Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Suggestions to sail through tough times of COVID-19

While the whole world battles out the COVID-19, I thought I would pen down some of my thoughts to my Indian readers, to reduce anxiety and to support in containment of the spread.

'News' about the spread:

1. Don't get bogged down by the increasing number of cases in India. The first case reported in India was on Jan 30, 2020 and the first case which was not linked to China was reported on March 2, 2020. This person might have got infected around 10 days ago, at the time when the cases in Europe and Middle East were on the rise. The number of travellers arriving in India in January was 3,81,267. Averaging out to 3 lakhs, we can assume that around 3 lakh people came to India in Feb and March (and equal number travelled back).
2. Of 3 lakh people, assuming 1% of the people being infected, the total number of cases will rise to 3000 only by people who have travel history.
3. There will be a certain number of locally transmitted cases here, much more than the ones from outside. Lets keep it equal for now. Maybe total of 6000.

Will lockdown/curfew help?

1. Yes it will certainly help in containment of the spread, provided people are sincere in following the Govt's orders.

Will we see a decline in the numbers?

1. Not immediately. On the contrary, we will see a massive surge in cases for sometime even during lockdown since there might already be several unreported/un diagnosed infections acquired over the last 2-3 weeks.
2. We may see a sharp decline in the cases after 2-3 weeks of lockdown, when the existing cases peak out.

Do we need to panic?

1. Not really. But need to be careful and safely confined to your place. Avoid elderly people venturing out.
2. Do not spread rumours/news which don't seem authentic.
3. Keep away from negative posts on social media. Blocking the friends on Facebook who always post negative may help.
4. Don't keep track of each and every new case on the TV. This increases anxiety. Be mentally prepared for a big number before the numbers reduce.

Can we go out?

1. Only to go out to buy groceries, medicine or any unavoidable work. But its safer to return back soon and have a shower and wash your clothes before interacting with people inside your house.
2. Do not hoard groceries and household items.

Can we invite guests/housemaids/unknown people?

1. No. Its better to isolate yourself from social life.
2. Housemaids should be given paid leave for a month or two if it is possible. Elderly people can employ 24*7 maids who do not work anywhere else.

How can we help people who are not privileged?

1. Central and different state Governments are trying hard to provide sufficient help to people who are not privileged enough to afford food/medicine. For example, Karnataka Government has directed Indira canteens to provide free food for the poor. Keep an eye on such initiatives and inform the needy.
2. Some religious institutions like Tirupati Tirumala Trust, Velankani Church, Gurudwaras and Wakf boards can use their space and money to contribute during these hard times.
3. There are some voluntary organizations who are inviting the youth to join them in helping the poor/elderly. This is the right time for the healthy youth to commit to this cause and help the already strained cleaners/drivers/doctors/nurses/police/journalists and many more. However this is not recommended to people who are suffering from any illness or those who already live with elders. Mostly well to do people who mostly live alone or do not have much interaction with too many people daily.
4. Some voluntary organisations are also collecting money to help those who need assistance. Contribute if you can.
5. If you have any unoccupied house, please reach out to the concerned authorities if that can be leased out as a quarantine facility temporarily.

What should we do at home?

1. Now that we are confined to our homes, we can try cooking meals for ourselves.
2. There are recommendations from doctors/hospitals/experts on different kinds of fruits/vegetables to boost your immunity. Try to consume those.
3. Try to learn new languages
4. Give your maids a break and learn household chores.
5. Learn new technologies through e-learning'
6. Learn Yoga, meditation
7. Maybe try to relate to your grandma's words on health and cleanliness.
8. Try to look back at what you have achieved and maybe realise that life is not a rat race. Maybe money and building assets are not the only things that help you in crises :)

What if we suspect an infection?

1. Do a self assessment through apps available in the market, consult your family doctor and follow his/her guidelines. Do not flood the hospitals without your doctor's consent.

Can we travel?

1. Travel is the last thing one should think of in the current scenario. Unless one has a strong reason, please avoid travel. For travel freaks, go through your previous travel photos/videos and try to create content which can help future travelers once the situation normalizes.

Will this be the end of the world?

1. Not at all. We still have a long way to go. This might just be a warning by nature not to abuse her resources and show empathy and concern towards your fellow humans. Also let other species on the planet live their lives peacefully.

Monday, 13 January 2020

Murals of Kerala

Overview: Kerala has produced one of the best frescoes and mural wall paintings in India during the ancient and medieval period, which can still be seen in many temples and palaces in the state. The moment one enters the inner courtyard of any old temple, the beautiful murals can be seen on the walls depicting scenes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. These paintings were encouraged by various rulers in the Malabar and the Travancore regions. While Guruvayur and Ananthapadmanabhaswamy temples are more popular, the other smaller, but historically important temples are often missed by the visitors. The paintings date anywhere between the 8th century to 18th century. Unfortunately, photography is prohibited in most of the temples, we were able to take some pictures with permission from the authorities.
The temple at Ettumanoor, known for its fine fresco of Pradosha Nrithyam, is also the place where Adi Shankaracharya composed Soundarya Lahiri.
The mural art was later adopted in the royal palaces and also in the Churches, retaining the Kerala influence.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Rewind 2019

I have been a bit lazy in publishing posts this year, however, has been a very busy year when it came to travel and exploring. Following are the highlights of 2019:

Jan: Visited a few Hoysala temples in Tumkur district in the villages of Nittur, Settikere, Tumkur Town, Pankajanahalli and Belagur.
Also in Jan we visited the northern Karnataka district of Yadgir, and explored a bird sanctuary, prehistoric sites and ancient temples.

Feb: No travel
Mar: With 3 trips in March, started off with a quick trip to Banavasi, where we explored the ancient capital of the Kadambas, and also witnessed the local craftsmen in the village, while experiencing the great hospitality by Kiran from Outdoorworld.
The following week we went to Hyderabad for a friend's wedding. Managing time, we visited the Kakatiya capital of Warangal and a few heritage sites in Hyderabad and around like Keesaragutta.
The 2nd half of March took us to the North-Eastern part of India, where we visited Manipur and Tripura. Both the states, though not far from each other, but unique and different in own ways. We visited places around Imphal, Moreh(and further down to Tamu in Myanmar), Loktak lake and a few other beautiful places. In Tripura, we visited Unakoti, Agartala, Chabimura and other interesting places, also witnessing the daily ceremony at the Indo-Bangladesh border.


April: We visited the much awaited Koppal district in North Karnataka in the summer month of April, managing a hill climb to Anjanadri betta, the birthplace of Hanuman. We also visited the Kinnal crafts village and the Ashokan edicts near Koppal.
May: Another busy month with the visit to Mandya Distict and exploring some ancient temples and also visiting the Tomb of Hiriya Kempegowda, the founder of modern Bangalore near Magadi
The end of May took us to Mysore for a cousin's wedding, and we explored interesting places like Kabini and Hunsur before we went to our native place Rudrapatna for a day.
The last week in May was an interesting trip done to Sriharikota where we visited the Satish Dhawan Space Centre and witnessed the launch of PSLV C-46, which was an incredible experience. We visited Pulikat Lake and Kanchipuram on our way back.


June: Did a quick trip to Gouribidanur to visit the ancient Chennakeshava temple for a day.The 2nd weekend we went to Dakshina Kannada district and visited Shishila, Southadaka, Karinja, Mangalore, Venur and Surathkal. We also went to the Baraya Palace, which lies amidst jungles near Aladangady.
July: To assist my sister-in-law in shifting, we visited Mumbai in early July, and explored the caves of the city and many heritage sites hidden in the hustle bustle of the city
We visited Shravanabelagola in this relatively free month, visitng the Chandragiri and Vindhyagiri hills.

August: We visited some of the majestic temples of Tamil Nadu in Tanjore and Srirangam. Also visited the Chettinadu area and their unique architecture. We then ventured down south towards Kutrallam and Shengottai towards the end of the Western Ghats.
September: We visited Shimoga District towards the end of the monsoons, with occasional rains still persisting in the Malnad region. We visited Jog Falls, Bheemeshwara, Sigandur, Kundadri and Kavaledurga Fort.
October: Another busy month, with the first weekend in Vijayawada for a friend's wedding. We took a bus from Bangalore to Vijayawada, then took a rental car for visiting the places nearby and also to visit my friend's wedding at Amalapuram. We visited a few Buddhist sites and also bought the local crafts village of Kondapalli, known for its toys.
The 3rd weekend of Oct was a trip to Kodagu district, where we explored North Kodagu from Somwarpet, and then proceeded towards Virajpet visitng Nalknad Palace before winding up at the Taj Madikeri where we celebrated our wedding anniversary.

Nov: A pretty relaxed month, trying to complete a few year end activities at work. The only trip this month was to Horsley Hills, around 160kms from Bangalore. Also locally called as poor man's Ooty, this place is similar to Nandi Hills minus the crowd. Along with a few cottages and view points, the hill has a century old tree which is an attraction here.
Dec: Winding up for the year was the 10 day trip to Kerala, exploring almost all districts except Kasargod and Idukki. We visited many ancient temples with murals, caves, palaces, forts, beaches and the massive Jatayu statue. Another highlight of the trip was the visit to Vikram Sarabhai Space centre at Thumba, which was the first space centre to be set up in India.