Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Hope Springs - Movie

 Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep. 2012. Caught in a sexless and loveless marriage, Meryl Streep, fixes a counseling session for her and her husband. They return, having lost some money, and having the zing back in their lives (pretty boring since she has no fantasies and his fantasies are schoolboy stuff - even the woman he chooses for a threesome is pathetic). No wonder they have a boring marriage. But these two are simply brilliant in all those awkward scenes discussing their sex lives (non existent). Simply brilliant.


Ghost Writer - Movie

 Memoirs of ex-British PM being written by a ghost. Ghost found dead. New ghost signed on to compete manuscript in one month (are you joking dude?) for a sum of 250000 USD. He goes to meet PM, sleeps with PM's wife, finds stuff conveniently kept for him to get information that will - surprise. get him killed. Oh, of course, the PM is also killed. The boring wife is alive, the sexy secretary too. Boring movie (you won't believe it but I saw it before and don't remember a thing)


The Archer - Paulo Coelho

 Big rip off. I am extremely disappointed with the book. The art work by Christoph Niemann is brilliant. The prose was bland and there's nothing that is said interestingly. The archer Tetsuya is someone who learned archery and became the best. But he has now given up archery and makes a living as a carpenter. A challenger comes and challenges the archer who says I will accept your challenge but do not reveal to anyone where I am and what I am doing. Of course he trashes the challenger and then teaches the young boy with him the fundamentals of archery.

First up, we need allies (people who are interested in what you are doing) and we need to share our knowledge with them. The best allies are those who do not think like everyone else. Join those who take risks, fall, get hurt and take more risks. Who are open and vulnerable. They should sing, take pleasure in life,have joy in their eyes, who never stop. They should be enthusiastic. (By now we know its not easy to find such people)

Then, the bow.

It is life, the source of energy. Allow it to rest so when you need it, it will be ready. Be in harmony with it and never ask more than it can give. Your bow must be understood and to do that it must become part of your arm and an extension of your thoughts. (Again, being one with the instrument and taking care of it well)

The Arrow

Is your intention. Must be crystal clear and straight and balanced. Shoot even if you may fail. If you never take a risk you will ever know what to change to get better.

The Target

Your objective. You are responsible for choosing your target so don't blame anyone else (why would we do that). Respect the target, bring it closer mentally and only when it is at the very end of your arrow, release it. Your target is your friend. Don't look at target alone - look around it (Drona would not agree). Understand the target - ask - if I am the target how would i like to be hit (I doubt if the target would want to be hit)


Serenity comes from the heart.  Elegance is not about comfort, it is the best posture if the shot has to be hit.  Elegance is achieved when everything superfluous has been discarded.

How to hold the arrow

It is how to be in touch with your intention. Set clear intention? A man's intention should be perfect, straight, sharp, firm, precise.

How to hold the bow

Our source of energy. Breathe. Concentrate. Do it without tension (how). With a tranquil mind review each stage and your hand will stop shaking.

How to Draw the Bowstring

All archer's knowledge should concentrate on the point where the arrow touches the bowstring (where else). Be like a musician playing an instrument. Ask the bowstring for its cooperation.

How to look at the target

With love. Don't judge yourself. 

The Release

One shot with soul and another without soul. 

Draw the bow, breathe correctly, concentrate on target, be clear of intention, maintain elegance of posture, respect target, follow destiny. The arrow must leave at the moment when bow, archer and target are at the same point in the universe - this is called inspiration.


An action is a thought made manifest. Practice and repeat until your actions become part of you. Each time is different. There comes a moment after much practice when the archer no loner has to think of what he is doing. He becomes the bow, arrow, the target.

How to observe the flight of the arrow

There's nothing to do after the arrow has been shot. Smile.

The archer without bow, arrow and target

The archer learns when he forgets all about the rules of the way of the bow and goes on to act entirely on instinct.

Then you go and do something else.

I did not find anything of depth. It seemed rather superfluous.  I don't know why I typed so much. Maybe I thought there was something more. I don't think there is. Avoid.    

First Anniversary - Dr Nalini Nargundkar - Aai - Nalu maushi - Ajji

 The trip to Pune was primarily on the occasion of the first anniversary of Shobha's mom. It was a tough month last year for all of us but there was much she left behind for us to learn and imbibe. Shobhs, me and Anjali were there last year and we decided to invite the others who were around - Shashi maushi, Gauri and Prakash, Parth and Maria, Meera and Vijay. Ashu came, So did Swapni. Suhita came all the way from Mumbai!

Aai and Kaka

I wrote down what I learned from her in my morning pages and I realised they are powerful lessons. Here's a list.

Madhav Bungalow - Named after Madhav Oak, her father

1. Live passionately

2. Never say No attitude, no judgment

Parth, Suhita, Shashi Maushi and Vijay

3. Always smile, look at the bright side

4.  Never speak badly about anyone 

The lot

5. Give easily

6. Love people, love company

7. Be childlike

8. Fierce independence

She loved playing cards - so...

9. Learning mindset, curiosity

10. Humble, grounded

Ashu, Bhavana and Shobhs

11. Dress up well

12. Never panic

A tree she loved  

13. Be enterprising

14. Be careful with money and paperwork

More details on each soon.

Indic Inspirations - A Lovely Concept

Malay invited me to a start up he is part of called 'Indic Inspirations'. It's a lovely little shop in the Koregaon area and sells India inspired souvenirs and gifts. They are unique and thoughtful and have nice themes - India, Pune, festival, culture, nature, toys, clothes, perfumes and so on.  You can check out more at their website and order really interesting gift items to those you love. There was one Bajirao Mastani inspired perfume set! There's an ISRO series, ISRO inspired merchandise.

Sunil Jalihal, Founder CEO, is a much accomplished man and I wish him and his team the best of luck. Met Malay, Sarah, Lewis and Maxine and spent some time before heading home.


Indic Inspirations

Lewis checking something out

Anjali before the wall

Pune Diaries - Walk at NDA with Parth

 Parth and I decided to go for a walk at the NDA road. It was a lovely foggy morning and we enjoyed it thoroughly.



Day Trip to Mumbai - Meeting Tharian Again

 So after the pre-pandemic U2 tour when I had met up with Tharian who is now safeguarding Nerul for me, I made a day trip with Maria and Parth to meet Tharian while they went ahead to attend a wedding. We took off at 130 pm and reached Mumbai at 530 or so. 

I caught Tharian midway Chembur and we headed back home chatting in the car. He told me how he had busted his car and how he was using Marina's car now due to an unfortunate incident with some chaps on the road (they whacked his rear view mirror and went away). Anyway we spoke of this and that - Raju, the job (he wasn't happy about it) and other things. We bought some beer and snacks and went home. He has moved since the last time I visited him to a swankier part of Nerul.

Mumbai always makes me feel different. There's something raw about it, like the finer things are missing. No leisure, too much in the moment, survival stuff. Everyone seems to have an agenda. It's nice, for a while.

Marina and Sanjana were at home and they joined us while we chatted and laughed about our lives. Rahul joined us briefly. Marina had cooked some lovely dinner - appam and chicken curry - I fully overate. Then we waited for Parth and Maria to come which they did, closer to eleven. I felt bad keeping them up but what to do. We got home by 2 am and crashed.

As always, the trips to Tharian's are well worth it. I came back happier, having laughed a lot more. Was fun to chat with them all. Hopefully see them all soon! (And hey, Marina kept my t shirt that I had forgotten and gave it to me - if it was Tharian, that would have been the end of it!)  

Monday, November 29, 2021

Bhuleshwar Temple - Pune

 I reached Sholapur pretty soon and found the way out without going into the city. Thought I would stop somewhere for a bite and checked with Tanhai who was hanging about quietly. Tanhai has now become a bit more adventurous and she opted for a roti, dal fry and anda bhurji stop at some small dhaba. I had picked up a few guavas so I did not feel very hungry until I was closer to Pune but when I saw the perfect dhaba I stopped. I realised he also made the perfect roti, dal fry and anda bhurji.

First sight

Entrance - can't make out

While chatting with him I asked about Bhuleshwar temple, an 8th century Shiva temple, and he said it was not too far from there and it was worth a visit. I checked the wikipedia, my favorite source for quick information, and found that it was both a n 8th century and a 1200 AD temple. One said it was built by Krishnadevaraya. Also it is declared a protected monument and supposedly has some exquisite carvings.

Exquisite carvings

Dramatic interior

I put the maps on Bhuleshwar and Tanhai and I were happy to see a beautiful road veer off into some wonderful green fields on either side. Fields of chrysanthemum showed up, probably for commercial use. The temple could be seen at a distance but I realised that we had to climb a ghat to get there. At the top of the ghat, the road going to Saswad, we headed off a narrow road which led to the temple.

More exquisite carvings


View of plains around

There were a few visitors there and Tanhai and I walked around the temple wondering where the entrance was. A dog wandered in and out and so did a cat. Then we found that the temple had some activity - there was a priest and some puja activity going on. There were some instructions not to take pictures but everyone was - perhaps that was to do with the deity only I thought. I got some pictures. I bumped into this person who seemed to know about the temple history - he said this was very old, as was proven by the figure of a Ganesha in a female form. Another story about the  temple is that if you offer doodh pedhas to the deity some of them go missing by the next morning.

Temple from the outside

The bell - beautiful

Another view

The carvings were intricate. The place had some serious presence. I prayed to the deity, headed out, took some pics of the bell and the environment and then made my way back. This had been a worthwhile detour. Tanhai seemed to agree. And if Tanhai is happy, we are happy! Off to Pune then!   

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Bijapur - Gol Gumbaz

Gol Gumbaz must be visited at 6-615 am. If you can get your hands on Ramesh, a certified and qualified guide and one of the oldest guides out there. You submit to him and he will show you what the Gol Gumbaz is about. For starters it is the mausoleum of Mohammed Adil Shah, was designed by the famed architect Mallik Sandal. It was constructed between 1626-1656 and looks like nothing on earth will shake it. It looms over the town. 

Here are some pictures.

Dawn from the parking place

More dawn

As we entered the parking lot, me and Tanhai (I think I better introduce my partner on this artist date, my solitude), this superb dawn showed up. We realised that the Gol Gumbaz area is a bit like KBR here, a well known walking spot with lots of well maintained paths around it. Lots of people huffing and puffing. But there was no one at the ticket counter and we waited until a man with namam came over and handed over the ticket. While this was going on a dignified and unobtrusive man came and introduced himself as Ramesh and he could guide us for Rs. 400. Tanhai had no problem so off we went.

From the front - sun setting

Sun setting

Sun set
What you see is not what you always get as you can see from the pictures above. Ramesh explained that the first sight of GolGumbaz is misleading - the dome belongs to the Gol Gumbaz while the structure before it is a different building. Of course he said that as we go closer the gumbaz dips, like the sun in the west. So it did. Me and Tanhai nodded in appreciation.

Gol Gumbaz - could not capture it in my phone

Ramesh was not happy with me dilly dallying around and insisted that it was most important that we head straight to the Gol Gumbaz without further delay and before it becomes a madhouse. though i rebelled a bit I found that Tanhai seemed to favour Ramesh so I tagged along. We had to leave our footwear outside with a cynical looking old man and his dog - one of them adopted the other. And then Ramesh took us into the mausoleum. What a magnificent structure!
Mosque beside the Gol Gumbaz 
The four pillars around the Gol Gumbaz house staircases. As in Golconda where it is almost impossible to find the entrance to go to the top, so are these entrances. You almost slide into them and then the steep climb up seven stories begins. Tanhai said that she might not have climbed all these stairs by herself and might have been content to gaze at the tombs below but was glad she came along. An artist date is an artist date after all. I huffed and puffed a bit and Ramesh egged me on, worried that others might get there too.
The seven storeys

The landing after each storey
We climbed the stairs and stopped at the landings from where we have spectacular views.
Once we reached the top Ramesh quickly hustled me and Tanhai into the dome and it was awe inspiring to see the structure without any support form pillars. The design of petals that adorns the dome has a few open petals to let in light and air as is evident in the pic below. Ramesh walked across after he found out my name and then began an exhibition of some of the greatest acoustic effects I have ever witnessed. He would whisper from across the dome, some 75 metres away 'Hari sir...I am scratching the bottle' and I could hear him so clearly behind my ear. He dropped a coin, sang a song, whispered sweet nothings and it was beautiful and spell binding. He said the Sultan and his wives would be seated opposite to one another and provision was made that what the Sultan whispered to one, could not be heard by another. (Maybe he whispered the same things to all of them, a common trick I used in my hey day).
The dome inside
The parapet wall inside the dome is very small and I did not dare to step closer as Ramesh warned me saying that some selfie takers had descended rather quickly from the top and I dd not want to meet my maker or the hard basalt below and stayed away. It's a bit risky. But the acoustics was simply the best. I'll try and locate the video file i have of that. By now some young people had found their way up and they did what they were trained to do when you see a quiet and silent place - clap, whistle and make 'Woo' sounds. We left them and headed out where Ramesh took a couple of pictures of me and that was it. He bid good bye, leaving me and Tanhai alone. Tanhai wandered off to the turrets while I gazed at the town.

The building in front - dwarfed

The City

If there is one thing you need to see - it's this Gol Gumbaz and then the Ibrahim Rauza. Bijapur is well worth the trip for anyone who's within 8 hours of it. I am so glad I made the trip. Headed back, some breakfast, music in the car and off I am with Bryan dams singing 'Run to you'. The weather's lovely and I am good for a nice, chilled out road trip to Pune now - about 350 kms. Maybe I have time to see something else on the way.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Bijapur - Ghoda Gaadi Ride and the 12 Tourist Spots

Gol Gumbaz looms over the Bijapur town and its size and shape are so impressive that it hits you like nothing else even as you are approaching the town on the highway. From Naldurg to Sholapur and then to Bijapur through Sholapur's traffic and then on to the highway (most part brilliant) and it took about 2 and a half hours.

I thought I'd head straight to Gol Gumbaz and head off the next day after some quick sight seeing. I went in to park and as I got off a middle aged chap came to me - looking  very parking lot officialish. I thought he wanted me to park someplace else but he was like -if you go in now its like a mad house- go tomorrow at 6 in the morning'. There were a lot of people so I wondered about his advice. 6 is a great time to check out these monuments so I cross checked with another person and he confirmed it. Then this guy says - in two hours I will show you 10-12 sights on my ghoda gaadi for 1000 bucks. It looked like a crazy enough offer so I said, let's go. And off we went. This chap's name was Murtuz, his friend  Hashim joined us, and the beautiful black horse was Arjun. Off we went feeling like we were back in Sholay times.

First to the impressive Masjid. Then the Mahal. Then the huge stage. Then the Jod gummat. Then the Ibrahim Rauza. Then the cannon. Then the watch tower. Then the Lakshmi temple. It was already a couple of hours and I was tired so I decided to pass the others.    

Ghoda gaadi - Arjun (horse), Murtuz (driver) and Hashim (guide)

Jamia Masjid  - Built by Adil Shah after the victory at Talikota, it is one of the first mosques built in India. Massive. Accommodates 5000 people he said. One entrance made made by Aurangazeb.

Entrance - impressive

Massive prayer hall

View of the Aurangazeb gate from within the mosque


Aurangazeb gate

A lovely structure - part of the mosque

Off we went then, through the narrow and dirty lanes of Bijapur in the ghoda ghadi, as they expertly managed to not hit anyone or trample anyone. I saw many old houses.
Old house

The structure on the left belonged to some nobleman

Mehtar Mahal - Built in 1620 it is considered an architectural marvel. It was the home of another nobleman as I gathered.
Mehtar Mahal - Magnificient

The entrance

Inside - view of roof

Some intricate architecture
View of the road

Gagan Mahal - I am not sure if this was Gagan Mahal but it sure looks like it. It's a beautiful spot, lush lawns, people sitting around. Lovely.
Lovely place - darbar hall and all

There's a nice group of people sitting in a circle at the corner

Loved this pic - Life in Bijapur

Jod Gummat - Two domes,  holy places, housing tombs of two holy men. Women not allowed says the sign. I went in. Low ceiling, beautiful interiors.

Jod Gummat

Ibraim Rauza - The Taj of the Deccan, the tombs of Ibrahim Adil Shah and his wife Taj Sultana. Architect Mallik Sandal. The structure on the left is the tomb - Ibrahim Rauza and the structure on the right is the mosque. Exquisite.
Ibrahim Rauza on the left, mosque on the right

Ibrahim Rauza

The mosque

Another view of Ibrahim Rauza 

Malik e Maidan - There is a huge,  huge cannon which they said was brought from Ahmed Nagar as dowry when Chand Bibi was married into the Bijapur Sultanate.
Cannon from Ahmed Nagar

Upili Burj - Watch Tower. Has some two flights of steps from where you get beautiful views of the city.

Upili Buruj

Some more quaint houses on the way, a Lakshmi temple etc. Ghoda gaadi charges 1000 bucks (can negotiate surely). Guide took another 400 but need not have paid since he simply tagged along. Anyway the duo was entertaining so I was happy. I didn't see 12, only 7 but that was OK.