Monday, 30 March 2015

MUNNAR TRAVELOGUE

Munnar, Kerala (South India)
Visiting South India?
Be sure to visit Munnar! A hill station in Kerala..........

Truly an escape from the remaining South India's burning heat, Munnar stands as a hub of tourism. Munnar is a hill station 130 kms away from Kochi (the city in which the Kerala Airport is located). Tea plantations and all the agricultural stuff never excited me, but after my visit to Munnar, I changed my views. The entire hill station is stocked with tea plantations, and is probably the best place to buy organic Indian spices. Tea is planted along the slope of the hills. To reach them, one must be an average trekker! You can spend hours roaming around them and exploring other areas near them. You can find a variety of flavored and organic refreshing tea with the exotic aroma. The fun sparks out in having a thick block of chocolate ice-cream in the burning heat. Did I mention, Kerala is the only state in India having 99.9 % literacy? Literacy has resulted in clean streets and proper management of resources. The amazing arrangement of houses and long continuous roads could be an inspiration for other cities. The population is equally distributed throughout the city. The hill station, from the view of a high flying helicopter would look like colored Lego pieces placed on a green base. The houses are painted bright and vibrant in shades of green, blue, yellow, orange etc, unlike those usual whites and grays in other states of India.
A tea plantation in Munnar,Kerala


'Colored pieces of lego on a green base' :)
Being rich in flora and fauna, Munnar has many flower gardens. 'The Rose Garden' is among the popular tourist attractions on the hill station. Its a great stress buster, walking through the nurseries and plantations accompanied by cool breeze. The hill station is also well populated by wildlife sanctuaries. 

A view from the Munnar flower garden
Entire Kerala (despite being a tourist destination) faces a major problem of clean drinking water. Hotels, shops, restaurants and even local residents use packaged drinking water for daily consumption. This way, you end up spending a lot just on drinking water. The best way to address the problem would be to carry your own large sized water bottles and always be on the look for Public water filters and be sure to refill from every jug in the restaurant.

Munnar, being situated at an elevated height and having less pollution, makes a great place  for star-gazing. Be well equipped with your telescope !
If you happen to plan your vacation in Munnar, I would recommend that you book your stay in 'Anna Homestay', located in Chithrapuram (9 km away from the main city). 
A navigation board, so that you can obtain the contact number :)


 Reading the word- 'Homestay' you get altogether a different idea of what the rooms would look like, but this one is out of the ordinary....
Veranda outside the rooms 






The owners are very friendly and helpful. Papachan, the owner of this place has a perfect taste of interior design and arrangement of rooms. The rooms are well equipped with large glass windows, lamps, clean balconies and also the key-card system.
It is built more like a resort - A one storied building for this very purpose, labelled rooms, key cards for electricity etc add to the feel of the place.The place looks beautiful at night. However, this place is not equipped with WIFI. The 'packaged drinking water problem' continues here. Since it is a home-stay, you may have a chat with the owners and customize your breakfast. The best part of this place is, its a stone's throw from the TEA PLANTATIONS !

A well known attraction in Munnar is Punarjani (meaning- traditional village), A stage for the traditional arts of Kerala. It is located in the 2nd mile, Pallivasal, Munnar. They stage two daily shows here- Kathakali and Kalaripayattu.

Kathakali is a world famous highly stylized Indian Classical Dance Drama- known as the king of performing arts, performed in a kothambalam (art performance temple) by skilled artists.

Kalaripayattu is an ancient traditional martial art of Kerala reknowned as 'mother of all martial arts'. It has a long tradition and later many techniques of this art were adopted into martial arts like karate, Kung-Fu, judo etc. The performance includes body control exercises, fight with metallic weapons like sword, shield, spear, dagger etc. Its something worth watching. The fights were fast and short, amazingly performed feats. I did click a few pictures but watching such feats live, altogether create a different effect.


Kalaripayattu- A feat- Somersault through the fire ring

Kalaripayattu- Led Sticks

Kalaripayattu- A dangerous feat involving fire lit sticks

                     
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            #atriptoremember
                                                                                                                        Cheers,
                                                                                      Siddharth :)


Wednesday, 18 March 2015

AFTER READING THIS, YOU WILL NEVER BUY GUITAR PICKS !

Hey there guitarists,
How often do you run out of picks ?
Accepting the ugly truth that a pick is just a piece of plastic or maybe a cut out from nylon sheet, why should you spend a few bucks on them? Knowing that they will break soon.............
Here is the solution- Make your own custom translucent blue picks !!
Making picks isn't that hard and would take barely 5-6 minutes. The best part is that you can actually bend them and also have your custom pick with your band name on it ! Anyways here's how you do it !

Step 1- SELECT THE RIGHT CD (DVD)
So the first step is to select a DVD. The visual difference between a CD and a DVD is that CD's are white on their reflective side and DVD's are blue on their reflective side. So what we need is the BLUE one. In case, you're stuck-

Step 2- SEPARATE THE TRANSLUCENT LAYER
All DVD's are made of two layers - The cover and the projection layer. We want the projection or the translucent layer. To separate it, all you have to do is make a cut on its edge (circumference) and separate it out. We won't be needing the opaque plastic cover so you can throw that. And if some of that sparkly stuff is stuck on the translucent area, don't worry ! That can be used to make the FANCY ones....
I know its difficult to explain, So I guess the GIF animation should explain it all.

Step 3- TRACE OUT THE REQUIRED PICK
Now, this is easy. On the translucent CD, using a real pick and a permanent marker trace out the pick shape that you want on the CD. So trace out as many picks as you can to fully utilize the CD. Keeping the pick steady, while tracing it might be a difficult task. So I suggest, while doing this use the index finger and press the pick downwards and then trace it. Be creative and find your way to do this :)



Step 4 -CUT IT OUT !!
Simple- Use a good pair of scissors and cut out your traced picks! Do this with a steady hand and cut it cleanly in one go without stopping.
Step 5 -SAND IT
Smooth-en the edges using a sanding machine or by hand using sand paper. And you're ready to rock !! Optionally you may make your band logo or some graphic on them once you're done with sanding.
ROCK ON
And that's it !! You can also make picks with old credit cards and Cheetos Tazos :)
I hope this works for you! If you're stuck at any step, do leave a comment and I'll get back. HAPPY PICKING :)
                                                                                        - Cheers
                                                                                          Siddharth