Tag Archives: nostalgia

I Belong to Everywhere: Ontiangadi

This is an attempt to bring back nostalgia. Continued from- “I Belong to Everywhere: Vasanthanagar“.

‘Ontiangadi’ literally translates to The Only Shop’ in Kannada, and it is the name of a village in South Kodagu, where my paternal lineage hails from. Now, this village has grown beyond just one shop, into a tiny township.

As a child, I would come here on those weekends, when my parents came down from Bangalore. But whenever I came here, there has always been a calm of a different kind. There are two ancestral houses located within the large premises: one nearly 200 years old which is now used as a warehouse and the other, around 50+ years old that is currently being resided at by our family. The latter is surrounded with coffee plants, paddy fields, overflowing ponds and streams, an open well at a walkable distance to fetch potable water. This place has always seemed magical to me, then and now!

View of the farm from our ancestral home in Kodagu
View of the farm from our ancestral home in Kodagu

While the green paddy fields have been a treat to the eyes, the offseason is when I have lived some of my best holidays. The paddy field would turn into a playground when my cousins, other kids from the village and their cousins, would all congregate here for a game or two of football. Not with a foot-BALL, but with hollow balls of pomelo skin (grapefruit).

And then, came the first monsoons: we ran to the large wild-mango tree and fought a mango war. Who won or lost the battle would be decided by how much mango juice we were soaked in and who got the maximum scolding from our elders!

The farm and the mango tree, on the drier days in Ontiangadi
The farm and the mango tree, on the drier days in Ontiangadi

Wait for a few more days to pass by and the monsoon will peak. Then, the streams would overflow and bring that time of the year for our prized catches: Laying bamboo traps to collect fresh water eels and Koile meen (a local fish in Kodagu), fishing out mud-crabs from crevices along the downstream were normal. On (un)Lucky days, one or two smushy crabs would turn out to be snakes after being grabbed out 😀

Once, the workers had brought home several soft shelled turtles which they had found while working in the paddy field. It was timed well with my then recent experience of volunteering for a sea turtle conservation project in Chennai. With all excitement and inspiration, I had written to so many organizations about my new discovery in the western Ghats 😀 Aaah, what memories!

Clockwise from top left: 1. Koile meen, 2. Freshwater shrimp, 3. Cattle, 4. A soft shelled turtle
Clockwise from top left: 1. Koile meen, 2. Freshwater shrimp, 3. Cattle, 4. A soft shelled turtle

Apart from this, the ‘Subramanya temple’ at Byrambada and the ‘Palli Swamy Dargah’ (Pulkimaad dargah) have been important landmarks in and closer to Ontiangadi. A nice warm day even now, is often concluded with a hot plate of palam pori and a cup of kattan chai from ‘Ganesh hotel’ at Ontiangadi.

'Ganesh hotel' at Ontiangadi, Kodagu
‘Ganesh hotel’ at Ontiangadi, Kodagu

I borrow my surname from this village and so, definitely a part of me belongs here 😀

If you liked this story, you might also want to give a read to: “OMG! Life has changed!” for some more nostalgic content.

To be continued as- “I Belong to Everywhere: Kumbaldal

I Belong to Everywhere: Vasanthanagar

This is an attempt to bring back nostalgia. Continued from- I Belong to Everywhere: Karavalebadaga“.

Vasanthanagar is an old locality in North Bengaluru, adjoining some of the prominent English areas like the Cantonment, Miller’s road, Cunningham road, Palace road etc. I had been visiting and staying in this locality for all the years that my aunt’s family lived here. Right from the time I was an infant to the time I started to go to college, I have been a regular around this locality. Or to say, this has been my second home whenever I have been in Bangalore. (First home in Bangalore is of course where my parents lived, I will talk about it in another post 😀 )

When you live in an area, your boundary extends beyond. Hence, high grounds, racecourse, golf course, Windsor Manor, Indian Express building, Basava Bhavan, Vidhana Soudha were all just a walk away. If you let my aunt or mom take over this page, then probably they would tell you that even Shivajinagar or Commercial street were also walkable from Vasanthanagar (at least considered so, back in the 80’s and 90’s). So, let me take you through some of the landmarks in Vasanthanagar that bring back nostalgia.

The Sampangi Ramaswamy temple: My aunt’s house was located right opposite to this temple and it was every day, that I woke up to the melody of M.S. Subbalakshmi’s suprabhatam played at this temple. But what best remains with me are the days that my cousin and I were made to believe that a small depression on the boulder in the temple premises were footprints of Lord Rama. So as kids, we would go there every day (whenever I was there) and offer our prayers with vermillion to this rock (and NOT to the temple!)

The premises of Sri Sampangi Ramaswamy temple in Vasanthanagar
The premises of Sri Sampangi Ramaswamy temple in Vasanthanagar

Loafers’ lane: Palace road is where a majority of my female cousins have attended school. This is also where I got my pre-university education before graduation. Being an all-women’s college, needless to say that the road running perpendicular to the college gate has always been a haunt of all the men of Bengaluru. Apart from the ‘Dove nuts’ from Chechi’s canteen on campus, the chaats from Raj’s on loafer’s lane has always been synonymous with the crowd.

Kodava Samaja: Then, there is this convention hall where almost all community gatherings like festival celebrations, weddings etc., happen. Even if my aunt’s family and I moved out of the area, Vasanthanagar wouldn’t leave us 😀

The Mount Carmel College junction of Palace road and Loafers' lane at Vasanthanagar
The Mount Carmel College junction of Palace road and Loafers’ lane

Adding to the list, the delicious sizzlers of ‘Miller’s 46’, Mughlai Biriyani from ‘hotel Chandrika’, honey cake from lyengar’s bakery and home-needs supermarket were our family’s go-to places for quick bites. Catching a local gig at ‘Alliance Francaise’, a movie or a Mc.D burger at ‘Sigma mall’, Infinitea and several other cafes and restaurants that sprung up and shut down along the way were other newer additions (during the early 2000s).

Talking about the role of this area on my personality: This place has influenced me in more than one way.

  • If you have ever conversed with me and have spotted a certain peculiar vocabulary sneaking out during a formal discussion, I owe that part of me to Vasanthanagar. That “English” has brushed onto me from my almamater here! For all you should know is that I studied in a gender-neutral women’s college, where we addressed peers as ‘hey, Man!’, ‘hey, Bro!’, ‘hey, dude!’.
  • This is also where I was introduced to ‘fusion rock’ music. The college fest hosted by my almamater is one of the most popular stages in the country for aspiring college bands who seek a launchpad and get recognition. This small-town girl had grown up listening to the voices of Lata Mangeshkar, Mukesh, Rafi, Kishore da, Yesudas, P.B.Srinivas and the likes, until she moved into the city. ‘Fusion’ was a new form of music she was listening to for the first time, here. She had an instant connection.
  • Although tending to animals is in the genes and the blood of this girl who belongs to forests of the western Ghats, I owe my understanding and awareness for conservations of wildlife and nature to Vasanthanagar. My bond with a classmate whose dad worked in the forest department was so deeply rooted about the holistic topic of environmental conservation, that we would spend several sleepless nights discussing about births, deaths and general health of individual animals from the zoos that we both had seen together, met and knew by names (Click here for a detailed read)

Continued as- “I Belong to Everywhere: Ontiangadi

I Belong to Everywhere: Karavalebadaga

This is an attempt to bring back nostalgia. Continued from- “I Belong to Everywhere: The Introduction

This HAS to be the beginning 😀 Madikeri (earlier called as Mercara) is the district headquarters of Kodagu (earlier called as Coorg). In this post, I talk about Karavalebadaga village in Madikeri Taluk, where my house and my school were both located in proximity. Although the village retains its name in the government documents, the newer names of these fragmented localities have now taken over people’s memories.

This is where I was born and have spent most of my life, so far! I was raised by my maternal grandparents who lived in Madikeri. A large compound with a shed full of cows, a kennel full of dogs, a sty full of pigs, a lair full of cats and an attic full of sparrows in their nests; a house surrounded by a colourful garden, fruiting trees and coffee estate; A short walk down, took us to a paddy field in which flowed a pretty little stream. This is where I grew up, in the heart of Madikeri town.

The attic at my maternal grandparents' house
The attic at my maternal grandparents’ house

Throwback to 90’s: As young kids, my cousin and I often sneaked out of the house on weekends for our usual stints. We would steal empty jars of Horlicks and cotton towels from granny’s stash and head towards the stream. We would catch fishes from the stream, get them to fill the tank that had purple lilies in our house’s front yard. We then hid the jar and the towel back near the stream for the next weekend. Come next weekend, the jar would have gone missing and the drill repeated!

Forward to present day: The sheds are empty, the dog is lonely, the sty is erased, the trees are gone and the stream has become part of a concreted sewage.

Watching the rains batter and the lily tank in the frontyard
Watching the rains batter and the lily tank in the frontyard

Throwback to 90’s: My friends and I walked to school, braving the heavy monsoon downpour. Our heavy armours comprising of thick raincoats, high ankle gumboots and wide black umbrellas weren’t enough to keep us dry. Along with this, we made sure we did not return home empty handed in the evening. We filled our lunch boxes with wild mushrooms or mud-crabs that we would pick up from the paddy field for a sumptuous monsoon dinner.

Forward to present day: There exists no trace of a paddy field that has now been transformed to a full fledged housing layout, the present day ‘Cauvery layout’.

The road connecting Ranipet and Cauvery layout in Madikeri is now laid over a sewage stream
The road connecting Ranipet and Cauvery layout in Madikeri is now laid over a sewage stream

Throwback to 90’s: My SCHOOL, the oldest educational institution in the hills is a landmark in itself. Named after it, an entire locality is simply referred to as ‘Convent junction’ that is accessible via a narrow lane (locally called as Oni). This was our alternate route on monsoon days when the paddy fields were flooded. The joy of relishing the masala vadas from ‘Kunyali’s canteen’ or a bite into a pastry from ‘hotel Coorg International’ (probably the only star hotel from our times) gave us a high of a different level.

Forward to present day: The oni is partially gone, but the of joy of taking a ride around the Convent junction and visiting school can never be replaced!

A tour of Convent Junction

They say home is where schooling starts, and then the formal schooling: My personality is probably a reflection of Karavalebadaga because this is where it all started!

So, that’s all folks! Next week, I will share a post about another place where I belong to. I hope you all will enjoy and share your thoughts with me.

But before that, I hope you all have read my earlier throwback post about Madikeri as well. If you haven’t, here’s the link: ‘My growing up days at Madikeri’.

Continued as “I Belong to Everywhere: Vasanthanagar

St. Joseph's convent as seen from Ranipet
St. Joseph’s convent as seen from Ranipet

I Belong to Everywhere: The Introduction

With the Pandemic, it needs no explanation to admit that my weekend travels have significantly come down. Meanwhile, ‘Armchair Travelling’ is a concept that seems to have caught up with most millennials to have themselves virtually travelling. This ideology doesn’t work for me because all my posts have been based only on my personal and real experiences. It seems hard for me to sit on a chair and imagine being at a destination just so that I can generate content.

In my contemplation of creating authentic content, I have passed several months without any posts of any value on my website. Meanwhile, this time also gave me space to explore my own backyard, drive over to familiar places and revisit old memories. But old memories for me are scattered. These memories are primarily divided between Bengaluru (my current place of residence) and Kodagu (my hometown, where I have spent most of my childhood and teenage). But they are also scattered across places because I have a large family, both on my paternal and maternal sides who live across these places and outside.

For me, the person I have evolved into and perceptions I derive have largely been based on the influences I have picked up while growing up across all these places. So, a little bit of me comes from all these places and a little bit of me stays everywhere. So, neither do I belong to rural or urban Bengaluru nor do I belong to North or South Kodagu, I belong to everywhere!

A young member from the Yerava tribe in Coorg
A young member from the Yerava tribe in Coorg

So, I thought I can take you all on a virtual tour of some of these places that are close to my heart and share some stories from the good days that have gone by… Through this series, I will give you small peeks into my hangout places, hideouts, local history, trivia, restaurants and everything else as I take you through these places and tell you how these places have influenced my personality….

But before that, I hope you all have read my earlier throwback post as well. If you haven’t, here’s the link to: ‘My growing up days at Madikeri

Each week, I will try to share a new post about a place / locality that I share a bond with and has influenced my personality, in no specific order of chronology with an attempt to bring back nostalgia. I hope you all will enjoy and share your thoughts with me 🙂

Continued as- “I Belong to Everywhere: Karavalebadaga