The Welcome


The sudden darkness in the sky surprised her. After two months of summer sunshine, the blue sky had become an ally. She’d been occupied with work and seldom got to see the sky in element. Sometimes it surprised her with its vivid colours and always seemed to acknowledge her presence. The quiet gray was disconcerting.

She shrugged and pulled her bag closer. It looked as if she was a visitor, with her black bag and white sneakers. The crowd pushed her trying to make their way, in time to reach work. She leaned against the railing and watched the sky, curious. The more she saw it, the calmer she felt. The canvas above was in monotones of grey and white. It somehow seemed to colour the buildings around as well. Everything looked centred and in tranquil despite the obvious rush in front of a railway station.

Suddenly there was a breeze. She couldn’t help but smile. The breeze turned to droplets soon after. The first showers!!! There were screams as people rushed to protect themselves from the rain and mud. The earth rejoiced, and leaves danced.

She looked at the watch annoyed. It was time for her to go. A new day in office awaited her. Pulling her bag closer, she walked. It seemed that a hand was pulling her back. She’d always enjoyed the rains. A part of her ached to let go of all the trials and pressures and just spread her arms for a while.

Try as she might, she couldn’t ignore the feeling. Leaving her bag with a guard, she went and faced the sky. Little droplets scattered here and there welcoming her. The winds blew at her wet face sending shivers down her spine. She spread her arms out and gave the widest of smiles. She felt as large as the sky. Somehow she’d been waiting for this moment. At some deep level she felt healed. As if the raindrops and the gentle breeze were welcoming her back. From a frenzy of deadlines to a peaceful world. From being preoccupied to noticing the sky and smiling in pleasure. From holding back to spreading her arms out to give out all the love she could. Oh she could feel the sky spreading too, responding to her smile. She’d not felt this way for long.

After what seemed like an eternity, she turned and took her bag. There was a spring in her step and a wide grin on her face. What a welcome this was. What a celebration it was!

We are always in too much of a rush. Running to complete deadlines, holding the load of the world on our shoulders. We never realise there’s nature calling us, welcoming us back from that stressful part to the part where we just spread our arms, smile and rejoice with nature. This is who we are, celebration is a part of us. Look out of the window the next time, it might be your calling to rejoice, your welcome waiting!!!

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Coorgi Tales- Madikeri and beyond!


15th April 2010: Karnataka Hinterland, India

Continuation to the Dubare note. After Dubare, we were plenty exhausted and not to mention dirty!! After reaching the resort, we freshened up and had lunch. We decided to spend the remainder of the day in the town of Madikeri. We had lunch at ‘Arabica’ and then went to the room (i must mention that one of the days we had a mint and melon mousse for dessert and it was amazing. One day it was strawberry and white chocolate mousse which was lip-smacking!! No wonder they say Club Mahindra pampers you)
We spent the afternoon resting and then drove down to Madikeri. By now, i knew the route to the market and back so it was no problem. Once you take a turn to go to Club Mahindra, there is a school, 2 parks and a temple. we decided to explore the park and the temple. .
One of the parks had a mini train. it was amazingly cute!! It reminded me of the time we used to go to a park in Santacruz where there used to be a similar train and we used to ride it till the park closed. So it was a trip down the memory lane for me!!

The ride itself was only for 3-4 minutes but it was fun. We grabbed seats in the extreme front just after the engine. And a guy first came and checked our tickets (you have to buy tickets for the ride, different tickets for kids and adults!!)
There were even boards for stations and a small tunnel. And this ride attracted a lot of the crowd. I guess in a small town you would find this very much fun, people in smaller towns have more fun than city dwellers anyway!!
After that we made our way to the other park which was more like a ‘Joggers Park’. It was so well maintained with broad lanes, lot of dustbins in the shape of cute animals and pretty flowers. There were many people walking and many playing.

Coorg is called ‘Scotland of the East’ and it was not difficult to see why. The view from the park bench was stunning!! Even though it was summer, there was a slight fog in the distance and there was a nice breeze which made it quite pleasant.
After a walk and a lot of photos, we decided to leave and snack on something. We had some ‘Joy’ Ice cream(=chocobar!!) and then to our surprise, the lights came on at the centre of the park and the people were standing around the circle which we later discovered turned out to be a musical fountain. And we slowly made our way towards the gate coz we knew we’d just come out and we couldn’t go in again but the lady sitting at the entrance told us to go right ahead. We went in and were totally awestruck.
They played some song with lyrics we couldn’t understand (=either kannada/tamil/malu) and the fountains danced to the tunes. It was so well done. The colours also changed. I was totally engrossed. We took videos and many pictures. I hear there is a musical fountain at the Vrindavan Gardens at Mysore but this was amazing. And there were very few ppl so that made it better.
The fountains were amazing. They jumped, they danced, we gasped!!! They played 4 songs and for that time, held the audience totally spellbound. They ended with ‘Saare jahan se Accha’ and the people slowly started making their way out.

Thats when i realised how pretty the flowers at the edges of the park looked. They were nice and purple. So got in some pictures of those as well. Then we went to the temple nearby and guess, we were just in time for the evening ‘Aarti’. The co-incidence was amazing!! After the Aarti, we made our way back to the hotel

Oh i forgot to mention that while coming back from Dubare, we stopped at a place and purchased lots of spice. Coorg is known for its spices. We also got some Vanilla to be had with milk. It smells so sweet and delicious. One really wonders why people go in for artificial substitutes when the real one is so much fragrant and better!!For dinner this time, we decided to try the a-la-carte restaurant at Club Mahindra called ‘Coffee Blossoms’ We had some thai curry(red and yellow), steamed rice, kheema paratha and some starter. The red thai curry was so delicious, we really enjoyed and literally licked our plates off. We did have some light dessert and made our way to the room.

This restaurant had another way which led to the swimming pool near our room so but we decided to take the longer route to enjoy the smell of the coffee blossoms. It was a super night and i really kept going back to the stunning Musical Fountains that we found in the small town of Madikeri.

cOMING uP next: Adventure Valley Part2, The town again,Coorg cuisine,Goodbye Coorg
Some of the pretty flowers

Maybe I Was Destined


It had been a while since i felt so good. So light and free. So zapped. To see a sky glittering with millions of stars. To hear nothing but my voice. To feel protected. I took a breath and pinched myself. A spectacular view from a mountain? A night sky with beautiful stars? Was it a dream?

Lets unravel a bit!!

This relates to the time I was in Auckland working part-time as I studied. I’d been through a hectic term. Exams and Interning was tough enough not to mention it was a cold harsh winter. I longed to be back in India sipping an OJ for it was summer there. I’d come home late from work and then stay up downing coffee and pushing myself for yet another sleepless night. And then pull through a paper not remembering anything after. The adrenaline was bound to burn off someday.

I had a weekend off after the exams and I decided to drive down to no place in particular. I’d heard about the beautiful parks in Auckland especially Mount Eden and I thought I should give it a try. But i struck out. The highway was jammed. With cars and snow. I had to stop mid way in a small road connecting the highway.

And that’s when I’d had enough. I got out of the car and stumbled in the dark with tears pouring, blinding my way. Snowflakes melted at my hot face as I drowned in a torrent of emotions. I couldn’t even see where I walked.

That’s when I met her. Mrs Eugene. I couldn’t believe what happened then. She took me to her cottage. (=Just like in a movie…a small cottage atop the hill with a friendly dog and a cute old man!!) And in that messed state I was in, they heard me out and gave me some brandy to drink 😉 (=Hey I was chilled in the snow!!)  And for that while I couldn’t stop crying. And secretly feeling so good that someone was so concerned.

In a while I was good to go. Mr Eugene took me through a different way to my car which incidentally was at their gate?!!? And I stopped. I saw IT. The snow. The trees. The sky. The silence. I gaped.  A brilliant dark blue sky with thousands of diamonds. Glittering diamonds. The beautiful city lit up and celebrating. The rivers and the beautiful night lights dancing together. I stood for an astonishing amount of time.

Just looking at a beautiful landscape, those unadulterated colours and that silence made me feel that this experience was god sent. The Universe wanted to replenish me. Refuel the adrenaline. I could feel warm wind engulfing me in a hug and the trees whispering their support to me.

When I realised that Mr Eugene and Wolfie the dog were waiting I was led to my car with directions and a welcome anytime. Contacts were exchanged and I drove for a bit and then looked back waving.

I know that life is hard. You’re knocked a little hard too often. But what I realised looking at the stars and blurting out all my seemingly silly troubles to an old couple who stared at the stars every night is:

Tonight I was destined. To see the stars and to feel ALIVE again. And that what took my breath away came after I was pushed to the precipice. The thing is the Little Girl in me believed that something nice HAD to happen. And Happen it did.

Maybe I was Destined. Maybe it Just Happened. But the Stars for me have never stopped Twinkling. Since then. Enjoy the brilliance in You. Maybe you need a star-studded sky to realise what a bright STAR you are. But its worth it.

Yes Maybe I was Destined.