Sunday, December 30, 2012

Girl in white

11 am on a weekday in a Government Office. I am at the reception filling out a form. There are not many people around. In fact, there is only one other person. A pretty girl, sitting with her legs crossed, reading a book. I did not even notice her until I got the form from the lady at the reception and started filling it out. Since there was no table around, I had fill out the form at the counter itself. As I put my head down to write, I noticed a foot and that's when I saw her. Caught! She was stealing a glance at me with her head down and seemed to become self conscious when I looked at her. As expected, she pretended to read. I could tell she was pretending cos she had stiffened up. This was new. Generally, I am the awkward one pretending to read. Alright, focus. If I make a mistake on the form, the irate receptionist is going to make a big fuss before giving me another one. When I am almost done with form, I take a second look to see what book she is reading. As a student, I never copied in exams. So I am not very good at capturing detail with quick glances. I could not read the tittle. The cover had a picture of something like a snake skin! Weird. Forget it. I stare long and hard. Its a 'Tie' on the cover. The book is '50 Shades of Grey'. There! She tries to see if I am looking again. This time I am not sure who caught whom. Anyways, I return the form and walk away. I could have spoken to her. I convince myself thinking that there was nothing I could say to her. If I knew what the book was about, I would definitely have spoken. Yeah, right. Anyways, on the bus back, I flip out my phone and search for '50 shades of Grey'. Damn. Now I know why she was worried about who is watching. 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Leaving on a jet plane...

First post of 2011 coming in May! Well I sure am getting lazy. Anyways, better late than never.

I got a new niece! Too bad I'll miss all the firsts for a while. Aditi, someday if you happen to read this, you can't imagine how happy we all were to see you for the first time.

Roaming around...
It was back in December last year that I was told that I will be travelling to Australia. So I was determined not to miss Club Adventura trips. Managed to go on two treks if I remember correctly. And then there was the trip to Goa with Mangalore teammates.

For the first time I got my teammates to come along on a trek with me. The trek was to Kudremukh peak. We had to cover about 30 kms in one day and I covered it with ease. Happy about that :) Very often there will be someone in the team who will be the butt of all jokes. Sadly this time it was me. Looking back, I probably picked the wrong trek to take my teammates because the jokes have now come to haunt me in office.

The other one was a beach trek in Kerala, close to the Karnataka border. We started from the famous Bekal fort. It was the beginning of the summer and trekking on a beach was something I was not too keen on since I had just recovered from a bad tan from the Goa trip.But then this was my last chance to trek with Adventura before a year long break. Played holi on the beach, and then some football and frisbee. Fun trip.

Between all this my mind was somewhere else. I was watching the world cup with utmost hope. And what I saw in the first few matches was deeply disturbing. The team did not seem to have passion. The fielding was sloppy and the body language, indifferent. And the match against South Africa was a heart break. The team did exactly what the nay sayers said. They were in a great position and then they lost their way. In a way I was happy that it happened in a league match. But it did not look like the team cared about it. How wrong was I! The match against Australia was something special. Suddenly the whole team looked alive, looked like they were in it to win. I can still feel the happiness of that win. Pakistan match was a formality, but the innings of Misbah Ul Haq looked very suspicious. The final lived up to the hype. And when Sachin got out, it was too much for me to handle. Had to watch some movie for a while to calm the nerves only to watch Dhoni play the innings of his life. What a man! What a player! When the team lifted the cup it was sheer ecstacy. It means so much to us to see the team lift the cup. And it was good see the same emotions in the team members. Moments to cherish for a lifetime...

Down under:
Landed in Australia on 18th of April. I was expecting a lot of things... Sadness, excitement, nervousness ... But to my surprise, I did not feel any of those. From day one it was business as usual. I am still trying to think what is different here compared to India apart from the usual list of things. One thing that springs to mind is the relaxed attitude of the people. There is no hurry to cross the road or get out of the tram. Having lived in bangalore, I instinctively rush to the tram door when its about to open. I wonder how many people think 'What a moron!'.

A tram crossing the Flinder's Station, in front of federation square:

View outside the window of the apartment where I stayed:

Walked around the city on a weekend, visited Rod Laver Arena and MCG but could not go in cos there was a game scheduled.

The Yarra river flows through Melbourne:

Our office is in Docklands with Victoria harbour on one side. Its a beautiful view outside the office window.

Friday, December 3, 2010


It’s been a long time since I have blogged. So, this one is going to be a bit of all the things that I can remember now.

India won the test series against Australia:
Two amazing test matches. More so because India won both of themJ. Of all things, Ishanth Sharma’s innings is what I liked best. India needed 92 more to win and Ishanth walks out as No 10 batsmen. I wonder what went on in his mind when he walked out. How could a No 10 batsman even imagine of building a 90 run partnership in the final innings of a test match? Sitting in office, I was amazed to see the score board still ticking, quite a while after Ishanth came in to bat. He believed India could still win the match when even the most ardent Indian fans had given up hope. Inspiring stuff!
Had India lost that match, it could well have lost the series. It’s not easy to win the second test when you have lost the first one in a two test series.

The Social Network:
Watched the movie. Liked it a lot. People think that Mark Zuckerberg is portrayed as evil, but I liked the character. Baring a few things, he appears to be a hero in the movie. Does that mean I am evil myself? Hmmm... Maybe.

River rafting:
Went river rafting in the Barapole river, Coorg. It was a fun trip. The guides were really good. Unlike in Kullu, this was not a ride in the water park. They taught us all the commands they use and we had to row according to their commands. But the rapids need to be a little more extreme. Fun in when you feel you have lost control, right?

Saavan Durga:
Did a night trek for the first time. Started from Bangalore at around 8:30pm. Started the trek around 10:30 I guess. It was a beautiful moonlit night. Tried some long exposure shots at the starting point. Came out better than expected. Shridhar tried a 30 second exposure and we all used our torches to light up the subjects. It looked pretty good on the camera but never got to see it after that. Got to try this sometime.

Kemmannugundi – Bababudangiri –Mullayanagiri:
A long trek after a long time. And the weather was just perfect. No sun and no rain. It’s a 25 km stretch from Kemmannugundi to Bababudangiri. Did it with ease since the weather was so great. But the evenings in this region are very cold. A bit too much for me actually. Wanted to have a camp fire but really could not convince myself to go out looking for firewood. Others were also not in the mood, so ditched it. [Note to self: Campfires are awesome. Don’t be lazy next time]. Morning was as cold as the night. It took us a lot of breakfast and tea to warm up. A bill of 2700 for 24 people in a small village hotel. You can imagine how much we ate. By the time we were done with breakfast, we had given up hope of reaching Bangalore that night. So, there was an extended photo session. Great fun.
We went to Manikyadhara from Bababudangiri and started the trek to Mullayanagiri. The ridge walk is always fun, great landscape all around. Had a round of theplas at Mullayanagiri and back to Bangalore from there. All good except that I got a bad tan. Still peeling layers of skin!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Design issues with Dell Studio

I have a Dell Studio laptop. It’s pretty well built. But a few weeks backs, I had a peculiar problem with it. I was in M’lore at the time and was living with my college buddies Sharath, Prashanth and Pratheek. Every night after office we used to play cricket in our apartment. One evening I had a few photos to edit but Prashanth kept calling us to play. Since I had already got the memory card out of my camera I decided to quickly copy the photos onto to the laptop and edit them later. I blindly pulled the dummy card out of the card slot and plugged in the memory card. The card fits in snugly in the slot and clicks once inserted completely. This time the card went into the slot as usual but it did not click. I turned my laptop around to find that I had unknowingly inserted the card into the DVD slot! Checkout how close the two slots are.

Right away I knew I was in trouble. I tried to pry it out with a pin only to push it in further. Then Pratheek came out with his Swiss knife which had small forceps in it. Although I could slide the card between the forceps, the card wouldn’t budge. Then he brought out another pair of forceps but it was firmly wedged in. It had been 15 mins and we had run out of ideas. None of us knew what to do. So we sang “Om jai jagadish hare...” After finishing the song Sharath noticed that the card was stuck at a corner. So he asked me to push it away from there and sure enough, it neatly came out J

Friday, January 29, 2010

Here is why...

It was back in October 2008 when I went on my first trek. Since then I have been on seven more treks. Although that is not much, some of my friends and relatives have come to think of me as a big time trekker! I must admit, I kind of like that :) But every once in a while people ask me, ‘why do you go on treks?’ and I have never been able to give them a satisfactory answer. I find it very difficult to explain it in one or two simple sentences. So this is my attempt at explaining why I go on treks.

The Place:
Right from my school day, I have always had a desire to travel. Travel shows used to be and still are one of my favourite. When I first started trekking, the fascination of going to a new place was the only driving force. None of my friends were keen on trekking. So when I went on my first trek with Club Adventura, I did not know even a single person in the group. I was there just to see the place.
The whole of first trek was through thick evergreen forests of Western Ghats and even at the mountain top we were not able to get a clear view due to the forest cover. But after a couple of treks I realised that the places we visited looked far more beautiful compared to commercial tourist places. One of the problems of tourist places is that there are simply too many people around. A place that would otherwise have been serene and beautiful becomes cluttered and noisy and polluted. Since the trekking spots are generally not easily accessible we normally have the place for ourselves. To top it all up, you get to sleep on mountain tops under starry skies and wake up to breathtaking sunrises or a waterfall!

Simple pleasures:
I know this is a cliché. But it’s true. Simple things like a piece of fruit or some small snack suddenly tastes delicious after a day’s trek. Adventura plans treks in such a way that we generally come across a small waterfall somewhere towards the end of the trek. I just love them. There is nothing like having a bath in a waterfall and playing in those shallow streams. Damn I need to learn swimming!

The Escape:
I work in Bangalore. So in the beginning weekends meant loafing around malls with friends. But after a while it got boring. And by Sunday evenings I would feel that I had completely wasted the weekend having done nothing. Now when there is a trek planned, there is something really exciting to look forward to. It’s a great escape from routine.

The Adventure:
I am sure everyone likes adventure. But there are some of us who are just not cut out for it. I am one of them. I was extremely scared of heights. I am still claustrophobic. I can’t stand cold. I easily get sunburnt and I can’t swim. But then it is very exciting to stand at the edge of a cliff or jump off one with a paraglidder.

We usually trek on weekends and it’s amazing how friendly we get with complete strangers in just two days. On a trek we are away from everything else that can be otherwise distracting. So it’s easier for everyone to mingle. And since there is nothing else to do we have enough time to share long stories or stupid jokes or sing old hindi songs or dance to new ones. Apart from this I also get to see a lot of different people and their lifestyle. It gives me a different perspective of the world around.

I don’t have to say much here. If you are a photographer, you’ll know that there are a lot of things that you just can’t do sitting at home.

The Challenge:
Apart from the people, the place, photography and everything else there is a sport angle to it. This was not so obvious to me at first. People used to tell stories about how they covered a 3 day trek in half the time and I remember asking ‘But why hurry? You had planned it for 3 days right?’. Now I know what they mean. There is a challenge involved. And that’s why we have a sense of accomplishment after finishing a trek. It’s a truly satisfying feeling which you have to experience to understand what I mean.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sona Mohapatra

Sometime back I heard this song called 'Abhi nahi aana...' by Sona Mohapatra. It had nice soothing music and the lyrics were also quite different.
Then a few days later I heard a feat of Sona with INXS! Amazing song again. Now Sona is back with another song... Check it out

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Saurkundi Pass Trek continued...

Day 9: Climb down to Lekhni

The next morning we were a little bit better. I had had dinner the previous night. It was my first meal after the breakfast on Day7 at Maylee. Surprising thing is that I never got hungry anytime. Although it was still snowing, the visibility was much better. This was the day to climb down. And damn, it was a steep descent. And the snow made it slippery. I must mention Rakesh here, who was finding it very difficult to get down. He was slipping every 5 steps. Soon enough he stopped getting up and started sliding down instead of walking down. It was quite funny and we still make fun of him sometimes J As we slowly climbed down, snow changed to fleet and then to rain. I must confess, by the time we reached Lekhni, I was in pretty bad shape again.

The camp at Lekhni was much better than the rest. We had a wooden house here with 2 floors. You can’t imagine how good it feels to get into a wooden house after sleeping in tents for so long and in such terrible conditions. Once inside we started discussing about what we were going to do with the extra 4 days that we had. Rakesh had already booked his train tickets to return soon after the trek. Santa and Ramesh were also in a mood to go back immediately. So they tried to prepone their plane tickets. But they found out that it would be too expensive to do so. All things apart, none of us were in a mood for another trek [as we had planned]. We decided that we’ll doing some site seeing around Manali. As the night drew closer we realised that there was not enough room for all of us in the house. So I decided to join some LNUP guys in a tent nearby.

Till that night I never really interacted much with the LNUP guys. But that night there was no one from Adventura in that tent apart from me. Shailendra Barange was always friendly with me throughout the trek and he started talking to me. Soon enough all the LNUP guys were interviewing me! They would shoot questions one after the other in a kind off ragging way. I was not the least bit intimidated though. For one all these guys were younger than me and also there was Barange who was taking my side. Once they were done questioning me, we actually started talking. Not some useless chatter, but actual serious talk. As expected there were a lot of stories about the girls they liked. I was surprised to hear them talk so openly to me. It was as if I was chatting with my college buddies.

Day 10: Back to base camp

Next day it was a short trek down to ‘Aloo Maidan’ from where we boarded a bus back to Babeli. Once back in Babeli, we cleaned up and were out in the evening enjoying the masala papads again. There was river rafting going on in the river right in front of us, but we were specifically told not to go there. But then ‘Baba’ came to us with a friend of his and said they were 4 people short to go rafting. Ramesh and I agreed but we could not find anyone else. So, the four of us went rafting. I was rafting for the first time and I enjoyed it. There were not many rapids though. But the fun element of it kind of fades when u get wet and it starts getting cold. We left the base camp the next day and headed off to Manali

Roaming around in Manali:

  • Roamed around Manali in the evenings (eating jalebies)
  • Visited the Hidimba Temple
  • Visited Snow point
  • Visited Vasisth.
  • Did paragliding. A jump off a cliff of 3500 feet! (This was the highlight of the trip for me)
  • Visited Roerich Memorial
  • Visited Naggar castle