Rail Payanangalil

Policeman: Is there a round table conference happening ?
We: No sir, just a small chat
Policeman: Dont feel sleepy ?
We: No sir. We will not get opportunity to meet only during train journeys. So just having a little chat. We will sleep in another fifteen minutes.
Policeman: Ok. Keep an eye on your belongings.
We: Sure.

Hmmm, things like this happen when you stay awake and keep chatting even when the clock ticks 12.00 or 1.00 in train. Though it invites cold stares from most of the policemen and ticket examiners we choose to ignore them and continue. Anyway thought these train journeys deserved a mention. Journey to hometown nowadays resembles a mini tour, with ten to twelve of our friends in a single coupe. It is a heterogenous crowd consisting of juniors, seniors and colleague friends. The discussion starts with update on what has happened to each and every guy since we last met. What could have happened to a bunch of s/w engineers who spend most of the time in front of the computer. So it is always the other guy who talks about his friend, with imagination playing a major role. The noise we create is at its peak, since most of the times all people talk together or laugh together. The crowd slowly disperses after lights are switched off in all coupes. But it does not end there. Only after 12.00 people get realization and start talking about company, present situtaion, future plans, recession, india, world, college etc etc inviting cold stares from the roaming policemen. Trips were boring when i used to travel alone and books usually help in passing time. Now i take books but seldom read them. I dont feel bored or dont have a feeling that there is some time to kill. Hope it continues.

P.S. For those who donot understand the title, it is a title of a famous tamil movie which roughly translates to happenings in train journey.

Malpe, St.Mary’s Island and Udupi Trip

After a lot of confusions, and lengthy discussions, and around 300 mail discussions we decided upon Malpe, St. Mary’s and udupi. Started from Bangalore on friday night for the first time with a group of 12. After a sleepless journey, reached kudremukh early in the morning when sleep was about to conquer us. The scenary brought us back to our senses but soon we lost ourself in the virgin beauty of mother nature. We could see green tea plantation on one side and a pool of cloud on the other side. The whole journey through kudremukh was like that but we missed a bit of it because of the tablet that was taken to get rid of the vomitting sensation managed to successfully put us into sleep. Could not avoid taking the tablet, since the sleepless night journey combined with sharp turns in the ghats did a lot of damage.

Finally woke up at Udupi where we booked a room in a decent hotel. First visit was to St. Mary’s Island near Malpe beach which is famous for basalt rock deposits which look like hexagonal cylinders. From Malpe the isle can be reached by ferry. The island is small and secluded and the serenity is disturbed only by the noisy tourists like us. We had a good bath there in the sea waterddddd. The waves seems to love visitors and When the waves recede they try to take you away with them. After a long time i had opportunity to take bath in sea like that. After spending one hour there we returned back to malpe and went to have lunch. We tried fish there but it did not meet our expectations.

Next halt was at Maravanthe beach to see the sunset. Once again there was little human activity in the beach, which meant it was time for some football action. Next one hour was devoted to football. As usual it turned out to be interesting. End result: Arsenal beat Manu 5-3. Funny, anyway thats how we named the teams. I contributed two goals to the winning side 🙂 One hour of football was too much for people like who rarely involve in physical activities. After the sunset, we went back to hotel after having dinner at Udupi.

Next day i.e sunday, we went to the world famous Udupi Krishnan temple. The architecture looked different. It has a history associated with it which i am not aware of. Anyway after visiting the temple, started to Kaup beach. Kaup was not an exception, and there was not much human inhabitation except for tourists and couples who donot want to be disturbed. It remained comparatively clean. We could not visit the Kaup lighthouse since it is opened only between 4 to 7 in the evening. Around six of our people started playing volleyball, we resorted to cricket with plastic bat and ball. One good thing about cricket is that you can convert any available wood to stumps and bat. Only thing you need is a ball, but we have also played cricket with something that looks like a ball 🙂 This time, we had a plastic bat and a plastic ball, and water battle served as the stump with cap serving as bails. Still it was good.

We decided to go to kodachadri after that, but decided against while on the way to kodachadri. Thoughts about office next days always disturbs and the same thoughts managed to reconsider our decision. Soon we decided against since we might not have enough time to go to kodachadri and return back. So we restricted ourselves to a visit to River Tunga at Teerthahalli and came back to Bangalore. Once again it turned out to be a fun filled trip as it is always. Digi cams gave us the liberty of clicking everything that we thought would be good. People looked a lot generous while taking pictures, and here are the links,

http://picasaweb.google.com/sens2003/MalpeTrip#
http://picasaweb.google.com/kpraveen85/Malpe#
http://picasaweb.google.com/rajesh.kalaivanan/MalpeStMarysIslandMaravanthae#

Licensed to Drive

Got my four wheeler driving license at last after months of self imposed delays.It came as a birthday present as i chose that date for taking the test. Experiences in the RTO office was the same in the past, and it has not changed now, hope it changes atleast in the future. If you don’t go via a broker or Agent, you will never be able to get what you want in a day. Though there are boards advising not to go via agents, it falls on the deaf ears of the employees and also the people. Though there are counters, there is absolutely no information about the steps you need to follow. Agents and the employees seem to be reaping rich.

Hope situation changes. Anyway i think i will not be stepping into RTO office for another 15 years.

2008

Just after the 8 days vacation i am here back in bangalore. With few minutes left to start to office, i am trying to recollect what happened during 2008, that is worth to post in this blog. So it is going to be a bit personal so you can stop reading here if you wish.

Anyway 2008 was an uneventful year and not much happened through out the year.

Not much to comment about the job.
Saw too many movies in theater and through CDs and DVDs. No new year resolution to reduce that also 🙂 So i expect the same situation will prevail in 2009 also.
The best part of last year is the trips along with my friends and seniors, lets see whether i can get them in the correct order.
Jan – Kollimalai, Shivasamudra, Bandipur, Mysore
Feb – Chennai
April – Goa
September – Jog, Murudheshwar
Oct – Tirunelvezhi
Nov – Trichy.
For the first time in lifetime saw a cricket match in stadium. Went to the IPL T20 match between Chennai Superkings and Banglore Royal Challengers.
My sis was blessed with a baby girl and i had a great time playing with the kid.
Attempts to learn hindi and kannada went in vain and almost dropped the idea by end of the year.
For the first time started reading tamil novels with Kalki’s Ponniyin Selvan and soon completed Sivagamiyin Sabatham and Parthiban Kanavu.

I am not sure whether i have missed something. Since memory is not willing to cooperate, ending the post now.

Just one resolution for 2009,

Try to come home early 🙂 I tried and failed a lot many times last year trying to do this. Lets see whether i can make that a habit this year 🙂

Happy New Year.

Side(u) Middle(u) Berth(u)

That day the train was on time for a change. Myself and Musi got into the S8 coach without wasting time. For some reason we often get seats in S8  and lot of interesting incidents happen whenever weravel in S8. The first reaction once we got into the coach was a sign of relief. The coach did not have a side middle berth. This side middle berth seems to be a ingenious idea of a sincere government servant. On the first sight the concept looked quite ok to me. Side middle Berth meant more seats to lie down and dream for the entire night. But thats the only thing you can do, if you get up a little
fast from your sleep, you will end up banging your head on the side upper berth. The most haunting part is the way in which thereservations are made and how the seats are allocated. The way in which seats are allocated is based on the old algorithm based on 72 seats per coach, so once you board it is just confusion with all people in coach proposing their own ideas on how seats are allocated. To confuse this further you have two numbers written near every seat. The confusion will continue till the TTE arrives. One TTE preferred not to do that and we were forced to sleep on the side berths, which in no way is convenient taking the height factor into consideration.

So that explains why we were happy on seeing the missing SMB. We made ourselves comfortable and started our discussion that ranges from modern day Asin to historic Kundavai. But that did not last long, soon we were disturbed by few people who claimed the seats belonged to them. Soon there were around four people checking the tickets. Everything looked perfect, except for the date of journey. We had reserved seats in S8 for the return journey. For the onward trip it was on S5. Once we realised that we were wrong, we did not stay there for more than one second. Ignoring the  smiling faces we walked away and never turned back.

S5 was in utter chaos, the reason was the SMB and two set of numbers written near every seat. Grrrrr once again there were theories floating around. Atlast TTE came around 11.00 and claimed that there is no change in the seating arrangements. The side middle berth is not to be used, which means the old numbering will be followed. But the confusion did not end, as people who boarded at the next station in the middle of the night had no other option other than waking up the people who are lost in dreams.

The final decision still remains unclear, will it continue to be like this, will it be discontinued. Hope government officials resolve it soon.

The Trichy Trip

Had gone to trichy two weeks back to attend see Senthil reluctantly putting an end to his Bachelor life but willingly stepping into the role of a family man. Finally found time today to blog about it. As usual, the preparations for the trip started a long time back, even the marriage preparations might not have happened at that time. And as usual after lot of discussions we decided on starting on saturday morning to Trichy. After a long time i enjoyed a bumpy ride in our normal TNSTC bus with attention oscillating between the “Sivagamiyin Sabatham” and the movies that were played in the bus. Conductor made sure that nobody slept in the bus and played the movie in full volume.

Reached Salem at 3.15 and from there started to Trichy. After a bit of reading, a little of discussion the tiring bus journey came to an end and we were at Trichy. From then started that eating spree. The marriage was grand, and food was just great. For two days every inch of space in the stomach remained occupied.

We did not have enough time to visit the temples around Trichy. When the initial plan was made, we had the plans of visiting all temples but once we started the trip we knew . Fortunately with help of Praveen we were able to visit kallanai and thiruverumbur temple. The recent rains have helped cauvery to cause enough damage to the nearby villages and we could see that on the way to kallanai or Grand anaicut, the dam built by Karikaala Chozhan before 2000 years. Due to the recent floods, water was diverted to Kollidam. The water gushing out of the opened shutters with great force creating a pattern and giving a illusion of standing in a ship was a wonderful sight. After visit to Thiruverumbur, we returned back to Bangalore pledging to return back to Trichy to visit the places we had missed this time. After reading Kalki’s book the curiosity to visit the temples has increased a lot. Lets see how the plans go.

Home made office lunch

Inspite of the recession, customer escalations & annoying managers one thing that is to be appreciated about the software companies is, they always come up with something for the engineers to sway away from the work a little. Though most of them turn out to be favorites of management which they claim is good and voluntarily force you to enjoy, sometimes we do enjoy it. One such event happened in our office last week. Last friday we had a section cook off. Every team member was made to bring some home made food and a grand buffet was arranged in office. Not so sure how much one needs to spend to get a buffet like that. As far as bachelors like me, we had taken our empty stomach and participated only in eating. Anyway, it turned out to be a great event. There was almost all items that i could think off. To name a few, chicken briyani, chicken roast, chicken curry, egg masala, vegetable briyani, fried rice, aloo parota, chapathi, dahi vada, coconut rice, gulab jamun, carrot halwa, curd rice etc etc. For a guy who feeds on hotel food daily they all tasted delicious and i did not leave any item untasted. For the first time i ate food in office allured me. Thought it needs to be  remembered, so there goes the post.

What followed that is two customer escalations, which forced me to work from dawn to dusk in the weekend 😦 but that is a different story better when not thought about.

BMTC bus journey

Yet another incident happened yesterday as usual in BMTC. For me a lot happens in BMTC. Yesterday i gave the conductor 20 Rs and asked for three tickets. He gave the right change of 5 Rs. I was waiting for him to give the ticket, he saw us for a moment and decided against it. Just a glance was enough for him to confirm that we are not locals and he has an opportunity to earn 15 Rs. Anyway yesterday i was in a pugnacious mood, and did not want to leave the matter just like that. If i was alone i would not have done anything certainly. Since i had the company of two of my friends, we decided to give it a try. But he was prepared for it. When we went and asked for the ticket, using the only known local word “Ticket Kodi” 🙂 He just turned his face away and kept silent and did not even bother to see us.  Wondering how BMTC manages to run in profit. If we had known the local language, we could have tried a little more but even after one year, it is still difficult to pickup the local language 😦 and it is affecting a lot. Anyway i will get an opportunity to see the conductor again i guess, lets see whether i can do something that time.

One year of corporate and bachelor life

A long unintended break from blogging. Had been thinking about what to blog for a long time and later realized that i had completed one year in the software industry on June. Not much has happened over the past one year and life is becoming more and more monotonous. Wake up at 8.00, go to office work till night and sleep has been the daily routine. Anyway few things have changed over the past one year. Had dreams about the software engineer life but after one year of reading and modifying huge well written code base, it is now difficult to write even small programs from the scratch. After using wrapper functions for almost everthying now it is difficult to remember the return values of normal c functions. Even if the tea is horrible life does not move without two tea breaks a day. Bachelor life is teaching a lot of lessons. From a guy who hates idli, it has transformed me into someone who is searching for good idli shops around the city. Stay awake late in the night for no reason staring at the monitor in front of me checking orkut or refreshing google reader.

IPL T20

Yesterday i was there at the chinnaswami stadium to see the IPL T20 match between chennai super kings and Bangalore Royal Challengers as a supporter of the mighty super kings. This is the first national or international i witnessed from the ground. Inside the stadium it was sweating and the view was not that great as that of what you see in television. But those are the only negatives which will vanish when you take the fun factor into account. IPL T20 was a visual treat. Sixes, fours, missed catches, runouts, music and cheerleaders and all in four hours was too great.

We were there in the stadium at 6.00 and were able to see the players practising. Though most of the players were practising seriously Makhaya Ntini and Muralitharan responded to shouts of the fans. After a while the Washington Redskins, cheer leaders of Bangalore Royal challengers, lit up the atmosphere with their presence. They did attract a lot of attention of the crowd. The chennai cheer leaders preferred to stay away from the attention and walked silently to their places. We were also able to catch a glimpse of the Kollywood and Sandalwood heroine and Bangalore Royal challenger’s brand ambassador “Kuthu Ramya” (as she is called  in kollywood). The crowd wave started and continued for a long time.

Once the match started it was pure fun. When Dale Steyn bowled the first over, he did reduce our hopes. The same happened when Hayden and Parthiv Patel returned to pavillion. Once Hussey and Dhoni joined and when the partnership started flourishing, it was fun. When Dhonis started bombarding the stands with his huge six, none of us were in the seat. Though we, the chennai super kings supporters were outnumbered by the Bangalore Royal challenger’s supporters, we had more opportunities to celebrate and we used it fully. Sports brings unity, yeah it was true, soon the chennai supporters were united and responded to shouts and comments of different groups in the stand. Drums sivamani beats took us to TN.

The Bangalore Royal challengers started their batting in style, and looked formidable untill they started losing wickets. Till that the fun was with the Bangalore supporters, they were shouting “Jeetaegaa  Jeetaegaa, Bangalore Jeetaegaa”. Once the wickets started falling it  was for us to enjoy. With Sap leading the group, the  chants continued  in the local language, which most of the people might not have understood.   To mention a few,

“Atho paaru lightu, Chennai na weightu”
“Gummathalakadi Gummavaa, Chennai na summava”
“Sala pula sala pula, gummthalaka” and the famour “O”.

Throats dried up, Legs ached because of dancing but nobody was willing to let tiredness take away the opportunities of enjoyment and the celebration continued. When super kings won eventually we erupted in joy. It was Royal challengers match gifted by them to Chennai superkings. Anyway once the match ended, we  reached home safely in auto fully satisfied of viewing a fantastic match. Anyway that kindled a small desire in the corner of heart, should witness atleast one India-Pakistan match in Chennai.