Thursday, July 30, 2009

An Interview

The following landed in my inbox and I am sure many have read it already… it is a good one and my blogger friend suggested that I blog it..

An Interview With God

The author dreamed that he had an INTERVIEW WITH GOD.

"So, you would like to interview me?" GOD asked.

"If you have time," I said.

GOD smile. "My time is eternity... what questions do you have in mind for me?"

"What surprises you the most about humankind?"

GOD answered...

"That they get bored with childhood, that they rush to grow up, and then long to be children again."

"That they lose their health to make money... and then lose their money to restore their health."

"That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live in neither the present nor the future."

"That they live as if they would never die, and die as though they had never lived."

GOD's hand took mine... and we were silent for a while.

And then I asked, "As a parent, what are some of life's lessons you want your children to learn?"

GOD replied, "To learn they cannot make anyone love them. All they can do is let themselves be loved."

"To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to others."

"To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness. "

"To learn that it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in those they love, and it can take many years to heal them."

"To learn that a rich person is not one who has the most, but is one who needs the least."

"To learn that there are people who love them dearly, but simply do not yet know how to express or show their feelings."

"To learn that two people can look at the same thing, and see it differently. "

"To learn that it is not enough that they forgive one another, but they must also forgive themselves."

"Thank you for your time," I said humbly.

"Is there anything else you would like your children to know?"

GOD smiled, and said... "Just know that I am here." "Always."

Monday, July 27, 2009

Soojipara Omelettes

I think one of the best memory that I have of Soojipara waterfalls near Wayanad are the Omelette’s that we had from a makeshift shack (thattukada) run by a Father and her daughter. After the almost 4 km trek ( to and fro) and the bath that we had in the falls we were hungry enough to eat anything on sight and we had already forgotten the heavy Kerala style lunch that we had at Wayanad a few hours earlier. The men stopped to have a hot cup of black coffee (kattankappee) and that is when the youngsters discovered that even omelettes were available. There was no stopping afterwards. The omelettes kept disappearing as soon as it appeared and all eyes were on the next one as it got cooked on the thava! We literally finished their stock of eggs and even made the girl cook us magi noodles.

She had the onions and green chillies cut the usual way and whisked 2 eggs per omelette. After spreading this on the “thava” she placed 2 slices of bread on them. This was later flipped so that the bread was toasted on one side. She finished it with a liberal shower of pepper powder which enhanced the taste and thus was born the Soojipara Omelettes. I am sure these omelettes are available in other such places but let me call them Soojipara Omelettes since that is where I first had them. They did pack up and leave after we finished and we did finish all that they had stocked! I hope their day’s business was profitable.

The omelette was indeed tasty and I could not replicate the same taste this morning. I guess the ambience was missing! Talking of ambience, the scene from the place is breath taking! One can see miles and miles of mountains and tea gardens too.

This place is yet to be developed by the Tourism Board and hence even the ticket is collected from a crude shack. (They can build nice hedges and quaint ways to sit around and enjoy nature.)

But we were told that a big plot has already been bought nearby by some private players to construct a hotel and if this continues then gone will be the aura of this place.

When we started the trip it was raining but none of us wanted to turn back and that is when we discovered that a family run small shop had a stock of everything needed for such moments.

We ended up buying plastic wraps, slippers, a few towels and the lady even wrapped some salt for us to ward of the leeches. Talking of the leeches. .it is a long time since I had a visit from them. This tiny but smart pest is common in the high ranges and one may never know one is lodging it until the fellow finishes sucking blood, bloats up and falls off, fully fed. This is when it starts itching and you find that you are bleeding. For the first timers a leech can be a horrific experience but not for me who will not let a tiny leech spoil a walk much dreamt of. Besides leeches are made to suck blood for some treatments.

We donned on the plastic wraps, looking good enough to join the tea pluckers and off we went on the long trek.

With the rain beating on us, we still managed the steep walk down to the falls. It was one step at a time since the path was slippery. Because of the rain we did not take our cameras and thus we missed capturing the lovely moments. We did see a black monkey which I think was the Lion Tailed Macaque. (simhavalan korange) It was not very happy to see us but did pose enough for us to see it.

The water fall is beautiful and the government has posted a few guards to caution the adventurous ones. A few guards are also posted at the start of the descent. The place was open only until 5 PM and the guards leave the place after this time. We were also lucky to have the whole place to ourselves except for the guards who were stationed up on the rocks. We did wonder where the couple who were behind us when we started the walk disappear. Guess the walk in the rain was too much for them. The rain did reduce halfway through. We had a wonderful time in the water and in the rain( the plastic wraps were discarded much earlier to enjoy the rain). It was with much reluctance that we climbed out of the water, with the kids pleading for more time.

We saw Wayand on our way to Mysore and later when we made the trip to Soojipara waterfalls. The place is beautiful and still untouched but time was not sufficient to explore Wayanad fully. Watched on TV how the recent rains washed away a part of the ghat road or the Wayand Churam.

On our way back from Mysore we took a different route through Gudalur and saw even more lovely places. Gudalur – Vazhikadavu-Edakkara-Palunda-Chungathara-Nilambur –Vadapunna -Edavanna-Pannipara-Vadaseri-Vakalur-Pathanapuram-Karusseri-Mukkam-Manasseri-Pazhour are the places that we drove through to reach Calicut. The roads are well kept and Hubby had a lovely time driving through them. This ghat road is called the “nadukani churum” (an important road connecting Kerala and Tamilnadu states) and even this road suffered from mud slides during the recent rains.
Nilambur is yet another beautiful place enroute to Calicut. There are many places to see around Nilambut too. The teak museum being one of them. But we were already late and wanted to get back to Calicut before nightfall.

We also passed Bandipur and Mudumalai wild life sanctuaries on our way back from Mysore and had half a mind to visit Ooty too. A part of the road is terrible while the rest is too good. We couldn’t see any elephants this time and was told that there were enough on the roads earlier in the morning.

I recalled another trip that I had many years back with my parents when we were lucky enough to see many elephants. And it was during this trip that my Father stopped the jeep to take a shot of a herd of elephants who were feeding just off the road. Mother, myself and my elder sister’s daughter who was barely 2 years old were scared and were urging Father to continue driving. Suddenly this male tusker charged onto us and for a minute even my Father was dumbstruck. It needed a not- a-very-gentle tap from my screaming mother to get my Father back into action. Luckily the elephant had to stop by the side of the jeep since there was an embankment separating the road. And by then Father had already started moving the jeep too. But we did have the fright of our lives. When there is a baby elephant among the herd, it is usual for the tusker to be over protective. I guess we were silly to have stopped! I do relate this story to my children and they continue to disbelieve me!

This time we almost travelled the length and breadth of Kerala - i.e Trivandrum to Calicut and Hubby has recorded 4,000 Kilometers of driving. He likes to drive while I like to sit next to him and enjoy the roads and the various scenes that unfold on the way.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

V.S. Achudanandan Zindabad

Don’t ask me why and when I started to respect this man but the events that unfolded the recent week has made me sad. He seems to have been ditched by all and only the welcome slogans at the Airport when VS returned from Delhi gave a bit of solace.

If one looks at Kerala’s political scene, out of those politicians who have emerged as leaders, there are only two living politicians whom one can confidently say are honest and clean. One is A. K. Anthony and the other V.S. Achudanandan. Forget the rest of their character flaws that the press and most of us love to joke about but let us admit that being honest in politics and for that matter in any field has become a rarity these days. And yes one will say that politics is not the place to be honest. But then honesty and integrity has become outdated and the last place one expects to find it is in the political arena.

V.S. fought life the hard way. He lost his parents at a young age and had to discontinue his studies to earn his bread. He climbed the party rungs with his hard work and dedication. He was also tortured by the police and almost left to die. He was punished even earlier by his party since he thought beyond the party and for the common man. Yet he doggedly stood for his beliefs and continues to be a wonder at his age – 87 years! But this party seems to have lost it all. V.S. was voted to power by those who trusted him and the party that he stood for, but alas the party’s agenda had already taken a different route.

In a democratic set up does one really care for a political party if it cannot meet the expectation of those who voted it to power? If the party feels that V.S. is the cause for the party’s downfall then what fear makes them keep him in the CM’s chair? Does the party think that the Lavlin and the PDP ghosts will stop haunting the party? I am sure the camps of other political parties in Kerala are heaving a sigh of relief since their job has now become easier.

But then I am also made to believe that communism has done its job and Kerala no longer requires it. The party’s fight for the poor and against the caste system did help a section of the society while inviting irk from others. But now Kerala no longer seems to have those sections and this may be called progress if one can also forget the lost opportunities. Earlier, it was easy to find help around the house and for whatever land is now left for cultivation. But such helping hands have become a rarity in many places these days, even if one is ready to pay the exorbitant wages. Yes, the labour class is having it good. Not that one can attribute this entirely to the Communists since the exodus to the Gulf and other countries is also another reason. Communism also made us take a harder look at our religious idiosyncrasies when at times our religious fervor went beyond normalcy.

Yes, Communism in Kerala could have stood for what its leaders envisaged but alas the party doesn’t care to have lost it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Value and money

(Taken from
Stories for Parents, Children and Grandchildren by Paulo Coelho)

Ciccone German tells the story of a man who, thanks to his enormous wealth and infinite ambition, decided to buy everything he possibly could. Once he had filled his many houses with clothes, furniture, cars and jewels, the man decided to buy still more things.

He bought ethics and morality, and thus was born corruption.

He bought solidarity and generosity, and indifference came into being.

He bought justice and its laws, bringing impunity into the world.

He bought love and feelings, and the result was pain and remorse.

The most powerful man in the world bought all the material goods he wanted to possess and all the values he wanted to master. Then one day, drunk on so much power, he decided to buy himself.

Despite all his money, he could not do it.

At that precise moment, there was born in the consciousness of the Earth the only thing on which no one can put a price - self-worth.

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