Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Yelagiri trip..

Sometimes you visit a place with huge expectations and it turns out a damp squib and then there are places which take you by complete surprise. I have been lucky enough to have visited 2 places of the latter kind in recent past. One is Bithoor , a small town near Kanpur and the second which we visited weekend before last is Yelagiri. Bithoor might still sound familiar to people who took their History lessons seriously :) , but Yelagiri is a place not many people had heard of even in Bangalore.

Anyway, so it was Anir's idea to get away from the hustle-bustle of Bangalore for some time and after much research we planned to go to Yelagiri, a small hill town near Salem in Tamilnadu, around 180 km from Bangalore. We packed an overnight bag, despite thinking we might come back the same evening, and decided to leave by 8 am on sat. As expected, we left only after 9. The road after Hosur is sooooo good and the drive was awsome. Anir can vouch for it.

We reached Yelagiri by 12 and were suddenly transported to another world. There is certain calm about this place, which soothes your nerves instantaneously. No sooner than we had reached this place, we decided to stay the night. The place we had booked is a resort named Zeenath Taj, named after owner's wife. What can be more romantic than that,awwwwwww !!!!!!!
There is nothing to do in this idyllic place and that's the whole charm of the place. Total area of hills is about 30 sqkm. There were very few vehicles on the road and we could just stroll along. There is a tourist information centre,where we went to get some more information and met some guys there who told about their plans. You can even hire bicycles for Rs 30 an hour and go around the town. It's a good idea to carry umbrellas,we didn't have any so had to take the car everywhere.

There is man-made lake and a nature park in the main city which is Athanavur. We strolled around the lake soaking in the nature and later did some boating. Mist suddenly engulfs you and you don't know where you are going and then equally suddenly it clears. Entry ticket to lake is Rs 3 per head. No wonder we felt we were in heaven :)

Nature Park opposite the lake is another attraction. It has a sound light show too, in the evening which we decided to give a miss.There is another park and lake in Nilavoor, albeit much smaller.

We returned to the resort in the evening. Rooms in this resort are basic. There is no room service, no phones in room. Only tea is served in your room and you have to go and tell them to bring it. But you don't feel like staying indoors( We left India-Srilanka T20 match, that too when Yuvraj was batting, to go out for dinner and walk). There is variety of flora and fauna around the cottage and we saw some birds which we had never seen before and butterflies. Food was quite homely and nice with veg and non-veg options.

This place is perfect for letting go. You can imagine how it must be when someone like Anir gets up before 7 am and wants to go for a morning walk. Our efforts of exploring the whole resort were thwarted by some dogs, who thought we were trespassing their territory. Total area is around 11 acres. We met the owner during breakfast. He is a nice old man who took our feedback. Attendants here feed you as if you were guests at their own home, but sometimes can get too nosy. One guy tried to sell us homemade honey, which we didn't take.

Well all good things come to an end and it was time to go back. We left at around 10:30 and were home by 1:30. Will remember this trip for quite some time to come.

We are off to Pondicherry tomorrow and will write about it once we are back.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

2 States

Yes, that's the name of the latest book by Chetan Bhagat. I just finished reading it, and could not help writing something about it. I have read all 4 of his books, and before this, thought "5 point someone" was his best so far. It could be that since the book borrows heavily from his own experiences, it comes out as something most people can relate to.

Well, I'm here to write about 2 States, and I must say, it is even better than his first book. This is the first book where I have laughed aloud while reading.

The story picks up where "5 Point Someone" ended. So, the protagonist has passed IIT, probably worked for sometime, and got through IIMA. BTW, the protagonist here is named Krishna(Krish) after Hari, Shyam and Govind.He is a Delhi Punjabi guy. Soon after joining the college, he meets his wife-to-be Ananya, who is a Tam -brahm Iyer, but one who loves chicken and Beer. So Boy meets Girl, they fall in love and decide to get married. Alas, things are not so simple. They must convince their respective families to like the other and his/her family too.
That's where the fun begins. It is full of hilarious lines.

I slammed the tetrapack on the table like a retro Hindi film hero who takes the last sip of VAT69.Yes,leave me alone as I drown my suffering in mango juice.

I'm sure the book will very soon be adopted into a film and the funniest character will be Krish's Mom, who thinks it's OK to let go of the best B-school, so that her son can have chicken. She is a typical harassed wife, who considers it more important to be praised/approved by her siblings than what her son really wants.
Ananya's parents are quiet and very traditional. They warm up to Krish after numerous attempts.

The book talks about the prejudices that people hold in India but in a lighter vein. It stresses the importance of people marrying outside their so-called communities. In Ananya's father's words on their wedding:

Yes, the tamilian in me is disappointed. But the Indian in me is quite happy and more than anything, the human being in me is happy.After all, we have decided to use this opportunity to create more loved ones for ourselves.

In short, the book is definitely worth a read.

World is my Oyster

Though I first thought, sharing the bog would be a great idea, it turned out to be not so great an idea. Before it caused any serious identity crisis, i decided not to be lazy and create my own blog.