Coorg Trip (July 5 – July 6, 2012)

It was like a switch on the hands of a kid – On, Off, On, Off, On, Off. Discussions continued and at the end the trip did happen. Coorg welcomed us with a slight drizzle and cool weather in the early morning. Checked in and did what felt best at that time to do. Sleep. The morning had washed the city and left it clean and green. If not for the buildings, it would have been a fantastic sight. Got ready and visited Abbi falls. While the auto guy convinced us that we will get auto for return journey from the falls, later learnt that that is not going to happen. Walked for a KM before taking a Jeep, and sight of this black headed snake made it a little interesting. Visited Raja’s seat in the evening, an impressive viewpoint. The evening drizzle made the weather fantastic. On the way back, packed some spices which were little cheap there and retired for the day.

Next day, booked a cab and proceeded to Dubare elephant camp. Spent some time in the camp posing with the elephants, feeding them and watching them taking bath. The interesting part of this trip was 7KM rafting in river Cauvery. Plunged into the river with the life jacket and had fun swimming and floating. After the rafting, visited Namdroling Buddhist monastery/Golden Temple. Ended the day with a visit to Nisargadhama, a small picnic spot which is surrounded by the river Cauvery. With that ended a peaceful and happy trip.

Own transport would have allowed us to visit a few more falls and TalaCauvery, which is claimed to be the birth place of River Cauvery. While i was thinking about it, mind suggested  Bike Trip / Trek at Brahmagiri hills as future options. Would be happy if that happens.

Bike Trip to Lepakshi

Lepakshi was on the list for a long time, partly due to the some random reviews that claimed it to be a great place and partly due to the curiosity to see the world largest monolithic Nandi statue. So when Mr. Jeyahari wanted to go on a long bike trip, it was the first suggestion i made and it was accepted without any concerns.

The trip started at around June 24, 2012, 7.00AM and Rakesh joined us in Hebbal around 7.45AM. Decided to take NH7 through Chickballapur, Bagepalli followed by a 16KM ride on the narrow Lepakshi road. It was surprising to see Bangalore traffic police ready with interceptors at 8.00AM to catch the unsuspecting tourists who are driving over the speed limit on the free roads. I see traffic police more on weekends and rarely do they try to impose any traffic rules on weekdays during the wee hours, when people run amok. Anyway, i had learnt my lesson during the Nandi Hills trip and we were going slow at 50KMPH on the free roads, where 100KMPH was not difficult to achieve. Stopped for breakfast at Kamat and then reached Lepakshi after sometime around 11.00AM.

Stopped first at the infamous Nandi statue. And the first doubt that comes to people from TN is, is that bigger than the one at Tanjore ? Info is that the Nandi statue in Tanjore is actually the third largest. The second biggest monolithic bull is at the Bull Temple in Bangalore near BMSCE. Lepakshi was architecturally rich but after visiting Hampi, i was expecting more. The murals in the ceiling were interesting. The nagalinga was a little fascinating. Soon we finished roaming around and taking photos. Took a little rest, finished our lunch at a small hotel since there were not many lunch options around and started our journey back in the hot sun, which made us wonder whether 120KM in bike was really worth for what Lepakshi has to offer.

Decided to compensate it by stopping in Lumbini gardens at Hebbal. Looks a like a good place for a family and kids to spend a evening. The view of sunset was great. Never knew bangalore had so much to offer. Clicked few pics, had some snacks and returned home after what turned out to be a exhaustive ride and what turned out to be an ok trip overall.

Lonely Bicycle Ride To Chikka Tirupathi

This weekend was supposed to be a lonely one, with most of the people i hang out with comfortably settled at home. The good thing about loneliness is it gives an opportunity to convert the crazy ideas in mind into reality. One such i had in mind was to go on a long cycle trip and a trip all alone. Decided to put that into test with my friend’s cycle. Knowing my energy levels, decided on Chikka Tirupathi, a small temple around 30KMs from my home and plan was to wake up early in the morning and start the trip before it is too becomes too hot. And that always turns out to be the difficult part of the trip. As usual woke up a little late when it became too hot to sleep 😦

Finally started the trip at around 10.15AM. Soon felt like a wrong decision to roast yourself in the hot sun, when i had the option of spending the weekend peacefully at home watching a movie and roaming inside the city in bike. Still decided to continue for some more time and once i reached the outer areas, it became interesting with cool breeze adding a little to the motivation. Had stopped only once to take rest for the first 25Kms. Slowly and steadily i reached the temple at around 12.30PM. I was impressed, 12KMPH was not something i expected. The temple is pretty small and i spent little time roaming inside the temple.

Decided to start the return journey in the afternoon so that i can reach home before evening. Soon i realized it was a disaster. It was terribly hot and i was covered in sweat pretty soon. Short breaks didn’t help in anyway and i was riding without having lunch too. While i could manage outside the city the conditions worsened once i reached city. It became more and more horrible. Read somewhere that while going you sit on a saddle, during the return journey it feels like a needle. Would agree with that 100% it was a hot hot needle. With many many breaks which i didn’t want to count, reached home at last after four hours 🙂

It was good trip to start with. Few mistakes from which i can learn. Hope to continue with this.

Travel Time Gossips

X: Why she should call me up and dictate me how I should drive. I am applying brakes often it seems. What else should I do, bang the vehicle in front ?
Y: What was your response ? Did you agree to what she said ?
X: No
Y: good.. if you start saying yes now, you will have to do for the rest of your life.

The conversation continued as I settled down in my seat, as usual it was the upper berth, the undisturbed berth and continued to listen to them when eyes lazily scanning lines of the book in hand.  I know i wont be reading much that day, eavesdropping was so much fun. X was still a bit furious. He was not clearly happy with his mother-in-law teaching him how to drive a bike and when to apply brakes over phone. While the conversation between two married guys is funny, the conversation between married couples is a bit scary, atleast for the bachelors.

From what i guessed, most of them seem to happen after the couple visit their in-laws and return back to bangalore. Once there was this young couple who decided to settle everything in the train itself. Though it was not serious, but nothing close to fun. It was a stiff argument between them, with the gal and the guy quoting numerous examples supporting their parents and against their in-laws. The gal was cute but sharp in words. She complained of his attitude towards her parents, and was stressing on the point how bad her parents felt and how the guy should have responded. The guy proved he has a good memory power too. It started when the train started from my home town and went non-stop for hours before i decided to sleep.

Once saw a little older couple and the ways they used to handle was ripe with maturity. The guy was like a rock, the lady poured like rain. Only action from him was nod of the head at times. He looked like an expert at handling these issues. To a bachelor, he was a walking example. When i look at things like this, just get paranoid about all these marriage stuff and later get convinced thinking they could just be exceptions. Hopefully time will have an answer 🙂

The Local Guardians

He woke up and stretched his legs trying to get rid of the laziness of the early morning. The city was still asleep. Not everybody get to enjoy the silent morning that will soon be ruined by the vehicles. Looking at the path, he waited for what has become the most important time of his day. Atlast Siri arrived looking happy as usual with Mr. Raj. She walked past, barely noticing him just like any other day and Mr. Raj as usual gave a look of hatred.  Siri, has been his crush for the past two years, apparently lean, deceivingly calm and incessantly beautiful. She has a silky hair and seems to be a little proud about and keeping tossing it every now and then. Ooops!!! masala, tangential to the primary story which is supposed to be just about men. Bruno was on the other side noticed Mr. Raj and Siri, and growled out of fear. Mr. Raj was prepared. He hurled the stones in hand like missiles targeted at enemy. Bruno vanished out of sight, with a wail, think he got hit. Mr. Raj glowed with happiness. It is for this reason, he hates men like Mr. Raj. Like Bruno, he was an Indian mongrel, born on the streets but now under the shelter of humans. Most of the times it is the kids who give names to the dogs on streets, and that is how Bruno got the name, Bruno.

Mr. Raj loves dogs. But to him Mongrels don’t come under that category. His love for dogs comes with **conditions apply. Just like any local products, mongrels not preferred by most of the local people 🙂 They are loyal, adorable, possess all qualities of dog and come for free.  Probably somebody should attach a price tag to them to make them valuable to men. Not that he wants men to take them  home and feed them, the best thing the humans can do is at least not bother the poor street dogs A doctor nearby tests his air gun every now and then by firing at the mongrels in streets. He usually gets disturbed when he hears the wailing sound of the dogs running after getting hit. Irony is that the doctor  too owns a dog and claims to love dogs. Mr. Raj and the doctor would discuss about dogs for hours, about different breeds, their rates and what they are planning to buy next. They do love mongrels, but the expectation is not to bark at their dogs by any chance, and to submit themselves and let the men and their pets do whatever they want.

The life of Indian mongrels is one of the toughest to endure. At times born on the sides of the road, the initial days depend mostly on luck. Mistakes are fatal. The curiosity to explore the world ends under the tyres of two wheeler or four wheeler. Men seem to have evolved a very complex process to survive and these vehicles help them a lot in running behind too many things that they consider important, which he cannot comprehend. Though the ultimate purpose might be just like him, to live and sustain their species, their process process is simply complex.  Most of the time, it would directly or indirectly affect nature and make men look like weapons of mass destruction. Co-existence is unknown to men. Men have made so many species extinct. Funny part is the campaign which they start at the end to save them. Most of the time they are not sure whether they want to kill or whether they want to save. Anyway, the most powerful species does whatever it wants.

Though the dogs have managed to live with men, still life of mongrels in street is a big challenge. The daily hunt for food, escaping the vehicles, tackling the different moods of men is difficult.  At times they run searching for a hiding place, when men come in huge vehicle to catch them,  and get them killed/sterilized. A check by humans to make sure that the dog population stay in control it seems. They could have avoided a lot of problems if they had controlled theirs in first place. Anyway, he is not intelligent enough to understand the ways of men, and he is grateful to god for the same.

Pets at home have the best life. Keep wagging the tail, and live comfortably. There are few owners who spend a huge money and find a powerful mate too 😉 Life will be smooth, till they become old. He had seen few people taking their old dogs away and leaving them at remote places to spend their final years. Had always wondered what happens to them, how would they cope at the old age without any idea about the rules of the street. Anyway, Can’t complain, humans do the same to old humans too. Some are very kind, they make sure their pets don’t suffer the old age, and end their life.  So Kind.

His life has been smooth from the day he moved into this family. Struggle has stayed outside his life. But for other mongrels, they continue to be the unappointed guardians of the streets, waging their tails to every human, loyal to the biscuits shared, guarding their home, at times guarding the kennels where their pets are sold, not expecting humans to adopt them and give a luxurious life, but expecting some mercy to let them lead their lives.

Hampi, at last

A late post about a trip that happened in March. Anyway, Sudden decisions, quick plans and we were off to Hampi, the former capital of mighty Vijayanagara Empire. Though train was the preferred choice, was not able to get tickets. KSRTC operates a single bus to Hampi and it turned out to be a bumpy ride. Info: There are lot of options to choose from, if you decide to stop at Hospet, a town near Hampi. Anyway, we wasted no time in finding a homestay in Hampi Bazaar close to Virupaksha Temple, and it looked decent.

Plan was to complete the sites around Kamalapur on the first day. Hired a bicycle (Rs.40 per cycle) and started the trip around 9AM. Started the trip with visit of the Monolithic bull in Hampi Bazaar, after which pushed towards Kamalapur. First stop was at Chandrasekhara temple, Saraswati temple and Octogonal tank followed by visit to Hazara Rama temple. The Hazara Rama temple had too many sculptures inside and on the outer walls. The ruins in front of the temple, just reminded how mighty the Vijayanagar empire might have been during its peak and how bad the invasion was. The beheaded bull and broken trunks of elephants stands as a symbol of invasion after centuries have passed. We then proceeded to Zenana Enclosure, which encloses the Lotus Mahal, elephant stables, Queen’s Palace basement and a small museum.

After a reasonable good food at a small tamil shop outside Zenana enclosure proceeded to Royal Enclosure. It did look great with the Mahanavami Dibba or the grand platform from where king used to watch the annual parade, underground chamber, the stepped bath and a lot of ruins. Stepped bath looked great. On the way back, visited Queen’s bath which didn’t look very interesting except for the name, Danaik enclosure which housed few more ruins, the underground shiva temple or Prasanna Virupaksha temple, statue of Ugra Narasimha, Badavi Linga, and the Krishna Temple. Cycling was fun after a long time and the hot sun was dehydrating. We were lucky enough to return in time to climb the Hemakutta hills for the sunset. The place was filled with foreigners from all around the world and for whatever reason we were the only people representing our country. The sunset was wonderful so was the Hemakutta temple complex and the Sasivekallu Ganesha statue. An exhaustive but satisfactory day at the end.

Day 2 : Woke up early at around 5.15am and climbed Matanga hills, the highest point in Hampi for the sunrise. Once again, we were the only people from India there. Waited for the sunrise rejoicing the view of Achutha Raya temple complex from the top. The sun rise was awesome. After that returned back to room, got ready and went to Virupaksha temple, followed by visit to Hemakutta temple complex which also houses the Kadalekallu Ganesha among so many other beautiful temples. We continued as per plan and proceeded to Vittala temple complex stopping at Achutha Raya temple, which was almost deserted. Proceeded via Courtesan’s street towards Vittala temple complex, visiting other small temple complexes, Sugriva’s cave, King’s balance. At last the Vittala temple complex, which houses the infamous Stone Chariot, the musical pillars and the Kalyana mandapam. With that we had almost reached the end of the trip. We had covered almost all the places we had planned for. Only item pending in the to-do list was a cool bath in Tungabhadra. We had a lot of time and Tunga in front and the next few hours vanished in the river. Little later, started the journey back to room, and in the way explored few more temples that were hidden from the normal path.

The only disappointment during the trip was food in Hampi Bazaar in front of the Virupaksha temple. Hotels are run by locals and food is a little more than horrible. If a foreigner has to rate Indian food based on the food available there, it would be close to horrible.

Anyway, Hampi turned out to be another satisfactory trip with Sai and Jeyahari, who were enthusiastic when it came to visiting places and fun to hang around with. Think the blog entry just managed to list the places, anyway believe me Hampi  was a lot fascinating and is worth a visit.

Photos: https://picasaweb.google.com/sens2003/HampiTrip

Invisible Boundaries!!!

Caution: Feel free to stop reading after this line, nothing of great importance below.

Walked slowly through the cold bangalore streets in half sleep. We entered our house after a full ten day vacation at hometown. It didn’t take time to realize that somebody has been spending their vacation in our house when we were not there. The plastic covers were out of the fridge and floating across the kitchen. Not that we keep it cleanly stacked, but dont leave it in the path. And there it was. Shit!!! That is the last thing we wanted in our house, which gets cleaned only when one of us feel probability of survival has gone really low. A bit of exaggeration, if you had missed it. Anyway, news was that the little pigeon felt it can use our house as its home when we were away, entered through the gaps in the exhaust fan and had freely roamed around freely, pooping wherever it felt.

Decided to put an end and covered the gaps in exhaust fan with plastic covers. Relief i thought. Next day i was woken by the cooings of a Pigeon. Continued for further few days. Looks like we had actually done it a favour by closing it and providing a good place to build its nest. Oops bad idea!!! The kitchen was getting more nasty.

Last Sunday, i was hyper active, decided to clean the house, heard the cooing sound, removed the plastic covers, cleaned the nest under construction and switched on the exhaust fan. All was fine, till the bird returned, sat in the opposite  wall and started searchingThe pigeon looking at its distrubed nest in the exhaust fan for the nest!!! That did make me feel like a real bad guy 😦 😦 Felt pity for the pigeon, felt angry on myself for disturbing a home. The pigeon looked helpless & confused.  It has not done anything wrong, only that it crossed an invisible boundary. I was remorseful.

What to do ?What else, take a photo of it and decide never to let it come near our home to save all the troubles.

Short Story of a Blog post

Some random thought at some random place. The thought looks so great!!!! Somewhere from the convolutions the command comes, go blog it and archive it forever. The command is supported with a steady flow of ideas. Under those situations there is never a shortage of words. The continuity of thought amazes me. Seldom do i get so many ideas. The mind fills up the content in few minutes with the similes, oxymorons, metaphors etc etc. The post is ready. Waits in the mind searching for opportunity to upload into the wordpress servers. Alas!!! Thats when you are far away from the digital world. The mobile connectivity too decides to take a break. Anyway a decision is made, a blog about it will be made in future about it.

The second half, when actually the thoughts are getting converted to bits and bytes. Vaguely remember the title chosen initially.   Unfortunately, most of the time seems to be happen after midnight, after hours of browsing facebook(dont know for what), looking after a randon nonsense bug or a movie. The search for thoughts starts. The head was full of ideas when it first originated. Now it feels like a read from /dev/zero 😦 😦 Ok sleep on the keyboard for 10 minutes after typing the first paragraph. Wakeup and save it as draft.

Now, the conclusion. It is no longer an interesting post that was in the mind. Rather an unfinished job. And it does disturb a lot. So on a day when some bugs dont get fixed, need something to complete and feel satisfied. Logon, add a little more BS, complete it and publish. Voila!!! Atlast a post is made and here it is!!!

Shravanbelagola – Bike Trip

“Hampi” i said. Sai approved, and added if not anyone both of us will complete the trip. Ok, that was encouraging, if not Hampi, the probability of breaking out of bangalore was more that weekend. Soon Hampi was ruled out due to lack of crowd. Skandagiri was rejected since night trekking was no longer allowed there. Funny part, looks like few Policemen use it to bribe money from visitors. Even in bangalore, traffic police work with full force on weekends!! Anyway leave that. So the final option was Shravanabelagola – a jain piligrim center. And it was planned to be a bike trip. Exciting (to think)!!!!

The plan was to start early before bangalore wakes up. Sai took the job of disturbing the dreams and accomplished it with perfection. Started at around 6.20AM with free roads and early morning chillness to tackle. The ride was smooth, as the Unicorn and Apache sped at 80 to 90 KMPH till we reached NH4. After that the speedometer wobbled between 90s and 100s and at times above that too. Fun, it was. Can call it madness/risk or whatever. But the fingers had gone numb, felt more like a wood holding on to the clutch and accelerator. Sun popped up slowly and it was battling against the early morning chillnesswhen we reached Bangalore – Mangalore highway. The highway was free,  the silent Unicorn glided at 90-100 KMPH. Cool breeze, early morning sun, a smooth bike, free highway everything was in our favour.  Those bike advertisements are true, you can forget even if it is a girl sitting behind. The four lane road ended, and we took the SH to Shravanabelagola with 18KMs left to cover. We had reached there in exactly 3 Hrs, with 3 pit stops few of which were considerably long.

Finished breakfast and took 10 minutes to reach the top of first peak, Vindhyagiri. ASI has done some work, maintaining the structures, but cementing them has spoiled the architectural beauty. Highlight was the 57ft Gommatheshwara statue. Same story with Chandragiri too. The temple complex also houses few beautiful temples. At the top there was Chandragupta Paduke. After a while came down and started back to bangalore with a full watermelon packed. The journey was once again smooth, till we reached the bangalore in the evening. Back to maddening traffic and pothole filled roads. Anyway a welcome break, it was.

Photos – https://picasaweb.google.com/sskganesan/ShravanaBelaGolaBikeTrip, https://picasaweb.google.com/111446569907392516250/Shravanabelagola?noredirect=1

Work = Life

Ting!!! Ting !!! The little disturbance amidst "Asku Laska" forced me to switch tabs in my firefox and open the gtalk window. Knew, it would be one among the very few privileged people and it was. Had adorned the cloak of invisibility in gtalk, since i felt that it was disturbing my bug fixing rate, the rate at which i find which variable should be set to 0/1 or which if loop needs an extra condition to fix the high priority bug in the C code. The restriction in Gtalk was one among the self imposed restrictions. Anyway the productivity remained constant, as mind found ways and indulged in other activities, while the friendly chats vanished altogether. Anyway back to the conversation windows, it was my close friend Mr.X who had pinged.

me: not sleeping ?
time should be around 1 ?
X: 12:40
X: back to form after long time..
🙂
me: he he he he 🙂
so how is life going ?
X: nowadays its ok.. not much work too. may be damager has to come..
next week sangoodhuradhukune vandhuruvan..
but poor thing is ur qn was how is life.. and i am answering about work..:(
me: ha ha ha…
yeah sad part..

LOL, I would have given the same reply if somebody had asked me about my "life". From that day started cautiously noticing response of people around me for the question "How is life" and it is the same. It starts with what they are working on, the work load, their manager (most of them simply called as moron), how long they stay in office etc etc etc. One thing to feel happy about is, everybody is on the same boat 🙂

If not work, what is this life all about ? How should we go about living it ? That is one scary question to ask anyone. Because everybody have their opinion about it and the scary part is most of them will try to thrust it down your throat.
P.S. Anyway, this conversation prevented me from deactivating my Facebook account, which i thought was taking up a lot of time.