Trip to Heaven - Day Two

There's somethin' in a Sunday that makes a body feel alone.
And there's nothin' short of dyin' that's half as lonesome

As the sound of the sleepin' city sidewalks and Sunday mornin' comin' down.

Johnny Cash was walking through the city then and fortunately we were far away from the city. I woke up to an argument next morning at about five.. it was Latheesh arguing against Siril who wanted to go out to attend another of nature's call. He needed some company to get out there in a cold frosty morning and do it.. I cant blame him for that.. the pleasure of a PPT is altogether a different feeling. But I was in no mood to spoil a sunday morning by getting up so early and slowly retracted my head into the comfort of the blanket. Bijeesh was sleeping like a child, unaware of all that's happening around.

After couple more hours of sleep we finally got up at eight when the pujari came inside to clean up the temple. It was still windy outside and freezing cold too. I could see an uneasy Siril pacing here and there, murmuring something to himself. I thought he was doing his morning prayers while actually he was cursing the misfortune that awaited him. The evening before onwards Siril had one troubling thought with him.. where to download all that stuff inside his stomach. The pujari had categorically told him that he can go out to the grasslands on the otherside of the temple and get rid of it and he was not at all comfortable with the idea. All our philosophical talks on 'enjoying nature while donloading' fell into deaf ears. So I understood the desparation on his face..!!

Having no choice infront of him he finally joined us all for a date with nature.. and oh boy, it was one hell of an experience..!! We had to park our ass in front of the fire for the next 30 minutes or so. People had started to come visiting the temple in the morning and the pujari was well into his morning rituals. We packed our bags, changed into the day before's damp clothes and got ready to start the day's journey. Breakfast ws ready by then... tasty 'pulihora' and coffee.

Bijeesh & Siril were incharge of communication throughout the journey - Siril could read and Bijeesh could speak some decent Kannada. Together they became the spokespersons for the group. Our plan for the day was to trek to Babbudangiri,another hill in the same mountain range. There was a trek route from the temple which takes you through the mountain ridges to Bababudangiri and Bijeesh collected information on the route from a local help at the temple. Though we started on this way initially, we had to abandon this attempt due to heavy winds and poor visibility. It looked impossible to fight the raging winds with the bags on our back and a slippery trail ahead.

So we decided to climb towards the other side of the hill taking the flight of steps and then proceed towards Bababudangiri. But something happened then, that changed our plans for the day.. the mist started revealing the beautiful valleys and hills covered in lush green vegetation. We could not resist the tempatation and decided to climb another hill opposite to Mullayanagiri and as we did, it opened up new possibilities to us.

We abandoned our plan to go to Bababudangiri and decided to spend some time climbing the adjacent hillocks, finding our way back to Chikmagalur. There were a bunch of cows grazing on the pastures there and some of us started showing our real selves. New age incarnations of Lord Krishna were seen roaming around amidst the cows for the next 30 minutes or so. The cows also seemed to enjoy the game, especially when we opened our bread packets and Siril handed out some to them. We soon discovered Dr. Siril Dolittle, who could effectively communicate to the herd.. calling them aside and shooing them away at will... all the while talking to them in some strange language. Latheesh and Bijeesh claimed that they even heard the cows talking back. (Latheesh later clarified that it was actually a bull who talked back and that it sounded more like a warning..!! When asked about this, all we got was a frown from Dr. Dolittle.) We spent a good amount of time there enjoying the good weather and the scenery... ofcourse some had more fun with the cows.

We climbed down the hill and took the jeep route towards Chikmagalur. Every possible occasion we took the shortcuts that cut across the zig-zag road and this lead us through some interesting locales. After climbing two more hills and crossing a dried out stream, we reached Sitayanagiri and had a brief stop. There was a temple there overlooking the mountains and we took another short cut through the woods to rejoin the road sometime later. The next shortcuts we took were through coffee plantations and were realy adventurous. The first one was too slippery and we ended up about 20 feets above the road and no options but to slide down to it. All of us ended up with painted buttocks at the end of this exercise.. the rain and mud did a decent job painting our asses in all shades of red..!! The second route was right through the middle of a coffee estate.. a long narrow trail which seemed to go on and on without an end. There was nobody around to ask whether we are heading in the right direction, still we walked on. After about 20 minutes we could hear sound of vehicles and it was such a relief..!!

Rest of the walk was pretty much through the road.. the milestone read "10 kilometers to Chikmagalur". We reachd 'Kaimara' by evening and all of us were feeling damn hungry. We walked into a restaurant nearby who served us some hot idlis and tasty chutney. We had some 10 idlis each and Siril suddenly stood up.. his stomach had started troubling him once again. The tea shop had an attached toilet and the guy was kind enough to open it up for Siril. He wouldn't have done that if he knew whats gonna hit him. Siril came out of the bathroom after 35 minutes and he looked like he just invented electricity.. his face was glowing like a 500 W bulb. It was Mission Accomplished for him.. kudos to him for controlling it all for two days. Who said you need to do Yoga to achieve control over your body..?

When we reached Chikmagalur bus station finally, we still had three hours to relax and do a rerun of the significant moments of the trip. After dinner at the hotel in the bus station, we finally boarded our bus to Bangalore.. end of another satisfying trip. Tired and happy, we soon slipped into deep sleep and dreams started flowing in..!!

Some pictures here.

Trip to Heaven - Day One

The Bee Gees sang "Nobody gets too much heaven above, its much harder to come by, I am waiting in line.." Now I understand what they meant... 'coz my turn to experience heaven came up last weekend.... after a long wait. Another trip planned the day before, one that exceeded expectations, a 'closer-to-heaven' experience... all these are only apt adjectives to describe my last week trek to Mullayanagiri. This beautiful mountain, the tallest between the Himalayas and the Nilgiris has been haunting my dreams for sometime now. As monsoon was already in town, I was eager to make the trip asap before the rain lashes out. And last weekend looked like the D-Day when Bijeesh, Latheesh and Siril were enticed by some pictures of the place available on the net.

Mullayanagiri is near Chikmagalur, which is about 250 kilometers from Bangalore. 'Mullayan' is another name of 'Lord Shiva' and 'Mullayanagiri' means 'Lord Shiva's mountain', who has got a temple on the top of the hill dedicated to him. You have two options to reach the temple - drive from Chikmagalur to the base of the hill and then climb about 1000 steps or you can climb from a place called 'Sarpadari' which is more like a trek. Our plan was to follow the Sarpadari route, camp on top of the hill for the night and then hike to the adjacent Bababudangiri the next day. The whole setup is much like Kodachadri, where the devotees got an option of climbing the hill through a difficult but interesting route through the forest or drive down most of the way and climb the final one or two kilometers... for each his own.!!

The gang met at KBS platform number 23 to catch our 11PM 'Rajahamsa' to Chikmagalur. It was time for some last minute purchases. Latheesh did make sure that he bought everything in pairs or multiples thereof - 2 packets of bread, 4 bottles of water and so on.. reminded me of Noah's Ark. Though Siril started making fun of it initially, he soon became silent as he realized the significance of this profound analogy..!! We boarded the Ark in pairs.. ready for the smooth ride of five and a half hours... away from earth.. to a safer and much beautiful place closer to the heavens. Till we reached Chikmagalur there were no rains, no storm.. looked like the Rain God deferred his plans to unleash his wrath on earth, and Noah was not informed about the change in plans. So we sailed on and reached the promised land of Ckikmagalur by five in the morning. The KSRTC bus station was already buzzing with activity and we walked into the nearby hotel for a cup of hot coffee. We realized that the first bus towards 'Sarpadari' is at 8 which left us with about three hours to fresh up.

By 7:30, we reached the private bus stand, which is adjacent to the KSRTC stand. After about 30 minutes journey in the packed bus, we reached Sarpadari, the place with the unmistakable iron arch marking the start of the trail. By this time it had started raining.. finally the Gods honoring the prophecies..!! The atmosphere was exciting with slow breeze, lingering mist and the slight drizzle. We did not waste anytime and started our climb. The first few steps itself offered us a great view of the valley with few settlements and a beautiful lake. The initial excitement got us into action.. cameras and mobiles were out in an attempt to capture the beauty in pixels. The mist and mountains were playing hide and seek with the wind playing spoilsport.. exposing the misty cover every now and then. The drizzle subsided by then, the climate was perfect and we marched on. The trek trail was quite clear and for a change there were not many diversions, which made the climb easy in spite of poor visibility. At times we got so tightly hugged by the mist and nothing beyond ten feet was visible.

It was then that Latheesh & Siril were initiated into the 'Global Order of Spooners'. Both of them quickly embraced Spoonerism as a way of life and stared taking lessons on the fine art. This continued to be the favorite pass time throughout the trip and did play a part in bringing that BIG smile ON.. I can proudly say that the trip gave the world two spoonerism enthusiasts who may go lengths to further their knowledge in the domain and spread the word..!!

We passed the lone tree - one of the landmarks to make sure that we are in the right track - which was overlooking his kingdom of grasslands and the valley below. We did not want to disturb his privacy and decided to take our 'breakfast break' a little ahead. As we sat down on the rocks having some tasty vadas we heard a bird calling out in the wild. It was so melodic that we decided to keep quite for 5 minutes and just listen to the newfound musical talent. This bird followed us all the way till the top (or probably a kin of his), we could listen to the call every time we stopped to take a breath. As we resumed climb after breakfast, we came across this rock formation ahead of us which was almost at 110 degrees to the ground, literally blocking the way. We had to go round this mighty guy towards the top and this part was a little scary. Rains had made the ground slippery and the path we had to take had very few rocks or grass to hang on to. We made it without much difficulty and were on easy grounds pretty soon.

We reached the second milestone of the trek in a little while. There was this big tree with a statue of Nandi underneath it. By this time the rain had become heavy and the wind a lot faster. We got the first glimpse of the temple on top from here... we were about 5 minutes from the top. As we climbed on, we came across two caves.. big enough to house some 25 people. One of them had two tombs inside. After exploring the caves we started for our final destination and were quite excited as we reached there. It was misty all around which gave us the feeling that we are walking amongst the clouds. It took us about 5 hours to climb up, at a very very leisurely pace. We dropped our footwear outside and went inside to meet the Pujari of the temple. We had informed him as we started the climb and he had agreed to serve us lunch. The prospect of some hot food made us happy as he ushered us into the small temple. We unloaded our stuff in a small room outside the Sanctum Sanctorum and rushed to his house for lunch.

Rice and daal never tasted so good as it did then. The meal was simple yet refreshing and supra-tasty and awesome...!! We decided to explore the surroundings after lunch, but the expedition was short lived.. thanks to the winds and the rain. We were all shivering our guts out in no time and had to rush back to the comfort of the temple. So by 5:30 in the evening, we had taken out our blankets and were huddled around some peanuts, inside the temple, eagerly awaiting the pujari's call for tea. The tea arrived after which we moved further inside the temple close to the Sanctum Sanctorum, to escape from the cold. Sitting there next to the walls all covered in blankets, we looked like some sages in prayer. We were joking that devotees might even throw us some money thinking that we are beggars waiting for alms..!!

The temple had lot of bells hanging from the ceiling and every time we stood up we had to take care not to hit them... the darkness inside made it all the more impossible. It was puja time there and the pujari started performing his duties while we sat there observing everything from close quarters. It was a great experience to be inside the temple, sleep there the whole night and witness the pujari doing his customary pujas in the night and early morning. I am not sure whether we will get a second chance to experience this anytime in life.

Then came the much anticipated dinner time.. had some hot rice, sambar and mango pickle this time. Though we felt warm while having it, the moment we got out we were shivering like hell. Somehow we got inside the temple, all ready to sleep away to glory. But the wind and cold had other plans who hatched a plot to keep us awake the whole night. They had even taken taken the mist into confidence. As the doors of the temple were not airtight, wind kept on gushing in, bringing in the cold mist along with it. We found that our blankets were no good to defend this kind of an onslaught. But then, like every other difficult situation, there came a hero... in the form of the pujari who handed over to us the 'Brahmastra' - a really heavy, thick and long blanket - good enough to keep the four of us warm.

Not to mention that we slept peacefully the whole night till about 5 in the morning. It was then that Siril got a call from the wild... an uncontrollable urge to get out there and experience how nature looks like, at 5 in the morning. But that's another story which needs a post or two of its own.

I dont remember what I dreamt that night.. probably dreams for once had nothing special to show... the day's trip was full of stuff that the dreams are made of..!!

Trip to Heaven - Day Two.

Casino Royale & Kurt Cobain..

Been reading little on Nirvana and Kurt Cobain last week. Mind you, it was as part of my job and not just browsing to kill time. (Did I ever tell you that I love my job..?) I came across two things during the process which somehow seemed to have a feeble connection between them - Kurt's suicide note (supposedly) and then a character analysis of him based on his name. Here are few lines from his suicide note..

"Im too sensitive. I need to be slightly numb in order to regain enthusiasm I once had as a child..... There's good in all of us and I think I simply love people too much. So much that it makes me feel too fucking sad. The sad, little, sensitive, Unappreciative, Pisces-jesus man. Why don't you just enjoy it? I don't know..... "

And now, here is an anlysis of the name 'Kurt'based on the Kabalarian philosophy. Though the description sounds too generic and seems fitting for any Tom, Dick & y.. I found it interesting. It says -

"The name does not allow the stability required--emotionally or mentally .... The name creates much aloneness and misunderstanding, and does not allow happiness and fulfilment in life.... The extreme sensitivity causes you to suffer with thoughts that come into your mind unbidden- -unusual types of thoughts which could result in fear and premonitions of the future."

What's in a name? If you are as under-informed as me on this, there is in fact so much to it. Ask yourself: "If I did not have a name, how could I identify myself? If I had no name, who would I be?" and then check out Interesting place.. you might find that you are an elephant caught up in a wrong name..!!

On a different note, I saw something interesting on my way to ofiice today. There was this small crowd near the footpath and I could not help peeping in. There was the oldest version of a casino in action - a man with a small board and a pair of dices. The board has three columns with symbols on each.. you choose one and put some money on it.. he puts the dice into a tin, shakes it and drops it on the board. If the sign on the dice matches the column where you put the money, you get double the money, else it goes to the 'casino'.. nice and effective.. right..? It was not dificult to figure out that the casino makes money most of the times. I have seen this many a times back in my home town, but first time in Bangalore.. Casino Royale' perhaps..!!

A nice little bumper sticker on a car "Old pilots never die... they just move to a new plane..!!"

Now playing: The Moldy Peaches - Lazy Confessions
via FoxyTunes


Sensuality is one good selling point and I have been reading recently on various possibilities in this direction. The only difficulty is in keeping it on leash without crossing into the realms of sexuality, which can often result in rejection from the main stream society. But how much ever you try, there is always those who synonymies sensuality with darkness and sin. It is interesting that the dictionaries define the term Sensualism as the theory that sensation is the only source of knowledge and therefore, the only criterion of good.

Came across something called 'Cimmerian Sensualism' recently. It is an artistic and literary conceptual movement created in the 21st century by Julian Ikeda. The term 'Cimmerian' stands for "dark and gloomy" but darkness is not something that is seen as negative, but rather seen as a prerequisite to lightness. It is neither positive nor negative. It is a perception revealing our deeper, darker senses, sensualities, feelings, emotions, thoughts, and desires, in order to display the innermost secrets of beauty that are often suppressed by social expectations and reputation. According to Julian Ikeda, "People often hide their most beautiful, precious jewels in the deepest, darkest corner of their chests." Interesting..!!!

Probably not a conventional thought to start the day with.

Now playing: Michael Rose - What is Life
via FoxyTunes
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