A generous BMTC bus conductor

This incident happened during my Tesco Days. It was a routine to travel from Marathahalli to office and back, through BMTC buses. Another pattern was that once in two weeks atleast I would forget  my phone in the PG and leave to office. It wasn’t an issue back then, we could live a day without our phone :). I had to just  call up my parents and friends and tell them that I dont have my phone. But on this unusual day I left my wallet in my house. Unaware of this fact, I boarded the bus and by the next stop I realized that I had left my wallet and to my bad luck there wasn’t any money in the bag too. It  was already late to the office. So I really did not know what to do. As the conductor approached me for the money, I told him that I had left my purse in my house. I was expecting some scolding or he would ask me to get down in the same stop.

I have experienced many situations where the conductor either did not return the change( They just write it behind the ticket and would pay back only when your stop arrives. If you are a forgetful person then you would lose that money) or scolded back when you give Rs. 100 or Rs.500 saying “Change illa”. So it would be totally OK if the conductor behaved similarly this time. But to my surprise he said its OK and in a loud voice asked me “What will you do when you return? Do you want money?” I was astonished. I couldn’t believe what he just said. He iterated “Duddu beka?” I thanked him for his concern and told him that I would pay him back the next day. He told its OK. But i kept saying Thank you and I will pay you tomorrow.  I completed my journey with gratitude determined to return his money the next day. But little did I know that it wasn’t the regular bus. I waited in the bus stop for 3 to 4 days after the incident, around the same time, but could not find the bus nor the conductor. But this act of kindness makes me believe in goodwill of human beings. Whoever you are..  May god bless you 🙂  

Signing off,

Praseeda

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Picture used only for Illustration. Credits:  news18.com

 

 

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A small act of kindness by a two wheeler

After marriage I have been travelling quite often in the car and that too next to the driver(my husband :P). His craze for driving has made me “the conductor” and I have got a few(read it 2) chances to drive too :). Whenever we travel in the night, the only problem is high beam light that literally blinds you. The strategy that my husband uses is “Tit for 2 Tats” 😛 So he would switch to low beam whenever a vehicle approaches him. Give a dim dip for a while, so that the opposite driver also switches to low beam. If the opposite driver is still adamant to stay on high beam, he returns back to high beam to blind the other fellow. I wonder how many deaths happen due to this blinding in India!! But the strategy with two wheeler is, No matter what state of beam they are in, my husband lowers the beam, as he understands their plight. The issue of dim dip comes mostly in single roads.

So we were travelling from Mysore to Bangalore via Kanakapura road. Its mostly a single road but due to less traffic we prefer this road. As usual while returning the game of high beam and low beam was on. A two wheeler was approaching us in the opposite direction. I knew my husband’s strategy and he had lowered the beam. To my surprise even the two wheeler lowered his beam. We never had this expectation nor we did we receive this reciprocation. I was so surprised that I really wanted to stop the car and give a big bow to that fellow. Whoever the fellow was.. God bless you!!

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Image for representation.  Credit: Caspar Benson Getty Images

Signing off!!

Praseeda

Thorns, Slips, Tumbles and much more at Yerikallu, Charmadi Ghat

YHAI Mangalore planned to visit Yerikallu, a trek in the Charmadi Ghat during the last weekend of November. I convinced two colleagues to accompany me. It is a tragedy for the girls in India. You always need to have some company to go to a trip else you wont get permission from your parents. We were 6 girls out of the 25 trekkers that day. I and my colleagues gathered a little late at the meeting point behind Hindi Prachar Samiti, Lal bagh and started our journey at 6:20. It was quite chilly that morning.

We had a delicious breakfast at Jain hotel,Belthangady. After sipping hot tea, collecting our packed lunch we moved towards the Charmadi base,30 km from Belthangady.Florine ma’m kept us entertained with singing and dancing during the Antakshari session.She is one awesome lady!! 🙂

After reaching the base of the ghat section we had a photo session. We could see the mighty Yerikallu at a distance. It looked like we had to do a lot of climbing. We met our guide and he boarded our van. I was glad to know that we would begin our trek from the 5th curve of the Charmadi Ghat.

Initial view of Yerikallu from the Charmadi Base

Initial view of Yerikallu from the Charmadi Base

There was some confusion between the organizer and the guide. He was expecting us to climb some other peak and took us ahead. By the time we realized it was difficult to turn the van in that ghat. While the driver figured out how to reverse the vehicle I got down and clicked good pictures of the hill we were about to climb. The view from that place was amazing. I wonder if I would ever get a chance to stop the vehicle in the ghat section and click pictures like this. As they say all happens for a good reason. This is the good I see in the confusion 🙂

Lucky shot of Yerikallu I got due to the guide's confusion :)

Lucky shot of Yerikallu I got due to the guide’s confusion 🙂

We returned to the curve and found a narrow entrance from where we had to start our climb. We picked our food that comprised of pulav, 2 oranges and a juice packet. I did a bit of warm up and started the journey. It was a dense forest right from the beginning but just the half the way through. The sun was playing hide and seek. My colleagues were excited as they had to climb a steep path right from the beginning. It was their first experience of a real trek( As they called it :P).  One of my colleague found it difficult to climb. Florine mam motivated her and held her hand and dragged her up the hill.

Initial climb with hide and seek of sun's rays

Initial climb with hide and seek of sun’s rays

I found the trek doable initially. I held a tree or a plant and pulled myself up. I barely managed to climb the hill. I really don’t have the stamina to pull others. I am sure many of my co trekkers would agree to this fact as they have motivated me to complete my treks :P. I am also a slow walker. The agony is I take all the more time if I have to take photos of the scenery around (which i often do). The people who had organised the trip asked me to go ahead so that they could finish things on time. The only disadvantage of walking slow is that you get very less time to rest. When you go in group you can’t leave people behind. So the people ahead rest until all the members arrive. By the time the last person arrives they begin their climb. The last person has no other option other than continue walking. But that is how I like it. I enjoy the climb, I enjoy the journey and it’s not a competition to reach early. I guess I have the record of being the last person in all the treks that I have done so far. (Kinda proud of it :P)

We found wild mushrooms fixed to trees called lichen(my colleague told the name) . She mentioned that they are grown in places that have lots of oxygen. No wonder I was felt my system was getting cleansed during the trek. The forest was dry by now. Luckily we did not find any leeches, only dry leaves scattered around. We took a break to sip water and started the steep climb. After half an hour of tiring climb we saw sunlight and yerikallu in the background. The first sight of 180 degree view of many hills of charmadi was mesmerising. It was a breathtaking view to see hills in all the direction and greenery far and near 🙂 Nagendranath sir showed us each hill and mentioned its name. We clicked quite a few pictures and panorama shots.

Lichen - I got one back as a souvenir.

Lichen – I got one back as a souvenir.

All the hills marked by Nagendranath sir.

All the hills marked by Nagendranath sir.

Other set of hills of Charmadi

Other set of hills of Charmadi

We had finished our trek in the forest and next was sunny grasslands. The path was filled with thorns and tall grass. The grass had turned dry by the this time of the year and they were making the climb all the more difficult. The dry grass made the path too slippery and we could not see the land because they had overgrown to almost my height. You had to push them aside and make your way. Since I was behind someone had already paved the path for me. You dont even know the topography of the land below – whether its narrow or steep down or at a height as you could only see the grass, not even its roots. Despite all the problems I used it as a tool to balance myself whenever I was about to slip. It behaved like a dangling stick that came to my rescue when I felt I was about to fall.

Can u see the path?? ;)

Can u see the path?? 😉

We could see the rock right ahead of us but we couldn’t go straight as it was too steep. We walked by the circumference of the hill and that’s how most of the trek paths are laid. I was the last one and Nagendranath sir accompanied me. We kept looking for fellow trekkers so that we don’t get lost. It was very difficult as you need to only look down at the path. We were walking on the edge and the path was narrow with grass on both sides. We couldn’t even judge the width of the path because of the grass. I slipped once and got a cut on my knuckles. By then there were many cuts on the hand because of the dry grass. The key thing for such treks is that you need to wear full sleeves shirt to avoid getting hurt by the thorns or grass.

More climb

More climb

After a while few fellow trekkers started climbing from a different path. It was very steep and short cut. I did not want to strain my knees as I knew the consequences while returning. So we moved our direction and reached one step ahead where we could see 270 degree view. The way to the rock blocked the 360 degree view. My friends took rest there as the guide told that you would get the same view on the top. Since they were tired they did not want to climb further. We took a few pictures together. We had a very good photographer – Shenoy Mamu who was always ready to take pictures. I wanted to climb further as I never like to leave a trek incomplete.

The task of climbing alone is tough as there is no one to guide you and tell you the right path. You could hope that wherever the grass is bent would be the path as people must have walked over it. But due to wind you never know. I could see people climbing straight ahead of me. But they had taken different route. I realized I took the most difficult path. I guess I should compliment my judgement 😛

Panorama with Nagendranath sir

Panorama with Nagendranath sir

After a while I could see Nagendra sir convincing my friends and they agreed to climb up:) It was a bit tough with rocks around. All the journey till here was like skiing. They hold the sticks and I held the grass with two hands. It wasn’t possible without that. Somehow I managed to reach the top and everyone clapped as we finally reached.;) I know the sarcasm but I consider it a compliment. It wasn’t breezing up there as the rock was blocking it. We could not climb on top of that rock. That was quite huge and 90 degree inclination.

I got a place and started hogging Pulav. It was an amazing lunch and the greenery added all the more joy to it. General norm during YHAI trips is we begin with introductions and then start the journey. But since we got late at the beginning we had our introductions in the top. There were variety of people who came for the trek – teachers, priest, business man, bank employees. There was no common background but only pure passion to hike, explore. Few were retired and they inspired us a lot.

After a few group pictures we started back. That’s the irony – you walk up 3 hours and back may be 4 hours just to be there for not even for an hour. I guess that is also the law of nature. Since it is for a few moments we cherish it and value of those things are less which we get in abundance. I knew that the return journey is going to be very difficult as it is very steep and I have a problem in my left knee. I was very cautious as I did want any injury and a lot of them slipped . We had lot more breaks this time as we were getting down a different way. We were walking to the base of Charmadi and not the 5th curve.

The steep walk down

The steep walk down

Initial grasslands were alright, but later on in the woods it was very difficult. I was avoiding all the shortcuts as they were steep and steep means my knee would hurt more. They were making sure we stick to one group as no one knew the way very well and there were chances of missing. My eyes would only concentrate on the path and at times would look for the person to know the path.  When in dilemma I would shout and ask for path. Shenoy mamu had brought lot of toffees – jeera toffee. At every break he would give us or we would ask him for the toffee.

Once we entered the woods it seemed never ending, At times we would hear vehicle horns very close by and would be excited that the road has arrived just to our dismay that we had to walk further. I would hold a tree or a branch and move down. You need to look for thorns and even dead branches as putting your weight on them would make you fall. There was a point where i could not walk down as it was very steep. I started sliding down. After a while some guys started screaming. I was hopeful that we reached the base. There was a very long wooden log and they assumed that to be the road. I guess excess of oxygen may lead to hallucinations too 😛

My knees were hurting now. I started walking with only my left foot ahead and put all the stress on my right knees. A senior sir told that you need to keep the foot cross to avoid slipping. After walking for almost one and half hour we could hear a stream. Since I had enough water there was no need to go to the stream but wanted to wash face and feel fresh.

YHAI secretary was with me motivating to keep moving till the stream. But later I got alone. It wasn’t that steep and I knew that road is not that far. Shenoy mamu constantly kept a check on me by shouting my name.They wanted to reach the base before it got dark. On the way we found a scorpion. It was posing with its thongs raised. I guess it knows what the shutterbugs want 😛 After clicking pictures we moved ahead.

The posing scorpion

The posing scorpion

Once we saw a house we were all happy – Civilization – end of the steep descent!!! It was a relief to everyone.  Before reaching the vehicle we took group pictures trying to have yerikallu in the background.

A group picture with Yerikallu in the background

A group picture with Yerikallu in the background

My legs were aching especially the fingers due to the descent as all the pressure were on them. While returning we had antakshari and Florine mam was energetic then too. I wonder how does she manage to be so fit and energetic after that trek!!  We stopped back at Jain hotel for snacks and had Paper sweet and hot mixture and chips. They were yum. We reached home by late evening. I hope to climb all the peaks of Charmadi which looked majestic from yerikallu. Thanks to the organizers of youth hostel Mangalore unit.

Key things:

  • Grab atleast 2 litres of water during this season as you have no source.
  • Wear full sleeves shirt and full length pants to avoid scratches all over your body
  • A guide is a must – it is not easy to figure out yourselves
  • Keep the area clean so that others can also enjoy 🙂

The Elusive Pithrody beach (Udyavara, Udupi)

There is always something that catches your attention and becomes your motivation to go explore that place. It could be your friends relating their experience or Google’s search which says what to do. For me it was a picture that i came across in the net.

Pithrody back water found at http://udupitourism.blogspot.in/

Too good to believe right?? I was very curious too. I love to explore new places. Most of my Google search would be “places to visit in some place”.  I try to utilize my time after work to see some new place. It was mid-July and my cousin who shares the same interest like me was also free. So noon 2 we decided to visit Pithrody beach which was at the top of my bucket list. I had done some research  to reach the place through public transport (my only hope) . I asked people around if they knew the place to get the directions. But this place wasn’t that famous.  I found some information in the Udupi tourism site and Payaniga blog. I looked up in the Google maps and found a bus stop near the beach and a ferry line. According to me a ferry line is indicated in Google maps if they have ferries moving to and fro (which was not the case here)

We reached Udupi city bus stand and a bus was waiting to go to Pithrody around 2:45 PM. Without asking anyone we got our tickets to last stop of the bus( assuming it to be our destination). It was a nice ride through Ambalpadi towards Pithrody. I had never been to this part of the town. A lot of development surprised me but there were still traces of trees that made me happy. As we were approaching the last stop I could see the narrow strip of land that had caught my attention in the picture. But there were houses around so was hoping to see a way to reach the place. I looked around to ask the conductor the exact stop but he was not in the bus. There was only a lady sitting behind us. Looking at our confused face she asked where we wanted to go. I told pithrody beach and she asked us who told us about it? We got down in the last stop called Pithrody Kamaanu stop. We reached the place around 3:30 PM.

We asked her from where we could get a boat to go to Pithrody beach. She kept asking if we were referring to Kudru. Kudru means island in Tulu. My cousin knew about it, so she asked if we could get a boat to Kudru. She told us they don’t have boat service. They have private boats owned by residents. They live in the island and called someone from their house through mobile and asked to get the boat. Earlier when they did not have phones, they used to make special noise to signal their family members to get the boats. She was surprised as to how we found the place. She could not believe that we came just to see the place.  She was an inquisitive lady. She asked about our details, where we came from and what were we doing and even what caste we belong to. My cousin just answered that we were Hindu. This was the first time it ever mattered when I was travelling in Karnataka. Had we belonged to the same caste she would have arranged for a boat. (Who knows). She walked with us to the place where we could catch the boat and see the island as well.

The calm shore. You just want to sit and retrospect 🙂

This was not the land that I wanted to see. I could see the coconut trees at a far distance. I asked her how to reach the far strip of land. She asked us to take an auto and go through land. I wanted to see the same through boat  :-(. She was in a hurry but asked us to catch the 4’0’ clock bus and return and not stray around. She stressed that point minimum 5 times during our conversation. We really felt like intruders at that point . The place was calm and peaceful. But my mind was only searching for ways to reach that narrow strip of land. I tried to find my location but due to bad coverage I could not locate myself.

A boat approaching our shore from the kudru (island)

After a while we saw a boat coming from the island. A man near our side of the shore said something to us aloud. We ignored as we were habituated to ignore any stranger talking to us in India. That’s the rule of conduct we follow. Later we realised that he was asking if we wanted to take the boat and we felt really bad for ignoring. We clicked few pictures of the island and the strip of land that I was interested in. As it was nearly 4 we decided to move towards the bus stand. We met a lady taking a cow back home after grazing the grass near the shore. We asked her if we could go and see the narrow strip of land closely. She showed us the way but asked not to go as there were lot of dogs. They have a tough time with the dogs and we as strangers could find it even harder. My fear for dogs prevented me from exploring that area. We asked if someone would take us through boat to that place. She told us all the men were either busy or away, so there was no one to take us to there. Disappointed we waited in the bus stand to get the bus. It came around 4:15. We hopped into the bus and returned to our respective house.

The land I want to conquer 🙂

I still have the strong urge to see that place. I hope I could see it very soon 🙂

It happened in my class room

The stories written about people often portray that one fine day due to one incident their life transformed and they looked at life with a new perspective. But for me realisation happened over a period of time. I began my career as a lecturer in an engineering college. I handled Database subject in the Information Science Department. As usual there was a bunch of naughty and disinterested students in the class. It did not affect me as long as they solved questions given to them. Among them there was one student Rahul (name changed) who could not execute programs in lab. I used to feel programs require thinking and problem solving skill unlike written exams which involve a lot of mugging. I noticed this and I decided to help him. When asked for  reason, he told that he had difficulty in understanding English. I felt bad for being judgemental and decided to devote more time. I asked him to meet me after class hours to explain the topics that he could not understand in class. Initially he was punctual and attentive during these sessions. But later he stopped attending them. I realised that he was ignoring me when I overheard him in the corridor telling other students that I was forcing him into this. I felt bad as I was devoting extra time just to make him understand the subject. I explained him that the extra sessions were for his benefit and not mine and I will not bind him to take these sessions. I am not sure if that explanation helped him but he showed progress in studies after that. I had given difficult queries in the class test. He was one of the few who could solve them. I was happy and rewarded the students with chocolates for solving the queries. I realised that you need not force someone to do things but simple explanation to make them realise would be enough.

A placement preparation class was set up to help students in various activities of campus placement like aptitude, group discussion and interviews. During one of the sessions of group discussion I gave the topic to discuss “Pro’s and Cons of recession” since we were experiencing recession then. I being a victim of recession could not think of any benefits of recession. But Rahul mentioned that due to recession all the distinction students have become lecturers waiting for companies call and they got a chance to be guided by good lecturers. I could not believe that this guy was smart enough to think such a deep thought . I learnt that day that no matter what, there are always two sides of every situation. We just need to identify the good part and be happy. 🙂

Athithi Devo Bhava

Being in England for internship, the girls gang decided to utilize the Easter break by visiting Scotland. The first reaction anyone had while hearing the name of the destination was “wow!! It is very beautiful” and a gave us a list of things to be done. With very little planning and basic bookings we headed to Glasgow. As usual we explored the city on foot looking at maps, asking people for directions or calling the hotel guys to reach certain place. A quick realization I had was that the lack of a vehicle actually helps you explore the city better. I am confident enough to show you around the city as i walked all those streets and also got lots of time to click pictures 🙂

After exploring few places in Scotland we reached the city of Inverness late in the evening. We did not research much about the place and  we didn’t know the postcode of the hotel. This made it difficult to locate in the Google maps. The receptionist of the hostel told that if we walked by the river Ness and then take a left at “Rosedean” (still not sure what it is) and come up the hill we would reach the hostel in 15 to 20 minutes. Being on a tight budget we walked by the river carrying the heavy luggage. It was a long day and we had our share of walking before reaching this place. We were told that Scotland is famous for drunkards. This made us hesitant to ask any guy who was not walking straight. Like us, many had decided to take a break for Easter at Inverness as whoever we asked for directions were tourists and could not help us. While walking on that lonely road by the river side the first thing my friend told was that someone told her that “Inverness is famous for pickpockets”. This made me a little nervous for the first time walking in England. However i carried as i decided not to give voice to my inhibitions. After walking for an eternity ( that’s what we felt) we met an old couple who were from Inverness. When asked for the address, the lady constantly mentioned that she heard the road but she could not figure out where was it. So we asked about “Rosedean house” and she knew where it was (It was a relief as we were sure the place exists!!!)

After a big discussion among themselves they came to conclusion that we need to walk by the river and we would get Rosedean at a junction and take a left. Before leaving they asked where we came from. I and my friend proudly told “India” .Hearing the name, I saw a big smile on their face which was very refreshing. After watching movies like “Slum dog Millionaire” i always thought that the notion people had about India was that it is filled with beggars or people who would con any outsider. But their expressions wiped all such thoughts. They told us that they had been to India three weeks back and had an amazing experience. They saw Delhi, Darjeeling, Gangtok for 4 days each. At Delhi they stayed at Gurgaon at the Taj. Their son’s friends had a party on the occasion of 50th marriage anniversary of their parents. They were invited for the same. During the stay, the hotel guys arranged for transport to see the place around(No wonder they got great hospitality 😉 ) They also mentioned that they had a toy train ride in Darjeeling and went early morning to the tiger hill to see the sunrise. Due to the clouds they didn’t get to see it. But were glad that while returning they saw the sunrise. They liked these places as it was cool like Scotland.

After a cheerful conversation they sympathized with us since we had to take a long walk to reach that place. After collecting information about the things we could do in Inverness we took leave and headed in the direction we were told to. The further way was very lonely as we could not find a single person. A car would pass once a while. Lonely road and two girls walking with no idea about which direction. We could not even find the famous Rosedean house after walking for a long while. My friend was worried. She was like “We must have taken a wrong road”. While i was wondering what to do, a red car approached us saying “We are here to help you. Welcome to India”. It was the same old couple with car. They were like “ We are here to drop to you to the hotel”. I could not believe that. My friend was confused. I had to explain her that these guys came to help us. They were like “ We received so much hospitality in India that we wanted to do something in return”. That reminded me of the verse most commonly used in India “Athithi devo bhava”. While driving, the lady told “You won’t find the peep-peep(she meant horns) or lots of people here”. While i replied “That is the sad part. Back in India if we were lost we could just ask someone. But here its difficult to find a person to ask.” I remember in Glencoe we were lost. We had to reach Glencoe village and there was no sign indicating if we were in the right direction and no one on the road for guidance. At a distance we found a guy walking to his vehicle. My friend had to run leaving all her luggage behind and stop the vehicle to ask for directions. To our bad luck we walked almost a mile in the wrong direction. But we thank god that we dint proceed in that direction. After getting into the car we didn’t reach our place soon. They were not sure of the place yet, but ready to find it out for us. The lady had got a map with her. I was checking in the Google map simultaneously. It was now showing that we have to go for about 2 miles in the some direction to reach the place. My friend was worried that we had to walk all this way. They showed us the “Rosedean”. It had no name indicating the same. If the couple had not arrived I wonder if we would recognize and reach the place. After going ahead for a  while the lady realized that we have come ahead and so took a right about turn and came back to that road and finally reached the hotel. The first thing that came out of my mouth was “Shukriya”. They were pleased to listen. I gather that they had learnt few words of hindi in India. They folded their hands and told “Namaste” . We reciprocated the same. They told that back in India no one did that often. That was realization, Our own tradition had to be reminded by a foreigner. I asked for their names so that I never forget them. It was Jeff and Moreen( first time i remember someone’s names). I was so glad with their favour that i asked for their numbers so that if they happen to come to India next time i could return their favours. The lady was frank. She told that they had no plans to come to India. They would like to see other places. I could understand their feelings so  did not insist. After dropping us to the guest house they left back to their house.

I am not sure what hospitality they received in India. But we received the rewards of that experience. It was moment to be proud of India and its the value system. It was an experience of the lifetime.

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