Afghanistan Anguilla Austria Australia Albania Bahrain Bangladesh Belgium Bolivia Brazil Bulgaria Cameroon Canada China Columbia Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Dominican Republic Egypt Finland France Germany Ghana Greece Hong Kong Hungary India Italy Indonesia Iran Ireland Isle of Man Israel Japan Jordan Kenya Kuwait Latvia Lebanon Lithuania Luxembourg Moldova Malaysia Maldives Malta Martinique Mauritius Mexico Morocco Namibia Nepal Netherlands New Zealand Oman Nigeria Pakistan Panama Peru Philippines Qatar Romania Russia Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Serbia Singapore Slovenia Saudi Arabia South Africa South Korea Spain Sri Lanka Taiwan Tanzania Thailand Tunisia Turkey Ukraine United Arab Emirates United States United Kingdom Vietnam
It was indeed a very eventful 2011 for me and I do hope it was the same to all my readers. In 2010, I had viewership from 38 countries and this year it has swelled to 83.This feat has brought immense satisfaction and happiness to me. I have always maintained that ‘All good things in life are free’ – pursuit of happiness cost very little. All the ingredients are already there in front of us to be picked up and embraced. Early morning walks, wishing your friends and acquaintances, gardening, offer to help in a small way, a small donation to the needy, foray into the kitchen to indulge in cooking, reading a good book, and writing for your own sake are some of the easiest ways to feel happy. Here, we elders have a lot to learn from the children. Their happiness drivers are extremely simple – sighting a loved one, something familiar – a toy, friend, song, book or a TV program
Like in the movie – ‘Fiddler on the Roof’- Tevye sings “ Because of our traditions we have kept our balance for many many years, here in Anateveka we have traditions for everything, how to eat, how to sleep ,how to work ,how to wear clothes” and so on.
We also believe in traditions and why not. Come 17th of Dec – daughter, S IN L, Ayaan, Agastya and Aarin landed up at home for the holidays. Accompanying me to the airport to receive them was my GD ‘Samara’ all excited to meet up with her cousins. Battle plans were put into action. There were lots of changes in the ‘Battle Order’ published in 2010. My daughter had warned me’ Baba, the twins now walk and run around a lot and you have to be extremely careful – the moment they find the door open, they run out – no stopping them’ – ‘they are very inquisitive, they open the fridge, washing machine, oven and anything which can be opened” “they climb on chairs, tables, cots and the rest’ the briefing went on. Our strategy was nullified as, in addition to our fearsome foursome, ‘Saanika and Sambhav’ twins from our neighbor’s house joined the ‘Task Force’. Command and control posed a big problem. The entire Task Force was left to me and Man Friday – Rohan Dada. We had to constantly rely on our neighbor’s domestic help ‘Shoba’ to engage the younger twins – showing them cats ,dogs, squirrels, birds, butterflies, leaves, tree twigs, in the colony. Perimeter defense was established and strictly enforced. Inspire of our best efforts – Agastya one afternoon broke the high security cordon and was found loitering behind our cluster. Ayaan too gave us anxious moments. High voltage fun continued unabated till 2nd Jan when the whole family departed. Like in the earlier holidays, I had to take a break from golf – the ultimate sacrifice from a father to a daughter. In all, Akhila deserves to be praised and congratulated for her tremendous effort and patience in looking after three sons.
On 18th Dec, I was invited by a local TV station ‘Janashree’ to participate in an 1hr panel discussion on ‘Vijay Divas’ – titled ‘War and After’. I understand the program was well received and the station had 3 reruns thereafter.
|The entire 'Task Force'|
Satyanarayana Pooja was conducted on 24th Dec evening with great fervor. Ayaan at 5 years was the most inquisitive, wanting to know everything the priest did. Why is he ringing the bell, why are they throwing flowers, washing hand, what is that burning, why curd, ghee and sugar and the list was endless. He wanted to participate in every activity. Poor Samara would constantly endeavor to cool Ayaan down without any success. She would say Ayaaaaaaan don’t do it, in an extremely high pitched voice – enough to break all glasses in the vicinity – resembling a soprano robusto. In the end the priest was feeling a bit exasperated and appeared to be running out of patience. From time to time the priest would sternly tell Ayaan to keep quiet and listen to him. After the priest left, the family decided to conduct all future festivals at our own terms with a pre recorded cassette and no priest. Fortunately for the priest, the twins slept through the entire proceedings. I shudder to imagine, what would have been the outcome with their involvement also.
|Pooja in progress|
On 24th Dec all of us closed up for the ‘Christmas Barbeque’ party. It was great fun bonding with the children, grand children, extended family and a few close friends. This year it was a little subdued and with lesser people. The only difference was keeping the twins away from the fire. Somehow we always end up making much more and eating leftovers. For once the amount of food cooked was sufficient and nothing was carried forward to the next day. A very satisfying feeling. As a thumb rule you require 4 KG chicken for 10 people, provided there is nothing else.
|Akhila's birthday bash and the X Mass Barbeque|
We hired a tempo for our trip to Chikmagaluru, so that all of us could be together. We had booked ‘Hidden Valley’ which is owned and managed by Aranha Homes, a hospitality company based in Bangalore, Karnataka. Road up to Hassan (NH 48) is excellent and the ride was smooth. We started very early and the children slept through most of the time. After a brief stop for breakfast we reached the resort at 1400 hours to be greeted by the manager, Mr Suraj for a hot and tasty lunch. It takes about 6 hrs from home in North Bangalore to the resort.
Located in the foothills of Mullayanagiri range Chikmagaluru is famous for coffee, it is known as the coffee land of karnataka. Chikmagaluru which literally means younger daughter's town - Chikka + Magala + Ooru (in Kannada). Chikmagaluru is located at an elevation of 1037 meters (3,400 feet) .The temperature of the city however varies from 11-20 °C during winter to 25-32 °C during summer. My mother was born in a coffee estate by the name of ‘Javali’ 34 Km from Chikmagaluru. My Grand Mother – Lakshmi Bai hails from this area and her father Sri Ganesh Rao Gurjer was a very well known planter. Presently her brother Prabhakar Gurjer resides in Koppa.
The hidden valley is located in a 30 acre patch of coffee estate. The resort offers a lot for children to do in terms of outdoor activity. We went for trek inside the plantation and the children had lots of fun collecting coffee fruits, pepper pods, wild oranges, lemon and some eggs of unknown bird. Rohan dada did fishing in the manmade pond and the children were really excited in seeing him catch ‘Rohu’. Samara insisted that the fish should be returned to the lake, which Rohan very obediently followed, himself being an animal lover. We went in a paddle boat quite frequently. Whenever the twins got bored we took them to see Turkeys and Rabbits.
There are roosters, hens and chicks to keep you occupied with their "cock-a-doodle-doo". We played carom during the day and generally relaxed gazing at the greenery and dozing off in the quietness and solitude of the estate.
|Hidden Valley Resort From A Distance|
|Man Made Pond|
|Blue Sky Silver Oak Trees Winding Pepper Creepers|
|The entire clan|
|Mr Brown rooster and his clan|
|A Robust fire|
Suraj and his team prepared some good and tasty food for us on all the days. The portions were really large and wholesome. Pakodas in the evening were excellent. Bon fire on one day and barbecue the next day added lots of zing into the night. The Hundred Pipers played their music every night without fail after sunset – which is in fact early and descends extremely fast. The nights are are cold and one does require a sweater or a shawl to keep warm.
During the year, in May 2011, I took over as the Honorary Secretary of Jalvayu Vihar, to keep myself occupied and more importantly to fulfill the urge of giving back something to the society. It is a tough job – keeping 540 households happy and satisfied. There is a lot to write on that score, which I will be doing separately. We organized a ’New Year Ball’ on 31st December Night. The event was sponsored by Reliance Digital, Tanishq and Trident Hyundai amongst others. The music and ambiance were great and 320 residents and their guests were treated to a lovely and memorable party.
|Valley by night|
|On best behaviour|
|Trekking in the estate|
|Father and son bonding|
|Thy Das clan without the twins|
|Every reason to look tired|
|Photo op for me|
|The drive to the valley|
|With all the children|
|Badminton in progress|
|Rohan with his prized catch|
|A game of pauper|
Jai had excellent results in their first 10th board exam and the school has leap froged and etched a place for itself in Bangalore as a good school -www.freedom-international.in.Vivek and Shubra have been extremely busy the whole of 2011 and Chumbak - www.chumbak.in - now has 80,000 followers and have brought out a number of interesting and innovative products. Anirban and Kwan www.kwan.in continue to grow from strength to strength and cherish being India’s largest and most powerful Entertainment, Fashion, Celebrity & Sports Management Company
So ended 2011 on a very happy note.