Friday - Black Peper Crab

 On Friday we woke up early; had breakfast- an elaborate one. Me and Aarush after shower around 11am left our hotel room. Today again we walked on other side of Orchard Street till Dhoby Ghat Station. Now a days;  I too feel sick like my hubby when too much time spent at malls … am I growing old ? :D  It was good to be in mall when it is raining. On otherhand, it also allows you to enjoy the air-condition in the stores as outside it is really hot and humid when not raining.  We visited malls after mall Paragon, Orchard central, Specialist Shopping Centre (John Little store), Plaza Singapura etc flanked on Orchard street. This street is one of the best place to spend during any time of the year specially during year end when  the whole stretch of the street and the buildings are beautifully adorned with Christmas decors and lights.

Had hot piping dumpling soup at lunch while my son slept at street shop.Then continued walking past official residence of Singapore President, the Istana which is next to Plaza Singapora Mall.  There I picked a  local SIM card in the same mall so that I can talk to my hubby at least in need. Lastly, couldn’t stop myself on seeing Carrefour French hyper store after long time at same mall. Bought some errands and returned around 6-ish to the hotel.
Hubby too returned from office early being Friday around 7 ish; then we together left for dinner at Clark quay. Everyone were in weekend party mood. This area is lined with bars and notable restaurants like Hooters and others strung together, looking somewhat identical. Many waterfront restaurants to enjoy (Thai, Indian, Chinese ...) food one wants to. They all have large covered patios that extend even further uncovered. G-MAX reverse bungee, River cruises and river taxies on the Singapore River can be accessed from Clarke Quay.

We chose Riverside Jumbo restaurant. Open air seating near the waterfront; its relaxing place for long chats while savoring seafood dishes after a long day of walking. We ordered steamed prawns with duck sauce as starter. Instead of popular and common Chili Crab which has more gravy we ordered black pepper crab a dry variant. Taste wise Black Pepper Crab is dry and spicy! Very yummy!  Its Crispy on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside.

This was my fist experience with crab; learned one thing that they are delicious but messy to eat. Not the most elegant food to eat as they serve with a bib and trust me - unless you eat crab regularly you'll get it absolutely everywhere.  Literally struggled during the whole course where the waitress kept on changing plates. Both hands got quite dirty but thankfully they kept a bowl with warm water and plenty of napkins to keep oneself clean. Santanu guided and helped me in cracking the crab. He told me that pickers generally used to split the shell or push the meat out with a long, thin tong. At times I felt like in a  bio-laboratory to dissect this crabs and in this long process lost my appetite. We need to use fingers in order to fully savour the crab.
We ordered some Chinese buns (man tou) for Aarush which did not liked it much so we finished those on behalf of him. Next time, will  definitely like to try the chilli crabs. As Aarush only had yogurt and some side dish we got french fries for him which he had while running near Clarke Quay riverside.
Links

First day @ Singapore

Viewing Singapore through a lens of mother of 22 months old baby was not fun all the time but enjoyed our stay there for 9 days. Actually this journey is because of Santanu who went almost every year after returning to India. Each time after his official trip he use to complain about his loneliness and etc. So this time we made sure to accompany him. But what a luck! he was damn busy in his office. He use to leave hotel early in the morning and come late at night. It was me and Aarush who were left to explore Singapore of  our own.
We reached Singapore on Thursday morning, on our way to hotel we figured that its extremely green country with no single patch left just like that. Had our buffet breakfast till throat and hit the bed to overcome jetlag. We slept till 4.00PM Singapore local time.  Straight I went to window of my room on 30th floor and surprised to see natures tears rolling down from mournful burdened grey  clouds and people carrying open umbrellas. I cursed myself that I got rains along with me from Bangalore as it was pouring the day we left from there.

Lazily me and my son took shower and left the hotel around 6pm. Our hotel Mandarin Meritus was on Orchard Street; I preferred to know my neighborhood first. So, walking on that street felt like walking on Champs-Elysées of Paris with only difference that former is full of malls one after another while later is full of shops from branded company.  All these malls have branded showrooms; labels like Louis Vuitton, Prada, Cartier, Dior and Giorgio Armani you name it its all there in one street.
It seems that Christmas preparations started earlier. Whole street was already decorated in Christmas mood; spotted so many caricatures along the road on pavement; a huge Christmas tree at shopping extravaganza ION Orchard and lots more Christmas decorations outside and inside other Malls. The architecture of the Ion orchard building is something different compared to other malls in Orchard road. The facade is formed of huge glass bubbles.
For my son, whole thing was absolutely new,  he was behaving like a hero of Bollywood who just  came from very remote village to a big city. He was too excited to see all these hustling bustling city life.  Near Orchard metro they have colorful fountains dancing with light. He enjoyed so much so that he completely drenched himself.
It seems People too were in festive mood carrying shopping bags in each hand. After strolling on that busy Orchard Street we headed to hotel as my son's clothes were wet and I didn't want to take risk with his health at new place and massacre my holidays.

On returning to room Santanu was already there busy on phone call meeting. By the time my son had some food and slept again. It was almost 11 when Santanu had finished his phone call. Had dinner at youth park; back of our hotel. We had Stingray (a common Singaporean dish) with rice and Stir Fried kangkung (water Spinach). We walked around to locate  nearest metro station and Santanu showed me about how to follow bus-route.

It came to an end


Officially it is over… ten month long journey came to an end. There were two exams and one submission before pulling the final curtain by November end.
Before writing further I must thank Pamela for persuading me in enrolling in to this Executive MBA (EXMP) of IIM Bangalore.
The course in nutshell covers almost all the areas of management and gives you enough foundation to build your own interest in specific area. The classes were interactive and a very big positive to attend this kind of program compared to other offerings where you attend classes via Video. The green campus was retreat where you get detached from the outside world for few hours in the weekend. This really recharges your energy level as you do not have any boss to manage.
Well, to answer how much I recommend the course to someone “is a mixed bag” if I put it in few words; another answer would be “It depends” a typical management answer for most situations.
In general, the faculty is an esteemed and one of the best in India. Most of them have got their Master and Doctorial degree from renowned US universities. Some were able to connect to profession like us better and quickly as they had significant industry experience /exposure.
But few tried to impose values and teaching methods which are more suited for full time students. I personally found those sessions were not as effective as others. Overall learning part was not great as I was looking for some performer who can “walk the talk”.
I really could not appreciate the current evolution system that was practised for EGMP. It seems there was no evolution method few years earlier. As more and more corporate started to sponsor this program they (HR department) demanded a way to find out if their employees are effective or not. And every professor before starting the subject would mention that there will be a small evolution but you should focus on learning rather than the exam part. For most subjects we had a multiple choice short exam. I really hated this part; as from engineering days I have already mastered the art of getting relatively OK grade by investing a small amount of time.  For those subjects where there was a submissions or project I think my learning and take away is much more.
Other then learning,One more  positive aspect is you can build network with like minded people.
First thing I need to do is to list all the recommended books by all those professors I noted in various notes. And ensure that I buy and read them in next 18 months.
P.S One class mate quit his job and did really well in class exams with "A" grade; best part he reached final of CAPSIM as individual 5th Indian to do so.

Tonsuring my baby’s head: Tirupati

Ever since from childhood heard about Tirupati but never had a chance till date or never understood why people use to grumble till they had darshan. May be god wanted me to experience the same. Few days back Santanu suddenly decided to visit before his upcoming hectic weeks at office. So it was kind of planned-unplanned trip. Why unplanned knowingly was....we didn't had any ticket in hands before starting the journey nor we had any references to make use of. As planned, we were to start early morning at 5 but when we woke up to the alarm ring I could hear tiny shards of crystals falling from the sky against leaves, trees and windows. I woke Santanu- he looked at the time, then towards the window and back to clock. The clock said it was 4.15am but it was dark outside. Bed was warm and comfortable so he puts again the alarm back for 5.00am. This time we both jumped out of bed with the alarm ring. We kept our things packed last night only so last minute final touch up was left with packing which Santanu did; while I got dressed up and fed Aarush in his sleep. By 6.00 we were at our parking lot.

The route that we took for Tirupati was Bangalore – Kolar –Mulbagilu - Palamneru - Chittoor – Tirupati. Road till Kolar is not that excellent as of ongoing construction. Because of which we missed Woody's restaurant and moreover my son was in deep sleep. So decided to make a stop at Cafe-Coffee Day for restroom. Foods are highly pricey but excellent in terms of neatness. Still Aarush was sleeping blissfully and we didn’t wanted to disturb him as when he is in sleep its good for driving by accelerating. Took one take away coffee for Santanu from cafe-coffee day and we were on our way. After 10 we stopped at BANS restaurant near Chittoor had our breakfast there; (prices were reasonable and very neat place) and were back at road. Landscapes are really worth seeing particularly on sunny day but unfortunately weather was bad that day. On way at Palamneru check post one police man stopped us seeing our Maharashtra number plate car and asked for 100 rs as we were going to Tirupati...strange! Was that we were going for fun or honeymoon that he thought so? We declined saying give us a receipt for the same or leave us. We reached Tirupati around 11.00am. Tirupati, is the temple town in Chittor District of Andhra Pradesh, located in the foothills of Tirumala. And Tirumala is famous for the shrine Lord Venkateshwara.
Santanu decided to go to Tirumala to get the tickets for darshan first and later look for hotel at foothill. So we straight away went towards hill after scanning our baggage and paying toll of Rs 20.Road is one way and really superb to drive through with scenic beauty around .It took 25 min. to reach there. Till this point every thing went smoothly now actual part starts that how and where to get ticket with less wait time in queue for darshan. Best part is nobody knows exactly; everyone will say something different. Through internet study we knew that Vaikuntam Queue Complex- (is a series of inter-connected halls that leads to the main temple) will give ticket of Rs. 300 for (Seeghra Darshan) fast darshan but actuality is that you get into queue immediately without knowing when you can see lord while if you buy tickets of Rs. 50 and Rs. 100 it is given according to availability of ticket on that particular day with no guarantee on time spent on queue. So one person there told us to go to Vijaya bank for fast darshan. Then we drove back near to bus stand where Vijaya bank is after searching here n there. The people near counter have hardly any time to explain about anything. Its like you buy ticket or get lost kind of. Anyways at counter he said he has ticket for same evening nothing for Sunday morning. We wanted for Sunday early morning so that after shower we can pay our obeisance as it was our 7th anniversary. As of man proposes and god disposes, we bought ticket blindly for that evening of 1000 bucks without understanding any head or tail. This time biometrics (finger printing and photo) were taken to eliminate the involvement of middlemen, I believe.

On getting tickets on hand we saw it was written Sahasra Deepalankarana Seva at kovulu mandapam infront of temple at 5.30 pm with 5 small laddus free. And maximum no. of people allowed for this is 5. Now we started looking for temple as it was already 2.30 PM and at tirumala for everything there is a big line be it for ticket counter, ladoo counter, tonsure, restroom etc. We crossed on the way Ram Bagicha Guest House(aka RBGH), maths, kalyan mandapam etc then also could not figure out where the temple is as of misty weather. Then we asked one person who guided us to Ram Bagicha entrance and told to ask there. At Ram bagicha on asking security personnel he told us to go to building next to Ram Bagicha- 3. Till then we were not sure whether we were in temple premises or not as temple's gold overlaid gopuram was not visible because of rain. The crowd, queue all together makes the rains a harrowing experience. Moreover in our ado we forgot to take our umbrella. On asking same person about head tonsuring he said it’s done just at side downstairs of Rambagicha. I had a strong belief that tonsuring being so famous that must be done with some mantra ucharan but in actuality nothing like that. With Rs. 10 coupon we got one barber to get Aarrush's head tonsured. There hands are so experienced that they did it in few minutes while my son kept crying frantically. Thereafter barber was again asking for more money which we denied.
On asking a temple worker at that hall he told one small puja of half an hour will be performed there as of rain and after collecting one silk Uttariyam and blouse piece along with prasadam we need to stand in queue to get glimpse of lord. As it was already 3.30 we decided to feed Aarush with idli just opposite that hall but he strongly denied after 1-2 morsel which we two later finished. And by 4.00 we went to that hall where they made us sit.Best part was since we were before time we got chance to sit in first row. Strangely, one temple worker gave us something to apply in forehead which we took with the thought that we might be only one lacking it but oh my gosh...next moment he asked for money. We declined to give any money. Truly, till this point we were feeling like something fraud going on with us; people keep trying to dupe you. Then mustering enough courage I asked person sitting beside me showing our ticket he told that he has also the same and not to worry we will be able to see lord at last. In the midst of Vedic chanting and singing of Sankirtanas which was live telecasted we were astonish to see priests with three thick chains one large pendant hanging near his belly-button other then ear ring, golden watch strap, wristlet....o ...god real money making place not to be mentioned. A priest with chain and ear ring is quite common there.

After half an hour we rushed along with others for queue; various sign boards indicate the location of the room where pilgrims need to report for their darshan or seva. Outside the room, ticket is checked along with the biometric data provided at the time of ticket purchase. It was 6.15 when we entered this hall we waited for 10 min. I believe this was the last hall of VQC; Once the gates exiting the halls are opened, the devotee joins the actual queue, and from this point in the queue it takes about 60–90 minutes (standing/walking) to reach the sanctum sanctorum and have Darshan. Just before entering the temple, there is a bridge connecting Queue complex to Temple where baggage are scanned for last time. The patience to keep moving step by step, for hours together is ultimate one.All you can see here is the tonsured heads be it male or female and people chanting Gooovinda...Gooovinda. Anyways after moving on endless queue with long wait we reached sanctum sanctorum where people crushed us on from every side which is unexplainable. Near to sanctum felt like stuck in unmoving queue. Even my little son couldn't control his tears he just burst out (out of hunger, claustrophobia, with madness crushing from all sides). At times waiting in a queue felt like God simply refused to see us. On reaching inside officials were pushing devotees to one side before one can have proper sight of lord. Lastly, that momentary glimse of lord arrived where before we could fold our hands we found ourselves at one corner. All the while I felt like asking god only this much fraction of seconds you have for your devotees who are dying to see you.
Literally, I have to struggle with my memories to recollect lord's face. Then with crowd came out saw golden hundi offered our bare minimum dakshinas and then took one round of temple then again formed a queue to collect prasadam chakkera-pongali (sweet pongal) which was hot enough for that cold rainy day. From there followed sign of ladoo counter which is again very commercialized. You need to buy poly bags for rs 2. Then stand in designated queue depending on type of ticket you bought. Thank god our had less queue so got almost instantly. We wanted to buy 2 more extras but couldn't figure out how and where to collect coupons for the same.Well, satisfied with what we had and happy enough that God at least wished to see us in this form without bath and without wasting much time in queue. It was 7.15 pm when we took exit from temple so one hour exactly from the time we were in queue.

Worth visiting without any plan all because of Gods grace may be. We decided to stay that night at Fortune keenness hotel @ Tirupati  just opposite the bus stand. Drove down-hill carefully which is again one way. Roads are really good here with a view of city. Although considered to be 4 star but room 116 provided to us had a  roof with water dripping due to extra moisture . Other then that rest facilities were A class. Had paid buffet dinner after hot shower and buffet breakfast next day morning was complimentary.
Anyway, happy sort-of-anniversary! we were content from our trip which ended successfully. As of rain decided to return Bangalore before evening so started at 10.00 am. On way this time we made sure to halt at Woody's restaurant and had a quick stop at BANS for restroom. God knows why people want to eat at Woody's. It was buzzing with flies; I am sure if one or 2 fly get in with food I won't be surprised so asked for take away. Moreover we were so stuffed with buffet breakfast that we were hardly hungry enough so had lassi only. And by 4.30 pm we reached our parking lot.


Another year passed by


Another year passed and more grey hairs to take care now. Well this time I cut the cake at office with my team. Cake came off course from Cake Walk. Well I never had any no birthday resolution there was no difference this year as well. Big thanks to those who wished me on time or belated. For others this post is few weeks old in itself.

Madras Filter Coffee

My addiction to coffee is old an old one. My morning does not start without coffee on weekdays. I am not quite human still have my morning coffee will probably describe it best.  In India coffee is very different from West.  I came to know recently that Indian Coffee Board is head quartered in Bangalore.  The main coffee producing region of India(hills of Coorg, Niligiris and Wayanad>) are not very far off Bangalore.

This coffee I got today morning while on way to office. A good link to follow. Some quote from Wikipedia about how it is prepared if you are interested.

South Indian coffee is brewed with a metal device that resembles two cylindrical cups, one of which has a pierced bottom that nests into the top of the "tumbler" cup, leaving ample room underneath to receive the brewed coffee. The upper cup has two removable parts: a pierced pressing disc with a central stem handle, and a covering lid.The upper cup is loaded with fresh ground coffee mixed with chicory (~2 tablespooons of mixture per serving). The grounds are gently compressed with the stemmed disc into a uniform layer across the cup's pierced bottom. With the press disc left in place, the upper cup is nested into the top of the tumbler and boiling water is poured inside. The lid is placed on top, and the device is left to slowly drip the brewed coffee into the bottom. The chicory sort of holds on to the hot water a little longer, letting the water extract more flavor from the coffee powder. This makes the decoction a lot stronger as compared the typical western drip coffee, the decoction is so strong that you'd need only 2-3 tea spoonfuls of it to flavor a 150ml milk. Where as the western drip coffee is quite watery to taste.
COFFEE.SYS Not Found: User startup disabled. ~Author Unknown

New widget with Media RSS

It was a long time I played with new technology and changed any the way the this blog looks to you. Liked few themes and tried to put them in my own taste before I found the current one. But some how those themes really did not looks so cool to and attractive to me at the end. So I went with the current one and did not did not did much changes.

I was looking for a widget on on the sidebar for photo stream (the most used on the net is the flickr one). I am not very happy with their account policy so do have a a pro account.  as i was looking around I found that the coolest solution for my need. I used Coolaris with Media RSS to stream photo on the sidebar.   Gallery2 does not come with Media RSS by default but as I am running Gallery3 Beta for a while I am using the same. This means I  did changes  any major scripts and got this cool widget.

At last I got sifr for titles does not they looks right ?

Happy Durga Puja

Hello everyone, happy festivity it is time of celebration in India specially  north and east where it is NavaRatri in North and Durga Puja in East. Pamela and Arush left on Sunday for Durg. It will be almost after 8 years Pamela will be at her mother house to celebrate Durga Puja. For Bengali's it is the most special occasion in the whole calender.  According to mythological believe Goddess Durga is a daughter of every Bengali  and she visit her parents with her four children.

For me life had been very hectic at work in last months after coming back from Singapore. At times I felt new heights of  anxiety and pressure which i have not experienced yet.  In way it was a good learning but I questioned myself do I  have the material enough to get me to the of the leader. Well may be I am reading too many Harvard Business Reviews. I am really looking forward a great ending of this course now. Wish I could plan for our next vacation; since  March when we did not went out Bangalore together. I am already dreaming for Andaman

I am counting my days for the upcoming camping trip that I am supposed to take on 1st week of October.  I got all my camping grear out of various boxes which have not seen any action in last 5 years after I left Sunny California.

Pamela has kept Aarush's picture website update. She is really great as she always updates that twice a weeks as soon she gets her chance to sit down with computer. But really at times I  feel this blog space is not getting enough updates it should get.  Wish we both could do the same with the blog; I should  write soon after coming back from the camping trip.

Seventh month

(17th July-16th August)
Being uncertain about travel plans ahead we got his passport ready in hurry-burry where my darling posed in front of camera without much hesitation.
He can balance to sit unsupported but for short time while leaning forward and spreading his legs out wide and straight for support. He started to recognize people. On calling his name from back he use to turn around to find where sounds come from. Want to explore by putting A-Z thing to his mouth. Moving around on all fours is not yet perfect wriggles forward sometimes on the stomach. He doesn't likes to be left alone in the room.
Maids another headache in India... one just left without any prior notice. I was so depressed with pressure mounting on me as on one side taking care of Aarush along with all house-hold stuffs and on other side my mom-in-law was coming like expecting too much out of me at same time. A satisfactory maid is so difficult to get....I am planning to write a book on them.
Truly, when you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.
His grandma (thamma) came. He use to spend with her 2 hrs at morning while I finished cooking. Our baby coos, gurgles while looking at interesting things or when talked to and yells for attention. One of his uncle too came around this time; he played mouthorgan which he enjoyed while trying to be in seating position.

Now he likes to listen to rhymes while eating. As soon as it is switched on he use to look at TV set. He doesn't mind repeating them.
He has started to tear paper pages into pieces then tries to chew them. So we got sturdy board books which he looks for a while and then throw or drop them as he can't chew anymore. He spends more time with book in his mouth than in their hands. Once we tried him in shoulder sling he was unimaginably happy. Seeing him it made me laugh loud as if baby kangaroo is snugged to mom. And he in turn seeing me laughing, laughed for first time....really amazing as if he understood. Now he is getting more vocal and expressive.

Cost cutting Travel and more

My last week trip to Singapore was a hectic one. Too many meetings and meetings at work; best  part is now a new Starbucks at Science Park Drive is opened close to work; was very lucky where every other day got pampered by my host with a coffee.

The flight from Bangalore was a nightmare I never experienced such horrible service from any airline in my travel history. For Airlines each seats are perishable commodities, which is lost as soon as the flight takes off and it is a dream come true for Airline Company when they have one. But looks like Singapore Airline (SIA) staffs not adequately trained to handle such pressure. The dinner was served at 1:30 AM while the flight was on time at 23:00PM. Neither they came with coffee or tea after dinner, may be most passenger would not have asked for the same but still they should have don’t they... ? I pressed the button for extra water but no one attended me.
While returning from Singapore person at counter was very strict about extra luggage. I had to adjust extra 2 Kgs that I had which was something new for me. For the first time, I had to do that …. blame it on IKEA . Anyways, the famous courteousness of SIA staff was totally missing when I asked for priority level for my check-in. And this time I did ensured my seat on-line prior to flying. In-flight service was much better this time as the flight was very much empty. May be only half or less and service was comparable to old times.
But on whole it looks like entire Singapore is going through a cost cutting measure to turn around their economy. They issued me a 2 year VIA on simple A4 paper. Not sure if that paper is going to last or not. And clearly SIA staffs donot know what to do when the flight is full which is really a BIG disappointment.
I ensured to share the same feedback to SIA website and hope for the better service next time.

Depuis Longtemps

In recent time, there is no post in our blog.  Few days back, newspaper mentioned popular blogs are drying as "twitter or facebook" becomes popular ways to communicate with readers. Many bloggers started to update about themselves in social-site or micro-blogging using SMS and original blog surffers. For us nothing as such happened; we just got super busy from busy.

We were very happy that my younger brother and his wife took the pain to come over to Bangalore (10-13th July). Though it was just for 3 days out of their hectic one month annual India trip. Day they returned to Calcutta they had flight in the night to California. It was fun for very short span and I had classes whole week and even on Saturday. Pamela took them around to Commercial street and Garuda Mall. Was able to spend Sunday with them; we went to Richies at Frazer town. Well this place is not a great if you are looking for ambience and cleanliness. But the kebab are mouth watering and price is very reasonable. We have been there twice already; each time we go there its just for food and keep our eyes on plate only.

The day I dropped them at Airport ; reached office and realized my turn is coming to travel. I will be going to Singapore for a week on business trip(26-31st).

Now need to clear out all those tiny bits of to-do’s which had been procastinated for a while. To top up this I am having classes every Saturday @ IIM. This mean more subjects, exams and more preparations.

At work things are really crazy at times now I can relate "Organizational Structure" and "Organizational Behaviour".  If you are like me do not get puzzled by these terminology. Before attending the B-school I didn't knew them either but had practised through experience.  The first one deals with organization at large and how it behaves through change at difficult or good times.  The second one is focused on each individual and groups (formal and informal) within the organization. No one can escape these at professional front but knowing these theories is definite plus.

Playing football

Aarush having nice time in green patch of IIM Bangalore Campus. Color of ball and his T-shirt coincidently matched and isn't that look nice on green background? I took Pamela and Aarush to show them the southern part of Bangalore which I am visiting quite often this year on academic purpose. A great place to escape from routine life and bring back memories of ... "Purani Jeans Aur Guitar..." days.

For those who are not familiar with this song it is sung by Ali Haider.

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Aarush @ Swimming pool

During April and May Aarush and Pamela went to Swimming pool almost daily for a few weeks. Every day around 10:30 or so he would make his best effort to get his swimming gear and would ask us to put it for him. But after few weeks we had to stop as we realized his cough was not getting cured and he got lots of sun tan. And now after the operation he is out of scope for any water sports for next one year.

Yelagiri

Really do not recollect how I came first time to Team-BHP web site, specifically their forum. And from then on is kind of hooked though not a car freak myself with limited understanding for these electro-mechanical wonders. What fascinates me is travelogue section of this forum. It is great to find so many passionate soul sharing their trips and tricks. Last November got an unexpected mail about a meet-up @ Yelagiri for Bangalore team-bhpean; was not sure to join or not. Too much of work at office made it very difficult to commit.

On that special day somehow we started early @ 6:30 from home. Little -A was sleeping when we started and there was thick fog when we reached Dakshin Honda on Hosur Road. We saw many cars with BHP bumper sticker waiting on the side of the road. Soon we crossed Karnataka border and reached the town of Hosur. The road condition changed. Suddenly all pot-holes were gone and driving become really cool. Definitely politicians and bureaucrats of Karnataka need to learn something from their neighbor.
We stopped at A2B for breakfast, around 70 KM from Silk Board Junction with Petrol Pump next to it which you can't miss it. There was lots of crowd; it took us a while to get a decent place to sit and much longer to get our idli-sambar. We left for Yelagiri Hills and soon left NH7 for NH46 after first toll booth. There are signs for Chennai which you need to follow ; continuing on NH7 will take you to Salem. So after driving another 50 KM we crossed another toll booth from where we left NH46 for Yelagiri. This state road was not that great but OK. The last 14 KM is on the hilly section with hairpin turns. As we were quite early; not much traffic before or behind us. Plenty of monkeys along the road, they target cars for easy food if you are not careful.

We reached Yelagiri lake around 10-ish. Took a full round of the lake. With Aarush we had no plan for hiking and boating so decided for lunch. It was around 11:30 when we reached Hotel Hills. The hotel was not ready for lunch yet and Aarush had his lunch at reception while watching some Tamil songs at big screen. He was too sleepy to finish his lunch; we decided it might be a better idea to start for Bangalore while he sleeps skipping our lunch.
According to Outlook 52 weekend from Bangalore a typical weekend at Yelagiri would be --
Good breakfast, a gentle walk, lots of rest followed by lunch more rest another stroll in the evening then Dinner -- lots more rest, A blissful weekend.


On the way back we stopped again at A2B for a very late lunch. After crossing Hosur, entry to Bangalore was painful. There is a huge construction site around Electronic city for the mega fly-over on NH-7. We visited one of my college mate in HSR layout on the way back as we reached Bangalore well before Sunset.



View Bangalore to Yelagiri Hills in a larger map

Sixth month

(17th June - 16th July)
After rice ceremony at Siliguri we finally came to Bangalore. This time he was fine both in train and plane. We stayed in service apartment for 3 nights till our things moved to our rented apartment.
Too many changes of weather, locations and little less care  Aarush got high fever for the first time and we had to rush him to Manipal. When it settled we started to strolled within our apartment complex to know our neighborhood more. Soon realized  it was difficult for me to take him out carrying him in my arms. We bought stroller one weekend and  he started to enjoy a lot while going out.  I  used to even make him sit at times at home on the stroller when I have to do household chores and stuff. Definately those time he didn't liked much sitting strapped at one place. While on other hand I knew he was safe, secure and watching me.

After a long time we were of our own I mean it was only three of us now. Everything I do for and with Aarush gives me an excitement and satisfaction on successfully accomplishing it. It might sound weird but that is true. Like yippee... I did it. We had our first baby bath together, without anyone around. It was my first time ever to give our baby a bath alone. Usually, me and my maid use to do it together. I use to prepare the bathroom, get warm water in his tub prepare the make up room, his clothes. Then during bath time, my maid use to be in charge with soaping and pat drying. Now, since we are of our own I didn't want to have maid for Aarush till I am not going for job. So there were many first attempts.
On his eating habits once he mastered fruits I introduced him to cerlac and other new foods. As a first taste of solid food – puree of khichdi. At first he didn't liked much but slowly he started liking. Mashed potatoes, carrots, beet, papaya and peas were given along with khichdi to him. This month we tried new recipe- ragi porridge as breakfast which he liked ...not in first attempt ofcourse. Santanu sometimes use to feed him before going to office.
It was quite harassing - and very tiring - to cope with the little 'night owl'. He use to sleep right after dinner for hour or so and use to woke up as fresh as a daisy and be awake till 1AM in morning completely draining our energy. We visited doc and he suggested to keep the lights subdued so that the baby's sense of time is not disturbed and asked to follow a regular pattern. I use to massage him twice daily as massaging might relax and it may be good as prelude to sleep through the night. After massaging I use to feed him his dinner and then rock him to sleep with lights off. It worked that way. Certain days Santanu also use to put him to sleep which was a big help.
I was asking for a mattress from quite a long so that I can put Aarush there and can do household chores tension free. But it never happened unless on one fine day he fall from bed while rolling. I told my hubby I knew, oh I certainly did knew all about this but...Learnt a hard lesson this month- never ever leave child unattended when once they are mobile. Immediately, got mattress that evening.

Madikeri and around


(....Continued...) Next day we woke up leisurely had a wonderful breakfast . Our host meticulously wrote down all the attractions near Madikeri. The list included Tala-Cauvery – birth place of river Kaveri, Raja seat, Abby Falls, Omkareshwara Temple, Cauvery- Nisargadhama. We decided for all except the last one as we wanted to take it easy and not rushing between attractions.
As soon as we started driving to Madikeri (district headquarters of Coorg) the real beauty of Coorg started to unveil itself. The air was clean - fresh but was bit chilled. The lush green hills with teak trees and coffee plantation rejuvenated our eyes and mind. Coorg is in on the western ghat of India and above 1500 m. This makes this place cooler through out the year. Local call Madikeri the Scotland of the east (in North East Shillong is refereed as the Scotland of India).
There are numerous coffee plantation sizes various from few acres to hundreds. With coffee there are other plantation like orange, pepper and nutmeg in between.  Almost every plantation has one or more streams for water - all these streams joins Cauvery. as they descent. But currently the biggest challenges are labor as traditional labors are migrating to urban areas for a better paying job and lifestyle.

Heading towards Tala-Cauveri passed Madikeri, it reassembled like small hill town of North East with houses painted in bright colors perched on hill. This  route leads to  Mangalore. Being a weekday there were not many cars towards Tala-Cauvery. Tala Cauvery is around 40 KM from Madikeri. On the way we took few stops to shoot pictures with clear blue sky. Only few days back, there was a Marathon(44KM) and road was marked with distances from the finish line. Last part of the road was straight uphill climbs from Bhagamandala.  Bhagamandala is supposed to be sangam of three rivers; Cauvery and the Kanika are the real one, while third one is invisible (mythical). There is a temple but we did not stopped and continued to final destination through winding roads.
There is a pond which signify the origin of Cauvery. Its situated on slops of Brahmagiri hills. Every year during Makar Sankranti the pond over flows with water and devotees collect them as holy  water. There are steps which takes you to the peak and gives a bird eye view of the temple and pond from there. I took Aarush in Kangaroo-sling and he co-operated. It was very windy at the top which forced us to come down quickly.
On the way back, we had lunch at East End Hotel on the highway towards Mysore next to petrol station. We ordered some rice and chicken curry(kodava style). The ambiance is ordinary but crowded which means it is a popular destination and safe place for dining.

After lunch we headed for Raja seat but somehow missed first time and had to make an U-turn to comeback.  Former kings watched the sunsets with their loved one from this place. The  curved road to Mangalore under the valley adds magnificantly with  hills, green valleys, studded with paddy fields in the background. There is a toy train which was not running at that hour for kids and family.

From there we went to Omkareshwara Temple;  this is within  Madikeri town.  It was built by the Lingarajendra II in 1820 in the combination of Catholic, Keralite, Gothic and Islamic styles of Architecture. We could not enter the temple as it was closed during the afternoon.

After that  we rushed to Abbey Falls this is going back towards Mysore road and taking a left from the highway. In local language Abbey itself means falls so a literal translation will be falls falls. This road is winding and narrow and we need to keep on driving as Sun was dipping quickly. This  falls is located within a private property but open to public. Aarush too a quick short nap in this part. Soon roaring  water woke him up. It was a delight to find plenty of water during dry months of December. During the monsoon season from July to October it must be flowing like a torrent. The view from the  hanging bridge is quite enjoyable. The cascading water descends to the river Cauvery.
Headed back to home-stay before it was complete dark. Next day morning we were not sure what to do (as Nagarhole and Dubare will not be enjoyable for Aarush) and ultimately decided to head back to Bangalore. We came back to Mysore spent a good amount around the main market area and Ramkrishna Mission. Around dusk we left Mysore so that we can reach Bangalore bit late avoiding evening's rush traffic.
Bottom line is you can visit Coorg all year around if you love rain or aviod  monsoon as it rains a lot in the western ghats. Getting out of Bangalore is really difficult but leaving a place like this is very painful after a nice trip.
Some links

Visit to OT

Aarush was having cough for long time almost few months from now. Every now and then it used to increase and then it subsided with cough syrup. Every time we thought after a week of cough syrup treatment it will be better but it somehow never got cured completely. In between, we tried different "pathys" as suggested by experienced parents. Now last month while he was getting immunization after 15th months doctor suggested to visit ENT specialist because of prolonged cough and speech delay. We took appointment with ENT specialist at Manipal hospital and he gave him some antibiotics. After two more visits he felt both his ears still have congestion and things are not improving. The same line thought was shared by his pediatrics too so suggested for a microscopic operation.

It seems middle ear infection is quite common for children below 3 years. Read the same on WebMD if you are curious. There is a nice slideshow to explain.

Filled all the pre-approval hospitalization forms and again another set for Insurance company. And ensured bed/room booking is all set before the big day. Night before Aarush got admitted and we three spent the night at hospital. Aarush was in very playful mood. Might be Aarush was thinking he has came to a hotel for a travel or so. Few doctors and nurses made visit and advised Aarush should be not given any food or drink after midnight. He was scheduled to be operated in the morning itself. Around 10.30 PM nurse came to take his blood sample of about 3ml which was horrifying experience for all.

Aarush in new Hospital dress - all set for operation

In the morning, he got his hospital dress and wrist band before moving to OT. He was in very cheerful mood as he couldnot make out what actually will happen next. While we were waiting just outside the OT we saw 2 others little boys being treated on emergency. Pamela recognized KOUSIK - they were there with their son Iravan. We only know them virtually as we follow their blog from time to time. We were not in a mood to say 'hello' for a quick introduction. Wishing a quick recovery to Iravan.

Aarush operation finished within 45 mins. He was very cranky and cried a lot after returning from OT. IV fluid channel was setup in his right hand and he wanted to remove the same. After 30 mins or so we moved back to our special room. It is now almost 11 AM and still our litte one is without any food or drink  for last 12 hours. After incessant crying he slept and woke up bit fresh around 12 noon. We gave him some Mosumbi juice to start with. Around 1 afternoon he had his lunch and being famished he finished his portion of hospital meal without any fuss. The amount of food supplied was enough for us and we also finished our lunch.

Around 2 PM went to see his pediatrics and all seemed normal. But we were still worried about cough and he said it will get better now and to revisit him in a week.

Aarush sleeping after operation

Back to room we are still waiting for the ENT specialist to visit so that we can get a release note from hospital. The doctor was too busy and came around 4 PM and we were given green signal for release. Oh ! what a relief... that really is a big burden spending another night in hospital for no good reason.

After  good nap Aarush was playful, looks like he adjusted with that big needle on his right hand quite well.  As we are getting medical insurance to cover this operation we  could not be released before completing 24 hours which means we are hostage till 9PM.

Dinner for Aarush came around 7PM and this time he did all his routine work for food which means it took an hour with lots of pleading, running behind and cleaning the floor etc. At 9 PM paid my part of the payment  and got the release order by 9:30 PM we were out of hospital.

P.S. Aarush is doing well(finger crossed). Hope he recovers speedily.

Little Tibet

(....Continued) Soon after leaving Brindhavan garden and on touching the highway (SH88) road condition improved which looked like recently renovated. Aarush was fast asleep after having his lunch which always translates in smooth driving and I was able to drive at 80-90 KM. Along the road crossed Bilikere, Husur & Piriyapatna before reaching Bylakuppe. It is an odd name which houses one of the largest Tibetan settlement in India. We had to take a left turn from SH88 to go to the monasteries. As soon as we took left turn we almost felt like driving in North-East where you are greeted with Mongolian faces. There were bright prayer flags along the road which symbolizes hope where as white ones are for death.

This is really a bit of surreal - you are at middle of Karnataka, only few hundred kilometers away from Bangalore and surrounded by thousands of Buddhists monks and families. These people have left their home land almost 40 years ago and new generation are born here only. Still they keep their faith and tradition alive for generation to come. Like all Tibetan settlements in India here also one requires special permit for "Non Indian(foreigner)" to visit.
We went to Kagyu monastery first. This one sits on a hill top from where you can see “Nalanda Institute” and other monasteries. The largest of these 4 monasteries is Namdroling or commonly known as “Golden Temple”. That day sky was in perfect blue and shrine with bright colors were looking magnificent. Unfortunately, we ran out of battery(camera) inside Namdroling. Aarush was bit startled with humming sound and to see monks playing big drums.


For facts lovers the original name of Namdroling was "Thegchog Namdrol Shedrub Dargyeling" luckily his Holiness Dalai Lama shorten the name during his visit. Around 5000 monks are today studying there.

There is a big shopping area with lots of souvenir shops, ATM and restaurant. Lots of magnificent stone show pieces were available which were expensive for my budget. After having a very late lunch - momo (it was not that great we get better momos at Siliguri - my home town) we started for our homestay which was still hours away.
After Kushalnagar the road condition was not that good as lots of work is going on to widen the road. Only mobile network which really works on mountain road is of BSNL; both of our phones with private networks put us on thought how to locate our home-stay. We entered an estate as soon as we saw name “Sandal” on it. After driving 1-2 km through coffee estate we realized we are in wrong place, luckily we found a good Samaritan who lent his mobile (BSNL) to call our home-stay for more specific direction. It turned out our home-stay is another 6 KM ahead on that highway. With more information on route direction we were able to find our home-stay. This being a first time at home-stay we were bit shy as we reached at our host’s door. (To be Continued....)


Some useful links if your are interested in visiting this part of

Sondesh

Bengalis are considered as food-lovers (khadya-rashik).For them any sumptuous bengali meal is always incomplete without a sweet dish. Just like any french meal which would remain incomplete without a bottle of exquisite french wine.

I was not a big fan of sweet earlier but when you live with someone for a long period of time, you quickly start to adapt some of your partner’s habits be it deliberately or inadvertently. Maybe sometimes for the good or worst - so is my case. My sweet S unlike me, does love his sweets quite ardently. With us, desserts do not necessarily need to be complicated or fancy; they simply have to be labeled dessert. Sometimes, only a piece of quality bittersweet chocolate will do especially after main meal be it lunch or dinner.
Well known Bengali sweets are generally made of milk products and sugar be it sweetened cottage cheese (chhena), khoa (reduced solidified milk). Sometimes even flours of different cereals and pulses are used to prepare and embellished with nuts, raisins or grated coconut.
From quite a long, I was craving for Narkal sondesh (grated coconut sweet). But somehow things were not in my favour and it didn’t get prepared. Much like other aspects of life, it takes a bit of perspiration and lots of inspiration. At last, I had to ask hesitatingly to my Sondesh guru and my inspirer (mil) to prepare for me which she accepted it considering my situation…peut-etre!
I learnt preparing this from her but today I will recite my joy of eating for the one she prepared on my request to tantalize my tongue.

Simple to prepare
  • Mix sugar powder and grated coconut paste.
  • Place the mixture over the heat and stir constantly to avoid lumps.
  • When the sugar melts, add milk powder and remove the pan from the heat. Stir few more times.
  • Add the cardamom powder and mix again.
  • Now cool it a little and then smear the stone mold with oil; Press sugary-coconut on the mold to decorate their upper surface occasionally with help of water.

These sweets are commonly prepared for religious festival or marriage or offering to household deity. But as I said, today it was prepared for me.

Fifth Month

May 17- June 16
By 5th month slowly started introducing solid food like banana and apple puree to Aarush. According to our custom till "Annaprasanna" we are not suppose to introduce solid food like rice or wheat to baby. And his didu was also against using common baby food item like "Cerelac" as they contain rice or wheat. This resulted in his first solid bite being fruit -- mashed banana. The first spoon he swallowed as my mom fed him, but little man has a frown of disapproval, like "what the heck they are feeding me?!" Well, as predicted, he didn't like that much for the second spoon and started crying. We had to try again and again. Though we had apples and banana in the fridge for him it seems he started liking banana but not apple puree. His didu use to feed him making him sit on her lap.

Our li'l one started to roll a bit; can be on his tummy. He tries to edge forward by pushing with his feet or pulling with his arms. Rarely adorable, toothless smile was given in response to our talk. He can make different sounds come out of his mouth – and was delighted in experimenting with them.
By June 1st when his sissy's left my son was bit upset as house was not buzzing any more. He had a great time with them. After they left he use to look around as if he has been deserted. On June 4th his parental uncle came to meet him for a day and Aarush was happy and playful that evening. Suddenly there was strike at Calcutta and uncle's flight was delayed that helped to spend more time with Aarush then expected.
This month was very hectic for Santanu as well me. We traveled a lot almost criss-cross the whole country. It was not only traveling but also move from Bombay to Bangalore, Santanu had to do it single handed. From finding apartment to movers, closing or transferring various accounts and establishments was not an easy task. Many a times we ended up in arguments over phone for not things going in a way one wished for.
At first Santanu came to Mumbai for 4 days when he spent two days with movers while they packed our belongings for Bangalore. After that he ensured gas connection is transferred which is essential for living in urban India. But lots of bureaucratic paper work as all domestic gas agencies are controlled by government and it is a regulated market space. From Bombay he came to Durg to take us to Siliguri. On June 10th we departed from Durg for Calcutta after our long stay. Aarush cried a lot during this flight but we had a great service from King Fisher hostess.
After spending a half day at Central Calcutta (Santanu's uncle's place) we left for Howrah Station in the night. The train was at midnight (23:50 to be precise). Journey by train didn't made him happy. He was OK during the whole day even though it was very hot and humid through out the day. Surprisingly, the ever crowded Howrah Station did not bring any adverse effect on him. But as soon as we got in to the AC compartment he started to cry incessantly. May be because of claustrophobia or some other discomfort can't say....he cried and wailed that were enough to wake the dead. Luckily the compartment was empty and we had no co-passenger complaining.
We went to Siliguri for his first rice ceremony which his thamma arranged. It was five days function similar to that of Bengali marriage. On June 16th, he first tasted rice without any fuss. It was a lot of hard work, preparations and although we were dog tired, it was well worth all the effort. All our expected guests came. There he met many relatives as well people from neighborhood. Things went smoothly once we reached there.

Coolie


These people in red shirts are commonly known as “coolie” or porters who are commonly seen at Indian Railway Station. They remind me of those childhood days when they were part of our vacation (mass aviation is still in infancy at India). They help to carry big over sized luggage that Indian travelers travel with. As Indian travelers are not that physically fit like westerners to lift their own luggage. Coolies are not permanent employee of railways but have a long and strong working relation with them. They get lots of benefits from railways like medical, schooling for their kids and etc. Their recruitment process is very complex and I am not an expert to write on details. What I know is their badges can be transferred between family members and the definition of family members is very vague. This often results in badge being auctioned between 5,00,000 to 20,00,000 INR( 10K-40K USD).
Their working wage according to railway rule book is very minimal; through which they will not be able to sustain themselves or their family. So there is little bit of negotiations between coolie and travelers. Most of the time they are like moving timetable of Indian railways, you can cross check for platform number, coach position for your train and they will guide you to the right place at right time.
Going down the memory lane there is a famous Mohmohan Desai's movie by same name acted by none other but Amitabh Bachan in Hindi at 80s. The movie is very close to Bachan fans as he had a near death situation while performing a stunt for this. Whole India was gripped by this news and the movie release was eagerly anticipated by his fans.

Gallerry 3 sneak peak

Gallery 3 is going to a big change from current gallery 2 and initial alpha release did not have any migration path from gallery2. It was pushed to Beta release after 2 alpha releases. but to my surprise I found it was implemented in alpha 4 and here is the test result of a new neat code. I am really liking the new compact code making gallery 3 faster and lean compared to its predecessor. Similar, to WordPress new theme development is easy no more smarty - thank God I never really mastered those PERL look alike. Now it is simple PHP and CSS. Another core feature is Akismet which does a fantastic job of filtering spam comments. I was able to import 3000+ images in 200+ albums without any problem. There are few things which needs to be ironed before I can put the same in production.

playing with bubbles

Aarush and Pamela playing with soap bubbles ; this video is bit old when he did not started walking at that point of time. He was bit amused with bubbles trying to catch them but could not.

Fourth month

(17th April - 16th May)
Normally A is taken to doctor for monthly check-up once other then that no outing for him. As he is considered too small for all these by my parents. So they neither allow him nor me to go anywhere. After birth it was third time when Aarush was taken out of the house to meet people other then his doc's clinic. Moreover because of weather it was difficult for us to go anywhere. Worst thing about his nanu's place was sultry sun(temperature reaching 49 º C) because of which most of the time he use to be in front of air cooler.
On other hand, its truly becoming irresistible for his dad I suppose. As he came again to meet his son at April end - his heart was at Durg and mind at Mumbai.
By now our lil one was able to keep himself engaged by holding a rattle in his hand for quite some time. His maternal aunt along with two sissys came to meet him. They were with us for a month. This month was full of entertainment for him with so many people to take care. His sissys were too excited to have him as their brother. They use to play a lot with him even tell him stories while he use to listen very carefully without any noise – as if he understands everything.

Quite often he use to cry in irregular pattern. At first, it made us difficult to understand what actual problem is. Was it out of hunger or feeling hot or some uneasiness. Every few hrs he will cry as he is hungry. Me and my parents were worried that he may be suffering from colic, but then again, he slept well when it was time for him to sleep and played and laughed happily in excitement when he was being teased. However, when it was time for milk, he just refused to take in much, often taking only few ounces. Certain nights were really miserable as I had to feed him after every 2hrs. Since I was with my parents it was of great help at these times. They use to take care of him while I use to catch some sleep at day hours.
It seems this problem is common among babies at this stage, and whenever they get hungry, they would drink. With Aarush, the slightest noise or movement distraction would make him turn away in curiosity, no matter how much I try putting back in his mouth. Now he drinks his milk whenever he is hungry, not on any schedule.

Third month

(17th March-16th April)
Now, Aarush started to twitch, smile, frown and stretch a lot after waking from sleep. Amazingly ( I never knew this) and apparently babies between three to four months are at the stage where they get very playful and drinking milk is not a priority anymore, I believe. They prefer to talk and coo to adults, and being very observant at this stage and they are attracted to moving objects, colours and everything new around them. So was our little one.
It was not even month stay at Durg, on april 8th Santanu came to meet Aarush for 3-4 days. Before leaving from Mumbai Santanu warned me not to pamper him much by taking him in arms all time but later I found... on hearing one shrill cry he use to run to him.
Aarush now started cooing in response to gentle, soothing words of his didu. Keeps his fist in his mouth most of the time and drools sometimes. Enjoy holding his toys for a short period of time. Turns head towards sounds. Rattles, bright pictures use to attract him. His Mesho (maternal uncle) came to meet him unexpectedly. Now he started liking to be held upright.
By now he can lift up his head and hold it up quite steadily for quite a while. He smiles when we tickle or touch his cheeks, and his cooing just melts our hearts away! He captures the hearts of every people who come to meet him. Now lots of visitors come to meet him.

Sometimes he use to blow bubbles a lot. Nanu and didu were very happy with his stay at their place. Every morning nanu use to spend quality time with him. Every hour or so his nanu use to come to see and talk to him. My dad is not at all trained with baby care but then also use to carry him with nervous hands and Aarush never use to do any mischief with him. Thrice he put his grandson to sleep when I and my mom were busy in work. So, were the days at our end.

Wayanad-III

On second day we went to see Lakidi view point, Phookot lake and Vythiri resort. Lakidi is about 2 km south of Chain Tree and is the gateway of Wayanad which is on highway to Calicut. It is a ghat pass at an elevation of 700m above sea level.We crossed Kalpetta and drove mostly on NH 212.

Overwhelmed with scenery as this highway is heaven on this earth , a beautiful place with lot of tea gardens on the way. Its absolutely real picture of natural beauty. This Tamarassery pass's starting point is Lakkidi which is one of the highest locations of Wayanad seems to be second in rainfall after Cherapunjee.
Hearing Lakidi view point I expected to be some hill view but this was in fact valley view with lofty mountain peaks, luxuriant vegetation and the bird’s eye view of the deep valley with its winding roads. We wanted to get down the valley which goes to Kozhikode. By then Aarush was deep in sleep with the motion of car so we took an oppotunity to go down. It was really breath taking experience to drive on those winding roads with 9 sharp hairpin bands and after few more KMs we asked one local how far is Kozikhode - reply was 40 KMs. We could have gone to Kozikode if there was no other binding or if we would have started early morning. In our case, we did booking that morning before starting from homestay to visit Vythri resort particularly restaurant for lunch- buffet. And they are particular about timing from 1-3PM only. It was already 1PM in watch so we decided to return.
Here, we made one mistake I believe instead of visiting day one at temple and Kurvadweep we could have gone to Calicut (Kozhikode) for one night stay or just to see the sun set at Arabian sea. Anyways, there is always next time.
While returning saw chain tree just 2kms after ghat pass. There is a story behind this tree. A tribal man showed a British this Tamarassery pass as a way to reach Mysore easily and British killed this man to get the full credit. Then lots of accidents happened on that road and later one saint said the soul of the tribal man is responsible for these accidents. So the soul is now tied in that tree by a chain and then it is believed that the accidents are reduced.
From here we visited Pookot lake. The lake is very calm and scenic, was less crowded that day. Surrounded by hills and greenery. However, didn't do boating as said wanted to just relax. It is a natural fresh water lake surrounded by evergreen forest. This lake is around 11 km from Kalpetta. It is basically meant for children’s pleasure.

Then left for Vythiri resort. Its hidden among the hills. Roads are not yet tarred. Fifteen to twenty minutes drive through the tea gardens and forest may be a bit bumpy but they are very picturesque and worth going there. Place untouched and not exploited by urbanization. This gorgeous place has much to offer and you cannot be out of places to see here. Setting is a lovely-walk over the bamboo bridge to reach restaurant and through the plantation. We reached just at 3PM.
Food was excellent; they had rasam as soup. 5-6 varieties of salad, 3 kinds of cooked rice and long list of items like avial, erisery, thorans , varieties of fish curries and chicken. Last but not least 3-4 varieties of dessert too. We were truly up to throat. Relaxed there for a while. Wanted to take their 1 hour trail but because of dark we didn't took any risk and decided to return.
What is Kerala without a ayurvedic oil massage? My caretaker arranged for one that evening. Oh !!! it was really very soothing felt like going to sleep in no time. Thanks to Santanu for baby sitting Aarush and he finished his dinner too by the time I was done.

This really was a home away from home. To relax totally and enjoy thoroughly, Wayanad has a salubrious climate. Thanx to Mrs.Sitha to make us feel at home with her warm hospitality and smiling face which will remain deep in our heart for long. She was always there for providing us with all kind of comfort be it looking after Aarush or washing his bottles or with boiled water. She is an excellent cook. We had puttu, appam, puri, kerala parotha, kadi and many others at her place. Mainly farm fresh and organic products are used for cooking. Now I really feel 3 nights are very less to experience all this.

Next morning we started our journey back to Bangalore around 11 from there. We had enough time to go to Edkaal caves and Soochipora falls but we didn't. One due to time crunch, secondly with Aarush we didn't wanted to climb up or down the stairs to view these places which would have fatigued us. So without draining our stored energy much we decided to return home. By 3PM we crossed Mysore;had Maddur vada and dosa on way to Bangalore.

Wayanad-II


After a deep slumber the next morning we woke-up fresh and energetic. Aarush wanted to play seeing an open space- courtyard. They have toys, cycles, carom board, badminton court, balls to play with. He was really happy to get all these stuffs. What more parent wants if kid is happy you are happy otherwise nothing on earth can make you happy.
Morning, we were shown all rooms available there. It was a nice room with a central common area and one room each on either side. Each room can easily accommodate a family of 3 (2 adults, 1 kids)at main buiding while bamboo room can accommodate 4 in each room. We opted for room at main building.
The huge banana and green paddy plantation in front of the home-stay is a wonderful delight to the eyes!! Then leisurely we freshened up and gobbled down the breakfast prepared. Her breakfast area is an open space with neat dining set, covered by a thatched roof with lovely breeze and great view. Mean while Nash asked us what we wanted to do and suggested what we can. He gave all route directions. Truly, I didn't wanted to do much but more of relaxing.
We decided to go to Thirunelly temple and Kuruvadweep. Thirunelli temple is nestled amidst three hills. The deity worshiped here is Lord Krishna, but the place gained popularity for the Papanasini river (rather a stream flowing beside the temple). Road to the temple passes via Mananthavady town from Panamaram is hilly with bumpy roads and green all around. You get to pass through fields and forest. Picturesque for sure. We drove the road which connects Wayand with Coorg and at the end we took a left turn(14 KM) for the temple. This temple is a peaceful and serene place. Since not properly restored I won't recommend to visit. It can be skipped unless just want to drive or have some religious rites to perform.
Then from there we went to Kuruvadweep. Roads didn't improved much. As the drive went on, different shades of green we could find all around Wayanad. Nice treat to eyes; our eyes were relaxed seeing green all around. Since we stay in concrete jungle for us it was really paradise. The water was knee deep, muddy and not very clean as there were plenty of plastics and junk from tourists and local shops - we did not felt like crossing the same. If you have time you can take boat ride.

At evening owner, Mrs Seetha of the home-stay offered us with hot coffee. Coffee and tea served are unlimited without charges and ensured that we were served with hot sumptuous dinner once Aarush's dinner was over. This was really nice of her .