Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New year!

Hello Folks,
It was great having your company this year, I say that with reference to the company i have found both online and off. I look forward to your company, support, help and motivation (whichever applicable to the situation, with many thanks to the ones you have already offered this year long, now that i remember in retrospect!) in the coming year and the experiences, memories and challenges that might be awaiting me/us in the new year which is about to dawn on us all! Hope you all have a good time!

A few things I'd like to shout out to a few people:
Mr Unicorn -->Things were as turbulent to you as it was for me, let's hope the grass is green on the other side :P
Shazo --> I don't think you'd wanna realx ever! :-/ how about a change in your biological time zone for the next year? ;)
Sidd--> Good luck for the "year of the exams"
Mr Rx --> relax, certifications come and go, Jan 1st 2009 comes only once!
Kitt & abhi --> nothing in particular, happy new year anyway! :P

Congrats to all the people who got married/engaged and Hurray to the ones who're not when '09 enters!

All the best of the guys who're flying abroad for studies in early '09

For those who whine about their job every weekend (there're literally millions of them, but only hundreds i know), here, you get one more year to do so! ;)

Clarification: The wishes were in no particular order, so no importance should be given to the order of the list!

And for all my blog followers/readers/commenters, keep blogging, hope to hear more from you people in the new year!

Happy New Year to all of you!

That's All Folks!

Monday, December 29, 2008


This weekend was a strange one. With all my friends on their bike in far away Gokarna, the route I've missed twice due to various reasons, I was left almost all alone to spend away the time this weekend. Thursday somehow went well, with Christmas spirit taking over me and a friend, while I got a new pair of Nike running shoes, he got me a pretty huge plum cake & pastries at Loyal World.
Friday, I badly wanted to try out my new running shoes in the morning, but sadly, due to my sleep cycle being a displaced by three hours, mornings for me usually happens as 9AM! So, had to push the plan to evening. I spent all day doing nothing that could be termed important and was waiting for 5:30 to try out my new running shoes. On to Kukkarahalli lake and I immediately found out two things, one, that me left knee still hurts as if I was injured the day before and two, my threshold for pain is not high as I want it to be. I thought it would be a tough job for me on the 10Th of Jan. So, I went ahead anyway trying to complete the course on the injured knee. A sad, and excruciatingly painful, 25 minutes later I finished, almost visibly in pain and very angry! I knew for sure I wasn't gonna be running on Saturday! so had to think about something else to do! When I went home that evening, I got my hands full with a sudden shock! The internet wasn't working! Any sort of fiddling would not bring the ADSL light on my modem back on! I spent the next few hours restarting the modem and staring at the LED trying to will it on and was having anxiety attacks in the process! Quite surprised as to what went wrong, I went to sleep after playing Colin McRae rally for a while.
Saturday was upon me, I had the job of getting my internet fixed. I was at the doorstep of BSNL even before they had a chance to sweep it. They directed me to a room to lodge my complaint. The room was full of WLL devices, new modems and old modems with only on person sitting and working on a computer! So that had to be the broadband service room! I told him what was wrong; he booked a complaint and told me they'd act soon! I wasn't sure how soon, but they seemed concerned enough. In the meanwhile, while I was there, I thought I might as well ask them about the WiFi card for my modem which I would be in need of if I buy a WiFi enabled device. The guy told me that the contract with Huawei, the manufacturer of the modem I have, and BSNL has ended, and therefore there's no stock of the card! I'd heard this story before, so I thought I'll just drag it a bit and went to the box of old modems and asked if I could have a look at it. He said I could. I just picked up a modem which I had and told him I wanted a card for that. He looked around a few times, then came to me and asked me whether I know how to configure it, on hearing a yes, he fished out another old modem from the box. pulled out its WiFi card, and gave it to me, Free of Charge! And said "take it and go"!! I said my share of thanks and left happy knowing I have a card which would otherwise cost me Rs.1000, all because someone was in a good mood that day! The BSNL person attending to complaints then came home and did some tests on my number and announced that it was a line fault since the line had some water inside it, there was some voltage showing up in the tests and therefore the ADSL light wasn't up. He then said that the whole line has to be replaced and since he was not the person with that responsibility, it will have to wait till Monday! I spent the remainder of the day, checking mail on my mobile phone, not because I'm addicted to it, but because of other commitments. And there's no bigger flush for your pocket than checking two mail accounts on GPRS and sometimes replying to them! On Saturday evening it was agreed that my friend and I would go cycling to the Chamundi hill as usual.
Sunday morning, an extremely chilly, icy morning with pockets of fog in many places. My friend and I went up the hill in a leisurely pace, 44 minutes is the time we took to complete it, just under double the time I have taken on my best attempt. We talked for a while, watched a couple of foreigners get robbed off their packet of chips by monkeys. They're evolving, they know how to tear open a packet of lays without spilling it on the ground!
Once I came home and slept, I woke up only at 4 after being knocked out cold for more than three hours all thanks to the previous night when I spent gaming and slept at 2! Sunday evening, I loafed about a bit, talked to the returning heroes from Gokarna and went home.
This morning, Monday, the BSNL guys came home at 11 and started digging all over the place searching for some cable that they'd laid long long ago! after many unsuccessful test pits, they found the cable and started tracing it to the junction which they had to search out too. To avoid all this, the person came up with a bright idea to run the tests again from the local switch box for out area. Then it was diagnosed as a CPE (customer premises equipment) fault and not the line fault as it was informed to me on Saturday! Soon there were a swarm of BSNL guys in my home trying to find out what the problem was, then suddenly to our shock! the ADSL lit up as if nothing happened! everything was pinging! no packet loses, full speed, no trace of the chaos which had struck on Friday night! So, they all had a small laugh and left scratching their heads leaving only the poor guy who dug up half the front yard searching for a cable to clean up his mess! he did that and gave me a number to contact for further complaints regarding broadband and he left too! I was quite relieved that it was all over, because a few more hours without internet and I would've been forced to buy a Plug and Play modem! Phew! what a weekend!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Last Minute Troubles

Tomorrow, the 25Th of December 2008, five friends of mine are going on a trip to Gokarna and back, covering many places in between. This is the second time that i am gonna miss riding my bike on that route. The reason why i didn't go this time, is an entirely different philosophical discussion which i shall skip for obvious reasons.
Me and my friend (Mr. RX, if you remember him from my earlier posts), were having our regular brew of strong coffee at our regular hang out hotel. After that I asked him whether he needs some tools, puncture repair kit, spare tube, air pump etc, which have come to great use on earlier trips, just to help the guys if they happen to run into trouble along the way. He had told me that since none of them know how to remove a wheel, any tools that i give would be only extra weight on their backs to carry. So that idea was scratched off the book. Having wished him a happy and safe journey, we left for our homes.
Then at 9:30 at night, i get a call from him saying that his bike has a flat tyre and there're no mechanics around to fix it! People who know me well know that I'm always all excited to do such things, and I'd rather do such things myself than let somebody hammer at my bike mercilessly. I packed up my tools and left for his place. On reaching, it was quite obvious that he had a flat tyre, and there was a nail stuck in it. What was not obvious is that the nail was 2 inches long. And the troubles were just beginning. I found out that the spare tyre i had taken had no pin in it. And i couldn't remove the pin from the punctured tyre to put it on to this one. This happened to be a blessing in disguise as it saved him the trouble of changing tubes again in Hassan tomorrow morning, cause i knew there was no way that the tube i had could withstand those distances on the patch it already had on it. This info we found out from the puncture guy who had to be woken up from sleep to fix the wheel we'd taken to him. He told, the punctured tube was useless and the tube I'd taken to him, the one which was already patched, was of little use too and confirmed my fears that if put, it would give up in under 100km! He goes in and brings a brand new locally-made tube, it's not good, but is surely better than the one i held in my hand. Finally we got it fitted on the tyre and took the wheel home and fitted it back the bike under the light of mobile phones and streetlights! the whole thing took a little more than 1 hour to complete! kinda unfortunate just before a big trip, but better now than in the middle of nowhere! Once again the bike burst into life and the test ride was two-big-thumbs-up! I wish them a happy journey and will be looking forward to meeting them on Sunday evening when they return!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


This morning, a friend had brought over his laptop for some major upgrades. While I was trying to configure the network on the dreaded Vista Home Ultimate, My comp went *poof*!!!!!!!!! It had done that before a few times, but it always started up after fiddling with the wires a little, but this time, nothing! no life!
I thought: "oh man, now Windows affects hardware too",
I felt there was too much load on it so, I disconnected the CD-ROM IDE & the floppy controllers and also the spare fan and then tried, nothing! then I switched off the UPS and switched it on, just in case it might help, the UPS went "ktttrrrrrkkk" and never came back again! hmmm... this was getting serious! One of the good friends trying to help me out, suggested that I should try plugging it in directly to the power outlet. I thought that was sensible, since there was no way my ups would turn on now, I might as well see if my comp is fried or not. I plugged it into the wall outlet and turned it on and it went KABOOM!!! sparks from the motherboard and the house MCB tripped! and that, ladies and gentlemen, was the time dear GK broke out a rare sweat, hurriedly grabbing the torch I searched for blown transistors on the board, nothing was seen thankfully. Without wasting much time, I disconnected all the cables from the back and took it to the repair shop ( I was afraid to explore further after I saw sparks). There he said it was a SMPS problem, he got a brand new 450w SMPS out of the box and fitted it in the cabinet, switched it on, and voilĂ ! worked like a charm! My CPU is filled out with stuff the details of which I will not bore you with here right now!
Then it was time for the UPS, gave it to repair and was asked to come in the evening when I was told that the fuses and the MOSFETs (whose function in a UPS I don't quite understand) were fried! He asked me what all I connect to the UPS, I said, 1 CPU, 2 monitors and one modem. he asks which monitors, I said one 22" LCD and another 14" CRT, and he stared at me as though he would've assaulted me any minute for abusing a product of a company he works for by overloading it with appliances! asks me to either use a higher capacity UPS or stop using the LCD monitor! O_O Since I didn't know I had made such a big mistake in the eyes of the APC community, I kept quiet, took delivery of the UPS and went back home. Connected them all back together and my computer works like a charm again! Considering that I bought this baby in the June of 2004, she's still holding up to my demands pretty well! Anyway, this just saved me from a potential pocket-burning purchase of 30K for a motherboard, processor, ram and graphics card replacement which I should've gone through if my motherboard was fried! It was all over in 750 bucks! A close call! But saved because of my lucky stars!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Diary Dilemma!

This evening when I had been to Sapna Book Store, I saw the most comprehensive collection of diaries for the coming year that I have ever seen in my ten years that I've been visiting Sapna. Each year, the diaries get more exquisite and complex adding more features and better paper. To top it all, enter a company called Nightingale, probably the finest paper in India that I have ever seen, and even in their range, there are only a few papers which take my M-nibbed Parker which I've been using for nearly 11 years now! Consequently, people say it writes like a sketch-pen! but glide it does! it's the smoothing thing I've ever written with, so smooth that it almost goes out of control while writing! I know what you're thinking, no you may not write with it when you meet me and yes I'll stop bragging about my fountain pen! It was because of this fountain pen that I started getting addicted to Nightingale.
I'll tell you why I brought this topic about my Parker. Well, I have a habit of writing (do I have to add the word literally at the end of that sentence? :P) yes, writing with a pen! Well, all you "Abhimani DevruagLu" out there, as NataSarvabhouma "Annavru" Dr. Rajkumar used to say, happened to catch me in a story telling mood, now face it! I'll have to tell you why I started writing! ok here goes,
When we shifted to Mysore from B'lore for second PU, I was nearly into clinical depression for a few months! I'd never seen a college where people studied in lunch breaks, refused to share notes and wrote in the same page in three different colours! The roads were too empty and I'd never seen a traffic signal for miles on end! so I thought I'll get back to reality and contact my friends in B'lore to ask what's happening there! What better way than to call up huh? yeah, go ok GK call and talk, you too are human, I thought. What I heard from them wasn't good, it seemed Forum was all the buzz there. I'd shifted in April, and to my luck, on July 3rd 2002 radio city FM 91, B'lore's first FM radio station started! "Man full English, Early morning metallica, Saturdays are club nights with Suresh Venkat and DJ Ivan, The late show with Priya Ganapathy, Rebel Yell with Jonzie and Santosh Gnaynakan a.k.a saggy" is what my friends told me over the phone, even letting me listen to a song! After a month, dad almost burst a vein seeing the telephone bill. He said, the next time I got him such a bill, the telephone goes and I along with it! So, I had to resort to more primitive methods to keep in touch and keep listening.
Those were the days of quality, a plain black-and-white cellphone would cost you 6K and you could hammer a coffin with it, not like the cheap mobiles of today which stop working once you drop it! So, I could never afford a mobile too. So, struck a deal with my dad to supply me with 25 inland letters every month and I'd stay away from the phone. I'd never seen a quicker response from him, for the letters were on my desk the same evening by the time I came back from college! Letter problem solved. Now listening.
During those days of 2002, there would be a power cut every evening and during that time I'd write letters to all my friends, listening to a new-found interest of mine, Shortwave Radio first on my Panasonic System and later on my old Sony IFC-22, I'd usually listen to the BBC world service, which I do even today. So, while I was listening, an idea struck me, "why not make the biggest possible antenna and put it on the terrace, Shortwaves require no orientation, so it'll work" , so I went around stealing all the stray telephone wires, skinning them for hours and then joining them to make one hell of an antenna, probably a hundred or more feet long, which went out of my window to the terrace, I had to instruct people at home not to touch the wire or the system while it was raining, I didn't want to get myself or them zapped with a billion volts of lightning. Work it did! For the next three years, I got near crystal clear reception of Radio City which ended only when other newer radio stations started polluting the signal and also cause of increased use of cellphone and cellphone towers everywhere!
Anyway, letter writing, right, stick to the point GK. I used to write letters, with my fountain pen, till it started blotting on the letters, that's when I switched over to pencils for letters. From then on, I've been writing letters, when I was not able to write letters, I would write a diary and those two hobbies have stayed with me till today, albeit a little dormant. So, the habit of buying diaries every year. As the years passed, the stuff I write in them has diminished to only a shadow of what it used to be when I had all the time for it. Buy the buying hasn't stopped.
But recently there was a revolution of thought process in my head (I like coining such terms, it makes me feel intelligent :P) and I suddenly had a rush of ideas and thoughts which were extremely volatile but seemed immensely profound and eternally useful because of which I felt I should always have a book & a pen with me so that I can write them down and use it later. So, when I got some money, I went and got a compact Nightingale Jute bound diary. But then the actual dilemma started, the diary was too small and I wasn't able to write more than four lines in a day's space, but, if I had bought a bigger one, it wouldn't have been portable enough. So eventually only half the diary got filled and the other half of all the "revolutionary thoughts" vanished into thin air!
And this evening in Sapna, I committed the same mistake again, I bought an identical sized Rayon bound compact diary, But then this year, I'm staying pretty much glued to my seat at home scratching my head. So this bright red thing should be pretty much right in front of my eyes all the time. So, look out world! I'm armed with my "thoughts & ideas" (sounds similar to "ideas and opinions" eh? ) and it's all going to come down in ink on my brand new diary from the 1St of Jan '09! hurray for that!
So, will I get the mood to write again, Peace!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Midnight Marathon? Anyone? Anyone?

When i casually browsed this page ( i was happy to see the dates re announced. The marathon which was supposed to happen tonight, has been pushed forward to the 10th of January. The move was made because of safety reasons! It was a blessing for me indeed, giving me more time to prepare, nearly a month. Before i start preparing, i first have to get over the injury to my left knee so that i don't have to face the trauma like the Sunfeast Open 10K back in April!
Tomorrow I am supposed to cycle to Chamundi Hill, but now looking at this announcement, i am deciding whether i should run on cycle! Here's the deal which is actually troubling me, if i start running now with this irritating iliotibial band, I'm more prone to injury, if i cycle till i recover, i'll be too late to train for the whole distance that i wanna run. as of now 10K is almost certain, but adding 11 more Km to it is gonna be tricky!
Hmmm, Any suggestions? My legs can store energy till about 7-8 km, then on i'll have to be eating something which is gonna be absorbed real fast or i'll risk hitting the wall and in my case, there's no wall for me to hit! my body has no fat to burn! i'll just have to collapse on the road and be wheeled back to base! That's one thing i really, really wanna avoid! So, how do i go about it! If only i had started earlier! but no! my lazy butt would refuse to leave the bed at 6 in the morning! face it GK!!
Well, as i said before, any pointers on how to train? or would you say just run and take care of the consequences later? :-/ sounds scary, but many ppl actually do that! I'll have to think this one out!

OpenSUSE 11.1

Get the button, spread the word! Go ahead, click it, it won't eat you up! :P

Monday, December 8, 2008

Running - An Update!

Nearly 30 hours after my running stint to chamundi hill, 12 of which were spent in a coma-like sleep, my body still feels like it has been run over by a Dakar-prepared Kamaz at full speed! Whats even stranger is that parts of my body are aching today which were not yesterday! I mean my back.
But then, things are really on the bright side, the pains in my leg have reduced and I'm able to jump into my jeans albeit a little slower than usual, faster than yesterday nonetheless. most of last night was spent in learning how to flip myself from one side to the other in a way which inflicts the minimum possible pain, this, all you logical thinkers might derive requires the maximum possible effort! it wasn't easy falling asleep and it still isn't anywhere close to easy trying to walk fast! I'm having to calculate each step i take, thinking whether it's necessary or not, taking steps are a premium now a days! so are climbing stairs, especially when you keep forgetting which leg you should bend at the knee and which one you need to keep straight as you descent, a slip up in that could have to screaming for dear life! But then, things are moving in the way of progress, and lots of it! So, hopefully I'll be back to form by tomorrow morning for my usual cycling. Till then! chao!


Friend has a problem with Honda, They're hellbent on screwing up his bike at the least chance they get to lay their hands on it. He tried to avoid those clumsy mechanics as much as possible, but without proper tools to do the job on your own, sometimes you have to take it to those retards who fit things backwards, literally! This has left him very agitated, so much so that he has written to HMSI about the whole incident and a lot other which he has personally experienced with his stint at showrooms before he took the leap of faith to decide he'll repair everything on his own. Let me see what explanation HMSI gives.
There is this another friend of mine who has had a problem too many with this brand new Nokia, apparently, that particular model in nokia looks to be designed to be used in clean-rooms. They can't make it moisture resistant even to the smallest extent, what's worse is that they've probably made is extremely sensitive to such things to which you'd normally expect a resistance from! Spent time, effort and money trying to get it fixed only so that it can blow up again!
A third person, also my friend, has been changing hard disks every month for the past three or four months. The reason, bad sectors, increasing with every new HDD gives as a replacement under the warranty.
I have been a victim of such things too, my Motorola's touch screen gave up just under a year after i purchased it. Luckily i claimed the warranty with only a day or two remaining before it lapsed which saved me around a thousand INR. But, I wouldn't be spared just yet, the side lock switch of my phone broke, to my misfortune it happened when the phone was locked leaving me no choice but to get it fixed and lighten myself off 350 INR in one hour!
Why has manufacturing quality taken such serious and downward turns? isn't there any way to keep up volume and quality with increasing demand? Are new work forces being recruited only to meet quantity requirements of productions? Or is this some sort of a return-business policy to make sure that you will need a new bike/HDD/phone after X number of years, a trick to keep the money circulating and ensure a market for the new produce?
Sometimes i remember this good article by the late great Bertrand Russell. It's called "how to be a man of genius". I don't know whether I've written something about that in my previous posts, but i feel it's appropriate to mention something i understood from the article, with great difficulty because of the superior English and my inferior intellect/comprehension/both.
It basically goes like this. If you happen to be a doctor, will you just think about saving lives? or will you think that by saving all the lives you possibly can because of the advancement in medical science, you'll be placing more demands on the planet's resources, it's food supply, housing, basic necessities of civilized life? Russell says, the latter is the Genius.
Putting that into my perspective on the talk about the manufacturing of faulty equipment these days, should we be expecting things to last forever once bought? or should we also be considering the point-of-view that if things lasted forever once bought, most of the jobs in the manufacturing sector would be lost, ppl are gonna be homeless and poverty will soon take over many societies? What is the price you're willing to pay to keep the world go round? A new set of oil seals? UI interface? HDD? Touchscreen module? Do you think as paying customers you're entitled to have products of the utmost quality which under near-ideal circumstances would last an extraordinarily long time if not forever. Is a "design-period" important? is the question it all narrows down to!
Is the manufacturing sector capitalizing on the purchasing power of the general public these days or are they really doing this cause making things eternal would be an overkill, of ppl would just get "bored" of it? or is it cause it's a loss to them? If its a combination of all the above reasons, then, is the combination convincing enough for them to take a decision to reduce the quality to such low standards as is being seen these days? I still don't know which view i would support, guess that makes me a non-genius! But I'd like to examine the whole scenario more closely before calling a shot on this one!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Back to running again!

Today was a special day. A usual, sometimes my weirdness knows no bounds! Because, today saw another one of my display of sporadic running. The last time i ran any distance more than 3km was for the Sunfeast Open 10K in B'lore, heh! i don't even remember the date that happened! Must be in April i guess. anyway, ppl who know me on a daily basis know what happened after that, Ilio-tibial band syndrome and the subsequent stoppage of running for more than 4 months during which all i did was jump rope and cycle once in a while. Later i took up cycling somewhat seriously, especially after i met a cyclist on my way to the chamundi hill once while i was cycling and agreed to train with him for a few days, after that, my friends and i have been regular to the hill every Sunday. A good way to begin a Sunday, getting tired early in the morning so that you can laze around for the rest of the day. This started in October, this is December and there's a new event, in running, not cycling mind you, called midnight run. I was looking forward to this, hoping it would happen in April or may like it happened the previous year, but this had to be announced in December for reasons unknown. So, again my interest turns towards running and i decided to go for the biggie, a half marathon, 21km of pure pain and running action. But to have a hope of completing it alive and not in an ambulance half-dead or in a mortuary van completely, you need training, and lots of it, somewhere to the tune of 25 km at a stretch at least once in two weeks.
Luckily the marathon got postponed indefinitely, so i thought i might as well start preparing. Sunday, today, i ran, 8km uphill to chamundi, although the experience was really eye opening, refreshing, painful and liberating at the same time, it was done quite slowly, my body had switched into life-saving mode without me knowing. my strides were short, slow and to a rhythm, my breathing still not at it's max and heart-rate somewhere around 120-130s approx when i can actually do 155-160 at my max (that's the most I've recorded), i was able to talk to my friends who were nice enough to video the whole ordeal, i was able to give chocolates which i had bought to top myself up with calories on top of the biscuits, jam and a glass of glucose i had in the morning. When i finished, some 50 mins later at the top i was still smiling and talkign to friends i bumped into at the top.
Having cooled down and returned home, i now notice that i cannot life my left leg, it hurts! excruciating pain in the muscle/ligament connecting my leg to the rest of my body! so much to that i cannot lift my leg to get into my jeans, making getting dressed a half-hour ordeal and getting on the bike, a 10 minute exercise in tolerating pain!
I know what you're thinking "why?" you would ask, why did i push myself to do all this when i could just sit at home and sleep all day? well, i could tell you, but, i wouldn't be doing justice to the way i feel, the sense of accomplishment that i get when i complete, by putting it into words! you have to try it out for yourself!
So, that was 8, kind of half way, considering the uphill run makes me feel like its 12. so, another 9km remaining for me to endure, without damage cause i surely don't wanna putting on my jeans for half an hour for a week every time i run for 10km! Some training in the blocks, damage limitation mode is on. Tomorrow, well, i still can't walk, so running is pretty much suicidal for three more days, ruled out!
Hmmm.... lemme see. Nah! i need sleep for now, i'll look into the training plan tomorrow. It's not that i can move around tomorrow anyway! goodnight!


recommendation letters, as the name would suggest, are the letters which a person would give you in support of.... well, what ever it is that you're going to start doing, kind of a public announcement: "yes i know this guy, and these are the things he has done which has impressed me, and these are the other things he's capable of doing" and such sort. Sadly enough, ppl who are supposed to issue these letters will not be able to compose a proper passage. This adds to the complication that the end users of these so called recommendation letters are looking precisely for ppl with valid qualification and position who can vouch for your/my abilities and talents. So, comes the ironic point, you type out a letter all by yourself, take it to them, if you have struck the right chord and have to really gone beyond yourself in praising, you get it signed, sealed and stamped. else, minor changes and you get it signed, sealed and stamped nonetheless. So, to a great extent it'll be what you want your prospective reader to read about you and what you wish to hide from him, like the fact that you really didn't know calculus will your second year of engineering, or you thought that college sucked, teachers were partial and and you were always irregular and definitely not punctual when you chose to be regular due to attendance reasons! strange! i suppose that all these things should not matter, the teachers are nice enough to sign all the rubbish that i write about myself. And kudos to them!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Change! :)

After a long wait, my study table arrives! so, was a little busy rearranging/altering/disposing things in my room and making space to fit this in! found a snug place by the window (the set of windows which don't receive direct sunlight unfortunately). This should work for now, seating position is all fine and the table surface looks well-finished. Cheers! oh, and while i was at it, i cleaned up the shelf too! check it out! :P

Monday, November 3, 2008


This one has been in the plan for a long time, the very much awaited trip to the southern tip of India and back. The original plan seemed simple and awesome, but, it was far from it,still awesome nonetheless! the route was revised and revised some more, optimized, and finally finalized a few weeks before the actual trip.

There had been problems right from the beginning with a few people dropping out for various reason and people who were the integral part of the trip begin held up till mid afternoon on the day of departure! but somehow we all managed to leave Mysore on the evening of the 2nd of October, with the destination of Calicut in mind. Although 215km away and the clock already showing 4:30pm (approx) we were not worried, cause there was no other alternative, we had to do it that day, or the trip wouldn't happen. Maintaining an high average speed, we managed to cross Gundelpet quite early and were heading under the forest cover for a while before we emerged out on the other side and inside Kerala's territory. The exit from the forest was something i can't forget, we could see the tree cover ending and the twilight visible the the other side like the light at the end of the tunnel, once we shot thru the forest, we were almost there, another hundred km perhaps we thought. By then we reached a mountain with a snaking road down it, clearly lit up and visible from the top. This would be one major step down in our journey towards sea-level. looking at the lights, i was pretty excited to make that particular descent, my first mountain after Kemmangundi. So we were all at good speed when i found out that the lights i saw from the top were actually lights from the cars and trucks which were stuck in the traffic jam all along that snaking stretch of tarmac! It was, i assumed later, caused due to some trucks which were not able to negotiate one of the many hairpins on that road. Getting thru the jam was kinda difficult, more so with the people who were furious at the bikers, probably because they're not as free as the bikes. But apart form that, the incident hardly got a mention for the rest of the trip and we made is safely to Calicut where an acquaintance of a friend had arranged the rooms, some decent food and fruits. The journey felt good, day one was complete

Day 2: The plan was to clock another 200+ km all the way from Calicut to Alleppy along the west coast (but not within sight of the sea). We left calicut in the morning, our departure times aren't really the best in the world, cause you see, more the number of people in the group, more the constraints. So by the time everybody takes a bath and gets ready, it'll be 8 and 9 by the time we leave a place.

So, that said, we left calicut to get the first taste of what authentic kerala roads (and traffic) was like and it didn't take long for us grow sick of it! cause the roads were narrower that what's in front of my home and the traffic on those roads was relentless, heavy, fast and many times reckless! soon we were in Gurvayur and the road situation was at its worst here, with the so called NH-7 going between two house compounds!
There's a tradition at the Gurvayur temple, that you'll not be allowed inside if you're not wearing a dhoti and shalya, unless of course you're a girl. Thankfully people in the group were aware of the rule and had instructed all of us to pack a dothi and shalya. Changing into that and throwing all our luggage in a cloak room, we went and were blessed with the darshana of Gurvayur Shri Krishna. by the time we came out were all exhausted and were searching for something cool to drink, when i remembered the iced-tea joint to which I'd sneaked and bought myself a cup when everyone was ahead of me going to the cloak room. i pointed this out to the guys and as luck would have it, he had already served the last cup. Here, the guys decided to buy some sweets for all folks back home and office, sweets smelling of coconut oil that is! so, i stepped out of the buying spree. All shopping done for now, we went and parked ourselves in one of the many hotels labelled "Brahmin's" (may be this one didn't have that prefix, don't remember) and had a nice lunch (or as nice as it can get away from your home town/city/state)
On the bike again, next stop was Alleppy, since the schedule was pretty tight, we hadn't planned on visiting the small places around the towns and on the way. The vote to stop on a few beautiful bridges with stunning sceneries itself was a hard one to come by! but we managed that much, at least, after a hot exchange of words at an intermediate rest stop. This whole stopping-on-nice-bridges agreement was half hearted for a few people. One person was more worried about the difficulties of riding at night that he just shot through all the bridges, along with his mute and involuntary pillion, without looking left or right. Among the people who remained as a pack, we had a little dilemma, we had stopped at a bridge ( you can see this in the photos) and we noticed that we would witness our first sunset on that bridge so yanked out our cameras and were waiting. But a couple of others, spearheaded by one person, wanted to see the sunset from a nearby beach. But, this is still a little debated, but, but we thought that there was no way we could've made it to the beach in time for the sunset, so we got a good glimpse of the sun nestling behind the trees and rushed to make it to the beach anyway to see whether we got lucky or not. But, as suspected, we were late, there was only twilight, and in the commotion, we lost one more guy who'd gone astray from the pack (the first guy and his pillion were lost to us by miles already, no sunset too for those two). With just three bikes and five people now, we carried on to a place where we could find a phone or a signal. that we did, first up was the guy who got lost a few minutes ago, he was still around, apparently he'd gone a little further down the beach. There was no problem finding him. By this time it was already late and we decided to stop in Ernakulam, everybody agreeing that the ride to Alleppy wasn't safe at night, and the risk wasn't worth it. So we called the first two guys to tell them to stop riding and find a place in Ernakulam. But it had so happened that those two motor heads had made it to Alleppy and were searching a place to camp at night, 45km away from the rest of us! So, this was a hiccup! but we never gave even a thought to the idea of riding to Alleppy at that time, Ernakulam it had to be. Rode the rest of the distance slowly, found a place, ate and crashed to take care of other things later.

Day3: Was an early start, 5 'o clock my wristwatch showed when i turned on the lights, plan was to leave by six, but the usual long-bather took his time and it was well past 6:15Am when we left. This time i was the first one to disappear on the cold heavily humid foggy morning on the highway, i connected with my bike quite well and pulled clean from the pack and caught those two sleepers in Alleppy by surprise! Finally, after the reunion and exchanging a few jokes about everyone's riding, we went to the place where those two had pitched camp the previous night. It was a nice place, very European, with small rooms, fine wooden doors which open, first the top half, and then the bottom, a large bed on a big wooden cot, sofas on the outside. real classy. but we had no time to admire that, or the old Grundig Radio i found gathering dust under the aquarium. That was because we had all of Kerala's backwater to see and savor. But honestly, i wasn't really that impressed with the boat ride, i mean, it's good, yes, no doubt, but it's relaxing, kind of the stuff which puts you at peace with nature, so, what I'm saying is, it's not something that you watch just for two hours and get back into riding gear and blast off. So, was kinda disappointed. The day was promising though, our first sight of the beach was coming up, in Varkala. It was evening by the time we made it there, the sea was rough, it was nearing sunset and i saw girls begin slam-dunked on the beach by the strong waves all over the place! That made me decide not to get into the water, so i volunteered for the photo-clicking and luggage watching part! The photos came out well (as you Will see). After varkala, there was nothing but the flat out stretch to Trivandrum and the night halt. Things were low on the feel-good factor by now, people were exhausted, bikes were being stretched, so were our backs and, most important of all, the time schedule! After a good sleep in Trivandrum, the journey began again, to Kovalam and the most pleasant beach I've ever seen, the water, a pale blue sheet covering the brown fine sad which stretched for miles on both ends. The water, comfortably warm and only waist deep for a long way into the Arabian sea from the shore, the waves, powerful, sometimes mischievous but never that dangerous to warrant extreme caution. you could afford to let your self be carried away, both literally and otherwise and be assured that the sea is gonna bring you back home, if not in this wave then most certainly in the next. It's a refreshing sight, the salty water in your mouth will take away all sleep, all tiredness and all worries. it was mesmerising, to the extent of forgetting our already lagging schedule. With a heavy heart we were forced to come back on shore and dry ourselves but not before we got a good share of fun.

Back on the bikes again Kanyakumari was the stop, the tip of mail-land India, the culminating point of three huge water bodies, The Arabian sea, The Indian ocean and the Bay of Bengal, two huge mountain ranges, the Eastern Ghtas and the Western. The seas, water nonetheless but each with its own unique color, a shade of it, seeing which people recognize these great masses of water spreading tranquil and quiet as far as your eyes can see or your heads can turn. Barring a puncture right in front of a puncture-mending shop, the ride was lovely. The sense of anticipation was all too much in the group, we could sense the sea approaching, but hiding from sight, playing with our minds, making us wait more. Although the mountains had signaled that we were almost there, it would be a while before the sea finally showed herself to us, and show herself she did, in all her glory. The highway ended at a wall, beyond which was water, water everywhere. There were smiles, hugs and handshakes everywhere. Fists punching the air, sense of accomplishment, awe, contentment, respect for the sea, the bikes and each other. We'd waited a long time to see this, even though we arrived nearly 6 hours behind plan, there were no complaints. Yet, there was a sense of hurry, fueled by the news that the Vivekananda rock and the Kanyakumari temple would close by evening. We had to hurry, skipping our lunch for later, to catch the ferry to get to The Rock. It was a great sight, with thousands of windmills lining the ocean on your left, to the larger than life statue of St. Thiruvallavar on your right, to the small houses behind you shadowed by the huge mountains behind them to the big rock stuck out of place in the middle of the sea with a temple on it in front of you. Vivid is the word i would use. Photos, talk, rest, and a ferry later it was time for lunch/evening snack, whichever is the term but the quantity which went in wasn't about to change at all! if anything it would get bigger. stuffing ourselves with food, we hurried to the sunset spot to witness the sun signing out for the day, as though snuggling into a bathtub that is the Arabian, quenching himself off from his exhaustion of shining relentlessly, it seemed only on the eight of us, throughout the day, after all, he's the one who's truly "too hot to handle". The sight which followed was something to behold! barring a few retards who never stop talking (not in our group mind you), almost everybody was forced into a silence watching the sun as he went down. A day well ended, a night that was very, very Young for us though.
There was a crisis meeting in the parking lot, how far do we ride that night? was the question on eveybody's mind. There were talks of Madurai in one night. An interim decision was taken and Madurai was the name on everybody's lips. I too agreed, i remember saying "come on, tonight, we'll sleep only after bowing down to Madurai Meenakshi" to one of my friends. I had two cups of coffee to peel my eyes wide open, other had one, started our bikes and blasted off kanyakumari, streaking past the windmills, which we realized then that they were mounted on land, towards Madurai. But, as fate would have it, we hit problems, a bike making noises it shouldn't was the last thing we needed at that time of the night. There were anxious moments and phone calls to the mechanic, a green was given to ride on, cautiously. We hit a town not very far, i suggested that we get the bike fixed so we can carry on at full speed. But, that's when we realised the full extent of the problem at hand. The bike was all out of engine-oil, the leaky old cylinder had burnt all but around 100 ml of the 1.1L of it! In the words of the mechanic "a few more km and it would've locked itself solid"!! He put new engine oil and assured it would run, it did actually. After a while from that place, we hit our second problem. Hands were frantically waved for us to stop by the bikes in front, a crisis meet again, the problem: sleep! We were all finding it difficult to concentrate with our exhaustion and sleep. In the end, disappointment, Madurai would have to be the next day. We pitched camp in Tirunelveli out of force. By this time it was certain that we would not come back to mysore on the day we'd planned. That made people with a problem of leaves even more worried. Next morning, as it was on all morning, it was a average start, we had only one more place to stop our bikes and see. All other places from then would only be enjoyed in one eye at 70kmph!

The temple at Madurai was stunning, larger than life, magnificent. It was a shame that we weren't able to explore all corners of it before it closed down for the evening rituals. but we did manage to see the two most important People after whom the temple is named "Meenakshi Sundareshwarar" Sundareshwarar meaning "the beautiful Lord Shiva" and Meenakshi "Godess Parvathi". We had arrived at Madurai at 4 in the evening. It was 6 by the time we came out of the temple, with still a fair distance to make up, we wasted no time roaming around the city. Back on the saddle after reviewing the map which told us Dindigul was the next major town, we headed towards it, numb, cold and mechanical. Partly because of our schedule and partly because the scenery was really bald around that area, there was nothing to see and it would be so for most of the next day too. We stayed at a place 1km out of Dindigul. Next day, it was the big day, having to cover 350km no matter what. I was a little nervous that i would fall asleep somewhere in the middle since i wasn't much of a fan of highway riding! We left early, with a flat-out blast to Dharapuram with myself and the fiero (the bike which nearly broke down the previous day) leading the way. Had good breakfast, as it has been the case on all the days, we were blessed with excellent food, and left for Gopichettipalyam, form there to Satyamangala. A good lunch and we were off to Dimbam forest, at the other side of which, sitting high and pretty, overlooking Satyamangala from a great height, was Karnataka, the place we call our home! The ride thru Dimbam forests was one to enjoy, it was all to obvious that after enjoying the road so much (even falling asleep on the silky smooth black tarmac in that hot sun) we were bound to have a turn, it did come however, but not before we enjoyed the infamous hairpins winding it's way up the hill, the air getting lighter and cooler with every passing hairpin, me having to hold my nose and blow to equalize the pressure in my ears in every other bend. Before we could get used to the brake-downshift-honk-bend routine we topped out the summit and started the descent, a couple of reckless people took lead here descending the hill at breakneck speed much to the horror of their poor pillions! And then there came the stretch of road with the biggest potholes we'd ever seen all week! Quite understandably, since we were used to high speed all the way we never saw the first big hole coming! By the time I arrived, the rest of the gang had stopped on a bad stretch of road, one by one, each one stopping to see how badly the next one would plummet into the ditch! Sadists! That particular stretch was the worst all trip and we all ended up with back pains. We stopped every few kilometers, even with our homes just 60km away, nobody could stand those roads anymore! It was an excruciatingly lengthy and uncomfortable journey back to the city now filled up with lights and tourists from all over the world who'd come to witness the Dasara festivities in Mysore. Another cup of tea later, we were all ready to take the final few photos of what was a remarkable trip, sometimes rough and challenging, mentally and otherwise, but always exciting and refreshing. The talk that evening was all about the beautiful sights we'd witnessed, the people, the roads, the near misses etc, etc... Those memories are etched permanent in all of us! Can't wait for the next big one!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

back from a break, and already broken!

The recent past hasn't been the kindest to me in any sense of the word. Things are moving fast and happening slowly. Every Monday morning, i wake up and think there're five good days till the weekend arrives, but before i can blink twice and remember all my passwords, Friday will be breathing down my neck in full fury, and I'm left with a pretty short list when my mind asks me what i have done in the past four days, so much so that the panic, guilt and frustration of not accomplishing enough in four days become a cause of wasting much of the fifth day and looking forward to the sixth as if not doing stuff on Saturdays is acceptable and sometimes inevitable. And i end up taking refuge in the fact that people only relax on weekends, which only helps my mind in part, but not entirely as you would imagine.
There're many reasons why that's happening, which, after some thought, i don't see what help it'll do to me (or you) in posting them here apart from wasting more of mine (and perhaps yours) already free-flowing time. Suddenly i have started to suck in time management, in optimizing my schedule, I've become lazy and irritable. So much so in fact that i am really in a dilemma whether to type further here, or go and study, or work. Another problem, which is what is really pulling me apart, is that, i feel i should be working when I'm studying and the other way round, and ultimately end up not concentrating on either as much as i am supposed to or expected to.
As though having a splitting dilemma isn't enough, it is topped off by an endless list of hobbies which have gathered in my basket of hobbies without me putting any effort into developing them in the past two years. Agreed, that hobbies really take your mind off all the worries, and all the stuff that's said to depressed and lonely kids, but at the end of the day, too much of anything can eat into your time, so will little of too many things.
So, what would you do, dearest people, if each one of you were in my shoes? how would you distribute your time, between an array of stuff, academics, work, hobbies, personal life, social life and family? or which one would you sacrifice if you think that would help, and why? what makes the things being sacrificed expendable? why would you prefer that, over other things in the list, to drop?
I recently had been on a biking expedition to various places in south India, covering around 1400km in six days (if you want to see the photos, ask me :P). That was when, after a real long time, i enjoyed myself, nothing but the open road, a backpack, three tee shirts, tools, a pack of fellow nomads and mother nature. It's was a trip to reconnect yourself back to nature and the travelling lifestyle, to remind you that life is not made up of just computer tables, laptops, shares and bank accounts. That was something i look forward to again next year if people are game enough for it.
But, sadly, after i came back, things again became mundane, monotonous, clinical and depressing. My fellow nomads were left working over-time for the days there were on leave. i was left assessing the damage done to my studies and work, and again cribbing about not doing enough each week. Once in a while though, things look like they're getting back the way you wanted it, but then, very soon, chaos theory will again rule. But, this has to change, or else nothing will come off it except more chaos! Have to whet my mind again with an oil-stone, just that i am neither finding the right stone which does the job in one go, nor holding on to any stone i find for long enough to do a good job.
Well, that was that, this week is already at an end, it's Friday morning already, and Saturday will be upon me soon, and I'll be left with pretty much the same list i had last week, minus a few entries, have to rub out all the dates and rewrite the deadlines again! and this time, hopefully, stick to it! you'll know in the next post! till then, chao!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Have been receiving many compliments about my bike lately. Contrary to what people had assumed before, my bike looks like it's fighting off the “gonner” image. People use to take a ride and say “sell it, it's a gonner”. I don't wanna be exceptionally cruel in accusing those nice people of false accusations, cause many times even I felt it was a gonner! But I knew it was fixable. If you ask me today, I can still tell you a list of parts on my bike that need fixing, but that's how some bikes are, they're like a thoroughbreds, you need to keep brushing it up often, feeding some of the best food available,looking into every detail each time before you take a ride. Even with all that, it ages, it's built to age, it's natural. Selling won't solve the problem, it'll only transfer the problem, and get you a new set.

So I decided not to part with my bike. Decision one. Decision two, I decided that I would fix it myself. Some say this was a bad move, but I disagree, since it's given me more confidence in pushing a bike which is, well, “far more blunt than cutting edge”. And to ride, that's what matters the most confidence, if you have it, you can thread a needle between trees at 100kmph, if you lack it, you can end up in one, or worse, several trees! The make or age of the bike doesn't decide that, how comfortable you are on it decides it. I've had my experiences, believe me and so have you, I can see it on your faces.

Thinking this I went ahead to repair my bike. And it has turned the bike around a complete 180 from where it was heading. No more gallows/curtains/casket/pushing-up-daisies for my bike, it works like a charm, that, I say assuming you don't mind being chivalrous to it. Recently, I was rewarded with a sweet sound from my bike that had disappeared from it for more than three years. It's been two weeks since I returned from chikmaglur. A few days ago, after I came home and parked the bike, I thought I heard something, so I decided to stay and listen, for a second, it was all silent, for another second, it was deafening silence again, I had almost given it up, dismissing it as my hallucination from petrol fumes. But then, it did happen, “tink” I heard, my face lit up! Then the pattern was clear “tink........tink........tink.......tink”!! the catalytic converter was working again. Not a big deal for all you guys may be, but for me it is. It had stopped working after my engine blew-up years ago. But my repairs in february and hence the nice seal of the engine and the recent trip to ooty and chikmaglur had probably generated enough heat to blast away all the coating which was poisoning the palladium hot-tube meshes. Now they were free to expand under heat, and now when you park the bike after some hard riding, they take their own time to contract and cool down, “tinking” away for minutes.

This is what the story of most bikes would be, if you took the effort to dig it up, they'll work, but they can't fix themselves right? You fix it such that things work in the way they were intended to work and you can really enjoy the personality of a bike which new bikes lack. Try it out sometime, you'll fall in love with it! Chao!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Destination Kemmangundi!

When I originally started to write this blog, I wanted to name it as “Honey I fried the valves” :) but looking back over the past weekend, I thought it was too negative a title to choose and that I wouldn't be doing any justice to how I felt if I named it that way.

The Western Ghats is beautiful, refreshing but also dangerous, merciless and not for the faint hearted. To tackle it, you need, commitment, stamina, speed and a healthy doze of bravery. It drives home a sense of challenge into you. This, with all its beauty in full bloom in the rains, was our destination. Over three days of biking in this region would be enough to change your priorities in life from coding/development/testing to biking :) OK bad joke. Moving on.

The plan was simple, visit the highest peak in Karnataka (we've already taken care of the second highest, remember) and get back in three days. The catch, mother nature, again. The concern, rains, and that word is an understatement to what actually happens there. A downpour can turn small puddles into lakes, and roads into a skating rink! After my earlier heartbreak, I wouldn't be intimidated by anything mother nature was planning to throw at me. So, I decided that caution was the better part of valor, and waterproofed and double waterproofed all my stuff that would be needed, bought a very expensive raincoat and packed lots and lots of warm clothes. Then came the important stuff, which we wouldn't realise till the final day, the tools. It took me nearly an hour to load the heavy tool-kit onto my bag without taking too much space or tearing any stitches. But it had be on the outside though, so extra caution was needed to make sure somebody else doesn't pick it up on the road! All set then, a photo of my packed bag and take off.

The day finally arrived, the time of departure (estimated) – 0800hrs, the time of departure (actual) – 1000hrs. Our first hiccup, one person arrived late cause of constraints at workplace. Which left the other three of us waiting, clicking away at our bikes. Once he arrived, we wasted no time in greetings. We were off, four bikes from Mysore. A nice variety, old and new. This time, an addition, a car with five ppl was accompanying us. More things meant more things which could go wrong, but thankfully we would have none of it that weekend, it all went with ease after some teething problems. A fuel leak in the car put them and a bike nearly two hours behind us, but at the end of the day we were all together.

So, after the first 20km it was only three bikes from Mysore, two from b'lore. They had more than an hours riding advantage on us although being farther away from the meeting point agreed upon before. We were on a mission not to keep the guys from b'lore waiting at Hassan, so it was nearly constant all the way, keeping those average speeds nice and high, stopping only for compulsory breaks. In a flash we were in Chennarayapattana, just a hop away from our meeting point, we just took a left and again it was flat-chat to Hassan. We made it! And right about time. Those guys were here too, they had taken things easily on the road though. We all met up for lunch, greetings! After lunch, our serious trip began, Halebidu, 30km of undulating, twisting and turning country tarmac awaited, a feast for all the riders. Blast-off. As we tore though the roads, our first chance to stretch our legs on some long (non-boring) stretches arrived and we relished. Then, silently something was creeping up my tail, a Unicorn! You'd think it's easier to notice that big machine coming, but think again! He just sailed past us, 'nice' I thought, ppl are enjoying then, 'let's give him a run for it' :) fair enough, yeah? So it was downshift and advance, and in three heartbeats I was behind it, and then another thing crawling on my back, this time it's not silent, it's a humming bird! RX-135! With pillion, he took the cue and slotted behind me, on a straight I was planning on passing the unicorn, but he would have second thoughts on every bend, as soon as I was almost next to him, he would open throttles and close the door in braking. But there were a few time when I did manage to pass him only to have him get back at me on the very next straight. Before we could play more, Halebidu arrived, and we all parked up, me smiling inside my helmet. Then the Mr unicorn look at me and says 'let's not ride like this again' a few words and laughs were exchanged and we went on.

There was nothing in halebidu with was 'out of this world' but still it looked good, the sculptures, architecture, the layout, the styles and many other aspects were very eye catching. But sadly we were already lagging behind schedule. So we were off, on our next destination, Hornadu. We were already a little too late to reach Horanadu on time, so we had to ride at night. We stopped at a major turn to unite with the other bike and the car which had closed the gap to us while we were gaping at Halebidu. While we were talking, we heard the sound, it was the fiero, grand entry I should say! (the guys will know why). A little while later, we were finally a group.

The first major mountain road awaited us and to our luck it started raining too. One guy left first and then me, and behind me the rest started, we were all in mirror distance for a while, then suddenly, nobody was in sight, myself and the guy in front stopped and waited for a while. Then a canter came and told me that a bike had had a minor fall, everybody was alright, and they were on their way. We quickly double back to check what's happening, I passed the unicorn, he just waved and went, then the fiero stopped. He told me that the unicorn had a fall, skidded off the road and rolled in the mud and grass, there wasn't a scratch on him and the bike was fine too, (may be he was serious when he said 'let's not ride like this again'??). Despite the moral blow, the incident hardly got a mention in the group. A quick inspection of the man and machine revealed no damage, and we went on, considering how kind our luck had been. Then we stopped around 62km from Hornadu for our customary tea. Enjoying the tea, weather and scenery, we just summarised the day as “good” and were on our way, one more tea and a few more kilometers of riding in darkness got us to horanadu at 2130 hrs, nine hour day at the office wouldn't be bad in most cases, but a nine hour day on the road left us craving for dinner and sleep. We found the nearest lodge and put up camp there. Getting the bikes into comfortable resting places, we went and had dinner at the Temple and went back to our room, then it was time for damage assessment, our clothes were soaked, so were our shoes and socks, luckily, my backpack was still dry. Our shoulders ached, so did our backs, and we just longed for sleep.

The next morning, the early risers took charge and got us on a roll, we had tea, cleaned ourselves up, and went to the Temple. After praying for our immediate journey along with the prayers for our journey in life, we went to inspect the bikes. I, personally, handled my bike with the utmost care, checking the spark-plug, and making sure every bolt and nut was in place and looked normal, I gently took it off the stands and pushed it to a clear place, started up and left it to warm at idle. The other guys did pretty much the same. Once everything was nice and hot, it was departure time and a much tougher day awaited us, but we were aware of it yet, the first stretch gave us a taste of things to come. The ride from Hornadu to kuduremukha was stunning, we all rode our hearts our, well, almost all of us, cause I saw the unicorn was visibly nervous, probably shaken from the previous day's fall, and making very horrible lines at very low speeds through the forest. Frankly, I felt bad to let him go and to carry on at my own speed through the stretch. I've been in his situation before and I knew how it'll be faced with conflicting thoughts and opinions, is the grip enough? will it lock up if I shift and brake? Is the curve too sharp? should I keep the lines tight? Should I put second, or should I put first? It's hell I tell you. I don't know whether all these thoughts went thru his head, but I still kept him in my mirrors anyway. While we were enjoying our won ride, we forgot about the other two bikes!! Not necessarily disastrous but still a waste of time, finally we met up in kuduremukha. And told them what all they missed... the roads, curves, scenery and the like.

From kuduremukha, we went to lakhya dam and then the next stop was sringeri... a beautiful scenic place, an old temple, one of the four mutts of Sri Sri Adi Shankaracharya, a place which abounds in historical value. We reached, but sadly not before the Temples closed in the afternoon. They would only open next in the evening, and sadly we didn't have time to wait till then, we were already delayed. Well, we never came into this trip hoping to prove we could keep planned times, everything was flexible, but, we had come to enjoy nature and temples, although not bad in any sense of the word, were not nature. We could always come back to the temple any time of the year and see God, but we came here to enjoy the mountain ranges, the wind in our face, the rain on our hands, the sound of the wind rushing past our ears, the sight of so much green you'd forget the names of all other colours if you'd stared long enough and the smell of the earth wetted by the constant drizzle. Frankly, temples had to wait. Next stop, chikmaglur for dinner.

There was nothing special (if you can call it that) along the way back to chikmaglur. Well, I say nothing special, but it's just an expression. The whole route is so unique and magnificent you'd not know which moment, which turn, which stretch of road to choose and label it “special” compared to others. So, the word special doesn't really do justice to the sights and sounds of that special region of karnataka.

We arrived at chikmaglur, I envy that place from the day I stepped into it! It's a town nestling at the foot of the highest hill range in karnataka. And we boast about Chamundi, no offence meant. Well, we we having dinner at a hotel at about 2000hrs when one person gave an idea as to why wouldn't we consider staying in the lodge where we were having dinner instead of riding out the 60 odd km to kemmangundi. I too felt that idea was good, so did a lot of people, but, a few were having none of our suggestions and were all set to go, so we too had to get going. So we all agreed that we all would follow the car in the darkness. In retrospect, that particular veto was one of the best things that happened to us in the trip. More about that later. We got going and it was then that I noticed a strange thing about myself that I hadn't noticed ever before, in fact, I never though that could happen to me or to anybody else. I was falling asleep on the bike!! My speed, controlled by the riders behind me and the car in front of me was too slow, I didn't have anything to do! I was drowsing with a stomach full of dinner and two days' riding under my belt. I was trying everything to stay awake, including singing to myself, blinking rapidly, rushing towards the car and slowing down till I made the end of the pack. Nothing seemed to work, I thought 'this is it, I'm gonna crash into a bush and sleep there without knowing I've broken many of my bones'. Then a few rough stretches started and I began to wake up, and on the last stretch, I was fully awake and was fed up of going behind the car, myself and a few more riders broke up and went at our own comfortable speed, engines revving freely finally and now fully alert, I was greeted by the cool air of the mountains and the jolts from the road were now in full swing. It was sort of like reaching a climax, one big water-splash later we were there, summit of the hill. Kemmangundi. Covered in pitch darkness and biting cold. We had a little commotion as to where we would ultimately sleep, cause as it turned out, there was more than one guest house. But we finally found our room and one by one the guys started to fall. Myself and few others were awake till 2:30 in the morning keeping each others company. Then we too couldn't hold back our sleep. We all slept.

The next morning, the early rises had already taken charge and also had gone for a morning walk out in the cold. Phew, so much for that! We all woke up leisurely. While we were having tea, we hear that there's a flat tyre in our group! That's bad news! Something had to be done. On inspection, it was obvious that it wasn't a slow puncture, cause we pull a one-inch nail clean out of the tyre! Then we decided to patch up the tyre ourselves, so we removed the wheel, the tyre and the tube, took out the patch and saw, no gum! The patch simply doesn't stick! Talk about waste of money! We tried everything, including heating and hammering! But no, it refused to stay on the tyre. So, we took the wheel and the tube and went down 13km to the nearest puncture shop and got it mended. It was there that we found out that we should have had a tube of solution to make the patch stick! Bloopers! We got the wheel back and fitted it back on the bike, smooth as a baby's bottom! No glitches. On the way down we stopped at a junction and had a small chat, whether we would descend down the same road we came up or would we take the other, shorter but rougher road down, just for the heck of it. We don't know till today as to why we took that road, but that proved to be the best stretch of road, in terms of scenery, we had had all the trip! Almost always, the western ghats was in sight constantly on your right, we felt one with nature, there were all sorts of plans in the group, including extending our stay by one more day to making this a honeymoon spot in the future! Many, many photo session passes, and nobody seemed to bother that we were getting late. The sight was that good. From there it was just 7km to the highest place in karnataka, Mullayangiri in the Bababudangiri hill range. There was no way we would miss that, and every inch of those road was word the effort compared to what we were treated to at the top of the hill! A sight to behold, something I experienced for the first time in my life, on one side you have the entire hill range in front of you and on the other side of the hill, you have flat lands which has patches of cities, truly amazing sight!

After this, It was all downhill, literally, we descended to reach chikmaglur, where we had something like lunch-cum-evening snack-cum-dinner at a hotel. From there, the guys from b'lore were kinda in a hurry to leave quoting the extra 40km they'd to travel (in heavy traffic too). They left, and so did we, it was almost six by the time we left. The threat of rain was looming large over us, but we were prepared anyway! So never stopped, it was literally flat-chat and full blast all the way to mysore, with very high average speeds (around 50kmph), high, I mean, considering it was dark, raining and we had stopped four times on the way, once in hassan for tea, again in K.R. Nagar for tea, and twice in between for compulsory stops. So probably, for an hour, we were just “sitting ducks”, which, if correct, pushes up the average speed to sixty kmph! We were in Mysore precisely at 2200hrs! That was a relief to us! Home sweet home at last, although a part of all of us was pulling us back to the western ghats!

This was a triumph of man over nature. Three days of biking in one of the most dramatic and testing landscapes in India, the Western Ghats. According to my opinion, one of the most scenic places in the entire country, forget Kerala! If you want greenery, well..... yes go to Kerala, cause I don't want that place to become popular, it's nice when it's isolated. I like is to be un-hyped and less frequently visited by people. Cause tourists always ruin the place, to what extent? Depends on how many tourists you're talking about, ten ppl won't hurt at all :) anyway, pics will be up and running soon. I really wanna to there again, plans anyone? Anyone?

Friday, June 6, 2008

Websites worth having a look at

These aren't really organized in any manner. I've just put it in text in the order I could recollect them. Go through this post till the last link to make sure you didn't miss out on anything just cause you left when you came across something you didn't like in between.

This is an organization which is aimed at as they say "publisher of books and educational materials that help people take the lead in their own health care and organize to improve health conditions in their communities."
A Twenty minute video of one of the most important stuff affecting the environment. A really classy website which does not use so much of the technical jargon that is used by the very overly hyped climate activist Al Gore's 'An inconvenient truth'. Which sorta brings me to the next website I want you to read.
This is an article called 'Climate Porn'. As the name says it gives the impact the present media is creating on the common man by using catastrophic words to describe pollution and it's effects on the planet and thus making the common man feel that he has nothing in his hands when it comes to the topic of saving the environment by his individual efforts. There is a podcast of the same topic, people with iTunes can download it for free and listen to it.
The Dundee Satellite Receiving Station, register here for free to have a look at geostationary images of the earth taken through a satellite, available in three different modes, Visible, Infrared and Water Vapour
A motorcycle repair course to learn to repair your motorbike from scratch. This guy has some knowledge and is really useful to learn and "think" about improving motorcycles, not just repairing them. I'm pointing to this particular page as there are a few things which're not needed on this site so I'm just feeding you people just the stuff which is useful
Another one from the technical series on bikes. Goes into details of the carburetor, if you can understand this, you can stop going to the local mechanic to get a tune for your bike every month.
There has been a recent revelation in all of us about the role played by the carburetor in improving the performance of a motorcycle. The argument, analysis and the following research gave out these important articles as a result. There is a small confusion in this particular article though, it says that the mixture screw has an effect right from zero throttle to full wide-open throttle. Left to your discretion.
The history of perhaps one of the oldest and purest forms of motor sport. Rallying. This site gives you a consolidated history of the cars, the sport, the names and the technology of the machines. It makes a nice read for any hardcore rally fan and sometimes is truly inspirational.
If you're planning to buy a camera and don't know which one is good? or how to even decide which one is good, then this is the place, it is the ultimate in technical info about cameras and recently lenses. Everything from sample images to comparison charts, graphs, exploded views and in-depth reviews, you can find it here.
Got an SLR which your uncle was using? Bought a camera with a lot of bells and whistles but still using it in auto mode? then this site will help you understand the basics of manual photography, may it be film or digital, automatic or manual, the tips offered here will come in handy and result in near perfect images.

A nice blog to explain how some people, including me, feel about working from home and whether it is the next thing to do in all companies to decongest traffic and make it easier for people to maximize productivity.