November 24, 2010

A Road Less Travelled

 I shall be telling this with a sigh
 Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
...Robert Frost

That is a part of the poem written by Robert Frost and totally appropriate for so many day to day scenarios happening in my life. Why is that people including me always want to travel via the well threaded path, not taking a path in life which is not even minutely uncomfortable. Is it the fear of complete failure that drives people not to take risk with these paths or because of sheer laziness.

Human mind is one of those medical marvels and we are still clueless as how it works, but there is one thing I understood. Challenges keeps the mind fresh and in top shape. Even if the mind opposes any challenges (as with the majority of the human population.. :P ) , having a goal in life is very important, else the mind becomes dormant and in the end what we get is a completely disgruntled personality who complains about everything in his life. Hence the problem lies within, not in the world around us, we have to take charge of our life instead of "going with the flow" attitude.

After working nearly 3+ years in the software industry when I look back I dont feel I did anything worthwhile. Which was not the case before that. When in school my aim (at least subconsciously :) )was to get good percentage and a good education. After that came PU education where the goal was to  secure a seat in a good college and with my preferred branch. In engineering college the goal was to get placed in an awesome tech company. Everything was fine until then. Even though it was hard, I was satisfied.  But when the professional career began the illusion which I had in my childhood regarding a working person shattered. All the goals went down the drain. I used to think that working people are so cool, no worries, just work maadi and get money in tons. Its true that life becomes a lot more comfortable with money and time. But I couldnt figure out the frustration and irritation one is made to undergo during the professional career. Now I have come to the conclusion that the days back then were much better than the soup we are in right now.

Some time back I came across an article about "Quarter Life Crisis". And if you compare with what I have told above with the symptoms of the crisis there is as striking similarity. With all probability I might be suffering from that, but not to a serious extent. And not just me, there is lot of  frustration in this age group. Some live with it, some focus their attention away from it (like how I was doing so far) and some face it head on.

Finally after nearly 1 year of scratching my head I have come to the conclusion to have goals at any point of my life. The goals might be with respect to professional career or on the personal front. Can be either long termed or short termed. "Travel frequently on the less threaded path , if not always" will henceforth be my  motto.Goals which I will be proud to achieve and make me feel that my life on this planet was not totally worthless :).

November 19, 2010

Ondhu Masala Movie

Recently me and my brother gave a drama performance at our sisters wedding. Script written jointly by us.... Ondhu Masala Movie... it had all the elements of a masala movie... fights, dance , dialogues and twists :P.... It was so much fun practicing and giving a performance in front of live audience, in spite of blunders in dancing and forgetting the dialogue :P.

Dedicated to Megha and Guru , Wishing you guys a great married life :)

P.S. -> Dialogues in Kannada

November 17, 2010

The Bangs & The Booms Of Deepavali

Bang Bang Bang
Bang Bang Zamaana Bole
Boom Boom Boom
Boom Boom Deewaana Bole

This is a song from a Salman Khan movie and during the Deepavali festival I was humming it every time there was an ear splitting explosion , and no need to further specify the intensity with which these things happen during the festival. It has been nearly 11 years since I renounced firing crackers and promote for a safe and green Deepavali. Not that I was thinking about the environment back then and it was more of my lack of interest in firing the same stuff year after year.. again and again. But whenever anyone asks I always tell its for the environment and it appears so much elegant :P.

You really have to be a bystander to actually absorb the intensity with which these crackers explode. Really gives a big headache. And these things didnt figure out in my list of things when I was playing with them long back. Just overlooking their imperfections. The day after deepavali is usually a sorry state to witness.... million bits of papers strewn across the roads, the tinge of gun powder smell in the air. Usually during the Deepavali night a thick layer of smoke engulfs the city during the night, the pollution levels goes for a toss. Also the stuff of child labour being used for the manufacture of the firecrackers makes one sad.

But coming to good side of this festival beautiful fireworks in the night sky, decorating ones house beautifully with traditional oil lamps and last but not the least, the food , the sweets and the festive atmosphere. Hence reinforcing the concept that everything has a good side as well as an ugly side to it. The only thing that matters is how a balance is maintained between them and never letting the bad overtake the good. But the so called tagline of Deepavali is nothing but  "Triumph of the good over evil" ,which in my opinion can never be achieved. But as mentioned Balance is what matters :)

Clicked some snaps on the deepavali night from the terrace . To click them timing is the most important factor, one fraction of a second delay and you miss the shot...... hence didnt get anything spectacular. ;(

November 8, 2010

Road To Kasaragod

Off late our bike rides are finding very few takers , and considering the number of disastors happening in the last few months one wouldnt blame them. More or less this has not been a good year for biking, with only 3 successful bike trips(including this one) against 7 last year. For this ride to Kasargod too we had a hard time getting the number of bikers to a respectable number, not that the guys are less enthuiastic about biking, various circumstances like being out of the country , not getting the necessary permission from home etc etc. In the end we had 4 guys ready for the bike trip (Manju, Santhosh, Nagesh and Myself) on 3 bikes.

The plan was to go to Kasaragod via Bhagamandala and come back via Hassan completing a circle at reaching Bangalore. I had been to most of the sight seeing places we had planned , since my moms hometown is very close to Kasargod town on the Karnataka-Kerala border, but I had never biked to this place so this was a trip down memory lane for me. An unadulterated biking experience :).

Day 1
29th Oct 2010
Bangalore -> Mysore (130 kms) 
Old habits die hard, and having no further comments we left Bangalore only at around 9 pm a good 3 hours behind schedule. Even after doing this stretch 'n' number of times , riding again in the same conditions and same time of the day doesnt make it less exciting. Met the others at Kengeri and started towards Mysore. The weather was very pleasant, just on the verge of a full fledged winter.  

Had our dinner at the completely desolate Kaadu Mane.... I presume that this hotel is not popular compared to other hotels enroute(Kamats, MTR etc) and the food was ok, nothing much to write about. After taking breaks at regular intervals we finally managed to reach Mysore at 1 am and went directly to Govardhan Hotel (our usual bunking place in Mysore :P ) since we didnt have the patience to search for hotels in this graveyard shift. Got a dormitory type room and we snoozed the night off.

Day 2 
30th Oct 2010
Mysore->Bylakuppe->Madikeri->Bhagamandala->Kasaragod (270kms)

Having slept pretty late the previous night we had no chance of leaving early, so taking our own time at getting ready we managed to leave Mysore only at around 9 am. The sun was up in the sky and at regular intervals there was cloudy periods the entire day which is really a blessing when riding in a bright sun. 

The ride from Mysore  was smooth... Roads perfect. With a double road accompanying us some 30 kms from the city and after that a normal 2 lane road, winding left and right smoothly. By around 11.30 am we reached Bylakuppe. Here we need to take a diversion to the right for some 7 kms for the famous Golden Temple. This Tibetan monastery is very famous in this part of the world and I was wondering why have these refugees settled so far away from their home town. But on a serious note it must be really frustrating to flee ones own land and live in other country where I dont think they feel at home.

Golden Temple-Bylakuppe

As we parked our vehicles and went inside the temple premises , we got to witness the beauty of this place. The entire premises was soothing to ones soul.Also it was interesting to witness the buddhist culture so near to ours but still far apart. Went inside the main temple where there are huge statues (20 feet tall) of Buddha and his various avathara's. Spent nearly 2 hours exploring the premises, explored the gifts shops opposite to the temple and had our first taste of tibetan food. We tasted Veg Momo's, I would say a bit blunt for Indian tastes. Further had  various types of noodles/soup.

Stone Reflection

At around 2.30 pm we left this place towards Madikeri. The roads on this sides of the ghats were wide , winding and awesome. We rode at a good pace and reached Madikeri and without any stop at this place moved towards Talakaveri , the birth place of river Cauvery which is a good 45 kms from this town. The roads after Madikeri goes to dogs and there are huge craters on the entire path. Took a diversion towards Bhagamandala some 2 kms after Madikeri and the roads become very narrow. The road conditions were decent. Just then the clouds open up and we were caught up in a downpour. We stopped at Bhagamandala and were mulling our options whether to continue towards Talacauvery and further towards Kasaragod the same night. The tea stall guy nearby informed us that the road to Kasaragod is via a dense jungle and it might not be a good idea to ride after dark in such heavy rains.

After a bit the rains subsidized and decided to continue on. We first moved towards Talacauvery , but were stopped at the base by cops saying vehicle moment is banned after 6 pm and it was very close to that. Disappointed we moved on since the views from the top of Talacauvery was simply awesome for both the times I had visited this place.

From Bhagamandala we entered the Talacauvery Reserve forest. This forest is as dense as one could possibly be in the western ghats. There is 6 ft wide single lane road running the entire distance to Panathur. The road condition is decent with few potholes here and there. Soon enough the rains started again and we were riding through the dense forest and by this time the the sun light had completely faded out. Given the small road, absense of sunlight and the dense jungle surrounding us we were getting a feelling of riding through a tunnel, a tunnel made of trees. This ride of around 35 kms to Panathur was simply awesome and the high point of the ride. The vehicular traffic on this road is very minimum and could be counted with ones fingers.  

We reached Panathur which signifies the end of the forest and beginning of Kerala state. From here onwards we were back to civilization. Totally drenched in rain we moved further. But by this time one of the guys received a call of an emergency at home. So he decided to return back to Bangalore by taking some bus or taxi from Kasargod the same day. The road till Kanhangad is good, but after that it was so damn hopeless and added to that vehicular traffic was at its peak making it a forgetable ride. At around 11.30 pm we reached Kasaragod, but the last bus to Bangalore had long departed at 9.30 pm. So having no other option we decided to cut short the trip and return to Bangalore the next day in bikes.

Divine Light

Day 3:
31st Oct 2010
Kasaragod->Jalsoor->Sullia->Madikeri->Mysore->Bangalore (360 kms)
Road To My Moms Place
One of the most popular places to visit is the Bekal Fort some 15 kms from the Kasargod city. I had been to this place some 2 years back and this place is perched right at the coast giving a awesome strategic view of the sea, beaches and the rocks below. An awesome sunset at this place is surely guarenteed. One can explore this place in some couple of hours. The song "Tu Hi Re" from the film Bombay was shot at this place only.
Kasargod-Jalsoor Road

We got up at around 7.30 am and got ready to leave directly to Bangalore without any pit stops enroute. Left Kasargod at around 8.30 am and decided to take the better and shorter route to Bangalore via Jalsoor. Drove on the NH-17 till Cherkala and here we took a left and we were on the awesome road to Jalsoor. I had been on this road so many times, but never on my bike. Again this route is surrounded by dense jungles and small hamlets enroute. After Jalsoor we entered the Mangalore - Madikeri route and this was disappointing. Our pace slowed down a lot negotiating the potholes and the fact that we were climbing up the ghats didnt make matters better. The views at ghats were beautiful as always. After Madikeri the roads become good and from here onwards we had a non-stop ride to Bangalore with pit stops at Kushalnagar for lunch and snacks at Maddur (the famous Maddur vade).

Moon Craters -Sullia to Madikeri Route

The total ride distance on this day was close to 360 kms the longest I have driven in a single day. Even though the others kept swapping, I rode the entire distance since I am more or less scared sitting pillion in a bike when riding at speeds of 70+ :P. And to be frank I was not tired at all, apart from the horrible pain in the bottom due to hopeless pulsar seats offering very little cushioning. We reached Bangalore at around 6.30 in the evening, completing the journey in around 10 hrs.

In the end our biking urges were satisfied. It had been a long time since we had a pretty successful ride and not sure when will we again go on such a long ride. Would like to end this post with a funky quote so appropriate to biking :P

"Riding a bike is like watching a 3-D movie, you get all those special effects which is absent while driving a 4-wheeler"

Trip 'O' Meter -> 760 kms
Total Cost Per Head -> Around 1.8 k

Pics Link->
Route Map
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