Monthly Archives: October 2015
This book is a must read for all Classic Fans. Irrespective of which Era you prefer, the 1800s, the 20th century writers or modern literature, classics have a different flavor and certain books must be read. Dickens is one such author.
Not that I don’t enjoy Modern writing. I read anything and everything; except Love stories. i don’t mind watching movies but reading love stories, strict No!
Charles Dickens writes huge books. Quick fact- he was paid by word, so the more number of words, the more he gets paid. Copperfield is relatively shorter and brilliant.I have established this previously that I enjoy character sketches. Hence Copperfield was a treat for me.
Firstly, I really liked the name- of the book and the protagonist. Secondly, the book is one roller coaster ride. Ups and downs, shock, surprise, anger, happiness, sadness and you end up feeling great . < That’s not a spoiler by the way!>. There were a lot of places where I felt how profound this particular para is. But then I was so engrossed reading, that I didn’t feel like writing it down. Now that has been months since I completed the book, I don’t remember!
Below are notes from the book. They are very few. Typing them takes time and I was really enjoying reading.
1. Of all the times of mine that time has in his grip, there is none that in one retrospect I can smile at half so much , and think of half so tenderly.
2. Are tears the dewdrops of the heart?
3. There can be no disparity in marriage like unsuitability of mind and purpose
4. Hold me to your heart , my husband! Never cast me out! Do not speak or think of disparity between us, for there is none , except in all my many imperfections. Every succeeding year, I have known this better, as I have esteemed you more and more. Oh, take me to your heart, my husband, for my love was founded on a rock, and it endures!
5. Love is like The first mistaken impulse of an in disciplined heart
6. But sometimes when I took her up, and felt that she was lighter in my arms, a dead blank feeling came upon me, as if I were approaching to some frozen region yet unseen, that numbed my life. I avoided the recognition of this feeling by any name, or by any communing with myself; until one night, when it was very strong upon me, and my aunt had left her with a parting cry of ‘good night little blossom’, I sat down at my desk alone and tried to think, oh what a fatal name it was , and how the blossom withered in it’s bloom upon the tree!
7. Closer in my arms, nearer to my heart, her trembling hand upon my shoulder , her sweet eyes shining through her tears, on mine! ” I went away, dear Agnes, loving you. I stayed away, loving you. I returned home, loving you. ”
8. O Agnes, o my soul, so may thy face be by me when I close my life indeed; so may I, when realities are melting from me, like the shadows which I now dismiss, still find thee near me, pointing upward!
Somerset Maugham was never on my reading list until early this year. Two reasons why it made it here:
a. I went to this awesome pub in Chennai- Moon and six pence at Hotel Hablis. The nam adapted from Maugham’s book was so catchy that I immediately wanted to read one of his work.
b. A friend of mine shared few lines from this book and I instantly fell in love with the thought process.
So, here I am. Almost two months after finishing this book, I am finding time to write the review.
My reviews, as usual won’t be long about description and plot. I don’t believe in writing such book reviews. Movies are different. You can tell about characters, acting, song, so much to explain. Books are an entirely difference genre. You should not know anything about it except the author and whether or not you enjoy such books. And to help you make that decision, I will put up “non spoiler” lines/ quotes from the book. And you’ll know if you like it as much as I do.
The book is a character study. A young boy becomes an orphan, moves with his uncle and how he grows to become a fine aimless man, till he eventually finds his way into the big world and lives happily every after. That’s all that’s there to the plot. But the journey is Oh so beautiful.
I could totally relate to Philip. I am as clueless about my life as Philip was in the book- except that by now, he had quite figured out his passion! Nonetheless, the love and hatred, change of beliefs, passion towards fellow beings, friends, finding love, everything was so natural that you kept turning the page to know what’s gonna follow.
Below are few quotes- some of them are absolutely brilliant! 11,12 and 13 were my favourites.
1. She was a barren woman and even though it was clearly god’s will that she should be childless, she could scarcely bear to look at little children sometimes, her heart aches so- the tears rose to her eyes and one by one , slowly, rolled down her cheeks. Philip watched her in amazement. She took out her handkerchief and now she cried without restraint. Suddenly Philip realised that she was crying because if what he had said, and he was sorry. He went up to her silently and kissed her. It was the first kiss he had ever given to her without being asked. And the poor lady, so small in her black satin, shrivelled up and sallow, with her funny corkscrew curls, took the little boy on her lap and put her arms around him an wept As though her heart would break. But her tears were partly tears of happiness, for she felt that the strangeness between them was gone. She loved him with a new love because he had made her suffer.
2. As long as you accept it rebelliously it can only cause you shame. But if you looked upon it as a cross that was given to you to bear only because your shoulders were strong enough to bear it, a sign of god’s favour, then it would be a source of happiness to you instead of misery
3. The companionship of Hayward was the worst possible thing for Philip. He was a man who saw nothing for himself, but only through a literary atmosphere, and he was dangerous because he had deceived himself into sincerity. He honestly mistook his sensuality for romantic emotion, his vacillation for the artistic temperament, an his idleness for philosophic calm. His mind, vulgar in its effort at refinement, saw everything a little larger than life size, with the outlines blurred, in a golden mist of sentimentality. He lied and never knew that he lied, and when it was pointed out to him said that lies were beautiful. He was an idealist
4. It seemed to him that he waited for at least 5 min, trying to make up his mind; and his hand trembled. He would willingly have bolted , but he was afraid of the remorse which he knew would seize him. It was like getting on the highest diving board in a swimming bath; it looked nothing from below , but when you got up there and stared down at the water your heart sank; and the only that forced you to dive was the shame of coming down meekly by the steps you had climbed up.
5. You will find as you grow older that the first thing needful to make the world a tolerable place to live in is to recognise the inevitable selfishness of humanity. You demand unselfishness from others , which is a preposterous claim that thy should sacrifice their desires to yours. Why should they? When you are reconciled to the fact that each is for himself in the world you will ask less from your fellows. They will not disappoint you, and you will look upon them more charitably. Men seek but one thing in life – their pleasure.
6. Money is like a sixth sense without which you cannot make use of the other five.
7. It is cruel to discover one’s mediocrity only when it is too late. It does not improve the temper.
8. Love was like a parasite in his heart, nourishing a hateful existence on his life’s blood; it absorbed his existence so intensely that e could take pleasure in nothing else.
9. Sometimes he awoke in the morning and felt nothing; for he thought he was free; he loved no longer; but in a little while, as he grew wide awake, the pain settled in his heart , and he knew that he was not cured yet.though he yearned or Mildred so madly he despised her. He thought to himself that there could be no greater torture in the world than at the same time to love and to contempt.
10 beauty is put into things by painters and poets. They create beauty. In themselves there is nothing to choose between the campanile of Giotto and a factory chimney. And then beautiful things grow rich with the emotion that they have aroused in succeeding generations. That is why old things are more beautiful than modern. The ode on a grecian urn is more lovely now that when it was written, because for a hundred years lovers have read it and sick at heart taken comfort in its lines.
11. When I read a book I seem to read it with my eyes only, but now and then I come across a passage, perhaps only a phrase, which has a meaning for ME, and it becomes part of me; I have got out of the book all that’s any use to me, and I can’t get anything more if I read it a dozen times. You see, it seems to me, one’s like a closed bud, and most of what one reads and does has no effect at all; but there are certain things that have a peculiar significance for one, and they open a petal; and the petals open one by one; and at last the flower is there.
12. Of course I knew you never loved me as much as I loved you, she moaned. I am afraid that’s always the case, he said. There’s always one who loves and one who let’s himself be loved.
13. The only way to live is to forget that you’re going to die. Death is unimportant. The fear of it should never influence a single action of the wise man. I know that I shall die struggling for breath, and I know that I shall be horribly afraid. I know that I shall not be able to keep myself from regretting bitterly the life that has brought me to such a pass; but I disown that regret. I now, weak, old, diseased, poor, dying, hold still my soul in my hands, and I regret nothing.
This is the first Amitav Ghosh that I picked up. I had heard great things about Shadow Lined and The glass palace. Somehow happened to lay my hands on this first!
The book started slow- In 1930s- description of family, Calcutta, Bangladesh , relatives etc.And gradually the book picked up pace. I initially could stop to type down beautiful lines or para. But after a while, all I wanted to do was to keep reading without a stop. It was that good!
We can judge a man by what he writes and the way he writes. There are people who are creative, some who are visionaries. Ghosh is one of them. ( Amitav Ghosh, I mean !). How beautifully he describes scenes, different places, history- it feels as if we are right there- living in a boundary less world.
The part of the book where the protagonist and his group are looking at old photographs and were describing what they thought was happening and how the picture was clicked- I found it very unique. I somehow loved the way he book was written. I generally like first person narrative- more than second or third person. It gives a more personal touch.
Another good thing about the plot was that though we hear the story from one man’s point of view, we have several characters and all of their interpretations are given equal important. Best thing that we never feel lost. The story goes back and forth in time, introduces new people and new stories but you accept all of them as your own.
I also liked the way it ended. The book was never meant to be a suspense, but somehow, you get involved in the story that you never see it coming, till you cover 2/3rd of book! I won’t give any spoilers. You have to read it to understand it better.
Below are just a few lines I really liked. Of course, as mentioned it covers less than half the book. Post that, I was busy just enjoying the read!
1. And still, I knew that the sights Tridib saw in his imagination were infinitely more detailed, more precise than anything I would ever see. He said to me once that one could never know anything except through desire, real desire, which was not the same thing as greed or lust; a pure, painful and primitive desire, a longing for everything that was not in oneself, a torment of the flesh, that carried one beyond the limit of one’s own mind to other times and other places, and even, if one was lucky, to a place where there was no border between oneself and one’s image in the mirror.
2. For Ila, the current was the real; it was as though she lived in a present which was like an airlock in a canal, shut away from the tidewaters of the past and the future by steel floodgates.
3. And so, as always, it was Ila- Ila of whom it was said when we were children, that she and I were so alike that I could have been her twin- it was that very Ila who baffled me yet again with mystery of difference.
4. Walking along the deserted avenue, I found myself crying, not so much in grief as anger that my parents had not informed me in time, so that i could be there when they cremated her. I climbed up the steep road that led to the monument on the Ridge, and sitting there, on the grass, i found my anger ebbing away. There seemed to be something fitting, after all, in the manner in which I had learnt of my grandmother’s death: she had always been too passionate a person to find real place in my tidy late- bourgeois world, the world that I had inherited, in which examinations were more important than death.
5. I would look at the advertisements for diamonds and jewellery in the British Sunday magazines, or i would read their accounts of film star romances and i would wonder why it so happens that it is in this state, the state we call love, that people are most driven to enumerate and quantify, when the state itself, or so those very magazines tell us, is the obverse, the antithesis, of the notions of number and quantity. I wonder what the circumstances could be that would prompt a man to tell a journalist exactly how much money he had spent, down tp the last pound or dollar, on buying a car or an island for the woman he loved; I would wonder why the advertisements hinted so carefully at the exact price of the jewellery they urged men to buy for their girlfriends, why a girl had attempted suicide exactly nine times to get back the man she loved, why I had been driven to count all the yards that I had walked when I went to see Ila. I could think of no answer, except that it is because that state, love, is so utterly alien to that other idea without which we cannot live as human beings- the idea of justice. It is only because love is so profoundly the enemy of justice that our minds, shrinking in horror from its true nature, try to tame it by uniting it with its opposite: it is though we say to ourselves- he bought her a diamond worth exactly so much, in the hope that if we apply all the metaphors of normality, that if we heap them high enough, we shall, in the end, to able to approximate that state metaphorically.
The lines sound poetic somehow. If you enjoy this writing style, pick up any Amitav Ghosh book and you’d love it!
“A river cuts the rock not because of its power, but because of its consistency.
Never lose your hope and keep walking towards your vision”
This isn’t a quote but I read it as part of “moral of the story” section in a message. I really liked the river cuts the rock because of the consistency line. Worked on me like a charm.
Sometimes, it’s not the magnitude of what we already have that matters. But even little steps towards progress make a big difference.
That’s not just for personal improvement. Let’s list down instances where small steps can make big difference.
- Developing your own passion- Give time to your hobby. Few minutes every day and help us improve a lot and concentrate better on ourself.
- Stop Littering- Start with yourself. When was the last time we saw someone or worse ourself threw a candy wrapper outside a moving bus? Don’t do it and stop others from doing it. Keep your surroundings clean. Little effort will do all of us a big favour.
- Charity- You think you need to shell out lot of money to do that? or do you think you have to spend an entire day at an NGO to do charity work? No, start at home. Help in educating your helper’s kids or impart wisdom to your servant themselves. Rather than commenting on beggars asking them to go find a job, help them find one!
- Show respect- Next time you enter your office building, smile and wish good morning/evening to the facility staff. Working in an environment where everyone looks down upon them or treats them as lowest level employee, a show of respect can make their day.
- Listen to your heart- We live in a world where society has made definitions for an ideal person, ideal son/ daughter, ideal citizen etc. We restrict our desires if it doesn’t abide by what is already defined. You owe it to yourself to occasionally do something that your heart wants. You’ll never need a medicine in your life if you can manage to keep your own body, mind and spirit happy. Your happiness and health is always a priority!
I am quite new to Trekking in general, but I just love the idea. I went for a medium difficulty trek in Feb 2015, that being the first ever trek for me. It was near Kudremukh range- Dudipe and Elaneer falls. It was a fun filled trek with waterfalls, bouldering, night trek, camping under clear star lit sky and making friends with so many like minded people ( believe me! That’s very hard for a person like me!).
During that trek, I was told that Kumara Parvata is one beautiful as well as difficult trek. Guess who added this to her wish list immediately! ( No brownie points!!)
I joined the Hydventura Trek group. You can check their website or subscribe to their fb page and you’ll keep getting updates about the treks they plan. The group was started by Infoscions apparently but It is open to everyone. As soon as I got to know of this plan for October 2-4 weekend, I immediately made a few mandatory calls ( To home ofcourse! I still need to get permission and all that!), transferred the trek amount, blocked my calendar and was waiting for this long weekend to come.
About Kumara Parvata
Also known as Pushpagiri , the highest peak in the Pushpagiri wildlife santuary in Western Ghats in Karnataka.It is the 3rd highest peak in South India, highest being Mullayangiri/ Baba Budangiri( Also in my wish list).
Its altitude is 1,700 Mtrs ( or approx 5,700 ft). We covered the trek in 3 parts.
Day 1, 2 Oct 2015 : 6 km trek to reach Battru- Mane base camp from Subramanya village side.
Day 2, 3 Oct 2015 : Start trek of 6-7 km to KP peak crossing Seshagiri mountain. Camp at Pushpagiri Peak
Day 3, 4 Oct 2015: Descend KP from Somwarpet side
DAY 1- The Start of the Legendary Trek
We started the trek in a group of 21- mix of souls from Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai.
Me and 3 other friends left Chennai on 1st night in SETC bus from Tambaram, to reach Bangalore Shantinnagar by 5:30 AM. The meeting point was at Majestic railway station, from where we were to start in a booked vehicle by aorund 6:30 AM. As usual, people from Bangalore were late to start and everything got delayed. We eventually left from station at around 7:30 AM.
Chennai folks had breakfast in railway station itself. Always have good meals to keep your body energized and drink lots of fluids. However, do not luxury and proper sanitation in these plans. Eat proper but not in excess. Keep your body hydrated throughout.
We all left from Majestic station and started in our booked vehicle towards Sakleshpur village. Everyone else had breakfast at New Agarwal Bhavan in HMT main road. We left from there by around 9 AM.
By the time we reached Sakleshpur, it was nearly 1 PM. Tired that we were after playing cards and Dumb C and random chit chatting in bus, we all hogged meals and dosa and idli at Hotel Srinivas ( in Sakleshpur market area). Th food was decent and was cheap. We made sure we all sufficient water bottle. Ensure to carry minimum 2 L water with you as availability of running streams in KP is less and you find it only near base camp.
We stated after lunch and started base of Subramanya temple where all of us changed to comfortable clothes, packed our trek bags, left unnecessary items in vehicle itself ad started the trek by around 4 4:30 PM. We were accompanied by a local guide till base camp.
The forest is full of leeches.To remain safe, buy coconut oil and tobacco powder, mix and apply on all sides of your shoes. It acts as excellent repellent for leeches. Volini sprays on hands and legs will keep you safe too. While you are trekking, ensure you check your shoes for any leech whenever you’re halting. Also, try standing on a rock rather than wet ground when you’re not walking.
We started walking along the trail with the help of our guide. In a group of 21, it is natural for some to be fast and some to be very slow. Always ensure to stay close to each other and divide your group so that we have strong leading embers in the front as well as the back.
The initial 6 km of this trek is quite steep with brief periods of flat ground in between. It will be tiring. However, take deep breaths, drink as much water as possible and keep walking so as to reach base camp before it is too late.
Since we started the trek late evening and the forest being dense, it was dark soon and we had to use our torches to move ahead. Carry extra batteries and do not waste torch power when it is not necessary. The path is pretty straight forward and chances of getting lost is pretty low. However, the person or the group leading the pack should check once in a while if he’s able to see everyone following. The benefit of being in the quiet forest ( except the eerie noises made by birds and insects) is that you can call out names of people in the end to check if you need to halt or keep moving.
We took close to 3-4 hours to trek the 6 Km, attend to the slow , tired and “falling sick” people and reach Bhatru-Mane base safely. This part of the trek was tough more because your body takes time to adjust to the steepness. Also, it was quite humid and dense forest doesn’t allow for much breeze. Trekking at night is just awesome. Gives you a sense of accomplishment even when you’ve hardly covered 6-7 km!
There are multiple places to pitch tent. Since we reached by nightfall, we weren’t very clear as to where to go. Our guide suggested to go further down from peak to find a hut where you can stay and get paid dinner and breakfast the next morning.
Being a long weekend, the hut was full. We found a place near the hut to pitch our tents. The surrounding was practically a dump yard, We somehow found clean areas and camped there. We were given Rice, pickle, butter milk and Sambhar (almost yellow water) for dinner. But I thoroughly enjoyed having the hot rice after a tiring climb!
Day 2- Trek to Kumara Parvata/ Pushpagiri Peak
We slept long hours and got up by 6 AM the next day. Breakfast for our group was scheduled at 8 AM and after freshening up, we had free time to kill. What better than exploring nearby forest and smaller peaks, sit at the top and watch the sun rising through the clouds! Basking in te shimmering rays of early morning sun is something we can never experience in the city.
I took some rare samples of purple and pink flowers which I couldn’t find at the bottom and we came down right on time for breakfast. We were given lemon rice, daliya upma and butter milk. It was not that great but since we knew the trek ahead will be even more tiring and after this, all that we’ll have is packed food, bread and butter/cheese, we ensured we have good quantity of whatever was being offered to us!
We packed our bags and started for the next part of our trek- reaching the peak.
This track is also the most scenic. Since we had the entire day to cover the stretch, we took lot of breaks to take photos everywhere. The climb initially was relatively flat and not as steep as it was the previous day. The view of the mountain, both on the sides and above where we were heading was breathtaking. People who probably had reached almost the top looked like tiny insects to us and it was overwhelming for me to imagine myself over there in just a couple of hours.
You’ll find a few small streams on this route before you reach a Mandap like structure. Make sure you fill in your water bottles wherever you can as sources are quite few. if you wait to do it later, you may end up coming back and ascending again, which is just a waste of energy.
We halted at the Mandap for refreshments- bread and cheese and Kurkure, snacks, dates and dry fruits etc. We had also carried Tang and glucose powder. People carrying 2L bottle usually mixed and we used to share it as and when required.
After an hour long break, we started again. This is where the tough trek begins. The next 3-4 km is quite steep and it is trickier because the altitude keeps increasing fast. After a point, you can only see where you’re coming from and where you’re headed, but sides will be just cloud and mist! Feels awesome!!
Make sure you enjoy the walk rather than focussing on reaching earlier. This stretch will be lush green and the beauty will be at its best!
To reach KP peak, you need to climb Seshagiri, descend and then climb again on to Pushpagiri. They are adjacent mountains and you have to cross Seshagiri to reach Pushpagiri. The descent for Seshagiri is fairly easy. It is again into the forest and hence full of leeches.
The ascend to Pushpagiri is more like bouldering. There is a small stream at the beginning- this is the drinking water source as well. the stream is really small. So ensure you find the right spot to collect clean water. The stones will be slightly slippery, but the climb is just for some 15-20 min to finally reach the peak.
We all successfully reached the top. It was so misty that we could hardly see beyond a few meters. Also, it was really cold!! After long hours of ascend and descend, we were all really happy to have made it and were looking forward to camping at night. We started collecting dry twigs and branches to light a fire.
Half of us were so tired that they slept for a while on a flat stone, while the rest of us were exploring the different view points. Nothing was visible but we had to be sure where to catch the sunrise, if at all the cloud clears the next morning!
There is a small Shiva temple on top. Nothing fancy though.
Little did we know that soon it will start raining heavily and we hadn’t opened our tents! As soon as it started raining, we all had to run to cover our bags, open the tents and do it as quickly as possible. We spread one tent and moved all the sleeping bags to it. Slowly, we opened all the other tents as well. However, in a haste, half the tents weren’t properly hooked and water started to seep in some of them from sides.
It rained throughout the night and it was slightly risky to be at the peak with frequent lightning. But then, what’s a trek without few risks! Our little gang of 7-8 members were crouched together in one tent and we were playing cards and playing new ( and weird!!) games. Due to insufficient sleeping places with tents getting wet from inside, most of us were sleep deprived. But what the hell!! It was like the coolest night out. Eventually, we all however managed to get some sleep.
Day 3- The Descent
We all woke up at 6 AM, but it was so cold outside that we hardly felt like going up. But having gone that far, we had to somehow wrap ourselves in warm jacket and rush to the view point.
Let me describe the view in the best possible way- Imagine a layer of greenery, then a layer a cloud, then green mountain, layer of cloud again, rays of sun in between and alternate layers and mountain and clouds, mist all around and the sun at top! If you’re thinking that’s how heaven might look, I’ve probably done a good job here.
It was magnificent! We all stood there enjoying the beauty and no-one spoke for next 10-15 min! Then we had photo session. The clouds didn’t fully clear,so there was no proper sunrise pic. It is hard to catch sunrise during monsoons. Jan/ Feb probably will be an ideal time to view the golden mornings on the top of KP. Anyways, what we ended up with was far better than what I had imagined!
By around 8, 8:30, after having light breakfast, we packed out tents and bags and started climbing down from Somwarpet Village side.
The initial part was mostly sliding down rocks. It wasn’t very risky but we had to be careful as the rocks were slippery. Always trust grass more than loose rocks, Step wherever you have a grass patch and you can maintain friction.
The route was fairly easy and straight. We kept refilling our water bottles at streams. We reached the bottom in 2-3 hours where there was a big running stream. After 3 days, it was good to soak yourself in the water and play around splashing water on everyone. We relaxed for almost an hour before we all changed and started again. We had already asked the vehicle driver to reach this side of the village by this time. We made a brief halt at the forest office to grab a light bite while someone made a call to the driver to check his location. It was less than a km walk from here to reach the bus.
We again halted in Sakleshpur market to have our lunch. This time, we found another Vegan place- Hoten Surabhi. Te meals was really nice with variety of curry, curd, sweet, rice/roti, butter milk, sambhar and rasam. We also had option of noodles and fried rice but those who ordered weren’t very happy. Anyways, in such places, it is always better to order something conventional rather than ordering fancy stuff! The meal was really and priced low.
We then left Sakleshpur by around 3 PM for Bangalore. However, due to continuous rains and traffic and our driver who was unsure about routes and was quite slow, we could reach Shanthinagar bus stop only by 10:15, right on time for our bus!
Day 4- Back to Pavilion!
And so, Our wonderful journey came to an end with us landing in Chennai, reaching our home, getting ready and boarding the office bus!
Below are the pictures from mobile. The full set of pics clicked by all of us are yet to be shared and collated. Will post more once I compile all of them!
Things to carry on a trek
Comfortable clothes and change if clothes, shoes with good grip, 2Litre water bottle, a torch and additional batteries, polythene covers to keep your stuff dry, a warn jacket, a raincoat, waterproof bag/ rain cover for your bag, sleeping bag and tent if you plan to camp, first aid kit, specific medicines that you may need, glucose, snacks and energy bars/drinks, you may carry a utensil if you wish to cook Maggi on top!