Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Wanderlust’s debut travelogue

If the deafening noise of the roaring waterfalls did nothing to scare me away from poking my body underneath the downpour, the fear of any rocks rolling flippantly down the falls did prove a matter of concern for me. But not for too long. I couldn’t help but get used to the (meaningless?) fear of getting squashed – if that happened – in no time and join the number of half-naked men who took a bath amidst loud screeches.

That almost sums up my entire funny little trip to Courtallam. Funny little trip as in ‘the trip only lasted for two nights’.

The lushly peaks that border the place, the dense tree-packed landscape, lovely vegetation planted countryside, and not to mention the chill air with no pollution in the slightest form – especially without the maddening dust that clouds the roads after each vehicle passes by – makes the place awfully beautiful. Being the off-season period, Courtallam is blissfully devoid of its usual jam-packed tourist crowd. The place in itself seems to be enjoying its own tranquility and exuding a sense of self-pleasure, only if you care to read the signs.

Waking to the chitter-chatter of strange and unfamiliar birds and the squeals of monkeys trying to pilfer food from the tourists make a pleasant wake up call. For once, I wished that I woke up there everyday.

A tiny piece of nature’s bounty, Courtallam has numerous waterfalls – small and big – in its territory. All it takes is just a day or two to be able to visit all the attractions. Season starts from mid-June to mid-August.

During this monsoon season, the entire region wears an almost deserted look. However, there isn’t any dearth of enthusiastic – and often noisy – visitors who take a dip in all the falls with profuse merriment. Options to stay are plenty, in nominal charges, especially during the off-peak season.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

The art of saying No

It wasn't until an absolute stranger banged a phone on me that I started to think that I should learn the art of saying 'No', a tough one for me so far. I have never practised saying no in my entire life, probably for the fear of offending/hurting people's sentiments when I am asked for a help or to run an errand for that matter.

Hey, I'm looking for a change of job. You think you can help? Hey I want to rent a house in your locality, Can you give me some leads? I'm looking for people for my company, let me know if you have any contacts. You think you can finish this task before the deadline?

These and many more such requests / questions invariably receive an 'of course I can' reply from me. I tend to forget the whole thing of promise right after. Or in some instances I genuinely try and fail to follow up that leads to zero results. Nothing sucks as bad as breaking a promise or doing absolutely nothing about to fulfill the same and the strangest thing is that I'm absolutely aware of that.

However, it dawned on me recently – thanks to the wisdom of a telemarketing female – that I should start saying no. I usually do not attend calls from unknown numbers for fear of wasting time mostly or just to avoid those annoying calls trying to sell a holiday package, credit card or a club membership. I had a girl calling me recently asking me to enroll in their club. In an attempt to avoid her, I told her I was busy and that she could call me back at a later time (I sure have missed my chance of saying No at this point). She dutifully called me 'at a later time' on the same day evening and started explaining the benefits I enjoy if I were to join the club.

After a while, when I couldn't stand it anymore I told her that I was not interested in any club memberships. She could've thanked me before ending the conversation. But, she rather preferred to question me as to why I did not tell her at the first place if it was not of any interest to me before banging the phone on me.

Fair enough! I wasn't angry or upset. It suddenly dawned on me that it was my fault. Had I told 'No' I would've saved some time for her and a little invisible embarrassment for me.

Sometimes strangers teach lesson too.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Only in India where……… Part I

Disclaimer: Ranting of a fellow Indian in a slight hope that things would be better after atleast a couple of generations. (Only people in touch with contemporary India’s occurrences can relate to this ranting)

1) A State Government can overlook the Supreme Court’s order proscribing a state-wide public strike and still cripple the entire functions of the state in the name of a hunger protest. In the same breadth, Politicians can challenge the orders of Supreme Court and go on record saying that this matter is not under any court’s jurisdiction.

2) Friends kill each other for reasons as silly as not getting the first bite of the snack when they are drunk. Kill as in beating and thrashing the victim – their friend, mind you – to death in the sidewalks.

3) Individuals accused of road rage that seized 7 innocent people off their lives are sentenced a mere 3 years in jail. Even worse, they are granted bail upon appeal to the Apex court pronouncing them free.

4) Companies perform a thorough background check before recruiting for the lowest of the lowest positions. On the contrary, no criminal records – however in severity they may be – will prevent individuals from entering into politics. Worse even, they are conveniently elected into power by the so-called innocent people and enjoy ranks of cabinet ministers and even chief ministers of state.

5) Sensex soars to unbelievable levels and share market presents a rosy picture of the economy. However, on the contrary, there are still suicides of famine struck farmers induced by hunger. May be this is what they call ironic.