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Living with Multiple Myeloma in Hyderabad , India . Random musings .


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Picture story from a recent visit to our Village – Apr 2018

Here are a few Pics from my recent visit to our Village near Nellore.

Free Range hens with their little ones . This is one of the most common sights as soon as you leave a city or town. The moment you see them near you , you would be tempted to rush and catch hold of one of those little ones but would fail miserably 🙂

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Another common sight is the Dry Hay Stack. Once the harvest season is completed , all the Hay is collected and shaped into this form . It is then tied with a rope, made out the hay, to protect the hay stack from the wind. Cows and Buffaloes munch on this Hay when there is no grass during Summers.

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Time to go home after grazing and playing in the fields , the whole day.

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This woman has brought her wares , fresh green leafy veggies and Raw Mangoes . She has come all the way from the neighboring village where these are grown. She carries her stuff in a cloth and an Aluminium vessel. People in the villages get to eat fresh veggies which are harvested in the morning or on the previous day. The veggies that we get in the cities , that are on the shelves of the supermarkets and sold by other friendly neighborhood vegetable vendors are from the cold storage’s and would have been lying there for days / weeks / months.

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Mango Chutney is being made in the traditional way, using a Stone Mortar and Wooden Pestle . The taste of chutneys is doubled when prepared in this way rather than in a Mixer Grinder. Good exercise for the body too as one has to sit on the floor .

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Rice balls (Rice powder + Jaggery water + Ghee ) steamed in a clay pot.

 

Time for the ducks to go home after eating/playing in the adjacent fields.

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Looking forward to my next visit 🙂


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Road trip from Hyderabad to Kavali

Time for my yearly sojourn to Granny’s village near Kavali. From 23 Dec 2017 to 27 Dec 2017.

Drove from Hyderabad to Kavali via Nalgonda-Narsaraopet-Chilakaluripet-Ongole.

 

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Started at 7am and planned to have breakfast at Village Aharam , an organic restaurant which is around 20km after exiting the ORR. We saw huge crowds  and so decided to go to NGrill resto which is 50km from the ORR. This was equally crowded and had to wait for a table.

This stretch is a busy one , with lots of people driving between Hyderabad and Vijayawada and prefer to have breakfast in one of these places.

Stopped for lunch after crossing Narasaraopet . Found a kachcha road on the left and parked under a tree.

A pleasant drive with all the greenery and great weather. This time of the year is beautiful for travelling by road. Excellent roads especially the stretch from Chilakaluripet to Kavali which is part of the National Quadrilateral. It is an 8 lane express highway  , maintained beautifully and is as good as any interstate highway in the USA and other developed countries. Thanks to our erstwhile Prime Minister Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee , we are able to drive on such roads in India.

We drove through a variety of fields . It is the season for various crops like Chilli , Cotton , Tobacco and Paddy during this time of the year.

Reached Kavali by 4pm. A non-stop drive would take 7 hours.

Life in a village is like life on another planet . They have their own set of joys and challenges.

Here are a few sights along the drive :

A Marigold field.

The Krishna river near Miryalaguda. The left bank of the river is in Telangana and the right bank is in Andhra Pradesh.

There is a Restaurant above this Toll gate.

Following pics are from our village :

 

Paddy fields.

Spent a few days in our village which is 5km from the Bay of Bengal. The population in the village is around 500 . Each time I visit , I  see a few developments in the village . One of the road leading to the village is being widened as a small harbour is being developed around this part of the ocean . Lots of Autos in the village now . The erstwhile Bus has been stopped due to increase in the number of Autos. A water tanker supplies water to every house in the village for washing/cleaning  purposes. There are no water supply yet, though pipelines have been laid. Filtered drinking water is also supplied in 20 liter plastic drums from a water treatment plant for a decent price. The underground water in this area is salty and not fit for drinking. There is just one well on the outskirts of the village which has sweet water. One of them in the village has bought a Car and an Air Conditioner. The first signs of urbanisation in the village 🙂 Sign of prosperity .

Recently TTD has started construction of a Rama temple in the village.

IMG-20171004-WA0015Smartphones are being used to check weather conditions , levels of water in the surrounding lakes as the irrigiation is through canals . They also check information about government schemes.

Enjoyed fresh unpolluted air and fresh food. Started back on the 5th day at 9am and reached Hyderabad at 5pm. Had our packed lunch under a huge tamarind tree . Had Tea at Vivera restaurant near Narketpally. One can buy some fresh veggies too at this place.

Back to the hustle bustle of the city…as we enter the Financial district in Hyderabad …

Till my next visit…..

 


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Drive from Hyderabad to Annavaram

A wish of mine, which is about travelling to the ‘Kerala of the East’ materialized quite soon. My cousin planned his Son’s wedding in Annavaram. This little town close to the West coast is popular for its Satyanarayana Swamy temple. The temple is on a little hill which is part of the Eastern ghats in South India.

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We drove from Hyderabad to Annavaram , via Vijayawada and Rajahmundry. Started at 7am and had breakfast at N Grill Resto on NH65 .  This place is 50km after you exit the Outer Ring Road . It is a new restaurant, spic and span with good food and well maintained rest rooms.

We didn’t stop anywhere else till we reached Vijayawada. Had lunch at my Cousin’s place in Vijayawada where the ‘Pellikoduku’ event took place. After lunch we started off to Annavaram via Rajahmundry at around 4pm. The road from Vijayawada up to Eluru was very bad ,in-spite of toll being collected on this stretch. Supposed to be one of the busiest stretches in the country.

Took almost 5 hours to reach Annavaram , checked into Hotel Abhay . Not up to my expectations, but we were too tired to crib about the upkeep of the place and crashed for the day. Woke up to a beautiful view of the Pampa Reservoir and the Eastern Ghats , adjacent to the hotel . The reservoir was full owing to the recent bountiful rains.

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This was the best part of our journey.

Went for the early morning darshan. Annavaram Temple is very popular for performing mass ‘Satyanarayana Swamy Vratam’ by couples and also for performing Mass weddings. Saw lots of newly weds all over the place. There are small temporary Mandaps in a few places where the wedding vows are made. Reminded me of an Assembly line production factory where married couples are churned out 🙂 .

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Got back to our room after darshan of Sri Satyanarayana Swamy and got dressed for the wedding , to be held at one of the A/C halls adjacent to the temple.

Met lots of Cousins and their families. Started back to Hyderabad immediately after the wedding via Rajamundry and Vijayawada.

On my way back I noticed stubble burning in the recently harvested fields. All the while I assumed that stubble burning is restricted to Punjab and other states around Delhi , but to my surprise I saw lots of fields being burnt in Andhra Pradesh too.

Mechanical Harvesters are being used all over the country . This is clearly a side effect of using Mechanical Harvesters which leave a stubble one feet in height while harvesting.

The farmers have no time to let the stubble rot in the soil as they have to immediately sow the next crop. Hence burning is the easiest way out  with no cost involved. High time to solve this menace and stop all the pollution.

As we got closer to Rajahmundry , we came across lots of plant nurseries stretching for several kilometers on either side of the road . Did not have the time to stop by as we would get late. All the plant nurseries in Hyderbad are maintained by folks coming from this place.

Had dinner at Hotel Vivera near Narketpally , which is around 55km from Outer Ring Road. One of the best places , closer to Hyderabad , where once can stop for a quick snack or even have lunch/dinner.

This trip almost fulfilled another wish of mine where I wanted to stay by a riverside  for a few days. However, I got the opportunity to spend a beautiful morning by a reservoir flanked by hills and sipping coffee 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Diwali and cancellation of my Official trip to Delhi.

Every festival in India is celebrated with gaiety . Diwali too is celebrated in all parts of India in different ways. 

Almost all the Hindus clean up their homes , all family members get involved in decorating the house with Rangoli , thoran and diyas . Most Hindus also perform puja to Goddess Lakshmi in the evening .

There was a time when I too would look forward to Diwali , I still do but now there is some nervousness.

It is due to the burning of firecrackers during Diwali. All the towns and cities turn  into gas chambers and the fog worsens the situation as the weather transitions from Rainy season to the Winter season . The environment turns toxic owning to the harmful chemicals used in the making of  these crackers. 

There is a rise in patients getting admitted to hospitals immediately after Diwali with complaints of respiratory issues. Small children and old are the most affected. In spite of the rise in pollution people do not realize the harm that we are causing to ourselves and the planet by burning crackers.  

Glad that in 2016 the Supreme Court had banned the burning of crackers in Delhi . But, how many heed to the order. Every day some of the News Channels display the pollution levels in the bigger towns and cities in the Country. This year it is learnt that Crackers are already illegally stocked up by the traders in spite of the ban . They will find numerous discreet ways to sell their wares.

I am allergic to dust and all kinds of smoke. I do my best to avoid such environments.This year Diwali is being celebrated on 19 Oct.  I had to cancel my Official trip to Delhi on 23 Oct  for this reason. I cannot take the risk of travelling during this time as the smog in Delhi is very severe and pollution reaches very dangerous levels. Emissions from vehicles, Thermal power plants around Delhi and crop stubble burning around Delhi are the reasons for the severe Smog in Delhi during this part of the year. Add to this all the toxic emissions from burning Fire crackers and you create a recipe for disaster. Delhi turns into the worst polluted city in the world.

Unfortunately , people do not understand and compete with friends and neighbors as to who burns the most crackers. It also pains that the supreme court ban is being  politicized and communal color added 😦

Looking forward to the day when Firecrackers are banned all over the country . High time the manufacturing of these crackers are banned. Hope to celebrate a noiseless , smokeless  and pollution free Diwali in the near future. 

 

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Happy Deepawali !!

 

 

 

 

 


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Go Goa !

Time to get some Vitamin Sea :))

Been to Goa a few days ago , from 1 Apr to 4 Apr 2017.

This is not the right time of the year to visit Goa. Summer has just begun . However , I didn’t find it too humid. Loved the weather , except for some discomfort during midday.

We drove through this small residential area called Fontainhas, which has some of the most beautiful Goan houses ….or rather Portuguese styled houses…very colourful and well maintained .. Felt as though we were transported to Portugal itself 🙂

Mum’s Kitchen is one of the best Goan Restaurants. Went there for lunch one day. Great food !!.Tasted ‘Goan Port wine’ for the first time. Supposed to be a short form of ‘Portugese wine’ as it has Portugese influence. I don’t drink but I wanted to taste this one. It is a Red wine and was very sweet. I think I liked it :). My Ayurvedic doctor says I can have little bit of Red wine once or twice a week.

Visited St Francis church.

Also went to see Aguada fort.

I love Goan food . Been there once before. Nothing like fresh seafood … something that I yearn for, while I am in Hyderabad. Goan flavours are too good ..the combination of  coconut and Kokum in fish and prawn curries is yummm 🙂

‘Saturday Night Market in Arpora’ is an exciting experience.

Lots of stalls selling Junk Jewellery, casual clothes and local handicrafts. There’s a live band playing in the center of the market , surrounded by food stalls. Bought some junk stuff too …too tempting not to buy 🙂

Went to Calangute beach one evening, for water sports. Took the Scooter ride. My first such ride. The guy was too fast .It is a 30 second ride . The waves were rough. Each time I tell myself that I will not do any more rides but I invariably end up doing a new one each time 🙂

Had lunch at Brittos , one of the best Beach Shacks in Goa. This one is on Baga Beach.Food was tooo good.

We also had dinner at one of the less crowded shacks…at Mama Cecilias Shack on Candolim beach…

We were staying in Candolim and hence preferred to walk  down to the beach…which is 500m away…in fact ,there were very few folks here….unlike the beaches at calangute or Baga which are too crowded because of  water sports…spent a lot of time on this beach … watched the Sun set ….  watched the moon rise …. had dinner at the shack . It is a different experience altogether.  The laziest time I have ever spent…. feels as though you own the beach…almost like a private beach with just the sand ,the sea …Watching the sun set and then the stars …Feeling the breeze… Having dinner with the sounds from the sea as background music… loved the experience.

Something about the sea makes you live in the present moment…And time stands still

 


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Jabali Theertham : Hanuman temple on Tirumala Hills

Suddenly there was this wish to visit a Temple which is located far from maddening crowds and one that has few visitors.

Meanwhile planned a visit Tirumala and made all the arrangements.

Before we actually left for to Tirumala , I was casually scanning the Internet for other sightseeing places located in and around Tirumala. Places that we could visit during half a day.

Came across several interesting places including Akasaganga, Paapanasam, Srivaari Paadalu, Natural Arch formation , Museum etc. We had visited all these places several times during our previous visits. This time I was curious about this temple named ‘Jabali/Japali Theertham’ ,which we had never visited . I might have overlooked this in my previous scans . The place is around 3km by road, from the main temple.It is said that a sage named Jabali meditated here and had the vision of Lord Hanuman.

We had half a day at our disposal and decided to go there.

Reached the entrance to the Temple in a car in less than 10min. Driving through the winding road on the hills with the windows drawn and breathing in fresh cool air blowing through the trees all around was fun. Very soon our driver stopped at this arch .

 

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The temple was not in sight but we saw a lot of stairs .We began walking up the stairs barefoot. Thankfully the steps were not steep :).  After some 50 long steps and no temple in sight , we asked a lady selling raw mangoes and cucumbers , ‘How far before we reach the temple ?’. She replied ‘Around 100 steps up and 100 steps down’.

We took a deep breath and continued till we reached the top and from here we were able to see the steps going down. The walkway is neat and clean and smooth. Appeared as though the concrete path was laid recently. Very comfortable walk and enjoyable for those who are young and healthy. A bit difficult if you get tired easily. Take long breaks all along the path and go move on 🙂

We saw huge wild squirrels , wild hens , monkeys . It was 4pm. Came across very old and tall trees as we got closer to the temple. It was a beautiful sight. We were actually in a valley .

The Golden coloured Temple is ensconced in a little valley , surrounded by lush greenery with a pond (Theertham) in front of it. This pond supposedly receives a continuous trickle of water from a lake situated behind the temple.

There were a few shops and hardly 20 people in and around the temple.

After Darshan of Lord Hanuman , we sat on the steps and that is when I realized that my wish had come true. To visit a Temple which is located far from the crowds 🙂

It was a strange feeling . Woww , my wish was fulfilled so quickly.

The place gives a glimpse of life in a jungle where Rishis and sadhus would have lived and meditated. The feeling is indescribable and ethereal.

We bought a few souvenirs from the few shops nearby. It was 6pm and we started walking back. The sun was setting and there was a golden hue all around above the trees. We walked back with background music from chirping birds settling in their homes ,while eating raw mango and cucumber pieces dipped in salt and red chilli powder 🙂

Loved the whole experience .

As I close my eyes I see myself sitting on the stairs in front of the temple and can vividly visualize that I am surrounded by tall trees, the pond, the temple and chirping birds .

It is these places and experiences which get etched in our memories and make life beautiful.

A must visit when you are in Tirumala.