TRAVELS SOUTH (PART 2) BY Brij Kaul

Chennai   The Safest City Of India.

626be10ec39942a788b116d0c1fe99a6                                                                Sunrise Panorama

 

Just on the last leg of our long South India sojourn we have been camping in Chennai for last fortnight.

Chennai is the gateway to South and is ranked the safest city in India by the Mercer Quality 0f Living Survey of 2016 February by the low crime rate and the law enforcement parameters.

It is also “Health capital of India “ as nearly 45% health tourists from abroad and an equal percentage of domestic health tourists visit this city to address to their various health problems.

The medical facilities are comparatively cheaper but medically advanced on World Class Parameters.

Chennai has-largest expatriate population in India, estimated at over 100,000 . Majority of the expatriates are mostly from Europe and Tourism-guide publisher Lonely Planet listed Chennai as one of the top ten cities in the world to visit in 2015.’

Chennai was ranked the best city in India by India Today in the 2014 annual Indian city survey.

 Chennai is nick named as “The Detriot of India” having more than one third of Automobile industry based in the city.

Chennai has flourishing industrial base in Automobiles ,computer technology specially in hardware manufacturing, and is probably India’s second largest exporter of Information technology(IT) after Bengaluru.

Nearly the Country’s 40 percent of automobile industry is located in and around Chennai, and more than 45 percentage of automotive components are being manufactured here . It is hub of manufacturing for large number of   big worldwide names of automotive industries ,Royal Enfield, Bosch, Nissan Motors, Ashok Leyland, Ford, BMW, Mitsubishi, Bharat Benz, Komatsu Limited, Yamah Motors and many others.

Ranked as the 4th fast growing companies ,Chennai has industries to the tune of 35,000 in its 15 industrial zones . Its nearly 24 companies are having a net worth of more than US$1 billion.

Leather Industry

Chennai also contributes nearly 50% of India’s leather exports. Chennai as per Confederation of Indian Industry to US$ 100 billion by 2025. India has global presence in world Leather production to the of 13% being second producer. manufacturing nearly2.58 billion pairs of foot wear every year, the second largest foot wear producer after China.

India is fifth largest exporter in leather goods and its related accessories .

To promote and give fillip to leather industry making it more globally competitive ITPO(INDIAN TRADE PROMOTION ORGANIZATION) in combination with CLE (Council for Leather Exports) is organizing International Leather Fair (IILF) 35TH 2020 Chennai scheduled from Ist to 3rd February at Chennai Trade Centre, showcasing Indian products along with other world products and technologies of the sector.

The capital of Indian state Tamil Nadu, Chennai is located on south- eastern coast of India ,Coromandel off the Bay of Bengal.

It is eventually the cultural economic and educational Centre of south India.

Three rivers span the city ,Koovam river through the center, The Adiyar river to the south and the third one Kortalalaiyar runs through the northern part of the city.

The rivers ultimately mingle into the Bay of Bengal seas.

The rivers as usual are polluted with effluents wastages from the Industries.

Buckingham Canal approximately 4Kms runs parallel to the coast thus linking the Koovam and Adiyar rivers . Here a protected estuary has been a natural habitat for plants ,animals and different species of birds. local as well as migratory.

Estuaries are deep and with faster currants , Lagoons are shallow with much marshy land, hence easily accessible.

The city of beaches ,Temples, Churches, it is most livable and has good network of local transport to

travel around without much hassels.

If you are an early riser, it is quite mesmerizing experience to watch Sunrise on any of the beaches around the city.

Sunrise Panorama

Yesterday I walked down the Kapaleeswarar blue beach , just at a stone’s distance from Deepali’s house and I had dawdled too long for watching the Sunrise panorama above the sea beach.

Finally I was here to watch the live bewitching thrill of the Nature’s ecstatic moments.

The night was breaking into dawn and a glimmer of light shone from apparently the farther expansive sea horizon , transforming the whole prospectus into an orange glow and slowly the red ball jetting out as if from the bosom of sea waters reflecting the early dazzling rays into a colourful rainbow Palette .

By and by the Sun rose scattering its maze of rays all around mingling into sea waves presenting a dazzling spectacle of Nature being at its best.

It is hard to present this ecstatic state in words  describing the jubilation and astonishment of the panoramic  view.

While in Chennai if you had not seen Marina beach you have perhaps not done anything worthwhile in life.

Early in the morning by 7.30am on a sultry Saturday we braced for a city round in the newly BMW car bought by Sathish , after moving over on the thinned traffic road for a while ,we halted near a restaurant for our breakfast. My daughter knows I should have my yummy breakfast by 8,3o morning. It was already ten past nine .

The restaurant was crowded one and we were directed to move over to upper floor for bigger space.

After having sumptuous typical south Indian niceties we went straight to Marina beach for a grandeur stroll.

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Marina Beach  in Chennai

Marina beach is the second longest Natural beach in the world. The beach stretches over a distance of total 13 kms length having breadth of nearly 437 m on the coast of Bay of Bengal.

I took a walk with my wife around the bustling beach with variety of food stalls ,shops selling their nice cookery items to Saturday crowds.

Deepali and Sathish along with Ananya ,Vedika following behind.

The air was pleasant and the wind blowing had nip in it.

Ananya was reluctant to go for a horse ride along the long shore line.

The beach is thronged in the evening hours. The crowds enjoy the cooked, fried fish specialities in the evenings and watch the cascade of high low tides in the chilly winds for hours together.

The Greater Chennai Corporation has launched an ambitious programme of nearly one million tree plantation in and around Chennai in a period of five years since 2019. Chennai abounds in having exotic trees all along to be one of the greenest urban cities of India.

The trees with high salt tolerance like the native Thespesia Populena trees at the Marina beach have withstood the conditions for years together. Another species Kigelia Pinnata having dense broad branches with leaves  spreading like canopy providing shade to passers-by , have been planted in the main thoroughfare of the Marina. These trees being planted some 30 years back stand to the salt tolerances.

A large number of Thespesia  Populena ,tubebuia rosea and millingtonia hortensis plants have been planted on East Coast Road. Such plants also grown in abundance from Vadanemili to  Kovalam  with an object of making green Chennai.

The return ride via Mount Road was exhilarating through broad fully macadamized roads lined both sides with vantage high rise buildings still looking awesome irrespective of age .

As we plied on the broad road the hustle and bustle of the crowd , the horn blaring of the vehicles added a little chaos but even then the streets looked clean and yellow white –painted.

Driving along the road bordered with trees made me feel better. The leaves gobbling the heat from the bright sun and stocking to release it slowly to make the   environment pleasing one.

The roadside fruit sellers were stacking baskets of red juicy apples along with oranges and native fruits. My wife wanted to buy the oranges apples, we did stop to buy some to nibble at. The apple were juicy and sweet.

The clouds suddenly started hovering overhead and the sun hiding behind the fluffy clouds , we drove down a bit speedily to enjoy the cool breezy weather.

Finally the long sojourn coming to end as we fly out to our sweet home in Pune. A journey so valuable and one more learning experience to prize on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE GLEAMING MORNING byBrijKaul

love-couple

The gleaming morning is revelling

refreshing,

re-imagining the nuances of love.

The Sun is up the mountain peaks

glinting through the dense bushes

On to her ruddy cheeks

behold

my love , my only lovesome love

pretty perky to look at

tripping jostling by the rushes

Torqueing like a bristling dove

carrying that perennial smile

spinning at spectacular speed

lithe

swift-footed gracefully agile.

scantily attired holding my hand

lustily moving on the grassy land

‘Ooop’ a splash in the lake

swam across wrinkled waves

    deep passionately underneath

          lapping up to our clenching teeth

 sensuously in tight clasp

      like fishes like birds we make

love .

          The Setting Sun scatters its rays on

           waters of the Yercaud lake azure

blue

creating a crimson cool hue

       demurely she walked through lagoons

beckoning me to emerald woods

 pretty perky dear one

   my only lovesome love

bristling like a dove

    in this gleaming morning

so

revelling refreshing.

TRAVELS SOUTH by Brijkaul

BANGALORE THE CITY OF ACTION :

On 4th December after a soul searching long term planning I and my wife started for South India Trip to Bangalore officially renamed now as Bangaluru..

Located in the south plateau Bangalore is the city of action , the ‘silicon valley of India’ fastest Information Technology growing city of India and possibly the IT hub of the world too. It attracts expats from world over to understand the IT Software development of advanced research and integration.

With 40 percent of India’s IT industry located in Bangalore ,the IT and related services account for the state of Karnataka’s  55 percent gross domestic product .

The world looks to “Bangaluru” as the starting point of software technological advancement center.

With a population of 12,3 million ,among world’s top 10 fastest cities, Bangalore averages 8.5 percent economic growth.

With a wide range of heavy and light medium industries, Bangalore is leader in India’s biotechnology industry as well. A host to leading research and development (R&D) facilities such as the Indian Institute of Sciences, the National Center for Biological Sciences, the Jawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research and the University of Agricultural Science , Bangalore has excelled in almost all important sectors .

We headed for Electronic city to live for sometime with my elder daughter Bhavna Kaul whom we fondly call Chikli , works as an Independent Architech , Design Engineer with a reputed organization.

It is pleasure to be in company of grand children , Tushu and Jitini.  This time I and my wife Sharikaji had decided to spend more time with grand children both at Bangalore as well as at Chennia with Annanya (Zoonie pet name) and little Vedika. My younger daughter Deepali lives in Chennai .She is an IT engineer.

Tushu is twelve years lanky boy like his father, Shyam who is Six and two feet tall ,an Architect by profession and Jitini six years growing glowing girl resembling her mother.

She is cute and affectionate but throwing tantrums at every gullible talk to be focus of attention all the time.

Tushu on the other hand a bit reserved one , mostly glued to his I-pad and thus butt of controversy. But gifted with many talents ,dancing , and an upcoming sports guy.

My daughter laments in typical Kashmiri   ” yeh chun keheen paraan. sarisey waqt I-pad seeth aasan.”

Which means “ he does not read at all. Every time busy with his I-pad”.

“ The exam is in last week of February and he will go to 9th class. Very difficult course ahead. I am worried for him.” she concluded.

My wife ,in her typical Kashmiri butts in ” kahney shune paravay Tushu chu bade samajdar bey te hassen mainz .  ”

meaning literally “ Tushu is very intelligent and alert ,no need to worry.”

I listen to the mother daughter conversation intently without any intervention whatsoever. ‘Silence’ is the golden rule to be perceived and pursued at such crucial junctures.

Shyam , my son in law , with long shapely legs in proportion to his trunk , wears a beard and moustache not to conceal scars or erosions but purely for decoration and in lieu with modern fashion among the youngsters and middle aged persons.

I personally do not like wearing beards giving one an unkempt and lazy look. Hello be ware; That is my contention only not necessarily everybody’s.

Off To Kochi.

 We decided to go to Kochi and make a drive to the state of Kerala, ‘God’s own state’ as it is popularly called looking to its scenic beauty of green hills and irresistible beaches with pompous House boats on ferry to nearby islands.

Shyam being the native ,was elated at the idea and happily seconded the proposal.

On afternoon of Ist January 2020 we zipped through the traffic clogged roads of Bangalore blaring the horn occasionally to chase off the nasty irritant car drivers not one or two but several of them. Luckily we did not get into any road rage brawl with some cranky character.

The trip to Kochi was eleven to twelve hours drive and we decided not to travel in one go . The night halt at Salem and after having mouthful breakfast we would proceed ahead on to our destination reaching thereby by 2pm afternoon.

Shyam was driving faster than I would like him to do .

“ See the clouds gathering overhead, may rain at any moment we could get stranded somewhere unnecessarily” he said ,justifying his speedily driving on.

We were near the Hasur Town , 21kms from Electronic city Bangalore , and we crossed over from Karnataka to the state of Tamil Nadu.

Hasur is an important town of Tamil Nadu and gateway to Bangalore . Being important industrial town , almost 2,300 small and medium industries are located here. It is home to Rose flowers as well , large quantities of quality roses are grown and exported from here to the world over.

I got practically lost in the milieu of traffic, cars, motorbikes, roaring trucks plying past us as the roads narrowed .

The highway almost gorged with moving population as the Ice cream Parlours ,curiosity shops, antique shops mushroomed alongside the roads protruding and bulging over the pavements ,thus leaving the people to jostle around and fend for themselves.

Finally Shyam did drive down the difficult track and we ushered on to the National Highway to Kochi via Salem.

Driving down the late despairing afternoon we stopped at a nearby restaurant for some refreshing tea snacks etc.

Tushu and Jitni gulped down the much liked noodles and the rest of us just satisfying with cups of tea and ‘Dosa’ —pancake made of rice flour.

Salem district is famous for its known Hill station town Yercaud.

Yercaud is nestled in range of Shevaroy hills in the eastern Ghats, with abundance of orange groves ,coffee, spice plantations . The emerald woods of Yercaud are dense and very attractive to bask around.

With its blue water lake , having a few boat houses presents a beautiful sight to look at. Anna Park close by is full of plants and Japanese garden with Bonsai.

A couple of nights in the resorts amidst the dense forest is really a date in communion with nature.

A long walk among the dense trees is a veritable experience. It reminded me of R.L. Stevenson’s essay ‘ A Night Among The Pines’ written with great pleasure after experiencing the moods of Nature.

There is some magical beauty about the place which cannot be described in words ,but it stays embedded in your mind and haunts you back when you have left.

A God’s impeccably creation to behold and cherish.

The trees stood separate but strangely all part of the composite forest. The  cool breeze caressing every contour and crevices in that star-straddled night.

The afternoon was advancing and we hurried back to the car to catch up with Salem Town right by 9pm so that we could start our journey next morning early to reach Kochi by noon.

we drove along the highway zigzagging through the maze of vehicles speedily but steadily not to over take .

As evening slipped into night we did find a thinning traffic ahead of our journey .The four lane highway was long stretch with trees shrubs all along the sides giving a beautiful view of the avenue.

We moved towards a small hillock and turned left to criss- cross a narrow strip before being on the highway again.

Salem Town was in sight and the lights glittering along the road ,we moved towards right into the main bazaars of the a moderately small town. The houses had weather –beaten look , but there was evidence of good population creating a good hustle and bustle in and around the town.

we halted near a hotel, possibly 3 star one with very prominent doorway to sneak in.

we checked in at close to 9.30 pm and found the rooms spacious abundantly done with exotic interiors .

“ Tushu   you have to get up by 5am.” shyam said angrily.

“ Okay Papa no problem” Tushu replied softly.

“ he will sleep with us ,his Nanu and Nani” sharika said

emphatically.

Tushu, in return, nodded in affirmation.

Being hungry we ordered for a sumptuous dinner and   soon after dozed off to deep slumber promising to get up early morning for onward journey.

IN KOCHI

As scheduled we reached Kochi at noon on 2nd January 2020. The sky was grey ,the clouds hovering across in thick clusters ,there was no indication of the sun, might be hiding somewhere behind these dark clusters.

The weather was hot much humid comparatively to Bangalore .The coastal town was inviting promising a better stay.

Mt wife started cribbing “ my God too much hot”  “ come on mumma you feel the heat and I can see perspiration on your face”.   Chikli , my daughter said smiling.

We drove down the city through thinlytraffic roads over a long stretch before moving into the villa apartments. shyam’s apartment was sprawling one and his parents Mr and Mrs shasi Dhar were glad to receive us.

It was very hot and we settled down in an A.C room .for a brief siesta .

Kochi ( also called as Cochin) is a city of eminence in the southwest coastal Kerala State., a major port city since 1341 catering to Chinese and European merchants for centuries together.

.With urban population of 21.1lakhs , it stands out largest most populous metropolitan city of Kerala.

The city is meticulously clean and famous for its breath taking scenic view of the state .

The city being interspersed with several beaches and islands presents a panoramic spectacle view of this fast growing vibrant city.

some of the beautiful islands are connected to the mainland through rowing boats make the city attraction for tourists all along.

The day temperature was very high 36 degree celisus, and for us to travel around the city during day was out of question.

So we took rounds of the city by late afternoons till late in night.

The water transport in the city is being explored beautifully to benefit the city dwellers and other tourists like us.

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Marine drive Kochi

Bolghatty Island , Cheri Beach, Fort Kochi Beach are some of the prime tourist attractions and all accessible within short boat ride only.

The Dutch Palace was built up on Bolghatty Island later now made a hotel of Kerala Tourism Development Corporation along with a small golf course, presenting a magnificient   scenic beauty of the harbor .

Cherai Beach lovely one shrouded by paddy fields and coconut trees just in the northern vicinity of VYPEEN Island.

Swimming is the most coveted activity of this grandiose beach.

Tushu was keen to swim across and I managed to get swimming suit for his much loved pastime.

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 Back waters of kochi

Fort Kochi Beach is the amazing spot for viewing exotic sunset in Kochi. As we approached the narrow road, a number of small stalls were serving freshly caught fishes after being cooked readily in exotic tastes to whet the one’s palate. Yes except me all Sharika Chikli Shyam had a good taste of such niceties. Here the Chinese nets are being used for catching fishes.

We meandered through Mattancherry, a cultural neighbourhood, a cluster of colonial buildings and a walk in the evening amidst the temple bells clanging was a  real nauseating delightful one.

 The city boasts of unique churches, palaces and temples.

St. Francis Church ,the oldest church of India .It is here Vasco da Gama is believed to be buried in.

Vasco House built on Rose Street , a great feat of Portuguese Architecture ,the house where Vasco da Gama ,who died in 1524, used to live.

 

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Chinese  Fish Net. for Catching fishes

Reunion .

I was eager to be in Kochi for meeting my colleague and friend Mr R.krishnan.

I and Mr. KRISHNAN worked together for a decade in Rishikesh way back in 1989 to 1999.

Krishnan Sahib as we called him affectionately was GM and I was plant Manager of Ballarpur Glass group ,which later became Owen’s Broakway India ltd.  We ploughed on well all through the years gone by.

A sauve spirited gentle man ,broad –shouldered bearded Krishnan Sahib was very affectionate and considerate towards one and all.

His wife Mrs Krishnan equally affectionate , an exemplary lady of action ,being one of the driving forces in KVA school of Rishikesh those years.

While in Kochi I got in touch with Krishnan Sahib, it was decided to have dinner together on Friday the 4th Jan 2020. an evening of Rip Van Winkle re-union after nearly two decades. ‘Ooop’ my God a rare occasion.

It was a gala dinner and a great family get together an occasion of recounting the repository of past events happy or otherwise , a time to laugh and rave. I noticed both Krishnan Sahib and Mrs Krishnan was not changed in the least by appearance or mannerism. A lively affable couple as usual.

We finally shook hands, promising to keep in touch and strolled to our respective places in the nip weather.

Off to Chennai

After staying for a week in Kochi we buzzed off to our next destination ,Chennai, by early morning plane and after hiring a taxi ,we zoomed through the traffic ridden roads towards ECR road and eventually into Kapleeshwarar Nagar right in my younger daughter Deepali Kaul’s place by 9.30am.

Kapleeshwarar Nagar is one of the poshiest residential towns built along the Kapleeshwarar seas.

sea-waves-2

Kapleeshwarar seas  Chenai

A town with beautiful bungalows many of these like mansions lined on the both sides of internal Criss- Coss roads. The small patches of green grass with small herbs add glory to the township all over.

As we reached Deepali’s place little cute perky Vedika greeted us with a smile raising hands upwards to be hugged.

Annanya (zoonie) the elder one rushed too to be in our tight embrace. Annanya is little shy but very upright and focussed. .

She reads extra story books like Harry potter ones with great interest and has  fascination for mysterious story books.

Annanya has a pet dog Kandy,and liitle Vedika plays with Kandy fearlessly.

Kandy barks at odd times and he sleeps on the verandah on second floor but keeps a vigil all the way. A good companion

Deepali and Sathish  both are IT professionals busy enough to plod on with their work to the extent to be called workaholics.

Only on week ends they find time to relax and exchange some pleasantries and for some family interactions.

The Sun is up early in this part of Country, I awakened in the morning and the world looked remade and shinning. I walked down the beach road for a stroll on the sea side. a walking distance, to watch the spectacular view of the cascading waves enthralling me immensely.

The day wears many colours as the Sun rises , from light orange to blazing noon ,and the setting Sun puts the horizon on a light fire finally transforming into a refreshing and soothing evening.

I gaze at the seas for long hours till evening slips into night. I love the rhythm of the waves sometimes roaring sometimes calming and in this silver chill I lumber on and on the soft sand beaches to relish beauty of the seas at early night.

 

 

PUNE THE CITY OF DREAMS by BrijKaul

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Pune  The most liveable city.

On the clear October afternoon day 2019, I visited a small hillock on the side of Parvati in Pune for spending an hour or so in peace and tranquility.

This is the place one can have an overview of almost entire city swathed in greenery of monsoon rains.

Below me the city with its criss -cross bazaars, blaring horns, the grisly roads with open drainage culminating towards swollen rivers, looked a sprawling one. The skyline has assumed alarming proportions.

The city looked gorgeously green .

I could see one more distant range of hills followed by a stretch of plains, a fascinating view.

The clouds started gathering and the sky was overcast .

A loud growling followed by a lightening , instantly it began to rain, a cold steel rain.

I took to my heels literally and did not give hoots to the beautiful surroundings, but hurried to get on to main road and continued to walk on looking for a cover to avoid being drenched in the awful spattering rains. The chaotic traffic of cars, two wheelers ,where every vehicle was trying to overtake the other ,the honking of horns plunging the street into deafening noise center much to the displeasure of pedestrians.

Among the generality of Indian males ,I am medium sized—five feet five ,very wide of shoulder and eventually because of my size I could take brisk strides and run in between the thickly rains for getting on to take refuge under a cover.

I did manage to stand in the corner of a sweet shop. There was a sizable crowd already, a couple making way for me with a wry smile. Puneites are friendly people and very conciliatory especially to senior citizens.

The rains continued pouring down and did not seem to abate at all.

Recently Pune had rains without any warning and the city almost got drowned with hundreds of vehicles being carried away in the fierce rains and the winds that was not less than any hurricane.

I watched the dripping trees and the clouds coming down over the distant valley giving it a hazy look all around.

As I was standing waiting for rains to stop,I heard someone calling me not far away “ kaul sahib, kaul sahib here I am Prasad”

I saw a tall hefty man coming towards me and standing face to face, I stared at him with a glimmer of remembrance in my eyes ,I recognized him instantly. “ hello Prasad how are you here.” I asked, little puzzled. He was carrying an umberalla big enough to take me underneath.

we walked into a nearby restaurant for a strong sweet tea with hot Kachoris.

“ So Prasad tell me what are you doing now.”I said with a beaming smile. “ ah! cannot believe seeing you after 35 years.it is amazing unbelievable” I continued startled .

“Me too “ Prasad replied with a guffaw.

Prasad was my head inspector in Jg glass factory long back in 1970’S, good at job and a great singer. He was handsome tall with wrestler’s body having six pack muscles, very affable in nature, a pleasant lively smile lit up his face all the time.

I being the head of quality department, he was very obedient and respectful subordinate.

we had a long conversation over a few steaming cups of teas.

“ I could educate my only son to be an engineer and he has become GM of an MNC from Germany, kaul sir” he declared with some sense of pride.

“ you can call me kaul only ,no need to say sir Mr Prasad. you are my friend and one time colleague’ I corrected him

“ no kaul sahib you are my sir all the time. It was your constant drumming that motivated me to educate my son Ravinder.” He said apologetically.

“ do you still sing? “

“ yes I do “

“can you sing that Rajesh khanna song” I asked

and he started singing in his profoundly melodous voice.

“ Tum ne kaajal lagaya Din mein Raat ho gayi chup gaye Tare nazare oye kya baat ho gayi .”

The other guests turned their heads to listen him and cheered him for his singing the Bolly -wood block buster of yesteryears.

As Prasad emerged a singing celebrity in the small crowd ,engrossed in the new found fame,  I went into a reverie to ramble through my memories about my first encounter with bright and beautiful Pune.

I walked into Pune ,the city of my dreams, ‘Pensioner’s Paradise’ , ‘the queen of Deccan’ as popularly called those days, on 21st june 1961 to look after my ailing sister shanta whom I called fondly Bengashi. 

My father had coaxed and cajoled me to take the vexed long trip to assist my brother in law Raj nath Wakhaloo ,who had moved into the city in 1959 on Govt of India assignment in Post and Telegraph Pune division. Raj nath ji popularly known as Wakhaloo Sahib, a typical Kashmiri Brahmin, tall handsome ,with chiselled features a long straight nose , dimpled chin ,liked the city and its people , its mild climate and hilly topography .

My brother in law, JEEJAJI, was waiting for me in the pleasant morning at the Pune station.

I walked the platform and hugged him ,thanking him profusely for coming to greet me in the early morning.

We went to home ,a small low ceiling ill ventilated one room rented apartment in Soomwar-peth in the city. His office was at a stone’s throw from the residence hence the choice of hiring that apartment.

After dropping my luggage, and having a hurried brief breakfast ,we drove down to the Dr Karve Clinic at the foothills of Parvati ,where my sister Bengashi was admitted. My sister was glad to see me and hugged me intensely, the tears flowing down her cheeks profusely.

she was having clot on the lower leg and being under treatment of DR KARVE, one of the best doctors of Pune at that time.

I was supposed to look after my sister as my brother in law J e e j a j i was attending office.

I successfully completed my assignment to my best ability, looking after my beloved sister with ease and comfort. Went to Kashmir back after nearly two months.

At that time I could have n e v e r imagined Pune would be my permanent home town some day.

As providence would have it I got my first job in Pune as management trainee way back in 1970 in a glass container manufacturing unit after great efforts and started liking to live in Pune.

My sister’s prayers worked for my settlement .

I lived in Meera Society near Shanker Seth road, a new decent colony with built in spacious apartments of most advanced building technology.

Here I struck acquaintance with Mr Pran Tickoo working as a senior engineer in Tata Locomative engineering company . We soon became great pals and spent lot of good time together ,mostly enjoying ‘Boti kababs’, ‘tandoori chicken’ and many niceties at Dipen’s barbaquee run by an affable Punjabi couple close to Petrol pump on Shanker Seth road. Pran  Tickooji had flair for attending to social activities and displayed leadership qualities and enjoyed doing so very much. Currently associated with many such social platforms  contributing his mite to the good of society. 

Pune city was very alluring beautiful with almost no traffic and big broad roads ,having hilly background with trees all along the routes making beautiful long avenues to look at.

It had shades of my Srinagar city ,with Parvati hill standing in the heart of city like Hari Parbat of Srinagar city. The pleasant weather was one more similarity to my Kashmir.

Pune is the second largest city in Maharashtra after Mumbai, with nearly 5.05 miliion population currently. Situated 1840 feet above sea level on the Deccan plateau on the right bank of Mutha river.

Pune has profound no of Nicknames ‘ Oxford of East’ ‘ Queen of Deccan ‘ so on and so forth

with its cool sizzling climate, vibrant greens adding tantalizing serenity to the Nature, Pune stands out a thriving city to live in .

Pune is always young with its young student population, and is nerve center of arts crafts ,offering opportunities for jobs, research and has been a commercial hub for many industries.

 

I woke up from my reverie and called for Prasad ,who seemed completely absorbed and enjoying the new found popularity.

“shall we make a move now” I blurted out to Prasad .

“yes sir yes sir” he replied briefly.

The rains had stopped and I looked for an auto rickshaw to take me to my residence in Bibwewadi.

Prasad called for one and I squeezed in and it zoomed away without allowing me even to say goodbye, with a foreboding of having seen Prasad for the last time.

 

THE FASCINATING ISLANDS

Islands are fascinating and meeting places between sea and land.

The Islands date back to million of years , scattered all across the oceans of the world , one time a flowing molten lava and over thousands of years have become a lush tropical ones .

The wonders of Island life remind us without doubt that the earth in itself is an Island flooded with resplendent plants animals and unique birds ,seas, mountains ,rivers and what not.

Origin of Islands

 Islands have evolved in two ways , Continental Islands and the Oceanic Islands.

The Continental Islands are the land part of the Continental mainland, cut over the years either through erosion or due to geological forces leading to major upheavals in the surface structure of the earth .

Oceanic Islands are formed where molten rocks pile upon the lava flow upon lava flow and build volcanic mountain.

This phenomenon takes thousands of years ,before the mountain growing to a such a height thus breaking from the ocean surface.

The volcanic islands get exposed to wind weather waves and rain .

The   off shore coral reefs form a barrier against the crashing sea waves that could limit the life span of the volcanic islands.

The Continents have shifted continuously in a slow way and this phenomenon still continues unabated.

Over 200 million years ago as geologists believe all the land on earth was a great one mass called Pangaea.

Later after some million years the dry land split into two super continents; Gondwanaland ,which is todays South America ,Africa, India ,Australia and Antartica; the other Laurasia ; consisting of North America ,Greenland ,Europe, and Asia .

 It is humanly impossible to know or assess how many islands have been on the broad surface of this earth to be eroded away or to have been washed away in its bosom by the rising seas.

Life on Islands.

 Every island as a result of evolutionary process develops its own organisms and life sets its foothold .

Whenever man settles in an island ,he has brought with himself food, plants, pets like dogs .

The Continental islands support a community of living things when they are separated from the mainland. But the colonisers bring other species from elsewhere and the evolutionary mechanism gives rise to unique plants and animals ,thus setting meteor of life for more environmental changes with the passage of times.

 

The Oceanic islands are sterile and devoid of any life on its rugged surface.

The surface life of plants and animals emerges only through settlers from other islands.

The plants and animals that reach an island have to survive against the environmental odds and ends thereby gaining access to new breeding sites . The organism manage to ross over the oceans and settle permanently in the scattered odd number of islands.

The plants that survive on arrival are Algae, lichens, fungi, mosses ,ferns.

The birds fly out in seas to make nests on the vegetated cliffs and in the dense plant vegetation and thus survive the new hazards.

The other animals like lizards, bats, land snails ,spiders carry themselves successfully in the ocean voyages.

Though spiders do not fly but it is common to see them weaving strands of fine webs and move like parchutes with the breeze that carry the spiderlings   far aloft.

Nature works its way for every one in this beautiful universe. Only the beholder should be alert to see and feel the impact of the beauty around .

 

The scientist writer Thomas Huxley in his famous essay

“ Life Growth Change “ has demonstrated that animals evolve unusual adaptations in relation to the physical environment .   For instance if an animal is transformed from Iceland to a desert of intense heat, the animal adapts slowly to the changed Circumtances and in the successive generations they become completely different from their ancestral breeds.

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The largest lizard ,the 9ft komado dragon found only

In Indonesian island of Komado , preys on monkeys and deer.

 

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The 4 inch long mouse Lemurs of Madagascar island are the smallest of all primates, also the most primitive. Lemurs hide in the foliage and come out in night to feed o insects

 

 

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A unique Parrot lives in the islands of West Indies. This red-necked parrot lives in the mountains forests of   Dominica.

 

The Caribbean islands exhibit lush islands numbering 700 ,stretching from Florida to South America. A few are Continental in origin but majority of these are of volcanic   and the volcanoes that formed them are extinct now.

The Caribbean with total land of 91000 square miles ,the many islands of West Indies are spread over 971,400 square miles of open ocean.

 

The   islands of Philippine archipelago are without human settlement. The larger islands are mountainous with 20,000 mile shoreline ,with extreme weather of humid warmth at sea level, to the chill of 9000ft high, Philippines is home to variety of beautiful plants and animals.

 

Island life is a manifestation of diversity and uniqueness in character. The bizarre kinds of plants animals and their habitations make islands fascinatingly charming abodes of beauty.

 

 

WALKING TOURS

Travelling has fascinated me from childhood..

My father imbued in me the habit of going on Morning walks with him .He would wake me up at 5.30am dress me up to accompany him to walk a mile or two to the green pastures on the hill side of the city . Srinagar city encircled by mighty snow capped mountains luxuriant with greens . One is simply enthralled and mesmerized by its natural beauty.

Being early riser my father would make fire in the kangiri – the traditional fire pot made of earthen bowl covered around with wicker .This is mobile heater for residents in Kashmir during winter to keep them warm.

He would bake two eggs for me in the fire of kangiri. I would Peel off the eggs and eat them before embarking on a walking tour.

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Srinagar city  with Dal Lake in background

The October morning was just neither cold nor warm but fascinating enough to tempt us for a long walk..

A starry sky without a speck of cloud. The chirping of birds on the tree bough was soothing to the ears.and some of these would flutter over our heads just to say “hello”.

This was a daily morning phenomenon.

I dressed up in thick cotton pajama and put on ‘pheron’ a loose Kashmiri gown made from woolen cloth.

My father, a six footer of heavy build with dusky complexion, dressed up in Tweed long coat buttoned up to his neck, carrying a staff in his right hand beckoned me to follow him . He walked fast with his outstretched strides .It was very difficult for a tiny figure like me to keep pace with his long steps.

But then he would wait intermittently , hold my hand for a comfortable walk.

The walk was long on the tarred avenue with tall poplar trees on either side, presenting a panoramic view.

The chirpy morning was peaceful and I enjoyed loitering here and there without the noise and honking of the vehicles .

Occasionally a Tonga or a car would speed by and the occupants would wave while zipping across the lonely road.

After trudging for a long walk, we halted by the side of a gurgling stream namely DOODH GANGA every day to enjoy the blissful spectacle of day breaking into dawn.

After crossing the Doodah Ganga we descended the big slope into a plain, a huge ground called Chand Mari. Indian Military forces  had occupied Chand Mari as point of security in the city boundaries.

My father went to one of the camps and called ‘‘Hey

Bonwer Singhji Good morning”

“Good morning Sirji” Bonwer singh came out of the camp “how are you my boy “ He continued.

“Very well “ I replied in a low tone

Bonwar singh, a burly Sardarji was Major and in charge of the Security of Chand Mari Military Force. My father struck friendship with him and inadvertently stopped for a cup of tea and a normal gossip .

“ Sirji you had promised that your son will sing a song . I understand he is good singer “ Bonwar Singh asked .

“ yes why not ,my son sings well.” replied my father

“Biju go ahead sing something” ordered my father.

 I sang ‘khoya khoya chand khulla asman ‘ a Bollywood   song .

 ‘wah wah Biju you sing beautiful. There is modulation in your voice and I am sure you will be a good singer “ Bonwar singh said .

I felt myself at the top of the world.

For a week or so we could not come to see Bonwar Singh

And finally one day we did halt outside the Camp in Chand Mari .

“Tussi Kethay ho Singh Sahib “ shouted my father

“Kaun Hai “ A voice enquired .

“Is Bonwar Singhnji there” my father asked politely.

    A tall Sikh Officer came out while tying up his turban.

“ Hello sirji Bonwar Singh ji is transferrd to Ladakh

and now I , Amitabh singh is new Commander here. “

“Oh I see , glad to meet you .Bonwar singh was a bosom friend just stopped to say hello” my father replied shaking hands with the officer.

“do come sir. I am your new friend .what is your name pl.”

“KNK. Principal in a school ,see you officer sometimes later” my father replied ,waving his hand as we moved onwards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monsoon showers

With sweltering heat

around every street

We fume fret and strut

with trickling perispiration

down our cheeks.

Sweating sweating

restlessly beyond the

marrow of our bones.

 

In mad rush we

drive down to nearby

Hill station

scale the mountain table top

to

Seek solace and solitude

 

In the lap of the woods

Cool and green

in silvery sheen

we speed across

The dark clouds

engulfing

the whole prospectus

 

With lightening and thunder

To our great wonder

Clouds burst into deluge

Cascades

Of water blinding our

eyes and face

Drenching us to the

barest skin

We struggle scramble

helter skelter

to reach for a safe shelter.

 

Scores of men women

Children dancing in the rains

Like beautiful swans

Enjoying

the monsoon shower

On the mountain table tower

 

It pours pours pours

relentlessly unmindful

of the joys bringing

to the

parched millions

 

cooling and comforting

us to

our immense joys.

 

 

 

 

CHENNAI THE CITY OF DESTINY.

For me and my family Chennai is the city of Destiny.

My daughter Deepali was destined to be settled here in this miraculous city of unknown but blissful souls.

She came here for a brief interlude of IT posting but was destined to get mingled up permanently after marrying with Sathish ,a young IT Exponent of brilliance.

I and my wife came to Chennai on 19TH January 2017 to spend some time with Deepali and possibly to celebrate 6th birthday of our grand daughter Annanya fondly called Zooni.

Jalli Kutta Protest

The journey from Chennai Railway station to home was ardous , intercepted by the Jallikutta protesters ,the young college youth demonstrating for restoring Tamil pride by lifting ban on the Annual Bull Taming sport. The sport is part of Pongal celebrations on Mattu Pongal day.

The words “Jalli “and “Kattu refer to silver or gold coins tied to the horns of Bull.

The Bull is released into the crowd of people who attempt to hold on to the hump of bull till it is tamed to a stop.

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JALLI KUTTA —  BULL TAMING SPORT.

The whole movement was organised by non political activists ,joined by Actors, general public gathering into mass congregation at Marina Beach the heart of the City.

The protesters peacefully conducted themselves and thus forced authorities both at State as well Centre to pass an ordinance to allow the Jallikutta Bull Taming sport across the Tamil Nadu State.

Despite passing Ordinance by the Tamil Nadu State Assembly to end the impasse, some agitators refused to budge from the Beach site on the plea of “permanent legislation “etc.

Ahead of The Republic Day Celebration on 26th January, The police on Monday 23rd Jan tried to clear the area by removing protesters from Marina Beach.

As the protesters were in no mood to disperse ,the police resorted to mild lathi charge.

The protesters in turn resorted to burning a few of vehicles engulfing the city into a violent chaos.

The vehicular traffic came to a grinding halt ,with people facing hardships in reaching their homes.

The political parties described the clampdown as deporable and uncalled for.

Sea Beach Stroll

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NEELANGRAI   SEA BEACH

But all this Jallikuta stir did not dampen our spirits to enjoy the pleasant cool weather of Chennai .

The months of December and January are best to visit this city and enjoy its hospitality.

As we live closer to the sea beach in Kalpleeshwarar Nagar , we took to Casuarani bay route to the sea beach for a stroll in the setting sunset.

The sunset on the sea shore presented a magnificient   panorama to take a deep breath and enjoy the bliss of Nature.

The water was rising in steep tides and thus splashing on to the shore almost touching our feet.

we stretched our legs but not enough to get the joy of gushing waters reaching to our bare knees.

My wife , more adventurous of walking through the seas, nudging me to follow, went a little deeper into the rising and receding waves of waters.

The other evening visitors joined the frolicking game of water sports— lapping up the water on to your knees and kicking it away to the far end.

We enjoyed playing with water for quite a while.

A gusty windy breeze crooning across our faces and body made us to sit up and enjoy the splendid moment.

One would like to spend hours together in such a state of ecstasy.

As Evening was slipping into Night ,we made a retreat to our home .

Kalpleeshwarar Nagar area is a huge Housing complex with magnificient posh houses stretched over long green areas in close vicinity of the Beach.

Birthday Bash

 We noticed Beach Club Restaurant and resolved to have Birthday bash of our grand daughter Zooni in this very restaurant the following Evening.

The birthday of Zooni was celebrated with gaeity

and glory .

Zooni , looked awesome in the red frilled frock, bedecked with small sliver crown .

The long dark hair combed down her shoulders like a cascade . She was queen of the day.

The guests assembled in the open lawn of the Beach club restaurant facing the swimming pool.

The tables were laid in a row facing the sea .

A gorgeous look ahead the sea where waves were lapping up to the shore in concordance of rhythm of a musical instrument.

Zooni’s friends Vishnu, Anvita,Shivani , Gokul , Aahan Ira,and Suhani were smartly dressed ,fully agog with the party mood.

‘” Hey Zooni , congrats “ hollered Anvita getting down from the red car carrying a nicely packed gift in her right hand.

“Hai Anvita ,” Zooni embraced and attended to other friends waiting for the birthday bash.

“ Iam going to cut the cake ,”Zooni declared with an air of authority.

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GUESTS   SINGING HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO  ZOONI

The Cake was put on the table in the  middle  of the sprawling lawn and all children gathered to sing the song ‘Happy birthday to Zooni — “ while Zooni cut the cake gleefully.

The children made a riot of cake color on their faces and ate the delicious pieces with great ferver.

The mild windy weather was nauseating and much enjoyable to the music of the band that sang songs,Bollywood and local ones to the rhythmic tune.

All guests swayed their bodies to soulful music and gleefully enjoyed the moment of pleasure and tranquility.

Zooni was a little upset to hear that Krish and Zitni , our grand children could not participate .Shyamji ,and daughter chikli explained they did not take risk of travelling from Bangalore due to disturbance in the city.

Zooni spoke on phone consoling both krish and Zitni “when you come next we will have one more party . I promise,” she spoke confidently.

The menu was specially ordered to the choices of the guests and included delicious dishes ,both Veg and Non veg.

The Service and food was excellent , guests enjoyed the dinner to their fill.

The mothers busy keeping a tab on the children to prevent any unpleasant naughty prank that could spoil the upbeat mood.

Luckily all went well.

The evening was splendid one.

 

TRAVELS WITH FAMILY

Travelling is normally a passion with me but travelling with family is not only exciting but pleasurable adventure as well.

The impetus for undergoing this joyful journey was my sister–in-law Bitty and her, elegantly dressed husband, Shahji , who visited us for a brief holiday in Pune.

Retired newly from Bank’s thirty five odd years’ job dredgery Bitty was more exciting for a visit to Mahableshwar and implied upon her choice with finality.

The other ones who joined the group were my Brother –in – law Roopji ,his flamboyant wife Girija ,glamorous young Bunty, my sister’s daughter , his handsome husband Sunilji and his revered father, Ratanlal Daftariji.. The group swelled to a large one with  my darling wife Sharika,charismatic daughter Neha and smarty Shiva.Last but not the least Tomboyish Ankit dotting over his grandpa as a special caretaker.

Sunilji and dear Bunty were chosen trip leaders to propel the journey with full gusto. The couple is ardent road traveller who fully understand the nuances very well.

On the D-day we started at 8am hoping we could traverse the distance in about 2/3 hrs maximum .We started off in two cars with Shah ji and Sunilji at the driving seats fully charged to move ahead.

Morning breeze was chilly but later in the day the sun made a merciless laugh as we drove on towards the alluring Sahdhyari Ghats .The grandeur of these mountaneous region is spell bound .The sight of massive traffic dampened our soaring spirits to some extent .“oh my God what is this” said Shahji ,struggling to keep the car moving at the low speed.“I never knew the road is so curvy, bumpy and having such a steep ascend.” He said “I would have not opted to drive”He continued. “Never mind sirji all will be ok” I replied jokingly knowing for sure the going was tough.

I could see an odd number of over hundred cars halting on to the sides cooling off the engines ,hoping against hope we could pull through without much ado.

A sea of cars were going on the curvy zig zag road of the Ghat at a snails pace .It appeared whole of Pune and Bombay had descended on these roads to make a beeline for the coveted hill station –Mahableshwar.

A spectacle of human heads , with big individual bunch of beauties , sauntering on the Ghat roads to have a glimpse of traffic woes while waiting for their vehicles to cool off , was now a constant sight.We realized it could take much more hours before we could reach the chosen destination.

As Shahji was struggling to drive on , jamming ,banging the gears ,I could see a pall of smoke emitting from the bonnet side and advised to keep the car on to the side of the road He parked safely and we jumped out to see some untenable did not happen.

Sunil Sir ,our expert captain after checking the car , confirmed that all was fine ”just to wait to cool off the engine”he reaffirmed .

Just to break the stillness of the tense moment I jocularly pointed out “ Hi Bitty your glowing cheeks and gorgeous complexion do not suggest you  are more than thirty years” “how come you have been retired. Check your credentials .”I continued. She guffawed . I shifted my attention to the young christmatic couple Neha and her smarty Shivas .”Hey Neha looking very upbeat with your Chubby.” “ enjoying the moment “ she replied nonchalantly nimbling at some cookies .

The  wistful saga finally ended we just started off with new resolve to beat the race.

We did reach Maple Garden for a much deserved break , but did not stop but decided to have lunch at Venna Lake ,a more beautiful spot to relax.

We finally could reach out for a covered place ,a look like ‘Baladari’ at Venna Lake and had finally our homely cooked sumptuous lunch .

A time to relax and enjoy the picturesque lake surrounded by thick forests with velvet green mountainous background.

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VENNA  LAKE   WITH BOATS  READY FOR THE TRIP.

Venna Lake is popular holiday honey moon resort . A spot for boating sport .

A lot of boats are anchored and tourists take rounds of the lake after hiring boats as per passenger capacity.

Venna Lake’s shimmering water is crytal clean and falls at the ht of 600ft from Lingmalla Falls.

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FAMILY  GATHERING AT  MAHABLESHWAR

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FAMILY  ENJOYING  A SUMPTUOUS LUNCH

Mahableshwar nearly 120kms from pune , a city of 12,762 population is conglomerate of three villages—Malcolm peth ,Old Khestra, and Shindola village.

Mahableshwar is source of Krishna river that flows across Maharashtra,Telengana and Andhra.

Most of tourists come here to see lord Shivas Temple

Called Krishna Bhai Temple, where river Krishna is worshipped.

The Temple has Shiva Lingam and beautiful statue of Krishna -a small stream flowing from the mouth of cow (goumukh) .

There are other attractions for tourists as well.

Wilson point is 1.5 kms away from the Mahableshwar city . Named after Lesia Wilson who was Governor of Bombay Province from1923 to 1926,

This Point is at the ht of 1439 meters. Here one can see both sunrise and sunset a spectacle of myriad scenes.of sensual ecstasy.

We tried  to see the Shiva temple but the traffic jam could not take us there . It was dusk already and we decide to take return journey as there was no choice or chance to stay overnight. A brief  stopover at Maple Garden for sandwich session was refreshing.

The Return journey  was smooth and  more relaxing.We passed through the great Satara Tunnel and moved at a faster speed to overcome the fatigue.

With tired looks finally reached respective homes for more relaxing weekend leaving behind  memorable adventurous outing to recount for .