Friday, February 1, 2008

Of Unfinished Blogs,Vagabonding and The First Winter Snow

Winter has set in ,in this part of the world. I've almost lost three toes and four fingers to frostbite, but otherwise I'm doing pretty good.
Been a long time since my last post in November. After many false starts and a bunch of saved drafts, thought I'll push the publish button for a change this time around.

During a welcome break of three weeks in India for the year end, I managed to cover some mileage on the Great Indian Railways traveling to the East coast to my granps' place and then bussed my way through a big chunk of the West coast. Not exactly Jack Kerouac kinda odysseys , but not bad for a nice distraction from the rigours of the life of keyboard pecking and corporate clucking. The Indian Railways never fails to hold me in a spell thats nearly lasted a lifetime. Nothing to beat the aroma of Idlis and chutney(you never get that railway platform chutney anyplace else in the country) wafting through the windows in the dead of the night with the accompanying newly released musical.."Idly, Aaa Idly, Aa Idly, Idly". As kids, moms never let you get a bite of the oily vadas which the blokes peddle, but at 25, life gives you more choices and this is one of them... A plate of Vada in the dead of the night for no particular reason....
I'd spent 4 years of college life in Manipal never really getting the hang of the topography of the neighbouring city of Mangalore and all things Mangalorean. (The topography of the Mangalorean female specimen,of which we did have a glut in our college does not count). Since I had to attend a wedding in the thereabouts, I took off early morn from Udupi where i was based, for a day of pottering around Mangalore.

I got off the bus and took a rick to Sultan Battery ,my first stop for the day. Now, having been the majestic and awesome Bekal Fort in Kanhangad, I was expecting something similar, especially since my guide book, promised "exquisitely baffling architecture". I think this was some seriously twisted deviant, hell bent on ruining people's early morning starts. The Gurpur River is a good back drop for the(well ...almost concrete) structure, but with the number of ciggy packs and garbage around, this wouldnt rank anyplace in my list of to do places.

After a not so good start, things could only get better and they did. I am no fan of religious architecture , but am a sucker for history and there's lots of it in the churches of Mangalore. I went to a couple of em, and each had a little bit of 1500s and 1600s lurking in the Frescoes and the engravings. Could recall a bit from the Bible study class from the fifth grade after staring at em paintings. I visited Aloysius and Rosario Cathedral, even sitting through the Sunday mass in Rosario :) The smiling volunteers in the church, dont make the whole deal too bad either.

The wedding done, I took the roundabout route back to Udupi via Karkala, and stopped at the 1000 pillared Jain Temple, also called Saavira Sthambada Basadi in Moodbidri. It was not crowded when i went in, just a couple of locals and the temple accountant hell bent on extorting a big fee for letting my cam run riot. I keep my lenses and wallet closed . Just an out of the way place, with a nice ambience, but not someplace I'd go back for a second look. Not bad for a day's work eh!
Bangalore was once again the usual ..crappy traffic..honk,honk,honk..
I flew back to Tokyo after a fortnight of leisure. I'd managed to read up a lucidly complex(you'll know what I mean if you read one) Jiddu Krishnamurti book, a book on Hindu Revival by a Belgian,"Decolonising the Hindu Mind" during the time. I am in no mood to read Murakami or Ishiguro or Kawabata at the present moment.

Did read up a couple of Lonely Planet Travelogues and a book on the weirdness and the madness of Tokyo in the last week. In the middle of Kerouac's On the Road and Will Shirers book on the Third Reich.
My last couple of expeditions into Tokyo too were pretty rewarding. I managed to get tickets to a bunch of Sumo bouts and believe me ..It's a must see event in Japan. The ambience and the Shinto rituals make it all the more exotic to the average desi looking for "the real Japan". I've become a pretty big fan and now follow the tournament schedules,leaders and the private lives of the yokozunas with an almost Japanese zest.

It snowed for the first time in a couple of years in this part of Japan. A pic from my neigbourhood below clicked by one of my colleagues at office.

Thats it for now. Was quite and effort typing with the six remaining fingers. Will keep the good work going :)

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