Sunday, March 29, 2009


I was shaken awake by Mithun.
Da, get up. We are past Bellary.”

I got down from the berth. Tony and Aby was awake, sitting at the lower birth.
“Want tea?” Aby asked.
Just then the boy walked in with the flask. Four steaming plastic cups were handed over.
“This tea tastes special,” commented Tony.
Kaafee,” bleated the teenager as he took up the flask to move.
We stared for a split-second, and began laughing.

We were on our trip to Hampi, the ancient city, capital of the Vijayanagara empire. It’s been almost two years since the six of us landed in Bangalore. We planned for an outing many times. Something or the other came up to spoil the plan each time. But this time, we were hell-bent. And we had a very good reason: Aby was getting married. The quorum won’t be complete after that. And we boarded the Hampi Express from Bangalore on Ugadi eve.

The place was noting short of a ghost city. Ransacked temples, empty streets of ancient times, broken sculptures scattered all the way, monuments on both sides of the road, minutes after Hospet town till Hampi bus stop.

The huge empty sanctum sanctorum of the Vishnu temple on the way, the huge platform called ‘Mahanavami Dibba,’ the mosque and the octagonal tower in between the ruins, boating down the Tungabhadra river to reach the rocks across, and the majestic Vittala temple... It was like taking a walk through history.

Hampi: One unforgettable journey after a long time...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I was on phone when Mithun called me. “Work calls,” said my mind. I walked in, saw the colour-splattered faces of my colleagues and realised that I was the next target! Bang, came Mr A and Ms S with a load of ‘gulaal,’ and I was left like a technicolour hoarding, like an aghori saadhu. The only difference was that aghoris smear vermilion, and I was all in colours.

Holi for me was a totally alien festival. Back in Kerala, you never see anybody celebrating Holi other than the small community of north-Indian families. For 22 years, Holi was what we saw in Hindi films and news snippets.

Last year, my first in Bangalore, I was on my way to meet a friend on the Holi day. I managed to reach the place without getting drenched. We were meeting for the first time, though acquainted through long online chats and many phone calls. That was the first time I saw public celebrating Holi. That was very small in scale when compared with the heavy-dose celebration up North.

This morning also, I was a little scared of the colours down the street. The day passed without any surprise. Maybe that was kept for the evening. I was surprised, irritated and finally, very happy.I would’ve been angry had it been the water-splashing vandalism that I feared. But this was me, my friends in office, and colours just enough to make us happy, not dirty. Another day to cherish, and such days come rarely these days... Happy Holi.