I never knew what eucalyptus was until I went to live with my grandparents and uncle and aunt in Bangalore. They lived in what used to be one of the remotest part of Bangalore where every auto driver shuddered to go. This is a place called Malleshpalaya that once used to be nothing but a dense eucalyptus forest. The only two houses were ours and one other person’s who stayed about 100 feet away. The police had given my uncle whistles and a pistol to safeguard the house from dacoits who frequented the place. There were rabbits that roamed freely around the house too. And the air smelled therapeutic. I don’t remember even one warm day through summer. It was always pleasantly cool and biting cold in winters. My cousins and I spent all day collecting little seeds that looked like tops and played with them all day.
By and by, urbanization took over and we saw the magnificent trees that once stood tall and proud being razed to the ground until there were only houses and shops left. But my friend and I discovered this patch of eucalyptus trees on our way back from school and hung out over there everyday. That was razed down too eventually and all that stands there are apartments apartments and more apartments. Auto drivers no longer crib to take you there, if anything they make a face if you ask them to take you anywhere out of Malleshpalaya.
This eucalyptus thicket is what inpired me to write the thriller/mystery fiction “The Eucalyptus Grove” You can grab your copy from http://pothi.com/pothi/book/r-nithya-eucalyptus-grove-0. Please be kind enough to leave behind a review of the book as well. Thank you well in advance.
My husband is in the defence services and when he told me that he got a transfer to Vishakhapatnam aka Vizag, my face fell. As far as I knew, Vizag was a dry place with no amusement or entertainment whatsoever. But did I have a choice? So I packed my bags and followed him.
Just before the plane was about to land, I peeped out of the window. And that was love at first sight. We were flying over the ocean and I could see the shoreline , and it was absolutely amazing. We landed and headed towards the place where we were allotted accommodation. Once we left the dirty polluted roads and the market place behind, we entered the main gates of Dolphin Hills and every curve, every bend took my breath away. The view was fantastic and the temperatures dropped by a couple or so degrees.
The house we were allotted is on the ground floor, so that givesme place for gardening too. The best part? I can see the ocean from my balcony, I can see the ocean from my door step, I can see the ocean when I go for walks, I can see the harbour when I go down, I can see ships when I go down, I can see ships when I go to the roof, I can see ships when I go for my walks, I can see the ocean AND the city when I reach the top. The night view? Mesmerizing. And oh you know what’s even better? I can see the ocean from the gym. Need I say more? It’s like I am living in a holiday resort every day.
We have a couple of food courts, a couple of shopping complex es and lots of parks on Dolphin Hills. It is a self sufficient place, except for a movie hall. You will have to go to the city if you want to watch a movie, or eat pizza. Pizzas don’t get delivered here, nor do most of the couriers. If you can overlook these trivialities Dolphin Hill is your dream home.
A magnificent house on a hilltop with an ocean view. And there’s a trekking path that leads to the beach, we are yet to try that out. If we do, I’ll let you know how that goes. Will write about Yarada beach that I can see from my gym (center piece in the collage) when I come to Y because I had my share of fun over there as well.
The best time I had when I lived in Bangalore, was when I worked for this company on Rest House Road. The gang was awesome and we all loved to eat. We got free food in the office, but we still loved to go out to eat atleast once a week. After a year or so, we shifted our office to another premise where we didn’t get food in the office anymore, so we hung out in the best place in the whole of Bangalore – Church Street.
Church Street is a very narrow street tucked away secretly inside Brigade Road. It has some big restaurants and cafes like Matteo, Nandos, Amoeba, Bheema’s, Mainland China,etc., but it was the smaller ones that contained the actual magic of food. Queens was my special favourite. One can never spot it if you are not familiar with the street. It’s one of those shady little shops hidden on one side of the street. The interiors are beautiful nevertheless. It gives you a comfortable cozy feeling once inside. The food is reasonably priced. Kaati Zone was another of my favourite haunts. But my colleague and best friend in the office, Amogh and I used to go to Subway every other day. We walk up to Church Street from our office, stand at the intersection and look either ways deciding where to go for lunch. If we chose the road to our left we’d end up in Kaati Zone, if we chose the road to our right, we’d end up in Subway. Probably we were a bunch of lazy leos too lazy to hunt for our food. But that was when it was just him and me. When the rest of the gang was around, we’d choose some nice place like Bheema’s which served good Andhra food. We once went to Indijoes for a farewell party. They serve wonderful sizzlers with good old classic music. Then came a new craze- Krispy Kreme. Those doughnuts were the best I had ever had. We started frequenting that place more than any other. It had to be Krispy Kreme for dessert. Krispy Kreme is solely responsible for me gaining weight – that and my laziness to exercise. Amogh and I had fun during lunch breaks. Zoroy, a luxury chocolate store added charm to Church Street as well. I will write more about it when I reach Z.
It wasn’t just restaurants. There are many shops selling video games, clothes, gadgets, etc. There is this stationery store where I loved going just to look at pens and notebooks and inevitably ended up spending at least two or three thousands every month. I loved window shopping especially after office hours. I loved walking up and down that street to see life going by. I enjoyed Church Street better than Brigade Road or MG Road. It was like my little secret world in this busy hustle bustle of the city. It was like – yes – it was like Diagon Alley from Harry Potter. Try visiting this place the next time you are in Bangalore, or contact me for tips on what to get where and where to eat.
Day 2 : After Anathagiri and Araku, we decided to hit Borra caves on our way back home. Borra was discovered by William King George in 1807. He was a part of the geological survey team in India back then. The tribals believe that these caves have a divine presence in them. A cow grazing over the cave accidentally fell down a large gaping hole (refer to the picture above, middle one, last row) and fell down 60 m. But surprisingly it wasn’t hurt. It walked down and found a path that led to the river that is named as Gosthani river(Gosthani means a cow’s udder). The cowherd, as he came searching for his cow, saw these caves and upon entering them found a stone that represented a Lingam. Therefore the tribals believe that God dwells in these very caves.
Borra means a hole – named after the hole through which the cow fell. Borra caves is the home to stalagmites and stalactites made naturally from limestone. The stalagmites and stalactites form natural sculptures and pillars when they join together, a process that takes make thousands of years. Some of the naturally formed sculptures were a tiger, dinosaur, Shiva Parvati, Hanuman, Shirdi Sai Baba and many more. As you go deeper down, there is a little stream of water that is yellow in color. The tribal women call it Sita’s turneric and believe that sprinkling this water helps in pregnancy and child birth and hence is very auspicious. Scientifically, the water there is very rich in iron content.
We then had to climb 150 stairs to see the Lingam that was discovered by the cowherd. Bats occupied the dark interiors and the cave stank of bat poop. But curiosity got the better of us making us tread further and further.
Then came the difficult part – climbing up. The numerous stairs exhausted us beyond words. When we came to the mouth of the cave, a tribal family, who at that moment seemed god sent to me, had a little kiosk with soft drinks and mineral water bottles. We bought a bottle of Fanta from him, sat there and relaxed for a bit during which he and a few women were talking about something in their native language I just could not decipher. One of the elderly women still wore the traditional tribal jewelry, nose rings on either sides and in the centre of the nose. She also wore a necklace that looked like layers and layers and layers of metal coiled around her neck.
The walk to the car park was exhausting as well. But the drive back home was blissful. It was surely a very rejuvenating holiday and we were ready to take the week head on.