Vaccination Dose 1.0

I was keen to get vaccinated before my plan to get some swimming coaching in the new Olympic size swimming pool to be opened on March 15, 2021 in Jayanagar, Bangalore. It’s just walking distance from our place in Jayanagar.

Karnataka state has severe restrictions on people traveling from certain states, which include Kerala where I am in now.

With the first vaccination done now, I can get the second one completed before I travel to Bangalore in April. That should take care of the travel restrictions.

Before that I have the masters swimming state meet on March 13, 2021 in Thrissur, Kerala. As such it’s a good time to have the first dose done.

I hope, with the world getting vaccinated, we can have a flat world again.

Vaccination Dose 1.0

Colourful Evening Sky

This is the skyline today March 5, 2021 at 7 pm captured from our balcony, across the Kochi backwaters through to the Naval residences.

Sunset was spectacular, but usually the sky turns dark by 7 pm, not today.

Just a crazy thought to biblical sayings of God showing Noah after the floods, when he landed his arc, the sprawling rainbow as a sign and assurance of no further punishment with such floods.

Just that we had the Covid vaccination done today in the afternoon. What if this skyline is the sign of blessings for a pandemic free future. Hope so.

Nature is beautiful. And it will smile on us if we take care of it.

Let’s preserve and protect the earth and for that matter the solar system for future generations. And enjoy the goodness.

Colourful Evening Sky

Pulinkuru (Tamarind Seeds) and a Traditional Recipe.

I have written about my new passion for sweet tamarind which is now available packaged.

I have started collecting the seeds, drawing on memory lines when the roasted pulinkuru was savoured.

I have to collect more for the right quantity for my exciting plan to make pulinkuru balls. So this recipe is from the plan and I hope to display the final product after making it.

Roast pulinkuru and remove the skin. Powder when cooled down.

Roast some brown rice and powder it. Mix the two powders and add grated coconut and palm jaggery powder. Mix some cardamom seed powder.

Run the mix in a mixer for a smooth consistency. Make into small balls and press half a cashew nut on each ball.

This delicacy is full of goodness.

Pulinkuru (Tamarind Seeds) and a Traditional Recipe.

Instagrammer

Yes, now I am an accomplished instagramer!

I started on Instagram modestly, to post some photos and see some from friends. It’s a good place for that.

But the friendship and Camaraderie found there is unique. People connected, mostly with some passion in common, interact beautifully in the community.

We don’t claim that we know much of any detailed or personal information of those who follow us or we follow. But we’re connected by a beautiful bond. A bond of pure friendship, supporting and encouraging each other.

I am wholeheartedly thanking each one of those following me. And I must admit that I have a true desire to be an active participant and a genuine follower to all the wonderful people in the community.

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart and see you and those who are to be connected, happily in the Instagram pages, day in and out.

I am a devoted Instagramer.

Instagrammer

Competitive Sports Resumes.

I was to go to Kansai in Japan in May 2021 to compete in world masters swimming, which is now postponed to May 2022 due to Covid.

Preliminary competitions at the state and national levels were not held in 2020. Now the Kerala state masters games are to be held from March 12 to 15 2021 in Thrissur.

Swimming pools were closed and we’re short of practice. Worse, I got a shoulder impingement trying to mimic swimming on land.

With barely 10 days for the meet, I have started in the pool. And it’s tough with the first casualty being my intermittent fasting schedule. For example, last night, I had to eat at 10 pm, while my dinner gets over at 5 pm on a fasting day.

I am a river swimmer and used to play water polo in college, but not competitive swimming. I have been a shot putter and I have registered for the masters shot put and discus throw too.

Frankly I am not fully prepared and I am slightly injured. But it’s in taking part and any medal will be a bonus.

Having said that, all of us are short of practice.

And in a competition, the target is to win.

Competitive Sports Resumes.

Chandrakaaran, the best of the best in mangoes.

It’s not Alphonso, or for that matter other popular varieties like Banganapalli or Malgoa that comes to my mind when it’s on the best mangoes. It’s Chandrakaaran.

And there are many varieties within shankarakaaran, depending actually on the tree for it’s taste and goodness.

The best of the best then is seen in the image here. It’s from the mango tree in our residential compound.

Coming in the category of ‘naattu maav’ (local mango tree), the fruits are grown in bunches, but small in size.

Eating them is simple. Just wash them well and consume including the skin. The pulp is fibrous and extremely juicy and tasty.

I just had one and the seed left behind is carefully planted in a pot and kept on the balcony. When it comes out, I will transfer it to our land in the hometown.

If you get a chance to find some of them, just grab them. By the way, all of them are not this extremely tasty. But you can smell the taste.

Chandrakaaran, the best of the best in mangoes.

Back Home in Kochi.

We drove back to Kochi from Bangalore yesterday after 3 weeks of stay there.

In fact it was the Covid breakout in March 2020 that created the idea of making Kochi and Bangalore alternate as home.

The lockdown stay of 10 months started when we were stuck in Bangalore without a vehicle as we flew down that time for a short stay.

But this time we took our car and thus could do two memorable drive in holidays to Hampi and Yelagiri. That included a most memorable stay at ultra luxurious resort Evolve Back in Humpi. (please see my blog ‘EVOLVE BACK HUMPI! A SUPER RESORT AND A GENTLE HOLIDAY’.)

Driving is a pleasure, we have good roads now, but the experience is increasingly getting not very pleasurable.

Regionalism, parochialism, dislike-bordering hatred are being encouraged. The pandemic is used as a political weapon to say ‘we’re good and they’re bad’.

Vehicle registered in another state needs to give so many explanations and sort of gets singled out for rules compliance. Rules set before the roads were made super. For example I was to give fine for over speeding on an elevated road where everyone was at 120 kms/hr while the limit is set at 60. You just can’t drive on 60 without getting blown out from vehicles behind.

Happy to be back to see these water birds landing for the team fishing in the waterfront as unique and inspiring morning sight.

But water again would take me back to Bangalore as the beautiful Jayanagar new 50 meters pool is getting opened on March 15.

Imagine walking across for swimming training in Olympic size swimming pool, every day. Total bliss.

Back Home in Kochi.

A Road Trip to Hampi, A UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Hampi was the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire in the 14th century. Chronicles left by Persian and European travellers, particularly the Portuguese, say that Hampi was a prosperous, wealthy and grand city near the Tungabhadra River, with numerous temples, farms and trading markets. By 1500 CE, Hampi-Vijayanagara was the world’s second-largest medieval-era city after Beijing, and probably India’s richest at that time, attracting traders from Persia and Portugal. The Vijayanagara Empire was defeated by a coalition of Muslim sultanates; its capital was conquered, pillaged and destroyed by sultanate armies in 1565, after which Hampi remained in ruins.

Located in Karnataka near the modern-era city of Hosapete, Hampi’s ruins are spread over 4,100 hectares (16 sq mi) and it has been described by UNESCO as an “austere, grandiose site” of more than 1,600 surviving remains of the last great Hindu kingdom in South India that includes “forts, riverside features, royal and sacred complexes, temples, shrines, pillared halls, mandapas, memorial structures, water structures and others

We decided to drive from Bangalore and it was a 5 hours drive with good roads. Just casual travellers, we couldn’t have to spend the required time to enjoy and feel the history. But what we could lay our eyes on were fabulous, matching those we see in ancient excavations in Greece, Rome, Turkey etc.

Those specials clearly striking were the music producing stone pillars, stone carvings with several animals carved on a single stone, designer ‘queens bath’ with symmetrical steps etc.

And one gets to stay at what I described in the earlier blog ‘the paradise on earth’ the Evolve Back Resort.

A must visit place for those interested in history, archeology, architecture and heritage.

(Many of the details are care of Wikipedia. Please read there for further information).

A Road Trip to Hampi, A UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Evolve Back Humpi! A Super Resort and A Gentle Holiday.

Splendid is what I have to say about our stay in the lovely resort ‘Evolve Back’ in Humpi, Karnataka.

A visit to the ruins of the fabulous kingdom of Vijayanagara famous for the magnificence and architectural splendour and which had over 25,000 horses and 50,000 elephants, was overdue.

It’s 5 hours drive from Bangalore and a comfortable stay was needed and friends recommended resort Evolve Back.

Reviews and pictures were fascinating. And my wife picked up a 1100 sq ft accommodation.

Frankly I am not too worried about the size of the room. During my working life in Bombay, our family of four were living in a 900 sq ft apartment. And in a 8000 sq. ft house while working in Philippines.

Also, while doing a program in INSEAD France, the visiting Harvard professor took us to ‘Formula One’ accommodations priced at Euro 9.99. The concept was that a bed with clean linen and bathroom are all what is required for a traveller.

Holiday is different, but still 1100 sq ft is luxury. Imagine then to be told at check in that we were upgraded to 2600 square feet Jal Mahal suites with a private pool. Sublime!

The resort is just amazing, simply out of the world. It’s built, taking into account the opulence of the mighty Vijayanagara kingdom, the architecture and stone paved roads and the water bodies making it a wonderfully beautiful palace.

The trip was to see the ruins of the kingdom, but we were enjoying and living the royal experience inside resort, with the result we spent an entire day doing nothing, but absorbing the beauty, elegance, comfort, food and the outstanding experience of interacting with the well trained, polite, friendly and pleasing staff.

Everyone from the General Manager to those important service staff were eager to enquire our welfare and made us feel really valuable.

We even had a service personnel an angelic, smart and sweet young lady Miss Yashashri Bhaje assigned as a single point of contact so that we never felt any difficulty in getting anything. She’s immaculate.

The good old Ambassodor car-made convertible, the traveling flute artist whose melodies were heard from anywhere, the food in both the main dining hall and the dinner at Lotus Mahal all are some of the extras that is making one want to experience them over and over again.

The awe and amazement of seeing the ruins and architecture of the kingdom on the following day was a fitting compliment to the splendid experience we had in this luxurious resort.

Stunned in these momentous luxuries, a little bit of anxiety of a tourist on the recent cancellation policies of resorts were forgotten. Perhaps the tourism industry may take a re-look on something like 100% penalty for cancellation within 14 days to check-in. We’re in an uncertain times and a more liberal terms like a tiered penalty policy could make everyone happy. Such smaller breakage should compensate any lost opportunity, and could see more and more waiting in the queue.

I have no hesitation in recommending this beautiful property for a unique experience. Privilege of seeing the magnificence of the famous kingdom is enhanced with the wonderful experience at the resort.

Reasons why one should experience the stay here:

1. History of Hampi

2. Best in class resort

3. Super service

4. Will exceed expectations

If 5 is the maximum rating, this is 5+*.

Evolve Back Humpi! A Super Resort and A Gentle Holiday.

Valentine’s Day

What a special day this is! Celebrated with all the vigour and enthusiasm all over the world.

A day of love, friendship, goodness and compassion.

Flowers are the symbol, cupid the passion and gaiety the celebrations.

It’s the day when St. Valentine wrote a letter to a fellow prisoner’s daughter before he was executed.

“To-morrow is Saint Valentine’s day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Then up he rose, and donn’d his clothes,
And dupp’d the chamber-door;
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more.”
— William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5”

That’s Shakespeare! If it’s easy, then Shakespeare would have been read and not taught.

“The rose is red, the violet’s blue,
The honey’s sweet, and so are you.
Thou art my love and I am thine;
I drew thee to my Valentine:
The lot was cast and then I drew,
And Fortune said it shou’d be you.”

That’s Nursery Rhyme for us lesser mortals, and it says it all.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day