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Recieved my gmail account today - a day after Yahoo upped the storage quota to 100MB on the two accounts I have over there. So now it raises the question of whether I need to change my e-mail address to get an additional 900MB !


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Sikkim - A State of Mind: Day 2

Day Two
We're awake at 5:30 AM and it's bright daylight. Our first sight of Sikkim in the daylight shows a land bursting with greenery and flowers.

The valley is shrouded in fog. Occasionally the fog lifts to show glimpses of the mountainside. Everything we see is in  panoramic mode - sweeping hills, rolling clouds and the fog appearing suddenly shrouding the entire landscape in grey.

Before we have breakfast, we go for a quick round of birding - there are Mountain Bulbuls, Oriental White Eyes and lots of Mynas. We have a breakfast of Alu Parathas with yogurt and pickle, some toast and marmalade and the teas for which North East India is famous.

Our plan for the day is to leave after breakfast for the town of Lachung, in Northern Sikkim. Lachung is the gateway to the Yumthang Valley and Zero Point in Yumesamdong beyond. While it is just 129 km (80 miles) away, the uphill ascent and the bad roads mean that it would take us close to six hours to get there.

Our route will take us…

Thattekad Travels

May 2013

We leave the small town of Kidangoor, near Kottayam, at 730 AM to head out to Thattekad. En route we stop at the ancient Subrahmanya temple at Kidangoor.

It is absolutely quite except for the calls of a few Oriental Magpie Robins pecking at worms in the circumambulatory path around the temple. Women are not allowed inside the temple which has a beautiful image of Karthikeya with his spear and peacock. There is a small Vishnu temple on the side. We step out and walk onwards the river which has a bathing ghat for devotees. It is an amazing view - clear water lined by lush greenery as far as the eye can see.

In a tiled hall nearby we hear the rhythmic tapping indicating that a Kathakali class is in progress.As we turn back our progress is arrested by the sight of two Asian Paradise Flycatchers, a Rufous Treepie and a few Oriental Magpie Robins.
On the drive towards Thattekad we see many acres of land have been stripped bare of the native vegetation and replaced by rubber trees …

The Big Questions

A technology or a civilization is judged based on the problems it is trying to solve. The Western world sought to address the big challenges of science which led to breakthroughs such as the Theory of Relativity and also double-edged technologies such as nuclear science.

The big questions that originated in India were related to us, what happens to us in the universe we exist in and how we can transcend it. Most of Indian thought started with questions and we see this in almost all the scriptures.

The universe is vast and our knowledge is limited. The 7th-century BC Greek poet Archilochus is famous for one line: "The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing", while in the Mundaka Upanishad, Saunaka asks "What is that, through the knowledge of which, everything becomes known?" In other words what is the one big thing?

Humanity has always been puzzled by death, the transition to the unknown . In the Katha Upanishad, the young boy Nachiketa, sent t…