Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Colors of Winter..

Took these pics at the Intel Campus with the Cam in my Cell phone
Pretty! :)..
Was really scared that I would get stung..

-Meena Venkataraman

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Was deleting old files and found this picture, Taken in 2005, the view from my room in the Makati Shangrila Philippines..
It still invoked the same emotions it did then.. and is very very reminiscent of the thoughts swirling inside my head at the moment..

Any of you watched Cast Away.. ?
Sort of reminds me of the time when Chuck Noland Says

"We both had done the math. Kelly added it all up and... knew she had to let me go. I added it up, and knew that I had... lost her. 'cos I was never gonna get off that island. I was gonna die there, totally alone. I was gonna get sick, or get injured or something. The only choice I had, the only thing I could control was when, and how, and where it was going to happen. So... I made a rope and I went up to the summit, to hang myself. I had to test it, you know? Of course. You know me. And the weight of the log, snapped the limb of the tree, so I-I - , I couldn't even kill myself the way I wanted to. I had power over *nothing*. And that's when this feeling came over me like a warm blanket. I knew, somehow, that I had to stay alive. Somehow. I had to keep breathing. Even though there was no reason to hope. And all my logic said that I would never see this place again. So that's what I did. I stayed alive. I kept breathing. And one day my logic was proven all wrong because the tide came in, and gave me a sail. And now, here I am. I'm back. In Memphis, talking to you. I have ice in my glass... And I've lost her all over again. I'm so sad that I don't have Kelly. But I'm so grateful that she was with me on that island. And I know what I have to do now. I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring? "

-Meena Venkataraman

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Aug 15

We were up at 3:30 A.M, all set, excited. The Innova we hired was a real bummer and we finally left Bangalore only at 8:00. Gulped down Lots of tea.
Our breakfast plans in Kamat were abandoned seeing how crowded the place was. Finally stopped in Madhur and had one of every kind of what was in the menu :).
Paddy Fields
We drove past really pretty sunflower fields and stopped to get some pics on the way. I took a couple that I could use as subjects for my art classes.

It was incredibly pretty outside. The Sun wasn't really out and the overcast skies and gentle wind made for a really pleasant experience.
Sunflower fields , we found these stretches of yellow to be a constant throughout our drive
Walking  through Sunflower fields
Sunflower fun :)
Masinagudi , sandwiched between two tiger reserves ; Bandipur (Karnataka) and Mudhumalai(Tamil Nadu) is roughly 260 odd Kms from Bangalore. Green and Lush and not too cold was my initial assessment of the place. We reached there at about 2:30 PM.
Once we drove past Bandipur. An intresting incident with an elephant stopping vehicles to collect his idea of toll(we can only guess:)). Luckily he decided to do it after we rode past. But we did stop to witness the drama unfolding. The Bus driver didnt have a choice but to wait ..
We enquired about the safari and found that all the jeeps were taken ..
So we had to settle for the bus ride , the last one being at 5:30 PM. We would come back after lunch we decided.
An Elephant stops a bus... Jumbo trouble, you sure cant miss signs like this one!
We stayed at the Forest Hills. The Bamboo Cottages were real neat. Nicely furnished and really comfortable. After a late lunch we discovered that the safari wouldn't happen the same day as all the tickets were sold out...Made plans for the trek the next day
Our stay in Masinagudi
Aug 16
We left at around 7:00 AM with Ravi who was our guide for the trek. Spotting a tiger was a really rare occurance as these creatures are normally very shy. We did see the Malabar Squirrels , agile animals that they are disappear effortlessly into the green canopy.
We Crossed a small stream and we were shown the Bones of a Bison which had been killed a month or so back by a tiger.
Crossing a stream during the trek
Animal Carcas
Finally we got to a small waterfall. Tigers are known to frequent this place, though they rarely ever surface when they sense human presence. I've seen and heard differently from programs on the National Geographic ; Where in places like the Sunderbans Tigers are known to attack humans on an everyday basis.
The experience at the waterfall was fantastic. We waded through the water. Nothing can describe the invigorating feeling of cold water rushing ahead. Strange thing is I could never bathe in a shower if the water was that cold. But here none of us really had a problem. The rocks were a little slippery.
When we finally decided we had had enough, I made the mistake of trying to climb down from a side which I did not know was deeper than the rest. Slid down and I was neck deep. The ground below was slippery. But somehow we managed(lot of hands extended to secure my fall) to regain my balance.
Soaking wet we resumed our trek..
Deeper and higher..
We reached this place called Tiger Rock, so named because the beast has been spotted sitting there, looking down into the valley below...
Would have made a magnificent sight.
We climber Higher and Finally reached the Top..
We were ravenous by then..
My clothes had almost completely dried...
It was time to get back. We reached the resort and dived into our breakfast :).. Food never tasted better... :)..
Tiger rock
The Group :)
Sometime in the evening we went on a short safari . It almost looked like we wouldn't get tickets a second day in running. Somehow we found ourselves sitting in the safari bus in the end..:)
We saw a lot of bison, elephants, deer...
Reshma , clearly the most experienced as far as wild life was concerned, shared some intresting trivia..
Bison are called Englishmen alluding to the tuft of white hair just above their black hooves , which gives them the appearence of wearing white socks with black shoes..
Wild Elephants
Our Guide
Those Green pair of eyes..
Fields a bloom
It was near impossible taking pictures because of the fading light. Using the flash was prohibited as it would scare away the animals..At around 12:30 , post dinner we went on another safari, this time in an open jeep. Lots of Bison,, and deer, but the elephant was elusive.
finally we got back to the resort and saw this elephant, a Makhna, standing right next to the tree house. The guide said he wont drive any closer as its posturing was a little aggressive and it might attack. The Makhna is a male elephant without tusks , the deficiency of which makes it a social outcast unable to find a mate..
They are know to be aggressive and attack humans...
It was a little scary and exciting to see a wild elephant right inside the resort..
Aug 17
Left after breakfast...
Time to drive back home. Really was one hell of a trip...
Theres something about the Lure of the wild.. Its something that cannot be Saited :)

-Meena Venkataraman

Friday, August 15, 2008

Mood of a Nation..

We were driving down to Masanagudi on the morn of the 15th. It was wonderful to watch India celebrate her Independence. The Tricolors were out on glorious display. Fluttering happily reminding us of our resilience as a nation , telling us that in spite of bad roads, poor infrastructure, Corrupt governance we still are a free people. As Spartucus so proudly said,
" I'm not a King, I'm something better, I"m a free man! "

Love you India - Muaaaaaaaaah!!

Happy Independence Day Guys!
Would be great if our pride translates into action - Like not littering our roads, using less plastics, standing in a queue without being told to.. Think about it!

-Meena Venkataraman

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Down Memory Lane..

Picture of us taken in Idapadi..
That really was one beautiful drive!
-Meena Venkataraman

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Costa Rica...

Checked my last night and noticed that the flight is only at 7:00 PM in the evening. that leaves me with an entire day and nothing to do..
I had already said my good byes last night... and was not prepared for this extra time suspended between the closure of a farewell and the start of the next phase.
I wake up early like i have every morning here.. am up with the sun and stand in the little balcony sipping my tea watching the light fall over the little village behind it ..
The wind blows and its lovely here..
I will miss this place- The morning Sun, The delicious Spanish accents :)..
The hotel really is a piece of art. I don't think i could ever afford to stay in a place like this if I were holidaying by myself..
I order breakfast.. For the last time I'll get to look at the menu .. Look a all the choices ..Debate on what to order and at the end of it all order the same thing :)
All my bags are packed am ready to go....Wait for 'Fire and Rain' to stop playing and pack my laptop too. I like to travel Light... Say my good byes and leave to the airport early..
This one week has been out of a fairy tale.. Have had the opportunity to live my own travel show. I felt like I had wings...Nothing can match the heady feeling of being free..
I will miss this place..! :)
love you Costa Rica.. Muaaaaaaah!..
the next time I visit South America it will be Chile!
-Meena Venkataraman

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Costa Rica..

Breakfasting , with a view of the Pacific in a distance..
The tour Brochure says - 'The best of the Pacific'. Costa Rica has 2 coasts - the Pacific and the Caribbean. ..
And today am going to be seeing the Pacific.
Our group for today is small. Six in all with the guide and the guy who is driving.
Typical Costarican Breakfast
We leave San Jos'e at around 7:00 AM. And we stop at this place at the way side. You can see the coast from up here, A faint line on the horizon...
Typical Costa Rican Breakfast consists of fried rice and beans - called 'Gallo Pinto', Eggs, Cheese, Plantain fried and Sweetened and Coffee....

The route we take is supposed to have been in use by the Spanish since 1606. Our first stop is at the Tarcoles river. This place is supposed to be teeming with crocodiles. I am told that National Geographic put the estimate at 25 crocs per SQ Km
Cruising along the Tarcoles River..
We take a boat. The person maneuvering the boat - Jason is supposed to know the river like the back of his hand..
The Bait..
He stops and with bait in his hand he gets out.. I thought they were just joking when they said they would feed crocodiles in the wild. At least I have never seen anything like this before..
The Crocodile Cometh..

He was immediately approached by one croc. Her name is supposed to be Monica. She is a 40 year old female. For easy identification the crocs have names like Osama , Hugo chavez, bill Clinton and the like..


The croc drew closer. It was huge..
And Closer..

This was the scariest part , when it reared its head up and ate the fish..

Contented after the meal..She swam away. Like it was everyday business :)

Got to see some birds on the way. Pelicans, Osprey ..
Closer Shot of Pelicans sitting amongst the Branches..

They let me sit right upfront. It was great cruising along the river with the wind on my face...
You can see the ocean in the distance.
We get off. There's a strip of sans separating the river from the sea. The river joins the Sea around this strip. So This is like a little beach.
Painted Stork walks along the shore..

Its beautiful here..

So what did Red say in The Shawshank Redemption.. "RED: I find I am so excited I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it is the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain... I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope. "

We get back into the boat and visit the mangroves.

this place is teeming with crabs..

Really Pretty. Ages since I've been to a beach.Used to go often in Chennai.
Walked by the shore all the way till then end and came back..
-Meena Venkataraman


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