bike, Hobbies, materialistic philosophy, my life, travel

Here I Go on the road again

the call of the road

 

I love to drive. I really love to drive. I really totally love to drive. I really totally absolutely love to drive. Humans invented words to be able to communicate . While it is true that our mastery of larynx has enabled us to become masters of the world and deluded us into creating competitions to find the most beautiful thing that breathes in the universe, no matter how many daggers I inflict on the works of Wren and Martin and the guardians of English dictionary , I cannot honestly describe the joy that driving gives to me. Words can indeed be funny, only way to describe your love for anything is to write that you cannot describe them in words.

So, I love to drive. I love to drive fast. In India, driving fast is not something that any cardiologist will recommend to the fainthearted. Driving on the roads of India, it sometimes makes me wonder where did Stan Lee get the inspiration for his characters . Maybe it was good that he did not live in India or else his description of the physical self of his characters would be so much realistic. Every day in India you have people take to the road that they are the one and only spider-man and superman. Helmets are something meant for people whose brain skulls are made of fragile calcium composite. Driving on the wrong side is only way to drive specially if most of the lesser mortals who are driving at over 100 km per hour stand to disintegrate after a head on collision with the superman. The best part of it all is that the biggest superpower of Indian motorists is the high beam light that shields them from harms way by blinding the oncoming traffic driving on the right side of the road.

So, I have a self-destructive love. And there hangs the tale or whatever Lord Archer might have programmed my brain to mutter. If I am to analyse every thing I do in my life, my driving stands out as an anomaly. I was a lethargic when it came to physical activity , while I won accolades galore in academics and extra-academics, I have a resounding empty cupboard for sports. I used to hate games period and would actually study during the same in school. Yet, now I am one of the most regular guys in the gym challenging myself everyday to run an extra kilometer so much so that most of the fit members of the gym publicly declare me as an object of envy. Post diabetics, I have almost killed the foodie in me, I used to live to eat and I used to eat. For years, I could eat the most in my locality and now I am scared of having an extra serving of wheat bread. When I see oil floating around, it becomes difficult for me to chew and digest.

But we all are slaves to our own brain who will always find a way to justify all we do. While it is tempting to say that I am in control of my car, it is not really the right answer. I have had times when I lost control of my bike or car for a few fleeting seconds,seconds where only extraordinary symphony of circumstances saved my life. So I take refuge in my knowledge of biology.

When you are in fear, your brain produces adrenaline. A rush of adrenaline stimulates the body and causes a sudden release of glucose as well as an increase in blood pressure, respiration, and heart rate. It makes you more aware of your situation and your body is physical more ready to react.Different people have different brains. Some brains needs a lot of excitement to pump out adrenaline (Formula 1-drivers, sky-divers, base-jumpers,), others, however, need just a little; stealing a candy bar, going into an examination.
After a while the adrenaline is no longer active in your body and you have indeed conquered your own fear. That makes some people feel “more alive”.
Some brains produce  dopa-mine, a kind of reward-drug: you get a good feeling about yourself. It’s all about these chemicals. Because of this reward-drug you may want to do it again, and when, for instance,  becomes too familiar, you need to go off-piste to ensure the production of adrenaline and dopa-mine.

Fully satisfied with my explanation, I can only mummer the lyrics of Bob Sager’s song “Turn the page”- especially the part “on the the road again“- juxtaposed with the background music of Bon Jovi’s “Blaze of glory”, and dream myself pressing my accelerator hard enough so that there is no air bubble between the shoe of the accelerator and the chassis of my car.

 

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Hobbies, travel

Evergreen Travel Memories

bomdila

Shall I say that I love to travel ? Love is a very heavy word enough to justify justifications like “everything is fair in love and war” . All I can say for sure that never has a new place failed to make me happy for days after I have left that place , provided it is not overcrowded with people. Maybe I am a closet introvert who just wants to run away from known faces. The thing about sentences starting with maybe is that there could be so many of them laying claim to be the cause that we can never be sure about the merit of those claims. Hours of pedantic analysis may tell us whose claim is greater but do we always need to know the whys of our emotions. Fair enough to say, I like to travel without any rhyme and reason. I think it wins a brownie point over my other passion of code for code earns my salary and my journeys use it.


Maybe, this has to do with the fact that every few years my fathers public sector job allowed us to go on free trips to any corner of India. While this coincidence could be the factor that influenced my likings. It is not a matter of conjecture that these free trips enabled me to see a lot of the country called India. My parents say we went on our first trip to Shillong, I don’t remember much of it apart from some lake where we did boating. The next was a trip to Darjeeling and Sikkim then Mumbai-Goa-Pune and then Chennai-Trivandrum-Kanyakumari and then Minicoy in Lakshadweep. Apart from these trips, my impressionable mind was overdosed with greenery of Arunachal Pradesh through my frequent summer holidays spent at my maternal uncles place. By the time I could take my own decisions, my travels were no longer hostages to freebies of my father’s company. I spent money from my pocket to travel to a few places in Arunachal, drove my bike from Hyderabad to Mumbai and back. My car clocked 20000 km in two years involving a few trips to places in and around Chennai and Bangalore. I have travelled as much as the limits of my budget would allow me.


Baseline established, I guess its time to come to the title of my post. Evergreen travel Memories. Let me give a background of the image that serves as the first image of this post. This was taken in an obscure hilltop of Bomdila. Bomdila is one of the most beautiful hill stations of India situated far above the clouds in the easternmost state of India — Arunachal Pradesh. We had planned to halt @ Bomdila for one day en-route Tawang. But the locals had some other plans. There was a strike in a town between Bomdila and Tawang and we had to stay for one extra day. We had one extra day @ Bomdila. Knowing nothing better we decided to go the highest point of Bomdila , they call it Tower. There is a military communications tower there. There was a proper road to it. But we decided that we should literally take the road less taken. We just ventured inside hills and decided to take the path devoid of any road so as to speak of. That was one of the best decisions I had taken in my life. We just kept on climbing hills asking local wood gatherers can we reach tower this way. Long story short, in our travels, we finally reached a mini hilltop. It had a nice grass devoid of any thorny plants. We decided to halt there. It was more a matter of lack of choice, we were dead tired. We were now high above the clouds and could look down upon a lot of geography. It was then the clouds took particular liking to our decision of hiking , it decided to let the various shades of green below us play hide and seek with our visual senses. I was told that green is a colour but the dance of the clouds was determined to clear my misconceptions and prove that green is not a single colour but a  range of colours. The photo above captures just one of the moments of this great poetic recitation of clouds.


Another image of my travel diaries that has stayed with we are from the coral reefs of Minicoy.  My primary school science told me about seven colours my knowledge of computer graphics told me about 65656 colours.   But Minicoy told me that colours are infinite.  This was not the statement of the white sandy beaches or the lagoon besides our hotel where you could see the bottom of the sea. It was school of fishes playing hide and seek in the imperfections of the dead exoskeleton of corals.  Many a engineers claim that modern hd tvs can accurately bring out the last pixel that a human eye can detect . I am sure this place has the other opinion. For no so-called high quality images have tainted my memories of that place. To top it all, I don’t have a single photograph of my trip to Minicoy so in a sense it is untainted by infrequent stimulus of digital pixels.


So, these places are beautiful but then why do I write about them some eight years after I bade farewell to these places. I guess it is the time that has elapsed that forces me to write about them . These memories stand out amongst all my geographical changes.  And then there is also the slight possibility that some of my friends who read this will want to do themselves a favour and find themselves in these places. To sign off, I will plagiarise the great Spock “I have been and shall always be in love with you -Bomdila and Minicoy”

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travel

A tale of several twisted roads in southern part of India -Part 1

For the uninitiated, I have the last two and half years of my life at a place called Chennai, I also happen to have a mode of transportation called car and a desire to travel called a primal desire. It is a conspiracy of my instincts, opportunity and geographical latitudes that I find myself soaking my eyes in the sun rays bathed in a s sea of green,gold and asphalt. My primal needs to feed my stomach means these changes in wavelength occurs during the days of week we call Saturdays and Sundays. The first of the innumerable excursions was a place which the French left as Pondicherry and the politicians renamed as Puducherry. But for all and sundry, the place was still the affectionate Pondi. The land of good food and great booze.

The journey

At that point of time, I was staying in the outskirts of Chennai at a place called Kelambakkam. Three people from office picked me up from my place at around 2 p.m. Thus started our journey on an A start across the lovely tarmac of East Coast Road.  A good word to describe ECR is scenic and a good word to describe scenic is ECR. The view of clear blue seas separated by arching trees is something that needs to be seen.Every mountain has a peak and every great experience has a peak. The peak for me was staring at the setting sun from a solitary log of wood left stranded on the damp floor of a receding back water. After a few hours of awesomeness, we were in Pondicherry and it was time to go hotel hunting.

The hunt for the hotel 1st January evening is not the best time to search for hotels in Pondicherry. We were on a limited budget which we were determined to spend on booze and food . Everywhere we went we were told to get lost. Finally, we came across a place called Sri Krishna guest house. It was 1000 rupees per room which meant 500 rupees per head. It meant my basic requirements on bathroom hygiene and it had a bed and a nearby street had a place where we could park our car. A single sentence to describe it all was  “a great place to stay”.

Things we did

 

  Food and Drinks The one thing that please me the most was the quality and economics of booze – good booze and great booze. Time to stock up.. have all you want. But booze alone cannot gratify hunger so ‘t was time to gorge on delicious pizzas and french food. A local guide told us the places to go. On day 1 most of the places were full but we found ourselves seated at Theresa’s to gorge on wood baked pizzas. Day 2 was spent at Le Club and few other places. We also went to a beach near Auroville, it had a small nondescript hut called cocos something, it had the most amazing russian salad and bread omelet. For people interested in stocking up booze a good place to go is a whole sale place around the place where the main beach road ends. You will get all you want at a price you can only dream off.Having booze in hotels is not that economical so we had the best of brands in our own small room.

 

Other things: Pondicherry is blessed with a large number of beautiful and bountiful beaches. We had a ride with us so we went to a random beach and spent a long time playing frisbee. After two days of awesome fun, it was time to bid adieu and come back to the city of Chennai. We started early, the other three attended office while I took a day off.

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Hobbies, life, Literary experience, philosophical me

Verse, blank-verse and converse

Although there is no cookbook for wisdom and knowledge, the same cannot be said about the intangible adjective called literate.  For all I can do or wish to do it is now forever etched into my gray matter that the 3 Rs – reading, writing and arithmetic make up the seven course meal called literacy. It is another matter that the gray matter is not gray and arithmetic does not start with an ‘R’ yet this is the very sequence of words I shall tattoo into the minds of any impressionable target that comes across me. Like most middle-class parents of their generation, my parents too thought that I should master the three R’s. I was in school.

The thing about school and blog is that language classes are much more easier to ponder over and ruminate then the numerical theories which I now believe to be the only absolute truth. Scientific theories come and go, Religions are born and buried but if one bird on a tree is joined by another bird, we have only two birds on the tree.The thing about language lessons is that we learn “Twinkle Twinkle little star” and “A for Apple” from beyond the time hidden in my subconscious by the mist of time.  This was my initiation to the world of prose and poetry.

As the years went by, poems changed from small songs to sonnets to blank verse. My English papers periodically had exotic sounding words like “iambic pentameter“. But the thing with poems which I have referred to as verse and blank verse is that I was never really sure if I had diverged from what the writer actually wanted to say. Most of the times , the safe approach was the approach of your teacher.  Even the neurons of time have failed to remove the veil of ignorance that envelops my understanding of words that I had once read.

Even today,some questions remain unanswered. Even today , I can’t help wondering if there is more to the poems than that meets the eye. Even today , I want to wax lyrical but indulge in mundane and intrinsic science called prose writing.

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Hobbies, life, materialistic philosophy

When (a+b)^2 is not quite a^2+b^2+2ab

It has been sometime since the consistent underachiever Spain announced themselves as the true heir of the art called beautiful game. In the days gone by many updates have changed on Facebook, many tweets have been replicated , many tears shed and many decibel violated. In the midst of all these many millions have been made.

May be, we human beings are unlike any other animal or maybe in essence we are still beasts for we go to great lengths to be entertained . We pay magicians to belittle our intelligence, gladiators to kill, and Russell Peters to tell us that we are dick-heads. As times have changed, some forms of entertainment have been condemned to the dark alleys of secrecy under the garb of changing moral values while new forms have crept up to play with the same old neurons.What stays rooted in the midst of this tempest of change is our need to be entertained.

If our lifetimes is any yardstick, competitive sports as a form of entertainment is ancient so is the art form defined by people faking emotions and actions as envisioned by people we call writers. Another fact that binds these interracial twins is that the economics that sometimes shadows and beacons them have been great advances in media. I doubt if any person reading this post has not been to a movie or has not watched the live/deferred live telecast of ones favourite sport.

Having applied the base paint, it is now time for me to reflect on another of mans innovation. We like to classify things, rather we need to classify things. We like to create order in the midst of chaos. Perhaps this carnal need to classify things is what makes us classify movies into genres. We have action movies, romantic ones, fiction, horror and the likes and the unlikes.

This post of mine is largely inspired by the common thread that runs through all great sport movies. We love the underdogs to win against the odds Bhuvan, chak de, rocky or the mixed pro football team of the movie I consider the best sports picture “Remember the titans”. A further rumination on the matter leads me to realise that our fascination and adoration for the underdog violates the very foundation of the fourth wall. We rejoice when Bangladesh beat Australia, some unknown player wins the Wimbledon and what not. This is more true for sports where we are more than literally neutral.Usain Bolt stealing the thunder of Americans and making underdogs out of the Americans or a brawn GP winning F1 in its  first attempt do have its kicks.

Having meandered a lot in the course of this post,it is now time for me to economize on words . With the increase in eyeballs that follow soccer, it has become much more than a game for some poor goal keeper it can actually be a matter of life and death . I apologise to his departed soul for making him a common noun, and in keeping with  my vow to blog only from memory, I shall delve no deeper into the matter.  In this years finals Dutch were the obvious underdogs. Yet, somehow i would have hated if they had won for they did not play beautiful. In the finals, the conduct of the dutch can be best explained as a players who had an inception that football is nothing but playing kick boxing outside the ring. All over the world, the pundits and the laggards(me included) blasted the Dutch. But there lies the paradox that haunts me, it was probably the only shot at immortality the dutch guys had. They needed to do something to sweeten the sad memories of a nation twice rejected at the altar. They chose to embrace the wrath of zillions of people glued to their TV screens. They risked it all. They were playing a loose-loose game. If they won they would be vilified, if they lost, their defeat would be celebrated rather than consoled. At some points, I think they deserved to get the support any underdog gets and then I just fail to support them for any second, the only emotion I have for them is hatred.

It would be somewhat unjust for me to click on publish without a contradicting feeling I have been having. Maybe in some fictional finals of an awesome movie I would root for the same kind of football played by the dutch. Bringing in more money to the formula that binds all sports movies

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bike, Hobbies, life

Hellride for heaven part:1

Venue: Ivy Comptech,Hyderabad

For those of who are in touch me shall know of my adventure on asphalt over the last weekend.For the less fortunate mortals, I embarked on a trip to Mumbai – nothing abnormal as yet – but I chose to ride my way to Mumbai on a bike from Hyderabad a distance of over 700 kms made over 800 by one enjoyable wrong turn.
I am a huge proponent of apt use of “a”s and “the”s in blogs. But somehow this escape from normal life merits an abnormal piece. A piece that celebrates the statistical relevance of Dhonis over the poetry of Laxman.
For sake of my own satisfaction, I shall resort to one word section headers to tie the threads together.

Genesis:

me: “Himank is friday ko good friday hai na?”

himank (co conspirator):”haan”

me to shobhit(flatmate):  “Oye shobhit, weekend ko kya kar raaha hai?”

shobhit : “mere office ko good friday ka chutti nehi hai, saturday bhi khula hai isi hafte ghar se aaya huun cant take leave again”

me to aniket : “Weekend ko kya kar raha hai?”

aniket: “kuch nehi. Tu kya kar raaha hai. Yahaan aa jaa.”

me:”aaya to jaa sakta hai. will confirm in 30 mins.”

I enter my office wing, go to himank’s place

me: “Oye, weekend ko mumbai chalega”

himank:”chal, lets book the tickets!!”

me:”Tickets kyon, lets go by bike”.

Himank (thinking: finally i got a person who is as pshycho as me!! Yo Baby!!): “yes! haan”

me to aniket: “oye main friday mumbai pahuch raaha huun . coming on bike. Blue frog chalenge bandi pe fight marunga. Is baar hellu nehi hounga. Atleast baat karke aaunga:D”

aniket :”Pagla gaya kya. pagloko bandi nehi milti hai. tu aisa kar flight pakar ke aa fir chalte hai tab milegi”

me:”Sale, khud mere ehsano ke wajeh se bandi mili. chup reh!! I am coming by bike!! mile gi to milegi nehi to nehi. will stop at pune for a few hours rest :D”

himank: “Raat ko das bajeh types nikalte hai, I might stop at Pune ”

Footnote:

The entire flow of events took place over a duration of less than an hour a day before the ride. IF I write the entire experience in one blog, it will be too clumsy!! So will continue this series

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bike, Hobbies, life

Traffic Rules are meant to be broken

me n my bulletAny well thought of title of an act of human creativity is probably the most significant combination of words both in terms of font size and information density. The recent deluge of newsprint on traffic incidents might colour the perspective of any unsuspecting reader of this blog. As an honest a sincere human being,I shall crush herein any feeling that this post is moral lecture on the need for traffic rules. This post is a stripped down recollections of my misadventures on my new bike the bullet classic. Misadventures I shall live to rejoice.

Its been eight months since I have started calling Hyderabad my home. Coming from the mouth of a person who spent the last seven years of his life in hostel, home usually refers to the geographical coordinates wherein we take shelter during our holidays. But the end (or pause only time knows) of my student days means that this definition of home needs to be restored to the original dictionary meaning of the word.The reason as to why I am saying all this seemingly unrelated nonsensical things is to drive home my point that I know I live in the city which I call home not just during my holidays.

Being a novice in riding bikes and having a burning desire to master the art of riding catalyzed by availability of one of your friends bike usually results in the obvious. Over the last three or four months, I found my mind and body struggling with a bike in around the roads of Hyderabad. Unfortunately two of the best roads in Hyderabad outer ring road and PVNR are closed to two wheelers.So, I had never touched them. One thing led to other and experience taught me that are only two rules that apply on Hyderabad roads – physics and economics :D.

Having finally graduated to a intermediate biker, I decided it was time to buy my own. So, it was time to select my beast, after a lot of deliberations it was decided that thunderbird it shall be but a test drive of classic and a case of blinded by pure awesomeness meant that it shall be bullet classic. My first date was set as 23rd December but fate had a mind of its own. Some political agitations, tax saving investments, trip to Assam meant that I could lay my hands on my beast on 30th January.

My first day on this bike saw me falling for one of Adams apple in the garden of Eden Putting all my apprehensions in the burner and aspirations on fire, I zoomed ahead in front of the by-standing white-shirt, khaki trousers, white helmet clad people. A few hundred metres  later I found myself that I was not the only person exhibiting one of the most frequent examples of control system engineering, several unstable creations of human engineering were moving ahead. These repeated sightings annihilated whatever remained of the ashes of my apprehensions. It is said that pride is a vice to be abandoned and humility is a virtue to be embraced. The sight of all other that was moving on around me made me abandon my lessons on morals accumulated over the years. I could help looking down at all that was sharing the road I was traveling while the other moving objects had their heart and soul in the pages of boring science mine had the mind in science and heart in the labyrinth of the Vincis and MichealAngelos. As for the ride or should I say the flight, it was great but forbidden fruit was a touch over rated. The flight of my senses was cruelly punctuated by the section of roundabouts and work in progress.But it did feel great and letting the bike take control.With a bullet classic, you need not tell it where to go, it understands your heart.

Next day, my indulgences in global warming saw me take to the Hyderabad-Bangalore Highway. Ooo! La La OMG !OMG!. Miles and miles of riding paradise. The music of my bullet piercing the night air that enveloped all my senses. The the flight of photons ,forever perplexed by the need to satisfy Einstein and Maxwell, on the asphalt road and my dashboard was a sight to behold. Funnily though the most exhilarating feeling was one of the most trivial parts of the beat.The efforts the springs on my seat that insulated me from all variations in altitude of the road that lay beneath my beast. All good things come to a pause with a promise to visit some time later. Before long,it was time for me to turn back and head to the place I sleep and have my breakfast.

In this leg of my journey, I thought of killing the miles that lay between the airport and my home through the not so glamorous neighbour of PVNR. But sometimes fate smiles on you.There was nobody to block my illegal entry into PVNR. No sooner had I verified it,it was time to do a  u turn and head for the asphalt pastures that lay ahead.Some man made curves can surely compete with carnal curves for the affection of man. The guilt soaked ride was an experience in itself but the punctuations inflicted by four speed-breakers in the eleven km stretch of elevated expressway did leave a bitter after-taste. 😀 . I guess that is what happens after traveling  60 kms without a bump on the Bangalore-Hyderabad nh-7.

Conclusion: Bullet classic rocks and nh 7 is the place where I enjoyed most

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