Seedling tray

Our much awaited trip to Goa flagged off Tuesday. The plan was to start from Bangalore in the afternoon, hit Hubli by night, rest and continue the next day. Things started off according to plan and what do I say about the drive to Hubli? Any entertainment to be had, had to be self provided. The drive unfortunately is very boring. I’m sure there is a more scenic, soulful, living route somewhere from Bangalore to Hubli but the one we took was not it.

It was an easy drive though. Towards the end, Google pulled the usual settings stunt – taking us via the shortest rather than easiest route and we found ourselves driving through the lanes of Hubli. I like to think of myself as left of center and think hard thoughts of corporates in general but going past those places, I couldn’t shake off the feeling that this was Bangalore before the dot com boom. A small town with a lot of soul but clearly not enough money. Pretty houses but no maintenance. Nice people with little by way of entertainment. Something to be said for cold hard cash anyway.

So it took about 6 hours end to end and we made it to Dennisons where we were booked for the night. The name and logo looked imitation Raddison which was probably the idea but the hotel was pleasant enough. The check in process was quick and smooth and the rooms completely up to the mark. We asked for a trundle bed and ordered room service food and both turned up really quickly. I was very impressed.

(About the trundle bed, as soon as it arrived, my older one made a joke – he said – ‘Mom, I like narrow beds. You can drop off so easily.’ Almost nine and punning! I almost died of pride.)

The pub had some live music going in the form of a singer doing Kishore Kumar.

There was a fairly good variety at breakfast the next day. There wasn’t any item on the menu that was particularly memorable but again, nothing that was startlingly not so as well.

I really liked the kids play area. It was small but just what all the children wanted. They had a great time there while we checked out. If we hadn’t had Goa on the agenda we’d definitely have spent some time at the pool and looked into the various other facilities Dennison had to offer.

Dharwad was next and with it, a particular treat I had promised myself. Ok, flashback. I started composting about seven years back, quit when I found out I was expecting my younger one and while he was small, then restarted a couple of years ago and have not looked back. I started with simple aerobic, moved to bokashi and somewhere in between was motivated by the brilliant OTG group on Facebook to start kitchen gardening in my tiny balcony and two windows that I grandly call my garden. Some people do it better though! The marvellous Varsha Samuel Rajkumar has inspired me constantly. A longer trip to Dharwad would probably have involved somehow wangling an invitation to see and admire her ‘little green patch’ but for such a short trip, I could only manage a visit to Ajja’s beejada angadi. I’ll try to explain what a visit to that shop means to me.

I have admired Varsha’s garden, her sketches, her photographs, her writing, her spirit of recycling – the sheer joy she brings to her gardening. I can’t plagiarize her work and because I cannot find the link, I have no way of sharing the magical world that she takes her readers to. I can tell you this – her little green patch makes me forgive myself my mistakes, all the fumbling that my clearly black thumb brings to my own little patch. With every misstep, I tell myself I will get there too. Perhaps by a more zig zag path but it can be done! A small balcony and insufficient light are nothing to a really determined gardener.

Anyway the thing with ajja’s angadi is that it is the source code, the mother lode, the root of it all. An old man from a village comes down to Dharwad’s wholesale vegetable market and sells seeds for a song – because “Beeja maarud nanag manganda khushi kodtaitireyavvara…!/Selling seeds gives me immense pleasure”. People write poems and paens to the magic of gardening but to me it all comes down to this. And the trip to Dharwad was something in the nature of a pilgrimage.

Varsha very kindly phonewalked me through the directions. I will take time out another day to describe the fresh fresh veggies in that market and I wish I had taken pictures, but ajja and ajji were not in that day. I was disappointed but it’s ok. My sense of direction is so so terrible I have lost my way around my own neighbourhood more than once. But I know without a doubt I can easily find my way back next time I’m there. And I know there will be a next time.

I had no time to buy the famous Dharwad pedas as my kind and understanding friends were sitting in a car locked up with four children and probably reaching the end of their tether by then.

The remainder of the drive to Goa, through the scenic ghats is a bit of a blur honestly. I know it must have been lovely because the drive back was, but for then I was lost in my wish fulfillment almost.


PS. I found it! Here’s Varsha’s blog


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