Tuesday, September 24, 2013

If only you were here

If only you were here Ma, you could tell if I look pretty? I see my reflection in this basin and wonder why do I look so different? Where are the rest like us? I feel so lonely...





I like this woman though who keeps water for me outside her house. She feeds me too. One day I courageously flew and sat on her shoulder. She told me then, she is sorry that mankind destroyed our homes and that she would take care of me because I'm the only one left.

Is this true Ma? If only you were here...

******************************************************************************************************

100 words written for Write Tribe's 100 words on Saturday ' If only you were here', This weeks prompt was provided by Kajal Kapur of Rainbow Hues.

You would agree with me that Sparrow sighting has become a rarity in the Indian Capital Region. There was a time when our gardens and pathways would be bustling with their chirpiness, but with the growing urbanization, pollution and population these dear petite birdies are nowhere to be seen. An article in Deccan Herald states that India is not the only place where Sparrows have disappeared. This trend has crept into the Netherlands, France, Germany and many more cities. It is disheartening!! Delhi's Chief Minister in August this year announced Sparrow as a State bird in a bid to save the species. But not much has been done till now. With this post I urge you to do your bit to save our dear friend. You can keep a bowl of fresh water outside your homes, plant trees, discourage use of pesticides, use your kitchen waste to feed them....what else?? Have any innovative ideas? Please do share in the comments section below.

Last but not the least a huge shout out to TexWisGirl aka Theresa who blogs at Run*A*Round Ranch and who graciously let me use her pictures for this post. In the picture is actually a dainty eastern Phoebe, who I thought resembles a lot like a Sparrow. Life is good at Run*A*Round Ranch, from horses to turtles, from doves to phoebes, from snakes to varmints, all of them seem to love to pose for Theresa. For some excellent and refreshing views hop on to her space. :D

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Truly Alive

"Amma", the little girl came running towards her mother, her two piggy tails dancing by her side.

"Amma, a new madam came today. She is very good. We played games and she spoke to each one of us. She even promised she will not leave us", the girl beamed.

Her mother could see the joy in her daughter's eyes. After ages they were truly alive.

She kissed her and silently blessed this new teacher.

" Now you tell Abbu, I'm not going to sit with him in the vegetable market. I'm going to study and become a teacher like Pooja madam".

*******************************************************************************

This is a piece of fiction, written in 100 words for 

But you can make this fiction a reality. You can, with just a click of your mouse, change the life of a bright, eager to learn child and make her come Truly Alive. Just look at the girls in the picture below, isn't their smile infectious? Wouldn't you want to be able to help these cute, innocent, lovable girls to achieve their dreams!!

Pooja Chopra with her Grade III class
Pooja Chopra, a dear friend, an Educationalist, an Economics graduate from the prestigious Lady Shri Ram College for Women and currently a fellow at Teach for India has a vision, a dream that all her students are able to "read good books, draw, play games, solve puzzles, think about their surroundings and be aware". A simple wish you and I may think. But it is not. Not that simple for this MCD school, Pratibha Nigam Vidyalaya, at Mandawli extension, near Akshardham, Delhi, which is seriously under resourced. In an effort to cultivate a reading habit in these children, she gives them story books for home everyday. She also wants to create a small resource center in the class for the same.

When I read her FB status and came across the Wishlist for her kids, I just knew I had to share it with you guys. We've all known the pleasure of a good story book. Dr. Seuss's wonderful adventures, the tales of Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, classics such as Heidi, Peter Pan, Moby Dick etc played an integral part in our growing up years. They widened our horizons, led us to an imaginative and creative world and has helped us become who we are today. Don't you think? I think it is our privilege that today we are in a position to contribute to the development of these young minds. So take out a little time and go through this wishlist and make someone's dream come Truly Alive.

http://www.flipkart.com/wishlist/PoojaChopra

If you are interested, please contact Pooja at pooja.chopra2013@teachforindia.org to know the shipment details. You may also inbox her if you wish to visit the school and/or take a day's workshop for these beautiful kids.

Let's do good. Do contribute and spread the word. Let's give these children wings!!

" Any book that helps a child to form a habit of  reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuous needs, is good for him"
- Maya Angelou

" To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life"
- W. Somerset Maugham




Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Se7en Days (part 3)

Contd from part 2

4th September, 08:15 Hours
The door bell rang impatiently, twice. He cursed under his breath and struggled to get to the door. He was taken aback to see Koel and his Mom standing outside. A sudden rush of emotions sprawled over him. He didn't know if he was happy or angry, seeing her. He didn't know if he was grateful or displeased with Koel for going against his wishes and calling his Mom. He shared a cordial relationship with his Mother,and that was it. Perhaps, he had never given her a chance after the divorce of his parents. He had never seen his Father after their separation, and from the age of 11 growing up without a Dad, he had always been bitter towards his Mom as if it was all her fault. His Mom was a no-nonsense independent woman. She had provided him for, till his college and then had instructed him to move out of the house and make a Life of his own.

4th September, 08:30 Hours
Sitting opposite him, he couldn't but notice the similarities between the two ladies in his Life. Not physically, but characteristically. "Son, I respect both of yours decision of a court marriage. I am not at all in favor of  frivolous spending. But this is a celebration of your Love. So I've kept a Luncheon for my beautiful daughter on 6th". Saarth looked blankly at his Mom. He could sense both joy and pride in her voice. 

4th September, 21:00 Hours
The rest of the day had flashed in a second. He had completed all his pending work at office before going on the one month leave. Saarth reached home, to find the women giggling and chatting. The 7 was cornered to the wall. It wasn't intimidating anymore.


 

5th September, 02:20 Hours
"No dreams..." Saarth was slightly disappointing that he was having a peaceful night. He had half expected his Dad to come visit him in the night with a cautionary board of "Do not marry!!"


5th September, 14:30 Hours
Saarth picked up Dodi and his parents from the airport. He was meeting Uncle-Aunty, soon to be his in-laws after ages. He was very much aware of their presence in the back of his car. 

5th September, 23:30 Hours
Theirs was such a different set up, all of them so close, a small knit happy family. And he was going to be a part of it. Why did he feel so uncomfortable then? He had never felt like this before. He remembered all the times, Dodi and he had spent in his room as kids, perched upon the bed engrossed in video games, only to look up when Aunty or Koel got them steamed Idly with coconut chutney. He had felt so much at home then. Why not today? The bloody 7 still sat haughtily on the wall and Saarth was unable to push it aside.


                                    

6th September, 00:30 Hours
"Trouble sleeping?", his Mom walked in and sat beside him. He saw tenderness in her eyes and he wanted to hug her. "Son, I know you'll be a fine husband and nothing like your father. Just believe in yourself and take each day, each responsibility as it come". Saarth was speechless. How well a Mom could judge the turmoil in her Son's heart. He wanted to say "Thank you", but what came out was a shaky "Coffee?"

6th September, 13:00 Hours
Mom, Koel, Aunty, Uncle, Dodi and Saarth all were seated around the small oval table. Love, laughter and conversations had made the small room so lively. Saarth wanted to capture this moment and savor it forever. He was standing on the threshold of a new beginning and he wasn't afraid anymore. He looked around....but the white wall was the only thing that reflected back at him. There was no sign of 7.

6th September, 20:00 Hours
"Aunty is an awesome cook. I'm still full!", Dodi said patting his stomach. They had come up to their favorite Pub and ordered a pitcher. They had to mark tonight, his last day as bachelor, Dodi had insisted. Though, in his heart, all Saarth wanted now was to embark on the exciting journey that tomorrow held. 

7th September, 11:30 Hours
"Signed, sealed and delivered", Dodi yelled ecstatically as they came out of the court. Koel looked ravishing as ever and the duo made a handsome couple. Saarth took her hand and kissed it gently, "These past 7 days I've felt every emotion in the book from fear & uncertainty to love & hope, I must confess I was on the verge of a massive breakdown, but one look at you, one look at the future ahead of us, and I know given the chance, I'll relive every second of the damn 7 days!"

****************************************************

I'm taking part in the Write Tribe Festival of words, 1st - 7th September 2013. I want to thank Corinne for her efforts on getting all of us bloggers coming together and writing and exchanging ideas on the theme 'Seven'. I've had an absolutely wonderful time :) Thank you!!

The Se7en Days (part 2)

Contd from part 1

3rd September, 00:15 Hours


7


7


7


The number etched on the wall was definitely trying to speak to him. It had to be a warning sign!!



Image Source: Google

3rd September, 04:05 Hours

A dream or a nightmare?? Whatever it was, he was deeply exasperated by the image that had brought him up from his sleep. He was being chased by 7 hot girls!! He still couldn't get the picture of their slender sexy legs out of his mind...But there was a problem...a huge one! Amongst the 7 blur faces, there was one which had indeed given  him the nightmares 5 years ago...And now she was back? Why after all these years had he dreamt of her??

3rd September, 09:15 Hours

He switched off the alarm and texted Koel, "Morning Love, are we meeting tonight?". He just had to see her, to reassure that the past was past, and all the warning bells that were ringing in his head were nothing but the work of his imagination. After all, it was Koel, his soul mate, he would be tying the knot with. Koel, his childhood friend. Koel, who had been there when he needed a shoulder to cry on after his break up with S. Koel, who had simply smiled and said "I thought you'd never ask", when he had confessed his love to her. Thinking about her, calmed his nerves and he started to get ready for office.

3rd September, 14:05 Hours

"Either the Universe is conspiring against me with all it's might, or I'm going nuts"
The boss had just handed him 7 files to be reproofed and submitted by day end, He didn't mind the work, he only wondered why the hell 7!!

3rd September, 18:00 Hours

"Hey love, I really wanted to see you tonight but I'm neck deep in work", he said apologetically. Of course, she understood. She always did! Just a few minutes of chat with her, cheered him up. He sometimes wondered how he had been so lucky to have her. 

3rd September, 22:00 Hours

He had grasped a Subway Club on his way back home and planned to do a little bit of packing tonight. He was moving from this corridor-sized apartment into Koel's 2BHK flat. Her roommie had happily agreed to give the newlyweds their space. He entered his flat only to be greeted by 7....Saarth acknowledged the presence of 7 now. Even if he wanted, he couldn't ignore it!

3rd September, 23:45 Hours

"Champ, don't forget you're picking me up on 5th. I'll message you the flight details. Good night...if you want to dream about someone tonight, it better be me ;P". He read Dodi's message and grinned. It would be a wicked reunion!

4th September, 02:20 Hours

Again, he was awakened in the middle of the night. But this time he was relaxed. Not in the dream though...in the dream he had been running like a headless chicken. He laughed at his pathetic state, which even he found a bit amusing now! This, he had to share with Koel.


Image Source: Google

4th September, 08:15 Hours

The door bell rang impatiently, twice. He cursed under his breathe and struggled to get to the door. 

(to be contd)






Friday, September 6, 2013

The Se7en Days (part 1)

1st September, 00:00 Hours
The clock struck 12 and his cell phoned beeped. He rubbed his eyes and squinted to read the message, "Love you baby, just one week to go xoxo" it said. He hit the already composed text in his draft folder "Lv u 2", and snuggled up against his pillow once again to go back to his dreamland. Only that he could not. He became restless and kept shifting from one side to another. His senses seem to have heightened and the sound of his own breath, heavy and slightly gruffy, irritated him to no end. The clock went tick-tock-tick-tock and it was then that it hit him. He sat up abruptly and his mouth went dry. "Shit!!", he said to himself, "I'm going to be a married man in 7 days!".

1st September, 04:05 Hours
"Ya Dodi...I do love her Man...you know that, dammit the world knows that!! But....But...I'm freaking out here!!". Dodi, short for Dharmesh Ojadi Iyer, could hear the anguish in his childhood friend's voice. He wanted to bash up this idiot for waking him up from the climax scene of the romantic dream sequence with Deepika Padukone soon to be Iyer, but instead heard him out patiently, After all, his life, or his bachelor days were coming to an end and he was expecting this breakdown. In-fact, he was surprised that this frantic call had come so late.

1st September, 10:30 Hours
Saarth woke up repenting the late night call to Dodi. He knew the bugger wouldn't stop teasing him the whole week. Great start to a Sunday!, he smirked. "My last Sunday as a bachelor", was his afterthought. 

1st September, 22:35 Hours
He threw his car keys and slumped into the bean bag while switching on Star Sports. Enjoying a few good balls was all he needed to relax his nerves. All day he had been tormented by the thoughts of the D-day. "Ah, slightly over-pitched", he mumbled as the ball was driven into the covers...just then the pitch started to blur...his eyes became heavy and the walls started to close in. He gaped with disbelief at the formation on the wall. 

7

7

7

The walls kept closing in.


Image Source: Google

2nd September, 09:15 Hours
Awakened by the shrilling alarm, Saarth stretched his back which was hurting due to the uncomfortable night on the bean bag. The wall still was glaring back at him, the 7 now more clearer than the night before.

2nd September, 14:05 Hours
Thankfully, it had been a busy Monday morning in office and Saarth loved his workplace more than anything in the world right now.

2nd September, 17:45 Hours
"Honey, we have to pick up my wedding dress from Lajpat remember?? Say, I meet you there by 8?" blinked Koel's message. 

2nd September, 22:00 Hours
Saarth looked into her huge brown eyes and gave her hand a loving squeeze. He couldn't believe that just a few hours ago he had been panting like a dog at the thought of marrying her. But it wasn't her. He loved her with every flesh and bone in his body. He so badly wanted to share his each living moment with her. Then why was he having these panic attacks? 

3rd September, 00:15 Hours

7

7

7

The number etched on the wall was definitely trying to speak to him. It had to be a warning sign!!

(to be contd)




I'm taking part in the Write Tribe Festival of Words 1st – 7th September 2013. A late post for Day 5!!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The power of 7

Sleep deprived and feeling low on energy, I thought of going for a refreshing morning walk. On my way back, I chuckled at the sight that crossed my path. Camouflaged as a banana himself, this young boy was selling these ripe yellow fruits which I loved. I picked up half a dozen of them and was handing over the money to him when I said "Put in one more son, make it 7". Twinkling eyes and a broad smile greeted me when I gave him the banana. I felt such joy in this small act of kindness. My soul danced.

Image Source here

" As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way"
- Mary Anne Radmacher

100 words of fiction, known as 'Drabble' written for day 4 of the ongoing  

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Through the Peephole (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1

She unknowingly wiped a tear off her cheek, as she  fondly remembered Ramu Chacha. The only one who had ever cared for her, understood her heart and helped her when the time came...

"Tenho saudades tuas", she whispered, surprising even herself that she remembered the little Portugese that Martha had taught her. Her palms lifted to touch Ramu Chacha's bearded cheeks as if he was right in fromt of her...but only the memories remained now...memories of his toothless smile, his kind eyes, his bald head smelling of coconut oil and his last embrace...his cold bony hand tightly gripping hers, in that bitter winter night, when he had helped her run away with Amir.

She was just seventeen then, but more mature than her years. She had understood long ago that this aristrocatic life wasn't for her, that she would not succumb to her father's pressures of marrying some Man, just because he was more powerful than her father (and older too!). She had to escape! It was actually in her first attempt to run away from home that she had crossed paths with Amir.

"A Muslim!! A mere merchant!!" Ramu Chacha had shrieked, horrified at her confession. And then he had slumped in his charpoy sighing, "Baby ji, what have you gotten yourself into?". And a year later, in that bitter winter night, tightly clutching her hand, he had led her to Amir, to that train compartment. "I wish you all the love and happiness in the world Baby ji...May God be with you", he had said touching her forehead. His last words, to which she could not respond...the loud horn of the train had filled the space between them. Chug-chug-chug slowly they had started moving to a new life but she had kept on gazing, gazing till her neck strained, till he was nothing but a tiny dot...

Chug-chug-chug, the melancholy noise enveloped her....Chug-chug-chug, she suddenly began to shake violently, splashes of red smeared in front of her eyes and then a crash! She woke up with a jolt, the big black rotary dial telephone on the floor, her face burning and her eyes moist. She must have dozed off thinking about Ramu Chacha and had had a terrible nightmare! 

She shrugged off the shivers and picked up the telephone. "It's so dusty", she winced, vigorously cleaning the speaker with her pallu. "Hadn't I just mopped and dusted the entire house yesterday", she thought but gasped when she looked above to find cobwebs everywhere. She cursed her fading memory and went to get the broom. Lately she was having more and more episodes of such forgetfulness. The unpaid bills piled up on the dining table, a proof of this. She was busy brushing off the spider webs when she heard the jingling of the keys. "Back already", she grunted and her ears perked up instantly, trying to catch the neighbours' conversation.

"Okay-okay, I'm scared of dogs", she heard Rhea admit to her husband while he was laughing abashedly. "Now that you've had a good laugh, can we get back to the topic?? And don't make this into another of your you-don't-understand crap. Make me understand", she said, her tone a little irritated yet curious. "Honey, for the last time...I'm saying this for the last time...We are not buying this house." He cleared his throat as if to speak out aloud, but instead he mumbled something under his breath, "She died seven years ago and there have been stories...call me faint-hearted but at times I do feel her presence". Now it was Rhea's turn to laugh but looking at her husband's face she resisted the urge and elbowed him to go on. "Well, this old couple were going back to their village when their train met a terrible accident. The husband died on the spot. After recovering for a few days in the hospital, when she came back, she refused to acknowledge that her husband was dead. She met no one, there were no relatives who came to look them up, I'm not even sure if the poor husband's body was ever claimed or not. It was clear that she was nearing insanity. And one day, it all ended. She must have died of loneliness or her instability..." 

Dumbfounded, Rhea slowly moved her gaze to the house....

At the other side of the door something cracked....She turned her neck a full 180 degrees to look at Rhea through the peephole, just as she had in the morning...






A special mention to Preetilata who is the author at the blog My White Window. I'm so glad to connect with her through this Write Tribe festival. She puts her soul into her writings and reading her posts leave you with a song in your heart...at times happy, at times nostalgic and at times overflowing with emotions! She has a superb theme going on for this 'Seven' challenge. In fact, if not for her Day 2 post, I wouldn't have been able to figure out the start of my part 2 story!! 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Through the Peephole

Tiptoed she watched the next door neighbors from the peephole, as the young couple left for work. She suddenly clutched her pallu, covered her mouth and ducked as they took the stairs just next to her door. Breathing only when they had left. She hated herself for doing this every morning and promised not to be so obsessed with her neighbors, but failed every day. There was something that tugged at her heart, something that burned in the pit of her stomach which made her creep on them. She couldn't describe the emotions that sprang up whenever she looked at them, the two handsomely in love. Did she hate them? Hate was a very strong word but didn't she cringe every time the two held hands. Or was it she envied Rhea? Rhea who looked beautiful despite the broad forehead cleverly covered up with bangs, the rimmed glasses which slipped every now and then from her petite nose.

The screeching telephone disturbed her thoughts. Habitually she picked it up in one ring, hoping it was Amir, her husband. "Hello, Sadhana boutique?", a faint voice spoke. Another wrong number, the third in the last two hours. She wanted to scream NO! but irritatingly cut the line. She made a mental note to inform Amir about these incessant wrong numbers. The phone in her hand, the big black rotary dial telephone, again drifted her thoughts towards the neighbors. She often found them strange, their habits queer and out of place. Like once she had seen him, the husband, his palm covering his ear, speaking loudly to his mother. Who, if she remembered correctly, was a good 200 miles away from this city. She had wondered how was this possible, how was he speaking to her, "telepathy?" her mind was rationalizing when he had produced that small blue boxed thing which had numbered buttons on it. A "phone?"...she had been amazed with the discovery and had wondered why Amir hadn't bought one yet. Communication would have been so much easier when he was away on these long business trips.

Her stomach grumbled making her realize that it was almost lunch time. A sudden weakness made her head spin, as if she hadn't eaten for years. She got up to go to the kitchen, craving for hot aalu paranthas with adrak-lehsun ka achaar. Whenever she was alone she made peace with just milk and fruits but today her mind wandered, wandered to the fragrances of the world where once she had belonged! 

Her ancestral home was nothing less than a Palace and her father respected and rejoiced all over the village was certainly no less than a King. Well, he was the Zamindar of the village, a tall broad man who seldom spoke or smiled and mostly ordered around with just a twitch of his moustache. Memories came rushing back to her.... 
Her stout mother who was always busy managing the huge household. There were 7 workers who reported to her alone! Rama amma who was the head cook, whose whiff of hand made hot buttered aalu paranthas made the children rush from their play area to the kitchen early mornings. Martha, the governess....strict yet sweet...who not only home taught the kids but also was responsible for their grooming, cleanliness, mannerisms etc. She remembered how Martha would get irritated with her when she insisted on keeping her long, black hair loose and Martha would run behind her to piggy tail them first telling her politely that "It looks neat this way Madam", and then snapping at her angrily "Wait till I tell your Mom". The two helpers whose name she is forgetting, they would run the small day-to-day household errands but most of the times were caught playing marbles and smoking beedi. Then there were the two drivers, the old trusted Kaka for Fathers precious elegant peacock blue Delahaye, and the other young lanky fellow for the sturdy old Ambassador. And finally, the most important member of the house, adored by all, who even managed to bring a smile to Father's face and was respected like the grandfather of the family, Ramu Chacha, the gardener who managed the vast plantations of every possible fruits and vegetables, producing the crunchiest, freshest, tastiest carrots, brinjals, lettuce, apples and guavas. 

She unknowingly wiped a tear off her cheek, as she  fondly remembered Ramu Chacha. The only one who had ever cared for her, understood her heart and helped her when the time came...

...

(to be continued)





Sunday, September 1, 2013

7 Highlights of my Kerala trip

I am guilty of not posting about our Kerala trip during 15th - 20th August. It was actually a very short holiday and no planning was involved (as compared to the extensive scheduling done for our Kashmir vacation), as my cousin brother lives in Kochi and he generously welcomed us to his abode and made our trip a very memorable one!

So when the Write Tribe Festival of Words presented itself with the wonderful theme of 'Seven', I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to highlight SEVEN wondrous things about the trip. :)

Here goes, the seven on my list - 1. Food, 2. Backwaters, 3. Beach, 4. Kalaripayattu & Kathakali, 5. Boat safari at Periyar, 6. Breathing in the Munnar Air and last but certainly not the least 7. precious moments with my Cousin.

Lets start with the food, as both hubby and me are are huge foodies and we love to try out the local cuisine of any place we go. We feasted on the traditional Keralite cuisine on Day 1. Simple and Sumptuous, we were welcomed to the land of coconuts, spices and aromas!

        
That evening after a short walk in the dreamy streets of Kochi Fort area and gorging on a plate of grilled Tiger Prawns, we headed to a very classy Japanese restaurant, Tokyo Bay. A first of its kind in Cochin, this was truly an unique experience...Well, at least for my bro and hubby, I didn't have the stomach to indulge in this after a 4 hour long flight and then a heavy meal....But it looked and smelled delicious, and by the look on their faces you can tell...can't you? :)





The entire BBQ non veg items were ordered & devoured
Day 2 we drove down to Kumarakom and enjoyed a peaceful ride in the backwaters. We tried fresh river water tiger prawns...huge aren't they? They were cooked to perfection and had the zing of all the south spices.





In Thekkady, the town of green forest belt and home to herds of elephants, tigers, bisons and lots of birds mostly Snake birds, Kingfishers and Cormorants, we happened to find a petite rooftop restaurant serving the most delicious Italian food. While sitting there, looking at the coffee and banana plantations beside us and reading our respective novels, it started raining adding to the charm of the setting.


Spinach & mushroom pasta
They have a intensive 3 page menu. The preparations take time but it's worth waiting for!
Cute isn't it?
Lovely view
Banana 
Tuna Pizza
I am so sorry, this post is going to be longer than I thought! Till now I've only covered food :) :)

The next best thing was our relaxing boat ride in the backwaters. Excellent weather and calmness all around, what else do you want on a vacation?












The third highlight of my trip was this Beach...Andharkaranazhi Beach is an hour's drive from Kochi, commercialization has still not reached here. Pristine, serene and oh so beautiful. I had a fabulous time playing with the waves, trying to make a sand castle and just being in that moment!














The Third most enjoyable experience was the Kalaripayattu and Kathakali performances.

Kalaripayattu is an Indian Martial Arts form, it has got some intense weaponry actions and requires agile flexibility. There were moments when I went Ooooo & Aaaahh :)

These guys were just too good. Later I got talking to them and they were basically from Calicut. They had never been to Delhi, although they have performed in cities like Pune and Mumbai at the request of
certain institutes. I really want their Art to be showcased in Delhi, I'm working on how to go about it. Let's see :) Fingers crossed!











Sorry, couldn't get many pictures....I was just watching them open-mouthed!

Just after this, we went to watch the Kathakali performance. We were given a brief introduction about the dance form, the different mudras and facial expressions and the story that they were going to portray. It is basically a Dance-Drama where the stories from our Hindu scriptures is depicted through the artists' expressions. I'll just let the photos do the talking.... :D


It takes about 3-4 hours for the male character to get ready














Mostly the female character in the Dance is also played by a Male due to the heaviness of the costumes.
Anger
Scorn


The story in short - Female demon changes form to a beautiful girl to woo King. King rejects her. Angry she comes in her original form to destroy the King, but he eventually kills the demon

The next highlight would be our morning Boat Safari at Periyar Tiger Reserve. It was a lovely experience, we were not going with any high expectations of spotting Tigers...(The best time to spot Tigers is April-May, the peak of summers), we just enjoyed the cool breeze against our faces and the lovely sights. The boat ride is of 90 minutes and you can book the tickets on the spot, just keep sufficient time on hands in case there is a long que. The Bamboo Rafting was highly recommended by one of the officials, in this you can cover some area by foot too. on Bamboo rafts in the middle of the lake surrounded by dense forests, the thought is just thrilling. We couldn't do this as this requires a full day and we were short of time!








Kingfisher








Cormorant














Bison


Kingfisher



Short of time, we were unable to stay in Munnar. However we spent a day riding amonst the tea estates and breathing in the heavenly air.














And finally, some precious moments spent with my cousin bro. He is a year and a half elder to me and I love him dearly. How time flies no?? There we were just few decade years ago...the Orange Bar ice-cream, running around in the Nehru park, the endless games of Court piece and Teen-Do-Paanch, gorging on Nani ke haath ka bana khaana....and here we are today...all grown up...he's soon to be a Daddy... :) :) Thank you Bhaiya...you made our trip possible!!






After years we were together on Rakhi!! Some moments as they say are 'Priceless' :)