Friday, August 29, 2008

Kashid ahoy!!

3 days of holidays!!!! Yipppeeeee!!! We hit the road on the independent morning (independent from work as well) on a unplanned long drive to Kashid. Not many would have heard of it. It’s a beach that is a 4-5 hour drive from Mumbai. Our spirits weren’t exactly soaring..a hard week at office, a vacation gone awry, no prior arrangement for lodging and boarding done at Kashid, getting stuck in an awful traffic jam for over two hours on a holiday..well, it all dissolved into nothingness as the verdant greenery all around enveloped us. The rains had enchanted the land and blessed it with a glory never seen in the bustle and pollution in today’s cities.

I had only heard of the rich vistas that the Konkan landscape offered. The ride offered hills, the seaside, green forests, pastures, quaint villages and everything a landscape can offer to please our eyes, minds and senses. We had anticipated a lack of sign boards and deserted roads. On the contrary, milestones, helping villagers appeared at all junctions guiding us along the way. As we neared Kashid, or so we thought, signs of “Good Lodging and Boarding facilities available” appeared at the gates of several homes as did several resort signs pop up everywhere. We checked out the “Nandgaon” beach, didn’t like it so much, so moved a further 30 kms to Kashid where the white sands and clean water completely bowled us over. The holiday season being full on, the 4 star hotels and resorts such as Prakruti Resorts, Sarve huts, Kashid Beach Resort etc, were all full anyway. We opted for accommodation at one of the alluring sea facing bunglows that were converted to acco places. There are a variety of offerings in these suiting all pockets. We found a really nice place with clean hospitable rooms with all modern amenities and amazing food. The locals here are extremely hospitable and provide excellent service catering to your every need.

After parking ourselves at one such comfortable place, we headed to the Janjeera fort away from Kashid. Murud-Janjeera is another popular tourist spot further ahead of Kashid. The beach of Murud is amazing too though a wee bit crowded. The main attraction here is the imposing fort of Janjeera which looms large right in the middle of the sea making it invincible. Many battles were fought here and I could well hear the roar of the sea and the thunder of cannons from the fort protecting it from enemies. This historic fort, the guide told us was 900 years old. Hats off to our ancestors who built this monument that still stands proud despite all the weathering inflicted by wind and water thus belittling modern day buildings that collapse with the slightest tremor.

The sea always instills in me a wonder, awe and a reverence to Him who has created it. The vast expanse of water never ceases to amaze me. The Sea seems to me, alive, humongous and sometimes terrifying even though the breeze by the sea brings a peace to me that can be sought no where else. The spirit of all those creatures within, I guess, imbibe their spirits in the sea which takes up the form of a benevolent benefactor being the source of all that we are today in the form of being a part of the water cycle, or casting its malevolence to strike in the form of typhoons, hurricanes, to remind the world, the earth with all its elements is not to be taken for granted.

Anyways, coming back to the trip, the next morning, we headed back home bidding farewell to the azure waters and the pearly sands. We stopped by the Birla temple that was on the way, We stopped after every few minutes to savour the scenery for the last time and capture more images for posterity of the earth that still is today, eat by a stream flowing by, visit the Birla temple enroute, buy the local honey at a farm, visit a village temple. Well, all good things finally end (otherwise they wouldn’t be good, isn’t it?). We braced ourselves once again to face the horns, the smoke, hordes of people, noise, and the hustle-bustle of what they call urban life.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Maid vs Malkin

There was a time when the Malkin dictated and the Maid obeyed. Times change, Now, the Bai dictates, and the Malkin pleads her to have mercy. I have had to change 3 bais in 3 months. A fat salary, no hassles (I do not have the time in the mornings to monitor her work you see)..Still they left me feeling helpless and frustrated. I am not tyrannical or anything you may think. They prefer living in poverty without food to getting up at 730 in the morning.

Let me compare the salary of a Bai and that of a well educated teacher. Their monthly salaries are Rs 1000 and Rs 5000 (yes, the teachers salaries are dismal).

The Bai first: They take atleast 6 holidays per month. Come late for 18 days. 3 days before the salary date and after, they are on time and do a decent job. So, am I paying them for just 6 days + 9 days (they do only half the work for 18) = 15 days. That is the full salary for half the work done. So, they get paid around a 800 Rs for 7.5 hrs (considering half an hrs work everyday). So they get Rs133.33/hr.

The Teacher: For 8 hrs of work everyday, for 6 days a week, they draw around Rs 5000 per month or even less. That is Rs 104.666/hr. That is after all the stress of teaching, commuting, understanding students, making them understand etc etc. Where are the human rights activists now?

If we all regular office goers are expected to be responsible and accountable to our employers, are not these maids, who expect only rights but no accountability?


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Book Review--The 3 mistakes of my life by Chetan Bhagat

After reading the first two books of Chetan Bhagat, I picked this third with pretty low expectations. Wanting to be Indias most 'loved' writer rather than admired one, I reckon he writes about what Indians will want to read about, with all the masala possible..romance, action, dreams,....and of course Cricket

This book tells the tale of three friends caught in the tumult of business, love, friendship, natural calamities, politics, religion,dreams and what not. Govind with his two friends opens a novel cricket store that offers all cricketing solutions ranging from merchandise to cricket coaching iin their little sleepy town. The story moves on to tell the tale of their discovery of Ali, a cricket whiz kid and the turn of events due to him.
Chetan Bhagat rants about how passionate Australians are about sports but how few brownie points a billion plus country earns in the arena of sports. He also shows the Indians’ disapproval of kids who are spurned by parents if they do not get high marks in exams which are the only things that matter somehow. He touches upon the religious and the political issues rampant in Gujrat. The story was readable, the narrative good. Well, looks like there might be one more film coming along his way after one night @ a call center.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Book Review- A Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey Archer

I expectantly bought this book after a long hiatus of not reading Jeffrey Archer. Well, it got off to a racy start, trundled in the middle, and raced to the finish. The pace of the book was excellently set against the fulgurant storyline.

The protagonist of the book Danny was wrongly indicted to 22 years of imprisonment at Belmarsh for the murder of his best friend and fiancées brother, Bernie. The murder was as a result of a brawl between Danny, Bernie and four drunken big-shots, one of whom took a fancy to Beth. The murderer and his chums craftily got away making Danny the scapegoat. Little did they know Danny would certainly seek his revenge.

I initially thought, the book would go the ‘Shawshank Redemption’ way; well, it went the Grisham way when Danny battled for his freedom at the courts. The twists were amazing though a bit impossible (can’t spill the beans, can I?). JA after his prison experience, I guess, has added those little details which have portrayed the prison life brilliantly.

Overall, I ld rate this book as really great entertainment; movie material I ld say!