Bangalore has grown a lot. I have 5+ relatives living in 5 houses and each of those houses, including my sister’s own is on the outer periphery of the city, along what is called the outer ring road. Since most of my relatives work, I ended up being able to visit only one relative or friend a day, more or less. There are lots I have not visited, and lots I desperately wanted to, but given the time I had, I think I did a good job.
From Bangalore, me and six of my friends went to this wonderful coffee+honey estate called Honey Valley Estate. It is a wonderful place in Coorg, complete with blood sucking leeches and friendly dogs. We went hiking up to a waterfall. The owner of the place manages the house with his wife, who also cooks for the visitors. The rates were extremely low, considering the kind of oppurtunity they provide. Most of the visitors to this house-cum-guesthouse are foreigners who somehow manage to find the best ways to spend time in India! So up we went to the waterfall, and me and Vasu climbed high into the falls. Three leeches tasted my blood, but it wasn’t that bad. In fact this was the best trip I have been on in the last three years or so. I will post some pictures later.
After coming back to Bangalore, I happened to visit Shiok, a far eastern cuisine restaurant, with Siddharth. I had a nice long chat with Madhu Menon, the restauranteur, ex-techie, and blogger. He was a Usability expert in his previous role as a techie, and we had a nice little discussion about WordPress could use some improvement. His personal weblog run MT, but he has about a dozen or so WordPress weblogs — of friends and such — under his wing. If you are in Bangalore, check out Shiok, it is an enchanting place, and the service is the best I have seen yet in India. Scratch that, the people who waited on me treated me better than anywhere else, so it is the best I’ve had so far.
So after Bangalore, I went to that must-go destination — Tirupati. He happens to be our “Family Lord”, and the trip is always an amazing one. The place is so crowded and the lines for a glimpse of the Lord in all his glory are so long, at any given time. The ultimate experience, really. So I got there at 4 AM one day, and found out that the earliest I could hope to get darsan was at 11 AM the next day! This was the “Special” darsan, for which one has to pay a small sum of money. To cut a long story short, I had darsan almost 36 hours after I first landed there. The not-so-special ordinary line is even worse — you have to stand in line for about 24 hours. With my coupon, I only had to stand in line for 6 hours. A side effect of the trip is that I now have no hair. My head is tonsured, I am a skinhead now.
Right now I am still on the road, seeing the sights and sounds that were once familiar, laughing at the spelling mistakes on sign boards and menus. Photos and notes later…