My travels is all about... My views on random places of interest, persons, things, events & issues etc,.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

The Curious Case of the Mummy of Hyderabad

The chill of the morning was gone. A sudden surge of sunshine was vital to get things done during winter. And so, it was, a sudden raise in temperature. Such baffling inconsistencies in the weather of the Deccan, within a day would scare a farmer. But for a student, they did ensure an encouraging sign of things to come. The workers at the great Public Gardens of Nampally toiled hard - the image of the city was important, more than anything else. After the Global Entrepreneurship Summit & the opening of the Metro, the city is about to host the World Telugu Conference on 15th of December. And I asked one such toiling worker, the way to the Museum.

Within the sprawling Public Gardens lies an old building, housing the Telangana State Archeological Museum. The Piece de Resistance of this museum is an old Mummy - the likes of which scared me as a kid when I visited it as a school going boy. But now, I was no longer a boy to be scared. And so, once again, I stared into the glass ceiling.

Egyptians, like many other civilizations had a firm belief of life after death. However, they took this passion to rituals of epic proportions. All Emperors, Queen consorts and Royalty, after death were preserved as mummified bodies. All vital organs were separately preserved in separate jars, and elabarote rituals followed where the ancient gods of Egypt like 'Ra, Seth, Horis, Anubis' were invoked to protect the body till the soul reaches the Egyptian Eden.

About the mummified body, it was not even 5 feet long, and was assumed to be that of the daughter of the VI Pharoah of Ptolemaic Egypt (c.300-100 BCE). Allegedly, she died young, aged around 16-18 years. There was, virtually, no information about the name of this once Princess of Egypt. The way this mummy made to Hyderabad is a tale of Luck and grandeur of the Nizams. Nazeer Nawaj Jung, the son-in-law of Mir Mahboob Ali Khan (VI Nizam of Hyderabad) brought the mummy for an allegedly throw away price of 1,000 Pounds in London, and then, gifted it to the Nizam. Thus, did the mummified body of the Princess of Egypt reach this Museum of Hyderabad.

As I stepped down, I was fascinated by the Mummy who could've once walked on the banks of the Nile alive. And now, this Mummy could'nt hear the ambient & fiery sound of the new Metro Rail just few feet away. Or can she?

1.Place and Time
@ - Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy Telangana State Museum, Public Gardens, Nampally, Hyderabad, Telangana
On - Wednesday, 6th of December, 2017.

2. Subject -
"The Curious Case of the Mummy of Hyderabad" on the Mummified Body of a supposedly Ptolemaic Egyptian Princess preserved at the Museum.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Be Like Buffon


(For the first time since 1958, Italy failed to qualify for the Football World Cup to be held in Russia, 2018. One of the greatest goal-keepers & inspiring footballers of all time, Italy's own Gianluigi Buffon retired from International Football. The Poem is a tribute to him and his inspiring presence in the Global football arena for almost 22 years.)

Not always does man's valiant efforts yield results,
Not in every tale does success follow struggle. 
In a game of Genius, chance intervenes and strikes...
The tables get turned, bringing all troubles. 

But when the Azzuri's own numero uno takes guard, 
Standing tall at the citadel of Juventes and Italy's defence, 
Goal-keeping seems an art & skill much like the verse of the bard, 
Many duels emerge in a team's game in a strictly speaking sense.
An example - In 2006, a flying push to deny Zidane's header in Berlin,
Laurels and awards, 175 appearances, consistently saving...
Beyond a mad rush of statistics, the control and the gentle grin, 
Being honest to the game and not to winning or losing.

Too much to learn and get inspired from one of the greatest goal-keepers of all time!
Still, times change and legends weep, and all that's good comes to an end. 
Those acrobatic saves and that inspiring presence shall be missed for nostalgia is not a crime.
When life kicks at you, be like Buffon and say - "I'll stop but not bend." 

Place & Date
Tuesday, 14th of November, 2017.
#16-7-16, Bhramara Ground Floor, Saladi Jamindar Street, Palakollu, West Godavari, Andhra Pradesh - 534 260.

"Be Like Buffon" (Tribute/Poem)
Gianluigi "Gigi" Buffon (born 28 January 1978) is an Italian professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper. He captains Serie A club Juventus, and formerly also captained the Italy national team. He is widely regarded by players, pundits and managers to be one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, and, by some, to be the greatest ever. Buffon is known for his "outstanding shot-stopping" and for being "a vocal organizer of the defence and a key dressing room personality"

Picture source

Friday, 1 September 2017

Rock cut cave temple of Undavalli

As a passenger of APSRTC, I consider myself duly punished for my lack of attentiveness. I was supposed to get down at Undavalli, but skipped the stop and got down only at the next village, Penumaka. New route for me but most of the passengers in the bus are employees of the State Government, commuting towards our new capital, Amaravati. But, my destination was the famous Rock-Cut Cave temple at Undavalli. Well, a good 2 kilometers walk-back never did any harm, especially on a cloud kissed sunny day.

After the false start, it was a good visit. As I climbed the steps towards the main cave temple, surrounded by lush green paddy fields atop a hill with the distant Narla Tatarao Thermal Power Station in the vicinity, I was struck by the history of the cave(s). They belong to early 4th or 5th Century, originally Jain structures, but were later converted into a Buddhist Bhikku Monastry. Much later still, probably during the era of the Ikshvakus or Reddy Kings, a part of the cave(s) were rechristened for Hindu deities. The monoliths are amazing, what with the carvings and all, considered as 'Vishwakarma Stapathis' i.e, designed by the celestial engineer Vishwakarma himself.
An inner chamber consisting of a large statue of Sri Maha Vishnu in a reclining state (Ananatasayana posture) is all that's left and protected now. Watching the intricately carved monolith statue reminded me of the famous poem by Bammera Potana  in 'Gajendra Moksham', -

అల  వైకుoఠపురం లో  నగరిలో  నాముల  సౌధంబుదా 
పల  మందారవానాంతరామృతసర :  ప్రాంతేందుకాంతోపలో
త్పలపర్యం కరమావినోదియగునాపన్న ప్రసన్నుoడు వి  
హ్వల నాగేంద్రము పాహి పాహి యన గుయ్యాలించి సంరంభియై !

There were two other caves, intricately carved, yet unfinished. Later, I returned to the city of Victory, along with many of the shuttling employees from the new capital of Andhra Pradesh. 

References (If any)

1. Place and Date -
@ - Undavalli, CRDA - Guntur, Andhra Pradesh.
On -31st of August, 2017

2. Subject - "Rock cut cave temple of Undavalli"
Undavalli caves, or more popularly the rock cut cave temple of Undavalli in the district of Guntur is located exactly 6 kms from Vijayawada in the new Vijayawada - Amaravati State highway. It is a popular destination, and a monument of national importance, although crying for major potential as a historical and tourist spot. Pictured above in order - A side view full hill, Lord Sri maha Vishnu in anantasayana stance, and the main cave temple entrance. 

Saturday, 29 July 2017


(Poem - On our Pet, Lucky {2004-2015}) 

When I was in 9th class, my father brought a pup home, and we were all very happy.
A fluffy little female Pomeranian, we named her 'Lucky'.    
A loyal and lovable creature we had, a bright bragging right before relatives and friends -
It was a great joy to watch Lucky, that's where all the tension ends.

A cheeky constant in my mother's kitchen and a companion to my father's walking, 
A playful knight of my brother, and welcoming me always with eyes so shining!
With a fearsome bark, she acts funnily as if to protect us from dangerous cats,  
One egg and a cup of milk for one day - she cared for diet unlike other dogs!

Always so disciplined yet full of fun, she was one of life's big joys.
Wonder how dogs are so selfless, there's music in their barks even if it's just noise.
Even if it was midnight when I reached my home after long trips from office,
She greets me with infectious bliss - all just for a gentle pat and rub - maybe a dog's solace. 

And so for 11 long years, it was a picture perfect joy...
But all great things do come to an end, O boy...! 
Farewell my canine companion, what did we do to deserve you?
As is said - 'Don't be sad that it's over, Be happy, it has happened'.  Bark and Smile, wherever be you!

References (If any)

1. Place and Date -
@ - Palakollu, West Godavari, Andhra Pradesh.
On -29th of July, 2017

2. Subject - "Lucky" (Poem)
Lucky (c.2004-2015) was our pet dog - she was a female Pomeranian and a bundle of joy for our family members. After 11 long and memorable years, she passed away due to old-age, exactly on this day, 29th of July, two years ago (2015). 
Picture on top - Lucky in 2014, taken by me.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Always the People's President

(Reminiscence/Memory - APJ Abdul Kalam)

One of my greatest bragging right is that I have seen him. I had the pleasure of listening him speak inspiring words. It was during the 93rd National Children's Science Congress, held in January, 2006 at Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University, Hyderabad. And he was his excellency, the then President, Sri APJ Abdul Kalam. As a 16 year old kid, I was enthralled as he spoke endearingly to us all, eagerly taking questions, very humble and patient.

Sample this question. Someone asked him why he had chosen Science over other subjects. He explained how one day, he asked his Science teacher about how birds fly and the later took him to a beach, elucidating the principle of aerodynamics and practically showing him birds in flight. Then he said, quite famously, to a roaring audience, slowly , - 'And, then I fell in Love with Science'. 

Dubbed as the 'Missile Man of India', this Scientist turned Statesman is a classic & rare role model for the youth of the country. And, as I read his 'Wings of Fire', I understood and admired great qualities of the man himself, mostly his respect of elders & seniors (Vikram Sarabhai, Satish Dhawan), the way he dealt with failure (SLV-3 Launch). And as President of India, I remember with awe the way he reacted during the infamous Indian Ocean Tsumani of 26th of December, 2004 (defining them as 'Shock Embedded Tidal Waves'), and his principled opposition to the Office of Profit bill during the first term of UPA rule. And who would not remember his inspiring speeches (like the one at the European Parliament, where he quoted extensively from 'Tirukkuraal'.)

It is not an irony that one of India's greatest sons is remembered as People's President!   

References (If any)

1. Place and Date -
@ - Home Sweet Home, # 16-7-16, Sree Bhramara, Saladi Jamindar Street, Palakollu, West Godavari, Andhra Pradesh - 534 260
On -27th of July, 2017

2. Subject - "Always the People's President"- Remniscense/Memory - APJ Abdul Kalam
Two years ago this day, his excellency, the 11th President of India, Sri APJ Abdul Kalam passed away. He was  a towering personality in his own right - a great, patriotic Indian, a scientist and brain behind India's 2nd nuclear tests, the man who made 'Agni missile' possible, and a true and never before/never after kind of People's President of the Republic of India. 
Wherever you are sir, rest in peace!

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

They spilt their blood so that...

(Tribute - Poem -18th Anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas) 

A shepherd brought a shuddering news - another silent betrayal by the neighbour,
We forgot to verify the trust, and time now to pay the price of this backstabbing saber.   
As men descend with blessings from Rawalpindi, towards the valley of Kashmir,
And an Asian giant is drawn into an unwilling battle, there was always a chance of nuclear threat, damn here.

Slowly but surely, plans were drawn to beat the repeated intruders untamed,
Because of the sacrifice of the brave, the territorial sovereignty was reclaimed .
An aggrieved nation rose in fury, for once all petty differences were ditched.
But battles were won by strategy and sacrifice, not by passion or propaganda stitched.

As the Gurkhas sang 'Ayo Gurkhali', and the Howitzers fired tirelessly,
The National Highway to Srinagar was targeted by the foes, most dastardly.
As we waited in bated breadth, the select few made us hold our heads high,
The fighting was fierce, death was imminent to many, but they never said 'Nahi'. 

And the armed forces fought, for every inch, like every time...
The Tricolor flew high - At Dras and Kargil, On the peaks of Tiger Hill and Tolo-Ling. 
That just meant another decisive victory attained within two months.
Every year this day, we salute the heroes of Kargil....
They spilt their blood so that we may have tears of joy, and not sorrow.

References (If any)

1. Place and Date -
@ - Palakollu, West Godavari, Andhra Pradesh.
On -26th of July, 2017

2. Subject - "They Spilt their blood so that...!" (Tribute - Poem - 18th Anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas)
26th of July, 2017 marks the 18th anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas, which commemorates India's famous and decisive victory in the Kargil War (May-July 1999). Facing International diplomatic pressure and the capable strategy and tactics employed by the Indian Army (Operation Vijay, more popularly affiliated with the entire Kargil Operations) and Indian Air-Force (Operation Safed Sagar), Pakistani paramilitary forces and insurgents withdrew from Kargil and other occupied areas.

The war was anxiously observed all the world over, because, perhaps, for the first time in Human History, two nuclear-armed countries were engaged in a conventional war, and thankfully, the conflict did not escalate.

However, a terrible price had to be paid by India, in the form of loss of lives of brave soldiers (c. 527 causalities). To them, this poem is dedicated. Jai Hind!

For further details  -

Picture on top - Indian soldiers during the war at Batalik Sector https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37865373

Sunday, 2 July 2017

For the Scape-Goat, At the Least!

(Tribute - Poem) 


At the turn of the 90s, the double digit inflation was a persistent reality, 
The nadir of macro-mismanagement evident as the economy's an amputee.
Even before the Sickle and Hammer fell, a minority government's in order,
Will the reforms be a reality, that is the question, more hard than the word 'harder'.

Then in the Durbar of Delhi, one man organized a team of mis-fits,
To borrow from IMF and join the global village, the beginning was just in bits.
Amidst the dust of political bickering, the wheels of the Indian Economy started moving,
The License Raj was slayed as the doomsday pundits of India stopped mocking.

Let there be competition, however small the beginning, 
Let there be fair play and celebration of private innovation, but no skimming. 
The Great west took notice, as the Elephant marched on,
Alas, the one man responsible was forgotten, seems the nation moved on.

He was neither a messiah, nor incorruptible, But when an old dynasty...
needed a scape-goat, he was the answer, a perfect mis-match finally!
A few words of respect and a few moments of remembrance....
A few acknowledgements and a few thank yous....
Would suffice for the scape-goat, At the least! 

References (If any)

1. Place and Date -
@ - Vijayawada, Krishna, Andhra Pradesh.
On -28th of June, 2017

2. Subject - "For the Scape-Goat, At the Least!" (Tribute - Poem)
Pamulaparti Venkata Narasimha Rao (28 June 1921 – 23 December 2004) (Telugu: పి.వి.నరసింహ రావు) was an Indian lawyer and politician who served as the 9th Prime Minister of India, from 1991–1996.[3] His ascendancy to the prime ministership was politically significant in that he was the first holder of this office from a non-Hindi-speaking region, belonging to the southern part of India. He led an important administration, overseeing a major economic transformation and several home incidents affecting national security of India.[4] Rao, who held the Industries portfolio, was personally responsible for the dismantling of the Licence Raj, as this came under the purview of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.[5] He is often referred to as the "Father of Indian Economic Reforms".

Today is his birth anniversary (Jayanthi), and his role and legacy is often understated in the context of Indian Politics and Indian Economy. However, it is rather reassuring to note that things have started to change, at least now. This Poem is a tribute to him,especially during the famous Macro-Economic reforms in 1991, when India was forced to go for a conditional loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and grudgingly accept Globalisation, Liberalisation and Privatisation in the wake of the notorious License & Inspector Raj, Double Digit Inflation and overall mismanagement. And on top of it, the sad reality that he is remembered for all the wrong reasons, as a scape-goat.

For further details and due credit to the first para supra in 'subject' -

Picture on top - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P._V._Narasimha_Rao