BOKEH- Beautiful, sometimes lazy but not boring. A story of silent apocalypse.

Friday night and movie is a must watch. While browsing through the genres in Netflix I came across this movie “Bokeh”. Instead of pulling over to known films, the name was intriguing to hit Play. Well, I wanted to take a look to find out what is their in store for this movie with an unusual name. What I know, Bokeh is basically a photographic term used to define images that beautifies blurred photos which is out of focus. The story is set in Iceland and involves two couple on their first ever overseas trip.

BokehThere is this peculiar taste of directors and writers to inculcate doom with beauty in today’s time. Bokeh tells the story of two characters Jenai and Riley who wake up one morning in Reykjavik to a world without humans and no moving flesh in their surroundings. We find out how would someone feel from inside with a distinct sense of dying yet living when you only see nature to be in and around you to be your partner in any activity and the creators of human settlements are into oblivion. You wake up to find the world is at your ownership and you don’t need permission or exchange words to get something you desire or need. You can rip through the air in any vehicle you want or put up anywhere you wish to. It is a tale of an apocalypse but without mankind racing against nature’s reply to destruction for survival. We don’t have gunshots blazing in the air, no bloodshed, no indistinct chatter off creepiness and the greed to be the first to live when dooms day standing at your doorstep.

Bokeh takes you to be part of a soundless apocalypse in a hypnagogic set where beauty lies in the background with the lush green meadows, diamond white glaciers, silence of the atmosphere playing an integral part of laying in the lap of peace and happiness, yet it instills a sense of fear in the foreground where the protagonists only thought is to define what they are facing all alone looking like a small dot on the vast canvas of the earth. They question each other is this how the time stops ? is the end of the human race ? There’s no destruction, no horror of dying, no need of the hour to involve in monetary exchange. What they want are all available to them and find no requirement to work their brains out on any decisions. It’s quite right when you own the world how does decision matter ! Who would you ask for and who would reciprocate back. Well, for someone it is a sprinkling touch of joy, whereas for others it can be a devastation inside their mind.

Jenai (Maika Monroe) and Riley (Matt O’leary) one morning in Reykjavik wake up to find they are the only human specie walking on the planet. It triggers panic within them but slowly Riley tends to accept the fact and start enjoying the silence which hugs his freedom. He finds wonder in taking on any cars he can drive, he owns the road and can live in any home he wants. On the other hand Jenai turns the opposite. It never occurred to her that silence of the world can be a war of thoughts. She tries to find answers to the over-looped questions running in her mind about what’s gonna happen next and how can she reach back where home is. Context is not about living in the time, the argument she has is how can they survive without their loved one’s. For the first time a vacation looked like urge to close eyes forever but was being compelled to survive. With time they get into the habit of argument and stroke of disagreements. On one occasion Riley takes Jenai to a place where there is this old shattered piece of a broken plane from world war II lying in the midst of black sand. Riley finds it to be beautiful, whereas Jenai replies back to explain it’s not making her smile and nothing is making her happy. Jenai disagrees and throws back at Riley that the broken plane is a garbage and it cannot be beautiful as Riley is trying to beautify. There are many such instances where we get to know the approach of Riley and Jenai towards the aloofness they face and have their share of arguments. Bokeh Jenai

Bokeh is mostly filled with very well photographed landscape of Iceland and must admit the choice of the directors to shoot in Iceland is a good play. I got to watch some brilliant piece of shots and make me wonder wish I can be there someday but with people around of-course.
The movie has it’s own moments to pull the audience towards it but mostly the performance through only expressions makes it look lazy. Too much of uncommunicativeness can sound boring. There is no complain how Maika Monroe (Jenai) pulled of the role with her expression, it was amazing to look at her and understand her pain of hovering in the black hole. Riley although enjoys what he is being gifted, yet he has the frustration of accepting the situation Jenai has put herself into. He plays the protective partner and tries to calm her and bring out of the situation they both are into and make her look at the world how beautiful it is. The chemistry is what keeps the movie alive, otherwise only seeing Iceland would have made it a documentary. There’s no denying it is an escapist film where we are thrown into travel but with Darwin’s theory in place.

Somewhere the plot seems to be a throw of light where we don’t have any idea from where Jenai and Riley have come and what their background is. Only we get to know Jenai can’t reach her mother and little things like hearing old voice messages brings in satisfaction when you have no one to talk to. I wonder how would it be one day I wake up to find the world is mine, but I don’t want them all. It won’t be my amusement as I did not ask for it all. Greediness can never be a goal when you know you are being given all, and need not snatch from others.
Bokeh works for me for the brilliance of camera and the concept of using the apocalypse as background of an image with the survival of Jenai and Riley as the blurry image in the foreground. Kudos to the makers.

Following – An understanding of Nolan’s initiation

Following_film_posterWhile I chanced upon the debut piece of art made by Nolan “Following”, I thought the background and the pre-production stories and the struggle resembled quite to that of Satyajit Ray’s “Pather Panchali”. Both the movies were the brainchild and visions of two prolific directors that I have watched and fell in love with, however the making and finance came mostly from their own pockets or to be precise they had to find ways out to get their insights into the reel within a shoe string budget. As per the archives the filmmaker used various cost cutting options to make this breakthrough cinema which he penned. He had to use natural lights, shot on 16 mm with proper rehearsals to avoid garbage of negatives as the entire production was standing like a Crane on $6000. The fact that he had hardly put any financial fortune yet gets the attention from studios and also being hailed for his thought process of making movies was animating.

“Following” talks about a simple story of a person following people to get inspiration from real life characters for his novel which he plans to pen down. The movie made with not so known faces yet pulls out understandable performances from the cast. The protagonist known as “the young man” gets into a tendency of following people out in the streets and draws out traits to sketch a character for his first novel. While in the regular routine of following, he sets his eyes upon a dark suited man who looks dapper. However, to his surprise he is being questioned back by the dark suited man. He introduces himself as Cobb. “The Young Man” puts him as Bill. Now, Cobb tells Bill about what he is and what he does. Serial burglary is what he is good for and wants Bill to accompany him. This straight note of submitting his own point which rather looked inconsequential seemed quite convincing enough through his expressions. Cobb finds pleasure and fun in hovering through the personal items of his targets which proclaimed to think of one’s unique interest and that of the filmmaker. This uncommon desire of burglary attracted Bill who started such doings on his own and also groomed himself upon Cobb’s advice.

In the film we see the characters shifting between two courts of time stamp in a non-linear narrative where at one point he woos a Blonde girl who was one of their targets and seems quite attracted and on the other hand he is brought back to their activity of theft. Both the stories are shown at the same time, yet none of them happens at the equal juncture. It’s the prodigious thought of Nolan which makes this happen I believe. He starts the picture from one zone and in the middle of the screenplay pulls the 2nd layer of the story from the other zone making it look like two facts taking place simultaneously.

The story is simple, straight forward but twisted by the brain of the maker. Cobb and Bill together break in houses. Bill follows a Blonde girl and also even goes to the point of turning possessive about the girl seeing the Bald Guy who happens to be a criminal. The girl is witness to one such murder where the Bald Guy smashes the fingers of the victim and kills by hitting the skull, and thus she decides to put her relation apart. He tries to help the girl by recovering some convicting photographs under the possession of the Bald Guy. However, to his surprise he finds the photographs to be few modeling shots. During his search he murders an unidentified man who appears out of the dark. He goes back and confronts the girl however to his surprise finds that it was her plot with Cobb to manipulate the technique of the murder so that the entire suspicion covers Bill and shows that’s the Modus Operandi of the several murders that have taken place thereby framing Bill.

On the other hand when the Blonde girl meets Cobb after they set their bench with Bill, Cobb reveals he works for the Bald Guy and murders the girl in the same way Bill murdered the unidentified man at Bald Guy’s house. Here, the story meets the set which was encircling from very beginning from various parts of the circumference and meets at the radius in the center.
It started as a partnership of burglary with no relation between Cobb- the Blonde Girl- the Bald Guy, but ultimately results in apparent situations and reasons for rivalry between Cobb- the Blonde Girl- the Bald Guy. When Bill surrenders to Police, he actually finds Cobb is not there to be seen in the picture and gets himself framed as the murderer of the Blonde Girl because the MO matches with all the other killings that took place.

Nolan in his very first feature practices his method of story-telling where he will bring in various characters and ultimately let them meet at the end to create the climax which will not result into any presumptions the audience will have seeing the first few minutes of the film.

Following is a satisfaction to watch even though it’s a neo-noir project but carved out of good hands.

D U N K I R K – Nolan and the visual impact.

You don’t create a pre-conceived notion about what Christopher Nolan will create and whether he will push the bar higher every-time he comes. In his last piece of work, he blended human emotions and the chances of survival on this planet while pushing the limits for sci fi genre to a whole new level one can’t even think of. We all are aware and awe of the capabilities of Nolan how he can pull audiences to tough and mind playing cinematic experiences. He already had a merry go round with amnesia, psychic, dreams, life beyond planets, superheroes etc in the past 2 decades. Here in 2017 he brings in one small chunk of human escort straight from the pages of human conflict and the deadliest dance of war ever fought- The World War II.

The Dunkirk evacuation as we are all familiar by now took place right at the onset of the world war II is probably the most thrilling and engaging evacuation of 300,000 approx allied soldiers that ever took place in the history of warfare. Nolan with his enigmatic proforma of storytelling blends the happenings  with his mastered skills into a gigantic canvas hitting the level higher than ever we came across a movie based on war. The story is told in a non linear structure where the filmmaker doesn’t practice the regular concept of backstory, bodybuilding and end with successful survival of the plot. Here the strength of the cinema is in the mixture of pushing the pages of the script according to the suspense required without maintaining a chronology. This is an area where Christopher Nolan has always doctored and for me is a scientist of cinema.

Dunkirk is told in a more fashioned manner rather than constructing limelight through wage of words. Dialogues play cameos and is hardly required to define the marvel the movie has become. Nolan puts in effort to let us understand the movie through 3 perspectives i.e Land, Water and Air. He also generates the theory of being afraid that a war is coming by placing Germans as the white background of the painting canvas rather than showing them in sketches. The fear of their presence within the absence is a terrifying feeling which we could see while the parts were on.
It’s useless to put in words and type the story of what happend and why. Rather, it’s enriching to beautify what can be romantic in a warzone. Mind you, we don’t see bloodshed, we don’t see face to face combats and mostly we don’t see the Germans. Thrill couldn’t have been rip-roaring than letting you place in the ride created by the director. There were plenty of scenes which made me feel within the plot.

Land – a group of soldiers by the beach and inside the boat where they suddenly see shots being fired and builds up holes with every round. They find no place to go and slowly keeps on cornering them to buy out time for the chance of a bullet piercing their flesh. One of them add it to be a target practice for Germans as the structure of shots looked planned. How would you feel where a sneak peek for  way out can become a death hug and all stands out who is gonna take chance. When one of them is directed to take a chance, he responds he wants to go home. This put my spine shivering where this is the break away point and I don’t know how do I see the sky now.


Air- Farrier played by Tom Hardy who along with other 2 pilots fly over the English channel to provide air support to the groups stranded at Dunkirk planning for evacuation. He comes across a Luftwaffe airplane which brings down the leader and the other surrenders to the channel as the plane gets damaged during the skirmish. With little amount of fuel left he wanders alone in the sky and while flying over to reach Dunkirk he finds the bomber trying to be a stopper in the evacuation process. He takes down the bomber thereby enabling easy process of evacuation. While he does what he was meant to, his survival and faithful landing along the beaches was absolutely delightful. The plane plans to descend and the wheels gets jammed. The process and seconds it shows the stop gap of opening of the wheels was mind-blowing making the landing and kiss of wheel on the sand a delight to watch. Farrier burns down the plane and hands over to Germans with panache.

Dunkirk air

Dunkirk intrigues you with its musical score through the hands of Hans Zimmer and he gets it right what Nolan might be looking for and exactly what such stories deserve.The work of camera is the spine of the movie. The swing angles of the camera while the Royal Air Force take down the belligerents, the visuals of the ocean through the eyes of the pilots and the silence at the beach with enlarged shots made us feel what Hoyte Van can create. I am already his fan from Interstellar and Spectre.
Also, not to forget some young bunch of actors along with Fionn Whitehead emoting their space out where they hardly have lines and had to create an image of being a survivor with emotions expressing desire to reach home and also carry the stamp of being evacuated rather than having scars at war.

Dunkirk will leave in sight for long and probably can be overtaken by Nolan only.

Chikmagalur’s essence with Hoysalas History

It is known to us that South India is bestowed with greenery and mesmerizing beauty ranging from hills to the lush green coffee plantations. I stay in Bangalore and it is quite natural for me to explore the sides and rocks of the nearby places, but what you need is a good company who is equally ready to jump in for joy. What’s better than cousins !. People landed from Kolkata and Noida to bulk up for a trip to any nearby happening spots of Karnataka. We wrote and scribbled about quite a few names and checked Chikmagalur which would be the best place to cover in 3 days time along with the historic cities of Beluru and Halebidu. So me accompanied by my other 6 cousins jet set in 2 of our chariots (I call so because of her unstoppable service) in the frame of a car.


On way to Chikmagalur….

The city takes its name from Cikkamagala uru which means “Daughters town”. Legend says the city was given as dowry to the youngest daugher of Rukmangada.

The journey started at 7 am from Bangalore and somehow we managed to force ourselves from the sea of vehicles at that hour and sneak into the esplanade of highways.

Bangalore roads you’re horrible and so is the sense of her drivers!

Once I was out of the city the drive along the highways seemed like sailing in water without any sudden jolts. The roads sometime took the frame of an escalating flyover and sometimes the diversions were of a racing track from Grand Prix. The sideways of the highway were stumped with trees and sometimes it bent down to kiss each other making a shade for the fellow passerby. Ah! Beautiful. Its true, nature can be felt from eyes. Finally after 6 hours drive we reached our first stay “Mountain Valley” resort and amazing was our start. The rooms were fully furnished with golden wooden touch comprising of attractive bedrooms and interiors.

Chikmagalur is also known for coffee plantations which you can smell in the air whether you are driving or walking, it’s kind of a O2 blend with the dessert. On top of it the place is blessed with a mixture of cool breeze and twinklings of raindrops. It’s a rare kind when you can feel the touch of rain and not feel like running under a shade, because it’s a pin prick and not a slap of droplets. Our stay was as beautiful as those rich cottages we see in the English movies where the protagonists family resided in wooden burnished interiors and among the woods, somewhat similar to Forrest Gump’s place or that of Kate’s stay from Holiday. Greens and Breeze accompanied our eyes and ears respectively for close to 72 hours slaying away the monotonous wreckage of hullabaloo in the city.

Buttermilk Falls…

We refreshed ourselves with a South Indian lunch and thankfully it tasted quite distant from being horrible. I was full and fool enough to hog too much, given that we were to drive out for nearby sites like Buttermilk Falls, Mullayangiri hills as we heard they are more alluring for our sight. We started off sooner than later as after dusk the beauty of the hills turns into beast and can be treacherous to drive amidst the turns and tantrums of the fog and mist in the hills. Our first halt was at Buttermilk falls where we had to park our cars few miles away and hire the local jeep. We had our series of questions to the locals who were conducting and earning with the help of the Jeeps. They strictly mentioned regular city drivers can’t drive their way down to the location of the falls as the roads are turbulent and can be fatal.

img_20160708_160034Well we had no other questions left when rules are set. So, jeeps were hired and 7 of us started the journey. I was curious enough to see what the roads are going to offer as a treat. Firstly, it was lovingly uncomfortable and would have given a good competition to Shakira in terms of body shaking. Hits and blows were our series of tastes in turn while the Jeep ventured into the mud scattered and rocky roads. It was perfectly edgy and perfect enough to jump to death if not perfectly driven. Prayag Da was an expert but I wondered if he could have driven in the dirt race tracks. 3 kms as they said seemed like a ride back to Bangalore and again back. It took hell of a time. Finally reached the spot and the sight was a treat. It made me forget the tiring journey of past 3 kms.

We stood quite far away from the body of water fall however, getting drenched was not a tough factor given the thud noise of water when it landed down the stream from the top. Few clicks and selfies were must and clicked quite good amount of pictures together. After waiting there for half an hour it was time to ride back or call it climbing back in a Jeep , Innovative word Eh ! The journey back to our car was not so hectic given that we had our own share of experiences and were ready for the next dish of bumps.

Mullayanagiri played spoilsport….

As we were about to start for the next destination Mullayanagiri, it started raining. Rain I must say wakes up the nature and blooms the greenery around. I wonder people who stay in such places on the lap of greens procure health benefits more than city goers and have long life ahead with less chance of being unhealthy. With such thoughts we ventured out for Mullayanagiri known to be the highest peak in Karnataka elevated at 1930 metres. It is part of the Baba Budan Giri hill ranges. After driving back from Buttermilk falls there are two ways which goes down to Chikmalagur and the other sways top Mullayangiri. We took a halt for few minutes to decide whether to drive ahead to Mullayanagiri or rest it for the day and come back next morning. So, had a small debate with Didi and Sohini voting for going down and me and Prayag da settling that we must make it today itself as we had time, but it resulted as a flop. After venturing few miles towards Mullayanagiri it became obvious that we took a wrong decision that day.

Few meters ahead the roads turned narrow with succumbing space for one vehicle and nobody can cross our paths coming out from the other side. The most terrifying site was the ocean of fog, although it was beautiful and mesmerizing, yet it brought it’s own sense of tragedy if the weather at that time played against our wish then we are all set for hundreds of feet down flying (use udna nahi girna kehte hai). I looked left-right-straight-back, it was all white and the wiper dancing on the front glass. Great ! we are in for an adventure and might well be able to work our way upwards. After driving few miles up, the whiteness turned heaven and came around to hug our car which is not so comfortable. We decided to stop for a while as there was an approaching vehicle who was stuck. Prayag Da walked to them and came with the news not to go ahead as things are not favorable to reach the peak. Sigh ! disappointed I was. I came out of the car so that I can be the traffic guide for our car. Interesting ! I am guiding a car to not land in danger at a spot where it was more like heaven than hills. To my dismay wind was firing from machine guns and it was difficult to control my friction. I thought it would have been better to get those magnetic boots used by SRK in Badshah. It worked well for me to guide and we came down the roads with exchange of words between the husband and wife who were with us. All of a sudden I was inside a moving parliament with Didi and Prayag da becoming Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha quarreling with each other. Rajya Sabha always had the defending sense for me. It took us an hour or two driving back to Mountain Valley with a chai break at a roadside tea stall whose name I couldn’t read as my knowledge of Kannada alphabets is negative. The spot was dazzling and the sense of attraction was the sculpture of a lady in the posture of Cleopatra carved out of rocks and bushes. After sipping 2 cups of coffee served late and onion fries, we were all done for the day and we lay ourselves back. Freshened up and all of us got engaged in a game of UNO and I won twice that day, my back to back win so far. Snacks were our fuel and goodbye to hunger until dinner. Game done , Dinner done !.
Peace prevails amidst pristine lamps hanging at every corner of the cottage with strange yet soulful sound of wind. My ears never had the honor to such blare of wind. It’s one of those little moments I took pleasure during my trip.

Hebbe falls..

First day down, Chikkamagalur was a treat and the stay an author’s retreat. We started our campaign and the next visit was Hebbe falls. The place is 10-12 kms away from Kemmanagudi and almost 55 kms from Chikkamagalur. Hebbe falls can be seen from plain lands when you are driving your way to the hills and the view is luxurious to your eyes. It is a straight white mark in the middle of a big green canvas. The sight is exquisite and sprinkles of water during rainy season blossoms an oil paint image of the scenery. Mesmerizing it is !

Not only the destination, even the journey was accentuating. We stopped by the roads which lay like too many “S” joined together. It struck my mind then that we just zoom when we are driving, it is also necessary to stop and enjoy the stillness devoid of sound.


Only if vandals take a look at these before any vandalism

I stood at the edge of the road and down lay the cliff, but if you look straight across the horizon you will see carpets lay all over with range of Baba Budan Giri encircling the area. In the middle of those carpet fields stood few houses. Lucky they are who own them. The roads came with surprises in between where navigation app showed the shortest way but did not mention it was full of dirt race challenges. Prayag da was genius enough to sneak out of the rural roads. It took us an hour to come out in the highway for the smooth journey we were anticipating. After we started escalating the hills, we reached a spot where there was a gate with something written in their local language making me feel alien again and a left turn. We stopped for a while and discussed whether to take left or straight should be our destination. Don’t know what struck us we took left but stopped after gearing few meters. I Got down and asked one of the passerby whether Hebbe is all the way up, they wronged us and asked to take U turn and head through the gate we just ignored. The road we are facing would have taken us to Kemmanagundi, and probably the place we marked for our next bag. So, we turned back and entered the vicinity of big trees and a red wet mud avenue. I could see this road taking a sudden right turn. I was eager to head that way. The road had something unique because you can’t see how does the path look once it shot the naive turn because the entire area is covered with blanket of greenery. It was beautiful and peaceful !

As we parked our cars we fell in the hats of another out of nothing business. We cannot proceed with our own vehicle, rather had to take the forest Jeep as the roads won’t fit the bill of regular plain drivers. Hence shelled our amount and booked our jeep. I put on my Wind-Cheater to fight the pin pricking breeze at such an altitude. We boarded the Jeep and had no idea what the journey would be like. We heard that Hebbe falls is 3 Kms away from the place we parked our own cars. What would be coming was not in our minds. The roads were more of a terrain and not a normal road. Somewhere it seemed we are the first one to create roads in mankind and hence exploring the way to Hebbe for the upcoming generations. 3 Kms seemed like 30 kms which the guard at the gate couldn’t relate to. Even though it was a roller coaster ride, but the beauty and the mist were glorifying. This tour kept on surprising me with devotion of gods creation. Clouds were sailing all around us and the lush green surroundings were shining creating an ecstatic ambiance. These assets of nature can only be felt through eyes, not by touch.

We reached a spot where the driver parked the car and mentioned that the Falls is still quite far away. Screwed !!. We were wondering now what do we do and what challenges are going to welcome us. I stood and looked around, the trees were standing too high in a queue and completely deep into a forest. I wished no wild boars or  big cats would surprise us in such a dense forest. Anyway, we started tapping our feet forward to struggle our way to Hebbe falls. After walking for few minutes, we came across a stream. It was gentle and clear, slowly flowing on it’s own unperturbed by the humans staring at her. There were stones and rocks beneath the water, which means it’s not deep and we can easily cross. My cousins decided to take off their footwear and walk, but I decided to cross with my footwear on. The water in the stream was bone chilling and I had to summon my nerves to tolerate that. Next we were challenged by the muddy and slippery soils all wet, if not controlled you can land on the earth with a thud and it would be a nasty fall. So to avoid that we helped each other and came out strong without a fall.

So we could see the water fall at a distance and it was indeed a worth watch. But, our interest was to reach the spot instead of watching it from a stage like that of a Multiplex backseat. Thus, we went ahead.
The slow and careful walk was not at all easy, we don’t belong to the ManVsWild crew nor Bear Grylls my father. I really liked what I was doing because how often do you get to cross streams within a look alike set of Jurassic Park, and no Dino’s were after us; the missing point.

Once you look up and straight, you get to feel the pin pricks and gush of water which has no color turns white entirely breaking the stillness of the place for ages. Isn’t it beautiful !. I was at that place and watching those consistent fall created an ambiance where you can stay there without any disturbance. I could hop from one rock to another and tried to get as close as I can. The camera lenses were dripping and opaque enough giving me VGA shots. We all had a great time taking pictures, the only way to celebrate our trek.
Half an hour later we were done with our enjoyment and time to roll our sleeves to head back to jeep. The expedition back to jeep was good one as I carried little babies on my feet with me and thought of keeping it as pet. I was not happy about the fact they were trying to enter my skin hence took it and threw it there. Leeches have bad taste of food which I can’t afford and they left a permanent mark in my life ! sorry legs.
We returned back with an increased amount of roughness and like champions just back from diamond hunt.

Once  back it was time to descend. Bye Bye Hebbe. I was scrolling through the google pages to know more about Hebbe and read that it is banned for tourism as it’s a tiger reserve and open tourism is not allowed. Can you believe that ! We just played and sprung here ‘n’ there least knowing Tigers can join the party too and we their food.

Phew! Enough of Discovery Channel, time for History TV as the next platter.

Beluru, Halebidu and Shravanabelagola…

We are somewhat familiar about the Cholas, Guptas, Chalukyas, Mauryas, Mughals, Marathas etc from school times and history classes, but what kept me awestruck was Hoysalas gargantuan level of art which was highly rich and beyond our imagination of creating the same impact in today’s time. Both the towns of Beluru and Halebidu which is 13-14 kms apart and still holds their culture of ancient period thus preserving the tales of modernization during the 10-14th centuries through artifacts and stone carved tales on the bodies of the Chennakeshava temples. History and Art are not enough if you don’t touch them with your vision. Pages from books can let you know and understand, but staring at those beauties and acknowledging the pinnacle of skill Indians had during those period is beyond explanation, and only exclamations.

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The Chennakeshava temple took 103 years from laying its foundation till its inauguration. Vishnuvardhana started building the temple. Legend says the reason to build the temple was to commemorate their victory over the Cholas. It was completed Veera Ballala II (Vishnuvardhana’s grandson). The structure explains the daily activities of the people during Hoysala rule and the understanding of strength, knowledge, power magnificently displayed at the base of the entire structure. From a distance the temple looks like a majestic structure with carved stones displaying the skills the artists possessed, but when you take a eye to eye look, it explains how the women used to live and their fashion statement. The explanation of using binoculars and sculptures of human sipping drinks from bottles is beyond our thoughts that today’s lifestyle were already a part of India when technology was not the ruling base of survival. It was complete art and human skills. Human hands were the right set of arms than machine made tools. It is unquestionably not a pleasure to read and enjoy. History is itself rich what I understood looking at them which no pages can elate your sense of amazement.

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After Beluru we drove to Halebidu which was another arm of the Hoysala heritage. The history behind its rise and doom is intriguing. Malik Kafur who was the General of Alauddin Khilji attacked and vandalized the city of Dorasamudra- the then capital of Hoysala empire. Kafur attacked twice and devastated the region thus throwing them into ruins. It was later Beluru became the capital of Hoysala empire after the grounding of the Dorasamurdra. The hoysala temples comprises of two hindu temples- Hoysaleshwara and Kedareswara. At the entrance of the temples there is a large lake, from which the name Dwara (Entrance) Samudra (Lakes or sea) got her name. The temples of Halebidu resembles striking similarities to that of Beluru and was almost similar to that of the depiction of tales from Hindu mythology and abundant dancing figures. It is to be kept in mind not only were the artform exquisite but what was more eyebrow raising is their uniqueness. No sculpture was a second form to each other. One structure is one in the whole world. It is a matter of thought how peculiar and highly accurate the artists were with their magnanimous brilliant hammering strokes so that no structure resembles to each. I still wonder how is that possible and what went wrong to our heritage that we lag so much today and we all talk about Italy, France and Europe when art is spoken about. For me these soapstone structures were much more alluring than The Monalisa or preservation’s at Louvre (I am yet to see this, hopefully in future). I lose words when explaining and beautifying what I saw, Better drive your way their and write your own choice of spots.

Hoysala was done, and it was time to return back to Bangalore with a stop at Shravanabelegola.

I was holding a booklet purchased from Beluru for a basic concept of the place. After rolling eyes over the pages of Sravanabelegola, It was even more amazing. The place has two hills Chandragiri and Vindhyagiri where Chandragupta Maurya is believed to have meditated. The site is wordily famous for the 58 feet gigantic statue of Gommattesvara Bahubali. History says Chandragupta Maurya transformed himself into a Jain and breathed last in Shravanabelegola. After every 12 years a ceremony takes place where the statue of Bahubali is bathed with water, rice flour, sandalwood paste, saffron gold and silver flowers. Thousands of pilgrims from different states of India congregate here to experience and perform the Mahamastakabhisheka. It took 12 years to construct the worlds largest monolithic stone statue and thus the 12 years interval between the ceremonies. We reached there just before the temple closure for the day. When we entered the premises it was not in our mind that we will play the role of mountaineers. It was undoubtedly a smaller version of Amarnath Yatra considered to be the most Vigorous pilgrimage which my Granny went for and returned like Tenzing after Everest as per her expressive tales. I was panting and puffing with less strength in my lungs but sheer interest and urge to visualise the structure made me reach the spot after stepping 700+ stairs. It was a treat to take a look at the Bahubali. The priests were generous and kind enough to appreciate our tenacious and knee jerking climbs. The view from the top of the rock was deeply satisfying after the successful ascend. It was indeed delightful for me.
We were knocked by the priests to descend as it was already 7.30 PM. We spent 2 odd hours in going up and down and the end of our journey was stupendous and rocking.

After descending down and putting in our shoes we relaxed with the help of coconut water and ice creams. All of us were discussing about the tiring journey, others were scrambling the pictures, my sister showed dissatisfaction at not having a good picture of her, but strange enough I found her pics quite beautiful.

We started back for Bangalore and rested our spines over a cup of tea at a roadside stall. The journey along the NH27 was soothing until we hit the monstrous traffic jam of Bangalore and the stop- start- drive till home.



7 months away from my land…

You know these days hunt for career and tag of growing up has become a habit for the next set of people about to represent another generation. We are racing against time to reach our destination and who knows what it is going to result, but we are racing ! Similar is my case here. I grew up somewhere else, started my ‘learn and earn’ work elsewhere with little idea where i will land up and what my next destination would be. The job which I landed up accidentally with just the idea to step towards a responsible and structured end point will continue and change the “Okay types” work to a more focused reality. Yes, indeed job brings responsibilities and carries the geometrical formulas to shape a vulnerable college pass out into the land of targets, achievements, prospects and activities which we want to get rid off daily but still it is our blessing in the form of compensation manufactured in the Mint.

It’s been approx 2.5 years I worked in my current organisation in Calcutta which is my homeland and from where me and my belongings belong. However, it reached a saturation point after these 30 months of work, work, work, promotion, too much work. Peace ! and Period. So, needed a change, needed a new life and new role to excite me. Hence I ventured out for new purview and it was Bangalore calling for my somersault in job role. It does feel strange that how come I just took that decision and got ready to leave the place of Ganga, Ilish, Bhar er chaa, Durga Pujo and what not just by a twinkle. It did not occur to me how badly I would feel the absence of the cultural power of this place once I am away from it. So finally when I was there in Bangalore it took me into those old days of charm and my mind worked as the bio-scope of flashbacks. Trust me, those were filled with stories,memories,breakup, friends, family, gatherings and own times with myself but I made it sure I don’t take it into oblivion. I feel like it could have been a blockbuster in the multiplex. Yes, memories are special like a hit movie in the theater.

Moving forward to the new city Bangalore was a marvel place to explore. It did not excite me initially because of its opposite culture with the language being stranger to my ear and my taste buds still virgin to the South Indian staple diets. I wish I was a superman of all sorts then. I plead guilty before the court of emotions and so sorry Bengal, I missed you and yearned to be back every-time I could. But, how could I stay where the length of opportunities seemed short as the potato my father bought few days back for my mother to cook. Horrible !!. I want to be here, but also I don’t want. With heavy heart i took a new turn in the path and went forward to learn the way to drive in a new role of life. However, I must say I slowly started liking my work and the place. It gave me a sense of freedom and satisfaction that I was doing something better than what I had to do before, not that it was bad but it got me saturated.

When you are away from your family and building your own blocks of routine and arrange the logs of daily chores like that of a calendar, it does experiment the inner idea of how talented you are to take care of your own. Fortunately, I did not fall down too many times and even if I did, i did not hit the wall. Its been 7 months of trial and error and success in my knowledge transfer (as they call in my office). People were impressed and guided for more which indeed catapults your confidence.

I left on 6th march and came back for a short notice hence writing on my desk in Bengal. Here today, I am back to my city of joy with no changes in the city but within me precisely on a positive note. Today while I am writing, the place is decking up gracefully for the upcoming festive season of welcoming Durga maa. Kolkata is ready and so is her soul with smiling faces and wet forehead. It is a sense of gratitude to be back to your place and rest your mind for few days not mincing for the drama of regular life.

My place is where my family is and my family is where I am. Will be back to Bangalore soon with the hope of returning back to write another piece !!



Agantuk- The Stranger

agnatuk      We humans are very creepy in nature and tend to make a self structured image about someone we hardly know or ever known. It is in our tendency to paint a picture of the unknown object without understanding its real existence. The surprise and mistake comes before us when we actually see that object in person and regret the time we took to think and built about it until actually faced to find out the real object is beyond our own imagination and quite true to nature. Such is the topic cemented in and around “Agantuk”. The genius himself ended his career with a path breaking movie about a story that still whispers soul in our ears and sounds simpleness in hearts.
Sudhindra and Anila Bose are one middle class family with a charming little son Satyaki. Sudhindra as it seems from the character works at a top firm in the city earning a healthy income to pay two servants and a big ancestral property. Anila is a housewife with an enigmatic personality who thinks from her husbands brain but feels her thought makes more sense. One fine day they receive a letter from her long lost uncle who once eloped with his dream in hand to turn into a globetrotter. He writes a crisp and neat letter with a meaning to reunite with somebody from his family and that turns out be his niece Anila. On the other hand Sudhindra doesn’t feel excited about the lost uncle mystery, rather he is a bit suspicious about his existence and the question about his sudden reprise. Anila feels there’s no point to doubt the man until we face him in reality. Sudhindra on the other hand thinks he can be a fraud or somebody who knows about the uncle and is carrying that image with an objective in mind. They argue about what to do about the situation and whether to welcome him as the long lost uncle about who Anila doesn’t have any memory or be strict enough to be on the safe side and verify his identity keeping aside respect, dignity and trust. It’s a natural thought that implies when we have to accept a stranger as a guest and take care of their hospitality.
Anila is in a shallow land where her ethic almost gets beaten by her husband’s preventive defending character about people and the irony of their soul. The uncle played by the majestic Utpal Dutt smells a sweet odour which we goers wouldn’t like to fade away. Although we don’t want to doubt the character, yet questions pull us towards cautious thoughts, such is the poise and craft of the filmmaker. I felt I am part of their intellectual gossip, doubtful discussion and the bengali term “bhodrotar khatir”.
The movie is full of idealistic, intellectual and ironic dialogues. The scenes between Dhritiman and Utpal Dutt discussing about cannibals being right with what they do was an interesting thought. It’s right they are doing what they think is right. Don’t we dress our inner-self with the cannibalism when we destroy hundreds of lives with the press of a button in a fighter jet. That is just bang on. We hardly realize what we do and what we intend to do, and..and.. and what we actually do. There are abundant pieces which will be a treat to your ears if you listen to. Nothing can be worth if it doesn’t make an impact in your sense of knowledge through the movie crafts. The same happens with Agantuk. You will be alive towards science and human civilization which the maker makes us believe is a concrete jungle. Actual civilization lies within the soul which rests in nature’s lap.
Along with the dialogues and screenplay, the actors brought systematic approach to their particular roles with established art of characterization. An educated personality must have the sense to not dislocate with what they should be and what they become. Such is the point when Dhritiman goes beyond his mannerism and insults the Uncle stating he is fake in what he says and what he did. This leads to the Uncle departing creating a clear impression in the mind of the hosts that how wrong they were about him. The departure makes them realize we can’t be right always about our smartness and just because one is educated can’t be a learned.
The final scene is a sweet icing on the cake. The uncle tells Sudhindra that he has no doubt that Anila is her niece and belongs to her blood because the tune of the Shautal Nach (tribal dance) made her smile from within and tap to the toes of the dancers which is itself a truth that the likeness towards tribal civilization is something which satisfied the old man too in his days of globetrotting. The uncle finally leaves for his further voyage leaving behind a envelope with Sudhindra which answers all their questions about our own people and their thoughts, some being self centered and there are few who we never met or accustomed to but they turn out to be the one with lessons which changes our kind information about humans for good.
The legend might have left but made sure we are not Agantuk towards his work and culture. For me Satyajit Ray has always been a culture itself apart from what we already bore.

All over the rocks at Anthargange !

It’s been nearly 2 months in Bangalore and no place was explored yet.Please don’t talk about Malls and artificial places to visit. They satisfy pockets not heart. I am a passionate traveler and adventure enthusiast from inside which I definitely feel. Even though never been to hectic or too many treks or trips till date, yet I keep that music booming within me that “Yes, I love places, I love hills, I love to travel and I will keep on travelling”. Someday I will cover many parts of India or if fate favors might be few nations ranging from Hills, Terrains, Coasts, Jungles. Oh ! Love these senses.



Nevertheless there has to be a start. Last Saturday I was reading few travel blogs where I read “You are not born to only work and pay bills, and die”. It is quite a simple trick I thought. When I grow old I will have memories or pieces of writing regarding my experiences in travelling, not the Outlook email or MS Excel sheets. I asked my brother in law which website does he follow because he and Didi is a travel freak. So I was given the idea to check Thrillophilia. I spoke with my roomies and it struck me why don’t we travel for 2 days to any places near Bangalore as Karnataka boasts of mesmerizing and heart melting places be it green hills or grey stoned architectures of history pages. My love is always for hills or nerve wrecking treks. To start my exploration I thought of visiting Coorg. Sadly it did not take place as we were 3 and without 4 we were not able to book. After lots of browsing and incurring Kilobytes, I came across the Trek to Anthargange. The most astonishing factor was it’s gonna be a night trek and Oh!boy it does increase the level of excitement. Just imagine you are walking down the trails and terrains hopping over the rocks with only the torch as the helping hand for light, not the sun. The thought of exploring the granite rocks and the abundant caves under the night sky and stars watching us down was the reason enough to hit “Book”. I couldn’t wait the week to pass by because the maiden night adventure is awaiting.

The Night

We were to start our journey on friday night. The bus was to pick us at 10.10 PM. I hurried out from office by 7.30 so that I can be there on time without any hullabaloo. The bus was a little late because of the almighty blessing of traffic. Initially I was shocked to see only 3 of us …What !!! Only 3 people trekking at night on the hills of Anthargange. But no, slowly groups started pouring in and finally started the journey through pick ups from Marathalli, Tin Factory and thus entered the expressway all the way to Kolar. It was a pleasant journey with cool breeze swarming my face swiping down the tiredness of my day at work. We reached the place at 1.30 a.m amidst the curves all the way to the hills of Anthargange.  When I boarded down the bus, I was surprised to see 55 trekkers to march all the way till the top through the huge boulders staring at us as if they are going to pounce. It seemed at first things would be easy. But, when you have only one little device throwing light to show you the way it makes you feel what it is to trek at night. Still it was an experience which I would like to carry on anytime again.

We reached the cave after 1 km of trek and already there were other group finding their way inside the cave. Dhiraj told it’s gonna take at-least an hour and half for them to complete. So we decided to reach our camping point again finding our way through the thorny plants and trees with slippery rocks all over. It was a tough path because of less grip in those rocks, still all the guys managed to reach the plain land safe. We collected all our sticks and decided to light a campfire. Dhiraj our guide planned for a game until we start our most extravagant and thrill penetrating cave exploration. The game was to shout any name in choir so that the opponent team has to work their ears hard to hear the right name and tell to which category it belongs. Funnily enough it was nice way to spend the time and I was ready to explore the cave which was my main interest. I last went into a cave way back in 1997 in Shillong. At that time I was restricted by my mom, but now I am all on my own.

The Cave

The entry point at the cave was very narrow and pretty tough to fit in. The gap between the two gigantic chunk of rocks were very less and one had to struggle hard with the belly in and out to keep the journey on inside the cave. One had to climb down the rocks, crawl among the small holes between the rocks and then jump at your own risk so that you can balance and don’t fall down to meet your ends. It was an exciting affair as I was doing this for the first time where I had to clear my way out squeezing through a gap of of one arm. It was a brilliant experience. It took our group an hour to complete the journey inside the cave and reach the open air successfully with scratches all over my palms and arm. Once the cave exploration was over we reached our base camp where the others were settled and ready for their turn.

trekkers energised

trekkers energised, energised trekkers

the gap through which we had to pass

the gap through which we had to pass









The Sunrise

After cave exploration, the legs and hands were tired enough to settle own. I took out my sleeping bag and sneaked in. Honestly ! how many times do we get to sleep under the stars with cool breeze whistling in your ears with peace and serenity. I could smell the wet earth and it was a sense of fulfillment. Nothing can be better than this. I was fast asleep amidst other trekkers who were enjoying their own way, some were dancing, some singing in group and few inside sleeping kits like me. At 4 am I was all ready for the sunrise. We climbed the rocks to reach the best spot so that the rising of the giant helium ball can be well captured. I tell you, the only time you will enjoy the sun is when it rises and when it sets and never when it troubles during day time.









Thus with the sunrise and few captures of the vivid moment my first ever visit outside the hustle and bustle of the city ended in good note with an appetizing breakfast at a roadside restaurant chomping and munching the crisp dosas and vadas. By 11 am I was back in my abode to my surprise with no electricity and thereby I returned back to my daily dose of struggle.

Hope to return back soon….Till then let me work and earn for my next rendezvous with nature…