The Deity of “Death”

Death as we all know is inevitable and unfortunate and will surely touch us at one point or another. But death is unfair and cruel when it is sudden because it is unforeseeable and tears family apart since there is no time to say goodbye. For the departed souls dear one’s life is changed for ever.

In Hinduism Yama is the deity of death. He is depicted as dark in colour with red clothes (somewhere black cloths), and seated on a he-buffalo. He holds a noose of rope in one hand to snatch the soul from the body.

Recently an accidental death of a young man who was still building his life left me contemplating the strange way the deity of death operate. My contemplation resulted in the following verses.

yama1

Up in the hills

On a sunny midday,

The deity of death

Snatched another soul.

Hey deity of death

Moving on that shiny black bull,

Spinning your tight noosed rope

Searching for the next one in your roll.

I have something to tell you

Listen with an open heart,

At times you are so cruel

It’s time for you to ponder.

I feel you work at your will

Snatching away precious souls.

You say it’s your duty

But alas!  At times you are so heartless.

You prey on young lively souls

Who live with lots of hopes and goals?

You betray their kith and kin, and leave them in lurch

With your impromptu act.

Why you prey on those noble souls

When there are a lot waiting for you around,

You say it’s your way

But please stop this I pray.

There I saw an ailing old man

Praying for you, to snatch him fast,

And I saw people praying for you

To snatch away a cruel wicked man.

But you rode fast past them

Looking for another noble soul,

Hey deity of death

You are so unfair.

Once I saw your face

Masqueraded behind the black veil,

Tears rolling down your cheeks

When you snatched another noble soul.

I realized you were helpless

You deity of death,

For that’s the way

This whole creation is designed.

yama_cabein

Advertisements

Through the elephant trails..

(Hala..Happy New Year. This is the my first post in 2016. Previous year i couldn’t devout much time to blogging due to my hectic schedules in both personal and professional life. I couldn’t make long trips and was forced to satiate my urge to wander and explore by making short trips in and around my native place Wayanad. So let me hit the blogosphere this year with my short  adventure through elephant trails in a remote area of Wayanad.)

On a chilly Saturday morning i set off my unplanned adventure through unfamiliar forest trails in search of my favourite one’s – Wild Elephants. I was well aware of the fact that it was like searching for danger. As I moved through the narrow, winding forest path my ears strained for the trumpet of a charging elephant from the thick bushes.

 

IMG_1733

Elephant Trails

Though travelling through unfamiliar elephant trails is risky it was an experience to cherish. Sight of fresh dungs, bamboo torn apart,  and the pungent odour of elephants; i expected them at every curve and corner of the narrow potholed road, but this time they evaded me.

IMG_1743

Not the right place to pose for a snap

On the way we stopped and hurriedly clicked some quick snaps. As i posed leaning to a huge tree, i felt something crumbling from the bamboo bushed behind. We sprang towards the auto and moved away.

IMG_1735

Tribal Settlement

Finally i reached an amazingly beautiful tribal settlement amidst thick woods. It is an area of intense human-wild animal conflict.

 

 

IMG_1736

Lovely place to be

Tuskers rampaging paddy fields, chasing school children and ambushing passing vehicles is a daily affair here said the tribe we met here. Sometimes they turn to killers too.

DSC07295

Mathai my auto driver chatting with the tribe man we met.

There goes the only bus that connects the village with the outside world.

IMG_1740

This bus connects the village with the outside world

Inhaled some fresh air, enjoyed the silence, cool breeze and serenity of the place and clicked some quick snaps ensuring the wild ones were not around :).

IMG_1737

Paddy fields amidst thick woods

My auto driver and adventure trips companion waves at me and shouts..It’s time to go back before THEY come..That was a short trip but will be back again for a full day adventure.

IMG_1739

Lovely place with fields in the background

 

 

 

 

 

Out in nature..On a misty morning

It’s a great time to get out in nature on a misty morning. It becomes even greater if this beauty is captured by your lens. So I decided out to venture out close to the woods on a Sunday morning with my daughter, Meenakshi.

First rays of the sun illuminating the horizon

First rays of the sun illuminating the horizon

Just 10 minutes drive from our house and we sighted the first rays of the sun illuminating the horizon filled with mist. We marveled at this sight for a few minutes clicked it and then moved on.

We drove the road running adjacent to the wildlife sanctuary. The roads were empty, visibility was poor due to fog and an impending danger of an elephant stepping into our path drove us a bit of nervous.

Borderline

Borderline

We drove up till the bridge that separates Kerala and Karnataka the two southern states of India. For some reason I didn’t feel like crossing the bridge and enter Karnataka. I always felt comfortable exploring woods in this side of the bridge.

Mesmerizing view

Mesmerizing view

Now the sun is up and the sight of sunrays through the tree trunk passing through the forest was mesmerizing. The scene was perfect backdrop for herds of elephants but we were not lucky enough to catch them basking in the sun; still elusive.

Driving back

Driving back

Now we started driving back and stopped at the little tea/grocery shop overlooking the Ponkuzhi temple. It is owned by Sathyan and this is our favourite hangout during such drives. Sathyan has been living in this area since a long time, braving the frequent ambushes of wild elephant herds, predator attacks and forest fires. We usually sit here for hours listening to his experiences with elephants and leopards.

Sathyan's Place-Exterior view

Sathyan’s Place-Exterior view

Sathyan nodded approvingly with a smile and was busy making tea and coffee for the early morning customers. Tribes living in this part of the forest depends on Sathyan for their daily grocery needs. The pictures that decorates the tea stall are created by Sathyan’s son who is a great painter who have won rewards and recognition in school and college competitions. He studies in Mysore University. He was immersed in his work and didn’t notice me clicking him.

Sathyan busy preparing tea/coffee

Sathyan busy preparing tea/coffee

Sathyan steaming coffee now energized us and we decided to loiter around a bit. Sathyan told us that a herd of elephants had just crossed the road and hence he asked us to be a bit cautious when walking around.

Perfect Coffee..last sip

Perfect Coffee..last sip

NH212 bifurcates the Ponkuzhi temple to a main shrine and a sub-shrine close to tribal hamlets.

Ponkuzhi temple-Main Shrine

Ponkuzhi temple-Main Shrine

We usually walk along the road adjacent to the sub-shrine. But two elderly tribal’s persuaded us back from this since there was chance of elephants in the road, and the visibility was almost zero due to fog.

Fog covered path-dangerous!

Fog covered path-dangerous!

So we clicked some more snaps of the sub-shrine, the weed covered pond, strolled through the meadow enjoying the misty surroundings.

Sub-Shrine, Ponkuzhi temple

Sub-Shrine, Ponkuzhi temple

Surrounded by bamboo forest and full of water throughout the year it is believed that the water in the pond is the result of the falling tears from the eyes of King Rama’s wife Seetha. They were believed to be in this part during their exile in forest for 14 years.

The Pond - Seetha's tears

The Pond – Seetha’s tears

We clicked some more snaps. Crows on power lines, trees on either side of the highway, perfect opportunity to hone my photography skills.

Handicapped by 18-55.

Handicapped by 18-55.

We slowly started driving back energized physically and mentally.

Penultimate click

Final click of the day

Journey continues..What Next?

After almost three weeks of continuous flow of guests at The Treasure Trove it’s time for a short break. Our first guests for the New Year, two wonderful families from New Delhi left just now. We decided not to honour any bookings for a week and all reservation inquiries were directed other trustworthy accommodations. The wear and tear caused by this long and hectic tourist season is immense.

With Rahul, Jyothi, Vibha and Varun from Delhi. First guests of 2015.

With Rahul, Jyothi, Tamanna and Varun from Delhi. First guests of 2015.

As I relax in the food court overlooking the cottages everything looks like a dream. The decision to start such a venture, coming up with this Eco-friendly model promoting responsible tourism, generating funds for building the cottages,early days of struggle, all those wonderful souls who wholeheartedly supported us, the days of toil when we were running between different approval agencies for getting our papers approved, guests trickling into our place, international travelers giving high rating and very positive feed backs, meeting and befriending a lot of wonderful people worldwide. We still remember the excitement and anxiety when our first guests walked in.

DSC05352 From the earlier days of struggle we gradually moved up to one of the most popular accommodation providers in Wayanad in both domestic and international circuits. We were awarded the Certificate of Excellence Award in year 2013 and 2014 by The Trip Advisor which is the world’s largest and popular travel portal.

tt2013As advised by veterans in this field we always adhered to the policy of not accommodating irresponsible tourists who after consuming alcohol creates a lot of mayhem and trouble. Our decision to accommodate only guests who were willing to stick to our do’s and do not’s initially landed up us in a bit of struggling position but soon we were able to build up a huge customer base.

tripThe most significant milestone in our success was our association with India-Untravelled. When co-founder of India-Untravelled Shivya Nath walked into our place and spent a couple of days here, we were never aware of the impending changes Shivya’s visit would bring forth. We were included as the first destination in the India Untravelled North Kerala circuit and accepting my suggestion Shivya included Bamboo Village Wayanad and Blue Mermaid, Kannur to the list. This partnership bought in high quality travellers, bloggers, writers and photographers to our place and we are proud to admit Shivya and India Untravelled were instrumental for our current popularity and success. The biggest jolt for the new year is the decision by Shivya to wind up the operations of India Untravelled due to some personal reasons. India Untravelled would be operated by new folks or might cease to exist. I still remember the words of Shivya while she was leaving our place 2 years ago. “You don’t need to sit fingers crossed; i am going to popularise your place so that you can quit your job and come back to this beautiful place. Shivya’s words proved right expect for quitting my job :). Winding up of India Untravelled is one of the setbacks we received in 2015 but life still should move on.

shivya

Shivya Nath

Another wonderful personality who supported us right from the start to this day is Sri. Rajagopal who owns the premium homestay in Wayanad, Glenora Homestay. Glenora Homestay located in a picturesque location is listed in The Guardian UK as one of the best 10 home-stay in India and is also listed in most popular travel sites and portals all over Europe. Sri. Rajagopal always supported us by referring guests to our place and wholeheartedly encouraging and appreciating our effort.

A well-wisher we lost in between this journey was Sri. Rajan of Uravu Eco Links. He was a person whom we could bank upon at times of crisis and he used to come up with quick solutions. His pragmatic approach to issues and challenges really helped us in this journey. His love, affection sense of humour and care will always linger in our memories.

Our guest posted excellent reviews in various travel portals, posts about our place in different popular blogs, photographers posted our photos in various sites, guest referred their friends and relatives to our place and there was no looking back. Due to limited number of inventory we were not in a position to accommodate all the enquiries and we had to refer our customers to other places which we believed where responsible and trustworthy. We initiated the plans of building a couple of cottages more but in between we abandoned the plan. Taking into account the stress and strain in running a small property comprising of just two inventories we were really aware of the challenge and toil involved once we go for a upgrade. Further we were not interested in running a pukka commercial model but rather preferred in sticking to provide personal attention to our guests.

This year we are planning to slow down things a bit and stick to the current strategy of only accommodating quality guests. We would want to pay a bit more attention to family commitments and our kids.
Our humble achievements have given us courage to look for a bit of diversification. With our association with KABANI we have plans to venture to a different vertical of this domain, which is challenging but interesting. After all life is all about taking risks and accepting challenges. Currently a road map for this is being laid down by Sumesh, enthusiastic CEO of KABANI and in years to come the effort will start bearing fruits. If things work out as planned we expect all those wonderful people who supported us all these years will be along with us.

Presentation Asia Europe People's Forum, Milano

Sumesh Mangalaserry CEO, Kabani addressing Asia-Europe peoples forum, Milano, Italy.

All these achievements, success, experiences are like a dream. We were able to achieve this from a point of nowhere only because of the divine grace, prayers and blessings of our well wishers and also our hard work and commitment. Hopefully 2015 will takes us to the next level of success.

You are the Christmas Tree

It’s Christmas. Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is the perfect time to celebrate the love of God. In these time when hate, suspicion, greed and violence prevail let the spirit of Christmas help us in overcoming the negative forces. To all my friends celebrating Christmas I offer this message delivered by my master years back at the German Ashram on A Christmas Eve as my Christmas gift.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/caa/53418509/files/2014/12/img_1085-1.jpg

You are the Christmas tree. The Christmas tree is pointing upwards and its branches grow on all sides. It is orderly. At the time of year when no tree bears anything, it has many gifts to offer. And it is green throughout the year. A Christmas tree bears the gifts and the lights not for itself. All the gifts you are carrying in your life are for others. Anyone who comes to you, you offer them your gifts.
There were lots of gifts around Sri Sri’s couch. John asked Sri Sri, “Are you going to open the gifts?” Sri Sri winked and pointed at the people and said, “I am always opening the gifts.” (Laughter)

Your life is a gift. And you have come to unwrap the gift. In the process of unwrapping, you also save the wrappers. Your whole environment, situations, circumstances and body are the wrapping papers. When we unwrap, we destroy the wrapping paper. We are in such a hurry at times that we even destroy the gifts. With patience and endurance, open your gifts and save the wrapping papers.

The Farewell Song

Bidding farewell from one’s school or college in the final year after spending most lively and memorable moments of lifetime is one of the most painful times in ones life. The pain of parting that engulfs us is inexpressible.We will be leaving our routine and entering a new world. It is the time when even the worst student is blessed and hugged by classmates and teachers. It is the time we thank everyone for their support and say sorry for our mistakes. It is the time when we try to smile when our heart weeps. It is the time when foes turn to friends and fear of leaving our friends dawn on us. A time of last celebration in the school!

Farewell song by final year students

Farewell song by final year students

Yesterday it was such an occasion on the 14 th annual day celebrations of Green Hills Public School, Wayanad; The final year students bid farewell to the school rendering a touching farewell song. This was the most touching event i have ever witnessed at a school. Tears rolling down, choked threats and sobs while expressing gratitude and the well composed and choreographed farewell song moved parents, teachers and students who had gathered at the venue.

DSC05130

I could see students crying, teachers sobbing and i felt a strange heaviness in my heart. How terrible the children would be feeling of missing all those fun, pranks, and their friends and teachers who are like the air they breathe. Being close teaches us the message of love but parting gives us the hope of new beginning.

The Green Hills Public school wore a festive look on 14th annual day celebrations

The Green Hills Public school wore a festive look on 14th annual day celebrations

No doubt these kids were lucky to be a part of this wonderful institution. I personally wish each one of the wonderful ones in the 12th standard all success in your future and express my heart full gratitude and appreciation to each and every member of management and staff for providing our children such an excellent ambiance and support thus helping them to mould their future.