Tag Archives: Memories

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
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Who am I?

<24-Oct-2019>

We are who we are because of the type of experiences we have had in life. The experiences mould us into the personality that we grow into, with age. Some of these experiences (small and big) come once in a lifetime and yet a few- reoccur. When they reoccur, the first time always sets the bar. If it was bad, we accept anything that is a little better the next time. If it was good, we wouldn’t settle for anything lesser.

I often find it difficult to break the ice with the urban souls. I’m not really sure why, but travel is perhaps the way I connect with the others. I don’t mean I need to travel with them to connect; that’s an expensive strategy. But rake up a topic that is remotely related to travel- You have me there! I will be able to navigate our conversation into a diverse range of topics and things that exist under the sun.

My qualification:

I am an automobile engineer by profession, with a regular 09-to-05-week job. While I’m not at work, I enjoy travelling and learning new skills that are outside of my job scope. I love doing both equally. I have completed certificate courses in ‘Ethnography’ and ‘Ancient Art & Architectural Heritage of India’ that also aid in fueling my curiosity to observe my surroundings better while I am travelling.

What Travel means to me?

I am an outbound person. Even if that means just stepping onto my portico or the front yard of my house; Or feeding a few squirrels or finding a bird nest in my granny’s attic, it is travel for me! For me travel is seeing things, both same and new with a new perspective each time. It gives me an opportunity to learn and gain a different experience. If not physical travel, I time travel to the glorious days of my childhood by doing little things that are outside a couch. I believe growing old in age shouldn’t stop one from doing what made them happy as kids. The purpose of life is to do whatever makes you happy.

What are my areas of interest?

So, Cinema and TV have had the largest influence on me while growing up. They were shot in exotic places and the people danced amidst crazy ass landscapes and that made me want to go there. And then, the cable TV gave me access to jaw-dropping documentaries on everything that is in space, land and underwater. Adventure, wildlife, machines, technology, aeroplanes, rockets, history, art…. Nat-geo and Discovery channel: You sure now know where I have picked my diverse flavors of interests from. Having said that, today as an adult- TV is the last thing that I would ever get myself into, if I were ever bored. That is because I see movies as just a way of slouching on the couch with inactivity. Also, the media of today is a whole lot of digitization and sells what they’re paid for. With so much editing and hyper-exploitative hunger for TRP, the audience don’t know how much of what they see are real. Hence, I prefer to go out, see, learn and understand for myself.

Physical inactivity grows me restless. And so is with a game of cricket for me. As a child, I wondered that the cricketers always travelled to the Eden gardens or the Lords or the Caribbean for tournaments and after parties. As an audience/spectator, I can now only see it as one to five days full of inactivity in front of the “Idiot Box” based on whatever format the game is played in.

My political views too are largely based on my personal experiences from my travel and interactions with people across boundaries. I have grown with a pedigree feed of Toyota concepts of Genchi-Gembutsu. So, it isn’t easy for someone to sell me their opinions about places and people they have not seen.

Where do I want to look at myself few years from now?

If life was kind, you’d probably see me reporting as a journalist from ground zero or heading an archeological or underwater exploration or maybe chasing a path down the Amazonian rainforests. I don’t know what I’d be doing, but for sure- having a ball of a time living life. (But well, that doesn’t mean I’m less happy where I am today. I guess, life has decided the path that is suitable to me). I will follow wherever it decides to take me in future as well.

Conclusion:

It is a difficult connection to make with me. unless you have something interesting to discuss with me, I am bound to be labelled as an introvert. You will really have to figure your way out to connect with me…!!

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…

The inevitable change – Job rotation

<16-July-13>

Having completed 2 years of work- I can say I have put in my best to handle work in 2 areas(filling in for another member). As explained in my earlier post: The car hospital job, I have loved my job as a neurologist, dermatologist and as a general physician. Even though the hospital wasn’t a great place for the doctors- the nature of work was a great pushing force to wake up every morning and board the bus to office..

In what seems very unusual compared to other employers, this place does not believe in letting a person to settle in one area, specialise and build a comfort zone.. When they find someone picking up things soon, they bring in a change with something called as job rotation. In the last 1 year, I have been considered for this change thrice:

job-rotation-objectives

Option 1: Customer Relations: This is an extension of the ward boy job

Once the check-up, surgeries and trans-plantations are done, it is the time to handle the patients’ reactions. The Out-patient Dept.(OPD) or the CR does that. You don’t need to be a doctor or a technical guy to do that.. Situation 1: A few come back complaining that they lost their bananas in the car during service- You only have to promise to give them a replacement to close the call. Situation 2: Some hear kala-kala noise while some hear laka-laka noise. Some find durr-durr sound while few others find tur-tur sound (read the sounds as you want to) All are referred to from the engine. All you have to do is record the voice of customer(VOC), find the root cause and convince them. Such occurences are not isolated and have to be dealt on a daily/hourly basis. This post for a quality person at the CR was later withdrawn due to managerial issues.

pareto_chart_customer-complaints

Option 2: Quality Planning

Considered to be one of the powerful departments in the company- I was on the TPL(Top Priority List) for the barter of candidates for an intra-division rotation. But, it was a definite NO from my side for the job which is definitely non-technical.. Great tools like setting the company road-map, hoshins, quality rules sounds alluring but it is definitely NOT my thing and I was enjoying my surgical job more.. Finally, after a week long drama and refusals to give away candidates like me 😉 – another guy was pulled in for the role 🙂

Option 3: Claims reduction- THE destination

I really have no idea why this one had to come to me.. Numbers and I don’t share a comfortable relationship.. Moreover, there is no clarity on the roles and responsibility of the PIC here.. But, there are reasons galore which has finally led me to accept this new intra-department rotation. So now- cutting down on medicines, not giving free replacement for broken parts, heavy diagnosis charges for scans, X-rays etc. all to reduce warranty and increase profitability is going to be my work..

images

I would like to move forward taking the positive things of this change.. Setting new targets, standardising rules and paving a new way itself is going to be a challenge I am going to set for myself.. Taking it by my stride- It is going to be a good learning opportunity and a great way to prove myself and make all those people envious of the same job that was rejected by them….

P.S.: All paretos/graphs do not hold any references to real values.

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  🙂