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SoftyPink n GloriousRed

…. the colours of life with my kids

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From the drafts…

As I might have mentioned before, I have not been a physical activities or a sports type person for much of my life. That kind of changed a few years back when I started learning dance. Then came yoga which I learnt/practiced for some amount of time, followed by swimming classes last summer.

This year, with onset of spring, we started playing badminton. The kids were excited and sis too had been wanting to start a routine. And so we bought the rackets and cork and played in the evenings when we could make time. It was fun and felt really good to be able to play. Ammu and Adi loved it too. But sadly, it all stopped when summer vacations began. Increase in work load and the soaring temperatures didnt help a bit. We did carry the rackets and had a few fun sessions while at Ooty though 🙂

Amidst all this, badminton tournament was organized at office and in a totally offhanded manner i said i would participate and my friend nominated my name as a partner. It felt weird but also interesting. I even went for practice one day and managed to get nominated for mixed doubles too! Its another matter though that it got postponed and I’d have to withdraw nomination as I had other plans in place for the new dates. Worse part is the tournament got postponed again due to unavoidable reasons.

Now, that the weather is cooler these days I’ve been thinking of playing during the mornings but sadly that hasn’t materialized yet. I’m hoping we’ll get to it next week onward, and continue for the rest of the vacation – a week and a half! Also, hoping that I’ll find partners and be available to play on the tournament dates that will be finalized. Keeping fingers crossed 🙂

Update: Haven’t been able to get to playing yet. Maybe this week onwards… 😐 The tournament dates are finalized and I hope I’ll be able to participate.

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Ooty!!

From the drafts..

We went to Ooty in the first week of April. It was a much awaited family trip, as we got the opportunity after a gap of 2 years. Last year was quite stressful with sis, dad down with health problems that required surgeries. To top it, even our house help had her share of difficulty with her mom and dad also facing health issues. Which meant we were left to our own devices for a few months!

Somehow we sailed through and as the days went by the only thing on our minds was to go on a break! The summer vacations was what we were waiting for. Luckily, both dad and sis recovered enough to be able to go on a road trip. So, we zeroed in on Ooty after some thought to journey time and the bookings were done in a jiffy!

What stuck me most about this trip was the host. BIL had booked a cottage that belonged to someone he knew. Generally, the host hands over the keys and guests are left on their own. But in our case, the host was very generous. He himself cooked for us, requested us not to take our vehicles out and drove us around in his vehicle. Stayed with us for most part, enjoyed being around the family. His son came too and was happy to be part of the fun for some time. All this because BIL was a friend and had come with family!

I was totally amazed to say the least. The best part of him taking us around was that we were able to avoid usual tourist spots and the crowds, got to drive around in the beautiful hilly areas without fear of taking the wrong route and, eating local delicacies. To top it all, he is a local politician who was greeted with respect wherever we went! We felt really special and privileged to be so taken care of and attended to by such a person . We were left wondering why and how we deserved such kindness and such a lovely treatment.

The cottage was good, with bare essential amenities and the food was not great. But it was homely and the host’s generousness more than made up for anything that was lacking. All in all we had a great time and this trip will be a very memorable one for us all !!

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Road trips are awesome!
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En route to Ooty..
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Gulmohur in all its splendour.. En route to Ooty..
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En route to Ooty..
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The view that greeted us !
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View from the cottage
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A close up..
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Tea gardens..
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Tea gardens..


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Pine! cones and needles..

M is for mist!

Pics from our visit to Ooty over the weekend. It was a fun family trip… a much awaited one as we were doing one after a gap of 2 years!!
The weather was awesome.. a lovely brief relief from the soaring temperatures in Bangalore.

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Linking this to the letter M at ABC Wednesdays – 18th Round

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Diwali 2015 – Rangoli…n Rays of light!..

This Diwali, it has been raining non stop and I almost decided to write about the Rain! But the thought of rangolis and the rays of light lit me up and lo the U turn !! 🙂

What looked like a dreary and uneventful Diwali due to illness n dull rainy weather turned into a lovely one thanks to Ammu’s enthu…yet again! Diyas, Rangolis, dressing up – quintessential fun Diwali! sans any of the Diwali sweets n savouries though…

On day 1 of Diwali, Ammu was feeling restless and was looking for something to do. Luckily I had a stock of unused diyas from last year. I suggested that she try painting those and she was thrilled at the idea. I expected her to finish just a couple and give up. But post lunch, the enthu caught on and sis joined her. Together they painted a dozen diyas… in various colours and designs! Totally unexpected 🙂

I on my part managed to decorate a single used CD as diya holder, with some glitter from her craft supplies.

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Painted diyas

We made rangolis in the evenings. It was wet and windy outside and no way were the diyas going to stay lit even for a moment. On day 2 and day 3 we made rangolis inside the home just so we could place diyas all around 🙂

The Rangolis

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The diyas… all lit. Rays of light to dispel the darkness…the essence of Diwali!!

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Hope you all folks had a fun filled Diwali as well !!

Linking this to the letter R at ABC Wednesdays.

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Heritage Hampi – Day 2

Read the first part here …

Day 2 – Began on a relaxed note. Got ready and spent some time at the dormitory, clicking pics and admiring the surroundings!

We started after having our breakfast.Most of us had no more enthu to walk. So, we moved from place to place in our vehicle. The heat felt really oppressive and we were happy to get into the vehicle and get moving …to get some wind in our hair! 🙂

The first stop was the Queen’s bath. Spent a good amount of time looking around and in photo sessions!

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Queen’s bath
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A view from inside of Queen’s bath..

Next was the Mahanavami dibba…

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The door of the royal palace; made of granite..
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The Mahanavami dibba.. the stage from where the royal family watched the festivities. Intricate carvings all around the stage – elephants, dancing figures, horses and women warriors..

A view from atop the Mahanavami dibba…

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Sites marking the remains of the palaces and other buildings around the Mahanavami dibba…
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The famed step well!

We then moved on to see the Lotus Mahal and the elephant stables..

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Lotus mahal
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The elephant stable

Next stop was the Hazara Rama temple…

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The sthambha/ pillar in front of the Hazara Rama temple, Carvings on the outer wall,Carvings on the top and the temple entrance..
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Inside the Hazara Rama temple complex… Carvings on the walls – depictions from the Ramayana

Followed by these famous temples..

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Clockwise from top left – Jalakanteshwara temple, Ugra Narasimha temple, KadaleKaaLu Ganesha temple…the team in discussion with our guide.., view from there and the main deity Ganesha
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A temple gopura seen from the Ganesha temple. The huge rocks and rocky terrain evident all around..

After this, we headed for lunch, we had a simple but very tasty local fare at one of the khanavalis!! Jolada rotti, chutney pudi, palya, mosaranna, majjige ; all typical items from the North Karnataka cuisine that I love!! 🙂 Was glad that everyone else enjoyed the food too, except for a couple of them, for whom the spice quotient was a bit too high.

Post lunch, we decided to take a break and headed to the bridge over the Tungabhadra river. While most enjoyed the view… few among us decided to go on a coracle ride. I decided to sit on the edge dipping my feet in the super cool waters !! It was thoroughly refreshing!

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The Tungabhadra river

Relaxed and refreshed, we later headed to the Anjanadri parvatha, considered to be the birthplace of lord Hanuman. We climbed around 500 steps reach the temple atop the hill. I was the last one to reach! Nevertheless, I felt blessed to have been able to do that… quite an unthinkable feat for a person who has recovered from a debilitating case of rheumatoid arthritis!

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The glorious sunset from atop Anjanadri parvatha

We then headed back to our dormitory, freshened up, packed and started on our journey back to Bengaluru. The trip was a memorable one for many reasons. And, I’m glad that I could make it!!

Now, super glad that I could write this all down, thanks to the ABC Wednesdays series and my resolve to participate as much as possible! It was tough to select a few pics among the whole lot, which was one of the reasons why I never got down to writing this post. Hope you all like the selection!

Linking this one also to the letter H at ABC Wednesdays.

Heritage Hampi!

Hampi is located in North Karnataka, within the Vijayanagara ruins, which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Vijayanagar was one of the richest and largest cities in the world during its prime. [ around 1500 AD]

It was a long time wish of mine to visit this historic place. I’d read about it in my school history lessons… and, hailing from Karnataka, it felt natural to want to see Hampi and revel in its glory!! I’d also heard from friends that its a beautiful place to visit.

Click on the link to read more about Hampi.

So, when the travel enthu gang from office was planning for the next trip, we zeroed in on Hampi !! And, I for one was surely super excited about the trip… for myself as well as for a dear friend for whom it was going to be the first trip leaving her daughter in charge of the dad! She was nervous as well but wanted a much needed break.

We started on a Friday evening, traveled some 350 kms to reach Hampi the next morning. Excitement began as soon as we reached. We had to cross the river in order to get to our place of stay. The ferry that took us across carried people and two wheelers as well. Looked like it was the most convenient and preferred way with the locals as well. There was always a sizable crowd waiting for the lone ferry that made several trips between the banks each day.

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The Tungabhadra river…

We were lodged in a dormitory style accommodation. It was a nice place surrounded by trees and greenery, which was in stark contrast to the largely rocky landscape of Hampi.

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On day 1, we walked for the most part, though it was quite sunny and hot. The Kuduregombe mantapa, Pushkarini, Vijaya Vittala Temple complex, the Virupaksha temple all stand testimony to the grandeur of the city that was! The structures are all a mix of the old parts and the new stone pillars that have been added to resurrect these.

I’ll let the pictures do the talking!

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The Kuduregombe mantapa
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The Pushkarini
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The Vijaya Vittala temple. And inside the temple complex.
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The famed Stone Chariot
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The Gopura of the main temple in the complex.
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The rocky terrain..opposite Sugreev’s cave

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Amazed to see some tour the place on bicycles! The rocks prominent in the background..
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Purandaradasa mantapa
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Virupaksha temple

We also visited a museum that housed the pics of Hampi, taken when the ruins were first discovered. Moving about these places, the mind was filled with wonder and I found myself thinking about the kind of life the people of Hampi had led and about the things that I recalled having read in my History books!

By evening most of us were dead tired. On reaching our place of stay, we freshened up a bit and then crashed onto the bed 🙂 Got up after relaxing for a couple of hours and then just lazed around for sometime until dinner. One group was enthu enough to cut short the relaxation and make the most of the trip! In fact, it was their excited shrieks that kinda forced the rest of us to get out of the cozy comfort of our beds 🙂

Post dinner, we chatted some, read some… still dazed from all the activity of the day. However, a round of Poker made us all sit up and shake off our inertia. We retired to bed around midnight.

to be continued..

This is my entry for the letter H at ABC Wednesday!

 

DIY love! :)

It was Friendship day on Sunday! And there were lovely friendship messages in the air… literally 🙂 … and of course pretty colourful friendship bands to be exchanged as a token of friendship!!

I was reminded me of our childhood and college days! And of a particular day after post graduation when we friends had a day out; lunch and movie , to celebrate friendship day!

This year, Ammu decided to make the bands herself and began searching the net for instructions. She spent a great deal of time looking at videos on youtube! Her enthusiasm was contagious and eventually D and me plunged in totally ! 😀

Here are the bands that we made using the woollen threads from some of Ammu’s craft kits.

P.S: The activity did not end on Sunday. We made a couple more on Monday and then a couple more today that she made all by herself – the pair in lavender and white..matching ones for Ammu n her bestie!!

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Hope you all had a blast celebrating Friendship day!

Linking this post to the letter D at ABC Wednesdays.

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The plan was to visit Sakrebailu Elephant camp on our way back to Bangalore. This is on the banks of the Tunga, on the Shimoga – Tirthahalli road. We had passed this one on our way to Tirthahalli and were eager to visit. However, we could not start early in the morning since no one was in a mood to hurry up!! We had a leisurely breakfast and then started after saying our byes.

Here are a few more pics!

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The area where we spotted the fireflies at night!
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The pink Frangipani!
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A closer view..
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Water lilies !! A pleasant surprise 🙂

A signboard on our way made us take a wrong deviation. After quite some distance, we hailed a passing car and asked for directions. Again, we were told to go back and go straight from where we had taken the deviation!! When we got near the camp, we actually passed it and went 2 km ahead. There at the check post, the guard said that we had crossed it and had to go back. He also added that it was already late and we might not be able to see any elephants at that time 😦

We were a tad disappointed but thought that it was good in a way. We did not want to get too late reaching Bangalore. So, just went ahead, had lunch in Shimoga and carried on with the rest of the journey… mostly in peace 🙂 The lunch and the afternoon heat made sure that everyone was sleepy and lazy! Except BIL and me of course :P. He was driving and I was busy with the camera..looking out for the Gulmohurs!! Of course, after sometime to my surprise, everyone was busy looking out for Gulmohurs too and cheering for me when I clicked!! 🙂

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On our way back…
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The road ahead…
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Golden showers!
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Gulmohurs!

All in all it was a fun filled family outing !!

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After a restful night, we woke up refreshed and eager to enjoy the day! We depended mostly on the host’s suggestions for visiting nearby places, though I did have Kuppali and Sakkarebayalu Elephant camp on my list.

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We decided to visit Chibbalgudde first as suggested by them. We were told that we could see a lot of big fishes and even feed them puffed rice. The place is actually famous for the Siddhivinayaka temple and we had to go through the premises in order to get to the river. The rice/puffed rice was sold in a house near the temple. After paying our obeisance to the deity, we descended a flight of stairs to get to the river. Hordes of fishes were seen just below the water surface and we could see them clambering whenever we put some rice in the water! The kids enjoyed a lot!

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Watching the fishes…
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View to our left..
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The view in front of us. See the fishes just below the water surface ?
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View..to the right..

Next, we proceeded to Kuppalli, the home town of the great poet Kuvempu. His home has been converted to a museum. Apart from that there is Kavishaila, which is a rock monument made of megalithic rocks and dedicated to Kuvempu. the visit was good though the heat was way too much and eventually the kids became cranky as it was lunch time already!

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Kuvempu’s home… now a museum.
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Kavishaila… the place where Kuvempu was laid to rest.
The path from Kuvempu’s home to Kavishaila. View from Kavishaila!

On our way back, we took the wrong route. After driving for quite some distance,about 10 – 12 kms, we felt that we had not come this way! There was not a soul in the ghats. The lack of directions/sign boards was glaring wherever we went. Also, there are hardly people around who can give directions, it can get esp tough if you dont know the local language. Luckily we spotted someone on the way and he gave us directions !!  We went back, and thankfully reached the home stay!! Had lunch and relaxed for a while.

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In the evening, we headed to a nearby place called Bheemanakatte. Here, there is a temple on the banks of the river Tunga. We were told that we could actually go to the river bank and get into water! That was the main attraction of the place for us 🙂 We had started around 5 pm which was a bit late. This was good in a way. Most everyone else had left and we had the place to ourselves. Got into the water, splashed on each other and generally had a good time. We wanted to stay back for some more time but the sun was setting, signalling that it was time for us to head back! We were so enthralled that we thought we should come back the next day too, before finally leaving for home 🙂

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A Shiva shrine at Bheemanakatte.
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The Tunga at Bheemanakatte.
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Bheemanakatte… The sandy bank of river Tunga. Almost beach-like!

Back at the home stay, we relaxed, chatted, played a bit. Sisters had a good time with basketball, in fact sis1 said it was the highlight of the trip for her since she played basketball after a very long time. Post dinner, we went around the place, taking in the sights. Then we sat on the swing and chatted some more. The power went off for a brief time and we were excited to see a lot of fireflies!! Unforgettable.

To be continued..

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