In the service of the Goddess of Tuljapur

May 2013, Tuljapur  This place will never change. It has been the same for ten years now- I explained Charolette. Charollete was a fellow intern at Deshpande Foundation in Hubli along with us- a bunch of enthusiastic folks who wanted to make a difference. She had decided to embark on an unplanned journey to Tuljapur to attend my brother's thread ceremony. Both of us took the early morning bus to Bijapur as we kicked off the weekend. The bus danced to the beats of the loud music as much as the blinking lighting in hues of sunset. The bus reminded me of a bride- decked up with accessories on the glass and along the windows, lights to show off the new varnish that a single pair of eyes would not miss on the road. The next four hours was seemingly not tedious as we managed to catch a nap till we touched down Bijapur. Within few minutes, we crashed in my sisters' hostel room for a quick refresh. It is a big deal when you have a white friend who is not Indian and a bigger deal

Coast to Coast: Day 7

Unbelievably, the trip was to come to an end tonight. The very thought brought in mixed emotions. Aastha and I were determined to witness the last east coast sunrise (I was sure the next sunrise I see will not be in Bangalore). Google helped us with the time, and we were at the Gandhi beach at 6:00am. Pondicherry and the people felt way friendlier. I could see countless health freaks run, walk, jog along the beach. We also had another great mind like ours, present at the venue to click the sunrise. However, we did not bother to reciprocate to his smile and hello gesture!  We accomplished mission 'Capture Sunrise' by 7:00am and felt rather enthusiastic. The thought of returning to the guest house vanished and we chose to explore the streets of Pondicherry all by ourselves.  It was going to be a Girls Day Out! The twist that no restaurants would open before 8:00am added to our misery.We crossed streets right, left and center to reach a venue for a healthy breakfast.We sa

Coast to Coast: Day 6

As the clock struck 12, we wished each other 'Happy New Year 2014'... The night had just begun and we could see the wilderness as we drove back to La Marina. A debrief of the day was enough a slot to put us to sleep.   We woke up early (by New Year standards) and landed ourselves at Baker Street . It was just the right spot for a wake up brunch. We thoroughly spent time tasting each and every name on the menu. After a cold coffee, we walked through the streets and decided to go for the famous Pondicherry shopping. We passed shops, boutiques, designer cafe but it was all about going in with excitement and returning empty handed. I wondered how people even shopped here! Neither the street shopping, nor the yearning to buy anything help as we walked past the Governor's splendid bungalow. (The inability to buy was a function of lack of interesting collecting) We came back, caught some sleep to balance the morning quota. We did not mind skipping lunch for an interest

Coast to Coast: Day 5

What happens in the trip, stays with the tripmates... and it still does! The next day was overwhelming, it was going to be the New Year's eve! We woke up embarrassed, unable to put up with the guilt of having troubled the two poor souls and not letting them catch enough sleep! The reverse strategy worked wonders as the guys chose to follow 'ahimsa' in everything they did. We drove to the Brihadeeswara temple , spectacularly magnificent at the very first sight! The three 'dwars' spoke of might and fight as we entered the premises. We bargained to our brain's content to find a guide who could balance his output of knowledge with the input we had to offer.  This time I was determined to visit the deity irrespective of the queue, even in the absence of enough support among us. The Shiv Ling was huge! I did not wish for anything for it was more of history than devotion to me! We went around the temple as the guide took us past architecture, literature with

Coast to Coast: Day 4

I realized how strongly togetherness could beat the thought of any apprehension at such times...! Aastha was up early, all set to visit the temple. We dressed to fulfill the temple traditions (including Dhruv and Mihir) as per our research on Google and advice from near and dear. The walk to temple was little less than 2mins but what surprised us was the queue that reminded me of the Pied Piper of Hamelin ! Aastha and I chose to step in first, make way and share our path to success with the guys who were hand holding the caught camera. It was a Monday, I closed my eyes to visualize the linga in Somnath to offer prayers from a stainless steel railing 600m away. Looks like the guys followed the same strategy and came out in no time. After a breakfast in the most locale place possible, we changed to fight the sun and sand in Dhanushkodi . It was a day of experiencing 'means of transport'. We got into a 4 seater rick to take us to Dhanushkodi after a heavy bargain. The nex

Coast to Coast: Day 3 (contd...)

To be continued... The drive from Cape Comorin to Rameshwaram was ' first class ' as we call in our local language. Our first stop was the windmills spot (wondering why? Of course, for photos). We took the luxury to halt the car and click numerous pictures, both natural and posed (including the current profile picture on fb). Being close to a windmill is a joy in itself! The drive was smooth, fast and we were not surprised when the speedometer showed a progressive shift from 120 through 180kmph. All said and done, we started to google for a beach to spend time with a setting sun. It was Eravadi this time. It was a perfect coastline and I etched to touch the curve as shown by google maps . Perfectly in time, we reached the fishing beach with no sight of people around. It was purely  about fishing; we could see fish bones ranging from small, medium to large that smelt of fish till our nostrils could no longer feel the difference. The creative director in Dhruva woke up t

Coast to Coast: Day 3

The perfect day that came to an end at 3:30am...  Our midnight sleep was short lived. The ring from reception woke us up at 5:45am and served as an alarm to help us spring out of our beds. Yes, the sunrise that we had yearned for, was scheduled for 6:15am by the heavens. The last night's strategy to check out the beach and parking really did not help. We were stopped by the police at the very beginning and we had no option but to get down and run. People threw anxious glances (as if it would make a difference)as the four of us ran, making way for ourselves to catch the first ray of sunrise. The run just din't seem to come to an end! (How I cursed my fitness levels and took pride in my will). The moment we reached, at what was supposed to be the sunrise point, it was swarmed with a gazillion heads! I was shell shocked to even take a stab at counting the number of people standing in front of me. A dejected me, stood there in hope to witness the beautiful sunrise right from th