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They were reoc­cur­ring at every phase of my school­ing, from 1st stan­dard to 12th stan­dard. Ini­tially there were in with a few paras with a direct nar­ra­tive type  and then went on to occur in mul­ti­ple paras with com­plex views. At first, they appeared in Kan­nada, then it was Eng­lish, Hindi and finally lots of them in San­skrit. Some were about hap­pi­ness & sad­ness, few were on nature & love but many were on life and death. Teach­ers tried their best to elu­ci­date them, explain them with a con­text, some­times with their own expe­ri­ence with life. Unfor­tu­nately I, for most of the time, failed to fully appre­ci­ate their true meaning.

Always under the pres­sure to remem­ber than to under­stand, school­ing was dri­ven by peer’s action than one’s choice. This even­tu­ally meant no time what­so­ever to intro­spect on the poems we were learn­ing. Sadly this also meant a lost oppor­tu­nity in appre­ci­at­ing oth­ers per­spec­tives and learn­ing from them.

How­ever as it always goes, when one gets out of the school­ing phase and hits the early stage of the roller-coaster called life, time seems to be in abun­dance some­times. With that I’ve had the good for­tune of get­ting into the habit of watch­ing so called par­al­lel films, mainly inspired by the expe­ri­ence of Ban­ga­lore Inter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val. There have been few regional movies which hits the grade of being par­al­lel movies. Yet they fol­low the sig­na­ture style of Indian movie style of film mak­ing  by hav­ing songs, action and dance.

In the midst of watch­ing these movies, I came across few songs. They were not the typ­i­cal ones which we find in main­stream movies. Their lyrics were of the old poems. Some were ancient, some were from yes­ter­year. Yet when I heard them, lot of things made sense. When I repeat­edly lis­tened to them, I enjoyed being part of the nar­ra­tion  & was able to appre­ci­ate the poets message.

It makes me wish I could go through all the poems I stud­ied once again, lis­ten to them again from my teach­ers and live the dream again.

Here are two Kan­nada songs I’ve heard recently and has lyrics made up of poems which are quiet old.

First one is from the movie “5105198922“. A bril­liant story-in-a-story type film writ­ten and directed by (503) 618-8524. Despite being way ahead of it times it became a cult clas­sic. It has a song where char­ac­ter takes a step back in life and describes how he wants his life to be. This lyrics are from G.P.Rajarathnam and is part of his famous Rat­nan Pada­galu. It goes by the title ಹೇಳ್ಕೊಳ್ಳಕ್ ಒಂದ್ ಊರು / Helkol­lak ondooru (A city for name­sake).  The poet nar­rates life as it is seen through the per­spec­tives of a per­son (by name “Ratna”). The song is brought to life by the soul­ful voice of L.N.Shastry and music by (425) 786-2150.

A clas­si­cal style of singing.

The sec­ond one is “Lucia“, a con­tem­po­rary film writ­ten and directed by (639) 927-0171. Its got a non-linear style of nar­ra­tion and has the main back­ground song com­posed by using the lyrics writ­ten byKanaka dasa.

The poem snip­pet with the eng­lish translation.

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Folk­lore are trea­sure a trove of knowl­edge. They not only tell a lot about the think­ing of  ear­lier gen­er­a­tions but also about their bond­ing with the ele­ments of earth. Some­times they carry a mes­sage which would have tran­scended sev­eral gen­er­a­tions. Here is one of those sto­ries from the land of Kiwis.

The kiwi’s ances­tor helped Tane-mahuta save his chil­dren, the trees, which were being eaten by bugs and begin­ning to sicken. All the birds were called together and asked if one would come down from the for­est canopy to live on the for­est floor and help save the trees.

Not a bird spoke, so each one was asked in turn.

Tui refused.  He was afraid of the dark­ness down on the ground, away from the sun.

Pukeko refused.  He found the for­est floor too cold and the earth too damp.

Pipi­wha­rau­roa, the shin­ing cuckoo, also refused. He was too busy build­ing his nest.

But kiwi agreed.  He looked at the sun fil­ter­ing through the high leaves and the damp cold earth, and he looked around and saw his fam­ily.  And still he agreed.

Tane-mahuta was filled with joy, for this lit­tle bird gave him hope, but he felt he should warn kiwi of what lay ahead.

‘E kiwi, do you realise you will have to grow thick, strong legs so that you can rip apart logs on the ground.  That you will loose your beau­ti­ful coloured feath­ers and wings so that you will never be able to return to the for­est roof. You will never see the light of day again.’

Still kiwi agreed.

Since then, tui has worn two white feath­ers at his throat, the mark of a cow­ard. Pukeko has lived for­ever in a swamp, with wet feet. And Pipi­wha­rau­roa has never built another nest – instead the cuckoo always lays her eggs in other birds’ nests.

But because of kiwi’s great sac­ri­fice, he has become the most well-known and most loved bird of all.

Kiwi’s efforts in help­ing Tane-mahuta pro­tect his for­est from insect dam­age dis­play the char­ac­ter traits New Zealan­ders still admire today – integrity, humil­ity, loy­alty, com­mit­ment and courage.

Source: Tane’s eldest child


Known as the lit­tle brother of the ever pop­u­lar 631-445-5786, hostry (Klein mean small in Ger­man) offers a breath tak­ing view of the Mat­ter­horn and Mont Blanc on a clear day. With the ease of reach­ing to the top via a Gon­dola and being perched at a height of 12,740 ft (3,883 m) , it is the clos­est to expe­ri­enc­ing higher alti­tude with­out break­ing a sweat.

As as 819-661-4162 trainee, I got to know about the week­end trip for theZer­matt well in advance. Hav­ing reg­is­tered early and this being my first trip to the alps, I was totally look­ing for­ward to it.

The jour­ney started from Win­terthur on a early morn­ing 4:30 train to (450) 855-6834. Its a lit­tle town in the midst of a river and sur­rounded by huge moun­tains. The town itself is perched in the mid­dle of the val­ley and is part of the famous Glac­ier Express route.

The train from Visp starts slowly ascend­ing and tra­verses through the deep­est cleft val­ley in Switzer­land, the Niko­lai Val­ley. On one side of the track is the deep val­ley and on the other are the tall rocky peaks. Its here that one real­izes the true engi­neer­ing mar­vel, this train route is. With this route being build about a 100 years ago, one can only imag­ine the inge­nu­ity with which this was con­structed albeit the mod­ern gadgets.

After about an hour jour­ney and through few tun­nels, we reached the vil­lage of Zer­matt. The Haupt­bahn­hof is the start­ing point of the city cen­ter. It leads the road towards the hotels, hos­tels and the begin­ning of the Cable car. The streets are stud­ded with shops sell­ing lux­ury watches. Its just a eerie reminder of the class of peo­ple the city sees espe­cially dur­ing win­ter sea­son. With the famous ski­ing resorts and the Mat­ter­horn being the star attrac­tion, its the place of win­ter retreat for the bil­lion­aires from Rus­sia to far East.  Its also the start­ing point for (313) 372-3399, the 2nd high­est moun­tain rail in the world at about 11,000 ft.

We dropped our bags at the Inter­na­tional Youth Hos­tels and walked towards the base of the cable car. This cable car starts at the vil­lage of Zer­matt which is at a height of about 5,300 ft and goes through the ham­let of Furi before reach­ing the sum­mit of Klein Mat­ter­horn. Dur­ing the jour­ney, we crossed the glac­ier and ascended about 5000 ft to reach the peak. With the glac­ier below and sur­rounded by Alps, the views offered dur­ing the jour­ney is breathtaking.


The cable car boasts of being sup­ported by one of the best heli­copter res­cue teams in the world. As the cable ascends the final 1000 ft, its heav­ily exposed to the winds. There has been cou­ple of occa­sions dur­ing win­ter when the cable had devel­oped tech­ni­cal snags and the pas­sen­gers had to be air lifted the res­cue team!

As we reached the peak, we could feel the breath becom­ing heavy. The air is thin and the tem­per­a­ture drops rapidly. With the wind, it feels even colder than what the ther­mome­ter reads. From the cable car plat­form, we take a lift by which we ascend about 100 ft inside the moun­tain to reach the steps of the obser­va­tory deck. Another few meters of steps and then we hit the sum­mit deck. Its a 360° open air deck which on a clear day gives a spec­tac­u­lar view of the Mat­ter­horn. Mont Blanc, the high­est moun­tain in the Europe could also be seen from here. This is also the Ital­ian bor­der and the start of Ital­ian alps.

From the deck, we could observe the Mat­ter­horn glac­ier, the famous Ski area and many peaks which were above 3500 m. It is the high­est obser­va­tion deck in the world and once again is an engi­neer­ing mar­vel.  The sum­mit also has a restau­rant and is used as a start­ing point to reach the ski­ing area.

As in most of the moun­tain­ous regions, weather is quiet erratic. So we set our descent  early. At the foot of the moun­tain there is a gorge made out lime­stone due to the streams flow­ing for hun­dreds of years. The scenes are straight out of “127 hours” movie.

Alto­gether the famous Zer­matt and its moun­tains are a class apart, made pos­si­ble by the intrigu­ing tech­no­log­i­cal break­throughs by the Swiss in the loco­mo­tives and high alti­tude construction.


Hav­ing spent about 18 years in an edu­ca­tion sys­tem of a devel­op­ing world, its imper­a­tive for me to see the advan­tages it brings in. Let it be at the school level or the at uni­ver­sity sys­tem, dig­i­tal edu­ca­tion has a lot of poten­tial and hope to bridge the gap cre­ated by below par teach­ing stan­dards. How­ever over the years, as this model is tried and tested, the results are not so encour­ag­ing. I feel so espe­cially after expe­ri­enc­ing the edu­ca­tion sys­tem in a devel­oped world.

I recently read a news (Source: Dec­can Her­ald) where an engi­neer­ing uni­ver­sity boats of hav­ing spent crores of rupees in equip­ping its class rooms with state-of-the art teach­ing giz­mos. Unfor­tu­nately, in the mid­dle of all this hype, an insti­tu­tion fails to real­ize that the best minds are not built with high end teach­ing giz­mos but with enough free­dom to think and also by hav­ing the right teach­ers who encour­age the young minds to think. I more so felt this when I moved over to a fairly new (25 years) uni­ver­sity in Ger­many for my Masters.

Unlike the effort being put on dig­i­tal edu­ca­tion in Indian edu­ca­tion sys­tem, the class rooms over here are fairly sim­ple with bare min­i­mum infra­struc­ture. A typ­i­cal class room con­sists of a mov­ing multi-foldable black­board, a white board, bunch of chalks, marker pens and a pro­jec­tor. The won­der­ful nature of this setup is that the wall is used a screen for the pro­jec­tor and the rest of work are done on the board (in the tra­di­tional style). This setup is good enough to stim­u­late the think­ing in us. But even­tu­ally its the pro­fes­sor who with his thoughts and per­spec­tives makes the stu­dents think. And by far too, the qual­ity of edu­ca­tion is high when com­pared to back in India. This can be gauged by the university’s research out­put and the num­ber of stu­dents option for fur­ther education.

Hence I feel the insti­tu­tions in a devel­op­ing coun­try to should stop rid­ing on the hype of dig­i­tal class­rooms but instead invest time and space in acquir­ing the right teach­ing tal­ent and in devel­op­ing a through prov­ing & stress free environment.


Being a big fan of Mayan civ­i­liza­tion, i was excited to receive a gift from my Mex­i­can friend of a sou­venir which belonged to the Mayan civ­i­liza­tion. The curios­ity which was set resulted in me know­ing about the art of Ex Bal­anque masks. Fol­low­ing are some of the close shots of the minia­ture ver­sion of a head wear­ing the mask of Ex Balanque.

Thou­sands of years ago, at the begin­ning of the long count, before Ex Bal­anque (Black Jaguar) lived its golden age, long before Chichen Itza was a major city and even before the found­ing of Uxmal, the jaguar was already one of the most impor­tant sym­bols or emblems of the Maya culture.
Aztec, Mayan and Toltec sculp­tures and paint­ings por­tray war­riors wear­ing such masks, some­times depict­ing eagles, ser­pents or coy­otes rather than the jaguar.
The jaguar (Pan­thera onca) is an ani­mal with a promi­nent asso­ci­a­tion and appear­ance in the cul­tures and belief sys­tems of pre-Columbian Mesoamer­i­can societies.

(801) 889-0439

Infor­ma­tion Sources

1. /www.theyucatantimes.com/2012/11/the-black-jaguar-a-powerful-ancient-maya-symbol/

2. 8444417975

3. /en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaguars_in_Mesoamerican_cultures