Sunday, December 15, 2013

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Chennai-Sri Kalahasthi Road trip

A longstanding wish to see Sri kalahasthi , a famous panchabhootha sthalam of Lord Shiva was realized yesterday.
My son Chinmay and I left with a Driver at 5 am from home in our car. It is a 130 km trip from Chennai to the town in Chittoor distt AP
This was a very cool misty day and we made good speed in the early hours of Saturday to reach the Tirupathi Highway via Koyambedu-Annanagar-Red hills route. The road traffic was sparse too

We moved through misty paddy fields after Tada border town  and it was a pleasant welcome experience.
The road is very good too.
 We reached the already bustling temple town of Sri Kalahasthi by 7.50 am, with no break( 2hrs, 50 mins).
As we were quite hungry and had not seen any worthy restaurant on the way, we had idli vada breakfast in Saravana Bhavan near temple. It is quite clear from the ambience and taste that the brand name of Hotel saravana bhavan ( HSB) is being misused by many fakes and this is just one of them. Later I came to know that there are seven fakes of this name in this town, but no original!

The car parking guys forced us to keep mobiles in the car itself saying camera phones are not allowed!
The touts catch you in Car park( 60 bucks for parking!) and I was sold two oil vilakku lamps, and bilva leaves mala etc there in the car park itself for appeasing the Rahu-Kethu moorthys outside the temple. We bought a packet of milk along with it too and stood in queue and we saw there are rats which feed on all these among these statuettes boldly. (There are various detailed poojas to rahu kethu dosha nivarana worth 300/- to 1500/- here for those interested)


After offering the milk and mala and kumkum to Rahu -Kethu, we had darshan of Ganapathi in a small  basement on the road outside and were given some avalakki prasadam there.

After climbing a few steep steps we reach the abode of Main temple.
To avoid rush as it was nearing rahu kalam in the 'dharma darshan', we bought 50 bucks each worth special tickets and went in through various corridors smoothly. En route we prayed to Subramanya ( our kuladevathe) and went in.
The moola shivalingam is Vayu lingeshwara in the panchabhootas.

As we missed the exit then, we had a second round of darshan in special line once more!
then we pass through many small 'templets' of Narayana, Dakshina moorthy etc on the way to Gnana prasunnambika abode, the consort of Lord Shiva here.Very nicely decked up Devi statue blesses us.

After completing this Darshan we came out and purchased prasadam like Laddu and vada ( Big tasty laddus like Tirupathi available here too!).

There is  a small hillock next to the temple, where the famous Bedara Kannappa legend seems to have played out as per mythology, the devoted hunter who offered his own eyes to the lord. It was already quite a walk in the main temple by now and I was a little tired.. My son Chinmay went up the hillock climbing the 200 odd steps and returned after the visit, while I waited at the bottom! He described what he saw there as  having seen a small temple and some very nice views from atop.

 By now we were hungry again (10:15am) as the morning breakfast was all but digested. We had a Masala dosa in a Ganesh Bhavan which is a much better restaurant than Saravana bhavan , the earlier one.

Snaps on the street outside the temple:

Well, the next phase of our misadventure is something I would like to forget in a hurry!
We had decided to see Tada falls sometime back and took a turn in from the main road..

OHHHH...It is a very long road, ceases to be road as we near the deeper forest and becomes a muddy, rocky surface and we bucked and rocked the way to AP forest gate who charged 60 bucks to go inside..What they did not say was INSIDE is some 5 km of trekking route and full of hard rock and sharp stones strewn on the hilly path.
See pics below:
On Hawaii slippers I had worn for the temple visit, 2 km was as much as I could stand, although Chinmay carried on for some more distance and we returned just seeing a small stream but not the 'falls'..I felt we would have 'fallen' down if we did anything more!
Well, it is a Trekker's path and you need to geared up for it!

As we returned homewards, the Saturday High way traffic caught up with us and we had to go to Lunch in Anna nagar by 3.15 pm at HOT CHIPS restaurant and actually returned home by 4:30 pm.

If we had avoided the Tada loop, we could have been home by 2 pm and that is the correct duration for just going to Sri Kalahasthi and back!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

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Sachin: When The The Tireless Retired

Must-read: Sachin's Farewell Speech

There was a pop song in my youth in the 70s-80s  that went something like
Goodbye to you, my trusted friend
We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun 

That's all we can say as the legend Sachin Tendulkar says farewell  to cricket and hangs up his bat today.
Sachin, the batsman was phenomenal , so majestic and unflinching when he wielded his bat for 24 years for India. His life was in numbers and numbers was his life... 

Yet when the moment came to go back to pavilion for the last time, he was so dear and soft. He thanked everyone who had made his life what it is today. There was not one dry eye in the stadium or outside. 
A truly humble giant, despite his short stature!

No doubt, one could say through out his life, he got preferential treatment and Mumbai and Industry lobby had so strongly rallied behind him that his place was guaranteed for nearly a quarter of century. So much so that the Selectors in his lifetime had only to select the rest of the ten players..Sachin was ALWAYS there.
And he delivered, match after match, year after year, creating a status of a demigod that he was something that did not belong to this planet. The records he created may never be broken, but the the years he spent out in the middle entertaining one and will not be easily forgotten either. 

Sachin tendulkar's exit marks the end of an era for us, may be, and we only hope and pray there will be other golden boys with bat and ball for the next generations to worship.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

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ಚೆನ್ನೈ ನಲ್ಲಿ ಕನ್ನಡ ರಾಜ್ಯೊತ್ಸವ - ನವೆಂಬರ್ ೧, ೨೦೧೩:

ಕನ್ನಡ ಸಾಹಿತ್ಯ ಪರಿಷತ್ ಮತ್ತು ಮದ್ರಾಸ್ ವಿಶ್ವವಿದ್ಯಾಲಯ, ಚೆನ್ನೈ ವತಿಯಿಂದ ನಿನ್ನೆ ನವೆಂಬರ್ ೧ ರಂದು ಕನ್ನಡ ರಾಜ್ಯೊತ್ಸವ ಸಮಾರಂಭ ನೆರೆವೇರಿತು. ಇದರಲ್ಲಿ ಇಲ್ಲಿನ ಕನ್ನಡ ಸಂಘಸಂಸ್ಥೆಗಳಾದ ಕನ್ನಡಿಗರ ಕೂಟ, ಬೆಸೆಂಟ್ ನಗರ್ , ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ ಸಂಘ, ಕನ್ನಡ ಬಳಗದ ಸದಸ್ಯ ಕುಟುಂಬಗಳು  ಸಕ್ರಿಯವಾಗಿ ಭಾಗವಹಿಸಿ  ಯಶಸ್ವಿಯಾಗಿಸಿದರು. ಈ ಸಮಾರಂಭವನ್ನು ರಾಷ್ಟ್ರಕವಿ ಕುವೆಂಪು ರವರ ಸ್ಮೃತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಏರ್ಪಡಿಸಲಾಗಿತ್ತು.

ಗಣಪತಿ ಪ್ರಾರ್ಥನೆಯಿಂದ ಆರಂಭಗೊಂಡ ಈ ಸಮಾರಂಭದ ಅಧ್ಯಕ್ಷತೆಯನ್ನು ಶ್ರೀ ಕೃಷ್ಣ ಭಟ್ ಅರ್ತಿಕಜೆ ವಹಿಸಿದ್ದರೆ, ಮುಖ್ಯ ಅತಿಥಿಯಾಗಿ ಖ್ಯಾತ ಸಾಹಿತಿ-ವಾಗ್ಮಿ ಶ್ರೀ ವೈ ವಿ ಗುಂಡೂರಾವ್ ಉಪಸ್ಥಿತರಿದ್ದರು.

ಅಲ್ಲದೆ ತಮಿಳ್ನಾಡು ಕನ್ನಡ ಸಾಹಿತ್ಯ ಪರಿಷತ್ ನ ಶ್ರೀ ಕೆ.ಪಿ.ಆಚಾರ್, ಮತ್ತು ಮದರಾಸ್ ವಿಶ್ವವಿದ್ಯಾಲಯದ ಕನ್ನಡ ವಿಭಾಗದ ಮುಖ್ಯ್ಸಸ್ಥೆ ಡಾ, ತಮಿಳ್ ಸೆಲ್ವಿ ಯವರು ವೇದಿಕೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಹಾಜರಿದ್ದು ಎಲ್ಲಾ ಕಾರ್ಯಕ್ರಮಗಳನ್ನೂ ಆಸಕ್ತಿಯಿಂದ ವೀಕ್ಷಿಸಿದರು. 
ಡಾ. ತಮಿಳ್ ಸೆಲ್ವಿಯವರು ನೀಡಿದ ಕುವೆಂಪು ಕೃತಿ " ಶ್ರೀ ರಾಮಾಯಣ ದರ್ಶನಮ್" ಬಗ್ಗೆಯ ವ್ಯಾಖ್ಯಾನ ಅವರ ಸ್ವಂತ ಭಾಷಾಪಾಂಡಿತ್ಯ,ಸ್ವಾನುಭವ ಮತ್ತು ಸುಲಲಿತ ವಾಗ್ಝರಿಯ ಪ್ರತೀಕವಾಗಿದ್ದು ಎಲ್ಲರಿಗೂ ಕುವೆಂಪು ರವರ ನೀತಿ ದ್ಯೋತಕವಾದ ಈ ಮೇರು ಕೃತಿಯ ಪುಟಗಳನ್ನು ಮನವರಿಕೆ ಮಾಡಿಕೊಟ್ಟಂತಾಯಿತು.

ಕಲಾವಿದರ ಮನರಂಜನಾ ಕಾರ್ಯಕ್ರಮಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಚಿ. ರಾಜೇಶ್ ರವರ ಸುಮಧುರ ಪಿಟೀಲ್ ವಾದನ ಸಂಗೀತ ಪ್ರೇಮಿಗಳ ಮನ ಸೆಳೆದರೆ ಕಿರಿಯ ಚಿ.ವಂಶಿಯ ಕೊಳಲು ವಾದನದ ವಿಶಿಷ್ಟ ಪ್ರತಿಭೆ ಬೆರಗಾಗುವಂತಿದ್ದು ಎಲ್ಲರಿಂದ ಮುಕ್ತ ಶ್ಲಾಘನೆ ಪಡೆಯಿತು.

 ಕು.ನಿಧಿ ಮತ್ತು ಶ್ರೀಮತಿ.ಶ್ಯಾಮಲಾರವರ ಯುಗಳ ಗೀತೆ: " ತೆರೆದಿದೆ ಮನೆ ಓ ಬಾ ಅತಿಥಿ" ಮಧುರವಾದ ದನಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಮೂಡಿಬಂದು ಎಲ್ಲರ ಗಮನ ಸೆಳೆದು ಹೆಚ್ಚು ಪ್ರಶಂಸೆಗೆ ಪಾತ್ರವಾಯಿತು.

ಭರತನಾಟ್ಯವಾಡಿದ ನಾಟ್ಯ ಮಯೂರಿ ಖ್ಯಾತಿಯ ಕು|| ಪ್ರಿಯದರ್ಶಿನಿಯವರ ನೃತ್ಯ ಮನೋಹರವಾಗಿದ್ದು ನಮ್ಮೆಲ್ಲರ ಕಣ್ಮನಗಳನ್ನು ತಣಿಸಿತು.

ಇದಲ್ಲದೆ ವಸಂತ್ ಹೆಗ್ಡೆ ಮತ್ತಿತರ ಹಲವು ಪುರುಷ ಮತ್ತು ಮಹಿಳಾ ಸದಸ್ಯ ಸದಸ್ಯೆಯರು ಕುವೆಂಪುರವರ "ದೋಣಿ ಸಾಗಲಿ" ಮುಂತಾದ ಕೆಲವು ಕವನಗಳನ್ನು ಹಾಡಿ ಎಲ್ಲರನ್ನೂ ರಂಜಿಸಿದರು. 

ಶ್ರೀ ಕೃಷ್ಣಭಟ್ ರವರು ತಮ್ಮ ಭಾಷಣದಲ್ಲಿ ತಮ್ಮದೇ ಆದ ವಿಶೇಷ ಶೈಲಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಚುಟುಕಗಳನ್ನು ಹಾಡಿ ನಗೆ ಹೊನಲು ಹರಿಸಿದರೆ, ಸಮಾರಂಭದ ಮುಖ್ಯ ಅತಿಥಿಯಾಗಿ ಆಗಮಿಸಿದ್ದ ಶ್ರೀ ವೈ ವಿ ಗುಂಡೂರಾಯರು  ಭಾಷಾ ಸಾಮರಸ್ಯ, ವೈವಿಧ್ಯತೆ, ಸಂಗೀತದಲ್ಲಿ ಬರುವ ಪೇಚಾಟದ ಸಂಗತಿಗಳು ಹೀಗೆ ಹತ್ತು ಹಲವಾರು ವೈವಿಧ್ಯಮಯ ವಿಚಾರಗಳನ್ನು ಹಾಸ್ಯ ಲೇಪಿತವಾದ ಶೈಲಿಯಲ್ಲಿ  ವರ್ಣಿಸಿ ತಮ್ಮ ಸಮಯಸ್ಪೂರ್ತಿಯ ಮಾತುಗಳಿಂದ ಎಲ್ಲರನ್ನೂ ನಗೆಗಡಲಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಮುಳುಗಿಸಿಯೂ ಅದರಲ್ಲಿ ಅಡಗಿದ್ದ ಸಂದೇಶ ಮತ್ತು ವಿವೇಕ ವಾಣಿಯನ್ನು ಒತ್ತಿ ಹೇಳಲು ಮರೆಯಲಿಲ್ಲ.

ಸಮಾರಂಭದ ನಂತರ ಅಲ್ಲಿಯೇ ರುಚಿಕರ ಉಪಹಾರವನ್ನು ಏರ್ಪಡಿಸಿದ್ದರಿಂದ ಎಲ್ಲರೂ ಅದನ್ನು ಸವಿದು ತೃಪ್ತಿಯಿಂದ ಹಿಂತಿರುಗುವಂತಾಯಿತು.

ಕೆಲವು ಛಾಯಾಚಿತ್ರಗಳು:

ಪಿಟೀಲ್ ವಾದನ

ಯುಗಳ ಗೀತೆ

ಕನ್ನಡಿಗರ ಕೂಟ- ವೃಂದಗಾನ

Sunday, September 22, 2013

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Indian Cinema: Kannada event :100 and Counting!

Remembering the legends of the century!
Amma all the way, quite literally!

Thanks to two Passes issued by local Kannada sangha, we( Self and son Chinmay) attended the Day 2 of 100 yrs Indian cinema celebrations here at the air-conditioned Indoor auditorium in Chennai , the morning session which was reserved for Kannada film Industry and its achievements and honoring the Industry stalwarts interspersed with Cultural programmes.

The atmosphere was very festive, the roads decked with  the CM ‘AMMA’ posters all through and there was a lot of security to pass through before we entered the colorfully decked up stadium.

The inauguration by lighting the lamp was done by B Sarojadevi and Srinath accompanied by Home Minister KJ George.
The music and dance cultural programmes were simply ROCKING!
 Many enjoyable moments from past and present were showcased professionally.

It included veteran actress Leelavathi shaking a leg to ‘mellusire savigaana’, Beautiful Bharathi performing to the famous ‘Bala bangara neenu’ and Jayanthi swaying to ‘virahaa…’; songs which were landmarks in their own careers decades ago. Also Shruthi and Tara performed on some oldies from Kalpana films.

 Many young and upcoming artistes performed some hot numbers to both old and new film hits.(Whose names I am not aware of…That was more because of the surprising absence of any host /anchor for the programme and so the programmes just went on unannounced; many times the audience had to scratch their heads who they might be?)

Interspersed we had a video film that traced the roots of film making from the first cameras to silent movies to firsts in Indian cinema and Kannada celluloid world through the decades. It was a mesmerizing, thought provoking and grateful recall, worthy of the Centenary year!

The vintage video footage recollected some excellent milestone on-screen performances from Dr Rajkumar, Vishnuvardhan, Srinath, Prabhakar, Shankar Nag etc from actors; and Leelavathi,  Kalpana, Manjula, Jayanthi ,Bharathi, Aarathi and others from actresses.

Many veteran producers, distributors and theatre owners (exhibitors), music directors, cinematographers and stuntmen who have served the industry were honored with mementoes recalling their achievements. Seeing renowned music director Hamsalekha brought back memories of Prema loka hit years, while Rajan of Rajan Nagendra of the bygone melodious decades! Also honored were worthy singer BK Sumithra and Choreographer Mugur Sundaram etc …Senior Actress Jayamala and Actress- Minister Umashree mostly did these honours.

It was a four hour marathon, well attended by enthusiastic Chennai kannadigas in the galleries.

 Among the attendees spotted in the VIP rows: Srinath, Rajesh, Sunder raj, KSL Swami,  Shivaram, Ramesh Arvind, Ambika, BV Radha and others

Among those who were absent (or not spotted): Ambareesh, Dwarakeesh , Rajkumar family, Anantnag, Sudeep, Darshan, Ravichandran. 

I read somewhere that there was some grumbling in the Kannada Industry that their representatives were not invited/ignored etc.  Happens in such events!

 Some lovely pics of today's event below:

Also read :

ಚೆನ್ನೆಗೆ ಬಂದ ಬಂಗಾರದ ಮನುಶ್ಯ!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

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ಚೆನ್ನೆಗೆ ಬಂದ ಬಂಗಾರದ ಮನುಶ್ಯ!

ಇಂದು ಚೆನ್ನೈ ಕನ್ನಡಿಗರ ಪಾಲಿಗೆ ಬಹಳ ಸಂಭ್ರಮದ ಸುದಿನ..ಏಕೆಂದರೆ ಮೊದಲ ಬಾರಿಗೆ ಅಣ್ಣಾವರ ಮೇರು ಚಿತ್ರ "ಬಂಗಾರದ ಮನುಶ್ಯ" ಕನ್ನಡ ಚಲಚಿತ್ರವು ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಬೆಳಿಗ್ಗೆ ೧೧.೩೦ ಕ್ಕೆ ಪ್ರದರ್‍ಶಿತವಾಯಿತು..

ಎಲ್ಲ ಚೆನ್ನೈ ಕನ್ನಡಿಗರಂತೆ ನಾನೂ ಹೋಗಿದ್ದೆ.

೧೯೭೨ ರ ಅತ್ಯುನ್ನತ ಸುಪ್ರಸಿಧ್ಧ  ಡಾ.ರಾಜಕುಮಾರ್ - ಭಾರತಿ ಅಭಿನಯದ ಈ ಚಿತ್ರವನ್ನು ಇಲ್ಲಿ ನೆಡೆಯುತ್ತಿರುವ ಭಾರತೀಯ ಚಲನಚಿತ್ರದ ೧೦೦ ವರ್ಷದ ಶತಮಾನೋತ್ಸವದ ಅಂಗವಾಗಿ ಎಲ್ಲರಿಗೂ ಉಚಿತವಾಗಿ ಇಂದು ತೋರಿಸಲಾಯಿತು..

ಡಾ|| ರಾಜ್ ಮೊದಲ ಬಾರಿಗೆ ತೆರೆಯ ಮೇಲೆ ( ’ನಗು ನಗುತಾ ನಲಿ  ನಲಿ ’ ಹಾಡಿನಲ್ಲಿ) ಬಂದಾಗ ಎಲ್ಲರಂತೆ ಈ ನಿಮ್ಮ ಲೇಖಕನೂ ಸಿಳ್ಳೆ ಹೊಡೆದು ಚಪ್ಪಾಳೆ ತಟ್ಟಿದ್ದಾನೆ!!  ಚಿತ್ರಮಂದಿರ ಭರ್ತಿಯಾಗದಿದ್ದರೂ ಈ ಊರಿಗೆ ಶೇ ೬೦ ರಷ್ಟು ತುಂಬಿದ್ದೆ ಪುಣ್ಯ!

ಭಲೆ! ಭಲೆ! ಎಂತಾ ಚಿತ್ರ!!

  ಪತ್ನಿ ಸಮೇತ ಕನ್ನಡಿಗ ಮಿತ್ರರೊಂದಿಗೆ ಕುಳಿತು ಆನಂದವಾಗಿ ಈ ಚಿತ್ರವನ್ನು ನಾವು ತಮಿಳುನಾಡಿನ ರಾಜಧಾನಿಯಲ್ಲಿಂದು ನೋಡಿದ್ದು...ಹಾ, ಈ ಚಿತ್ರ ಮಾಡುವ ಹೊತ್ತಿನಲ್ಲಿ ರಾಜ್ ಹಲವು ದಶಕಗಳ ಕಾಲದಿಂದ ಈ ಚೆನ್ನೈ ( ಮದರಾಸ್) ನಗರದಲ್ಲೆ ಇದ್ದರೆಂದು ಮರೆಯುವಂತಿಲ್ಲಾ...

 As a part of 100 years of Indian cinema in Chennai, we ( self and wife) just went for Bangaradha manushya , 1973, a Rajkumar masterpiece (which ran for 2 years in States theater then) here in Chennai at Sathyam Cinema FREE, first come first served. 

We went with lot of expectations and we were very thrilled to meet so many cheerful kannadigas who took time off to see a classic together. 
All were asking me and wife to join a kannadigara sangha and participate in functions..Theater was 60% full which is great for chennai!

Wonderful film ..
Brought tears in my eyes..Superhit songs and performances..

Tomorrow we have got 2 passes to see the the main celebrations of kannada filmworld in a Stadium in Chennai..
More on it on my blog with pics, late tomorrow..

Sunday, August 18, 2013

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Movie review: CHENNAI 'Doesn't' EXPRESS

  •  It is a standard SRK film- Check.    
  • Takes on his own aged DDLJ theme- Check.   
  • North-South divide and comedy arising from language barrier -Check  
  • Good guy and Good gal on the run from Big Bad guys -Check.
With so many stereotypes and cliches, it is no wonder Chennai Express is not a new train on the track.

SRK plays a 40-yr old bachelor , looking for a good time with his friends in Goa despite having his Grandpa’s asthi meant for Rameswaram, but lands up in some remote TN village still lorded over by local zamindar-cum-Don to whom  everyone reverentially bows..
Oh, really, this is some TN that I am yet to see in this day and age!

Deepika is a gutsy and lively Don’s daughter on the run, an unwilling bride who still needs protection from the 40 yr Old bachelor, who neither understands Tamil nor can defend himself against big bulky bouncers of her evil daddy. 

From the first scene of SRK helping Deepika up on the train it was never in doubt how the movie would end, but it takes some tired, circuitous route to the destination.
Chennai Shuttle Passenger’, would have been a more appropriate title.

SRK tries to pass off his brand of downright buffoonery as comedy most of the time. Else he hams the rest of the way.
It is left to the young and mercurial Deepika Padukone to lift the goings on with a spirited performance…Tamil accent, eyes, expressions everything spot on. 
Rest of the crew is quite deadpan.

 How and when the lead pair falls in love is not brought out clearly by Director Shetty and it seems like more of a compulsion than real sentiments at play.

Songs and BGM are pleasantly fine with two songs noteworthy. Photography is arresting. These are about two plus points to mention. That’s it.

In the end , it was quite clear that this was a typical ‘mass entertainer’ that Bollywood mindlessly churns out, so less said the better.

Rating : 2.5/5

Sunday, August 11, 2013

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Yercaud...Chilling in Hills

Salient features:
Distance to Yercaud= 353  km from Chennai on GST road.
Car:  Our maruti Ritz Vxi
Time taken: 7 hrs ( with 2 to 3 breaks for Breakfast, tea etc)
One night halt

We as a family of four decided to visit a cool hill station we had often heard about but never seen yet...Yercaud, near Salem, TN.
We were ready to leave on Friday, a Ramadan holiday, at morning 5.30 am.
After filling up full tank, the driver informed me the meter starting reading as 3021.
The early morning had light rains and light traffic along Adyar- GST road towards Ulundurpet, the road we had chosen. We made good time traveling at 100 kmph thereabouts.

We stopped for breakfast at a nice place near SRM University called ‘Sappada Vanga’ a veggie restaurant and had steaming Idli vada for breakfast with Coffee. The restaurant is nicely furnished and there is even a small glass aquarium there.
We made good time again the rest of the way with GST road being butter smooth all the way.
What surprised me was the rest of the way i.e, NH 68 is also excellent with hardly any traffic to clutter up your path.

I was earlier advised to take the shorter Kuppanur Ghat Road, but we heard on the way at a tea shop that the same was quite narrow and besides the recent rains had made the conditions worse.
So we took the regular one via Salem town, often asking for directions, for Yercaud Main road up the enchanting hills that guards the town like a behemoth.
There are 20 hair pin bends on the way up and green scenery as we drove up is feast to the tired eyes of a Citizen.


We had some sickness breaks and all, so were delayed a bit but we managed to reach up to Yercaud after 7 hrs of our departure from home. Though Shyamala was feeling sick when the trip started, she considerably brightened up after reaching Yercaud and enjoyed the rest.

The hill town was bursting at seams with holiday traffic and we had a tough time in locating the small resort we had booked in called Thendral resort.
It is tucked away beyond Montfort school in atop a lovely hillock that overlooks the entire valley. It has only 6 rooms and small Veg-Non veg restaurant in the basement. Purely B- class in my opinion .
Call Ph no No,04281- 226800.
But then the view is breathtaking and compensates for the small and medium grade facilities in the resort, nee Lodge.

I advise only bachelors who want to party or make merry to stay here and not for families. The problem is you have to make booking well in advance for good resorts like GRT, Sterling, Shevaroys etc…

 The weather at this time of the year (August) is amazingly cool and nights are chilly too. Light blankets were given and we did not need the ceiling fans throughout.
The lunch was at a medium class place called Shevaroys -Silver oak restaurant.  On this weekend, there was severe staff shortage and even food shortage in most restaurants generally everywhere in Yercaud. Of course the rooms everywhere were fully booked for 3 day long weekend!!
There is a Malar restaurant and an Annalakshmi near the lake for vegetarians and we had to settle for whatever they could serve up under the circumstances of overcrowding and food short supply.

The places to see included lovely panoramic view spots called Lady’s seat, Rose garden and Pagoda Point on day 1. 


Boating had to wait for the next day as sunset arrived and we returned to the rooms.
In all, Chinmay and Sanmathi along with us made the most of the welcome break on this tour. 

The next day we took the pedal boats 4-seater one, for 30 mins and it costs 110 bucks with a  refundable deposit of same amount, but in case you are late, no refunds! Mercifully they give you, life jackets, albeit stained old ones!

There is a water fall called Kiliyur falls and the road to it was clogged with holiday traffic. It takes some 260 steps to get down to the falls and climb up on the return.
I am unused to such long hauls and chose to  stay put at the top with wife accompanying.

As many elderly and children came up huffing and puffing, complaining that steps were  steep and it was quite hard for them, I realized the authorities have to put not only warning boards but also some first aid medical facility midway there.

My children enthusiastically went about visiting the falls and here are some pics

There is an advertised Tourist spot called Botanical garden maintained by Central Govt, but know what?..They work only 5 days a week, and closed on Saturdays and Sundays!!   Isn't it ridiculous and ironical that they do such things in Holiday resorts?

We left shortly after 2.30 pm on Saturday and came down the hills pretty fast. There are still some drunk young road-ragers en route but we had an experienced Driver in Ramachandran who handled the conditions with ease.

 We stopped over for a break at Devi Towers in Salem.  We had hot Masala tea to help us get on with rest of the trip back.

  A small comedy board seen on the way... see the spelling!

Nothing to do with Jayalalitha's Amma canteens ...But a small Mess!

We had light dinner at Sappda Vanga again and were home by 10 pm. 
 The journey had consumed some 784 kms in all at the end...
A good brisk weekend getaway from Chennai!

Friday, July 26, 2013

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Book Review: The Cuckoo’s calling…Loud and clear!

This murder mystery thriller is written by JK ‘Galbraith’..err!..’Robert’ Rowling..Sorry I mixed it up…JK Rowling herself!

(I read it primarily because it is a hot seller in the market now and not because she wrote Harry Potter books, of which I have not read even one.)

Anyone can understand that the burden of fame and expectations from the readers' world is so phenomenal that JK Rowling of Harry Potter fame decided to hide her celeb self under a `mysterious’ pseudonym of Robert Galbraith, while embarking on a different genre of story—An adult Murder Mystery as opposed to Youngsters’ fantasies she is well known for..
Have a change of scene, as James Hadley Chase would say!

The story is a straight up detective novel, in the English crime tradition of Agatha Christie with a touch of J H Chase while elaborating on the shady characters, deceit, lust and greed that pervades the world of high glamour and big money. 

We open the narrative following the death of supermodel Lula Landry (affectionately nicknamed Cuckoo), whose apparent suicide has the press in frenzy. Three months later, private detective Cormoran Strike is asked by her step brother to investigate if, in fact, Landry was pushed from her balcony, thus cold bloodedly murdered by someone and made it conveniently look like suicide. 
The hero is an ex-war veteran, one–legged with prosthetic support, whose own personal life has been just wrecked by a breakup and is so broke that he sleeps in his small dinghy office.
He is blessed to have a smart, thinking-on-feet secretary Robin who provides able support despite being wild-eyed with admiration of his deductive /detective skills, so much so that she takes on her fiancé to support her employer.

The investigation takes some 400+ interesting pages (I read the e-book version), well paced and with some twists and turns to keep one turning pages. 
But the 70's familiar Hindi film theme of jaaydaad ( property) rears its head again and you are surprised , in this day and age!

But seasoned mystery novel readers (like me) won’t have to wait too long with bated breath to know the truth, they will ‘do it’ 3/4ths of the way through…But for the modus operandi of death, you will have to wait till the last pages…Good fact, very good!

This marks literally a new ‘chapter’ for the author Rowling…We couldn’t care what pseudonym she wrote under, as long as such good ones keep coming at regular intervals.

PS: It reminds you of a Chase novel of 50s:‘Lay her among the Lilies’ among others, very much!

Recommended: Oh, Yes!

Rating : 4/5
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