Thursday, December 31, 2009

Gokarna/Karwar Beckons !

"Sair kar duniya ki Galib, yeh Jindagani phir kahan...Jindagani gar rahi tou ,naujawani phir kahan" !

On the advent of New Year, here I am sitting in office thinking what lies ahead of me in coming year. Somehow the gourmet lunch at Indijoe in the afternoon is not forcing my grey matters to work any faster as my whole body is asking for its share of doze. Nevertheless I have decided to jot down the experience which I had this Christmas weekend when I went to Gokarna/Karwar for aqua sports camp from Bangalore Mountaineering club (BMC).More than Gokarna, where I had been 3 times earlier, it was aqua sports event at Karwar that pulled me towards this trip as this was the first time I was about to try Kayaking,Canoeing in sea.

As per the initial plan we were about to leave at 8:30 pm from Bangalore on a push back 40-seater Bus. But destiny had some other plan as Bus didn’t arrive on time and we were rescheduled to leave around 12 midnight from Bangalore on three 13-seater Tempo Traveller. I and Carthik boarded the bus from symphony Theatre, MG Road at midnight and when you are calling people to MG Road on Christmas Eve midnight there is bound to be some high spirit(ual) libation in spite of mentioning it in the instruction list and that too right on top. So we took the bus in much needed high-spirits only to seat imprudently in the back seat (I am still repaying for the mistake in the form of backlog sleep, 3 days after the trip finished).Later 3 more girls joined us as we left Bangalore at around 1 am. When we left I was sure we would reach Gokarna by next day noon considering the traffic and distance which kind a made me a little judgmental about the whole trip. After travelling for some time I gained complete consciousness to realize back seats are not push back and this is going to be one of those insomniac nights. I switched on my iPod and started watching Anurag Kashyap’s yet to be released maverick movie called ‘Paanch’(a must watch by the way).I slept only for few hours later in the night after watching the whole movie only to be waken up by Sathya the next morning.

We reached a small town some 300 Km from Bangalore and had our much needed breakfast there. After boarding the bus we got introduced to the other members of the bus. It certainly looked an interesting bunch of people(m being politically correct here). First we played Dumb Charades for some time and then Sathya taught us a new game called Murderer. Murderer was indeed a good game and we all enjoyed it very much. Surprisingly I thought gals were much clever and swift winker than boys. After playing some more games we were a bit exhausted of travelling specially after ghat section and wanted to reach Gokarna at the earliest. We reached Gokarna around 2 pm and checked into a hotel for freshen up. We took lunch at the town and straightaway left for OM Beach. Though I have been to this place 3 times before, somehow the beaches in Gokarna still gives me goosebumps.The sight from top of those magnificent Rocky mountains amidst vast expanse of sea all around looks just picture perfect. We went to the beach and had a much needed bath to drained off our fatigue of travelling all day long. After spending some time in OM beach Carthik,Rahul ,Ravi and I left for our next destination Kudle Beach much earlier as we wanted to reach there before sunsets for another round of bath.Kudle Beach is believed to be much planer and good place for bath as compared to OM beach. Once sun was set we waited for others to join us there. When we didn't had any sight of them for sometime, we decided for a round of much needed spirit(ual) retreat. We thought of adding another B with two other Bs(namely Beach and Beauties) already around us in the restaurant. After sometime the whole troop joined us as they came to the beach in night with torch in hand. We tried to lit bonfire their valiantly but in vain. After many unsuccessful attempts we wrapped up things and left for Karwar.We took our dinner in Kamat and checked in the hotel after reaching Karwar, expecting an exciting day ahead.

I woke up next day morning pretty excited. We took breakfast and left for Rabindranath Tagore Beach in Karwar.It was quite an aloof and less crowded beach, quite unlike what we saw in Gokarna, if you know what I mean.Instructer gave us life jackets and gave us instructions of how to do Kayaking. Earlier I had seen Kayaks in Andaman but my parents didn’t allow me to do that that time. In a small way this was my moment of reckoning. The good thing about life jackets are after wearing them you normally lose your fear of drowning which forces you to do every possible stunt in sea, what you saw firangs doing all these years. After sometime I took one kayak and went on a voyage of my own. Towards the shore it was kind a hard to control the kayak but afterwards it went smooth as I started going away from shore. At times I felt like Tom Hanks of Cast Away with no one around and shore very far from my Kayak in the middle of the sea. The sheer adventure and pleasure of being on the sea all by myself gave me enough adrenaline to go more. I met some of the troop members along the way and everybody seems having a nice time. After some time one motor boat came to pick a guy whose kayak got drowned as he told me not to go far as wind direction is about to be changed after which it will be difficult bringing kayak back to shore. Thank god I payed heed to his advice as I saw how far I had come from shore. Now the arduous task for returning to the shore was about to began. After rowing for another half an hour or so I somehow felt I haven’t moved at all as shore still looks very much the same as earlier. But there was somehow no other option but to go on valiently.I increased my speed and pushed myself harder. After another half an hour or so I saw the yellow flag, in the middle of the sea, which was kind a much nearer to the shore. After rowing for some more time finally I reached shore only to be found toppled from boat by Carthik and Rashi.In all it was really an amazing experience altogether which I thoroughly enjoyed and will probably cut this from my bucket list.

After spending some time relaxing and playing football Ravi,Rahul,Carthik and me went to a nearby restaurant to have some local fish delicacies, which Karwar is famous for. After sometime things got a bit fishy and fish became a mere side dish to a bigger plan. We came back from there a bit high but only to be brought back to ground after we took our first dip in the water. Later in the day we tried Banana Boat ride which was really an amazing amazing fun. We tried hard to balance our boat but in vain and all of us fall in the water thrice in the whole ride. After spending some more time in water we waited for sunset. We left the beach after sunset towards our hotel. In the evening also we had some relishing sea food in the nearby restaurant. While coming back from Karwar ,Carthik got all pumped up and got the party started in the bus.We danced to some dance numbers in spite of the space crunch in Tempo traveller. Everybody had a nice time as we stopped in Kamat for Dinner. Next day we stopped somewhere near Tumkur for next day breakfast. We reached Bangalore around noon singing and dancing in full throttle. Somehow the amazing junta in the bus made our trip much shorter which relatively seemed very long while sitting in back seat of a Tempo Traveller.

At last I would like to thank everybody right from BMC,Sathya,Guru to all the travellers of the trip for making this a memorable one. I sincerely hope and wish our crossroads crosses as we go along the path of a bigger journey called Life.

Ciao and have a Blast this New Year !

P.S :- Last seat of Tempo traveller is not a push back. Kindly beware of this when u r going for trips around 500 Km long. This was issued in public interest.Belive me, u don’t want to be at the receiving end of this!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Raid de Cauvery in Cycle !

Its been a while I have blogged as I am forced to take a small hiatus from writing .But certainly a lot is happening in my life in last one month and I have been keeping a little busy these days(finally I have reached a stage in life where I am able to write this).Today only I returned back from a Christmas trip from Gokarna/Karwar and when you have travelled some 1000 odd KMs travelling in last seat of a Tempo Traveller in a span of 3 days, there is very little things you can do but write.But Believe u me, at times it is theraupitic.But this post is not about this trip as I am yet to conjure my thoughts in places which will take some time.

This post in particular is regarding the cycle trip to Cauvery Fishing Camp,situated some 120KM from Bangalore which I took some few weeks back.Perhaps my likening for cycle started when I went to Ladakh last August.There I saw few freaks who were cycling from Manali to Leh(477 Km) and some who were cycling in the highest motorable road in the world from Leh .That time we brushed any remote urge whatsoever there saying it is ony possible by firangs.But at the back of my mind I had a strong inclination of taking such a trip before I leave Oracle(Yes it happend finally! But it will be in different post in details ).I conveyd my plan to Suresh saying , “Abhi nahi to Kabhi nahin”.Finally we fixed a plan as Pratap,Gaurav,Vani and Kapil also hopped in.We researched for shops who rent cycle in Bangalore and found one near my place in J.P.Nagar itself.We bought some Energy Bars, RedBull and Gatorade for the D day.

We had plan of leaving Bangalore at 5 am as we wanted to cover maximum distance before sun rises.But we finally started at 6 am on a Sunday morning and somehow I am very glad about this.We started with full throttle as we crossed first 20KM in no time.Suddenly 110 KM seems very much attainable as I thought of streching our trip for another 40 KM to Shivasamudra.After crossing some 30 KM along the way we took our first break partially thanks to Suresh. It was around 8 am on a rather lazy morning in a small town at the outskirts of Bangalore ,people wake up to a rather subdued metallic sound.Suresh tripped over as he was trying to avoid the bike which came in front of him.There was something funny about the way he tripped as I could not resist my funny bone.After a small break we started again and decided to take breakfast in the next available dhaba in the Road.

(First Break before a placid lake during early morning sunrise)

(Surprisingly racing bikes does have side stand.BTW the leftmost one is not ours).

During this part of the journey it was nothing but urgency of breakfast that was pulling us all as I dropped my Shivasamudra plan gradually.But this breakfast juntion didn’t came soon as we crossed Kanakpura situated around 45KM from Bangalore.Finally after cycling for another 20 odd KM we stopped at a local theka where we took our much needed breakfast.Here we refueled ourselves with RedBull ,Gatorade ,local Dosa and Choclates.It was not so much the journey but the cycle seat which was bugging us all.I couldnot understand the reason behind making such a narrow cycle seat.It was our bums that on the saddle which was paining as we were paddling through the journey.Somehow I rememberd Saif Ali Khan sitting on top of the pillow in DCH and could understand the motivation behind doing that.
(Another halt before jungle section began)

As we were paddling through the journey Jungle section began.This was perhaps the best part of the journey as we were paddling through the road in the middle of Deep Jungle.Trees on the roadside was giving us much needed shade as Sun was blazing in its full glory.Suddenly in the middle of all the twists and turns on the road we again heard a familiar metallic thud.Suresh tipped over again but this time there was no bike which came in front of him.It was rather situational and momentary and he was able to recover within no time.Guess someody said it correctly, ‘Practice makes the man perfect’.Finally after pumping ahead for somemore time we reached Muthathi and could able to see river Cauvery.Seeing the water level of the river we immediatly felt Rafting is not a possiblilty.We reached Cauvery Fishing camp at around 1:30 pm. Finally the pain of exhaution was replaced by joy of accomplishment.It was certainly not an easy task considering we all were novic as far as cycling is concerned.

(Draining off our fatigue at cauvery water)

After spending some in camp we returned back to Muthathi.We crossed the river in Coracle and went to the opposite shore.We took much needed bath in Cauvery as we drained off all our fatigue.We loaded our cycle in Tempo traveller as we returned back to Bangalore by evening.In all it was my first attempt at cycling and I must confess it was a wonderful experiance alltogether.I am pretty much sure there would be many more attempts in years to come and who know you might catch me cycling in Khardungla,the highest motorable pass in the world in Ladakh pretty soon.

Bye for now.Its time for some serious ZZZsssss !

Ciao :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sachin @20 and still counting....

Blood on his face, a fresh-faced 16 old boy on the vicious pitches of Pakistan signalled his arrival with 2 squeaky words- ‘Main khelega’.This was the story told by Navjot Singh Sidhu who saw the incident from other end when Waqar Younis bouncer greeted Sachin in his first test match at Pakistan.Since then 20 long years have passed and there are innumerable stories about Sachin and his immortality going around and probably will go around for many many years to come.In a way I feel lucky to have been born in a generation which sees the best of this Cricketing genius and as Murali (highest wicket taken in Test and ODI) aptly said "There will not be anybody like him ever".

While growing up in remote mining Colony situated near Chhindwada district in Southern MP I didn't have much to things to cling onto but Cricket.Perhaps I inherited this legacy from my father and grandmother who were themselves an ardent Cricket follower.Probably I fully gained conscious of the game and its amazing folklore when I was 9 years old during 1992 world Cup.I distinctly remember the match India played Pakistan at Sydney.I came from school carrying truckload of books , travelling for one and half hour in school bus to join my Dad sitting in drawing room while Pakistan was chasing a modest Indian total of 216.I enjoyed the moment when Javed Miandad imitated Kiran More by jumping in despair as Pakistan lost the match which gave India a chance to qualify for next round.In presentation ceremony we saw a 19 year old kid named Man of the Match award for his half century and 2 wicket.My father remarked bluntly in awe, 'Ei Unnis Bochorer Chele Indiar cricket future'( This 19 year old kid is Indian Cricket's future). Incidently India won only 2 matches at 1992 World cup and for both the matches this 19 year old kid was "Man of the Match". At such a tender age of 19 he carried such an enormous burden of expectation every time he goes out to bat and was incidently the highest run getter from India at 1992 World Cup.

As the time went by I also graduated for following Cricket to enamoring Cricket and perhaps the single biggest reason was undoubtedly Sachin Tendulkar.There were lots of occasions since then when we see a touch of brilliance from him like a last over magic at Hero Cup semifinal victory at eden against South Africa.Then the year 1994 happened. I remember waking up early in the morning to watch when India play ODIs at Newzealand .In 3rd ODI India was about to chase Newzealand's modest total of 165 runs.Sidhu being injured could not open the inings. Incidently Sachin asked to open the innings and unknowingly Indian ODI cricket history was written that day.(Amazingly how Sidhu's denial has given Indian Cricket a lot.Saurav Ganguly was included in Indian team when Sidhu refused to play test match in England in 1996).Sachin slammed an hapless Newzealand attack to all parts of the ground to score a quick fire 49 ball 84 before being caught and bowled by Mathew Hart.It was only after his Dismissal people in the colony realized the day was Holi and started a late Holi celebration.In days to come Sachin scored his much awaited first ODI century against Australia at Colambo and from then on the saga of hitting ODI centuries didnt stop with amazing frequency.

1996 was perhaps the year when I was at my peak of Cricket fanaticism.I had Sachin's 'Cricket Samrat'(Hindi Cricket monthly Magazine) poster pasted all over my room.Incidently my scores at exams starts plummeting at the very rate Sachin was scoring runs.1996 World cup was the worst thing to have happened during my Std 8th Annual Exams.I used to wake up at 5 o'clock in the morning to study to have studied around 8 hours by the time match starts.Sachin performance at 1996 was stupendous as he single handedly took India to Semifinal which ended in rather sad note at Edens.The 90 odd runs which he scored in Wankhede against Australia was stupendous.Again he ended up scoring highest runs in the world Cup for India.

1997 was rather subdued as he was handed the baton of Indian Cricket in the form of Captaincy to be taken back from him at early 1998.But 1998 was perhaps the magical year of Indian cricket as India went on to win almost all the major tournaments all across the globe thanks to galore of Sachin's amazing performances.A lot has been written about how Sachin lamed Aussies in India and then on Sharjah and I would not be able to add anything new to it.But there was one inning which almost went unnoticed among all the innings he played during this time.When Aussie came to India for 3 test match series they were to play a 3 day practice match against Mumbai,current Ranji Champion at Wankhede Stadium.Australia played with their full strength as this the only practice matches to be played before Tests starts.In an amazing turn of events Mumbai beat the mighty Australia within 2 and half days thanks the first double ton by Sachin in first Class cricket on 2nd day and a 5 wicket my Nilesh Kulkarni at 3rd day.Sachin score 204* in and around 190 ball which to till date many people who were privileged enough to watch the innings rated as his best till date.Moreover it was this match which gave India enough confidence to beat Australia subsequently in Test series.

As the days went by I also drew myself a distance from Cricket.I went to School Hostel in Nagpur where TV was allowed to be on only for 2 hours that too only Doordarshan.When I left school hostel after one year as my father was transfered to Nagpur, I forced my parents not to have TV for the whole year as I didn't wanted to be distracted for an all important 12th Std.But the greatest of all prizes came during my board exams.India was to play South Africa for 5th and defining match at Nagpur at VCA.I gave my 4th paper and there was a gap of 7 days till next paper.My father picked me up directly from school and took me to VCA where indian team was practicing.It was here I first had a glimpsed of Sachin practicing as Nikhil Chopda was being hit all round the net by Sachin.He seems like a small-highted concentrated Dot from distance who moves around the stadium with amazing grace. We came out of the stadium and brought 2 tickets for next day match between India and South Africa in black.Next day my excitement had no boundaries.We reached the ground early to have a good seat.South Africa piled up a huge total of 300 + on the board as India were to play next.Sachin scored a sublime 90 odd runs as India lost the match by just 10 runs.That was the first time I saw Sachin playing sitting in the pavellion and the excitement somehow remains was unparalleled.

Three years later I saw Sachin scoring his first test ton at Eden Gardens on 4th day of the Test match against WestIndies.Watching Sachin scored a crucial test saving ton in front of 100,000 people that day at Edens was something very very special and will go with me for a long time.Later Carl Hooper the then West Indies Captain described that innings as the greatest he saw from an opponent .I will probably tell my grandchildren that I witnessed the moments when Sachin score his Maiden Ton an Edens.Over the years we saw him rewriting the cricket history books in whatever way possible be it in Test Cricket or One-Day Cricket.Perhaps a much deserved yet elusive world cup trophy at 2 April, 2011 at Wankhede would be a fitting end to this glorious saga.

But certainly he is more then what statistician have to say about him.There is a certain romanticism involved with him which remains unparalleled in nations heart.He is perhaps the only the only person who is revered by everybody across caste,class,creed,religion and region.How hard it is to sum up what Tendulkar means to us all? For many like me growing up in an India that was falling prey to turmoil , he was a ray of hope, helping craft a national imaginary that looked solid and resolute. He was a sign of India’s resurgence, a quiet reassurance that things, if not alright yet, were certain to get better.As he celebrates his 20 years in international cricket, it needs to be put on record that Sachin is the only cricketer who, when he steps out to bat in Sydney, Barbados, Lahore, Cape Town or even Lord’s, gets the same standing ovation.Perhaps its his honest passion for the game which drives him more than anything else.At such a tender age, when everybody in the world says you are the greatest, I wonder how hard it is not to be complacent and distracted.The focus and commitment which he has shown for 20 years can only come from true love and passion for the thing which you do and nothing else.

For a country with a sporting record such as ours, he has given us a dream and has helped us turn it into reality day in and day out, year after year.It’s time we go a step further and place Tendulkar on that unique pedestal that no Indian has ever aspired to, the one reserved for Owens, Carl Lewis, Pele, Michael Phelps,Muhammad Ali,Federar and Usain Bolt. He is India’s contribution to the history of world sport, a man who gave us recognition on the pitch for 20 long years and continues to do so in anything he does.

Perhaps three different banners at three different parts of the world on three different times sums it up best :-

"I will see God when I die, but till then I will see Sachin!" -- Sharjah.

"Commit all your crimes when Sachin is batting. They will go unnoticed because even the Lord is watching" --Sydney.

"Thanks for all the memories" -- Eden.

Monday, November 2, 2009

An interesting proposition !!

An interesting proffer I saw in newspaper today !!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Short and Sweet Google Story !

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Colonial Hangover !!

Yesterday I was eagerly waiting for champions league match between Barcelona-FC(Spanish League Champion) and FC Rubin-Kazen(Russian League Champion)to be telecasted live on TV.But to my utter shock and disbelief I found Tensports was telecasting live match between Liverpool-Lyon and Zee-Sports was telecasting live match between Arsenal-AZ Alkmaar with no signs of Barcelona's match anywhere.Its not the first time I have seen this happening.

I wondered why TV channels chose to show matches of English clubs on a regular basis sidelining good matches played by Spanish and Italian clubs.Does the popularity of English Clubs in India is because of the 'Colonial Hangover' in spite of the ubiquitous fact that top Spanish league clubs are better than top English clubs.Wonder how by not showing good matches on TV, Telecaster mold viewer-ship by depriving viewers from watching good fought matches played by Spanish and Italian Clubs.

I believe its time viewers have a say in this and if there are not enough sports channels available then they can share telecast right among other sports channels(ESPN-STAR in this case) so that viewers are not deprived of good matches and overall popularity if the game itself soars which will eventually leads to more viewer-ship in near future for these matches.

Hope somebody is listening !

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Kolkata and Mondormoni Sojourn !!

Well I must confess I have become utterly austere(these days this word is in use a lot) in writing posts in my blog as I have found a new micro-blogging utility in the form of twitter.Some say, "Size does Matter", perhaps it can be used more aptly for its dwarfness in this wired world.I created a rough draft of this post about a fortnight back when I had gone to Kolkata for Durga puja this year.But people you know me would obviously know procrastination and I go hand-in-hand everywhere and it is in my innate nature to delay things till last moments.So on the eve of Diwali I thought of finishing this post once and for all.

I went to Kolkata during Durga Puja this year after a gap of 2 years(a big thing for any Bengali leaving outside Kolkata).My parents thought I had lost touch from my "roots" when I told this year also I would be missing Durga Puja due to leave problems and I am planning to come home during Diwali.But that was not to be as destiny had other plans for me. In a way I also wanted to be in Kolkata this Durga Puja and witness the frenetically mad carnival atmosphere which grips Kolkata for those 5 days every Durga puja that I missed last year.Sadly I reached Kolkata on Navami morning after the long and tiring journey from Chennai in train.I went to our Para-Pandal for Darshan cum Pooja and spent some quality time philosophing over a cigarette with some of my old friends there.Later during the day I was done with few more pandals in and around south Kolkata and went for a sumptuous buffet lunch in Saurav's with my parents.After such a heavy lunch I just laid myself after returning home as I was incapable of moving much for rest of the day.Next day I went for more Pandal hopping in other parts of the city.Later that night I watched "Wake Up Sid" which is kind a must watch if you haven't watched it yet.

The next day I was pretty excited as I was about to go for idol-immersion in Babughat in Ganga shore.I have been to many pandals over the years but this was the first time I was about to go for idol-immersion.We rode on top of a trucks with idols towards Ganga shore dancing and playing Holi in the rain.In a way this was quite a unique experience for me.I somehow felt very much overwhelmed by the goddess while I was on my way there.There was a huge queue of people and organizers waiting in queue with their idols to be immersed.Surprisingly police arrangement by Kolkata Police was very good.After waiting for 2 hours our turn came and we went ahead for immersion.The whole experience left me in complete awe and this surely will be a moment which will go with me for long time to come.

Next day I left for Mandarmani.Mandarmani (or Mandarmoni, Mandarbani) is a beach resort in the Purba Medinipur district in Southern West Bengal.This is one of the very few places with such an enigmatic beauty in Bengal where you will see so less people .Perhaps it was one of the best kept secret of Bengal for tourism.The nearby delta (Mohona) during sunset when fishermen returns from sea looks very beautiful.After spending for two days I returned back to Kolkata.

Next couple of days I started visiting my relatives as I didn't know when I will be seeing them next.I went to my cousin's house who recently were blessed with a baby girl.She was definitely the prettiest thing I saw in months.Hope the Almighty shower his endless love and blessings on the cute angel.

I left Kolkata for Bangalore after spending very memorable days.After coming to Bangalore I was still in Hangover over the time which I spent in Kolkata while feeling quite nostalgic about it.Well like every good things end some good will also begins.I am going to Wayanad , perhaps my only destination left in South India since I came to Bangalore 3 years back, this Diwali for spending some entralling time hitchhiking !!

Julley till I share my Wayanad Experiance !

P.S -> I will upload the snaps asap - Procastination I told you na !

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Barca - Inter Today!!

Hoping defending champions Barca starts there champions League campaign with a win in todays encounter between Barca(Spanish League Champion) and InterMilan(Italian League Champion).It will be interesting to watch Eto and Ibramovich play against there old clubs where both had a very successful run.

Keeping my finger crossed and eagerly awaiting for the whistle to blow!!

Go Barca :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Day 5/Day 6 : Odyssey to Pangong-Tso, Tso-Moriri and Tso-Kar Lake!!

Seriously after writing so many posts on Ladakh, I am running short of adjectives and I think at one level I would not be able to do justice to the amazing beauty of these three lakes.So I decided ,instead of words I will let these snaps do all the talking .It covers our trip to Pangong-Tso and Tso-Moriri Lake.

So Yenjai!!

(Road which takes us to Pangong-Tso)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Day 5: Rafting in Indus and Sighting Dalai Lama

We started our day quite early today as we had a plan to cover Pangyong Lake, located around 160 KM from Leh in the evening. If you tell anybody who have been to Ladakh that we cover these two things in a day he would say we were crazy. But if there is a will there is definitely a way. In search of that way we planned to do rafting early in the morning at 6:00 am. Little that we know that water of Indus in the morning would be absolutely freezing cold. But all is well if end is well and I truly believe the experiace of rafting in those amazing landscapes I would cherish all throughout my lifetime. Ladakh is the best-known destination for adventure activities amidst the landscapes of spectacular, rugged beauty. I am glad we took the decision to do rafting in the morning and that too in freezing cold water.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Day 3/Day 4: Expedition to Silk Route in Nubra Valley via Khardungla-Top

We started our day early from Leh for NubraValley The road which connects Nubra Valley to Leh goes through the highest motorable pass in the world named Khardungla.We were all ready with permits which are required while visiting Nubra Valley.People say road to Siachen glacier goes through Nubra Valley and also it is the only part of India which touches ancient Silk Route.The road which took us from Leh to Khardungla pass was very steep and it is certainly not for faint hearted. The highest point in Khardungla called K-Top is at an altitude of 18382 feet from sea level. The distance from Leh to K-top is around 40KMs, which normally takes around 2-3 hours via vehicle because of very bad roads in some stretch. We saw a lot of diligent firangs in the road who try to cover the whole distance in Cycle.I could only imagine the feeling they would have had after reaching K-top via highest motorable road in the world in a cycle. We spent some time on K-top taking snaps valiantly in and memorabilia . We trekked some 400 meters to Kardungla gompa at the top of a hill at K-top.At every steps we made conscious of dropping oxygen level and sudden dizziness and headache seems quite normal. We left Khardungla in quite a high for for next destination Panamik.

(Route which we took for Khardungla-Certainly not for faint hearted)
(Bikers as seen from Distance at Khardungla).
(Amazing arid mountain range while enroute to Khardungla)
(Oracle'ites at Khardungla-Top).
(Posing at Kardungla-Top).
(Near a Gompa at Khardungla-Top.Literally gasping for breath.Rest seems only option)

The Road that takes us from Kardungla to Nubra Valley was perhaps the best I had ever seen in my lifetime. The scenic beauty along the road was something that seriously can’t be described in words and I am sure whatever I write about the experience I had while being on this road will demean the conundrum of emotions I felt there. The only thing that I felt missing was perhaps an Enfield below my arse. Travelling across the montains on dusty trecherous roads with a deep Grand Canyon type gorge on the right side with snow clad mountain at far distance with river flowing in between in shades of greenary with clear blue sky on top still gives me goosebumps when I thought about it. We reached Panamik in the evening. There is a small hot water spring but the water here was very hot for bathing. Still we managed to bath at one corner where water was somewhat cooler. We left for Deskit/Hunder after leaving panamik early. In between we spend some serene time in a lake after a brief trekking up the mountain. We reached Hunder quite late in the evening and immediately booked a tent for the night at a resort.

(Army Convoy as seen from Distance)
(Trekked to this beautiful lake in the middle of mountain)
(Wandering while coming back from Lake).

After waking up next day we went to Deskit that is the place where camel ride is done on top of two-hooded camel. They say these camels are normally used in ancient days for traveling across the silk route and these two-hooded camels have been bought here from Ancient Turkey.We rided camel for around 15 minutes across the sand dunes there in Deskit.Perhaps there were the highest desert sand dunes in the world. After riding an uncomfortable ride for around 15 minutes it started paining in my groin and I wondered how people travelled such a long distance in these camels over such a long period. We took bath in flowing fresh water (u can call it nala) while returning from the Sand dunes in Deskit. Then we made our move towards Leh by daybreak via Khardungla pass again. When we reached Khardungla pass we saw a group of cycle enthusiasts who were riding down the hill from Khardungla towards Leh.Straightaway my mind started planning for cycle ride down the hill from Khardungla Top next day. I know riding up the hill was next to impossible from Leh (considering 5 years in IT)but riding down from K-top was certainly attainable and it would have be an amazing experience and adventure. After reaching Leh I told the same to Suresh.In that case we would have to drop our complete plan to Pangyong Lake next day. Suresh told instead of Cycle ride we could do river rafting in Indus River early morning as an adventure. We decided and booked for River rafting next day morning that was about to become our best part of the whole trip.

(On top of two-hooded Camel in Deskit)
(Posing Jacketless in extreme cold while returning back from Nubra at Khardungla.Smile lasted only till shutter closed).

I will post about our great Indus rafting adventure in next my next post.Till that time….me signing off for time being!!


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Day 2 – Soul Searching in Gompas

We started our second day of the trip with heavy breakfast, as we look forward to visiting four monestries in and around Leh namely Hemis, Thiksey, Shey and Stok.
Hemis Monestry is situated around 40 Km from Leh town. The road that led us to Hemis goes beside Indus River that is considered to be sacred as Indus water is believed to be coming directly from Glaciars of Mount Kailash.On the way we saw a huge arid barren land on the left side of the road as we stop for taking some snaps there. Our driver told this was location where a song named “Dil Dance Maare Re” was shooted from a forgettable movie called Tashan.After travelling for another 40 minutes on road we reached an isolated village in the middle of mountain in all directions locating Hemis Gompa.Locationwise perhaps this was the best Gompa in Ladakh.Monestry in the middle of mountain in all direction was very panaromic and picturesque. The mesuem inside monastery also has a rich collection of numerous valuable artifacts and ancient relics. After spending some time in Museum and inside monestry we moved towards our next destination Thiksay.

(Barren Land beside Road enroute to Hemis)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Day 1 -- Got Leh’ed !!

We started our freedom march from Bangalore on 15th August 2009 for Ladakh.We boarded was late evening flight from Bangalore to Delhi via Mumbai.We reached Delhi at around 2:00 am and joined Vinayak who reached Delhi around midnight from Hyderabad.All the flights which go to Leh (Main City of Ladakh) leaves in the morning so we waited for around 4 hours in newly built 1D terminal in Delhi Airport. It was only when we were standing for security checking we realized around 95% of the people who are traveling to Leh with us are Foreign Nationals. Suddenly ‘Swine Flu’ scare started looming large in my mind as I slowly put my mask on in despair. We boarded the flight pretty excited realizing we will be in Ladakh in another 90 minutes. The view from flight when we were crossing Himalayas covered in snow in the midst of clouds was completely breath-taking. Viny had to face the brunt of Air-Hostess when he could not resist his urge to take snap from top. After sometime pilot announced that we are about to land in Leh.The first sight of the arid and barren landscape of Ladakh still brings me goosebumps and it made me realize that this place was different from whatever places I had seen before. The sudden realization that I was in Ladakh made me a little emotional as I looked forward to spending some amazing time in next few days.

(Gorgeous Himalayas from top!!)

Mission Ladakh - Aug 09

Well last weekend I returned back to Bangalooru and again been caught up with my daily drudgery. But hangover of our grand trip to Ladakh is still looming large in my mind and I am pretty much sure it will be in my mind for quite some time. I have been inching to write a travelogue on this since I came back from Ladakh and I must say these posts will remain close to my heart for a long long time.

Where it all begin
Perhaps idea of visiting Ladakh germinates in my mind when I was traveling in Sikkim some 7 years back and one of my friends told me about it. But that was just a part of it. At that time, I thought Ladakh as just another part of J’n’K, which will be very risky to travel due to soaring insurgency and terrorism. But in due coarse I came to know a lot about Ladakh and I made of my mind to visit the place someday for sure. Since last 3-4 years, I have been harboring this thought and have been planning of visiting Ladakh quite seriously but somehow we could not take these umpteen plans to logical end, due to various constraints and we end up visiting Goa/Kerela/Gokarna, cheap and easily reachable substitutes of Ladakh.

Some 2-3 months back I was surfing television when I chanced upon a TV series in NDTV-Goodtimes named “ROADTRIP” where 7-8 bikers took a trip to Ladakh for 3 weeks and share there experience. After watching it my hidden and dormant urge to visit Ladakh was at peak like never before. Same evening Vinayak called me we had our regular discussion lamenting everything starting from regular day–to-day work to boring life to IT industry in general. It was there I told him about visiting Ladakh this summer as I knew if we didn’t make the trip this year then we will have to wait for another summer. Initially I am sure he might have thought I am kidding and not serious about this trip but somehow we went ahead with the plan. I conveyed my plan to Hemant and Suresh and Vinayak told about this to Bibin.We booked the tickets once I get confirmation from everybody and we fixed on 15th August 2009 for starting from Bangalore/Hyderabad. Later Pratap also joined us as we started researching and preparing for our grand Ladakh sojourn. Just few days before we were all set for the journey swine flu pandemic hit India.I along with my parents, was a bit skeptic and concerned about the whole trip. But I didn’t allow it to come in between and went ahead with it with added expenditure of face-mask in our budget.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Getting Leh'ed!!

This post is coming directly from Leh where we reached yesterday morning.The flight which we caught from delhi to Leh was having 90% foreigners and idea of swine flu was running high in my mind.
After reaching Leh we covered Leh Palace,Gompa Suma and Shanti Stupa.We didnt follow any of the accepted guidelines of rest after reaching Leh.Today we are planning to cover some of the other places near Leh.
I will have an elaborate post on this later as I am running short of time and internet is costing me around 90 bucks for an hour.

Bye for Now!!
Its time to get Leh'ed more!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

You Don't take a trip..The trip takes you!!

Just chanced upon an interesting piece of article written by a Bengali about Bengali people’s passion for travelling. Check this article “monkey-cap-in-the-bag” in your liesure time. I always believed you could tell in a hill station whether a tourist is a Bengali by looking at his Monkey-cap and/or Muffler. But certainly the spirit with which people travel in Bengal is something to reckon for.

When I went to Madurai some 12-13 years back during Durga puja with my parents, we hired a tourist bus from Chennai (then Madras) to Madurai.I rememeber about ninety percent of the people who were travelling with us were Bengalis visiting south india during puja vacation. Moreover to my utter astonishment, I saw there were hotels in Madurai with placards announcing special discounts for Bengalis during that time considering the heavy rush during that time. I believe I have also inherited the same genes in me from my parents who themselves were an ardent travellers, partially thanks to my father’s ever mobile job.

There is something about travelling that is mystical and very very enticing. I guess what we do on a daily basis have ramification that will happen in future (in my case it is end of month). Perhaps we all are leaving life at present for future. But travelling makes us aware of our present. Though there is always a destination to reach at while travelling but somehow there are no inhibitions of past and future and all you know and care for is that moment.

Well enough of philosophy I guess. I was inching to write this on my post for quite sometime and I am very glad to announce that I am going for our grand Ladakh sojourn this weekend. It has been on my mind for last 3-4 years and finally I am glad it is going to get executed pretty soon. It will definately be a much needed "Hawa Bodol"(read the article above to the meaning) for me from my mundane drudgery. So keep checking this space on our latest updates on -"Mission Ladakh ’09".I am pretty much sure I will have a lot to write about our grand journey. I would like to end this post with this quote which I read recently :

“Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe”……Anatole France

Hope to see you soon in Highway!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

OCM Done!!

While going through all my previous posts, I remember nowhere I have mentioned what I do for a living. Its not that I am a born millionaire and have ample time to spend in various leisure of life and write about it. After all “Papi pet ke liye kuch na kuch karna hi padta hain”. Well I am working as a Software Engineer (Who isn’t!!) in an organization called Oracle for last 3 years in a city called Bengalooru (Kanadiga-Istyle). I am working as an Oracle DBA here. I have a typical 7 to 4 job (I know 9-5 would have greater impact) which I normally spend sitting in front of my laptop thinking what I am going to do with my life and is this what I wanted to do in life. But again I am forced to use the same words again “Papi pet ke liye kuch na kuch karna hi padta hain".While going through all this dilemma in my professional life I have recently finished OCM (Oracle Certified Master) in Oracle 10g.It is an exam which is conducted by oracle very scarcely in a year and I have know few people who traveled to other cities to give this exam. The exam take place in a span of two days where participants have to work on real life scenarios and it covers basically all features of oracle database broadly. I will not be able to disclose much as I am I legally not allowed to divulge details at such a public forum due to some agreement which I signed before the exam.

As far as I am concerned all I can say I hope this places me in a better position to use my, what Tim Harford would say, “Power of Scarcity”(Reference : UnderCover Economist), if you know what I mean!!!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Copenhagen at Rangashankara!!

Well today evening I watched a play called Copenhagen at Ranga-Shankara, which will definitely be one of the best if not the best play I have seen so far. It is a play by Michael Frayn, based around an event that occurred in Copenhagen in 1941, a meeting between the physicists Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg.

Frayn's play Copenhagen speculates on what might have transpired during a meeting between Nobel laureates Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg in Copenhagen in September 1941, at the height of the German advance into Russia and just three months before America's entry into the war. The power of National Socialist Germany was at its pinnacle, and the Germans had just been made aware, through Swedish sources, of U.S. plans to build an atomic bomb.

The meeting was at Heisenberg's behest. As Germany's leading theoretical physicist and head of the German Uranium Club, the organ that would assess the possible war uses of nuclear energy, he was the man best situated to advise his government on the creation of an atomic bomb. The older Bohr was not only a professional colleague of Heisenberg, but a close personal friend as well. The play ponders the possible reasons for Heisenberg's visit, linking them to the failure of the Germans to develop the bomb.

The action of the play encompasses the initial meeting of the two physicists in Copenhagen in 1941, another encounter in 1947, and finally an imagined meeting that takes place after all three characters have died. Margrethe, Bohr's wife, is present in all scenes as interlocutor and commentator. Even after death they are unable to ascertain with certainty (thus, the uncertainty principle in human life) precisely what was said in Copenhagen in 1941, what was implied, and what was inferred. Did Bohr understand what Heisenberg intended to convey? Did Bohr misinform intentionally or unwittingly, the Western Allies of Germany's wartime plans?

Did Heisenberg ask to meet Bohr in order to confirm the reports concerning an American effort to build an atomic bomb? Did he want Bohr to disassociate himself from the American project? Did he want Bohr to dissuade the West from developing the bomb because he, Heisenberg, intended to discourage Germany from building the bomb? Did he tell Bohr that Germany would build only a reactor, an engine and not a nuclear weapon? Or was he attempting to mislead Bohr about Germany's real intentions?

As portrayed in Copenhagen, Heisenberg again and again expresses his doubts as to whether scientists should cooperate with the state in developing weapons of war. As an individual and a loyal German, Heisenberg was confronted by a moral dilemma. If he chose to thwart Germany's development of the bomb, he might threaten the very existence of his country, since he knew the enemy was building a bomb. And indeed the preponderance of historical evidence suggests that Heisenberg chose to dissuade the German war office from building the bomb by providing spurious and exaggerated estimates of the materials and time required.

Apart from the plot, which itself is very captivating, was amazes me the most was the strength, dilemma and vulnerability of characters at various acts who I had earlier came across only in my physics books some 7-8 years back. There were lots of references to other scientists including Fermi, Schrodinger, Pauli, Einstein etc during the play and it tells a lot about comraderie and interestingly animosity they share between each other due to their opposite and conflicting views on Physics.

At the end it doesn't surprises me at all that this play has got so many accolades all throught the world. It debuted in London in 1998. Within the National Theatre in London, it ran for more than 300 performances and opened on Broadway at the Royale Theatre on April 11, 2000 and ran for 326 performances.

At last all I can say is I got much more then my money worth watching this play.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Some Memorable Movie quotes!!

Well today I came early from office and laid myself upon a movie called 'Fightclub' for approx. twenty-fifth time since I first watched it 6-7 years back.Somehow the subjects of the movie simply amazes me as at one level I believe we all share similar desperation as the protagonist and his alter ego,Tyler Durden,played exceptionally well by Brad Pitt.As the movie finished ,I thought of jotting down some my favorites quotes from movies that I watched in recent times.Here is the list I could think of for time being :

Tyler Durden: Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Benjamin Button: [Voice over; letter to his daughter] For what it's worth: it's never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of. If you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.

The Shawshank Redemption
Red: [narrating] I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. Truth is, I don't want to know. Some things are best left unsaid. I'd like to think they were singing about something so beautiful, it can't be expressed in words, and makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you, those voices soared higher and farther than anybody in a gray place dares to dream. It was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made those walls dissolve away, and for the briefest of moments, every last man in Shawshank felt free.

Red: [narrating] I have to remind myself that some birds aren't meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up DOES rejoice. Still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they're gone. I guess I just miss my friend.

Red: [narrating] I find I'm so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it's the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend, and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.

Forest Gump
Forrest Gump: My momma always said, "Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."

Forrest Gump: That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So I ran to the end of the road. And when I got there, I thought maybe I'd run to the end of town. And when I got there, I thought maybe I'd just run across Greenbow County. And I figured, since I run this far, maybe I'd just run across the great state of Alabama. And that's what I did. I ran clear across Alabama. For no particular reason I just kept on going. I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I'd gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going. When I got to another ocean, I figured, since I'd gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on going.

Into the wild
Christopher McCandless: I read somewhere... how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong... but to feel strong.

Christopher McCandless: I'm going to paraphrase Thoreau here... rather than love, than money, than faith, than fame, than fairness... give me truth.

Christopher McCandless: Some people feel like they don't deserve love. They walk away quietly into empty spaces, trying to close the gaps of the past.

Harvey Milk: Without hope, life's not worth living.

Harvey Milk: All men are created equal. No matter how hard you try, you can never erase those words.

Mark "Rent-boy" Renton: [narrating] Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pissing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourselves. Choose your future. Choose life... But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life. I chose somethin' else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you've got heroin?

Million Dollar Baby
Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris: If there's magic in boxing, it's the magic of fighting battles beyond endurance, beyond cracked ribs, ruptured kidneys and detached retinas. It's the magic of risking everything for a dream that nobody sees but you.

Gran Torino
Walt Kowalski: Ever notice how you come across somebody once in a while you shouldn't have fucked with? That's me.

Myself :Well its time for to say adios as I have an office early morning tomorrow and I hope to reach office at right time.I just hope !!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Rambling along in life-II

Finally I have got some respite from my busy schedule to jot down some of the ramblings that are happening around my life since last few weeks. Before you start making some assumptions, I would like clear the air by putting every bit of blame to a TV series called ‘PrisonBreak’. I am currently stuck in the middle of 4th season and I am forced to take a break, as my laptop’s damn cdrom drive is not functioning any more. I always believed thriller books are any day better then the movies that are made on it. If you think you have seen it all by watching Matt Damon playing Jason Bourne in Bourne Trilogy, you are completely wrong. Robert Ludlum’s Books brings the shiver down the spine with exquisite thrill and suspense that is quite unmatchable as compared to the movie. But I truly believe PrisonBreak is very different and it captivates and engages audience attention to it like anything. The moment you feel some part is getting a bit stretched something happens which again will engross you as before. I am pretty much sure by this weekend I will be able to finish it and give myself some much needed sleep that I have been deprived of since last few days.

Last weekend I had a unique priviledge of watching exceptionally talented actors like Rajat Kapoor, Vinay Pathak, Ranvir Shorey, Sheeba Chadha, Konkona Sen Sharma and Munish Bhardawaj performing in a play called 'A Blue Mug' in Rangashankara.The theme of the play was related to 'memory' and how we make an impression of things of a world around as the world imprints (itself) upon our minds and how we carry these images with us,remembering some and forgetting others and deals with the theme of how a person is the sum total of all his memories.All the characters in the play were amazing but Sheeba Chadha,Vinay Pathak and Ranvir were simply outstanding.Vinay Pathak with his unique style and humourous lines completely steals the show.

Well right from childhood perhaps one of my most favored thing was Cricket.Back in high school I was absolute crazy about the game. I just could not recall missing any matches that India played during those days. But now I have started feeling my following for cricket has immensely decreased. I did not watch even a single ball of recent India-West Indies matches, even if I know, matches are being telecasted. I am not sure what is the reason of this, perhaps age is slowly holding me up or could be a lackluster show that India is putting up in recent matches or could be absence of Sachin from Indian team currently. I would like to believe this phase is passed over soon and cricket fan in me again wakes up especially at the advent of Ashes, which is starting next week.

Last but certainly not the least,King of Pop, Michael Jackson passed away on June 25, 2009.While growing up in a remote town in Chhindwara district of MP, I wasn’t privileged enough to have come close to much of western music. Michael Jackson’s singles were perhaps the first and only one I heard when I was in school those days. His distinctive style of songs and dance completely captivated me. He was undoubtedly the biggest superstar for this generation. I could only imagine John Lennon and Elvis Presley ahead in the list of all time most popular Music legends. Now that he is gone, we only have his music to live by on. Here I am playing one of my favorite MJ single called ‘Heal the World’.

Long Live MJ!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Real Splurge!!

Real Madrid has gone berserk with two mega signings back to back just after the finish of this year soccer season. First it was Kaka, who moved from AC Milan and then it was Ronaldo whose move from ManU is considered to be costliest move till date by any player. I believe last year’s below par performance has hurted their ego big time considering their rival Barcelona won all the three cups last year and certainly looks very strong team for few more seasons. Apart from Kaka and Ronaldo, Real is also pursuing for Bayern Munich’s Ribary and Valencia’s David Villa.With all these signinngs Real will definitely be a team to watch out for next season and who knows year of Royal Galacticos can soon be back.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Backpacking in Nilgiris !

Sometime back I was checking some travel site where there was a survey that asked people to vote their first preference between Beaches and Hills. There were about 1000 responses out of which 65% were tilted towards Beaches and rest towards Hills. I also indecently voted for Beaches. There I found an interesting observation by one visitor. He wrote, “If you think you are an open person then you are more prone to liking Mountains and if you think you are closed person then you are more prone to liking Beaches. People go for vacation to get out of their routine life and normally gives preference accordingly to their thinking about who they are”. Whooo!! Quite an interesting observation I thought!!

Well last weekend I went to Ooty second time since coming to Bangalore three years ago. Unfortunately both the time I went during rainy season and I would be frank enough to say it’s not a good place to visit in rainy season. Still I had a very good time there. I along with 5 of my colleagues (Omar, Rishi, Vikash, Pratap and Suresh) started Friday evening for our Nilgiri sojourn. We reached early morning in ooty and there we got a fair idea of what is laying ahead of us for next two days. It was raining at the time we landed and I foolishly quite underestimated the cold there and have to face the brunt of it. We checked into the hotel and prepared ourselves for a long day ahead. We had planned to go for trekking initially while starting from Bangalore and decided to stick by it in spite of rain. We hire a trekking Guide named “John” and decided to go for trekking of around 12-13 km from a place called 9th Mile to Piker lake. I saw Vikas’s jaw getting dropped hearing our exaggerated plan in this rain and he was first to one to step out from this. We kept our plan in dilemma and went to 9th Mile. It was very cold there with quite a strong chilled wind blowing around. We all (including Vikash) started our trek accompanying John in spite of consistent rain. It was very foggy and cold and I immediately knew it was going to be an eventful trek quite unlike I was part of earlier. We trekked for around 2 Km and climbed on top of a hill to find a watchtower. It was truly an amazing experience being there with amalgamation of heavy rain, dense fog and very strong chilled breeze running around. After a brief stop there we started towards our next destination, eucalyptus oil factory right in the middle of Jungle.John tried to scare us by telling us not to make noise as there might be Tiger in the Jungle. Though I was sure tiger in Nilgiri is not a possibility, I was a bit concerned of any wild animal. So I asked him twice whether there is any danger and he assured there is none. We trekked for another 2 Km amidst rain in Jungle that in some stretches felt like Amazon. We reached Eucalyptus Oil factory which seems quite small from what I had initially expected. A family was residing there and was in charge of the factory. John explained us how Eucalyptus oil is produced using its leaves. I saw the guy smoking ‘beedi’ and asked for one as I could not resist my smoke-urge. Both Suresh and me had a healthy smoke as we saw rain pouring outside factory. We started towards our next destination of local tribal village. We trekked for around 1KM more to reach a tribal village. By now it started raining very heavily and we had to stop for brief moment in shade at the village. John urge an old lady to prepare tea and we had a much needed tea break. Finally we started for our last stretch of trekking towards Pykara Lake. We reached near Pykara Lake, which seems to me a bit dry from what I saw last time. We didn’t waited long there and decided to move towards our starting point where our vehicle was waiting for us. By the time we reached there we all were completely drenched in rain and were exhausted. We get into the vehicle went straight back to our Hotel. In the evening we went for shopping and went to bed early after having a light dinner.

--In front of tribal Toda House.

We went to Coonor next day but unfortunately were down with one person. Omar had suffered from Food poisoning, courtesy our last day’s heavy lunch and wasn’t able to accompany us to Coonoor.We booked tickets from Ooty in Nilgiri Express towards Coonoor in early morning train. Fortunately it wasn’t raining in Coonoor and we had a sight of sun first time since landing in Ooty.We had hired a vehicle a from Ooty and he took us to all the tourist places around Coonoor.We saw Lamb’s Rock, Sim’s park and Dolphin’s Nose. We went there amidst long stretch of tea estate, which was simply breadth-taking. While returning to Ooty we stop by in Dodabetta peak, supposedly highest peak in Nilgiris.It was completely foggy there and no view from the peak was possible. We return back to our hotel by evening and spend out rest of time in Hotel playing cards. We left our Hotel by late evening as we had bus to catch to get back to Bangalore.

In all it was quite a good weekend getaway and best and most memorable part of the trip was undoubtedly Trekking. Trek amidst such a heavy rain was quite an eventful experience that I would definitely cherish for long time to come. Meanwhile, I believe I traveled around 700 Km on road in this trip which have increased my travel meter to 2700 KM on road in this year and I hope to bring the meter down again in my next trip pretty soon.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Meter Down !

“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” - Saint Augustine

Finally the long awaited time has come. My ‘Travel Meter’ has been stuck at 1400KM since last two-three months and thanks to my last week Tirupati trip it went on to cross 2000 Km but certainly 15K Km on road, which was one of my new year resolution this year seems very far away. Nevertheless I have fuelled it again while I embark on my second tour to Nilgiris with my office colleagues tomorrow.

 There is something about displacement that simply amazes me (Don’t read too much between the lines). Of all the things I fear in life, Monotonicity perhaps will be on top. People say ‘patience is a virtue’ but somehow it doesn’t boils down well with me. After all you have only one life to live. Last few months has been the longest duration I haven’t went for traveling since I came to Bangalore three years ago. During this time I have lost count of how many trip plans I have made and let go. Right from evening beach stroll in Gokarna to Cycle-ride in Hampi to Snorkling at Lakshwadeep to Pubbing at Pattaya has come in my mind and has gone away. But thankfully the wait is finally over. I have been to Ooty before but I didn’t have a second thought for re-visiting the place. There is nothing much coming to my mind currently perhaps I am too  overwhelmed by our Ooty sojourn this weekend. All I want is to jot down few lines from Steppenwolf’s classic “Born to be Wild”.

Get your motor runnin'
Head out on the highway
Lookin' for adventure
And whatever comes our way
Yeah Darlin' go make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space 

Like a true nature's child
We were born, born to be wild
We can climb so high
I never wanna die

Born to be wild
Born to be wild

Friday, May 29, 2009

FC Barca Numero Uno!!

It was a riveting finish to this year football season and FC Barcelona was hands-down Numero Uno. The Final of Champions League between ManU and Barcelona at Rome was totally a one-side affair with Catalans came out triumph with all guns blazing. The match was without doubt between two best football team this season. ManU won the premier league confortably and Barcelona were table topper in La Liga.So it was supposed to be a clash of Titans in Olympique stadium Rome.

In the first few minutes of the match, ManU started showing their class with as many as three to four goal attempts at Barca post in first five minutes. Victor Valdes did well to cut Ronaldo’s 30-meter free kick. But once Barca started making early inroads towards Manu Goal they came in their own groove. It was Cameroonean Eto who started the scoring in Barca’s very first attack. He dribles the ball past Vidic and put the ball beyond Van Der Saar for a thumping 9th minute goal. After this there was no stopping for Barcelona and they started playing the kind of football they are loved all round the world. They started having 60-70% pocession and started controlling the game. The place where Barcelona was very good and ManU felt lost was in midfield. Xavi and Ineista show there class everybit while Carrick, Giggs and Anderson looked out of touch. No wonder Xavi won the UEFA man of the match award for this match. On the other hand ManU forwards including Ronaldo not gettng enough passes from Midfield to take the game forward. By the end of first half Barca was quite comfortably placed.

The second half also shares the same story. Inspite of bringing Tevez and Scholes ManU could not dominate the game. At around 20 minutes more to go, Xavi gave an elegant cross pass Ferdinand and Messi headed the ball pass Van Der Saar second time in the night thereby ending any hope of ManU revival in the match. It was probably the most one sided Champions League Final to have taken place in last 5-6 years. Barca for the kind of football they play totally deserved this victory. I hope Messi wins the world footballer of the year award this time because of the consistent performance his season in all leagues. As for Barca, many people have started comparing this team with Johan Cryuff’s Dream Team which ruled Europe between 1991-1994.No matter what, I am looking forward to witnessing Barca next season with new signings but with same style (some say art) of football and who know if they reach Final next year we will see them play in Santiago Bernbeau, their arch-rival Real Madrid’s local stadium which will be a contest to watch out for.
Go Barca!!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Rambling along in Life!!

I was away from from this page for last few days due to some prior commitments which I could not relegate further and certainly world has changed a bit in more then one ways during this small span of time. It will definitely be a shame on my part if I haven’t found out anything to write about all this days. So in a small way I will be jotting down the ramblings around my life so as to cut-off this backlog in great deal.

The Red Citadel Breached: Few days back I was attending ‘Brand Equity’ Quiz contest in Bangalore when someone from audience asked Derek O Brien, the host, regarding the chances of Trinamul Congress (TC), of which he is an active member, doing well in this General Election. When he said this time change is going to come in Bengal, everybody in audience laughed and rubbished his claim in unison. I always had the feeling that Bengal is somehow so comfortably settled under left red carpet that rising from it is just next to impossible. Otherwise, how would you explain left ruling Bengal for past three decades and this is ‘biggest democracy in the world’ we are talking about?

But this General election in many ways than one has been remarkable. We saw a rapid demise of identity politics when Nitish Kumar sweeps Bihar on the basis of Governance and development-keeping Lalu’s RJD down and dusted. But one of the major changes that have occurred in this election will undoubtedly be in Bengal. Left being in minority in Bengal was unthinkable some days ago. Seriously, I never thought, I will see this day in next 20-30 years. But this time out of 42-loksabha seats in this election from Bengal TC-Congress alliance won in 25 seats keeping left with mere 15 seats. This surely is a small step before giant leap is taken to snatch state assembly from the left grip after a span of three decades when state election happen later next year and who knows Mamata can certainly turn the table around this time. Personally I have a great respect for the lady for her constant struggle all these years specially when you know that you are banging your head against a wall which is just next to impossible to break. As for Left -‘Communism’ though looks very good on paper, is quite irrelevant and impractical in this globalized world. The same policies that they support in West Bengal are opposed in Center. There was a great disparity in their thought process in every level which I believe will led them to their demise next year in assembly polls.

Chargers roared in this IPL: This is another of a turnaround story that happened last weekend. Deccan Chargers, who were at 8th in last year IPL came out triumph this time around. The major credit of this win should go to captain and Man of the series Adam Gilchrist.I always believed there are only two cricketers in this generation who we can say comes once in 50 years. One of them is Shane Warne and other one is certainly Adam Gilchrist.A wicket-keeper batsman of such a destructive nature was quite unheard of in world cricket before Gilchrist came into picture. If you prepare a list of all time best cricket team in any format of game, these two players will certainly be a part of them. Such was the impact of these players that inspite of being so called old-aged, they lead their team to victory in new format of the game in first two IPL season.

DBA-Dashers made a Hatrick: Well we have our own triumph in OTP (Oracle Tech Park) cricket tournament three years in a row. This time it felt more sweeter coz we were considered underdogs as we lost few good players who played for us last two times. Nevertheless we played some brilliant cricket (as they say) and were being ably led by our captain Animesh to Championship Victory. We played 5 matches this year though Final was washed out in rain and we had to share the Cup with other finalist. Personally I also chip in some useful runs in crucial time and made me believe that some cricketing genes are still left in my body that I seriously doubted few months back.

Champions League Final Barca-ManU: Last but certainly not the least, today Barcelona is going to play ManU in Rome in a Champions League (CL) Final match which I have been eagerly waiting since Barca-Chealsea second leg match. Undoubtedly they were the best two club teams this year considering both were league Champions in their respective country Leagues When I woke up this morning and switched on the TV, last year’s champions league Final between Chelsea-ManU was being telecasted there. John Terry’s final penalty miss in the match still brings shiver down my spine one year later. But today I hope Barca turns the table by making this clash a memorable one and take revenge of their semi-final defeat last season. Everybody is considering this match as more of a Messi-Ronaldo clash considering their dominance in team wins all throughout this season. Their chance of winning world footballer of the year award lies on result of this match. I believe Barca’s chances in this match will depend upon how good Xavi and Iniesta plays and controls the ball. They certainly holds the key to Barca’s chances considering they have few players for defence left due to suspension and injury. On a Personal level, I have made myself prepared for this match.. if you know what I mean.
Remember I said in my last post…this will certainly be a 10-pint match and I will try to keep my word!!


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Its all over for Chelsea (Huahahahaha)!!!

It was surely a match that will be itched in my memory for a long time. Two of my favorite teams were meeing in semifinals but my heart was slight tilted towards Barcelona.It was an amazing end to the two-leg semifinals and I believe Barcelona deserved to win every bit Somhow this match reminds me of France-Italy Euro 2000 final where France snitches the game from Italy’s jaw at Extra time.

I woke up at around 10 pm after having a good sleep knowing it will be long night today. I saw Mumbai losing the IPL match from ‘47 balls left’ –‘56 runs needed’ –‘6 wickets left’ like situation and immediately knew that jinx is very much prevelent. I got myself prepared for the game (u know food, snacks,beer etc) that I have been waiting since first leg eagerly. Finally as the players were marching the ground I opened my first beer of the night hoping it will be an exiting game keeping my finger crossed. By the time Essein scored first Goal of the match at 9th Minute I was down with one pint. Somehow I didn’t expected him to score such an amazing Goal.I thought ‘First touch left footter 30 meter goal’ died the day Zidane said goodBye to the beautiful game. Game was going at its own pace with Barcelona keeping majority of the possesion. I thought it would be shame if Barca didn’t qualify into the final considering they would have kept aprox. 65-70 % possession covering entire two-leg by the end of the game. But that was not to be. Chelsea thought they had done enough to earn a repeat of last season's final as they defended Michael Essien's breathtaking ninth-minute goal with great resilience only for Essien to then err in failing to clear his lines in the dying moments at 91st Minute. Messi squared to Iniesta and he cut his shot skilfully away from Čech to give the Barca - playing with ten men after Eric Abidal's dismissal - victory on away goals and the chance to reclaim their crown.

But I had to admit there were some serious refree errors in the match and unfotunately all has gone wrong against Chelsea.If I would have been supporting Chelsea at this match I would have been completely heart broken.There were definatly 2-3 penalty put down by refree against Chealsea and I totally believe the thrashing, which refree got at the end of the match from Chelsea players specially Drogba and Ballack, were completely justified. Well as they say ,‘all is well if end is well’ and by the time I finish this post I will already be down with 5 pint of beer and I just cant wait to see Barca - ManU Final in Rome on May 27(I belive that will be a 10 pint match).
Adios and have a pleasant night as I know I will :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Its Chelsea - Barca today in Stanford Bridge

Probably this would be a match of the season. Personally I wanted them to meet in Final in Rome, but that was not to be. Earlier I had high expectation in Camp Nou also when they met two weeks before but due to Chealse strong defensive negetive tactics(some say game's dark arts) match ended in tame nil-nil. Irrespective of the scoreline, match was very worth watching. But I am keeping my finger crossed for this match and hoping Barcelona make it to finals to meet Man U in Rome, considering Barca’s 6-2 thrashing against Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabéu last weekend.

Personally I also want to break my jinx with this match. It seems whichever team I have been supporting for last 2 weeks be it in Cricket or Football, that team somehow loses the match. If this happens again today in this match it will definately leave a big dent in my head that will take considerable amount to Booze to fill it!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

IPL’s Deep Throat

I have again taken a long hiatus from posting in my blog. I would like to say, it is so, as I was a bit busy these days but somehow my conscious doesn’t permit this and I would be fair enough to accept that IPL has got a lot to do with this. Well I know few people who haven’t wrote anything in there blog for more than one month so I am considerably well off (Any Similarity or reference to Persons Living or Dead is Purely Coincidental.)

I always believed Cricket is the only thing that unites India. It is undoubtedly followed as a religion here. I remember watching India-Pakistan Under –15 Final in Shillong with around 50 people in a pub in 2003 and the excitement there was simply unmatchable. It somehow amazed me how this game, which we imbibed from our colonial imperialistic hangover, is bigger then religion, gender, caste, language, geographical boundaries that India is very famous for and is quite evident specially in this election season. So it hurt everybody when our biggest cricket extravaganza- IPL was shifted to South Africa (I hope SA also reciprocates the same by shifting some soccer world cup matches in 2010 to India preferably Kolkata, but again this is one of my wishful thinking).

We are already down with around one and half week of IPL and excitement seems steaming up. We have already seen how IPL has taken the thunder from election and suddenly cricketer and film stars are seen everywhere replacing politicians from newspapers and TV news channels. The other day one TV news channel “Till Today” featured an IPL special series called “Priety ko Gussa kyun aaya” showing Preity Zinta’s reaction in slow motion for every King’s Eleven wicket in a match again kolkata for nearly 30 minutes. Recently I checked IPL news has also got its very own space in the world of blogosphere with a new blog, namely under the name fakeiplplayer.

Apparently the blogger – calling himself Fake IPL Player claims to be a KKR team member has been writing about happenings in and around IPL, from dressing rooms to team meeting discussions to night parties and its various other ramifications. The blogger also uses names coined by him to refer to cricketers and owners. So the pieces are about Badshah dildo, Coachie, Skipper (Brendon McCullum), Calypso King (Chris Gayle), Lord Almighty or Lordie (a former skipper) and fast bowlers Kaan Mool (Ajit Agarkar) and Little John (Ishant Sharma). Then there are non-KKR personalities like a commentator, Kishen Kanhaiyya, a star batsman, Prince of Patiala and a pacer, Appam Chutiya (for sreesanth..Just love this name), among others.
Here are some of my favorites from his various posts:

“Lordie took over the match briefing, and boy, was he charged up or what. He just let loose, telling the boys what is expected of them – imagine the slowest member of the team chastising guys twice as fast on matters such as agility, speed and throwing.’’

Little John skipped as it was optional training. I can understand it, he is after all a fast bowler and he def needed some time off after the "intense workout" he must have had last night. This is what I love abt top sportsmen. No matter how gawky u look or how squeaky u speak, u still get the chicks

“Learnt a very interesting piece of news. Not sure if it's true or not. Apparently, Appam Chutiya wasn't slapped by Meera Bhai during last yr's tournament. He was crying because his team owner Babli hugged everyone after the match other than him. The Prince of Patiala saw an opportunity to take Meera Bhai out of the equation and accused him of slapping Appam. I think Appam is still waiting for that hug.”

Its time for me to sign-off now as Dada(Oops Lordie) is coming to ball against Rajasthan Royal now and yes I am still betting for Gayle’s 48-ball century in this match(another of my wishful thinking).


Monday, April 13, 2009

Bungee Jumping---Fall of Life!!

“My feet were trembling as I was about the jump (same say fall) from the height of 130 feet (i.e. approximately 10 Floors) and hesitantly waiting for my turn on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. A curious looking instructor glanced at me with no sympathy, probably he had seen these emotions before a lot many times. My friend who accompanied me for the event came back relieved after his turn was over. He had the same expression one has after a smooth bowel movement while suffering from severe constipation. Now it was my turn to go through all this agony.

The lead instructor called my name as he was checking cords and connections before my turn. I walked up to him and asked for any danger as such. He assured me nothing will happen and pompously told success stories of Bunjee jumping(BG) for last two days. I got a little encouraged by this as he tied my body and foot with elastic cord, which seems quite strong. Once it is finished he told me to board the box, which was connected to a Crane. I boarded the box with two instructors as they started explaining right technique for the jump so that there were no jerks and damages as such in midair, considering software engineers are more prone to these experiences. I asked him whether I could wear my sunglass so that my photo/video comes nice while jumping, but he denied saying it would hinder me from true experience and can also lead to some eye problem. I somehow forgot to ask him “Why and How”.

We already reached the height of around 80 feet and it already seems too high to me. I thought of asking him whether I can jump from this height but I know it will be fruitless as height of the fall depends upon cord length and it was not possible to make it short now. But at one level I know 80 feet or 130 feet doesn’t make any difference, as any technical snag will lead to the same biological fate in both cases.

After sometime crane stopped and I knew its time!!

A whole lot of emotions (grief, fear, shame, regret, resentment, anger, hostility, interest, enthusiasm, laughter, empathy, action, curiosity to name a few) were engulfing me and I tried to focus on the jump as told by instructors. Slowly I started living in this moment more then ever before. The past was completely forgotten and future certainly looks very uncertain. My heart probably was beating at double its speed; strangely I remembered a dream/nightmare, which I saw some days back where I saw myself falling from greater height with any stoppages at all.
I took around 10 steps forward. I knew the moment has arrived. Slowly I leaped forward and plunge myself in air and let my destiny be hanged on the elastic cord.”

This would have been a true story if an untoward incident that happened last weekend in Bangalore would not have taken place.25-year-old marine engineer, Bhargav, from Chennai, plunged to his death as the harness snapped while he was attempting bungee jumping near Bannerghatta on Saturday. It is evident from initial reports that the organizers had not followed basic safety procedures, and it's cut short the life of a young man who was seeking some fun.

Check this TOI story which appeared next day in front page.

When I heard about this news from my friend on Saturday evening I was left utterly shocked. The unpredictability of life simply overawed me. I had called the organizer the same morning asking for any slots available for Saturday for one of my friend (incedently he has Bungee- jumping listed in number 2 in his bucket list) who was supposed to leave for Chennai in night. Now I consider ourselves lucky that he told us , “We are very overbooked and any chance of getting your number is very remote”. This entire incident left me with much bitterness and my heart goes out for deceased person’s friends and relatives. But surely this hasn’t dented my spirit for another go at Bungee Jumping. One of my friend wrote me a mail today saying, “ Bach gaya tu saale…Dekhke kariyo bhai yeh sab…India mein yeh sab bada risky hain”. I wonder if India is ill equipped for all this adventurous stuffs where safety and security in these games are given secondary priority. As far as I am concerned I have taken his advice for time being but I am pretty sure I will get another opportunity of bungee jumping and who knows next time it could be from ALPS!