Travel Tit bits from travellors

Few weeks back, took the time to listen to travel stories from travellers, event was hosted by Plan The Unplanned, the company takes people on tours from trekking to Himalayan tours. The speakers on stage were – biker Tejaswi Chittar, Chandana Rao who inspires others to travel spreading travel stories of people through Travelories and Captain Neptune who is a sailor. Travellers always have interesting stories out of their experiences, they motivate you to travel to see that side of the world that you don’t know about and that does change your perspective about the world and you as well. Ultimately, it makes you really interesting as you would have so many stories to share, besides those photos as well.

So, a travel junkie can style his own lifestyle making earnings from blogs, videos, photos and they may even get sponsored to travel, if you spread the word about the destination and other things. Blogging is a great way to make money, but your blog should have interesting content and writing about your travel experiences surely makes for a engaging content for readers.

Now, here are some points on travel, take it as travel tit bits and perspectives from various travellers, this also includes some learnings from cyclist traveller Rakesh and one more cyclist, Dominic Franks. The latter, addressed a session in Bangalore Literature Fest last year, as he wrote a book, ‘Nautanki Diaries’ about his cycle ride from Bangalore to Delhi. He went on that cycle trip to go to the Common Wealth Games taking place at Delhi.

When you travel, it’s not just about visiting places, it’s also about tasting new food, experiencing culture, meeting all kinds of people and managing yourself, it’s a way to rediscover you. It opens up your mind, broadens your perspective, you experience adventure. When you go around to eat, it’s good to come out and ask the locals where is the best food available in the place. So you eat the cuisine that’s special or authentic in that particular place.

Travel gives you varied food experiences. I have heard many cooks on TV shows say that they had tasted a dish on a Dhaba while travelling on the highway, and it made them want to try out that dish at home. Also, it may not be possible to eat in posh restaurants while travelling especially on budget, be open to eat on local eateries, as long as food is fresh and hot, you won’t get sick. Try not to buy bottled water as well, many restaurants have RO water, filter water, fill it up there carrying your own water bottle (that’s preferable not a disposable plastic bottle). Never be shy, be outspoken, it would come in handy to ask for tips, start conversations, and ofcourse we all need to go toilet sometime, ask for restroom, be open to use public toilets as well, though restaurants, eateries should have restroom.

Next, accomodation. For us tourist travellers, we plan in advance, book rooms for stay, all this costs money. However, we can always try for free accomodation. One way is to use Couch surfing – https://www.couchsurfing.com/ , it connects you with people who would host you at their house all for free. People who use it, swear it’s safe and a great way to make friends and travel at low budget. Other ways include keep asking your friends if they know of anyone who can accommodate you for free and generally it works, that’s what these travellers said. Since travellers have stories, people are really willing to keep them over for the day. There are youth hostels as well, that accommodate you on low budget but there are people who can bargain to have their stay and fooding free there as well!! (:

Chandana Rao, managed to solo explore all of Tamil Nadu at a cost of 1800 Rs for 10 days. She gave a tip that you can market yourself and barter your skills for free stay. Your skills can vary from putting a link of the stay establishment in your blog post that has many followers to anything that would be useful for the owner of the stay establishment. For ex, Chandana Rao got free stay at a youth hostel in exchange for which she just went to the bus stand and brought few tourists looking for a place to stay as customers for the youth hostel. Through this she earned her free stay, bringing new customers for the youth hostel. She managed to barter her skills and get free stay at a 6 star hotel as well!!
So being outspoken may help.

Other travellers like Rider Rakesh are humble souls as they have cycled and interacted with so many kinds of people including the poor ones, he would be happy if he gets a small space for him to sleep that’s all. Since he was cycling propagating the message of Ride for Gender Freedom (RFGF), he generally captures support and someone would gladly give him food and place to stay. RFGF campaign had Rakesh traverse 27,000 kms throughout in his cycle for the cause of freeing Gender from violence and discrimination. He addressed people on roads, streets, offices, colleges, schools and many other establishments telling them to throw their patriarchal belief systems that see women poorly and help women folk live freely doing what they what, because it’s their right. This also at times involved people to take a oath to stand up against any instance they encounter that’s attacking women’s right, safety, dignity etc.

Many travellers say temples are good places to stay, and sometimes food there as temple prasada is free. If you are planning to tent camp, do it in a safe place, inside temples or bus stand shelters where your surrounded by local people and take permission for it. I really don’t know if solo travel ladies should do this, if they are alone(in India), but if your having company, its ok I guess , however please make sure that area is safe for tenting, it should be sheltered, and not home to stray dogs, though cyclist Rakesh once said he shared his sleeping area with another dog creature which also laid on the footpath somewhere near him. Looks like some travellers make friends with animals as well in their travels!!

It also appears that cyclists and bikers explore places more indepthly, they meet other bikers and bond over. So, maybe you can start biking or cycling to a near by place first and get a hang of it. It is a great way to reach out small eateries en route, meet locals etc. Almost all travellers say language is no barrier, human beings can communicate with one another without knowing the language, there is some human to human connection. So, never hesitate to go to a place because of language difference.

Also to all travelers (which includes the touristy folks), when you go to any place, be it jungle, or public place, never litter. One can understand, you may at times buy bottled water, for at small places clean water that’s drinkable maybe a question mark, but don’t throw it on the road. You can carry those chip packets with you until you find a dustbin. Looks, like at remote places where there are free flowing rivers and waterfalls, you can drink water from there directly. I am still very surprised that such wild, divine, nature rich places still exist in India as after irresponsible tourism driven by commercialization, greenery declination and garbage accumulation along with river degradation has resulted. However, Captain Neptune showed clips of the birth place of Cauvery with lovely water that’s drinkable flowing there!! (I hope that place is still sacred now, I heard tourists and visitors damaging that eco space, but flowing river water is clean and safe to drink for ever)

Be flexible if you really want to travel a lot. Either you should be able to take a long leave from your job to travel, or work while you travel carrying laptop. Many travellers say they prefer exploring places and experiencing their adventure so they don’t want to spend money on comforts paying for accomodation. For touristy travellers,who need comfort, try to stay at home stays where you can connect with hosting people rather than staying at a isolated room at a lodge. Human touch makes your stay experience that much more nicer(:…

Blend with the locals. Lady travellers say when they are at traditional places they dress up appropriately, so not to attract attention and this is a great way to be blend with the locals. Be open and connect with people with casual conversations, so you get local insider tips on where to eat, what all places to explore etc. That way you get help as well in a new place and learn a lot of things, your all in the real practical world and it’s like getting knowledge, wisdom through your experience rather than studying.

Stop the fear from hindering your travel adventure plans. When you bike or cycle to another place, there is always the chance there may be a puncture or repair, but making it the reason to abandon your adventure not cool. Learn basic repair techniques. You might meet bad elements but don’t sweat over that thought. Over thinking is never good. That being said, you should be careful of course, when you sense there is danger or something not right through your intuition, be cautious and trust in yourself!! Mostly, it’s in our hands to behave responsibly, at times not disclose too many details to utter strangers and maybe don’t venture to unknown spots at night.

It is important you make conversations with people around, it may come in handy. Chandana, when she finds someone is staring at her, she goes to them and introduces herself and asks them what places she can site see, their attention gets diverted. When she was at Danuskoti, a few guys were following her, she told them, she was not alone, her family was there doing puja but she was just pacing about bored of the puja and they left her alone. So, taking out these kind of tips from your sleeve should help. With people connect, you can get your way. Many times through means of casual conversations, Chandana managed getting help to know the place and experience it.

We all know people say that travel helps you make new friends and after travel using couchsurfing many people say now they got friends on every part of the world, so they can travel there and stay happily. However, even RJ jaisy said, you can unexpectedly meet your life partner as well, that’s exactly what happened with Chandana, she found her soul life partner companion through her travels. Soon in a historical 9th century old monument somewhere that is surrounded by nature, she’s going to get married ‘traveler style’ rather than the conventional way of marrying on a boring hall on which you spend so much money to book.
All this aside, travel literally does change lives, rewarding you with people associations!!

Somethings in life many things are unplaned and impromptu experiences and in travel there are so many such experiences which makes it exciting, interesting and instills varied perspective into our lives. It definitely makes you independent as you wander, explore, learn, understand and spend time with yourself properly without distractions of TV, internet. You don’t need to plan so much, just a basic sketch should do with a idea formed on how to go, the place to stay, places to see (from a touristy perspective) and simple packing of what’s needed, then your ready to just go!!

That’s all folks… There may be so much more stuff gained from travelling, but only a real and avid traveller can write on that with passion that comes from their conviction. I end by saying that recently on news, PM Modiji mentioned that when he was young every year he used to go alone and stay at a jungle for 5 days and it helped him introspect on himself and life. So, he too recommends solo travelling and staying in the wilderness maybe even though all these authorities don’t care about greenery, lakes, rivers and on supporting people who work to conserve Nature, but I am not judging on all their double standards, its fruitless to do so.

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Freeing Pollutant filters(trees) from concentrate

A new kind of green activity took place on Sunday, 25th March, when Save Green volunteers set about to free trees in and around Jeevan Bima Nagar and Indira Nagar from concrete that’s cemented in many trees around Bangalore. The aim was to ensure trees get some open soil so that water can percolate to the soil and these giant green pollutant filters (the trees) get water from the soil as they take it from underground through their strong roots.
 
This was a bold attempt and perhaps never attempted by a group of ordinary individuals before. Save Green, unlike many green groups do more than just plantation drives, they remove posters, lights rolls, nails from trees with their Poster Free Trees. As they do the latter, they spread awareness to nearby vendors, shop owners, house owners to care for the tree/sapling near them, they inform the entities who staple/nail posters on trees to not to so again. When the entities again do postering on trees, action is pursued where they are even taken to the police since it’s illegal to nail posters on trees in tree law. They go to store owners and tell them to remove the light tubes that’s bound on trees and the nice thing is that when store owners have done that, they personally go and thank the store owner(:
 
Well, back to their new task they undertook of freeing the trees from concrete. The Save Green volunteers had come for this task at ICICI, 10 main road Jevan Bima Nagar and equipments to break the concrete were there waiting – rods and a hammer. Permission for the task was already acquired from necessary officials – Mayor, Corporator and others so all were set for action time. To inaugurate this event, the Corporator was invited and plan was to have the Corporator break a bit of concrete from a tree but the Corporator did not turn up, so the volunteers them selves inaugurated the event by breaking the granite plastered on a tree. This was equivalent to breaking of a coconut for setting about to go about their noble task of saving green for the day. Care was taken on doing this carefully, as bits and pieces of rock can hit and hurt volunteers, rods may hit them as well. It was seen that the broken concrete/stones were cleared, for this it was carried on a plastic sack and then debris was thrown on the side.
 
Hemant was planning on such a event for a while, it was to be something different to highlight another aspect of tree problem that needs to be addressed. Ideally, there is supposed to be a Conservator of Forest officer in the area somewhere to look after trees, or atleast to free trees from concrete, but it’s only a few green conscious Citizens who are worried after the trees and we really want to do something, but most times we are helpless. The Corporator along with forest Department officer could have easily removed the concrete from trees using their resources, instead they just leave a group of individuals to labour breaking concrete from trees. This group did have a good time doing their physical task as they were just passionate about the well being of trees but they faced opposition from few individuals. One person came about and told them they are doing this for “fame”, to post pictures and videos in FB and earn likes, another person came about and told that they are contributing to garbage by depositing debris on road and another person came running and said stop fiddling with the tree since its his tree and it takes care of his house as because of that tree he uses no AC.
 
However, Save Green Group were patient and polite and went about their task. Most volunteers that day, came from far areas, one came all the way from Channapatna, one from Silk Board and another from Marathahalli, they were committed to spend their time and efforts in Saving Green in the chosen area and not get offended by negative comments.
 
Hemant guided them in the task, ensuring that volunteers removed just little concrete from trees and then expose the trees to some open soil. If they in enthusiasm tried breaking concrete in wider radius, he could be heard saying, “Enough, tree only will fall, rest let the forest Dept do”, “Enough, don’t be Subhash Chandra Bose”, “See that’s drain there don’t break concrete there and free drains” . It was nice to see the group had a mature approach for this task, as they when they did the job they took care that they caused no inconvenience and harm to trees or people.
 
After this task for which their already did a lot of roaming, concrete hitting and clearing, the volunteers mustered energy to go about pursuing their usual tasks of removing posters from trees, removing decorative light rolls from trees. Most of the trees were clear from staple marks because the group have been monitoring them for posters. Offenders were regularly warned to post no posters on trees. Store owners, restaurant owners were approached to tell them light rolls are harmful for trees and it should be removed, and volunteers removed light rolls and they thanked a store owner who listened to them and removed light roll from the tree that was front of his store.
 
On the way 2 trees were found damaged with its hollow gone, and it was noted that they needed to be removed as they posed a danger to people. Spots where saplings can be planted were also noted, and a eye for the previous planted saplings were also kept.
 
From this group, others should be inspired to do tree conservation activities in their respective regions. Hemant says, others can team up and check on trees in their areas and take action. Do it regularly even once a month atleast, trees will be freed from posters, offenders won’t do them again and trees can be saved from lots of harm!! … A tree needs so less maintenance and care, just ensure it’s free to get water, sunlight and has good rich soil, we will all be in more green spaces and be healthier that way, if we act right now. Otherwise, just stay and welcome the coming concreate City with heat, no water but please don’t complain/whine if you can’t act!! Goodday.
 


My Time at Melkote

Just to refresh, made a solo visit to Melkote last week. I wanted a place that’s nearby and peaceful, reading about Melkote in two blogs, I thought Melkote made the cut. Though I wanted to go solo, I knew I would have time in my hands when I am not exploring, so decided to bring on my laptop Gayletrix with me, I have a toggle so can work, with some internet connection. Looks, like Melkote is extremely nearby, so if you can drive down by scooter or car, it’s reachable in 3 and a half hours or less and you can be back in the city as well in the same day.
The little place is a village, at first sight it looked boring, there was doubt on weather I would get something decent to eat and I need not have had such a doubt. Straight away, when it comes to food at Melkote, Subbanna Mess rocks!! … Ordered for meals (which in most darshinis not very alluring food), however meals at Subbanna Mess was tasty. And to add to that, there was a charm in which the meals were served on a star shaped leaf, Bharmin style. The kuttu, curry, other side dishes, their puliogere and sweet pongal was delicious. My good time at Melkote started with the tasty food at Melkote. I have heard the Mess owner, whose photo you can see there posing with PM Kumaraswamy insisting that the food served should be of best quality, I also heard him say that something must be done for the coffee they serve, he is unhappy with the chikori content, however for me the coffee there is a pretty nice one.
After that I went to my room booked at Melukote Ahobila Yatri Nivas and worked on Gayletrix. The room is ok, spacious, decent, but I had to clean the cummond seat with water and baby wipes(keep them handy). Also, one or 2 mosquitos were stuck there, luckily for piece of mind I had odomas, though option was there to kill those mosquitoes buying some insect killer from nearby shop. I also found that guests made a lot of noise there but I turned music on and did some work to kill time in the afternoons and some time at night. I had to have the door slightly a jar because internet from toggle was otherwise not working, I am so glad there was atleast one plug point for charging purposes. Two nights out of 3, I did not sleep that well, first day I did not like the blankets provided, I was itching pretty badly, second night when I got a bed sheet I slept well, 3rd night, I did not like the bed sheet so I decided to head to Bangalore as soon as possible in the first possible bus available at 4:30 am. But I guess the room was otherwise ok, to freshen up and work, I really not sure about the bedsheets and blankets.
Evenings were the best time after 4:30pm, as weather cools up to being pleasant at 5pm. First day I headed to Raya Gopura. It’s a lovely place for nature admirers, rocks and boulders, scenic views of hills, birds hopping, tree shades here and there, it was perfect. A whole evening can go there with Nature, also nice to climb up some boulders here and there as if your warming up to do a trek!! After this I found a tea shop opposite that cute establishment of Melukote police station and had tea. Did some work on Gayletrix, and for dinner I understood its best to eat bananas or chips, as at night Melukote is a very sleepy town,mostly there was one eating joint that was open, only men were around there eating. Overall, even then was ok.
Second day, I missed out on getting up early to head to Dhanushkoti, its almost an hour of walk on a area that’s filled with mild forest like garden and is mostly secluded. Getting up at 7 am and heading to walk at 7:20 am was a slightly warm affair that got hot. I walked halfway through the road reaching rock garden point whose entrance was signified by a pink rock arch and spent time relaxing. Even in the hot weather, cool breeze touched here and there, lime stone rocks there were really cool though .Atmosphere was fresh, so many resting points with chairs and rocks here and there. Spotted some chemelion kind of looking lizards and at times walked about on boulders checking out spots further away. Birds were there plenty, it was a happy place. Then, breakfast at Subbanna Mess, luckily they had coffee and though the owner says it has too much chikory content, it was good coffee, breakfast was ok. For the dosa they provided, tomato cutney was nice.
Evenings again exploration time after spending afternoon working. This time headed to well Yoga Narasimha temple. It was written everywhere that you have to climb 300 stairs and of late I got leg and shoulder pain, and as usual very doubthful of my fitness level, even though my vitamin deficiency weakness has gone away for a while. It turned out that I headed to a spot where generally cars climb up and from there, only 150 stairs are there to climb. The surroundings were charming, Kayani well one side, one temple structure a little up and small birds flying hither and thither. After relaxing watching others go up, I went up with a tulasi mala that I had to buy from a girl in return for her caring for my slippers(:, she runs a small shop selling temple stuff and toffees along with kids younger than her. The climb was fine, not exhausting, it was slightly heart pumping but it was nice, rock steps and nice enough views around to see. Monkeys were common so mostly people just passed it without a bother even if they were on the way. After the climb, checked the view, went ahead following others to the temple but I had no interest in seeing the diety, the lord had enough disciples crowding about, later brought prasada(just to taste it), it was some banana on some dosa kind of delicacy (not really tasty), the dosa stuff was not crisp. A monkey was stalking others eating prasada, so I hid myself behind a pillar and in few more minutes would have had to give up my half eaten prasada to monkey, if that pujari did not drive that monkey away on time.
While getting down the stairs went into a rock spot and I went there and admired the view the spot offered. Squirrels and birds and orange sun and nice views were all very nice. Sometime a go while climbing up saw monkeys check out a drinking water tap and tumbler, it’s dysfunctional. After a while climbing down the stairs, brought bananas for the night and headed to room.
Next day morning, again was disappointed that I did not step out earlier than I did before 6:20 am, by 7:30 it gets hot and a long walk to Dhanushkoti was overdue. I walked the forest garden, again trees and birds and complete solitude, as no one was about. After rock garden, there were rock chairs and chairs and one pillar structure around. All were nice places to sit and take in all the nice cool atmosphere. I saw moon full in the morning and a peacock on the way. The walk was wonderful though long. Danushkothi was a point which involved climbing up stairs again and again there was nature’s garden with top of the hill kind of atmosphere. At a interesting looking point, some winding stairs let to the Danushkothi spot, its a rock which had a gap which legend has it that Lord Rama hit that rock spot with his arrow and some water was flowing. After all this, sucked in Nature resting and going here and there. It was only after this I saw another soul, till now that place was all having only me. Generally, people come here through car or scooter, but walking in the early mornings nothing like it!!
That day I tried venturing out of Melkote to Melkote Wolf Reserve(Melkote Temple Wildlife Sanctuary), but the auto fellows did not know about it and also said it’s better I don’t go there would get stuck, it’s a remote area with only ghats stuff around. Right, I left the idea, all I did was enquire about the bus that I can take to head to Mandya the next day morning, I was told there was a direct bus to Bangalore at 4:30 am , 6:30 am and 9:30 am. I had a train booked from Mandya to Bangalore, but in the end, I just packed and headed off to the 4:30 morning bus, I felt let’s get back home early, escape heat and traffic. Near by some kms away there was Hemagiri falls, Thonnur Lake, but I felt I was fine at Melkote. The former, is a good sight to visit as there is talk of damming the river, Cauvery again , read in news.
Evening this time, I headed to Yoga Narasimha temple (checking ground level) , there is a huge kalyani there. However was disappointed as it did not look clean. There was also plastic stuff in many spots, I found many plastics in various wonderful Dhanushkoti forest garden spots and even spots at Raya Gopura, mostly drinking bottles and one or two broken glass beer bottles. After this I had nothing to do. I ventured to another spot which went down, I looked like it lead to a farmland, but did not go too much down. Besides, goat waste, everything else was nice with trees around, it would have been nice to walk down too. I ventured to walk the rock garder again, Danushkoti area, and came back, as after 6pm, things got dim and eerie, even then it was a nice walk, orange sun disappeared , spotted a peacock far away, nice Nature noises, insects mostly. There were birds as well, morning when I walked I checked out some plants, and I saw one beans plant as the vegetable I plucked looked and felt like green beans.
Tea was there, had it, got bananas for the night. In my mind I thought maybe I would stay till my checkout time in the room that was till 10am in the morning, I had a train from Mandya to catch at 12pm. But since I was itching in the room just got up freshened up and caught the 4:30 morning bus. It turned out well since the bus stop was really nearby. The bus windows were nicely closed so no cold air for discomfort. Even this early bus got filled up by 5:17am within an hour as passengers began standing. In 3 hours time, bus hit Bangalore., things was suffocating as usual seeing the concrete stuff and divided road because of metro. This was the case till Satellite bus stand. Atleast, there was no traffic a tall. Then caught bus to Majestic and from there bus to home was possible as there was no crowd surprising at bus stand and bus lthat head home.
Overall, Melkote was a nice tiny place with gems of Nature here and there. Definitely, a great place to chill, if you have your own vehicle you can visit the Sanctuary, the Hemigiri falls and Thonoor lake, they all would offer solitude. Experiencing complete solitude, with not one single person at the Danushkoti rock garder walk was a unique experience, generally the world is overcrowded though sometimes was a bit frightened and I had shown a complete disinclination to converse with 2 souls who came there , happy they were not bad elements and let me go about my business. Lots and lots of spots where you can be by yourself in Melkote, it’s definitely a great place for Nature lovers and people who just want to chill. Very simple people and lifestyle. I had to buy a 2 litre biseleri bottle because the water of Subbana Mess though I drink it since it looked clean, don’t know how they purify it. Water is taken from a big aluminium drum vessel through a small vessel, I have seen woman pouring water from plastic waist pot to the drum, but I don’t know how that water is got.
So, I also ended up creating one plastic waste, but well could not avoid it. However, I crushed and threw the bottle in the dustbin available at the hotel room before heading back to my City).
Here are the two blogs I read before heading to Melkote –

This is how trees are in danger in your City!!

1. I) Non – maintenance of trees …

– Concrete on roots of trees – weakens trees with no chance of water to enter the roots of the trees. Without water and nourishment, trees weaken and fall eventually.
Thesedays, Garbage too is dumped on tree roots, tree gets ignored, it dries receiving no water while garbage is all around it. So it eventually dries and dies.

II) Harming of trees

– Construction work done by inserting rods on trees. This weakens them as well, making them vulnerable to fall.

– Ad Mafia stapling, screwing posters on trees. The posters block the skin of tree and it prevents oxygen from entering that part of tree, as a bacteria, fungi, lizards and beetles start colonizing the closed tree portion and they are nicely protected by the poster. Eventually, the. tree would get diseased and die.

– Pruning of trees. This causes harms to trees, carelessly tied electric wires on trees, cutting of branches, all harm trees, most often the tree size is reduced and it’s natural beauty is spoiled.

III) Purposeful cutting of trees

– Authorities cutting it for infrastructural projects – road widening, metro or for indirectly catering to the wood/ timber mafia.

– Cutting of trees by other people for construction work and other reasons with vested commercial interest selling wood of trees (tree mafia)

IV) Killing of Trees

– People are known to have killed trees by putting acid on its roots for having billboards more visible by removing trees which they perceive as a obstruction.

So, yeah the remaining trees in your Bangalore City are in Danger and crying for help, ofcourse this City was once a garden City and now you may have already forgotten that.

Anyway, because of all the above tree ufriendly stuff mentioned, you may suddenly find on a windy day with just slight rains, these weakened trees are falling posing a danger to human life!! As a consequence, people would encourage tree cutting, thinking its dangerous, possibility is there, even if its a very dark thought!!

2. Well, you should you have trees apart from it getting weak and falling on you(: ( ha..ha…dark humour), let’s get less serious.

I) Fresh air, oxygen and healthy habitat. This would make being outdoors a pleasure for exercise, to hangout, cycle or have people get togethers. Add to this Bangalore is at a elevated height of about 290 metres from sea level, so with higher elevation, the City’s atmosphere’s oxygen requirements are higher.

II) Pollution control – Touch the leaf of a tree, you can feel some fine particles, they are dust particles. You can even see them, as the particles stick to you when you touch them with wet fingers. This means that the trees have trapped the particulate matter that would have otherwise gone into your lungs when you breath.. Trees are fighto filters.

III) Cool Climate and Shade – Any place that has a lot of trees has lower temperatures.When you walk under a road that has a canopy of trees, you are protected from the harmful sun as well. No wonder, 2 wheelers are seen stopping under trees to check their phone, talk and rest.

IV) Ground Water . Since tree roots take in water, the water goes underground and fills up the water table, from which people get water for their borewells and houses..

V) Trees are required for rains – Trees also throw water vapours to the air and atmosphere, this process is called evapotranspiration. So they are,rain enablers.

VI) Strong native trees can even prevent flooding, it does the function of storm water drains of drawing water to the ground and prevents water leakage on land. This underground extra water, go to lakes, rivers and eventually to the sea.

VII) For birds, butterflies, squirrels . Besides the fresh air, natural bird sounds and lots of other creatures come around when trees are there. Nature unravels it’s beauty and marvels for all to enjoy.

It may be unproved, but trees are sweet for the spiritual soul, and most tree activities mentioned above are child friendly and it’s a good way to have a outdoor life spending quality time with family and people of the locality and more.

3. What can we do to conserve trees?

I) We can monitor trees in the vicinity and accordingly take action, this can be done if there are tree teams in every ward area. If this is there, we can check if – trees have open soil and is free from concrete, they are not harmed by nails, rods, posters. Teams can have contact with required authority for assistance as well, be it forest official, BBMP or any other authority. For this tree awareness has to be done, to form tree teams. Teams can also do sapling plantation activities using native variety saplings.

II) People got to know that they have the right to ask tree cutters, if they got BBMP permission to cut trees, otherwise it’s illegal cutting. If it’s illegal cutting reports can be made to concerned officers – http://bbmp.gov.in/documents/10180/511964/Staff+details.pdf/5a73ad91-5455-4fe7-b797-1ff441e42b5b

III) When authorities do tree cutting(legal cutting), people have the right to raise their voices demanding that no tree can be cut without public consultation. If tree cutting has been done, it has to be compensated by tree re-plantation. Authorities have to do their homework doing a environmental study on their projects that involve tree cutting before progressing to cut off trees. They must use the guidance of a expert in that, and that report has to be made public.

IV) Tree surveys and mapping are a good idea to have in every ward as well. So, every tree is accounted for, good tree population is important for human population to live a healthy life after all. After this, birding and other cool outdoor activities would automatically happen. They are healthy and low cost recreation every person is entitled to have. Why should they go to a park that’s ar, for simple recreational activities?.

V) There are acts made to protect trees dating t – One is Karnataka Tree Protection Act(KTP Act) dating to 1970’s and in the tree protection laws most things mentioned above find mention. Good idea to know little about it and quote it as well, when any tree harming activity is done.

More power to every one – Bangalore needs each one of us to be tree activists urgently.

A decade old Made A, solo travel experience

Recently it was and May Day on May 1st, or whatever you call it. Facebook does not know about this so cannot remind me, but it’s exactly 10 years since my first solo travel experience to a completely new place.
I remember, that time around end of April I got my first voter Id card as well and now it’s election time so a linking event. Those days, there was no airport at the Yelanka place, the airport was on old airport road, HAL something. Things have changed dramatically since then, that time there was no OLA or Uber as well. It was a time that looks like a completely different era now, there was even Vijay Mallaya’s absolutely hot Kingfisher airlines. I was younger then, way younger, too.

The company I was working for had a policy to send its employees to Gujarat where its headquarters was. It was my time but for me, I go to Gujarat by myself, no co-employee travellers with me. That company staff, did last minute bookings so I did not get my ticket till one day before my departure. This did stress me a lot, but a few good things came out of it. One good thing was that I got a kingfisher plane ticket to Bombay from Bangalore, since the useless company ticket bookers from Gujarat did not get tickets for Air India flights or Jet Airways as they booked last minute. That morning I received my Voter ID card, for which my Dad requested the crowd in the line to have me get it first because I had a plane to caught. Then I was dropped to the airport accompanied by Mom and I was on my own, though I did not know all my colleagues back in the office got worried about my safety.

I remember the richness experienced at the Kingfisher airlines, the lady air hostess was super good looking and tall(compliment coming from a lady, then imagine how attractive they were!!)
The plane journey was a short one, but there was a tiny TV and there was the trademark headphone of Kingfisher airlines which was a very cool accessory that had ear hook and it can be pinned in both the ears. I had kept those headphones for a looong looong while as a momento that I did go on the Kingfisher airlines once a upon a time. There was great food as well, and even though I don’t recall the contents there was a chocolate fudgy cake that tasted yummy!!! On the tiny TV I was watching something epic and exciting, Virender Sehwag’s battling in a test match where he scored 200 runs or 300 runs, it was a treat. Then I reached Mumbai, I think I could view the map of it on the TV screen as well. I got down the airport and my only mission was go to Mumbai Central where my train to Gujarat would come at night to take me to Gujarat. I had loads of time.

My brother had told me that taxi drivers would swindle me, so pay lots of money and go to the station. I don’t know how, but a auto driver told he would drop me at the station for 20 bucks, and he dropped me all right at Mumbai’s local station and I did not even know this. When I did realise it, I thought it was very cool, from here I can caught a train to Mumbai Central easily. A train halted and I enquired to the guy standing out the door weather the train goes to Mumbai Central to which the guy affirmed that it does. I was getting into the train as it started and was falling off the running train, but that guy pulled me inside the train else I would have fallen down. I was slightly in schock and had feelings of some needless embarrassment and though I wanted to thank that good samaritan, words did not come out but he gestured me to relax and take a seat. And till today I regret not thanking that guy, who ever he is and weather it’s really worth or not he did save me from falling off(:

I had no idea there is a ladies and gents compartment, but the train had very less crowd and I took a seat, I kept asking a young adult tenager fellow why no one is coming to give tickets and asked him everytime each stop came weather it was Central Mumbai station….
He did not answer, in the middle I got a call from my friend colleague on where I was, I explained that though I was to caught an auto and be at Mumbai Centrail, somehow I landed at local station and was heading by subarban train to Mumbai Central, it turned out she did not understand what I said and the bosses and other colleagues scolded her, I lost network for a while after that. They were in tension because my boss lady from Gujarat, told them they should not have sent me alone to Gujarat because I did not have the maturity to travel on my own. When I later came to know about this, I quit my job(: … anyway

I reached Mumbai station and had nothing to do but bid my time waiting. My train came really late and I got into it, and I had to get down some place in Gujarat. I did not know when the station was coming, and the company lady prompted me to ask the passengers when the station was coming and when it came I got down but it was 11 at the night. When I reached, there was no pick up arranged for me, I called the ticket lady she told to take auto and come,I remarked to her, “What is this madum?”, in a frustrated tone and did as she said. I did caught an auto for 15 rs and it dropped me at the hotel. I got my keys and had a room to myself, I did not allow even the hotle service guy to come in, telling I was fine, if I needed anything will inform, just go. It’s nice somethings to be on your own in a hotle with no one to disturb you, I watched cricket again, those days there was people like Yuvi, and Dohni even my favorite Dravid and Ganguly, liked watching the game, these days it’s all cheap(personal opinion).

The next morning another lady came to share my room but fortunately she prefered staying with another friend of hers residing in another room , so I had the room all to myself. The next day, I did see other employees who came for the so called training from other regions and there was a very concerned and kind sir, atleast he was somebody who cared about you and you can speak freely to him on a personal tone. He needlessly took it into his hands to see I go back safely(very protective but his concern is very sweet).

The rest of the days, went to head office, and again another nice person who came for training made sure I am not left alone to caught auto to head to office, he took me along giving space in the auto even though he could have left me and gone. Then I had a overview of all those useless bosses and my main Bangalore Boss actually smiled seeing me, greeted me happily with a salute feeling this lady made it safely from Bangalore!! …The head boss of Gujarat there asked me about the angry remark I made to the company lady the previous day, I said at 11 at the night, I was all alone with no pick up for me!! He said Gujarat was a extremly safe place, maybe Bangalore was not safe, don’t compare Gujarat and Bangalore. I also remember, I dropped dal on my white kurta and it never left, food at their canteen was pretty good, I liked their lassi.

For leaving there was tension as well, as usual with last time ticket bookings it was hard to find tickets. The useless ticket booking lady wanted to club me with another guy to go to Mumbai from Gujarat. So, even though he got a confirmed train ticket they said they cancelled it because of me, as they did not want me travelling alone. I really get perturbed and still do when just because I am a lady or girl I was a cause a lot of tension to family and other people, in case of leaving me alone when they have to travel or having me travel alone . Earlier did have a really had a huge inferiority complex and hated being lady for a while but hell anyway back to the story, we all know India mostly is not considered safe for ladies.

I had a choice of traveling sharing a berth with male boss colleages which I refused, and so I was booked a bus ticket clubed with some fat guy to go to Mumbai from Gujarat. For some silly reason, was advised by some Gujarat office idiot to follow the fat guy and establish friendly terms so it would help me. I told, I actually prefer going back on my own, I came to gujarat by myself, however the kind sir who was concerned for me said that travelling on the train and bus is different, you don’t need to worry if you travel with a guy. There was more tension, because the plane was strating from Mumbai early in the morning, for that fat fellow it was to start at 5:30 am, for me 6 am and I told timing stuff as 10 am all wrongly seeing the ticket for which was slightly criticized by the gang there brainstorming on this travel back option. The bus from Gujarat had to reach Mumbai on time. The fat fellow lead me into the auto like a gentleman to the bus stand and we waited for the bus.

The bus did not arrive and I noticed the tension escalating for the fat co-traveller who was a cigarett smoker as well. The bus had to arrive at a time and it did not arrive for a long while, it did not help that I was lecturing the guy on not to smoke when he was thinking about caughting the flight tomorrow on time, which can only be possible if the bus came in time now. He spoke to the guy in charge who was seated in the bus shed stop and after that he called the Gujarat boss and made him to speak to the guy. They conversed in Gujarat, but it was of no avail as it did not make the bus come!!!

Then finally the bus came very late, and it did not stop at the assigned place but went far ahead and the fat guy gestured me to follow him but he could not run elegantly after the bus. By this time I was kind of enjoying the commedy, getting amused by this fat co-passenger’s movements. When we reached the bus, and showed the ticket, the bus guy said the ticket is written in Gujarat, how the hell can he understand it? 😀

So, after this confusion of understanding the seat number given in the ticket, seats were given, and to my utter discomfort it was a double decker top sleeper berth, what I call honeymoon berth so I had to sit there with that fat guy in that honeymoon berth sleeper. Well, that seating issue settled but the tension for fat fellow only grew as the bus did not start!! … There were complains of how bad the ticket bookings were done, and his disappointment that his confirmed train ticket was cancelled whatever the reason, they need not have done it and he would miss the flight tomorrow for sure. I spend my time getting down and nagging the bus driver to start the bus, there’s a plane to caught, actually 2 planes to caught!! The bus driver said he can’t help the delay, I think police officials were holding bus back and he told me to talk to them!!

So, no toilet stops are affordable also now. After a long while after midnight the bus started. We should have spent the time making a wager weather the bus would reach on time or not, but it was mostly spent in complaints. I had gone down to the driver to inform him time and again that we need to reach Mumbai on time to caught flight. I might have slept a bit, but mostly was awake yawning, sitting on the opposite direction and next side of the fat guy. When coming to think of it, I should have insisted on getting a single sleeping berth of my own, this is where feminist spirits should burst, after all we should only stand up for ourselves, if we don’t who would?

After some conversations, complaints and expressing ourselves on what we can do in the provable situation of reaching Mumbai when plane leaves, the bus did magically reach at 5 am. The bus stopped near the Mumbai airport. Another guy was getting down at this stop as well along with us. I had a mind to tip some money to the bus driver but well, already had considered that possibility discussing this with the fat guy at the journey, it was decided that it was not the right thing to do, to tip the driver for doing his duty. The poor fat fellow was destined to run again to caught his flight, he was in a hurry to caught his flight at 5:30 am, the other fellow who was walking with us guided him on the entry terminal point for the Indian Airlines. Soon, the fat guy disappeared, it was me walking with this new guy who walked me to the entry terminal of Jet Airways, he told me to take care and left.

Finally, I was on my own and can go take a peaceful leak at the toilet in the airport. From there I boarded and reached Bangalore, safely. This Made Day story is one of my most interesting stories I have narrated to many people, I thought might as well write it.

After this I never done solo travels to completely new places, maybe just recently to Goa for the Goa Bird Festival. But I have traveled to known places solo, sometimes at night. I can say there are lots of good people around, from the auto guy who drops to to Kalashipalayam particular bus brand stop when it’s raining even though he was supposed to drop you at Majestic, from the good guy who saved you from falling from running trains(: .. to the ttr who takes pity on you because you got on the wrong train and allows you to travel ticketless for a while, to people who guide you on how to reach destination and all those auto fellows who dropped you at the destination safely when you reach the CIty like at 4:30am in mornings and 10:30 pm nights. Humanity is not all that bad, good people exist and this inspires me to be good samaritan as well to help people in small ways when they need it 😀 (:

Also, ladies got to be assertive demand what is comfortable for them, be it separate bus seat if you don’t want to sit near male traveller, we must demand for toilet stop for toilet breaks, it doesn’t matter if your making a huge show(: , this is important. Anyway as far Gujarat goes I heard there plenty to eat there and there’s a wonderful wildlife sanctuary Gir, so good stuff to explore. Mumbai too, I liked the City when I recently did stay there for attending a cousin’s wedding, I am sure there are lots to explore there too.

It’s very true that when you can’t be on your own, travelling or doing something adventurous – trekking or things like that, confidence takes a beating and when you begin to do this, you become a free spirit. Girls and ladies should also do travelling, trekking and other adlerin pumping activities, it would help a lot for feeling free and being positive and escape the caged life once a while. I still hear at Cities that it is not safe for a lady to say alone, single etc , also they look at you like you need special protection when you are two ladies travelling to new place. It’s just sad. We have to completely keep affirming that we can be alone and handle any situation. Confidence, assertiveness is a must of course, it’s all worth it for a growing experience as well and to live independently and face our fears, become wiser, smarter and more open minded.

Goonj’s #MyPad initiative for rural women

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Today’s mega story about rural women empowerment , where a solution was found for them on their menstruation problem. You guys already know the story of pad man as talks are on, thanks to the cool pad man movie, this is another story but it does not involve use of sanitary pads.

Yippe, Hi-Fi’s to all #SustainableMenstruation supportors, this story supports the use of sustainable, eco-friendly and cost effective products for period, these are #EcoFriendlyPeriod products. Last week lot of posts were made on this topic, many men have liked the posts and shared it, thank you for reading and being bold enough to support #SustainableMenstruation movement. I believe landfill waste is a issue and #SustainableMenstruation is a soluton for solving menstrunal waste issue and very happy men are willing to understand the issue and support women at period times; just like how India’s pad man Arunachalam Muruganantham did. However, he is not the only man to have worked heart and soul to find solution for menstrunal issues faced by poor women who cannot not afford market sanitary pads.

That’s right, there are other young men, and there is team of GOONJ too that had men like Anshu Gupta who had worked to find a solution for rural women period issue through their initiative called #MyPad. In 2004 or around that time, Goonj team visited villagea and wanted to solve sanitation issues in the villages they visited. Goonj team generally go to villages and find out the problem and empower local community to solve the problem. For ex, if villagers need a well to store water, Goonj arranges for materials for the making of the well, people get together to dig the well themselves. Goonj also works to get support of local Govt. to support people when they do such projects for material procurement assistance, and this strategy has worked. With this approach, villages have got roads, bridges, hand pumps, drainage systems, bathroom areas and what not. This has indirectly empowered village people, for ex, they can take bath, stay cleaner, women got places where they can get privacy for bathing and other purposes.You got to realise that India’s villages still don’t have basic facilities- like toilets, hospitals, schools that provide good education, water infrastructure, therefore life is very difficult. Anyway back to the story.

In their field trips to the villages, Goonj team found that rural women don’t have access to hygienic menstruation products therefore they used all possible products that can absorb the menstrual flow – cloth, rags, cow dung, sand etc. None of these were safe and hygenic products to use. It happened that one woman in the village died using blouse for period managenagement since she got tetanus coming in contact with the hook. There were other problems as well, families that had more than 2 women used the same cloth at period time, this cloth that was totally not designed for absorbing period flows was not dried in the sun which is very important for it to kill germs. Women found it difficult to do it because they lived in crowded clusters and were ashamed to hang period cloths outside as public can see it. This was a serious issue as it affected the reproductive health of women because as women followed such unhygeinic practices to manage their menstruation by the time they came of child bearing age, they had to have their uterus removed!! …

Goonj finally found a solution to address this women’s issue which later becomes a family issue as it affects women’s health. You can read about it in detail here – http://goonj.org/njpc/index.html

Basically, with all the cotton cloth materials they collected, Goonj team began manufacturing cloth pads called MyPads and they gave it to the women. They had divided the women into groups and talked about menstruation. They were told that with what ever water they have, just heat the water and wash the pads and dry it in the sun and reuse it again. The women did it and they feel no shame in hanging pads out in the sun. Goonj said they consulted educated experts from big institutions to find solution for the problem, their solution was distribute pads. Then Goonj team thought about this and felt that they were working on sanitation issues for having a clean village, if every eligible female uses disposables and throws it, it will all go to the area where lake is there in the village so the Goonj refused to adopt the sanitary pad solution; it would dirty the village with garbage.

The initiative was a success. Village women were used to cloth and can easily be acquanted to wear cloth pads, these pads were good in managing the flow and can be hygeinic, provided you wash it, then dry it in the sun. However, to talk about this issue was challenging however, Goonj team did it. This actually later provided employment to many women, they are working in stitching these cloth pads, it had positive effects.

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So, as you guys enjoy pad man movie and know the story of the real pad man, think about other pad activists who recomend #SustainableMenstruation. Goonj team story should also be known, but there is another truth to it. Society would not accept cloth pad as solution. Filmmakers would not like to show that cloth pad can be a solution for menstruation while also not contribute to menstrual waste that end up as landfill garbage. Well, anyway more information on #SustainableMenstruation and #EcoFriendlyPeriod products here – https://www.greenthered.in/

Please feel free to spread the word. Goonj’s Anshu Gupta himself urged us to think about Menstrunal Cup, he said in rural households that is no space and 2 or 3 menstrunal cups occupy less space than all other period products and he is right. As he said, he never forced village women to use cloth pads, Goonj’s intention was only to give a good reuseable pad to every woman to manage her period hygenically and cost effectively. She was always free to buy the well marketed Sanitary napkins, it’s a matter of choice. Similarly all are free to make choice but make a smart choice and stay informed on #SustainableMenstruation, it’s a healthy trend, good for women’s health and environment.

Thankyou for reading, feel free to share if you want to spread Goonj’s story which you should, they are a different kind of cloth pad people. All respect, you can all know about Goonj , volunteer or get inspired and start initiatives of your own. They would love more people working to improve our country, villages etc. Check their fb page and their website, links are there in between text in this article.

You can caught Goonj team this month and next month, they are going to Cities to talk about what all they have done in their 19 years of existence, in short they are celebrating their 19th birthday with public.. Check updates in their fb page.

Unintended bucket list full filled – Hearing Rahul Dravid, the Cricket gentleman and wall

Rahul Dravid was at the Bangalore Literature Festival(: … It is extremely rare that we can find such clean, nice role models who got success through their sheer character, hard work facing the society that can be discouraging when we can’t present our best performances and don’t do things following their norm. These days many say that there is dearth of good role models for the youth, but here is one character which should inspire us, youth or even otherwise. Anil Kumble who was also there a day before at the lit fest can also serve as a role model personality. Here is all what Rahul dravid said which sounded lovely coming from him because he is truly an authentic genuine gem of a person(:

Before that bringing to light that this U19 A coach recently got in the news(: … no not controversially. Rahul Dravid was invited as a chief guest in a University and they wanted to confer on him a doctorate honour but Rahul Dravid confidently said he won’t take it because he has not done phd and does not deserve it. So, that is Dravid, honest and goodness personified, now here are the lessons for the youth from Dravid –

Now, we go crazy don’t we on celebrities, but we should be intelligent enough not to get negatively influenced by them. As Rahul Dravid says, he is fine with Virat Kohli what he says and how he behaves because that’s adult Virat Kohli, but… it’s not good for young kids to ape Virat or any other celebrity, everyone should be authentic to himself, just be the best of himself/herself. We have to get that maturity not get influenced by celebrities. We should do and behave in the spirit of what is best for us and true of us. So you watch movies, keep it as a movie don’t act like that ‘hero’ or use the product just because a celebrity endorses it. Also you don’t need to succumb to societal or peer pressure, be authentic.

Next, Rahul Dravid loved playing in international matches because he can go out there in the streets and take a walk, go down to the restaurant and enjoy his food but in India people would intrude upon him so he has to be inside his hotel room which he disliked. He would like to take a walk and eat out and explore without being intruded anywhere. So, we must respect others space, even if they are a celebrity they are entitled to have a ‘personal life’, we must inculcate a decent etiquette in not bombarding them. It’s hard, but take them as people, if they are not wanting the over fan attention, it’s better to leave them alone, it’s not like they are friends even though we do admire and idolize them, let’s keep our limits and wits with us always and be civil and mindful of them as people.

There are many youths who lose hope, suicide for various reasons, they might have got the willpower to fight life if they heard Dravid say that he made cricket work for him because he knew that a Bcom degree is not enough for him to get a job that gives him good earnings to lead a comfortable life. Also it’s worthwhile to connect with your passion and make it work for you to give you earnings to make your living. Will power and passion should be one’s strength to rise over the difficulties and do whatever is needed to make things work for one in life.
Rahul does not want to take part in media gossip, he does what gives him piece of mind and stays away from distractions because media and book authors do catch on acts and words of celebrities and make a big fuss about it. So, it’s better for people to not pass negative comments on others, talk on another person’s back, gossip and never ever in public. So, if there is something you need to address like a decent person address it to the person directly.

Dravid, said a lot of things avoiding as much as he could to not comment about other happening cricket issues mainly Dohni’s power in choosing his retirement from t20 and Kohli removing Anil Kumble as coach controversy. However, he was funny, in good humour, he attacked the conversation creating journalist Rajdeep Sardesai back harmlessly with statements that were really funny(and cute as well) when asked such questions{it sounded funny because we knew that Dravid went on the sweet offensive to divert answering question (lol) }

However, Dravid was again cajoled to give his opinion on Anil Kumble issue and he came out powerful that though he cannot comment on such things because no one knows what happened in the scene but it’s unfortunate the incident flashed to the media. Then he said powerfully that it’s not fair that such a thing should have happened to Anil because he is great personality and his track record is good in the coaching scene with India doing well, but coaches get sacked and that’s how it, maybe he himself would be given the boot soon.
Rajdeep Sandesai was very respectful towards Rahul Dravid and it was a complete joy to finally listen to someone who rightly deserves to be admired for his character, strength, he is termed as a ‘conscience of cricket’ , and proves that you don’t need to go in a crooked path to be successful in life. It was a real pleasure, honour and treat to have heard Rahul Dravid talk(:.

Being a Lit Fest, Rahul was asked about when he would get his book out? … He said no books for him(:, he is not interested in fame, publicity, glamour and controversies. Dravid said he can’t write the truth on the book it would create talk and ruscus as he is a public figure and he can’t have his family face all the public talk.

Ending this by saying, it may be good for youngsters and others to have people they look up to as inspiration, but they should choose someone really worthy and it would be good if they get to meet their inspiration in flesh and blood, If they are worthy and true personalities such a meeting would be a honour and delight indeed(:

Note : There were also 3 other legendary cricketers, they were greats and there at India 1983 world cup. We all gave them a standing ovation. One of them said that Rahul Dravid was a shy person now it’s such a delight to see him become a humourist as well(: The 3 cricketers were inspiration to Dravid but shamefully I admit that I was only interested in Dravid talk (not even cricket) but they deserve special mention as well, wish I could recollect their names…anyway, people can find it in media about Dravid in Litfest and special guests comprising of 3 other legendary cricketers…

#BangaloreLIteratureFestival #RahulDravid — feeling thankful.