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Old 21st October 2009, 11:54   #46
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Nice reading through the narration, especially on the family matter, i think you would need to change your handle to "the Chosen One". Looking forward to more from you. Hey i am ready to buy any book that you write! Go ahead, i think your wife would get used to it.
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Old 22nd October 2009, 01:46   #47
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Ahoy, Agumbe!

It was now 12.30 pm. we were hungry and which would mean wife was about to get angry. We had a distance of about 50km to cover and we got there at 1.30pm. At the checkpost where we were stopped to enquire where we were coming from and where were heading to, I asked for directions to 'Doddamane'. It was hardly a few hundred meters from the checkpost on the road to Udupi. I had called the legendary Kasturiakka from Sagara the previous day and informed her that we would be there for lunch and may also want accomodation. A colleague at office who happens to be a friend of akka's nephew, had appraised me about 'Doddamane' .

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'Doddamane' ( 'big house' in Kannada).

Most episodes of 'Malgudi Days' were shot in Agumbe and this contributed much to creating awareness about this sleepy little town outside the state. This was in the late 80s. I recalled, when just out of college, passing by on my way from Hyderabad to Udupi by bus. The word 'Malgudi' painted big on top of the local bus stand. Some episodes of this serial were shot in Doddamane.

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From 'The Missing Letter'

There was another car and a matador parked outside the old house and when we entered there were already a group of dozen young people seated at a row of tables. Lunch was about to be served. We were greeted by a grand old lady probably in her late 80s whom we thought was Kasturiakka but turned out to be her mother. Akka was busy inside serving another group of travellers next to the kitchen. We sat outside on the verandah for a few minutes when akka's daughter came to call us and immediaetly took us to a table.

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Hungry Kya?

A simple but hot,delicious Konkani meal consisting red rice, avrekai bendi, dalitovey, rasam, Tomato chutney and mango pickle, was served on a banana leaf.The ambrosiac 'payasa' at the end of the meal had everyone scooping it off the leaf and slurping it up in contentment. Sonny and I couldn't resist asking for a couple additional helpings.

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From 'The Hoard'

Hunger satiated, I looked around. The house was in disarray and in a semi dilapilated state. It was obvious that maintaining such a big house with so many guests to be served every afternoon and night was a daunting task for the family.

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From the 'The Hoard'

I stood wondering if we would be given the the room of the hoard. But Kasturiakka's daughter directed us to a large house opposite which belonged to someone in the family.They let out some rooms to travellers. By now the payasa had begun to act on my senses and a nice little nap was in the offing. When I woke up an hour later, it was drizzling and the sky was dark and overcast. Although it was only 4 in the afternoon, it looked as if it were past 6 in the evening. Our fond hopes of witnessing a stunning Agumbe sunset disappeared behind the mass of clouds and we decided we would leave for Udupi immediaetly.

We went across the road to thank Kasturiakka. She was free and took us to the dining room next to the kitchen. The smell of ancient sooth and spices common to such houses lingered in the air. She sat us at the table and chatted with us enthusiastically as she poured us each a cup of her special 'Kashaya' made of a score and four spices. She said she only served this refreshing concotion in her house in the place of tea and coffee. Upon probing, she explained to us that the tradition of serving a meal to guests started several years ago when teachers from nearby towns visited the hamlet with their pupils and an occasional passersby would drop in as no restaurants existed nearby. During the past dozen years or so, when IT and the Internet started revolutionising our lives, her nephews who studied IT, popularised the house through the web and soon young software professionals and college students bitten by the travel bug, started dropping in.

Akka categorically refused to be paid for the lunch saying she found us like her own. She promised to accept payment the next time we visited and asked us to come back in December or January when the weather was fair so we could visit the enchanting surroundings here.

It was now a quarter past five. As we started our decent down the ghats and reached the checkpost, a delicious aroma of fried dal and spices had me screeching to a halt next to a cart selling 'chattambade', which was the source of the aroma.

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'Chettambade'. Swami would have loved them.


We bought a dozen pieces, straight from the frying pan. We munched on them further down at sunset point , savouring each bite and watching the breathtaking view of the mountains and the valley below.

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Lady, why are you hoarding the 'Chettambade'?

You take my breath away...
Roameo on the Emerald Route-agumbe-view.jpg

Last edited by Roameo : 22nd October 2009 at 01:54.
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Old 22nd October 2009, 09:41   #48
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Roameo, ( The chosen one) , beautiful narration, it was like taking a dirve to Malgudi, in those days Swami's adventures on Malgudi days was something that we always looked out for. Nice pictures, yummy Chetambade, looks similar to that of Parippu Vada ( the kerala version). Please continue, seriously i think you should try your hand at writing a novel, i think everyone in T Bhp would buy it after they have read you two threads.
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Old 22nd October 2009, 10:40   #49
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Excellent Roameo. Wonderful coverage of Kuvempu's village and the places attached to his writing and Doddamane. I wish I could have covered this place during my last visit, but did not had time. Wish to do it next time.

What is worth mentioning here is that so many of us have done these trips on this route many times, but we are of no match to your great narration. These are the places where parents need to take their children to and narrate and relate them to. Fantastic efforts to make us relate to the Doddamane along with pictures from Malgudi days. Definitely brings back fond memories.

Thank you for sharing.
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Old 22nd October 2009, 11:09   #50
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Excellent coverage of Daddamane and Kuppalli. Although I have driven via Agumbe countless times, I had no idea about the Doddamane and the lunch ritual. And Kuppalli, again I have seen the direction signs many times, but never ventured in that direction. This is despite having read many of his major works (including his autobiography) before finishing highschool.
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Old 22nd October 2009, 15:34   #51
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Wonderful narration of the Doddamane and that of culinary experiances.Shows your vast knowledge of the region and its culture.
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Old 22nd October 2009, 16:23   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Majic View Post
Roameo, ( The chosen one) , beautiful narration, it was like taking a dirve to Malgudi, in those days Swami's adventures on Malgudi days was something that we always looked out for. Nice pictures, yummy Chetambade, looks similar to that of Parippu Vada ( the kerala version). Please continue, seriously i think you should try your hand at writing a novel, i think everyone in T Bhp would buy it after they have read you two threads.
Thank you, friend. But wait till I take you to real Magudi or almost.
Chettambade is same as Perippu Vada. Hope to sell a lot of my book...when I write one.

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Originally Posted by Indian Ranger View Post
Excellent Roameo. Wonderful coverage of Kuvempu's village and the places attached to his writing and Doddamane. I wish I could have covered this place during my last visit, but did not had time. Wish to do it next time.
Now you have a reason to go back.

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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Excellent coverage of Daddamane and Kuppalli. Although I have driven via Agumbe countless times, I had no idea about the Doddamane and the lunch ritual. And Kuppalli, again I have seen the direction signs many times, but never ventured in that direction. This is despite having read many of his major works (including his autobiography) before finishing highschool.
I am sure you will go there one of these weekends since you are hardly a couple of hours away. You will also enjoy the drive from Teerthahalli to Kuppali!

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Wonderful narration of the Doddamane and that of culinary experiances.Shows your vast knowledge of the region and its culture.
Thanks, Ramki. I have still a lot to learn and discover. Looks like it will need multiple visits.

Last edited by Roameo : 22nd October 2009 at 16:25. Reason: correction
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Old 22nd October 2009, 18:37   #53
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Wonderful log & equally good pics as well. I have travelled in the region a few times and I have never ever visited Kuvempu's house nor Kasturi akka's house in Agumbe.

You could have also visited the Agumbe Rainforest Research Station (ARRS) in Agumbe. You would have liked the place.
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Old 22nd October 2009, 19:13   #54
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Excellent Travalouge Roameo, keep going. Better than the lost planet.

I have never visited Doddamane inspite of travelling a lot in this area. Will make it a point to Visit Doddamane this time. Amazing that there are still people like Kasturiakka.
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Old 22nd October 2009, 23:17   #55
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Originally Posted by addyhemmige View Post
You could have also visited the Agumbe Rainforest Research Station (ARRS) in Agumbe. You would have liked the place.
I sure will. Next time I go to see my parent in Udupi, I plan to take a couple of days off only for Agumbe.

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I have never visited Doddamane inspite of travelling a lot in this area. Will make it a point to Visit Doddamane this time. Amazing that there are still people like Kasturiakka.
Absolutely. Her service is in the true spirit of 'Athithi Devo Bhava'. What is amazing is there is no fixed charge, guests pay whatever they would like to.


This scene befits an episode of 'Malgudi Days' , but it is not from the TV serial. This is Kasturiakka in person:

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Listen to her share the recipe of her 'kashaya' :

Last edited by Roameo : 22nd October 2009 at 23:24.
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Old 23rd October 2009, 00:36   #56
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Descent from Paradise

To say the least, the drive down the ghat was mind-bending. Round and round we went, one thrilling curve after the other. There were deep, rough patches in the road, some of them at the hairpin bends.

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While one had to focus hard on navigating through these, the sixth sense had to be put on high alert to anticipate the on-coming vehichles, especially mini buses to Shimoga that tore up the road and swung round the bends at full speed. There was one packed like a tin of Malpe sardines that swept past us at a steep curve. It scraped its rear bottom so hard, the blood-curdling screech of metal against broken road sent shivers down my spine. The mini T-Rex shuddered, briefly swung from left to right, and with an angry roar continued its ascent.

When we reached the bottom of the ghat,the feeling was akin to that after getting off a roller- coaster ride: Only if we could have some more of it ; but thank God its over!

A groovy little drive took us to Someshwara. The road dissected a dense forest and rays of the setting sun filtered through the clouds and trees. It was exquisite! I stopped the car and switched off the engine for a couple of minues. Not a soul in sight, ours was the only vehicle on the road. The silence was deafening and it was as eery as can be in a forest. Surprised and uneasy, my wife asked why I had stopped. I said,"Simply". She gave me a stare like only a wife can give her husband.

Roameo on the Emerald Route-thriller.jpg

A sudden rustle of some bird or animal in the nearby vegetation had us jump in our seats and resulted in severe outburst of goose bumps. In a flash I switched on the engine, and the speed at which we cleared the rest of the strech would have met with Jenson Button's approval.

Hiriyadka, Hebri, Parkala, through a light drizzle in Manipal and down a badly mauled descent we entered Udupi. My parents heaved a big sigh of relief when we parked our car and got into their apartment.

It was 7 p.m. The delightful aroma of mom's dinner cooking welcomed us.
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Old 23rd October 2009, 08:29   #57
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Originally Posted by Roameo View Post
A sudden rustle of some bird or animal in the nearby vegetation had us jump in our seats and resulted in severe outburst of goose bumps. In a flash I switched on the engine, and the speed at which we cleared the rest of the strech would have met with Jenson Button's approval.
You guys have spent too much time in the city. This forest stretch is almost devoid of any wildlife, especially near the roads, it is very safe to walk along the roads. Sad in a way, 15-20 years back tigers/leopards would roam this road at non-peak hours.

This is the same area where white water rafting is done. You might have noticed Sita river flowing on the right side of the road.
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Old 23rd October 2009, 10:03   #58
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Mmmmmm, mum's dinner aroma, the way you narrate my nostrils are wide open and my olfactory senses are working over time! Chosen One has really made my day
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Old 24th October 2009, 02:14   #59
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An Epicurean Life

The following day after a sumptuaous breakfast of 'Sevayi' mom had specially made for her grandson, my wife and son left for Mangalore by bus.

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'Sevayi ' made of rice and coconut milk.

My wife was keen to be with her mother for a few days. I suspected her urgency was as much to dig into some spicy curry made with freshly caught fish in it. Like most Mangalorean konkanis, depriving her of fish for more than 48 hours results in extreme mood swings and she hadn't had any in the past four or five days days. She called me a couple of hours later to inform me that they had reached. As soon as they got off the bus, they had first paid a visit to the Kadri fish market, suitcase et al, before taking an autorickshaw to go home.

Sonny went with her inspite of my mom pleading with him to stay back. He has half a dozen friends of his age in the apartment block where my mother-in-law lives. He was looking forward to having a ball of a time playing cricket all day long and go for a 'Gadbad' Ice Cream with them at Pabbas or Ideal as frequently as his mom allowed him to.

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No confusion about that!

We had performed his 'Upanayana'( Brahmopadesham) earlier this year and his boyhood days are about to get over in another 6 months. As he goes to 10th Standard will begin a long gruelling grind of several years to score the highest marks possible in every subject so that in step with the current trend, he can go to a reputed engineering college, study IT, and join only Infosys,Microsoft, Oracle, Wipro, Cisco,Google or Accenture; the scale by which a young man is measured in the Konkani community these days. Banks are passť.

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Groomed for 'Upanayana'

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At a game of cricket with his mangalorean friends.

Thankfully, for now Sonny is blissfully happy at play and the present extent of his ambition is to open a departmental store or a big furniture shop. We know the owners of two such businesses and Sonny has been quick to take note that they hosted grand parties and went about parading their swanky cars such as BMW 5 series and Land Rover; IT professionals can't and besides they work too hard. As far as my knowledge goes, Sonny is yet read any of Kiyosaki's books.

It rained most of the day and I found myself under house arrest. I spent time chatting with my parents about this, that and the other. Mom told me that her brother (i.e my uncle who built a house in Moodubidri) had come for a visit a few weeks ago. She said he still looked too young for his age. He will soon be 70 and still carried jet black,longish hair which he parted in the centre. Most of his brothers and sisters had little appreciation for his outlook and way of life. I had observed him closely during my two visits to Moodubidri. He seemed to be unknowingly practising the teachings of Epicurus, the greek Philosopher.

The expression 'to lead an Epicurean Life' conjures up these types of images in our minds.
Roameo on the Emerald Route-epicurean-life.jpg

This is also the understanding I carried till an erudite lecturer in college enlightened us on the some of the finer points of epicurean philosophy. The greek savant emphatically advocated that 'Pursuit of Pleasure' should be the main focus of life. Since not many bother to pursue a study in philosopy as the greeks did, the expression has gained wide acceptance in its present day meaning. I recall there was even a restaurant on M.G.Road in Bangalore in the 90s called 'Epicurus' which advertised a buffet lunch for Rs.45. A few of my friends often frequented it to gorge a bellyfull. A search on the net will throw up umpteen websites promising an 'Epicurean Life' or an 'Epicurean Dinner' or an 'Epicurean Holiday'.

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Epicurus. But my uncle looks a lot better.

Our lecturer explained what Epicurus meant by 'pleasure' was 'absence of pain', both physical and emotional. This state, the ancient savant elaborated, could be achieved only by 'Moderation in all things'; not through excess and over indulgence in anything which would eventually lead to pain. Epicurus and his disciples lived simply eating bread and drinking water; a little wine and a few bites of cheese was their feast on festival days.

My uncle as you would have read, went a step further: he drank no wine and cheese is not to be found in Moodubidri. In addition, it was long since he kicked the habit of reading newspapers saying they mostly brought us bad and depressing tidings from far and wide reading which only cultivates negative thoughts in the mind. The mind was like a garden and had to be kept clean and nurtured with care. In fact, he hardly read any books except for stories and articles from outdated editions of Reader's Digest of which he had a good collection stacked on a shelf in his living room. His whole effort seemed to be to strain his body only to a point such as to maintain good health, and not to overly strain his mind by involving it too much in any kind of deep thought process. I deduced that Gardening and Singing were the means he employed to 'avoid pain' of any sort.

The rain abated for a while late in the afternoon and I lost no time in calling my cousin. We headed straight for 'Mitra Samaj' in the vicinity of the Sri Krishna Mutt complex for a few plates of their renowned 'Goli baje' with coconut chutney. We then went to Diana to delve into a tall and deliciously sinful looking Gadbad icecream.

I seriously wonder if Epicurus could have resisted either. Burp!

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Goli Baje
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Old 24th October 2009, 11:25   #60
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Roameo, i think defintely not after seeing the last picture, good going looking to reading more from you!
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