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Saturday, September 03, 2011

Mysore Calling ... Day 2

The next morning started off with a guided tour of the farm where we saw Ripe Guavas, Lemons, Tangerines, Chickoos, Mangoes (Not too many considering the season has ended) and a few other fruits I was seeing for the first time and pretty much every vegetable one might need for day-to-day cooking. It was really nice to pluck some ripe Guavas (with the red core) and almost instantaneously bite into them. Yummm!!! Around 11am, got ready and decided to do some sightseeing. Since we were quite close to Infy, decide to go down memory lane and see how Infy had changed (if at all). We obviously couldn't get in but we did stop over at the Gate and ask the Security Guard at the Infosys Gate (for random directions which we didn't need) as we got a peek past the gate at some of the Buildings. We drove around the compound looking at some of the other buildings and facilities and decided to head off towards the city before one of the security guards posted at a height near the 4 corners of Infosys Campus shoots at us assuming we are terrorist doing recee. :-)

We then went straight to the Mysore Palace got tickets and went around watching in astonishment the Palace and the Life of the Maharajah and the poor dude(s) (Wodeyar and his children/grandchildren) who missed out on all the fun because India gained Freedom and became a Democratic Republic. I had of course been there a few times, but was surprisingly the first time for Bhagya (someone who had studied in Tiptur for 4 years and probably visited Bangalore tons of times). Some minor shopping (Sandal scented Incense Sticks, Perfumes, Soaps, etc) later, we headed off to the Jaganmohan Palace. This included an Art Gallery and a Museum which had all of the utensils, weapons, dresses and portraits of all the Kings and their History. I also learnt on this visit that the fifth King of the Wodeyar Dynasty was actually (Ranadhira Kantheerava) Narasaraja Wodeyar I (1638–1659). For some weird unknown reason, this made me happy. :-) A little more shopping and we decided to take a break and head back home (to the farmhouse) but not before we stopped over to have some pastries. Did I mention that before the plans for the trip got finalized, we were actually on the GM Diet. :-( Need to start afresh or maybe screw the diet and get back to some workouts.

Before we reached home, I saw a sign-board that read Kalidasa Road and this again brought back nostalgic memories of the 3-4 months spent at our Apartment on KD Road (It is Bangalore’s MG Road equivalent in Mysore). Decided to drive around and find our old Apartment and get a pic or two. We finally found it after asking a couple of people for directions. Since it had started drizzling, we managed with pics from the car and headed on to the farmhouse.

Since it was Ganesha, Periyaswami had cooked Ganesha's favorite sweet - Modak. Had a couple over lunch and hogged the other dishes he had cooked. We were also warned to keep enough space for the evening's special - Persian Veg Pulao. After lunch, had some nice filter coffee (yummm!!!) and after a lot of thought decided that Brindavan Gardens and the Musical Fountain was not to be missed (especially since KRS was not too far from Mohan Uncle's farmhouse). Started around 5ish and we were at Brindavan after some bumper to bumper traffic around a kilometer from the entrance to KRS where the Parking Fee was being collected. The parking lot was packed to the core and with great difficulty managed to find what was a suspect parking slot. Even though I was a little worried that my new car might get nicked by someone trying to sneak in the gap between my car and the next line, decided to take a chance since there didn't seem any better options. 

We got lucky with a new line that got formed at the Ticket Counter and rushed to enter Brindavan Gardens. It was better than I had memories off from my last visit (Of course Bhagya wasn't with me the last time round ;-) so she does get some credit) and around 7ish, we decided to head off to the North Block of Brindavan where the Musical Fountain was showing. We were shocked to see the bridge packed with people trying to get to the other end. But left with no choice, we decided to join the rush and after about 15mins of struggling through and guarding our purses & camera from pickpocketeers, we finally got to the Musical Fountain area. It was pretty impressive but for some weird reason, there was a 10 min gap between every set of 2-3 songs. After watching a couple of sets, we decided to sneak out midway through a set so that we don't get caught in the rush again. It was a great decision because we were back at the parking lot in 5 mins. Had a couple of Sugar Cane juices and started back towards the farmhouse. It was a nice short drive back as well with lot of overtaking maneuvers that would have made a Schumacher happy. Yummy Persian Pulao and lot of home-grown fruits later, we were ready to crash.

Coming Up ... Mysore Calling ... Day 3 & Some Pics

Mysore calling ... Day 1

Long weekend and plans of a Ooty+Kerala Trip cut short due to Bhagya's needing to go to Hyderabad on Saturday meant that we had to come up with a quick plan for Wed-Thu. Wed morning as we start typing in Google "Places to see near", the first Auto Suggest option that comes up is Bangalore and then comes Mysore. That's how we make plans in the Internet or Google Era.

Even before I could pick Bangalore and hit enter, we are both like "Purrrrfecttt!!!". We had been talking about visiting Mohan Uncle's Farmhouse in Mysore for quite some time now (He had moved in around 5 years back when I was in the US and somehow everytime there was a family trip to Mysore, I had been out of the country). I had been talking about giving my new i10 some work (I had done around 400kms in 2 months considering that my office is 10mins from home). Bhagya had not been to Mysore really except for a trip with friends to Balamuri Falls a few years back. We decided within minutes to go for it, asked Mom and Dad if they wanted to join (Mom agreed since she wanted to catch up on loads of gossip with her bro - Mohan Uncle and Dad decided to pass considering his coming in will mean finding a security guy and that is such a pain at such short notice.

Started off around noon after a call to Mohan Uncle to confirm he was going to be in town and had the most painful 1km on the Mysore Road Flyover (Eid celebrations and people coming out of / going into the Mosque there combined with Metro work) meant that getting out of Bangalore took a good 2 hours and the last 100m of the Mysore Road Flyover took 45mins. Once out of Bangalore, it was the most amazing driving experience (going at  80-100kmph consistently) and switching back and forth between 4th and 5th gear through most of the journey and by around 4:30ish was near the outskirts of Mysore. A 30-45min break for lunch at Kamat Lokaruchi (Just after Channapatna) meant that I had done about 140kms in under 2 hours. 

A couple of calls for directions later was at Mohan Uncle's Farmhouse in Emerald Enclave just behind Infosys (My former company and the campus where I spent the most fun 3 months of my career during Infy Training). Since it was around 5:30 by the time we got in, had some snacks & coffee, we decided not to do any sightseeing and went for a long romantic :-) walk around Emerald Enclave. Bhagya said that it would have been more romantic if we had gone out with one Umbrella instead of two or better still without Umbrellas and got drenched/danced in the rain. I decided that with the small size of the umbrella and the fact that one of them was broken slightly, we were safer from catching a cold and spoiling the weekend with one each instead of one for both of us. How unromantic eh!!! :-(

We came back to some hot food cooked by Mohan Uncle's cook Mr. Periyaswami. We obviously weren't very hungry at 8:30pm considering we'd had a full North Karnataka Meal at 3pm and Snacks at 5:30pm. But we ate enough to ensure we didn't hurt the hosts' feelings. :-)

Please read ... Mysore Calling ... Day 2
Coming Up ...
Mysore Calling ... Day 3 & Pics