Sunday, February 15, 2015

Konkon Reise - Netravati to Sabarmati: Part I - Sakleshpur to Subrahmanya Road, Wild Wild Western Ghats

Run...Run...Run… I was not late as per the schedule. Still the internal urge to reach railway station and the excitement of going to unknown places made me stay on the edge. My train - ‘YPR-KWR Express’ - was waiting for me at Yeshwantpur terminal.
As usual this time also other passengers started requesting me to change the seats. Their reason is to bring the entire family together; but for me it is to see the side view. I frequently gave up my lower berths to senior citizens and even moved to other bogies. But, most of that happened in night. In a day train its not a valid reason.
In this case the family requesting for rearrangement was not in any dire need for the same. Finally I agreed; in exchange for another window seat. Interestingly the seat they offered belongs to someone else!!! and they came and claimed it after one-one and half hour. After that I don’t have any option other than getting my original seat back. But they started with another round of excuses - his mother sitting there is not well. Obviously I can’t agree on that after seeing her. In anyway they are occupying more than 8-10 seat in that boggy. Finally I settled for another seat, and started waiting for Sakleshpur to come.
Located on Malnad region in the lap of Western Ghats, Sakleshpur is the starting point of a beautiful train track. 58 km track from Sakleshpur to Subrahmanya Road station is decorated with 58 tunnels, 109 bridges and around 25 waterfalls. Although most waterfalls are visible only in rainy season and bridges are very short in length; it forms a wonderful sight in combination with mystic Western Ghats.
Train stopped for some time at Sakleshpur. When we restarted our journey, I positioned myself at doorstep to catch all sceneries. Slowly we started moving… and one by one tunnels started coming. Lights were not turned on our boggy. Hence, there would be complete darkness whenever we went inside a tunnel. Many of us start shouting on top of our voice the moment we enter inside a tunnel.
It was a wonderful thing to do; forgot everything and enjoy. How many times we want to whistle on top of our voice and won't be able to do because of the crowd around us? How many of us get such an opportunity everyday? We made full use of it. Till all of us were tired, we were shouting and whistling on top of our voice each time we enter in to a tunnel.
Probably the biggest sound was made by a lady standing behind me. Her whistling was fantastic. Rest of us - the mortals - were wondering what to do to produce such a big and beautiful whistle :)
This is a wonderful line to travel, both sides were surrounded by forests. In between, one can see small iron bridges constructed over rivulets. As I was travelling in January end, many streams were running dry. I think, I should travel through this route again on July or August. 
Iron mesh frames were placed on rocky/semi-rocky areas facing the track to stop or control landslide. Still landslides happens during monsoons. While we travel, we could see railway employees checking the tracks on those isolated areas. There were hardly any shed nearby; I wonder how they spend time at night.
One need to see both sides of the track - in one side you can see big boulders saying hello to you, and on other side you can see beautiful valleys!!!
Subhrahmanya Road
This wonderful stretch comes to an end at Subrahmanya Road Station. This station is just 7 KM away from famous ‘Kukke Subrahmanya’ Temple. By the time train left this station, there were hardly 4-5 people sitting here and there in my boggy. I slept for some time and missed Netravati River and Bridge. When I woke up, we were approaching Mangalore Jn (and train was running some 25 minutes ahead of the schedule)
// Photos

Friday, February 6, 2015

Gandhi would have shocked? Really?

US President Barack Obama on Thursday said the "acts of intolerance" experienced by religious faiths of all types in India in the past few years would have shocked Mahatma Gandhi.

I don't think M.K.Gandhi would have shocked after seeing today's India, as far as religious intolerance is concerned. India improved a lot from 1930s and 40s. If anyone has doubts, just take look at the photos taken during the partition. 


1. Religious intolerance in India would have shocked Mahatma Gandhi: Obama - TOI

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Think beyond dams and trees in NE India

Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER)… Dr. Jitendra Singh has announced “Make in Northeast” initiative, beginning with a comprehensive tourism plan for the region

“in the long run seek to promote exclusive Northeast expertise in areas like tea processing, organic farming, food processing, exploitation of wind power through wind mills, AYUSH, wellness therapies like spas, etc”.

Everyone is interested in promoting North-East region; central government’s assistance is also flowing to this area. Hope that, at least this time someone will think beyond constructing dams and cutting down the trees while thinking about development.


1. GoI

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Brave Kids of India - Those who lived up to the situation

Republic will confer Bravery awards to 24 brave kids on Jan 26
Confucius once told, “If you see what is right and fail to act on that, you lack courage”.

Many of us often fell in to this situation, where we know something happening in front of us is not right; but we often lack the courage to do something to stop it, to act against it.

Here are those 24(16 boys and 8 girls) brave kids of India upon whom the republic will confer National Bravery Awards. I salute each of those brave kids (and others), who lived up to the situation and fought against injustice.

Bharat Award – went to 16.5 year old Resham Fatma (Uttar Pradesh), a victim of Acid attack, for putting on a brave face while fighting off her persecutor.

Geeta Chopra Award – Went to 13.5 year old Gunjan Sharma (Assam) who displayed exemplary valour in saving her friends from their abductor.

Sanjay Chopra Award – Went to 16.5 year old Devesh Kumar (Uttar Pradesh) who displayed outstanding courage while confronting two chain-snatchers.

BapuGaidhani Award – Went to,
13.5 year old Rumoh Meto - who saved a person from electrocution – from Arunachal Pradesh,
15 year old Late Riya Chaudhary – who sacrificed her life while trying to save her father from those who attacked her family members - from Uttar Pradesh and
16 year old Late Monika - who lost her life while trying to save a child from drowning - from Uttarakhand.

Other recipients of bravery award are,
Zeal Jitendra Marathe, HiralJitubhaiHalpati and Late Master Gaurav Kumar Bharti (all from Gujarat),
Master Sahanesh R (Karnataka),
AshwiniBanduUghade (Maharashtra),
Brainson Singh and Tooldev Sharma (both from Manipur),
Ripa Das (Tripura),
Balram Dansena (Chhattisgarh),
Rajdeep Das (Jharkhand),
Anjith, Aqil Mohammad and Midhun (all from Kerala),
Stevenson Lawriniang (Meghalaya),
Late Mesak K Remnalalnghaka (Mizoram),
Mhonbeni Equng (Nagaland),
Labhanshu (Uttarakhand) and
Late Gaurav Kumar Bharti (Uttar Pradesh)

Once again my salute to all those brave kids. Let’s make a decision that when next time something wrong happens in front of us, we will rise up to the situation and help the victims as well as law enforcement agencies.



1. GoI

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Boko Haram’s usage of under aged girls as suicide bombers is a crime against humanity

Parents of Chibok kidnapping victims
20 people were killed in a recent blast in northern Nigerian market of Maiduguri. Blast was not unexpected in this part of Nigeria, which is hotbed of Boko Haram’s insurgency.  The word ‘Boko Haram’ means ‘Western education is forbidden’; they are trying everything to justify that name.

What makes this blast different from other suicide attacks is the usage of a girl, no more than 10 year old, as carrier.

Imagine who will suspect a 10 year girl who hides powerful explosives under her veil?  But it’s a reality now; security forces need to be extra careful about people in veil. The sad part of this equation is ‘Boko Haram’ already kidnapped more than 200 girls. There is a possibility that many more will end up as suicide bombers.

Abubakar Shekau, Chief of 'Boko Haram'  Oct 2014

Hope that a stricter vigil from security forces and local participation will help the authorities to save those poor girls from Boko Haram’s grip.



1. In Nigeria, New Boko Haram Suicide Bomber Tactic: ‘It’s a Little Girl’ - NYT