Monday, April 19, 2010

Charged Up

You can’t keep a good team down for long. The way Chargers shot back from 7th to 2nd position in a matter of 10 days show what the team is capable of. Now then, I am not going to talk about the 2 run loss with RR or the one where Harbhajan snatched away the match with his sloppy stick swinging called batting. That is all over now, Chargers are into the semi’s and that is what matters at the end of the day. The slate is wiped clean and it’s a completely new ball game from here on. Here’s what I am predicting – RCB beat Mumbai in the Semis and the finals will again be between DC & RCB – and may the best team win this time.

Tim is back to school again so I shifted the comp to my room (since my lappy conked off for the 3rd time and I don’t have the patience to get it fixed again) and the movie watching spree resumed after a long gap.

Started with As Good As It Gets after putting it off for so many years. It is such a good movie!! It shows you how greatly people with whom you interact (even briefly) every day influence your life. Helen Hunt looks so damn pretty in the movie. If you haven’t watched it yet, go grab it soon.

Here is another movie which I recommend, The Man from Earth. Just watch it. I don’t think I will be able to do justice to the movie here on this page. Just watch it :)

Oh, I almost forgot, I got myself a new camera, a Sony DSC HX1. Didn’t get a chance to really go out with it much yet, but will surely go in the next one month (kids in office are vexed up, want to go out for a weekend trip again…hmmm….. someplace cool this time…)

Here are a few shots.

Some experiments with manual focus

Discovery Turbo - You got to have it :)

Yes, that my machine :) A Core 2 Duo 2.9 GHz, 4 gig RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 9400 with 1 gig RAM and a 19” wide Samsung. That’s CoD Modern Warfare 4 running at max res :)

So, be ready for the finals this Sunday, RCB Vs DC :)


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Come Back

It has been more than a year since I last posted anything on this page. Reason for the inactivity ….many. The main ones being lack of time/interest. Also, like many friends have already warned me, the initial josh of blogging slowly fades away as time passes. What has happened in the past 1 year? Well nothing much. I am still working at the same place doing the same work and more work than before. I won’t crib about work here on my come-back post :)

Well, don’t know what to blog, so will close this post here for now.

P.S: My Name Is Khan (Khan, from the epiglottis) is a really boring long movie. If you are a fan of SRK or Kajol then please watch it. Other than their acting (and seeing them again together), there is nothing much in the movie. It is a typical KJo movie which just keeps on dragging till the audiences start feeling bored.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Trip to Kuntala Waterfall

I read about the Kuntala waterfalls near Nirmal more than a year back in some travel communities on Orkut and wanted to visit it since then. The time had finally come. The planning happened 3 weeks back but we were not sure if will happen even 3 days before the weekend. I was not well during the starting of the weekend but I wanted to go for this trip badly. So I somehow managed to get well before the weekend. We had a short meeting on Friday during tea and decided that we would meet at the station and 5.30 the next morning. I made it clear that if we cannot meet by 5.30, we are not going for the trip. I was the last one to arrive at the station :) and we finally managed to leave at exactly 6am. The Secunderabad station is not a good place to meet before a trip since it was so crowded and no place even to park the car. Though I have travelled on the Medchal road many times before, I still don’t know how to reach there from Paradise since I don’t go to the northern parts of the city that much. The roads of the cantonment area, Bowenpally, Sainik Puri and Alwal are like a maze to me. After backtracking a few wrong turns, we hit the Medchal road, NH7 to Nagpur at around 6.20 admiring the sunrise on our way. The roads were still empty, and nice (atleast some stretches of it) so we covered a lot in the first 1.5 hrs. The swiftie handled well fully loaded and gobbled up miles after miles of blacktop. We stopped at a place 100 kms from Hyd to have some breakfast. To our disappointment, we could not get dosa’s. We had to satisfy ourselves with idlies and some tea. We hit the road again but stopped soon for out first pisstop.

The highway had many detours and bad shoulder roads as there is some heavy highway construction going on. We drove nonstop for another 2 hrs. Just before Nirmal town, we saw a board of the Sriram Sagar Project (also known as Pochampad reservoir) and decided to pay a visit. It is around 2 kms inside from the highway. The narrow tar road was neat and welcoming but with really big speed bumps, one which scraped the bottom of my swiftie. After a quick stop and check, we headed forward. The big embankment had a nice curved road leading to the top of it (much bigger than the Singur Dam). We reached the top and were speechless. The reservoir was very HUGE with its peripheries not visible to the naked eye. There were some tiny islands visible near the horizon though. Its foundation stone laid by Jawaharlal Nehru. It is a dam on the Godavari River and provides water to most of the telangana region of AP. The sight was marvellous and out came the cameras. Even though it was very hot and sunny, the cool breeze was very pleasant. We walked till the gates but entry on the dam was restricted.

After few photos and enjoying the cool breeze, we were back on the highway after an hour and headed towards Nirmal.

Nirmal is a small town on the NH7 in the Adilabad district. This place is famous for its wooden toys. Hunger pangs had returned so we decided to a stop for some food. We drove till the end of the town looking for a nice eating place but there were none. So we headed back again to an Udipi tiffin center which looked decent. We finally got to eat some nice Dosa and Puri and also some double sweetened tea. Our initial plan was to visit all the places near Nirmal all day, stay back overnight and start back to Hyderabad the next day morning. But during b’fast we decided that if we are done with everything by 5pm, we would leave the same evening and be back to Hyderabad by night. I was also ready for it because the one way 210 kms journey was not that tiring. The only problem was that I was the only person who could drive in the group.

Anyvow, after a nice breakfast, we headed to the Pochera waterfall which was around 35 kms from Nirmal town. Once out of the town, we were surrounded by cool forest area and a ghat section road but the road was in such a horrible condition that all the fun and excitement of driving on a ghat road just vanished. Lots of heavy trucks for the highway construction activities made it even worst. But I was excited to spot a few Volvo and MAN tippers and trucks. I felt happy that even the trucking industry is on the move :)

The waterfall is 10 kms away from the highway. The tourism department has done some construction work near - landscaping, statues, hedges and plantation etc. It somehow didn’t look that good. We headed a few steps down towards the waterfalls. It wasn’t big and the water wasn’t clean. There were concrete steps leading towards the water. Some parts of it looked artificial. Like a little part of rock cut on purpose to create a smaller waterfall which fell into a man-made tank at the side. It wasn’t that impressive but was fun. The photo sessions began and I got an opportunity to stretch and sit under the shade of the rocks.

They were actually trying to catch some fish with their hands :)

We were here for around 45 mins and headed to the much bigger Kuntala falls. This one too was far inside from the main highway. The road was narrow with green paddy and jowar fields at both the sides.

The road then swept down into the valley and towards the Kuntala village. After the village, the road got narrower and much more green with huge trees on both sides.

It ended into a parking area from where we had to walk down to the waterfalls. There were 400 steps down into the valley to reach the water. We could hear the gushing water from well above the steps. The first glimpse of it was very beautiful. We stopped at a viewpoint on the steps and admired the beauty from above.

Ajay commented that it is very small for being the highest waterfalls in AP (and also since he had been to Jog fall just a couple of weeks back). We headed down. Once we were at the foot of the waterfalls, Ajay took back his comment. It looked, big, majestic and beautiful. The sight of it made us feel that it was worth the trip.

This waterfall has a history of bad incidents so there were security guys there to see to it that people are within the limits of the falls. We anyvow went quite close and had a nice photo session. We sat there for quite some time admiring the sights and sounds.

P.S: If the persons in the above picture happen to read this blog, and want to get a copy of the picture in its original size and without the watermark, you can mail me. My id is available in my profile.

After spending more than an hour here, we decided it was time to head back. The walk up the steps 400 steps was by far the most difficult thing we did the whole trip.By the time we were back in Nirmal over that horrible ghat road, it was 5. We stopped at the same Udipi hotel, had some dosas and puris again. There was a handicrafts shop just opposite to the hotel which had the world famous Nirmal toys made out of the soft Poniki wood. We did some shopping here (man, they are expensive) and decided to head back to Hyderabad.

By the time we started our return journey, it was 6 pm. We thought of covering as much distance as we can before it became dark. We were chatting generally and listening to music. By 6.30, it got dark and the headlights headache started. Driving in the night on the highways is such a horrifying experience. And added to it, the horrible road condition made it even worst. Most of the drivers don’t care to dip especially the bus drivers and city car drivers (majority of the city drivers don’t even what it means to dip lights at night). But this wasn’t new to me so there was nothing much to complaint. As we were driving, the Chevrolet Tavera which we spotted at the waterfall came in sight and we all got excited again :)

The next 2 hours were spent discussing about about movies, red and blue colors and lots of overtaking jugalbandi with the tavera on the night highway. We were stopped once at a police checkpost since it was a naxalite area but no checking happened maybe because we didn’t look like naxalites. We drove till 8.30 nonstop and it was high time we stopped. I badly needed to stretch. We stopped before Kamareddy and here is where we lost track of the Tavera. Tierdness and fatigue was starting to creep in and so was hunger. We decided to stop at the next Dhaba for dinner. The next dhaba came at 9 pm just before Tupran around 55 kms from Hyderabad. I had hardly slept for 4 hrs the previous night and got up at 4.30 in the morning so I was so sleepy by now that I could hardly stand up at the dhaba. People were looking at me with concern. So I decided I had to do something to get rid of the sleep. I went out in the cool breeze till the food arrived. A few phone calls, a walk under the night sky and a very tasty chicken curry along with tandoori naan did the trick. To top it off, a big cup of masala tea and I was back to normal. We started off towards Hyderabad at around 10.30.

The traffic heading towards Hyderabad was very less when compared to the oncoming traffic which meant continuous bright headlight glare. After 30 mins of driving, the tea effect vanished and I was yawning continuously and trying hard to keep my eyes open. Ajay sitting beside me was trying very hard not to fall asleep by doing some neck exercises and head banging. The other occupants were sliping in and out of sleep continuously. We finally entered the city limits at around 11.30. I dropped off Ajay, Anand and Deepak at Paradise, Kranthi at Patny and headed home. There was lots of police checkings happening since it was Saturday night and I wanted to avoid them since I was not even in a position to speak. So I took the Musheerabad road back home. After 18 hrs of nearly non-stop driving and 550 kms later, I fell on my bed at 12.30 like a log and got up today morning at 11 am.

Overall the trip was very exciting. The Sriram Sagar project and the Kuntala falls were worth the trip. This was my longest solo driving till date on a single day. Though I have travelled long distance by road before, there was always another person to take over the driving after a few hours. The swifie was amazing. Even with 5 adults, some luggage and the AC in full speed, it easily touched 120 without a sweat and did not loose its composure on the road. I am sure it would have gone much higher. I tried to calculate the mileage and I guess it was close to 15 though not accurate. It is more than what I had expected and I very happy about it. The only problem is that the stiff suspensions make the ride a bit bumpy on bad roads. But on smooth road, it was like gliding on clouds. The stiff suspensions have the advantage of high speed stability and good cornering. Even driving for 2 hrs without stopping was not that tiring. I loved every bit of the driving. All I could say after the end of the journey was – wow!!! what a trip and what a car !!!!!

Place: Kuntala waterfall, Pochera waterfall, Sriram Sagar Project. Nirmal, Adilabad District, Andhra Pradesh, India
Distance: Nirmal – 210 kms from Hydearbad.
Waterfall – 25 – 40 kms from Nirmal
Route: NH7 – Nagpur Highway from Hydearbad
Paradise, Bowenpally, Medchal road – Medchal – Tupran – Kamareddi – Armur – Nirmal.
Road Condition: BAD. Lots of detours onto kacha shoulder roads because of construction work happening on the highway.
Car: Maruti Suzuki Swift Zxi , June 2008.

To signoff, here is the pic of the poniki wood deer heads I bought for mom from Nirmal. Arent are beautiful?


Update: Many people are asking me how to post comments. All you have to do is click on the little blue link below which says 'x comments' and blabber away to glory :)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Long Time, No Post

Yes, it has been a very long time since I have updated this page. Lots of things happened in this span of 3 months. Heavy rains in Hyderabad, a trip to Delhi, a miserable salary hike, few good and a bad movie, a satisfying run, lots of driving, and the most important of all – shift in the project which is now taking up most of my day( and nights) with time left only to sleep. The last couple of weeks have been less hectic than the usual 13-16 hrs at office.

On 11th July this year, I completed 3 years in my company. 3 successful years in the renowned IT industry. I still remember the first day. We were a bunch of young kids freshly out of college walking into a big hall of a semi-constructed MKD office with dark leaky corridors. With ambitious dreams in our eyes and raw energy, we were raring to join the rat race along with scores of other rodents ;) When I look back at those 3 years now, I realised that it hasn’t been that bad after all. Though the initial one year wasn’t good with a perv-psycho for a manager, lots of dirty politics and plain shit work, the start of second year changed it all. A new project and an onsite assignment within 2 months was more than I had asked for. The next 15 months in Finland were one of the best days of my life – got to visit some amazing places, made very good friends, experienced extreme climates and divine natural beauty - Mother Nature in its purest form (which I am sure I won’t experience again). Working at MDP after coming back is now less frustrating :)

I recently had a first hand experience of the BPO industry when I visited Delhi to give training to a few call center people for some project requirement. Even they have strict norms to follow, even the have to undergo trainings before joining projects. I came across a few of them who are technically very sound and take extra effort to do background tech readings etc. But they have strict working hours which they don’t violate, unlike out flexible one which can range from 8 to 16 hrs. And one more thing I found is that they are usually loud people, maybe not all but most of them. A small cafeteria with hardly 10 people sounded like a fist market!!! And also this was the first time I visited the new Hyderabad International airport. Man, its just superb, amazing, sexy to say the least (I have a limited superlative vocabulary ;) ). It is of top international standards and no doubt the best we have in the country currently. It reminded me of the Helsinki Vantaa airport. The same cleanliness, the same silence, devoid of the maddening crowd generally found at an Indian airport. I just hope they maintain the quality in the long run.

Talking about Hyderabad, the traffic and road condition in the city is getting worst day by day. If the congress government comes into power again this time, I am sure the city will be back to the stone ages. Most of the roads in the city are in a bad state and the authorities are waiting for the monsoon to end to start the repair work. Luckily for them, the monsoon doesn’t want to go away that early this time. Most of the thook-polish patch work done gets eroded once it rains the next evening. Driving is becoming a pain in the wrong parts of the body. To get away from all this madness, I tried the MMTS for a few days. Man, it was peaceful. No pollution, no driving headache, no bad roads, no getting wet in the rain. But it has a very big problem. FREQUENCY!!! Like everything else planned by the government, the frequency of the MMTS trains is bad. No, it is outright UGLY. 1 train every hour from morning 5 to evening 9 - simple. No peak hour considerations, no lean hour considerations. 1 train every 1 hour. Its somewhat similar to the Madhapur traffic polices idea of regulating traffic flow - 10 mins of red lights and 10 mins of green lights. So if I miss the 8.10 am train, I have to wait for the 9.20 train. (oh, thats 70 mins isn’t it). So I reach office at 10.45 thanks to the brilliant idea of some nuthead to have the Hi-tech city station 4 kms away from the place it is named after. I struggled to get up early and catch the 8.10 train and reach office by 9.30 for a month (or was that only 20 days). Since healthy habits don’t stick on for much long, the routine of getting up early was soon lost in oblivion. So I was back to getting up late at 7.30 and 8 and back to the old, dusty, bumpy, muddy, chaotic roads. I wish to return back to the smooth railway tracks soon– maybe from the beginning of next month when I go get my monthly train pass renewed again :)

When the talk is about modes of travel, I could not resist from mentioning that my baby touched the 30,000 mark on its odo this month even before its 3rd birthday. Look at her, doesn’t she still look young?

I still find her beautiful in a crowded parking lot and she rides like a dream, smooth and silent (I should admin it isn’t as silent as it was when it was new, but silent when compared to other junk out there on the roads). The first time I spotted a Unicorn was in my college parking lot - a blazing red one with aftermarket bullet-hole stickers on the tank which looked very real, I just loved it. I knew I had to own that bike. My college parking lot was THE place to spot new 2 wheelers in the market and I am sure the red one was one of the firsts in the city. But then, I had to wait for more than a year to get the purchasing power to buy it (though I was still short of 4K for the auto start model and had to opt for the kick start – sounds so silly now). It was Pal’s birthday on 7th October. I slipped off from office in the afternoon. Mom and dad were away in Delhi for 3 months and I was staying alone then. I packed all the cash in a blue shoulder bag and after 30 mins, I was the proud owner of the blue babe – (now don’t ask me why I chose that odd colour, maybe Nanda Krishna can answer that ;). I went back to office that evening. It was Dandia night. We had a blast in the MDP lawns.

I was always fascinated by automobiles since I was a kid, so my senses automatically get attracted towards them. There are so many things which happen naturally to me even if I don’t make any conscious effort – like I get excited every time I drive a car model for the first time, my head starts guessing the bike model listening to its engine note, it tries to guess the car model while staring into the headlight beam, getting goose bumps every time I listen to a V8 roar etc. I am somehow more attracted to the classics - real metal, chrome and mechanics than to fibreglass plastics and microprocessor controllers. I am the kind who loves the sound and smell of the blue exhaust of a 2 stroker, whose heart skips a beat at the sight of a blue & black RXZ (with front disks), who would pay to ride a Shogun today (I was a schoolboy during the gun’s glory days, so never got to ride one. It had a tacho in those days !!!!!!), who enjoy the pull of a RX100 in 3rd gear, who likes to listen and read about the legendary RD350 (and still desperately finding an opportunity to drive one), who loves and respect the good old diesel Ambassador (my childhood dream of driving an ambassador is still not fulfilled though it came close when I drove my uncles Contessa Classic recently – another beauty of a car). I know it sounds silly to all the people who are not really tuned on to that frequency. But I am sure there are also others out there of the same tribe who are nodding their heads and smiling at themselves reading the above lines. The kind of people who have reached such stages in driving (pleasure/hysteria!!!!) where they become one with the machine – like the nerves and arteries extend into the steel of the bike and it becomes an extension of the body– when they don’t have to make any conscious efforts to drive the machine, just like you don’t when you walk or run.
OK, I am getting a little carried away now. The above paragraph was not there in my head when I sat down writing this blog. Maybe because its 2 am on a Saturday morning and I am sweating even though I have a blocked nose and a bad cold from the past 2 days. I don’t even want to read those lines again lest I end up deleting them :)

But life nowadays is so practical – I drive a soft sounding 4 stroker with a butter slab of an engine & gear box and a 1300 CC petrol hatchback with so much electricals that the doors & windows cannot be opened from inside without having the micro-chip embedded key inside the keyhole.

Ok, just one last paragraph on this topic – the Big Y’s new FZ16 is amazing. I saw the ad on the TV today evening. They boys at Yam are back, back with a bang (read R15 & now this), back to where they belong, back to ruling the roads again. For 65 grand, it’s a steal man!! (Idly bhai, this is the one for you. Please don’t delay much). And finally, the biking scene in India is hotting up. Just have to wait and watch for the response from the stables of Bajaj and the mighty Honda. I am rubbing my hands in glee. Maybe its time to sell off my blue one horned mythical creature and go for this blazing red Y beast :)

Now finally a change of topic. Many road trips coming up in the near future; at least planned for now :) - the first one being to Kuntala waterfalls next weekend. Hopefully I will recover from this cold and fever by then. There is another one planned to Nagarjuna Sagar but not yet finalized. I also plan to visit Bangalore sometime soon just for fun and to meet up with friends. Hyderabad is getting boring lately ;)

Movies Covered:
Ready (telugu) – Good and a timepass movie. Still running successfully at Shanti Narayanguda even after 3 months.
Singh is Kinng – Utter Crap. The most overhyped movie of recent times. Walked away 30 mins before the movie got over.
The Dark Knight – Good. I went with lots of expectations after seeing it overthrow The Godfather from the top slot on the IMB list. It wasn’t bad but wasn’t that great either.
Rock On – The movie was worth all the media hype unlike Singh is Kinng. The songs are not that great but the movie on the whole, the story, the acting, the theme is amazing – a good Hindi movie after a really long time.

Waiting for The Righteous Kill to hit the theatres – capturing two Gods in a single frame happens only once a decade.

Here are a few nice pic to sign off with. They were taken on an early December morning at Stockholm - “Facing the Baltic” theme. I have so many of them. The first one is under a very very big Christmas tree (which is visible at the top right corner) and the second pic is of one of the many boats and ferries lined along the Stockholm’s long sea-front. I still regret not visiting this beautiful city a second time :(

Phew, it ended up on a completely different note than what it began with. I am sure I have bored most of my regular audiences with all the motor-crap. Hopefully the next post will be a travel log with some nice waterfall and green landscape pics.
Flowerpot will be satisfied with this post. She has been pestering/threatening/demanding me to update my blog nearly every time we talk :)


Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Black Bug-eyed Temptress

On 19th June, we bought our self a new Black Maruti Suzuki Swift after a wait of more than a month. The waiting could have been longer had I not logged a complaint at the Maruti website. The response after the complaint was quick and the showroom guy called up the next day and told us to take the car home (the same guy had told us to wait for another 3 weeks before logging the complaint).

Since the car arrived, I have been roaming around only in the city and was eagerly waiting for an opportunity to take the baby out on an open stretch. Thanks to the city traffic, driving in the 2nd and the 3rd cogs is the order of the day.4th and 5th are a dream. Finally, today we decide to visit the Raja Rajeshwara Swamy Temple at Vemulawada which is around 150 kms from Hyderabad. This was an opportunity for a nice photo session of the babe and also to check out its power.

Ahh, it didn’t disappoint me - the way it wafts at 3 digit speeds in overdrive, the stiff sporty suspensions which eat away curves with panache, the pickup and overtaking in lower cogs, the powerful AC, the stability at high speeds…the list goes on. I will let the pictures do the rest of the talking.

Yes, this post is dedicated to the babe-the star of the show. Don’t expect anything less :)


Place – Vemulawada, Karimnagar District, AP. Sri Rajarajeshwara Swamy Devalayam.
Distance – 150 kms from Paradise, Secunderabad.
Route – Paradise, Karkhana, Bolarum, Siddipet, Sircilla, Vemulawada.
Road Condition: Superb, excellent, A1.
Travel Time: 2.5 hrs.

Car Details:
2008 Maruti Suzuki Swift Zxi

P.S: Yeah, the formatting is bad, but I am not able to arrange pics properly in the template. Anyone can help me with that.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Hot Feet, Hot Hatch, Hot Hydie… Its summer time folks!!!!

I know it has been a long time (more than a month) since I blogged. The initial josh of blogging has fizzed out and many people have already reminded that to me. I was actually thinking of writing about the Tirupati and Bangalore trips in a single post but the Bangalore (I don’t like the new name Benguluru) trip is getting postponed every time I talk about it, hence the delay.

There was lots of activity in the last 30 days - trip to Tirupati, a long due exam, some really bad movies, dating tips to first timers, bouts of fitness-freakishness, visiting cousins, loosing helmet in office parking lot etc.

Hot feet
Benu had the Tirupati trip in his mind from a really long time. And as always, things just remain inside. So I had to step in and take charge and get things out of his tilted head. So before it got too late (meaning peak summer and the vacations), we booked the tickets on the first weekend of April. We decided to walk up the holy 7 hills this time so we booked the darshan tickets for the evening slot. It was my first time up the Tirumala on foot so I was looking forward for it. I have been on other such journeys/treks before though. (Sabarimala twice, Kedarnath in heavy rain & zero visibility, Vaishnao Devi once). (Yes, I have traveled a LOT. From Kanyakumari to Kashmir, Gangtok to Amritsar. The list of places will easily scroll to 2 pages, not including the 15 months Europe stint) (self-dabba thoda jyaada ho raha hai abhi :p maybe I should stay grounded to the current topic and not drift away) ( I wonder how people used to write before the brackets ( ) were invented) So where was I….yes Tirupati. Though it was still the first week of April, it was very hot especially since we were walking in the mid afternoon. Don was having problems walking for 5 minutes continuously in that heat ;). It took us 5 hrs to reach Tirumala with lots of stops in between and blistered feet. The darshan was over by late night. The next day we had planned to visit Kanipakam but couldn’t make it because the highway was blocked due to an accident. Traffic was stranded for miles. We came back halfway since we had to catch the train early evening. And as always, I had my camera with me all throughout the trip.

This was from the train on the way to Tirupati. I got up early just to capture this.

I was always fascinated by the windmills at Tirumala since I was a kid. No wonder I have invested in Suzlon :) Here is a tip - usually on bright sunny days, the background gets over exposed and you cannot get far-off or tiny objects to be visible clearly in the picture. You can rectify this by reducing the exposure value (the EV number) in the camera. Lowering the value captures less light by altering the shutter speed and(or) the aperture size of the lens.

The EV reduction trick works here too. Look how blue the sky looks instead of bright white. I don’t believe in altering/enhancing photos in photo-editor softwares.

Hot Hatch
It was time for us to buy a new car at home. And convincing everyone that it was time for us to buy a new car seemed like a big uphill task. But when it comes to convincing people, no one can get better than me. Hehehehaha *evil laugh*. In a couple of weeks, everyone at home wanted a new car :) . That was the easy part, convincing the folks at home. The difficult part was to zero in on the car. And as usual, it was me who had to take care of this job.

There was lots of hype about the new Maruti Suzuki Swift Dezire, the sedan version of the highly successful Swift. Or Swift-with-a-boot as all the auto mags started calling it. Though it isn’t visually as perfect as the swift or other sedan, it has its own charm. And with that class breaking price tag, it was the perfect car to fit our bill. But as it turns out now, there is so much demand for the car and so less supply that the waiting period is close to 9 months with all dealers freezing future bookings. Generations change in that period of time !! Who wants to wait for another generation? Other options were the beautiful Chevy Aveo and the practical Ford Fiesta and other hatchbacks – the Hyundai Getz and the Chevy U-VA. The sedans were very good but I never liked the idea of buying the base variant of any car - just the bare-bones car without any bells and whistles. And what pissed me off most was that safety features are only present in the high variants and none in the base. U-VA was good and Tim liked its looks a lot but somehow it didnt appeal to everyone. Finally, we decide to go with the Swift hothatch. The fully loaded 2008 Zxi model with ABS, airbags, 1 DIN stereo with steering controls was the best VFM. Delivery period 3 weeks as promised by the dealer.

Now waiting eagerly to lay my hands on the black bug-eyed temptress. I always hated it when it rained in the mornings while going to office. The city roads would become a mess and driving would be a nightmare – a clear indication of how our hard earned money is filling up the bank accounts of the government officials. Now I am hoping the drive to office this monsoon would be a pleasant experience. A complete post will be dedicated to the beauty once it arrives :)

Hot Hydie:

Ah, the summer. It is here in its full glory. 40 degrees centigrade is just another day in Hyderabad. The carbide-ripen mangoes & coconut vendors taking shelter under trees and not a single soul on the road in the afternoons – that’s the current state of our dear ol’ Hydie. It’s so hot that people have stopped coming out of the work areas in office for tea in the afternoons. I have experienced the hot-seat on my bike a couple of times already this summer, you get to see mirages on car roofs if you go out in the afternoons. Global warming they say? By the way, if anyone is interested, try watching the award winning movie by Nobel Peace Prize winner and the former vice president Al Gore. The movie is named An Inconvenient Truth. It tells us how deep in shit we currently are when it comes to climatic crisis. It was on TV last month and was also screened in my office a couple of months back (the number of people who attended the screening indicated how least bothered people are). Anyways, like I said before, I am eagerly waiting for the monsoon to arrive.

And now moving away from everything hot to something cool. The last 2 movies which I saw were really good. Ghamyam and Parugu (yes, you read it right, I AM watching telugu movies regularly since late. It shows how bad life sucks ;) ). Ghamyam had a very different story which I liked. It even had a bike with character. Parugu was kinda ok. The lead actress should have been someone good. She wasn’t that great but resembled Gajula’s Apasara ;). One of the songs was shot at The Petra, Jordan (or something similar to it) – I was blown away. Did not expect it in a telugu movie. All credit goes to the director.

Well, life isn’t going to be all peachy from next month. Benu is moving away to Bangalore and Don is off to UK from June 1st. Once they are gone, weekends will become boring :( Please let me know if you people have plans for the weekends, I will be more than happy to join in :) (males given second preference. My mail id can be found in my profile ). If you had asked me a few days back, I would have stayed back at home during weekends and watched cricket. But the way Chargers are positioned in the tournament right now, there isn’t much to cheer. What a waste of a brilliantly talented squad. I don’t know who is to be blamed? Lakshman? The coach Robin Singh? The DC management? Does it matter now?

Anyways, me signing off now. Happy summer time folks.

P.S: Did I mention I have joined guitar classes?



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Monday, April 7, 2008

The Trip

I have been thinking of doing a one day bike trip from the time I returned back to India in December. We thought of visiting the Ananthagiri Hills but it didn't materialise. We also planned an early morning trip to the new Shamshabad international airport just for the kicks, but that too got cancelled - we ended up going to Runway 9 instead. The main problem is that there isn't much of an enthu junta for these kind of trips. This trip was already cancelled by me once thanks to some work at home. Finally, everything fell in place this weekend ( even though 2 people dropped out at the last moment). So it was kranthi, ashok, prakash and myself on 2 bikes off to this reservoir/dam near the village of Singur.

The whole plan of the trip ( as it always is with a bike) is to enjoy the ride. The last time I really enjoyed a bike ride was on 15th September 2006, the day I was flying off to Finland. I had gone to visit the Chilkur Balaji Temple in the morning. I left home early at 5 am alone on my bike knowing quite well that this ride would be my last bike ride for another 6 months at least( which somehow extended to 15 months). Once I crossed Langar house and reached the Pargi road, the fun began. Dark empty roads, the headlight illuminating the canopy of trees, fresh morning breeze, dawn in sight, greenery all around me and the silence. The sweet grunt of the engine ( yes, I ride a Honda) was like music to my ears. The whole feeling was very divine. Nirvana was attained.

So, now back to the present day. The plan was to attain nirvana again, but as it turned out, we actually left at 10.30 in the morning ( Prakash had some urgent work in the morning which could not be postponed). I was waiting for his call from 9 am. Kranthi and I had decided that we will wait till 10.45 before packing the whole trip up. Finally prax called at 10.30. After applying a thick coat of sunscreen lotion ;) , I started off towards ameerpet stopping briefly to fuel up. I picked up ashok near ESI hospital and we were immediately greeted with a traffic jam near some rythu bazaar. We managed to reach JNTU and meet meet prax and kranthi at around 11.15. From there on, there was lots of road construction happening near Patancheru and ICRISAT with heavy traffic crawling slowly.

We got out of the city limits on the Bombay highway sometime around 11.45. The road was new, smooth and inviting. So I opened up the throttle and managed a long decent speed. We crossed Muthangi and I couldn't resist the sight of the green fields adjacent to the black road. So we stopped for a quick photo session.

Soon, we crossed Isnapur and reached Sadashivpet. We had to take a right turn after Sadashivpet to reach the reservoir. But before that, we decided to have lunch. So we stopped at a dhaba and were forced to order dal fry and paneer sabzi with roti.

We took diversion from the highway towards Atmakur village at around 2 pm. The single lane road was newly carpeted and had beautiful fields and poultry farms on its either side. The ride was very enjoyable. Atmakur was around 10 kms from the highway. From there on, the road condition became very bad. It was a muddy kacha road but was manageable on the bikes. We also came across some very weird roadblocks.

Finally reached the reservoir after asking directions more than a couple of times . It was a sight to behold. We were shocked looking at the size of the lake and the cleanliness of the surroundings. I have seen many lakes in my life (trust me when i say that :p ) but this one was a very pleasant surprise. The bund was very long and the dam was quite big too. This is the reservoir which supplies water to most of the norther part of the Hyderabad city through the river Manjeera. Here are a few pics

We were at the place for nearly an hour. Mind you there isn't much to do here other than admiring the surroundings. No place to rest, no place to eat, no place to spread out your picnic basket etc. We didn't visit the other side of the bund which leads towards the Singur village since the road( the bund actually) was very bad. There could be a few interesting places on that side. At least we could see an accessible grassy beach. We walked over the dam, took lots of pics. Kranthi also washed his face in the waters ;). It soon got cloudy and we could see hear thunder. So we decided to leave at around 4pm. We hardly travelled 2 kms and it started to rain. We took cover under a section of a concrete pipe which was there on the roadside.

We waited here for 15 Min's. Hardly had we travelled 10 meters when it started to rain again. And we again took shelter under another pipe :). And man, did it rain or what.

We were stuck here for nearly 45 Min's. Once the rain had receded to a light drizzle, we were back on the road. The sun came out after some time and so did the rainbow even before we reached the highway. But this was short lived. It rained again once we reached the highway. We had a nice hot tea but it never stopped raining completely. It rained again and again ......and again !!!

Our journey back was very frustrating, tiring, finger numbing and wet. It was raining so frequently that we made nearly 10 stops. When it wasn't raining, I let loose the throttle and the one horned mythical creature galloped away on the black asphalt. We somehow managed to reach the city limits at around 6pm with our clothes through the complete wash cycle, drying and rinsing at least thrice :) And not to forget all the mud splashed on us from truck tires which travel the length and breadth of the country. Nirvana attained ;)

We stopped at a tiffing center near the BHEL gate to feed the rodents having a field day in our tummies. The rain was so sporadic and intermittent that Kranthi and Ashok were stuck in heavy rain just 1 km behind us. By the time they reached the tiffin center, prax and me were done with our idly+wada and masala dosa respectively. We left the place by 6.30 and were engulfed in the nauseating city traffic at Kukkatpally. I was in a bad mood already and the traffic was getting to my nerves.I couldn't take it anymore so I told Ashok who was my pillion now to hold on tight as I drove through the traffic like a maniac. We reached the ESI hospital in no time where i dropped off Ashok. The traffic wasn't that much as it usually is near SR Nagar and Ameerpet areas it being a Sunday. I was home in another 20 Min's at about 7.30 pm.

On a whole, it was a nice trip, we had fun and it was a learning experience. I wanted this first trip to be a short one so that I could get an idea of how much of riding I am capable of in a day. Now, I also know what my bike is capable of and what it is not. This experience will help in the planning of a couple of longer trips in the near future.

Hope you enjoyed reading the post and also the pics. Do comment. And please leave your name or atleast your initials along with your comment..pleaseeeeeeeeeee. I am not good at guessing anonymous comments :)

And hearty Ugadi/Gudi Padva wishes to you and your whole family.


Trip Info:

Place : Singur Reservoir. Singur village, Pulkal mandal, Medak district, Andhra Pradesh.
Date: 7th April. 2008
Distance: 85 Kms from Hyderabad.
Route: Take the Bombay Highway out of Hyderabad. Sadashivpet is approximately 70 kms from Hydearbad. Cross Sadashivpet and after approximately 3 kms there is a small unmarked road at the right which leads to Atmakur. The road comes after a big spinning mill on the left. You cannot miss the sign of a poultry farm at the beginning of the road . 10 kms inside is Atmakur ( single lane new tar road). From here the reservoir is 5 kms. 2-3 kms of kacha muddy road. Difficult for a family car to travel. Bikes or high ground clearance vehicles can manage this easily. The last 2 kms is again a tar road.
Facilities: Nothing. No food, no shelter, no leisure activities like boating etc.