Author: farooq (Page 1 of 33)

Expiry Date

There, but not there! 

Seeking perfection even in the camaflogue of the broken, twisted and peculiar settings, our innermost desire still remains – finding that perfect story. 

In the corners of the world, probing for boxes with that one perfect story hidden somewhere. They all look appealing. 

‘Maybe, I want them to’, the voices warn!

One after the other. Open. Each box is supposed to be: ‘the one’. 

Anticipation. 

‘Please try again’

And we move to the other.

‘Better luck next time’

The cycles. 

Boxes. Us. The stories. 

They all change. The us-es. And with them, the stories. Just like the changing boxes. 

You’re ired to continue opening another one of these. You’re tired of the disappointments. Of those stories that are there, but NOT there. Of yourself. Of them. And you so wish that it was in your hands to let it all stop. 

The myth of the choice. Hadhtag My Choice. Hashtag their choices. The puppets think they have free will. The strings are just accessories to walk around the life’s stage. Idiots. We’re all the Siri’s and Alexa’s in a parallel universe. 

Stories where cliffhangers are the norm just tend to miss out on cliched endings like.. ‘…ever after’. Lifelong happiness sure might be a myth. But even seeking the permansncy of a ‘they lived’ is a tall order. 

They say, there’s no correct box. The idea of that one box doesn’t exist. Unless it’s a book. A really good book. Or a movie to lend thoughts to those imaginations on 70mm. But, who listens?

‘Customize it!’ They say. ‘Weave your own story. Paint it the way you’d like the world to see. ‘ they add to their wise sayings.

‘But.. the story isn’t for the world!” I contest. 

‘No one gives a $#@*’. Their look says it all. Uncensored. 

finding passion

Finding Passion(s)

There’s only one thing in the world that one should be jealous of: People who have found their one true passion.

I know, I am.

At a blog meet, a few weeks earlier, during one of the high-tea breaks, a couple of us were straying around in the pool area. Alongside, in a bespectacled gentleman in a kurta, puffing away his cigarette, threw a smile at us. As we begin talking about respective blogs and what type of stuff we write about, his advice to us was, ‘Stick to a niche’. Of course, he isn’t the first and he won’t be the last to utter those wise words. Ironically, many-a-times Digital Marketing thought-pieces that I’ve penned down for other websites claim the same. That is the ideal way to go about. Sticking to a niche and gaining authority in the space. Easier to preach, indeed.

Finding our one true passion is like finding that niche for your blog.

One of the usual talk-points, when meeting people, are questions about ‘Why you stopped writing about *this*?’ The ‘this’ varies based on whom I meet. From Movies to Politics, the list varies. I’ve experimented, and continue doing so, about writing about a variety of topics and quite honestly have liked writing about it all. I have thought of ‘finding a niche’ too, but have come full circle as always to be at the exact place. Not that I won’t drive back to this very conundrum, but I now think there isn’t a niche I can stick to.

The thing I’ve loved, since class 3 when my essay was read in front of the entire class, is Writing.

Sure, I love traveling, but I’m not a traveler. I love eating and experimenting with food; finding ‘something new’ but I’m not a foodie. I do like taking photographs but I’m no photographer. And like this, a lot of things are what I love doing, but a bracket feels an unknown and limiting entity. I am and I’m not any of these. But I like the experience of it, and more importantly, writing about all of them.

And that is, probably, that one true thing, I’m certain of.

Of course, I’m in no position to add a superlative in front of that writer, now. But, someday. And it really doesn’t matter if it leads to a destination or not, it is all about loving what you do. For now, I’m jolted up by the excitement that I can (and I will) think of having a singularity to my many passions in life. A realization. Now onwards.

There’s nothing wrong or right about having many passions, but I’d like to have just one. Asking too much, eh?

And that reminds me to ask, have you found your passion(s)?

The end credits

Have you ever tried waiting for the end credits of a movie roll down?

The one at the end where names, after names, after names scroll up and an instrumental sound track gives company. Sometimes it is a catchy item number. Depending on the type of movie you’re watching. 

Have you?

Involuntarily, I have. Especially when watching one at home. Unlike the theatres, the rush to head out is ALWAYS high. 

A lot depends on how the movie ended, did it leave with giving an answer to something? Or asked a question? 

Answers, ease you. Questions linger. At least till the credits roll down. 

Questions uncover Questions, like how an old wound when teased becomes fresh. Hurting. 

But maybe you wanted to feel this. You allowed for it to happen. The asking of this question. A failed attempt to get answer. There was never an answer here. Even if there was, that answer isn’t the solution. It’s just an answer. 

Blame all you want. On them, on you. The answers won’t bring a stop unless it’s the correct one. But who’s to tell? You’re the judge of your own shackles. Lock it up or let it go. 

A silence brings to halt the reverie. A long list of ‘What to watch next’ emboss the screen. Choices, like always. Hard to pick. 

Next, next, next. Click. 

Arjun-Reddy-movie-Review

Arjun Reddy Review: Intense, dark and a good watch!

Only a handful of movies stay for more than a day in the back of your head where characters continue to remain alive . The kind of effect synonymous with finishing the final page of a good book. I don’t usually write about non-Hindi/English movies, but this movie is probably going to be an exception. Or perhaps a start to writing regularly about subtitled movies.

I’ve usually avoided watching Telugu movies unless highly recommended (or stars Prabhas or Mahesh Babu). The stuff dished out from the state’s industry has remained mostly the same over years, refusing to come out of the action-packed-one-man-army-masala movie genre. Barring Baahubali, there’s been hardly anything good and different.

Anyway.

This movie, Arjun Reddy, has certainly changed my opinion.

The story is about, as the name clearly suggests, Arjun Reddy. Arjun is a 4th-year medical student who is a topper, college bully who is good at sports but has anger management issues. He’s about to drop out of college because this dude, of course, won’t apologize to his dean for getting his anger out on someone. But hey, a girl enters. Literally, as he’s about to submit the NOC of his departure. 

Their relationship starts off with him practically bullying her to be with him but she falls for him eventually. Because Movies! The plot is more about him coping with the breakup (Oh yes!) with moments of flashback on the ‘why’ of it.

The brilliance of the movie is hardly in the contents of the story but in the character universe built around Arjun Reddy. With a screen time close to 3 hours, each character grows as the story develops, while getting ample screen time. Nothing seems rushed to sprint towards the ending but is trying to pull the audience into its depth. The background score and cinematography match up perfectly to the pace.

Characters like Arjun’s friend, Shiva, played by Rahul Ramakrishna, are more than just sidekicks typical of Telugu cinema (or even Tamil). Bereft of even the male-bonding drama, which the usual stories seem to progress when trying to go in a different direction. Not that there aren’t any caricatures, but they are overpowered by well written roles. Must commend, the writer-director Sandeep Reddy Vanga for this.

The female lead, Preethi Shetty, played by Shalini Pandey is earnest and displays the emotional state of a scared, in-love and suffering, young lady as her character transitions through the journey.

The film, of course, hinges on Vijay Devarakonda who plays the lead and man! This dude is good. One can say the role perfectly fits him and that the writing was done keeping just this guy in mind. Not that he doesn’t display the antics of a ‘hero’ but this role demanded the tantrum-filled alcoholic to do just that. I’m actually looking forward to watching more of this guy based on this.

Arjun Reddy is not only an enjoyable watch but is able to pull you in a world created by the Director. The Background music and the songs (No song-and-dance) adds to the intensity. It is one of the good movies I’ve watched this year and you should too.

It is available on Amazon Prime (with English subtitles) if you’re interested to watch.

Expiry Date

Expiry Date

Empty rooms shout the loudest. On their own. Laced with the echoes of yesteryears. The silences shout louder from the depths of it. There are traces of your laughter. Those awkward ones with a snort as if you’re trying hard to not laugh. Failing, of course. But successfully remaining etched. Redefining what failures means.

Ever wondered how their flaws stay back while the perfections fade away? Perhaps that’s the charm.

There’s music adding to the gloom, failing to drown the noises of the past. Instead, helping it thrive. Words, I don’t know of. It probably does. As the strings caress each other and the symphony flows out like the background score of a Spanish drama, I stare out of the dark smudges of the window. Nothing.

With my back stretched on the sofa and the legs dangling out on the carpet, I stare at the ceiling. Questions. All over the carvings on top, flowing without answers. Navigating my way, forlornly, from one pattern to the other. Following the mundane routine.

‘Why it had to start?’ The question on loop since the exit.

The numbered days had already stapled an expiry date for the end. I knew it, she did too. A set timeline for it to happen. For a change, I chose the short term joy over my long-term sanity. I overlooked the pain of not looking into those eyes ever again over the laughter accompanying me for a few. But it did start something. A beautiful beginning awaiting cessation. The end was always in sight. Tick Tock. Tick tock.

‘Why it had to start??’ The question was still unanswered.

As we sat on the stairs, while the moon shone brighter, silence engulfed us both. I feared, that this is it. Did she?

Her eyes said, ‘Maybe this is for the best’. She said nothing.

‘Why it had to staaa…’

‘Ting’

A smile dangles out, effortlessly, as a message popped up.

‘Kitna roega be C%$#^? Neeche hoon. Jaldi aa’.

Maybe they all don’t come with expiry dates.

Twenty Seven

Twenty Seven.

Turning Twenty Seven.

I have always wanted to be an adult. More than anything else when I was a kid. More to lead a restriction-less life and *touchwood* I’ve probably come close to doing that. Barring a few high-pitched calls from my mother about traveling too much, living life exactly the way I want to, isn’t a dream but part of reality.

Sure, there are a lot of ‘good-to-haves’ and a long pending wish list that outgrows itself periodically, but I’ve learned (sort of) to find avenues for being content and getting indulged in them. I wouldn’t like to jinx things up for myself, but this phase of life- the one bereft of drama- is what I’d like to call the good life.

Let me clarify because I do end up confusing people sometime, it’s not like only good things are happening. No, no, no! What I intend to proclaim is the absence of any major bad thing and the minor skirmishes notwithstanding, life is good. You get it, right?

And there are always multiple ways of looking at life. I prefer to go with the most favorable outcome. Yes, ended up practicing a lot of Probability before my CAT preparation.

So, coming back to Twenty Seven. Sounds like a big deal to me! Adulthood finally appears to have arrived. Gradually. But this realization struck me just a month back. Of becoming old. Of turning 27!

Maybe I’m reading too much into it or maybe I’ve started adding too many maybes to my sentences. Signs of troubled confusion. Damn it!

It is that time when your relatives start telling your parents that your son I getting older. Parents, of course, believe whatever the 4 log who drop home more than their own common sense. Mine isn’t so different either. The frustration of not being able to make sense to the emo-drama coupled with examples from the khaandaan is bizarre. And, shit, this is just the start.

The peace and drama-less life that I’ve temporarily enjoyed suddenly appears to be standing on a shaky foundation. Definitely, I don’t want to lose my ground. Not right now.

The struggles of adulthood might have finally begun and maybe it is time to grow up.

…and that’s when I knew

That look of yours. Yes, the same one were you magnify your eyes. The one which makes me feel that they’ll just pop out. That. 

That’s when I knew. 

When you blurt out the same things. And when I do the same. And then we understand, but don’t laugh. The silent high-fives.

That’s when I knew. 

When you share those uninteresting stories. Oh, sorry that’s just me. You hold them back. But you listen, to mine. And remember.

That’s when I knew. 

Your start-stop act of being funny (trying to) and thoughtful. 

That’s when I knew. 

Maybe we both know. Now. And then. Or maybe it’s just me. Again. Waving at the bus, I keep missing. 

”It’s just in your head”

‘Yes, and that’s the damn problem!’

Dandeli-Travelogue_Pic-Syntheri-rock

Travelogue: The Dandeli Chapter

It had been a while since I opted for a train for one of my trips. I was excited at the prospect of it and lucky enough to get tickets booked on time.

Destination: Dandeli.

Dandeli is a town in North Karnataka. It has the Second largest Wildlife Sanctuary in Karnataka which was designated as a tiger reserve in 2007. It is one of the few places for White River rafting in India.

Of course, there aren’t any direct trains running/crossing from Bangalore to Dandeli. Hence, I booked tickets till Londa Junction. (Yes, that’s how it is spelled). My friends, travelingDandeli-Travelogue_Pic-Bike-on-the-roads on their Motorcycles, were to join me there at the station, the very next morning. The prospect of a bike-trip was again exciting. I wasn’t driving and hence it was still exciting (and not scary) for my other friends.

After a breakfast of Puri-Sabji, with fluffy puris and mashed potato fried lightly, at one of the few roadside joints, dimly lit, we started off towards the town of Dandeli, on tarmac roads with greenery all around us. The fresh morning breeze racing past us as the town neared us. After roaming around, finding our own way towards the Kali River, we decided to take the resort package. It comprised of a night’s stay (Tent or a room), lunch and a breakfast. Along with it, the package included Zorbing, Boating, Swimming, Forest Treks, Cycling, Jacuzzi, Shooting and a Bon-fire to end the night.

The fresh morning breeze racing past us as the town neared us. After roaming around, finding our own way towards the Kali River, we decided to take the resort package. It comprised of a night’s stay (Tent or a room), lunch and a breakfast. Along with it, the package included Zorbing, Boating, Swimming, Forest Treks, Cycling, Jacuzzi, Shooting and a Bon-fire to end the night.

We were also given a map of the town and various sight-seeing places, which included:

  • Syntheri Rock
  • Ulavi Temple
  • Nagoda Backwater
  • Supa Dam

We headed towards Syntheri Rock and instead of off-roading the last 2 km stretch, walked along the route amidst trees and chirping of the birds.

Dandeli-Travelogue_Pic-Syntheri-rock

 

Dandeli-Travelogue_Pic-Syntheri-rock-view

Dandeli-Travelogue_Pic-Syntheri-rock-view

The giant rock with a stream of water from the Kalindi River flowing past it is a sight. The pleasant evening weather proved just the right fit for us to lose our shoes and let our feet dangle in the flowing water. One can sit by the stream and do nothing. I’m assuming there will always be a crowd here but pretty sure without them one can enjoy the view and sound of water, undisturbed.

Syntheri Rocks is a giant monolithic Rock located in the dense Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary.

As you head down towards the water, the view of this one rock fills up your eyesight.

 

 

 

As we headed back, the weather decided to literally spread water over our plans for further sight-seeing.

Instead, we headed to the town for a much-needed food break. A small restaurant called, Al- Kohinoor’s non-veg laden menu piqued our interests. Apart from having our lunch on the first day, we even followed it up for the second day. The food was good. Our orders included Beef Biriyanis (Plural, yes), Kebabs, Chaps, Liver and Fish Fry.

We had to drive down in the rain as it decided not to stop on our way to the Resort. The resort was pretty close by, but the route was blocked and hence we were forced to take a longer route.

It was already night by the time we reached and apart from dinner, dancing around the bon-fire and a late-night conversation under one of the many shacks, there wasn’t much to do. And I guess, that was the purpose of it all?

Dandeli-Travelogue-River-Edge-homestay

Dandeli-Travelogue-riverside-resort

The night was about getting some much-needed rest by tucking ourselves in the tent. The tent part was my first experience and although this was in a resort, still it was fun to be in one.

Dandeli-Travelogue-River-Edge-homestay-Tent

Ideally, Dandeli is a place known for River Rafting. The reason for coming over to Dandeli was that! However, since it was raining and due to government restrictions, it was closed.

There was a trek through the woods for the large part of the crowd who were up at that time. The trek culminated into a scenic area with a stream of water at the end of it.

Dandeli-Travelogue-River-Edge-homestay-Trek

Post this, we took a boat ride along the stream along with a very animated guide for company, who shared a few spooky Crocodile tales from around the area while we were in the middle of the water. Timing.

Dandeli-Travelogue-Water-boating

Dandeli-Travelogue-Breakfat-Poha-riverside

Dandeli-Travelogue-Book-reading-riverside

While my friends zorbed in the river out there. I decided to carry on reading the book.

Post the activities, we decided to head off to Dushsagar Falls. There was a lot of discussions and after much deliberation, we headed towards the next destination. First stop was, ‘Castle Rock’ from where we either had to trek up to Dudhsagar or hop onto a goods train. Alas! A surprise awaited us.

Dandeli-Travelogue-Castle-Rock-Station

Apparently, they’ve closed the trek option due to multiple accidents in the area and the last train which crosses Dudhsagar which we hoped to get onto, left a few minutes back. The quaint little station even had messages warning about the same.

Dandeli-Travelogue-Castle-Rock-Station-Warning

But we had our tent with us, and decided to park ourselves for the night. And this part, right here at Castle Rock, was a good decision. This area was like a mystery and I’d probably need a separate post to talk about that.

Dandeli-Travelogue-Castle-Rock-Tent

The town is out of a B-grade horror movie for the gloomy and foggy weather. Deserted as we walked in and made us wonder, do people even live here?

Answer : They do.

Dandeli-Travelogue-Castle-Rock-Pics-Station

Dandeli-Travelogue-Castle-Rock-Pics-Station-near-doodhsagar

Anyways, long story short, we put up our tent in the verandah of one of the guest houses and even ate a decent meal. The joy of doing this is irreplaceable. One of us was of the opinion to put a tent right here on the grass itself. Picturesque? Yes. But thanks to our skepticism, the rain at night would have troubled us if we had done the same.

Dandeli-Travelogue-Castle-Rock

Dandeli-Travelogue-Castle-Rock-Pics

As we headed out early morning enjoying the amazing view, once again, and wondering how come everywhere you go in Karnataka, the roads are amazing. But as soon as you’re back in Bangalore, the scene just changes!

I had a few hours to kill before my train arrived and ended up penning down my musings at Londa Junction, here!

Musings at Londa Junction

To Summarise my Dandeli Travelogue, it was more of a road trip where we made multiple and elongated pit stops. There were many things to explore in Dandeli and of course, the River rafting, but the roads are amazing and I’d suggest to take a car or a bike when you plan to head over to the place.

Musings at Londa Junction

Musings at Londa Junction

Waiting for a train in a non-crowded station has a calming effect on you. Or maybe coz, you don’t have much to do.

Londa junction is that station today. I know, for the hinterland folks, this might sound colloquially ‘funny’ (for the lack of a better word). A 3-platform station almost at the border of Karnataka-Maharashtra-Goa. 

A group of army men, with their military hair cuts, donning their trademark polo t-shirts with a slew of luggages, await close-by. 

A mother teaches reading to her daughter by asking ‘what’s written over there’. I so remember playing this with my sister and then trying the same with my brother. Yes, trying is the word. 

Across the other side of the platform, few dogs are lazying around for an extended sleeping session. It’s a national holiday, after all. Few dogs on this side are trying to become the alpha. By fighting it out, of course. Contrastingly, there are less folks fighting over recharge points than there are slots available. 

Aah! The life in a place like this. 

Heading outside, a slew of small shops and eateries serve food and tea. Both equally bad. The tea, a tad bit more. I’ve not had coffee since Friday. One more reason to head home at the earliest, only if the Indian Railways were on time. A few minutes back checked, to my amusement, the average speed of the Pudducherry ‘Express’ I’ll be traveling in, is 48km/hr! Looks like we’ll need a bullet train here as well. 

Coming back to the platform, the rush of the humans increases, as the dogs head over to another corner. The alpha-male debate seems to have been resolved, much to the discomfort of the passengers. 

I’ve strolled around the platform enough for now and probably head over to platform no. 3 where the train is supposed to arrive. But, probably a last Sprint to catch the train would be more habitual. 

I hope you, the reader, wasn’t looking for a connection to the myriad sets of descriptions above. Because, there isn’t any. 

Just my musings.  

Hampi-Travelogue-towards-town

Travelogue: The Hampi Chapter

There are places which emanate a characteristic vibe as their name pops up. Hampi, for me, is one of them. Hampi has been that unchecked item on my ever-expanding ‘places to visit in this part of the country’ list. But finally, it is ticked off that list.

Hampi- traditionally known as Pampa-kshetra, where Pampa was the old name of Tungabhadra river, around which Hampi is located.

A 2-day weekend road-trip, the ‘city of ruins; was visited. And even though, the rain did play spoilsport in keeping us inside our car or chilling around our cottage, the trip will be remembered.

We started off early in the morning, 7 of us, from Bangalore. The view on the road is supremely amazing! Like, one can sit by the window (which I make sure of) and take it all in. This, right here, is the best part of a road trip. Not to sound too cliched, but the best part of any trip is the journey towards that place.

Hampi-Travelogue-road

You see, what I’m talking about. The untouched beauty. The blues and the greens. And the road in-between breezing past it. And this isn’t all. You have the sunflower fields to do your own photoshoots. Full Filmy!

Hampi-Travelogue-sunflower-fields

Looks like those cheap photoshops where they add you in between flowers, eh? Well…!

When you’re on the road and the weather appears to be in a good mood, the scenery just keeps extending itself from one page to the other, forming a scrapbook on its own. Everything looks just not-ordinary. The purpose of traveling gets answers in return.

Chitradurga falls in route to Hampi and we took a very small diversion to the fort. Thankfully, it wasn’t raining and since it was really early morning (around 8 AM), not much of a crowd was present. We weren’t looking to spend time at the fort to ensure we reach Hampi at the earliest. Hence, instead of scaling up the top of the fort, we were content with stopping at one of the many peaks.

Hampi-Travelogue-Chitradurga-Fort-Nameplate

The majestic fort is a sight!

Hampi-Travelogue-Chitradurga-fort-view

‘Chitra Durga’ means ‘Picture Fort’. The fort is pretty well maintained and even though we selectively strolled around the fort without a guide, it was quite amazing. It is a series of several small hills, each overlooking the place. The view is a bliss. It was cloudy and that made it all an extra bit of drama for the eyes to behold.

Hampi-Travelogue-Chitradurga-fort-viewpoint

Hampi-Travelogue-chitradurga-fort

The fort was built over several years by the Rashtrakutas, Chalukyas and Hoysalas as well as the Nayakas of Chitradurga, feudal lords in the Vijayanagar Empire. There are 18 temples in the vicinity of the fort.

We continued on our journey towards Hampi with more photo-worthy moments for the hungry camera.

Hampi-Travelogue-towards-town

Hampi-Travelogue-hampi-town

Hampi-Travelogue-hampi-greenery

The route, as you enter Hampi, welcomes you with big boulders spread like arches like those ancient Greek kingdoms you see in period movies. In a way, this introduces you to Hampi.

We stayed on the other side at a cottage which overlooked paddy fields, a small stream, pebbles spread around. I so wish, we had more time to just chill here at the cottage itself. What more does one crave for? A book with a view? You have it here!

Hampi-Travelogue-places-to-stay-mowgli-cottage-view

Hampi-Travelogue-places-to-stay-mowgli-cottage

This is the dining area for the restaurant. Lots of board games to play while you enjoy the view along with decent food.

We did venture out on the first day in-between the start-stop rain and came across a small stream, trekked a little to just watch the sunset. This is what Hampi is mostly about, finding spots like these and absorbing the view.

Hampi-Travelogue-capturing-pictures

Hampi-Travelogue-capturing-pictures-camera

Hampi-Travelogue-sunsets

Hampi-Travelogue-sunset-points

Hampi-Travelogue-sunset-point-rocks

Hampi-Travelogue-rocks-evening

 

The night was more about getting some good sleep to make sure we explore the ruins, for which Hampi is famous for, the next day. However, we started off pretty late and with the rain pouring down, we had to hurry and squeeze in as much as we could.

However, in the morning we took a little stroll around the backyard of Mowgli Cottage. You can see the Virupakshi temple from across the stream. This area is great for a late-night campfire. But, of course, we missed that.

Mowgli-cotage-hampi Mowgli-cotage-hampi-stream

Here’s a list of places we covered on our second day. First up was, the Queen’s Bath which is outside the royal enclosure (which we visited next). The Queen’s Bath was created for the royal women but in most probability served as the private royal meeting place.

Hampi-Travelogue-Queen's-bath

Hampi-Travelogue-Queen's-bath-inside

Next to the Queen’s Batch, is the Royal Enclosure housing the Lotus Mahal, stepped tanks, Royal Elephant chamber and a number of other relics from the Vijayanagara empire.

Hampi-Travelogue-Lotus-Mahal-treeview

Hampi-Travelogue-Lotus-Mahal

The architectural style resembles a mixture of Vijayanagara and Mughal influence. The enclosure serves as a historical open museum depicting the era gone by with the ruins it houses. The adjoining gardens along the buildings, with trees around, serves as a viewing pod for tourists to sit and enjoy. It was raining and we were on the clock and hence roamed around to cover most of it.

Hampi-Travelogue-royal-enclosure

Hampi-Travelogue-royal-enclosure-view

 

This Royal Elephant chamber is one structure that seemed better preserved to this date among the ruins in Hampi. The dome-like structure for elephants displays an Indo-Islamic architecture style and was built during the Vijayanagara Empire.

Hampi-Travelogue-royal-elephant-enclosure

Hampi-Travelogue-royal-elephant-enclosure-bull

Hampi-Travelogue-royal-enclosure-museum Hampi-Travelogue-royal-enclosure-view

Next up were the Virupaksha Temple and the nearby ruins housing other temples, with boulders spread around the hills. The Virupaksha Temple and the adjoining areas are one of the main tourist attractions of Hampi. There was some renovation work underway at the temple and it started to rain when we reached there.

Hampi-Travelogue-virupaksha-temple

Hampi-Travelogue-virupaksha-temple-view

The only restaurant, other than our Mowgli Cottage, we went to was the most-talked-about Mango Tree restaurant. The ambiance is quite hippie and the food has variety, although pretty hyped. But with very few restaurants around this area, this was the default choice.

Hampi-Travelogue-lemon-tree

We saw ‘Lemon mint nana’ on the menu and ordered it, after having had a really good one during the Gokarna Trip. However, it wasn’t the same. Apart from this, their special Pizza, Pasta, and a few other things were ordered. Food was good but nothing unique to write about. Although, I would suggest to still visit this place.

It was time to head back to Bangalore. It had already started raining and after a few GPS-hassles, we were finally back on track.

Hampi was a great experience. There are so many things to do around and if you have even the slightest interest in architecture and history, you’ll get to see so many stories unfold in front of you. It gave me the feeling of ‘wish-there-was-more-time’ while returning. And that is what every place should make you feel. Don’t you think? Inviting and welcoming!

 

Have you visited Hampi? Share your experiences or travelogues in the comments, below!

To the ‘Yaar, hamara time kab ayega’ folks

I’m slowly growing tired (present continuous) of the ‘Yaar, hamara time kab ayega’ tone thrown casually in conversations reeking of ungratefulness. This can be heard while sipping an overtly expensive coffee, sitting at a pub by paying an exorbitant bill for a ‘good weekend’, from the windows of an Uber or from the seats of an aircraft flying miles above, popcorn stuffed mouths in a movie theatre and probably from every nook & corner in a typical Urban landscape.

There’s always a level-up we look towards. Nothing wrong in that. But why with an ungrateful attitude?

Just stop for a good 5 minute. Time it, if you like. Look at your life now. Look back to what it was before. Has it become better?

‘Yeahh.. but..it could have…”
Stop!

Think of the good things. You know what they are! Think hard. 
In an earlier post, I wrote about ‘What should be our life’s metrics?’ The most appropriate answer for it that I think of it is, ‘Happiness’. Just this. Define that happiness at each stage of your life and then look back to see, have you achieved it? 
No, this isn’t the ‘Have I made it large’ moment. You don’t and you might not always be able to make it. But don’t define your life with just the achievements. Leave it for your annual appraisals. Not for your happiness.

It is tough not to crib when it is the fashion. Cribbing about everything is increasingly becoming the norm of our generation. Downplaying our own achievements is what keeps us pre-occupied and supposedly keeps us grounded. It’ll ‘supposedly’ help us achieve our goals and being pompous about it might derail that process. It’ll boost that hunger driving one towards their goals. Feeling content might create problems. Fair enough, if you think being content about what you HAVE now might not push you.

But, how is cribbing and being ungrateful for what you have now, going to help?

Your basic necessities might have shifted from the ‘Roti, Kapda, Makaan’ to fancier versions of it and much more, but more than haHamaralf of the world is still struggling. Hell, your own neighborhoods can give you a picture of the stark contrast. 

My Ammi always, Always says this, to look at people who don’t have what you have, be thankful to God. This isn’t an original thought but is something to be passed around. Empathy for people living at a lower standard of life should always be higher than sighing over the fancy car that got past you. 

To answer the question, ‘Yaar, hamara time kab ayega’. 
Maybe it is already here and you don’t even know it.

lucknow-central-review

Lucknow Central Review: An underplayed prison drama that works

What can you expect from a prison-break drama? I mean what ‘unique story’ can you expect from one? Having watched quite a few over the years, I wasn’t looking forward to ‘Woah! That’s new’.

I wasn’t entirely wrong. The story is most definitely ‘an-innocent-jailed-trying-to-escape’ with a Hindi heartland story and a musical twist to keep you interested. But there is more to the Lucknow Central apart from the music and the obvious escape strategies. The underplaying of every character by all the actor is something unique about this movie. Not one or two, but almost the entire ensemble has made sure to keep themselves in check to not go overboard to the point that the first half buildup appears a tad bit slow apart from a few high moments.

Farhan Akhtar takes time to grow into the UP Bhaiya role he plays in the movie but as you progress with the plot, you realize maybe they wanted to play a low-key and grounded role, instead of an over-the-top-emotionally-draining role. The character is part-fun part-helpless, whose dreams are what every small town guy can relate to. Making it big. However, he still doesn’t outshine the slew of amazingly written characters of Ronit Roy, playing the jailor, and other inmates who plan to escape with him. This includes, Gippi Grewal, Deepak Dobriyal, Rajesh Sharma and InaamulHaq. Each of them putting their best foot forward in aiding the central character of Kishan, played by Farhan, by making a mark of their own. Credit definitely goes to the writing for well-written characters.

It was also good to see no romantic involvement between Kishan (Farhan’s Character) and Diana Penty who plays the role of Gayatri Kashyap, helping in prisoner reformation. Considering how Bollywood movie stories are written, this is a good change.

One scene where he walks next to the projector where they’re playing Amitabh’s Vijay Deenanath Chauhan is the right amount of epic. Same goes with many of the prison-drama scenes, the ragging, the gang-fights and the fun. Each of them characteristically giving you an insight into what goes on behind the jails.

Music isn’t overpowering the narrative and that in a way is a good thing. So are the dialogues.

Lucknow Central has a slow 1st half start and picks up towards the second half as the screenplay goes. However, the beauty of the movie is in the underplayed performances by its ensemble and some action-packed second half and a good climax.

Lucknow Central is a decent watch in the theatre for how it deals with a concept that isn’t alien to audiences and for its mature handling of the subject.

I’m going with a 3/5 for Farhan Akhtar starrer, Lucknow Central.

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