Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hitting Two Birds With One Stone...
Odd title for a post? Yeah! But that is what Shree Bose has done. As I watched the video, I fell in love with the young and enthusiastic person over and over again. Shree Bose talked about two topics that are close to my heart. Listening to her, my admiration for her grew in leaps and bounds.  One was the topic of cancer which is matter of life and death to me, as I am a survivor of breast cancer, stage III. I would not have survived if doctors had not found a way to treat cancer. Cancer has been a part of our lives as four out of six members of my family (Dad, Mom, Sisterand I) have been through it. A young smart girl who speaks about finding a cure for cancer instead of boyfriends, movies, parties and lipstick gives me hope. Dedicated work from smart young people like her are our best hope of wiping the traces of cancer from our planet.

Another topic she won me over with was about the education system and attitude of teachers towards children with different needs. She mentioned how her brother, who was gifted kid, was asked to be dumb down by his teacher. Good, her parents made wise decision of allowing him to reach his full potential instead of holding him back just for the sake of acquiring a label of being normal.
If this is the struggle of a smart kid, then anyone can imagine how tough it is for children with challenges.  Being a mom of special needs girl and dyslexic boy, the education system that tries to dumb down children by not allowing them to reach their full potential is something I feel very passionate about. Shree’s attitude and handling of this topic along with her passion for the work she does was very touching for me.

So, twice Shree Bose won my heart over with her video. Though held tight on time and having urgent work to attend to, I just could miss the opportunity of sharing my thoughts and promoting her cause here today.

As a survivor of cancer, the word recurrence is something I dread very much. The post I had written a while ago "Soak Us No More in Fear" tells very much about the way I feel. I know it is the same with almost every survivor. After fighting cancer with all you have, going through chemotherapy, losing a part of your body (breast in my case) and suffering the after effects - it is sad to know that you are not even cured. Cancer is just put to sleep and rest. It can come back any day stronger and more deadly to claim your life.
Losing my Mom and Sister to Cancer was devastating for me. I suffer from the guilt and often ask myself the question Why not me? Why only them? The emotional trauma was much more demoralizing than anything else. One of the reasons why I decided to get into Counseling and Psychology so that I can reach out to cancer affected people and ease their emotional pain. Cancer is a disease that affects not only the sufferer but all the people around them.
Shree Bose, who has experienced the death of a loved one to cancer, will have more passion into her work than those who have not experienced the pain. Kudos to Dr.Alakananda Basu, who took her under wings and allowed the young lady to develop wings to soar out and reach the skies.  I wish her all her best in finding a solution to the menace of cancer that claims so many lives world over.
The second issue she talks about is as important for me as finding cure for cancer. So many young children are forced to dumb down due to our theory centered education system which forces them to read, memorize and write down the answers dumbly on answer sheets; whether they understand the topic or not. Hats off to the parents of Shree who refused to allow the teachers to cripple the mind of their child. Every child is born with different gifts which are neatly packed away. As parents it is our duty to find this gift and unwrap it carefully. We cannot destroy the gift they have in them...

If Newton never told anybody about the law of gravity, if Edison would not have lit the houses but instead if they had found the cure for cancer, I would still have my Mom and Sister in my life. I would not mind lighting a lamp or not knowing about gravity if I could save them from succumbing to cancer. Wishing Shree Bose all the success in her venture. 
The post is a part of contest organized on Indiblogger by Franklin Templeton Investments partnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Refreshing Tour of Coastal Karnataka with My Lovely Children

I was born in a tiny coastal town with endless beaches named Byndoor. Though my parents moved to Bangalore and we grew up in the city, we used to get occasional glimpse of our native village during the summer holidays. After watching the towering mountains and vast waves of ocean, tours can never be in city for me. Though I like to reside in Bangalore and love the city, my idea of the perfect road trip in a car would be among the coastal roads, jungles and hills surrounding my birth place. The national highway that runs from Kundapura to Byndoor can boast of the most enthralling nature's beauty you will ever come across. The pictures from my past journey's clicked by Rayyan should prove a point there, though I have to say that it is very tough to capture the real beauty in camera.

Provoked by AmbiPur India, our usual gang of three (Rayyan, Farheena and I) choose Renault Duster 1.5 RxL110 to embark on ThePerfect Road Trip to get savor of the refreshing air and eye catching sights along the route of Bangalore to Byndoor.  We have been teased throughout our lives by the wonderful glimpses we catch as our bus climbs the Western Ghats and runs on the NH 17 (now NH 66) to reach our town. We have dreamed of stopping our vehicle to enjoy the beauty of nature to the fullest, instead of peeking at it through the windows of the bus; but, that never happened. Today is the day when we are going to live that dream.

On mother’s day my son Rayyan had captured our life in his simple drawings which tells everything. People come and go in our lives, but I and my two kids have been the constant factor among the change. We eat, travel, watch movies and play games together. We know the needs and requirements of each other very well; we also have come realize our own personal space and privacy. We are very happy together and love to share every adventure of our lives in each other's company. No wonder then the perfect trip would be when we three get on this dream journey.
We leave our home in J P Nagar at 1 a.m. in the night. The odd hour of starting from our home will allow us to reach the Sakaleshpur just before sunrise so that we can watch the sunrise on the jungles of Western Ghats. Rightly so we reach Sakaleshpur around 4.30 a.m. and start our climb up the ghats. The straight road now starts to twist and turn like Sridevi from the film Nagina.  As the light slowly starts to peep in through the hills and clouds, the jungle wakes up and starts to welcome the new day with various sounds. 
Our Headlights Cutting Through the Darkness

First sign of Dawn

Is that a sun ray peeping through clouds?

Finally the sky brightens up

Seeing the day break through mist

We hear birds, monkeys and other animals all making sounds but can see nothing. It looks as though the jungle itself is talking to the skies.
We stop the car and wait for the light to brighten up the world before we start savoring the beauty of nature that is abundantly strewn across our way. Through the mist, the green trees start to show up slowly.
Roads of ghats that twist and turn like bollywood Nagins
 After traveling some distance through the jungles, we reach Yettinahole reservoir. The eye catching beautiful waters beckons us gurgling happily through the mountains. We stop there and forget to breathe as we get lost in the beauty of place. Both side of the road is covered by thick foliage of trees, some of them towering as though they want to reach the skies. We see birds and butterflies starting their day. No matter how long we gaze at the running water or swaying trees, we still cannot get enough of it. With heavy heart we get back into the car and start to drive once again.
 As we continue to drive on the Bangalore –Mangalore highway, the stream accompanies us on our journey happily, telling tales about the happenings in the jungle. All of sudden we are blessed with the glimpse of peacocks running near the stream. They soon disappear among the trees, but that momentary glimpse of our national birds spreads smile on our faces for some miles.
Sometime later the stream bids bye and moves away from the highway. Within minutes we begin to miss its gurgling sound which accompanied us for more than an hour.
We meet another river which crosses our way near Uppinangady. We get down from the car once again to breathe the freshness that is so elusive in the city we live. Though the air outside is cool and fresh from the rains that has lashed the hills moments ago, we have to travel with windows closed as the rain water and cool air makes us feel so uncomfortable as the car moves. As we get back into our car, we feel the refreshing air inside too as Ambi Pur spreads in the freshness through the AC that has been switched on.  We travel and reach Mangalore in the morning for refreshing ourselves and having our breakfast. The aroma of the coastal delicacies invites our hungry stomach which has digested everything we had gulped down the previous night as we passed through the Ghats. We eat the steaming idlis and uddina wada. I wash it down with hot coffee as my children drink hot milk.  
From here the road takes turn and starts its journey on the coastal region. The NH 66 runs very close to the sea shore. We can feel the salty air of the beach and smell the fish as we run across the vendors on the road side. We reach Udupi, a town with history of its own. We move around the town and watch various temples and historic places that make it special. Later on we again move towards our destination Byndoor running across Kundapura and a wonderful place called Marvante. This is considered one of the most spectacular sights in India where the river Suparnika almost merges into the Arabian sea, before changing mind and turning away. At some point, only the NH and a small stretch of beach separates the two water bodies. We get down and enjoy the sight of the sea and beach. Our tired bodies demand we get back on the road and reach our destination.
We pass through the familiar scenes, yet we cannot take our eyes off the natures beauty that keeps us spellbound throughout our journey
Marvanthe is a place where a river runs very close to sea
Soon we reach our native village which boasts of its wonderful Someshwara Beach. Here people can wade into water up to quite some distance safely as the shoreline is pretty shallow up to nearly a kilometer or so. It also has an ancient Saneshwara Temple, beautiful sights of sunset point on Ottinene hills, Holy Cross church perched on hill, Beach Resort, and our own antique home. By now we are tired and want to crash into our bed and sleep the day off. We do that after having lunch. It is amazing that by evening we are ready to run to the beach and enjoy the sunset. This is paradise, where we watch the sunrise in the jungle and then enjoy the sunset on the beach. If there is a Perfect Road Trip we can ever embark, than this is it.
Beautiful Sunset on Someshwara Beach of Byndoor

This blog post is a part of The Perfect Road Trip Contest organized on Indiblogger by Ambi Pur Car
This is my Idea of the perfect road trip which is yet to happen. The pictures have been collected through the times we have been travelling from Bangalore to Byndoor.
Byndoor as seen from Ottinene Hill

Endless Jungle
Tall and Handsome

Mist on Western Ghats

Tiny gurgling stream 

Off road adventure

Passing through fields

Rain Drops on the windows

All Pictures belong to 


Rayyan Lost in Laptop

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