As I stood at the edge of this unknown lake, grey clouds surrounded Makalidurga. Behind me herds of sheep neighed and marched, cows moo-ed, and a dog barked. My friends chatted away in the distance, something about Coca-Cola or Sprite. But in the silence, you could hear the wind rushing, the slow gurgle of the water, an occasional spit-splat as the stones hit the water. The hill looked different now, greener even.

The betta from afar

Makalidurga, is a tiny hill beyond Doddballapura, that’s set in a district with the same name. A railway line marks the entrance of the hill, or rather the climb. The route till there is accessible by car or bike. After a tedious process of registering with the forest department, our climb began. The internet said it was a 4/5 hour climb.

As we made our way through the sandy shrubbery, we were asked if we could carry a small bag of cement to the top. ‘For the temple construction’, they explained. A few of my friends offered to, and I have never seen them regret a decision more. Far away we could hear the saffron people screaming ‘Jay Hanuman’, it echoed down the pathway. Later, we were told by the yelneer anna that people (read men) came specially to carry bags of cement to the top.

The path to the top was marked by white arrows, some on the ground, some on the trees. And for those who could not afford to look down, the path was marked by saffron ribbons on the trees. Surprisingly, the place lacked monkeys; there were garden lizards, and some bugs and insects. But no monkeys.

The hill, though green, was barren. It had dry grass that left scratches and cuts on your hand, it had trees, but no shade, it had rocks that were heated up by the sun above. But it had these flowers, the size of a big ant, and the colour of the sun. When you stood on the edges that the paths offered, you could see those great fluffy clouds casting humongous shadows down on the fields below, and nothing ever looked more enthralling and unique.

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You’ve reached the top when you see this.

Climbing Makalidurga was tiring, exhausting even, mostly because of the scorching heat. It was a three kilometer trek, but it seemed like it was 30. Finding water there is hard. At each edge, you see humongous lakes surrounding the hills. They’re waters reflecting the clouds above, but on the hill itself, you’re left parched.

Once you climb it, the lakes around are your motivation to come back down. Right on top is a small fort and an even smaller temple, and a poorer attempt at a man made lake. Makalidurga is said to have been a fort for the Vijayanagara empire where army exercises were conducted. Cannot imagine what they were thinking.

Some useful tips:

-Carry loads of water

-Shades and a cap too

-Wear shoes that are not worn out

-Don’t impose your ideas on others

-Be kind and respectful.

Over and out.


The hills and the Stars

As the road from Belur began, I anxiously peeped out through the think beige curtains of the bus. The sun hit my eyes, but still revealed a little city. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the ancient temple that this town had accommodated for hundreds of years, but we were well past it. I drew the curtains back and dreamed of the green hills-cold, tranquil with an occasionally whoosh of the wind, the estates, and strong smell of coffee from a tiny hut, and what not.

The next peek showed me hills. The hills with the giant grey windmills, which I would always see while travelling to the native. When I was younger, we stopped at every third windmill- either because I wanted a picture or because I wanted to stay in the open air a little longer. These were hills, but they were farming hills, still close to the earth harbouring little fields, not the ones that reached up high to kiss the clouds.

As the bus closed into Chikmangalur, I realised that the hills I wanted were beyond the town I was staying in. Much, much, beyond.


After a little visit to the Coffee Museum, a dimly lit space, we decided to take an auto back to our comfy little hotel. The minute we came out we realised that we were on a isolated highway. L and I slowly began to make our way back to the own. Even though the clock had just struck 5, it seemed like the twilight wanted in early that day.

Cars buzzed by as we walked on the gravel amidst the random bushes the line the roads. Some did have beautiful flowers, purple and white, or a bright yellow. But most looked like the ones that cause my allergy.

(If you’re expecting something nasty to happen, it didn’t. We had a nice walk back though the gravel was a little twisty and annoying to walk on with our flip-flops)


Though the hotels and restaurants looked modern, the gullies of the town were still the quarters of old thatched houses. How beautiful, I tell you.

Pastel shaded abodes of these men and women that had been around for so long that even the nature had begun to see them as their own. The little creepers that hung from the trees, that climbed the walls, broke the paint in some places and revealed the grey blocks of bricks that the shade hid.

Everyone seemed to know everyone here. No matter how much we tried, walked around in the most casual clothes, we were strangers. Their Kannada was similar but different, I can’t precisely remember how- I think it was the words that we used.

Even the cats knew we were strangers; they watched us from the roofs, the balconies, from the top of water tanks, from the windows of houses, their beady eyes following us very carefully. Like they ran a secret service to protect their city from possible threats (us). I could almost imagine them throwing nets as us and capturing us like they do in the film Cats & Dogs (It’s a stupid film, watch it for the puppy, not the story).



By the time my eyes opened the next day, the clock had struck 6. With the shades drawn, the room was still dark. I remembered what day it was. I looked out of the window to see the hills in the distance. Still green, covered in fog.

L was still asleep beside me. Scenes from the GoT episode I had watched last night wouldn’t let go of me, still as fresh as it was the first time. I had to have breakfast.


The hills.

When I first see the road begin to go uphill, my stomach knots with happiness. My chest tightens, I could cry. I really could cry, and would have had my pride let me. The silver oaks are carefully guarding the estates and the shrubs. Estate after estate rushes past, soon the estates run out and the wild bushes take over. Everyone of them adorned with pretty looking flowers, as if to tempt us mortals into touching them (But I remember Amma telling me not to do this and went my way anyway). You can smell the earth, you can taste the air, and what not.

There is no happiness as the one you can feel when you still on the edge of a hill, knowing that if you fall, you’d fall down on the ground a few kilometres below. The wind is howling in your ears, touching your skin and giving you goose bumps, the gravel you’re stilling on is still a little wet from last evening’s rains, everywhere you look it’s a new shade of green.

You learn something new even when you’re sitting idle. Chikmangaluru, I learnt was a secondary forest patch. But putting aside all the botany and shizz, it was green. I can’t even begin to count or name the shades of green- or maybe I didn’t want to.

The silence here is paradise.


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But we stopped to get some chai by the roadside. The old man gave it to us in a little plastic cup. It was hot, steaming hot. The woman in the hut behind us was hitting her clothes hard against the rock to wash off all its dirt. Something spicy broiled inside her hut.

As for us, we sat in her backyard with the small cups of chai. I think this is what happiness is. To sit with your best friend, on the side of a hill and sip on chai. L knew what I was thinking( I think), and smiled back.


As the sun began to set, the proud blue sky began to blush. Red. Yellow. Orange. Purple. And finally, navy blue.

As the bus raced down on the road back home, the stars began to appear in the night sky. One here, one there. And then, they were everywhere. It was like watching a new world begin born, a world where there was tranquillity. A world like the sleepy, green, town that I’d left behind.



A walk I’ll remember.

Walking is something I’m very passionate about; I never lose a chance to walk anywhere. However long or short is the distance. For an article, I had to go to Cubbon Park. I got into a bus that dropped me off at the beginning of Kasturba road.

To reach Cubbon Park, I had to walk about 2 kilometres that would be a half an hour walk. In this half an hour, I saw another Bangalore.

I saw people, men and woman, standing under a stone banner that said “Kasturba Road”, and yet didn’t know where Kasturba Road was (Okay, I admit, I saw a cute guy, so I asked him where the Cubbon park entrance on Kasturba road was, and he told me I was on the wrong road and there was no entrance on this side AT ALL, and his cuteness instantly vanished). But people! Read things around you!

Ice cream wrappers on the footpath, cigarette stubs and newspaper-cones in which groundnuts are sold. I ignored these and walked on. I greeted by the most disagreeable stink. Unable to bear it, I walked as fast as I could. Dear citizens, dustbins are for making the road look pretty and colourful; all waste should ALWAYS be thrown on the footpath or on the road. Also, if there’s a compound wall, it’s to mark boundaries, not something you for you to have a pee-ing competition on.

Not just this, I had to put up with motorists honking at me, even though I was on the footpath. Random motorists looking at me, grinning. Of course, look at me a little more; after all, I’m hopping like a frog on the road, nothing like you’ve ever seen before.

Ah yes, when the signal goes green for the walkers, it isn’t a “wild card” signal that says all vehicles can go where they please. It is for walkers to cross the road. Attendez,s’il vous plaît. Don’t run over us, poor souls.

The little bars that you see on the roads are there so that the rain water can flow into the sewers, not so you people can have a pan spitting competition there. The grey bars are now red.

Also, if you and your buddies want chitchat and walk, spare the others and let them. It doesn’t feel nice to be stuck behind you people and screaming ‘excuse-me!’ a million times and you still not noticing. Your dahi-puri conversation was not that interesting, anyways. Oh and family meetings too! You have a house for that. I don’t like being some express-train passing through your little tunnel.

And, something for you to remember, my headphones might be cuddling my ear. But my music isn’t always playing. Next time you comment about my ass, my shoe will definitely kiss your pretty face.

PS- This is just what I felt about the people and places I saw, so unless you’re one of them, don’t argue with me about this.