Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hulli Makki, Oppa HorseGram Style ..

After fond memories of Agani, I knew Sakaleshpur, known as Scotland of east, had more in store. My cousins had a long email discussion to decide on this place to stay, a home stay, Hulli Makki, where hulli is derived from huruli, horse gram and Makki, field that is irrigated for half a year. We were 13 of us and youngest was my cousin's one year old daughter!

Friday morning, we set off in 3 cars at 8 am from Bangalore and it was over 260 km drive. Our first stop was in Hotel Mayura, in BM (Bangalore- Mangalore) road, NH 4, near Bellur cross, for breakfast. It lived up to the hype that we had created referring our past visit. We had to stop twice further ahead as baby had its terrible first road journey. We managed to reach around 1.30 pm and we were greeted with Musumbi juice!

Food served was excellent throughout and the lunch was a perfect start. Lot of new delicious veg recipes made me proud of being vegetarian for a change! I particularly remember a sweet- chandrahara, that acted like a medicine for my cousin who was down with stomach upset. Hulli Makki, had a vast coffee estate with black pepper and citrus plants like orange. It was blessed with plenty of water and could see the vegetables like pumpkins being grown. Even the fruits were plenty- guvava to Sakkare kanchu and Chakkota.

We spent our Friday evening in the water fall, beautiful and serene surrounding. I saved my jaw even after having an epic fall from the rock I climbed. Reasons for the fall were more than to do with the slippery rocks which cannot be revealed! On Saturday afternoon we made a point to teach one our cousin how to swim in the lake beside. We formed pyramids and took a leap to jump into water. Later in the evening we enjoyed the sun setting behind the sky kissing hills.

Both the nights we had camp fires. Playing antakshri, Chinese dumb charades, lot of ant- elephant questions, witty jungle book story QA's, Gangnam style dance, ghost stories...wow, camp fires was the best part in the perfect weather of this place. There were no fans in the room and it was not required also.

Sun was intense in the day and early morning tea tasted very different in this climate. Saturday morning we left early for an trek which started at the base of Betta Bhairaveshwara temple, built around 700 years ago near Hanbal . It was a trek of 4 uphill. Wind was blowing at it's highest speed and the mist was just fantastic. The temple looked more beautiful as we attained higher altitudes. 6 of us decided to trek down in the unconventional forest way, temple was our reference point and we had make our way as we climbed down. 5 Min walk in the valley where there was literally nothing down the feet and we had to crawl with the help of ferns and grass over there was the most adventurous moment. Overall it was a refreshing 4 hours of fun!

2 days spent were extremely rejuvenating.  As we rode back I was just pondering over the attributes that made our mother Earth so beautiful. Life is indeed a Poem- Without internet, without laptop, without television, without telephone, without traffic, with greenery, with paddy fields and coffee estates, with lakes, with waterfall, with tasty food and more importantly, with amazing people!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Virtually There: V9

Annual day. It’s the day when we celebrate the spirit that kept us going all through the past year and an introspection day when we sing to rejoice and reframe the goals for the upcoming year. Our school annual days are still afresh in our memory. You may think a corporate annual day might be boring. Let’s clear it out!

Welcome to Virtually There (VT) – V9, version nine, one behind the double digit!

Last year when I attended my first office annual day, I was expecting a lot of figures to bounce over my head. But fortunately, that didn't really happen. Instead I was bowled over by the performance of talented colleagues around, and for my surprise, our Managing Director (MD) lead from the front with his Dabangg cameo. Visions, achievements and goals were sneaked in a way that reached everyone without a single dull moment.

This year promised more excitement and it took no time before we got into groove. I made a choice this time. I wanted to give a shot for drama. Auditions took place when 3 weeks were remaining. God knows how my director (who played the lead, amazing actor!) selected the cast. Raw script with dialogues was handed over. That was first and last day when we practiced with that sheet of paper!

Theatre was one which I always wanted to try. I remember doing small skits in schools. But, I got the actual taste of it when I worked for couple of months for Dramanon Manipal in production. Although it was a small stint, I got an insight on what goes around and naturally my respect for stage artists doubled!

This annual day, it was competition between 4 large teams. Concept was based on super hero and 4 fields of evaluation- 4D’s- Dance, Drama, Decibel (Singing) and Design (Fashion show). Every team got 20min to perform and win over judges (I vaguely remember- Richard David Tholoor was one of them) and audience. I was part of drama team. Lot of promotions went on when there was a week left to go. Flash mobs, publicity, banners, teasers, gimmicks, surprise chocolates and cakes, ahh, intensity was at its peak. Meanwhile all team were training hard for the show. And our script got changed at least 20 times!

Our MD had different plans this time; to give his key note he made a literally flying entry on stage in his red Spiderman attire. We did skip a heartbeat! We were ready for the show. Battle was fought with true sportsman spirit. As a team, we came 2nd. Drama we bagged first place.

In the end, organizers were the true winners. They knew how to get out the innovations from the employees. They knew how to make us feel at home. They knew how to create that feeling of belonging. You only perform only if you belong there, right?!

[This article was originally posted here in ManipalBlog.]