Waht is culture?

Culture is a behavioral pattern observed among set of people. It could be in terms of language (mode of communication), religion, region, food, music, dance, art and many other things. Any living being in this planet earth has a culture attached. Yes, its not only humans even animals have a culture attached to them. After all homosapiens evolved from animals only.
Of all animals, homosapiens are believed to belong to civilised culture. But is this actually true?

Why is culture so important? It is because any individual is identified by these characteristics only. Even if someone says he belongs to no culture, his actions would speak for itself. There are set of individuals who do not want to attach themselves to the behavioral pattern which their predecessors were part of. But why?

The influence of outside world also makes one to change the culture he was part of till yesterday to align himself to a new culture. This happens when people become conscious of their surroundings. But should they change. Well, that was when probably the quote was coined “In Rome be a Roman”.

Indian Historical Culture

With so much of moral policing around and hype created by Indian Media, am currently planning to dig into the Internet World and also the libraries (which I can visit without affecting my schedule) to find out what exactly is Indian Culture.
The land where KamaSutra originated, its actually like making a mockery of ourselves with so much of moral policing. And stupidity with which people file PIL’s for certain scenes in movies and elsewhere.

Also, its sad to know that most of us actually do not know what exactly is in our culture. While most of us talk about Forts & Palaces in North India we should also remember that there was a very heavy Persian influence on them. Before Persians came what were we?? The situation in South was completely different. And explains the divide that is still running between these regions in the country.

Its also equally sad to note that not many among us Indians know about the place where we actually stay. Having been to lot of countries in Europe when I talk to complete strangers they do know a lot about their place. This is unfortuantely not the case here. If one has to know about a place and history he has to either refer to the books in library or ask the historians (meaning, meet the right set of people). The vast majority of people know only about shopping malls, multiplexes and eat joints. That makes one wonder isn’t there anything else in this country which people know of??

Tags: Culture, India, Indian Culture,

Make Your Trip – Travel Challenge (2)

After initiating and discussing for quite some time we (Sagaro & myself) embarked on the first edition of Make Your Trip. This was also a trial version, we had lot of learnings and plannings for future. We did 8 out of 10 villages in all in about 1200 bucks each.
The complete route was Bangalore (Silk Board Junction) – Banshankari – Rajarajeshwari Circle – Mandya – Pandavapura (D1) – Mysore – Ooty – Gudalur – Ayyankolly (D2) – Sultan Bathery – Kalpetta – Manathavady – Melechova – Veliyanur (D3) – Kannur – Calicut – Thrissur – Chembavoor – Kollam – Kottara (D4) – Tenkasi – Uttumalai (D5) – Courtallam – Madurai – Tanjore – Mannargudi – Kumbakonam – Jayamkondacholapuram (D6) – Chennai – Nellore – Sangam (D7) – Bangalore
We crossed Kalady which was another destination but we did not take any photos due to lack of light and rains.

Click here to read the earlier post.

1. Pandavapura: This place was more of town but 1km away you enter the fields, lush green with stream of water flowing by. We had water from this stream which also flows the detergents from clothes washed by washerwoman. Not only that, cows & buffaloes stop there to take a leak!!

2. At Mysore bus stand with no sign of bus to Ooty, initially I sat on the ground in front of bus only to shift later to the comfort inside the platform for some sleep. Fortunately the beggar association president did not kick us out.
3. Chembakolly which was the name of destination in Nilgiris mentioned in Maps of India was wrong. There never existed such a place. But on enquiring the correct place was Ayyankolly. There was nice gentleman who took us around and showed pepper leaves for which this place is famous.
We also noticed India’s No.1 Tailor shop!!

4. Kalpetta was the worst nightmare. We took a room in Matha Tourist Home due to heavy rains only to be smitten all over by bed bugs!! I had boils all over while my friends eye was swollen to large extent!!
5. Valiyanur did not have many houses. We sat under a tree to have lunch and the spot became a cult. Once we got up, lot of other local people went and sat under the tree. There is of course a school which is under renovation.
6. Sitting in Thrissur bus stand was a terrifying experience. First bus stand we came across where we had to pay for using the toilets which were also not clean. After sometime, in Rome be a Roman. So look for vacant spaces!! We sat on a chair and it was not comfy, so I shifted to the ground later.
7. When we reached Kottara, my toes were paining because of new shoe and also walking so much. I took out the swiss knife and did a small operation only to be watched by all the villagers. I made myself famous there!!
8. Kollam beach was real nice with no much pollution. This place had an artistic sculpture and Sagaro stood in front of it with another artistic way for me to take a neat photo. It took me 15minutes to take this by when the entire beach was watching us. A guy who was on mobile was not able to control his laughter. For all those perverts, we are talking about art. Due to censorship reasons I cant post the photo here.
9. Tenkasi was real cold in the morning with slight drizzle. We went to Uttumalai. We were damn hungry that we ate about 10 idllis, 4 puris & 3 vadas all for Rs.24/-. Sunflower oil farming & corn are major. There are also lot of windmills in this region for power generation. Sagaro tried to commit suicide here, unfortunately the well was not deep enuf. So he climbed out easily. I even brushed my teeth here after two days!!
10. Courtallam is famous for its water falls. Due to lack of rains there were not many. We went to Five Falls and had our bath for second time in 4 days!! We walked about 5kms to reach the falls. Enroute an autorickshaw guy asked us to come in for Rs.5/- and later reduced to Rs.4/- but we refused to take it. While returning he tells his colleague dont ask them, while coming itself they didnt take the auto!!
11. In Tanjore, we visited the Brihadeeshwar temple. This temple has got lot of history and I have been to this place most of summer vacation during school days that I got so much attached. Which is why every time I cross this place I atleast want to visit the temple, no religious reasons of course.
12. Jayamkondacholapuram is a small little town. But the people are very friendly like in other villages. I was also offered tea at someone’s house when I was searching for shade to take some rest.
13. Chennai the interim halt for breakfast at my house. We walked all the way to my house a distance of about 7kms early in the morning!!
14. From Nellore, we went to Sangam and did some rock climbing. The view from the top was just beyond words. I took my friends camera and went to top risking the camera more than myself!! There was another hill nearby, the road looked like cutting through.

After this we had to cut short the trip. Further travel costs just got costlier prohibiting the journey. So, now am back in Bangalore.
Few photos which I liked from the entire trip.

(Sunset @ Sangam, Andhra Pradesh)


(Scary Me)

(At Uttumalai)


(@ Pandavapura)

For remaining photos goto my Y! photo album (link also provided in the right sidebar) and check out albums starting with MakeYourTrip*.

Make Your Trip – Travel Challenge

Some funny incidents which happened during our travel.

1. In Manathavady a qualis guy stoped his vehicle in front of a “No Parking” Board. Instead of moving his vehicle from there he removed the board itself!!

2. In the same place we enquired on how to reach Veliyanur which was in Kannur district. Manathavady is in Waynad district. Enters Saji, he rushes to bus stand enquires and comes back with wrong name. He then asks us to wait for ZEST Tourist office to open. At 10:00am the office opens and we have a conversation with receptionist there. She makes two phone calls and her boss Raji enters the scene. He makes 4 phone calls to find out our destination. Now, hes expecting some money from us but we put a picture that we are NGO!! Thats blows him off. He has wasted money in making STD calls. Saji in the meantime walks into the office expecting a commision only to be scolded by Raji for bringing wrong set of people!!
3. From Thrissur we board bus to Kalady. Few minutes after passing the stop, I enquire with the conductor. “Ayyo, adu poi” with slap on his forehead is the response from conductor!!
4. The conductor from Chembavoor to Kollam abuses me for asking change of Rs.4/- even though he has it. I remembered vadivelu’s dialogue in tamil movie “yen kaasu ketkarthuku ippadi kova padara” (You get angry for asking my money)

5. At the tourist office in Kollam, we enquire about Kottara saying we are NGO. He makes few phone calls and finds out. All this conversation in English. At the end I ask him in Malayalam.
Me: Ividanda etra dooram (How far is it from here)
He: (Fully surprised) Malayam ariyo (You know Malayalam)
Me: Korachu ariyum (Little bit)
He: Nee theeviravadi, English la parayum aana Malayalam ariyum (You are a terrorist, you know Malayalam but still talked in English)
6. At the bus enquiry counter in Kollam
Me: Ividanda etra mani Tenkasi bus kittum (What time is the bus to Tenkasi from here)
He: 7:45pm
Me: Straight Tenkasi
He: Illai valanju poi (No, it goes zig-zag manner)
7. We reach Tenkasi at 12:30 in the night and go out for Tea. At the tea shop:
Me: inda varusham mazhai illaya (No rains this year)
He: illai, eppadi varum. Prostitution irruku, adan saami ye parthu mazhai kudukalai. (How will it be, prostitution is rampant so God saw this and decides against rain)
(I have to censor the remaining part of conversation which was filled with actions and lot of words. Finally we ended up with bleeding ears at the end of this 30minutes talk)
8. At the Tenkasi bus stand, two guys go around waking up people who are sleeping. This entire incident and the way police reacted was so hilarious that no words can explain it. This sequence for 2hrs easily qualified for next movie script and once we make a short movie on this incident, it would be available here!!

The tough times were also there. The trip was not roller coaster by any means!!

1. From Mysore we wanted to go to Ooty and roam around for few hours before going to Chembkolly (which was actually Ayyankolly). Since there were no buses in the night we took the morning bus only to reach Ooty by 10:30am and also we crossed the point Gudalur from where we had to take diversion. Now having gone to Ooty we returned all the way which meant we spent additional 5hrs which was just wastage of time.
2. In Kalpetta we decided to take a room since it was raining heavily only to get smitten all over the body by bloody bed bugs. My friend had an swollen eye at the end of it.
3. From Tanjore we had to goto Jayamkondacholapuram. We took wrong route and went to Mannargudi while we should have actually gone to Kumbakonam. But we did not loose much of time.
4. From Nellore we wanted to continue on the trip but the cost was just getting higher from there to goto Hydrebad that we decided to take a diversion and return to Bangalore.