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Monday, August 10, 2009

"Mumbai-Bangalore-Hyderabad-Mangalore-Bangalore-Mumbai" - International Backpacker Rudolph.A.Furtado's economy travel logs.

Boarded the "Udyan Express" at Dadar Station on 7/1/2008(Monday) at approx 0820hrs and after ages traveled long distance by train, the best mode of transport in India after the airlines.Reached the outskirts of Bangalore (Yellahanka) at approx 0730 hrs on tuesday morning and managed to get off the train at the signal terminal at Channasandra station which is approx 15mins walk to my house, reaching "Rudolph Cottage" at approx 0830 hrs, a comfortable journey. Banaswadi and Bangalore is transforming at a rapid pace in both progress as well as the ills that effect major city's, traffic congestion and population explosion.Paying guests Jathish Nambiar and Baiju Joseph have really transformed "Rudolph's Cottage" into a high tech Infotechnology cottage complete with a 24 hrs internet connection through which i accessed the internet and also my usual hobby of writing, learnt some basic internet computer applications as also the usage of "video photography" with my "Pentax Camera".Biju, Karian dropped in to my place, meeting him after ages and akin to me had he had survived a horrible road accident. Showed him the "Class Of Mazdock 1982-83 batches" photographs and he was also baffled at the physical and facial changes of our marine engineering colleagues.25 years is really ancient and if we meet after another 25 years i wonder how manny would be alive, let alone look different? Later in the afternoon visited Jayshree D'Brass ,my cousin,she having attended the funeral of her close colleague.Deaths and births are a part of human existence and we paid condolences to each other and later went to cousin Sheela D'souza's house and met aunt Urban Ferts, mum' octogenarian eldest sister and discussions were on family matters. Sheela's husband Robert D'souza was also at home and i spent quite a long time at their residence finally leaving their house at approx 1600 hrs.Biju dropped home in the evening and we went over to his place, a mansion that according to me should be featured in a television show or magazine for its artistic interior decoration and antique furniture .The house has spacious gardens, a house straight out of the "filmy Sets" only difference that this is a genuine living house, something unimaginable in Mumbai, unless belonging to the "Billionaire Class".Thats the beauty of Bangalore,housing is relatively cheap compared to Mumbai, and tiny "Rudolph Cottage(1200 Sq FT)" would be worth crores in Mumbai's real-estate market! Biju and myself are the last of the old World friends still in touch with each other inspite of hurricanes, earthquakes, riots and financial balancing ,since the school years dating back to 1968! I owe my career into "Marine Engineering" due to his generosity of recommending me into "Mazagon Docks" in 1978 as his father being the foundry manager could allot a candidate as an apprentice. "DESTINY" and "FATE" had also played a crucial role since Biju had appeared a year later for the " H.S.C 12" exams and hence i was recommended in his place. If Biju had appeared at the same time as me than i doubt i would have been into "Marine Engineering", hence i am a firm believer in "DESTINY". If not "Marine Engineering" then i was training to become a "Lawyer".Biju's wife Jeeva is a doctor and was previously settled in Malaysia , hence a lot of discussions on Malaysia, a country which impressed me for its standard of living and excellent public infrastructure.Later in the evening,Biju and myself went out for dinner/drinks at a restaurant near Banaswadi. Biju contacted ex-christchurchite Leonard Arrons and we three had a jolly good night of sobre drinks,dinner and coffee table conversation. We are all into middle age, beside i am also a rare specimen among my colleagues being unmarried with the motto,"Single and happy or unhappy".went to Kamanahalli electric supply board on Wednesday(9-1-2008) to get a name change in the electricity billing bill .Biju was along with me ,and had given me a lift to the Kamanahalli Electric supply board and enroute witnessed a horrible accident on the ring road street, a maruti mini van was totally crushed and a lorry had turned turtle.According to me "Kamanahalli" has evolved into suburban Banglore's poshest locality with some bungalows on "Bethel street" being picture postcard bungalow models, beautiful and ultra rich. Does Mumbai really have as much "moolah(Money)" as projected by the stockexchanges, Malls,Former Dance Bar Patrons, Race-course punters and two of the world's richest citizens as locals?No filmstars or Industrialists Bungalow can match some of Kamanahalli's "Bethel Street" bungalows" and i am writing as a pucca "Old Mumbaikar" and a "Not so Old Banglorite", having lived in Mumbai since childhood and a frequent visitor to Bangalore since 1989.Banaswadi has developed from a "One horse town" into a "mini city", complete with miniature supermarkets and plush buildings.In fact "Rudolph Cottage" resembles a "Tourist Hut" compared to the palatial buildings and bungalows built since the 1990' s. Tragedy is that akin to Mumbai's "slum phenomenon", Bangalore has its "Road Traffic phenomenon" as the poshest or plushest Bungalows have pathetic roads and traffic jams ,akin to the worst slums bedside's Mumbai's costliest buildings. On Thursday(10-1-2008) went to Town and visited Vijaya Bank to deposit the "Tenants rental" and thereafter to the race-course for "Off-Course betting" on the Mumbai races."Familiarity breeds contempt" is absolutely true and i realized the value and importance of living in "A/504 Vaibhav apartments,Mumbai", as "Mahalaxmi race-course" was "Home No-2" and the whole of "Mumbai" a playground with my "Mobike" and "Bicycle". Travelling from Banaswadi to M.G road approx 12 to 15 Kms is a nightmare by Bangalore's "Public Transport" akin to travelling by Mumbai's local trains in peak office hours.Hence i just played a single race and came home early to avoid the rush hours by bus as Bangalore has no rail network and the same is being built at present in a "Metro Format".Biju came home in the evening and we walked around Banaswadi main "Ring road" and again it was a case of "Familiarity breeds contempt" as i was shocked at the development and price of "Real estate" in "BANASWADI". Just approx 300 metres from my "Tourist Hut Cottage!" was a posh housing complex under construction and for the first time in my life i was "APPRAISED" of a Rs 1,30,00,000 4-Bedroom flat(Ajmera housing), the definition of luxury. The flat had an internal swimming pool, a internal garden and exotic bathroom fittings, all this in an area which was "Agricultural Land" just only 5 to 10 yrs back and not 20 yrs ago. Banaswadi's development is similar to the growth story of "Reliance Companies" although at different levels , a tiny remote Bangalore village developing into a "Crore+ Housing township!". I should advertise my "INVESTMENT SKILLS" and foresightedness in discovering both, Banaswadi in 1988 as a potential housing investment when it was cattle grazing land and "Reliance Industry's" in 2000 as a "Sleeping giant of a Industry" whose hidden assets were never truly valued by the "share market".Later visited some hard-ware shops and saw some of the costliest toilet and bathroom fittings, a Jacuzzi bathtub retailing for Rs 6,00,000+! and "shower outfits" for Rs 1,00,000+, indications that wealth in crores is evenly distributed and has a large mass base unlike the "socialist" era's of the pre 1991 liberalisation where flaunting of personal wealth was equivalent in crime to committing murdur, the "Taxman’s Bakra". As for me, a humble follower of the "HONGKONG PHILOSOPHY OF WEALTH CREATION" ,the saying,"If your neighbour owns a Rolls-royce,than you at least try to own a vehicle" holds value and has kept my ship steady in rough as well as calm economic and political situations.The next day , i quickly got a plumber and repaired my house bathroom fittings (Rs 900),as i practice what i preach and its best to be content within one's economic earnings ,otherwise life is an eternal struggle for an unachievable up-gradation. Went to Bangalore race-course on Saturday(12-1-2008) for the local races and tragically the flamboyant Industrialist Vijay Mallaya's lack of "Horse-racing" interest is reflected on the Bangalore turf club's public facilities, a decline compared to the 1990's and early 2000' s. A dual robbery took place that day ,my binoculars got pick-pocketed near the race-course entrance, sentimental value as it was purchased in Hong-Kong streets while at home a burglar entered our house and stole P.G Mr Baiju Joseph's Rs 12,000 worth cellphone while we were all sleeping and the main door was open in a closed position. It was a day of "Twin Robberies", my cheap, memorabilia binoculars and the paying guests costly cell-phone robbery from our house within our own presence! Played the first few races and came home, "cash positive!" after that unforgettable Rs 35,000 losses in 2 days during my last visit to Bangalore in 2007. This "Money heart-attack" was followed by a more severe one of Rs 45,000 on 25-11-07(Black Sunday) on my own home-turf, the Mahalaxmi race-course. Thanks to my "Stock-investment hobby" and the Ambani's and Tata's in whose company's i have "Punter Investments!"that at least i can recover from these severe monetary setbacks of "ADDICTIVE GAMBLING". As usual came home early after attending a few races as the previous charm of loitering down Brigade road and the pubs has faded with the closing of "Brigade Gardens dance-bar" , Bangalore's answer to Mumbai's infamous "Topaz dance bar",besides ,the vicinity of Banaswadi itself has developed into a posh entertaining suburb with expensive eateries and plush localities all located within 2 to 3 Kms from home.Commuting by public transport in Bangalore is worse than Mumbai's peak hour train travel besides after 2100 hrs commuting to Banaswadi from town would cost an equivalent of 1/2 the Bangalore-Mumbai train ticket by a rickshaw since public transport is unavailable., hence "NIGHT-LIFE" in Bangalore is strictly for private vehicle owners. The memory of travelling home on cycle in the late 1990's after attending "Brigade Garden Mujra's" is still vivid in my mind, a real adventure of a by-gone era in Bangalore and also a troubled chapter in my personal and professional life.Was relaxing at home, listening to music as usual when my oldest destiny friend, Biju Karian, rang up inviting me home for "Cofee-table conversation" as his wife Jeeva was away and his kids alone at home, and so the evening was spent over beers and reminiscing the past in his ultra-posh mansion, a filmy reality.Chineese food was purchased from Kamanahalli,(Bangalore's equivalent to Mumbai's  Lokhandwalla complex ) and was reasonably priced hence eating-out is not very expensive compared to Mumbai and i felt of being either in Europe or some first World country in Biju's Mansion and its surrounding locality. My house,"Rudolph cottage" is also ideally located with an excellent green and clean neighbouhood ,with a garbage van collecting trash daily, which on my last visit used to be thrown in a corner of the street. The construction of "Rudolph cottage" is very poor for the money we spent in 1990's ,totally cheated, hence the shabby tiles and ancillary fittings but thankfully the main structure has robust brickwork and cementing, hence my nickname to "Rudolph Cottage" as "Tourist hut!". Sunday(13-1-08) went to Vincent Pallovoti church at Banaswadi for the mass at 0800hrs, an identical replica of "Portuguese church, Dadar" with  a large church congregation. Akin to "Portuguese church" , we have also seen the construction of "Vincent Pallovoti church" in Banaswadi and should say it has a unique design and stain-glass work although not designed by architect Charles Correa or paintings by artist M.F.Hussain as in "Portuguese church". After mass had breakfast at a restaurant near the church, masala dosa and tea and later returned home.Cooked some "Pasta and salami chicken" at home as i was fed up of continuous restaurant food and later in the evening cousin Wilson Furtado along with his spouse Maria came over to my house and we discussed Bangalore's rapid growth as well as Barkur's rapid agricultural decline.Later, went for a usual evening walk down "Ring Road" and kept in touch with the latest furniture and electronics prices by visiting the luxury shops situated on "Ring Road".On  14-1-08(Monday)   witnessed Bangalore's traffic congestion as myself and Biju  drove  to Malleswaram in the evening at 19000hrs approx ,  about 1 hrs drive from Banaswadi, a recipe for "Road rage".Biju had some personal work to be done and as for me,  it  was  the experience of Bangalore's everyday working class  life and its associated problems. "Rudolph Cottage" according to Bangalore's mansions and luxury cotteges is akin to Mumbai's government funded "Housing Board schemes", the only saving grace being its strong foundation and external structure and thinking positive, at least the swindling contractor completed a livable house. Cousin Wilson Furtado's , along with his wife Maria  and their  their neice had come along in their chauffeur driven car at approx 1730hrs to take me to their home and it was approx 45 mins drive to Brookefields where they resided.Their bungalow is instantly recognizable due to its unique multicolour external painting and luxuriously spacious internally.Had dinner at their residence,"Manglorean lady-fish curry rice" and "Biryani" all cooked by Maria and they seem to be really busy with their daily work schedules and must have been surprised at my deceptively leisurely life-style. With "Stock share" portfolio fluctuations of Rs 2 to 3 lakhs/Day and horse-racing as a "day-trader", life is a "mental rollercoaster" to me, only difference being leisurely working hours and self-proprietorship, I either sink or float on my own decisions. Life is a mix of circumstances and situations applies to my present living as i have become a "Nomad" with the World as my playground , Mumbai and Bangalore being my parental and self built homes respectively. The death of both my parents has made me change my profession as well as way of living, being a bachelor. The Stock market has been performing a roller-coaster ride but as an investor its not a panic situation and as for "Horse-racing", it has been "Holidays!" in Bangalore.Mahalaxmi race-course was a 15 mins mobike ride from my house but from Banaswadi to the Bangalore Turf club requires two bus changes and a minimum of one and a half hrs journey, hence the forced holidays. If i had brought my mobike it would be approx 45 mins at the minimum since i would have to adjust to Bangalore's road's.This has been a long stay in Bangalore after ages, the last being when mum was alive and i stayed alone at "Rudolph cottage" for approx a month, cycling around Bangalore being my eccentric passion and hence i know the main city reasonably well .In 2008 i am confined to the house since traveling by public transport in Bangalore after being constantly on a mobike or cycle in Mumbai is akin to doing punishment duty and thanks to Biju, at least i got to know the precincts of Banaswadi reasonably well, a reminder of our "Kirti College Days" in 1977-78. Thursday(17/1/08) Jayshree rang me up in the morning inquiring if i had left for Mumbai, told her i would pay a visit to their house in the evening., Purchased pork and prawns and got back my "Cooking skills" preparing a decent meal. Visited Jayshree in the evening and as usual discussed family happenings and tragedies.Next day Friday(18-1-08) fixed the bathroom bulb holder of our toilet/Bath since the electrician avoided the job as he was busy, advantages of being a "Marine Engineer". Later while "Browsing", the lap-top suddenly went totally blank and i panicked quickly informing Baiju and hoping for the best that it was a minor problem. Later went to Vijaya Bank(Mayo Hall Branch) by bus and it was a "Tourist ride" as the bus took a detour since the roads are being dug for the "METRO NETWORK".Bangalore has transformed into a city of malls and supermarkets, the closest to first world shopping trends barring the pathetic road conditions and transport. Applied for my lost A.T.M card and later had lunch snacks at the famous "Coffee house restaurant" on M.G.Road, the only restaurant that hasn't changed since i have been visiting Bangalore in the 1990's, hence the “Hong-Kong Quote”,"  Eat at "Coffee restaurant" before it dissappears!". Strange, but true sometimes amidst all the modernization and hi-fi, the undisturbed vintage looks of an old building or restaurant does attract attention and customers, akin to "Heritage architecture", the same applies to the famous "Coffeee House" of Bangalore, a quaint restaurant reminding about the past and existing in the present, something like Mumbai’s “Original Taj Mahal hotel”.Later went to the race-course, bet on a race and came home to avoid peak hours traffic and the congestion. Came home and found that Jatheesh had solved the "Laptop blackout" as it was a virus that caused it and hence i learnt the pros and cons of the internet. Saturday(19-1-08) spent the whole day at home and have got acclimatised and socialized to Banaswadi's social living for even in Mumbai i live alone with least intermingling amongst neighbours, hence no feeling of loneliness with a variety of hobby's.Cooked "Chinese chicken fried rice" and digested it with beer and music, since Jatheesh has connected my ancient vintage "Technics Speakers" with his system and the local "FM English music "  is "Mind-blowing".In the evening visited the "Crorepati underconstruction bldg, Ajmeera" and asked the site-in-charge manager for a brochure as also the directions to "Hebbal" for the dog show the next day. She advised me to purchase a flat as the builders expected a price rise of upto Rs 6,500 in the next 2 years,"Jackpot news" to my ears and thanked her for the advice.Next day, Sunday(20-1-08) got up early and headed for the Agricultural and Veterinary campus in Hebbal for the "Mysore Kennel Club 86/87th dog show" their "Platinum Jubilee, older than both the Kennel Clubs Of Bombay. Got a bus near the "Hennur Road" bus stop and it was approx 20 mins journey on the "Ring Road" terminating near a "Jig-saw puzzle" fly-over.The main landmark that attracted me was a building , an exact replica of the "Petronas towers, Malaysia" complete with a "Skywalk" except the 88 storeys height and having the Hebbal lake as its frontage instead of the K.L.C.C plaza. Managed to walk in the right direction after initially being mis-directed by a prankster. A  Bengali immigrant helped me on the right track and akin to Mumbai, Bangalore has also become a cultural melting pot of various communities although not as wide and varied as Mumbai, India's money and port capital. The Agricultural college is a huge campus and initially entered the "Flower Section" and got a first hand look of the preservation and packaging of flowers, the refrigeration chamber being the equivalent of a ships "Veg Room 0-+ 8*c temp".Next entered the "Dog show playground" where entrance was Rs25 and worth the money and travel effort although sadly i unwittingly erased the excellent photographs taken at the show, a colossal blunder .Thankfully these were snaps for my personal  hobby collection and not a commercial business as was  my former classmate Leonard Arrons whom i first met as a news- reporter somewhere in the 1980's at the "Parel Veterinary college" in Mumbai. where i was displaying "Lucky" my prize winning  dachshund bitch.Dog shows from the 1980's to 2007 have transformed proportionally to the increase in production of billionaire and millionaire Indians in "Dollar terms". A white "Toy Poodle" along with its Mexican Hairdresser and handler and a "Tsi Czhou" with its Thai hairdresser and handler would not have been out of place in either "Crufts ,London" or as pets of the "World's wealthiest Individuals",featured on “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”. Such was their beauty and pampering and care, unbelievable, especially in India where luxury on pets  was frowned upon during the Socialist era.. I have been to countless "Dog Shows" and this show was one of the best in terms of quality of participants as well as quantity of participants.There were 5 to 6 bulldogs, 5 to 6 Siberian Husky’s, Saluki's, Neopolitan Bull Mastiffs, Boxers, Dobermanns costing Rs 2,00,000+!, a Chinese Sharpei, Yorkshire terriers, Russian Terrier(Rs 1,00,000+),German Shepherds, Dachshunds, Rottweilers and a host of other common breeds. I thought of visiting "Crufts ,London" but the improvement and competition in "Indian Dog Shows" would make a trip just for connoisseur dog shows a waste of money unless programmed with some other agenda.Thank god i am a writer and hence can express myself in words although the photographs are missing and we all learn from mistakes.Came home at approx 1430 hrs and while trying to learn the settings of my camera accidentally erased all my fantastic "Mysore Dog Show Photographs".Went to church in the evening as i have made a habit of attending Sunday mass since the church atmosphere has a soothing effect although i am no saint neither very religious nor a hell sinner compared to 21st century living standards.Will be catching the 2040 hrs bus from Banaswadi to Udupi and then to Barkur, another leg of my unending travels both in India and abroad.Boarded the "Bangalore-Udipi" bus on Sunday(20-1-08) just outside my house at Banaswadi on "RING ROAD" at approx 2115 hrs and it was a "Long and winding road" ride through the bad roads of the Western Ghats section and reached Udipi late at approx 0930 hrs on 21st Monday. From Udipi caught a bus to Brahmavar and from Brahmavar to Barkur, a marathon bus journey and finally found my way to Uncle William's house, formerly  the ancestral  family house with numerous childhood and teenage years memories.Barkur town itself hasn't changed much since the last 5 years that i visited the place but the ancestral home surroundings have changed beyond recognition with huge bungalows constructed on former "Rice fields", proving the decline of "rice farming" due to lack of profits.Uncle William looked the model for the phrase,  that  "Country life , simple fresh food and physical activity is the secret of a healthy physical life" who at the age of 81 is the rustic equivalent of rock star Mick Jagger or actor Dev Anand , aging gracefully.Lunch was "lady fish curry rice with beer" and the fish was marvelous, myself being a hard core fish eater akin to a wine taster could tell the difference between fresh river fish and trawler iced fish common in city's. After lunch, Uncle and myself went to "Survey" our ancestral property .Memories of a by-gone era were set into motion as we trudged through the cultivated and non-cultivated fields, saw a rat-snake in the process but no buffaloes grazing proving the inevitable reality, the extinction of the Buffaloes as a "Plough animal" with the advent of "Mechanized farming" as well as non-cultivation of fields.Clicked a lot of photographs of the property and also crossed the entire river on foot due to the "LOW TIDE" and surveyed Dad's original ancestral home, a monument of ruin which i have photographed complete with a huge ant-hill.Visited Mr Harry Lobo's bungalow, Uncle Williams neighbour, the only christian still involved in farming as most of the younger generation Christians have migrated to City's or have opted for a variety of jobs, other than farming, being a minority population and one of India’s most literate communities, hence visibly noticed.Uncle William is the last of the farmers from the "Furtado Family" akin to me being the "Last Maharajah!" as situations and circumstances in jobs and professions are changing in a fast economically evolving India..Toured entire Barkur within a day and sad to note that the town has depreciated in importance with least 21st century facilities  with  a single "Internet Cafe" besides endless “Load shedding” , no wonder youngsters flee to City's  from villages and agriculture suffers.Got up early on Tuesday(22-1-08), didn't sleep the whole night, a common sickness for me in new places whenever i travel, India or abroad, takes time to get acclimatised to a new city, country, or village. Walked through the farmland,excellent, chirping of birds, saw the setting of the "Full Moon" and the crisscrossing of man-made canals at dawn and it always makes me wonder as to the reasons for the villages of Mangalore not attracting "Tourists" unlike Goa or Kerala which is identical to Mangalore topography , living conditions and scenario.Boarded the local bus to Udipi from Barkur bus-stop and reached Udipi at approx 1045 hrs.The bus service in Mangalore and the villages are excellent and efficient, a pleasure to travel akin to Malaysia.Spent an hour at an internet cafe(Rs17/hr) and blogged my "Writings" and later caught the bus from Udipi to Manipal, approx 15 mins drive.The difference between Barkur village and Manipal city, a distance of approx only 25 Kms is akin to travelling from Malaysia to Singapore , two totally different towns existing in the same Country but with totally different living conditions and social set-up unlike Singapore and Malaysia which are two different Country's !India is really a vast country something which foreigners find fascinating and difficult to comprehend.Manipal has changed a bit since i last visited with a totally modern glass building near the hospital, otherwise its preserved its exclusivity and uniqueness, a signature address for education in India and Asia.Visited the "Dollops hotel" opposite the Medical campus , the crowd was absolutely upper class elite students and had a Chinese veg chop-seuy, reasonably priced for the locality and decor with a vintage banyan tree having its roots in the well being a real attraction, supposed to have been Manipal's founder Dr T.A Pai's ancestral well.Visited the "Anatomy Museum" at the Medical college, the same displays for medical students and the visitor, nothing new since i previously visited the museum, more for "Veterinary science" than "Human science"'. The last time i visited Mangalore  maternal cousin Rocky Ferts was alive and helpful as a tourist guide and friend. Remember visiting Udipi and also the Buffalo races along with Uncle William on which i wrote articles on "Blog sites " and received decent responses from city dwellers fascinated by the existence of "Buffalo races(Kambla)" thinking that only "Horse-racing" existed. This time in Mangalore, i do feel a strange isolation never felt before, both parents are dead, mum's ancestral place is non-existent, Rocky Ferts, an educated helpful local cousin is dead and "Dad's great jinxed Property" is proving to be a "Mackenna's Gold Saga!"Wednesday(23-1-08), got up early as usual and had a walk in the compound, absolutely beautiful to a city dweller.After having "Kunji( Local  rice)" for breakfast , did a bit of photography for posterity as akin to "HONGKONG", seems a way of agricultural living would soon become extinct in the next generation, akin to the "Great Textile Mills of Mumbai".Would school students of Christ Church(Mumbai) in 2008 ever realize that Mumbai was a flourishing “TEXTILE CITY” upto the 1980’s, something which my generation experienced?”Change is permanent” and adaptation to change is the formula for success . Visited Uncle Thelespore's house, my mum's eldest brother, and met aunt Bibiana, as also my   cousin Oswald, the last of my maternal relatives living in a ancestral village house.. Later , along with Oswald visited ancestral maternal  grandfathers home, a scenic old World bungalow situated alongside the river banks.Took some photographs as this ancient "Village house" would soon be demolished by its new owners, having wonderful memories of youth holidays being spent in this now abandoned and lonely  bungalow house.Reminisced  a "Changed and changing World" of village life and living. The rapid decimination of wild-life and forest vegetation can be gauged by simply observing the change in environment during one's own life-time, and i am speaking of only 48 years existence on planet Earth. I vividly recollect my childhood visits to mum's ancestral house at Mabukala in the early 1960's and seeing "River otters" playing in the deep estuary just next to the farm house, same  otters having vanished since the 1970's, totally extinct. Thats the definition of "Wild-life Extinction", and i have witnessed the extinction of  "River Otters" of Mabukala river through my own personal observation  from childhood visits to this beautiful scenic riverside property. Wished uncle Thelespore.Gonsalves  and aunt Bibiana farewell and visited  maternal cousin Anthony D'silva's favourite chum, Mr Rajaram's Internet cafe at Mabukal bus stop.After  blogging as usual at the "Internet Cafe" later .visited Uncle Godwins residence at Sasthan, a neat flat and later in the evening caught an Express bus from Sastaan to Udupi(Rs 30) and checked into Hotel Siddharth in a single/non A/C room with T.V costing Rs 290/Day.Suffered from a severe "Stomache Upset" similar to the one experienced in Bangalore in June 2007, continuous "SHITTING" in the toilet, reasons still unanswerable by me as it doesn't happen in Mumbai when in my own  home. Didn't sleep the entire night, only soothing balm being the stabilizing of the "Stock Exchange", hence financial shock has decreased.Thursday(24-1-08), the last day in Mangalore was horrific with my stomache upset, yet got up early and caught the bus to Manipal(Rs 5) only to find the township still sleeping and hence had a walk and a modest breakfast of Idli and hot milk. Caught a return bus to Udupi and from there to Malpe Fishing Port(Rs5) and witnessed the hectic unloading of fish an absolutely fascinating experience of a whole-sale fish market taking photographs. Saw the poisonous "Sugo fish", a Japanese delicacy but used as fertilizer in India due to its unpalatability. Returned from Malpe to Udipi at approx 0930 hrs and had a haircut at a real classic hair- dressing saloon, cheap and efficient at Rs 40 along with a "Head- Massage", the same could cost a minimum of Rs 100 in Mumbai.Later checked into the internet cafe,got treatment for my leaking anus from a chemist shop near "Siddharth hotel" after  informing  him about my severe "Loose Motion" symptoms. A dosage of 2 tablets was suggested and i immediately gulped the same with a can of beer from "Vybav Bar" and later  had a "Banana leaf meal" at the "Bunts Hotel". Its my habit to always taste the local cuisine. in any country, city, town or village that I visit.My stomach was cured and its strange at the knowledge possessed by some chemists for "Common human sicknesses", better than qualified doctors at times.Left the hotel at approx 1500hrs and caught a bus to Brahmavar and from there a connecting bus to Barkur. Aunt Celina prepared some "Jeera-water", a local medicine and i definitely felt normal after a sleepless and shitty night at the hotel.Spent the last day in Barkur walking through the coconut plantations and photographing as usual ,leaving the house at approx 1915 hrs to board the bus.The walk throgh the narrow pathway upto the main road of Barkur town was a test of my "Trekking and Engine room Black-out" skills as it was pitch dark and not a human soul in sight. Noticed a jazzy open air bar near the bus-stand at Kalchepra and had my last beer in Barkur before boarding the bus at approx 2045 hrs.Reached Majestic in Bangalore at approx 0800 hrs on 25/1/08(Friday) and caught a 300H bus to Banaswadi reaching at approx 0930 hrs.Purchased some "Bangda fish" and prepared fried fish along with tonic beer!. Thank god my "LEAKING ANUS" has healed, a repeatation of  the same illness  i encountered in June 2007 in Bangalore.Stock markets have recovered a bit,a case of "Economic Healing".Strange but true, whenever i come to Bangalore, either my bowels go on "Holidays" or i suffer from sleeplessness though not from "Nightmarish Dreams".26/1/08(Saturday), a quite morning as usual and didn't feel the "Republic Day" atmosphere since we don't have a television in Bangalore. As in Mumbai's Vaibhav  Apartments they do have a "Colony Flaghoisting" in "Vijaya Bank Colony" as i found out on inquiries with neighbour Mr  Balkrishna Shetty .As a non- resident person to the locality i felt awkward to attend the same, besides i was not invited by the concerned organizers.Have to get acclimatised to my strange bowel movements and heavy head, something unexplainable as i travel all over the World, let alone Bangalore or Mangalore .Intend visiting Hyderabad and view the "Salar Jung Museum" as also the "Hyderabad Race-course", the only race-course besides Delhi which i haven't visited in India.Should conduct myself on a diet of  fruits and juices to get back into "HORSE-RACING FITNESS". The "Bangalore Derby " always held on 26th (Republic day) had been canceled due to some "Race-course dispute", the first time this has happened in Bangalore's racing history and more so when i was all prepared to attend the same . "The Hope Diamond" is Jinxed and i am 100% convinced my betting luck on "Derby Days" is jinxed, and using the phrase "Turn disadvantages into advantages", i decided to visit the "Malakpet Race-course" in Hyderabad for the "Golcunda Derby", although not to bet on the "Derby Race".Rang up Cousin Jayshree D'Brass and she advised me on booking tickets at "Indira Nagar" also providing me with a certain "Mangla Travels Address". Rang the travel agency and confirmed a "Non-A/C ticket" by the 2000hrs bus(Rs 400) . Reached the Travel agency at Indira Nagar a bit early and hence  whiled  away my time "Blogging" and "Letter-writing" as also sightseeing Indira Nagar, a beautiful posh Bangalore locality . When i die, as i have to some day, at least i would have the pleasure of being known as the "Greatest Indian common horse punter" as well as the most widely traveled sailor with no wives in some of the ports!Touche, Topi! Boarded the bus at approx 2100 hrs at Indira Nagar and thankfully reached Hyderabad safely at 1100hrs almost 4 hrs late. The bus windshield just shattered in the night akin to a "Horror Movie" for no apparent reason and the driver didn't loose his nerve ,otherwise, shudder to imagine the worst. Caught a rickshaw and searching through various lodges finally managed accommodation in "Shri Shirdi Sai Baba lodging and boarding", at Rs 250/single room with t/v. Advantages of travelling single is the freedom to live in the cheapest lodges since i travel throughout the day hence hate wasting money on costly residential hotels in any part of the World or India.Set off to "Malakpet Race-course" by rickshaw where the security arrangements made me realize the freedom of Mumbai's cosmopolitan and friendly culture although it does and did have its bouts of "Terrorism".I was not allowed to carry my camera and the police were all over the place making the race-course an absolutely "V.V.I.P" security zone! Metal detectors were used to frisk every race-goer and i totally lost the zest for a good day of fun at the race-tracks along with my camera, "Win or Lose!". The security police guard volunteered to keep my camera with him personally, a risk i took as i did’t want to be the fool for travelling all the way to Hyderabad and not visiting the race-course. The fan-fare and decorations are definitely not on par with "Mahalaxmi race-course" yet the "First enclosure grandstand" was recently built and resembles the "Hong-Kong" design to a smaller extent.Played the first three races and came out positive, later having lunch at "Sohail" for Hyderabad's famous Biryani, definitely different compared to Mumbai or other places that i have eaten this dish.Later went to the "Salar-Jung Museum", entrance was only  Rs 10 but a security system on par with the race-course, thankfully, they distributed "Free-lockers" for depositing "Banned Electronic valuables".The museum is a reminder of the definition of wealth and has an excellent collection of various articrafts, Indian as well as Western.From "Salar-Jung Museum " caught a rickshaw(Rs 50) and enroute to Hussain Sagar lake visited a "Pearl shop" and added a "Pearl ring" to my finger collection of semi prescious stones, being the "Last Maharajah!".Hussain Sagar is a large lake with huge boats cruising the lake for joy-rides and later visited the "Laser Show" at "Lumbini Park", one of the best i have witnessed including my foreign jaunts, real World-class technology and presentation.Later caught a bus and got down at "Koti"(Rs 6) and found an Inter-Net shop. On browsing was thrilled to find that my name-sake horse,"Flying Rudolph" ridden by Suraj Narredu won as a "Hot Fav.Truely, my presence , though not on the race-course must have been "Good-Luck", and  thats "Horse-Power!"The "Vijay Textiles Golcunda Hyderabad Derby" was won by a non-fav "Retribution" ridden by Daniel Grant. To sum up, it was a fruitful day of horse-racing, sightseeing and security hysteria in Hyderabad city.Had a breakfast of Masala Dosa and tea in my lodge room on 28/1/08(Monday), watched t.v and later went with a hotel attendant to the Old City bus stand at Gowliguda to book my ticket to Bangalore(Rs 450). Caught a bus from the depot to "Golcunda Fort" approx 1 hr journey, the bus meandering its way through "Traffic logged" old Hyderabad into the countryside and the army center reaching at approx 1100 hrs. The Golcunda Fort holds a special place in the history of Deccan India and is really majestic and vast even in its present ruinous condition.Climbed upto the peak of the Fort photographing like a crazy professional photographer and experienced trekking at its authentic best,  although with an upset stomach.Later caught the return bus at approx 1400 hrs and as usual i pick up conversations with co-passengers, the natural way of studying a city, village or country as also the culture. In the process i have been fooled as well as genuinely guided by the locals, a part of a tourists life, especially a back-packer.Dismounted the bus at a stop and caught a rickshaw to "Charminar", having lunch at Afzal Gunj in hotel ,Deccan Darbar, the "Hyderabadi Biryani" as usual(Rs 45), excellent and cheap. The entire stretch of "Old Hyderabad" leading to the Charminar and the famous "Mecca Masjid" is a huge "Souk", excellent and bustling with people."Pearl and Jewellery Shops" are all over the place along with clothing and handicrafts as also the security guards.Took photographs as usual and purchased a Kurta suit(Rs 640) later walking all the way back to Gowliguda Bus Depot, shitting on the way(Rs 3/shit in public toilet!) as usual, a very expensive travelling sickness.Had a beer in a "Country bar" and later boarded the main bus at 2000hrs at AfzalGunj after interchanging a rickshaw and mini-van reaching Bangalore's Hebal at approx 0800 hrs and a bus to "Rudolph cottage".29-1-08(Tuesday), a quiet day at home,had lunch at "Twigs" restaurant, decent meal for the cost but lack of customers makes this restaurants future seem tough as most of the restaurants in Banaswadi have closed , except "Tamarind", among the classier hotels.On Wednesday, went to M.G road to Vijaya Bank(Mayo Hall) and collected my "Atm Card" also using it , withdrawing Rs 7000 and after having lunch at "K.F.C" came back home. Purchased a copy of India today and as expected, the stock market fiasco was the main topic with a added book on exotic pets sold in India.Not keeping well, head problems as well as stomache, hope things get better in Mumbai.Approaching the end of a hectic stay in Bangalore, simultaneously having toured  Mangalore and Hyderabad with the added burden of stomache upsets and unexplainable headaches.Settled the "Infamous Barkur property valuation", a shock as great as the spellbinding family telivision saga, decades of parental disputes and an end-result of a "Damp squib"!If dad and mum were alive, i wonder what would be their view of the price of their hard earned invested savings after 41 years? My horse-racing taxes for 2 years are much higher than the expected valuation of Dad's property in Barkur. I really pity my parents on being bigger "Mugs" than i was in "Horse-racing".At least "Horse-racing" gives me pleasure and entertainment, a costly hobby that i can afford,but, imagine our house-hold condition if we just had to rely on Dad's investments, a gradual de-generation from flats to rooms would have taken place. I am really proud to be the saviour of our house-hold from total collapse, at least till i am alive, "The Last Maharajah!?".Thursday(31-1-08), got up early, went for a long walk and purchased fish at Banaswadi, cooked the same, washed my clothes, purchased 2 beers, cooked and drank.In the afternoon visited aunt Urban at Sheila's residence, family discussions and later returned to visit Jayshree and discussed the annual property tax payments and the increase in property tax.Came home , gave Cousin Jayshree a cheque to pay my property tax and as usual at the "Internet cafe" writing and browsing .Friday(1-2-2008) is my last day in Bangalore,my longest stay after mum's death consisting of a total of 25 days but absolutely hectic with trips to Mangalore and Hyderabad. Today spent the whole day at home as my stomache problems are unsolved and hence didn't want to overstrain myself, keeping the hectic "Indian Derby" in mind. Arranged the house and my personal cupboard and left home at approx 1700hrs reaching Bangalore railway station at approx 1745 hrs by bus. Thankfully there is an "Internet Kiosk" at the railway station and as usual my passtime on the computer.The "Udyan Express" train to Mumbai is due at 2010 hrs and a hectic and financially rollercoaster trip comes to an end.“Udyan Express” left Bangalore station at exactly 2010 hrs and the long 24 hrs journey to Mumbai was not very stressful and reached Mumbai on Saturday at 1930 hrs, catching a taxi  for  home, sweet home. Poured through the heaps of mail, sorting them i  realized that I can’t be away from home for  too long.