AIRLIFT ONLINE : Anywhere in bangalore

Sounds like a good service! At 300/- a trip, with WiFi, A/C etc, its very cool.

BIAL impact stage one

Chennai to Bangalore: For once, trains are faster-Chennai-Cities-The Times of India

This was bound to happen - and is very logical. Actually, even with HAL, it often made a lot of sense to drive, if one was ok driving highways. Cheaper, quicker, and if you do like such things, more fun!

Kanua Again

Friends from Hyd were here - took them and a bottle of Grover's to Kanua. Peeked into Quetzel for a few minutes before that - its always a delight to see the store with its smart designs and bright colours.

Kanua, as always, was a delight to just enter and sit down in. In fact, with the great weather and gentle breeze, even more so. Soft lighting, soft music and a relax-all-you-can ambience helps the mood. Had Soorna Kachdi, Podhis, and some great food after that. They requested we keep the bottle with them - regulations, I guess - and served wine in regular glasses. But very very nice evening with good company and free flowing, candid conversation.

There are some places, people and times of life that make you feel very positive. T'was one of those.

Edit: Their contact/numbers here. No kids allowed for Fri/Sat/Sun dinners these days :(

Small big step towards plastic degradation? - CanadaWorld - WCI student isolates microbe that lunches on plastic bags

Sounds simplistic, but I'm sure a lot of "wow" stuff gets overlooked for similar reasons. While there is some cynicism, am staying positive on this till there is definitive negative news. If true, this guy should get the biggest VC funding to start his company around this idea - this will do us all a huge favour - way more important than anything else we've "invented" in the last couple of decades.

Bravo Adrian Sutil

Sutil devastated at losing fourth. - Yahoo! Eurosport UK

It was the saddest moment of my F1 viewing life - Kimi Raikkonen taking out Adrian Sutil's Force India car that he'd driven so amazingly to get upto fourth from 19th! And with merely 3-4 laps to go!!

Somehow - both Ferraris had seemed twitchy for a lot many laps before the incident itself. And after the pitstop where Sutil took over 4th place from him, Kimi was looking rather desperate and edgy, only to lose grip horribly in whats ultimately a racing incident, but way more than that for Adrain Sutil and FI.

Drive of the day, Sutil! And I hope the opportunity is created again for a fantastic race like you drove yesterday.

In this book

Comes v late, but this is the book the Ladakh trip got published in. Check out the last part of the ToC.

Coalition groanment [edit:maybe not!]

Coalition government likely again in Karnataka

Oh no. Hope there's a swing in someone's favour - don't care who as long as its not the Gowda gang. Unlikely tho - given that he could provide the "support from outside" to either party and have his say in everything. Yet another series of frozen-in-time, inactive, governance-less governments ?

Did my vote even matter ?

Update: Looks like the BJP is headed for a 112+ seats, based on leads. Phew. Yediurappa is certainly not my first choice as CM, given his flair for melodrama and his demonstrated small-thinking ways. But most importantly, no coalition, and then there are a few sane leaders in whats a rather centrally controlled party and hopefully Yediurappa will have decent orders from upstairs guiding policy etc.

The BJP has sobered down a lot, but for Monster Modi, and I'm staying positive on this for now. Biggest takeaway is that Mr. Gowda will have not too much of a say. Not that earlier single party govts have always been forward thinking and development focused, but this is nearly the last chance we have to move forward.


Update 2: Looks like the BJP will fall short of 112 by 4-6 seats. Oh well, they should still manage to "woo" (read, cash, Ministers posts and other benefits) a few independednt - but am sure wily old HDDG will be trying his damndest right now to manufacture some way of having a say. Hope I'm wrong and he's merely considering retirement from politics. That'll be really good for the state.

BIAL online

New Bangalore airport handles 341 flights Day 1

Phew, finally. Love it or hate it, Bangalore has a new airport now.

The poor connectivity between the
gridlocked city and the new airport did not impact much the vehicular
movement due to less traffic on the weekend. The magnitude of the
connectivity problem will be known on working days from Monday, as the
arterial road to the airport is used by vehicles hitting the National
Highway No.7 towards Hyderabad.

I have a feeling that people will get used to the above too, like most other things. Taxi guys from Mysore are recommending people leave about 10 hours before the departure time!

Crash Boom Bang

Wanted to go to Wayanad/Coorg for a weekend. Left around 8:40, got the helmet beading fixed and refuelled right after Bidadi.

Wrist still hurts, so here's copying from a mail i'd sent out earlier to folks:

ran into an innova. nobody/nothing serious but everything/me hurt.
innova at a u turn with indicators a km after wonderla, me switches to left lane.
innova swings to the left as i get close (later realized he was swinging to accomodate his huge turning radius) and i move to the right.
he moves to right too.... braaaaaaaaakkkkkkkeeeee.
Boom (probably at 40-50ish) and the Pulsar's tyres and fork took a lot of it, and the Innova took the rest. Me flew onto the rear windscreen or thereabouts (tough to be precise abt these moments, really) and helmet took the windscreen out, and the sheet metal made glorius contact with my pelvic region, thighs.
Me on the road - ppl around - get up - things moving! Specs ok, jeans dont even have a scratch, hands, fine.
Someone points to the chin/neck - thick drops of blood, and pieces ox ex-indicator from the Innova around two smi-deep wounds. Wash, wash, wash, drink water, Innova guys help me catch my breath.
Some says hospital/stictch and all that. I just sit.
Innova guys were on their way to Kerala too and had decided to take a u-turn for breakfast.
Both said sorry to each other - and i guess both of us had indeed screwed up.
Called wife (who was on her way to Vadakara for a rendezvous) and asked her to return to Tvm.
My right wrist hurt a little and palm felt sore. So pleaded with Venkat to send help to pick bike.
Finshed some juice i had, felt ok, ate chikki, washed some more blood. Meanwhile Innova guys said bye after confirming with me if i'd be alright.
AutoSvc guys, one rode the bike, i went pillion on the other. Interceptor charged the guy 300/- for 74kmph
Went to AS and to the hospital closeby - got an ATS in the rearside, wounds cleaned and dressed and hazaar antibiotics etc. That *really* scared me.
Anyhow - took an auto back home. Visions of a great weekend mauled and oh-man-what-do-i-do-for-3-days
-now on my mind.

Oh well

Now that I look back at it - the hit was probably at 20-25, and I must have braked hard enough by then. The bike was actually ridden back to Banashankari, None of my clothes, jacket etc had even a major scratch - and even after one night I'm not hurting too badly. The wrist is still sore but given how the crash happened, got away cheap.

First "proper" crash in my riding life - there've been a couple of the usual city - scrapes and slides but nothing really. Partly a funny and late overtaking manouvre, partly my error of judgement, partly mushy front brakes.

But for all you riders out there, invest in good quality safety gear - it really really helps. Not just a helmet, but a good jacket, riding pants and possibly even boots. I do not have the last two and that will soon be corrected. The jacket and helmet surely saved me majorly. I could not believe I had such (relatively) little injury when I saw the Innova later - possibly also its crumple zone or whatever ?

Anyhow - my long solo ride's still pending...

Trash Check

Six Million Pounds of Trash On Beaches » Celsias

The amount of plastic/packaging one sees being used in our cities too is scary. We seem to be consuming more and more prepackaged. Imagine a small darshini buying a fews tens of litres of milk in plastic packets - there has to be an alternative.

BIAL Go-live on 23rd May

Bengaluru International Airport - Team-BHP

The info available on the above page should be useful to many, especially those filled with uncertainty and misgivings. (So far, I belong to this brigade though the sudden flurry of activity - new buses, shared shuttles, magic boxes, etc, give one hope than in a year the drive there should be easier)


The maps etc seem to be on the BIAL page as pdfs.


Did a quick dash to Wayanad and back over the weekend - a rather rough-it-out stay in the Banasurasagar Hills - a tiny house under construction with a mat+sleeping bag for acco, instant noodles ("Magic") for dinner and some tough-by-our-sedentary-lifestyle-standards mini-trek up the hill in the evening and early morning to see the place. Also went to the Banasurasagar Dam after a driver through some very pretty roads.

Travel Bug

Why do I travel ?

Relax.Do Nothing.De-stress.
Appreciate.Share.Make Friends.Accept
Beleive.Feel-good.Claim.Self Image
Ride.Walk.Push Hard.


Why do I think ?

Addendum: talks about why a travel book should be written ? Yeah, sometimes you do get bits and pieces of anthropology and politics as you travel, but similarly, there's history, food, traditions and most importantly, the sense of connections with something else you've seen somewhere else, the similarity, or contrast, that make it an adventure. At the end of the journey, there're a hundred new questions, and the start of another journey in them.

I guess each of those that Theroux castigates is one or piece of the complete story, and from the camera toting tourist to the 6 month-trip backpacker they all take some of it, a little at a time.

Uttarakhand Trip: Part I (Blore-Corbett)

Took a long vacation from Apr 15th-Apr 30th - Akshat had vacations, there was a wedding to attend in Meerut and it'd been a loong time since a proper long break.

Brief Triplog:

15th - 17th : The Sampark Kranti from Yeswantpur-Delhi via Pune takes forever.

Of course, we had all six berths to ourselves for nearly half the journey, and the kids totally loved it. Train trips are still a perfect way to start a long vacation - destress, catch up on a book, talk a lot, have numerous cups of chai, see the countryside...At Delhi our cab guy - Kulvinder Singh - met us as planned, and we had a decent looking Indica for our trip. Amazingly, all the luggage fitted into the boot despite my fears to the contrary.

Apr 17th-18th: Meerut

Cousin's wedding at Meerut. Apparently there'd been some rains up in the hills, and the plains were much cooler than one had feared. The groom was at one time from Jamshedpur, and recounting known people, places and common histories was fun with their family.

Apr 19th: Meerut - Ramnagar - Kaladhungi

Left Meerut early morning towards Mawana. Nice and cool - Kulvinder insisted the Moradabad route would have way more traffic, and someone had assured him of an equally short, quicker route via Bijnor. We hit a few back roads from Bijnor - towards Kashipur. Most roads were decent, if narrow. We made quick progress. Shubha was enthralled by the wheat being harvested/threshed all along. Vast, flat plains of wheat, sugar looked pretty indeed.

There's a US Nagar, UK!! Thats Udham Singh Nagar in Uttarakhand :) A little into this district, we stopped for breakfast - our first Aloo Paranthas for the trip, with fresh curd and tea.

A little later the surroundings got less flat, though not quite hilly. There were also sporadic traces of woods as we got a little beyond Kashipur - and lots of things started getting called Corbett this or that. Soon a sign welcomed us to "Corbett City" and we were in Ramnagar.

Staying inside the Corbett National Park (the Dhikala FRH being the best place for this) needed arrangements to made by faxing a request etc at least a month and a half in advance, we had picked the KMVN place at Kaladhungi, about 30kms from Ramnagar, for our stay. The resorts outside the park, mostly along the road to Dhangarghi Gate are quite nice (most sell the banks of the Kosi as their USP) but quite expensive, especially in the context of a long drawn vacation across the region. Kaladhungi also offered other charms - being the winter home for Corbett. His house there has been converted into a museum dedicated to him. The village he bought there (and later gifted to the locals, who revere and adore the man even today) was named "Chhoti Haldwani".

We had been advised - over the phone - to come in a day earlier and ensure our permits/reservations for a Gypsy or bus safari inside the NP. The Visitor Centre was a very confusing place, but we soon realized that we'd have to turn up before 6am, when they open, and stand in queue to get ourselves into the "Canter" Safari list or to get a permit so we could hire a Gypsy.

Ok, here's the dope on the permit/safari deals for future time-constrained visitors:
  1. They allow some 30 vehicles on every trip - twice a day. The enrty timings for these are 6:30am and 2:30pm or so. The vehicles are allowed in the Bijrani range and "lesser" places. To travel around Dhikala in a private/hired vehcile, you need to be staying inside. The permits are cheap - though scarce - and the Gypsys cost about a 1000/- or thereabouts for a 3 hour trip.
  2. The Park organizes "Canter" rides - these are open bus-like vehicles with stepped seating and good views all around. The vehicles-on-hire guys tell you that these are noisy diesels and scare all the animals away. The Park and KMVN guys tell you that these are your best bet since if you're staying outside the park, this is the only way to get deep into the park - near Dhikala, where the reservoir and hence most animals are (esp in the drier seasons). The ride lasts a little under 6 hours, and I'd agree with the latter view after our experience. Of course, sightings are all a matter of chance - and just the experience of the deep woods and driving through the place itself are a treat.
Best time to visit Corbett is supposed to be mid Feb-mid March. Here's a link for reservations. The recommended way is to fax a request, receive a confirmation and send them a DD etc. About 2 months in advance, ideally.

So off we went to Kaladhungi, had a huge room with 2 double beds to ourselves for a mere 400/- and walked around town. Owing to some local elections, the Muesum was closed though we walked around its gardens and caught up with a little of Jim Corbett's amazingly diverse, rich life. The man did a lot in his life - from serving in the war, to being a Railway guy. But he was at his core a man who loved and loved the forests of Kumaon, spoke the language of the people, understood that of the animals, and took it upon himself to protect these.

Earlier in the afternoon we had visited the Corbett Falls about 5 kilometres from Kaladhungi. Nice pretty place with the falls

With no real restaurants around, we walked up the few metres to the end of Kaladhungi looking for tea, and an Aunty's Chai Stall near the culvert at the end of the village on the road towards Nainital became our defacto place.

We took the Canter, eventually, and had a lovely few hours inside the park.

Some Pix:

All time favourite ad


I just revisited this courtesy God knows what link trail - it was fantastic the first time I saw it, and the music and the visuals are still as perfectly in sync for the same effect. Brilliant.

Another great one.

Over time, the truck has also gotten that much more capable, and is probably now way more deserving of the ad :)


Useful resource:

Have figured out that we're in Mahadevapura

1 174Mahadevpura 160 2802 C 208 Sameer Shisodiya R S Shisodiya 34

from here

The name's been misspelt a wee bit (reverse translation from the Kannada version, I guess), and I hope that does not throw the spanner in my first-sincere-attempt-at-voting-works.

Here's the list of candidates I need to pick from:

On what grounds ? Am not sure. What I do know is my vote's not going to a certain Impediment-to-Bangalore's-progress that we often read about.

Come to think of it, we're really outside the whole governance loop. Sad, true.

Riding Risks and Safety

CHP - Motorcycle Safety - Informational Video

The video is a grim reminder to not start to feel invincible - and that happens a lot to riders - especially in the early days. Similarly for drivers and passenger of cars who do not lay enough stress on buckling up - you're as vulnerable as a guy on a bike without the seat belt.

Good one about how life progresses

The real costs of globalised, cheap, 24/7

Environmental Cost of Shipping Groceries Around the World - New York Times

I used to love waiting for red juicy carrots in the winter. Our kids pretty much have no clue that carrots and the winter have a correlation.

Have always held thats it merely absurd economics and artificial calculation of costs that make it worthwhile to ship stuff like everyday food needs, toys etc across continents. This kind of stuff should be sourced as locally as possible. Specialized produce, say, Chinese Silk, or high-grade electronics, etc, is worth shipping around and the fact should get reflected in its costs, which include huge costs in terms of environmental damage caused by a lot of not-really-necessary shipping. Its the mad urge for "growth" not really needed by the market, but only be the sellers and their shareholders, that perpetuates this. Of course, the consumers now been "trained" to expect anything, anytime, and cheap.

Its also nice to go someplace and discover its food and produce. Not have it available in your neighbourhood mall, all year round, for a pittance.

Also, often, since the export market is more lucrative, the local market may be deprived of certain products.

How blind have we been ? And continue to be. I hope this move catches on.

And the carrots are merely orange, and not quite the same.

Positive Swadeshi

Sena plans vadapav stalls to counter Mac

I'm probably the least likely Sena supporter ever, yet the above must be commended. Of course, its still possible that its a gimmick, and merely to make a point, rather than a real marketing strategy, but this is surely a more preferable approach to popularizing ethnic foods, languages, etc, in comparison to the decidedly Neanderthal approach of, say, smashing McD's glass frontage.

A brief glimmer of hop for positive politics (especially coming from its most unlikely quarters!) ?

Entrepreneurship along a different dimension ?

open free world: Roy's Experiments with Life

Its anyhow about exploring, creating value, starting something new, daring to think different, bring value to an existing space and work hard, for immense amounts of satisfaction. No 10x scale, yes, but not everything needs to - ?

Food Honour!?????

Bush’s Food Remark Irks India

Whats the big furore about ? Bush might be wrong, or partially right, but all he's said is that we're getting more prosperous, which is good, and when people get more prosperous they eat better and (especially if they were eating less than normal), more. If "people" is a sizeable number, which we are, its bound to affect demand supply!

I would have never imagined a day I'd be "defending" Gerorge W, but the affront that India collectively took was mystifying. Did nobody read beyond the screeching, shrill headlines ?

Its not my call to say whether this was the only factor contributing to the food crises and prices going northwards. But if I were in a generally speculative mood, it would surely be one possible factor, and I'd actually be quite happy and take pride in the reason, while worrying about the impact. Shouldn't we be happy that at least a decent percentage of the population is eating better?



Yeah, finally got successfully registered as a Bangalore voter! Now to figure out what else one needs to go vote...and of course, who for :)

Lead to believe its progress ?

Damn Interesting » The Ethyl-Poisoned Earth

Very very scary read. Is it the age of smugness, or ignorance, or paranoia ?