Beach Vacation in Udupi

The Beach paradise exists. It isn’t a fable. And you don’t even need a secret map to reach it. Google maps is good enough.
I found my beach paradise in Udupi. Actually I found two and I can tell you that there are many more along the pristine Karavali Coast.
The first one was on the Kota Padukere Beach. The owners of this property have named it ‘Swarga by the Bay’ and I couldn’t agree more.
It’s truly piece of heaven located in the serene Kota village. The locals are kind and friendly and walking around the village and the fields is a charming experience. The house is well furnished and equipped with all the amenities needed to live as if in your own home.
It’s and exclusive property that is not yet on the tourist map. There is nothing between you and the sea except a picket fence.
Next we shifted towards Malpe and stayed at ‘Beach at the White House.’ This place comes with the luxury of a caretaker and a cook. So you can have the comfort of your own house as well as the service of goodnatured staff. Here we also witnessed bioluminescence.
The white washed house adds to the tranquil setting of the Hoode beach. It’s been designed with some interesting features such as this open air washroom.
These beach houses are not too far away from sightseeing hotspots, if that’s something you must do on a vacation. Otherwise these are the places you go to if you are looking for solitude and serenity.

Impressions from a coastal village in Karnataka

“We need eggs.”

“That shouldn’t be too difficult to find.”

The neighbour’s hen visits often, tailed by her chicks. Little A has been trying to make friends with the chicks. But they only want to play catch-me-if-you-can.

“I am not going to look for where they laid their eggs. Though a walk would be nice.”

There’s a shop that sells daily needs.

“Do you’ve peas?” He can’t understand me. I don’t know Kannada. I keep promising myself to start learning when my kid starts it in next grade.

‘Baṭāṇi’ – google translate to the rescue.

“You mean green peas!” The shopkeeper says in Hindi. He shows me a packet of dried peas. “We don’t get fresh peas often. You just need to soak these for three hours before cooking.”

Everything else is there. I would make spinach for lunch and pilaf for dinner.

“Are you staying at beach guest house? I can arrange for anything you need, just tell me a day in advance.” The shopkeeper knows the guest house owner, the caretaker, and everyone else. Everyone in the village knows everyone else – those with the green coloured house, or those in the pink house, the house with big brown gate, and the two houses that are now serving as guest houses.

“Do you need milk? ice creams – are there ? rasam powder?” he asks trying to help me in case I am forgetting any other essentials.

Yesterday I borrowed turmeric from the caretaker lady – ariśina – she was wearing a blue nightie. Today it’s a pink one – so far I haven’t seen her repeat a nightie. It’s the preferred work attire of the local ladies. The older ones manage in sarees – working in the fields or while digging cockles from the beach.

“Jalja Bai makes very good marwai, but you don’t get good fish here anymore.”

Locals take their nets to the sea several times in a day. A group of fishermen scours the shoreline every evening. They catch a handful of catfish and a lot of trash.

We’ll find good fish at our next stay, near Malpe.

Artist Observed – Aya Mouri

India Habitat Centre in association with the University of Kent organized a two day workshop on ‘Contemporary Visual Arts Writing & Criticism’—conceived by Dr Alka Pande, India’s preeminent art critic; lead by Dr Grant Pooke, FRSA; and curated by Angus Pryor, Director, School of Arts, Medway.

As an assignment for the seminar, I wrote the following note about Aya Mouri, one of the artists featured in the accompanying exhibition ‘Critical Narratives in Colour and Form:’

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A Football Talent Hunt with a Difference

I took these pictures at the inaugural match of a football talent hunt for underprivileged children. The event was organised by UK based Consortium for Street Children (CSC) in collaboration with some Indian NGOs, including Salaam Baalak trust.

The star players at the match were Vikash Dhorasoo and Renedy Singh. Dhorasoo is a former French midfielder of Indian origin. He is also known for the documentary ‘Substitute’ he filmed during the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Renedy Singh is the former captain of the Indian national team.

While Renedy kept mostly to himself and avoided the media, Vikash was engrossed in the activities on and off field. Renedy was his spirited self when he was on the field with the enthusiastic kids.

To Kodaikanal

The easiest way to reach Kodaikanal is to hire a taxi from the nearest airport at Coimbatore or Mysore. The other option is to travel by public transport. The latter means changing buses and finding your way through a town that doesn’t see the need to print road signs in any language other than Tamil. This could be mildly inconvenient but it’s the option to take for a more interesting journey.

We took a flight from Delhi to Coimbatore and the rest of the journey was to be made by bus via Palani. In Coimbatore, we were bombarded by gaudy hoardings of a certain sari showroom and traffic jams. When we reach the terminal, the bus to Palani was almost full and my sister and me had to sit apart from each other. It must’ve been a premium sort of bus as there was a TV installed for the entertainment of passengers through the four hour journey through the heat and dust. A Tamil movie was running that must’ve been a local hit considering the number of heads turned to the CRT screen and their reactions. It wasn’t difficult to follow the story. And language didn’t matter anyway as I couldn’t hear any dialogues over rattling bus and the general conversational din.

The old lady sitting next to me couldn’t hold back her curiosity any longer and asked me many questions, of which I could understand none. She was accompanied by a teenaged girl, apparently her daughter. Muthu tried to communicate using her limited English. I explained to them that I was with my Akka and I wasn’t wearing any bindi because I didn’t want to.

I managed to catch a few winks through bits and pieces of smalltalk.

“Excuse-me,” Muthu was holding out her phone to me. It was a basic black and white mobile with a “Happy New Year” picture SMS. This was cute particularly because the new year was still more than a month away. I couldn’t stop laughing.
“Thanks that’s sweet of you!”
“Sorry for disturbance!” she was abashed.

By now we had reached Palani foothills. The landscape was studded with windmills. I could see the Lord Murugan temple on a hilltop.

At Palani bus stand we struggled to find a bus to Kodai. There were absolutely no English signages and the conductors and other staff were equally lacking in friendliness. Somehow we figured that the bus wouldn’t arrive until another hour. The wait was spent with the help of murukkus, vadas and oven made tea.

This was bus was of an even lower budget than our ride till Palani. It’s entertainment system was a blaring radio. The good part about the journey was the scenic uphill drive and waterfalls.

We reached Kodaikanal after sunset and were left with just enough energy to look for our hotel, eat, and call it a day.

Never Mind!

रात को नींद आती नहीं और सुबह खुलती नहीं
आज भी late, boss कलसेगा
Full speed पे car भगाऊँ मगर
Road पे traffic ki bharmaar hai
की भरमार है
आजु-बाजू वाला हर driverबेकार है
Just chill!
Never mind कर दे!

Office में काम कम और meeting ज़्यादा करते हैं
Deadline तक project कैसे बनेगा?
Quality का standard और गिरेगा, हर कोई गैर ज़िम्मेदार है
Mood होगा तो चाय पीला देगा, peon ही यहां का सरकार है
सोच मत, बस
Never Mind ही kar de!

Coffee-सुट्टा break में office gossips,
Who was caught with whom locking lips
दूसरों के फटे में झांकना ही इनका कारोबार है
Office politics main koodne ko har koi tayaar hai
Forget it!
इसे भी Never mind कर दे!

घर के काम निपटाने का वक़्त जाने कब मिलेगा
Credit card, phone, internet, सब के bills pending हैं
“फुर्सत तो होती नहीं तुम्हें,” Family के शिकवे बेशुमार हैं
कैसे समझाऊं, life मैं पंगे हज़ार हैं
क्या करैं!
*sigh* Never mind कर दे!

Murder, Scam, Terrorism, Mishaps
News सुनकर mood off होगया
साला हर नेता गद्दार है
पूरा system ही बेकार है
On second thoughts…
What can I do?
इसे भी Never mind कर दे!

लोग जैसे दीखते हैं वैसे होते नहीं
फिरसे चूना लग गया!
किसी की फितरत का क्या भरोसा
हर कोई धोखे-बाजी में कलाकार है
उसने भी झूठ बोला कि उसे मुझसे प्यार है
सब बकवास है
एकदम Never mind कर दे!

चैन की सांस का scope नहीं है
जब देखो दिमाग में कोई-ना-कोई tension
Basically, crib करना सबका जन्म-सिद्ध अधिकार है
लेकिन ऐसे ख़ून जलाना, यूँ ही भेजा पकाना, बिल्कुल बेकार है
छोड़ यार
Never mind कर दे!