November 27, 2011

The Adventures Of Tintin , Reviewed By Tintin

 Being a huge Tintin fan and having the same as an alias name (for obvious reasons) this movie was something which was not meant to be missed. Before I was caught on by the Harry Potter fever , was hooked big time to comics, with the jewel on the crown being Tintin and Asterix comics. Still remember the day in 6th grade when my friendly neighbourhood library started to stuff 2nd hand Tintin comics. Everyday I would be excited to pick up yet another book of the series paying 3 buck rental (against 1 buck for other books :P, demand & supply gap I presume :P) and when a "not so small" boy started to fantasize about some out of the world adventures (Destination Moon/Explorers on the Moon :) ). Still to this day I enjoy going through the entire collection I have in form of pdf documents, a return back straight to my childhood. Hence in short this movie was something more than any random movie that I was going to watch.

Now shifting focus to the actual movie. Frankly speaking I expected a lot more from this adaptation, and I presume it is the common consensus among Tintin fans. First and foremost the movie doesnt really captures the feel one gets while reading the comic strip. Even though the initial storyline was pretty faithful to the comic book, it was a tad too boring. Only from the 2nd quarter does the pace pick up. But on the other hand it has an awesome viewer experience with respect to motion capture technique adopted by Spielberg which brings life to the comic characters and an equally mesmerizing 3D content. So in short those who haven't read the comics before will enjoy the most as everything is completely new to them (my mom loved it :)), and it is not one of those movies like Harry Potter where you have to read the book before you see the movie to understand each and every angle. As expected Snowy (the dog) was at its comical best, to draw in more children/adult crowd alike.

The makers of the movie have tried to mash 3 books into one (Secrets of the Unicorn, Red Rackhams Treasure and Crab with the Golden claws), with a generous additions of their own to make the transitions seamless. This was done obviously since content of a single book (with just 62 pages of comic strip) was way below the content required to make a movie. So we can expect to get sequel movies for those comics which had continuity into another book (Destination Moon/Explorers on the Moon, Seven Crystal Balls/Prisoners of the Sun etc)

Overall I would rate the movie just above average at around 3.5/5, especially for its visual content than its storyline. But one undeniable fact is "Tintin literate" base is gonna swell and the comic sales is gonna soar because of this movie. A whole new generation is going to discover TINTIN :). 

November 21, 2011

Things To Do Before I Go Kaput !!!!!!!

What do I want from my life ???!!!!!.... A weekend spent wondering on these things resulted in a Bucket List consisting at present 60 items (present count) which I want/ed to do in my life. Also I included stuff which I wanted to do previously and was successful in doing so, in order to not be unfair on those pointers. Even though inspired from the movie of the same namesake, where a couple of terminally ill old dudes try to live the last few days of their life to the fullest, I would prefer a more balanced approach hence the timing :).

Click Here ----- > My Bucket List

P.S> I would encourage the reader of this blog to also come up with their own bucket list. Its always interesting to know what made into their list.

November 2, 2011

Mullayanagiri -> Bababudangiri : Traversing through Karnataka's Stratosphere

 This trek was pretty much an unexpected one. Had got a weekend off from college thanks to Deepavali and with continuous holidays we planned for at least a 2 day trek. A bit of googling and the destination was decided to be "Mullayangiri to Bababudangiri" trek on day 1 and trek to Kalhattigiri/Jenukal falls the next day. In short we were having 2 single day treks :). Total headcount was just 5 (Vineeth, Shashi, Jenny, Manju and Myself) and we had rented a sumo (since there is very sparse public transportation available near our trek region) with a psycho driver behind the wheels.

29th Oct 2011 (Sarpadhari-Mullayangiri-Bababudangiri 15kms)

Climb to Mullayangiri via Sarpadhari
Explorers of the Darkness
Everyone was picked from respective stops and we were on our way to Chikmagalur at around 11.30 pm. Night matured and people started to feel drowsy, so much so that all the occupants of the cab were sleeping including the driver :P. Initially we suspected that he was snoozing behind the wheels , but it was confirmed for sure when he banged the sumo to a divider, well at least sideways, waking up all of us with a bang , and with a jolt where I felt I was really done for :P. After this we ordered the driver to sleep if he is feeling too drowsy. And by then I had decided that this is the last time we will be hiring a taxi to travel during a overnight journey. Overall we had an uncomfortable sleep , thanks to the hopeless seats of the sumo and driver playing 5 -6 kannada haunted songs on infinite loop till the morning. Dont know whether that helped him in any way or not, but we surely had a "Halloween Sleep":P.

Some 60 m inside the cave

Reached Chikmagalur, had our breakfast and packed our lunch. It was time to go in search of the starting point of the trek to Mullayangiri , ie Sarpadhari. Started from the Sarpadhari arch at around 8 am in the morning and at this time of the day the entire path was filled with mist. So we were void of any views , but trekking in mist offers a different type of enjoyment. Within an hour an half we reached the famed caves of Mullayangiri, which is just 10 mins walk from the peak. There were basically 2 caves and we decided to explore one of them which seemed to run into great distance. But being a little claustrophobic, I was little hesitant in the beginning , but couldn't resist the opportunity of missing an adventure. So off we went inside the cave system , armed with flashlights and nothing else. With me crawling up first, my first job was to check the ground for any sort of reptiles which might have crawled into this for shelter and later the roof for any sign of bats, and to my utter amazement there were a lot of bats in this cave system. Initially we were scared of the bats that they might attack us, but later we came to know that these are really misunderstood creatures. We crawled for some 60-70 meters deep into the cave and still the end was not in sight. At one point we switched off our lights and there was absolute darkness, unlike anything I have experienced, not a single ray of light seeping in. Not sure how long this tunnel goes, but we decided to return back since we had a long trek ahead.

Mullayangiri peak, at 1930m
The Ridge Path ahead
Went up to the peak, where there is a temple and also a motorable road which comes directly till the peak. We were now at the highest point in Karnataka at 1930 m. Rested a bit at the peak and started to move towards Bababudangiri after taking route advice from the priest. Now the entire path till the Bababudangiri was walking along a mountain ridge, hence a lot of ups and downs along the ridge. Soon enough the mist/cloud cleared and we were getting some beautiful vistas. Greenery everywhere and drops on the either sides. The initial part of ridge walking was not that difficult at all and soon enough we reached a point where we had to cross a road and continue along the ridge. Now this part of the ridge was narrow, had nearly 300 foot drops on either sides and had some scare quotient. At some places the walk was a bit challenging and hence this was not exactly beginners cup of tea. Soon we reached the BSNL tower after enduring sun,rain, mist and some breathtaking views. Beside the tower was a cozy lake where we rested for some time. From here Bababudangiri was 2 kms and at around 3:45 pm we reached the place.

Steep 300ft drops

Had some junk food at the local shops, got some firewood from this place to cook our dinner and by 5 pm we were moving towards Galikere, our camping spot (4 kms motorable road from Bababudangiri). When we left Bababudangiri it was a  bright day with very few clouds and at the end of our 4km ride to Galikere the entire sky was covered with rainclouds and it had started to rain. Freaky Nature !!!!!! . By the time we collected all our belongings and walked the last 100 m towards the lake we were literally in middle of a thunderstorm. Wind blowing at nearly 50-60 kmph and having no other option we took shelter inside a concrete structure, built quiet near to the lake. Seeing the intensity of the rain we decided to pitch the tents inside the shelter which can accommodate only one tent and hence we ended up with 5 people inside a 3 man tent.

Carpet of Flowers
Lake near the BSNL tower
Anyway with such a wind gust we still decided to start a bonfire to cook our food, thanks to some amount of petrol we had. But I did a really dumb thing, pouring petrol directly on a open flame and within no time the flames were burning on the mouth of the petrol can , just seconds away from becoming a full blown petrol bomb. I don't know what possessed me, but instead of throwing it away as far as possible I started to blow at the flame trying to extinguish it !!!!!!!!!!!! :P. Thankfully that worked :D. After that have lot of respect for petrol :P. After several attempts to start the fire we gave up and resorted to eating cold bread and jam. Spent some time playing dumb-charades inside the tent when the storm was lashing outside. Visibility was less than couple of meters with no one venturing outside that.  Within no time our tent was wet and water was seeping through. We could have only imagined what would have happened to us if there was no shelter :).

Reflection Photography

30th Oct 2011( Kalhattigiri/Jenukal Falls)

In Search of the falls
Kalhattigiri/Jenukal Falls
By morning the rain had subsized a bit. But still the entire place was engulfed in mist and it was freezing like hell. We packed our stuff and waited for our taxi who by the way had decided to bunk for the night in Bababudangiri. He arrived and after some scary hair raising moments managed to reverse the taxi. We went directly to Kalhatti falls , with a tea break in Bababudangiri and breakfast at Kalhatti falls.

The destination for today was kalhattigiri/jenukal falls which is around 5 kms walk from the similiarly named kalhatti falls. Took some tips from a local on the route but resisted hiring a guide, to increase our adventure quotient. Initial path of the trek goes through the coffee plantations and gradient gradually rises. There were a lot of crossroads and we literally took a pick among those randomly. We climbed and we climbed. After climbing for some 2 hrs we came to a point where we were in an adjacent hill to the falls, but we were unable to switch between the hills since the path was near impossible. With the path towards the falls having 1/2 foot of bog and it was a tough task climbing on this slippery substance. Now we knew for sure that we were lost and there was no option than returning back. Returned back to a crossroad and took the proper turn and now were in direct view of falls, but minus an hours climb. Anyway we gave up the idea of going further upstream, but still the view of this literally unknown falls from this spot was majestic. Had a half an hour dip in the mini waterfalls downstream of the main falls and returned back to the parking lot at around 3 pm, alighted with our taxi and started the return journey back to Bangalore. Reached Blore at around 9:15pm and reached home at around 10.45pm.

Our Jacuzzi Point

Overall in my opinion this was a very unique trek , with caving, ridge walking,water falls exploring etc thrown into a gravy named trekking. A change which I require at regular intervals, like regular adrenaline shots into my blood stream :).

Trek Details --->

Total Trek Distance(for both the treks) --> 15+8 kms
Difficulty Level ---> Between Easy and Intermediate (Some sections of ridge walking requires experience).
Total Cost Per Head --> 1800 bucks
Mobile Signal Info---> BSNL, Vodafone at many places

Rough Path of the Trail (Follow the Ridge)

Trail Marked in Red, Blue is the motorable route

Snaps Link ---->

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