Monday, February 15, 2010

Peace Treaty signed!!!

Relationships are akin to war, where weekdays you spend preparing for the battle to be fought on the weekends when you meet face to face. We have been in the state of war since 23rd Dec 1998. I finally surrendered after fighting the long losing battle for 10 years, on 20th Dec 2008 under the Hindu Marriage Act. Since then I have been kept under house arrest by my wife. After a lot of negotiation and persuasion, she decided to initiate the “Peace Talk”. We chose the “V Day” for this “peace talk” and headed to a neutral venue “Chickmaglur-Coffee Paradise” to hold these talks.

It was 5.45AM when we started from Bangalore. We took the Bangalore- Tumkur-Hassan-Belur route to reach Chickmaglur. Our first halt was at 8.30 AM at CCDay, to wake ourselves up with a cup of hot and steaming Cafe latte. Our second halt was at good old “Kamat Upchar” for a quick brunch of Vada and Butter Dosa. We reached Chickmaglur at around 12.00 noon. We had booked our stay with a Woodway Homestay. Last one hour of the drive through the coffee plantation was very scenic and refreshing.

Woodway Homestay at its first look gave us a feeling of Home away from Home. We were greeted by a very warm and friendly staff. They ushered us into a very cozy and comfortable room. Woodway Homestay is a very well decorated house with a lot of attention given to detailing. We had a quick shower and hurried to the dining area for the lunch. The lunch was a home cooked meal of rice, chicken and veg curries and fried fish as a bonus for the non veggies.

After our coffee break at 4.00, we decided to burn some calories by taking up a cycling tour around the home stay. With birds chirping & a gentle breeze we pedaled through the exotic nature cherishing the good old times we had spent with each other. We remembered the fun times we had in our college, the innumerable V Days and the stupid promises we made on our so called Anniversaries. We laughed at all our silly tussles which we had over the years.

We continued to relive our past by taking a drive down the village of Malandur to watch the sunset. Hand in hand we watched the sun go down & made a silent promise to be with each other forever. We continued our romantic saga under the twinkling stars by the bonfire.

We woke up late on “V Day” & decided to simply laze around on the hammock. We spent a chunk of time chit chatting and day dreaming. Later in the morning, we decided to take the coffee plantation tour. The Homestay caretaker, Santosh took us around the coffee plantation explaining in detail about the entire coffee harvesting activity. It was quite a learning experience for us.

We finally bid adieu to this homely place at 12.00PM. During the trip we rediscovered each other and realized how special and important we were for each other’s existence. With the peace treaty signed successfully on 14th Feb 2010, we reached home at 7.30PM.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Celebrating “Bus Day” even before BMTC launches it……..

BMTC (Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation) is launching "Bus Day", an initiative to promote use of public transport to commute to office. We decided to contribute our 2 cents by exploring “Namma Bengaluru” on Sunday by using BMTC buses.

We took our first bus ride from Malleshpalya to Kempegoda (Majestic) Bus Station at 10AM. We reached Majestic around 11.00AM and bought a BMTC planner to help plan our trip. Our first destination was ISKON temple. ISKON society has established this very fine temple for Lord Krishna, on a small mud hill, about 200 feet in height. Temple has typical south Indian style 'gopurams' on four sides. It is a very well maintained- astonishingly clean and sublime. We spent around an hour at the temple chanting “Hare Rama Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare” and relishing hot “Kachori, Dhokla and Jilabee”. On our way back to Majestic, we missed the bus stop at ISKON and had to walk to Rajajinagar 1st block to catch the bus. The bus was overcrowded and we had to stand all our way through the journey.

From Majestic we headed to Champarajpeth, to visit the Tipu Sultan palace. The building of the palace was started by Hyder Ali and it was completed by Tipu Sultan. It is believed that the Palace was one of Tipu Sultan's summer retirements.

Our next destination on the agenda was Bull Temple. Although it was a short bus ride from Tipu’s palace to Bull Temple, the walk to the main temple was taxing. The temple is built in the Dravidian style and is dedicated to Nandi Bull, the vahana (vehicle) of Lord Shiva. The snacks at Kamat Bugle Rock after the temple visit, was as savoring as ever.

With no direct bus from Bull temple to Lalbagh, we decided to take an Auto. The auto which we got was well decorated with flowers & to our surprise a bunch full of medals & trophies adorned the auto. The driver, Raju was a very warm & friendly person and has been honored many times by the media & government for his good deeds. For last 20 years on the Karnataka Rajyostava he has been offering free rides for children & senior citizens. He also offered sweets to all the passengers boarding his auto. Cheers dude!!!

Spread over an area of 240-acre, the Lalbagh Botanical Gardens holds the largest collection of rare and exotic plants in India. The garden is meticulously designed with lawns, flowerbeds, lotus pools and fountains adding to its magnificence. The Glass House, modeled on London's Crystal Palace, is one of the major attractions. The atmosphere there was very soothing and relaxing. We enjoyed our time wandering around the garden and lazing on the lawn.

In the evening, we visited the Vidhan Soudha and the High court. Designed in “Neo Dravidian” style, the granite structure of Vidhan Soudha has a striking resemblance to the Mysore’s old palaces. Bang opposite the Vidhan Soudha, is a magnificent two storied red colored building of stone and brick which houses the State High court. It was almost sunset, by the time we left this place and headed to MG road, to chill out at the good old Koshy’s with a pitcher of beer and some good fish fry .. :)

We finally ended our day long Bus expedition by taking the final bus from Shivajinagar to Malleshpalya. Detouring Bengaluru with the BMTC buses was exhausting yet an eventful experience. It really helped us to clear a lot of misconceptions regarding the BMTC buses. BMTC definitely has a good network, good buses and at a good frequency. More importantly they are really low-priced!!! We wish BMTC all the best with their new initiative on the “Bus Day”!!!