March 21, 2011

Beehives, bats and a temple

We went to Ramappa, near Warangal, where there is a 12th century Shiva temple built by the Kakatiya kings. I had gone there many years back. Nothing had changed. In a way I was happy, but then, I do wish AP Tourism would build a good place for people to stay overnight, and maybe have a few safe picnic spots (sans hordes of monkeys) and arrange for treks into the jungle near the temple. The only guest house that has always been there, is in a dilapidated state. It did not even get a coat of paint in years. Apart from this, it is definitely a great place to go...the temple is beautiful, the air is fresh and the trees look robust. Would be great to stay overnight.

Anyone wants to go to Ramappa...ask me and I will tell you how best to get there. Here are some images:

Just before we reached the temple, we had to stop to admire this tree with about 20 beehives...


...and this tree had more than 200 bats hanging from it!


The Ramappa Temple

This famous 'typical Ramappa' bracket on the left shows a woman shooing away a monkey...


... obviously she didn't succeed, because they are still there!

I love this view of the temple

The Tabebuias (tree of gold) and Buteas (flame of the forest) outside the temple

I have never seen this tree before...any help in identifying it is welcome, I wonder if it is a peepal with fresh new pink leaves?

There is a lot of renovation work going on inside and around the temple

These flowers are called Kondagogu in Telugu. I have never seen them before, and was told that the trees are in the forest behind the temple. Would like to see the tree some day.
We used to find pieces of bricks seen here (on top) when we went to Ramappa as children. The unique thing about these bricks was that they had a pumice-stone like quality--they floated in water and didn't disintegrate.
My mother (and part of my father) outside the gate of the temple
.
This is the Ramappa lake. Very large with lots of water.

This picture is so symbolic of everything nice...the fields, the openness, and don't miss the orange and green flags on the auto!

March 14, 2011

To all parents and children...

I love everything Shel Silverstein did. He wrote well, he drew well,
he sang well, he was oh, so funny...and when he sang he sang
shyly and with feeling. Certainly a big big favourite.
Just one problem...he died. He has been the inspiration behind
my book, "Autorickshaw blues and other colours".

I just discovered, on YouTube, a beautiful song he sang about
the relationship between a father and son. You can hear
Shel Silverstein sing it at:
This song starts somewhere in the middle of the video.

Here are the lyrics.

BBJ: Daddy, what if the sun stopped shining?
What would happen then?

BB: If the sun stopped shining, you'd be so surprised
You'd stare at the heavens with wide open eyes,
And the wind would carry your light to the skies
And the sun would start shining again.

BBJ: But, Daddy, what if the wind stopped blowing?
What would happen then?

BB: If the wind stopped blowing, then the land would be dry,
And your boat wouldn't sail and, son, your kite couldn't fly,
And the grass would see your trouble and she'd tell the wind,
And the wind would start blowing again.

BBJ: But, Daddy, what if the grass stopped growing?
What would happen then?

BB: Well, if the grass stopped growing you'd probably cry,
And the ground would be watered by the tears from your eyes,
And like your love for me, that grass would grow so high.
Yes, the grass would start growing again.

BBJ: But, Daddy, what if I stopped loving you?
What would happen then?

BB: If you stopped loving me, then the grass would stop growing,
The sun would stop shining and the wind would stop blowing.
So you see, if you wanna keep this old world a'going,
You'd better start loving me again, again...
You better start loving me again.
You hear me, Bobby?

BOTH: You better start loving me again.
(You love me, Bobby? Yes)
You better start loving me again.


March 07, 2011

The Hindu Women's car rally...win-win-win?

I don't believe in the 8 March women's day thing. Never did. But when The Hindu announced that they were having an all-women car rally, I had to participate. Luckily I could inspire three others and so we went.

The event started late and there were some hiccups in the beginning. But they pampered us...they gave us breakfast, coke, T-shirts, note books...someone was spending money on us, and it felt good! We were four smart women and set off with the first clue. We did everything right; followed all rules, and found one clue after another very easily.
We thought we did well as we drove the last lap to Prasad's.

No, we didn't win anything. This surprised us, somehow. But it was okay. As a rule, we belong to the also-ran category, and are used to it.

But at the end of it all, why were we left with a feeling of dissatisfaction? Why did I feel something was missing? Why the feeling that I didn't play anything? Everything did end happily, didn't it?

The idea was from The Hindu; it was sponsored by various businesses; and organised by an event-management group. Some 200 women participated, had fun, and enjoyed all the media attention they got. The winning teams won handsome amounts of Rs 50,000, Rs 30,000 and Rs 20,000. The Hindu, having generated their content, will now fill its pages with colour, and get publicity; so will the sponsors. The event managers are happy they made their money. The winners are on top of the world--of course! The media got their footage. Surely this is a win-win situation for all concerned?

So what am I complaining about? Am I just jealous? Am I saying the grapes are sour?

What makes me unhappy is that in all this, no one seems to notice that there is one loser. No, it is not me...I am not so important. I think the loser is the sport itself. The rally was far too easy...there were just four clues, and very simple ones at that! No cryptic clues, no racking brains, no challenge, no running here and there, no losing one's way, no discovering places in Hyderabad. It was way too simple even to talk about after the event was over. Okay, there were some winners and some losers, but shouldn't the winners have earned their prize money? I honestly feel I would have felt this way even if I had won the event.

I need to be part of some genuine sport. I miss it very much.

An apology to Africans

We have had a professional connect with Africa for a long time. While at ICRISAT during the eighties, we met and were friends with sever...