Tag Archives: Childhood

I’m supposed to tell you this

While I write this post today, it’s obvious for one to think that I’m venting it out because of all the drama happening between India and it’s neighbour. But, why I choose to do it now is the video of an Indian warrior has kept my heart pounding with anxiety over the last 2days. The video released by the Pakistan army shows that the enemy captors interrogate a severely wounded Indian soldier, his hands tied, blindfolded and there.. with all poise, dignity and calmness in his voice and posture, the captive soldier replies, “Sorry Sir, I’m not supposed to tell you that!”

So here is what I want to tell you all..

My earliest connections with the uniform are mainly two. First is being born in a community which has given some of India’s most decorated defence officers and that had its own regiment in the Indian army. Seconly, being raised in a family of strong women with one of them going on to becoming the first women cop in the state. Yeah! I had quite a lot of stories to listen to while growing up, of both men and women in uniform… Can I say uniform runs in my blood? Stories of heroics of the officers from my hometown and the adventures of my aunt in her pursuit of a job in a male-dominated area has fuelled my curiosity, inspiration and motivation to pursue a life of adventure. Admiration for the #MenInUniform (and the women) had come naturally to me. But these instances take me back in time on how I have always been inspired as a growing up kid to pursue a career in the Indian Military Services.

Growing up in a small town meant limited access to things. So the only ‘Air Force’ thing we could see were occasional choppers that flew in with VVIPs visiting the hilltown (These could have never been the IAF choppers if I guess). Like all kids of the 90s did, we waived at the choppers hoping someone waived back at us.

I now travel to some other faint memories from childhood. It was my week long stay with a relative at Hyderabad. They were an army family living in their army bungalow somewhere in the viscinity of the Golconda fort. That was my closest meeting with defence personnel and the army way of life until then. The discipline, etiquette, mannerisms and all those were something that really caught my fascination. Until then, I had only heard stories and now, I was seeing them all.

But the most fanciest days of my life were my summer vacations spent at our house in Pune. The Sukhoi 30s were newly inducted in the Indian pride back then. And our house being in the proximity of the airbase, ‘The Hunting Hawks’ as they were called, flew past during their sorties all day long. The various formations and the thunder that rattled almost everything in the house were an eye candy and feast for the ears. It is something that really caught my fancy for fighter planes and more so for the adventure that the defence forces had to offer if I happened to join them ever! I am FOREVER grateful to my folks for having a home there… cuz that’s where a spark for the forces was ignited and a fancy for fighters struck me. And then were my share of stories I got to hear from my uncle (a veteran officer from the British Army during the world war) and his many colleagues at their army society at Salunke Vihar in Pune. I used to be a curious cat listening to them all. Year on year, the travels during my summer vacations were eagerly awaited!

Growing up, I got some insights into the way of life through my participation in the NCC (National Cadet Corps) while in high school. With a continuous pursuit of adventure and curiosity to understand how things worked, I think signing up for a course in Mechanical Engineering was inevitable. Sometimes, it is really okay if you don’t get the best. You get what is best for you. With that, I mean the real deal of life that came to me in the form of an admission at Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology, Bangalore. This is where I really got the whole Indian airforce thing into me. It’s beyond just an explanation of how fascinated and excited I used to be on just seeing a fighter plane. With almost all the planes from India’s might being there, it really opened up another world to me to learn about the airforce and its strength. I started to get back and google more to learn about each plane, the technology, its background, its history with India, what it takes to be a pilot in IAF and all those associated stories you find hyperlinked online. The more I read, the more I got thrilled. Ok, so a long story short- I too tried my hands at getting into the forces and failed a couple of times, if you asked me that question. So, yeah! Corporate world has me here by chance and not by choice. So if not here, you know where I would rather be!

Why am I telling you all these things today? Cuz, I’m hooked to the news channels along with a million other Indians praying for the safe return of our brave pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan’s release from the captivity of Pakistan Army. It’s an expression of anxiety I’m not able to get out of myself over the last couple of days. With extreme courage and poise, this brave son of my nation has stood by the motto of the MIG-21 squadron: “Siddhirvasti Sahase” which in Sanskrit translates to: “Success lies in courage”. Like literally! What more defines courage than his encounter with the Pakistan fleet? Can you imagine a Bison (that’s the nickname of MIG21) hunting down a Cheetah? (A F16 Falcon / Viper in this case) It rarely happens, and this brave warrior has done it! Chased death by the enemy back into its territory! Isn’t this what makes a true warrior? And our country divides its people based on caste and age-old professions…

Be it the Army, Navy, Airforce, BSF, CRPF, coast guards or anybody out there… with the kind of passion, selflessness, skill, precision our brave hearts at the forces keep vigil of our nation… A million million THANK YOU to each one of you guarding us all and enabling us live this happy life in our so called ‘Safe Havens’. As one of my friends rightly points out, with Wg. Cmdr.Abhi, what all of us have seen is just a tiny glimpse of what our forces holds. There are a thousand other equally skilled warriors in our forces who are all waiting for a chance to strike back. They are collectively an epitome of what India Truly is!

A throwback to the growing up days at Madikeri

After having a travel-ful 2018 with atleast one long travel a month, I have decided to have a more relaxed new year. Hence, I have my theme for travel in 2019 tweaked a bit. I have no major long distance travel goals for the year and would like to settle down exploring the surrounding places at Bangalore and my hometown and spend little more time on writing, something that was overlooked in the past couple of years.

So, to start off the year, my January of 2019 had me traveling to my hometown almost every weekend due to several personal commitments. And, amidst all the mayhem that life had for me at Madikeri, I found time to sit back once in a while and travel down the memory lane. Having born and spending my childhood almost entirely in my hometown, there are scores of undocumented memories associated with almost every corner of this hill town. So, would be the case with thousands of those other kids from the 90’s who lived there at some point too… Don’t we all have memories from our growing up days associated with those small places and things? Often in the rat race, we tend to forget to cherish and be thankful for those golden memories from childhood. Here are five things that I re-lived during my last visit to Madikeri and I’m sure all who grew up in this quaint town will reminisce with me.

1. Government hospital– The year started with doing the dutiful rounds at this hospital with a amily member who was sick. It was the exact place where this big grown up body came into existence; This hospital is the exact place where I was born. While a lot of things have changed about the hospital as it has been upgraded from being a district hospital to a specialty hospital & medical college, yet there are a few things that are still left unchanged. Like the labor ward where I was born for instance…! Two generations of my family members and the whole line-up of models (Brother & all my cousins summing up to a dozen of them😉) were born there and we all look forward to having our future generations born there as well 😛 There I was, traveling back in time to the earliest of memories…

2. Paris Hotel– The internet has spoken enough about the mutton cutlets of the ‘East end hotel’, masala dosas of the ‘Hill top hotel’ or even a meal with a view at the ‘Valley view hotel’. There is yet another hotel that is older than me which is located right in the heart of the town, the M.G.road of Madikeri. Ooops, read it college road! It is now called the ‘New Paris hotel’ after its renovation. I make sure to grab their signature dishes- Palam pori (Banana fritters) and Masala vada every time I’m in town. These popular snacks of kerala are so good that they run out of the shelves in less than a couple of hours of being stacked. Complimenting it with a nice cup of Malabar tea is a mandate for me and I try my luck to find some stock to pack for Bangalore.

3. Kuppu’s beauty parlour: With almost the third generation of professional barbers of this family that I know, I have very fond memories of getting my regular hair-cuts at this gent’s salon. Today when I go back there for a haircut, I feel like ‘Yeah… times have changed. I have graduated from the baby’s seat to a push-back adult’s seat. And the cost has gone up ten-fold, from Rs.10 to Rs.100 for a lady’s hair-style. The shop too has moved from the ground floor 10 seat something to a single seat salon on the first floor. But somethings never change! There is a bunch of loyal customers (Both Men & women) who travel down from other cities/towns to Kuppu’s just for their haircuts. Such is the popularity of his services. But, reducing the salon size was inevitable says Mr.Ganesh, the present owner and main-man at this popular salon. With age, managing such a big place was getting hard and he prefers the next generation to run nuclear business.

4. Basappa theatre and Kaveri Mahal: The lifeline to all the movie buffs of Madikeri, for not just the 90’s kids but several generations, how can we not give credits to these two single screen cinema halls? From playing the latest Kannada movies and English movies once in a while, these were (probably still are!) the favourite haunt for most native residents of Madikeri and the nearby villages who seek some kind of entertainment after the sun goes down in this silent hill-station. I remember standing in long queues to get the tickets when a movie in the local languages (Kodava Thakk or Are Bashe) are showed. Or do you recollect memories of being taken in batches from school to watch a mandatory documentary at these cinema halls? Weren’t those fond memories? When was the last time you watched a documentary in a big screen? When was the last time you watched a feature film in a single screen movie hall? Was it a Gandhi class or a balcony ticket?

5. Madikeri fort– We had days of marching in the Independence day parade at the fort courtyard and standing through the pouring rain until the chief guest was done with his address. What were we thinking while doing a peek-a-boo down, to the former district jail from above the parapet? Were we hoping to see the inmates..? or did we expect to get back some waves and ‘Hai’s from them? May be! Or even for some of those who would climb up the narrow ladder to get a view from the big bell near the court hall.. Does any of these ring a bell???

Which is your favourite memory of growing up in Madikeri? Share them with me…

 

Clockwise from top: 1.Madikeri government hospital; 2.Snacks at Paris hotel; 3.A nameplate outside Kuppu’s salon

I hate to grow up..!!

Recently, I had been to my hometown on a weekend.. The few hours I spent with my little cousin made me all nostalgic about the good old childhood days I spent there.. He took me to the front yard of the house and placed his pets in a line.. “On your mark.. get set… Peeeee” went his whistle.. It was a race organised by him for 3 tortoises & a cane turtle that he found in the paddy field.. Just as the race began, the turtle turned backwards and began to run(or walk rather).. I saw my little brother panic.. It was very funny and I found it very cute at the same time..

The Tortoise & the turtle race
The Tortoise & the turtle race

There are some small things about life that you miss a lot when you grow up.. The little innocence of being a child, those priceless toys- sand castles, straw tents, slushy puddles, paper boats, pull carts of dried coconut tree branches.. We ran naked around the house and the estates- We NEVER knew what SHY meant..

Children enjoying their shower in a small stream amid the greens of our estate
Children enjoying their shower in a small stream amid the greens of our estate

And then, when we grew up a little more, we did it for competitions- To see whose paper kites flew higher and stayed longer in the sky.. Whose wooden top spun longer, Which catapult shot the farthest, Who had the most number of marbles.. Who caught most number of dragonflies in the empty horlicks bottle.. Who lit the room brightest with their collection of glow-worms.. And further, I remember- stealing an empty glass jar and a cotton towel every weekend with my older cousin- All just for the sheer sake of fishing in the stream nearby.. And, we’d be the proud fishermen of the collection in my grani’s lotus pond..

Internet photo- Fishing in a stream
Internet photo- Fishing in a stream

And then.. Our capital increased… Our toys also got more sophisticated.. We started boasting of our collection of tazos, TV-video games, hot-wheels cars..

My little cousin's collection of cars
My little cousin’s collection of cars

We would wait for guests, uncles, aunties to come home.. Cuz they would buy Cadbury gems for us.. Parle poppins, Blue n yellow wrappered Aasay toffees.. We did not expect any expensive chocolate bars..

Ofcourse I witnessed the era of Beyblades & Pokemons too.. But, I considered myself a little more grown up by that time..

Soon I started to earn enough to suffice the crunch for that ONE most expensive toy that would COMPLETE my collection of toys.. But, it is too late now for I have over grown the age of collecting toy cars.. Now people respect me only if I have the REAL ones.. and that too the MOST expensive ones.. Chocolates should be imported and a little bit of rum/vodka in it would spike it up.. Tents mean only those paid camping in expensive holiday resorts.. Now, I frequently fly in aeroplanes.. Spin at the casino.. Even to get into a slush pool.. I’d pay a fat deal at an exotic spa…

SHIT MAN..!!! How I wish… that innocence was not gone.. How I wish.. I had NEVER grown up…

Learning to Rock with MLTR..!!

<04-Oct-13> A dedication to the day..

With a short break from work, I have decided to just relax in the comforts of my home and slumber.. Meanwhile, over the last few days I have been digging out all the old and long forgotten music CDs stocked up in my cupboard.. Like the saying goes- ‘Old is Gold’; Old music makes me feel sooooo good and relaxes my worked up senses.. Iron Maiden, Metallica, Dream Theater, Linkin Park, Aerosmith etc etc.. You call them masterpieces, classics of rock or whatever- They NEVER cease to soothe my metal head..

But in between all of them- I stumbled upon this one- Micheal Learns To Rock..!!

This boy band ain’t any metal masters.. But the lovely tune, nice guitar and simple lyrics that can be so easy to relate… Just makes me feel so good each time I take a listen to them.. With their compositions like- sleeping-child, Out-of-the-blue, Paint-my-love, you-go-away, take-me-to-your-heart, the list goes on… There is something in their music that lifts up my spirits and pulls in a very pleasant mood even after a screwed up day..

Movie/Music reviewer/Critic- This is not what I usually do. My mind is so occupied with my work that I have even lost track of my interests and likes.. I don’t remember when or who has updated the list in my phone’s music player last.. But, finding this CD suddenly has made me all nostalgic..

You guys are AWESOME… Love you so much for creating such awesome music..

RESPECT \m/

mltr

Thank you Secret Santa :)

<26-Dec-2012>

In a bid to wake up the dead souls of a boring office- Someone rightly came up with the idea of celebrating Christmas week.. And one of the events was to play ‘Secret Santa’. We all picked up our chits a week in advance and were thinking what to gift the person whose choices we barely know.

Finally the day was here –
I walk into my office in the morning and when I reached my table: I had the biggest surprise that I could least expect from any colleague in office 🙂
Well- It was a gift from my Secret Santa 🙂 Right next to my desktop laid an aquarium with 2 pairs of swimmers inside. A stick-post on the glass read: “Dear Hitha, your new friends :)” and another note read their names: “2 yellow Gouramis & 2 Blue Gouramis”

My Christmas gift :)
My Christmas gift

I was like >>> Wowwww…. It’s such a lovely gift for Christmas..!!
The thought that struck me first was “How could someone in this office ever have the patience to carry an aquarium with water and fishes from home? That too by (company) bus traveling about 50kms??
My Santa is a real patient one :)” Hmm.. But I took a wild guess and I was right the first time itself 😀
The reason he gave me for choosing this gift was: ” Your grumpy boss sits to your left side; So these fishes on your right side would take away all the negative energy that flows across :D”
Anyway… Thank you for such a thoughtful gift dear Santa- You made my day.. and Everyday 🙂

So now, the 4 new inclusions to our work force have not only become my responsibility but also my obsessions.. Every morning and evening I feed them the granules and make sure that I get a glimpse of what they are upto in between my hectic schedule.. Having no net access in office has led me to sitting for hours infront of my PC at home google-ing for facts about these new pets.
It did not take me too long to figure out that I have 1 male and 3 females in my tank- The man is too horny and kept chasing the hottest chick for over 2 days; In a bid to survive the hyperactivity caused due to gush of the hormones in the male; the 2 blue females have lost half of their tail each.

Though these kids are from the same species, this threat to the females had caused me immense worry. So, my homework was to google further to understand the behaviour of these fishes. I realised that these fishes need hiding places-usually plants, clay pots & other aquarium accessories which would help them to camouflage. Then, it was shopping time for accessories for my little friends.

Next, morning I arranged these plants in the tank. Also, It was time for me to name these fishies. Since, they were 4 new manpower (fishpower rather) to our team, we named them according to the area what each engineer handles.(I prefer using the 1st letter of their names owing to company policies of information security- E, B, C & T) It took sometime for them to get used to the new things in their surroundings; but soon it was followed by a lot of peace in the tank. E & B (2 blue females) found comfort and security amidst the ferns. However, C (yellow female) chose to attract the yellow male(T) by chasing him. However, T seemed uninterested in her, and grew equally restless while he was unable to find B. This continued for the day..

My gouramis in their new surrounding
My gouramis in their new surrounding

However, next morning was worse, T had chosen to chase C with no other choice as E & B were still hiding. On some aquarium hobbyists’ online discussion forum, I found the solution. I had to finally separate the male from the tank. But, I rather took a chance and added some more plants in the tank. But, the risk was worth it- There is utmost peace in the tank now with all the girls hiding safe in their confines 🙂

Watching and studying the behaviour of these kids is such a relief I tell you… truly..!! It literally boosts up my mood every time while I am pissed off at work.
I thank you Santa- For such a thoughtful gift that keeps me alive every morning  🙂

OMG..!! Life has changed..!!

<18-Sept-09>
I want to go back to the time..
When “Innocence” was ‘Natural”
When “Getting High” was “on a Swing”
When “Drinking” meant “Rasna” 
When “Dad” was the only “Hero”
When “Love” was “Mom’s hug” 
When “Dad’s shoulder” was d “Highest” place on earth
When your worst enemies were your “Siblings”
When the only thing that could “Hurt” were “bleeding Knees”
When the only things “Broken” were “Toys” and
When “Goodbyes” only meant “Till tomorrow”.. 
Oh My God..!! Life has changed a LOT.!!
Enough of originals.. This one- I received as a SMS forward sometime back.. But, this still holds so much power and means much more every time I read it… Every time I read it: it makes me feel older- And then I start wondering “OMG– I’ve wasted so many years without doing anything constructive out of it.. And i’m already so old..!!! ” AAaaargghhh… it’s not a nice feeling at all..!!
 
And this one was my status quote on FB during my last year in college: 
“No poem, No beautiful thought, just a tribute to d times v fought.. another year more and then we part our ways.. No insane talking, no crazy pics, our meetings would be dependent on a mouse’s click.. The parties would be corporate, the innocence lost, we would be earning, but at a frnd’s cost.. we wud b professional, we wud b sane.. then these lines would be not more than a walk in the memory lane..”
And every time I find this on my wall, I’l be like: “OMG..!! what have I done to myself..?? What happened to all my dreams…?? Why don’t I have time to catch up with my friends and laugh over a plate of fried rice with ten hands grabbing for food from it..!! or whatever it means to being a student meant to be… ” Baaahhh… It’s definitely not a good feeling..!! 

A boy from the Yerava tribe in Coorg
A boy from the Yerava tribe in Coorg

One last time.. Before I “SCRAP” it

<28-Aug-12>

My Dear ORKUT,

After living together for seven long years, the time has finally come for us to part ways forever and ever.. I’d like to bid goodbye to you for one last time…

Letting go off you isn’t an easy thing for I have a million reasons to hold on.. Thousand memories stringed.. 4000+ scraps in my scrapbook, 50+ fans, 200+ friends, 30+ communities, 100+ attachments and 10+ testimonials written by my buddies which will forever remain close to my heart.

Few things I leave behind with you by deleting this account are:

  • Thousands of rupees shelled out jointly by Radhi n me at the internet parlour
  • Hours that could well sum up to years spent at the cyber café in Vasanthnagar and Malleshwaram
  • Those 1000s of senseless, yet super fun scraps from Radhi n Nis in my scrapbook
  • Those crazy relationship status we used to change and make the whole world believe
  • Frequently changing contents on the profile updates
  • The race for having the most number of scraps
And there are so many other things I’d ever be grateful to you:
  • Some wonderful friends I met here
  • You gave me the basics and helped me lay a strong foundation in my people-networking
  • The communities I could join where I had some serious discussions on stuff I really wanted to know

And the list will keep growing as long as a comet’s tail………

Dear Orkut, I promise not to waste too much of my time with someone else who gave you a run for your money.. You were the best, you are and you shall remain to be.. For you are a pioneer.. But, every aging leaf withers away making way for a greener one.. And so you too.. You shall be deeply missed..

Adieu to you for one last time before I delete you.. oops… I’m scrapping you..

With Lots of Love,

Hitha

123