you will become big and conquer the mighty and the rest,

I’ve known you since long and wish you all the best

If u still feel bad, banish me and hate me, for what I did was totally wrong

It’s a sad but the right way to end this regretful heart song.

-- Anupam Chakilam