Lake Batur Closer Shot
Monday, March 26, 2012
Lake Batur Closer Shot
Sunday, March 25, 2012
In India especially in the South , there are customs in some parts where some trees are considered as representations of Gods and have turmeric and vermillion smeared on the bark with lamps and incense sticks lighted in front.
I found a noteable similarity in Bali with quite a few such trees being considered Gods with a checked cloth draped around their barks.
There is a temple every few miles called 'Pura' in the local language. The stories from the Ramayana and Mahabaratha are well prevalent and depicted in most of their art forms. You can find Shiv Lingas, statues of Nandi, Ganesha etc interwoven with characters like Dragons.
The statues on the road junctions would usually be out of Hindu mythology. One that caught my awe is the one of Rama that I found in Ubud. I have always seen pictures or figurines of Rama in his coronation ceremony with Sita or as a snapshot image with Sita and Lakshman at the sides and Hanuman at his feet.
This one I am talking about is of him in a warrior position about to strike with his bow and arrow quite contrary to his usual representations depicting his kindness and nobility.
The 3 days that I stayed there , every little to big thing that I came across, which I could relate to what I have seen back home in India gave me a wierd pleasure and happiness....I am not sure what is the right word to describe it. More in future posts.....
Saturday, March 24, 2012
80% of Balinese are Hindus and it is a land of temples, beaches, paddy fields,volcanoes and a colorful and exuberant culture.
We went on a 3 day trip some days back and it was one of the best vacations I have ever had.Bali is quite a big island and it takes more than 3 hours to reach the northern tip from the southern one. Denpasar where the airport is situated is in the South of Bali. Nusa Dua, Kuta, Sanur are the regions in the South Of Bali with beach resorts. We stayed in Ubud which is in central Bali and is landlocked a.k.a No Beaches- Its at a higher altitude with a lot of greenery and paddy fields around and famous for art.Lovina and Singaraja are regions in the north of Bali - Can be considered if going for a long vacation like 10+ days or so.
There are innumerable travel agencies in Bali that offer their own planned tours or can provide you with a car and driver and sometimes a tour-guide for fixed number of hours.
Few things to remember if you are planning a vacation to Bali
1) Check the weather....Some months esp Dec,Jan etc are supposed to be in the rainy season...
2) The Balinese New Year is called Nyepi Day...It usually comes in March or April and on that day all activities in Bali comes to a virtual standstill...Hence if you are going on a shorter duration like me make sure that its not Nyepi Day.
Indonesian Rupiah is the local currency but USD is accepted everywhere. In fact some prices are quoted only in USD.
It would not be possible to cover every place in Bali in one trip. Hence it would be best to pick a few places based on popularity and feedback and of course personal interest.
Almost everyone we came across were quite affluent in English and hence there would not be much of a language problem for anyone from India in my opinion.
Being a tourist place there are a whole lot of restaurants and we did not face much difficulty in gettingfood considering the fact that we are vegetarians.
I would follow up with more posts on my vacation including some results of my amateur or rather child-level photography :).
Saturday, March 10, 2012
The below act of mine was a mix of the second and third above!
Remember the scene in Pardes where Shahrukh Khan takes a deep dive with his feet tied? Yes the Bungee Jumping One! He was all smiles when he did that(Wonder how he managed)...May be that instilled a stupid idea in me?
I am allergic to roller coasters I hate thriller rides at amusement parks...One , I get nausea and two - THEY DO NOT thrill me at all.
This being the case, I really dont recollect where I got this whole idea about Bungee Jumping!!!
It was a simple 'Day at Six Flags Amusement Park' with friends.
Another mega-thrill amusement center was in the vicinity and one of the options they provided was Bungee Jumping....We could watch every time someone did the act...what looked like Stick figures at that distance jumping down held by a rope and swinging for a few seconds.
'I want to do Bungee Jumping...I have always wanted to do it' I declared.
Initially my friends seemed to absorb it as just one of those statements, we all make, expecting others to acknowledge and move on to the next topic, not taking it too seriously! Something like 'I want to climb Mount Everest some day!'
It did not end there unfortunately!
'Ok, Want to try today?' one of them asked.
When someone dares me like this, sometimes my adrenaline rush takes an unprecedented force and makes me nod my head in agreement before the sanity inside of me is able to control it!
This happened to be one of those occasions.The enthusiasm of my friends soared! To them, I guess it was like a Spanish Bull Fight ! You would not want to do it yourself but still would like to watch the spectacle! Be it the bull or the man who gets killed!! Hmm!
Anyways we all landed at the spot in the evening ......Now it was serious business! My honour was at stake!
I had actually snacked on Nachos and Cheese before that!!! Way too much considering the fact that I was about to go upside down! Fact is when you are super tensed on the inside and smiling with confidence on the outside comfort food does help.
It costed 40 USD to do it. Before paying one had to sign a form that roughly translated to 'I am taking on this craziness on myself at my own accord and if I dont survive its not the company's fault and i take the entire responsibility' . My mom would have kicked me had she known I was signing it but i informed this to her much later ! lol!
Then they measured my weight and asked me to hand over my gold chain as it would fall off. After that my ankles were bound by one of the thickest ropes I had seen in my life.
'Strong Enough?Will this really handle my weight?' I wondered and said a quick prayer to all the Gods I knew.
Then the open lift started going up with me to the spot from where I was supposed to jump.
In the likes of Steffi Graf or Venus Williams just before their Grand Slam final I kept waving to my friends as the lift went up - my heart beat going up exponentially with every feet of ascent!
I stepped out and the sight that met my eye left me speechless for a whole long minute. My total miscalculation and incorrect estimation of the actual height stared back at me. 'OH MY GOD! This damn spot did not look this high from below!' I thought!
My friends seemed to be waving but I could not make out clearly as they appeared as tiny specks from there.The car we had come looked like a replica of the Hot Wheels model I had seen the previous day at the Toy Shop.
The guide at that point, I mean the employee of that Bungee Jumping Company , said 'Hello Young Lady!!! Good Evening' with a brilliant smile. To me he took the form of a mix of Prem Chopra , Amrish Puri and M N Nambiar about to murder the heroine flashing a bloodthirsty smile!
'Its okay Jaish! Let go off your stupid ego and pride!! Just back off now. Tell him you want to go down and not do it' one voice kept telling me in my head.
'Ok, I dont care if I dont survive but I wont survive being the laughing stock' I quitened it and stepped in front. Brave Warrior ready to go to war!
'Do you want to jump forwards or backwards?' CPN (Chopra,Puri and Nambiar mix) asked.
'I am not sure. Which do you think is better?' .
'Well, very few people jump backwards.So I guess thats more scarier' remarked CPN with a tone and expression apt for narrating the story line of 'The Exorcist'.
'Ok' I gulped the scream that rose at the base of my throat!
In any other thriller ride the machine takes care of the thrill. You do not have to push yourself.
In this case, you have to take the initiative and jump on your own.
Almost-Suicide!! Just that your feet are safely secured!
I stepped to the tip of that platform and froze.
Jumping forwards may be less scarier but it was DAMN SCARY!!
I could not jump. I just could not JUMP!! I was at a few hundred feet above ground level!! How could I!!
CPN said "why dont I put my hand in front of you. Then it will be easier" . And he stuck out his villainous hand in front. (Actually he was just being nice and trying to help!!)
A couple of seconds after that have gone into the zones of amnesia in my memory. I am not able to recollect. Did I really jump? Or did CPN grow impatient with this scary-cat-doing-a-stupid-act and give me a shove from behind?
Before I realized I was in the air plunging towards what seemed like oblivion screaming my lungs out!!! I had no idea how my body was swinging or in which angle it was. I was rocking like a pendulum and just saw the sky and different clouds at different angles.
I screamed and screamed and screamed.
I am not sure how long it lasted.Could be a couple of minutes probably but Einstein's words from a tenth std English lesson rang in my ears
'Theory of relativity is simple. When you sit on a hot stove two minutes may seem like two hours or even two days. But if you are out with a beautiful girl, two hours will fly like two minutes'
I thought I would pass out but luckily I did not - My honour still intact!
Soon the swinging slowed and I got lowered .
And It was Over!Okay! Alls well that ends well!
Now that I was done with the act it was time to bask in the limelight!
After freeing myself of the ropes and collecting my chain, I walked out grinning widely from ear to ear taking powerful strides.Show(Off)-Time!
One of my friends showed me four fingers and asked 'How much is this? Whats your name and address?' Just to make sure that my senses and nerves were intact.
Needless to say, My bungee jumping act and I became the topic of discussion for a few days after that!
I may never do it again I suppose!! That thrill will definitely last a life time. Unless someone dares me and my adrenaline takes over again! :D
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Actor Surya said with a piercing look 'here is your question for 3 lakh ! Between which two countries is the Border-Gavaskar trophy held in cricket ? '
Before going any further I should mention that my involvement in cricket is limited to the one day matches that india plays where I just join the members of my family in the cheer-india frenzy and familiarity with the extremely popular and worshipped Gods of the game like Sachin Tendulkar . Otherwise my knowledge is comparable to a toddler's knowledge of rocket science !
This being the case it's best to keep ones mouth tightly shut when questions on it are asked in a quiz program on Tv .
But the tongue and the vocal cords are the craziest parts of the human body that can go entirely out of control at times .
'India - Pakistan ' I said with absolute confidence. My husband also said the answer but we both did not hear each other clearly and simply assumed that our answers were the same. Now this was before the actual options were given for the question !
I also need to mention that a few seconds before this question was asked I had bragged to my husband 'these contestants are so dumb and these questions are so silly !I should have tried to participate . Surely would have won a few lakh I guess '
Coming back to the question when the choices were shown I was surprised ! 'hey ! India-Pak illave illa' (how come india- Pak is not there!) I exclaimed ! Then I sheepishly looked at my hubby and asked 'you said india-Australia is it ? '
'of course yes ! You said india-Pak is it ? How on earth did u arrive at it ? '
There is a saying in Tamil that goes 'keezha vizhunthalum meesai la man ottalai ' ( u fall but claim that there is no sand on your moustache!)
I was a perfect example for that at this juncture!
'Border-Gavaskar rt ! So I thought it's a tournament between two countries sharing a border!' I said with an air in the likes of Bill Gates talking about Windows !
'Border is for Allan Border, dumbo ' my husband exclaimed !
Oh yeah! That Australian Dude !
But I was still holding on tight to my no-sand-on-moustache stand !
'This is called lateral thinking ! My reasons make sense , remember?'
'ok ! Then what is Gavaskar doing at the border ? ' he quipped . By now he was shaking with laughter !
' I thought it's a match between the bordering countries in honor of Gavaskar!'
The fact is that I had actually applied this reasoning to arrive at the answer - call it an-overdose-of-lateral-thinking !
My husband was laughing uncontrollably by now ! 'i think I should put this on Facebook ! ' he added .
Then he called up my brother in Chennai and narrated the whole thing . When I got on the phone I repeated my theory-of-border still sticking on to my I-know-it-all air of confidence !
'hey ! It was you who said that is it ? Adi makku(idiot) ! I thought it was the contestant on tv !' my sibling responded with mirth and he too started laughing . By now my 3-yr old joined his dad and uncle and started laughing too though I am sure he had no clue of what all the excitement was about !
'Good that u did not participate ! Else u would have created a brawl there that all options are wrong ! ' said my hubby who was by now rolling on the floor at my ludicrous theory.
Overall whether he was at the border or not , Gavaskar did provide a hearty laugh to the men-folk in my life !
Sunday, March 4, 2012
A group of men who appeared to be in their fifties were engaged in a game of tennis . In appreciation of their health consciousness and interest in outdoor sports I smiled to myself . When I got a closer view the smile slowly faded . There was a child probably eleven or twelve standing near the nets and acting as their ball picker . His clothes was proof enough that he was there not because he was family or friend but he was someone they had employed . He could have been their servant's child who lent a hand only in the morning for this activity hence made some money for his family. That was no deterrent to his education or self development. But if it were the case like so many households in India that employ children as live-in domestic helpers then it's an absolute shame !