Saturday, May 29, 2010

Quirky drift wood art!

In the Bird of Paradise homestay Prasad has a collection of the most quirky art I have ever seen! Check out the pics I have loaded. They are amazingly original and I couldnt resist clicking pics of many of them. The Don Qixote especially was superb! Check him out --- down to the last detail and by the way these are discarded Tea trees!My Dad would have loved them if he was alive. He loved the quirky gnarls that pine trees grew in the North East and collected them insisting that they looked like this and that. Here the artist has brought the piece to life with an actual painting that he sees in the gnarled tree stump! Enjoy! I did!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Crab Claws and the Cauvery!

Homestays open up people's inherited treasures to the world and thats a great new concept being encouraged by the govt of Karnataka. So we went down to see this beautiful homestay on the banks of the river Cauvery where PADDAMBAIL MUDDAPPA SHIVAPRASAD had opened out his 7 acre property for the us to enjoy.
It was a wonderful experience to see how this agriculturalist has grown acres of crab claws -- see photos- on a commercial basis on this farm and opened it out for the public to enjoy as well. For me and environment journo it was the ideal place to teach city dwellers what it means to go back into the arms of nature. If you are looking for resort like facilities forget it, but he does have a HUGE swimming pool which we throughly enjoyed.
Evenings were spent sitting on the banks of the river just lotus eating and listening to the strident 'Did-you-do-it'or the Lapwing fly by.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Kiddy book getting printed at last!

My kiddy book is getting printed at last. I am so very thrilled that Yatish has finished the illustrations and even though he has taken THREE years, it is finally done.
There are a couple more which may be needed as we go along laying out the book, but as is it seems like the book will come out well with the 35 illustrations he has done.
Even my David who can be devastatingly critical said nice!
Fingers crossed, I have a lot of money riding on the book, but I need to keep it really cheap for the kids to buy.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Our beloved Pilerne on Hayes Road.

That is my parents home. The house my grandfather built after seeking his fortune in the 20's and 30's in Nairobi. Then he came home to India and instead of going back to Goa bought a very large piece of Hayes Road for the Furtado family. He built two large houses there - one he rented out and one he lived in and then he retired to a life of gentility, raising his family in this lovely house he called 'Pilerne' after the village we come from in Goa.Dad inherited the house, while the second house was left to Uncle Alfred who sold it and an ugly monstrosity is coming up in its place.
Dad has now left the house to us and to keep it in the family we are demolishing it and building exactly where the original house stands. Five sets of flats for the five of us. The fruit trees and the garden remain.
People might say, why cant you keep it - maintaining the house has been very expensive and hopefully we can salvage most of the Italian tiles and burma teak to use in the new building.
My brother John who is one of Bangalore's better known architects plans to build it and NO glass and chrome please, we are hoping for a more Portuguese looking building with our Portuguese ancestry.
It is going to break my heart, I dont want to go there while its being brought down, but life goes on and we all want to live there together anyway, those of us who are in India.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Torino- Turin the shroud and science!

For me the Shroud of Turin has always been a weird phenomenon which I have followed closely over the years. Prob cause of the framed picture I used to see as a young woman when I went to church in St. Patrick's Church. Now with the ESOF Science Journalists conference scheduled to be held in July in Turin I am excitedly looking forward to the trip. The first evening free and I will go to actually see the shroud.
Please check--
It's been a weird thought - imagine Jesus's actual photo outline in blood on a piece of linen that was used to cover him. I am no fanatic but the shroud has baffled scientists and the National Geographic ran a great story on it as well.
Now! I am going to see it myself. Hope I reach early enough to do that immediately!

How safe is eco tourism?

After the Australian girl was killed in Port Blair recently by a salt water croc, read

I am not too sprightly about the holiday planned in Oct to Port Blair.I was told the snorkelling and diving there is awesome by Tarusha of Madisson PR. She said it was a great experience, while we journeyed tog on the way to The Serai, Chikmagalur, and that made me decide that we should check it out. This was esp after the hol in Turtle Bay which gave us the first experience of snorkelling's pleasures.

Now I wonder - how safe do these operators make it for us humans? I know we signed tons of pages of docs before going in, in Murdeshwar, and now I understand why. Thats crazy. It has to be made safe for us and the operators should not play games and hope things go minus a mishap. Then its the Aussie girls experience waiting to happen, all over again.

Even while driving through Mudumalai the other day coming back from Lovedale we passed several agitated elephants. What if the animal charged the bus? There were even a couple of HUGE Bison in the undergrowth and the bus slowed for us to see them.
Eco tourism should NOT be about risk taking.

IF it is that, THEN tell the tourist clearly, you are flirting with death going down there, or going into the jungle this could happen. Then choices can be made.

I for one would NEVER go! I def dont believe in animal/human conflict, I'm no Steve Irwin for sure!

Monday, May 10, 2010

UNESCO World Heritage Toy Train!

The last time I tried to get a ride on the Toy train the que which snaked right out of the quaint Ooty heritage stn. scared me off. This time Gope the resort manager of Hill Country waved his magic wand and got us three tickets which finally gave me my dream ride.
I LOVE the train, maybe its just the child in me still! Never mind the crush and the crowds, thankfully no body odour as its cold in Ooty, but I enjoyed every minute of the 45 min ride upto Coonoor.
If you have never been on any of the heritage toy train railways you MUST go before landslides and worse finish off the tracks forever. After all man always thinks he knows best and deforestation is causing heavy landslides ever year, and who knows they might just put a stop to the little 'chug chugs' in a matter of a few years.

Dad called them I - think- I - can's and they do say that as they labour up the hill slopes if you listen carefully. They do! I used that allegory so many times in my life, during hard situations, when I thought I would never succeed, then I thought of Dad and the train and the I-think-I -can, and suddenly everything became all right in my world.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Images of Lovedale

There are some places you can't stop clicking pictures and Lovedale is one of those.From the beautiful view of the vale from Hill Country, the sprawling Tea Gardens,the flowers in the Hill Country gardens, everything needed to be recorded by me and with my new digi it was done in minutes.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Lawrence School - Lovedale

We had heard of Lawrence School and Shobha reminded me of it on FB but nothing prepared us for the beauty of the building. Wow! those Brits really knew how to make fabulous schools and grander buildings. I know I went to CJM in New Delhi and that too is mellow but red brick.
The occasion we happened to visit was the 152nd Founders Day Celebrations of the School and Almuni from across the globe had descended on Lovedale for the occasion. We met a couple at the Hill Country Resort.
Take a look at the pics, you will see what I mean and whats even cuter is just outsdie the school gates is the Lovedale Toy train station where I am pretty sure students of the school in the old days got off and just walked to school!

Lovedale -- yes there is a place with that name!

We went down to Hill Country Lovedale, for a couple of days to just relax and ch ill. All too soon it will be June and back to work and regular routine. So we jumped in a Volvo which took us on a chilly overnight trip to Ooty. There a cab picked us up and took us to the resort which is just 2km from Ooty -- yes, yes! Lovedale is the Ooty we knew back in the 80's and not the stinking, dirty Ooty of today.

Everyday clouds shimmied into our room and sent chilly shivers up and down our spines! Then all you have to do is run to the restaurant and have a bowl of hot sweet corn and chicken soup with crunchy celery and crunchier slices of toast.

Lovedale is gorgeous and if you havent been, just GO. Its not that expensive either if you take a package holiday with all meals thrown in at Hill Country Resorts.