Thursday, December 21, 2006


Another Year End.. Another X'mas at the door step..
I have fond memories to cherish.
Off life, rides, friendship and love.
With those, let me walk into a new year.
And you too, with your beautiful, colourful and lovely life

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

a ride to smile..

At the end of it Abhi’s Mom asked –“Are you guys contended?”

At the beginning of it my Dad shouted –“We don’t like you doing this idiot showmanship. Who do you think you are? Why can’t you just concentrate on your job or don’t you have anything else to do? ”
At the end of it there was nothing achieved, but a mere sense of satisfaction of driving through the tea estates, of hearing the beat of two birds, of experiencing adrenaline rush while climbing uphill with the back wheel skidding and moving from one place to another, and last but not the least a rendezvous with fresh air atop Calvary Mount.

At the beginning of it there was lots of planning, exchange
of emails, Herculean tasks of getting leaves approved, maintaining the
birds fighting fit, and finally all the way just getting mentally prepared for
‘The destination – Munnar’.
We look like outlaws inspiring admiration everywhere we go. We’ve left civilization behind and we are much closer to the land. -Ernesto “Che” Guevara: The Motor Cycle Diaries
I and Abhi didn’t look like outlaws. We may or may not have been admired everywhere we went, but we surely left civilization behind and were close to the land. Close to the fresh cool air of the lower Sahyadris. We traveled a mere 806 kilometers from Bangalore to Ernakulam through Munnar and Thekkadi, but thought we had experiences to share…

The experience of Zero Visibility on the fast and furious Hosur-Krishnagiri road was right on top The day, Nov 25-2006, started early for us, as we had to cut through the busy city traffic. Hosur road was still busy at 5.30 am. As we filled our tanks and proceeded further, thick fog descended and even with headlight it was almost zero visibility ahead. With our visors getting fogged we realized that we are crawling at 20-30kmph and decided to take a tea break. We stood at the Reliance A1 Plaza for around 15 minutes, but no respite with the fog, it was still going strong. So we decided to move ahead even if it was at 30kmph we are moving. What made us sad was the fact that we were on the road where we should be cruising at 80+, but it’s no good challenging nature, so just went along. Things got better and we were moving faster and at Dharmapuri we had our breakfast. The geography was plain, dry and hot and we stopped only at 70-80 kilometer intervals. At Avanashi (40kms from Coimbatore), Abhi’s cousin Manu was waiting to join us on this venture with his Kinetic Blaze. We were then off to have some food. We were to hit Palladam and then proceed to Udumalpet, and Udumalpet was our camping place for Day 1.

From Avanashi, it’s a state road that goes to Palladam and a few kilometers from there we were greeted by an overflowing river. The road was so low and the river decided to flow over the road. But thankfully it was shallow and water currents were not too strong. The water almost touched the foot rest of my bike when I crossed it. It was the first time I & RED was facing so much water, but since the road below was good, there weren’t any problems except for the fact that I had to balance her very well.

Palladam to Udumalpet was a good state highway and we just ripped through. Curvy at times flat and straight sometimes and there I touched my first 100kmph on RED. Udumalpet has a lot of wind mills and we rightly stopped everywhere to take pictures. We rode leisurely as our camping point was nearing and finally checked into the Anamalai Hotels, which they say is a 3 Star hotel where we got a decent double room for a shocking tariff of Rs 450/-.

Next day we started at 7.00 am. Munnar was a mere 90 kms from the starting point. The road promised to be good at the start but soon it was getting bad and finally a few kilometers into the forests it just gave up to become worse. In fact, the road simply ceased to exist. All we saw was mud, stones and gravel. And to worsen the situation a guard at a check post told us that there is no road to Munnar and you can go ahead only at your own risk. There wasn’t any alternate route; he added. We stopped there for a while and a million dollar thought about further course of action. As a ray of hope, we saw some motorcycles going ahead, but we were not sure how far they will go. Our only option was to ride ahead or to return to the base. We decided to give it a shot and started our bikes and were going at steady 10-15kmph. But it was tough to ride on a road less terrain where you find hard stones, loose gravel and sand which will spoil your tyre and helps only in skidding of the bike rather than riding smoothly. A few kilometers into this rollercoaster, a lorry came across us. We stopped and asked the driver about the road condition ahead. He said it was like that for 2 more kilometers and after that it should be fine. We were relieved to hear this and soon we did hit a smooth road. By this time we had entered the Chinnar forest range and were nearing Kerala Check post. It was lush green all around. We did enter our names and travel details at the Chinnar check post as required, and I could see some kind of admiration in the officer’s eyes. At the vehicle type column in his log book when I proudly wrote Bullet, a smile spread across his lips. Am sure he must have seen many passing across that check post, many a wanderers like us.

En-route we virtually stopped everywhere we could and took pictures. In that God’s Own Country wherever you point your camera, there was nothing but amazing views. At Maraiyur we had fabulous breakfast- chappathi and meat fry and meat roast. Munnar was now 40 kms away and tea gardens / estates welcomed us.
We rode through windy roads of Kannan Devan Hills capturing the moments in frame and mind. And as I rode my lips synched with that beautiful ballad –Country Roads Take Me Home- that was playing in my mind. We decided not to have lunch as we had a very late breakfast and rode to Thekkadi. The idea was to take the NH49 till Pooppara and then take on the state highway 17 to Thekkadi. Everything went smooth; we had intermittent stops taking pictures and then riding ahead, some where in between all this we even feasted on a cup of great tea and pazhampori’s (Ripe Banana’s Deep Fried in Coconut Oil). I was at times getting irritated with the kind of stops we were having every now and then as it spoiled the momentum or rather the beauty of this ride, but then one just couldn’t help admiring beauty of mother earth, a natural feast for the eyes. But soon we hit the tough and rough ride as we reached Puliyanmala. From there on the road was nothing less than disastrous with potholes and more potholes. They were really deep at some places and whoever was the point among us kept signaling each other about the potholes. It was a horrible experience and after those horrible 20kms finally we reached Kumili which is the base of Thekkadi. Thekkadi Lake was just 4 kms from there. We settled at Abhi’s cousin’s house. The night ended a bit later than normal for us since Abhi’s cousin took us out for a great dinner.

The final day of the trip dawned and we had to reach Abhi’s house at Ernakulam. We tried checking in at the Lake, but the entry cost we favoured a decision otherwise!. We had to come back to Puliyanmala as we decided to return via Kattappana-Thodupuzha. Even though we were aware of the road conditions, overnight rains made it worse than the day before. The road was wet and the on-going road widening jobs made even the actual road muddy. It was just a muddy watery road for a few kilometers. Application of brakes was impossible and I could feel the tyres skidding. Somehow, we were able to ride on and hit Puliyanmala. From there the road to Kattappana was good. But heights of tough experiences were yet to come.

We stopped at Anchuruli for a break and while Manu was taking pictures some locals suggested that we should visit the top of the hillock so that we could get more picturesque views and some good photographs too. There was a narrow road that went uphill and soon that turned to a normal village road. The soil was strong, but the climb was steep with water streams flowing downhill making deep tracks. Manu took a try on his Blaze, and he returned after sometime climbing half the distance. He thought it seemed to be fine and we too thought our Birds should just be able to handle it. We set off; little did we realize that it was raining uphill. It’s always that light drizzle that plays the spoilsport. Manu was the point and I followed him at a distance as I wanted to give him some space of his own and as we entered the rainy zone, I could see Manu’s bike skidding. It was getting tough for him, since the back wheel wasn’t getting a grip on the wet, hard soil –typical soil in Kerala- and as the back wheel rotated freely smoke came up from the burned rubber. I asked him to stop there and thought I would give it a try. I climbed up slowly and steadily, but I could feel the skidding and my back wheel was going places. I realized it was getting tough, but decided to move ahead as I had only few meters to cover. Then my front wheel stuck in a ditch and owasn’t moving ahead and at the same time I lost my balance. I could feel RED coming down to its left. I tried holding her with all my power, but it was tough for me and finally she came to rest on her footrest. With the heavy load on the Cramsters it was difficult for me to hold especially on that slippery surface. And as she lay there on her foot rest, I had spread my legs so wide that my left leg would not get hurt. I laid her to rest like that and waited for Manu and Abhi to help me. Abhi came running from long behind after parking his bike and Manu was just behind me. Three of us then pulled the bike to get it straight and tried to pull it somewhere, but the slippery surface only made it very difficult for us to balance the royal beast. So then I decided to start the bike and take it up. The electric starter came for help here. I put on it to the first gear and slowly increased the throttle. Abhi and Manu held the back side of the bike and pushed it slowly. RED moved up slowly and steadily, and the view that awaited us on top was breathtaking. The catchment area for Idukki Dam stood right front of us; green, serene and of course tempting.
After taking a few pictures we took the descend down. It was tougher than climbing as the slant was steep. With both breaks and the gear on first, and almighty in our hearts we came down without much hassles. There was a Holy Cross that stood at the point where we ended the descend, and there was another one at the top of the hill too. Even though it was put up by a different sect of Christianity I believed somewhere we had a helping hand right from there. It truly was; as “Sahaya Hastham” was inscribed on it which meant helping hand in Malayalam. And as me and Abhi analyzed later; this was the most unnecessary thing we had to do and it really required a divine intervention to solve!

Later, we rode ahead to Thodupuzha through the windy roads of SH33 which was smooth and spectacular. We stopped at the Calvary Mount to get another good view of the catchment area. This place is an Eco Tourism spot promoted by Govt. of Kerala. The view from there was nothing but breathtaking. This place was much better than Anchuruli as there was a proper road till some place and then we had to walk up a few meters.

We had lunch at Cheruthoni and proceeded faster to Thodupuzha. We stopped at times to capture our cherishing moments on the video and camera. We had the camera tied on to the Cramster bag and it shot each one of us riding sequences. Soon we had the rain run down putting us in a spot of bother since it was getting dark too. The roads were wider now and straight with minimal curves and vehicles were getting faster. We safely pulled ourselves into the rain coats and rode at a steady 40-50Kmph. By the time we reached Abhi’s house it was around 7.00 pm.

After 806 kms of journey span across three states and three days, riding across almost all kinds of terrain except snow, we stood there in front of Abhi’s house shaking hands and admiring our machines. They all performed well, responding to our requirements whenever we asked them to do it and made sure they never troubled us too. As Abhi and I were dismantling our luggage, we looked at those Royal Beasts and exchanged smiles. That smile explained everything, just a communication on its own when it is the two of us; the planning from the day we decided to go on a trip to the struggles we faced on the last day. This smile was what we achieved at the end of the day!

Still if I am asked ‘why do you ride’, I really have nothing to explain.

As Vibhu says may be life is like a map and it’s all about going through the roads on this map.
Or as Sachin Rao says it may be the feeling that a biker is never alone on the road.
Or as Gaurav Jani says it is that I am on my own terms while I ride solo.
Or as Robert M Pirsig says in Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintanence it may be the feeling that I am completely in contact with it all.

Or it may be that smile; that smiles of satisfaction we experienced across our lips at the end of journey.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

എന്റെ കേരളം .. സുവറ്ണ്ണ കേരളം

ഇന്ന്‌ ഐക്യകേരളത്തിനു അന്‍പതാം പിറന്നാള്‍.
ലോകമെംബാടുമുള്ള എല്ലാ മലയാളികള്‍ക്കും സുവറ്ണ്ണ കേരളപ്പിറവി ആശംസകള്‍.

Monday, October 30, 2006

a post that became royally published

So there I am, with my first official publishing of an article on the Internet(other than on blogs). Its the old trip story, but on a different site.

Yeah !

At the Royal Enfield Site Buddies. And the Trip Story is published under the name Chilling Alone In Chikmagalur

The mail saying that my article is published came today afternoon, and how much joy I had. It was a different feeling altogether. A few months back I was just a reader of those trip stories that got published on the RE site. While reading those, I sat in awe about the IndieThumpers, BikeNomads and those Solo Riders, thinking when will I do atleast 10% of what these guys are doing. I haven't even created a login then, to read about the technical discussions that went on in the site while PP and Abhi - who also were RE fans at that time like me - made and told me about various details about the bikes. I never thought about publishing one trip story there, but today I have put one there. And Today I and Abhi own two beautiful Royal Red Beasts, while PP is still contemplating on the upgradation from his Defintely Male All Black Pulsar 180 to the Thunderbird. I am sure he will be ready with a ravishing Black Bird for the Himalayan Odyssey.

Its an un explainable feeling to see your article published, up there somewhere, after all the editing and filtering. Be it on the Campus Magazine or the Newspaper or a local intranet. You read, read and read to know what all the editor has changed from the master copy that you sent him/her. Then you analyze the changes in language he/she made.

In this case they didn't do any editing, but a publication is a publication, and that too on the Royal Enfield Site. It may be a trivial thing, but for mortals like me it means a lot!!!.

Many Thanks for all those who make it a point to visit my blog and comment. And thanks for all the friends and family who were with me, as an invisible helping hand, throughout those 862 kms. Without you I wouldn't have made it :)

PS: I know this blog is becoming a bit monotonous these days, always about the bird. But that is what happen when people fall in love right? They always think about their soulmates :)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

'nick'ing me up

What’s there in a name? People would ask. What’s there in a nick name? I would say there is a lot in it. Especially in an “A-Peru” – the term which is used in North Kerala for Nick Names. “Inte A-perenthaado? Inikkithu vare A perittile aarum??” Such would be the questions from the cousins. I really don’t know how that name originated, but guess it might be a distant cousin of A-padam which meant Adult Only Movies. So A-peru may be name for Adults, but it never was.

Last week on someone’s blog I saw a nick name of someone and a few days before, me and my room mate were discussing about the different nick names my second room mate had. It made me nostalgic thinking of all those nice and funny names that I had over the period of time from the school days till this day. Then there were also the funny names around; of which I knew the origin, or I called most frequent. It was fun, even though many may not like it. And then it’s nostalgic too. So here I go with those names which were given to me at various stages of my life. Hope no one of those guys which I mentioned here mind.

Kozhi: The first and only genuine A-Peru I have maintained all through this life. I was blessed with that name in as early as 5th standard, where we all moved to the new school from different schools. As my surname and father’s name was Gopinath, I was assigned Kozhi from Gopinathan->Kozhinathan->Kozhi. See how villainous they were in naming me. But then there were also RajaVembala (from surname Rajagopalan), Boost (Due to the shape of the person), Kochimban (Due to hairy body I guess – name took from the character Kochimban Bear in Circussum Poraattavum, A Malayalam Supplement Book), Ittapush Vegetarian (God Knows the origin – the character was a Veggie Namboothiri) and AndiPottan (Another Fattie). There were a lot of people who used to call me once, now there are a few only, may be a Buzz on the chat window – “Eda Kozhiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii” – to which I will reply – “Podeeeeeee Boooooooooooooosteeeeeeeeeee”. He He .. Good Old Days.

Kannadakorappan: Again from school only, but not from my classmates. It in fact came from my sister’s class may due this spectacled boy’s frequent visits to their class, to ensure my little sis is not being teased by the naughty boys :) . She might have been the creator of it, though she never confessed it. Still sometimes I hear that once in a while, when she is so angry – “Poda Kannadakorappaaa”.

Kalippan: The Collegian Angry Young Man. But that didn’t come so soon, it took its time and came only after an year or so into the college basically when I moved into the phenomenon called Men’s Hostel, that too Government Men’s Hostel. Yea, as the name suggests I was a bit short tempered those days, you know angry young man who wants to change the world and all those blah blahs ;). I cannot say I was a bit short tempered; I was too much hot tempered. Getting angry for anything and everything that frustrated TP and ended every time he asking “Neeyenthinaa Choodavunnathu, Paranja Pore”. I hope that phase is over now; I am a lot calmer now :) And as a Kalippan I lived amongst some strange names called Petti (His nick is more famous than his name), Petti Abhilash (Just because Abhilash was Petti’s roommate), Dolby (for his DTS voice), Mammali (Of course Basheerian version of Mohd. Ali), Maaman, Pappan, Thadiyan, IB (since his father was in I.B, yeah Intelligence Bureau), Mathann, Maami, Puttu and what not.

DAN-GO: Well, it’s not a nickname or a pet name. It may be something in the middle. Anil wanted some sort of short names for everyone in the class at college for the E-Groups or something like that and that resulted in the birth of this name. It was the acronym he got from Dhanush Gopinath. Another one was put V-GAS also. Only very few like the Idiyan or the Dolby call me that name these days.

Dinkan: Then came this from the institute I worked as Lecturer. I never know what prompted my colleagues putting it up, but it happened one sudden day that they decided to call me by this name. May be Dhanush and Dinkan rhymed well. There were Hanuman (Due to Size), Gajju (Due to size and the actual name started with J), Kova, Vadivelu (Slim Beauty!!) and Ritchie (The colleague who instructed that we should teach C based on the book of Dennis Ritchie when Balaguruswamy was ruling the roost) along with me in that prestigious institution in Vadakara where I started my Lectureship days.

Puli: From the ITP days in MBT, an inapt name coined by dearest friends Kich and Seena. By the time I joined MBT I had a good understanding of Computer Subjects like Operating Systems, Data Structures, and C; mostly due to my teaching experience. And as we had to get trained in these subjects at MBT I used to teach these guys and other friends in our gang. That went on by them calling me Puli since they thought I am an expert in these subjects and also the guys who joined us in our house in Mumbai also started calling me the same name. Still now when Seena pop up on the chat window she screams “Da Puleee”.

Dhanno: It happened when I moved to Pune with Ramlal and Pillu. They found Dhanush to be too long and gave me the name of Basanti's Horse in the movie Sholay. On a Friday weekend Ramlal would come into cube and say "Challe Mere Dhanno, Ajinkya Chalthe hai aur woh Pillu Saab ko bhi bulathe hai". We were of to the Bar ani Restaurant next to our office. On a more lovelier note, they will even call me Dhanno Darlling. Chall-Dhanno is from were named this blog. As we moved into a bigger house my good friend Google (Whatever you discuss with him, this guy will have a relevant story to tell you, just like Google finds you the pages. No wonder he is achieving double the target in his sales.) and Ramlal's friend Jatt (The Haryanvi Body Builder) joined us. Jatt was much younger than us and he started calling us by suffixing Bhayya to our names. So I became Dhanno Bhaayya, and the rest Ramlal Bhayya, Pillu Bhayya and the funnier Google Bhayya :-).

Log Nishku: Those MBTian days (I was only a Tech Mahindrian for 7 days). Courtesy my Malayali friends there with whom I used to travel, party, drink, cook, play and eat. It was initially Still Photogrpaher Nischal Kumar (from the movie Kilukkam) shortened to Nishku, because in every trip I did with them I carried my camera. In the final trip I even carried my tripod and my luggage was so heavy. It then changed to Log Nishku because I once complained about the non-availability of enough logs in the system I was working on then. None of them calls me personally by that name, but in the group mailing lists the mail id is mapped to that name and also in mails we will address each other by these names when things get heated up ;). All of us has some name or other like a Maruthu Pandi (Beacuse he comes from Trivandrum and closer to Tamilnadu), Golconda Thampuran (Because his favorite brand was Golconda Brandy), Gemini Singh Aluwalia (For his liking for Punjaabi Kudis), Seedorf (The Brilliant FootBaller), Bullet Nitin (Nitin who owned Bullet Machismo) Vriddha Manavalan (A friend who married late, he claims to be 28 but we claim he is 35 ;) ) Pamman (For the "hot" stories he brings us about anything under the roof of MBT).

Ponmaatra and Vikraman: Thanks to Bangalore Boyz, I was blessed with two more names. Ponmaatra arrived during one drinking session where we were discussing about the film Thanmaatra and I said some blunder (due to the effects the drinks made in me), to which PophAbhi responded –“Nee Thanmaathrayallada Nee Ponmaatrayaa Ponmaatra” . Then onwards for a short period I was Ponmaatra until I spotted a horizontal lined white and grey T-Shirt. It didn’t take much time for them to come up with Vikraman. Yes you guessed it right, the dacoit in Mayavi in the Balarama Comics who spotted a similar kind of T-Shirt. But then as I live among Appooppan and Tommy, I shouldn’t mind it.

So these were all the ones I could remember, the nick names from the past and present, the A-Peru’s that made me famous and infamous and the identities one will find in me. Whenever I go back to these nick names, there is a unique joy which comes from deep within the heart that reminds me of those phases of my life during which I was named. It is still fun and joy, when some one calls me by that name err by that A-Peru.

Now I know all of you guys will be having that sweet smile in between your lips thinking of what to call me next time you meet me. But I bet you will be confused which one to select.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

she held on.. we made it ..

I was getting frustrated as the VijayaDashami long weekend approached. My long weekend plans were appearing to get disrupted; with my friend Abhi not able to join me here in Bangalore due to unavoidable circumstances. I didn’t know what to do until I thought about going myself out to some where from the city. I wanted to go out but didn’t know where to until Tanuja’s blog pointed me to Chikmagalur. Chikmagalur was around 240 kms from here, and I needed some one with me atleast as a pillion.
And as I asked around about the place people told me about the places I should see, routes I should take and even about the hotels I could stay. But no one was ready to come. My last hope was my roommate Aravind, but he also had some problems in joining me. On Thursday I came across an article in bike nomads - I was researching through different sites of biking for tips, locations and driving routes - where the author Sachin Rao had emphasized the need of traveling solo on the bike. That along with the teaser of the documentary that won founder Gaurav Jani accolades, acted as the catalyst for me to set out solo. Then there was my hostel mate and batch mate Arun U. R who rides a Thunderbird and most of the times solo. He was the inspiration for me to biking and long rides, and of course getting the Bird. I always have long discussions with him about the bike. And on Thursday night too we had one long discussion about riding solo, things I should take care while driving, spares I should carry with me and other general stuff. He told me to go ahead and wished me good luck.
Still I was not sure, whether to go ahead or not. There were a lot of people discouraging me. Yea, they were true in the sense that I was alone and if I needed any help en-route I had nobody except the nature and the public. And then I have to convince my people back home about why I am going. That was a big task, but I had a way to tackle it.
By Friday morning I was decided, that come what may I am going ahead. I will ask around for one last time in the office, if any one was ready I will get them along, otherwise I am going alone. I went to the Royal Enfield showroom with the bike. They tuned the carburetor for me and showed me how to change the clutch cable and accelerator cable and checked the bike all in all. When I went to the office my teammates were still skeptical about my journey. But I was decided, I am going. I googled and found out the routes, took the necessary printouts for my help and talked to a colleague of mine who have been to Chikmagalur and Kudremukh. In the afternoon I went and bought the Cramster Saddle bags as I didn’t want to carry the luggage on my shoulders.
By evening I drew the final plan. It was like this - Leaving to Chikmagalur on 30th Sep early morning, reaching around noon, and settling in a lodge. After noon off to Mulyangiri and Baba Budan Hills. 1st Oct morning off to Kudremukh and spend the day there. On 2nd to Kemmangundi and return. I left a bit early than normal, went to withdraw money from ATM and filled in the tank to the full. At home I packed my stuff and slept early.
I woke up early, had a quick bath and left by sharp 5AM. I took the outer ring road till Hebbal Flyover and then took NH 4 towards Tumkur. At 6AM I took my first break at Nelamangala, 52 kms from my house, and had a tea. From there I took the NH48 to Mangalore and boy that was one hell of a road. Perfectly tarred with lots of curves and slopes, in some areas you could easily touch 100+ kmph. But I had to keep my bird within 70Kmph as I was in running period. It was really tough from my part to control the speed. Avengers, Pulsars and even Splendors over took me, but I didn’t mind. I kept a constant 70.
After 75 kms I had my second break for a nature call and there I met my boss who also was leaving for Hassan that same day. He wished me good luck and bid adieu before asking me to drop in at his house if I am returning via Hassan. I continued my journey after some time and had my breakfast at Hassan. I was now 60 kms away from my destination. There I called a few friends to talk about my journey and Tanuja told me to visit Belur and Halebid also if possible. They were on the way to Chikmagalur and famous for temples of Hoysala Architecture.
After the breakfast I took the road to Chikmagalur from Hassan and that also was a good road. And now slowly the nature around was changing from the plains to small sloppy mountains with lots of agriculture around. I drove to a small hillock a few meters of the main road and took some pictures. I stopped wherever I could see nature at its best and took pictures. And by 11.30 I was at Chikmagalur. I checked into a small lodge and settled my stuff. I asked at the hotel about the route to Mulayangiri and Baba Budan Hills and left. My first decision was to go to Baba Budan Hills and come back to Mulayangiri. But as I approached the diversion that takes you to Mulayangiri, I stopped and thought and then in a split second I took the left to Mulayangiri. The road up to Mulayangiri was winding and curving. It was understandable as Mulayangiri is the highest peak in Karnataka and stands 1930 meters tall. As I climbed with the Bird I could feel the chillness in the air. The visor of my helmet became moist and I found it difficult adjusting to the different terrain. Sharp curves, narrow road and deep valley on one side definitely made me scary.
I felt for the first time that if something goes wrong, then I am alone. Somehow I was able to over come that thought and rode ahead smoothly relaxing. I did stop many a times to take some pictures, including at Seethalaingiri, which is a temple en-route. The peak was just 2 kms from there. The final few meters to the peak was not tarred and I was a bit hesitant to take the bike ahead. However I took her ahead and I found a lot of crowd there. I parked the bike and as I started climbing the peak, it rained. I put on my jacket hat and ignored the rain and continued climbing. But at a point it became heavy and clouds came descending. I couldn’t see my way up and so I returned back. It was very difficult finding the steps as the visibility was poor and rain was pouring hard. As I reached the parking area, I took refuge behind a Scorpio and got some respite from the rain. Then the rain subsided and I start my ride back. It was really scary; I started the bike, put on the lights, honked the horn and slowly came down in the first gear. At one point I could see nothing in front and so I stopped the bike. My left leg was shivering, partly due to cold and partly due to the fear. Some how clouds moved away and I could ride back smoothly. I stopped again at Seethalaingiri on my way back and took some pictures. Rain, Roads and ThunderBird – What else you needed :).
As I came back to the junction which takes you to Baba Bundan Hills it rained and I decided to return back to the lodge. I rode slowly, enjoying the scenery, rains and roads. At 3.30 I stopped at a small hotel on the way and had MulakaBajji and 2 cups of Coffee as my lunch. I reached my lodge and slept. Only thing I missed in the night was a drink which I used to have in long rides. I had good Chicken Biriyani for my Dinner and I enquired the route to Kudremukh with Hotel Guys where I had my dinner. They said me to go via Mudigere-Kotogehara-Kalasa. I was so tired, but sleep came late and Dharmapuranam gave me a good company till then.
For the consecutive second day I woke very early and left for Kudremukh at 6AM. As decided I took the earlier mentioned route. There is a junction 10kms from Chikmagalur and I had to take left there. And I moved ahead the road was becoming horrible, the speedo was moving between 15 and 25 Kmph. But the road was again through ghats and coffee and tea plantations.
Even though I enjoyed the ride and scenery, my buttocks were paining and I had to take a lot of pit stops and I finally reached Kalasa at 9.30. That 90kms took three and half hours to cover. Huh!! At Kalasa, I had my breakfast and the restaurant owner there said about the route to Kudremukh and also advised me not to take the same route back. He said I should take Balehennur-Aldur route instead of the one I came. He also said the road to Kudremukh will be the best you can get and it was. It was superb in every sense. Sharp curves, wide and smoothly tarred and lesser traffic. I highly enjoyed that sector of the journey. Kudremukh is famous for its horse-faced hill ranges and for the Iron Ore Mining Company, KIOCL. Even though the company is now closed the township still exist. There is also a Dam, called Lakhya Dam which is used to store the Iron Ore Waste. I visited the township church which was at a height and took a few pictures of the range.
I also went to the Dam and the reservoir was full of the iron ore waste. I thought one could easily walk on the waste. There is a view point at almost the center point of the Dam where you could view the Horse faced ranges at its best.
I drove back to Kalasa and then took the Balehennur-Aldur route and it was much better than the route by which I came to Kalasa. I stopped at Balehennur for lunch and then on the way to Aldur at a Drive Inn Coffee Shop in Bhadra Coffee plantation Estate. By 5PM I was back to my lodge and I decided to drop Kemmangundi from my plans as it would be raining there and added Belur and Halebid as my destinations on my way back. I called up my boss to check if he is there in Hassan the next day and surprisingly found out that he is also visiting Halebid with his family. We decided to meet there.
I was immensely satisfied when I went to sleep. A major phase of my trip was over and I didn’t face any problem and above all I was very much happy with the performance of my bike and me as a driver. It was one of those dreams I always wanted to achieve.
The final day has arrived. I just need to keep the concentration for one final day.
I left a bit late as I had to catch up my boss at around 10 at Halebid. My first destination was Belur which was 24 kms from Chikmagalur. Belur is famous for its Chennakeshava Temple which was built by the great Hoysala Empire. The temple was very magnificent and I spend a good time capturing various pictures outside and inside the temple. Since the temples at Belur and Halebid are under Archaeological Survey of India, photography is not prohibited here.
After the breakfast I left to Halebid which is 16 kms from Belur. There are three temples there. The main Hoysaleshwara Temple, then the Jain Temple and the Kedareshwara Temple which is partly destroyed. Only Hoysaleshwara temple attracts crowds. My Boss reached a little late there and by that time I had covered all the temples. I met him and after a small chat decided to leave. I took the Hassan road from Halebid so that I do not need to come back to Belur.
As I reached Hassan, I checked the tyre pressure and hit the NH. The ride was getting a bit boring because of the sudden change of the terrains and at times I was losing my concentration. And more over the traffic had increased and KSRTC buses were giving a tough time to me as they pushed me out of the road a couple of times.
I stopped at an Andhra Dhaba to have my lunch. I left again and cruised and reached Nelamangala at 4PM. I had a tea break there and left to my home. When I reached the home and parked my bike, the odometer showed 862 as the trip kilometers.
862 Kilometers is what I covered in 3 days riding solo on my Red Bird from home to Chikmangalur – Mulayangiri – Kudremukh – Belur – Halebid and then back to home. It is a just small step to start with and I now have the confidence to ride any where alone. Just me and my bird and my loneliness.
Drive Safe Buddies and Check out My Motorcycle Diaries when you have time :)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

observations of a 'studious' mind at a fine great school

5 years and 3 Months after I wrote my last educational examination, I wrote another set of exams last weekend at a prestigious school in this Garden City. Not that I didn't attend other kind of exams during this time. I had in fact wrote numerous amount of them during my job search period from 2001 to 2003. My sister even reminded me that I wrote one in April 2004 and that was the Kerala Public Service Exam for Lecturers. But all these were job oriented tests or competitive examinations like GATE, where I had to find out the summations of the arithmetic progressions, full form of DOS (This was actually a question in Kerala PSC for Lecturers), Worst Time Complexity of Merge Sort or a simple train and platform puzzle ;).

This time it was different. I had to WRITE answers to the questions given in a question paper onto the answer sheet provided by my university. Yes, I was attending the First Semester Mid Semester Exam of my MS course from BITS. It took some amount of time to realize that I no more have the speed of writing that I possessed 9 years ago. And all I had to do was just WRITE. Some of the questions were problems, and I found the equations on the fly and calculated the results. But some of them asked me to explain with lucid examples how CMMI model is affecting my daily livelihood of coding and development and even asked me to step into a Project Managers shoes and visualize how you would schedule the Project Roll Out in 90 days Agile Processing. Huh!! Writing was tough, after all these years, what I used to write was the scribbling I made in my personal diary and a few letters I used to send to my best friends. How times have changed, I even forgot the grip I used to have for my pen. TOTAL DISASTERRRRR!!!!!

I was writing the exams back to back - 4 exams in 2 days. The last time I wrote exams that way was in 1995 March when I appeared for the SSLC exams. And that was the last time any kid in Kerala wrote SSLC that way - 12 exams, 6 days back to back from one Wednesday to the next FN 10 AM -12 Noon, AN 1.30PM-3.30 PM (Friday 2pm to 4PM). That was really terrible. This is all about some observations which I made during my two days at the school.

  • Being in a school environment always brings back nostalgic memories of how you spend your childhood and schooling. The ground always beckons you to play a game of football or cricket. The desks and benches tells you the pranks you played, the name markings you made on the desks with the compasses in your camel instrument box and the way you wrote the whole essay in a short way on the desk, benches and even sandals for copying during the forthcoming exams. But sadly I didn't find any desks or benches. Instead there were individual tables and chairs. Gone are the days where you rested your back on the desk behind you only to find out that a Pratheesh's or a Rajesh's chalk markings on the edge of the desk would have coloured the backside of your shirt.
  • Students of these schools speak English lot better than me and they don't even hesitate to threaten you. A big fat boy, who might have been in his 6th or 7th standard told a few of us, who were sitting behind the goal post, to move away as they are not responsible if we get hurt by the banana kicks they were taking. Entammachchiye.. Athu Enganum Kondirunnenkil..
  • Where ever you go, in an examination center you will find a section of studious people who are glued on to their books, brushing the portions last minute and even trying to by heart it walking across the corridor all the time. Some will even find time to check the slides on their Thinkpads!!!. And someone including me will be pretending to study, but will be keeping an eye on all the 'beautiful objects' that move around and also on those studious people.
  • People come on the Ford's, the Toyota's, the Chevy's and even on the Maruthi 800s. Others have their Scootterets, Bikes and ThunderBird :) . An odd guy will come in a Moped or a bicycle too. But one thing most of them forget is a proper parking sense.
  • Poor Husbands who come with their wives will have to sit in the car for the whole day listening to Radio City, Mirchi or One and even will have to buy lunch for the wife who is studying during the lunch hours. Some one can be even seen playing games on their laptops. ;)
  • Some people still approach the exam hall with a bit of tension filled faces and will barge into the exam halls without checking if they belong to that hall. On knowing that they do not belong there they get more tensed and run to find the actual seat.
  • The exam invigilators are the main stream students of BITS and they don't have much to do, apart like the normal college invigilators, who have to give supplementary papers and also have to have a check on the copying. Here the main booklet is so huge and I never noticed anyone asking for a supplementary sheet. Even though people were copying using various means, the invigilators were not interested in it. Either they might not be skilled enough to catch the culprits, who are anytime elder than them and have enough experience in copying, or even after seeing it they might have just left it thinking "Poor Old Chaps come here to get an MS by distant learning, let them pass". Anyways it was a pleasure for me to see people getting chits from their pockets and hiding it in between the answer sheets. If there were single supplementary sheets, I might have just tried it exchanging with a Joju or TP ;)
  • Even now attending a post-graduate course some people don't forget their age old habit of drawing margins on all the answer sheets and finding time to draw the block diagrams with a pencil and scale. Then there is still the habit of being in a meditation till the question papers are distributed and praying after they get the question paper, but before looking at it.
  • And finally after all these actions when the people look at the question papers, one can see the facial expression changing from the concentrated look to "From which Timbuktu did this question came from? " kind of look. Then with the little knowledge they have people tend to become a new Veda Vyasa on their own if it is a subject like Software Engineering & Management or else they will invent a formula that can be made using the data given in the question and will get the nearest possible answer and leave. I don't think any of us would have sat the whole 2 hours.
At the end of the day, I should say I enjoyed it. Being part of an educational procedure of writing tests and that too after 5 years. And while driving back I felt pain on my hands and fingers, due to long writings. I also realized that my hand writing had gone from bad to worse. Now for the next 2 years this cycle is going to continue and I hope to come good and observe a lot more.

Who knows when the lightning will strike ?? (Hmmm ...Idithee Veenu Kattapokayaakandirunnal mathiyarunnu ... *sigh*)

Monday, September 04, 2006

ചില ഓണചിന്തകള്‍..

ഉത്രാടരാത്രി കഴിയാന്‍ ഇനിയും അല്പം മണിക്കൂറുകള്‍ കൂടി. അമ്മ ഇപ്പൊള്‍ അവസാന വട്ട ഒരുക്കങ്ങളില്‍ ആകും. നാളെ , തിരുവോണത്തിനുള്ള ഒരുക്കം, പായസത്തിനുള്ള സാമഗ്രികളും, സദ്യക്കുള്ള ഉപ്പേരിയും എന്നു വേണ്ടാ, നാളേക്കുള്ള പൂവു വരെ സുസജ്ജമാക്കി കാണും ഇപ്പോള്‍ . അതിനായി ഒരു ചെറിയ പാച്ചിലും കൂടി നടത്തികാണണം. ഞാനും ഒരു ചെറിയ പാച്ചില്‍ കഴിഞ്ഞുള്ള വരവു തന്നെ. ഈ നഗരത്തിലെ തിക്കിലും തെരക്കിലും കൂടി എന്റെ, ശകടത്തിന്‍ പോറല്‍ ഒന്നും എല്‍പ്പിക്കാതെ വീടെത്താനുള്ള ഒരു മരണപാച്ചില്‍. മരണപാച്ചില്‍ തന്നെയാണത്‌. ഒരു നിമിഷത്തെ അശ്രദ്ധ മതി ജീവിതം ഈ ഐ. ടി നഗരത്തിന്റെ വീഥികളില്‍ അസ്തമിക്കാന്‍.

ഓണത്തിന്റെ ആദ്യ ഓറ്മ്മകളില്‍ ഒരു ഇരുപതു വര്‍ഷങ്ങള്‍ക്കും മുന്നെ അമ്മയുടെ വീട്ടില്‍ നിന്നു അച്ഛന്റെ വീട്ടിലേക്കുള്ള യാത്രയാണ്‍. ട്രയിനില്‍ കേരളത്തിന്റെ ഒരറ്റം മുതല്‍ മറ്റെയറ്റത്തേക്കുള്ള ഒരു നീണ്ടയാത്ര. ഓണപരീക്ഷയുടെ ചൂടാറും മുന്നെ എന്നെ കൊണ്ടു പോകാന്‍ വരുന്ന ചെറിയച്ഛന്‍ന്മാരെ പരീക്ഷകള്‍ തുടങ്ങിയ നാള്‍ തൊട്ട് ഞാന്‍ എന്നും കാത്തിരുന്നിരുന്നു. പിന്നീടു എപ്പോഴോ ഓണത്തിന്നൊപ്പം ഞാനും വീട്ടില്‍ സ്ഥിരതാമസമാക്കി . എന്നും പൂവിട്ടും സദ്യ ഉണ്ടും കൂട്ടുകൂടിയും തിമിറ്ത്തു നടന്ന കുട്ടിക്കാലം. വളറ്ന്നപ്പോള്‍ കുട്ടിത്തം മനസ്സില്‍ സൂക്ഷിക്കാന്‍ ഞാന്‍ മറന്നു. എങ്കിലും കുട്ടിയായിരിക്കാന്‍ മനസ്സില്‍ സ്വകാര്യമായി ആഗ്രഹിച്ചു.

ഇന്നിപ്പോള്‍ ഓണം ഹോട്ടലില്‍ നിന്നും ആക്കണ്ട സ്ഥിതിയൊന്നും ആയിട്ടില്ലെങ്കിലും സ്വന്തം വീട്ടില്‍ ആഘോഷിക്കാത്ത ഓണം ഒരിക്കലും ഓണമല്ലാല്ലൊ...!!! ഓണത്തിനെപ്പൊഴും അതിന്റെതായ ഒരു സുഗന്ധമാണ്. സ്വന്തം വീട്ടില്‍ മാത്രം കിട്ടുന്ന പൂമണം. ഒരു പാലട പ്രഥമന്റെ മാധുര്യമുള്ള പാല്‍പ്പുഞ്ചിരിപോലെ അതു നമ്മോടൊപ്പം എന്നും മനസ്സില്‍ തങ്ങി നില്‍ക്കുന്നു. ഹ്രുദയത്തില്‍ സൂ‍ക്ഷിച്ചു വയ്ക്കാന്‍ ആ പഴയ മധുരമുള്ള ഓറ്മ്മകളെങ്കിലുമുണ്ടാവണമല്ലോ. സ്വന്തം വീട്ടില്‍ അല്ലാത്ത ഓണവും വിഷുവുമൊക്കെ ഒരു വേദനയാണ്. മനസ്സു നോവുന്ന നേറ്ത്ത ഒരു വേദന.

വീട്ടില്‍ ഇന്നു എല്ലാവരുമുണ്ടെന്നു അമ്മ ഇപ്പോള്‍ വിളിച്ചു പറഞ്ഞു. എന്നെ വല്ലാണ്ടു മിസ്സ് ചെയ്യുന്നു എന്നു അനിയത്തിയും. മനസ്സില്‍ അവിടുത്തെ ഊണുമുറിയില്‍ അത്താഴവും കഴിഞ്ഞ് വെടി പറഞ്ഞിരിക്കുന്ന ഒരു കാഴ്ചയാണ്‍. മനസ്സവിടെയും ശരീരം ഇവിടെയുമായി ഒരു ഓണം.

ഉത്രാടരാത്രി നാലാം യാമത്തിലേക്ക് കടന്നു കഴിഞ്ഞു കാണണം... തിരുവോണം പുലരട്ടെ. പുലറ്ച്ചെ അമ്മ വന്നു വിളിച്ചുണറ്ത്തുമായിരിക്കും .. അല്ലേ...

P.S: I wanted to write this in Malayalam Only, for this was feelings from heart and to write from heart I wanted it to be in Malyalam. Anyone finding it difficult to read please forgive me :) Happy Onam.

തിരുവോണാശംസകള്‍ | Thiruvonaashamsakal

വീണ്ടുമൊരു പൊന്നിന്‍ ചിങ്ങമാസവും പൊന്നോണവും..
എല്ലാവര്‍ക്കും ഐശ്വര്യത്തിന്റെയും സംബല്‍ സമ്രുദ്ധിയുടെയും


എന്റെയും .. :)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

a list for mom.. silverine's tag.

The queen of the blogworld Silverine had tagged me long back. Some where in the middle of my small busy life, I forgot that and when Alexis tagged me, I remembered that this tag of 10 favourite food items that I miss from my moms cooking. I have been missing it ever since I left my home to Pune 3 years back. Whenever I come back for a vacation, I will give her a list of items that needs to me made and she will prepare it one each a day. Now since I am in Bangalore, and go for a weekend, I am not able to give those long lists. However during this August 15 long weekend I was able to give a small list though ;)

1. Fish Curry: The best one I like in her cooking. She makes it the typical Malabary way in earthen pot and using coconut. And I supply her the Ayalas or Mathhi (Chala) fresh from the market. I am an expert in selecting fish.

2. Fish Fry: The fry with perfect blend of masala, which she makes on the grinding stone (Attammi), and oil. Too tasty and delicious especially the Ayalas and Mathhis.

3. Erisseri: The vegetable curry made using raw banana and parippu. Awesomely tasty. At my home I only likes it the best, so she always keep a second curry ready in case Achan or Sis shows a bad face ;)

4. Chakkakkuru and Muringa Leaves Curry: The vegetable curry made using Jackfruit Seeds and Moringa Leaves. Very Tasty.

5. Harisa: This is the normal Egg Burji which she makes it in less dry way. Don't know where the name came from, must be from Libya;)

6. Chicken Biriyani: She prepares this very tasteful. In fact my sis is more fan of her Biriyani. It is the typical Calicut style Biriyani, with that yellow tinge on the rice. With a salda and cocnut chutney awesomely tasty :)

7. Payasam: She makes the Semia Payasam. It would not at be too watery or sweety. With the perfect Kukrukkal she will make it tasty. I love all kind of payasams, but some how I like her Semia Payasam more than any other.

8. Unniappam: I think she learnt this from my Grandmother. And she makes it so soft. I usually ask her tomake it o nthe last day before I leave, so that I can pack some for my roommates.

9. Mampayar Thoran (Van Payar): This is the thoran made of the Big Brown Beans. I was a fan of this ever since I ate this first from my classmates tiffin box in class II :). She makes it with pieces of coconut and makes it dry.

10. Avil Nanachathu: She normally makes this for the evenings with Jaggery and there would be Banana's to mix and eat.

And last but not the least, the Tea she makes for us 5 times a day and also the Black Coffee which I get early in the morning before brushing my teeth. That really triggers the nature calls and makes my day perfect. I miss sitting on the door steps of kitchen workarea, which opens to the courtyard, and reading the Mathrubhumi with that Black Coffee in my hand.

After all these writing I think I am gonna miss this even more and that too writing at 1.34 PM makes it even more worse. Wish I could be at home :)

Its an open tag folks.

Monday, August 21, 2006

a trek to wilderness...

There are some things in life that you wouldn’t ever want to forget in your slightest of dreams. I also have one latest addition to my list of un-forgetful memories. Not because it was an awesome trip to a place which I never had visited earlier, but because of the hospitality of the people who were our hosts on those two days and due to the serene nature that refreshed my mind and body on those days. I had fresh air and lots of new friends.

I went to the wilderness of our God’s own country, to the beauty called Kollangode and Parambikulam – a few hours from Palakkad, Kerala’s Rice Bowl on the last weekend of July 2006.

All were setup by Abhi and his friends and I and PP were just to join the gang. Trip, stay and food were all arranged Ajith, Vipin and his brother Nipin and behind them where Vipin and Nipin’s father and mom.


We (I, Abhi and PP) assembled at the Dairy Circle KSRTC bus stop in Bangalore and waited for the bus. We were joined by Vipin and Vinod who were not known to me before. I got introduced to them and another guy called Sarath, who is Vinod’s colleague. It was strange; we all were meeting for the first time except Vinod and Abhi, who were classmates. The bus came an hour late, and we soon settled into our own seats. Abhi was cracking jokes, Vinod busy selling the extra ticket we had to a ‘girl’ and things soon settled in and we had a tough ride ahead and bad roads. At Krishna Giri we had our dinner, in the form of Thick Porottas and Egg Curry. It was HORRIBLE. I almost had an upset tummy.


It was early dawn when we reached Palakkad KSRTC Bus Stand. We were joined by a small gang from Chennai – Binoy, Sumod and Lajiraj. The dawn so beautiful. I never had a chance to see the dawn with my camera, and I didn’t waste any time clicking a few. After a morning tea, Vipin guided us to his house. The half an hour journey to Kollangode was refreshing and thrilling due to the bus. From Rajahamsa to a local Kerala private bus I was a big change. The one like moving from a PG to a bigger rented house. That journey provided me everything. Rains and early morning cold winds to refresh my mind and soul from hectic time I had the days before (I moved in with Abhi and PP a day before). I could also see the place where Ravi, the protagonist in O.V Vijayan’s Khasakhinte Ithihasam, got down to walk up to Khasak.

At Kollangode Vipin’s father came and picked us in his Jeep. That ride reminded me about the numerous jeep rides I had from my house to my father’s house in Vadakara. Jeep Taxi’s are one good mode of transportation in Vadakara and I always enjoyed them, especially hanging behind.

And as we reached his place, boy it was beauty all over. I haven’t scene nature at its best any where else. A small, but spacious house on the road side, with paddy fields behind it touching almost the horizon. And in the back drop the Sahyadri’s guarding you from almost anything. With those small and big waterfalls adorning her, she looked like a princess with the diamond necklaces around her neck. That was awesome and on the road in the rain, a two bullock carts passed against the back drop of those hills. It was really nice atmosphere.

After a good tea made by Vipin’s mom we were off to the Ambalakkulam (Temple Pond) which was a kilometer away from his house and oh boy the water was so cold and the place was so divine and peaceful. I took a few pics and then jumped into the pond. Even though I don’t know swimming, I am good enough to have an effect of swimming by pseudo swimming. That means I will hold my hands on the steps of the pond and move my legs :) .. Great isn’t it !!.. The bath was so refreshing and it was followed by a rain. Luckily we could enter into the Oottupura and watch the rain and the hills in the backdrop. The temple elephant and the mahout were there with us for a company. When rain stopped we started walking back, enjoying the scenery around and through the rain lashed road, I felt I am back to my school days. The people were looking at me like something from the another world, with a big camera bag and walking through the water streams, they might have felt .. Evidunnu Vanneda Yevan. On our way back, we met Ajith, Nipin and Retina who came by 10 AM bus. After a sumptuous breakfast that includes Idli and Sambhar we were off to Parambikulam that was 2 to 3 hours drive from Kollangode. Vipin’s father had already made the arrangements for the van and that guy was on time, but we left by quarter past 12 only.

In the initial part of the journey I slept and woke up only when we reached the Tamilnadu Border. Interesting part of the forest is that, even though it is in Keral, to enter it we have to go through Tamilnadu there by paying tax for them for seeing our forest. But after all we are all Indians right? At Kerala Check post it was raining and from there Saravanan, a Kerala Forest Dept Official came as guide with us.
They are trained to show us all around the Forest and tt is the department’s duty to provide a guide to accompany every visitor who comes to Parambikulam. So guys who go next time, make sure you have a vacant seat for him.

The ride after that was full of enthusiasm and interest as we could spot any wild animals any time and luck bought us a wild elephant group. As I sat on the wrong side of the van I couldn’t get any close up views. We spotted a few deer also. We had our lunch at around 4PM on the way near the lake side. Vipin’s Mom had packed us rice, Sambhar and chicken curry and that was great. I ate around four small plates of rice, which Pophabhi might say is not a big thing. I have become an eating specialist (aka akkranthan) these days. Hmmm.

We reached the main forest office area at 5 in the evening. Hard luck turned out as we missed the Erumadam (Hut on Roof Tops) by an hour. The Erumadam is a bit far away from the main land and one has to travel one and half our in the boat to the island and that too with food and water. There the food can be cooked after collecting fire wood. It would have been one hell of adventure in the wilderness. Stay on the trees for a night. Huh and we missed it since we were late, it would be even late by the time we reached there and it is not at all encouraged to reach there late.

So we wandered around, went to a small Tunnel Project and then came back and ordered the food. We also went out for a walk in the night. With a good road and ample lighting it was easy to walk but the atmosphere had the sounds of crickets. That irritating sound of the wild night.

After a good chappathi-chicken curry dinner, we retired into our lodge which was big spacious 3 bedroom house. The Bison Valley Lodge. Me, Abhi, PP, Ajith and Laji sat and talked philosophy in night. The philosophy of Oolans.


We had already planned for a trek the day before with the Guide. We had chosen the ‘soft’ trek from the various treks that were offered. It cost us Rs 50/- per head. The trek was 7 km long and will start from the base forest camp and reach the Kannimara Teak, which is considered to be the oldest teak in Asia.

The start of the trek was boring as we mostly walked through the tarred road, but a kilometer into it we were truly surrounded by jungle with us following the way the Safari Jeeps used to go. That was our only direction, and that was the needed one. A few minutes into the walk we saw bison’s and deer at a distance. There was also an Earumaadam setup on the walkway. We all got a better view of it from there. We then walked, walked and walked and kept waking with only the sound of crickets, the bites of leeches and the wilderness of the evergreen rain forests in company. It was tough, but it was exciting – following the trail. The three hour long trek came to an end at the Kannimara Teak. By that time our van reached there. Some of us went and had a wash at the near by river and then we were back to the base station.

We missed the boat ride there as the boats were already gone for a ride with some people. So we decided to have the breakfast and push it off from Parambikulam. The breakfast was dosa, idli, chutney and fish fry. And after some time the hoteliers ran out of dosa and informed us with a great difficulty that the whole of the Dosa Mix is now finished. And after that at around 11 we bid adieu to Parambikulam, before making it possible to visit the Parambikulam Dam.
The Dam was awesome, with wonderful scenery behind.

Next target was Seetharkkundu a place close to Kollangode. It’s a small area where water falls from the high Sahyadri’s and have formed a pool with a small waterfall. It is believed that Seetha, wife of Lord Rama, had taken a dip here during their Vanavasa. To reach Seetharkkundu we had to walk for 15 minutes from the place where our van could go.

That walk was like we were walking into the mountains as we were going towards the mountains just below it. We could see numerous small waterfalls at the distance.

And finally we reached Seetharkkundu. The bath in Seetharkkundu was very refreshing. The water was so cold and it took some time for me to get into the water. Till that time I was capturing the beauty and the boyz. Ajith almost drowned and PP had a fall, but still we were enjoying. We had some fun for around 45 minutes there and then pushed off to Chinganchira.

Chinganchira is a place near to Kollangode where there are lots of big banyan trees and there is a temple also here which is inside a banyan tree. Couples who doesn’t have a kid, come here and offer wooden cradles to the deity. These cradles are then hung on the tree. When we were there, there was a group of people who had finished their offerings and returning back. It was here the few scenes from the film Kaliyattam was shot. We returned from there soon and at Kollangode had a great evening snacks (we didn’t have lunch) at a local thattukada. People had Porottas, Beef, Chicken, Egg and an occasional Biriyani and good high tea. Yea Snacks they were !! And our stomachs were full, we were happy. Because we are happy when we have a sumptuous food isn’t it ?

Finally we reached Vipin and Nipin’s house. By that time the sun was setting and the paddy fields behind were giving a great treat to the eye, with colors of red, orange, blue and grayish black all playing their roles in giving us he perfect blend of nature. It was just amazing. We had our usual photo posing and enjoyed the evening out there on the bunds that separated the paddy fields. It was a once in a life time feeling that I was having.

And then the Chennai Kings were getting ready to go. They left soon and after that we visited Vipin’s paternal house which was a bit far from his house. Had another round of eateries there, with achchappams and neyyappams again filling our stomachs.

We came back and while we were getting ready Vipin’s mom packed us the dinner. God only knew where we are going to fill it. We took the last bus to Palakkad. Got down and got another bus to Olavakkode Junction, from where we were to board the Yeshwantpur Express to Bangalore.

It was just that break we all needed after a lot of idle weekends in Bangalore. Some where far from the city, where there is no one to bother you, no pollution, no traffic, no telephone network. Just you own your own. It was a nice time me, PP and Abhi had since it happened just before Abhi going out of his comfort zone. It was a time that we could be altogether just to crack our jokes and enjoy even though we missed a few of them.

This trip definitely is going to be with me for such a long time. And we may keep visiting that place, may be on our birds. Because that place offers you a lot, a lot that even you cannot think off and you will just end up sitting admiring its beauty.

And that’s why we call her “God’s Own Country.”

PS: I was yearning for a break and a trip all these days, and ever since this trip I have been travelling all the weekends to K-Gudi, Mysore, Home and recently Kochin and Kollam. And thats why this post was late.

PPS: All pictures (c) Dhanush Gopinath 2006 :)

Saturday, August 05, 2006

an open letter to my soulmate...

Dear Buddy,
You are no longer with me any more. Now that I have decided to distance myself from you, I feel that void around me. You were my soul, you were my love. You were my passion; you were the one who unleashed the beast in me. I cared you like my kid, and you were happy to obey me.
It was with you I roamed around. From the day you roared in with me through the streets of Pune, to the days in Bangalore were we wrooooomed at 100 kmph we both were one mind, one soul. You were my machine, the definitely male machine. Sure you were; One macho machine. I could see the hot chicks drooling at your masculine chests when we rode past them. Those Karizmatic Unicorns were looking at you with jealousy. And you enjoyed it, right? Chasing and beating them in the race. Getting that attention from sweet babes, gals giggling and saying ‘You are hot’. Anything on the road you thoroughly enjoyed.

Where all we have covered da? Our first trip was to Malshej, alle? On those Ghats of Maharashtra, were some fool said there was a big waterfall, and when we reached there it turned out to be a stream of water. Then I took you out alone to Mumbai. Another one day trip to Bhimashankar. And the 3 day trip to Mahabaleshwar, were we both chilled. Finally the big trip to Murud, Janjira and Harihareshwar that covered close to 500 kms in 3 days. In all these trips, it was me who rode you and we had a good company.
You never let me down; not a single time. Every time i thumped in the accelerator cable you just roared. And I guess you didn’t like anyone apart from me, right? I could feel your anger for not looking after you last year when I was away. You didn’t like Sreeku rt? Nor you liked Jaat, I know. The grumbles that you produced after his ride told me that you didn’t like his frequent gear shifts. Or rather was I possessive about you? I was; I know otherwise I wouldn’t have interpreted your grumbles like that.
The day when I was shown your dent on the rib cage - that happened in transit to Bangalore - I was shell shocked. And I cried. Your whimper was unbearable when I touched you. Boy, you suffered a lot right? I should have driven you down here. My mistake da, I am sure you wouldn’t have let me down, nor you would have tired me. We could have covered those 800 kms in two days. But da, I was not brave. Sorry dear.
And after that recovery, with a new chest and paint you were simply shining. Bangalore roads were blessed with your presence. You even threw away that bloody bugger on the Unicorn, who made an unexpected entry from the side road. Luckily you were not so brutal, and he escaped. But you lost your face and I was so sad. That was the first time we erred. The very first time in my life and yours too. You were a bit sad about that episode weren’t you? I know, but that’s ok. You just showed what you could do, if some comes across you very badly.
Then that happened. Somewhere in the middle of the life, I fell in love with that girl. That red beauty called Thunderbird. She was beautiful, gorgeous and sexy. I immediately fell in love with her or rather she seduced me to be with her. Her curves, her feminine power, the way she carried herself, that proud look while she stood waiting to take her out, all had a dignity in itself. Or rather she was simply irresistible.
I was very much unsure about parting you. I thought, thought and thought. I had sleepless nights and in one such night she visited me and took me to another world. There she asked me to marry her, for an eternity. I couldn’t give her an answer immediately. But something in me said that I should go out with her. I too needed some one to take out for a dinner, some one charming, and some one feminine with whom I can walk along with my hands around her hips. Some one I could sleep with ;)
So finally I accepted her. But it was not a cake walk. There was resistance from all sides, including you. I could understand that as you too were very possessive about me. But I am sure you are good guy, and you rock man. When that mechanic said that you are an absolute wonder and a well maintained man, I was happy. I was proud since someone had certified you without even driving you and just by feeling how you roar. Boy I definitely had second thoughts about her then, but I had a promise to keep. And thus I decided to part you.
My heart was heavy, when I handed over your keys to that guy. There were tears in my eye, when I said him to take good care of you. He saw it and assured me.
I hope you will be fine with him. Be good and take care of him and yourself. Correct him if he makes any mistakes. And guide him to goodness.
And Finally
Forgive me whenever I have asked more from you.
Forgive me whenever I have shifted the gears improperly, choking you up.
Forgive me for breaking you head light with that freaky accident.
Forgive me for choosing to transport you in a bloody movers and packers instead of driving you from Pune.
Last but not the least; forgive me if I have hurt you.
You the Metallic Blue 150cc DTSi Pulsar, whom I called Blue Pulsar, is now not in my life. But from the depths of the heart I know I still love you. I would rather be a gay than be a straight if The Bird had not entered my life.
You always will have that special place in my heart, for you were my first love, first beast I owned on my own.
Take care da. And enjoy yourselves with him. Travel to the horizons of life and I would be sitting here proud and happy, for I was your first love, I was the first one who touched you for the first time in your life and I was the one who was cared you more than a friend.
Best wishes Buddy.
With Loads of Love.
Your's Me..