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Monday, April 4, 2016

'An escape from commonness'



Have you taken a trip? Have you taken a long trip? Have you taken the one by road? And have you taken it recently? If not pack your bag and go explore the world that was created just for you.
To escape from the clutches of routine realms, to escape from the vicinity of boring familiarity, and to escape from the hostility of an envious society, the modern man’s medicine is travelling. For some travel is just an escape. For some travel is passion. I can boast myself into the second category. After burning over 50,000 miles on trips in bikes and after contributing sufficiently to the carbon foot print; I/we took on our first long road trip by car. Have you known someone buying a car for a road trip? Yes, we did it! We planned on 6000 km trip covering 8 states. But, the car arrived late and our leave couldn’t be managed, and finally we settled for a short trip to Goa. The final plan was made the day before and few excited souls hopped in for a 2500km trip.




Trip:                  Chennai to Goa via Dandeli.
                           Travel distance (approximately 2200kms including sightseeing)
                           Chennai to Dandeli 820kms.
                           Dandeli to Goa 100kms
                           Goa to Chennai via Mollem and catching AH 47 925kms

Car chosen:         Renault duster AWD.
Fuel efficiency:   13.5kms/litre
 
Driver:                  Single person.
Travel time:        Chennai to Dandeli (820kms)
                              5.00PM To 8.00 AM with pit stop only for food and tea.
                              Dandeli to Goa had many pit stops.
              
                               Goa to Chennai (925kms)
                              4.30 AM to 6.30PM with pit stops for food and tea.

Average speed:  75km/hour
Top speed:         160km/hour

                 
THE TRIP:
CHENNAI TO DANDELI:

Well, we packed and started for the long journey at around 5.00pm on a Sunday evening. The trip to Dandeli is Via AH 45 and 43 to Bangalore and then in AH 47 crossing Davangere. At about 650km we took service road towards Hubli-Belgaum road( Just followed Google map here). In Hubli-Belgaum road take a turn at Tadas towards NH63,Hubli-Kalwar road. At Kalghati take a turn again into SH 46 towards Haliyal, from there just ascend up to Dandeli. Well, I sounded complicated there, but it was just as easy as anything. Follow Google maps is the simple rule.

  
The road is predominantly good till you reach SH46. Only the last few kilometres to Dandeli will be a bad stretch. Be careful about the time you hit a Chennai Bangalore highway, on any day an evening travel is not ideal, and that too on a Sunday never take a evening travel.

THE ROAD: Four and six lane mostly. The last stretch in the state highways of Karnataka say for 60kms is bad. Without any hassle, did a whole night drive as a single driver!  The cruise control feature in car was an awesome aid. Lot of places are available for stopover food, especially in the highway to Bangalore; Ambhur briyani can be tried.

DANDELI:  So what is special in Dandeli? I would say Dandeli is a little known beauty. From bird watching to water rafting, to jungle safari, to cozy sleeping it hosts everything. We stayed in the “Bison River Resort“. It was a worthy stay. The calmness in the hills was tested by the blowing winds and the lusty flow of river ‘Kali’. The four wheel drive and the un-tamed terrain of hills through the ‘Dandeli wild life sanctuary’ and a little troll into the ‘Anshi tiger reserve forest’ splendid. The might of ‘Supa Dam’, the star watch at the banks of river kali is all still fresh in memories.

After a cozy night, we started in morning with lot of stops and snaps towards ‘Goa’. The road towards Goa in the Karnataka side will be pretty bad; once you enter state highways of Goa the road will be good. A 100km ride in the hills will be tiresome and interesting as well. Our main pit-stop on the way to Goa was ‘Dudhsagar’

 DUDHSAGAR FALLS:
The ride to the falls through the untamed road was awesome; unfortunately our 4 wheel drive was not allowed to be completely tested as only government vehicles were allowed to do that stretch. But for a short drive and through a river cross Duster AWD did score.  The falls is by itself a wonderful place.
Time spent in Dudhsagar: 3 hours
Travel cost to falls in allowed boleros 400 per head.

The interesting story of our driver, a youth, who was working in mines, until it recently closed and his strive towards living was an added experience for us. If you are lucky you can spot a train moving atop the falls. The same view can be spotted in many Hindi movies; do you remember the ‘Chennai Express’?
 GOA:

After a slow ride, we finally reached goa around 5.00Pm. A short confusion whether to hit the south beaches or the north beaches, we finally headed for the usual.We stayed in the Vagator beach. Vagator is not that kind of exotic Goa beaches. It is a simple beach and there are lot of other famous beaches as well to visit around it including the  famous ‘Baga’ and ‘Calanguttte’.
Things to do in goa:

Goa is place to relax and not to rush. Give yourself a good three days there.
1. Wake up late in a north beach of Goa.
2. Take a slow walk and shop alongside the beach shops.
3. Eat and relish the ‘Goa’ sea foods.
4. Explore an unexplored beach by the extreme north or south. The Arambol beach, Mandrem beach, Palolem beaches are few to mention. We hit an unknown beach called ‘Sridao’ just for sunset. With us there were just few countable souls there. The resting sun and its breath taking view made the day for us.
5. Rest and hit for water sports and dolphin spotting the next day. The best place for water sporting is ‘Mobor beach’. If you are a good swimmer you can try snorkeling in the ‘Bogmalo Beach’.
6. Relax back at Panjim for a day with river cruise and casino.
7. Shop around and choose from wide variety of foods in the busy markets of Panjim.
8. If you are a history buff, do visit the ‘Basilica of Bom Jesus’ and many other churches around. Also the forts of Goa are an definite attraction.

Remember the best way to explore goa is to rent and ride a bike. If you are on a road trip with your own ride, it’s well and good. We couldn’t afford days around in Goa. But we pretty much covered everything. We ended our trip in ‘Panjim’ with some little shopping and a grand fish platter.



THE JOURNEY BACK:
Early morning, the next day, we started our long journey back. A 930km continuous drive through patches of road that you would call a ‘Driver’s dream’, and we reached back for our days of boring commonness. The savour of the trip will be long in our memories and those memories will keep us running in our boring commonness, for one day we will escape all this material world and will travel forever towards that new moon and new land, for we are just travellers and we are bond to travel.

 

The ride is tempting and the journey is inviting,
The unfamiliar faces and the unknown roads,
The never understood language and the ever interesting rituals,
The interesting stories and the new learned lessons.
The new formed bonds and the new understood meaning
Much more awaits and waits for us!

Pack your bag, and keep it light.
Loosen your soul, and shed all heaviness.
Warm your heart; keep it open to accept ‘new’.
Hold my hand, and let’s go on a ride.
The ride is long and warrants some tiresome.
But why to fear when I am near?
 
We are travellers and we are bound to be so!
We are passionate and we can only be so!
Why to get lost in those routine realms?
Why not to redefine in the path of nature?
Decide and let’s take that journey.
Decide and let’s escape this mortality!
 
Let’s catch that train, the one that never stops.
Let’s fly that plane, the one that never lands.
Let’s travel that road, the one that never ends.
Let’s ride and ride beyond, to that new moon and the new world.
Let’s search our destiny and reach our freedom.
Let’s travel together ‘The Journey’, and the ‘Journey of life’. 

                                                                                                                 ......TheCritics

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

                          LET IT BURN



'O' ‘’e‘my fellow Indians.
Behold and rise.
For it is the time to change.

Cast and religion,
Discrimination and discrepancy,
Enough it is; for they did enough

‘O ‘’e‘my friends,
Be bold and question!
For, if not now, never will it end.

Give them back their answer,
Be it an elder or the eldest.
Give them back the answer that ‘you’ ‘we’ are nothing but ‘humans’.

‘O ‘’e‘my sisters,
Show them the courage and show them your strength,
Rise for your ‘Heart’, for that is just and right to do.

“Touch my grains but not dine with me!”
“Study and work together; care for each other”, but not marry each other!
Ought to be changed is their mind-set, not your heart and definitely not your soul.

'O’'e‘my brothers,
Feed your fire, let it burn long and strong.
Let it burn that caste, and let it burn that religion.

‘Humanity’, be it the one religion that exist.
‘Nationalism’, be it that one fanatic caste that exist.
 Let us be the followers of ‘Love’ and ‘kindness’.




 TheCritics

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@ 'LIFE IS BLESS AND LOVE IS BLISS'
-AN ODE TO LIFE AND LOVE

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Sunday, December 27, 2015

மாற்றம்

ஆயுதம் எதுவும் தேவையில்லை போர்க்களம் செல்ல.
அரை நிர்வாண மனிதன் காட்டியது.

அழகு கொஞ்சும் முகம் தேவையில்லை, ஒரு சமூகத்தையே வழிநடத்த.
தாடியும் தடியும் கொண்ட கிழவன் காட்டியது.

எவை தேவையோ இல்லையோ, தெளிவும், துணிவும் தேவை மாற்றம் தேட.
மாற்றம் கேட்கிற மனமே, மாறிவிட்டாயா நீ முழுவதுமாக?

 TheCritics

Friday, December 25, 2015

கடவுள்


ஓர் விரல் நீட்ட சாலைகள் அனைத்தும் பூக்கள் நிறைந்த புல்வெளியாக மாறட்டும்.
இரண்டம் விரல் நீட்ட மனிதனும் பிற உயிரினமும் சமத்துவமாய் வாழ்ந்திடட்டும்.
மூன்றாம் விரல் நீட்ட வற்றாத நதியும், குறையாத வளமும் எங்கும் நிலைத்திடட்டும்.

நான்காம் விரல் நீட்ட ஏற்றமும் தாழ்வும் இல்லாத சமூகம் தோன்றிடட்டும்.
ஐந்தாம் விரல் நீட்ட மகிழ்ந்து பகிர்ந்திடும் மனிதன் மட்டும் இருக்கட்டும்.
ஆறாம் விரல் நீட்ட பசியும், பிணியும் அகன்று போகட்டும்.

ஏழாம் விரல் நீட்ட உண்மையும், நேர்மையும் நிலைத்து நிலவட்டும்.
எட்டாம் விரல் நீட்ட நிறைவான காலையும், முழுமதி இரவும் என்றும் பிறக்கட்டும்.
ஒன்பதாம், பத்தாம் விரல் நீட்ட  அளவற்ற காதலும், என்றும் மாறாத அன்பும் ததும்பி நிறையட்டும்.


மந்திரம் செய்யும் வித்தைக்காரன் அல்ல நான், மாறிட ஆசை.
தந்திரம் செய்யும் மாயகாரனும் இல்லை நான், மாறிட ஆசை.
நினைத்ததை படைக்கும் வல்லமை கொண்ட கடவுளும் இல்லை நான், கடவுளாகவும் மாறிட ஆசை.

 

Friday, December 18, 2015

தேடல்


                          தேடல் 


இல்லாமை என்பது இல்லாமல் போகட்டும்.
இயலாமை என்பது மறைந்தே போகட்டும்.
ஏற்றமும் தாழ்வும் அழிந்து போகட்டும்.
பசியும் பிணியும், சாதியும் மதமும் தொலைந்து போகட்டும்.

கனவுகாணும் உள்ளம், கவிதை பாடும் கண்கள்,
களவு இல்லா அறிவு, உண்மை எனும் செருக்கு,
சமத்துவம் கொண்ட சமுகம், பூமியை மீட்கும் மனிதன்,
மாற்றம் தேடும் இளைஞன் , எனும் அனைத்தும் தோன்றட்டும்.


 

The blissful childhood

                         
                                  THE BLISSFUL CHILDHOOD



Why to think of walking,
When we can actually fly?
Why to work towards a profession,
When we can be the kings and queens?
Why to worry about the future,
When we can be the sorcerers and change even destiny?

 

Where were those days?
The days when pennies mattered and money we never counted,
The days when sand fortresses were built and ruled happily ever-after,
The days when the pouring rain and the logging water, we actually craved for,
The days when by riding cycles, we controlled the city,
The days when simple games and single holiday excited us, where were those days?

 
Why this life so complex?
Why this life so complex and yet vivid?
We crave for something and then we care not to hold to it!
We find someone and then we choose to lose them!
Attachments and detachments; are they always part of this life?
Why can’t childhood extend forever, and why can’t these complications cease to exist?
 

Let those dreams inside not be suppressed.
Let those thoughts inside be seeded.
Let those demons never grow inside.
Let those days of blissful childhood return.
Let those days of care-free innocence return.
Let me have a life where adult-hood is never reached!!!
 

 

 TheCritics
 
 
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@ 'LIFE IS BLESS AND LOVE IS BLISS'
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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Refugee

                                                                        Day 6
                        Third flood, Chennai

                                    

I am Rajarajan. I am a doctor, a radiologist. I earn sufficient to live in excess. And I am a refuge, in my own place for sixth day now. This is my story. And I am sharing it only with the belief that relief work is over and rehabilitation is next. I hope the rain that has been threatening us since yesterday won’t cause any devastation.

  Writing from water logged chemmancherry with still no access to current.

Coming to my story….

In the month of November and December, I was made a refugee at my own place twice. The first flood left my area water logged, and I was made a refugee for first time. It was a kind of experience for me - taking friend out from his water logged building, providing food for people kept in church, seeing the receding water level at my house and a two day halt from my work. My work place was affected badly then. The effect of flood was not felt in entire Chennai as it did not affect Chennai on the whole and the city recovered in just two days. I, being a refugee was also able to find good shelter, food, water and all major access.

Second flood….
A week of weather forecast over a bad rain, continuous and heavy rain from night of 30th Monday. On Tuesday morning, December 1st, the current was stopped at my house and my hospital was hustling nothing but rains. By afternoon the mass hysteria about flood started, and the videos and photos that came in created panic. By 5pm in evening I came out of my hospital (my hospital has two water bodies adjacent to it, ‘Perumbakkam Lake’ and ‘Sithalapakkam Lake’). By evening the rain didn’t stop and water is already logging in streets. Current at my home was still not seen and is understood that in no time I WILL BE REFUGEE FOR SECOND TIME IN MY OWN PLACE.
I and my friend, planned to evacuate and shift to better place, but unfortunately my bike got struck and I was in road and he got stuck in his office. I found shelter at 10.pm on Tuesday night and even then I couldn’t realise the depth of devastation. The next day the busy OMR streets were like war zone and in my residential area people were being evacuated with boats. I was informed that there was neck high water at my house. Helping around rescue workers there (mostly fishermen arranged by locals, no police or fire officials), by evening I went and repaired by bike and visited make-shift shelters for people from east side OMR slums. This is the second day of Flood and situation was getting worse. Current has gone, no ATM, no petrol, our only access outside was continuing to taramani – adayar and reaching santhome. Crossing water logged taramani I found ATM at RA-puram and fuel at central. With money and fuel, I got courage to do whatever, night I helped around people in make shift shelters, and my friend was still stuck in IT company.

The third day was worst. The water level didn’t recede as expected, more people came out from buildings and everybody wanted to exit OMR. Transport was cut off still at many points. And both side of roads we can see people walking like refugees. IT students, college boys and girls all walked, took trucks and exited OMR. The access to CMBT was then only via metro train from Madhiya kaliash. Current was switched off for preventive measure. Phone network began an issue now as many tower generators were submerged. Food and water became an issue and to arrange food for 500 people in Thoraipakkam school we found it difficult. I had cash with me but I can’t find food to arrange. Taking a local alongside we finally arranged food and at that time, fourteen IT girls were in roads waiting to exit. They were searching for food and all they could find was 10 chapattis, for fourteen girls. They were sharing that food right in road.

Richer or poorer – Both were refugees then and both needed food first. The roads were mostly clear by that night but residential were remained water logged. Joined now by few friends we started feeding the dogs and we started location services for friends and relatives, all those we located were fine. On Day 3, December 3rd , Thursday night we had first access to Saithapettai, it was one of the worst hit inside Chennai and it looked like a war zone. No current, no water, no food, “Take this route you can reach there”, barricades and police were everywhere, it was a perfect calamity zone. One could see even in pitch black darkness the might of flowing Adayar and the washed out slum homes alongside the river.

From the next few days, till now Chennai is recovering slowly. From day 4 accesses was easy and slowly power was also restored and issues of essential commodities was sorted. Help to stranded people also came in sufficiently. We are now a team and we are helping people wherever needed from Saithapettai to chemmancherry. Still half the IT residential of OMR has exited and the streets are deserted. Chennai as a city will recover to one hundred percent in probably five days. Life of those people in water logged house of chemmancherry, those in make shift schools of sholinganallur, make shift shelters in Thoraipakkam will least take a month to recover.
I got my first day of current and sophistication yesterday. First Day of assess to TV and news channels and proper internet also yesterday. After watching the TV, I/ we felt hilarious and we felt that it was better that we didn’t have access to TV. Be it news channel, be it political parties they try to score with calamity.

News x arranged relief in 30 minutes’ - NEWS X. The area they are talking about is mambalam and they time they spoke all this there is 1/3 leg level water. – That is rescue and relief.
Sun TV – bravo they show news as if we are isolated and living in some island.
If DMK was on rule they would have been with people – DMK spoke person. Why was not they on ground and not working with people now?

Ok, then is it right to comment badly about them all? Is it right to sit and curse them in social media?
Yes, the situation is/was bad. Yes the politicians are bad. I didn’t actually see one MLA, MP or senior politician in road functioning with people. Local councillor in my area came in one fortuner, un-wet with one person to hold umbrella behind his head, I am pretty sure his house, his family, his relatives all well stocked and kept safe. If I didn’t see one AIADMK person in road, I didn’t see one DMK or say any other party caravan of relief (least in my area.) too. Wherever they can, they tried to score. Clean white shirts, un-wet dhotis and they distributed materials with big Amma banners.
But the first line of rescue also, though came from those local men; they arranged boats, and they arranged rescue operations. They are unfortunately part of various political parties and off-course they wanted to score. Be it any party, the local persons always tried to score. On day 2 and 3 we are arranging food. The food we brought was served by some local in that area; off course he created a scenario that he is distributing those foods. Yes, the white shirted politicians, the amma banners, the amma stickers in the food packets, the opposition who tries to score this in next elections is all bad and ugly, but not only these form our governing body.

Our governing body consist of urban or rural local bodies. Inside a urban body there are town panchayat, municipalities and corporation. All these local bodies have set of powers an all these have local heads. All though the local politician is part of some political party they are just one among us and in areas of calamity they are the first to serve.

Believe me I have seen it on ground. The relief we collect and send in from other cities in day four and five, the media that reaches the stranded areas in day 3, the political parties that banners themselves or even the NDRF that comes in day 4 are not the rescue and crisis work. The locals and local head who organize rescue boats, open schools and colleges for makeshift shelters, arrange food 3 times day for over 2000 in one area alone are the real rescue. My area was one among the worst hit too. Most were rescued in day 2 and make shift shelters were ready in day 2, the crisis that we have to manage was food, water and sanitation then. NDRF came in my area on day 4 and rescued people who choose to stay inside their houses on initial days.

So respect those men who worked for you on first hand in ground; the ones who took you from houses, who sheltered you. I have seen fishermen tirelessly working all day and rescuing people. These men might belong to some party and yeah they might try to score, let them score also. But beware of those that are white shirted, and also those that are holding mike and speaking ‘It is we who covered entire Chennai.’ The news channel do they part. But they exaggerate.

Milk they said was 100 rupees, maybe in some part of Chennai it was and may be some vendor sold it so. Milk was not even available in major areas till day3, we never complained. When it was available, it was sold at 30 INR maximum. The tea shops never closed. Many hotels functioned in rain and flood and served food, yes they did business but the served too. Many shops which sold jerking, essentials were open, yes they did business but they served. The corporates stumbled and their work stumbled because their employees fled (It was actually better), but not the public for men choose to work, they choose to cross waters run shops, run autos, tempos, run buses and made sure least some essentials were available.

Imagine if they all fled ????

The local youth, so many local NGOS, some IT parks in my areas (Pavan IT park which allowed people to stay in), temples and local Jamats were all seen in streets serving and feeding, respect them all.

The negatives:

  1. Flood showed us we are not prepared for any calamity. Even after first calamity we didn’t learn.
2. It showed us we lacked vision and planning.
3. It showed how we think for the moment and not for next hundred years.
4. It showed the ugly political parties – amma banners (Banner and stamp entire Tamilnadu if you want), the ugly opposition, be aware that the opposition is DMDK (and they were not seen also), the trying to utilize DMK.
5. The trying to score news channel .

The positives:

  1. First hand rescue by locals – it reduced loss of lives to greater extent.
2. Rescue work and efforts by fishermen
3. The youth who worked at so many places tirelessly all day.
4. The people who didn’t flee and continued routines of life –hotels, t-shops, departmental stores, garment shops, even chains like coffee day(yeah they served the affordable), auto men, tempo and truck drivers, bus drivers and conductors and even the mechanics.
5. The fire and police department who organized rescue in many places.
6. The local water body metro which ensured continuous water least in some areas.
7. The local government officials who ensured basic medicines were kept available, PHCs kept open, who arranged for water in make shift shelters.
8. Unity of people and the brotherhood in helping each other.
9. Care from other cities, districts and state
10. The work of NGOs and organisations.

All is said and done, for those of you stranded without current and network; or for who those of you who suffered financial loss, or for those of you who had lost access to food and water for 3 days – the greatest suffering that you might have faced and will face is this. And your life will begin back its routine probably in maximum two days. But for those in make shift shelters, for those who lost their home it will take least one month for recovery. And for those who lost their loved ones life the situation is worst.

But are we going to remember this all?

Once our life resumes we will begin back our work. We will have current, our ATMs will dispense money in seconds, we will have access to fuel in excess and we will waste it. Our homes will be furnished back and our kids will go back to school and we will not worry about the people in make shift homes and their kids. Rehabilitation, we don’t care and the 1940 crore will never reach. We will continue buying plots, flats, villas in marsh lands, we will continue causing the extinction of various other species. We will continue to use and demand electricity, construct roads in between marsh lands and cut them off. FOR THIS IS WHAT WE ARE AND THIS IS WHAT WE ARE EDUCATED FOR. For the next few days we shall play blame game and we shall tell stories of flood. And in next few days we will speak about movies and plan about New Year celebrations.
We have to evolve and learn. We have to respect nature and work on crisis level to conserve it. Do you know OMR marsh lands was initially around 1400 acres? And now we have only about 780 acres announced as reserve and protected areas? The okkiyamm madavu where my house is situated is right where the excess water from marsh drains into Buckingham canal. Then why water won’t flood there?

All that is done is done. We were not educated then, we tackled polio, education and population issues then. Now least it is time for us to work on other things. Blaming on government won’t help, because poor are they, as we are not educated they were not educated too.
We send relief materials, how do we send it? Segregated in plastic bags!! All these are again dumped in water way and it clogs. Do we think? How we send water? – Water packets!! Wow. Our attempt is to send relief materials. If we send relief materials we are happy. We don’t think beyond that.
Same with our government, they wanted to eradicate slums, they did to extent and how? They constructed buildings right in lakes and along canals.

But will it change?

Will we change ourselves? When we dispose waste, will the waste segregation be followed?
Will the thinking for keeping house clean and not care about roads stop?
Will the usage of plastics be reduced and banned?
Will the government and public collectively participate in nature preservation?
All that is dream….

I am Rajarajan, I am refugee in my own place for six days. …………

 

TheCritics

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