Archive for November, 2009

I still wonder why Vij went gaga over Kurbaan. He was very appreciative about Saifeena starred film which compelled me to watch it.

Avantika (Kareena Kapoor), a psychology professor in New York, comes to India to be with her ailing father. She joins Delhi University and meets Ehsaan Khan (Saif Ali Khan) a teacher teaching about Islam and its studies.

As expected the duo fall in love and despite reservations about Ehsaan being a Muslim, Avantika’s father agrees for their wedding, before both leave for New York to start a new life.

In New York, Avantika finds a job for Ehsaan at a local University. They start looking out for a house and Ehsaan doesn’t seem to like any of the houses. Finally, through an advertisement, Avantika finds a house which even Ehsaan also likes.

Their neighbours are conservative Muslims and they invite the couple for dinner. At dinner, she is taken away from Ehsaan into another quarter where the women of the house dine separately. The inmates of the neighbourhood seem to blindly obey Nasreen and her Bhaijaan. Salma visits Avantika the next day and asks her not to trust anyone. She reveals that her own life is in danger and she needs help from her friend who is a journalist.

Avantika meets Salma’s friend and seeks her help. Even before Salma could get any help, she is killed by the inmates of the house. Avantika is shocked to know that her husband Ehsaan is also involved with them and is in fact a terrorist.

Terrorists bomb the flight carrying the UN delegation and a few journalists, including Salma’s friend. Salma’s boyfriend pitches in to help Avantika later.

A series of bizarre events turn Avantika’s life upside down and drive her into a morass of emotions that spin madly out of control.

Avantika comes to know that Ehsaan was married earlier and had lost his wife and four-year-old child in Pakistan. Though they give reasons for being terrorists, nothing seem to convince Avantika. She feels very lonely and does not want to give birth to Ehsaan’s baby.

With the help of Avantika, the journalist joins the group of Ehsaan and goes ahead to execute a plan when a former colleague recognises the journalist. Hell breaks loose and the journalist shoots at Bhaijaan. Bhaijaan dies, not before calling Nasreen to execute the plan of bombing major places.

Ehsaan becomes wild when he realises that Avantika is also being used as a suicide bomber. Both he and the journalist, separately, go in search of Avantika and Ehsaan finds her and kills Nasreen before defusing the bomb hidden in Avantika’s handbag.

As the journey of evil is short lived, cops surround the duo and Ehsaan is fatally wounded. The most touching scene is when Avantika asks Ehsaan: “What’s your name, real name?”

The film ends with a tragic tone, death and terror, which of course has no end.

After watching the film, I could just say that the film has similarities with New York. Kareena’s role has similar shades to that of Katrina Kaif’s in New York. Both Katrina and Kareena play wives to husbands who are actually terrorists. Both try to mend the ways of their husbands, but in the course of time fail to do so and meet a tragic end. At least, New York offred a visual treat with its beautiful locations and I’m still wondering what did Vij find so capturing in Kurbaan!

On Monday, we were on a shopping spree and went to General Bazaar. Taraka bought me two beautiful silver lamps as my birthday gift and I wanted to buy an idol of Ganesha with the right side trunk. We visited several shops in search of the right kind of idol, but in vain.

General Bazaar is located in secunderabad, MG road. One can avail this place for shopping to the fullest. The market over here is the best for all kinds of people and for all occasions. General Bazaar, is the second largest wholesale market after Begum Bazaar.

This road was earlier called James Street and after Indian independence, following convention, a major street in every city in India was named Mahatma Gandhi Road. There is a statue of Mahatma Gandhi on the road. The road leads to a warren of streets called Tobacco Bazaar and Pot Market.

I had never seen so many silver and gold shops in a single stretch and we found many wholesalers in this market area. Several silver shops have unmatchable varieties from one shop to the other. The fine work of their workers is so beautiful and we found lots of variety like dining sets, lamps, plates glasses, and every possible item with silver for all kinds of customers.

Sarees with zardosi work, sarees with plain self works, plain sarees, patch works, kanchi pattu sarees, venkatagiri sarees, gadwal sarees, bengali cotton sarees, graden sarees, printed cotton sarees, samudrika pattu sarees, and almost each and every variety of sarees are found in and around the bazaar.

Taraka bought me a dress material, which we found at an outlet at a very nominal price.

We saw shops selling decorative household itemsbook shops, stationary, footwear and others.

While returning home, we found several wholesale shops of utensils in steel, aluminium, copper, plastics and others. I told Taraka that I would like to visit the place again, but with my hubby dear (then I need not pay for whatever I buy ;)!

Keeping fond memories of Salar Jung Museum, we headed towards Charminar. Manouvering through the narrow road filled with autos and pedestrians. It was a bumper-to-bumper traffic and the vehicvles were moving very slowly. Pedestrains walking on roads and crossing the road was a common sight and honking horns was in vain, for they rarely bothered about vehicles passing through. As it was turning dark, we wondered if we would get any parking space. But fortunately, we found a parking lot near Charminar itself.

When we reached the place, it was 5.35 pm, five minutes late, as the closing time was 5.30 pm!

We had to console ourselves taking pictures outside the spot and envy those who were enjoying the beatuy of the city from the minar 😦

Interestingly, we found a temple dedicated to a Hindu Goddess near Charminar.

I wished that I had visited Hyderabad in my school and college days. It would have helped me immensely in my History papers.

Mohammed Quli Qutab Shah constructed Charminar in 1591 to mark the end of plague in Hyderabad.

Charminar is a massive and impressive structure with four minarets. It has four imposing arches facing four directions. A row of small vaulted niches ornament each of the four arches. Charminar is square in shape and each side measures 100 feet.

The minar is a two-storied building with the first floor being covered. The balconies on the floor provide a great view of the surrounding areas. A small mosque adorns the top floor. The mosque is situated on the western side facing Mecca. The mosque is said to be the oldest surviving mosque in Hyderabad.

The four minarets of the Charminar dominate the landscape of the region. The minarets, their domed finials rising from their lotus-leaves cushion, rise to 180 feet from the ground. The whole structure contains various small and ornamental arches arranged in vertical and horizontal fashion. The cornice on the first floor upholds a series of six arches and capitals on each portico, rising to the double-story gallery of the minarets. The projected canopy, decorative brackets and decoration in stucco plaster add graceful elegance to Charminar. On the upper courtyard, a screen of arches topped by a row of square jalis or water screens provides a delicate charm to the look of Charminar. Inside the minarets 149 winding steps guide the visitor to the top floor, the highest point one can reach, which provides a panoramic view of the city. All the four arches have a clock each installed in 1889.

The beautiful colossus in granite, lime, mortar and, some say, pulverised marble, was the heart of the city then. Initially, the monument with its four arches was so proportionately planned that when the fort was opened one could catch a glimpse of the bustling Hyderabad city as these Charminar arches were facing the most active royal ancestral streets. There is also a legend of an underground tunnel connecting the palace at Golkonda to Charminar, possibly intended as an escape route for the Qutub Shahi rulers in case of a siege, though the exact location of the tunnel is unknown.

They say that the Charminar market had some 14,000 shops and we went to get the feel of shopping in the famous markets known as Laad Baazar and Pather Gatti. The markets are favourite of both tourists and locals for jewellery, especially known for exquisite bangles and pearls. The colourful shops sell items like glass bangles, pearls, jewellerys, traditional Muslim gear and Mughla delicacies.

The Laad Bazzar or the Bangle Street was loud and bustling. We found hundreds of pearl jewellery shops along the narrow streets, besides cloth shops, bangle sellers, food emporiums, costume makers, booksellers, artisans, and what not almost one can imagine.

We went to check out bangles at a shop and found a variety of bangles, some ranging from as less as Rs 50 and going beyond even Rs 5,000. We were astonished to see the exquisite range of lac and glass bangles in the shop.

We wanted to see pearl shops. We wanted to know the difference of genuine and fake pearls. We went to a shop looking out for a pair of ear rings and asked the shop owner about the difference between the genuine and fake pearls.

Oysters are bivalves. The shell’s valves are held together by an elastic ligament. This ligament is positioned where the valves come together, and usually keeps the valves open so that an oyster can eat.

As the oyster grows in size, its shell also grows. The mantle is an organ that produces the oyster’s shell, using minerals from the oyster’s food. The material created by the mantle is called nacre. Nacre lines the inside of the shell.

The formation of a natural pearl begins when a foreign substance slips into the oyster between the mantle and the shell, which irritates the mantle. The oyster’s natural reaction is to cover up that irritant to protect itself. The mantle covers the irritant with layers of the same nacre substance that is used to create the shell. This eventually forms a pearl.

So a pearl is a foreign substance covered with layers of nacre.

Pearls come in a variety of colorrs, including white, black, gray, red, blue and green. Most pearls can be found all over the world, but black pearls are indigenous to the South Pacific.

Cultured pearls are created by the same process as natural pearls, but are given a slight nudge by pearl harvesters. To create a cultured pearl, the harvester opens the oyster shell and cuts a small slit in the mantle tissue. Small irritants are then inserted under the mantle.

In freshwater cultured pearls, cutting the mantle is enough to induce the nacre secretion that produces a pearl — an irritant doesn’t have to be inserted.

While cultured and natural pearls are considered to be of equal quality, cultured pearls are generally less expensive because they aren’t as rare.

Most pearls are treated or enhanced in one way or another. Saltwater cultured pearls are bleached to even out body colour and non-nucleated freshwater pearls will become whiter if they are soaked in a bleach solution or heated for a period of 2-10 hours.

But how to distinusih the fake ones from the genuine ones?

Imitation pearls bear the slightest resemblance to a natural or cultured pearl. There are mainly three types of imitation pearls — mother of pearl, solid glass beads and wax-filled glass beads. To make them more realistic, they are dipped into a solution called essence d’orient.

Detecting imitation pearls is not a difficult procedure because solid glass beads are much heavier than either natural or cultured pearls, plastic beads are too light, imitation pearls are too perfectly shaped and they feel smooth when drawn against the teeth.

Six important qualities to note:
1. Luster: Look at the clarity of images that are reflected in the pearl’s surface. The closer to a mirror image you see, the better the luster. Pearls with fine luster also seem to glow warmly from within.

2. Size: The size is measured by its diameter, and ranges from 8mm to the rare 18mm. The larger the pearl, the rarer it is.

3. Shape: The rounder a pearl is, the rarer and more valuable it is.

4. Surface: The more flawless the surface of the pearl is, the higher it will be valued. However, a flawless pearl only comes about once in about every million, as pearls are the result of a natural process, and an oyster will usually leave some sort of unique mark on the finished pearl.

5. Colour: Colour has little influence on the actual value of a pearl. The rarest and most desired are the white “rose” colored pearls.

6. Weight: The weight of a pearl is not always provided. Pearls are usually measured in carats.

After getting the required knowledge we started looking out for some good pearl ear studs in shops.

Later, we went to a cloth shop to buy churidhar pieces and we were unsuccessful in bargaining. For they easily made out that we were not locals and quoted a pretty high price. We found the material not worth of the amount and left the place.

With the little gyaan we acquired on pearls, we bought two pairs of beautiful ear rings at a pearl shop.

When we reached home after a tiring day, a surprise awaited me.

Keerti, Gayatri and me

I was welcomed by the kids with a birthday cake.

Little Nidhi was eager to celebrate the occasion and it was like a small fest at home.


Most, surprising was the birthday greeting card with a handwritten drawing by Gayatri, Keerti and Nidhi.

Gayatri, me and Nidhi

On Sunday, Taraka took me to Salar Jung Museum, the third largest museum in the country, and a hot seat of cultural splendour containing antique pieces and artefacts from nearly all epochs of history.

The museum is considered to be the only museum that has the largest compilation of personally collected artefacts from across the world, and is situated on the southern bank of the Musi river.

As it was weekened, the place was crowded and there were several students standing patiently in a queue to enter the building.

After entering the museum, it was like a dream come true for me, for I loved to take long trips along the musty pages of history. After all, I studied History as one of my subjects in the college days 🙂

After entering the first room, Taraka and I realised that one needs to devote an entire day for touring the museum.

The semi-circular building was a magnificent architectural edifice with 38 galleries spread across two floors of an imperial building. Each gallery had its own specialty with one housing the Nizam’s personal belongings, another housing Indian artefacts. Others displayed a plethora of items ranging from paintings, musical instruments, preserved stages showcased in glass cabinets, Kashmiri furniture and handicrafts as well a multitude of other valued historical relics.

The Founder’s Gallery told the history about Salar Jung also. The existence of the museum is credited to Nawab Mir Yousuf Ali Khan or Salar Jung III as well as the Prime Minister of the seventh Nizam, whose passion lay in collecting priceless antiques. However, the collecting artefacts was started by his father Nawab Mir Laiq Ali Khan also known as Salar Jung II and his grand father Nawab Mir Turab Ali Khan known as Salar Jung I.

We also learnt that Salar Jung III spent millions of rupees over 35 years to collect artefacts. Salar Jung III was born on June 13, 1889 in an extremely wealthy family that produced five Prime Ministers. In 1912, at the age of 23 he became the Prime Minister to the Nizam, but resigned two-and-a-half-years later. Thereafter, antiques and art were the only passions in his lonely life.

Salar Jung spent half of his annual income (Rs 10 lakh) on his hobby. He collected everything, from the rarest relic to commonest bric-a-brac with the same excitement.

He died in 1949, a bachelor. He left behind 40,000 pieces scattered over 78 rooms of Dewan Devdi, his ancestral city palace, which were shifted to Afzalgunj’s Salar Jung Muesum in 1968, and was under the jurisdiction of the Governor of Andhra Pradesh, who was acting as the ex-officio chairperson under the Salar Jung Museum Act of 1961.

The portraits of the Salar Jung, the Nizams of the Hyderabad city can be found in the Founder’s Gallery.

The Indian art is exhibited in an assortment of stone sculptures, bronze images, painted textiles, wooden carvings, miniature paintings, modern art, ivory carvings, jade carvings, metal-ware, manuscripts, arms and armour and so on.

Middle Eastern Art in the collection of carpets, paper (manuscripts), glass, metal-ware, furniture, lacquer, collected from Persia, Arabia, Syria, and Egypt are also on display.

The museum also displays porcelain, bronze, enamel, lacquerware, embroidery and paintings, which have been skillfully done in China, Japan, Tibet, Nepal and Thailand.

The European chamber of artefacts in the Salar Jung Museum comprises of oil and water paintings from England, France, Italy and Germany.

I was astonished to see the beauty of the Veiled Rebecca statue carved by Italian sculptor Giovanni Maria Benzoni. It is an amazing white marble statue which is splendidly carved. In the Hebrew Bible, Rebecca is the bride of Isaac. She is covered in a transparent veil during their wedding. This sculpture represents innocence and purity, as Giovanni Benzoni skillfully creates the appearance of a transparent veil, an outstanding artistic creation. Rebecca is seen drawing her veil about her before being presented to her future husband.

It is believed that Benzioni made four copies of this statue. One is among the collection at the Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad. There is also a copy at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia (USA). Another one, completed in 1866, is in the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts (USA). An interesting difference between the Veiled Rebecca statue at the Salar Jung Museum and the other statues is that the statue at Salar Jung draws her veil with her right hand while the other copies do so with the left hand.

The crafted knives of Mughal Emperor Jehangir and Queen Noor Jehan were other attractions.

When we were making the rounds, we found many people sitting in a gallery looking curisously at something and when we joined them, we saw a huge clock in which a tiny soldier comes out to strike the gong. The entire process was even displayed on a LCD screen to help the visitors. The top half of the clock showed a rustic scene: a blacksmith beating the seconds on his anvil. A huge bell hung silent in the centre, but everyone’s eyes were on the left where a door remained shut. At the appointed time, the door opened and a military looking man stood on the threshold. With a few seconds to spare, he took a step forward, and with a hammer in his hand, banged out the hour on the bell and the door again was shut for another hour.

The museum will be open on all days except Fridays and public holidays between 10 am and 5 pm.

In nutshell:

Gallery 1 and 2 or the Founders gallery: Personal artefacts, mementos received and portraits of the Salar Jungs and the Nizams. Royal clothes, porcelain and silver bowls, books furniture like the ceremonial throne used by Salar Jung III.

Gallery 3 and 3A: Indian art and articles. Indian textiles; bronze images of Jain, Buddhist and Hindu deities dating back to later Pallava and Chola periods; stone sculptures including a Bharhut rail slab, standing Buddha statue, Ananthasayi Vishnu, red stone sculptures of Kushanas and so on; brass idols belonging to the period of Pallavas, Cholas and Kakatiyas dynasty and brass articles belonging to Vijayanagar dynasty; Pancha Teertha Jaina statue, statues of Somaskadha, Shiva and Nataraja in Ananda Tandava posture, Narasimha, Ganesha and so on; Kalamkari paintings on cloth with various scenes of Ramayana, ‘Parvati Kalyana’, Lord Krishna along with Gopis and so on.

Gallery 4 and 5: Minor arts of South India and wood carvings. Statue of Vishnu of 1st and 2nd centuries found in Nagarjuna hill; wooden chairs, doors, statue of gods, carved screens, chariot wheels and so on. There is also a brass carving of ‘Rama Pattabhisheka’ from Thailand.

Gallery 6: Printed and embroidered fabrics in cotton, silk and wool belonging to Indian culture. Brocades woven with silver and gold thread, silk saris of south India, Kashmiri shawls, muslin waistcloth, famous ‘phulkari’ embroidery work from Punjab, appliqué temple hangings from Rajasthan, zari coats, chicken work from Lucknow and so on.

Gallery 9,10 and 11: Children’s section. Has a collection of toys from across the world. Puppets, model trains and objects acquired by Salar Jung III during his childhood.

Gallery 12: Stags, deer and other animals in glass cabinets.

Gallery 14: Carved ivory works belonging to 18th and 19th century. Ivory chairs presented to Tipu Sultan by Louis XV of France, inlaid tables, early 20th century German circus figures, chess sets, mat with ivory thread, lantern from Mysore and so on.

Gallery 15 and 16: Metal ware and European artefacts including the world famous statue of Veiled Rebecca, her beautiful face hazily visible through a flimsy marble veil. Another equally famous sculpture is a 19th century double-figure sycamore wood carving done by G.H. Benzoni, an Italian sculptor. The front view of the figure shows the facade of Mephistopheles and the back view of the figure showing Margaretta seen reflected in the mirror placed behind.

Gallery 16A: Guns, daggers, shields and swords, including that of Mughal emperor Aurangazeb, Tipu Sultan, Mohammad Shah and from the Qutb Shahi period with engravings of the Dasavatara and so on.

Gallery 17 and 17 A: Ornately decorated metal ware like huqqa, trays and so on; oil paintings by Ravi Verma and Abanindranath Tagore.

Gallery 18: Indian miniatures like Mughal, Rajasthani, Pahari and Deccani paintings.

Gallery 20: European paintings. The vast collection includes ‘Piazzo of San Marco’ by Antonio Canaletto (1697-1768), ‘Soap Bubbles’ by Fransesco Hayez of Italy, 19th century work, ‘Venice’ by Marc Aldine of Italy, and so on.

Gallery 21 to 23: European pottery, furniture, bronzes and glassware. Pottery items ranging from Dresden (Germany), Sevres (France), Capodimonte (Italy) to Wedgewood and English porcelain.

Gallery 24: Glass ware from England, Austria, Ireland, Venice, France, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Turkey and so on.

Gallery 25: Stunning exhibits of jade. Jade imported from abroad were carved intricately and inlaid with stones by Indian artists. The workmanship can be seen in the dainty jade wine bowl, wine cups with leaf and flower motifs, swords, small jade platters used by the Salar Jungs and inscribed jade book stand of Altamash (1209-10 AD), hunting knife of Mughal Emperor Jehangir, fruit knife of Mughal Empress Noor Jehan (17th century), 17th century dark green jade inscribed archery ring of Mughal emperor Shah Jehanand so on.

Gallery 28: Clock room is one of the best galleries displaying over 300 clocks in various sizes ranging from Sandiers to modern day huge pieces. There are tiny pieces set in magnifying glasses to huge and stately grandfather clocks from France, England, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. An interesting exhibit here is a musical clock from Cook and Kelvy of England with a toy figure of a watchman, who pushes open the door every hour in a great hurry, to beat the melodious gong to indicate time.

Gallery 29: Ancient and rare collection of manuscripts in Arabic, Urdu and Persian languages. It includes the great Arabic Al Quran in Nashq (1288 AD) done by calligrapher Yakut-al-Must’sami bearing the autographs of Mughal emperors, Jehangir, Shahjehan and Aurangzeb; Roudat-ul-Muhabbin by Amir Hussaini Saadat (1329 A.D.); Urdu poetic composition Diwan-e-Mohamed Quli Qutub Shah (1595 A.D.) done by Quli Qutub Shah himself acquired from the Golconda Royal Library and so on.

Gallery 31 to 36: Far east and Chinese and Japanese porcelain. The display includes pieces from Sung (960-70); Yuan(1279-13650 Ming and Ching periods.

Gallery 32: Kashmiri room with arts and crafts from Kashmir.

Apart from the galleries, there is a reference Library, reading room, publication and education section, chemical conservation lab, sales counter, cafeteria and so on.

In the evening, I, Taraka and her daughter Gayatri left to see a dance programme at her sister’s daughter’s school. Though we couldn’t stay for long, we made sure that we were present for a few minutes to encourage the little kid and left for Birla Mandir.

After parking the car at a nearby place, we headed towards Birla Mandir. By this time I had come to know how chaotic the traffic in Hyderabad is. People had scant respect for the traffic rules and I was feeling like driving in some maddening crowd.

The steps leading to the temple and small shops along the steps were bustling with tourists. Shops were making brisk business and tourists were busy buying articles.

As it was weekend, the crowd was huge. We had to keep our phones and camera in the cloak room. We went to the temple and Taraka was excited to show the place where she and jeeju had solemnized their wedding 🙂

Birla Mandir on the Naubath Pahad is a magnificent Hindu temple of Lord Venkateshwara, built of 2,000 tonnes of pure Rajasthani white marble. The Birla Foundation has constructed several similar temples in India.

The Birla Mandir was built by Raja Baldev Birla. In 1938, the temple was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi. Everyone was not given the permission to enter the premises of temples. Gandhi placed the condition that he would inaugurate the temple only if people belonging to all strata of the society were permitted to offer their prayers in the temple.

The architecture of the temple is a blend of South Indian, Rajasthani and Utkala temple architectures.

The tower over the main shrine reaches a height of 165 ft, whereas the towers over the shrines of Venkateshwara’s consorts, Padmavati and Andal reach a height of 116 ft. The presiding deity is about 11 ft tall and a carved lotus forms the umbrella on the roof. The consorts of Lord Venkateswara, Padmavati and Andal are housed in separate shrines. There is a brass flagstaff in the temple premises which rises to a height of 42 ft.

The temple is built on a 280 feet high hillock called the Naubath Pahad in 13 acres. The construction took 10 years and was consecrated in 1976 by Swami Ranganathananda of Ramakrishna Mission. The temple does not have traditional bells, as Swamiji wished that the temple atmosphere should be conducive for meditation.

Though the chief deity is Lord Venkateshwara, the temple has pan-Hindu character with deities of Shiva, Shakti, Ganesh, Hanuman, Brahma, Saraswati, Lakshmi and Saibaba. Selected teachings of holy men and Gurbani are engraved on temple walls.

There is also a shrine dedicated to Lord Buddha. Beautiful Fresco paintings, throwing light on the life and works of Buddha, adorn the walls of this temple. At the rear end of the temple, there is an artificial landscape with mountains and waterfalls.

The intricate carvings of the temple, the ceiling and the mythological figures are standing testimony to the dexterity and sculptural excellence of the craftsmen. Beautiful scenes from the great epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata are finely sculpted in marble. A number of lofty steps lead the visitor to the sanctum sanctorum. Along the winding path are many marble statues of gods and goddesses of Hindu mythology located in the midst of gardens.

The view from the highest level of the temple offers the viewer a spectacular view of the Hussain Sagar Lake, Andhra Pradesh Secretariat, Assembly and Birla Planetarium, the Public Gardens and Lumbini Park.

The temple is open between 7 am and 12 noon and between 3 pm and 9 pm.

We sat for a while there and discussed several issues before we left the place. By the time we reached the house, I had gone half mad, thanks to the traffic. Driving in Bangalore is not difficult, but elsewhere it is, for we are more disciplined and follow traffic rules at any cost. But in Hyderabad, it is the vice versa. People look at us strangely if we talk about traffic rules and discipline!

It was a sudden visit, not pre-planned unlike my other trips. After Vij left, I wanted a break, a break to refresh my mind and soul. I wanted to be away from Bangalore and all familiar faces. Suddenly, Taraka’s face came in front of my eyes and I just called her to ask if I could visit her. When she confirmed that she would take leave and take me around, I just took four days leave to visit her in Hyderabad.

I was eager to meet her after so many years. Yeah, after four years. Four years ago, she had come to Bangalore and visited us.

Unfortunately, the train reached at 12 noon instead of 9.40 am on Saturday and Taraka was waiting with jeeju to receive me at Kacheguda railway station.

Oh, it was a pleasant meeting, two friends, rather I would love to call her my elder sister, after four years.

I met Taraka for the first time in 2002. She was my roommate in the PG. Old memories gushed in, and we kept on chatting about the days we spent in the PG. Our discussions ranged from family, work, politics, society, religion, agriculture, economy, what not, almost anything and everything. Though it sounds strange to note that two friends discuss such things when meeting after so many years, to be frank, that’s how our friendship started and became stronger. We used to discuss so many issues, current affairs and political issues in the PG and it continued even after she left Bangalore. The discussions were not useless and meant for time pass. They helped me to improve my GK, as I was pursuing civil services.

From being a student I have grown up to be a working woman. I admired her spirit and strength and learnt so many things during my stay with her for 8-9 months. Today, I salute her for being so strong, for supporting her family, being a successful working woman and mother of two lovely kids.

From being a student I have grown up to be a working woman. I admired her spirit and strength and learnt so many things during my stay with her for 8-9 months. Today, I salute her for being so strong, for supporting her family, being a successful working woman and mother of two lovely kids.

Our friendship has become stronger by the passing years (touchwood) and I hope it continues to be much more stronger in the coming years.