A Step Away From Heaven

It was a few months ago a friend had come back from the Caribbean islands and was over cloud nine over it. For about a month he went Caribbean this Caribbean that and how Goa Indian beach paradise can never compare to it ever. His logic was all Indian tourists places have temples and other religious places…. And in his opinion religion corrupts….. Be it man or nature religion corrupts every thing near it. I am not a very religious person… but I didn’t agree with his opinion on religion but derogatory comment about India touched a nerve, and why should it not?? We are such a diverse country.. we have everything be it snow capped mountains of the Himalayas or the burning desert of Thar or rain forests or pristine beaches of Goa…. (Ok fine, that last part was over the top, but I love my country and every thing it has to offer so sue me!!).     

Anyways I wanted to show him he was wrong India has many beautiful places to offer that was just as beautiful as the Caribbean, If not more beautiful. So I invited him to come with me to my trip to Gokarna, a small beach town in Karnataka reaching here is quite easy it is connected to major cities of south by road and from Mumbai it is a stop on the Mumbai Mangalore route. But I prefer the road trip as the sights on the way while travelling by the roads in the Western Ghats are heavenly…..

So we left Mumbai by road early in the morning for Gokarna. Well the sights on the way once we crossed Goa and entered the Western Ghats the sights we saw finally shut him up about how any trip India can in no way compare to his trip to the Caribbean. It was late in the night or early in the morning (depending on how you read time) we reached Gokarna. We were dead tired and no hotel was open but we did have rooms booked at Namaste cafĂ©. Sun rise was about 2 hours away and so we sat on the beach under the clear starry sky. It was beautiful!! The pitch black of the sky and our surroundings gave it a solitary effect but the starry sky and the breeze took away all our weariness. Later we saw the sun rise and were greeted with a sight of biblical proportion. That was when I told him in detail about the place…. It is named after a beach which is in the shape of the cow’s ear there are two temples on this beach which are very old and have their own unique story. The mention of temples I could see made him skeptical about visiting it. And it we sensed it in him when we visited it later in the day. But what he saw was very different, a very organized and clean atmosphere that is when I started ribbing him about his comment about religion, to which he grudgingly conceded that this was not what he expected. Later during the next 5 days we spent a day each on 3 beaches of kudlee beach, om beach and gokarna beah staying in shacks and trekked to paradise beach and half-moon beach. We learned that is also called the holy beaches as 3 of the 5 beaches have religious references.
 At the end of the trip we calculated the total expense of the trip and it cost the both of us Rs10,000, i.e. 5000 a head. After enough ribbing even he accepted that this trip to what I referred to a step below heaven was almost as much fun as his trip to the Caribbean. Then he asked be why did I call Gokarna as “a step below heaven.” To which my answer was

The Third Eye

Camera… My third of eye.  Yes its kind of dramatic, I know, but that is the best I can describe it. It is more than an eye really as with it I am able to capture the sights I see around me and am also able to share it with many people. For all the people who want to share what they see with their friends and loved ones, a DSLR camera is the gift no less important than the fire stolen by Prometheus from the heavens.

 “A camera is a camera. Why would one want to spend nearly a lakh to buy a camera when one can get one by spending only a fraction of that sum?” some people ask. Well there are cameras and “CAMERAS” a DSLR is the later, there is no way any one can get the clarity of a DSLR in any digital point and shoot cameras nor do the point and shoot provide its user the freedom to experiment and explore….. But the factor of price cant be ignored. The expensive price of a DSLR camera is the biggest hurdle that makes the people rethink weather to buy or not buy a SLR camera and makes them choose a digital point and shoot.
Well man is nothing if not innovative….. With the many recent break through in camera technology canon has introduced the EOS rebel series.  Gone are the days when one had to shell out nearly a lakh to get a reasonably good camera…. The new rebel series is loaded with features…. For the people who want to seriously pursue photography but don’t want to shell out a huge amount the rebel EOS T2i 550D is an excellent choice…. It has the same compact body as other half-frame cameras from canon which enables one to operate the different features of the camera with one hand leaving the other hand for the focusing lens and giving stability to the camera it is also pretty light weighing only 475g, it has ISO that ranges from 100-12800, shutter speed of 30-1/4000 sec, and maximum aperture of 3.5. When coupled with a 18-135 lens it makes a very versatile camera and lens pair. It has a continuous shoot facility of 3.7 frames per sec helping in taking pictures of a moving target. It has 18million colors but a sensor is that of a higher camera. The biggest advantage of this camera is its ability to brilliantly clear pictures at low light. Its not as expensive as previous cameras with same features. With it costing neatly Rs 40,000 it is still expensive but also affordable, it is a very good choice for those who want to learn photography and explore the sights around them….
So people with the camera with you walk out of the stereotype broaden your vision and dream…. see the world with your third eye and share….

The Beginning.........

What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.

These words written by William Henry Davies a century ago is more relevant in today’s time. Life in today’s time is fast and hectic. People lead a robotic life, wake up go to work, come back home, do the work brought home and go to sleep. And the cycle starts again the next day.

Especially in a city like Mumbai there is no time to sit back and relax you have to be on the move. To stop is to lose your edge and your ability to survive in Mumbai.

Every day while travelling by train and some times by bus people can be classified into three groups. The first consists of people of the religious temperament chanting away on religious hymns and distributing Prasad to their fellow travellers. This is by far the larger group. If they obtain peace by doing then it is their choice, I say if because many fellow passengers join them so they can have a seat to sit at least part of the journey to work. The second group is that of the music lovers. They always have a pair of ear plugs stuffed in their ears and are always bobbing their heads to the music they are listening, obtaining their peace of mind from the music they are listening, oblivious to the world passing them by.

The third group doesn’t really qualify as a group as they are so few and are always alone and almost never travel together. They are normally taken to be part of the fore mentioned groups. They are normally seen near the windows or near the entrance of the train bogie. Some people call them dreamers, as they are lost in their own world. I asked one what is it that he does every day staring out and his answer was that “I am relaxing by looking at the beauty of the city passing us by.”
That was definitely not the answer I was expecting. Had he said that he was thinking or contemplating about life, I could understand that but “looking at beauty passing us by” made me question his thought process, as we mumbaikars consider our city as one if the dirtiest place to live in. His answer was something that rattled around in my head as if I was trying to grasp an oil-coated marble (playing marble). Every time I felt I understood what he meant, I some how lost my chain of thought.
It was later a few days later while I was traveling across the Marine drive, watching the rolling waves of the sea and listening to John Lennon’s song “You may think I am a dreamer” (though the song was about completely different topic) that I finally understood his point of view. We live our life in a mechanical manner. Things that we see around us give us no relaxation of mind, we look for this relaxation by listening to music or singing hymns (and perhaps disturbing other people). But in reality all these are unnecessary, all we have to do is look at the sights around us and listen to the sounds around us. The chirping of birds is not more melodious outside Mumbai nor is the sunrise or the sun set more beautiful in Goa. Just that we find the chirping of the birds more melodious on vacations or sights and are more beautiful because we want them to be.
It was while listening to Lennon’s song I realized that if being a dreamer makes me happy, more productive and on the whole a better human being, then I don’t mind being called a dreamer.

You, you may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one, I hope someday you will join us
And the world will live as one.”