Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Weekend Notes III

Finally some fodder for a post! Hope all of you had a nice relaxing long weekend. Ours was good too. Saturday was spent at home - cleaning, washing and the works. BIL (call him A) arrived saturday evening and the rest of the time was spent chatting and eating!

Sunday morning we woke up early (OK - by 6.45) and after having some oatmeal, mounted the bike to go on a long ride. BIL took his and C&I on the new FZ. We first went to the beach(Marina), rode further along and reached the Besant Nagar beach and then went further ahead to Foreshore Estate, Adyar, reached OMR and all the way till Sholinganallur(a little further than that)! It was such a beautiful ride... the air was so clean, unpolluted and slightly chilly that it made for a perfect weather. We swapped bikes on the return took a detour to Velachery on OMR and reached home by 9.30 or so. Some 50 kms. we had travelled.

Had some snacks and watched the Australian Open match between Federer and Berdych. What a match it was. We were to go out for lunch and I desperately wished for a TMF win (to be in a nice frame of mind) and finally he won in 5 sets!

We took A to Osteria again ;-) and as usual had a fabulous lunch. On our way back, C asked us if we wanted to go somewhere else. In spite of being in Chennai for so long, I haven't really been to many places. Even places like Mylapore are 'new' to me. C on the other hand knows the city better than his wardrobe! He and my father can work for Google maps. I am sure they can give directions to any place, no matter what your mode of conveyance is. While C is very good with the public transport systems, my dad can give driving directions like a pro.

Now, C has lived in the Mandaveli area for quite some years. So he decided to show me the place where they had a house. We parked the car and walked into a nice small lane lined on both sides with houses and shops. C & A were thrilled to see the place after so many years and I was enjoying their happiness :-) After reminiscing the past, we all headed back to the car and decided to drive all the way to Adyar to see C's school, St.Patricks (where he did his 11th and 12th). Being a Sunday, it was closed. But what a magnificent campus it has! Such a serene place with huge trees and lots of open space, right behind Adyar river... it was splendid. If only the authorities took care of the river and remove the stench, it simply will be terrific.
We chatted with the watchman and C was inquiring about the present and past teachers. Finally, we took some photos outside the school and left with C feeling rather nostalgic. We thought we'd head home but on the way, I spotted the Birla Planetarium. We've been wanting to go there for quite some time and so decided impromptu to check it out. We reached there by 3.50 or so and a show had started by 3.45. But since there was quite a crowd, they announced a special show at 4.30.
We bought the tickets - it was a package of Rs.45 each, included entry, a 3D 'science' movie and the planetarium show, and ventured into the area. The 3D show was quite a disappointment. Well, I guess the 15-20 odd kids liked it, but it could have been a thousand times better. We were left wondering why they called it a 'science' movie. There was nothing scientific in it. Except of course the 3D techonolgy! It looked like they played some cheap video game (the kind that you get in a CD that comes along with PC world magazine). The first 5 minutes didn't make any sense. There was something like a rocket/missile launcher and the camera zoomed across, up and down into a series of tunnels and laboratory type rooms. The screen blanked out for a few seconds and the next scene was at a lab with a goofy scientist. Couldn't understand a word he spoke... it all sounded gibberish and mostly like the computer sound that you get on a casio keyboard. He tries to invent something when all goes wrong and he ends up 'inventing' a snake, skull and some tortoise-like aliens! Oh, it was such crap. The snake and skull kind of come into 3D and that bit was interesting, but on the whole it was way below average.

This show ended in 15 minutes and we moved across to the hall for the 4.30 show. It was almost 4.50 by the time they started. The main show was good. Atleast they had kept it current w.r.t Pluto's planetary status and newly found heavenly bodies. There was no mention of Chandrayaan. Again, it could have been much better.

After the show, we went around the science park located within the campus. They had some interesting stuff but sadly most of them did not work and were damaged. We were left wondering why it lacked maintenance. Nevertheless, we tried out things that were functioning and it was actually hilarious. Finally, it was time to return home after a totally unplanned but fun-filled outing.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Dakshina Chitra

After reading about this place in many blogs, I thought we should visit it one weekend. Dakshina Chitra or Picture of the South as they call it, is situated right next to MGM Dizee world on the ECR. It is a nice little quaint place that has the various types of houses found within Tamilnadu and also, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhrapradesh. Apart from that, there are some craft shops, a nice amphitheater, some 'learn to paint/stitch/weave' set-ups, lots of trees and open space to generally walk around.

By reading through the various placards we came to know that some of the traditional houses they had there, were authentic stuff from villages and how it had been transported and preserved to serve as a model.

There were lots of small playthings on sale at each of the model houses. At one of them was the Bambaram! When I saw the colorful top being sold I immediately thought C would love it, and there, I could see his eyes lit up! He spun it there many times and dad too joined to try his hand at it! It was all good fun. Mom and I could not get to spin the top on its nail tip and it instead twirled on its head!

On the whole, it was a nice change to learn about the various types of architecture, types of fabric, designs, religious beliefs, see some folk dance with 'Tappatai' and also a dance show in the open air theater.

However, I felt that the place could be made more colorful and lively. After having been to Choki Dhani in Jaipur many times, this place somehow lacked that zest and vigor. Also, only Tamilnadu and Kerala was well represented in terms of the types of houses while Karnataka and AP had just one or two models. Though they were very neatly maintained, they looked kind of abandoned and there was hardly a soul to explain what certain artifacts meant.

Some things that I thought will give more character to the place:

Get men/women of respective cities/castes to have a small food stall showcasing their traditional fare. Nothing draws people like some well-made delicious food!!

Some more game stalls. Like a bow&arrow game, or a dart board...

Music and Dance - Hire some more artists and have a mini stage for them to perform. Anything from Karagattam to 'Poi Kaal Kudhirai' dance.

Some more Action - maybe Silambattam, Kalaripayattu and other traditional martial arts from the other southern states.

If they can implement some of these and market this place well, it is truly a wonderful tourist spot!

And on Saturday, C and I visited Osteria again! I think it was the second outing for us after this. One of the things that I miss occasionally, after moving to Chennai, is the time I get to spend with C exclusively! Almost every weekend we seem to have visitors and staying just next to my parents' doesn't make it any easier for us to venture out as a couple often. We mostly take them along where ever we go and not under any compulsion but just that we truly enjoy spending time with everybody. But once in a while, I would like to savour some quality time with C and Saturday's lunch at Osteria was one such. The food being excellent we had a good time devouring every bit of it :-) We were so satiated that I almost skipped dinner.

Had a nice weekend overall. Spent time with C and also with family. (Rhyme unintended!)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Welcome 2009

Wish you all a very happy, healthy, prosperous and peaceful New Year.

Hope all our cherished dreams come true and hope this year is a pleasant one filled with happiness and joy, success and contentment.

The first new addition to the family for us is a brand new bike... C finally convinced me [;)] and so we went ahead and booked a Yamaha FZ. The bike arrives today.

So, Go C! Happy biking!! :-)