Monday, October 5, 2015


August 30, 2003....The premonition...

The sky, grey and dull, clouds sombre, not a leaf fluttering, no chirping of birds, as though the whole world had come to a grinding halt, foretelling the story about to unfold...
                A posse of policemen accompanied by the officers of the Central Bureau Of Investigation stood before “Athithi”, house #26. The siren of the police jeep was wailing, and the intensity of sound getting amplified by the minute. Hosts of media personnel stood with DSLRs and mikes, ever ready to set the camera rolling and to give the breaking news. Curious onlookers on tree branches, on rooftops and on the street jostling with each other to catch a glimpse of the fallen hero and smacking their lips at the sudden action in their own adda!
               The cops had the arrest warrant ready when they knocked on the door. Amma was shell shocked at the unexpected visitors and muttered
“Look Police”... “Krishna, Krishna”...she called for divine intervention.
The officers were least bothered about expressions and reactions and with a swift wave of the warrant said
“We have come to arrest him and this is the warrant.”
Appa just followed them as if in a trance. The shutter bugs clicked nonstop to their hearts’ content, savouring each moment, covering different angles; some journos got sound bites from the officers in khaki who were only too eager to hog the limelight!
               Appa sat in the vehicle dazed. He looked at amma and gestured with the hand showing as if making a call and mumbled
      “call Ganesh and arrange a lawyer”
                  The neighbourhood was abuzz with all sorts of stories, each of them having a field day weaving tales of yarn, concocting stories and ridiculing my poor appa. A couple of good Samaritans had the courage to take amma inside and console her. Amma, brave that she was quickly composed herself and called Appa’s nephew Ganesh, who was a well known Doctor. He immediately plunged into action and arranged for a lawyer and the surety money as well as couple of witnesses. As this was being done, Amma called me and burst into sobs.
  “Vishalam....Appa has been arrested and taken to jail”
A bolt from the blue hit me hard and I was dumbfounded and “Whhhaaat” was all I could say. She started narrating the sequence of events....
          I pacified amma to the best of my ability as the situation first warranted that action, even as a million thoughts raced through my mind.
     “Everything will be all right, calm down, I am coming there by the next flight”. I also talked to her close friend, confidant and man Friday, who was like a “chithi” to me.
     “Lalitha Chithi...please take care of amma, I’ll be there as quickly as I can.”
                     The flight AC 107 screeched to a roaring halt at the Nedumbassery runway, rudely jolting me from my miseries, questioning mind and helplessness. The air outside was sultry and humid. I flagged a cab and reached home much to the relief of my amma. Hugging her in a tight embrace, we calmed each other. Choking with emotion, she recounted the dramatic turn of events in one single breath, gasping for air and her mouth going dry.
The CBI had arrested appa along with nine others, all former employees of CF ltd.,charging them with fraud and cheating, claiming that they had awarded contract to one particular vendor for transportation of liquefied ammonia for some benefit. They purported that these officers had intentionally approved the name of M/S XY barges and shipping co. and connived with the vendor for quid pro quo thereby cheating the company of many crores of rupees.
    “what nonsense”, I exclaimed and sat stupefied, here were the police arresting a set of people for an action that had been taken jointly with the approval of the core of ministers, way back in the 1990’s! My mind raced back in time, the floodgates of memories opened up and I reminisced the golden era of CF days! Nostalgia.....and really hurt!

April, 1, 1967.... Prologue....
          Appa, an all India rank holder in the ACA examination joined CF ltd., a huge public sector undertaking as a young accounts officer, overcoming the barriers of class, reservation, minority etc.etc..It was a humungous organization with over 8000 odd employees. Set up by a visionary, this company made fertilizers and chemicals and had multiple divisions such as design, engineering works and a caprolactam plant.

December 03, 1967...A milestone...
He married amma, a Bombay bred girl on this day, that marked a lovely innings of a city girl adjusting to the life of a small nondescript town in the southern part of India. But she quickly adapted to the new lifestyle like duck to water. I was born the next year much to the joy and happiness of appa, who simply adored me. I was the apple of his eyes and he my super hero!  Days turned into months and into years and we enjoyed the cocooned comforts of township life. Appa, slogged day in and day out at the office for all he was worth, burning the midnight oil during times of auditing and closing of accounts. He was dedicated, determined and faithfully carried out his duty to be worthy of the salary that he drew which was anything but princely!
         Soon, the family of three had an addition and my sibling was only too happy to share the unadulterated fun and frolic of childhood days! In the same year, Appa’s congenital heart problem resurfaced and he suffered from palpitation and shortness of breath. India, in those days, was not so medically advanced to treat his rare disease and we had to look up to the United Kingdom for surgery which was a very costly option. But CF ltd. came to dad’s rescue like a knight in shining armour and supported in every possible way. The company and his bosses were guardian angels and they left no stone unturned to give him a fresh lease of life. Thus Appa escaped from the jaws of death by a proverbial hair’s breadth! Rejuvenated and energetic like never before, Appa soon resumed his duties but this time more gratefully and working harder as a payback to the company that had done so much for him. He put in longer hours of work and soon climbed the ladder of corporate success. He ethically followed the “work is worship” concept while we children made merry at home, at school and at the club.
        The township was huge, spread across acres of land and had everything beautifully planned, laid out and integrated within. The magnificent gate manned by the Central Industrial Security Force was a sight to behold. The quarters, differing in size, but not in colour or shape, had colonial appearances and were homes to a mammoth 5000 employees. These bungalows had all the convenience one could ask for; free accommodation, free water and electricity, intercom facility, huge backyards with mango, jackfruit and guava trees that bore luscious fruits all year round. The gated community, a buzz word, these days was already there replete with tarred and well lit roads, parks with play things, playgrounds by the dozen, schools catering to different curriculum and boards such as SSLC and ICSE, a medical centre in a rounded building, a magnificent recreation club, guest house and the imposing factory at the centre of it all.
         My alma mater, the famed CF public school following the ICSE pattern was a home away from home, a knowledge hub with dedicated teachers who taught us the rudiments of learning and a grooming centre for sports, games, arts, music and dance and each of us excelled in these disciplines. I have spent the best days of my carefree life here winning many coveted trophies and sobriquets too!
         The recreation club was imperial and smashing and the English language is too dwarfed to describe this opulent heaven. It has a snooker and billiards room, a cards room, a swimming pool with different depths and a diving board, an open air stage, a fabulous badminton court where many a national level games were played, a superb tennis court of clay, ping pong tables, a video parlour and a food court. We have spent hours in the swimming pool with tadpoles for company and enjoyed the rocking music concerts of wood stock, the slapstick comedy of Laurel and Hardy and Charlie Chaplin brought alive on big screen much to the amusement of giggly gals and boisterous boys.
          The medical facility extended by the hospital in the premises was a boon to all the staff and their families and it came absolutely free.CF ltd. had made our lives happy go lucky! Free accommodation, free medical facility, free recreation and free schooling; what more could we ask?
         And it gave me my appa as a honest and upright officer who always walked the talk. Be it the use of utilities provided or the car facility with a driver or the gardener to tend to our lovely garden, Appa ensured that he never misused any of them and always led his humble and down to earth life. Even Amma sometimes got carried away with some of the facilities extended and at times, waited for the driver to open the door and wait on her much to Appa’s dislike. He always adhered to principles and upheld the high moral ground. His hard work paid him rich dividends and soon he was promoted as senior deputy general manager.

September 07, 1995....The core of the matter...
     The nine member standing committee headed by the director of finance submitted the report to the Chairman and managing director and the core group comprising of the group of ministers. This committee was instituted to be in charge of advertisement of tenders for transport of liquefied ammonia, receipt of sealed tenders, receipt of demand drafts as surety money, background checking and verification of financial viability and other key aspects that go into the requirements to meet the criteria. Among various bidders, M/S XY barges and shipping co. who had a good track record and had successfully accomplished businesses in similar fields and financially strong was shortlisted mainly for the quote of a tender price of Rs.1400/- per metric tonne of transporting the required quantity. The committee after further rounds of meetings called the vendor for negotiations.
  Standing committee (SC)   : “So Mr. Aziz, what is the best price you are 
                                                  offering us?”                      
   Mr. Aziz, (MD of XY)          :  “See, after careful consideration of the capital
                                                cost and working cost requirements, the
                                                final rate can be Rs.1200/-per MT but not
                                                below that as it would not be viable. 
Member, SC                       :    “what about night navigation?” We have
                                                received a no objection from the pollution
                                                board and the port trust for night
Mr. Aziz                              :   “I was about to suggest that, we could add
                                               night navigation as a bonus service without
                                               any additional rates.”
Member, SC                        : “All right MR. Aziz, let us discuss and get it
                                              across to our core group for final approval and
                                              we will soon let you know of the outcome.”  
Mr. Aziz                             :   “Thank you, Ladies and gentlemen, I shall be
                                              waiting eagerly for a positive response from
                                              the company.”
Mr.Aziz leaves the conference hall and the members discuss among themselves.
“Looks like it’s a fair deal, the price quoted seem to be ok but with night navigation included, the target of transportation on the required quantity can be reached, also new barges and containers have been acquired by them so safety is taken care of.”
“Anyway let us put this across to the group of ministers and get their inputs and feedback.”
               The committee then submitted all the relevant documents with documents to support and the demand draft for the final nod. The core group sat and deliberated and gave the final assent in a few days time and the contract was awarded to M/S XY barges and shipping. The decision on selecting this contractor had thus gone through the diligent process of all necessary approvals and there were never any quid pro quo benefits in this.
               It was business as usual and appa put in 38 years in CF ltd. , a dedicated yeoman service and demitted his office in the year 1998 as General Manager, corporate affairs. It was a sad moment for all of us, we had reaped the rich harvest of CF ltd. and the time had come to say goodbye to a life of goodness.
 The shrill ringing of the telephone jerked me from my contented past, to the appalling and scandalous present. Things had gone topsy- turvy and tumultuous; the man who had honesty and integrity as his second name was now behind bars, squatting on the hard ground – what an irony! The caller was my cousin, who assured me that the witnesses and the surety money had been arranged and that he was going with the lawyer to secure the release of my dear appa. Within a couple of hours, there was relief and optimism – we saw a faint light at the end of the dark tunnel. Appa was set free albeit with strings attached. He must present himself at the court every week for signing to mark his presence, and his passport was retained by the authorities so that he could not leave the country.
     Back home after the terrible ordeal to a man who knew no greed; we felt the worst nightmare was over. A stream of visitors came in like a swarm of bees, some lending a shoulder to him, a few keen to know about the conspiracy, the heroes and villains in the story. But some were as stinging as the bees with the sole purpose of rubbing salt on the wounds.
“Enna saar, did they serve you gruel in jail?” remarked this dastardly person and we were shattered beyond words. Appa took it in his stride and jokingly remarked,
“Yes Rajan, that too in aluminium bowl but I must say that the porridge was tasty!”
We all returned to our respective domains, continuing with our mundane lives and the hardship causing episode was forgotten. Appa took up teaching and became engrossed in his new avatar. However, the frequent ‘hearings’ on the case and the adjournments were grim reminders of the harsh reality. The exorbitant fees of the lawyers had drained his resources, the never ending summons and standing in the witness box had eroded him physically. A couple of his co accused could not bear the trauma and gave up, sacrificing their lives. But Appa endured them all and never faltered till the day of judgement.

May 22, 2015....Epilogue ....judgement day...
   The court had a packed house with the accused and their family members waiting with bated breath and finally the hour of verdict had arrived.
The High Court judge pronounced the verdict..there was pin drop silence, only the heavy breathing of the people could be heard. He read thus:
“The charges levelled against the nine ex officers of CF ltd. who have been charged with conspiring with the vendor to cheat the company under section 27 (d) of the IPC is baseless and there is no evidence to this effect. I pronounce all of them including Mr. Aziz, not guilty of any crime or wrong doing or fraud. There has been undue haste on the part of CBI in levelling the charges on the officers who have put their heart and soul to the company. ....” and he read on. There was a collective sigh of relief, a sense of euphoria and the family members cheered at the final judgement. I could see triumph on my appa’s face, his good action before prayers had been finally answered. I saluted my hero, applauded him from the bottom of my heart and felt immensely proud to be his daughter. Justice was given to a humble soul who had no enemies, no avarice, and no malice; who was transparent, open and contented. What lay behind him paled in comparison to what was inside him and   
      I recalled Martin Luther King’s famous words;
     “We must accept finite disappointment,        
           But we must never lose infinite hope.”


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Happy expressions with McCain!

                             Happy expressions with McCain!


                “You'll find that life is still worthwhile, if you just smile.” 
                           ― Charles Chaplin       


 A world of joy, happiness and warmth can be spread by a slight drawing up of the corners of the lips- smile and the world smiles with you and cry and you cry alone! The expression of the twitched up muscle is infectious and contagious and one cannot simply resist the temptation of reciprocating a smile.

                                Smile is a faculty that causes instant consciousness of happiness, joy, adoration, friendliness and mirth. It is a reflection of thought that repels negativity and creates an affable ambiance of cordiality and familiarity. An infant’s smile is sparkling, light hearted and cherubic,  


a teenager’s may be self conscious, coy or bashful and a school boy’s mischievous, impish and playful! A casanova’s smile is amorous, a young bride’s vivacious, a wife’s charming and exaggerating and a man’s crisp and abiding yielding a sum total of a genuine sense of warmth!
                           A pleasant start to the day just like the sun rise is brought about by the expansion of the facial muscles with the twinkling of the eyes and a glow on the cheeks! 

 Look around and we find smiley emoticons everywhere; on all social networking sites such as Facebook, Whatsapp, Viber, twitter and on inanimate objects like



 biscuits, cakes and pastries, bread and bun, doors, blinds, bed sheets and pillow covers, balls and balloons,


clothes, these lovely smiling faces are omnipresent! The ever so popular smiley was created by Harvey Bell, a commercial artist from Worcester, Massachusetts in 1963. This image is the most recognizable symbol of happiness, joy and goodwill! And I am overjoyed to present this post just after three days of the world smile day which is observed on the first Friday of October!


Snacks are the best ways to peoples’ hearts and what better way than to innovate on a crispy McCain Smile 

Chaats are always an all time favourite in my family and the folks are ever ready to binge on them! 
Here, I am presenting the Masala Sev Smiley with the exotic ingredients of sev, cucumber, capsicum tomato, onion, carrot, small papdi, cheese, sauce and the heavenly coriander green chutney.
Preparation of green chutney
Small bunch of coriander and mint leaves ground along with green chillies, tamarind, mango powder, salt, jaggery, asafoetida.

Preparation of papdi chaat

  Mix wheat flour and all purpose flour, add cumin seeds and carom seeds, rub in some ghee or vanaspati, add salt and make a dough. Flatten them as puris and prick small holes and deep fry these puris to get yummy papdis.

                       Method of making masala sev smiley

  •  Take a Mc Cain smile, apply some tomato sauce and grated cheese on it.
  • Then apply a little quantity of green chutney paste
  •           Top it up with cucumber, tomato, onion, capsicum and carrot 
  •              Place a small papdi on it



  •  Sprinkle sev

 Lo and behold, the lip smacking masala sev smiley is ready to be swallowed in a jiffy!

Thank you McCain  
for putting a smile on everybody's faces! And giving me the gastronomical pleasure of putting up the masala sev smiley!!!

                                 The rigours of life are conquered by the widened contours of the lips. Face is indeed the index of the mind and the sideward drawing of the mouth do give a sense of what is traversing in the complex human brain!      

Picture courtesy:



Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Perseverance, Power of Persuasion and Positivity

Perseverance, Power of Persuasion and Positivity 

Ours was an arranged marriage which had solemnly passed through the rigours of all the procedures of a typical Brahmin wedding - horoscope matching, boy seeing girl ceremony, the official engagement called the ‘nischitartham’ , fixing of auspicious time and day for wedding(muhurtham) and the usual diamond, gold and silver jewellery. (Being part and parcel of the marriage deal, irrespective of whether the groom’s party asks or not) .
After the boom, came the crash, and all my desires, hopes and aspirations  dashed to the ground and crushed under the mighty feet of my father-in-law, a tough task master who ruled the roost. My hubby , an enormously sweet person who dared not go  beyond the “lakshman rekha” and remained “yours most obediently” was caught between the devil and the deep sea and just  not mentally equipped for the war of two warring factions and his efforts of reconciliation went desperately in vain. Here I was stubborn and unyielding and as expectant as a new management graduate of a job that would set my career skyrocketing and on the other side an equal and adamant man who belonged to the patriarchal society with a firm rule of the thumb. 
The aggression, dismay, sorrow and retaliation, a cycle of human behaviour dragged on, from days to months with each passing day a nightmare of sorts. In no mood to relent or give up and desperate for a change, I set off to my parents’ place but no solace or comfort was forthcoming from my own circle of family and friends. One day, I decided to go to the movies in the township theatre with a view to lighten my heart and soul little realizing what was in store for me. Just before the film began I noticed a grey haired couple sitting two rows in front. Soon I realized that they were my husband’s maternal grandfather and grandmother.  Right from the days of my betrothal, I had nursed a fond liking for them – two sweet people, very calm and composed and extremely lovable. Immediately, I went forward to have a chat with them. The seat next to them was vacant and so I slipped into that unaware that this decision of mine was going to change the way I thought and lived for the next 25 years. The chat soon and as expected came around my marriage life and the hiccups that I was facing. I was on the threshold of annulling my marriage to a beautiful human being for no fault of ours but due to the pressures of an inner circle that held us as bonded slaves bearing the drudgery of society and the associated culture clash. The poem “Aunt Jennifer’s tigers” by Adrienne Rich flashed my mind a thousand times over and over with the marriage band hurting me incessantly. I was down in the dumps and the whole world looked bleak and sorrowful. My freedom had been curtailed, my wings clipped, my flights of fantasy never taking off....
The subsequent quarter of an hour was equivalent to the “bhagvad gita” discourse that Lord Krishna gave to Arjuna and ever so faithfully I listened intently to this frail old man who wiped away the droplets of tears that were waiting to come down as torrents. He explained in soothing and reassuring words...”why has God sent me to a nice, charming, educated man, my husband with the associated “baggage” as no one can stop destiny.” He said...”You are indeed going to play a major role in their lives and job and compatibility was only a small meagre part in that big drama called life.. your inlaws are old and waiting for an angel like you to take  loving care and soon enough they will know and realize the value of a beautiful person like me.” Soon, the veils of distress and agony lifted and somewhere I could feel a sense of belonging in the new family, a sudden light at the end of the dark tunnel, a pot of Gold at the end of the rainbow, a new beginning of hope and optimism. This pep talk with a grand old couple changed my outlook on life and the next two decades saw a reformed me full of energy and zest for life which I feel would have never taken place but not for them. It is refreshing to look back at a life gone by that was truly inspired by grandparents and not one’s immediate family or close friends.
I have had a successful married life with a warm and affectionate man, the joys of motherhood, the rich dividends of taking care of my father in law and mother in law when they were sick, the work atmosphere, the comforts of a lovely home, the freedom to freelance ...yes everything as a Chief Operating Officer and the relevance of looking at the brighter side of life!
                “Few things in the world are more powerful than a push. A smile. A world of optimism and hope. A "you can do it" when things are tough.”
                      -  Richard M Devos

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


It was still dark as I dropped my son at the bus stop. With the customary “bye” without looking back, he straddled across to the stop. My eyes caught an old lady dressed in sari worn in the traditional ‘Gounder’ way, with two bags by her side, talking to a person. She was showing her mobile and the action happening across the street suggested that she wanted help. The man was in no mood to offer any help and just waved her away. She then moved near to my son and did the same thing, whispering something to him. My son leaned over and took the handset in his hands and I saw him scrolling and toggling the keys. Within moments, route #6oo F drove in and he was off in a jiffy thrusting the cell into the woman’s hands.
           I lingered in the car for a couple of seconds more to see what the wrinkled lady would do next, she mumbled something to herself and the sparse morning commuters had all disappeared, she was frantically pressing different sets of keys but in vain to get connected. I was perplexed and in two minds, not known for chivalrous acts and the multitude cases of cheating, duping, conning all crossed by my cluttered brain but something urged me to get out of my car and act!
           I was out in a flash, ambled across the road and spoke in Tamil “enga ponnam amma?” She seemed to be more than relieved to see me and hear somebody talk in a language not alien! She told me that she had been waiting in the bus stop for the last one hour hoping her kith would pick her up. Despite her advancing age, she was sharp, physically and mentally agile and somewhat familiar with the topography. The mobile’s battery was draining fast and almost dying. I quickly dialled a random number from the contact list as did not want to waste further time exploring the list feed entered in Tamil, due  to my scanty knowledge of the script, which I unabashedly admit and also owing to the moments of life left in the Nokia!  Searching for the name she had mentioned, “Raja” would only add more agonizing moments for the two of us.
                  A woman’s voice sleepily answered the call and I asked her without any introduction as to where the owner of the number from which I was dialling, was staying. In a bewildered tone she answered that I had got the wrong number. Not making any headway and unsure and contemplating of my next move, I fumbled with the phone when I received a call back from the number I had just dialled. To a brief introduction of the situation I was in, smart that she was, absorbing and assimilating like all Indians, told me the old lady was visiting her relative in G R s apartment on MCC street. Thanking her, and thanking my stars as the phone went dead just at that divine moment, I said I would take her to the apartment myself. She was more than happy to be helped and just as I bend down to pick up the luggage, she cautioned me that it would be heavy. Shrugging her off, I picked it up casually only to feel the weight weighing down on my arms as if I was lugging timber! I somehow managed to put it in the boot carefully avoiding her “I told you so “looks!
                    As I drove in the dawn with the beautiful sun breaking the darkness of the night, I struck up a conversation with her. She had travelled from Coimbatore, a city in Tamil Nadu to Bengaluru to visit her granddaughter who was expecting her first child. It seems she had informed them of her coming but was surprised that they had not turned up to pick her up. As I was nearing the gates of the apartment, she realized that this was her destination and had recognized it. She got out of the car even before I could do that myself and open the door for her; as I opened the trunk, the bag that was so heavy for me was pulled out by her strong hands with the greatest of ease, and I owed her strength to the years of drawing water from wells!
                             At the gate, I saw a young chap, in shorts and T-shirt and in absolutely no hurry, approaching us, the gait suggesting his lack of interest! With great reluctance, he took the bag from her and went in without even a simple word of gratitude for a stranger who had dropped his grandmother in law! But the sweet woman was holding my hands and in her moist eyes, I saw benediction and mercy...profusely thanking and blessing me for the small act of kindness.

                         A sense of triumphant consummation of a deed well done cut across my mind on my way back but at the same time, the thought of two contrasting behaviours troubled me – one of a youngster who hardly acknowledged or recognized anybody and the other of the old lady who was a symbol of grace and retribution! And I knew what was in her heavy bag- sweets and savouries lovingly made by her for her granddaughter!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

"Krishna" in a new avatar!

Screaming headlines in today's The New Indian Express, Bengaluru edition..."Krishna enters Chickpet to cheers"..

Half awake and half asleep, this image caught my attention 


What divine intervention ...people of Chickpet seeing a miracle of a gigantic wheel of the chariot of Lord Partha ...I imagined letting loose wild squeals of delight...

Then reality struck me...jolting me from my half sleep to be awake was the metro tunnel driller named as "krishna" that had successfully dug through to emerge at Chickpet!


Do you see what I saw in the morning ..the giant wheel???


The grand appearance...


Will this new avatar of the Lord save us from traffic woes in Bengaluru???

Friday, August 21, 2015

   The Monsoon Magic- magnificent Jog and mesmerizing Murudeshwar  


                          This Independence day gifted us a freedom to travel to our hearts’ content in the monsoon, for a vacation starved Rams family! I jumped up in joy when my hubby proposed a trip to the western ghats in Uttara Karnataka, to celebrate our wedding anniversary in advance,! Deprived of a well deserved excursion for quite some time, I was indeed looking forward to the short odyssey. Google came to my rescue assisting in the booking of travel, stay and sightseeing and the itinerary was finalized from the cool comforts of my home! Everything seemed to fall in its place and the countdown to the D-day had begun with yours truly, the unskilled packer, stuffing all and sundry into two large suitcases much to the chagrin of the ads whose idea of a vacation was only a backpack! From salt for the leeches, to loosen their vice like grips on our soft bodies to sneakers and jackets to protect us from the rains, the luggage was full and I had the final say!
                         The free ride on the Uber cab was a delight to start our picnic with and we had embarked well ahead of the departure time of the bus. But the snarling peak hour traffic of Bengaluru was driving us insane. The only solace was to think of the sojourn to bliss and be one among nature! I had almost given up on reaching the travels’ office in time but the cabbie  who got the whiff of the situation due to my grumbling and ranting, stepped on the gas and manoeuvred adroitly through the rain filled pot holed by lanes  to reach the terminal on time and we avoided the trauma of seeing the rear of the glistening blue bus!
                               Snugly reclining in the push back seats, heaving a collective sigh of relief, we were off and in less than an hour stopped for dinner at a road side eatery with an ambience that was truly inviting. The “pure veg” tag was the icing on the cake and we enjoyed the steaming hot idis and vadas dunked in sambar and chutney.
                             The onward seven hour journey to Sagar, a lovely district of Shivamogga town in Malnad region of Karnataka was uneventful as darkness had engulfed the picturesque greenery of the country side. As dawn broke the darkness of the silent night, I was overjoyed to see the rain soaked ghat road towards Sagar. Yes, the monsoon magic had begun in full earnest and my heart was beating faster. I turned the clock back 30 years to reminisce the Geography class in school when Sukumari madam was explaining about Gersoppa falls and Linganamakki  dam across the Shravati river. How I had longed then to see India’s second largest segmented plunge and the moment of euphoria had arrived.
                          The hotel Pavithra Residency was decent and the family suite was large, neat and comfortable. Refreshed and raring to go after a warm bath and with a nice breakfast of masala dosai , we embarked on our sightseeing tour in a taxi.

                           The 30 minute drive across lush green carpets of paddy fields with swaying coconut trees fringed at the borders and winding snake roads was captivating. As we neared the gorgeous bluff, the skies opened up and the rain came down in torrents. We could hear the rush and roar of the Jog but the mist and clouds completely covered the falls. Within minutes the rain stopped  lifting the veil of mist and lo and behold, Raja, Rani, Roarer and Rocket thundered down magnificently and I was spell bound by nature’s bounty. A sheer fall of 800 feet of river Shravati into the ravines, the froth and foam pumping up my adrenalin!


The next couple of hours was absolute delight and a great photo op (sans selfies and groupfies) with different combinations and I am privileged to share those moments of bliss with my dear readers. My heart ached to bid goodbye to the opulence of nature  but we had to move on to the next destination, the Ikkeri Aghoreshwara temple built by the Keladi chiefs and has been taken over by the ASI. 

Then came Keladi with a temple and a museum developed by Kuvempu university which boasted of age old artefacts. Linganamakki reservoir was next on our agenda but despite the dam being almost full, the sluice gates were not opened denying us the opportunity of seeing a torrent of water gushing out!
                             Honnemaradu, the island atop a hillock overlooking the Linganamakki dam was enchanting. After the whirlwind two day sojourn to Sagar and its surroundings, we boarded the KSRTC to take us to Honnavar, the port city on the Arabian Sea. The Western Ghats was a treat to the eyes with dime a dozen hair pin bends on NH 17 interspersed with water falls en route. Copious rains , exotic scenery and salubrious climate made our 100km journey gratifying and pleasant!
                       World’s second largest statue of Lord Shiva with a towering Raja Gopura  was a sight to behold when we reached the coastal town of Murudeshwar in Bhatkal. 

For the etymology and legend about the temple please visit
                       The distinct air of the sea with the colourful fishing boats moored at the shore and the waves crashing into the temple is mesmerizing. The grandeur of the statue is enhanced by the breathtaking view of the Arabian Sea with its long coastline stretching as far as the eyes could see! High speed elevators took us to the 18th floor of the Raja Gopura 

and the view from the top was spectacular. I am bereft of adjectives and the English language seems to be poor to describe the panoramic spectacle where nature blends with perfect harmony with religion and spirituality. The imposing Shiva statue sitting cheek by jowl with the sea is forever etched in my memory! The beaches on the shore were balms for our weary but happy feet and the day culminated with the sunset. A hearty dinner at Kamat’s brought the curtains down on our jaunt.

                            The luxury coach from Honnavar brought us back to our domain , traversing through the Ghats one more time, briefly pausing at Jog and then heading to Bengaluru via Shivamogga . The mirthful, magnetic, marvellous, monsoon magic had come to an end bringing home rejuvenated bodies and souls with lots of memories and a pet leech! (We are yet to name it!)