Category Archives: South India

A Surprise!

Well, it has been more than 2 years since my last post here. Thanks to my ever busy daughter , I did not have a single second to myself, let alone blogging. She is in the happiest, exciting and wonderful phase of her life ( she is just 3 yrs old!) and seeing her grow up has given me and my husband so much happiness! So no regrets for the long absence here.

A surprise meeting of a good friend – a strong, independent woman triggered some of my happy memories. And I just had to blog about it!

This blog has many posts about my life at Ooty. And those who have read them will surely remember the beautiful little house where I lived . It was a chance meeting between the owner and my husband that led to us live in that house. The owner had her own construction business and she had been living in Ooty, for quite some years, with her teen daughter and a faithful dog, Steffy.

She took up residence on the first floor and we had the ground floor. Owing to her daughter’s studies in Coimbatore, she used to visit Ooty during the weekends. She was a strong-willed, independent and a bold woman. She was such a help to us in many ways and her advice helped us a lot during our stay in Ooty. There were some flaws in her too  but then I always saw the better side of a person.

Before she could rent a place in Coimbatore that allowed dogs , she had no other choice but to leave Steffy with us. What happiness it was having that beautiful girl at home! Steffy was an ideal dog. I had  my own dog at that time – Shaggy – a wild fella. Steffy and Shaggy got along well but as Steffy was the senior, Shaggy had to be disciplined most of the times. Steffy was a senior ( almost 12 yrs) and Shaggy was a totally unruly kid ( 6 months). Steffy moved silently and gently through the house while Shaggy was like a runaway wheel.Despite the age gap, the two cuddled up together, shared their food and got along well. I had always dreamed of having dogs running in my house and that dream had become real.  However, my landlady got a house in Coimbatore and soon Steffy moved down with her.

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Steffy

 

I missed ‘Steffy-girl’, her welcome home licks. But there was Shaggy to make up for all that. He drowned me with his love. Life was going good when fate intervened. The husband had to move to Coimbatore for a job transfer. We had to move out of ‘ my dear little home’! A good friend agreed to take in Shaggy as we could not bring him down to Coimbatore. That was the end of one happy phase of my life.

We moved down to Coimbatore in May 2012 and soon got busy with each other’s work. Home – office -home- office – that was the monotonous routine. But then we had another wonderful celebration to look forward to, yes I was expecting! Our little princess came to us on July 2013 and from then on life became been super-duper interesting.

Coming to the present – September 2016 :

I was taking my daughter to the play area in our apartment for her regular evening playtime and guess who I met there? My Landlady of the pretty little house! Whatte a surprise!

Although we got along well with her during our stay in Ooty, the relationship became strained over time. ( I have no idea why this happened!)  The last day in that house was bitter and the last conversation hurt. That was the last time I saw or spoke to her.

I was totally at a loss of words when I saw her and her daughter after all these years. I was not even sure if she would recognise and talk to me. But I made the first move and spoke to her. It was a very formal talk and it lasted not more than 5 minutes. In that small conversation, I managed to find out that Steffy girl was doing well!  But I was flooded with memroies of the ‘ beautiful house’. I am always thankful, grateful to my landlady – the strong, bold woman for being the reason for those happy memories. I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason and this sudden surprise meet after so many years may not be just to trigger my memories.Who knows?

#FingersCrossed

Living alongside the Ooty Roses.

When our move to Ooty was confirmed, the first thing that we did was to look out for a cosy house. As it was only the two of us, we were looking for a 1BHK house in a proper residential area within the city. Finally, we fixed one that was located at a walkable distance from the Rose Garden. Unfortunately, this house was too big for us and it was as cold as a refrigerator. We survived there somehow for 3 months when we luckily got another beautiful house. This was a few houses down the old house so we were still in close proximity to the Rose Garden.

Roses reminded me of Daffodils!

It was a bright Sunday morning in February when me ,my husband along with my in-laws walked in to the Rose Garden.As the Ooty season was approaching, the workers were busy cutting, pruning, weeding, watering. I could see every color of a rose!

” Ten thousand saw I at a glance

Tossing their heads in a sprightly dance”

Wordsworth’s daffodils flashed in my inward eye. Every rose was the size of the large saucer and their freshness and fragrance was so bewitching!

Roses and Romance

Inspite of living close to the Roses, me and my husband had never been there except for the first trip with the in-laws. On one of our Sunday strolls, we decided to check out the roses. It was the peak time of the Ooty season and I saw more people than the roses. I was literally pushed through the pathway and managed to get a glimpse of the pretty roses, by peeping over people’s shoulders! So much for a romantic trip! We were out of the garden within 15mts.

A Unique Friendship with a beautiful GSD

There was a shortcut to the Rose Garden from my house and I loved taking this route.During my solitary sojourns, I befriended a GSD girl who was the guard of a big house located on the way to the garden. I learnt that the inmates of the house were only the caretakers who lived in  a small out-house. She used to lie curled up near the gate among the bushes. She barked at everyone who passed the gate. This girl was deprived of company. My love for dogs made me stop every time at the gate just to look at the beautiful girl. At first, she barked at me. Seeing that I was undeterred, she slowly approached me. I began to speak to her softly – she cocked up her ears, listened to me. Slowly she began to trust me and I could see her tail wagging. That was the beginning of our beautiful friendship!

She rushed to the gate as soon as she saw me, allowed me to stroke her and pat her through the bars of the gate. Her big, brown eyes followed me till I turned the corner of the road.

I wanted to see her, stroke her, say goodbye to her one last time before we shifted from Ooty. With continuous packing and seeing to other work, I did not get the chance. Whenever I think of roses, the picture of the solitary GSD comes to my mind more than the beautiful rose garden.

Ever since I came away from Ooty, I have not had the chance to make a trip to the place I loved. I am sure I will visit Ooty sometime and when I do, I will check on my four-legged companion for sure. No excuses.

In Sparrowland !

I had long intended to blog about the fat and plump sparrows that I saw daily, during my one year of happy life at Ooty. As it the #WorldSparrowDay today, I jumped on the occasion to dedicate a post to my little friends.

Sparrows and Ooty

At home

My house was located in a residential area that had a lot of houses clustered together. In spite of this, there was a good amount of greenery around and lots of nook and corners. As a result of this, a variety of birds, especially the House sparrow was seen. Every morning, I would wake up to the chirping of a pair of these sparrows that had built a nest in the EB Box located outside my bedroom window.They were my natural alarm clock! The alarm of a clock would irritate me but these little birds’ chirping was such a delightful sound. I would wake up, go to the window and watch the pair go about their morning duties silently. Unaware of my presence,the birds would rest on the window sill, bump and peck at the glass pane of the window. A day thus begun was always eventful!

Fat sparrow!

One of the pair that nested near my bedroom window – My natural alarm clock!

As I buzzed about in the kitchen, another set of sparrows would pay their daily visit. A creeper grew on the wall next to the kitchen window and the this was a favorite haunt of these birds. They would jump from one branch to the other, chirping to each other. Suddenly one of them would swoop down to the kitchen window and peep in. I would go into silent mode once these sparrows are on the creeper, just to induce them to come into the window. Once they were confident that there was no danger in peeping through the window, I began to leave rice for them to peck. My happiness knew no bounds when finally one of the fat little sparrows, flew in and pecked the rice!

At work

My desk at work was opposite to a window and there were big bushes nearby. These bushes were constantly abuzz with the little birds flying in and out. To work alongside these busy buddies was always a delight!

I would walk back home from work in the evening and I always enjoyed this walk immensely. With the chill air biting at my face and the sun slowly disappearing down the hills, I would walk back home. Very often it rained, but I loved to walk in the rain. As I dragged my tired body up the winding road to my home, the fat little sparrows perched in the bushes and trees nearby would cheer me up considerably. The birds will be there always, no matter if it rained or the sun blazed down.Their chirp-chirp would liven up my spirits and I would forget my worries instantly, I would just stand there and gaze at the fat little busy-bodies – I can never bring about that feeling in words!

Sad state of affairs

Ooty being a hill station had a suitable environment for many birds and that was one reason why the sparrows flourished there. The plains ( especially Coimbatore) are a sharp contrast with regard to the sparrows. Only in the outskirts of the city, far from the congestion of concrete structures, that we are able to sight these tiny birds. People do not want trees anywhere – how will these birds build their nests? Sparrows are fond of nooks and corners in our house verandahs and other such places in the house. But how many of us open up our homes? Almost every home is shuttered up tightly as they prefer privacy and also as every room is air-conditioned. How the hell will these birds survive then?

#WorldSparrowDay is being celebrated by many nature conservation organizations in the city. Rallies, dressing up children as sparrows, distributing pamphlets to create awareness about the need to conserve sparrows are a total waste of resources and time. All I would say is “Open up your hearts and homes to the little birds”. They are an important and integral part of our ecosystem.

How I survived the rainy season at Ooty!

The new house that we moved into was a cosy and comfortable one. It was a single mini-bungalow type with a small garden and neat, little rooms. It kept me warm, shooed away the bitter cold. It was the best house! And I loved the Kitchen for it was so neatly planned. And I loved the many, many happy days when me and my husband tried experimenting new dishes there.  It was so much fun in that house!

Rain,Rain, When will I ever see you again?

Now to the rainy season, it rained almost throughout the day. I like to see the bright sun when I wake up in the morning, but here it was dark, grey rain clouds everyday. It simply drives out all your mood and energy. I would get ready for work in spite of my very bad and irritated mood. Here comes the next dreadful part! The rains would start coming down hard only when I set foot out of the house. Till then, it would have been a slight drizzle! Yeah, just because I detested the rains, they took their revenge on me this way!

Anyway, going on a two-wheeler ( we did not have a car back then) in the heavy rain would leave us drenched and soon shivering  will set in.  Imagine getting drenched in a place where the temperatures are already well below the normal and having to go to work shivering!  So I walked to work with the rains pounding on my umbrella. I loved to get wet in the rain, drive in the rain, but this was totally different. Although I had to walk only a short distance to work, by the time I reached office, my feet would be cold ( I used to wear shoes also!) .

After warming up myself, I will then pull myself to work.Getting back home after work was also the same way as in the morning. This was the daily routine for almost 3 months! Weekends were totally boring for I could not venture out at all.
The rains never bothered about my irritation but continued to come down in buckets. The only best thing about this season was that  I read so many books cuddled up inside warm rugs! After a month of it, I slowly began to enjoy it. I would just lie down on the bed listening to the sound of the rain falling on the windows, watch the little sparrows huddled up together for warmth – I was experiencing something different, a revelation of one of nature’s abundant joys!

Gloomy Skies!

Washed Clean after the rains!

True that I hated this season last year, but now I am missing it. I miss watching the rain through the windows, miss the thrill of getting drenched just for fun, miss the warm,cosy rugs, miss everything. It really surprises me when I begin to miss those things that were once on my ‘I-don’t-like’ list. I realized that I had fallen in love with those big, black rain-clouds that hovered over Ooty!

 

 

 

My Life at Ooty

Life always springs up surprises when we are least expecting it.  I never thought that I would actually live in Ooty! Yeah! Being so near to this hill station, I have traveled many times there just for the summer vacation. I used to get bored with the climate after a day or two. I used to wonder how people managed to live there during the rains and the dreadful winter season. I did not know back then that fate will bring me up here!

At Ooty

It was a job transfer of my husband’s that brought us here. I was thrilled at the idea of living in Ooty in spite of  my childhood dislike. We moved into a very uncomfortable house in mid Feb of 2011. Only the hall and the bedroom had some bit of what you can call as ventilation and the rest of the house was always like a dungeon!  But it was fine as it was just the two of us there. We were located in an area that had an easy access to all main places in the town. So it was all going good!

Me down with chilblains

I would wake up exactly after midnight with stinging pain in my toes. I felt that my nerves were about to burst open. I would toss about in bed, give a hot water bag massage to the toes but to no effect. The pain never allowed me to sleep and I rushed to the doctor after a month of this agony. She told me very calmly that I had chilblains and gave me medicines that will help reduce the pain. Finally I was able to get a good night’s sleep!

Although it was well into the middle of February, early mornings and nights were extremely cold. We had only one or two sweaters and some light sweatshirts. Those were of very little help. So a trip to the popular woollen store had to be made for I felt it hard to do all the work in such cold conditions, with  less warm clothing.

Settling down in Ooty

Summer was such a merry time in Ooty. I had landed a job by then and so both of us were busy in our own ways throughout the week. Weekends were fun as there were so many restaurants to eat out ( How I loved those weekends! ) and the town was always full of activity. I always like to be amidst hustle and bustle, Ooty had this combined with a wonderful climate. After a brief stay of four months in that dungeon-house, we moved into a very beautiful house. It holds a special place in my life and I can never forget those happy days spent there.

Waking up to the busy,continuous chirping of sparrows was my daily routine( Got to dedicate an entire post to those little sparrows!). Looking out, I would find greenery everywhere. If it had rained during the night, then the hills would look as if they had been to a water-service. Oh, I used to be so excited to experience all this.

Getting up early to catch a glimpse of this was the first thing that I did everyday!

Greenery all around!

 

Bird’s eye view of Ooty !

The timing of our shifting to this new house was perfect, for the monsoons were out in full fury. I was looking forward to my first ever rainy season in Ooty, the one season that i detested and dreaded.Catch up with my experiences on that in my next blog post!

A day in Bangalore!

This was not my first visit to Bangalore but my last one was in my 10th std and I hardly remember it. This trip was not planned but then it turned out to be quite well. Setting foot in the city at 5.30 AM in the morning set me in a slight shivering mode ( I never expected chill winds in Bangalore!). The auto-driver tricked us into paying him Rs.200 just for a short distance. We were so sleepy and tired that we just got on to that auto and headed straight to the hotel.

The day was spent entirely in Mantri Mall. It was like any other mall, but I liked it! After the usual shopping spree, we headed back to the hotel. The next day we had to leave in the afternoon, so decided to just roam about. Yes, that is what we did! Sat in the Cubbon Park in the early hours of the morning, enjoying the chirping of birds and the cool wind,walked through the local markets to get a taste of the typical Bangalore market, walked through the wide green roads!

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Cubbon Park – Loved it !

Bangalore is sooooo GREEN. They too have busy roads, busy highways with vehicles zipping past with such speed, but they have not disturbed the trees. Roads have been laid out, accomodating the trees and not by clearing them away. Why can’t those involved in town planning of Coimbatore city just take a lesson from their books? Almost all the highways in Coimbatore are bare without any green cover – reason stated is – Road expansion, developmental activity. Why can’t they just do it without compromising the green cover? We have lost the wonderful, cool climate that we once used to experience here. It has all become history now. I wonder how Coimbatore Corporation was awarded the ‘Best Corporation’ award recently!

‘wide green roads’.