My Experiences with Ruth - 2

Ruth: Raindrops and roses and whiskers of kittens...
Me: Aahaa!

Ruth: Bright colored kettles and warm woolen mittens..
Me: Wow!

Ruth: Brown paper packages tied up with strings..
Me: mmm...

Ruth: These are a few of my favorite things.. What do you like?
Me: Egg Fried Rice

The End!


We as a species depend on bacteria to run many of our life sustaining processes. If they refuse to cooperate one day, or stop doing what they do inside our body, the whole species would be gone in no time. This is not just our case, but every complex form of life survives with the help of some of these so called 'less complex' versions of life.

Let us extend this argument a little and apply it to another scenario - the symbiotic relationship between machines and human beings. The present day machines do need our help to survive, they are totally dependent on us for their existence. If we refuse to start them up or feed them fuel, they are also dead. The only difference is they can be resurrected once dead, if we so desire, unlike our deal with the bacteria.

So is it time to give machines the 'species' status and acknowledge their evolutionary advantage and better survival skills?

Mystic Talakadu

Sand dunes amidst lush greenery, close to an otherwise life supporting river, hiding a couple of dozen temples, a palace and an entire township under it... the myth of a 600 year old curse that befell a village which was a cultural hub for centuries together, transforming it into arid landscape... excavated structures of architectural beauty that tell the story of the Chola, the Ganga, the Hoysala and the Wodeyar dynasties. How many more reasons do you need to visit a place? Talakadu, the temple town about 180 kilometers from Bangalore, had skipped our itinerary quite a few times when Sunil and myself bypassed it to other destinations like Somnathpur and Mysore. This time intrigued by the stories about the sand dunes and a weekend in hand, we decided to finally go there. We visited the beautiful twin waterfalls at Sivanasamudra, where Kaveri falls from a height of about 100 meters after flowing through the rocks and ravines of the Deccan plateau.

There is something interesting for everyone in Talakadu - for the Spiritualist, the Historian, the Geologist, the Ecologist and the Rationalist. A sleepy village which is only as interesting as any other you see on the way, has but much more about it than it shows. This town used to be the epicenter of the Ganga dynasty and the proof of its past glory is all still there, but buried under 20 feet of sand. Famous for its Shiva temples, a land named after two hunters 'Thala' and 'Kadu', has about 30 temples and a palace buried in the sand. The Archeological Survey of India (ASI) is still busy locating, unearthing and recreating some of these. Three temples are open to devotees for worship while a fourth one is under reconstruction. It is a mystery how such huge amount of sand reached a place which is a kilometer away from the river Kaveri, and how it submerged the structures there. Like any other 'mystery' in India, there are some legends associated with this one as well.

There is the myth of a 600 year old curse associated with the present situation of Talakadu. The story has many slightly different versions, but the crux is somewhat like this- When Srirangapatna was under the rule of Vijayanagara empire, the king's representative there had to go to Talakad to offer worship in the temple, to cure himself of some disease. He passed away there and hearing this his wife Rangamma also moved to Talkad. The Wodeyars of Mysore took possession of Srirangapatna that time and the Wodeyar king wanted to get hold of some jewellery possessed by Rangamma. But she refused to give it and jumped into river Kavery with the jewels, at a village called Malingi near Talakad, after uttering three curses - "Let Talakad become sand ; let Malingi become a whirlpool ; let the Mysore Rajas fail to beget heirs."

The interesting fact is that all the three curses kind of came true - the old Talakadu is now covered in sand, Mysore kings had difficulty in having male heirs and have adopted heirs for a while and there is in fact a whirlpool near Malangi! The only difference is that all these have alternate, perfectly rational explanations as well. Quite a few people have done research on this strange phenomena and have come up with plausible explanations. River Kauveri already had a whirlpool near Malangi, into which Rangamma jumped with the jewels, and Mysore kings having no male heirs is more a result of complications resulting from inbreeding as the adopted heirs were from close family relations. And the sand dunes of Talakad can be explained in Geological terms. (One impressive study was done by K. N. Ganeshaiah, a professor at School of. Ecology and Conservation, GKVK, Bangalore:

There is an active fault on the earth's crust under the Kaveri basin, spread across Talakad, Shivanasamudra and Hogenakal which resulted in course shifting of the river by as much as 10 kms in the last several hundred years. Kaveri takes a few sharp right angled turns near Talakad, almost circling the village as it flows by. During floods water ignore these course corrections and flow straight into the village depositing good amount of sand on the extended banks. Once the flood water recedes, the exposed sand beds are open to the strong winds which is common in the area. The wind should have carried the sand over a long period to the village. To reduce this wind effect, Eucalyptus trees were planted all around, during the time of Diwan Vishveshvarayya of Mysore. The dancing tectonic plates around the fault also resulted in the entire Talakad village sinking way below the average ground level, making it easy for the winds to cover up the structures with sand. Even now ASI is trying hard to prevent the resurrected temples getting sucked inside, by the sinking land.

In spite of these rational explanations, Talkad will always remain a mystical place for devotees. As we walked around the place, at times standing on top of some submerged temple, we couldn't help admire the little wonders of nature and the even more amazing stories we weave around them. Soon atmosphere was filled with the quacking of a flock of Black Ibis. They were flying around the Eucalyptus trees, looking for a suitable roosting spot for the night. Probably some birds who preferred a historic backdrop to the roost than the boring wetlands at the neighboring Ranganthitu bird sanctuary!
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