Recently in The World Around Me Category
I am not a mac fan boy. For that matter, I am not a gadget freak. I have been using a Mac for a couple of years. I very recently started using an iPod and an iPad, all thanks to Yahoo! And I am amazingly impressed by both the devices. I am sure both these devices are going to change the way I look at gadgets.
May be that is why, when I woke up this morning to the news of Steve Jobs death, I felt as if someone close to me has died. Even after all the fun we had today, somewhere in the bottom of my heart, that sorrow feeling lingers on.
RIP Steve Jobs. You have changed the way people will look at gadgets.
In June, while I was preparing for my trek to Roopkund, I was looking for trekking shoes. I was recommended Forclaz 500 Ventiv by friends. The shoe was retailing at Rs.2999 at Decathlon. The same was available for Rs.2499 online with free shipping. I went to the store to try it out, thinking that will order online and save Rs.500. John, the salesman helped me out with my questions and suggested that I pick up a tight fit. It was too tight but he suggested that it will expand a bit and will be fine. He also promised that he will replace it if I find it uncomfortable after a couple of days use. I told him about the online store and price and he told me that he can give it to me for 2799 and joked that Decathlon needs to pay him salary and hence cannot match that price. I bought the shoe and paid the premium just for his service.
A couple of days burn-in did not help and it was causing pain in the toe. I called up the store and Kuldeep another salesman at the trekking section suggested that I bring in the shoe for replacement. I picked up one size bigger and it was very comfortable for most part of the trek.
On the last day of the trek, thanks to heavy snow and rain, the shoe lost its shape. There was a bulge around the ankle support and due to this the show wasn't stable, causing ankle strain. After I reached Bangalore, I called up the store and mentioned about the problem. Kuldeep asked me to bring the shoe along with the bill for exchange. I never had the time and I almost forgot about it. Last week I remembered and took the shoe to the store. I had already lost hopes but wanted to give it a shot.
I walked into the store on Sunday, explained him the problem and showed the shoe. Kuldeep / Jon, said only one thing "Give it at the counter calling it a defective piece and pick up a new one'. Absolutely no questions, no nagging, not trying to put the blame on the buyer, no delay.
This is an excellent example of customer service. I had to go to the store 3 times but I will never mind the distance of driving 20+ KM to the store for such excellent service. Looking forward to the store opening in Bannerghatta Road. I am a Decathlon convert.
Thyagaraja Aradhana is an annual carnatic music festival, held every year on the day, the saint attained mukti at Thiruvayaru. On the Aradhana day, the Pancharatna kritis are sung by all artistes, in unison. Over the years, the event has spread to various places and now many cities have an annual commemorative event to pay homage to the great composer and one of the Trinities of Carnatic music.
We attended one such event a few weeks back, presided over by R.K.Padmanabha. The event had a concert by Pattabhiram Pandit followed by the singing of Pancharatna kritis. While speaking, RKP narrated a hilarious event that happened a few years back at his home town Rudrapatna.
For Thyagaraja Aradhana, he had organised a week long music festival and on the day of the Aradhana, he had arranged for food for everyone. When he was explaining the contributions of Thyagaraja and the importance of Aradhana, one gentlemen misunderstanding the meaning of Aradhana (which also means worship) interrupted and said - Sir, We should do an Aradhana to you for all your good work and for the feast. RKP was stunned but when he quipped, "Give me another 10-20 years and then you can do my Aradhana", the entire audience burst into laughter.
Most of February, I was thinking about what I wanted to do for the next few months. I had signed up for a training program for a 10K run in May. I egged a few friends to find out some place for a trek or a tour. I was asking my wife if she wanted to go anywhere. Suddenly during the last week of Feb, everything changed. I was asked to travel to San Francisco for a couple of weeks. I came here with a mixed bag of reactions and a lot of apprehension.
I landed in San Francisco on the first of March. The first couple of days passed by and then I discovered _the city_. This has been an amazing place and I have enjoyed every day here. Sometimes when I am completely upset or bogged down, be it due to work or otherwise, all I do is take a walk or a jog. And then I feel as if I am in heaven. I forget everything. All I feel is the chill air and the noise of the speeding cars around. This city is a jogger's paradise. The other day, I was really hungry and went down to get some breakfast. When I saw people running, I started running. I ran till Fisherman's Wharf and came back to the apartment without even having breakfast. Today I went to the airport to see a friend's wife off to India. He and a couple of others came back to my apartment and we went for a walk. We came to the apartment around 6 and they left around 8. I finished my dinner and was planning to go to bed. I am scheduled to go to Sunnyvale tomorrow and after a week back to Bangalore. So, I decided to take a walk one last time during this trip. I went down and I started running. I ran till the Gandhi statue at the Ferry Building. I spent about 15 minutes there listening to the sounds from the water, watching the Bay Bridge, thinking how much things have changed in the two weeks.
SF, I am going to miss you. Good bye until I come back again.
The 8th edition of Bangalore Barcamp happens at Yahoo! on 7th and 8th March. There has been enough debates about BCB8. So it will be interesting to see how it goes. I am not in town and will not be able to make it. But if you are around, you should go. It helps to connect with like minded people in town.
I was getting ready to leave for my morning jog yesterday when I read this shocking news. The third page of The Hindu routinely carries such information. The reason why it worried me was that every day when I run, I see a whole lot of people walking / jogging / running on the road. Many of these folks are more interested in carrying a conversation on the road rather than concentrate on the road. Many times I see folks completely blocking the road or walking in parallel oblivious of the surroundings.
So if you walk or jog on the road here are some tips:
- If there is a park in your area, please walk there.
- Always walk / jog on the extreme right of the road facing traffic.
- If this is a new road that you are running, first for the first couple of days focus on the road and traffic to get an idea.
- If the foot path is usable, please use it.
- Keep an eye on the traffic. There is no guarantee that the guy in the car is going to see you
- It is okay to lose a 30 seconds waiting for the car to pass, rather than risk your life.
And if you are driver, please respect the traffic rules. If a road is marked one way, _it_ _is_ _a_ _one_ _way_. This does not (atleast in Bangalore) change based on time of the day. If you are interested in racing, go to a racing track and not the road. Give space to pedestrians.
A hallway conversation:
A1: Coming for the standup? A2: Will come after running to the loo. A1: So you have one standup to attend before this one?
A coworker was admitted to a hospital due to food poisoning and dehydration. We went to visit him and were talking to him. The talk turned towards diarrhoea and stomach cleansing. He remarked about people voluntarily taking castor oil to clear their bowels when another coworker jumped into ask "2 Stroke or 4 Stroke". It took more than 5 minutes for everyone to return back to normalcy.
This one comes a bit late but nevertheless before the festival of lights is over. Here is wishing everyone a very Happy Deepavali.
This one has been by the far best Deepavali I have celebrated in the last few years. One of the main reasons being both my parents and my sister being around here. A few dozen phone calls starting from around 5 AM from all relatives, a whole lot of friends, meeting a few important folks in person and some good food. Awesomeness.
The smoke is settling down and it looks as if the whole place is foggy but hope tomorrow is fine. Cheers
Today morning I was trying to withdraw some cash from a SBI ATM. The machine was making a humongous noise counting the cash and taking eons to dispense the money. After almost a couple of minutes, it barfed "Unable to process transaction. Please contact the bank". Thankfully it dispensed a transaction advice which gave details of the ATM et al and that the transaction was a failure. Promptly within a few minutes, I got an SMS from ICICI bank saying that I have been debited the cash. I was shocked and I was thinking what all will I have to do, to fight this one.
I came home, called customer care, registered a complaint. Made sure that the agent had all the information and asked her to repeat everything. The agent also told the transaction id and the ATM details that matched my transaction slip. I was now atleast happy that I had some concrete evidence to fight it. The SLA for the complaint was 8 days and so I decided to wait for sometime. Thankfully a little while ago, I got an SMS saying that the transaction has been reversed and the money credited to my account. A final sigh of relief.
Usually, to save paper, I never ask for a printed transaction advice. But with this fiasco, I think it makes sense to select for a printed transaction advice always. It would be a good idea if the ATM gives out a transaction advice irrespective of the selection, if the transaction is a failure.
Another Gym Joke of the Day(GJOTD):
A1: Hey, Could not come to the gym. A2: What happened? A1: Stomach upset. Loose motion. A1: So only squats. No push-ups. Is it?
An incident at the gym this morning. Someone out of shape comes to the gym and starts running on the treadmill. Seeing him running,
A1: Iska chest sahi hai. Work out karne ke badh sahi ayega?
A2: Oh chest nahi hai. Breast hai.
I got my voter identification card done at last. This is the process in gist.
- Fill out Form 6. Submit at your local CMC / BMP office and get an acknowledgment.
- Check newspapers when they are publishing electoral rolls. Check that your name is in the electoral roles published by visiting the CMC office where you submitted the form. Use this link to check the status online. However I have had problems finding my name on the list even though it exists in the rolls. This link used to work sometime back but is no longer working.
- Show up at advertised venue when they call for the issue of photo id cards and get it done.
In short, the time required is about 15 minutes each for the first and the last steps. But you will spend most of the time in following up to see when the rolls are published and when you need to go for the photo session.
Rishi has a more detailed post on the process of submitting the form and the necessary documents. bangalorevoterid.org site has more information including FAQs, forms and the schedule for issuing the id card.
Go and get your voter id card done today!
me: the subject says the meeting is at 12:15, but your invite is for 12:00. what time is the meeting?
she: the meeting is at 12:15.
me: so why did you schedule it 12:00?
she: coz, i did not know how to send an invite for 12:15
How to live with such folks? There is no drop down selection for timing, but cant they use their uncommon sense to see if the text box is editable?
Am I the only one missing Vasanthi Hariprakash on Radio City. She first moved from Good Morning Bangalore to Joy Ride and now she is no longer on air. I tried asking around a few folks and no one seem to know. I have now switched from Radio City to Fever these days.
Who is your favourite RJ these days?
The schedule for the annual Ramanavami celebrations at Fort High School, Chamarajpet is out. It runs from April 7th till May 14th. I have been having a copy of the schedule for almost month now but I was hoping to find a copy online so I can pass it along. Today, Sashi volunteered to scan the schedule and give it to me as a PDF. So here it is. Check out the schedule and be there.
It is also there on upcoming. Add yourself if you are attending.
After hearing some funny announcements made by the pilot in a heavily accented tone, I asked the air hostess, "Is the pilot a German?". Pat came the reply, "No. He is European.". :-)
I have been thinking about visiting Coastal Karnataka when Vivek mentioned about trekking to Kodachadri. So Naveen, Teja, Vivek and I backpacked and started on Wednesday, Oct 31, by a KSRTC bus to Kollur. After a bumpy drive for almost 12 hours, we reached Kollur the next day morning around 8AM. Kollur is a small village famous for the Mookambika temple. We checked into a room right opposite to the temple. Had a quick bath, visited the temple, and off we went to Udupi. The road again was very badly damaged and the journey took about 3 hours. We visited the Udupi Krishna temple first. When we were walking towards the temple, we saw a bunch of policemen and a few vehicles with flashing red lights on top. When we went in, I was surprised to see Yeddyurappa and a few other politicians.
We then lunched at Diana, a nice old hotel and then went to the Malpe Beach. The beach was awesome and there was very little crowd. Enjoyed playing in the water and took some shots of the fantastic sunset. We then headed back to Kollur for the night.
Since the bridge on the path to Kodachadry was broken, the morning bus in that route was cancelled. So we arranged for a taxi to drop us at Karakatta. We reached Karakatta around 6:30 and started the trek to the peak. After about an hour or so which was more or less plains, we started the ascend. It was a serene forest, a stream gushing below, a scenic path and sun rays falling through the trees. Somewhere in the middle we came closer to the stream. The water was very sweet. After walking for about 3 hours, around 9:30 or so, we came past the woods into a grass land. The scenery was fantastic, though the trek was very difficult since the path was very slippery. The sun rays were falling on one side and the stretch looked like a golden carpet. Another hour or so and we reached the Kodachadry village. There is a temple here called Moola Mookimbika temple and a couple of houses behind where they serve food. I went into one of the house and was surprised to see a private water falls. Again, the water was crystal clear and sweet.
After having breakfast and some rest, we started the climb to the peak, which was another 30-45 minutes away. On the way there are a couple of deviations, one to the Guha Ganesha and the other to Agasthiyar theertham. We were unable to go Agasthiyar theertham since there were lots of weeds on the path. We went to the Guha Ganesh and then started the climb to the peak.
Naveen decided to take rest amidst the clouds while the rest of us descended from there to a place called Chitramoola. Water collected from the mountains trickles through here and flows and forms Souparnika, the river that flows through Kollur. We then climbed back to the peak and then started our descend. We were planning to go to Gokarna (Cow's ear) beach that night and hence decided not to trek back. On reaching the Kodachadry village around 2PM, we had lunch and then took a jeep down to a village called Nedur. The jeep drive was also an experience in itself. At the hair pin bends, the vehicle tilts and I was thinking that I will be thrown out of the vehicle or the vehicle might even overturn
We took the bus from Nedur to Kollur and from there took a taxi to a place called Byndoor. From Byndoor we took a bus to Ankola. We got down at Gokarna Junction and from there took an auto to Gokarna. We reached Gokarna at around 11pm. We checked in immediately and then went to the beach. Vivek told that there is night life on the Gokarna / Om Beach but the beach was deserted. It was a very scary sight to watch the sea and the sounds of the waves at night. We returned to the hotel thinking of going to the beach early in the morning.
Everyone was really tired after the trek and we slept till 10 in the morning while Vivek went to the beach and came back. We then left for Om Beach from there. The beach is in the shape of an inverted "Om", is a very quiet place and has a few resorts. It was very sunny and I found it a bit difficult. After playing in the water for around three hours, we came back to Gokarna.
We had our return bus booked from Kondapur at 9:30 PM, about 120KM away. We were thinking that we could make it but thanks to some bad roads, reached Kondapur only around 10:30. We were looking for options when we found one travel agent willing to stop a bus at a nearby village if we were willing to reach there. We took a taxi from Kondapur and reached that village, got the bus and reached Bangalore the next morning around 8.
This has been one of my best trips and the most difficult treks in the recent times. I also felt very relaxed, thanks to the exhaustion, after the tip. Most of the photos taken during this trip is on Flickr. I am still in the process of uploading the rest.
A few points to note if you decide to do this trip. Every one gives their own estimate of the distance but there is no way for sure to know how long is the trek. It took us around 5 hours to reach the Kodachadri village and another hour from there to reach the peak. Try if possible to reach Mangalore or some place nearby by train. The roads are ravaged by rains and your back goes for a toss. Beware, there were a lot of leeches on the entire trekking path, waiting to take a few ml of your blood. You must be lucky to get a jeep on the way back from Kodachadri to Kollur or Nedur. If you dont get one, be prepared to walk back. Carry lots of chocolates, glucose and water. I have also heard / read that the sunset there is amazing. Also there are a couple of waterfalls nearby in case you are interested. Last but not the least, please do not litter. It is a virgin forest and let it remain that way. I was also told that they were planning to tar the path to Kodachadri but people are opposing it fearing that it will ruin the place.
Today I started driving from my home at 8, stopped at Adayar Anand Bhavan for break fast for about 20 minutes and still reached office by 8:45. There was absolutely no traffic. Wish every day was a Friday after Diwali.