Tag Archives: Weekends

Virasat 2012 – Handicrafts and Heritage

Virasat is a fortnight long arts and crafts heritage festival in Dehradun. It brings together artists and crafts people from the length and breadth of the country. This year, for the first time, there were performances by groups from countries across the globe. I was lucky to be at the performance of the troupe from Morocco.

Some of the instruments there were playing were works of art in themselves. If anyone knows the names I would be glad to add them out here.

The stuff that is for sale is amazing from tie and dye fabrics, lac churi, terracotta pottery, dry flower arrangements, woolens from Bhuj, Lakhnavi Chikankari, leaf painting, fine Chamba embroidery on handkerchiefs.

(Picture courtesy above goes to a friend, Aldred Gomes)

It was here that craftsman would give you a live demonstration of their work…

Other than the handicrafts there were also some marvellous culinary delights… for the first time I savoured ‘makke ki roti aur sarson da saag’!

With a range of digestives to choose from too…

Compared to similar handicraft festivals in Goa the prices were very reasonable and I have done most of my Christmas shopping 😉

Ethereal Landscapes

Another drive up to Mussoorie over this weekend. And as we sat lazily watching the clouds go by… This was another of those moments where the landscape looked the same (ie. something I have clicked all too often), yet I wondered how could I capture it through a different lens.

What turned out was indeed a sight to behold!

Tons River Trek

Kasiga School is lucky to have a river (or more of a roaring stream) running around the campus. Sunday saw us take a day trek to this ‘Tons river’

The Tons is the largest tributary of the Yamuna and flows through Garhwal region in Uttarakhand, touching Himachal Pradesh. The Tons valley is a remote area and has a culture unlike any other in the region. The villagers in the Tons valley are believed to be descendents of the Pandavas and Kauravas from the epic Mahabharata.

This river boasts of adventure sports in river rafting… however, we had a different kind of adrenaline rush when we explored some of the undiscovered parts of this river

Uno Party Italiano

Bruschetta, Diavola, Spaghetti…

I may not be able to pronounce these words correctly, but their memories still make my mouth water.

The event was a party hosted by a friend, Elton Fernandes.

The moment we entered his house, the menu greeted us at the door and it was buon appetito from the start

And what followed were one appetizing dish after the other to tease our taste buds

olives pickled cabbage and garlic olivesfunghikebabs and saladanother italian dish

devilled eggs

What is Italian food without the spirits to wash it down with…

The Bar

the bar counter was also well laden with the choicest 🙂

DJ Marc
Livening up the atmosphere was DJ Marc at his console, who obliged the eager party with music ranging from pop to country, and trance to jive!

But the celebrities of the show were these three

(from L-R): The Host – Elton Pinto
The Sous Chef = Juao
The Chef = Mikey

Mille Grazie!

Star Gazing

How did I spend my Sunday evening? Watching Aamir Khan live in action giving away the awards to the achievers of Sharada Mandir School!

I wondered what must be going on through the mind of a celebrity while he witnesses a a veritable display of young talent. Glimpses into the folk traditions of Goa, his own songs enacted before an enthralled audience, and listening to all the adulation about how he has made an impact with the music and dance of his films…

And does he wonder what is in the “token of appreciation” that required two helpers to carry!!!


Ground Realities – Torangatti

A much awaited break was waiting for us on the long weekend of 13 – 15 August. And thanks to the planning of a good friend, Jimmy, we were off to our neighbouring state, Karnataka to a place called Torangatti.

The journey had its fine share of scenic waterfalls, landslides and dense fog.

and the hard to miss macaques that lined up the climb towards Amboli.

But Amboli was not our destination. We had to hit the Belgaum – Hyderabad highway to a surprise like I had never experienced before.

This highway is a born temptation for those who want to stretch the speed limits of their vehicles (both bikes and cars)… I am not going to mention the high speed I touched on this stretch… for fear of retribution on the home front 😉

This was our destination. It is a Jesuit Mission station in a village called Torangatti. Please note: Most of these pictures are clicked on day 2. We were lucky on day 1 to reach the right place in the pitch darkness!

The mission station of Torangatti boasts of a beautiful church which incorporates elements of Indian tradition.

The pictures will speak for themselves

There were lots of plans that we had chalked out, but faced with the enthusiasm of Fr Prakash SJ, the priest in Torangatti, everything else had to wait.

Fr Prakash, took us around the farm which he has cultivated and supervises. Vast stretches of maize fields are indeed a sight to behold

But looking closely there was a tiny world of its own in each leaf and under each stone

Besides maize there are also plots for vegetables, like the corriander below

This may appear to be a wild flower, but out there, everything had either a commercial or medicinal value !

This was one of the marvels of nature… a pumpkin growing on a papaya plant… or is it? 😉This is a “closer look” into the pumpkin flower…

Fr Prakash proudly showed us his organic farming techniques with large vermiculture pits that provide manure for the farm. There is a big difference between merely learning about organic farming and actually holding one of those red wrigglers in your hand!

These newly hatched birds were another one of those star attractions that we attempted to capture… through the camera lens of course..Karnataka is famous for sandalwood…. and I guess the trip would not be complete without a picture of that tree

This is one of those pictures I always wanted to take…

And on our way back, I attempted a bit of “street photography” and this shepherd was kind enough to strike a pose for the lens. Apparently, every herd of sheep has goats intermingled which actually lead the way for the sheep… thus quoted our expert on the area of shepherding 😉

The place is beginning to show signs of development… a new bridge is being constructed, but until then, the traffic has to follow the road less travelled 😉

450 kilometres of memories… Goa – Amboli – Belgaum – Torangatti and back. The tiny bug on my hand which refused to fly off for a long time was indeed a constant reminder of this grand journey!

The Car-Cycle

Goa has got talent!

Was out on a trip with the family and had to make a brief stop to get the car tyre pressure checked.

Coincidentally, there was this young man out there to also get his car cycle tyre pressure done!

My Dad did not hesitate to stand in the frame beside the proud invention 😉

Summer fruits

Weekends at my Aunt’s house in Raia, Goa are always memorable. This time the highlight was the abundance of fruits in the garden.

summer fruits raia - cashews

Under the watchful eyes of these deadly red ants called domle  in Konkani, we “harvested” pineapples, cashews, mangoes and jackfruits.summer fruits raia - ants

Can you guess to what does this texture belong to in the pictures below?

summer fruits raia - texturesummer fruits raia - texture 2With the smell that still lingers in my car it may as well be mistaken for a fruit cart!

summer fruits raia - fruit cart

The Silent Beach – Agonda

If you want to see the way beaches in Goa should actually be, visit Agonda. The very remoteness of the beach from the main cities ensures its exclusiveness and for this reason it is gets the nickname, the Silent Beach!

Agonda Beach Goa - Shimmer

Agonda, does not have much to boast about. A mere 3 km long stretch of beach untouched by human incursions (read: no commercialization, no plastics strewn around, no noise of a million tourists, no souvenir stalls or hawkers).

I read online that the best way to reach this beach is by a scooter or motor bike. And that is the advise we followed.

Except for a couple of eating places and these pretty beach huts, there is nothing to draw the crowds here

Agonda Beach Goa - beach huts

For some reason, this fire dancer practicing his act reminded me a lot of Barney Stinson (from How I met your mother) 😉

Agonda Beach Goa - Fire dancer

While, this chap was “para surfing” for almost 3 hours (we all assumed he didn’t know how to get the parachute back to the ground!)

Agonda Beach Goa - up in the air

Sometimes you want a beach all to yourself, and Agonda beach is gives you that chance! Not only did it provide an opportunity to relax on the beach but the long drive that got us there is something I will cherish too.

Agonda Beach Goa

On our way back, we made a short detour. The place is called the Miraculous Cross of Baradi.

Baradi Cross

As goes with all miraculous crosses around Goa, this place too draws a lot of people from the villages around. Situated on a tiny hillock the view around was fantastic.

Betul Sal River panoramaThis panorama shows the river Sal meeting with the Arabian sea in the horizon. It is still left to speculate if this is a tributary or an estuary… but I guess that is a story for another day 😉

Supermoon Saturday

The moon on the night of March 19, 2011 was different because it was 356577 km from the earth, one of the closest approaches in the past 18 years… and it gets the label… Supermoon (or scientifically speaking, a lunar perigree)! Going with all the hype created by the media I had to witness this first hand!

supermoon saturday - Dona Paula

The most convenient location that came to mind was the Dona Paula jetty. Good thing I went out here, because at “moon rise”, the moon actually took on a reddish hue…

Supermoon saturday Red Moon

I could not resist taking this night panorama (click on it for a better view)

supermoon saturday pano

But then as it goes with every spectacular “breaking news” everything went back to normal, there were no high tides in the sea, no other celestial phenomenon and the biggest news discussed next was how India crushed West Indies to enter the World cup semi final!