Saturday, February 25, 2012

Looking forward to visiting Cemetery

Yes! I was looking forward to visiting this particular cemetery than the visit to Dalida Maligawa - the tooth relic temple at Kandy.

I faintly remembered reading about an old cemetery behind the temple complex. The British Garrison Cemetery lies just behind the world famous Temple of Tooth Relic. I got acquainted with the  Kandy National Museum caretaker. He was surprised when I asked him the way to this cemetery; I think it was unusual for a foreign visitor to show interest in a cemetery than the temple. He showed us the way and walked with us. There it was, nestling below the udawatta forest behind the temple; a worn out sign post that could be easily missed, a short climb among houses and you find the entrance.

This colonial graveyard seems forgotten; the temple being the place where the action and swarm of visitors are. True; there was complete silence in there. No breeze, no chirps, no one to talk to; old and beaten tombstones of myriad designs and stories to tell. Then, a thin frail man appeared from nowhere - it was straight out of a ghost story. He gave some insights - the cemetery was open from 1822 to mid 1850s; in these graves were British men, women and children who succumbed to heat, malaria, cholera. I recall seeing graves of many women and children; average age at 30s. It was sad to see women and children having come all the way from a far away land only to die at young age; to learn how alien the tropical climate diseases were. Never to return to their home; at sleep peacefully.The graves are ornate, well preserved and the stories are rich - story of an officer who was killed by a wild elephant, stories of bravery and tragedy

I did not ask for the chap's name who just came out of nowhere. His English was impeccable; accented. I doubt if he was a Sri Lankan. I was busy clicking photos of the tombs; never once did I think of taking his picture. Now it seems I should have. If I am not wrong; I think I talked to the caretaker who has been mentioned all around the internet by visitors to the cemetery.

Its a must-visit; I did not think I would have ever recommended a cemetery as tourist attraction but this is a sure visit.

Silent and tranquil

Eerie? No it did not feel so. I loved the details on this tomb.

A Stupa atop the hill. Peace we say? No. The cemetery is 'higher' than the Tooth Relic temple. This stupa seems to be a temporary solution to keep the cemetery at a lower level; so is under threat of being moved to a different place. 

This was the biggest of all. - Epitaph reads Sir John Doily Bary 1774 -1824. He was a colonial administrator and was responsible for drafting Kandyan Convention of 1815; which resulted in the British takeover of the Kandyan kingdom. Oh yeah! just behind the compounded wall was a dog soaked in its afternoon siesta :-)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Just rants

I am a techie - hard core nerd even to other techies who interact with me. I can talk two levels up than 0s and 1s. Thats what I am. But my job demands me to interact with lot of people since I involve in product(software) design and strategy.

I have mounds of stories to share about people interaction. For one, the most toughest job for me is to get to understand people. I cant read between lines. I cant understand their hidden intent. Two, English is a dangerous language. It will take lots of hard negotiations and rejections only to finally realize that both of us were meaning the same thing. Some people are energy suckers. . Energy suckers can wane you off and test your threshold. Some are tactical; you wouldnt know they are targeting you.

Anyway, you can gauge a lot by interacting. I do lot of interviews as part of recruitment. Its a draining process. Talking to many people to just find one suitable candidate requires patience and perseverance which I totally lack! Sometimes its easy to knock off when the qualities/skill sets dont match and its obvious But its not always the case. Some are smart! They understand the interviewee and respond the way the interviewee will like to hear. Thats talent isnt it?

A candidate once almost knocked me off when he proposed a solution to the problem I posed and ended with "I am sure you would have solved the same way!". What do you think my assessment would be? I did rate him good to hire. Of course it was just not me. Others were tricked similarly and now he is a lame duck doing nothing once hired. No contribution whatsoever!! :-S But my manager says its ok to make mistakes :)

Anyway  I have been thinking; as you go on and on; your cup of creativity drains empty Is it so? Or that you are too occupied and stressed that you fain to think creatively.

Well, I am just retrospecting myself. My blog posts have dwindled, my variety has reduced, my enthusiasm to document what I observe has gone down. There are no dearth for thoughts so; just that I am not comfortable to share them with here. Thats the disadvantage of revealing your identity :) You are scared of endless and senseless debates, people forming an opinion about you and so on. How frankly can I share my thoughts on carnal pleasure, drinks, secret side of women, dirty side of corporate world, dark alleys of relationship and so on? I will surely get a couple of "Are you ok?" , "What will people think about you?" mails.

I definitely dont like to talk about my work. Nor am I interested in bitching and complaining. More often than not; my sarcasm is misunderstood. Current affairs are all similar lots - corruption, political drama, movies, red tapes, traffic, pollution, balh..blah..blah.. My ethics does not let me share somebody's personal story. What am I left with? Endless tales of my little travel and mounds of photographs to share.

But whats my purpose of this blog? Am I looking for an audience to appreciate my photography skills? Am I wanting to blow trumpet about my travel? Why should I share what I feel about certain things? No! I have not found a compelling reason to draw curtain over my blog yet :)

I dont think I will! But why did this thought even arise?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Gold town to Ghost town

Well, I got loads of things to take care at home and at work; thats why the vanishing act. Have to catch up on blog posts as well.

Visited my mom's hometown today; its around 80 kms from Bangalore; the gold mines of Kolar. It seems both my maternal grandparents' dads worked as foremen in the mines. I have heard lot of stories and interesting facts about the mines, the working environment inside womb of the earth, the stories of workers hiding gold inside their body by various means(those were the days of manual search).

The heydays of Kolar when it was the 'jewel' always being top of the list; the elite club of KGF- being the forth oldest club of India where membership was not allotted to Indians. It was a typical colonial British town; one of the early industrialized town in India known for egalitarian society.

My mom would tell stories of Anglo-Indian(in fact they were English) women and men; their evening stroll to a bakery to buy a pound of bread and meat. Their attires of skirts and blazers, their accented Tamil and of course their bungalows - complete with lawn, garden, cutlery and royal air. The sad stories of Indians who worked as menial laborers to feed the English greed, women/children working as maids in English bungalows and the fact that they took pride in speaking English!

Today; its a ghost town. The mines are shut since 2001; the English left long ago after partition; along with them - they took all the wealth that is gold. The mining shafts stand tall; rusted and unused. The buildings abandoned; the equipments corroded, weeds overgrown all around them. The area around the mines stand mute; an eerie silence. The so called 'Little England' once stands in ruins now.

I never got to hear stories from horse's mouth however. Dont have to; the place has lots to tell; one just has to listen.

One of the many mining shafts. During its operational days; the shaft carried 150 workers at a time and it took 4 minutes to reach 9600+ ms deep under the earth.

In ruins, the Champion reef facility. To imagine that these very complexes once buzzed with activities and the first place to be visited by dignitaries like Gandhi and Nehrus- dad and daughter is quite difficult.

Many such structures tolerating the decay. 

Rubble and earth strewn all around the town as a mining by product.


The once elite KGF club; now empty and reminiscing the old glory. 


The old world charm

One of the many bungalows.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Not marooned in an island with just Wilson for company; but in own small way; many times.

So once again, as many other times; I was stranded in office yesterday with no money to go home. You know; one thing is that my bank balance is almost zero and another thing that even with few hundreds; I cant withdraw money from my own account.

I have this unique problem of my debit card not working in ATMs in India only (Yeah it works outside country :-S) I have had my card replaced many times; it works well for first couple of months and then whichever ATM I try; the ATM blares a very embarrassing message of my card not being recognized. If thats not enough; I get suspicious looks from shops when my card is swiped and get a "Card not valid" or "Not enough balance" message.

I get chided for being clumsy while swiping and hence damaging the magnetic strip (something like ladies not knowing to drive). Anyway, after many futile attempts of getting a fresh card and being locked from using my online account while the new card reaches me; I have given up. Here is my arrangement. I have a banker at work (my colleague) and a banker at home(my husband). The arrangement is this. I transfer money to their account and they withdraw it for me.

So yesterday all I had was Rs. 20 in my purse which I spent on Ginger tea. I reminded my colleague to withdraw money for me. We forgot and then he left for the day unnoticed. So I was there at work post 6 while most of my office crowd are already high at the beer bash hosted by my organization every Friday.

I am a shy lady for one; couldnt get myself to look around for someone to part with a couple of hundreds for me to commute back home. I called up my colleague and reprimanded him for forgetting(as if it was his problem!) and forced him to get back to office and give me some money. He did so!

This was office; a familiar territory. But being in such a situation is not new to me. I have been left with no money when I am out; not knowing what to do. At such times; I have walked back home; sometimes 10+ kms. Yeah, I am not a disciplined woman to hide 500-1000 Rs in my purse for a rainy day as this.

I am nagged by my friends to get my card replaced. It is inconvenient; not only does my bank charge for the new card which will stop working after a couple of months. But during the window period of getting a new card; I cant transact online as my internet account is also locked as I need to key in combination of numbers as present in grids on my debit card.

Catch-22 situation huh? But its fun to put myself in such situations :P

PS : I got a custom domain. My blog link is Please bookmark it. 

Friday, February 3, 2012


Photography is one of my passion; its been so obvious on this space time and again. Photography as a hobby leashes out the creativity is one thing, you start observing so many subtle things that you normally miss out on. You start noticing the surrounding in a way that appeals to you no matter what. A dingy room with broken furniture makes a good subject as much a beautiful rose garden.

You start seeing the world in frames and angles :) Every little thing I see or every other person I see is an interesting subject. As I walk; I think "Oh! this could be a beautiful picture". You would want to capture those moments and those expressions forever. You start noticing those which you would not notice otherwise even though you have been around thousand times.

Anyway, apart from the beauty of it; you also notice the funny and awkward stuffs. Have you observed how people get so conscious when posing for a picture? Some of them just stand in a freezing position; stiff and rock like while others go out of the way to look candid and they fail miserably. I have always been nervous posing though I love talking pictures myself. You would see me agitated and frowning many a times. Others do their hair, clothes to look best while few take all the liberty to pose in different angles no matter where they are and how many are staring at them.

Photography keeps me alive. I believe that if you stop observing, you stop living. Photography accentuates the observing capability. They did not just say "A picture speaks a thousand words". Camera is my best friend; only thing is that it got bulky and I cant carry it everywhere. I need to buy a good point and shoot camera for freezing those moments that I find interesting on my day to day course.

Point and shoots help you shoot discreetly as well; especially when shooting people. You lose that candidness when people notice you are photographing them. At the same time; you can avoid the attention if you are the one who doesnt like attention. Point and shoots are small and sleek; though they dont provide
DSLR's versatility; they are still good.

See this picture? The younger monk is happy to pose for the picture; while the elder's body language speaks a lot. Shy, wary and discomfort; doesnt want to be pictured. The third boy is just not into this. Three boys; three stories; one picture :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Did YOU notice?

So I noticed this morning that my blog link got redirected to from

Is Google setting up a country specific domain? I thought so! but NO. A blog setup in US will still have '.in' suffixed if you try to access it from here. So what Google is doing is dynamically changing the domains depending from where you are accessing. So my blog link will ave a .fm if accessed from Micronesia.

Lol! I am in a fantasy land to be dreaming of my blog being accessed from Micronesia. So anyway what does this mean to us? What does this mean to you and me?

1. You really do NOT own this space. Anything can happen. One fine day you try access your blog; Whhhooooshhh! It may not be there. Remember reading "Terms and Conditions" (oh! when did we ever read them?) And this might just happen even without a simple Apology.

2. Your SEO ratings; if you care for them. I know there are suckers for ratings and page hits. You can use this to your advantage to make your site pop up at every odd chance and improve your rankings.

3. Your identity - No lunch is free lunch. You are entitled to honor the changes no matter what. Remember Facebook's decision to scrap the feature of linking your blogs to Notes?

So I am contemplating to get a custom domain...hmm..but I need to take my blogging seriously.. Hmmmm........