11/28/2007

Back to Childhood Days!


The picture of one's head against the door of a train, with winds gushing through one's hair even as the train decides to do a hair pin curve where one half of the train is curving and the other half is curling and catching up, you realise that these were the same emotions which meant joy, 10-15 years back, and to be more specific, you need to be in the 2nd class compartment to lean over, with the glorious smell of the Indian railways, yes.... its charecteristic smell of urine and the iron of the compartment that knock over your sensibilities as you try to get some fresh air through your lungs. Lonely travel brings a lot of thoughts
that your mind conjures up and 2 such recent journeys are being documented here.

In October and November, I decided to do some lonely train journeys as I was feeling bored. In October, I had a long weekend at my internship in Bangalore, and the dussehra weekend, was going to be dull If I was at the temporary accomdation that I was staying, so I decided to hit the Majestic bus stand, a sudden thought at 7 pm, when I left the office, and managed to reach the place (Majestic Bus Stand) by about 9 and discovered that the only probable places that one could go were Mangalore/Gokarna/Shimoga for Jog Falls/ Goa. Now, Mangalore seemed a students delight as a term called "inflation" had not made its way there to have very costly hotel and eating options. But Mangalore was heavily booked, so was Shimoga and Goa. Gokarna had one ticket and since Dusehra was on, a premium was charged to the tune of about 100 rs making the final ticket as 450 odd.

Gokarna it was...and I set on a journey, a holiday all alone, by myself... on a rainy chill night, but since I had a rather plush windcheater of my previous company, the chill winds were not a factor, but the bump on highway roads were, as I was sitting in the middle of the last bench of that bus.



Gokarna is like a place thats unaffected by technology and modernity. It has a lulling and a very slow pace towards life and thats the first thing that struck me about this place. More than that is the greenery around. For the first time in my holidays I gave up trekking and beach walking, as my bag tore, so I had to check into a hotel and decided to just walk aimlessly and explore the town.



This is when I am reminded of Chldhood, where I used to walk with my grandfather on the streets of Nanganallur, where seeing a road, a person, a bus..or any damn thing was enthusiastic, as I was learning new things each time I went on a walk.The same enthusiasm came to the fore. It was ages since I decided to explore a place at an easy pace. I went about photographing literally everything that came my way.


Here goes some of my exhibits


The Hotels in Gokarna are plain simple and you are transported to this lost world
where prices of eatables are a little above manufacturing cost and you have a very simple
ambience. Look at the chairs, everything has this plain jane shape and looks so uncomplicated.

Wherever I go, I seem to have this soft corner for "GHEE MASALA DOSA", and this time its no exception.

It had rained the previous evening, and it takes some Sun
to dry the streets. A peaceful walk, in the afternoon, explorning the extra rural side of Gokarna


Thats the bus, you would never want to get in. Extremely rickety and gives your shoulder and backbones a massage the wrong way, to make it as stiff as possible. This is the last option to Bangalore, if you cant get the luxury buses. This bus leaves at about 5 30 pm, on Sundays to Bangalore. Travelling 14 hours in this bus requires some courage, and since I am a student and cash strapped, I chose this :-(. The bus had a leaking hole right above the place where I sat, and all the water found its way to my seat and shoulder.I couldnt move an inch as this bus had hardly any leg space, and already had a vendors vegetable bag in between my legs apart from my huge blue bag. Next to me was a corpulent Bank officer, who was sharing his stories of life at Shimoga and Gokarna. It was great getting his perspective of life, and all his mythological stories about Gokarna, but he gave me a mythology dose, all through the night till 3 am, until he got off.

From the modernity of an INFOSYS campus, it takes 12 hours to be transported back to time, in Gokarna. Look at the pyol of the house, looks like R K NARAYAN had taken inspiration from this place :-), but actually its is widely rumoured that Malgudi came from Malleshwaram+ Basavangudi. I last saw such houses in Chennai, at Dakshinachitra, when I went earlier in the year with Prasanna and Kishore.


When it's a misty morning and you are on a walk across a bridge, it makes for a lovely sight. This place must be some small tributary of the Arabian sea.

Outer Gokarna reminds me of the villages in Kerala, all green with overcast skies.

Driving on empty roads with lovely weather and trees by the wayside is a lovely way to unwind.

Some times food can be a huge problem on the western coast, as you have to make to do with what is available in smaller bus stands like these. Grossly unhygenic, but thats also a part of travel


This photo was taken at PAI Restaurant at Gokarna. This along with Gokarna International are the best places to eat good quality local food at Gokarna.



Now that's a Garage... They dont have 4 wheelers here. This is just enough to dump a couple of cycles and lock it for the night.

The Brick sizes are very big on the western coast, atleast in Gokarna and Goa. I dont know the reason behind such huge boulders, but since I saw them and it looked unique, its claim to fame since then on has been that its been featured on Katchucrap!

Looks like Gokarna has its own version of Hermione and Harry Potter

Cricket on the Pyol! I was reminded of the days in the early 90's where all i needed was a tennis/rubber ball, to insantly start a game of cricket. The strategy part involved trying to score heavily by not playing power strokes and adopting to the area of the place that was available. Most of the places would be relatives houses, Marriage halls, Terraces and open verandahs! Aaah those were the days!

Thats the way back to the Hotel!........

For a more detailed journal on the beaches in Gokarna, I suggest you click this travellogue, written by me, a year and a half back



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