Archive for May, 2008

It’s a great thing to meet people who are living out their dreams. So it was on the weekend to Coorg.

We camped at S’s coffee estate in the middle of nowhere. We first caught site of her, a distant trouser clad figure, as we trooped towards our campsite at the slightly outlandish hour of six in the morning.

“Hi”, she said, with a smile. The warmth of her greeting immediately making us feel at home.

S is a young IT professional, working with an MNC out of White Field in Bangalore. But, she is back to her home in Coorg every weekend, working with her father to convert parts of their estate into a suitable camping ground for trekkers.

Once more it was nice to meet someone who did not just spend her time cribbing. Instead, she uses the opportunities offered by Bangalore to build a life of her choice. Rather than sitting back and moaning the loss of a way of life that has accompanied the Itification of Bangalore, she was upholding all the things that were dear to her in another space.

It was also great to watch someone as young as S living out her dreams… And helping others to live theirs too.

S wasn’t the only person on this trek who was living out her dreams. There were others too.

“What do you?” I asked HN. “Nothing”, he told me too.

Sometimes, it’s nice to meet people who are doing “nothing” and not terrified by it.

Then, there was also RPN who had just quit her job to do what she really wanted to do.

It’s not everyday that you meet a person who can so openly admit that she is in the wrong place, and also knows where she would rather be.

Then, of course there was S who runs the show at Getoff Ur Ass (the group that had organized the trek). At a time when Travel was an unfashionable choice, he decided that he would make a living by guiding groups of travellers through the wilds. It’s a career choice that is probably just paying off.

Finally, I also encountered a whole bunch of women (either married or single) who are completely uninhibited about travelling on their own. Whether it’s S, RPN, SP, JJ, N or RH… They must all rate among the spunkiest women that I know.

So, that pretty much sums up the trek to Coorg. While the last two outings with Getoff Ur Ass have been about the adventure and just being out in the wilds… This one was completely about the people.


Weekend at Coorg

Posted: May 18, 2008 in Travel
Tags: , ,

It’s been weekend camping at Coorg. I am too sleepy to write about it now. But, more follows soon 🙂

I woke up early this Sunday morning, and I was well rewarded by a review for Ginger Soda Lemon Pop in the Deccan Herald that warmed my heart.

You could have a look at it here…

As any writer will tell you, a good review does so completely make your Sunday morning 🙂


Posted: May 10, 2008 in Bangalore

This post is dedicated to a special woman and a special initiative.

It’s easy to be an armchair critic (myself included in this category). But, I think it takes a special something to understand the problems of the world around you and try actively and steadfastly to change it. Bhagya, initiated by Renuka Jaykumar, is an attempt in that direction.

Koramangala has always had a unique demography – half an upmarket residential area (with some of the most beautiful houses and layouts in Bangalore) and half slum. This division has been further exacerbated by the IT boom.

With a house in Vivek Nagar, Renuka Aunty has lived at the periphery of this world, and the living conditions in these slums have always concerned her. So, Bhagya was born – not as an attempt at charity, but as an attempt to genuinely help these lower income families help themselves. It will work in Renuka Aunty’s immediate sphere of influence – Koramangala, Vivek Nagar, Egipura and Austin Town.

Bhagya will interview school/college drop outs from the slums and provide them with training in areas like computers (specifically DTP operation), hotel management, office administration. While providing these young men & women with training, Bhagya will also dialogue with businesses in the community to ensure that they have jobs after they complete their training. In special cases, it would help them set up businesses.

Their jobs will help these young people to give themselves and their families a better life.

The first class has stared in a room in Renuka Aunty’s house – with five computers and ten students who will be taught every evening by an instructor. All these students go through an interview process and must also pay a portion of the fee. Even if the amount is small, it ensures that each of them is committed to helping themselves.

Simultaneously, Bhagya also works to move young orphan girls out of the slum environment and into residential schools where they can make a better life for themselves. It has four such ‘adopted students’ so far.

In the long run, Bhagya would like to spearhead community colleges for slums.

So, 50 years down the line, if the slums of Koramangala & Egipura have upgraded, Renuka Aunty can take a bow for being among those who silently and consistently made the difference.

It’s true. Most people who complain about the state of the world of the world are also people who have  never attempted to change it.

Renuka Aunty’s work inspires me to remember that I can be a cribber or a doer. It’s a choice that I make everyday.

I received my copy of Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul today. The book, which has been compiled by Raksha Bharadia, has been in the news for sometime now.

The reason why I received my copy by post is that one of pieces has been included in the book. It’s a piece called “In Faith” and is based on the experience of getting my student visa to the UK. If you knew me at that time, you would probably recollect that great ordeal (and adventure!) of a journey.

The piece has been edited well… And there was also the excitement of seeing one of my pieces appear in an anthology for the first time.

So, once more, there is a pleasant interruption to the normal business of living and something to cheer about 🙂


Posted: May 8, 2008 in Life and Living

Two lil monkeys 🙂 Glimpses of Tim & Linda at play.