Friday, September 28, 2012

My trip to Wayanad in pictures...

So I visited Wayanad over the weekend and it was in a word blissful. Wayanad's rural charm combined with its breathtaking scenery is enough to warm the soul and make the city life we know so well disappear into a mist of oblivion. The whole area is overflowing with greenery and the distinctive rugged western ghats lend it a secluded old world charm. I like places like this, where there are hardly any people or tourists for that matter... and I prefer it to remain that way (times like this, I am glad my blog is not insanely popular, so people won't go flocking there.) Getting back to my trip, we started on a Friday evening, and caught the five pm train bound to Calicut. We were travelling with friends and snacking seemed the main activity that evening. For dinner we ate the chapatis I made for the entire gang while another friend prepared some tomato thokku and mushroom curry. After having a fulfilling dinner we settled in for the night, and reached Calicut station around 4:30 am the next day. Calicut station was surprisingly welcoming in the wee hours of morning, the place was clean and well maintained... quite a change from the dirt and grime of the Central station in Madras. 

Waited a few minutes for the car that the resort had arranged for us, and after jamming our bags in every nook and corner, we started on our two hour drive to Wayanad.
 The drive was peaceful, great roads and  beautiful scenery on either side. 
While nearing the resort we had to travel on a gravelly bumpy road with no houses or people in sight and that further heightened our intrigue. 

On reaching the resort (Rippon Mount) we were informed that since we had come in way too early to check in, we could avail the tree house to refresh ourselves while our cottages were being spruced up. So off we went to the tree house, located at the end of the resort and

 the sight that greeted us along the way was pretty impressive. Three waterfalls meeting and joining forces as they cascade down the valley in a ceaseless roar. It was all so enchanting and breath taking... 
Continuing our walk we reached the tree house which was pretty rustic and quaint. 
A tree grows right through the little hut and 
there was a hammock outside with an excellent view of the misty valleys. As we took turns refreshing ourselves, I soaked in the beauty that surrounded and overwhelmed us. By the time we were done, we were ravenously hungry and decided to have breakfast straight away.

 
 So we walked back through a beautiful pathway to reach... 
 the dining area...

where we sat down for breakfast which felt home cooked and pretty decent.

We were then shown to our respective cottages and after showering in the cold fresh water (the resort gets its water supply from a waterfalls nearby) we set off to explore the wonders of Wayanad, which you will see in the next post. 

A few other random pictures along the way...
A lady bug (click on the picture for a larger view)...
A mossy path...
Another view of the entrance to the resort...
The swimming pool at the resort...
The misty valleys...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Don't you think...

So if somebody derides your religion and leaves you seething in righteous anger, there is no point in further trampling upon your own religion and lending it an abominable status. Don't you think it would be wiser to either prove the perpetrators wrong by taking the high road and maintaining a dignified stance or by totally ignoring their demeaning portrayal of your faith. If your faith is strong enough, no power on earth will be able to sway you. If you feel threatened in any way, then don't you think you should first approach God and talk it out with Him. He is real to you right, He has to be if some inconsequential film/cartoon strip/inflammatory speech can drive you insane with wrath and vengeance. If you wanna make a point regarding your faith, don't you think you should uphold it in a way that pleases your God or is your God happy to see you blowing up your life along with his other innocent children. 

Don't you think it would speak volumes about your religion, if you are able to bring across your point without vandalising public property and creating a nuisance of yourself. Isn't religion supposed to turn you into a better human being, make you capable of discerning what is wrong and right. If you are going to take off like a person possessed at the slightest provocation then be sure that it is not religion you are concerned with but your own self righteousness. And when you start bursting with self righteous indignation your carnal nature takes over and turns you into a beast, the most fearful of all beasts. Beasts that have started wars and wiped out races in the name of religion. Isn't religion supposed to enlighten you and set you free, why then do you make the fatal mistake of letting it enslave you and turn you into a raving fanatic.The power of your religion should reflect in your thoughts, words and deeds.

Don't you think the best way to defend your religion is by living a good meaningful life instead of developing a detrimental attitude and disgracing your whole community in the process. Faith should be strong enough to move mountains, not dumb enough to  erect barriers and dig graves. Fight for your religion, fight for your faith, fight for your freedom, fight for your dignity in a way that demands respect and brings you closer to understanding yourself in the process. Learn to think, to rationalise, before joining mass opinion and creating pandemonium in the streets. Know that religion is supposed to propagate hope, peace, forgiveness, brotherhood, love and joy. Any religion that does not strive to uphold these basic humane qualities cannot be good for you and you should be smart enough to know that. Learn to be tolerant of other faiths, know that the conviction of your faith is supposed to shine through during times of crisis. That's how you make an impact and leave an impression on those who have no idea what you stand for. Loads of ideas and theories will come tumbling out of the myriad races that populate this planet, you cannot go around waging wars and denouncing every single ideology. Stick to what you believe in and don't force your belief on others. Be the best that you can, and leave it up to God to set things right.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Intouchables...

This french movie based on a true life story is one one of the best movies I've seen in the recent past. It depicts the story of an unlikely friendship between a wealthy paraplegic, Philippe and a 'down on his luck- wisecracking- happy go lucky- live for the moment' kinda black dude, Driss, who winds up as the rich guy's caretaker. And that's when the fun starts, this gorgeous black guy just goes about being himself and everybody falls in love with him... it's impossible not to. Driss livens up the household with his charm and wit, like the fresh mountain air. What's remarkable is his attitude towards the invalid Phillippe, Driss jokes about his condition and treats him as a regular guy. Sample this joke...

Driss : Where can you find a paraplegic?
Philippe : I don't know.
Driss : The same place you left him...

This is exactly the sense of normalcy that Philippe craves and Driss's presence in his life is invigorating to say the least. The lead characters have done their job pretty well, and this movie has won a ton of awards in the international circuit. It's not hard to understand why, the whole positive aura that surrounds this film has a way of seeping into the audience and one can't help but feel invigorated along with Philippe. Omar Sy as Driss is exemplary and he is the lifeline of this movie. The real life Driss must be a pretty awesome guy to hang out with...

So if you want a change from all those superhero movies that people never seem to tire of, then be sure to catch this beautiful french movie. There are no superhero's here... just ordinary people with a heartwarming story, and that in a nutshell is the essence of a real movie.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

If I could have a beer with Jesus...


Yeah, you can trust country music to come up with lyrics that make you stop in your tracks... since the first time I heard this song I have been completely floored by the music and especially the lyrics. It's about this guy who wants to have a beer with Jesus, I know at the outset it may seem flippant and disrespectful, but this the way guys unwind... sit together and talk about stuff over a beer. And that's what the singer really wants to do, just spend some time with Jesus in the only way he knows how. And what's beautiful is the way the singer goes about treating Jesus, like a best friend... happy to see him and longing to hear from him. The singer sings that he'll pick a place that's not too crowded and order a couple of tall ones, and he'll tell the waitress to put it on his tab. Thomas (the singer) would play something nice on the jukebox and he'd sip on his beer slowly while taking in all that Jesus was saying. Isn't that what a real friend would do, listen to you and just enjoy hanging out with you. He goes on to sing that when he gets the chance, he'd slip in a few questions: 

How'd you turn the other cheek, to save a sorry soul like me? 
Do you hear the prayers I send? 
What happens when life ends and when do You think You're coming back again?

Now, even though the singer considers Jesus a friend... he knows that He is hanging out with God, and he sings out of a deep abiding sense of reverence and devotion. And as you keep listening to the song, it hits you... the pain the singer is going through. He's a young guy, and he's just as curious about heaven as the next person. And just before he ends the song, at the last chorus he asks Jesus about the afterlife again, 'What's on the other side... Is mom and daddy alright? And if ain't no trouble just tell them I said hi.' This line gets to me every time, the poor guy is really missing his parents and still he did not rant or rave and ask the 'why me' or 'what did I do to expect this' type of questions. He trusts infinitely in Jesus's plan for his life and he knows that no matter what happens Jesus has got his back. Isn't that beautiful, a faith like that even though it does not scream or proclaim or quote verses and other religious dogma is (I feel) more powerful, enduring, and inspiring than any platitude filled sermon. The singer may not understand why he is suffering, but he knows that he is gonna be fine, because he has a friend in Jesus... and his simple belief is what makes this a great song. Thomas Rhett Atkins, great job on a beautiful song... I'd definitely have a beer with you anytime, though I don't drink beer.