in this far south there are such men who are lost to the shrill delectable beauty of the ghats..[part I]

steep;while scaling Ballala-Rayana-Durga. Chikkamagalooru district, Karnataka[dec6,2008]

Ballala Rayana Durga, Chikkamagalooru

It is here that you can hear the earth breath, smell the choicest of perfume and wonder at the vast expanse of the unspoilt Sahyadri. In the enormous district of Chikkamagalooru, Karnataka you get the perfect slice of the ghats and her forests and rivers, her men and their old temples, Gods, Goddesses and the still silence of their abodes. Unruffled by the bustle of IT but accessible from Bangalore are the pristine ranges of Kudremukh, a fort named BallalaRayanaDurga three hours and a half uphill the ghats, River Tunga kissing the age-old Sharada temple at Sringeri and the benevolent gaze of Shiva at Kalasa and Annapoorneshwari at Horanadu. The HanumanGundi falls and the water-snakes, Gangamoola the source of three rivers, the Mangalore state highway flanked on both sides with the densest of forests and the fragments of iron and mica of this rich land; these, for the intrepid traveler, makes Chikkamagalooru, a dream destination.

unconstrained; river Tunga kissing the steps from Sharadamma temple, Sringeri.[dec-7,2008]

unconstrained; river Tunga kissing the steps from Sharadamma temple, Sringeri.[dec-7,2008]

Half way through the two days you may take to tour Chikkamagalooru, you might faint due to the sheer visual impact of a land so beautiful. And like what happened with the Kaveri you will be instantly hooked and decide that this is not the last time.

To the far south of India lies a storehouse of natural beauty. Sahyadri; which stretches from the base of Gujarat to the southern queen of Kanyakumari, it envelops many districts both huge and small; like Chikkamagalooru, Wayanad, Hassan, Shivamogga, Kottayam, Idukki, and Trivandrum.

Agumbe, Kodagu, Nilgiris, Chembra, Mudigere, Agasthyarkoodam all become ‘destination nexts’ for men who are enthralled by Chikkamagalooru.

Yes, there needs be men who size the south; men who love landscapes and languages.

In this far south there are such men who are lost to the shrill delectable beauty of the ghats.


On the trail of the sensuous enchantress of the bountiful south…..[part I]

Accessible from the city of Bangalore within a few hours of travel are many exotic locations caressed by the river Goddess Kaveri. It is in the southern districts of Karnataka, as she enters Tamil Nadu that she begins to take form, fullness and shape. Blessing the vast scapes of the deccan, she is indeed the sensuous enchantress of the south bringing fertility and life to the arable lands between the ghats.

As she unravels her bare bosom across Mandya, she is a delectable maiden flush with the waters of the Sahyadri. Just past the monsoon, her waters brim and dance down the falls of Shivanasamudram in Mandya and Hogennekal in Dharmapuri. While men around her fight in the name of language and spill her water in cold dispute, she maintains her naughty seduction and sways her hips through her bountiful basin.


hogannekal, Dharmapuri district, Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border.[Sept-20,2008]


shivanasamudram, Mandya district, Karnataka.[Sept-6,2008]

Her falls are famous and men flock to them, revel in the seasonal fullness and sing her praise.


Rivers are our wealth. They bring the life-blood for our agriculture, they light our hydel-powered homes and they keep our traditions alive. They have seen men and their empires rise and fall, not once but many a time. And if we quarrel over their waters and waste their lay across the land, there will be none to blame as we thirst to death.


After Hogannekal and Shivanasamudram, one can have a respite, sure. But when you are on the trail of the bringer of bliss, and when you have been seduced by the apsaras of the south, you cannot stop with Mandya and Dharmapuri. Deep down at Mettur she is restrained, and let loose again; she brings a verdant hue to the fields of Tanjavur and Tirichi, and finally merges into the Bay of the Bengal.

Not just that, her tresses at TalaKaveri excite you into the trail too, a trail of the sensuous enchantress of the bountiful south…..


And when the three religions climax in a warring orgy it will be here..

Russia is busy with her new wealth and power, with the Siberian oil fields and the Caucasus. China is emboldened by her visibility post the Beijing Olympics and is steaming ahead on the economy front. America has lost her war in Iraq and in the mountainous deserts of Afghanistan, and her banks – the fortresses of capitalism are crumbling down and bottlenecked. Europe is busy with clean energy, trade and tourism. Australia is still pre-dominantly uninhabited. Africa is battling disease, starvation, dictators and other third world troubles. Latin America is busy with soccer and sex.

Though bogged down by political entanglements and power struggles, floods and infrastructure constraints, disputes and shaky status-quos, the Indian subcontinent remains the only landmass with adequate representation from all three of the world’s greatest religions and enough idle time for the three religions to climax in their warring orgy. And if you have noticed it has begun.

Forcible conversions, murder of holy men – self-proclaimed and otherwise, blatant bombings, desecration of prayer-halls and churches, it has all begun in earnest. As these pick-up speed our landmass will become the Kurukshetra of religious antagonism, rife with war and plunder in the name of our shepherds, boiling with the burning fury of men who love their Gods.

Our soil will soak in blood, our rivers will be stained.


we would better answer.

Now is perhaps the best time to write about Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu is back to normal after 64 days of violent gimmicks while Kashmir is still hit with the wave of dissension and disillusionment. Popular media has dissected Kashmir and examined it short and long. Arundathi Roy wrote thus in the Outlook while K Shankar Bajpai wrote thus in the Hindu.

I have a few questions to ask M/s Roy.

She advocates Kashmir’s independence from India as well as India’s independence from Kashmir and justifies it putting into light the present ground situation and the atrocities of the past. She is at times one-sided against the successive Indian Governments and blames them for having manufactured and then exacerbated the dissent. She points but cursorily at the foreign elements that played. It seems she had the case first and then chalked out arguments to suit.

Has she considered the following givens?

That Kashmir was voted into India pending a plebiscite is a given. Conducting the plebiscite now is out of question given that it will not reflect the Kashmiri choice of 1947. There is no question of plebiscite now. There is only a question of the J&K polls.

There is no denial that the Indian Government has a role in the present mess. But the Pak tribes and army men who infiltrated into Kashmir post-Partition and stayed, denying the law and order the state deserved are most responsible for denying the Kashmiris their plebiscite. It is high time that they get the scorn and we as a nation start concentrating on polls in that state.

M/s Roy, if given the fact that Kashmir is and was an integral part of secular India and what transpired in 61 years has made you game enough to advocate Azadi for the valley- then if 50 years from now if the evangelical Christians of India’s demographically engineered coastlines (which are as of now India’s uncontested integral part) rise up with the demand for a Christian state will you be ready to say ‘Aye’!      Same is the case with the district of Malappuram in Kerala. Say, twenty years down the lane they rise up in a muslim-majority trance and shouts pro-Pak slogans, will you concede? And in another century if China creates enough unrest in Arunachal Pradesh (which China claims as her territory even today) and demands her accession into the Chineese mainland, will you agree?

When Roy’s article is read, please keep these questions in mind.

The second article is more level-headed. More apt. It asks the right question to the Indian politician and the Indian masses. It asks “Has the concept of India lost its cementing force?”

We would better answer.


Some conspiracies are hatched with purpose. Some purposes last.

Do I see one or do I see many; Rasaleela.

Krishna is an iconic figure in Indian mythology. He was the master plotter in a conspiracy which has more than one invisible dimension. After all these years Arjuna is still the hero nonpareil, an example, an inspiration, a motivation, a someone to emulate.

The prima facie dimensions of the conspiracy are common sitting room discussions; Krishna’s critical moot points that aroused Arjuna from his eleventh hour gloom, Krishna’s complicity in burning the Khandava and the subsequent gifting of the Gandiva to Arjuna by Agni and Varuna, Krishna’s coy all along the exile. For sure he is a conspirator par excellence.

Let us not get into an argument on the truth of our great stories, whether something of those sorts occurred? It would kill the discussion.

That for now is a given.

Arjuna was made to travel the length and breadth of Bharathavarsha in Bharatha. First as a punishment for infringing Draupadi’s time with his brother; then as part of the exile; then an exile within the exile; and then countless post war forays into the Indian heartland. Even today through out the Indianscape one can hear stories related in the name of Arjuna; his deeds swell in surfeit. Countless instances have been deliberately inserted into the Bharatha to give ample space and time for Arjuna to have had been everywhere and anywhere. All other competition to our hero was compromised elsewhere and else-wise.

Now I wonder, was Krishna the real conspirator? Rather I would say, the men of the past ages who brought up this mega-epic; who penned these magnificent enriching stories; who narrated it down our lineage, they made up the conspiracy. They gave Arjuna the place in our stories, the time to have traversed the whole of our motherland. They made it possible for him to have become a part of every folklore.

Now I know that the temple town of Tripunithura and the legend surrounding the Poornathrayeesan is part of that conspiracy. That Arjuna descended the Deccan onto the western coastline of the sub-continent is no matter of chance, no routine goings –on of his time. The legend itself is a drama that baffles human imagination; let us keep that for another day.

For now, what matters is that Arjuna was made to carry that ‘vigraham’(idol) in his quiver, was assisted by Ganapati and was instrumental in fixing the place to keep the idol and ‘bring up’ the temple.

ha, That sweet whiff of carbon in my temple-town at night.

Walk along the by-ways of the Tripunithura temple-town at night and you can whiff the carbon in the air and say, “Yes, Arjuna was here some days ages and ages before. Yes he was right here then”. And you will swell with pride because the heroic stories of Arjuna shall echo from across the ages and lift your spirit.

Some conspiracies are hatched with purpose. Some purposes last. We owe a lot to our ancestors who gave us pitching moments in history, and people larger than life.


Can I walk on my city streets with a donut in hand and not be blown up into pieces?

Mr Vee steps out of his office and heads to the nearest Donut Baker; he grabs two honey dipped donuts and gets them packed in a paper bag (and not a plastic one at that). He is intent on walking five kilometers to the place he is temporarily put-up at; for now he is a ‘rove’.

As he rounds a certain curve on the main road he dips his hand into the paper bag, fishes out donut number one and bites off a heavy chunk; the stuff melting into his mouth in no time. As the sugar pumps into his blood, he crosses a large metal garbage bin and trembles at its sight. How can he be sure that the bin is innocuous; that it does not house an improvised ‘timed’ explosive. In these ‘Interesting Times’ he cannot be.

Mr Vee and many others like him had their lives ‘shaken’, when low intensity serial blasts went off in Bangalore to the tune of terrorist elements. And his countrymen are facing a tirade of bombs and hate. What followed in Ahmedabad and Surat has made a long story even longer and deadlier.

There is more to this story that I have been weaving around Mr.Vee. If I should cap it in three lines, here is how it would go. ‘Madivala’ is one of the doors to Bangalore, a bus boarding/alighting point for passengers to/from Tamil Nadu and Kerala. If a bomb explodes right at your exit door, your passage seems unsure, threatened, unsafe, aimed at and targeted. It reads, “You better be forewarned!”.

rain douses fear; and angst. Bangalore – 25/7/08

Rain affects a bombed city’s morale. Rain dulls her; but along with it douses the fear and washes away the panic and angst. But hate is a different thing. The rain turns the flames of hatred into a conflagration; gives her a face more grim and taut; and voila in a day’s time hate manifests its new form in a different city like never before.
Are my cities safe, can I ask?
Are my cities safe,
can I ask; can I at least wonder?

Can I walk on my city streets with a donut in hand and not be blown up into pieces?